With much of America locked down tighter than Ben Butler’s New Orleans, Civil War buffs are finding battlefield access difficult, if not downright impossible. Many won’t get to Gettysburg this spring, for sure, and not much is open there now anyways.
So let me share some Gettysburg scenes, if only to let us dream of better days and a long hike across the battlefield…
If veterans could conceive a design and the proper authorities would sign off on it, a monument might even incorporate a little color.
The 93rd Pennsylvania survivors opted for a routine granite monument, but splashed some blue on the cross (right). You will find this monument practically next door to the 5th Maine Infantry’s white monument off the north end of Little Round Top.
Gettysburg’s natural beauty changes with the seasons and the daylight. Dawn and dusk offer that low light so favored by photographers. One September evening near the Copse of Trees, while busy shooting the sun dropping behind South Mountain, I turned and saw this scene.
Gettysburg abounds in wildlife, which might or might not pose. A critter can enhance a Gettysburg photo; there was the time that, while standing near the Minnesota monument, I happened to look up:
Sometimes the wildlife does not care to pose by a cannon/monument/statue, so a photographer makes do with what’s “happening now.”
Whitetail deer often appear at dawn or toward sunset, and smaller varmints like raccoons and skunks usually turn out at dark.
Cottontail rabbits like the day, red-tail hawks hover overhead in the sky or trees, a hungry fox trots past while ignoring park visitors, and, its presence sometimes announced by someone hollering in a bit of fright, the occasional snake slithers across an asphalt path. Be prepared: the animals are there.
Some Gettysburg scenes lend themselves to excerpts, snippets taken from the whole, rather than the whole occupying the frame.
The imposing Soldiers National Monument in the national cemetery begs for full-frame composition, but its components deserve individual attention.
I appreciated the National Park Service cleaning the entire monument before the July 2013 sesquicentennial observances, undertaken in :wicked” hot weather, at least by Maine standatds.. The four corner statues had not looked better in a long time.
Some Confederate monuments, especially Virginia, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Mississippi, incorporate great expression and passion. While the Robert E. Lee/Traveler-topped Virginia Monument lures many, many visitors, the North Carolina monument better portrays war’s combat and cost.
Beneath the flagbearer and the two rifle-toters kneels a wounded soldier, his right hand clutching his gut wound. Going down for the count, he points his friends toward the distant Yankees and Cemetery Ridge. He’s not coming back; the others might not, either.
May we yet walk on Gettysburg’s hallowed ground in 2020!