GENARO C. ARMAS
The Associated Press
GETTYSBURG, Pa. —
The Battle of Gettysburg is underway for the second time in a week and tourists are converging in droves even if the outcome of the Civil War’s pivotal encounter has been known for 150 years.
Soldiers back in 1863 never experienced conditions like the ones re-enactors had Thursday.
Big city-like traffic snarled two-lane rural roads. Green grandstands used at the U.S. Open golf tournament last month outside Philadelphia lined the battlefield, packed with visitors. A narrator recounted the moves of Union and Confederates over two loudspeakers, as if doing play-by-play and color commentary for a football game.
“All right, we’ve got early firing. What we call a skirmish unit,” the narrator said as crowds eagerly watched from the sidelines marked with red wire.
This re-enactment was held by the Gettysburg Anniversary Committee, the group which has held such events for roughly two decades. This event appeared to draw bigger crowds on the July 4th holiday than the re-enactments held last weekend by the Blue-Gray Alliance, which has had several battle depictions for the 150th anniversary around the country.
In between the two re-enactments, the real battlefield at Gettysburg National Military Park was the focal point of visitors on the actual anniversary days. Up to 10,000 Union and Confederate soldiers died in Gettysburg July 1-3, 1863.
The Park Service finished up its special programs Thursday, focusing on the aftermath of the battle including the stories of residents, prisoners and the wounded.