Saturday, August 6, 2011

THE GETTYSBURG GHOSTS

At Gettysburg was fought the greatest battle of the Civil War. The armies of North and South, with a contingent of 150,000 men, faced off during days 1, 2 and 3 July 1863 and suffered 53,000 casualties, a little less than the amount of U.S. soldiers killed in Vietnam War.

The Battle of Gettysburg was won by Northern troops and reversed the course of the Civil War, until then completely favorable to the rebels of the South.

After Gettysburg, the South was never the same. They fought for another two years until the surrender in April 1865.

The sacrifice of the 53,000 soldiers who fell in that battle was recognized and honored by President Abraham Lincoln in November 1863, when he made a historical speech at the inauguration of the city's military cemetery.

All this made the fame of Gettysburg. American children learn at school the speech of Lincoln at Gettysburg.

When the last Civil War soldier died in 1956, Gettysburg was covered with monuments raised by the veterans who fought there.

Gettysburg is now a National Park. Daily school bus with students flocking to the city attractions vying with hundreds of tourists and historians.

The Gettysburg National Park is a beautiful place. Full of colors, flowers, birds, squirrels, etc.. Peaceful. You can browse the local battle by car or on foot. In hours or days.

Who is going to Gettysburg must know and love history. You can study and learn there. Guides are trained at the Visitor Center to do just that.

But there are stories of Gettysburg that are not in the history books. What about the vision of a cavalry officer in full uniform North passing quietly with his horse in front of a group of visitors, and reaching the other side of the road disappearing?

Or a group of "reenactors" which, in the middle of a passage found in the woods three soldiers who hand them a box of ammunition dated 1863, never used and brand new and then disappear into the fog? And the wounded soldier to a visitor asks for water in the park when he was already getting dark? And the sound of marching troops at dawn in front of a hotel window overlooking the battlefield?

And the screams of wounded in the basement of Gettysburg College occupied for weeks after the battle and as a field hospital?

One explanation for these supernatural events can be in fact so many young people have had a sudden and violent death.

It may be that their souls have no rest, continue to wander in the places they lived their last days.

For those who like that sort of story and emotion, the City Ghost Tours offers daily basis. Walks with expert guides to places where we hear reports say happened repeatedly.

At night Gettysburg gets transformed. In the houses' windows candles appear. According to tradition, this means that people in that home are awaiting the return of a loved one who went to war. And he's still in the tunnel of time.

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