Tuesday 8 July 2008

Confederates and the Union battle it out at Gettysburg 145 years on

Ever since I saw a civil war re-enactment on the Amazing Race it has been in my top 5 list of things to do in the US. So we went to the big one. Gettysburg on the 145th anniversary of the Confederates' defeat at the hands of the Union. The re-enactment went for three days, with 12,000 armed re-enactors, 200 cannons and artillery pieces, and 400 horses. We went for the 5th of July after watching the fireworks in Baltimore on the 4th.

The spectacle was amazing. The first battle at 11am was "Polished Sabers Dazzling in the Sun" – Cavalry Engagement Hanover Road with an impressive number of mounted troops fighting with sabers and pistols, as well as artillery and dismounted skirmishers pitching in. Of course this had nothing on the 5pm battle "Hold the Line" – Gallant Rally at the Klingle Farm where the field in front of us filled with infantry, cannons, and mortars all letting loose simultaneously with a deafening din of gunpowder.

I took some movies with the camera, but none of them do it justice. The cannons exploding produced massive bass booms that you could feel as physical thumps and the rifle fire was a constant series of loud whip cracks, all of which sounds like a bit of gentle popping on the video! Check out the videos below, the first is the cavalry battle and the others are the bigger 5pm battle.

All in all it was an awesome day. I'd highly recommend it, and I would definitely recommend the grandstand seats we had for a brilliant view.

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