Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, is known throughout the world as the location of one of the largest, most expensive, and deadliest battles of the American Civil War. With over 50,000 estimated casualties, the famous Battle of Gettysburg in 1863 is widely believed to mark the turning point of the war. Over 130 years have passed since those three bloody days at Gettysburg, but some believe the nightmare of that battle never ended for some of the poor souls killed there. Across the hallowed grounds of the battlefield and throughout the town and environs, it is believed by some that the haunted souls of those who suffered there may still roam.
The name Gettysburg has long been enshrined in history as the site of one of the greatest battles ever fought on American soil. But long after the events of the Civil War, this historic town continues to elicit praise and attention for being representative of qualities near and dear to the collective heart of the American republic.
There is no greater example of this than the lifelong investment and love shown to Gettysburg by one of America’s greatest war and peacetime leaders, President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Gettysburg is a well-known historical destination for travelers and tourists from all over the world. And there are certainly a great many things to see and experience in Gettysburg during the day, but that doesn’t mean that the town stops being a first-class destination when the sun sets! There’s plenty to do in this fantastic, historical town after sunset. Below are just some of the many great activities available to visitors after dark.
What is the High-Water Mark?
The High-Water Mark of the Confederacy or “high tide of the Confederacy” refers to an area on Cemetery Ridge near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, marking the farthest point reached by Confederate forces during the action known as Pickett’s Charge on July 3, 1863. Like a high-water mark denoting a level of water, the term is a reference to arguably the Confederate Army’s best chance of achieving victory in the war. The designation “High-Water Mark” was formally evoked by historians in the years following the Civil War, based on the idea that the battle of Gettysburg was the turning point of the war.
The Gettysburg Battlefield is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Pennsylvania. For three days in 1863, Union and Confederate forces met here on the hills, fields, and wooded landscape of central Pennsylvania in what would become the most famous battle of the American Civil War.
The 6,000-acre battlefield has since been preserved as a tribute to those who fought that day and boasts more than 1,300 monuments, markers, and memorials to tell their story. The modern battlefield and much of the nearby town still look very much like they did in 1863. Today the area remains a living monument to the struggle and strife of our American Civil War.
Though destined for fame as one of the most respected and feared forces in the Army of the Potomac, the Iron Brigade came from humble roots. The all-Western infantry brigade was primarily comprised of five colorfully named regiments: the Calico (6th Wisconsin), the Huckleberries (7th Wisconsin), the Babies (19th Indiana), the Feather-beds (24th Michigan), and the Ragged Asstetical (2nd Wisconsin), which won its not-so-fierce nom de guerre, said the veteran Aubrey Cullen, “from the fact that the government contractors had run short of good material when they made the pantaloons … allowing their flag of truce always to be kept in their rear.”
On the Gettysburg battlefield, in the shadow of the Oak Ridge Observation Tower just off Doubleday Avenue and not far from the junction between Confederate Avenue and the Mummasberg road, there is an open field of nondescript farmland bordered on one side by a low stone wall. This property, part of the John Forney farm on the eve of the famous battle, would sadly be the site of one of the most brutal and ignominious episodes of the Civil War.
This otherwise nondescript patch of grass on Oak Ridge is where the unsuspecting men of a hapless North Carolina Brigade would meet a horrific fate, and the events of that tragic day would earn that lonely patch of ground a share of infamy that echoes through the years to the present day.
Modern-day visitors to the Gettysburg Battlefield can experience the site firsthand and walk the hallowed field widely famed as a supernatural hot spot.
Romeo and Juliet may be the most notable star-crossed lovers, but Pennsylvania’s Jack Skelly and Jennie Wade have a love story that may be just as tragic.
Jennie Wade was the only civilian casualty during the Battle of Gettysburg. She died on July 3, 1863, during the Battle of Gettysburg, with a picture of her love, Corporal Johnston “Jack” Hastings Skelly, nestled in her pocket.
At Gettysburg Battlefield Tours, you’ll find tour guides who love sharing historical facts about the most important engagement of the American Civil War.
When winter arrives, that doesn’t stop.
Is Gettysburg open in the winter? You bet! The town known for one of America’s bloodiest battles is now perhaps one of the most peaceful places to visit in winter. Not only is the town of Gettysburg open to visitors hoping to dine and shop in this quaint historic town, but our guided tours of the battlefields and Winter Combo Deals make Gettysburg a wintertime destination.
Thrifty visitors, take note! The existence of our winter combo tours seems to be one of the (unintentionally) best kept secrets in Gettysburg. These ghostly adventures are offered on Saturday nights during the winter season (weather permitting), and beware: when space fills up – they’re gone!
The exciting news, if you’re reading this in early January, is that the season has only just begun. Our special combo tours are offered on Saturdays starting January 15 at 7:00 PM, and they run all the way through March 12 (weather permitting) with the exception of February 12th when the tour time will be 6 PM. Please note, Ghostly Images is only open Saturdays from 3:00 PM until the time of the tour. We will also have a 7 PM Tour on Friday, February 11th.
Why do we call them combo tours?