Gettysburg Reenactment Draws Thousands On 150th Anniversary

Melissa Stusinski - Author

Aug. 23 2017, Updated 3:40 a.m. ET

The latest Gettysburg reenactment has drawn a crowd of thousands wishing to watch a piece of history take place on the battle’s 150th anniversary.

The massive battle cost the lives of 51,000 soldiers in the first three days of July 1863. For the next two weekends, about 200,000 to 300,000 spectators will head to Gettysburg National Military Park to observe the Civil War reenactment festivities.

Gettysburg is considered a turning point in the war, which forced Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s troops out of the north. Re-enactors on horseback will spend the next week portraying what war was like 150 years ago.

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And for those re-enactors, the hot weather will certainly take its toll, as they will wear wool from head to toe. Re-enactor Rex Orton joked, “Wool in July. They call it the Jenny Craig weight-loss program of 1863.”

Those taking part in the Gettysburg reenactment have been studying and practicing for weeks, as they will present not only battle scenes, but camp life, drill demonstrations, period music, and more to visitors. Visitor Pamela Yates, a California resident, is already impressed. She stated:

“I’m just in awe, when I saw the cavalry go by. Where we’re from, we have a lot of cavalry at the Moore Park event, which is the largest in California, but it’s nothing compared to this.”

And Orton, who is donning a Union uniform for the event, added, “We just love history, and the camaraderie.” Along with the re-enactors, visitors will be able to portray the final charge of Gettysburg, called Pickett’s Charge, on July 3. National Park Service rangers will guide thousands of visitors in loose formation across a rolling field where the charge took place 150 years before.

After the reenactment, multiple musicians will play Taps in a solemn remembrance of those killed at Gettysburg. About 400 events will take place at the historic battlefield over 10 days, including a second reenactment of the battle next weekend.

Do you plan on visiting Gettysburg for the reenactment commemorating 150 years since the bloody battle happened?


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