Over the weekend, T and I took a ride to see the Gettysburg Battlefields in Pennsylvania. I’ve been to plenty of Civil War battlefields in the South, but this was my first visit to a Northern battlefield. It was an amazing place to behold, lovely beyond measure. At times, it was hard to believe that a brutal war could have erupted here. Of course, that’s the power of the Civil War itself: a ferocious internal conflict amongst a people who temporarily lost their gift for pragmatic compromise and then proceeded to beat the stuffing out of one another. I’ll have more thoughts on Gettysburg later this week. For now, I offer this picture which lingers in my mind.
These woods are deceptively lovely and still. It seems extraordinary that anyone would shatter such quiet beauty. But for three days in July 1863 it was the site of a miserable, bloody exchange that would forever alter the course of the war and, ultimately, the history of this nation we now call the United States of America.