On day 2 of our Gettysburg stay, the weather turned windy and cold. We decided to explore the Gettysburg National Military Park Visitor Center and Museum to stay comfy and warm. But we did have a few more landmarks we wanted to see around the town.

More Landmarks

Viewing Amos Humiston’s memorial, Gettysburg, PA

The first landmark was a memorial to Sgt. Amos Humiston, the only infantry soldier to have a monument dedicated to him at Gettysburg. My son has been intrigued with the story of Amos Humiston for over a year. Humiston was shot and killed on the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg. The memorial stands where he fell. His body was found still clutching an ambrotype of his three children. The picture of his children was published in several newspapers and, from this, he was subsequently identified by his wife.




Lincoln arrived here by train

The other landmark we were interested in seeing is not too far from Amos Humiston’s monument. It is the train station where Lincoln arrived when he traveled to Gettysburg to deliver the Gettysburg Address.

Museum and Visitor Center

After seeing these sites we went to the visitor center to explore.

First, we watched a 20-minute(ish) movie about the Battle of Gettysburg. Then, we were ushered upstairs for a view of a cyclorama painting. What is a cyclorama? you may ask. Well, I certainly had no idea. My husband thought it sounded like work (I think he was thinking of a spin class at the gym).

A cyclorama is a very large painting that is designed to be viewed from the center. It wraps around 360 degrees, so everywhere you look there is a different vantage point. Pretty cool, actually.

The cyclorama at the visitor center was painted by late 19th-century painter Paul Philippoteaux, and depicts Pickett’s Charge on the 3rd day of the Battle of Gettysburg. According to the Gettysburg Foundation, it “measures 377 feet in circumference and [is] 42 feet high. Longer than a football field and as tall as a four-story structure.” Light and sound effects, as well as an accompanying life-size diorama, add to the experience.

We then explored the museum, which was set up chronologically from events leading up the to Civil War to the aftermath.

Reflecting in a Civil War soldier’s mirror
Looking at Lincoln
Resting by the battle of the ironclads.

Junior Rangers

After that, we visited with a park ranger to have some questions answered and pick up our Junior Ranger activity books. As always, the ranger was very helpful. And the kids love the Junior Ranger program. The activities help them learn about and grasp the difficult concepts that they’re seeing around them. And the ceremonial oath they have to take after completing activities makes them feel important, knowledgeable, and responsible. I can’t say enough about the Junior Ranger programs at the NPS parks. They’re great.

Working on Junior Ranger activities. This one was really tough.
Being sworn in as a Junior Ranger.

After exploring the museum and earning our Junior Ranger badges, we had one more very important landmark we wanted to see, back at the cemetery. We had to find where Amos Humiston was buried. Our trip would not have been complete without seeing it and being on the Earth in the same place that he was.

With help from the ranger, we found it:

Sgt. Amos Humiston’s grave marker at Gettysburg National Cemetery.

Janette DeFelice, MD, MA is a writer currently focusing on how the changing environment affects our health. Her essay collection Resistance Essays from the Heartland and her new novel Delia Rising: A Ballet in Three Acts are both available now. She has also published at Be The Change Mom, ChicagoNow, and Medium.com. She holds a Doctor of Medicine degree from Chicago Medical School and a Master’s degree in Humanities from the University of Chicago, where her major essay was Hegel and Ibsen: The Evolution of Consciousness in Ibsen’s Prose Play Cycle. She also has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Indiana University. A former professional dancer, former adjunct Humanities professor, and former lecturer in Medical Clinical Skills, as well as a mom of 9-year-old twins, she currently finds herself at a career/life crossroads at which she is trying to figure out how to use all aspects of herself (her art, her medical and scientific knowledge, her philosophical explorations, her interest in popular culture as a teaching tool, and her unique perspective) for the good of humanity.

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