Thursday, November 12, 2009

CSI: Gettysburg Part 1

My friend Sarah's dad, who runs the Teaching the Civil War with Technology blog loves to do something he calls, CSI: Gettysburg. So, one one day we decided to take a trip to Gettysburg to due some investigating. So, we loaded up his iPod Touch with some photographs and armed with background information we set off. Our goal was to find the the location where Civil War photographer Matthew Brady took the following photograph:

According to the book Gettysburg: A Journey in Time by William Frassanito, this photo was taken by Brady on July 15, 1863 on the slopes of Culp's Hill. The photo shows two of Brady's assistants sitting on a rock looking at the breastworks of the Union line. Frassanito further states that this photo was taken near the monument to the 102nd New York Regiment and some of the trees in the photograph are still standing today. Our hunt for clues was on!

Once we were on Culp's Hill, our first task was to find the monument to the 78th and 102nd New York Infantry Regiments. This was pretty easy as it was on the right side of the road leading up to the summit of Culp's Hill. Here is a photograph of my friend Jacob next to the monument. Now, look closely....Can you see the head of a lion and his paw in the monument?

According to one account, it was said that the 102nd and 78th fought like lions at Gettysburg so they had the lion carved into their monument. Here is a close-up of the monument, can you see the lion's head now?

Our next job was to find out where the photo was taken from, so we walked up the hill a bit further and using the original photo on the iPod and Frassanito's book as guides, we were able to find the same rock that the assistants were sitting on in the original photo.

Here I am with my friend Sarah (in her Civil War dress) sitting on the same rock as the assistants.
Here is a close up view of me and my friend Sarah. The tree behind us is the same tree behind Brady's assistants in the original photograph (although much bigger now). Many people refer to these as "witness trees" because they witnessed part of the battle.

One more photo of me sitting on the famous rock. It was kind of exciting to think that I was sitting in the same place that the photograph was taken.

According to one of the park rangers we met later on and told about our story told us that the tree that is fallen over in front of me (behind the one that is standing up and it looks like a mound of dirt) is another witness tree that fell over during a storm.

What a great, fun-filled day at Gettysburg. We used primary sources from the Library of Congress, a book and our knowledge about the battle to sort out the clues and find this famous place on the battlefield.

Next time we are going to due some crime scene investigating in Devil's Den. Stay tuned ....

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