The Civil War sesquicentennial has caused such little buzz in the United States that one well-known professor/author has called the anniversary "anemic," according to this Wall Street Journal piece. "It's hard to talk about if you don't mention race, emancipation and slavery," Gary Gallagher of the University of Virginia told the Journal. Another disappointed expert simply blames ignorance. "Significant numbers of people have no idea when the Civil War occurred, let alone what it was about," said David Heidler, who co-edited the five-volume "Encyclopedia of the American Civil War" with his wife. If true, that's a sad commentary on everything from our educational system to a collective lack of awareness about our own history. But the sentence that sticks with me from the Journal article is this one about Gettysburg:
"Nearly seven million people scampered along its rolling hills in the peak year of 1970, compared with 1.2 million last year, according to the National Park Service."
I'll save a long debate on the sesquicentennial for another day. But anecdotally, at least, I can say that I was struck by the lack of big crowds at Gettysburg during a visit April 15-16-17. On a Thursday morning at 9:30, I was the only person roaming The Wheatfield. A short time later, only a handful of people were at Little Round Top as I climbed among the boulders there. For the millions of people who won't be at Gettysburg this year, these three interactive panoramas from Little Round Top are a peek at what you're missing.
Pan left for statue of Gen. Gouverneur Warren, whose bold move here earned acclaim.