** Please check out my tribute page to two of my Civil War relatives who never made it home **

Friday, June 14, 2013

June 14, 2013

Pennsylvania State Memorial, 2013

"Victory" atop the Pennsylvania Memorial
Of all the state monuments at Gettysburg, the Pennsylvania State Memorial is the largest and most ornate. Not only does it honor the tremendous sacrifice of both sides that took place on Pennsylvania soil, but it also pays homage to the fact that, save only for New York, the Keystone State furnished the most troops for the Union army. This large monument can be seen from many places on the Gettysburg battlefield and reminds visitors that the field isn’t really as large as it may seem at first. Certain landmarks are almost always visible no matter which direction you face.

The Pennsylvania State Memorial was finished in 1910 and was constructed of granite. According to the site “Draw the Sword” and other excellent sources, the figure topping the monument, sword drawn high, is the personification of Victory. Perhaps the most intriguing feature of the memorial is that visitors can climb to the top and are then treated to a fantastic view of the surrounding battlefield. (Although I’m not certain if visitors are still allowed and if there are days when the observation deck is closed).

View of Pickett-Pettigrew-Trimble Charge from the observation deck, 2003

Even without climbing to the top, the interior of the Pennsylvania State Memorial is quite fascinating, with statuary of famous figures, plaques with names of the fallen, and more. If you have Civil War ancestors or relatives who fought in the Civil War from Pennsylvania and were present at the battle of Gettysburg (always make sure to check enlistment and muster-out dates) you’ll probably find their names on one of many bronze plaques that cover the bottom exterior of the monument. Non-Pennsylvania-related features of the memorial include a monument to Battery B, 1ST New Jersey Artillery, and a smattering of cannon representing that unit.


Co. H, 126TH New York Infantry

Born 1839 --- Died July 11, 1863 at age 24

Pvt. Hopkins was no stranger to the ugliness of war. Having surrendered and later having been taken prisoner at Harper’s Ferry just ten months earlier, by the time Gettysburg rolled around, he must have suffered greatly. Fortunately he was released, but that didn’t guarantee a bright future. He was wounded during the repulse of the Pickett-Pettigrew-Trimble Charge and died eight days later, first being interred at the Presbyterian Church in Gettysburg and later being moved to the Gettysburg National Cemetery.

(c) 2013 Skies of Blue and Gray

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