I’ve often wondered how my super-sophisticated, high-tech Canon DSLR would fare against the cannons used in the Civil War. At 8.5 frames per second, my Canon could easily “outshoot” the lumbering 2,000 lb single-shot artillery pieces used at Gettysburg. But the battlefield is so massive, approximately 3 x 5 miles, I wasn’t sure I’d have enough “ammuniton”. If my three spare 4 GB memory cards were not enough, I’d resort to my derringer, the Canon point-and-shoot I carry in case I’m “overrun” by too many Kodak moments.
The National Park Service has done a magnificent job of maintaining the battlefield areas in much the same way as they were in 1863, and continuing to purchase adjacent tracts that are privately owned to prevent this hallowed ground from becoming a Super Wal-Mart or some other egregious development. The park has over 1500 statues and other markers (cannons are very popular) to mark where every known military unit and leader was situated during the three-day battle.
Below are some other shots (no pun intended) taken of some of the many artillery pieces around the park. In future posts, I will share other scenes and subjects I photographed at Gettysburg, but this post is devoted to cannons. I hope my Canon lasts half as long as these cannons have.
The farm house in the back ground survived the Battle of Gettysburg.
A cannon’s effective range was up to two miles, depending on the model, but even the short range cannons could easily shoot one mile. During the last day of the battle, the Confederate troops had to march over one mile across open fields, exposing themselves to deadly cannon fire, before they could charge the hill(s) occupied by the entrenched Union troops.
The Union troops held the high ground, a major factor in any military strategy. When the smoke cleared, there were over 51,000 casualties of Gettysburg. Although both sides suffered equally in the casualty count, the Confederate Army was so weakened and demoralized, it never recovered.
Thought for the Day: But in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. Abraham Lincoln, part of Gettsburg Address.