The Battle of Gettysburg was the largest and deadliest battle of the American Civil War. Over 160,000 men fought for competing visions of America, and over 45,000 became casualties. The survivors knew they had been through one of history’s great struggles. Many returned to the battlefield to understand what happened and to try to pass on something of their experiences to future generations.
When you visit the Gettysburg battlefield you will find a great outdoor classroom where over 1200 monuments of stone, bronze and iron help visitors explore one of the great turning points in American history.
The largest number are monuments to Union regiments and batteries – Pennsylvania alone has over 100 – erected on the ground where the units fought.
There are fewer Confederate monuments. Most are state monuments erected by the Southern states to honor their men who fought at Gettysburg.
There are over 40 monuments to individuals. Most are to generals, but there is also a lieutenant, one of 64 men who were awarded the Medal of Honor for the battle. There are two chaplains, and even two civilians – a citizen who grabbed a gun and joined the fight, and a woman who helped bury the dead and who represents the sacrifice and suffering of all the women in the war.
To help visitors better understand the battle the War Department in the early 1900s erected monuments to over 100 Union and Confederate headquarters detailing the actions of the brigades, divisions and corps during the battle. And to help offset the lack of Confederate memorials they also placed markers for each of the Confederate artillery batteries at the locations where they fought.
Many of the pages on this site have links to a companion site, The Civil War in the East, which provides unit histories, biographies, and additional information of interest. And visit the main Stone Sentinels website, which has links to over two dozen more battles that took place from Pennsylvania to southern Virginia.