Can't help with gun shops, but I would suggest taking one of the open air bus tours of the town and battlefields. They last an hour or so, are kind of cheesy, but do give a good overview of the geography and the order of battle. The tour I took was on a double-decker bus and sitting on the top level helped with perspective. If you are into that kind of thing, study up on the overall battle with a map or two in hand before you ever get to Gettysburg. Having that knowledge already in your head will much improve the tour.
I suggest you read the book Killer Angels before going and watch the movie Gettysburg, Turner version. You can pick me out in the movie easily, grey uniform attacking at the Angle on the third day. That part was filmed on the actual battlefield. Many antique shops BE cautious of what you purchase.
I would rate museums and battlefield visits far more important than shops. Also view the cemetery where Lincoln made his address. Size and scale of the battle is impressive.
MT - which fellow are you at the Angle? I used to be a CW reenactor years ago - attended a few of the 125th events in Va. I have the movie and have read the book too (along with numerous other books on the Civil War and Gettysburg). I've also been to Gettysburg numerous times and have my favorite haunts (Dobbin House, Farnsworth House, O'Rourkes). I've been teaching Jen about the battle and it's main characters and she's looking forward to taking it all in. I think she will be blown away once she gets there - walks the hallowed ground, sees the monuments and breathes the air. The sacrifice by both sides was incredible! It is truly one of my favorite places to visit!
Been there and it definitely has a "aura" about the place.
Have even found some long forgotten "Confederate Cemeteries" in obscure towns down south.
Really makes it all hit home when you see those. Glad to see they are still maintained by the locals.
Dave, be cautious about the shops, some are unscrupulous in selling things as civil war artifacts.
As for Killer Angels its an excellent choice for Grasping the battle.
For the Gettysburg movie I can be seen about 5 different areas of the Triangular field/ 124 NY Orange blossoms (when you see a blur of a soldiers head run by the camera you can see the Silver Lozenge diamond on my bummer) helping a wounded soldier off the field, firing over stone wall, and probably 2 bodies dead on field. Also the Color Guard of the 99th PA retreating down the Rocks of Devils den into the Valley of death, one on wall one behind in background. My musket still bears the scars of slipping andfalling off that boulder during one of the filmings.
The slaughterpen is between little round top and the den to the left. The accounts of 8th NJ in wheat field are excellent. So many amazing stories. 12th NJ at high water mark. 2nd, 5th, 8th Floridas on the counter/follow on attack of Picketts charge.
Hard to walk those grounds knowing the stories. A must have book is John Batchelders papers on the Battle, pricey but must have research.
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