New Gettysburg Visitors Center – Part 2

The new Gettysburg Museum offered a dazzling array of things to look at, including these overhead photographs of various Civil War battles. I just wish more of the things from the old VC were also included – perhaps in the future…

Background posts: My first visit to the new Visitors Center; Gilder Lehrman Collection

Cleveland-area miniature wargamer Jim Kopchak, the author of the new rules set Civil War Commander, spent much of yesterday with me touring the new Gettysburg Visitors Center, focusing on the Gettysburg Civil War Museum housed there. We spent a couple hours doing a cursory walk-through, although crowds were very heavy and it was tough to spend any appreciable time at any single display case. I took a few shots, although the majority of my photos did not turn out as the camera’s museum setting failed me, and darkness reigned. Flash photography is forbidden in the VC, as I found out during my last visit when I made the acquaintance of a NPS ranger I had not previously met.

A few of the hundreds of tourists enjoying a pleasant day at Gettysburg National Military Park – something I personally never get tired of exploring. I fear the new museum may become a larger attraction than the battlefield itself for many first-time visitors.

As mentioned, crowds were thick throughout the museum, as well as in the lobby and the canteen area (which I am told serves some really good food for a concession stand, although I will stick to the Gettysburg area merchants as a rule of thumb). The traffic flow within the museum is good, although at some points, I noticed folks backtracking and asking aloud how to move forward to the next room.

One of the displays adapted from the old Visitors Center – there aren’t many. Much of the material displayed in the old VC is now in storage.

Jim and I enjoyed our day together – taking a break from the four-day monster gaming convention, Historicon, over in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. We had a great lunch at the May Flowers Chinese buffet, which certainly is a HUGE step up in taste from the old Hardee’s fast-food joint. Jim and I drove around to look at the tree-cutting, vistas he had not seen since his last visit to Gettysburg 4-5 years ago.

Here’s one chart at the new VC that I really need to go back and get a better photo — the organization of a typical Civil War army. This would be useful for wargamers unfamiliar with ACW structure.

The regiment (at the top left) was the basic building block of the military hierarchy during the Civil War. Usually recruited within a single state from volunteers for a three-year period, regiments were typically organized into a brigade (which could have a couple to a half dozen regiments), which is shown at the top right.  Moving down the chart, three or four brigades comprised a division, three or four divisions made up a corps, and an army (at the bottom) was multiple corps — seven at Gettysburg in the Army of the Potomac, and three for the Army of Northern Virginia.

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