Gettysburg, PA. — If you’ve never been to this place, it should definitely be on your priority list of things to do. Gettysburg was the largest battle ever fought on this continent. More significantly, it started exactly 150 years ago today. On this day 150 years ago, Union soldiers, including the famous Iron Brigade, were fighting rebels from General Henry Heath’s division of A.P. Hill’s Third Corps just east of the town of Gettysburg. There, in the distance, Heath’s men were deploying into a line of battle to face the soldiers of Union General John Reynolds’ First Corps. The Iron Brigade, also known as the “Black Hat Brigade” because of their distinctive headgear, was composed of soldiers from Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana. Hoosiers, from this part of the state, made up the 19th Indiana Volunteer Infantry, a few of whom were from right here in Rush County. A rebel soldier who saw The Iron Brigade coming reportedly said, “Its them damn black-hatted fellers a’gin! T’aint no militia. It’s the Army of the Potomac!”
From our view high atop the cupola of the Lutheran Theological Seminary, we are looking out over the same ground that General John Buford saw from this position as the rebels approached from the west. In the distance are the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains. Nearer are the well-kept farm fields just outside this quaint town. As I have written before, Gettysburg is just about the same size as Rushville. A few of the differences are the ten roads that radiate out from Gettysburg, compared to the nine roads that leave Rushville – for those of you counting, I include the three county roads, along with State Roads 3, 44, and 52. Gettysburg also has a college and a seminary, Gettysburg College and the previously noted Lutheran Theological Seminary.