Most Endangered Battlefields 2010
Gettysburg, PA - July 1-3, 1863
FOR THREE DAYS in the summer of 1863, 160,000 men in blue and gray fought the Civil War’s largest and bloodiest battle around the crossroads town of Gettysburg. The battle opened on July 1, without the approval or presence of either army’s commander. On the first day, one third of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s army defeated one quarter of Union Maj. Gen. George Meade’s in some of the bloodiest fighting of the entire war. The following day, Meade shifted troops back and forth to blunt massive Confederate assaults. On July 3, Union forces repelled the Confederate frontal assault known to history as Pickett’s Charge.
The Union victory thwarted what some historians call the Confederacy’s high tide, but victory came at a heavy price – more than 50,000 men killed, wounded and missing. Four months later, President Abraham Lincoln helped to dedicate the new national cemetery with his Gettysburg Address.
In 2006, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board rejected a proposal to build a massive slots parlor at the intersection of Routes 15 and 30, near East Cavalry Field, citing public opposition and economic non-viability. Early this year, however, the state legislature passed a measure allowing gambling to expand to table games and reopening the application period for the final available gaming license. On April 7, the same local investor who previously attempted to bring a casino to America’s most hallowed battleground was one of five developers who submitted an application for consideration.
As previously, the historic preservation community has united in against the plan, not out of a fundamental opposition to gambling, but because of its inappropriate proximity to Gettysburg National Military Park. If approved, the casino would be built just a half mile from the edge of the national park and directly along the Emmitsburg Road, the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Scenic Byway.
CWSAC has classified Gettysburg as a Priority I, Class A battlefield – its highest designation.