"The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here."
President Abraham Lincoln
To ensure that succeeding generations would remember and understand what happened at Gettysburg, veterans of the battle, federal and state governments, and interested organizations erected more than 1,300 monuments, memorials, and markers on the battlefield.
Interest in monuments gained momentum in the 1880s, especially among Union veterans. Eventually, every Union regiment that fought here erected at least one monument.
Gettysburg's monuments are noted for their elegant bronze and stone sculpture, and for their unique and varied designs. More valuable, perhaps, is the information they offer about the soldiers and their positions, actions, and casualties - information based on soldiers' personal experiences.
Modern wayside exhibits describe historic features and events at tour stops.
War Department Markers
By 1912, the United States War Department had placed more than 350 tablets and markers on the battlefield to explain the roles of specific military units. Accounts given are factual and non-judgmental. Among the War Department markers are the four distinctive types illustrated here.
Headquarters Markers are distinguished by cannon tubes pointed skyward. They mark headquarters locations of Union and Confederate army commanders (Generals Meade and Lee) and their corps commanders.
Battery Tablets describe the actions of artillery batteries. Union batteries normally contained six guns. Confederate batteries four guns.
Confederate Brigade Markers (round bases) describe the positions and actions of Confederate brigades. A brigade contained about 1,600 men, or 4-6 regiments.
Union Brigade Markers (square bases) describe the positions and actions of Union brigades. A brigade contained about 1,500 men or 4-5 regiments.
Confederate and Union state memorials commemorate all the soldiers from a particular state. Several of these memorials, like the Virginia Memorial shown here, feature bronze sculpture.
Generals and other notable persons associated with the battle are commemorated with bronze sculptures.
Most numerous on the battlefield, regimental monuments commemorate state and U.S. Regular Army regiments (300-400 men) and batteries. These monuments are normally placed at the center of a regiment's line of battle.
Pennsylvania and New York placed the most regimental monuments with 123 and 108 respectively. Confederate regiments erected few monuments at Gettysburg.
Flank Marker Look to the left and right of regimental monuments for small stones marking the regiment's flanks or ends.