This is an updated version of posts first shared in 2012 and 2013. I hope you enjoy this family history quest.
July of 1863 saw heavy fighting and death in Pennsylvania's small town of Gettysburg, and the Devil's Den and Little Round Top areas of the Gettysburg National Military Park were attracting visitors 50 years later when my grandparents, Cora and Curvin, had their photograph taken (seated in the back row) along with friends by a professional photographer from York. The photo was taken in July, four months before their wedding.
The photograph was always a favorite family treasure for me, and I always intended to get a similar photograph from the same vantage point. Living less than 30 minutes away, I visited often but always failed to remember to bring along the family photo for reference. Early on a February 2012 morning, I headed out to get the shot, and I was quite pleased to spend 40 minutes alone in the Devil's Den and Little Round Top area.
Little had changed, except for the loss of some trees in the background.
The following year, having reached the century mark for the original photograph, I journeyed out again with my daughters and granddaughter, once again recreating the original, but this time with new family members.
It's quite unusual to find oneself in these spots without tourists and history buffs, and the calmness of the morning made it a peaceful one and perfect for photographing a few extra shots.
My photography interests usually do not lend themselves to making major alterations to the content of images, although the serenity of the day made me think of what the location might have been like for the local residents and the first soldiers to arrive. I removed the tourist path, road signs and the street from the area as I imagined the original view, shown below.
Before the war, at the fiftieth anniversary, and yet again a century later, Devil's Den is an imposing site. Perhaps relatives will visit yet again one hundred years from now to see similar imagery.