Imagine if one of the first things we acknowledged about the Confederate army, when it entered Pennsylvania in the summer of 1863, is that it included thousands of enslaved men. It would change how we think about the campaign, its outcome, and its place in the broader trajectory of the war.
For a brief moment the institution of slavery entered a free state. In that time, Confederates captured and sent back south hundreds of free Blacks in central Pennsylvania. Black families in and around Gettysburg were forced to flee. Their property around the battlefield, including the Bryan Farm, witnessed some of the most violent fighting of the entire war.
Unfortunately, with a few rare exceptions, we acknowledge none of it.
If we did, scenes like yesterday would not take place.
Every year Confederate reenactors are invited to march alongside United States soldiers in Gettyburg’s Remembrance Day Parade, which commemorates Lincoln’s famous address.
That’s right. On the same day that the community gathers to reflect on Lincoln’s words, Confederate flags are marched through the streets.