Daily Archives: July 7, 2011

Guide to the Cemetery that Abuts Gettysburg’s Soldiers’ National Cemetery

Beyond the Gatehouse: Gettysburg's Evergreen CemeteryBeyond the Gatehouse: Gettysburg’s Evergreen Cemetery by Brian A Kennell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I picked this book up in the gift shop at the Gettysburg National Park after visiting the Evergreen Cemetery first, which is the wrong way to go about it. The book includes a pullout map, which would have been handy to have as I poked around Evergreen. The map would have guided us to the people profiled in the book. I would have liked to look at their photographs, helpfully included beside their biographies, as I stood before their monuments. As it was, I enjoyed the beautiful stones in Evergreen without appreciating the history that lies beneath them — at least, I didn’t appreciate it until I read this book.

Written by the current superintendent of the cemetery (who has lived in the cemetery’s gatehouse since 1976), the book briefly explores the history of the association that founded Evergreen, then glances at the wildlife that has come to dwell there. After that, it dives into the town’s founding fathers and moves quickly to Gettysburg’s defining moments in July 1863, when the Confederate Army came to call. My favorite section quotes the memoir of Elizabeth C. Thorn, who served as caretaker and gravedigger after the Battle of Gettysburg was done.

All in all, this is an enjoyable little book. If it has any flaws, it’s that it looks as if it was designed at home. Large portions of the text are boldface, except where portions are quoted from other sources. The sketch on the cover doesn’t do justice to the beautiful, historic brick gatehouse. Despite those elements, the interior photographs are clear and the text is polished. Perhaps when a second edition is published, the book design will be updated, too.

If you order the book directly from the cemetery’s superintendent, your purchase helps restore this lovely cemetery.  Here’s the link.

There are also some copies for sale on Amazon:Beyond the Gatehouse: Gettysburg’s Evergreen Cemetery

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