Thursday, December 26, 2013

Virtual Gettysburg

By Bixyl Shuftan

For a brief time in Second Life, one can find a replica of the site of one of the decisive battles of the American Civil War: Gettysburg.

 A look at the Destination Guide's "Featured Events" page showed plenty of Christmas and Winter events and locations, but there was one entry that stood out: Virtual Gettysburg 1863.

Virtual Gettysburg 1863 is an American Civil War museum featuring a reproduction of the Gettysburg battlefield. Learn about the events of July 1st-3rd, 1863, often seen as the turning point of the war. 

The SURL given took me too a small map of the battlefield, which had a group joiner/notecard giver and a teleporter. There was also a balloon rezzer. Clicking on the latter would make it appear, and getting on it one would get a tour, seeing locations like the peach orchid, the wheatfield, "Devils Den," and others. It wasn't completely to scale. The area was only about a third of the size of the real battlefield. There were a few roads one could walk down. There were only a few items to show the area had been a battlefield, besides the markers, a couple cannon, a dead horse, and the teleport markers, which looked like memorial stones.

Welcome to Virtual Gettysburg 1863! This is a historical museum devoted to the American Civil War, featuring a reproduction of part of the Gettysburg battlefield. This is not primarily a role-playing or reenactment group, though feel free to ask if you have RP ideas. This is both a temporary exhibition and a work in progress. (Everything in SL is a work in progress)

Going about on foot, as this was a platform high above the sim surface, one would appear to float a foot or more over the surface at times, or sink into the ground. Staying on the road would usually help, usually.

The battlefield's most notable location was a farmhouse which acted as the hospital. Near the front door on the outside was a bloodstained medical kit. Inside, exhibits on the first floor described the limited medical technology that was available to help the twenty thousand wounded in "the immediate aftermath of battle ... one of nightmarish, overwhelming, and often unrelieved agony. ... the houses, the barns, the sheds, and the open barnyards were crowded with moaning and wailing human beings. And still, an unceasing procession of stretchers and ambulances (horse drawn wagons) was coming in from all sides to augment the number of the sufferers." The exhibit continued upstairs, with a chart of common ailments suffered by soldiers during the battle, and more scenes described, as well as some pictures and Walt Whitman's poem "The Wound Dresser."

Besides the battlefield, there was an art gallery and a museum area. Teleporting to the museum, there was another map of the field, with a number of exhibits, such as maps and photos around in a circle, describing the strategic situation at the time of the battle, the course of the battle, and the aftermath. Gettysburg is often described as the "high water mark" of the Confederacy as never again would it be able to launch an invasion into the North. But the war would drag on for two more agonizing years.

The exhibit is not scheduled to stay up for long. It is scheduled to be up only for a few more days, with Dec 31st as the last day. Near the entrance, there was a donation board accepting funds."We are still seeking a permanent home for the build," the notecard stated. The exhibit was built by Trodden Miles and Dakota Tebaldi.

From the museum area, there was also a teleport to a room, where one could see an animated film of the Gettysburg Address, given a few months after the battle in honor of those who fell.

"That government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

Balloon and field: Sunset Isle (98, 23, 3965) , Museum: Sunset Isle (128, 115, 3901)

*Update* A look at the group had the following post: "Thanks to all of your generous donations, we've been able to cut a deal to save the build! We've rented the airspace above an RP sim and we'll be reopening there early next month. Location TBA very soon!"

*Second Update* Virtial Gettysburg now has a new home at Redemptions (98, 23, 3965)

Bixyl Shuftan

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