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Coin of the Month

Gettysburg National Military Park Quarter

Let's start the new year with a new coin: the Gettysburg National Military Park quarter!  The park commemorates the Battle of Gettysburg, a turning point in the American Civil War.

The park has many monuments to military units, most of which were erected by soldiers who fought in the Battle of Gettysburg.  The monument shown honors the 72nd Pennsylvania Infantry.  So what makes this monument such a good candidate for the main image in the quarter's design?

The 72nd Pennsylvania Infantry was a key player in the Battle of Gettysburg, which took place over the course of the first 3 days of July 1863.  On the third day, some of the Union troops were lined up behind a low stone wall along Cemetery Ridge.  The wall was mostly straight, but had two 90-degree bends near the middle of the wall.  One of those bends has become known as "the Angle."

At one point, the Confederate forces of "Pickett's Charge" were able to break through the Union line at the Angle and climb over the wall. That might have become a Confederate victory, if not for the fact that there were enough Union soldiers nearby to close the gap and surround the invaders.

The other Confederate forces, fighting on three sides, were forced to retreat.  The result was a victory for the Union army that helped to turn the tide of Confederate advance up to that time.

A small area of dense growth near the Angle is now called the "copse of trees."  Around and within the copse, fierce hand-to-hand combat took place, symbolized by the soldier on the monument swinging his rifle.

The copse of trees and the Angle in the stone wall are still there, and the monument to the 72nd Pennsylvania Infantry stands nearby.  So this monument honors not only the soldiers of one brigade, but a pivotal point in the battle...and in the entire war.

You can read more about this site on the Gettysburg National Military Park quarter information page.

—Peter

Peter, the Mint Eagle

Teacher Feature

Image shows the back of the Gettysburg quarter.
Reverse:  Cannons like the one shown mark some of the battle lines on the field of Gettysburg.

Image shows the front of the quarter-dollar coin.
Obverse:  George Washington's profile is surrounded by the inscriptions "United States of America," "Liberty," "In God We Trust," a mint mark, and "Quarter Dollar."



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