GETTYSBURG, Pa. (AP) President Bush brushed up on his Civil War history Friday, touring the battleground of Gettysburg, the site of one of the deadliest battles of the Civil War.
Normally for a $55 fee, visitors to the Gettysburg National Military Park can tour the area along with a licensed guide. But Friday, Bush had with him Gabor Boritt, an Abraham Lincoln scholar and director of the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College, who could explain chronological events of the war to match each site of the battleground.
The president began his midafternoon tour at the Virginia Memorial, one of 1,300 monuments on the park's grounds
He also was treated to a sneak peek of the park's Museum and Visitor Center, which has its grand opening Sept. 26.
At the museum, Bush had the opportunity to check out various artifacts in the galleries, view a film on the Gettysburg battle and see the Gettysburg Cyclorama painting, an immense circular canvas depicting scenes from the battle.
Robert Kinsley, chair of the Gettysburg Foundation, was in the museum for the president's visit, along with former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, former White House political adviser Karl Rove, Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, and Karen Hughes, former undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs for the State Department.
The town in the Pennsylvania countryside is near the site of a 3-day battle where Union troops successfully defeated Confederate troops' advances. More than 51,000 Confederate and Union soldiers were killed, wounded or captured.
The president was invited to the grand opening later this month but couldn't attend, according to the foundation's staff.