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Gettysburg Anniversary 2005
Arriving at Artillery Ridge Campground on Tuesday Jim and Pam had already set up much of our camp. Also present were newcomers Juanita and Lucy who drove in from California. We visited late into the night planning and anticipating.
Jim and I did dawn patrol the next morning, I was anxious to see the progress of the tree and brush removal. We started out with Day One and Jim showed me some names and regiments scratched into the stone at the McPherson Barn. They are difficult to read (I wondered how he first found them) and don't show up in photographs. Next visit we'll try to make them out better, maybe by doing rubbings. After spending some time there we headed down Confederate Ave. And stopped at the North Carolina Monument. Jim pointed out that one of the boys, is pointing right at Ziglers Grove and he heard it discussed that that might have been the intended conversion point on Day Three. I have my doubts that the monument was so designed and placed but I suppose iut is possible, if you think Ziglers was the destination. Also stopped to pay respects at the Virginia Monument and then a quick ride around the field enjoying the lack of trees!


The Washington Monument and Sharpsburg
On a sidetrip to Sharpsburg we stopped at Boonsboro to see the monument the town citizens built in 1827 to honor George Washington. The view is amazing and the battlefield at Sharpsburg maybe eight miles away can be seen easily. Citizens of the town did in fact watch the battle from here. The monument has fallen into disrepair several times since construction but each time has been renovated to near it's original form. It's right on the Appalacian trail with typical trail shelters nearby. Also a nice little museum for the monument at the parking lot. We picked black raspberries on the way down but Jim didn't fall for "There's some good ones, just a little further out." and it's a good thing or he would have taken a tumble down the mountain.
At Sharpsburg we found the Maryland Monument undergoing major renovation and the Dunker Church was being repainted by Park Rangers. This was the first trip for Juanita and Lucy so Jim provided us with a CD auto tour that worked out nicely.
We walked the Sunken Lane which to me is one of the saddest places I've ever been. There is a feeling there that... well go walk it sometime and see if you don't agree. Burnside Bridge was as always a great photo op and we had it to ourselves for a while. Lucy learned about nettles! We stopped at that controversial private monument to Gen. Lee on the way out of town. Back at camp Laura and Jane have arrived and so has Allan who will camp with us for the night but will be camping at the Wax Museum tomorrow with CWHF. Civil War Heritage Foundation is a living history group to which most of us belong. Russ and Kathy also Foundation members stop by for a visit too.


Next morning Allan drove us out to an important spot for me, Fairfield, where my character, Brig. Gen W. E. "Grumble" Jones, did battle with Maj. Starr on Day Three about the same time as Pickett's Charge. He arrives from the north just in time to save a train that was otherwise unprotected. Keeping control of the gap at Fairfield was especially important as much of the ANV would use it as a route of retreat the next day. On the way back to Gettysburg we stopped at the historic Cashtown Hotel. Nice photos and displays in the lobby it was a building featured in The Movie.
Back to town and we did what we could to help Allan, who portrays Gen Longstreet, set up camp at the National Wax Museum where he will stay for the duration. But back at our camp Sue, Mumsey, and Raff have arrived and are preparing for Allan's birthday. Bob and Linda H are there and Mitch and Linda S stop by too. A good time was had by all.


Most evenings a few if not all of us would drive to Little Roundtop to watch the sunset. It's also a good time of day to collect thoughts and plan for the next day.


The camp has really sprouted now and so have our parking needs. Jim provides coffee for us each morning! Leaving after coffee Jim and I walk several areas that were only last year forests with thick underbrush but are now more like they were during the battle. The Park has a long term plan to restore the field that includes moving the VC and Cyclorama.


The Civil War Heritage Foundation holds many events through the year, setting up living history encampments for the pleasure and education of the public. In Gettysburg the host is the National Wax Museum and CWHF camps here three times a year, this one on the anniversary of the battle is the largest. Members come from all around to camp here and explain about a character of their choosing. Not all members portray officers or even soldiers. There are civilians, nurses, preachers and folks from just about every walk of life. Each member makes some sort of presentation that might involve telling stories about their character or visual or hands on demonstrations of tools, equipment, weapons or household items. A preacher holds service on Sunday morning. The public gets a pretty good idea of conditions people lived in back then and something of the character of the folks too.
Music was important as a diversion from the times and a way to relax. CWHF members have formed a very sucessful band that performed at the pavillion at Artillery Ridge on the end of Day Two. The always put on a fine show. Later in our own camp we do some singalongs and to our delight are joined by a few of the band members.


The Wall Ceremony is Day Three. Commemorating not only Pickett's Charge of July 3, 1863 but also The Wall Ceremony or Hands Across the Wall Ceremony of July 3, 1913. Veterans returned to Gettysburg by the tens of thousands for the 50th Anniversary of the battle. The third day of the reunion ended at the Angle with political speaches and other items on the program and then with the Rebs being offered a hand to cross the wall. The very wall where so many died or were wounded in the attempt to take it. It was reported to be a unification of these men 50 years after the battle.


Pam drove me out to see the sites of some hospitals but first shows me a dragon somebody made in their yard.
We also stopped at a marker honoring the friendship of Gen. Lewis A. Armistead and Gen. Winfield S. Hancock at the 11th Corps Field Hospital where Armistead died. Both were wounded during Pickett's Charge.
While we were looking at the hospital markers Pam mentioned that she knows where there is a burial trench so we head right over to see it. While it probably isn't the one George Petrovich was buried temporarily in it is probably very similar.
We also walked through the National Cemetery and Pam showed me a witness tree. One that is old enough to have seen the battle. We it's a beautiful evening and we stroll into Evergreen Cemetery and visit the two Confederates buried there and the ancestor of an old friend of mine. Thinking of Jane we find Elizabeth Thorn's grave and her relatives and are still there when darkness makes it difficult to read the markers.
July 4, Pam and I are the remaining campers and I am packing. While I'm looking forward to spending time with family near Reading I am sad to be leaving the camp and Gettysburg. Only consolation is: I know I'll be back! We've already made reservations for the same sites for next years anniversary and a year isn't really that long. I don't say goodby to Pam, just "Seeya soon!"
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