I admit I have a long list of things to do before I die. I finally did this one and am so pleased that it went well.
After visiting Gettysburg battlefield more than a dozen times, I finally got to take the Gettysburg Battlefield tour.
I admit I’m not the best horseman in the world. I don’t like heights, horses are way too big and I don’t juggle. Meaning I had to hold the camera, the reins and the saddlehorn for most of the two hour tour.
The guide has to be licensed by the National Park service and he did a wonderful job describing the battle as we commenced our journey.
If you’ve been to Gettysburg, you know the road winds through the park with thousands of places to stop. You can read the monuments, note the markers, or stop to take a photo. I didn’t realize how different the perspective is from the center of the conflict. The fence lines have been replaced according to census records from the 1850s. Crops and orchards
are being replanted to show how the farming community looked at the time. Even the kind of fence was recorded and copied.
When the guide described how the fences halted a company until it could be torn down and how this knoll was vital to the taking of Little Round Top my heart leaped with excitement. I could actually ‘see’ the action in a way driving the roads hadn’t revealed.
Although my butt hurt after an hour, I snapped pictures and kept my horse from lowering it’s head to graze. I loved it and would do it again anytime.
I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry this morning. The rain and wind were a reminder of Irene’s downpour. Luckily we go the grass mowed since it was up to our ankles. I stayed home. I’m tired of being wet and feeling moldy. I’m not a person who does well without sunshine. I’m listless and drowsy.
I stare at my computer screen and don’t have a thought in my head. Hope you’re doing better than I am.
The Gettysvburg Battlefield is known worldwide. On the third weekend in August our reenacting grup, The Liberty-Greys takes on the task of presnting a living history. For a reenactor it is a dream come true.
The national park service allows the group to stay overnight on the field, to actually sleep in the most haunted place in the world.
We set up tents on Friday and sent into town for dinner. My husband and I ate at The Farnsworth House, a period mansion used by Confederate sharpshooters then for a field hospital. It is a lovely place and the food excellent, especially the game pie and bread pudding.
Saturday we spent the day talking to tourists. Its interesting when a person from Germany or France asks for a reason why we fought the War. Not something for a five minute speech.
The soldiers acted as soldiers did in camp, cleaning rifles, drilling, playing cards or just taking a nap.
There was music provided by Miss Liz. She played period songs and sang softly so she didn’t disturb any of the speakers. It was a lovely background for both days.
I talked about women’s roles during the Conflict, especially women in the South. It was a wonderful weekend despite the few rainshowers and needing to dry our tent anfter we arrived home.
A calender reminder popped up to say “My daughter-in-law’s birthday.” too late to send a card, and they were away on vacation, so it was a phone call and happy wishes.
I forget birthdays. I have no excuse. I never did. I write them down, note them on the wall calender and recently have been adding them to the on-line calender. When the little bell ring, I jump out of my skin.
oh no, another one.
I even bought a box of cards to have on hand. Only they don’t fit the person- I can’t send one of those cute, impersonal messages to someone so special, can I?
My youngest son claims I have never remembered his birthday. Of course one of the reasons is he tells me I’m calling on the wrong day: even if its right.
One year I decided to make it easy on myself. On January 1st I sent out every card, with a note on the back of the envelope: Do not open until birthday. I thought it was a great idea. No missed birthdays this year! What a howl of outrage! You’d think grown-ups could follow simple instructions. And the youngest asked if it was a late card for his previous December birthday.
The sad part is leaving all my friends. It takes a few minutes to drop the tent, a couple hours more to pack and load everything into the vehicles. The memories stay forever. My good friend took these pictures and gave me permission to post them. The sepia tone adds a golden glow to this sad time.
I can’t describe the feelings during this re-enactment. Excitement at the beginning of the five year cycle, sadness at the terrible losses suffered during the Conflict and the echoes of longing for a time lost in the fog of destruction and recovery.
We’ve come so far as a nation. I hope the lessons learned by the participants help all of us.
I arrived at six am with the Army of the Gulf Medical corps. Because of the extreme heat, I sat on the sidelines. I was happy to be with my friends and I prayed none of the participants would suffer heat prostration. I watched the artillery set-up cannon.
Amblance drawn by mules arrives to load with wounded and dead.
People filled the stands. Over fifteen thousand sit in the beachers in the blazing sun.
Cavalry lead the way. The anticipation is high.
Flags flutter in the breeze. It’s too early in the war to display the battle flag, that came later.
Halting under the trees for water and rest. Soon they’ll face bullets and cannon fire.
Cutting through the crowds to get on the field.
Ready to Advance into battle. The rowds cheeer.
Keeping strong in the face of horror.
March into the faces of the foe.
Advancing across the field. Cannon smoke billows over the fighting.
Too many to see who is on what side.
Can you see? Who’s fallen? Where are the doctors?
Now the only thing left to do is to find the medical tents.
After many battle, both sides lost a generation of vital young men.
the South was decimated and the western emigration was born.
I saw this at the Manassass Battlefield Visitor’s Center.
It is an epitaph worth remembering.
“I had a dim notion of the ‘romance’ of a soldier’s life. I have bravely got over it since.”
I have to admit the temperatures are scorching, hovering around 100%.
So with a sturdy heart and sweaty skins we trekked around the area.
The reenactors are arriving, unpacking their vehicles and setting up camp.
At this point its hard to tell the Yankees from the Confederates and it won’t get
any easier. During this first battle of the War of Southern Rebellion, both sides wore blue or grey with many shades of each. The confusion resulted in many casualties from friend firing on friend.
Tomorrow all the modern details will be gone from camp. The soldiers
will prepare for the battle. The bands will play marching music and crowds will gather to watch the show. Many will gasp at the sound of cannon. The first Battle will foretell the pain of the many more battle to come.
We checked the Stone house at the junction of roads leading to the battlefield. it was used to house wounded and dying during the battle.
We were lucky to meet another reenactor who portrays a doctor.
Several soldiers wrote letters home to family anxious for news.
More tomorrow. If I manage to last through the heat.