Sun, Apr 25 2004 - Gettysburg Battlefield Day Hike (View Original Event Details)|
|Participants:||Colin Babb, Jeff Schneider, Brian Loughery, John Putman, Bernadette Wassmann, Laura Loughery, Cary Tepper, Adam Miller, Kristen Larson, Craig Sager, charlotte dunigan, valerie ezrin, Holly Rawson, Jeff La Noue|
The day started out with a bit of cloudiness and rumors that
the weather would get wetter as it went on. The folks at the
car pool met within sight of a Krispy Kreme; unfortunately (or
fortunately, depending on your position on the tastiness vs.
healthiness debate concerning donuts), no one ventured over
to snag some for the trip.
Just as the two cars from the car pool got to the Frederick
area, the rumored rain became reality. Soon, Bernadette--
who ended up being just a few miles ahead of us on the road
north of Frederick-called me to declare that 'It's-
pooooouring.' I thanked her for her heads-up, but sadly we
already knew it was pouring. So very quickly thoughts of a
plan B rolled around in my head. Kristen pointed out a
billboard sign on the side of the road that announced that
Gettysburg was home to the world's largest teddy bear store.
We all contemplated, for a brief time, spending a wet
afternoon admiring the local versions of Teddy Ruxpin.
Evonne informed everyone in the car that teddy bears were
her least favorite stuffed animal, so we decided to come up
with a different plan B. We never did learn which stuffed
animals she thought were better.
After arriving at the visitor's center at the battlefield, it took a
little while to collect all those who had come on their own.
Eventually everyone was gathered in front of the visitor's
center, and, luckily for everyone, this coincided with an end to
the rain-which never reappeared for the rest of the day.
During introductions, Jeff couldn't quite decide whether he
was Jeff or John; we left him alone so he could figure it
Sticking around despite the rain turned out to be a good
move, since, although the visitor's center was crowded, we
never encountered all these people out in the park-probably
they all went home after getting their reproduction Abraham
Lincoln stovepipe hats at the gift shop. Our hike began
essentially where the battle ended 141 years ago-near the
spot where thousands of Confederate soldiers made one last
final attack on 3 July 1863 that ended in failure, what has
been called ever since the 'Highwater mark of the
Confederacy.' The spot today is marked by a low fence of
rocks, a single tree, and a series of markers and cannon that
commemorate the men who fought and died
We also visited the Pennsylvania Monument, the largest of
the more than 1,400 monuments and markers that populate
the battlefield. Ascending the rather dizzying spiral staircase
inside the monument, we reached the top where we could
survey the ground below. Within view was the ground over
which the Union and Confederate armies fought the second
and third days of the battle; the first day's fighting took place
northwest of the town (and the battlefield isn't quite as
interesting up there). After being forced to retreat through the
town on the first day, General George Meade's Union army
took up positions on Cemetery Ridge (the ground we were
hiking on and surveying), overlooking Gettysburg, and held
that position for the next two days.
We continued on to Little Round Top, probably the most
famous part of the park, and had lunch among the rocks
there. I had planned to say a few words about what happened
there after we had eaten; Jeff decided to plug me with
questions during lunch that took away some of my thunder.
Little Round Top played an important part on the second day,
when men from Confederate General James Longstreet's
corps tried to attack the hill, and nearly succeeded, but for the
efforts of Union Colonel Joshua Chamberlain and a few
hundred men from Maine who turned them back at a key
moment. It was when this attack failed that General Robert E.
Lee decided to attack at the center of the Union line the next
day-leading to the bloody Pickett's Charge that ended in
We then went off the to
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