Maryland Outdoor Club
Sun, Apr 25 2004 - Gettysburg Battlefield Day Hike (View Original Event Details)

Event Organizer(s): Colin Babb
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

Write Up:
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 out.

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 there.

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 failure.

We then went off the to

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