Saturday, January 9, 2010

Gettysburg: The First Night

I promised Lynn that I would write about my trip to Gettysburg in 1959, but there's just so much information that it would take me a whole day to begin to cover it all, so I'm breaking it down into parts. Probably three parts, but who knows at this point?

We got to the campground at Spanglers Spring late in the afternoon.


This is a current satellite view of Spanglers Spring, where we camped. The green square is where the Andersons pitched their tent, and Jean, Art and I, et al, pitched our tent in the blue square. The aqua circles are where people came along later and pitched tents in a row. The red circle is where we made a campfire.

The area where we pitched our tents was along the line of the high ground of the field. It sloped down to the road at the bottom of the map. That kind of thick, dark, meandering line on the right side of the map is actually Rock Creek.

Anyway, we said hi to the people who were already there, which were mainly the Andersons, and started pitching our tent. While we were doing that, other people started arriving and pitching their tents along the line that we had established. Don Steiner camped next to us, and brought Harry Lamb along, and they camped next to us. When things were unloaded from the cars, they were moved away and parked elsewhere.

Once everybody had set up and changed into their period clothes, they started coming out of their tents and being sociable. We built a campfire near the road, and in front of the line of tents, more-or-less in front of Andersons tent and settled down to making and consuming our dinners. I was wearing cowboy boots, jeans, a shirt, a rust colored, suede fringed jacket, short hair and a blue Kepi.

This was kind of a motley crew because Art and the Andersons were Yankees, in the 150th Pennsylvania Volunteers (the Bucktail Brigade). I don't remember which group Don (a Yankee) was from, but Harry was in Hampton's Legion (Rebels from South Carolina).

As it started to get dark, the campfire got to be more attractive, and most of us gravitated to it and sang Civil War songs. A lot of the adults there had brought along spirits, and were loosening up by drinking them. Huck and (I think) Randy had their fifes, and I had my Melody Flute (from grade school--I eventually got a real fife), and Huck was really annoyed with me because he and Randy had fifes in the key of B flat, and my flute was in the key of C, and he insisted that I couldn't possibly play it with them. I, on the other hand, wanted to try and transpose the songs to play them in B flat, even though I was using the key of C. It got pretty rowdy! At the campfire, I got to meet Jack Davis for the first time.

Somewhere during the night, somebody got sufficiently drunk that they thought it would be a good idea to fire off a canon. I think that they must've told us that we couldn't fire muskets or canons on the campgrounds or something, because somebody thought it would be a wonderful idea to cross Rock Creek to do it.

We had a short stop at Andersons tent while Huck and the boys pulled out a small canon that was a bit longer than a foot, plus powder, etc. We then walked down behind the row of tents and crossed Rock Creek on a rickety two-board bridge.

By "two-board" I mean that there were supports, and between each support were two long boards, one for each foot. They were so long, and they bounced with each step on them. That was bad enough with one person crossing the bridge, but with a whole troop, it was very treacherous. There was a hand rail on one side of the bridge, but it was so far away from the boards that it was almost useless. The bridge was at least 20 feet above the creek, so it was interesting!

Once we got to the other side, we took a very short walk through the trees, set down the cannon, loaded it, and set it off. Huck thought it would be spectacular to add a lot of magnesium to the black powder, and he was right, it was awe inspiring! Looking back on it, I'm surprised that we didn't kill ourselves!

After firing it off, we all trooped back (across the rickety bridge), and caroused around the fire for a while before eventually going to bed/passing out.

The next morning, I woke up, came out of the tent, and found myself looking down the barrels of some very large cannons! Another group had arrived during the night and started a new row of tents on the other side of the campfire, making a company street. They had their cannon parked next to their tent, and pointing right at our tent.

The next part of the Gettysburg saga is expected to be the battle itself.

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ABC Family is having another Harry Potter weekend! If you like the Harry Potter movies (and didn't OD on them over the holidays), check it out!

BBC in America is showing the Doctor Who episode, Smith and Jones (which is partly over as I write this), followed by the first and second episodes of Demons, in case you didn't see the first one last week.

Don't forget Chuck is on tomorrow night, two whole hours of it, followed by more Chuck and Heroes on Monday night, all brand new!

I have a lot to do, and I'm way behind, so have a great weekend!

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Addition:

I just realized that I wanted to tell you about the connection between hormones and losing weight. It's a great article!

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