THURSDAY SEPT. 13-FRIDAY SEPT. 14, 2012
SEE ALSO: COMPLETING BARKSDALE'S CHARGE AUGUST 2014
(You really need to read my commentary here or else it's just a lot of pictures of
fields and fences and especially when you get to page 2 and beyond.)
After we got off the Pennsylvania Turnpike at Breezewood, we took Rt. 30, which is the straightest way to go from there to
Gettysburg. It's mostly 2-lane but you get some great views going over Tuscarora Mountain.
We had brunch at 10 in Chambersburg and headed over South Mountain on 30, which is the Chambersburg Pike and the way
Jonathon came into Gettysburg from the west, as we are doing. Longstreet's Corps had 3 divisions, Pickett's, McLaw's, and Hood's.
Jonathon was in McLaws in Barksdale's brigade in the 13th Mississippi regiment. Pickett's division had been left behind at
Chambersburg to guard wagons, etc. that should have been the responsibility of the errant Jeb Stuart. McLaws and Hood spent
the night of July 30, 1863 camped at a tiny town called Greenwood, which is just a wide place in the road still and we were through
it before I knew we were there, so this is just out the east side of it. Longstreet's men were gotten up at dawn and told to cook 3
day's rations, but then had to wait...and wait...and wait...as Gen. Ewell's wagons went over the ridge first, which meant they got to
walk in the excrement of the thousands of horses and mules that had gone before them in the 14 mile long train. As Gettysburg was
about 14 miles east, the first wagon of the train could have been there when the last was still passing Jonathon, who waited 10 hours
to begin marching. When he got to the top of the ridge, he would have been able to hear the cannon from the first day of battle. He
didn't get to bivouac along Marsh Creek until midnight, with Hood's division coming behind them and camping still later.
This is coming down the east slope of South Mountain. Not far ahead, I'd noticed an Old Rt. 30 that went off to the right.
Now Old Rt. 30 didn't even show on my highway map, but I have another atlas of just Pennsylvania that shows every little
byway and as we came along here, I was looking for it because it goes through Cashtown and Jonathon marched through
Cashtown on the old route, not on the current Rt. 30. I'd never been on the old route before but it was definitely something
I wanted to make a part of this.
Again, we were through Cashtown, which is just a couple of blocks long, and it was somewhere here that Lee and his staff
stopped to regard the distant battle, which was now clearly heard.
The only other town on old Rt. 30 was McKnightstown, even smaller than Cashtown, but Jonathon marched through
here, too, on June 1, 1863.
This is looking back the way we'd come with the ridge of South Mountain over the treeline to give some idea of the distance.
There was a tiny visitor place here and Carl pulled in for the facilities, which was actually all that was open there anyway.
So I got out and began the first of my day's perambulations. I went up to 30 to take this picture looking west and then crossed
the Pike to the other side where there were some monuments.
I was quite taken with the blue, blue sky...so utterly different from the low-hanging rain clouds when I was last in Gettysburg
in May of 2011, and so gave into temptation and played with it as a backdrop for statues. This is Gen. Buford, and I like
him even if he is Yankee cavalry and not just because he looked like Sam Elliott but because the man was a good general
and knew what he was doing, realizing right off the bat that the oncoming Confederates must be kept from gaining the high
ground behind him.
This I took near Buford's statue just because I was madly in love with the blue and the green and the brown.
On July 1st, as Jonathon was still beyond South Mountain there on the horizon waiting for the wagons to pass,
this lovely field was battleground. That's the thing about Gettysburg and others like Sharpsburg, they are just
simply such lovely ground in their natural state.
Just east of Buford is General Reynolds, who was also a good general and had been offered command of the entire Army of
the Potomac but didn't accept it. General Meade, who did accept it, had asked Reynolds to ride up to where Buford was and
decide if this was going to be the place where the battle would be. He was, however, shot through the neck, dying before he
hit the ground, which is why two of his horse's hooves are lifted (one lifted meaning wounded but lived, all 4 on the ground meaning
not wounded...in statue code). You can see this better 2 pictures further along.
I walked around up here for a while, out the northwest side of Gettysburg, because the day was so beautiful it wouldn't let
me go. Here I fully intended to have a word with Buford about turning his back on his own cannon.
Reynolds with his horse's liftings showing somewhat better.
I'm standing in front of Reynolds' statue looking east down the Chambersburg Pike toward Gettysburg. You can make out the spire on
the horizon, which is part of the Lutheran Theological Seminary.
I thought Buford had a splendid view and that if one must be a statue and stand all day looking at something, looking at the fields
and trees and the distant blueness of South Mountain was not such a bad hand to be dealt.
But...then...he does spend all day with a cannon aimed at his backside. That is our blue Accent parked at the left edge
of the picture so you can see where I am in relation to it.
I have always been fascinated by the structure of split rail fencing and as this was obviously a new one and looked so nice against
the green, I took a picture at the end of it, looking down, which rather makes it look like a jumble of rails, doesn't it?
I have now crossed over the Pike and am on the south side of it where you can see the McPhearson barn that was there during
the first day's battle. The house is gone, but the barn is not only there but in use. At this point I didn't know exactly where our
hotel was, but we could see this barn from our window, which is on the far side of the Pike just over the hill.
Behind the metal sign in the picture above this one, looking past the McPhearson barn toward Seminary Ridge.
This is the stone Pennsylvania soldier you can see more distantly above. I wanted to pose him with the barn behind him.
The woods behind the barn were a slaughterhouse on July 1st. I recently read a book set in those woods and it was one
of the most graphic things I've ever read on what soldiers do to soldiers.
Looking back across the Pike at Reynolds. He's got a good spot. Meade hated losing him, especially so early on
in the battle.
Then we drove down the Pike and turned right (south) into the seminary grounds. The cupola was a good observation post
during the battle and the seminary was used both as a Confederate and then a Union hospital. Carl used to come up here
from Mount St. Mary's Seminary 11 miles south in Emmitsburg and use their library. I didn't get the base of the main building
because they were working on it and had bright orange netting all around.
Then we headed south along West Confederate Avenue, a road that didn't used to be there but was made much later so people
could more easily get to the Confederate positions on Seminary Ridge. Off in the middle distance you can see the two Round
Tops with Cemetery Ridge on the horizon to their left (north). The roads along the ridges are one way and you can only go
south on the Confederate side and north on the Union side, which is very appropriate, though it makes for a lot of circling
around if you are past something you want to see because you can't turn around and go back.
I zoomed in on the Round Tops with Little Round Top and its bare, rocky slope on the left. Thousands of men died
in this field.
In case you're not familiar with the layout of the battlefield, here's a map that shows the main farms. The McPhearson one I've already
mentioned is in the upper left. The Confederate lines on the 2nd and 3rd of July basically stretched south from up that way down toward
the Snyder Farm, while the Union lines were in a curve from the Culp area down to the Round Tops sort of across the fields from the
Snyder area. The two farms I am most interested in are the Sherfy and the Trostle in the middle as Jonathon charged from the woods by
the 'S' of Sherfy, across that big field, then curved on past the Trostle and across the field behind the Klingle, curving toward the little
green line that looks like it comes up from the dot at the Trostle Farm. That's Plum Run and was my goal as that is as far as he got.
The tiny Leister farm was Meade's headquarters, down the backside of Cemetery Ridge. Most of my pictures center around the Sherfy
and Trostle farms and behind the Klingle. The Sherfy and Klingle farms are on the Emmitsburg Road, which was crossed both on the 2nd
with Jonathon and again on the 3rd when it was Pickett's turn.
This is a zoom looking at the very southernmost tip of Gettysburg itself. The yellowing goldenrod were really starting to give
an autumnal look to the fields.
We went on down West Confederate Ave. to the Virginia memorial where I wanted to get Lee against the blue, blue sky.
He and Traveller are looking forever at the field and at Cemetery Ridge beyond. Evergreen Cemetery is on Cemetery
Hill at the northern end of the Ridge, giving it its name as the Seminary at the northern end of Seminary Ridge gave the
name to the Confederate positions.
I've always liked this grouping of Virginians at the base of the column that Lee is atop. They represent the different types of
men who left civil occupations to join the Confederate army.
And here's Carl sitting at the base in the exact spot I once took a picture of my son Allan in 1970. The monument is
granite and 41 feet high, with Lee and Traveller being 14 feet of that. It was dedicated in 1917 and was the first
Confederate state monument.
Lee again. I just couldn't resist the look against the blue. He actually sat like that in the saddle, straight, shoulders back.
From the drive around the statue is a narrow paved walkway partially out into the field where the Confederates charged.
You can see the wooded line of Cemetery Ridge in the distance and that distant monument is the Pennsylvania one. The
barn, if you want to see where it is on that map, is the Codori Farm just across the Emmitsburg Road. The road, then as
now in this area, was lined on both sides with tall fencing that had to be climbed over, lifting men up to be ever easier targets.
After the battle, one Union soldier walked out and in just a single plank of the fence, counted over 830 bullets. In 1974 when
we were moving from Washington DC to Pittsburgh, we spent the night here and with three young children and a Scotty dog,
walked out this path and kept going all the way to Cemetery Ridge. Today Carl and I walked out to where that marker is
at the end of the path, which was still a very long way for brokened me.
At the monument end of the path, looking back west.
Almost at the end of the path I took a picture showing the Codori barn across the road.
At the end, looking south down the field in the direction where Jonathon was.
Sometimes I get artsy fartsy and deliberately set up a photo like this one with the leaves hanging down, the rails jutting
up and framing the tops of the Round Tops.
This is on a marker by the path...men returning from Pickett's Charge. Lee rode out toward them saying, "It's
all my fault," and they tried to comfort him.
Looking back down the path toward the monument. At this point I'm hoping I haven't done myself in for my secret plans,
which just might involve going from the Mississippi Memorial out to the Sherfy Farm. Right here this is further than I've
walked in some while and I have to get back up to the monument. Ack!
A Confederate cannon at the end of the path, obviously aimed at the Pennsylvania Monument. There are many
fences like this in the field that had to be gotten over or torn down by the soldiers. It was on the left side of this
fence we walked in 1977 to the distant ridge.
Looking south again from the end of the path. Confederate cannon were lined up all along here for the humongous cannonade starting
around 1 PM on July 3rd that was supposed to soften the Union lines before Pickett's Charge.
Framing the bare slope of Little Round Top in a zoom from the end of the path.
ON TO PAGE 2
BACK TO COMPLETING BARKSDALE'S CHARGE AUGUST 2014
BACK TO GETTYSBURG WITH JOEY AUGUST 2013
BACK TO CONFEDERATE FOOTSTEPS IN GETTYSBURG
BACK TO JONATHON'S STORY IN GETTYSBURG
BACK TO JO'S OTHER PLACE