Burrr…..Gettysburg Day Trip Cut Short

My intentions today included a wide ranging trip to sites in and around Gettysburg.  Yes, I’ve visited, photographed, and entered the battlefield markers, monuments, and memorials in the main battle area.  However, a large portion of the wayside type markers in town await documentation.  I’ve held off entering the modern hospital markers (from the Hospital and Healthsystem Association).  And of several of the sites associated with the battle, particularly the smaller actions, have items which I need to post.

All that said, after looking at the weather predictions, last night I trimmed my itinerary to some easily reachable sites.  On the road before dawn, I reached the battlefield as the sun first broke out from the horizon.  Taking my usual route into the battlefield, I stopped near the Eisenhower Inn for some perspective regarding the proposed casino site.

Looking North along Emmitsburg Road

As I said, it was very early in the day!

J.D. Petruzzi and others have related the significance of this ground.  Merritt’s Cavalry Brigade staged here on July 3, as the far left flank of the Federal lines.   I shudder to think, should the casino go in, how quickly the spot in the photo above might become a gas station or fast food joint.

From that site, I drove up to Oak Hill and the Peace Memorial, mostly to photograph recently refurbished tablets at that location.  And I love to “take in” the battlefield in those early morning hours before large numbers of other visitors arrive.

First Day Battlefield from Oak Hill

First Day Battlefield from Oak Hill

From there, I enjoyed breakfast in town with fellow blogger Harry Smeltzer.  Good food and good conversation.   When out in town, I often wonder if the locals grow tired of us “Civil War nuts” in public venues conversing about all those odd topics….

We made a trip over to the visitor center, partly to browse for books, but also for me to show off my knowledge of field artillery!

Wiard 12-pdr Rifle

Harry had to press on homeward at that point.  But I planned to take in as many sites on my checklist before the bad weather arrived. Little did I know the snow was also on an accelerated schedule.    The snow came down furiously as I reached Fairfield.

Snow Arrives at Fairfield

After making my way along the back roads, taking my chances, I routed back to the highway and pointed home.  This storm came up from the south, so the further I got back to the Old Dominion and home, the worse things got.  And of course, being bull-headed on these things, I could not resist making a diversion or two, scouting for other markers.

Snow Covered Road in Maryland

A lesson which unfortunately I am re-acquainted with far too often for my taste…… Marker Hunting is a Fair Weather Sport!

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2 responses to “Burrr…..Gettysburg Day Trip Cut Short

  1. John W. Ryan, Jr

    Craig Swain,

    If you write something up on Wiard Field Artillery, I would love to see a rough draft, before your final write up. Over the years, many assumptions have been made about the Wiard Cannon and many have been published in well respected books, by well known authors. Many of these assumptions are incorrect. I may be able to point out these mistakes, if you have included any of them, and tell you why I believe them to be incorrect.

    jw – (Owner and operator of an original 12pdr Wiard rifle)