Sunday, December 16, 2007

Christmas in the ole' Reliance Mine!

So, Bobbie had her Christmas party last night, and it was a great time. Live music was done by Perry Kamp (who actually is pretty good!), lots of food was put out for all to enjoy, and it was just an all-around awesome night of fun and friendship. Bobbie actually did well, and though she was busy at times and needed a little bit of help, she proved to all that she can still take care of "her bar!"

All fears aside, the weather held up. It didn't get icy until after the party ended. I spent the night in the hotel (no, I didn't get the room next to the saloon, but I was only two doors away).

I took Bobbie home this morning (she had the room next to the saloon), and after a small detour to Gardner's for some salt, I got her home and in the house okay (Hey, it's a lot of responsibility when you control the fate of a Gettysburg legend. I couldn't let anything happen to her. 'Not on my watch!'). Anyway, fun was had by all. If you went and didn't have fun or get enough to eat, you have no one but yourself to blame for that one!

I'm thriving in my new town, and I'm lovin' every minute of it!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Camp Letterman but once again...


SA Homes and Target are planning on developing pretty much the little parcel of Camp Letterman that remains. This is quite sad. I know, it's not part of the battle, most of it's been lost already, etc., etc. A friend of mine on his blog says basically the same. I disagree, but that's what makes this the good, ole' USA! We can do such things and still be friends.

Anyway, Target is an intrinsically evil company. I haven't been to one in almost two years, nor will I ever go into one again. Why? Not because they want to build on the site of Camp Letterman. Because the are owned by the French, and, since the French don't support the U.S. military (Hey! That's their right! Just remember that the next time some power-hungry dictator with plans of world domination takes their country and they need help getting it back! History repeats itself, and it's happened twice already! What country is the first they expect to help them get it back?). Since they don't support the U.S. military, they will not allow the US Marine Corps to collect "Toys for Tots" at any of their locations.

This is where my problem begins! By doing this, they are not hurting the Marines. They are hurting the children who the Marines collect toys for. The Marines can fight for themselves. These poor children cannot!

So, if for no other reason, please hit this link and sign the petition. Hey, it may not do any good, but it can't hurt, either!

Camp Letterman Petition

Monday, December 3, 2007

Time to say "Thanks" for something more!

I got this from a friend, and was asked to keep it going. I take no credit for writing it, but I agree with it 100%!

John Glenn said...

This should make you think a little:

There were 39 combat related killings in Iraq in January.
In the fair city of Detroit there were 35 murders in the month of January.
That's just one American city,
about as deadly as the entire war-torn country of Iraq.

When some claim that President Bush shouldn't
have started this war, state the following:

a. FDR led us into World War II.

b. Germany never attacked us ; Japan did.
>From 1941-1945, 450,000 lives were lost .
an average of 112,500 per year.

c. Truman finished that war and started one in Korea
North Korea never attacked us .
>From 1950-1953, 55,000 lives were lost .
an average of 18,334 per year.

d. John F. Kennedy started the Vietnam conflict in 1962.
Vietnam never attacked us.

e. Johnson turned Vietnam into a quagmire.
>From 1965-1975, 58,000 lives were lost ..
an average of 5,800 per year.

f. Clinton went to war in Bosnia without UN or French consent.
Bosnia never attacked us .
He was offered Osama bin Laden's head on a platter three
times by Sudan and did nothing.
Osama has attacked us on multiple occasions.

g.. In the years since terrorists attacked us ,
President Bush has liberated two countries,
crushed the Taliban, crippled al-Qaida,
put nuclear inspectors in Libya , Iran , and, North Korea
without firing a shot, and captured a terrorist who
slaughtered 300,000 of his own people.

The Democrats are complaining
about how long the war is taking.

But Wait

It took less time to take Iraq than it took Janet Reno
to take the Branch Davidian compound.
That was a 51-day operation..

We've been looking for evidence for chemical weapons
in Iraq for less time than it took Hillary Clinton to find
the Rose Law Firm billing records.

It took less time for the 3rd Infantry Division and the
Marines to destroy the Medina Republican Guard
than it took Ted Kennedy to call the police after his
Oldsmobile sank at Chappaquiddick.

It took less time to take Iraq than it took
to count the votes in Florida!!!

Our Commander-In-Chief is doing a GREAT JOB !
The Military morale is high!

The biased media hopes we are too ignorant
to realize the facts

But wait!

There's more!

JOHN GLENN (on the Senate floor - January 26, 2004)

Some people still don't understand why military personnel
do what they do for a living. This exchange between
Senators John Glenn and Senator Howard Metzenbaum
is worth reading. Not only is it a pretty impressive
impromptu speech, but it's also a good example of one
man's explanation of why men and women in the armed
services do what they do for a living.

This IS a typical, though sad, example of what
some who have never served think of the military.

Senator Metzenbaum (speaking to Senator Glenn):
'How can you run for Senate when you've never held a real job?'

Senator Gl enn (D-Ohio):
'I served 23 years in the United States Marine Corps.
I served through two wars. I flew 149 missions.
My plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire on 12 different
occasions. I was in the space program. It wasn't my
checkbook, Howard; it was my life on the line. It was
not a nine-to-five job, where I took time off to take the
daily cash receipts to the bank.'

'I ask you to go with me . . as I went the other day...
to a veteran's hospital and look those men ..
with their mangled bodies . in the eye, and tell THEM
they didn't hold a job!

You go with me to the Space Program at NASA
and go, as I have gone, to the widows and Orphans
of Ed White, Gus Grissom and Roger Chaffee...
and you look those kids in the eye and tell them
that their DADS didn't hold a job.

You go with me on Memorial Day and you stand in
Arlington National Cemetery, where I have more friends
buried than I'd like to remember, and you watch
those waving flags.

You stand there, and you think about this nation,
and you tell ME that those people didn't have a job?

What about you?'
For those who don't remember
During W.W.II, Howard Metzenbaum was an attorney
representing the Communist Party in the USA

Now he's a Senator!

If you can read this, thank a teacher.
If you are reading it in English thank a Veteran.

It might not be a bad idea to keep this circulating.
I AM!!! ..

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Nov. 22nd, 2007, a tough day if you're a turkey, but a great day if you're an American. Looking back, I have lots to be thankful for.

2007 brought me to Gettysburg, and I love it here. I've made many new friends, and I love them all as well. I've spent quality time on the field and in the taverns with both old and new friends, and have truly enjoyed it.

Back on the home front, my Mom continues to fight the good fight. She'll tell you that she's in pretty good shape for the shape she's in! Nothin's gonna get her til she's ready!

I keep in touch with the old friends as best as I can. Hey! There are lots of them, and that's a good thing! I love them all!

Things are going well. I have a new life, but I haven't forgotten the old one. I don't forget where I came from. It's good to be happy, good to be healthy, good to love, and good to be loved.

So, what am I most happy for? That I am who I am and that I know everyone I know! Thank you, Lord! I don't know what it is, but I must be doing something right, because life is good!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

So, tourist season has come and gone...

...and Remembrance day has gone along with it. Too bad, because I was having fun! A big thanks goes out to Steve, JD, and most importantly, Mike. Thanks, ya Irish SOB for sharing the same sense of humor as I have! The parade wouldn't have been the same without you!

The luminaries were awesome and moving. The service we got in the local establishments was 'incredible!' (How can one be over 500 miles from home and be treated like a local? Hang with the ole JR!)

The impressions, on the other hand...left a lot to be desired, shall we say? I saw the Timberland boots. I saw the havelocks (Really? In 1863?). And I saw the Galtroops. Can you spot her in the photo above? By the way, we all had special assignments. Mine was to count the Galtroops! The final tally? - 53 Union + two of who were 'inconclusive'...and...'33 Confederate', all of which would be confirmed. ( Hey I saw the 'lumps' in the proper places!'. It's a sad state of affairs - what this hobby used to be and what it's become!

And, I both saw and heard about 'the photo!' I'll be hearing about it all Winter, I suppose!

On to Thanksgiving. Peace and good wishes to all who may read this! God bless you all!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Is it?...

...or is it not? John Richter thinks so. Bob Zeller thinks so. Harold Holzer has no reason to believe it's not him. So, why all the fuss?

Because there's no definite proof that it is either. I had a conversation, along with a few other people, last night with one of the country's leading experts in Civil War photography. He is 'skeptical', at best. More details will be shared on Weds., and I'll post more as it becomes available.

"Just because there's no reason to believe it's not him doesn't by default mean that it definitely is, either."

As a local here, going into my first, post-tourist season adventure, I feel this couldn't have come at a more opportune time. Hey, we need something to ponder and discuss all Winter, fer cryin' aht lahd!

You be the judge. More to follow.

If this doesn't move you...

...then nothing will!

I had the honor of attending the illumination service in the National Cemetery in Gettysburg this past Sat. There was a luminary by each grave marker, as well as hundreds more lining the trails and walkways. It was an intense experience. There is no real way to describe the feeling. You must experience it yourself. There was an honor guard around the Soldier's monument, and wreaths near some of the graves. The flags and the luminaries combined to create a very intense atmosphere.

I had three good friends along to share the experience, and I know they all felt the same as I did. If for no other reason, come to Gettysburg for this! I know Remembrance Weekend is tough, with booked hotels, traffic, the parade, and long waits in restaurants, but trust me - it's definitely worth it!

Monday, November 19, 2007

The U.S. Model 1861 Springfield Rifle-Musket...

...was not only heavily used by the Union Army throughout the entire American Civil War, it was the third most widely-used weapon by the Confederacy. The standard make was a 58 calibre, with a 40" barrel. The total weight was right around 9lbs. The most notable difference between it and the Model 1855 was the elimination of the Maynard priming system. Also, the M1861 was never produced in the the shorter, two-band configuration.

The M1861 cost $20. Unable to keep up with massive production demands, Springfield opened its pattern to 20 private contractors, most notably Colt. Colt redesigned the barrel bands, hammer and bolster in its 'special' model, leading to the changes that would later be incorporated into the Model 1863.

The M1861 was scarce relatively early in the war, as many troops on both sides were using M 1816/22 conversion muskets and M1842 percussion muskets. It is doubtful that any M1861's were available for the First Battle of Manassass. Over time, the smoothbores were phased out and replaced with M1861's. Of course, this happened more rapidly in the Eastern Theatre than in the West or Trans-Miss. Theatres. It is estimated that a combined total of around 1 million Model 1861's were made by the war's end.

Friday, November 9, 2007

So, I'm going to jail, and I need help...

...On Tues., Nov. 27th, the MDA "Police" will be coming to my store, handcuffing me, taking my mugshot, and escorting me to jail (a mock jail in the lobby of the Gettysburg Hotel), so I need help. In order to be let out, I need to raise a combined total of $3,000. Anyone out there who reads this, whether you know me or not, but who would like to help out in this most worthy of causes, should click my e-mail link in my profile and shoot me a message. I can give you the details then.

Thanks in advance!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

the Model 1855 U. S. Springfield

The origianl design of this rifle-musket had a feature known as the Maynard Tape priming system. This resulted in the high hump under the hammer and the distinctive opening trapdoor on the side of the lockplate.

Dr. Edward Maynard was a dentist and former west Point cadet, though he had to drop out because of medical reasons. His original idea for the locking mechanism was for the conversion of flintlocks to percussion, and the first such models had the primer magazine outside the stock. The drawback was that this configuration did not allow the use of ordinary percussion caps.

In 1851, the Ordnance Dept. suggested an improved lock, in which the primer was imbedded in the lockplate. This was the design accepted for the Model 1855, and production began soon after.

Maynard's priming system was very similar to a modern cap gun. Fulminated Mercury caps were put on a long metal roll. As the hammer was cocked, a lever pushed the roll forward, placing the next cap over the cone and making the musket ready to fire.

It was a good theory, but in actual use, things didn't quite always line up as expected. This system also was at the mercy of the elements. Even though the cap rolls were somewhat weather-treated, they didn't always hold up or function properly in adverse weather conditions. The cone used was the same as that on the early 1841 and 1842 muskets and rifles, so the firer could use standard issue percussion caps in place of the tape system.

A re-design in 1860 eliminated this overly-complex and unreliable priming system, and this resulted in the Model 1861 Springfield.

During production, the Springfield Armory produced 47,115 model 1855 rifle-muskets with the 40 inch barrel, while the Harpers Ferry Arsenal produced 12,158 shorter rifles in the same configuration, but with 35 inch barrels.

This rifle-musket was used early in the U.S. Civil War, but not in the numbers of some of the more famous firearms. As the war progressed, it was slowly done away with, especially in union regiments.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Nothing says hokiness... a mounted civil war cavalry reenactment! Look at the pictures (and I've seen worse). Does this look like 'a train wreck'? The opposing lines 'thundered into one another with a loud clash!'? 'A mounted cavalcade of men and horses drawn toward one another with lightning speed and thunderous brutality!'?

Or, few guys on horseback playing army and rattling their sabers? Don't get me wrong. I have great respect for the mounted cavalry. It takes a lot of effort and a lot of expense to buy a trained horse, full gear and tack and a trailer, and then to travel cross country to a reenactment. But, the cavalry should use appropriate tactics, scouting the flanks, dismounting to form skirmish lines, quickly re-forming and moving to another threatened area, etc. Don't let them degrade to couriers and such, but use them appropriately.

Are we really honoring the struggles and sacrifices made by brave men in violent episodes of brutality when two guys ride up to one another, tap their sabers together a few times, smile, and say, "Good job, Johnny Reb/Billy Yank!", and then ride off into the sunset?

There is no safe way to portray the ferocity, the sheer brutality of a mounted Civil war cavalry charge! They generally tend to degrade to a state of hokiness, so we should really stop trying. Come to the reenactments, show your tactics, demonstrate your weapons and gear and find a proper place. Otherwise, the integrity of the whole event suffers. People are not being educated. They are being entertained in a comedic sort of way, and there was nothing funny about a mounted cavalry charge!

The Mississippi Rifle

The U.S. Model 1841 Rifle was one of the first percussion firing longarms made. This made it capable of firing in most any weather condition, a great improvement over flintlock longarms that often misfired in any wet or damp weather conditions. Originally, it was a 54 cal., longarm. At the start of the Civil War, many were rebored to 58 cal., enabling them to use the same ammunition as the 1861 U.S. Springfield. This helped cut down on the problems of logistics in shipping different ammunition to different units.

This rifle gets its nickname from the Mexican War. Jefferson Davis' company of Mississipians were issued this weapon.

When Eli Whitney took over management of the armory in 1842, one of his first major tasks was to retool the machinery to make the lock and barrel of the new musket, as the armory currently still produced the 1822 contract flintlock musket. This led to the long-desired goal of achieving total parts-interchangeability in military longarms in the late 1840's.

The M1841 was smaller and lighter than most military longarms of the time. Being only 50 inches long and weighing 8lbs. the rifle was a good 7 inches shorter and 2lbs. lighter than the M1842 musket.

Widely used by the Confederate Army of Tennessee, the Mississippi rifle was a favorite of Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest. He preferred the accuracy of the Mississippi rifle over the many types of shotguns and carbines in use at the time.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

U.S. Model 1842 musket

The original U.S. Springfield model 1842 was a 69 cal. smoothbore musket. It has the dubious distinction of being the last of the smoothbore muskets produced, while at the same time being both the first persussion musket adopted by the U.S. military, and being the first fully parts interchangeable longarm produced in the U.S. The evolution of machine tooling permitted this. Prior to this, parts were individually hand made and fitted to the particular firearm they were made for.

The Model 1842 was produced in relatively low numbers compared to other U.S. military firearms. Combined, the Springfield Armory and Harpers Ferry arsenal produced 272,565 over 12 years. This sounds like a lot, but at its peak, the Springfield Armory alone produced that many model 1861's in only 18 months. The Model 1842 was actually not even the most common smoothbore, as over 700,000 model 1816/22 muskets, both in flintlock and percussion conversions were made prior to the Civil War.

A few Model 1842's were made by private contractors. A.H. Waters and B. Flagg & Co., both of Milbury, Mass. produced Model 1842's, but they had brass furniture (barrel bands, nosecap, and butt plate), unlike those produced by Springfield and Harper's Ferry, which were all steel.

Flagg partnered with William Glaze of South Carolina and relocated to the SC Palmetto Armory to produce Model 1842's. Instead of the stamped V over P over the Eagle's head on the lockplate, those produced by the Palmetto Armory had a P over V over a Palmetto tree. Called 'the Palmetto musket', these were mostly given to SC militia units. Only 6,020 muskets were made on that contract, and none were made after 1853. This makes remaining specimens of Palmetto muskets very rare today.

The musket weighed 10 lbs., was 57&1/2 inches long, and fired either a 69 cal. ball, or a buck and ball round, consisting of a 69 cal. round ball and 3 32 cal. pieces of buckshot, a very deadly and effective close range round. In the early stages of the Civil War, some smoothbore muskets had rifling cut into the barrel, and rear sights affixed, but these were also few in number. Many early-war units were equipped with '42's, but most were replaced as the war went on. Some units, however, preferred the close-range devastation of the buck and ball round and kept their '42's until after the battle of Gettysburg.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The end is near!

Soon, tourist season will be over, and Gettysburg will become quiet and boring. I think I'm one of the few who will miss it. I'll miss the fun and miss the people. A large amount of my spare time has been people watching, either along Steinwehr and Baltimore, or on the square by the Gettysburg Hotel.

It's fun to watch the people come and go, fun to talk to people from other areas, or even those from back home. After November, it will be gone.

Then, what will I do to entertain myself? Oh, wait! It's Christmas season, and I work in retail. Black Friday's coming. That might keep my busy enough for awhile, I guess.


Love 'em or hate 'em, they seem to be everywhere and in numbers greater than ever before! Very little in the reenacting hobby bugs me more than seeing women trying to be men and fighting in the ranks! I know, it has been upheld in a court of law that you can't discriminate by not allowing women in the ranks. That doesn't make it right!

True, there were women who disguised their identities and went off to war to fight as men. How many? No one knows, but most likely less than 1000. So, in a reenactment of even 5000, how many women should be present as soldiers. 1000/3,000,000ths, or .33%. So for every 5000 reenactors, we could have one or two women in the ranks.

These days, it seems that we have one or two in every unit! It's worse in the artillery. Some cannon crews alone have 2 or 3 women. This is BS! Plain and simple.

Civil War women soldiers had to hide their identities, and if they were discovered, out of the army they went! Some female reenactors don't even try to hide their identities.

The biggest gripe I have is the women who fight dressed as men by day, and go to the ball dressed in their ball gowns by night! The best of both worlds!? Doubtful! Pure hypocrisy? Yep! It should stop. The women who are doing it should have enough care and respect to make it stop. If we can't ban them, they should ban themselves. End of story!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Are Civil War reenactors changing history?

"Well, what exactly do you mean by that?", you may ask. Let me explain. No one knows exactly how many Civil War reenactors there are in this country. Some give estimates up to 100,000. Every year, these reenactors and living historians travel the country on the weekends to set up their encampments and fight their battles. Sometimes, on fields such as Cedar Creek (part of which is shown above) and New Market, the camps and battles are on the actual field where the real battles were fought.

Now, I won't weigh this posting down with issues of farbism or authenticity. I've previously expressed those views elsewhere. I will say that there is a growing group of reenactors who are trying to 'do it right', should I say? Better uniforms, more authentic gear, etc. They are portraying the war as they think it actually looked. Documentation to support their claims exists in photos, and in surving uniforms and equipment in museums and so forth.

But, how do we know what the uniforms looked like 145 years ago? What color is butternut? How did the soldiers wear their gear? We see posed pictures, but very few photos exist of the men in the field. Are reenactors showing history, or merely what we think history looks like? There is no way to know for sure. I don't think this is the major problem, though.

Where I do have issues is with reenactors using original gear and portraying units that weren't involved in the battles they are showing. The trend by many these days is to use original buttons, and it is just such trends that are possibly changing how history will be perceived in the future.

I recently met a person who portrays a member of a Kentucky unit. He had an awesomely made, very authentic looking shell jacket. It had original Kentucky buttons on it. I noticed he was missing a button and inquired about it.

"Yeah, I lost on the field at Cedar Creek a few weekends ago. I haven't been able to find a replacement yet. Sucks, too, 'cause they're expensive."

Anyone besides me see a problem here? What happens 10-15 years down the road when someone finds that button, weathered and worn by the elements on the field at Cedar Creek? We know that no Kentucky units were involved there, yet someone less educated could make a legitmate claim that there was someone in a Kentucky uniform engaged at Cedar Creek. They have his button to prove it.

Sadly, just such a thing happens more and more these days, and it is a trend that should not continue. No harm is meant, but history is potentially, and unintentionally, I might add, being steered in a different direction from how it may have exactly happened.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Then again, why wait?

Well, patience is not a virtue I possess. Why wait? Notice the stack? It has grown by 1!

A deal was struck, a debit card was swiped, and now I must subtract a 5 and two 0's from my checking account. That said, it's still like money in the bank!

God bless the poor SOB's who had to lug a '42 into battle. They're massive, but I guess in early war tactics, the buck and ball would be devastating!

No Wonder I never Seem to Have Any Extra Money!

I never would have guessed in a million years why it might be a bad idea for someone with my addiction to live in a place like Gettysburg! (By the way, is it natural for someone to have a stack of Civil War rifle muskets next to their dining room table?)Let me explain...

...I love the battlefield. I spend as much time on it as I can. I also love the town. I go to the sutlers and the other shops 'looking for deals'. Good idea or bad? You decide.

I recently purchased another repro musket It was "a deal I couldn't pass up!" So, that makes three, plus a Mississippi Rifle. Three's enough, right? You could always sell it later and make money, if need be! I've sold and traded many guns over the years, and I regret selling every one I've ever gotten rid of!

My latest issue: there's a repro '42 Springfield musket hanging on a wall not far from here that I could get for an awesome price. What do you think? I think it will be mine in a day or two!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Historical Accuracy and Free Speech

So, there's a relatively new statue of Robert E. Lee on the Antietam Battlefield, and I guess it's caused a great deal of controversy. The NPS lost out in a bid for the purchase of the Newcomer Farm, and William Chaney put up the statue to honor Lee near the farmhouse.

It's a beautiful statue. It rivals the statue of Lee on top of the VA monument at Gettysburg. It will probably end up coming down, though, if the fight continues and the opposition wins.

The NPS itself is not totally opposed to the statue, and removing it would not be in their limited budget anyway. Tom Clemens, president of the Save Historic Antietam Foundation is strictly opposed to this statue, because it puts Lee behind the Union line, though he would have passed there on Sept. 16th. Clemens cites claims that it sets a bad precedent, that anyone could put up a statue to whoever they wanted on private property inside the park, even Osama Bin Laden, if someone should choose to do so.

My opinion on this is that the statue is privately funded and on private property. We have a Constitution which promises the right of free speech. We have such things as private property and freedom of choice on such issues. Why should the government, the same one I might add that allows burning of the US flag, be allowed to tell someone what kind of art they can or cannot put on their property?

I may not agree with the location, but I do like the statue. What I don't like is government intervention, especially when this country is facing thousands of more serious issues at the moment!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

So, what's been going on lately?

Not much, actually. I did spend an interesting day last Sat. I was asked by a good friend to make a trip to the Franklin County Historical Society in Chambersburg for some reference material he needed on a Confederate soldier who died near there after the battle of Gettysburg. What a trip it was! This place is a gem. It's located at 175 E. King street, about 3 blocks from the square. It has a museum, the Old Jail, and a reference library upstairs.

I didn't have time to do a museum tour, though it looks very interesting, and I will go back. I did spend almost an hour and a half in the museum. The guy there, Larry, was most friendly and very helpful. He seemed to take pride in showing me what they had, and what he had personally put together. He has a book containing profiles, some rather detailed, on all 5000 Union soldiers from Franklin County.

If you've never been there, and you have time to kill on the way to or from Gettysburg, I highly advise going. You'll not be disappointed! If you have been there, you'll know what I mean. Remember, as I've said before, there's more to this campaign than Gettysburg itself! Lotsa jewels exist throughout this entire area, and quite often, they are sadly overlooked.

Check out this website for more details: http:/

Monday, October 1, 2007

It hit me yesterday...

...that there are a lot of places and things in Gettysburg that I talk about in this blog, and that people have no idea where or what they are. I guess you could call them "The Forgotten Gettysburg", as they are well off the beaten path, and not even a lot of residents know, or care, about them. So, every once in awhile, I'll try to bring one of these 'special areas' to light. Maybe it'll cause people to learn about them or to want to see them the next time they are here. Or, maybe I'll just get more e-mails asking me 'who really cares?' Whatever!

The Coster Ave. mural, in what was the brickyard on the northeast side of town, is one of these places. A brutal, close-up fight occurred here on the first day, and it was one of the last major stands that Union troops made in this area as their lines broke. Ewell's Corps, coming from the north, broke the lines, and pushed Union forces across York St. and in the direction of Culp's Hill, a place that gets much more attention than the brickyard does.

Today, the fighting in the brickyard is remembered by a few monuments and a mural, shown above, that is actually rather impressive when seen in real life. Years ago, it was in a state of extreme deterioration, and everytime friends and I saw it, we always said that we'd like to see it restored. We doubted it would ever happen, though, because of the total lack of visitation that this area gets.

A few years back, however, the mural was restored, and it is beautiful! A job well done, and kudos to everyone involved! So, if you are ever in Gettysburg with some time to killl, and you'd like to go somewhere that not everyone goes and see a piece of history that gets little attention, check out the mural. Coster Ave. is located off of Stratton St., or can be reached from an alley that exits on Water St. Living where I do on 4th St., it is only a few blocks away, and I go there when I get the chance, usually during one of the walks I often take.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Hey! Guess what?

Don't tell me what I should or should not put in my blog! The key words are the last two in the previous sentence, "my blog." You put what you want to in your blog, and I'll do the same in mine.

I got two e-mails today telling me that there is no place for the Steelers, tailgating, or even the city of Pittsburgh in blog. To their credit, both were respectfully written and signed, but give me a break! "On a blog that is supposed to be about Gettysburg, why do you find it ok to post insignificant things about meaningless sporting events in a city that no one really cares about? Boring!" John, sorry you feel that way, buddy, but let's correct a few things here.

First, it's not a blog about Gettysburg. It's about my everyday life and the things I do. Guess what? On a recent day of my life, one of the things I did was go to the game. I enjoy it!

Two, not everyone is a Steeler fan, not even maybe a football fan, and maybe not everyone cares. Good for you if that is true! It's your right. I care. As to being insignificant, I don't think the NFL qualifies under that title. How much advertising revenue is generated from the Super Bowl alone, and how many people actually watch it? How much tax is collected, how many jobs are created,and how much money is spent at the games? Look at the photo of everyone leaving the game. That's about 1/10th of those who were there (of course, the game was a sell-out. In the 'Burgh, they always are). Think of 68,000 people each spending at least $150 in a single day. That's a lot of $!

You do what you do, and I'll do what I do. Sally, as to a blog promoting drinking, like you say mine does, walking around the Gettysburg square, down Baltimore Street, and across Steinwehr Ave. promotes more drinking than my blog does.

GETTYSBURG <~~~~~~~~Lots of bars!

More than just a tradition...

...but a way of life. The T-shirt in the above photo says it all! Tailgating, Steelers-style! Where the fun starts before most people are even awake, and sometimes doesn't end until well after dark.

So, what are the essential elements for a good tailgate party?

First, the hardware...a cooler with lots of ice, a grill, barbeque tools, a few comfortable chairs, and a large vehicle to get everything there and back!

Second, the software...beverage of choice (usually, a local beer, in this case, Iron City, or IC Light), grillable meat of some kind (hot dogs and hamburgers usually work best, but wings, ribs, chickens, even steaks, work quite well), potato chips and so forth, and anything else you can bring along.

Not required, but often used,...a tent or umbrella, a stereo system of some sort, a beer-pong table (yep, they play beer pong in the parking lots!), and some cash to buy goodies from the street vendors (you can get good deals from some of these guys!), and maybe a tv or radio.

Put it all together, and you're almost there! "What's the missing ingredient now?" you might ask. "Sounds like you've got it all covered!"...the love of a team, the love of a city, and the carrying on of tradition. All teams have fans, lots of these fans like to party, and tailgating is big in many cities, but in no place is it done like it is in the 'Burgh! (or in many of the away games, because the Steeler Nation is everywhere, and they travel well!)

Guess you have to be there, to see it, feel it, hear it, and smell it, in order to really appreciate it! Pictures and words don't do it justice. It's an atmosphere like no other, and I love it! It's even better when the team is good, but the parties go on, whether it's a win or a loss, a good season or a bad one!

One heckuva' way to spend a Sunday!

So, for a 1 o'clock game, what time does the party start? We got there at 7:30am, and I opened my first beverage at 7:45, and guess what? There were a lot of people already there! Turned in to an awesome party, and we all had fun!

Not everyday that you can watch the greatest football team in the league play in front of the best fans in the history of sports in the shadow of the greatest city in the world!

"Here We Go, Steelers! Here We Go!" Life is good!

A few more of the changes at the 'Den!

I took a few more, and everyone wants to see them, so here we go!

Friday, September 21, 2007

The changing piece of ground that is the Gettysburg battlefield

Change is constant. Change is good. Nowhere are these concepts more evident than on the Gettysburg battlefield. It has been happening since 2000, when the tower came down, and 'the 5 year plan' started. 7 years later, it's still going strong!

Like a lot of folks, I had my doubts. Will they follow it through to completion? How far will they go? Will they keep up with it, or merely allow the underbrush take over? All legitimate questions.

Tree-huggers aside, the clearing of trees continues. Please note that though I do believe in conservation, and all sorts of other environmental issues, Gettysburg is not the place for such things. It is a National Military Park, not your basic national park, where people go to see trees, and wildlife, and so forth, though they are in abundance here. Gettysburg is where you go to remember struggle, honor sacrifice, and respect heroism. Making it look like it did at the time of the battle is the thing to do, and this endeavor should continue.

Very rarely do I get blown away by such things. I'm here almost everyday, and I do try to get out on the field quite often. But, I've been away from it for a few weeks, so I decided to make the trek to the Devil's Den area. Boy, was I blown away! I knew trees were being removed, and the area had changed. I wasn't quite ready for the sights I was now seeing, however.

You can see the Emmitsburg Road from the Triangular Field? You can see the Devil's Den from the Emmitsburg Rd. ? Incredible, to say the least! The words and photos don't do it the justice it deserves. It clearly is a view that must be seen to be appreciated, a view of a landscape that hasn't looked this way in, most likely, well over 100 years! I can only imagine what it will be like when completed!