On Wednesday four from the Burgh (Howard, Larry Stone, Tim and I) took a nice day trip to Gettysburg and Antietam. The day started cold and dark (left Howard’s at 7:15 am), but the trip was nice to Gettysburg. Once there the weather cooperated and it was a beautiful Fall day—sweatshirt weather!

We had all been to the battlefield many times before, but each visit you see something different. The new Visitor’s Center looks real nice compared to the old one, for example. After that we hit little Round Top. The Parks Service is gradually clearing trees that grew since the battle, and if you haven’t visited for a while the new sight lines really change your understanding of why such areas were important to the battle. Many new fences were also in place and orchards growing where they were in 1863.

View from Little Round Top towards Devil's Den

View from Little Round Top towards Devil's Den

Tim and I climbed down from little Round Top to Devil’s Den way below. In 1863 Union Regiments CHARGED down this hill…it was hard to walk down it! When you get to the bottom and look back up where you came from, it’s hard to imagine fighting down that slope.

Tim and Larry man a gun at Little Round Top

Tim and Larry man a gun at Little Round Top

But these guys look a little better...

But these guys look a little better...

Devil’s Den is still kind of creepy with all these gigantic boulders lying in a heap and you realize that a lot of blood was lost here in 1863.

Afterward we trekked to the Confederate lines to find Longstreet’s statue hidden in the woods and my favorite Wolfhound monument (New York’s Irish Brigade).

This is always a nice touch..to see the faithful dog lying beneath the Celtic cross likes he waits for his master to return.

Irish Brigade Memorial

Irish Brigade Memorial

The Pennsylvania Monument was next and then “The High Tide Mark” where the surge of the Confederates was halted.

Here I always think of that scene in the movie “Gettysburg” where “Lo” Armistead dies and we visit a small scrolled marker notes where it happened, the ground below marked with 6 or 7 small Confederate flags placed by admirers.

From here we hit Culp’s Hill and then left for Antietam.

After a short trip we arrived at Antietam in late afternoon. The temperature and light was dropping so it was only a quick stop.

This site marks “The Bloodiest One Day Battle in American History” where 23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded or missing after twelve hours of savage combat on September 17, 1862. The Battle of Antietam ended the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia’s first invasion into the North and led to Abraham Lincoln’s issuance of the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.

Tim and Howard at Antietam

Tim and Howard at Antietam

Burnside's Bridge at Antietam

Burnside's Bridge at Antietam

The trip home after was long and dark and I got home about 1030 pm. It was a nice day trip, though and the good company made it even better!

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