August 13, 2014

On Location: Gettysburg

We were getting excited as we traveled to Little Round Top from Pitzer's Woods. Anxious to see all there is to see, we drove slowly through Warfield Ridge and read a few signs and monuments here and there. I cannot say thank you enough to the awesome Michaela for doing all the driving! 

Failed car selfie with Michaela. Don't worry, we were parked...I think.
She's a trouper and one of the best to road-trip with!

We parked at the sign for Big Round Top and saw two trails. One, up the hill and a bunch of steps. The second was a hiking trail down through some woods. We opted to go down, not thinking that Big Round Top would technically {duh} be something we'd need to hike *up* to...so long story and a longer hike later, we were at the base of Big Round Top and could see Devil's Den very near by, and this view was looking to the right of where our trail opened up. Little Round Top in sight!

Not sure if it was me or Michaela who hopped out of the car first when we found a close parking spot at Little Round Top. Mmm, yeah...probably Michaela. She hopped out of the car and ran up the hill as I followed obviously slower. It was such a treasure to see her so excited and loving Gettysburg, and especially her self-proclaimed favorite spot, of Little Round Top.

I forget which regiment this huge monument was for...either a New York or Pennsylvania one, but it's big and you can climb up in it and look out across the battlefield. This shot, captured by Michaela, was just in the archway looking through the opposite side. The spot of cliffs near the road is Devil's Den.

I love her spontaneity and adventurous, winsome spirit!

This was as far as I ventured and where I snapped the above picture of Michaela from. I wasn't about to fall and hurt something on this trip so I let Michaela hike up and down the boulders on Little Round Top.

We kept marveling at the spectacular view.
Love this girl! Still close friends, she is a God-send in every way, and for fourteen years our friendship's still going strong.

The 20th Maine monument hidden down a small trail in the woods of Little Round Top. For those of you who are fellow Civil War buffs, the 20th Maine is the regiment Colonel Chamberlain led and was a part of the far right flank of the Union Army--the entire army--July 2nd and 3rd I believe. He led it alongside Strong Vincent, a Pennsylvanian. Much of their struggle atop Little Round Top is depicted in the amazing film, Gods and Generals. 

Artillery near Devil's Den.
At this point I was asking Michaela if she wanted to stop, walk and look around and she was good with driving slow if I was. We make a great team and by the end of the day finished each others sentences as to what we wanted to do. Gotta love being on the same page...most of the time. *smile* Michaela still doesn't understand my affinity for taking photos of random artillery. I don't either because I can't even tell you what type of cannon this is!

July 2nd in the evening charged from the hill in rear to this position and held it until the afternoon of July 3rd when the brigade advanced through the woods to the front and left, driving the enemy and capturing many prisoners.
Having done extensive research for years as to just the right regiment my male characters could enlist in, where they served and how at each and every battle, skirmish, you name it, I thought I had my research pretty nailed down. But on Saturday in Gettysburg, I had completely forgotten where my main characters' regimental monument was on the battlefield. 
I knew they had fought on/around Little Round Top. But that could have been the rocky hillside, the cliffs and boulders at the top, the woods behind or the woods nearer the Wheatfield and Devil's Den. I'm not particularly good with military terms or picturing things--in Gettysburg with all the markers and helpful maps coupled with my own knowledge, it's easier to picture things.

With the aid of Michaela's smart phone, the battlefield road map, and her car's GPS, we finally found the monument for the 6th PA Reserves Regiment. It would happen that this monument would be the hardest one to find and have us doubling back down Wheatfield Road. Twice.
I guess it serves me right for neglecting to research where on the glorious battlefield this monument was!

Notice something for me. Are there any other freaking monuments around? NO!
Do you spot a road near here? No? Yeah. It's a hundred feet off of the road. 
I'm just glad I glimpsed it from the passenger side as we drove up Wheatfield Road from Devil's Den a third time. This was our last official/literal stop. We drove past everything else, but took the time to read all about the 6th PA Reserves.
I have to say it's in an odd place--you can see Little Round Top from it through some trees, and Devil's Den is nearby, the Wheatfield's just up the road and to the left, and amidst all of those places there are scattered monuments, but not a one near this one.

Finally! I was SO stinking happy to find this and look around the area where my characters fought and struggled with their brigade on the second and third days of the battle.

Present at Gettysburg. 25 Officers and 355 Men.
And one of my main characters very close to Michaela's heart.

Happily exhausted, elated, and sunburnt.

Where my characters fought, brother with brother, for the Union.
Friday is my last Gettysburg post, and I have to say, I am homesick for it.
If I could transplant my job, I'd move there in a heartbeat.
But I am striving to bloom where planted here with my wonderful life. 
And once my PT cruiser is road-ready shortly, you can bet I'll be visiting Gettysburg often.