Hunterstown Preservation Society

Today I had a very nice conversation with Laurie Harding, President of the Hunterstown Preservation Society.  This was the first time Laurie and I spoke – we’ve previously corresponded by email, and some of my readers might be familiar with some exchanges we’ve had here concerning the interpretation of this cavalry battle between Union BG Judson Kilpatrick and Confederate BG Wade Hampton’s troopers on July 2, 1863.  Laurie and her group have made yeoman’s efforts in order to try to save this currently pristine, beautiful little battlefield only 4 miles from Gettysburg – the sight of George Armstrong Custer’s first mounted charge as a brigadier.  The battlefield is under enormous threat to be turned into a McMansion housing development.  The historic Felty barn, where many of Custer’s troopers holed up to shoot at Hampton’s men, and which was a prominent and famous feature of the battlefield, was torn down by its owner recently.

This past Saturday, Eric Wittenberg and I gave a tour of Hunterstown to the members of the Harrisburg (PA) Civil War Roundtable as part of our all-day tour of Jeb Stuart’s Ride to Gettysburg (based on the tour in our book).  For perhaps a very short time, visitors can still see this battlefield – but soon, it may be plowed under so thousands of families can have a place to build their cookie-cutter homes.  Laurie and the Society are raising money to do all they can to stop the bulldozers and save this important piece of American and Gettysburg history.  The group is also putting together a monument to memorialize the fighting there.

Let’s hope the property owners have a change of heart, and place more importance on history than the almighty dollar – and that our local government officials get involved.  In the meantime, how can you help?  Please visit the Hunterstown Historical Society website, join them, and do whatever you can to make your voice heard.  I’ve joined at the Preservationist level, and will be visiting members of the group next month while I’m in Gettysburg.

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Published in: on October 25, 2007 at 2:41 pm  Comments (8)  

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  1. Great things are transpiring in and around the Hunterstown battlefield these days to preserve the area as much as possible to its circa 1863 appearance. Between tours of the battle by several organizations like the Hunterstown Historical Society, Pennsylvania State Civil War Trails Commission, Gettysburg Park service tours like the Ed Bearass, Mike Vallone, Troy Harman tour, the Eric Wittenburg/J.D. Petruzzi Tours, and several other dedicated individuals, we are making a stand to preserve the battlefield for the Ages so that future generations can experience this great battle just as we have, to assure its continued integrity for years to come. I have commissioned a painting of the battle by Artist Jared Fredrick and Steve Alexander of Michigan has a committee that has established a monument for the battlefield. Steve is also bringing the sword that saved Custers life, to the next annual event in Hunterstown on July 4-5-6 2008. Joe Topinka is working with Bo Stewart of Marietta,Ga. who has the dented up sabre and bugle, that saved the life of Lt. Col. Delony in the Confederate countercharge in the battle, to possibly bring it back to the battlefield again someday. Together, we can make great things happen at this historic battlefield known as the Battle of Hunterstown.
    Yours in Arms to Protect and Serve,
    G.A. Custer
    as portrayed by;
    Joseph Topinka

  2. [...] D. had a good post about the efforts of the HPS on his blog today, which I commend to [...]

  3. Joe,

    I would very much like to see those items – the bugle belonged to Henry E. Jackson, Delony’s and the Cobbs Legion’s bugler. I had heard that the Churchill descendants were also coming (Pvt. Norville Churchill scooped Custer up onto his horse and galloped back to safety with him) so I’d very much like to meet them.

    Hope to see you next month, Joe.

    J.D.

  4. David,
    I spoke with Bo Stewart of Marietta,Ga. and he is contacting the S.C.V. where the items are on display to see if we can get pictures of these items and possibly bring them to Hunterstown!
    The Churchill sword will be at Hunterstown July 2nd 2008 and i cannot wait to see it.

    Joe

    http://www.worlds-wide-web.com/custermain.html

  5. My name is Richard J. Webb and my mother is Leila Jane Webb – maiden name of Churchill. Her father was Harrison David Churchill, son of Norvell Churchill, whom I understand your local Historical Society is honoring this July at a ceremony and monument. I learned of this from my cousin Pat and let my mother, who is now 82 years old and the oldest living female grandchild of Norvell who are still alive, know about this and she, my wife Dianna and I have already made reservations in Gettysburg for that time period in the first week of July and are planning on attending the events you are presenting in Hunterstown. We are excited about this as I heard stories about my great- grandfather from my Grandfather Harrison and his wife about his being an orderly to General Custer in the Civil War and how he had saved his life. They were very humble people and the information was passed on as a matter of pride within the family. I am now 60 years old and have delved deeply into my family genealogy and appreciate the interest your community has taken in their efforts to preserve our national heritage in regards to events that have taken place in your area.

  6. AS A RESIDENT OF HANOVER PA. I AM A LOCAL WATCHDOG OF SORTS. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT STRABAN TOWNSHIPS REFUSAL TO PARTICIPATE IN A JOURNEY THROUGH HALLOWED GROUND? IT SEEMS LIKE THEY WANT THE TOURIST DOLLARS AND ALSO THE REENACTORS MONEY AS LONG AS THEY DON’T TRY TO PRESERVE THE REAL THING! U. S. REPRESENATIVE TODD PLATTS’HAS BEEN NOTIFIED HIS SECRETARY TOLD ME TODAY THAT THIS IS A LOCAL ISSUE HE WOL’NT GET INVOLVED IN. OUTSIDE THIS LOCAL AREA VERY FEW PEOPLE KNOW WHAT IS HAPPENING AS MASSIVE COMMERCIAL AND RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT DEVOURS STRABAN TOWNSHIP ADJOINING THE GETTYSBURG BATTLEFIELD AREA.INVOLVED IN. I HAVE CONTACTED CWPT AND THE JOURNEY THROUGH HALLOWED GROUND’S PRESIDENT, STRABAN TOWNSHIP, THE HANOVER EVENING SUN AND THE GETTYSBURG TIMES. PLEASE RESPOND TO ME. EXCUSE MY ELEMENTARY COMPUTER AND TYPING SKILLS. SINCERELY BOB RESIG

  7. Thanks Bob for your passion for preservation!

    Since Bob’s initial phone calls, Congressman Platt’s office has made some contacts with the folks at “Journey Through Hallowed Gorounds”….
    For some that may not know…this heritage trail starts in Virignia…and was planning to end in Gettysburg.
    Fortunately, after hearing that Hunterstown was included in the Gettysburg Campaign by the Dept.of the Interior (Sept ’06)…and that Hunterstown has made CWPT’s “Top 10 Endangered” battlefield list(March 08)…they were more than willing to extend the heritage trail 4 more miles north…to Hunterstown!
    For some strange reason….Straban Township did not ok it….even though it will bring a great deal of monies to our area.
    In two weeks, the folks from Journey will be in town
    to re-visit this plan to include Hunterstown.

    Please help us here….by making your thoughts known…

    The Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership will be hosting a Public Meetings to discuss the
    Draft Corridor Management Plan.
    Please mark your calendars and plan to attend:

    Adams County, PA: June 18th
    Wednesday, June 18, 6:00 PM
    Adams County Agricultural & Natural Resources Building 670 Old Harrisburg Rd, Gettysburg, PA 17325

    Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact jaime@jthg.org.
    Jaime McClung
    540.882.4929

    Thanks so much!

    Laurie Harding
    Hunterstown Historical Society

    Monument Dedication
    July 2nd, 2008 11:00am
    http://www.HUNTERSTROWN1863.com

  8. http://www.HUNTERSTOWN1863.com


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