On Friday, I left for Gettysburg about 1:00pm, since Eric Wittenberg and I were staying overnight at the home of a friend (Dr. Dave Moore) on Herr’s Ridge. I arrived in town about 4:30, and decided to stop in the Farnsworth House bookstore before taking a trip around the battlefield. They’ve really been selling copies of our book and had only a few copies left. It had been raining for a couple days, and Saturday’s forecast was no better – when I reached Little Round Top I literally had the place to myself. Not another soul was up there. The view was beautiful with a heavy fog blanketing everything you could see, in spite of the drizzle. Rarely does one have such a view completely to themselves, and I always treasure it. I gave my respects to Gen. GK Warren, enjoyed the new view of the Plum Run area below due to the ongoing tree clearings, and then headed for the High Water Mark.
Again, there were very few people on the field. The Visitor’s Center was just closing, so I decided to run back out to the First Day’s field and drive Reynolds and Buford Avenues, and a few others places. After a 6-hour drive from Columbus, Eric arrived shortly after and I took him to the Mayflower Chinese restaurant for dinner (which was excellent) and then we went to the Reliance Mine Saloon for some well-deserved beers.
It was great to see our favorite bartender Bobbie again (after a bout with cancer she’s recovering well) and after a while William Frassanito and John Archer arrived. We all sat at the bar and yakked for a couple hours. Bill was regaling us with stories about his picture research and latest project, and John and I got into a long discussion about “new” (read that ridiculous) interpretations about Gettysburg that some left-field loonies have been coming up with lately (I’ll blog more about this topic soon). Since Eric and I had to be up about 6:00 am to drive to Westminster, we headed out about 11:00 pm.
Dave is a local physician and had Saturday off, so he decided to join us on Saturday. We left the house about 7:30 Saturday morning and went to the Avenue restaurant for breakfast. Old friend artist Dale Gallon came in, and informed us that he had just finished his latest painting – it was commissioned to commemorate a very interesting small fight in Iraq – check his website for updates on that.
We needed to be in Westminster by 9:00 am since our presentation as keynote speakers began at 9:30. We missed our turn off the bypass, and arrived just a little late but in plenty of time. The event was jointly hosted by the Carroll County Historical Society and the Carroll County Community College. The college is a beautiful, newer facility. After being interviewed by the Carroll County Times, Eric and I were taken to the downstairs auditorium for our talk. We were informed by coordinator Cathy Baty that this, the 10th year of the event, seemed their largest and best-attended – I believe there were a couple hundred folks in the auditorium alone. Eric and I each spoke for about a half hour concerning our book generally, and Corbit’s Charge in Westminster on June 29, 1863 specifically.
We then went back upstairs to the foyer for our book signing, and it went very well. Over the next couple hours we signed and sold about 34 books. Several more who had previously purchased the book brought it for us to sign. As always, it was wonderful talking with the folks about Stuart’s ride. That’s what I enjoy the most about all this – having conversations with people and also hearing how much they’ve enjoyed the book or anticipate reading it.
After lunch and some more signings, we headed back for Gettysburg for one more trip around the battlefield before heading for home. It was still chilly and rainy, so we weren’t able to get out and walk (everything, and I mean everything, was absolutely soggy) but we went around the main field and also checked out the new tree-cuttings on Culp’s Hill. For a Saturday, there were again very few people on the field. When we got back to Dave’s around 2:00 pm we said our goodbyes. I made one stop at the Visitor Center bookstore (they’d sold out of our book again) then headed down the road for home.
Our interview with the Carroll County Times is online today – click here to see it. The event was a terrific time, and the Carroll County Historical Society has every reason to be proud of the day. We were very honored to be taken care of so well, and I for one look forward to going back.
This June 23-24 Westminster is commemorating Corbit’s Charge with a weekend event of speakers, reenactors, book signings and living history, so if anyone can make it please do. Eric and I are planning to attend that event, and I look forward to seeing everyone from the Historical Society again. Cathy Baty and crew, thank you for such a fine event that was planned and executed so well!