Bull Runnings Goes to Gettysburg

5 07 2011

I just finished up a great week of activities in Gettysburg. I arrived in town on Tuesday, June 28 and checked into my room at the Gettysburg Hotel where The Civil War Institute was putting me up while I served on the faculty as a tour guide for their annual conference. I then headed over to Gettysburg College to let them know I was around, pick up my gear and take in the tail end of a panel discussion on Edward Porter Alexander. Afterwards I ran into a few familiar faces including Ethan Rafuse, Susannah Ural and Tim Orr, who were also on the faculty for this year’s program, as well as a couple of friends from Penn State Mont Alto tours past and fellow blogger Keith Harris. After a meal in the dining hall (nice seeing NPS rangers Chuck Teague and Matt Atkinson there) it was back to the Union Building ballroom to listen to Gary Gallagher on the subject of his new book, The Union War. The most surreal moment for me occurred when I was seated in a group with “fellow” faculty Ural, Rafuse, A. Wilson Greene, Joseph Glatthaar and Gabor Borritt.

On Wednesday morning I sat at breakfast with Ed Bearss, another of the guides for the day’s Manassas bus tours. A total of seven busses were scheduled for the day. Four would meet up with NPS guides at Manassas National Battlefield Park. Ethan Rafuse, Ed Bearss and myself would accompany our tourists on our busses as they departed from and returned to Gettysburg.

I had forty-two attendees on my bus. They were a great group, and admirably suffered early delays due to traffic. It was a hot day, but the terrain was manageable and I think everyone enjoyed themselves and learned something. My assistant was Jessica Slevin, an intern from Northern Ireland who kept everything running smoothly and on schedule. We left at 8:00 AM and got back to Gettysburg at 8:30 PM, a long but productive day. Click the thumbs below for larger images of Jessica and tired tourists returning to Gettysburg.

 

Thursday I was on my own. I did a little shopping and visited friend Jim Glessner at The American History Store. Then I checked out of the Gettysburg Hotel and moved out to The Wyndham at Gateway Gettysburg, where The Gettysburg Foundation was putting me up until Saturday. Then it was back to town to meet up with friends Chris and Alyce Army. First we walked over to the National Cemetery to help place flags on the graves of the men killed during the battle 148 years ago. Despite the fact that there are about 3,500 battle casualties buried there, the group flagged all the markers in about 15 minutes.

Afterwards I had dinner with the Armys and Wayne and Tina Motts and a few others. A nice relaxing evening.

Friday morning I drove over to Reynolds Ave. and took in a three-hour tour of the Park’s newly acquired Harman Farm on the old Gettysburg Country Club property west of Willoughby Run. The tour was led by NPS historians Scott Hartwig and John Heiser and was very informative. This piece of land will be a real jewel in the park’s crown once a few changes are made. During this tour I saw quite a few battlefield stomping pals and rangers from other parks, including John Hoptak, among the crowd of about 400 people.

After the tour I had lunch with friend Dana Shoaf, then headed up to the Visitor’s Center to take in a Gettysburg Foundation Sacred Trust talk by Dr. Allen Guelzo. I decided that, despite some great offers to join folks later in the evening for a few refreshments, it was a better idea to go back to my room and prepare for my talk for the Sacred Trust series at 9:30 AM Saturday.

I drove out to the Visitor’s Center a little after 8:00 AM, just to make sure that all the technical details for my PowerPoint presentation were in order and to get a parking space within the same zip code as the venue. They were, I did, and Cindy Small and Sue Boardman of the Foundation had everything running smoothly. Somewhere between 50-60 folks showed up, and I think they enjoyed my program on Patrick O’Rorke at First Bull Run. Friend Craig Swain drove up for the show and took a few pictures.

I stayed a while and took in the talks of Wayne Motts and Tim Orr, then set out on the road back home. It was a great week, despite the heat and the crowds of Gettysburg during the anniversary. Thanks to everyone who helped make it possible!





Allen Guelzo’s Take on Meade

3 07 2011

Photo from my seat during the presentation

OK, I’m back from my gigs in Gettysburg. I’ll post more about them later. Right now I want to provide a link to a talk given on Friday, July 1, by Prof. Allen Guelzo as part of the Gettysburg Foundation’s Sacred Trust speaker’s series, the same program on which I spoke the following day. You may find Guelzo’s take on Goerge Gordon Meade interesting, if not controversial. I disagree with it wholeheartedly, but it’s worth a listen. The talk was recorded by the Weider History Group and is posted on their History.net website in multiple parts. Here’s the first:

The rest can be found here:

http://www.historynet.com/who-was-george-g-meade.htm?tubepress_page=1





Yakkin’ in Gettysburg

8 06 2011

Last week I received an invitation, totally unexpected, from Cindy Small of the Gettysburg Foundation to participate in their speaker’s program, A Sacred Trust: Gettysburg Perspectives, to be held on the 148th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.

Cindy asked me to speak about a Bull Run topic, preferably one with a Gettysburg tie-in, so at 9:30 AM on Saturday, I’ll present “I had been under fire…and had felt no inclination to run”: Patrick O’Rorke at First Bull Run. I’ll be warming up the crowd for Wayne Motts. The program will run 45 minutes including questions and answers. I’ll also be available after the talk, though unlike every other speaker that day I have no books to autograph or sell – so feel free to come see me and shoot the breeze if you’re so inclined.

Others on the schedule include Troy Harman, Ethan Rafuse, Alan Guelzo, Ed Bearss, Tim Orr, John Hoptak…well, just go here for a full schedule of events.








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