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!





The Dusty Trail

27 06 2011

Tomorrow I’m hitting the road once again. On Wednesday, June 29, I’ll be leading a tour of First Bull Run for the Civil War Institute of Gettysburg College‘s Summer Conference. There are a total of 7 tour busses. Four will be led by NPS personnel, the remaining three by Ed Bearss, Ethan Rafuse, and myself. My tour is for people already familiar with the battlefield, and will be a tour in biography, for lack of a better term. This will be an opportunity for me to share those stories I’ve stumbled across over the past 6 years or so. Not your typical battlefield tour, but I hope the brave souls who chose my tour enjoy it.

On Saturday, July 2, I’ll be speaking as part of the Gettysburg Foundation’s Sacred Trust speaker’s series. At 9:30 AM outside the Visitor’s Center I’ll give a presentation on Patrick O’Rorke at First Bull Run. When the Foundation first contacted me they asked for a topic that tied in Gettysburg and First Bull Run, and O’Rorke was the obvious choice for me. It’s a short program, only 45 minutes including Q & A. Afterwards I’ll be available at a signing table, though unlike just about everyone else on the schedule I really don’t have anything to sign – unless someone shoves a copy of America’s Civil War, Civil War Times, or Civil War History in front of me. I kinda doubt that’s gonna happen, though.

So if you’re registered for Wednesday’s tour I’m looking forward to meeting you. And if you’re in town on Saturday morning, please stop by the Visitor’s Center. I’ll also be strolling about town and battlefield on Thursday and Friday, so if you see me please say hi!





Recap of Capitol Hill Civil War Roundtable

18 06 2011

Sorry for the delay in posting this. Last week – precisely Monday, June 6 – I made the second presentation of my program on Peter Conover Hains, in to the good folks of the Capitol Hill Civil War Roundtable. The group met in a judiciary committee hearing room of the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC – not the same room where the Watergate hearings were held, but not too shabby.

It was a logistically challenging day. First I Metroed in from the home of my good friends Kathy and Dan Carson in Arlington. I lugged my computer, projector, materials and a change of clothes to the office of Ron Baumgarten of All Not So Quiet Along the Potomac, in the US Trade Representative complex in the Winder Building, of which he gave me a quick tour. It was nice to finally meet Ron so I don’t have to call him an e-quaintance any more. Then I had to kill time and wound up walking all day through Washington. I’ll cover that walk in another post.

After a long and very hot day I met RT president George Franks, III and other officers at Bullfeathers, a popular Hill watering hole and restaurant. Needless to say I required significant watering. Then it was up the Hill to the venue. Here are a couple of pictures of the room – click on the thumbs for larger images.

 

About 15-20 folks were present, and they were quite familiar with local District history, which was challenging considering my program included a good bit of it. As usual I ran a little long, but there was time for a few questions which were very good. George presented me with a beautiful miniature of the Statue of Freedom that sits atop the Capitol dome.

Thanks to everyone who made it out. You’re a great group!





Another Road Trip

13 06 2011

The second of three June road trips for Bull Runnings will feature my appearance before the Loudon County Civil War Roundtable in Leesburg, VA. For details, go here.





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.





Because folks keep asking…

8 06 2011

…I have no plans to be at Manassas National Battlefield Park for the anniversary. Friend Robert Moore has tentatively agreed to provide a guest post on the happenings there.





Hittin’ the Road…

5 06 2011

…to our nation’s capital – and Capitol.

In a few hours I’m heading to Washington, DC where I’ll be presenting my program on Peter Hains to the Capitol Hill Civil War Roundtable. Tomorrow I plan on doing some sightseeing, starting off by paying a visit to All Not So Quiet on the Potomac host Ron Baumgarten, who works in town in the Winder Building, home today of the U.S. Trade Representative. I hope then to hit Ford’s Theater and the National Building Museum, which is a beautiful structure and originally housed the Pension office. For monuments I’m taking along my paperback copy of Testament to Union to help guide me about – lots of walking.

The meeting starts at 7 PM in the Rayburn House Office Building., and runs until about 8:30.

On the way home on Tuesday I hope to stop by Manassas National Battlefield Park, and will proceed to Winchester for some field work on my upcoming Collateral Damage article and to hopefully meet up with e-quaintance Robert Moore, aka Cenantua.

So, a busy couple of days ahead.








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