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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Battle of Gettysburg: Union General Meade Arrives on Day Two

Union General George Meade and the Fifth Corps were in Frederick, Maryland on June 28, 1863.  He received the letter from President Abraham Lincoln giving him command of the Army of the Potomac.

As General Meade started making plans for his new command, messengers brought word of Confederate troops in southern Pennsylvania.  Their movements showed that the Army of Northern Virginia could be converging at  Gettysburg, a small town at the hub of a nine roads. Roads running southeast from Gettysburg could be used by the Confederates to attack Washington, D.C.  General Meade and the Fifth Corps started moving north to Gettysburg.

 selected a house to use as his
headquarters on Cemetery Ridge.

The abandoned two room house was recently vacated by the Lydia Leitser, a widow, and her six children.  With Armies massing and fighting north and east of Gettysburg, Lydia took her family to a relative's home on the Baltimore Turnpike to wait out the battle.

The location of Meade's Headquarters became a hive of activity with messengers arriving with information on the fighting along the Union Lines, enemy troop movements and leaving with new orders for officers.

This tiny house is open to the
public on Saturday & Sunday
from June 10 through
August 13, 2017.

Six people at a time
are allowed to tour
the tiny home.

The main room has a hearth,
wash stand, some storage
cabinets, a hutch to store 
kitchenware & a table
with chairs.

This bedroom is where General
Meade met with his commanders
at 9:00 pm on July 2nd.

12 men, wearing wool, 
crowded into this very
small room on that hot,
humid summer night.

10 more would come in
& give their reports.

The Generals talked for hours and the decisions made in this room shaped the third and final day of battle at Gettysburg.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Battle of Gettysburg: Day One

Union General John Buford's First Cavalry Division was sent out to meet advancing Confederate troops on July 1, 1863.  A few thousand dismounted Cavalrymen held off Confederate General Heth's division (about 8,000 men) until General Reynolds arrived with the First Corps to hold the ground at Gettysburg and deny the Rebels roads that could take them to Washington, D.C.

 is located on Oak Ridge,
 south of McPherson Ridge.

Eric & Adam closely follow
Park Ranger Brian's descriptions
of the first day's fighting on 
McPherson Ridge.

We look north to Gettysburg & McPherson Ridge, to the right.

With more Confederate troops massing around the town, Confederate General Robert E. Lee ordered flanking assaults (attacking the extreme end of an enemy line) to push Northern soldiers away from Gettysburg and to take Cemetery Hill, southeast of town.  General  Robert E. Rode's troops flanked Union troops on McPherson Ridge, east of Gettysburg. Rebel troops were able to force Union troops into Gettysburg.  The town was in chaos with Union soldiers, pursued by Confederates became lost in the maze of unfamiliar streets.  Northern soldiers were captured.

Union General Oliver Howard chose Cemetery Hill for his Headquarters on July 1st.  This proved to be a great decision for the North.  This section of high ground would prove to be strategic as the three day battle unfolded.  Some Union soldiers retreating from McPherson's Ridge made it to Cemetery Hill and reformed their lines.

Confederate General Jubal Early was given orders by General Robert E. Lee to take Cemetery Hill, "if practicable."

Culp's Hill, to the south of Cemetery Hill is taller than Cemetery Hill and was believed to be unoccupied on July 1.  If Confederate troops can command this hill, their fire, from higher ground, will drive Union soldiers from Cemetery Hill.

Unbeknownst to the Southern
 Generals, Union Brigadier
 commander of the Army's
right wing, were occupying
 Culp's Hill.

Greene's men were building breastworks (earth and wood defensive structures) to protect his men from expected assaults.

Confederate scouts probed the hill late on July 1st and were fired upon.  They reported back that Culp's Hill was heavily defended.  Darkness falls around 7:30 (no Daylight Savings Time).  Plans were drawn up to attack this hill on July 2nd.  General Early believes that Culp's Hill is the key to taking Cemetery Hill and complying with General Lee's order.

All too soon, our Ranger led tour of this portion of the Battle of Gettysburg came to an end.

A photo of Ranger Brian & me.

As the first day of fighting came to an end, the Confederates gained ground and Union troops lost ground.  More Union and Confederate troops massed around Gettysburg.  Union lines formed from Culp's Hill, north to Cemetery Hill, then south and west to Little Round Top.  

The Gettysburg Diorama Provides an Overview of the Three Day Battle

Eric, Adam & I visited the
the entire battlefield at

The recorded Diorama program highlights portions of the battlefield as the engagements unfold.  The results of loss of commanders, poor communications, command errors, good decisions and delays are clearly seen as the program progresses.

The Battle of Gettysburg started west of town in the right corner.
Over three days, it would rage through the town & spread
across the farms & hills to the left of the photo.

The Civil War had been grinding on for two years.  Virginia, the site of many battles, had been ravaged by the foraging of two armies, Confederate and Union.

Confederate General Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia marched north from Virginia into Pennsylvania in May and June, 1863.  General Lee needed to equip his Army.  His men needed everything from salt to horses, mules and clothing.  Untouched by war, Maryland and Pennsylvania were rich with everything Lee needed to re-provision his Army.  A victory on Northern soil would rally the South and demoralize the North.

Lee's Army's movement was detected and General George G. Meade, newly appointed commander of the Army of the Potomac, rushed troops northward to meet the Confederates.  Among his orders from President Lincoln were to defeat Lee and his Army.

Troops are massing
near Gettysburg.

The clump of trees on
Culp's Hill is where
Union troops rally
at the end of the
first day.
After fierce fighting on the northern and southern ends of the Union lines, Confederate General Lee decides on a massive attack on the middle of General Meade's Union lines.

After hours of cannon fire,
across one mile of fields to

My few photos do not do this
amazing display justice.

After Confederate soldiers crossed the Emmitsburg Road, they were cut down by canister shot (Cannon shells filled with metal balls that explode.  The encased balls hit the charging troops, shredding the men as they charged up the hill.)  As Confederate troops closed in on the stone wall at the top of the hill, they were cut down by rifle fire.  A  number of Confederate soldiers, commanded by General Lewis Armisteadclimb over the stone wall at the ridge line.  Fighting was hand to hand. Rifles were used as clubs.  Stones from the wall were hurled at the enemy and used to bash opponents.  Union troops pushed the Confederate attackers back over the stone wall.

Exhausted soldiers began to disengage.  Confederate soldiers started to fall back.  General Lee, and the Army of Northern Virginia, were denied victory in Gettysburg.  General Meade and the Army of the Potomac was badly beaten up by the three days of fighting.  The Union Army would follow Lee's Army, in heavy rains, south to Virginia in the following days and weeks.

Adam, Eric and I viewed the National Military Park's Electronic Map that showed the progress of the grueling battle during Adam's visit 23 years ago.  He feels this Diorama, with trees, fence lines, stone walls, troops, horses, canons and caissons  does a much better job of providing information on the fighting that occurred here.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Northern & Southern Armies Approach Gettysburg on June 30, 1863

As the Civil War passed into its second year, the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia was on a roll....  General Robert E. Lee and his men were successful in numerous battles.  The  Union Army of the Potomac, better supplied and financed, was losing and President Abraham Lincoln was swapping out Generals, trying to find the man who would be victorious and help end the Civil War.

Following the Confederate victory at Chancellorsville, Virginia, General Lee used the Blue Ridge Mountains in early June to hide the Army of Northern Virginia's movements north from Virginia into Pennsylvania.  General Lee planned to win a battle on Northern soil and force the Union to sue for peace.

The Confederate Army would forage for food and goods in the plentiful North for the Army, and to send south to Virginia.

As the Southern Army "disappeared," Northern Calvary was sent out to locate them and report. General Buford and the First Division of Union Cavalry located the marching troops in Pennsylvania.

On June 28, General George Meade was put command of the Army of Northern Virginia.  He had a lot of work ahead of him...

The Southern Army was found and their movements were reported to command.

Scanning the ground from the
cupola at the Lutheran Seminary
on June 30, 1863, General Buford 
made the decision to meet the
Confederate Army here.

General Buford sent of  the Confederate troops massing near Gettysburg to General Meade. The stage was set for the upcoming battle.

Northern and Southern Armies rushed to Gettysburg and battle plans were prepared....

Thursday, June 22, 2017

And We're Off... Southwest to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Eric, Adam & I are on the
road... heading southwest to
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

This is our son, Adam's, belated 35th birthday gift.  We waited one month for Gettysburg National Military Park's jam packed summer schedule of interpretive Ranger Led Tours.

Bands of rain move up the
drives west on Interstate 88.

"Cloudlets" linger on the
mountainsides as the rain

I like taking pictures of

Eric pulls into a Rest Stop,
next to the Kreider Farms
tractor trailer.

It's a quick stop...  We swap seats and I drive off.

Eric takes command of
the camera...

The signature shot of
his feet propped up
on the dashboard.

Frankentree in the mist...

This disguised cell tower
fools no one.

We always get a shot of this "out sized," man-made tree on our westward drive on I-88.

It's construction season.

Pennsylvania Welcomes You

I change lanes to follow

We stop for fuel at the
Flying J Travel Plaza
in New Milford...

... & continue south on
Interstate 81 towards

Bridge supports in a bag...

Eric gets this shot as we
cross a bridge that's
 being repaired.

He snaps this photo for me.

When I was a little girl, I
thought this type of high
voltage tower looked like a
giant angry mouse.

Traffic is getting heavier as we approach Harrisburg.  It's time to swap drivers again.

Eric covers the last
leg of the trip to

Here's another "must take photo" 
of the bridge crossing the

This bridge shows up over &
over again on this blog.

Our drive takes us south

Gettysburg is just
24 miles away.

We pass farms.

Park's Visitor Center will
be the first stop of our
multi day tour of the

We arrive at Gettysburg

Eric and I stayed here in April, 2015.  It's just south of the National Military Park and a great home base for our visits.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Eric's Photography @ The Stewart's Shop on Broadway in Schenectady

Spoiler Alert:  It's marvelous!

Eric often walks past this Stewart's on Upper Broadway in Schenectady.

Today he came home with these photos...

                       This Polyphemus Moth was sitting on the mulch at the front of the store.

This large moth is commonly seen across the United States.

It moved to the shade the side of the building....

I think the angle of the photo is lovely.

Here's the cropped image of the moth's antennae & 
its sturdy looking legs.

Shameful bragging...  Eric captured the moth's beauty and structure beautifully.

Change Is Afoot... Our Living Room Gets a Make Over

Eric's Euro Recliner &
the Couch in the
motorhome's living room.

They sit opposite our television on our buffet and our dining room table.

The colorful Serape covers
a 13 year old couch that
has become quite worn.

Not clearly seen in the photos: A repeatedly stained living room rug.  That's OK with me.

Eric and I went shopping and this is what we brought home....

Two Wall-Away Recliners
& an area rug

We lost some seating in
the living room.

Turning the driver and passenger seats around helps make up for this and everyone gets a comfy place to sit.

Draper High School Transforms into Draper Lofts Apartments in Rotterdam, New York

Six weeks makes a big difference at the former Draper High School in Rotterdam.

This entrance has Welcome signs.

Draper Lofts Apartments is booking
appointments to tour its model 
apartment & signing leases with
interested visitors.

The parking lot on this section of the property is paved and striped.

I have enjoyed walking here
to watch the building & its
grounds be re-purposed.

This small area is framed
for a concrete pour.

It will become a section
of sidewalk.

The covered fences around
this section of the building
are gone.

The light pole and lamp have not yet installed.

The area of the building that
includes the gym remains
an active construction zone. 

Earth moving equipment is
still in use.

Covered fencing stretches
around the corner... 

I look forward to seeing 
this portion of the building
rehabilitated for new use.

Come by for a tour and see what this section of Rotterdam, adjacent to the Bellevue section of Schenectady has to offer its residents.