Month:

June, 2011

And just for fun, I give you the Ulric Dahlgren bobblehead. I gotta git me one of these….

Here is the official press release issued by the Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau (with the blurb from article on Dahlgren in the Gettysburg Campaign excised):

Media Release

Contact: Hagerstown-Washington County CVB, 301-791-3246

Hagerstown Suns, 301-791-6266

For Immediate Release:

Hagerstown-Washington County CVB and Hagerstown Suns Unveil “Captain Ulric Dahlgren” Bobblehead; Hero of Battle of Hagerstown to be Given Away at July 9th Home Game

HAGERSTOWN, MD — The Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau will present Captain Ulric Dahlgren bobbleheads to the first 1,000 fans arriving at the Hagerstown Suns’ 7:05 p.m. game against the West Virginia Power on Saturday, July 9.

Gates will open at Municipal Stadium at 6:05 p.m., and the Suns advise fans to arrive early, as the supply of bobbleheads is not expected to last long.

The bobblehead commemorates the famous Civil War officer known as “The Hero of Hagerstown.” Captain Ulric Dahlgren was the son of the well-known Union Rear-Admiral John Adolf Dahlgren. On July 6th, 1863, then-Captain Dahlgren led a charge of Union Cavalry against numerically superior Confederate forces in the streets of Hagerstown. The hand-to-hand and fierce fighting exemplified the bravery and gallantry of Ulric Dahlgren.

The new bobblehead was unveiled at a press conference at the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau’s Visitor Welcome Center.

“The Convention and Visitors Bureau is very proud to be the financial sponsor of this bobblehead giveaway,” Bureau President and CEO Tom Riford said. “With the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War upon us, we felt that this particular bobblehead would be unique, and a reminder of the struggles endured in Hagerstown during July 1863.”

Riford announced that a direct descendent of Ulric Dahlgren will be throwing out the first ceremonial pitch at the July 9th baseball game at Municipal Stadium, “Ulric Dahlgren, IV and Ulric Dahlgren, V have agreed to represent their famous ancestor’s legacy, and throw out the first pitch at the opening ceremony.”

Captain Ulric Dahlgren is the sixth figure to be honored by the Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) with a bobblehead giveaway at Municipal Stadium, joining General George Washington, author Nora Roberts, MSO music director Elizabeth Schulze, General Abner Doubleday, and Hagerstown’s symbol Little Heiskell.

“It is appropriate that our sixth annual CVB-sponsored bobblehead be of such an important and historic figure from our city’s past,” Riford said. “Just as Hagerstown fielded the first minor league baseball team in Maryland, the CVB is proud to make the Hagerstown Suns the first professional baseball team ever to give away a Captain Ulric Dahlgren bobblehead.” The figure is historically accurate, and is dressed in the uniform of a Union Captain from 1863, complete with sword.

“This project has been more than eight months in the making,” according to Hagerstown Suns General Manager Bill Farley. “We’ve been working very hard with the CVB to make this bobblehead ready for the July 9th home game.”

“The Suns are proud to partner with the Convention and Visitors Bureau on the 2011 Ulric Dahlgren Bobblehead giveaway. We hope our fans enjoy adding another historical piece of Suns memorabilia to their collections.”

The game is expected to be a sell out. The Hagerstown Suns management urges people to purchase tickets as soon as possible.

The Hagerstown Suns play at Municipal Stadium in Hagerstown, MD and are a Class “A” affiliate of the Washington Nationals. Visit the Suns on the web at www.hagerstownsuns.com.

The Hagerstown Suns baseball team is a member of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau. For more information, see; www.marylandmemories.com. Washington County is part of the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area, and the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area. For more information see: www.heartofthecivilwar.org and also www.hallowedground.org.

Don’t forget: July 6th Premiere of “Valor in the Streets: The Battle of Hagerstown.” See: http://tinyurl.com/6b46kuk.

Don’t forget: Bobblehead Give-Away Night: July 9th at Municipal Stadium.

About Ulric Dahlgren (compiled by historian Steve Bockmiller, from multiple sources):

US Army Colonel Ulric Dahlgren was the second son of Rear-Admiral John Adolf and Mary Dahlgren, and was born April 3, 1842, in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

Completing his school-days in 1858, it was decided that his vocation was civil engineering, and, as he had received much practical instruction from his father, he was in 1859 employed to survey some tracts of wild land in Mississippi. In September, 1860, in obedience to his father’s wishes, he entered a Philadelphia law-office, but amid the rush of events which followed the inauguration of President Lincoln he desired to serve his country, and July 24, 1861, he was attached to a naval expedition from the Washington Yard to assist in the defense of Alexandria, Virginia. Ulric then reluctantly resumed his law studies, with the promise that he would be recalled when the hour of action should come.

During the winter of 1861-62 he was one of an association of young men who formed a light artillery company in Philadelphia, at the same time pursuing his studies.”

On the 26th of May, 1862, young Dahlgren, who was then just twenty years old, was sent to Harper’s Ferry, in charge of a battery of navy howitzers, and on the 29th was sent back to Washington to obtain needed supplies of ammunition. Appointed a captain in the army, he returned to Harper’s Ferry the next morning in time to take part in the final repulse of the rebels.

Captain Dahlgren was attached to the staff of General Sigel, and later the staff of Army of the Potomac commander Major General Joseph Hooker.

General Sigel desired to make Captain Dahlgren chief of artillery of his corps, and in a note addressed to the governor of Pennsylvania, endorsed by President Lincoln and Admirals Smith and Foote, spoke of his aide as a “young officer of merit and usefulness, who has already distinguished himself and reflected much credit on the service.”

Captain Dahlgren’s led sixty men on a raid into Fredericksburg, Virginia to disrupt Confederate operations there and held the town for three hours against a force of Confederates that outnumbered his 5 or 10 to 1, and then withdrew with thirty-one prisoners and their horses and accoutrements.

During the Gettysburg campaign he entered Greencastle and captured several very important dispatches, and then rode at break-neck speed through thirty miles of enemy-held territory to Gettysburg. Some historians have argued one of the letters revealed that General Robert E. Lee did not have the large force at Gettysburg that Union intelligence officers had estimated, and that General Meade then decided to stay and fight a third day. The third day of the Battle of Gettysburg resulted in a Union victory.

He was given one hundred men to operate with, and July 4, 1863, he attacked a brigade of Confederate cavalry and captured Greencastle. On his way back dashed into a rebel train, destroyed one hundred and seventy-six wagons, captured two hundred prisoners, three hundred horses, and one piece of artillery.

Confederates held Hagerstown, and were ransacking the town, and terrorizing the residents. In the July 6, 1863 Battle of Hagerstown, Captain Dahlgren, on horseback and in plain site to every enemy soldier, led a charge of 20 dismounted cavalrymen up Potomac Street toward Confederates emplaced at the present-day Zion Reformed Church. When he reached Franklin Street (at City Hall) his right foot and ankle was blasted by a shot from hiding Confederate soldiers. He was wounded in the foot by gunfire from the area of today’s Pioneer Hook and Ladder Company on West Franklin Street. It was said that his charge up Potomac Street was of such a heroic nature that Confederates ran from his fury, and he fought on even after being horrifically wounded. He avenged a dear friend’s life, and afterwards “no man could withstand him.”

Sent to his father’s home in Washington, gangrene set in and his foot had to be amputated. On July 24th he received his commission as colonel, directly from President Abraham Lincoln.

Returning to the field on February 18, 1864, he was given a command of five hundred picked men to join an expedition to release the Union prisoners at Richmond, Virginia. Colonel Dahlgren drove the enemy’s pickets into their works around Richmond, but the country being aroused he could not make the junction with Kilpatrick, and in endeavoring to return to the Union lines he was ambushed, and killed. Orders were allegedly found on his body to burn Richmond and capture and kill President Davis and his cabinet. This became an international incident. It may have inspired John Wilkes Booth to begin his plot against Abraham Lincoln, and Admiral Dahlgren spent the rest of his life trying to clear his son’s name.

Colonel Dahlgren’s remains were secured at the close of the war, and, after lying in state in the City Hall of Washington and Independence Hall of Philadelphia, were buried with distinguished honors at Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia. After the war, his step-mother, Madeline Vinton Dahlgren purchased the stone house on the National Road at the top of South Mountain and maintained it as a summer home for many years. That stone home is now the Historic Old South Mountain Inn restaurant. Mrs. Dahlgren constructed the Dahlgren Chapel across the street from the restaurant, which stands to this day. It honors both the Admiral, and the heroic son, Colonel Ulric Dahlgren.

Sadly, I will miss the game–we should be somewhere in southern Virginia about the time the first pitch is thrown by either Ric Dahlgren or his son Ulric V, but I’ve got a line on one of these little beauties, which will have a place of honor in my library at home.

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As part of my Maryland events related to the retreat from Gettysburg, I am also participating in the Retreat Through Williamsport: Civil War Weekend being conducted in Williamsport, Maryland next Friday night and Saturday, July 8-9. I will be part of the opening events on Friday evening, and will be signing books and also speaking on Saturday from 9-2 (after which time, it’s off to a week at the beach on the Fort Fisher battlefield in beautiful Kure Beach, NC). I will have copies of about half of my book titles with me, and will be happy to sign one for you.

Here’s the schedule of events:

Friday, July 8, 2011: 7p.m
7:00 pm Opening Event “Meet & Greet” Place – The Barn at Springfield Farm
Artist & Re-enactors. Music Performance by Susquahannah Travelers and Maryland Division Sons of Confederate Veterans Color Guard. Civil War on Canvas by Artist, Bill Davis

Saturday, July 9, 2011:
First half of day – the Barn at Springfield Farm – the Susquahannah Travelers will be playing throughout camps
9a.m. Camps, Sutlers, Book Signing & Meet the Authors, Displays
10a.m. Steve French, Author – Imboden’s Brigade in the Gettysburg Campaign – Wagoner’s Fight
11:00 Reenactment – “Foraging for their Lives” Confederate / Union skirmish
12p.m. Roger Keller, Author & Speaker – Music of the Civil War
12:30 – 1:30 Susquehanna Travellers Performance
1p.m. Eric Wittenberg, Author – One Continuous Fight – The Retreat from Gettysburg and the Pursuit of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, July 4-14, 1863
2p.m. Demonstration Arms and Artillery

Events move to Cushwa Basin/River Bottom – the Susquahannah Travelers wil be playing at Canal
3p.m. Tim Snyder, Author – C&O Canal during the Civil War
3:30 – 4:30 Susquehanna Travellers Performance
4p.m. Karlton Smith, NPS Ranger, Civil War Medicine and the Gettysburg Campaign
5p.m. Ted Alexander, Author & Speaker – The Retreat Through Williamsport
6p.m. Williamsport Civil War History Walking Tour – Start Cushwa Basin
8p.m. Campfire at River Bottom Park with Storyteller – Matthew Dodd, and music by the Susquahanna Travelers

Nightfall: Walk through historic Riverview Cemetery under candlelight and luminare

Sunday, July 10, 2011:
9a.m. Camps are open from 9 a.m. till Noon
10a.m. March to Falling Waters Start Cushwa Basin
NPS Ranger: Curt Gaul
Meet and hear from Confederate and Union Reenactors along the 5mile hike ending at Falling Waters.
Reservations for 120 participants (301) 582-0813
Bus provided by C&O Canal Association for return trip to Cushwa Basin

1p.m. til 4p.m. Town Museum will be open at Springfield Barn

The Springfield Farm is located on Springfield Lane in Williamsport. You can find driving directions here.

I hope to see some of you there!

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Last fall, I was asked to be a talking head in a documentary film on the July 6, 1863 Battle of Hagerstown, a critical moment during the retreat from Gettysburg. Whomever controlled Hagerstown controlled the direct route to Williamsport, Maryland and the Potomac River crossings needed by Robert E. Lee. In a nasty fight, the Confederates defeated Judson Kilpatrick, and Ulric Dahlgren suffered the wound that cost him a leg in the process.

Here’s the trailer for the film:

Valor in the Streets: The Battle of Hagerstown from City of Hagerstown, MD on Vimeo.

The film is about to premiere on the anniversary of the battle. Here’s the press release:

CITY OF HAGERSTOWN AND CVB INVITES YOU TO PREMIERE OF NEW DOCUMENTARY
July 6: New Documentary to Premiere About Battle of Hagerstown

(Hagerstown, MD) — On July 6, the City of Hagerstown and the Hagerstown-Washington County CVB will host a premiere showing of the newly completed documentary about the July 6, 1863 cavalry battle that took place on the streets of downtown Hagerstown.

Entitled “Valor in the Streets: The Battle of Hagerstown”, the premiere will take place at 7:00 pm at the Bridge of Life Center, 14 South Potomac Street.

Hosted by national television news personality Kelly Wright, the 30-minute documentary uses staged footage, historic photos and art, computer mapping and interviews with noted historians to relate the human interest stories that occurred during one of the largest urban cavalry battles of the Civil War, emphasizing the interaction between the soldiers of both sides and the local residents.

Tickets are $5 each and can be reserved by contacting the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau at 301-791-3246 extension 10, in person at the Visitor Center (located just off Public Square), or by email at welcomecenter@marylandmemories.com.

If not sold out in advance, tickets will be available at the door. The premiere showing is expected to sell out.

The Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau is sponsoring the premiere venue and the reception afterwards at the Bridge of Life Center.

This project was made possible through grants from the Hagerstown Trust Division of The Columbia Bank, the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the W.A. Hazel Construction Company.

The documentary was produced by Steven R. Bockmiller.

Washington County is home to five National Parks, eight State Parks, more than thirty museums, a minor league baseball team, a world-class professional symphony orchestra, more than twenty-one historic stone arch bridges, and is ranked first in Maryland for retail opportunities. For more information, see: www.marylandmemories.com.

The Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization whose mission is to help attract visitors to Hagerstown and Washington County. The CVB helps to create vibrant growth for the local economy by promoting, developing, and expanding the local visitor industry. Washington County is part of the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area (www.heartofthecivilwar.org), and the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area (http://hallowedground.org). Washington County is also part of the Quad-State Tourism Coalition, a four-state tourism group along I-81. For more information, see: www.quadstate81.com. The Hagerstown-Washington County CVB was recently awarded the Maryland Cultural Heritage Tourism Award by Governor Martin O’Malley.

Susan and I will be attending the premiere, and I will be selling books afterward. Tickets are available by e-mailing welcomecenter@marylandmemories.com, or by telephone, 301-791-3246, x 10. I hope to see some of you there!

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Craig Swain visited the Brandy Station battlefield yesterday, and took some current photos of the condition of Lake Troilo. Those photos can be found here.

The lake continues to exist while waiting for the consultant approved by the Corps of Engineers to develop a remediation plan. Since the water can’t drain, it’s now more of a marsh than a lake, but this ugly scar remains squarely in the middle of the battlefield.

Speaking of ugly scars, there’s an excellent article about the epic failure of the Brandy Station Foundation to do its duty and preserve the battlefield in the current (July) issue of CIvil War News (which is not yet on the website but will be shortly). In that article appeaser-in-chief Joseph McKinney makes the preposterous and just plain wrong claim that most of the Brandy Station battlefield has been preserved, so what’s the big deal over the pond? Nothing could possibly be more wrong. There are still thousands of acres of core battlefield land at Brandy Station that remain unpreserved and unprotected, and this ridiculous statement by the appeaser-in-chief demonstrates that he really has no interest whatsoever in actually preserving this battlefield. McKinney’s idiotic statement suggests that not only does he not know that, he doesn’t care.

I can’t think of a more egregious abandonment of the fundamental duties of a battlefield preservation organization than that committed by the Brandy Station Foundation. It has abrogated its sacred trust to preserve and protect this battlefield, and those of us who care about the battlefield simply cannot let them get away with it. We need to continue to hold their feet to the fire since they refuse to do the right thing and resign.

Thanks to the Civil War Trust for its strong statement in support of our efforts to continue to preserve and protect this sacred ground from the likes of Tony Troilo and his henchmen on the board of the Brandy Station Foundation.

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My friends at Savas-Beatie, LLC have become the sixth and final sponsor of this blog. I’ve done five books with Ted Savas now, and it’s a partnership that I value a great deal. I’m pleased to have Savas-Beatie as a sponsor of this blog. Please check out the S-B website–you will find some great books by some very talented authors there. I’m pleased and honored have Savas-Beatie as a sponsor of this blog.

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These nimrods just don’t know when to quit. In a colossal waste of time, money, effort, and judicial resources, they have now appealed the decision of the Pennsylvania Gaming Commission to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, whining that the Commission was wrong in making the right decision. From today’s issue of The Hanover Sun:

Mason-Dixon appeals slots decision
Gettysburg-area casino applicant may be headed for state Supreme Court
By TIM PRUDENTE

The Evening Sun
Posted: 06/20/2011 05:28:55 PM EDT

The Mason-Dixon Resort & Casino is appealing the licensing decision by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board in state Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court prothonotary’s office confirmed late Monday afternoon that the Gettysburg-area applicant submitted a legal appeal to the board’s April decision to award a $5 million slots license to a resort in southwestern Pennsylvania.

“Mason-Dixon contends that the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board misapplied the Gaming Act and state law, deprived Mason-Dixon of its due process rights, and disregarded or failed to consider the evidence presented,” said Mason-Dixon spokesman David La Torre.

At this time, details of the appeal are confidential because it contains the financial information of Mason-Dixon investors, according to the prothonotary’s office. This likely includes Gettysburg businessman David LeVan and partner Joseph Lashinger Jr.

Mason-Dixon had competed against three other applicants for the state’s last available slots license, which was awarded to the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Fayette County.

The two other failed applicants, the Fernwood Hotel and Resort in the Poconos and the Park Inn Harrisburg West, confirmed last week that they will not appeal the decision.

The appeal has now been sent to the Supreme Court’s Pittsburgh office for review, according to the prothonotary’s office. It might take the court a week to review the appeal before a redacted version can be made public.

After that, a briefing schedule will be established and the Gaming Control Board will submit to the courts a legal defense of its decision. Officials behind the Nemacolin application also have the right to defend themselves as the most suitable candidate for the license.

It could take more than a month for the briefs to be submitted and reviewed. Then, the matter could be argued before the court. The Supreme Court will hold a session in Philadelphia in September, Pittsburgh in October, and Harrisburg in November.

“This (appeal) is a colossal waste of time and money for the investors, the state, the taxpayers and our entire community,” said No Casino Gettysburg organizer Susan Star Paddock.

Historians and preservationists have objected to the proposal because it would be located about 0.8 miles from the southern border of the Gettysburg battlefield. Many Adams County residents, though, support the plan because of the potential economic benefits.

“Because of these investors’ irrational obsession, our community and our nation may be dragged through another several years of conflict,” Paddock said.

Six of the seven members of the gaming board voted against Mason-Dixon and for Nemacolin. The lone dissenter, Commissioner Kenneth Trujillo, said he supported the Fernwood Hotel, citing its proximity to markets in New York and New Jersey.

Although Mason-Dixon has received little support from the board, La Torre has said a successful appeal must only show that facts or law used by the board is incorrect or that the board acted in an “arbitrary or capricious manner in ignoring evidence it had.”

The announcement of the appeal comes two weeks after Mason-Dixon petitioned the gaming board to amend its Order and Adjudication, the legal document that will be used to defend the licensing decision in court.

Mason-Dixon argued this document should be amended to address concerns raised in a grand jury report, which found failures in the board’s licensing process years ago.

The following day, though, the board unanimously rejected this petition on the grounds that the grand jury report did not implicate any issues related to the licensing decision, according to the board.

Gaming experts have said even if Mason-Dixon filed an appeal it’s unlikely the board will overturn the ruling, as the Nemacolin resort has been called a “textbook example” of a slots applicant.

Since the licensing decision was made, gaming board officials have said they expected an appeal to be filed, as all past decisions have been challenged.

Still, the court has never overturned a decision.

LeVan, a former president and CEO at Conrail, has proposed converting the Eisenhower Inn & Conference Center on Emmitsburg Road into a gaming resort with 600 slot machines and 50 table games.

tprudente@eveningsun.com; 717-637-3736, ext. 163

Quit whining and give up already. Stop wasting time, money and scarce judicial resources, and accept the fact that putting a casino in Gettysburg is grossly disrespectful of the men who fought and died there, and the fact that the vast majority of the United States sees it that way too.

Perhaps the best solution is for the General Assembly to pass the bill making it illegal to put a casino within ten miles of Gettysburg. Perhaps that will FINALLY end this nonsensical whining.

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Every now and again, I wander off the reservation and post about something that has nothing to do with my historical work. Today is going to be one of those occasional wanderings off topic, as I would be remiss if I didn’t at least touch on the death of Clarence Clemons, The Big Man, yesterday. I hope you will forgive me for doing so.

Music has long played a very important role in my life. I have no musical talent whatsoever, but I have always loved music, and it has long been the soundtrack of my life. A big part of the soundtrack of my life has been the music of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. For reasons that I’ve never quite understood, Bruce’s blue-collar paeans to life have always deeply resonated with me. I first discovered the Boss at 14 in 1975, when his epic Born to Run was released. Playing a major role in the stories that fill “Born to Run” was the honking saxophone of the great Clarence Clemons.

As an example of how large a role the Boss and his music have played in my life, I spent the night before my first day of law school–in August 1984–attending a Springsteen concert in Washington, DC with my good friend Stuart Jones, and then drove all night to get back to Pittsburgh in time to get a couple of hours of fitful sleep before getting up to go to my first day of law school. I never got caught up on my rest again until after I took the bar exam three years later. I’ve had the good fortune of seeing the E Street Band perform live eight times in my life, and I now worry that there with Clarence’s passing, there will be no more such opportunities.

Bruce knew how much Clarence meant to the band and to the fans. He always introduced the Big Man last, and he acknowledged his importance in the song “Tenth Avenue Freezeout”, from Born to Run:

When the change was made uptown
And the big man joined the band
From the coastline to the city
All the little pretties raise their hands
I’m gonna sit back right easy and laugh
When scooter and the big man bust this city in half

In the fall of 1982, my senior year in college, I got to see Clarence’s own band, Clarence Clemons and the Red Bank Rockers, in a concert at Gettysburg College. The band featured Clarence, obviously, Max Weinberg, and most of the horn section of the Asbury Jukes, and it was a fun, rollicking night. After the show, I got to chat with Max and Clarence for a while, which was a great thrill. They were willing to talk to a couple of college kids, and we had a few laughs together. I will never forget their kindness to a couple of middle-class college students.

Clarence was not the greatest technical sax player, but he was larger than life, a huge star in his own right–as Bruce so often put it, he was the king of the universe. He was a gentle bear of a man at 6’4″, 270 pounds, with a large personality and an even larger stage presence. The eye naturally gravitated toward him, as he loved the limelight. Before long, it was obvious that, other than Bruce himself, Clarence was the one member of the E Street Band who was irreplaceable. Indeed, I cannot even begin to imagine hearing something like “Jungleland”–Clarence’s most famous and most epic solo, one that still gives me chills when I hear it today–without Clarence’s horn.

I can’t help but wonder whether Clarence’s untimely passing yesterday at the too-young age of 69 won’t mean the end of the E Street Band–I hope not, but as I said, I cannot imagine it without the Big Man’s outsized persona and his even bigger horn. For now, rest in peace, Clarence. Thank you for the memories, and thank you for filling such a large place in the soundtrack of my life. You will be missed.

It’s a sad day on E Street today…..

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I’m pleased and proud to announce that my friends at Patriots of the American Revolution (where I serve as the book review editor) have become sponsors of this blog. Please check out their excellent publication, which improves with every issue that’s published. Patriots has filled a gap in the market by making the story of the American Revolution accessible to the public. Welcome to Patriots as a sponsor of this blog!

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I’ve been going to Gettysburg since I was in third grade, and multiple times each year since 1994 or so. Over the course of all of those years, I have walked pretty much the entire battlefield multiple times, and I thought I had seen pretty much everything there was to see.

Every time that I think I’ve seen everything, I find something new. That happened again yesterday. While leading my Stuart’s Ride tour for the First Defenders Civil War Roundtable yesterday afternoon, I noticed something I had never noticed previously: that the Low Dutch Road, which borders East Cavalry Field to the east, intersects with Route 30. We finished up the tour at 5:15 or so, so I had some time to kill before meeting some friends for dinner in New Oxford. After doing some book browsing on Steinwehr Avenue, I decided to get from that part of Gettysburg to Route 30 by taking the Low Dutch Road, just to see if it might help me better understand the East Cavalry Field battle. I’d never been north of the park road on the Low Dutch Road, so I had no idea what to expect.

A couple of hundred yards north of the park road, I discovered a War Department marker I had never seen before. It marks the far right flank of the Union cavalry on East Cavalry Field, and discusses Capt. William E. Miller of the 3rd Pennsylvania Cavalry and his charge into the Confederate flank during the climactic part of the battle on East Cavalry Field. I had no clue that this marker even existed before yesterday. Neither, it turns out, did J. D. It was a new one on him too.

That’s the marker in the photo. I took that photo this morning with my Droid phone, and I regret that it’s a lousy photo. It’s a lousy photo from the combination of the fact that I’m a lousy photographer, poor lighting conditions for shooting pictures, and a not-so-hot cell phone camera. Next time, I will take a real camera with me and will get a real photo of this marker and will post it here. If it’s of interest, you can see the full-sized image of the marker by clicking on the smaller photo that you see here.

So, I found something completely new to me at Gettysburg this weekend. Just when I was getting really cynical about it, I gained new insight. I guess that’s why I keep going back…..

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Astonishingly, David LeVan and his other supporters have refused to give up the ghost on the Gettysburg casino. Instead of gracefully and graciously accepting defeat and moving on to some other more productive project, they’re now considering appealing the decision of the Pennsylvania Gaming Commission to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

From yesterday’s Gettysburg Times:

Pa. Gaming board: Casino decision stays

No reason given for denial. Appeal may be next.

Posted: Wednesday, June 8, 2011 12:14 pm | Updated: 12:45 pm, Thu Jun 9, 2011.

BY SCOT ANDREW PITZER Times Staff Writer

The state’s Gaming Control Board unanimously rejected a request Wednesday morning by Gettysburg-area casino developers to reconsider a licensing process that was called unfair and flawed.

As a result, investors behind the denied Mason Dixon Resort & Casino in Cumberland Township may appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Gaming Control Board spokesman Doug Harbach said the seven-member panel will release a written adjudication over the next week that will explain why it turned down the request.

The board voted unanimously Wednesday morning at the State Museum in Harrisburg, after an hour-long hearing

Mason Dixon spokesman David La Torre said following the board’s vote that his group is undecided over whether to file an appeal, but that one is “absolutely” under consideration.

An appeal would not be surprising, since every other licensing decision made by the state since gambling was legalized has been contested in court. The board awarded a slots license to the Nemacolin Resort (Woodlands Fayette) in mid-April over three competitors, including Gettysburg, and then issued its written explanation one month later. Only about a week remains until the appeal window closes.

“We are disappointed. This is a blow for transparency,” La Torre said after the board’s meeting in Harrisburg. La Torre cited a Grand Jury investigation that reviewed alleged deficiencies the Gaming Board’s licensing process. The report was not made public until after board awarded a casino license to Nemacolin, over Gettysburg and two other projects, prompting Mason Dixon investors to file the “petition for reconsideration” Tuesday.

“The grand jury report raised serious questions about how licenses were awarded in 2006,” explained La Torre. “The public is left no other option than to take the board’s word that it was different this time. The fact remains, Pennsylvania’s system for awarding gaming licenses is among the most secretive in the world.”

The Nemacolin Resort in southwest Pennsylvania cannot break ground on the casino until the appeals process concludes. Project spokesman Jeff Nobers said his group isn’t concerned about the recent legal action.

“They (Mason Dixon) are basing their petition on the Grand Jury report which in no manner mentions or refers to the awarding of the most recent Category 3 license to Nemacolin,” said Nobers. “The issues raised in this report are all prior to this process.”

No Casino Gettysburg spokesman Susan Star Paddock said Mason Dixon is “grasping at straws” and “continuing to drag our community” into what she called a “hopeless and destructive request.”

Gaming advocate Richard Kitner, of Pro Casino Adams County said his group has “supported Mason Dixon in the past and we continue to support Mason Dixon now,” regardless of the outcome in the appeals process.

State gambling regulators chose the 2,000-acre Nemacolin Resort for the license in western Pennsylvania, calling it the “best fit” for the license, with the potential to generate the most new revenue for the state, as it draws 350,000 visitors annually, and is located the farthest from other Pennsylvania casinos. Opposition was cited in denying the Gettysburg-area project, although its proximity to the boundaries of Gettysburg National Military Park was not a factor in the decision. The casino would have been managed by Penn National Gaming.

Groups in the Poconos and Mechanicsburg that were also denied the license are still deciding whether to file an appeal.

Give it up. Simply accept the fact that the bulk of the world, including the Gaming Commission, thinks that Gettysburg is the LAST place where a casino should be placed. Get it through your thick, stupid skulls already.

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