17 July 2006 by Published in: General News 2 comments

I’m writing this from a Fairfield Inn in Dover, Delaware. I’m here because I spoke to the Central Delaware Civil War Roundtable tonight. It was quite an interesting evening.

A couple of weeks ago, I was asked for a photo, as the CWRT apparently placed something in the local newspaper, which ran the photo with the piece. One of my high school classmates–whom I haven’t seen in nearly twenty years, but who lives and works here, spotted it. She had another obligation tonight and couldn’t come hear me talk, but she wrote me a nice note and left it at the meeting place for me. I was taken aback when I was told that there was a note for me there, and it really kind of blew me away that she took the time to do that. What a pleasant surprise!

Then, after my talk, I got an even bigger surprise. One of the members of the group came up to me after the talk and asked whether I would recognize the name if he told me that his great-great grandparents had been married by S. L. Gracey. That got my attention. Samuel L. Gracey was the regimental chaplain of the 6th Pennsylvania Cavalry, and he wrote the 1868 regimental history of the unit.

The fellow’s ancestor was a member of Co. A of the Lancers, and was married by Chaplain Gracey after the war. The fellow then pulled out a photo. It was a photo of the annual reunion of the veterans of the regiment–usually conducted at Gettysburg–from September 29, 1912, taken in front of the rocks at Devil’s Den. There were only a couple of dozen of them left 49 years after the battle, and it was really a spectactular photograph. He shared his ancestor’s story with me, and then really blew me away–he offered to scan the reunion photo and gave me permission to include it in the new regimental history.

Needless to say, that made my night.

It never ceases to amaze me when I think of the generosity of the people that I’ve met over the years in doing this work. So many neat things have been given to me by folks and this is yet another example of that. I understand why the academics among us resist the idea of speaking to CWRT’s for free, but finds like this make it worthwhile for me. I’m so glad I came here, even if it does mean getting up at 5:15 tomorrow morning to make my flight home…. 🙂

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Comments

  1. Randy Sauls
    Tue 18th Jul 2006 at 10:16 am

    Eric:

    What a great story. You just never know what will happen or who you’ll meet when you speak to a group like that. The photo is obviously reward enough for your time! Never occurred to me to charge a fee for speaking. I get as much out of the experience as the audience most times.

    Randy

  2. Tue 18th Jul 2006 at 10:49 am

    Thanks, Randy. And the best part is that the publisher will find a place for it in the book.

    Eric

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