25 June 2007 by Published in: General musings 23 comments

I got to Gettysburg at 1:00 on Friday afternoon. I hooked up with pal Dwayne Siskey, and we met Dave Roth, the publisher of Blue & Gray magazine at the visitor’s center. We loaded into Dave’s truck and headed down to the south end of the field, so I could show Dave the traditional interpretation of Farnsworth’s Charge. Dave shot a bunch of photos for it and some in the Wheatfield for another article, and we then headed up to Carlisle. We shot some photos for my piece on Stuart’s shelling of Carlisle, including a couple at my alma mater, Dickinson College. We also found a house just behind the campus that was struck by one of Breathed’s shells. We headed back to Gettysburg via York Springs and Heidlersburg, where I showed Dave one of my very favorite obscure spots, where Rhodes’ Division camped on the night of June 30, 1863. It was a spot that Dave had never seen, which was the best part. We got back to Carlisle and said goodbye to Dave, who headed back here to Columbus. Dwayne and I had dinner at the Gingerbread Man, and I then gave him a quick and dirty tour of East Cavalry Field. We stopped by Stan O’Donnell’s mansion by East Cavalry Field and had a beer with him before going to the bookstore at the Farnsworth House, and then on to the Reliance Mine Saloon. When we got to the Mine, I was pleasantly surprised to find old pal Blake Magner there. Blake’s done the maps for seven of my books, and he’s a guy I really enjoy working with. I had no idea Blake would be there, so that was fun. Randy Sauls, who is a regular reader of this blog, also walked in with several of his pards. Randy recognized me, and we sat and talked for quite a while. I enjoyed that. J. D. showed up about 9:00, and we all hung out until about 11:30. We then went back to Dwayne’s to try to get some sleep.

Saturday morning, we got up early, had breakfast at The Avenue (no visit to Gettysburg is complete without at least one breakfast at The Avenue), and headed south. When we got to Westminster, we couldn’t find the site of encampment, as it wasn’t marked. The event was nice, but it was poorly organized. Nobody knew anything of what was going on, and we had to figure it out on our own. We finally found the site, set up our display, and waited. And waited. And waited. We sold six books the whole time we were there. It didn’t even pay for the gasoline for the trip.

Two Authors

J. D. and me talking at the Corbit’s Charge event. We had about ten people listening to us.

Another shot of the two authors

More of Dwayne’s good camera work while we were discussng our book.
The passage of the horses was a major distraction. For me, too.

4th Virginia Cavalry

There was a very nice ceremony honoring the men who participated in Corbit’s Charge. The bulk of the Confederate fighting was done by the 4th Virginia Cavalry of Fitz Lee’s Brigade. Nine reenactors of the 4th Virginia participated in the ceremony to honor the brave men who fought there. They were quite good–authentic and well disciplined.

The Honor Guard

The local SCV chapter provided an honor guard that featured a bag piper and drummers. This photo shows that honor guard.

The Corbit Charge Monument

Last June, a handsome monument was dedicated to Corbit’s Charge. The monument sits in the small veterans’ park across the street from the Carroll County Courthouse. Here it is after the wreath laying ceremony.

A 21 gun salute

Two lieutenants of the 4th Virginia Cavalry were killed during the fighting that followed Corbit’s Charge. One of them, Lt. John William Murray, still rests in the Episcopal churchyard across the street from the courthouse. There was a wreath laying ceremony at his grave that featured a 21-gun salute by the reenactors of the 4th Virginia Cavalry. Here they are firing that salute.

Tom Legore

Local historian Tom LeGore has dedicated more than 40 years to the study of Corbit’s Charge. He’s the one responsible for the monument, and Tom is also responsible for the commemoration of the charge. This is J. D. and me with Tom by Lt. Murray’s grave.

Here’s a shot of Lt. Murray’s grave after the wreath laying ceremony.

We left Westminster at 4:00. As I said, we sold six books the whole day. From a financial standpoint, the day was a disaster, big time. Another author sold only two. However, his trip was much shorter, so it cost him less, and he lost less. I was glad we got to see the ceremony, and we also had a good opportunity to hang out with two old friends, Alan Shikhvarg and Gerry Mayers, who were there as their alter egos, Lt. Gen. James Longstreet and Maj. Fairfax, who was Longstreet’s adjutant. Pete Huey and his lovely wife also made the trip over to see us, and brought us some really cool stuff pertaining to his great-grandfather, Bvt. Brig. Gen. Pennock Huey. It was great to meet Pete and to see just a small percentage of what he’s got.

We drove back up to Gettysburg via Taneytown, where we saw Meade’s and Hancock’s headquarters on the night of June 30. When we got to Gettysburg, we stopped by Dean Shultz’s house for a while. Dean was hosting a pig roast for the Gettysburg College Civil War Institute. We visited for a while, and I got to catch up with regular reader Pete Vermilyea. From there, it was off to dinner at the Cozy Inn in Thurmont, Maryland. J. D. has a hollow leg, and he can really pack it away. Consequently, buffets are very popular with him, and this one was no exception. From there, it was back to Mine for a while. Although the day was not a financial success, it was nevertheless a good one.

Sunday morning, it was off to Antietam. Time was short, so we stopped at McDonald’s for breakfast. I ran into Rick Carlile, who gave me the last set of letters for my history of the Lancers and his friend Craig, so we visited with them for a while. They were in town for the annual relic show at the Eisenhower Convention Center. We got there about 9:30 for a general overview tour. We had what may be a first: a meeting of four Civil War bloggers. If you click on the picture, you will be taken to a larger view.

The Four Bloggers

Here are the four bloggers, from left to right: Ranger Mannie Gentile, me, J. D., and Dimitri Rotov. Dimitri has written up his account of the tour, and so has J. D..

The Dunker Church

Mannie gives a killer overview tour. I’ve spent a good amount of time at Antietam and know the battle reasonably well, but I was impressed by his tour.

This is the Dunker Church from the Cornfield.

The West Woods

Union Second Corps monuments at the West Woods.

The Sunken Road

The Sunken Road.

The McKinley Monument

This is my all-time favorite Civil War monument on any battlefield: the monument to Sgt. William McKinley, for bravely serving coffee to the troops under fire and without orders. It’s really the silliest monument ever, but it’s also testimony to the incredible popularity of McKinley at the time of his assassination.

Burnsides Bridge

A shot of Burnside’s Bridge from above.

At the end of the tour, Dimitri left us–he had stuff to do and had to take off. It was great to meet him, and I think his idea of a blogger get-together is a great one. Dwayne, J. D., and I then headed down to Harpers Ferry for a quick visit. We had lunch and wandered around for a couple of hours. Given the gorgeous weather, it’s no surprise that the place was jam packed.

Jefferson Rock

This is the Jefferson Rock on Loudoun Heights, overlooking the Shenandoah River. Pres. Thomas Jefferson stood on this rock, which is the origin of the name.

The Shenandoah River

Here’s the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers near the arsenal at Harpers Ferry.

JD and Dwayne

This is a shot of J. D. and Dwayne at the Jefferson Rock.

JD and me!

J. D. and me at the Jefferson Rock, with the Shenandoah River behind and below us.

We then headed back to the Antietam visitor’s center, where I had left the car, and I hit the road for home.

Many thanks to Dwayne for being a good sport, a good host, and for doing an excellent job as official photographer for the weekend.

It was a very intense weekend, with a LOT packed into a very short period of time. No wonder I’m tired tonight. ๐Ÿ™‚

Scridb filter


  1. Steve Basic
    Mon 25th Jun 2007 at 10:11 pm


    Great photos, and am glad you included the monument to the McKinley Convenience Store on the Antietam Battlefield.:)


  2. Mon 25th Jun 2007 at 10:44 pm


    I’m glad you liked the photos. It was a LOT packed into a short period of time.


  3. Lanny Thomas Tanton
    Tue 26th Jun 2007 at 6:16 am

    Dear Eric,

    Thanks for the travelogue and pictures. Living in central Texas, I am a long way from Gettysburg and the rest of the Eastern Theatre of the War. Therefore I enjoyed revisiting places through your words and pictures.

    Best wishes always,

  4. Stan O'Donnell
    Tue 26th Jun 2007 at 6:43 am

    Great to see you again Eric, and very nice to meet you Dwayne!

    One of my chambermaids spotted you two from the 4th floor of the mansion. Luckily, I was within radio contact of my head landscaper at the time. Fortunately, he was able to drive the Land-Rover out to the West Gate and allow you two to enter the compound. (Those Doberman’s are nasty, huh?)

    Tell JD that I sincerely apologize about him being denied entry.

    That was just a mix up by my Chief Security Agent. He thought JD was actually Phil Mickelson in drag. By the time he realized that JD was right-handed I was out of beer anyways.

    Thanks for stopping by,
    Master Stanley

  5. Randy Sauls
    Tue 26th Jun 2007 at 9:39 am

    If you’re going to make an exhausting whirlwind trip you couldn’t have chosen better locations. G’burg, Harper’s Ferry and the Antietam area are what I consider collectively as “God’s Country”. History, beautiful terrain, great architecture, and of course, the Mine…who could ask for anything more? Incredible weather too. It was great to meet you, J.D. and everyone else. Back to the grind now. Oh well, there’s always the next trip!

  6. Tue 26th Jun 2007 at 9:43 am

    You too, Randy – terrific meeting you! I don’t think we could have had better locations at which to blow a weekend.

    Stan, next time I approach the property, I hope I don’t hear “Release the hounds!!!” on your estate loudspeakers again. Maybe the guys out by the front gate with assault rifles will let me in ๐Ÿ™‚

    Seriously, sorry I missed you this time – I couldn’t get away earlier on Friday and hated to miss that day on the field.


  7. Brian S.
    Tue 26th Jun 2007 at 10:41 am


    Man, it sounds like you put some miles on your car. Since I’ll be in Gettysburg next week, would you mind giving the directions to Rhodes Division encampment :)? Brian

  8. George Combs
    Tue 26th Jun 2007 at 11:24 am

    I LOVE the McKinley monument; especially since it has another monument around the corner, saying something like, “This way to the McKinley Monument!” It is nice to have something to lighten the mood when standing above and contemplating the bridge and crossing.
    Great pictures.

    George Combs
    A librarian in Virginia

  9. Jim Morgan
    Tue 26th Jun 2007 at 12:07 pm

    Well, Eric, next time you’re down this way with your Blog Buds and get tired of visiting all those minor battlefields like Gettysburg and Antietam, about which we all know there’s nothing left to say anyway, you should swing by Ball’s Bluff. You were just rock-throwing distance away as it is.

    Or we could visit the sites of Loudoun County’s other turning point battles like Anker’s Shop and Miskal’s Farm. Then, of course, there were those horsey skirmishes in the southern part of county at Upperville, Middleburg, and Aldie (and shouldn’t Aldie be called “Lowerville” in keeping with the other two?).

    Can’t believe you wasted so much time on those places in Maryland and Pennsylvania when you could have come to Vuhjinya where the real woah was fought.

    Jim Morgan

  10. Tue 26th Jun 2007 at 5:14 pm

    Sir Stanley,

    Next time, please be sure to have the drawbridge over the moat raised and waiting for us. ๐Ÿ™‚


  11. Tue 26th Jun 2007 at 5:15 pm


    Needless to say, it was quite a surprise to meet you in that fashion. I certainly am glad you said something.

    I hope you and your cannon cocker friends had a great weekend of battlefield stomping. The weather was certainly spectacular.


  12. Tue 26th Jun 2007 at 5:16 pm


    Please send me an e-mail at eric at civilwarcavalry.com and I will be happy to give you those directions.

    George, that has to be the silliest monument on any battlefield. I just love it. It makes me laugh every time I see it.

    Jim, next time, brother. We will take you to see some REAL battlefields in Loudoun County. ๐Ÿ™‚


  13. Wed 27th Jun 2007 at 12:01 am

    Yeah, Jim – and they all have cavalry on them. You know how it goes… cavalry starts a fight, infantry goofs around for a day or so, and then the cavalry has to clean up the mess (sigh).



    Fri 29th Jun 2007 at 5:42 am


  15. Charles Bowery
    Fri 29th Jun 2007 at 10:31 am

    Thanks for the pictures. One of my ancestors was an NCO in the 3rd VA Cavalry, and was mortally wounded in Williamsport during the retreat from Gettysburg. I’ve never been there, but hope to visit sometime. Where exactly is the Rodes campsite?

  16. Fri 29th Jun 2007 at 11:22 am


    It would be my pleasure to show you the Williamsport fight some time. Perhaps we can arrange a time when your deployment ends.

    The Rhodes campsite is on OLD Route 15 (the Old Harrisburg Pike), just north of Heidlersburg, on the way to York Springs.


  17. Fri 29th Jun 2007 at 4:58 pm

    Nice photos

  18. Sun 01st Jul 2007 at 3:48 pm



  19. Scott
    Mon 02nd Jul 2007 at 8:39 pm

    Would McKinley have a monument if he was not a president?

  20. Mon 02nd Jul 2007 at 9:14 pm


    No way.


  21. Mon 23rd Jul 2007 at 7:43 pm

    Joyce and I enjoyed meeting you and J.D. in Westminster. Since then we`ve got my favorite Cavalryman`s (My great grandfather Col. Pennock Huey) letters, documents, etc. in about as good order as they are ever going to be.
    Thanks, Eric and J.D., for giving me the boot in the pants I needed to tackle the task of getting reams of 19th century documents from a musty file cabinet into a bunch of acid-protected binders.
    While reading through a few of the letters he wrote home while a POW at Roper Military Prison in Charleston, I was pleasantly surprised when a couple of Confederate banknotes fell out of one of the envelopes.


    “Pete” Huey

  22. Mon 23rd Jul 2007 at 9:35 pm


    It was great meeting you, too. JD and I are very excited about Pennock’s papers and that you’ve agreed to share them with us.

    Please do stay in touch.


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