31 March 2008 by Published in: General musings 2 comments

I thought I would provide an after-action report of the weekend’s adventures. I drove to Chambersburg on Wednesday, as the program began early on Thursday morning. I got there in time to have dinner with Al Ovies to celebrate my birthday. We made the mistake of going to a TGI Fridays for a bad meal, but it was good getting caught up with Al. Al’s a chef in Miami, and his hours at work don’t permit him to come out to play very often.

Thursday morning, Ted Alexander and I had a busload of about 26 people covering George Armstrong Custer during the retreat from Gettysburg. We covered Monterey Pass, Smithsburg, Hagerstown (the July 6 fight), Hagerstown (the July 12 fight), the fight at the Donnelly house on the Falling Waters Road, and finished up at the Cushwa Basin on the C & O Canal in Williamsport. I’d never seen the site where the July 12 fight took place, so that was interesting and fun. And then we had lots of fun by the Donnelly house. We had several folks with us who live on the Falling Waters Road, and one said, “Go ahead and pull in here. They’re my cousins. They won’t mind.” Wrong. The woman blew a gasket. It took lots of sweet talking to get her calmed down. So much for that.

That night, Al and I went to dinner, and then I had to do a talk on Custer in the Valley in 1864. I woke up with almost no voice on Thursday, so it was a struggle. I dragged poor Al up and made him do part of the talk, just to conserve my voice.

Leading toursOn Friday, I spent the day leading tours with Ed Bearss. Our first stop was near Frederick, where Farnsworth and Custer first took command of their brigades. From there, it was on to Littlestown, Hanover, Hunterstown, and the afternoon was spent on East Cavalry Field. I was perfectly content to led Ed do most of the talking, as my voice was still very craggy, and I was in charge the next day. That night, Ed did a good talk on the Little Big Horn fight, and then we had a presentation by Steve Alexander, who does a first person portrayal of George Armstrong Custer.

Leading toursSaturday was a LONG day. We left the hotel at 7:00 AM. It’s a bit more than three hours from Chambersburg to Trevilian Station. Ed and I decided that we had time to give the crowd a bonus battlefield, so we stopped and covered the October 9, 1864 Battle of Tom’s Brook. Most of the crowd–about 46–had never been to Tom’s Brook previously, and they really seemed to enjoy it. The Custer sector of the battlefield is nearly pristine, and I always like to show folks that beautiful field.

Ed on the JohnWe went on to Trevilian Station, and we had a tour that took a bit more than 5 hours. The highlight of the tour was when Ed discovered the working outhouse at the reproduction of the Netherland Tavern. The photo says all that needs to be said. We finished the tour, had dinner at a nice little Italian place in Louisa, and then headed on back to the hotel. We got back at 10:30, 15.5 hours after leaving.

Sunday morning featured lectures by Greg Urwin and Jeff Wert, and a couple of panel discussions. I then headed for home. It was a great weekend, but it was exhausting, and I’m still beat today. But it was fun.

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  1. Mike Fitzpatrick
    Wed 02nd Apr 2008 at 8:13 am

    I hope to do my annual July Chambersburg Seminar.
    Ted puts on a great event.
    It also gives me a chance to be on an Ed Bearss tour.
    He is absolutely amazing.
    Great photos of him and yourself.
    Will you be there in July?


  2. Wed 02nd Apr 2008 at 11:12 am


    I will be there in July. I hope to see you then.


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