08 June 2008 by Published in: Civil War books and authors 7 comments

I’m sitting in the A.P Hill Room (yes, I thought of you immediately when I heard which room I’d been assigned, Jenny Goellnitz) in the very lovely Inn at Kelly’s Ford, meaning that I am again spending the night on a battlefield this evening. It was 97 here today, with high humidity, which is just ghastly. It’s hard to believe that it’s only June 8 with such weather.

Here’s a quick recap of the weekend. I left Columbus at 2:00 on Thursday afternoon, arriving at Dr. Dave Moore’s house on Herr’s Ridge about 8. We proceeded to sign 175 books and another 80 or so book plates for our special edition. I then went to Stan O’Donnell’s mansion on East Cavalry Field for some greatly needed shut-eye. I had to be up WAY too early the next day.

On Friday, it was up at 5:30 to make breakfast at my favorite breakfast place in Gettysburg, The Avenue Restaurant. Phil Trostle and Rick Allen joined Stan and me, and after breakfast, we spent most of the day following the tour associated with Stuart’s Ride. When we got back to Gettysburg, it was time for our first signing, at the muster of the Gettysburg Discussion Group. After BRISK sales there, we headed off to a signing at Gallery 30. From there, we had a “Book and a Beer” signing at the Reliance Mine Saloon, a favorite hangout.

Saturday was just as busy. We got to sleep in a bit later, and then had a signing from 10-12 at the new Visitor Center at Gettysburg. This was my first time inside the new VC. I have very mixed feelings about it. On one hand, it’s gorgeous–all state of the art, and it fits into the surrounding terrain perfectly. It looks like a barn, and you can’t see it from most places on the battlefield. On the other hand, while the museum exhibits are spectacularly done, only a small fragment of the total collection of artifacts is on display, and the layout of the museum leaves a LOT to be desired. The gift shop is huge, but over half of it is taken up with the hawking of crap. The selection of book titles is only about 1/3 of that in the old VC, so it means that it’s no longer a MUST stop for any book buyer. There was, however, lots of traffic, and we signed quite a few books. After that, it was a signing at the old Wax Museum, at the Farnsworth House bookstore, dinner, and, for the first time on the visit, a quick visit to the south end of the battlefield. We concluded with another “Book and a Beer” signing at the Mine. Lots of old friends came by as well as some new ones (thanks to Sarah Adler’s parents for letting her come and meet us). We had lots of laughs and lots of fun.

Today, I met the gang for breakfast and then did another lap around the battlefield and headed south. I met up with Bud Hall and Mike Block, a trustee of the Brandy Station Foundationat the Graffiti House to plan out my tour for the tour I’m leading in two weeks. I got to see a number of things I’ve never seen before, and am now really excited about leading the tour. It’s going to be a great time, and it was great to meet Mike and see old friend Bud again. Tonight, it’s here at the Inn. Tomorrow morning, I’m going to make a very quick side trip to the visitor center at Manassas National Battlefield Park to pick up a pin for my hat, and then it’s time for the long drive home to Ohio.

It’s been a fun, profitable, and exhausting trip, but I’m ready to go home. I’m home for three days, and then I hit the road again…..

More tomorrow night from home. Tonight, it’s sleep time…..

Scridb filter


  1. Sun 08th Jun 2008 at 10:43 pm

    I really should pay attention to your schedule and properly synchronize things. I drove through Kelly’s Ford on Friday returning from a work related call. Then I spent some time at Manassas yesterday. I’ve got a stack of books that need signing…

  2. Sun 08th Jun 2008 at 11:03 pm

    Wait… 5:30 is early? I regularly awake at 5:30!

    It was great meeting you and the others. Hope to see you again sometime.

  3. Brian S.
    Mon 09th Jun 2008 at 11:26 am


    I agree with your comments about the new Visitors Center. Other than the Farnsworth House there really isn’t a good bookstore in town anymore. There’s a military antique shop near the square that sells second hand books thats pretty cool but they seem to buy up 50 copies of the same book so the selection can be a little thin. Greystone (?) bookstore across from the Holiday Inn used to be my fav. That store was one of the best independant bookstores I’ve ever been in. Too bad it went under. They had pretty good foot traffic in there and it’s a great location so I’m not sure what happened to it. I know I spent my share in there.

    I went to this years semi-annual spring seminar that the national park puts on. Part of the weekend schedule was a tour of the new VC and you should have heard some of the comments during the Q and A session. Scott Hartwig felt the need to get up and address some of the concerns that were voiced. Everybody voiced the same things you pointed out. He termed it a work in progress. I thought the whole reason for the new place was to be able to show off all the artifacts??? I feel like the powers that be at the national level overruled the ideas at the Gettysburg park level. They seemed to want a disney world experience. Brian

  4. Stan O'Donnell
    Mon 09th Jun 2008 at 1:36 pm


    Thanks for taking a huge chunk out of your busy schedule and showing we three bozo’s thru the back roads from Westminster to Carlisle and back to GB. That was the first time I’d ever had the nuances of the mysterious Gettysburg—Littlestown Railroad explained to me in detail. I spoke to Rick and Phil T last evening and they’ve both decided to purchase a 12 month membership with the Carlisle Kung-Fu Center. I have a bad elbow from drinking so I declined.

    I know how busy you, JD and Mike were those coupla’ days and just wanted to take this moment to thank you once again!
    I hope you remembered to turn the air conditioning off back at the ECF mansion. The crystal in the chandeliers Karl was swinging from can crack if it gets too cold. Not to mention that the oil in the Monets will lose its texture over 75 degrees. I’d hate to have to call my insurance agent again.

    Thanks again Eric, for so generously sharing both your time and your knowledge!


  5. Rick Allen
    Mon 09th Jun 2008 at 3:57 pm

    Stan is absolutely correct. We had a fantastic tour and Eric took his time about things so we could cover many interesting areas. Thanks Eric, it was a great way to spend the day.

    Stan, classes at The Center start in August. This gives me time to pick up one of those robes with a dragon on the back.


  6. Mon 09th Jun 2008 at 8:33 pm


    Sad, isn’t it? I hope they do put more of the collection out. Why have it if nobody ever gets to see it?


  7. Mon 09th Jun 2008 at 8:34 pm

    Stan and Rick,

    You’re both very welcome.

    Sign me up for some of those lessons. 🙂


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