Archive for November, 2011

November 24, 2011

The Battle of Gettysburg and Jennie Wade: The Only Civilian Casualty During the Battle of Gettysburg!

Jennie Wade

On the evening of June 30, 1863, General John Bufford and his division of over 3,000 Northern soldiers came through Gettysburg by way of Emmitsburg Road in search of General Lee’s army. By Wenesday, July 1, Confederate General Henry Heth’s division of over 5,000 infantrymen poured into town. when the two opposing sides encountered one another just west of the Seminary, the battle began, marking the beginning of the Battle of Gettysburg.

The first day of war was an incomplete confederate victory, with the Northern Army of Potomac being forced to retreat. As the troops made their way into town, sharpshooters seized people’s homes, using them as look-outs and hiding places. As the battle went on, Confederate troops, all tweleve thousand of them went up against the Army of the Potomac. This final assault ultimately eneded the conflict.

By four o’clock in the afternoon, the Confederate troops were down. More than 10,000 casualties on both sides. The numbers afterwards would more than increase the number of deaths. After the war, music and drum beats filled the streets to let the townspeople know that the war was over with. The village had to pick up all the pieces after the war was over; the aftermath, the dead bodies, destroyed town, and tragic losses. One family in particular had to deal with the loss of their beloved daughter, and sister; Mary “Jennie:Virginia Wade.

Jennie Wade happens to be the only civilian casualty killed during the Battle of Gettysburg. Although she is the only civilian casualty during those three days of battle, there were three local Pennsylvania men along with two other civilians who were injured as a result of the battle.  Civilian casualty during the Civil War, or any war for that fact, is not a common thing

I did some research at the Adams County Historical Society and read a very good book written by Cindy L. Small, a Communications/Journalism major who graduated from Shippensburg University in Pa. Small did extensive research and found accurate sources to gather all of the information needed to write a true account of the events leading up to Jennie Wade’s death, along with background information on her family and friends.

Brian Kennell, the Superintendent at the Evergreen Cemetery, also recommend that I read her book, “The Jennie Wade Story: A True and Complete Account of the Only Civilian Killed During the Battle of Gettysburg,” which I purchased at the Adams County Historical Society.

I began my research with the information that I gathered from, “The Jennie Wade Story,” book, the research that I had done at the historical society and the Evergreen Cemetery, and my tour with the Jennie Wade House.

According to sources, a few other casualties were mentioned during the Civil War. One of the three local Pennsylvania men was Jacob Gilbert who was shot in the upper left arm by a stray bullet while walking down Middle St.

Mr. Lehman, a local college student, received injuries due to a shot in the leg. Another college student, a student of the seminary, was injured by a sharpshooter in his thigh. Finally, a Mr. R.F. McIlhenny was injured his ankle while shots rang out.

November 23, 2011

10 Things To Do On A Rainy Day!

Here’s a list of some fun things to do on a rainy day in Gettysburg!

Number One

Check out souvenir shops in Gettysburg and dress up in Davey Crocket hats and pose with fake muskets while your friend takes a picture.

Number Two

Play Just Dance for Wii, or sit back and watch your friends attempt to dance and laugh at their rendition of MC Hammer’s, “Can’t Touch This.”

Number Three

Take pictures of you and your friends making funny faces and post them on Facebook.

Number Four

Dress up like cops and robbers or any other form or variation of make-believe, you know like when you were a kid.  Maybe try playing a game or two of Hide-n-Seek or whip out some of those old board games like Shoots-n-Ladders.

Number 5

Gather some friends and eat some pizza at Mamma V’s in downtown Gettysburg.  It’s yummy and reasonably priced, you might even want to go downstairs and check out their bar and shoot a few games of pool or play darts.

Number Six

Take a drive up to Hollywood Casino and hit the card tables, although I wouldn’t recommend it…too easy to lose $10 in five minutes 🙂 Stick to the slot machines or the money wheel, I once saw a guy hit really big on that wheel, people usually win every time.

Number Seven

Drive to the closest Cracker Barrel and check-out all of the cool gadgets and old-school candy they have.  I like trying on funny hats and masks during Halloween lol.

Number Eight

Sit outside of the Gettysburg Hotel, preferably on a sunny day, but since we’re talking about things to do on a rainy day…you might want to sit under an umbrella or go inside and check-out their lounge.  Wherever you decide to sit, try their wine and martini selection, it’s delicious!  You’ll meet some pretty interesting out-of-towners if you stay a while, we did!

Number Nine

Pretend you’re singing Lady GaGa into a pool stick microphone while shooting pool at the Flying Bull Saloon in downtown Gettysburg with your BFF.

Number Ten

Sit around and watch the Twilight saga…all three.  Then go to the movies and watch Breaking  Part I 🙂  Yes, I am one of those people who can’t get enough of Twilight lol.

November 23, 2011

Local Cigar Shop Welcomes Cigar Smokers and Enthusiasts!

Union Cigar Shop located at 5 Baltimore Street, Gettysburg Pa

The first thing you may notice when you walk into the Union Cigar Club is the warm musk of cigar smoke and the dim lighting which offers a cozy nostalgic feel to the atmosphere.  To the left is a mini-bar lined with a few cigars on display, a few ashtrays, and an espresso machine.  To the back-end of the cigar shop, is a cozy lounge, with walls covered with photographs and old cigar signs.  A television broadcasting an old war film plays in the corner across from the wrap-around couch.  A man lounges on the couch, puffing away on a cigar as he watches the movie.

Union Cigar Club's coffee and cigar mini-bar.

The Union Cigar Club, owned by Bill Synnamon, is located in Gettysburg, Pa. where it has stood for the past six years.  The cigar shop is located just a block off of the square in downtown Gettysburg.  Benjamin Thornton, 31, is manager of Union Cigar Club, and has been working there for about five and a half years.

The cigar smoking lounge at Union Cigar Club.

Thornton talks about the different types of cigars that Union Cigar Club offers.  Cigars range in flavor and strength, and Union Cigar Club offers a wide range of selections.

“You got your mild cigars for beginners,” Thornton explains, “or people who just don’t wanna smoke something really strong, or what you would call morning cigar…which you smoke a milder cigar earlier in the day.”

More cigar selections.

Thornton explains, “As you go up in strength…,” the next step up  is a medium cigar, “Then you get something medurally darkest.”

Cigars can be compared to drinking wine or beer, “Fuller bodied or fuller flavor richer tobacco, richer strengths or flavors…that’d be like drinking your Guinness,” Thornton said.

Cigar box with cigars, cutter, and lighter included.

However, the wrapper itself (the leaves you see on the outside) control roughly 70-80 percent of the strength of a cigar.  A fuller bodied cigar is not for beginners.  It can make a new smoker weak, even nauseous if they are not used to smoking a heavier cigar.  Trying to smoke one will, “Really knock you on your butt,” Thornton said.

“I’ve even seen guys toss their cookies if smoking like a really strong cigar.”

Inhaling a cigar is a misconception, Thornton explains, you’re not really supposed to inhale them.

“If you wanna see somebody turn three shades of green, don’t,” Thornton laughs.

There’s a lot of nicotine in cigars.  Even though you’re not supposed to inhale cigars, you can still get a lot of nicotine from the heavy second-hand smoke.

Union Cigar Club's various cigar selections.

Many of Union Cigar Club’s cigar collection comes from South America, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua, and they even carry Cuban seed cigars.  They don’t actually carry cigars grown in Cuba, since there is an embargo against trade with Cuba, so you’d have to go out of the country to actually purchase Cuban cigars.

Union Cigar Club has a little coffee bar which offers up espresso, coffee, hot chocolate, and other refreshments for guests.  They not only offer cigars, but they also carry cigar boxes, a wide selection of what they call “chick cigars” meaning flavored cigars, as well as tobacco, pipes, hookahs, hashish, and butane lighters.

Union Cigar Club's hookah selection.

“Butane burns tasteless, odorless, clear,” Thornton explains they are more effective for a lighting a cigar, especially thick cigars.

Thornton says that when it comes to the price of cigars, people more or less pay for a brand name, like anything else.

“When you’re talking about good cigars, reflective with the price, cigars are rated.  When they rate a cigar, they take into account the quality of the tobacco and cigars, like wine, get better with age.  So the longer you age the tobacco after you harvest it,  the better it gets,” Thornton said.

The construction of a cigar also has to be taken into account when rating a cigar.  How well rolled the cigar is, can affect the consistency of the burning of the cigar.  A well rolled cigar will burn more evenly through so that the cigar doesn’t get clogged.  Both the tobacco itself and the quality of the roll of a cigar factor into how good of a cigar one is.

Union Cigar Club's pipe tobacco selection.

The better quality, most expensive cigar that Union Cigar Club offers is a Padron Anniversary cigar, which is out of Nicaragua.  This cigar will run you about $30.  However, price range for cigars varies state to state.

“That exact same stick in New York will cost you like 50, 60 bucks,” explains Thornton , “State to state, they all have different tobacco tax percentages and some have ridiculous,  like 100 percent tobacco tax.”

As of right now, Pa. doesn’t have a high tobacco tax, but that could change.

November 22, 2011

My Trip to the Evergreen Cemetery!

Jennie Wade’s memorial at the Evergreen Cemetery.

So I’ve been doing some research on the Civil War lately; one person’s account of the Civil War in particular has interested me.  Jennie Wade, the only civilian killed during the Battle of Gettysburg, is a pretty well known figure here in Gettysburg, if you ask anyone else outside of town who she is, they may not know, but if you’re a local, you can mostly recite her story.

Jennie Wade was a Gettysburg native.  She was born right here in town, in a house on the corner of Baltimore Street and Breckinridge Street.  She lived there and grew up with her parents, Mary and James Wade, and her older sister, Georgia, and younger brothers, John, Samuel, and Harry.

Jennie grew up playing in the fields around Gettysburg with her childhood friends, Jack Skelly and Wesley Culp.  Friends and family believe that the once innocent friendship between Jennie Wade and Jack Skelly later developed into a romance that we will never know since tragedy swept in and took both the lovers lives at a very young age.

On that fateful morning of July 3rd, 1863, Jennie was kneading dough in her sister’s kitchen when a stray bullet, coming somewhere north near the Farnsworth House, struck the outside door leading to the kitchen, and came through the other inside ktichen door, piercing jennie Wade in her back into her left shoulder blade, hitting her heart and killing her instantly.

When Jennie hit the floor, her sister screamed.  Jennie’s mother ran into the kitchen to find her 20-year-old daughter lying dead on the wooden kitchen floor, which was stained red with Jennie’s blood.  Jennie’s sister’s cries were heard from a few soldier’s that were posted outside, who all came rushing in from all ends of the house  when they heard her screams.

What the men found would shock them.  A 20-year-old girl, a civilian, was lying dead on the floor.  A civilian being mortally wounded during battle just didn’t happen, it shouldn’t happen.  Over the next few hours, Jennie’s family, followed by the soldier’s would carry the young girl’s body up the stairs, through the hole that was blasted through the wall by a ten-pound shell the night before, and down the stairs on the other side of the house, outside the kitchen door, and down the cellar steps into the basement.  It would be all night and half of the next day that the group of sad people would hold vidual for Jennie Wade until the battle was over with and it was safe to go outside.

When the battle had finally ended, Jennie’s body was laid to rest in a wooden casket made ready for a confederate soldier, and placed in her sister’s garden behind the house.  Jennie’s body would later be moved to the cemetery near the German Reformed Church.  It wouldn’t be till about a year later, that Jennie’s body would finally be laid to rest at the Evergreen Cemetery.

The Evergreen Cemetery.

“Her grave site is the most visited in Evergreen” said Brian Kennell, Superintendent of the Evergreen Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pa.

Kennell grew up here in Gettysburg and knows a lot about the history of the Civil War.  He also informed me about where Jack Skelly’s grave could be found so that I could snap some good pictures of the two grave sights .

Kennel explained to me a little bit of history about Jennie Wade’s plaque that reads her real name, “Mary Virginia Wade.”  It was donated by the Iowa Women’s Relief Corps, where her sister became the President.  The bronze plaque was placed at the base of her monument as it stands in the Evergreen Cemetery.

Brian Kennell, Superintendent of the Evergreen Cemetery, also wrote a book titled, “Beyond the Gatehouse: Gettysburg’s Evergreen Cemetery.”  Kennel gave me a copy to take with me to help me with my research.  His book gives an account of the history of the cemetery, Kennell’s life growing up in a cemetery, what “grave-diggin” is all about.

Kennell’s book features some of the first person ever to be buried in the Evergreen Cemetery.  Many of the people who have been buried at the Evergreen Cemetery are famous/notable people.  A few of the people featured in Kennell’s book include James Getty, John Burns, Jennie Wade of course, and Jack Skelly.

Jack Skelly’s tombstone.

Jack Skelly, Jennie’s sweetheart, is also buried at the Evergreen Cemetery, just 70-yards from Jennie.  During the Battle of Carter’s Woods in Winchester, Virginia, Jack Skelly was mortally wounded in his arm, and died almost two weeks after Jennie was killed by a stray bullet.  Jack was buried at a cemetery in Winchester, but his body was later moved by his brother, Daniel, to Gettysburg at the Evergreen Cemetery.

Jack Skelly’s grave.
November 17, 2011

Sing Like No One is Listening!

Tricia Nolan owner of Trisha’s Tunes Karaoke.

Tricia has been singing in bars for years, however, long before her DJ business even existed, she was a real estate appraiser.  Tricia Nolan has always been an entrepreneur, but when the recession hit, the housing market took a toll, and Tricia could see a decline in her real estate business.

“I thought, what else can I do?  What else do I know how to do except sing and I don’t wanna be in a band so…I started my own karaoke business,” Nolan said.

Little by little, Nolan purchased DJ equipment, and began building her karaoke business.  She collected most of her karaoke songs from a good friend, who at the time, already had a karaoke business.  A tremendous amount of time and effort went into putting song books together and calling around bars and clubs for gigs to get her business started.

One of her first gigs was at a restaurant/bar in Eldersburg, MD., called Luna Rosas.  As the pieces started falling into place, Nolan began booking more gigs, and she eventually purchased a laptop.  After going digital with her karaoke music, Nolan said goodbye to her CD’s and CDG’s.  For the past three years, Tricia’s Tunes Karaoke has made a name for itself, gathering quite a crowd of karaoke singers.  Nolan has sung karaoke in Hawaii, NJ., Conn., Ocean City, and even in Alcapoko, Mexico.

Tricia’s Tunes at Luna Rosas.

“I won a contest in Mexico,” Nolan said.

Nolan had won second place in Mexico at a karaoke contest.  She has also performed with bands, including the popular Florida rock band, The Joe Cullutti Band, at Lou’s Blues in Melbourne Beach, FL.  Nolan has even traveled as far as Nashville, TN., to try her luck in the Music City.

Lou’s Blues in Melbourne Beach, Fl.

Nolan’s warm smile and charismatic personality has won over a huge fan base of karaoke-goers in Carroll County, MD. and Hanover, PA.  Her routine gigs include the Moose in Reiserstown, MD., The Colosseum in Hanover, PA., The Eagles in Littlestown, PA., and in the summertime, she performs at a kids day camp in Carroll County, MD.  Nolan DJ’s at weddings and private parties.  She also does trivia shows;  including fun questions and trivial games that can be played for prizes.

Nolan’s latest and most exciting DJ gig is the Colosseum in PA.  The bar is holding a karaoke contest with a prize of one-hundred dollars for first place, and a 50 dollar prize for second.  The karaoke contest starts at 9 p.m. and runs till 1 a.m. every Wednesday night.  The contest runs for ten weeks, where the owner and bartender of the restaurant will pick two contestants each night, to compete in the finals.

Tricia and Friends.

Tricia Nolan’s husband, James, is also a musician.  His band, “Night Fall,” plays modern to classic rock, and Top-40 Hits.  “Night Fall” performs out  in the Baltimore County area.  Some have their gigs have included Belisimo’s in Finksburg, MD. and The Moose in Reiserstown, MD.

Nolan is a people person and loves what she does.  You will always see her smiling, and may always catch her singing a tune, whether it be at the gym, on a car ride to Nashville, or in her house practising some new karaoke songs!  Tricia and I have been singing together since I was 18-years-old, and I’m sure we will be singing for a long time.  Our next adventure will be singing karaoke in Vegas and California!