Posts tagged ‘Civil War’

December 8, 2011

My Top Ten War Movie Picks!

1. Cold Mountain

In the waning days of the American Civil War, a wounded soldier embarks on a perilous journey back home to Cold Mountain, North Carolina to reunite with his sweetheart.

2. Full Metal Jacket

A pragmatic U.S. Marine observes the dehumanizing effects the Vietnam War has on his fellow Marine recruits from their brutal basic training to the bloody street fighting set in 1968 Hue, Vietnam.

3. Gettysburg

In 1863, the Northern and Southern forces fight at Gettysburg in the decisive battle of the American Civil War.

4. God’s and Generals

Gods and Generals follows the rise and fall of legendary war hero Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson as he leads the Confederacy to great success against the Union from 1861 to 1863. Prequel to the 1993 classic “Gettysburg”.

5. Gone With the Wind

American classic in which a manipulative woman and a roguish man carry on a turbulent love affair in the American south during the Civil War and Reconstruction.

6. Inglorious Bastards

In Nazi-occupied France during World War II, a group of Jewish-American soldiers known as “The Basterds” are chosen specifically to spread fear throughout the Third Reich by scalping and brutally killing Nazis.

7. The Patriot

Peaceful farmer Benjamin Martin is driven to lead the Colonial Militia during the American Revolution when a sadistic British officer murders his son.

8. Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor follows the story of two best friends, Rafe and Danny, and their love lives as they go off to join the war.

9. Saving Private Ryan

Following the Normandy Landings, a group of US soldiers go behind enemy lines to retrieve a paratrooper whose brothers have been killed in action.

10. Schindler’s List

In Poland during World War II, Oskar Schindler gradually becomes concerned for his Jewish workforce after witnessing their persecution by the Nazis.

(All movie descriptions are provided by IMBD’s webpage.)

December 4, 2011

10 Fun Things To Do in Gettysburg in December!

1. An Eisenhower Christmas- Starts Dec. 1st- 31st at Eisenhower National Historic Site, Gettysburg, Pa.

Shuttle bus leaves 1195 Baltimore Pike running from 10 a.m. till 5 p.m.

The Eisenhower home is decorated for Christmas exactly like it was during the time Eisenhower lived there.

http://www.nps.gov/eise

2. Wine and Holiday Food Pairing-  On Dec. 2nd runs 5 p.m. till 9 p.m., 8th, 15th & 22nd runs 5 p.m. till 8 p.m. at Reid’s Orchard & Winery Tasting Room at Jennie’s House located at 242 Baltimore Street, Gettysburg, Pa.

Holiday wine and food pairing guide while trying wine and foods and dips.

http://www.reidsorchardwinery.com

3. Jennie Wade Open House- Runs Dec. 3rd- 18th at the Jennie Wade House located at 548 Baltimore Street, Gettysburg, Pa.

The Jennie Wade House opens to celebrate the holidays with refreshments and music from 4 p.m. till 10 p.m.

http://www.gettysburgbattlefieldbustours.com

4. Holiday Festival of Lights- Nov. 1st- Jan. 2nd located at the Gettysburg Village Outlets 1863 Gettysburg Village Drive on Baltimore Pike, Gettysburg, Pa.

Enjoy the light festivities and complimentary hot cocoa and live music, or a 3-D holiday movie every Friday night at the outlets.

http://www.theoutletshoppesatgettysburg.com

5. Civil War Holiday Dinner Theater- Runs Dec. 2nd-Dec. 17th Fridays and Saturdays only at The Farnsworth House Inn & Restaurant located at 401 Baltimore Street, Gettysburg, Pa.

Period dressed actors will portray holiday customs from the home front and war front of the Civil War era and sing Christmas Carols.  The dinner will include drinks, soup, salads, side dishes, the main course, and dessert.  The evening’s events will end in the inn’s cellar with ghost stories about one of America’s most haunted houses.

Cost for admission and dinner is $39.95 for adults & $19.95 for children 10 and under.  Event begins at 7 p.m.

6. Hauser After Hours- Nov. 5th- Dec. 17th on Saturdays only at Hauser Estate Winery located at 410 Cashtown Road, Biglerville, Pa.

Come enjoy live music, food, and wine at the Hauser House Winery.  Pay per plate for food and wine can be ordered by the glass or by the bottle.  Admission is free.

http://www.hauserestate.com

7. Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker- Mon. Dec. 12th at 7:30 p.m. at the Majestic Theater located at 25 Carlisle Street, Gettysburg, Pa.

Ticket pricing begins at $75.80, to $53.80, to $42.25, and as low as $31.25a ticket.

http://www.gettysburgmajestic.org

8. Winter Solstice Celebration- Dec. 17th -Dec.18th from 8 a.m.-10 p.m. at Liberty Mountain Resort located at 78 Country Club Road, Carroll Valley, Pa.

You can enjoy lots of fun at Liberty Mountain skiing, boarding, or tubing during the Winter Solstice kick-off celebration.

http://www.libertymountainresort.com

9. Wrap It Up- Sat. Dec. 24th from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at Reid’s Orchard & Winery located at 242 Baltimore Street, Gettysburg, Pa.

Bring up to three gifts to be wrapped by elves and enjoy a glass of wine, you purchase, while celebrating the holidays.

10. Mountain Dew Vertical Challenge- Dec. 28th from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at Liberty Mountain Resort located at 78 Country Club Road, Carroll Valley, Pa.

The Mountain Dew Vertical Challenge is a special racing series that is open to all ages and ability levels. A duel Giant Slalom course will be set up on Lower Blue Streak trail. Skiers and snowboarders are divided by gender and age group to compete for gold, silver, and bronze medals in each category. In addition to the race, prizes are given away throughout the day. The course is easy accessed and viewed from the main Base Area. Admission into the race is free, however, purchase of a lift ticket is required.

http://www.libertymountainresort.com

 

December 2, 2011

Downtown Gettysburg’s Historic Walking Tour!

Abe Lincoln in Lincoln Square Gettysburg, Pa.

Gettysburg offers many walking tours.  Ghost tours are especially fun, but if you would like to try a walking tour without a town-guide, you can grab a brochure at the Visitor’s Center located on Baltimore Street in Gettysburg and take yourself for a walk around town.  The little paper guide will take you along a historic path pointing out all of the Civil-War era buildings in downtown Gettysburg.

Each building is marked with a bronze plaque which explains the significance of the establishment.  It’s amazing how many buildings in Gettysburg are Civil-War era and why they were so important to their time.

The tour starts out at the Gettysburg Lincoln Railroad Station where President Abraham Lincoln arrived on the day before he gave his famous speech, the Gettysburg Address.  The railroad station is a pretty cool place to check-out.  It looks exactly how it would look like 150 years ago.

Gettysburg Train Station where President Abraham Lincoln arrived at to deliver his famous Gettysburg Address at the Soldier's National Museum..

As you walk along Lincoln Square, your pamphlet will explain the history behind the different buildings you will pass by on your tour.  One of the buildings you will stop by just so happens to be the oldest standing house in Gettysburg, the Hoke-Codori House, which is located on York Street.

Also on York Street is the former “Plank’s Garage,” owned by the Baseball Hall of Famer, Eddie Plank.  “Gettysburg Eddie’s,” a local Gettysburg restaurant, was named after the famous baseball pitcher.

One of your stops will be the famous David Wills House, known to be the place Abraham Lincoln stayed the night before he gave the Gettysburg Address.   You will walk the path that Lincoln walked to get to the cemetery where he gave his famous speech.

You will pass by homes that were used by sharpshooters during the battle, which still carry the same bullet holes in their walls from the battle.

On your tour, you will stop by the Farnsworth House, as well as the famous Shriver Home, the James Getty Hotel, and eventually ending up right back at Lincoln’s Square.  Very interesting buildings and history here!

December 2, 2011

Check-Out Gettysburg’s National Cemetery Walking Tour!

Gettysburg's National Soldier's Cemetery.

If you want to tour Gettysburg, check out the walking tour through the Soldier’s National Cemetery.  I know walking through a cemetery doesn’t sound like a lot of fun, and might sound a little bit creepy.  However, you might find a tour of the cemetery to be pretty fun and educational.

The walking  tour starts out on Taneytown Road, there’s an empty lot right there where you can park, across the road is a short walking path that you take to cross into the entrance of the cemetery.  This path will take you across the road and into the cemetery.

A map will guide you so that you can know where to stop while you are walking.  The gravesites in the museum are marked by states from Illinois all the way to Indiana.  A monument is also in the place where Lincoln gave his famous Gettysburg Address.

The tour will also give you a chance to check-out the Soldier’s National Monument and the gatehouse of the famous Evergreen Cemetery where Jennie Wade and John Burns were buried.

Your first stop will be the cemetery entrance, near the site of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.  The second stop you will make is the 1st Massachusetts Battery.  This stop recognizes the importance of Union artillery and infantry during the three days of battle.

Your third stop will be Lincoln’s Speech Memorial site.  Your fourth stop will then be the Evergreen Cemetery’s entrance.  The Evergreen Cemetery is in fact part of the Soldier’s National Cemetery.

Your final stop on your walking tour will be the Soldier’s National Monument.  The cemetery was officially dedicated on November 19, 1863 along with the Gettysburg Address.  Lincoln’s Address was composed in the White House, and at the David Wills House the night before he delivered it.

December 2, 2011

The David Wills House!

The David Wills House Honors President Abe Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

The David Wills House.

The David Wills House is a museum located in downtown  Gettysburg square, 8 Lincoln Square.  The museum is a tribute to President Abraham Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address.

The museum offers a self-guided tour, there’s no need for a tour guide at this museum.  The walking tour will guide visitors through the months and years following the Battle of Gettysburg and what devastation and rebuilding the town had went through during post-war.

The walking tour takes about 30-45 minutes and includes five galleries, two recreated rooms, including the Lincoln bedroom, two interactive stations, two films, and a gift shop.

A plaque on the outside of the David Wills House.

Interactive text and artifacts are also on display at the David Wills House for tourists to view.  The National Park Service Museum was dedicated to the memory of President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

 The David Wills House offers group tours as well as school trip tours or individual walk-in tours.  Overall, it’s a really cool place to go and check-out if you’re not into listening to a tour guide talk for an hour. 🙂

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 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.
October 14, 2011

Why Devil’s Den is Scary to Me!

A view of Devil's Den from Little Round Top.

When I was about 15 years old when I first journeyed to Devil’s Den.  It was one time in particular I remember very clearly.  My friend Amanda, Miguel, Ahmed and I decided to go on an exploration of the Gettysburg Battlefield.  The four of us hopped into my 89′ Dodge Daytona and drove to Gettysburg.

We arrived at “The Den” about five o’clock with only a couple of hours of daylight left.  Now if you have never been to Devil’s Den, you should know that is it a very cool place.  Devil’s Den is a rock climbers dream.  Large boulders and intertwining rock sculptures make up one heck of an obstacle course for adventurers, and being the adventurer that I am, I proceeded with the climbing expedition.

As dusk approached, the four of us gathered our belongings and made our way back to car.  The only problem was, I had parked the car at the top of the hill up by Little Round Top, so we had a little bit of a hike back to my ride.  Walking up hill is no fun, especially in the rain, so by the time it started drizzling we began to move a little faster.

On our uphill journey, we were greeted by a tall thin man clothed in a flannel t-shirt with a dirty baseball cap.  He explained to us that he heard screaming coming from the woods across from Devil’s Den.

My friend Amanda was pretty reluctant to help this stranger, me on the other hand, was a bit skeptical.  The strange man said he heard screams coming from afar and wanted us to go with him and check-it-out and he would give us a lift up to our car.

Miguel at this time tugged my arm, “I saw this on America’s Most Wanted once!”  Miguel seemed pretty scared.

The strange man said he was accompanied by his friend and his friend’s fiancée, but didn’t know where they were and needed help finding them.  I told the stranger thanks but my friends and I were going to just walk back to the car.  So Miguel, Ahmed and I made our way up the hill while my friend Amanda, although i urged her not to go, left with the strange guy.

Moments later, I saw my friend Amanda hop into a tan four-door car with the strange guy and what appeared to be two other passengers in the car.  The headlights turned and made their way towards us coming up the slick road.  We all began to run into the field, hopping, falling and leaping over rocks and sticks.

My heart was pounding.  i felt like I was being chased and I didn’t know what to do.  The three of us gathered behind a tree and contemplated what move we were going to make next.  I said, “let’s all make a run for it, and when we get to the car, lock the doors, and if Amanda is not back in ten minutes, we call the police.”  I mean, what if she had really been kidnapped?

So about five minutes go by, and I see the same pair of headlight making their way towards my car.  The car then pulls over, and i could see a woman, a man dressed in a civil war costume, the strange thin guy, and my friend Amanda in the gleam of the over-head car light.

A huge sweep of relief came over me.  The couple gave us a wave and were off with the thin gentlemen into the night.  Although we didn’t see any ghosts that evening, we still, with exception of Amanda who was calm as can be, got the pants scared off of us!

October 14, 2011

Why Pennsylvania Hall at Gettysburg College is Haunted!

Gettysburg College

In a previous post, I listed the top ten most haunted places in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania Hall at Gettysburg College being one of them.  See, some people may not know that Pennsylvania Hall was once referred to as “Old Dorm” and was used as a hospital to aide wounded soldiers during the Civil War.

The Cupola located atop the hall was also used as a look-out post by soldiers during the war; it was even said that General Lee used this post to see who was coming.  The Hall was constructed in 1838, one of the college’s first buildings which now serves as the administrative office.

Legend has it that a ghost of a Civil War soldier appears to unexpected students on campus atop the Cupola at Pennsylvania Hall.  It is even said that he is seen aiming his rifle at students down below on ground.  Students alarmed campus security of a gunman hiding out on campus.  When security further investigated the claims, they came to find that the hall was locked and nobody was up there according to Gettysburg campus security.

Author Mark Nesbitt wrote a book telling a story about two Gettysburg College administrators where working late one night in Pennsylvania Hall when they decided to call it an evening.  The two men took the elevator down to the main floor, but instead of the elevator stopping when they reached the first floor, it continued down into the basement.

When the doors opened, the men couldn’t believe their eyes.  The basement was filled with doctors and orderlies working on wounded soldiers.  Amputated limbs and body parts were piled up in the corner of the room.

The two men both began to panic as they pounded the elevator buttons to shut the door.  When the elevator start to work again, it brought them back up to the first floor.  The two men immediately went to campus security to tell them what they has just witnessed.  The guard on duty ran straight to the building, thinking it was a Fraternity prank.  When he got to the basement, there was nobody there.

September 16, 2011

Top Ten Most Haunted Places to Visit While in Gettysburg!

1. Pennsylvania Hall at Gettysburg College

2. Devil’s Den

3. Sach’s Covered Bridge

4. The Old Orphanage, what’s now known as the Soldier’s National Museum

5. The Shriver House

6. Solomon’s Bridge

7. Lutheran Theological Seminary

8. The Cashtown Inn

9. The Farnsworth House

10. The Gettysburg Battlefield