Town, Farms & Pickett's Charge

 John Heiser touring us around town  Bushnell Barn

The most recent tour for the intrepid Gettysburg Semester was Gettysburg: Town, Farms and Pickett's Charge. The Lincoln Diner was our destination for yet another breakfast, this time at seven in the morning (it was dark!) We met our first guide for the day, John Heiser, at the Appleford for the beginning of our town of Gettysburg tour. John led us on foot, something new and different, but also quite cold.

Inside McPherson Barn   Trostle Farm

We were led to the train station, then the Gettysburg Hotel, then to the Grand Army of the Republic building through a combination of sidewalks and back alleys we did not know existed. John showed us several churches that were used as hospitals during the battle, including a former Methodist church and the Catholic church. We then loaded up the bus and headed out to view farms that were around the borough during the battle. We were able to step inside the McPherson barn west of town and the Bushnell barn south of town. John explained to us the style that each barn was built in before the war, and explained the preservation efforts the park exercised on the buildings.

Inside Bushnell Barn   Joe & Anna at Bushnell Spring

At the Bushnell farm, Joe and Anna were able to touch the spring that supplied the farm, thereby keeping their tradition alive. To conclude our morning tour, we visited the Trostle farm, where Dan Sickles was hit. It was a fitting place to end the tour, as the farm saw the end of Dan Sickles' tour of duty as well.

 D. Scott Hartwig  In Formation
We rode back into town for lunch, then met with our guide for the afternoon, Scott Hartwig, who was giving us the tour of Pickett's Charge. We met Scott at the Cyclorama and immediately walked out the area where Pender's and Trimble's Divisions started their attack. I had appointed myself Color Sergeant for the afternoon and carried the Stars and Bars we had brought along. Scott gave us an incredibly in depth tour of the attack, giving as a vivid account of what happened nearly to the minute. We stepped off from the far ridge, near the sight of the Bliss Farm, and slowly worked our way back to the Angle.
 Fence Climb  Double Quick
We were placed in two ranks and told to move forward. We had to climb several fences along the way. The climbing of these fences produced the day's only casualty, a broken fence rail. Otherwise, we moved forward in good order to just below the Angle, where we had to double quick it to get to the top. It took the group a few seconds to catch our breaths, but our march gave us a unique perspective on what it was like to be one of the 15,000 men in Pickett's Charge. After the tour, we were invited to the Guelzo's for the evening. The Semester finally retired to the Appleford before eight that night. It had been a marathon day, spanning nearly nine hours of battlefield tour, but we survived in good order. Next week's trip is the Richmond Weekend.