August 22 through August 26
After leaving my house around 6 AM, my dad and I arrived (bleary eyed, but excited) at the Appleford right on time. We were greeted by the people whose faces I could finally put with their names. Even Dr. Guelzo came right over to our car and welcomed me to Gettysburg -- what a welcome wagon! After the chaos of moving into the General Hancock room (appropriately across the hall from the General Armistead room), my new roommate, Jerrica, and myself readied ourselves for our first dinner in town at the Dobbin House. We all finally got a chance to sit down and get to know each other over a delicious meal. It was a good thing we were fed well that night because the next day was going to be busy!
Eight AM the next morning found us all atop Little Round Top -- as bushwhackers! All nine of us literally jumped right into the art of cutting down overgrown weeds and rogue saplings. It was a lot of fun...until a bees' nest was disturbed. We collectively decided to leave the bushwhacking to the professionals at that point. So, we all piled into Adrienne's van, which happens to be able to fit all of us (sort of) and the rest of the day was spent listening to our orientation leader/ living auto tour guide Brandon lead us through different parts of the battlefields. We explored Big Round Top, Culp's Hill, and Devil's Den before returning to the ‘Ford to prepare for the first year walk.
The 2007 Gettysburg Semester students piled in the van.
I was personally impressed with the symbolic walk of all the first year students (lead by the members of the Appleford and Dr. Guelzo in our matching t-shirts, of course) through town to the Soldiers' National Cemetery to hear the Gettysburg Address read. Mimicking the actions of the students and faculty of then Pennsylvania College, I felt a connection to the time I came to explore. The evening ended as all evenings should -- with ice cream! Because we had all this free time before the real work began, we spent the rest of the weekend battlefielding, walking the first day's battle and exploring the railroad cut. If all this excitement was packed into just the first weekend on campus, I can't wait to see what Dr. Guelzo and the rest of the Civil War Era Studies Department have in store for us throughout the semester!
The group battlefielding in the Bloody Railroad Cut.