Good-bye, Gettysburg (I’ll Miss You)

High Water Mark Memorial, Gettysburg National Military ParkI don’t like good-byes. But it’s part of life, and I’ve realized there are different types of good-byes. Happily, today’s good-bye is not forever. It’s more of a conclusion…so we can say “hello” to something new.

A year ago, I made an official announcement regarding the up-coming publication of my first historical novel: Blue, Gray & Crimson: A Story of Civilian Courage at Gettysburg. Along with the announcement came the beginning of the blog series Back to Gettysburg on Tuesdays. And for a year this cannon photograph has been featured on Gazette665’s homepage as the cover photo for Back to Gettysburg on Tuesdays.

While I could probably (and will probably) talk about Gettysburg soldiers, civilians, and aftermath for the rest of my life, I understand that not everyone is obsessed with the topic. So…after a wonderful year, I think it’s time to give Back to Gettysburg on Tuesdays a warm farewell with a short summary of all that was explored during the series and a few final thoughts. What a year it has been! Continue reading

Making A National Park

So…Gettysburg was first a town and farming community, then a battleground of two large armies, then a tourist destination, and now a National Military Park. How did Gettysburg battlefield come under the protection of the National Park Service? And who else helps protect the former battleground? When were all the monuments placed?

Today we’ll talk about the history of Gettysburg National Military Park and what you can see if you visit in the modern era. Continue reading

Dead Confederates At Gettysburg

A writer is suppose to explain things. But I didn’t fully explain something important in Blue, Gray & Crimson. Before you send me to “bad writer’s prison”, let me explain. The story is from an 1863 point of view, and the Westmore family can’t see into the future. Don’t remember the section I’m referring to? Here it is:

“What about Confederate soldiers’ graves?” Mother wondered aloud.

“Someone told me the Confederate graves are left untouched,” Father admitted. “If a Confederate soldier is exhumed by mistake, they rebury him there, not in the new cemetery. I don’t know what will happen to their graves.” (Blue, Gray & Crimson: A Story of Civilian Courage at Gettysburg, page 298)

So what actually happened to the graves of Confederate soldiers buried at Gettysburg? Now, since I’m writing blog posts in modern times, I can tell you. Continue reading

Gettysburg’s Relic Hunters & Tour Guides

When my family went to Gettysburg, we had an awesome tour guide who took us all over the battlefield, told us history stories, and pointed out important landmarks and monuments. After the tour, it was time to hunt through the gift-shop for a new book! (I got my copy of Bayonet Forward by Joshua L. Chamberlain there.)

Sarah Kay Bierle at Gettysburg National Battlefield (2008)

Sarah Kay Bierle at Gettysburg National Battlefield (2008)

I suppose our experience at Gettysburg was similar to what many families and tourists do, but imagine my surprise to learn that people were doing this just days after the battle ended. Today, I’d like to introduce you to the Relic Hunters and Tour Guides of 1863. Continue reading