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Old 07-09-2010, 03:14 AM   #1
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''You wanna' cuddle?''

Little round top....

Like most ''older people'' I tend to wake early in the morning for the 'call of nature', sometimes have coffee, and then go back to bed and sleep until eight or nine in the morning and begin my day for a ''second time''.

We were at a campground outside Gettysburg, Pa. And the day before we had taken the ''tour'' of the battle fields around the small town. We went to the museum and did the ''tourist thing'' like so many of us do when we go ''looking and seeing''. I have always been fascinated by the civil war when this great nation tried to tear its self apart. I have visited many of the battle fields that men fought over and died defending what they though was right and what they were told was ''right'' at the time. I shall not debate who was right and wrong concerning the civil war but I will state that it was a great waste of life and limb and material that could have been put to greater use.

It was cold that morning when I woke. It was still very dark outside and I could not find sleep again so I made a ''to go coffee'' in my travel mug and locked the door behind me. I left a note on the table so Willa would not worry about me and I slipped out of the campground toward the battle ground in Gettysburg. I kinda ''ambled'' along in the truck not really knowing where I was bound but we had driven the lines the day before and I eventually came upon Little Round Top where one of the greatest battles of Gettysburg was fought and literally thousands of men on both sides lost life and limb. I parked the truck and, coffee in hand, made my way to the great monument known as Little Round Top. I sat down in the cold morning fog and sipped coffee and just listened.

It is amazing what you can hear in the morning before the sun comes up. Seemingly hundreds of Gods creatures are up and going to beat the sunrise and get an early start toward the new day. I sat there and listened to the world come awake. The early morning mist hung like a blanket hugging the ground and stacking up in the valley before me. As I sat there listening, closing my eyes so I might better ''see''. I could almost hear the cannon roaring their reproach to the advancing Confederate line of men so willing to give their lives for what they believed was right. My mind placed myself in the situation of one of the Union soldiers as he knelt behind the fence. My teeth tore open a paper bullet to load my 58 caliber rifle. I could almost taste the black powder from the bullet and I saw my fingers fumble with the cap for the ignition system to fire the gun. Thru the fog I could hear the steady tramp tramp tramp of the footfalls of the men as they approached in almost perfect alignment in their battle formations. Row upon row of brave men marching shoulder to shoulder with bayoneted rifles marching in perfect synchronization toward their deaths. The cannons beside me are silent now as they are swabbed with water to cool the barrel before being loaded with canister shot. I can hear the cadence of the gun crew as they load a powder bag and it is rammed home followed by the container of plumb size steel balls that will burst like a shotgun when fired. It is one of the most devastating loads that can be used in a smooth bore bronze cannon. When the enemy is at very close range they would sometimes use ''a double canister of grape shot'' against advancing troops. This was usually fired at less than twenty yards from the enemy and could take out a company of men leaving few survivors. On they came as I sat there with eyes closed and watched in the early morning fog. In my mind I could hear the beat of the drum and feel the roar of the cannon and the volley fire of the men on Little Round Top as they poured death into the advancing ranks. Great gaps were blasted in the advancing line and these were immediately filled by other men eager to be counted among the brave as they advanced upon my position. I sat and watched in my mind as the complete procession appeared before me. I could almost smell the acrid black powder smoke and feel the recoil of the rifle as I fired shot after shot into the great mass of men approaching me. I could hear the rifle fire mixed with the roar of the cannon and the screams of the wounded and dieing in my ranks and in the ranks of the approaching hoard.
''Give 'um the bayonet boys.''......''CHARGE''..
and the battle sounds were pierced by a great ''Rebel Yell'' as a thousand points of steel hurtled toward me.
This was Gettysburg and I was there on Little Round Top.

''Sir, you are not suppose to be in the park this early''......

The statement snapped me back to reality. It was one of the park rangers on patrol in the park. He sat down with me and we chatted for a few minutes. I explained that I could not find sleep and I wanted some personal time here in the park to ''feel the battle''. I explained that I was from North Carolina and about one forth of the casualties at Gettysburg were from the ''Tar Heel State'' and that I had ancestry that had bled and died here a long time ago. He asked if I had heard the cannon roar and kinda grinned at me. Yep, sure did and the musket fire and all the drums and the thump of the footfalls of the advancing line. Yep, I heard it all this morning thru the fog before the sun came up. He smiled and said that he sometimes could hear the same thing in the early morning hours before the clusters of tourists broke the silence of the park. He said he sometimes did what I was doing in the early morning. He would come out and just sit and listen and he swore that sometimes he could hear the cries of the wounded and dieing on the battle field.
We chatted for a few minutes and he told me to stay for as long as I wished. He left as the sun broke thru in the east and I rose and went back to the truck and made my way back to the campground.

''Where the heck have you been'' ????? ''I got up to go ''tinkle'' and you were gone''. ''I finally found your note and figured you were out rambling
again.''..........''You want breakfast now or you wanna go back to bed and cuddle''??????????

Nuff said.....
So it went in a campground outside Gettysburg Pa.

Willa and me..........

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Old 07-09-2010, 05:47 AM   #2
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Seajay, I have done the same thing at Little Round Top and each time we go there I always go to LRT. Was there in November of 2003 when they did the reading of the Gettysburg Address and I still get chills remembering that weekend.
Little Round Top is still the #1 place in Gettysburg followed by the place Gen. Lee commanded Gen Picketts charge and reliving in my mind how all those men died, from both North and South.

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Old 07-09-2010, 05:48 AM   #3
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We have never been to Gettysburg, PA. travel by but never stop. Your story today had me stopped here in my seat. Its one of the best you have written and I thank you for it.
Seeing the flag flying over other battle fields or Arlington, the wall makes me stop and reflect what was, also.
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Old 07-09-2010, 05:58 AM   #4
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A couple of years ago my buddy Steve and I went up in one the viewing towers and as I closed my eyes I could hear the canons roaring. Well I called Steve over to where I was and asked him "Do you hear the canons" and he started to laugh and said I was losing it, that the roar I was hearing was just the tractor trailers going down the road.
Well if you ever visit Gettysburg and hear the trucks close your eyes and let your mind hear the canons roar.
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Old 07-09-2010, 06:55 AM   #5
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Awesome story, sitting here at my desk I almost felt like I was there. I even jumped a little when you wrote about the ranger comming up... I have visited Gettysburg before and felt much the same thing. I could almost feel the soldiers forming up around me. Nice to relive the feeling, thank you Seajay.
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Old 07-09-2010, 04:54 PM   #6
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Being a Southerner, I was very upsset at that park. It must be run by yankees becasue they had the yankees winning the whole battle. What a distortion of history.
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Old 07-09-2010, 06:52 PM   #7
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Seajay, Thanks for the great read. I am from Western PA, but have never been to Gettysburgh. I am sure some of my ancestors had fought for the North, but I don't know for sure. I left PA when I was 20. I now live in NC & I know my wifes ancestors fought for the South. My brother in law & sister whom still live in Pittsburgh are coming to visit this next week, we are planning a trip to Charleston to go to Fort Sumpter. I will be sure to take time to listen to the roar of the cannons.
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Old 07-09-2010, 07:40 PM   #8
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Thanks for your story SeeJay. It's been many decades since I read about the Gettysburg battles. I seem to recall that in just one day over 50,000 from both sides were killed.
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Old 07-09-2010, 07:42 PM   #9
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Great story Seajay! We left Artillery Ridge Campground just two weeks ago and really enjoyed our time in Gettysburg. I'm a California native but have become a real student of the Civil War after spending the past several months working our way up through the south.
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Old 07-09-2010, 07:43 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Lindsay Richards View Post
Being a Southerner, I was very upsset at that park. It must be run by yankees becasue they had the yankees winning the whole battle. What a distortion of history.
History doesn't record who was ahead after the second inning.... only the final score.
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Old 07-09-2010, 07:45 PM   #11
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I came across this thread as the 1940 movie "Abe Lincoln in Illinois" is playing on TCM over my shoulder. Thank you, Seajay, for a moving story.

I visited Gettysburg as a small girl, maybe 7 or 8. My family went there one summer & we were one of the first to arrive as my mother preferred to get in & out before too many tourists crowded the place. Although I remember very little of the visit, I do vaguely remember wandering off from the small tour crowd we were with & saw a soldier next to a cannon. I walked over & said hi to him & he just smiled at me. The next thing I remember was my mom grabbing my arm & scolding me for walking off. I told her I was just talking to the nice soldier & she said "what soldier?". Where I pointed to, next to the cannon, no one was there. To this day, I can't explain what I saw but I KNOW there was a man next to that cannon that morning.

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Old 07-09-2010, 08:11 PM   #12
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It is hallowed ground Lori. All things are possible if only you believe.
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Old 07-09-2010, 09:04 PM   #13
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My son and I will be joining our unit, 2nd Va. Co. D, Stonewall Jackson Brigade at Gettysburg on Sept. 17, 18 and 19th. We will be doing a living history on Culp's Hill where this company fought during this historic battle. It is rare that a reenactor unit can actually get permission to encamp on the hallowed ground. It will be my first time at Gettysburg. We have reenacted for many years, did Antietum twice, Winchester and other smaller events.
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Old 07-09-2010, 09:12 PM   #14
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Hallowed ground! Be sure to see the Diorama at the Artillery Ridge CG. If you stay at the CG the Diorama is free. Then, when you take the tour you will be more enlightened on the enormous losses, battles, and the brave people of both sides fighting for what they though right.

To think of how they fought, walking in line, up a hill, and volley after volley of musket balls raining down on them. The bravery of those men. Wow!

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