Sixth Corps To Gettysburg


We made it!

(click on the thumbnail above to see the album on Webshots)


145th Anniversary Memorial March
June 25 - July 2, 2008

Some were heroes on the battlefield.       
       Some were heroes just to get there.

The first quality of a soldier is constancy in enduring fatigue & hardship.

Courage is only second.

   -Napoleon Bonaparte

Fairfax Courthouse, Va.   Little Round Top, Pa.
June 26   July 2
1863 & 2008   1863 & 2008

Latest Updates (6/9/2008)
Look here for late breaking info. This will supercede all other info on the site.

What is this about?
Media, please read this carefully.

In June and July of 1863, members of the U.S. Sixth Corps made an epic march from Virginia to Pennsylvania in defense of their country.

This event is a road march by a few Civil War reenactors to commemorate this event by retracing the steps of the U.S. Sixth Corps on their journey from Fairfax Courthouse, Va. to Gettysburg, Pa. and Little Round Top in the days preceding the Battle of Gettysburg.

The "Bloody Sixth" first made a heroic effort to place themselves between the invading force of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia and the cities of Washington and Baltimore. Once Lee made contact with U.S. Gen. Meade's Army of the Potomac at Gettysburg, the Sixth Corps again made a monumental effort to come to the aid of the rest of the Army. Their arrival at Little Round Top was a critical factor in ensuring a Federal victory there.

But as the motto above implies, we seek to honor the "everyday heroics" that the men of the Sixth displayed, not just what happened on the battlefield.

We will follow the original route and progress of the Sixth with the First Brigade, First Division being our primary guide. Among those men was my great-great grandfather James Dow.

While we don't expect anyone to be able to walk every step of every mile of this effort, the goal will be to maintain a color guard which will keep the flag moving at the pace of the original troop movement. Participants may rotate through the color guard and/or a color company as numbers, strength and stamina allow, on the model of the Olympic Torch relay. A chase vehicle will provide logistical support for water and food, as well as communications.

This will not be an immersion event that focuses on the experience of the reenactor with no reminders of the 21st Century. Rather this is an infusion event, which will inject us into the midst of the 21st Century and remind us all on whose shoulders we stand.


Who may participate?

Any Civil War reenactor with a reasonably good Union impression will be welcome to join us.

A note on authenticity issues: This isn't about stitch counting, this is about placing honor where honor is due. Having said that, be aware that much "sutler row" or inferior grade equipment does not stand up on the march very well. Cheaper quality sack coats are made of much heavier material than the originals and could pose a risk to your health from over heating. Upgrading to better gear will keep you cooler on the march and pose fewer problems. Those with better impressions can expect to be placed front and center on "photo op" occasions. We do want to put our best foot forward.

The one exception to period attire for reenactors that I will allow is footwear. If your feet can not tolerate marching on pavement in period brogans, black colored footwear will be allowed for those times we are not "on parade." A short rest stop and a switch to period foot attire will be required when we encounter significant public attention. Wearing "gel pads" inside period footwear is highly encouraged to avoid injury.
Most of the route is on pavement and we don't want anyone to kill their feet in this effort.
The heroes are all dead.
We have everything to remember and nothing to prove here.


If you are not a reenactor
and would like to hike along with us in modern dress, we will be happy to have you join the rear of our column, providing we don't over stretch our logistics capability.

We are designing this effort for a maximum of about 35 people. We may be able to expand this if there is significant interest at any point.



Food Soft bread and meat will be provided daily, based on the marching ration. We will have some storage for your own foodstuffs, if you wish to bring them. Other period foodstuffs may be donated or obtained along the route. Bring cash to purchase additional items (also a period experience). We will form our own ad hoc messes to handle cooking duties.
Water We will supply clean water in copious amounts at all times. Nobody gets dehydrated on my watch.
Wood We will forage wood, as needed. Experience has shown an ample supply along the route.
Straw No straw will be provided. There may be leaves or other natural "nesting" material available from time to time. Bring a tick to stuff with material that you scrounge if you want. A good night's sleep is important.



If you would be interested in participating, you can access and print our registration form.
If you would print off and mail in that form, that will provide us with a hard copy for use during the event. See the bottom of the form for instructions.

If you are interested in helping with driving, water delivery, communications (or in other ways) for this march, please contact me in email at before June 25, 2008.

We will have one vehicle with water near the column at all times, but could use a lead car at various places, or to run errands. If you would be willing to volunteer a special skill or talent, or have a car you'd like to help out with, please let me know.

If you have friends who might be interested but not online, you can download (772K) and print (double sided) our
Invitation Brochure in MS Word format.


Route and Timetable of March for 2008
based on letter of Capt. Ellis Hamilton, 15th NJ, 1st Brgd, 1st Division, 6th Corps.

Towns and Roads Date Mileage
Day of preparation and rest Wednesday
June 25
Lv. Ox Hill Battlefield Park at 1:00 A.M, out Rt. 50 to Chantilly, then up Centreville Rd. through Herndon to Dranesville Rd. (This is a change made on 6/20/08, due to ongoing research, from the route previously announced here.)
to Dranesville,Va
June 26
Lv. Dranesville (Drainsville), Va., west along Rt. 7 to Goose Creek, then across
to Edwards Ferry Maryland Shore
June 27
Lv. Edwards Ferry to Poolesville, then up Rt. 109 through Barnesville
to Hyattstown, Md.
June 28
Lv. Hyattstown up Rt. 75, east on Rt. 144, then north on Rt. 27
to Franklinville (Taylorville)
June 29
Lv. Franklinville up Rt. 27 to two miles short of
June 30
Day of rest - depart 10:00 PM Tuesday
July 1
Manchester, Md. to
Gettysburg, Pa.
July 2


Personal Preparation for this March

  • Start walking. Like in the fall of 2007. No kidding.

  • Educate yourself in the effects of heat on your health.

  • Get in the habit of drinking a lot of water.

  • Break in a new pair of brogans, you'll need them.

  • Figure out how to "pack light".

  • Educate yourself on the history and experience of these "Boys of '63" (see below)

  • No caps or rounds are needed, so don't bring them.

  • Bayonets will be needed to stack arms, please bring them.

Further Information

Period Maps of the March Route

Modern Maps of Our Route

Historical Accounts of the March

Sgt. Enos Budd, 15th NJ

Capt Ellis Hamilton, 15th NJ

* Further History Links *

Order of Battle, US Sixth Corps, Gettysburg Campaign

Flags of the Sixth Corps On the March

CWR Forums Discussion Thread


Thanks for reading and I hope you'll be able to join us for some part of this experience.