Sixth Corps To Gettysburg

June 25 - July 2, 2003
140th Anniversary of the March

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 & 2003   1863 & 2003


(6/22/2003) Latest Updates
Click here for a running update of our plans and status as we near the jump off date.

What is this about?

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 is a road march by a select few Civil War reenactors who want to retrace 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 route and timing of the Sixth with the First Brigade, First Division being our primary interest. Among those men was my great-great Grandfather Dow.

While we don't expect anyone to be able to walk every step of every mile of this effort, we will maintain a color guard which will keep the flag moving at the pace of the original troop movement. Participants will 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 and communications capability.

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 remind the 21st Century whose shoulders we stand on.


Who may participate?

Any Civil War reenactor with a reasonably good Union impression will be welcome to join us. This isn't about threads, this is about placing honor where honor is due. Having said that, be aware that many "sutler row" sack coats are made of much heavier material than the originals and could pose a risk to your health. Upgrading to a better sack coat will keep you cooler on the march. Also note: those with better impressions will get placed front and center on "photo op" occasions.

The one exception to period attire that I will allow is footwear. If you can not tolerate marching on pavement in period brogans, we will allow black colored footwear of your choice 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 also encouraged.
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 reach 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.


Amenities (Added 5/26)

Food Hardtack/bread and meat will be provided. Other period foodstuffs may be donated 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.
Wood We will need to bring some wood with us, so if you have a supply of small kindling, bring it along. Nothing bigger than a fence rail, please. At other stops we will be able to forage needed wood.
Straw No straw will be provided.



(6/22) If you would be interested in participating, you can access and print our registration form.
Since the date for mail-in registration has passed, instructions are at the bottom of this updated form.

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.

We could use one more chase van, a lead car would be nice and we could use additional medical/communications staff. If you have a special skill or talent you would like to contribute, please let me know.

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


Route and Timetable of March for 2003
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. Fairfax Courthouse, up Hunter Mill Rd and west on Rt. 7
to Drainsville,Va
June 26
Lv. Drainsville (Dranesville), Va., west along Rt. 7 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. Now!

  • 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.

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

Further Information

Period Maps of the March Route

Modern Maps of Our Route
New as of 5/30

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 (Updated 6/4) On the March

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