Corps To Gettysburg
June 25 - July 2, 2003
Our plans and status as we near the jump off date.
June 22, 2003
I've purchased a cell phone for the trip, the number will be emailed to those who are confirmed participants. The contact information will include my home phone and cell phone. Messages can be left at either number and they'll be checked at least once a day, and probably more often.
The location of our car parking in Gettysburg will be emailed out to registrants on Monday. I'm going to go up there and personally check the ground to make sure that everyone won't be up to their hubs in mud when we arrive back there.
I still have some loose ends to wrap up on Monday and Tuesday, but we're basically good to go. Given that the Potomac River is at flood stage at this point, I do not feel it's safe to attempt a river crossing on Friday but we still have the option to hike down to the river bank, then double back to be driven around to the far shore at Edwards Ferry and resume our trek for a little while. It'll be about an hour's ride up to Point of Rocks and then back down, assuming that White's Ferry will be out of operation due to the water level.
Given the weather of late, prepare for wet conditions at least a good bit of our way. I have watched the long range forcasts for the last few days and they're predicting a sudden rise in temperatures into the low 90's and no rain for the first few days of our trip. So we will do our best to deal with whatever comes our way.
Keep your powder dry.
May 22, 2003
The news for today is that we've got our Maryland marching permits in hand, all signed and cleared, so we're good there. Virginia will be in hand in a few days but we've got verbal assurances that it's a done deal. There are two places we'll have to shuttle folks past, and we'll need safety reflective gear as we move up Hunter's Mill Road due to safety concerns but these will be early on the first day and shouldn't pose much of a problem.
We're in good shape for the jump off site in Fairfax. The folks who run the courthouse would like us to do some living history for the kids in the juvie lockup there. Come prepared.
** If you have access to any safety reflective vests, an orange saftey flag or other high visibility gear, let me know asap, please.
We're working on access to a period tavern in Dranesville for our first night's stop. If we had a larger group and could swing it it would be a great spot for a civilian/military interaction living history. If you know of anyone in the area, please put me in touch and perhaps we can manage something.
We've got clearance to get from Rt. 7 down to the Potomac River along Goose Creek. We're literally one step ahead of the bulldozers though. A planned community will be on that ground in a year. Bring your cameras, boys. It won't ever look like this again.
It looks like we'll have some canoeists to ferry us across the Potomac river. Exact details to be worked out, but it should be an interesting river crossing since I wan't able to arrange for the pontoon bridge. <g> If you have a life vest, bring it along with you.
We probably won't stop at Edward's Ferry for the night but push on a mile or two, depending on several factors. Dranesville is so close and we'll probably arrive at the river so early in the day I hate to lose the light, but we'll see.
I have friends with a small farm near Gettysburg and we'll leave our cars there, shuttling folks down to the Fairfax starting point. It's about 85 miles (an hour and a half in good traffic), so we'll allow for that. I've arranged for a "last train to Fairfax" time of 10:30PM so everyone's clear about when is the latest time they can be in G'burg and expect a ride. That van is limited to about six passengers, one or two more if nobody breaths on the trip. If you can arrange to carpool from G'burg to Fairfax or for someone to drop you off in Fairfax that might be a good idea. Marching gear only if the van gets crowded. I'll post address and directions on this update page soon.
The flag is coming along nicely. Sal (my wife) has taken on this task almost single-handedly and done amazing things with a needle. It'll be a pretty close replica of the original First Division, Sixth Corps flag we saw in the museum about a month or two ago and I couldn't be prouder of her.
Thanks to Joe Bordanaro for purchasing a baldric for us to use.
Stephan from Australia has offered to bring us a 35 star U.S. flag and another baldric, which is extraordinary!
Trivia/living history note: West Virginia was admitted to the Union on June 20, 1863, but according to the Act of April 4, 1818 signed by James Monroe, the star for a state wasn't added until the Fourth of July after it's admission. So our 35 star flag is a few days premature, but I won't tell if you don't. :)
Sal has put together an invitation brochure if you want to print it out and pass it along to folks interested in joining us for some or all of the march. Let them know that there will be a great opportunity on June 28-29 to march with us for a couple days over the weekend. Even if they can go only a few miles, the more the merrier, up to our limit of 35.
You can download the brochure in MS Word format here.
It looks like we'll be making a hardtack purchase so there will a good bit of that for us to use. We'll make a stop at a market or two along the way for a "fresh beef ration" (don't worry, we'll strip the plastic off before we issue it). We're contacting local historical minded folks to see if we can get them to shower us with food along the way, just like the old boys. Bring some cash with you in case you need to buy things like milk, cheese, fruits, veggies etc. along the way. (Also an authentic occurance, btw.)
Bring your shelter halves or gum blankets, etc. We can toss any tent poles you want in the chase car. I don't anticipate hauling straw along, so be creative if you need to but keep the look appropriate to what we're doing, no cots, no wall tents, etc.
If you are joining us in modern attire and backpacking along, we'll have arrangements for that too.
Costs will be mainly for food and water and incidentals along the way. I've budgeted things to this point and it looks like we can pull this off for around $5/day/person. If we run over that due to something unforseen, we'll pass the hat and make up the difference. This is not a highly organized, high-service endeavor. It's basically a collective do-it-yourself endeavor where I'm going for a walk and want some company. :)
I trust this finds you all well and that you're walking as much as you can each day. I've heard from several that they're up to 6.5 miles a day with a full load. Good show! I've been down with a brutal cold so I've got my work cut out for me to get built back up again soon.
A closing thought
"It's not about us, it's about them"
I consider it a very high privelage to call attention to the sacrifices of these amazing men, many of whom depended on the Almighty to get them through. Some of them, like my Grampy Jim, never got north of the Potomac again and rest beneath Virginia's soil to this day. It is my goal to keep the memory of their efforts, their example and their sacrifice alive. I welcome your participation towards that end.