Today, June 30th, might be considered Day 0 of the Battle of Gettysburg. John Buford's cavalry has arrived. As you can see on the map from the classic Avalon Hill game, his brigades under Gamble and Devin are positioned to slow the advance of the Army of Northern Virginia, giving the Army of the Potomac time to occupy the high ground (dark brown).
In the morning, while foraging our breakfast, I saw somebody with an A&E ID badge. I asked him what was going on with them and he told me it was the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. No kidding. He said he was a sound technician. I asked him if all that equipment up by Meade's HQ was for their event tonight. He told me that they were "on the battlefield". That narrows it down.
Our first stop was the Eisenhower Inn, where a collector's show was wrapping up. So many books, so little time. Of course, books were not even the main thing on display, although that is all I was about to buy. The most impressive piece I noted was being offered by a dealer named Edward Birnbaum. He was wearing a hat with Hebrew writing on it. He said that it translated to "Israeli Counter-terrorism School". He had a matched pair of dueling pistols from around 1840. They were going for $12,500.
I am going to have to do a follow-up post on Doctor Fred Goldstein. He had some rare coins from the period that he was showing. He gave me some fairly detailed information to persuade me that the market for rare coins has bottomed out. He even recommends them as a fit investment for qualified plans (not IRAs). I'm going to do some studying and may work up a post on that. Doctor Goldstein's fascination with gold, relates to his background in dentistry.
Probably the most fascinating guys at the event were a couple of federal employees. Mitchell Yockelson is an Investigative Archivist for the Office of the Inspector General of the National Archives. The other fellow is a special agent, who preferred to keep a low profile. Apparently there are a lot of documents floating around that really belong in the National Archives and these guys are charged with hunting them down. Maybe that will make another post.
My plan had been to pretty much stick with Park Service events and not check out the re-enactors, but our trip to the Inn brought us in close range, so we decided to take a look. It ended up absorbing most of the afternoon, but it was well worth it. The Blue Gray Alliance's grand finale for the weekend was Pickett's charge.
The layout on private land was done pretty well, with a stone wall at the top of the slope and a fence inconveniently dividing the field. It was narrower and not as long, but that would be picky. There was a sustained barrage before the guys kicked off in good order. The spectators were to their left and some of us followed along as they moved. As you watched the fellow limping back, you could vaguely hear the boys in blue yelling "Fredericksburg ! Fredericksburg !" It took me quite a while to relocate my covivant and my back-pack. CV indicated that a civil war reenactment was now off the bucket list. If CV is only going to have seen one, that was a really good one to have seen.
The fellow on the horse represents a private in the Second South Carolina Cavalry. He said it takes about four years to train one of the horses. I heard a few interesting lines as I was running around but I think the best was a fellow who said "I just want to know when 3rd Manassas is going to be."
What the A&E Guys Were Up To ?
There were some very moving ceremonies by Meade's Headquarters including Doris Kearns Goodwin as the keynote speaker. You'll be able to watch them yourself eventually. Here is the link. Have to get up early tomorrow to be there for the first shot. I'm hoping I'll be able to interview some "real timers."
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