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Showing posts from June, 2013

THE TRAGIC STORY OF THREE FRIENDS

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On the 1st of July 1863 the remnants of the Union 1st and 11th Corps retreated through Gettysburg to Culp's and Cemetery Hill. The union line from Culp's Hill to Big Round Top looked like a fish hook with Culp's Hill being the barb. Culp's Hill was the extreme right of the Union line. On the night of the 1st Confederate General James S. Ewell, who is buried in Nashville's City Cemetery, was given discretionary orders by Lee to take Culp's Hill. Take it if possible but not to bring on a general engagement. Ewell sent a Division under Major General Edward Johnson to take the Hill. He sent out a small party to reconnoiter and they ran into the 7th Indiana Infantry of the 1st Corps. As a result Johnson failed to attack. This was a critical mistake of the battle. Had the Confederates taken Culp's Hill it would have made the rest of the Union line untenable. By the next day there were too many Union troops on Culp's Hill. The Confederates sacrificed hundre…

BRIGADIER GENERAL ALEXANDER SCHIMMELFENNIG

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Brigadier General Alexander Schimmelfennig had been a Ensign in the Prussian Army prior to the Civil War. He had been wounded in battle twice during the Revolution of 1848. The revolution failed and he was able to escape to Switzerland where he was sentenced to death in abstentia. He was a Communist, although he belonged to the same faction led by August Willich. who was opposed to Karl Marx. Willich would migrate to the United States and would join the Union Army. Willich was promoted to command of a Division at Stones River where he was captured and sent to Libby Prison. As the the Union Army fled through Gettysburg Schimmelfennig made a wrong turn down a blind alley behind the Henry Garlach house at 323 Baltimore Street and hid between a barrel and a woodshed. He was forced to hide out for three days while the Confederates held the town. Schimmelfennig belonged to the Union 11th Corps which was made up primarily of German immigrants. They were the Corps that was rolled up by Sto…

A GUN BATTLE AT THE TENNESSEE STATE FAIR

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This was from the Nashville Tennessean on Sunday September 25, 1966. Two men got into a gun battle on the crowded Midway of the State Fair the previous night because one of the men popped a balloon belonging to a child with a cigarette. There were several people wounded, including an eight year old girl. One of the men had to be protected from the crowd at gunpoint by a Metro Policeman because they were enraged over the wounding of the little girl. The other man escaped but was believed to have been wounded. My brother Mark was nearby but luckily he was not shot. Nobody died in the incident.

A CRAZY YEAR

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Nineteen sixty eight was a wild year. It started out with the siege of Khe Sanh in January followed by the Tet Offensive in February. Because of Walter Cronkite and the media espousing the lie that Tet was a defeat for the U.S. Johnson in March declared that he would not seek re-election in November. Martin Luther King was killed on April 4 and massive rioting broke out everywhere. Robert Kennedy was killed on June 6. Debbie and I were married on June 21. My grandfather died in July. I went into the Air Force in August and found out I was going to be a father. Riots broke out in Chicago at the Democratic Convention that were organized by the gang of radicals that eventually came to control the Democratic Party. There was the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia and last but not least Richard Nixon was elected President.







THE ETERNAL PEACE MONUMENT AT GETTYSBURG

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On July 3, 1938, the seventy-fifth anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg, President Franklin Roosevelt dedicated the Eternal Peace monument on McPherson's Ridge. It was covered by a fifty foot American flag that was removed by a Union and Confederate veteran of the battle who were both ninety-one years old. There is an eternal flame on top that burns twenty four hours a day. The flame was reduced to a pilot light during World War II and during the oil shortage of the early 1970's it was replaced by a light bulb. The flame was restored in the 1980's and still burns to this day. Jacqueline Kennedy saw the eternal flame on a visit which is where she got the idea for an eternal flame on the grave of her husband John Kennedy at Arlington. There were 1800 surviving veterans, both Union and Confederate, that were housed in an elaborate tent city that was on the site of the motel where we stayed in 2005. Most of these veterans were in their nineties and they were assisted by …

THE BADASS OF GETTYSBURG

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John L. Burns was born on September 5, 1793. He was a veteran of the War of 1812, fighting in numerous battles. Burns tried to enlist during the Mexican War and the Civil War but was rejected because of his age. He did serve as a teamster for the Union Army but was sent home against his will. Burns was then appointed constable of Gettysburg. When Confederate General Jubal Early briefly occupied Gettysburg before the battle, Burns stoutly resisted Early's authority and was jailed. Early evacuated Gettysburg and Burns was released. As constable Burns arrested all the Confederate stragglers he could find. On the first day of the battle of Gettysburg he grabbed his flintlock rifle. On his way to join the fighting he encountered a wounded Union soldier and asked if he could use the soldiers more modern weapon. The soldier handed his musket over to Burns. 
  Burns approached Major Thomas Chamberlain of the 150th Pennsylvania Infantry and asked permission to fall into line of battle. …

GETTYSBURG'S HAUNTED BRIDGE

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This is the Sach's bridge at Gettysburg. It was built in 1854 and during the battle was called the Sauches bridge. Union troops crossed this bridge on the way to reinforce General John Buford fighting on McPherson's Ridge July 1, 1863. Most of the Confederate Army retreated across the bridge after the battle. The bridge was made into a pedestrian bridge in 1968. It is supposedly haunted and has been featured on programs about the paranormal.