Renewing acquaintances, part 12

This is the last of the trip tidbits.

Stories of individuals at Gettysburg stick with me the most.

The Confederates marched on Pennsylvania because they needed supplies, provisions for their army; and, we’re talking basic rations, nothing fancy. There wasn’t much left from where they started. Armies did move on their stomachs, and if a place which the armies passed had foodstuffs, they didn’t after the soldiers marched through.

The family of a freed slave had to leave the Gettysburg fields as the Confederates approached; had they been captured by the Confederates, it would have been slavery all over again.

A women left her home (two bedrooms with a loft to shelter a family of six, a common size of a farm home at that time) and her favorite peach tree, only to return to find her tree dead because of a burned horse carcass (a common way of disposing of dead animals at battlefields).

Clustered groups and battle lines suffered horrific casualties. Trenches, hastily erected fortifications, rocks and boulders helped a little, but not much. Fighting and dying in each company were farmers, youths, pastors, tradesmen and wastrels, all known to each other, since soldiers tended to serve with people from their own towns and areas.

The accounts of field hospitals turned my stomach.

If the wind was right, folks in the path of an approaching army could smell them coming; personal hygiene kind of went by the wayside, and soldiers were carrying their own rations without refrigeration.

So, home again, it’s kind of an overused way to summarize a good road trip, but I’ll say it anyway. I learned a lot, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. But, I’ll have a spare tire, bought locally, in a carrier somewhere on the vehicle, a bolt cutter and a spare cable lock.

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