Gettysburg National Military Park
Nov 17-18, 2018
On Nov. 17/18 BSA Troop 1128 visited the National Battlefield Part at Gettysburg, PA. The trip was co-ordinated by ASM Fitzmaurice. It was both a bicycle tour of the battlefield and a guided historical tour. A service project was built into the event as scouts collected trash along the way.
The troop left Andrew Chapel about 9am on Saturday by car and met at Gettysbike (www.gettysbike.com) in the parking lot of the visitors center to pick up rental bikes. Gear was left in the cars while the rest of Saturday was spent touring the battlefield on bike.
The route took the Scouts thru the tip of the town of Gettysburg over to Confederate Ave.. Once on the battlefield proper, scouts rode past many cannons, historical markers and monuments. Perhaps the most impressive of these were the North Carolina and the Virginia monuments. That weekend just happened to be ‘Rememberance Day’ and there were many men and women dressed in period costumes wandering about.
Scouts ate a bag lunch along the way, most waiting until they reached the 75 foot Observation Tower. This tower offered a nearly birds-eye view of the location of action the occured on day two and three of the battle. The ride passed along the Wheat field and Peach Orchard, scenes of heavy fighting on day 2. We returned the bikes and car shuttled over to Artillery Ridge Campground to set up camp for the night. It had snowed a couple days previous and by then the melt had turned much of the ground into a fine soup like consistency. Temperatures dropped fairly low that evening and Scouts earned a Polar Bear or Snowflake for the trip.
The next morning, Scouts broke camp, packed up gear into cars and returned to Gettysbike for another ride. This ride took everyone past the large Pennsylvania memorial, the Confederate high water mark and Meads Headquarters. This days ride was somewhat shortened due to the opportunity to have a licensed Battlefield guide give us a personal tour of Devils Den and Little Round Top. We returned bikes once again to Gettysbike and shuttled by car over to Devils Den. The guide was very knowledgable and explained the events surrounding the desperate struggle around Devils Den and Little Round Top. He explained the role played by J.L. Chamberlain, credited by many with saving the battle for the North, but pointed out that there were others, lesser known today, who also had key roles in the battle, but just didn’t get a mention in the movie “Gettysburg”. The film that caused Little Round Top to become the most popular tourist destination of the battlefield.
The Scouts returned to Andrew Chapel by around 3pm, a little wiser, a lot muddier than before we left