Gettysburg NMP Conservation Day – Saturday, April 27, 2019

 Scene in movie Gettysburg between  R E LEE & JEB Stuart filmed here.

Scene in movie Gettysburg between
R E LEE & JEB Stuart filmed here.

Gettysburg NMP Conservation Day – Saturday, April 27, 2019

Our annual work day will entail work at the John Slyder Farm on the southern end of the battlefield. As always there will be something for everyone including fence painting & fence rebuilding. This will be our 5th year since we’ve expanded our role by including partners from Saucon Valley High School, Boy Scout Troop 89 from New Tripoli & the Whitehall Historical Society. Most groups who volunteer at Gettysburg have limited numbers and have limited goals. Because our numbers have reached 40 to 50 some folks we have been able to help the National Park Service staff accomplish projects other group cannot attempt. Caitlin Brown, Park Coordinator will once interpret action that occurred on the site after our task is completed. All are welcome. Please advise me if you know of any other folks outside of our CWRT membership who may have an interest in this rewarding labor.

 Fence Painting

Fence Painting

    The John Slyder farm was on the western side of Big Round Top, just down Plum Run from the Devil’s Den. John had moved from Maryland and bought the 75 acre farm in 1849. By the 1860’s it included a two story stone house, barn, blacksmith and carpenter shops, an orchard of peach and pear trees, thirty acres of timber and eighteen acres of meadow.

 Fence Rebuild

Fence Rebuild

   On July 2nd Confederate General John B. Hood’s Division swept across Slyder’s farm in its advance toward the Devil’s Den and Little Round Top. The crops and orchards were trampled and destroyed and the farm buildings became a Confederate field hospital, with the family’s possessions looted or spoiled. Two months after the battle, in September, John sold the farm and moved to Ohio. The Slyder family had connections with other Gettysburg families. John’s wife Catherine was the sister of Lydia Leister, whose house became General Meade’s headquarters during the battle. And in October of 1863 John’s son William married Josephine Miller, the granddaughter of Peter and Susan Rogers, whose farm lay on Emmitsburg Road.

 Vermont Sharpshooters monument. (L-R) Jeff Gates, Tony Major, Caitlin Brown & Chuck Cannon

Vermont Sharpshooters monument. (L-R) Jeff Gates, Tony Major, Caitlin Brown & Chuck Cannon

   The farm passed to the Snyder family, who owned it around the turn of the century. It is now owned by the National Park Service. The monument to Companies E & H, Second United States Sharpshoters (Vermont Sharpshooters) is beside the driveway in front of the farmhouse. 

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Field Trip to Antietam with Dennis Frye

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CWRT of Eastern PA took a field trip on Saturday October 20 to the Antietam National Battlefield in Maryland. National known historian and former NPS Ranger Dennis Frye led the group of almost 30 people on an incredible afternoon lecture and walking tour.

We began with an overview of the battlefield, and then carpooled to the area at the Lower (Burnside) Bridge. It was here, on that day in September 1862 along the Antietam Creek, where Union forces began a flanking maneuver around the Confederate troops, while others of Burnside’s Corps were keeping the defenders occupied.

We walked almost two and half miles along the creek, looking at terrain and talking about tactics used in Civil War battles. We found Snavely’s Ford, the place where 3,200 Union soldiers crossed and came around the Georgians.

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Once flanked, the Georgians holding the bridge were attacked and the bridge seized. Fyre described the time it took for the balance of his forces and artillery to cross the bridge, and then set up a line for their final assault on the Confederate right. Showing us where that final assault took place, he described the action as A.P. Hill’s Confederate forces arrived from Harper’s Ferry to disrupt the Union advance.

It was a great trip.

From the Brigade Commander ~ November 2018

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  The regiment was the building block of every Civil War Army and the individual soldier “is” the regiment. This basic fact is sometimes overlooked in the grand scheme of the strategic and tactical movements of thousands upon thousands of combatants. David Ward did a wonderful job bringing the men of the 96th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry alive for us at our October meeting. Much gratitude is also due to Gary Weaver for bringing the flag of the 96th reenactment group to our meeting.  

     We have a number of items that have been donated over time that do not quite meet our book raffle guide lines so some will be available at very reasonable prices at the Sign In table. 

     At recent meeting we have encouraged those who can’t attend the dinner portion of our gathering to move forward from the “walk in” section of the room to better hear and see the speaker. Once the meal is over we’ll announce when it’s appropriate to move your chair or find an empty spot at one of the tables. The choice is yours so sit wherever you are comfortable. We want all attendees to get the best experience from each program.

     I will be meeting on November 2nd with Caitlin Brown at Gettysburg and expect to announce at our November meeting the conservation work site for our annual effort. (Saturday, April 27, 2019). Wherever we end up working we will have fun, it will be a beautiful day and the Gettysburg Battlefield will benefit from our effort. Be a part of this wonderful day!

     Our Tri-fold Meeting and Speakers information sheets are a wonderful way to spread the word about our meetings and Programs. Please help us grow by doing your part to get our message out into the community!!! 

     I’ll give you one more chance to play the Devil’s Dictionary Game. Find one of Ambrose Bierce’s fantastic word definitions hidden in our website, email me with the word and receive 3 free raffle tickets to our book raffle at the November meeting. It’s not hard, try it, you’ll like it and I’ll stop whining. It’s a win win people!

     This month we welcome back one of the foremost scholars of our American Experience, Gordon Rhea! He is an old friend of our Round Table who last visited in 2004 if memory serves. His most recent book, On to Petersburg: Grant and Lee, June 4 – 15, 1864 belongs on every Civil War student’s bookshelf as did his previous studies on the Overland Campaign. We look forward to all members and friends being present for his latest visit to the Lehigh Valley.     

     Dues are overdue! Send your $25.00 check (It’s ok to send more if you’re so inclined!) to our PO Box 333, Allentown, PA 18105. See Paymaster Jeff Gates at the November meeting.

                             Ed Root   sartilly@hotmail.com   610-417-6673

CWRT Board Meeting ~ October 23

Our next CWRT of Eastern PA, Inc. Board meeting will be held on Tuesday, October 23rd at Southern Lehigh Public Library 3200 Preston Lane Center Valley, PA 18034

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Our Board will review activities of the recent meetings and will set plans and goals for the remainder of the Campaign year. The meeting will begin promptly at 6:30. Meetings generally last until 8-8:30PM.

All members are invited.

Please let me know if you plan to attend.


Thank you.

Ed Root
Brigade Commander
sartilly@hotmail.com

From The Brigade Commander ~ October 2018

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From the Brigade Commander
October 2018

Our Civil War was a great and horrific tragedy. Great in the sense of scale, something we can hardly understand today. Out of a population of only some 32 million up to 700,000 died and countless others soldiers and civilians alike had lives shattered, many beyond recovery. Horrific by any measure! We can only ponder on what we lost in those who could have contributed to the benefit of our country and within the larger community of humankind.

Johnston Pettigrew was such a man. What a tragic loss! Much gratitude to George Franks for sharing the life of that scholar, soldier and man whose unfulfilled potential echoes down to us today. George has become a good friend of our Round Table and don’t be shocked if he shows up at our annual Preservation/ Conservation day at Gettysburg on April 27th!

On Saturday, August 18, Kay Bagenstose, Kim Jacobs and I represented the CWRT of Eastern Pennsylvania, Inc. at the Civil War Round Table Congress at the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg. This gathering of representatives from all over the country explored ways to improve all our organizations. One of the main things we took away from that event is that the quest to bring in new members in the 20-40 year old range is a quest destined in the most part for failure.

Folks in that age range are generally far too involved with kids and jobs and unfortunately just don’t have the time or the energy for more activities. All the groups in attendance reported this fact so we are not alone in not being successful in that quest. This doesn’t mean we should not try to gain new devotees to our organization in that or any age bracket. We have always been welcoming to women and men of all ages and backgrounds. The only criterion is an interest in our common history.

Rev. John Berntsen does yeoman work getting out publicity to news outlets of all shapes and sizes, but we are capable of more and that is where you, our membership can help. Take our informational tri-folds that contain everything potential folks need to know to come to a meeting and help distribute them far and wide. Stores, libraries, doctors’ offices; leave them anywhere that won’t get you arrested! Almost all Round Tables have experienced a decline in membership over the past 20 years. Those who not only wish to prosper, but to survive must do everything possible to ensure that our study of American History does not fade away. Here ends the Sermon of the Day ....with apologies to Rev. Berntsen and Rev. Landis......

We have a number of items that have been donated over time that do not quite meet our book raffle guide lines so some will be available at very reasonable prices at the Sign In table.

Our October 20 Field Trip to Antietam with Dennis Frye as our guide is fast approaching. Have you signed up??

Our Round Table Board of Directors meets quarterly at the Southern Lehigh Public Library. Our next meeting will be Tuesday, October 23rd at 6:30 PM. All members are welcome! New membership and fresh leadership are critical to our future.

Dues are due! Sooner is better than later. Send your $25.00 check (It’s ok to send more if you’re so inclined!) to our PO Box 333, Allentown, PA 18105. See Paymaster Jeff Gates.

Ed Root
sartilly@hotmail.com
610-417-6673

From the Brigade Commander ~ September 2018

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From the Brigade Commander

     Where did the summer go? Hopefully all have had a safe and enjoyable time these past weeks. Our Karl Lehr Memorial dinner is just around the corner and we honor him for a life well lived as an educator, preservationist and loyal member of our Round Table. We welcome George Franks back to share his knowledge on Johnston Pettigrew. Those of you who heard him speak on Falling Waters and participated in our tour there know that we are in for a treat!

     Please see Jim Duffy and Kim Jacob’s reports on our Preservation results for the last Campaign. Once again our organization has taken a leadership role in helping to save America’s historic fields where so many in the Blue and Gray gave their all.

     Speaking of Preservation: SAVE THE DATE! Our annual Gettysburg effort will be Saturday, April 27. Tell Cousin Jane to get married some other weekend, forget the High School reunion. No excuses. Be part of something special by helping to conserve and preserve this precious field.

     Also note our very special prizes for our June Preservation Raffle as listed elsewhere in this newsletter. We have something for everyone so join the fun. There are no loser where we all support historic preservation.

     On Saturday, August 18 Kay Bagenstose, Kim Jacobs and I represented the CWRT of Eastern Pennsylvania, Inc. at the Civil War Round Table Congress at the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg. This gathering of representatives from all over the country explored ways to improve all our organizations. Stayed tuned for a full report.

     Our cash bar in the meeting room in June was a success, but not quite to the level we needed to make our minimums. So for now if you desire an adult beverage before the meeting you’ll have to visit the Holiday Inn watering hole near the entrance.

     We have a number of items that have been donated over time that do not quite meet our book raffle guide lines so some will be available at very reasonable prices at the sign in table. Look for them on September 4th!

     Our October 20 Field Trip to Antietam with Dennis Frye as our guide is fast approaching. Have you signed up??

     Our Round Table Board of Directors meets quarterly at the Southern Lehigh Public Library. Our next meeting will be Tuesday, October 23rd at 6:30 PM. All members are welcome!

     Dues are due! Sooner is better than later. Send your $25.00 check (It’s ok to send more if you’re so inclined!) to our PO Box 333, Allentown, PA 18105. Avoid the rush at our September meeting and bring a smile to Paymaster Jeff Gates.

     Please see my separate article on The Devil’s Dictionary. We want you all to frequent our website often so we are sweetening the pot! Our website can be found at: http://www.cwrteasternpa.org/ Paul Bartlett does a great job keeping things fresh and we endeavor to add items of interest between newsletters.

Ed Root   sartilly@hotmail.com   610-417-6673

Membership Note from Jeff Gates

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Membership – Jeff Gates

I’m hoping you all had a wonderful summer and were able to visit your favorite Civil War Sites!  Our membership remained just shy of 100 this past campaign.  I’m looking for your assistance in our endeavor to find new members.  Bring a friend, co-worker, family member to a meeting as we try to break back into the triple digits of membership.

I’d like to extend a warm welcome to new members, Len and Diane French and James Kruse!  Please welcome them when you bump into them at the dinner meetings.

It’s that time of year again to renew your membership to the Civil War Roundtable.  The Dues for the 2018-2019 Campaign have not changed and remain at $25.00 (Full Time Student $10.00).  If you wish to avoid the line at the September Dinner Meeting, please mail in your membership form and Check to the Roundtable address.

PO Box 333, Allentown, PA 18105

Website Word Hunt from"The Devil's Dictionary"

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The Devil’s Dictionary

was written by former Civil War soldier and writer Ambrose Bierce. He served in the 7th Indiana Infantry Regiment and on the staff of General William Hazen. Bierce fought in the Western Theater at such places as Shiloh, Stones River, Chickamauga and was wounded at Kennesaw Mountain. His work was first published as The Cynic’s Word Book in 1906 and then a more complete version in 1911 as The Devil’s Dictionary. His satirical and humorous word definitions have made folks laugh and perhaps think ever since. Some of the definitions ring as true today as they did over 100 years ago. We have a tendency these days to believe that the foibles of our contemporaries are unique and new. A few examples follow that prove otherwise:

  • Alone, adj – In bad company
  • Prejudice, n – A vagrant opinion without visible means of support.
  • Rear, n – In American military matters, the exposed part of the army that is nearest to Congress.

What, dear reader does this mean to you? As we wish to encourage all of you to visit our website often we will hide one of Bierce’s gems within it. Beginning with our September Newsletter the first person to find the word and send an email to me with it will receive three free tickets to the book raffle at the September meeting. So all you need to do is find the word and attend the meeting! www.cwrteasternpa.org

Have fun!!
d Root: sartilly@hotmail.com

Annual Karl Lehr Dinner: A legacy of honor, commitment and generosity

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September 04, 2018

Annual Karl Lehr Dinner: A legacy of honor, commitment and generosity.

As we enter our 41st year we remember Karl Lehr who was truly a renaissance man. He was a teacher, veteran of World War II, a preservationist and a philanthropist. During his time as a member of our Round Table he served our organization in many capacities. His commitment to historic preservation was accomplished through voice, labor and monetary contributions. Karl led a full life and his passing in 2009 at the age of 93 years generated a final gift that will continue to benefit future generations of our great land. A combination of his bequest to our Round Table and matching grants from leading Civil War preservation organizations brought $463,000 to the cause of historic preservation in 2011. It is because of people like Karl Lehr that our organization became well known and respected in historic preservation circles. We honor Karl’s memory each September at our “Karl Lehr Memorial Dinner.”          

Trip to Antietam on October 20th ~ Updated

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Preparations for October 20, 2018 Trip
to Antietam with Dennis Frye
     

If you recall, we surveyed you in the spring to see when and where we should have our field trips in 2018-2019 and mode of transportation.
     In some instances, the results were a little inconclusive but overall Antietam, MD was overwhelmingly the first choice.
     That date is set as Oct 20, 2018. 
     We wanted to let you know as soon as we made a decision that we will not be chartering a bus to Antietam. We just did not have enough folks to fill the bus and the cost became very high. Instead, we will go by car as we normally do.
     Some people have already noted they will meet us at the Battlefield and others want to carpool. If you plan on carpooling, please let Barry know whether you will be driving or whether you need a ride. That way, we can make sure we have enough rides and riders.
      Please note, we will be leaving on 10-20-2018 at 7:00 am from the Holiday Inn in Fogelsville. That is our normal meeting place for field trips. If we leave at 7:00 a.m. it should give us time to get there, use the restroom, and have a bite to eat before we start our tour which begins approximately noon.
     If you have not signed up yet and are thinking about going, we would love to have you.
     Currently, we project the cost of the speaker to be approximately $10.00 per attendee providing we have 25 people.
     We will e mail you more details as the trip gets closer but did want you to know the bus is not an option for this trip.
     We hope you are looking as forward to this trip as we are.
     Barry's email is bjasparks@rcn.com.

Regards,
Barry Arnold and Claire Kukielka