From the Brigade Commander - Ed Root

The book shelves of most Civil War historians, buffs and libraries are filled with Robert E. Lee, Ulysses Grant, T.J. Jackson, William T. Sharman and others. Books about the life and career of George Gordon Meade are few. We are gratified that Tom Huntington not only searched for George Meade, but found him. It was an informative and enjoyable evening and we are pleased that Tom and his wife Beth Ann joined us at our April meeting. A donation of $50.00 was made to the Civil War Trust in Tom’s name as a token of our appreciation.

Our trip to Falling Waters with George Franks was a great success. Much thanks is due to Bob McHugh for all his hard work planning the day.

By the time you receive this newsletter we will have been to Gettysburg on April 22nd for our annual conservation and preservation effort. (See photos below.) I will report on the day at the May meeting.  

On Wednesday, May 3 the unveiling of the refurbished Post 182 G.A.R. Monument will take place in Bethlehem’s Rose Garden at 2PM. It will be a grand event with Mayor Donchez, City and School District officials and the Nitschmann Middle school students and band in attendance. Peter Maugle, Bethlehem native and NPS ranger at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania NMP will be our keynote speaker and I will present about Captain Jonathon Taylor for whom the Post was named. The public is invited.

The deadline for payment for our Americans At War Seminar is May 2nd. I sincerely hope you will join us for this exciting event. We will again have a Book Sale table outside our meeting room this month. All sales go toward defraying Conference costs.


Stop by and see Jim Duffy and Kay Bagenstose on your way into the room on every meeting night. Check out Jim’s graph on the progress of this year’s preservation fund raising effort and make sure to purchase your raffle tickets for our big June Preservation Raffle.

May 2nd is election night for those volunteers who maintain our fine organization. Please offer a hearty thank you to all who serve and also to Joe Riggs for his role as Nominating Committee Chair.

Mike Cavanaugh has over the years been bringing the 4 volume set of The Rosters of the Union Army 1861-1865, Pennsylvania to meeting. These books contain over 300,000 names gleaned from the National Archives and indicate the veterans rank and unit. If you’re looking for info about a Pennsylvanian this is the place to start. Ed Oechsle will now be bringing these books to each meeting. Check them out at the back of the room. Thank you gentlemen!


 Don’t forget to check out our website


See you on May 2nd for Kathleen Thompson’s presentation, “To the Breaking Point, The Toll of War on the Civil War Soldier.”



Falling Waters Spring Trip – After Action Report - Bob McHugh

Many students of the Gettysburg campaign mark the close of fighting with the Confederate withdrawal from Cemetery Ridge following Pickett’s Charge on July 3, 1863.  However, that high water mark was soon followed by the high waters of the Potomac and an opportunity to trap Lee’s army and allow General George Meade’s victorious troops to finish the job.  On April 1st fifteen resolute members of the round table traveled to western Maryland to join George Franks on a journey to discover the real end to the Gettysburg campaign on the banks of the Potomac River.  The first stop of the tour took us to Williamsport, along the old Chesapeake and Ohio Canal.  Here George related the pursuit by Union forces and the rebel preparations for defense.  Meade decided to consult his corps commanders before pushing forward and this slight delay allowed Ewell’s 2nd Corps to ford the Potomac at its confluence with the Conococheague Creek. 

 Not far from Williamsport we joined Bob Harsh, a local farmer and preservationist, who gave us a tour of his recently acquired property.  He discussed the history of the area and plans to protect some of the surrounding countryside.  The highlight was the presence of remnants of rifle pits and entrenchments.  We then proceeded to the home of George Franks, built in 1830 and situated on a hill that witnessed the largest rearguard action of Lee’s retreat.  Our small company braved the chill winds as George described the cavalry charge of 100 troopers from the 6th Michigan against a line of surprised Confederates from A.P. Hill’s 3rd Corps.  Here, literally in George’s backyard, we heard the story surrounding the mortal wounding of Brig. Gen. J. Johnston Pettigrew and the fate of his Union assailant, who was killed by a rebel using a boulder as his weapon of choice.  The final leg of the tour took us, after a healthy hike, to the banks of the Potomac at Falling Waters.  The last of the rebel forces escaped on a pontoon bridge and the Gettysburg campaign concluded just as it began, with John Buford’s Union cavalry facing off against Heth’s Confederates.  At this point we expressed our gratitude to George Franks for an outstanding tour and decided to make another donation to his foundation to encourage future excursions.  The tour was a great success and we all agreed to plan another day trip next spring.  

Thanks to those who contributed the pictures shown below.    

NPS Archeological survey at Little Round Top is preparing the way for a prescribed fire this spring

Gettysburg National Military Park is planning a prescribed burn on the 52 acres on the west slope of Little Round Top this spring.  National Park Service (NPS) regional fire management specialists will assist the park with the prescribed fire, whose purpose is help maintain the open fields and meadows of the Gettysburg battlefield by reducing woody vegetation without the use of chemical or labor-intensive mowing or mechanical hand trimming. It will be the park’s fifth prescribed fire since 2013.The actual date of the fire will be announced in a news release but will likely be in April.  

 Before the prescribed fire takes place NPS Archaeologist Joel Dukes will be conducting an investigation of the Little Round Top slope. The archeology work will proceed over the next week.  The intent of the archaeological investigation is to build on previous studies from the western states where the effects of fire on battlefields have been studied.  Dukes will use the data that he gathers to provide the park with specific information to identify potential archaeological resources that may need to be protected from the impacts from fire. 

 To accomplish the research Dukes has pulled together a small group of experts in battlefield archaeology who have volunteered for the battlefield metal detection survey.  Many in the research group have been involved in previous NPS battlefield studies that have helped improve understanding--and in some cases have helped rewrite--what we know about those events.

 For battlefield sites it has been proven that metal detecting is a superior and cost effective method for locating and defining evidence for military action. This is a limited group of selected volunteers. Please note: the public is not permitted to use metal detectors within Gettysburg National Military Park.

 The NPS team will dutifully catalog and identify each item. Location is critical, so when an item is uncovered it is placed in a protective bag, assigned a unique catalog number, and a small flag is placed where it was located. This process ensures that the artifact's location can be later verified.

 After the survey, the artifact locations are entered into Geographic Information System (GIS), and a map of the survey site is created.  Location is the critical element of battlefield archaeology that enables us to expand our understanding of a battle. When the project is complete and the map is compiled, the distribution of artifacts can show fields of fire, areas of engagement, and unit positions.  All artifacts recovered during the project will be analyzed in a lab and returned to Gettysburg National Military Park.

 Little Round Top is the location of some of the most famous fighting of the Battle of Gettysburg.  Rising 164 feet above the Plum Run Valley to the west, Little Round Top became the anchor of the Union’s left flank and a focal point of Confederate attacks on the afternoon of July 2nd 1863. 

 In addition to the project at Little Round Top, the NP{S team will be conducting archaeological investigations at George Spangler Farm where the Gettysburg Foundation is planning to re-establish an historic orchard.  Spangler Farm was the site of hospital during the battle and the study will ensure that important archaeological features are not disturbed by the tree planting.

 Gettysburg National Military Park preserves, protects and interprets for this and future generations the resources associated with the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg, during the American Civil War, the Soldiers' National Cemetery, and their commemorations. Learn more at

Price Of Senior Pass Going To $80; Buy It Now For $10

If you're 62 or older and don't have a senior pass to the national parks, get one now for $10 before they jump to $80/NPS

Editor's note: This updates with the possible financial impact to units of the National Park System that sell senior passes.

With President Obama having signed the National Park Service Centennial Act into law, the price of a senior pass to the national parks, good for your lifetime, will soon jump to $80. If you're 62 or older and don't yet have your pass, buy it now before the price increases.

"I can tell you that it is not immediately," Tom Crosson, the National Park Service's chief spokesman, said Monday when asked how soon the new price might take effect.

While in the long run the increase in cost is being counted on to greatly help the Park Service address its estimated $12 billion maintenance backlog, in the near term the legislation could in theory impact many park units to the tune of roughly $46 million or more a year. That figure jumps out when you multiply the number of senior passes sold at individual park units in fiscal 2015 -- 579,084 -- by $80, the new cost of a lifetime pass for seniors age 62 or older. With the bulk of the Baby Boom generation yet to reach retirement age, the loss of direct revenues to park units that typically sell senior passes could grow in the years ahead.

Of course, the revenue projections could vary quite a bit, depending on whether the majority of senior passes sold going forward are for a lifetime, or for a year. Seniors who don't want to pay $80 could purchase an annual pass for $20; if they then kept four years' worth of $20 receipts they could exchange them for a lifetime pass. Of course, while President Obama has signed the legislation boosting the cost of the senior pass, the new fee hasn't yet gone into effect, so those park travelers 62 and older who haven't already purchased a park pass can still get one for $10.

The legislation, drafted by U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, calls for the deposit of up to $10 million generated from all Park Service sales of America The Beautiful - The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Passes into a Second Century Endowment for the Park Service to be managed by the National Park Foundation. Any revenues above $10 million would be deposited into a Centennial Challenge fund for projects in the parks. However, those dollars would need to be matched by private dollars before they could be spent.

Under that formula, the theoretical $46 million figure cited above would deposit $10 million into the Second Century Endowment and $36 million into the Centennial Challenge fund.

"The full $80 from sale of the lifetime senior pass and full $20 from sale of the new annual pass will be deposited in either the Second Century Endowment (amounts up to $10 million) or the Centennial Challenge Fund (amounts in excess of $10 million)," Elise Daniel, the committee's press secretary, said in an email. "This means that revenue from sales of the senior pass will not be used in the same way as revenue from sales of non-senior annual passes."

Interior Department Secretary Sally Jewell on Monday applauded President Obama's signing of the legislation.

"As the National Park Service enters its second century protecting and preserving the places that help tell America's story, the Centennial Act underscores the importance of our national parks to all Americans," she said in a prepared statement. "This administration and this Congress have helped shape the next 100 years of the National Park Service by passing this landmark law. It strikes the right balance of dedicated funding for important visitor outreach initiatives, increases volunteer opportunities and bolsters educational resources to reach a 21st Century audience of park-goers. The Centennial Act is part of our contribution to preserve the legacy of some of our Nation’s greatest treasures for generations to come."

At the Western Slope No-Fee Coalition, officials were bewildered by Congress' decision to raise the cost of the senior pass.

"While there have been a multitude of bills introduced (and programs authorized) aimed at giving new groups free or reduced-cost access to the public lands - 4th Graders, military families, those with disabilities, veterans, volunteers - it is difficult to understand why Congress has taken this opportunity to reduce a long-standing benefit to seniors. The $20-$35 million in anticipated additional revenue (depending on whose estimate you choose) will make little dent in the Park Service's claimed maintenance backlog of $12 billion," the group said in a newsletter.

"Why making the parks more expensive to visit constitutes a 'celebration' is a mystery to me," said WSNFC President Kitty Benzar. "Compare that to Canada, which is observing their 150th birthday by making all their national parks free in 2017."


Gettysburg “Brush” Cutting - Saturday, April 22, 2017

                          Chuck Cannon   Alyce Evans  Dick Jacoby

                          Chuck Cannon   Alyce Evans  Dick Jacoby

Our conservation effort at Gettysburg NMP in April will be certainly something different but also very exciting. We are giving brush cutting a whole new definition. On November 3rd Chuck Cannon, Dick Jacoby and I met with Alyce Evans who is responsible for conservation planning and work at the park. As you know, our Round Table has always been had a special role in the work there. We have been the Park’s group that always rushes in to do whatever is needed regardless of where. This year our brush work will be literally be with brushes, paint brushes to be specific. We will be painting newly installed fences on the Eisenhower Farm. These fences have just replaced worn and rotted fences and have received a primer coat to get through the winter. The finish coat is up to us. The park will supply all needed materials. So whether you’re young or old, short or tall there will be a section of fence just waiting for you.

As always we try to have a program for our volunteers as an extra reward for your work. Alyce was a seasonal ranger at the Eisenhower Farm for 12 years and knows all things about the general, his time in Gettysburg in WWI and the farm and his life after WWII. Her Master’s work was entitled “Regrettable Epidemic, The 1918 Influenza in Gettysburg and Camp Colt.” We expect a large group and want to plan for a tour of the farm house after we finish work so please let me know of you interest in participating. All of us have been to the battlefield many times over the years. We feel many of you may have never taken the time to explore and learn about Eisenhower and his farm. This is your opportunity!!


Nisky Hill Cemetery - Bethlehem, PA

We were having so much fun, the time went quickly!

We were having so much fun, the time went quickly!


Saturday morning, October 29th, was as beautiful a fall day as could be imagined or                    desired.Our eleven intrepid workers mustered at 10AM and immediately began lightly sandingand then painting the Dahlgren cannon and stacked cannon balls placed in the midst of the flag covered graves of 59 Union veterans. The previous Saturday had originally been the target, but the heavens cried and the winds howled and our volunteers regrouped! Morning Call reporter Scott Kraus joined us and did a nice story on our work which was completed before noon. Ongoing research into the war time service and post war lives of these men has given us a glimpse into the trials and tribulations of living and dying in the 19th and early 20th centuries. We hope to end up with a permanent record of the lives of these gallant men who helped save the Union.

Thanks to Barry Arnold, Chuck Cannon, Bill Frankenfield, Jeff Heller, Claire Kukielka, Alan Lowcher, Emily, Stu, Nick and Lanie Schenkel for participating.

Ed Root – Brigade Commander

Gettysburg National Military Park Winter Lecture Series 2017

Controversies, Myths, and Misconceptions: Refighting the Civil War

Winter is a great time to visit and explore Gettysburg National Military Park. On January 7, 2017, the annual Winter Lecture Series begins. Featuring some of the best National Park Service Rangers and Historians from across the region, this 11-week series of hour-long talks will examine some of the more controversial and complex aspects of the of the American Civil War. From Emancipation to the legacy of George McClellan, the Lincoln Assassination to the battle of Gettysburg, the history of the American Civil War is fraught with myths, misconceptions, and controversies. The Winter Lecture Series is held at 1:o0 p.m. on weekends in the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center from January 7th through March 12th, 2017.

For a complete schedule of all programs and featured speakers, check the park website or call the Visitor Information Desk at 717-334-1124 ext. 8023. Can’t make it to Gettysburg? All Winter Lectures will be filmed and made available on our park YouTube page:

Sat. Feb. 25
A Load of Buell? Another Look at The Cannoneer

Many stories have been spun about the American Civil War; some of them better than others.  In the modern marketplace, everything from AK-47 wielding Confederates to a vampire-slaying Lincolns permeates the battlefields in search of profit.  With this as a backdrop, let us re-evaluate the scorned story of one soldier of the Union in “A Load of Buell?”  – Another Look at The Cannoneer.– Bert Barnett, GNMP

Sun. Feb. 26
Thomas Francis Meagher – Angie Atkinson, GNMP
From his exile to Van Diemen’s Land to the mysterious circumstances surrounding his death, Thomas Francis Meagher’s life was captivating and mystifying. Dedication to his men was unquestionable, but rumors of over indulgence darkened his reputation both on and off the battlefield. Join Angie Atkinson as she delves into Gen. Meagher’s complicated history and examines some of the lingering questions regarding his leadership, actions, and untimely passing.

Sat. March 4
“In violation of the laws and customs of war:” Andersonville and the Trial of Henry Wirz
The American Civil War claimed the lives of nearly 700,000 Americans. 13,000 of those deaths occurred in one place, more deaths than on any battlefield of the war. That place was Andersonville Prison. Upon the war’s conclusion, the Federal Government wanted answers to the atrocities committed at this Confederate-operated prison while bringing the perpetrators of such war crimes to justice. Their answers were found in the camp’s prison stockade commander: Henry Wirz.
– Caitlin Brown, GNMP


Sun. March 5
“It was, indeed, a scene of unsurpassed grandeur and majesty” – An Audio-Visual Presentation of the National Park Service’s Coverage of the 150thAnniversary of the American Civil War. Over the past six years, the National Park Service has covered the commemoration of the 150th Anniversary of the American Civil War through extensive photography and video projects. From behind the camera, Jason Martz and a team of passionate and dedicated staff and volunteers have spent countless hours capturing these once-in-a-lifetime events. They have been used for immediate use on web and social media sites for a worldwide audience and have been saved and cataloged for ages to come. Beginning with the First Battle of Manassas (Bull Run) in July, 2011, and ending with the anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination, Jason will highlight some of the most remarkable and stunning pictures and videos from the past five years.  – Jason Martz, GNMP

Sat. March 11
How Does The Civil War Qualify as the First Modern War?
For 5,800 years of recorded history, wars were fought with pre-modern forms of transportation and communication, where the world was powered by windmills, watermills, literal horse power and human muscle, However, this all changed with the invention of the steam engine and its implementation in the 19th century. In fifty short years, macadamized roads, canals, steam trains, steam boats, steam presses and telegraph communication revolutionized the transfer of energy and power. By the 1850s, every aspect of western civilization looked and functioned differently than it had for thousands of years. It was in this milieu the Civil War was fought. What did the first modern war look like and how did it differ from previous wars? How did wartime observations by foreign emissaries alter the course of future wars?
– Troy Harman, GNMP

Sun. March 12


The Gettysburg Battlefield Book Series

Every Saturday, January 7th to March 11th
11:00 AM – 12:00 AM
Ford Education Center
Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center

Gettysburg National Military Park is pleased to announce the selections for the 2017 Gettysburg Battlefield Book Series! Meeting 11:00 AM -12:00 AM, every Saturday from January 7 to March 11 this series will examine significant works of history and literature on topics related to the Battle of Gettysburg and the American Civil War. We invite you to read along over the course of the winter before attending the informal one hour discussions in the Ford Education Center of the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center. The Park staff will lead the meetings, providing a brief overview of that week’s topic and discuss the chapters read.

From January 7 to February 4 we will examine our first book, The Killer Angels, by Michael Sharra. Winner of the 1975 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, it is an account of the battle of Gettysburg from the perspective of some of the key figures who were involved in the climactic event.

We hope you will join us this winter, read along, and share your thoughts and perspectives on these two fascinating books.

The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
January 7 – February 4

January 14          Part 2: The First Day
– with Ranger Daniel Vermilya

January 21          Part 3: The Second Day
–  with Ranger John Nicholas

January 28          Part 4: The Third Day
 with Ranger Caitlin Brown

February 4          A Conversation with Jeff Sharra



Sickles at Gettysburg by James Hessler
February 6 – March 11

February 11            Chapter 1-3: (Pages 1-68)
with Ranger Chris Gwinn

February 18           Chapter 4-7 (Pages 69-142)
with Ranger Daniel Vermilya

February 25          Chapter 8-11 (Pages 143 – 212)
with Ranger Matt Atkinson

March 4             Chapter 12-15 (Pages 213-300)
with Ranger John Hoptak

March 11        Chapter 16-Epilogue (Pages 301-406)    A Conversation with James Hessler


 Winter Reading Adventures

For children ages 5 to 10, and their families!
Every Saturday, January 7
th to March 11th
11:00 AM – 11:45 AM
Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center

Our new Winter Reading Adventures program is for kids who LOVE to read, parents who WANT their kids to love to read, and for budding history buffs everywhere! Best of all, it’s FREE!

Each Saturday morning, a park educator will read aloud a picture book, or parts of a chapter book (see this winter’s exciting titles below), followed by an indoor game, activity, or visitor from the past… and then instructions for an outdoor winter adventure with your family!

It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3…

1.      READ a new book with a park educator.

2.     MEET a guest from the past, or CREATE something special from the book.

3.     EXPLORE an extra special place at Gettysburg National Military Park.

Some of our winter reading adventures include: Marching like a Civil War soldier;Cooking up some corn bread, Singing campfire songs like “Goober Peas”; Going on a museum treasure hunt; Meeting General Robert E. Lee; Dressing up like President Lincoln; Or trying out a hoop skirt and corset!

WHO?                   YOU!  Children ages 5 to 10 and their families.
WHAT?                Winter Reading Adventures program, a FREE history book club just for kids!
WHEN?                Every Saturday morning at 11:00 from January 7 through March 11.
WHERE?             Theater inside the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor                                   Center

Discounts for your entire purchase, including the weekly book selections, are available for participants in our Museum Bookstore, helping them to achieve their school’s independent reading objectives.  PLUS kids who participate in five or more winter reading adventures will receive a special SOLDIER’S HAVERSACK to carry their new books around!

So get your kids reading, get your kids outdoors, and get your kids into history… and have a family winter reading adventure with us at Gettysburg National Military Park!

January 14, 2017               The Patchwork Path by Bettye Stroud

January 21, 2017               Civil War on Sunday (Chapters 1-5) by Mary Pope Osborne

January 28, 2017              Civil War on Sunday (Chapters 6-10) by Mary Pope Osborne

February 4, 2017               Nurse, Soldier, Spy: The Story of Sarah Edmonds
by Marissa Moss and John Hendrix

February 11, 2017             Pink & Say by Patricia Polanco

February 18, 2017            I Am Abraham Lincoln by Brad Meltzer

February 25, 2017            Voices of Gettysburg by Sherry Garland

March 4, 2017                    The Silent Witness: A True Story of the Civil War
by Robin Friedman

March 11, 2017                   The Last Brother: A Civil War Tale by Trinka Hakes Noble

Message to parents:  The Civil War was a real event and horrific in nature… and it was brought about by issues such as slavery that will be new and somewhat difficult for young children to grasp.  Some of our book selections introduce and discuss these topics in an age-appropriate way, but we recommend that you spend some time after the program answering any questions they might have and exploring the issues with other books. 


Farms of Gettysburg

Sunday, March 12th toSunday, April 2nd
1:00 AM – 1:45 AM
Ford Education Center
Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center

Before it was a battlefield it was a home. Join a Park Ranger in the Ford Education Center at Gettysburg National Military Park and discover the fascinating stories of the Farms of the Battlefield, and the people who called them home.

Sunday, March 12 –Lydia Leister Farm


Saturday, March 18 –William Culp Farm


Sunday, March 19 –George Weikert Farm


Saturday, March 25 – Basil Biggs Farm


Sunday, March 26 – Abraham Brian Farm


Saturday, April 1 –Moses McClean Farm


Sunday, April 2 –  Joseph Sherfy Farm



Preservation project at Gettysburg’s Eternal Light Peace Memorial

Preservation project at Gettysburg’s Eternal Light Peace Memorial begins today

 Gettysburg, Pa. (September 5, 2016) – Beginning today, September 6, the Eternal Light Peace Memorial at Gettysburg National Military Park will close for a months-long preservation project. National Park Service preservation experts from the Historic Preservation Training Center will dismantle and reset all plaza stones, granite capping stones, stairs, and flagstone walkways; selective repointing of the memorial shaft; and cleaning of all masonry on the monument and its bronze urn.

 During the majority of the work, the gas flame will continue to burn, with some planned outages.

 Park visitors may continue to park at the Peace Light but the area immediately surrounding the memorial will be closed through the rest of 2016.

 The memorial was dedicated in 1938 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the 75th anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg.  For more information please contact 717/ 334-1124, or visit  

 Gettysburg National Military Park is a unit of the National Park Service that preserves and protects the resources associated with the Battle of Gettysburg and the Soldiers' National Cemetery, and provides an understanding of the events that occurred there within the context of American history. 

Gettysburg Cemetery Ridge rehabilitation

Gettysburg NMP

The rehab of Cemetery Ridge will begin July 11 -

NPS announces detours, temporary parking and cemetery access


The parking area and sidewalks for the Soldiers’ National Cemetery at Gettysburg National Military Park along Taneytown Road will close on July 11 for up to six months for a construction project, National Park Service officials have announced. To accommodate national cemetery visitors during the project, a number of detours and temporary access points have been established.

 Parking - Temporary grass and gravel parking lots for the National Cemetery will be designated on the east side of Taneytown Road, across from the existing lot, and at the intersection of Taneytown Road and Hunt Avenue.

 Pedestrian Access - Because of sidewalk closures on the west side of Taneytown Road, pedestrian access to the national cemetery will be through a new gate through the stone wall on the south side of the cemetery, directly accessible from the temporary parking area.  All existing cemetery gates will remain open during cemetery hours. Pedestrians using the trail from the park Museum and Visitor Center will be rerouted onto a new temporary grass trail on the east side of Taneytown Road.   

 Handicapped accessibility - Visitors with mobility impairments may obtain special permission from Park Rangers in the Museum and Visitor Center to drive into the Soldiers’ National Cemetery.

 Auto Tour Route - Cars following the Gettysburg National Military Park’s auto tour route will be directed from Hancock Avenue to Steinwehr Avenue to Taneytown Road to the temporary parking lot for the cemetery (Auto Tour stop 16).  Buses, RVs and large vehicles will follow detour signs on a special route via Steinwehr Avenue to Queen Street, to Fairview Avenue, to Gettys Street, to Washington Street, to Taneytown Road to the Hunt Avenue temporary parking area.  These large vehicles must take special care when parking at Hunt Avenue due to wet areas on the left and right side of the entrance.

 Local traffic detour - Local traffic that uses this area for access between Taneytown Road and Steinwehr Avenue will be redirected to the intersection of Taneytown Road and Steinwehr Avenue or Wheatfield Road.

 Freedom transit – The Gold Line shuttle’s cemetery stop will be relocated to the temporary parking lot.


Bicycle traffic – Bicyclists, including users of the Gettysburg Inner Loop bike trail, will stay on Steinwehr Avenue to the intersection with Taneytown Road and proceed to the bike racks inside the Taneytown Road entrance to the cemetery.

 Project background – This $1.5 million dollar project will rehabilitate Cemetery Ridge at Gettysburg National Military Park, bringing back missing features on the historic landscape at the center of the Union Army’s battle line and reduce the size of a parking area at Ziegler’s Grove.  The nonprofit Gettysburg Foundation provided a grant of $900,000 to match National Park Service funding of $600,000.  Special funding from the National Park Service was made available as a National Park Service Centennial initiative. 

 Details about the project are available on “From the Fields of Gettysburg,” the official blog of Gettysburg National Military Park, (click here) or go to:



An award-winning preservation company has been hired to restore Bethlehem's Civil War Monument, though the city is still soliciting contributions to pay for the work.

City Council recently voted unanimously to authorize the administration to enter into a contract with Conservation Solutions Inc., Washington, D.C., to make the needed repairs to the statue honoring Capt. Jonathan K. Taylor. The cost of repairs is estimated at $20,000.

The 129-year-old statue was removed from Bethlehem's Rose Garden a year ago because it had begun to lean backward and city Parks Department officials feared that it might topple.

Conservation Solutions has a world of experience in preservation, having won awards for its work in restoring the D.C. War Memorial in Washington; Cleopatra's Needle, an Egyptian obelisk located in New York's Central Park; and the exterior of the New York Public Library.

Capt. Taylor was a Bethlehem resident who fought with Company C of the 129th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers, in the Civil War. He was gravely wounded when he was shot through the lung during the Battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia on Dec. 13, 1862.

He died more than three months later on March 28, 1863, and was buried in God's Acre, the Central Moravian Church cemetery on West Market Street between Main and North New streets.

Cast of 99.3 percent zinc by the Monumental Bronze Co. of Bridgeport, Conn., the statue was shipped in pieces by train to Bethlehem before its dedication on Oct. 11, 1887. The ceremony was preceded by one of the largest parades in the city's history, including more than 3,000 Civil War veterans, numerous regional civic societies, 18 brass bands and then Pennsylvania Gov. James A. Beaver.

Initially erected on West Market Street, next to the cemetery where Capt. Taylor was buried, the statue was moved to the Rose Garden in 1967 when city officials became concerned about vehicular traffic downtown.

In 1994, when the city did a $40,000 facelift of the monument, it was given an appraised value of $250,000.

As it turns out, the statue was one of more than 100 Civil War era monuments cast from the same mold. The statues were commonly known as "The American Soldier." But the base of these monuments are prone to failure under the weight of the soldiers atop.

Taylor's statue began to lean, prompting city officials to remove it from the Rose Garden last year.

The Civil War Roundtable of Eastern Pennsylvania, a local group that has done conservation work in Gettysburg and in more nearby places, contributed $2,000 to the project, but the city continues to solicit contributions.

Donations, which are tax deductible, can be sent to City of Bethlehem, Department of Parks & Public Property, 10 E. Church St., Bethlehem, PA 18018.

Daryl Nerl is a freelance writer.

Note: we are working with City officials and hope to announce plans to hold a rededication ceremony for the Monument in the Fall.