As regular readers will know, I like to keep in touch with brief comment and a picture or cartoon or two, put in the pipeline before I take time off for vacation or other activities which don’t allow time for researching and writing and rewriting one of my regular-length columns.
This week’s keeping-in-touch effort deals with a too-long-delayed visit to the remarkable national park which preserves the Gettysburg battlefield and the national cemetery there—the site of one of the most memorable speeches ever delivered in the English language—Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg address, delivered at the dedication of a military cemetery in 1863 only a few months after the battle.
(The supposed principal speaker at the cemetery dedication was a celebrated orator, Edward Everett. But Everett wrote Lincoln: “I should be glad if I could flatter myself that I came as near to the central idea of the occasion, in two hours, as you did in two minutes.”)
Marian’s and my visit to Gettysburg was made especially informative and enjoyable because it was in the company of our nephew, Michael Ross, an Associate Professor of History at the University of Maryland.
Hard to improve on a tour of an historic Civil War battlefield in the company of a beloved family member who is a professor with special expertise in Civil War history.
I really don’t know why, as one of the millions of Civil War buffs in this nation, I waited so long to visit the site of the battle which so significantly helped determine the eventual outcome of the Civil War.
Robert E. Lee’s Confederate army lost a battle which, if won by Lee, might ultimately have helped persuade the North to agree to a peace which preserved the Confederacy.
Two of the pictures below show me in a clearing just to the east of the fabled Little Round Top, the western anchor of the entire Union defense line, which held the high ground stretching along Cemetery Ridge.
If Colonel Joshua Chamberlain, who had taught theology at Bowdoin College, and his 20th Maine regiment had not held Little Round Top in the face of attack by Confederates from an Alabama division, the entire Union line could have been rolled back.
Certainly one of the most dramatic stories of the Civil War was the stand by Joshua Chamberlain and his outnumbered troops. When they ran out of ammunition, at Chamberlain’s order to fix bayonets, Chamberlain and his men charged downhill through the timber, sending the attacking Alabamans into panicky retreat.
If you are a Civil War buff and haven’t visited Gettysburg, do it. And if your first visit was more than four years ago, a return visit now will let you enjoy the very impressive new visitors center.
Okay, now what about that dog-depicted below?
Glad you asked. Nephew Michael Ross, Marian and I are pleased to introduce you to another member of our extended canine family—Suzie Q, a captivating 28-pound Australian Red Heeler, a breed with is adept at helping herd cattle and sheep in Australia but also very good at winning owners’ hearts in the United States.
Suzie Q, of course, has effective charge of the Ashley and Michael Ross household.
Michael posed Suzie Q with the Lincoln Memorial in the background. Appropriate caption, I would suggest, would be “Standing Guard.”
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