an uneventful Wednesday.

Cloudy days get under my skin. The lack of sunshine really has an adverse effect on my psychological well being. Today was no different, kind of a blah day from the beginning. The cloud cover made for very average, underexposed pictures on the battlefield. Never got to see the sun come out. And it is supposed to rain heavily tomorrow.

I made a game plan during breakfast. I decided to go back to the battlefield and fill in any gaps that I missed yesterday. I really wanted to get to know my way around the battlefield in the day so that I could know where to go at night. I spent most of the morning retracing some steps from yesterday and discovering some new areas that I had not seen yet. Took a lot of pictures in the morning. Probably up to 200+ now.

The town square in Gettysburg is actually a circle. A traffic circle. Right off of the circle, I saw a restaurant called “Ernie’s Texas Lunch.” Well that intrigued me. This place has been in business since 1921, and was basically an old time counter service place. I noticed about 100 hot dogs on the grill when I came in. So I opted for a Texas style hot dog. And gravy fries? Why not. I’m on vacation. And that includes my arteries. How exactly do Pennsylvanians approximate a Texas Lunch? The “Texas style” hot dog consisted of mustard (yes), onions (yes), and chili (no). Not really Texas style, in my opinion. But it was edible. And so were the fries. I am battling a wicked sinus infection, so my sense of taste and smell is operating about 30%. That was probably a good thing at lunch.

The afternoon was more of the same. Reading books, finding places referenced in said books, going there and taking pictures. I found some place on the battlefield north of town, and tried to go out there, but the road was closed because they were putting back together a 100-year-old monument. It was a massive one, too. Pretty big task.

I did go to the local college bookstore to try to find something to bring home for Ashley and Owen. The College was originally called Pennsylvania College, founded in 1832. The name was changed to Gettysburg College to capitalize on the fame of the local town. It is a small campus, and I found the bookstore after asking a university employee. Couldn’t find anything that I liked, so I left empty handed. But I did like their nickname. What else but the “Bullets.” Of course. The Gettysburg Bullets.

I read some more in the Ghost books and made my plans for the evening. Darkness was upon me, so it was time to move into investigation mode.
There is a road named Hospital Road that runs close to the South end of the battlefield. It got its name from the numerous field hospitals set up during the war. I went to the road, and noticed a large stone marker and a blue painted sign that mean only one thing in this town: Civil War Hospital. But it was posted no trespassing, so I went further down the road. And I came upon another one; this one was open to the public.
It was really dark by now, and I drove down the one lane road to the house. It was a farm, barn, and farmhouse that had basically been commandeered into a hospital out of necessity. No cars, no people. Looked vacant. Except for a light burning in the upstairs window. It looked like a candle with a bulb. And on an adjacent window, on another side of the house, was another light. But this one flickered and changed in intensity. I am assuming that this was a real candle? But how could that be? This place was definitely vacant. I certainly don’t want to trespass on someone’s property to satisfy my need to investigate. But this one wasn’t posted. I recorded around the house for 10-15 minutes. Pretty creepy when you are alone, not knowing what to expect. I read the monument upon leaving. The hospital cared for over 1200 wounded and stayed as a hospital for a good month after the war was over. It is hard to imagine the pain and suffering that went on within those walls. A bullet to the arm or leg most likely meant an amputation, and that amputation was most likely done without anesthesia. Limbs were piled outside of windows in macabre pyramids. That scene is hard to imagine. And it was repeated all over this town.

Afterwards, I headed back to the battlefield. I first went to the scene of heavy fighting and large numbers of casualties, a place called the Triangle Field. I parked the car and headed down the dirt path to the break in the gate that bordered the field. I immediately noticed a green light flickering in the woods on my right, which would be the Northern border of the field. A small group of people were walking through the woods; they were quiet, and that helped during recording. I recorded there for about 10 minutes. I tried to clear my head and focus on the current solitude and peacefulness of a place that experienced so much carnage 151 years ago. All I could hear was the incessant chirping of crickets. I didn’t feel much, but I’m not a sensitive or a medium, so that is par for the course. Hopefully I picked up something on the recorder.

I left and drove further up the road to the place that arguably was the site of the most casualties during the campaign, the Wheatfield.
It was similar to the Triangle Field. There was another green flashlight in the distance, which meant another group of people out after dark.
They passed me on the path to the center of the field, and I recorded for 15-20 minutes in solitude.
The Gettysburg Battlefield is hard to describe with words during the day. At night, it is damn near impossible to describe. Such an influx of emotions, feelings, sympathy for what happened here. And on the surface, it seems like just another simple walk in the dark through a field or through the woods, but then you take into account the history. And the monuments that are around every corner, in the middle of every field, some staring at you as if to tell their story. Without a doubt, one of the most eerie places I have ever recorded in.

I have two more nights here and I plan on doing more recording in different locations.

And if it rains tomorrow, I will head to Shanksville, PA–the site of the crash of Flight 93 on 9/11. I want to see the memorial.
I really can’t do what I came here to do in the rain. No pictures, no recording. So the Shanksville plan will probably work. But it will eat up most of the day. It is a 2 hour and 15 minute drive each way.

Thanks for reading, I am out for the night.


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