I’ve got some fun news for nonPennsylvania residents. Being originally from the Keystone State, I’ve had the opportunity to zip down to Gettysburg on weekends and for the anniversaries to take part in the Battle Walks. Usually, they’re two-three hours in length and cover a mile or two of ground (or more, if you’re with Ranger Troy Harmon). These tours cover a very specific aspect of the fighting. Some of my fondest memories of Gettysburg come from these tours.
I moved to Seattle, Washington in 2008, so my last Gettysburg Battlewalk was in 2007. Residents of Pennsylvania get the opportunity to watch them on PCN (Pennsylvania Cable Network), which usually broadcasts them the same day they’re recorded. If you don’t live in PA, however, you’re not out of luck.
PCN offers a live stream of their channel at their website. In past years, it was free, but this year they’re charging. I have mixed feelings about them charging, of course, but if it keeps them in business, I’m ultimately cool with it. There are three new tours airing each day and a slew of “reruns” from past years. Each day will cost you $10 and it’s only $25 for the whole 3-day package. They air July 1, 2 and 3 (Friday, Saturday and Sunday).
The tours this year are quite spectacular. You can read all about them at the Gettysburg Park site. (Click on the 2011 Anniversary Battlewalks, it’ll download a PDF file explaining each of the tours.
So which new tours am I most excited about?
Well, while all the tours are great, I am partial to any tour given by the duo of Gary Adelman and Tim Smith. They don’t really give tours about the battle, but about the history of the battlefield. They hit on old roads, old monuments, etc. I love that kind of stuff. Also, they’re fairly hilarious. Their tour airs on July 1st (the exact time is tough to nail down, as previous tours can bump back start times for other tours – to be on the safe side, let’s say 7pmish to 8pmish eastern time.
As for the second day, I’m going to have to go for John Archer’s Confederate Attack on East Cemetery Hill. It’s an often overlooked part of the battle. Honestly though, all three tours on this day are great.
The third day is, of course, Pickett’s Charge. That’s always fun in Gettysburg because you can choose which tour to attend. You could learn about the Union defenses, or be part of the Confederate “attack.” And while that is all pretty wonderful, I’m most looking forward to Troy Harman’s tour of *West* Cavalry field. That’s right, West. Most folks know about East Cavalry field where Stuart faced off against Custer, but this is the July third battle of Fairfield. I wish more than anything that I could be there in person. I usually try to tell myself that watching on TV is just as good, but, while I appreciate PNC, I’m really, really bummed that I can’t make this one.
Well, anyway, I hope that some of you can take the weekend off and veg out in front of the computer. Better yet, hook your computer up to the TV and watch it on full screen. That’s what I’m doing. I don’t plan to leave my TV room for three whole days. Wish me luck!