View single post by pamc153PA
 Posted: Wed Sep 3rd, 2008 12:58 am
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Joined: Sat Jun 14th, 2008
Location: Boyertown, Pennsylvania USA
Posts: 407

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I am, like Susan and Widow, a fairly recent CW addict. It's been only about 10 years now and I wish it would have bitten me sooner, because I feel like I have much to catch up on.

For years, in the junior high where I teach, the ninth grade studies the CW. On one entire class day, after they study the battle of Gettysburg, the whole ninth grade spends all day watching the movie Gettysburg, the long version that came in a special boxed set someone got years ago. Since the kids were there all day, so were the teachers. The coolest thing about the film, I thought, was that when the Confederates fire the artillery on Day 3 before Pickett's Charge, the volume was loud enough in the auditorium that you could feel the floor shake--talk about realism. Otherwise, for years, I looked at it as a day where I didn't have to teach.

Then my sister and brother-in-law got my husband and I a gift certificate to the Gettysburg Hotel. They'd been there recently, and spent their time doing everything but spending much time on the battlefield. My husband and I went out over Christmas, and took the auto tour, not knowing much about the battle at all. It was cold, it was empty, and it was just, well--fields.

And then we got to the Pennsylvania Monument, and walked around looking at the bronze tablets on the base, and on a whim I started looking for my maiden name, Rothrock, on them. And by darn didn't I find it, six times. It just struck me that my ancestors had fought here, maybe died here, and I knew nothing about them. I couldn't have expected to leave Gettysburg that time with the need to understand the war and my ancestors who fought in it, but it stuck.

From there, it was a race to learn about anything and everything CW. The next summer we visited Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Manassas, Pamplin, Petersburg, besides heading to Gettysburg again. In Virginia to visit my great-aunt in Crewe, we followed a good lot of the Confederate retreat route. I also worked on learning about some of the major players, too, North and South. I began to research my own ancestors. And the rest is history--so to speak!

The next school year when Gettysburg day rolled around, the floor-shaking cannonade was still cool, but by then I had witnessed Ricketts Battery live firing. Since then I've been to Antietam a couple times, Harper's Ferry, and returned to most of the ones listed above--and Gettysburg countless times. My interest now lies more in the Western Theater of the war, and I'm starting to feel that same "need to know" I felt when I first caught the CW bug unexpectedly way back when!


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