I didn’t do any blogging while in Gettysburg. I was traveling with my family and it’s not just a matter of “see the sights, write a blog post.” The point of getting away with family is to get away with family. We spent time together. That was important, and always tops anything else.
Truth be told, I spent the 3-4 fours hours to and from Gettysburg and extra time (think Battlefield tours) in the back seat of the SUV with two grandsons and Tippy the dog. Because Tippy is dealing with bone cancer – and indeed this may have been her final trip – I often walked her around the Battlefield itself, which is dog friendly, or sat in the car with her. But it was no big deal, as I have been to Gettysburg probably five times, two of them doing research for Walk by Faith and A Time to Heal. And, hey, if these are Tippy’s last days, it was good to give her something to enjoy.
The day we arrived in town, we checked in at the hotel and then everyone went over to the Visitor Center to get oriented to the site. Well, almost everyone went over. I hung out in the hotel with Tippy. We enjoyed a nice nap. I needed it after a busy Holy Week and Easter Sunday.
But the next day all of us hopped into the car and took off for the Battlefield. I took the video below and provided the lovely commentary, which was nearly cut off by the sound of road traffic. The house sits very close to a well-traveled road. It was difficult to get a good shot of the house, because workers had parked a truck next to it. They were inside doing some refurbishment.
Image of Lydia Leister farmhouse from Gettysburg Stone Sentinels
The Leister farm, also known as the Lydia Leister farm, served as General Meade’s Headquarters and also as a field hospital. George Meade had only taken command of the Army of the Potomac around June 28. But on the night of July 2, the tiny Leister house held a war council with eleven other Union generals. For those of you who have read the Gettysburg books in the Saint Maggie series, you may remember that Patrick (Frankie's beau) was serving with the New Jersey 15th Volunteers, which was attached to John Sedgwick’s 6th Corps. Eli and Carson were following the New Jersey 15th as war correspondents. With the 6th Corps, they also traveled over 35 miles on July 2, reaching the battlefield around 4 p.m.
(From my photos: Outbuilding on the Leister Farm)
Now, let's connect the history with my historical fiction. Here's what that day looked like through the eyes of Eli, Frankie, and Maggie. I write historical fiction because we often only get the Big Picture - troop movements, politics, battles, and so on. Ever since I was a child, I always have wondered what it might have been like to be a regular person during a particular event or period in history. Although history is comprised of overarching episodes, the threads that hold it all together are made up of everyday life and "regular" people. Or at least that's how I see it.l
On Wednesday, I’ll have a post about our visit to Spangler’s Spring.
Janet Stafford, Squeaking Pips Founder