The Sacred Trust

The Gettysburg Foundation sponsors a series of lectures and book signings each year around this time (the anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg) called The Sacred Trust.  Here is the press release for this year’s event, the eighth annual Sacred Trust.  Today is Day Two, and I’m heading there in a little while.  Yesterday was a good experience.  While the heat was a bit oppressive, they do what they can to mitigate it.  We’re in a tent just outside the Visitor’s Center with fans circulating the air.  I make sure I bring water with me.  The first lecture dealt with Ulysses S. Grant, and I’m sure when the presenter sees the tape he’s going to say to himself, “Why did I say that?” — quite a few times.  I think he would have been better served not to talk about Grant’s early years, but rather to confine himself to the Civil War years.  Taking time to discuss Grant’s early years meant that he ran out of time and had to rush through the Civil War years.  He was, I’m sure, a bit nervous.  Add those together and you’re going to get some misstatements.  The rest of the presentations were really good.  Ted Alexander, unfortunately, was ill and couldn’t make the trip, but Stephen Recker stepped up and did a smashing job in relief, talking to us about his work on the earliest known photographs from Antietam after Alexander Gardner departed the area.  Supervisory Ranger Scott Hartwig of the Gettysburg National Military Park and Ranger John Hoptak of the Antietam National Battlefield did a great job of putting the Maryland Campaign of 1862 into perspective for us.  I was surprised John remembered me from a tour he did here at Gettysburg last year.  Today I’m especially looking forward to hearing from Dennis Frye of the Harper’s Ferry National Historical Park, Bradley Gottfried of the College of Southern Maryland, Carol Reardon, Professor of History at Penn State, and Sue Boardman, a Licensed Battlefield Guide at Gettysburg.  I’m going to take some time out also to go to a book signing by Rea Andrew Redd, who is a Facebook pal I’ve never met, so it will be nice to meet him in person.

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