Muster weekend in Gettysburg, PA

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First day of the muster:

Friday afternoon – got to Gettysburg about 3:00 p.m., after beautiful drive through the countryside, once we’d left Interstate 270 behind and hit U.S. 15. The hillsides and country were a concert of orange, yellow and green, with bits of red here and there where the first fringes of frost had touched them. Temperature was about 68 degrees and nice and sunny.

This group gets together annually, at some battlefield site agreed upon earlier; we’ve been together basically for 10 years, and participation ranges from 10-12 to as many as 25, depending on schedules. Ages range from 30+ to 70+, all with the common interest in the 1861-1865 period and its war - by whatever term the individual wishes to use! It can be a bunch of characters, but through the years we have become good friends as well as online ones.

After checking in, we decided to make a daylight recon of the Sachs Covered Bridge, one of  several covered bridges left in Pennsylvania and one of three in Adams County. It has a lengthy civil war history, and was used by both sides during the fighting. It was the one that the retreating Confederate forces used in fleeing after the end of Pickett’s charge.

The bridge was built in 1852 by David Stoner, and spans 100’ over the creek. The architect, from Rhode Island or Connecticut depending on which authority you believe, was a man named Ithiel Towns. Towns actually patented the lattice and truss design and used it in a number of bridges and public building.  The Sachs Bridge is a beautiful structure, a combination of lattice and truss in design, the wood painted that barn/brick red that is so typical. The stone walls leading up to it on either side are huge reddish brown stone rocks, with white mortar holding then together. Marsh Creek running under it was pretty quiet today, so much so that you could take a picture of the reflected trees.

After the last flooding in 1996, which saw the bridge loosened from its base and floated some 100 yards down the creek, it was raised three feet when it was put back in space.

Supposedly it is haunted, with golden orbs showing up on print film when photos are taken. I took photographs with both print and digital film and will be curious to see if anything turns up. The place is so calm and peaceful with a couple of locals fishing from one bank, it is hard to imagine any unfriendly spirits there.

Ten of us from as far away as Florida and California got together for dinner at the Farnsworth House, always an interesting spot, and then a foray into the bookstore which was already wall to wall with people. There was a definite chill in the air and those waiting to take ghost walks looked a bit cool. We decided to return to our hotel and warm up!

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Martha M. Boltz

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