September 12, 2019 by Lee
Where to begin….
Well, we had planned to wake early and capture the sunrise from a different part of the battlefield, this did not happen as we overslept. So we decided to have breakfast, load the car and make our way to Hagerstown. Along the way I decided to take a look around another part of the Gettysburg battle known as East Cavalry field. This was part of the battle where on July 3rd 1863 both Union and Confederate cavalry clashed all day.
A young Union cavalry commander recently promoted to Brigadier General successfully led several charges against the Confederate cavalry, that General was of course George Armstrong Custer who later died with his men at the battle of the Little Bighorn.
Travelling around this battlefield has sparked a great deal of interest for me as I’d read a little on this part before, but I’m now eager to learn more. I’ve even thought that this would make for an interesting tabletop wargame.
(What do you think Richard Downing and Jason Ralls?)
The above brief description and pictures is by no means the whole battle, but General Lee ordered Jeb Stuart’s cavalry to flank around the Union army and attack them in the rear as General Pickets 15,000 men charged frontally at Cemetery Ridge. If the Confederate were successful here then they would have been able to cut the Union army in two and thus pave a way for the Confederate army to threaten Washington.
Upon leaving East Cavalry Field, we set off to Hagerstown along the back roads and interstate. After checking in to the hotel there, I noticed a things to do pamphlet in the room. While flicking through I saw an interesting location Fort Frederick, a stone star fort on the frontier in the French Indian Wars. Well, I had to go and see that and it was only about 30mins away. So back in the car and we set off.
Upon are arrival, we went to the visitor centre to get our bearings and find out some more information. With map in hand, we set off to the fort itself. As soon as we got out of the car we were approached by a park ranger who welcomed us and gave us a brief overview.
The first thing we noticed were the settlers cottages located outside the fort itself. These cottages were home to the local settlers who supported the fort. The fort and the area around it was supporting the Crown against the French.
The location of the fort was at the extreme edge of the frontier, it also housed at that time 200 Maryland militia. These militia were not only trained by the British doctrine, but also they learnt woodman skills from the Cherokee Indians. This training was done for trade.
Inside the fort itself were two buildings to represent the troop billets and they were furnished accordingly. In each of the star bastions would have been a single 6pdr along with about 50 men. The fort at the time would also have a Govenors building, which you could see the archaeological foundations but unfortunately funding to rebuild this at this time has not been made available.
As we stepped through the gatehouse, we were greeted by a tour guide dressed in period clothing. He gave us a lot of information and an introductory tour of the fort.
He commented that there had not been many visitors today and therefore invited us to partake in raising the fort colours. We had a thoroughly great time talking with the tour guide who was very passionate on the subject and also looking around at all the authentic things on display. I would highly recommend visiting Fort Frederick to anyone with an interest in this period.
The above photographs are only a brief selection we took, but we hope it gives you an idea.
Following our visit we made our way back to the hotel, stopping on route at a Texas Roadhouse for some awesome steak and ribs.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our post of this day. Please feel free to like, comment and share.