Recently people have been joining me on my Sunday Walks in Downtown Albany. Typically, I walk in Albany when I'm scheduled as a tour guide on the USS Slater (DE Docent). A slide show and a map are detailed at this blog entry. The USS Slater is now open. I plan on walking in Albany on Monday, Memorial Day, May 27. You can contact me at:

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

06/20/2012 - Manassas

This is a relatively short walk that starts at the Manassas Henry Hill Visitor Center. Before you start walking I highly recommend that you check the visitor center for the guided ranger tours.

There were two distinct battles that occurred here that were separated by 14 months. The guided tour of the 1st Manassas helps puts the Civil War in context.  Basically, 1st Manassas was the first large scale battle of the Civil War.  Instead of a battle of trained armies, this was a battle of  amateurs.  As I listened to the guide I got the mental picture of high school football teams and marching bands shooting at one another.  There were very few trained leaders, and even fewer trained and EFFECTIVE leaders.  General Thomas Jackson, hereafter called Stonewall, was one notable exception.

Do not go on a guided tour of the 2nd Battle without listening to the 1st.  The South seemed to learn quicker than the North.  In large part this was the result of excellent leadership.  Especially when contrasted with Union commanders like General Pope.  However (in my opinion) at all levels, the southern units were more experienced.  And they had the home court advantage.  Simply put, because the South had fewer resources, southern Units fought more often.   Following the disaster of the 1st Bull Run many union soldiers were mustered out of service.  They were replaced with new (untrained) units.  Also, union soldiers, recruited from the eastern cities were at a disadvantage compared to confederate soldiers and union soldiers recruited from the west.  Basic  marksmanship skills and other wilderness related skills had to be learned by eastern recruits. Green Union units from the west like the Wisconsin Iron Brigade entered combat with certain advantages.   

Links of interest:

Sunday, June 10, 2012

05/15/2012 - Gettysburg Visitor Center, Cemetery Ridge and National Cemetery

This is a three and a half mile walk that starts at the Gettysburg Visitor Center.  The route starts at a trail behind the visitor center. This short trail ends at a crosswalk across Taneytown Road. Head north on the sidewalk along Taneytown Road and loop through the National Cemetery. Then recross Taneytown Road and head past the old visitor center to Cemetery Ridge. Head south along Cemetery Ridge toward the Pennsylvania Memorial and loop back to the visitor center via General Meade's Headquarters.

Before you start walking check the visitor center for the guided ranger tours. We managed to combine this walk with two great guided tours:
  • THE THIRD DAY: "Pickett's Charge" (1 hour) Learn what happened during "Pickett's Charge" on July 3, 1863 and discover what its outcome meant for the Union and Confederacy.
  • NATIONAL CEMETERY (40 minutes) A 35-minute program that explores the meaning and cost of the Battle of Gettysburg, and of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.
When we toured the National Cemetery we managed to hear a recital of the Gettysburg Address by a visiting school group.  Wonderful experience!

A short warning about straying from the beaten path - I often walk in Oakwood Cemetery in Troy, NY.  There are a few graves there from veterans of the NY 125th Regiment including Colonel Willard who was killed at Gettysburg.  I tried to find Col. Willard's memorial by Plum Run (Creek) and I found myself covered with deer ticks.

Other links of interest:

Find more Walk in Gettysburg, PA