I had the good fortune to be invited by civil war history aficionado to the Gettysburg 150 year anniversary in July 2013. We took a coach tour and added grandstand passes for all the reenactments and walked the whole encampment talking to the generals, privates and civilians who were all “in character”.
I stopped by the tent of the re-enactor representing Arthur Fremantle (a British signals observer with the Confederates) for afternoon tea as my friends posed with re-enactors of famous officers (Gen. Warren, Col Chamberlain).
The Director of the Gettysburg visitor center was giving commentary and noted that this was the largest gathering and demonstration of civil war hardware since the civil war itself. Over 150 cannon for both sides, with full limber and crew – several entered the field at the gallop and deployed. The cannon delivered a bombardment for over 30 minutes – spectacular!
Over 400 cavalry, including a very good facsimile of Custer and 2000 foot soldiers of all kinds were fielded for the reenactment of Picket's charge – the turning point of the battle and war.
We were also exposed to the same kind of weather patterns as encountered in the battle – heat, then persistent rain – a little too real for the re-enactors in period wool clothing. The organizers took time and did a great job to recognize veterans of all services, countries and conflicts…
” The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced”…
On one of the many plaques at the Mummasburg Rd / Oak Ridge area, I was amazed and delighted to observe a namesake Henry Baxter as a leader of a Union regiment (I almost got left behind taking a hasty photo of it). I have since been reading up on his life story and following him and his unit(s) through the whole war – an inspiring figure and story, wounded 4 times, promoted several times and remarkable performance from the first day of Gettysburg, which also lead to the sad creation of "Iverson's pits".