Friday, August 11, 2006

CWL --- Walking Gettysburg's Battlefield: The Weikert, Trostle and Klingel Farms

Gettysburg Battlewalks: The Weikert, Trostle, and Klingle Farms, barbara Sanders, Pennsylvania Cable Network, 2004, 95 minutes, DVD format, $20.

Before the battle, Adams County was home to prosperous farm families. Remarks by invading Confederates are found in most books that survey the battle. Jacob Hoke's 'The Great Invasion' and Wilbur Nye's 'Here Come The Rebels' provide many instances of the surprise and admiration by the Confederates of the size and prosperity of Pennyslvania's farmsteads. Nearly forty farms were occupied by the armies on July 1, 2, 3, 1863. Entire farms were destroyed; the Harmon farm and Herbst farm buildings were burned by Rebels on the mid-afternoon of July 1. Also, the Bliss farm had all its buildings and it house burned on the morning of July 3 by Union troops who were exhausted by the constant harrassment of Confederate sharpshooters. Most battlefield first aid stations and hospitals were located on farms.

The Weikert, Trostle and Klingel farms suffered on July 2 from the advance of Longstreet's corps and the resistence of the Third Corp. These farm families had little choice but to abandon their homes when the fighting were in there farm yards. National Park Service Ranger Barbara Sanders walks, with an audience of adults and children, over these farmsteads. Few subjects are neglected; Sanders covers fences as defensive barricades and offensive impediments, barns and houses as both sharpshooter posts and first aid locations, and springs and streams as unique meeting places for enemies. She depicts the corn as being 'knee high by the Fourth of July' and the oats, barley, and orchards ripening on the farms and being destroyed by men and horses.

Sanders discusses surgery and amupation as she and the audience stands near the spot of General Daniel Sickles' wounding. She describes the withdrawal of artillery by prolong in the fields of the Trostle farm and the hinderance to the battery's escape by occassioned by the stone and rail fence behind the barn. Of the many tours in PCN Productions' Gettysburg Battlewalks series, this ranks among the most enjoyable and informative. Sanders enthusiasm, point of view, and interactions with the audience adds to her attention to detail regarding the farm families' stories give this tour distinctive.

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