Monday, May 30, 2011

Trip to Gettysburg...... part 2

OK so after we left the visitor center we went to Cemetery Hill (where Union troops had retreated to at the end of the first day and fought to maintain ground on the second day).....

The picture below doesn't show too much but Mike is standing under the tree at the crest of the hill and the boys are on the other was quite steep....imagine charging that hill under fire! 

Then we went across the street to the Gettysburg Cemetery.  What a breathtaking sight... to see all of the graves of the soldiers who died at Gettysburg....and these were only Union soldiers, the Confederate soldiers are buried elsewhere.

These are graves of unknown soldiers.  There are just under 1000 of these numbered stones.  There are also mass graves of unknown soldiers as well as others located around the statue that marks where President Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address.

Your Own Proud Lands Heroic Soil
Must Be Your Fitter Grave
She Claims From War His Richest Spoil
The Ashes Of The Brave

There were also some graves of those who fought in other wars......

There is a beautiful monument of the death of General Armistead.  Apparently he was a Freemason and gave the signal of distress which was recognized by a Union soldier, also a Freemason, who went to General Armistead and allowed him to pass on his belongings and a message to his family and his best friend, General Hancock of the Union Army.

This statue pictured below marks the spot where President Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address.

After we left the cemetery we went to the place of the first day of battle....I know, we were backwards....McPhearsons Ridge.  They have a monument there that states that it is an "enduring light to remind us of unity and fellowship". 

Another side of the monument with the parts of the battlefield in front
We then went to see the Virginia Monument and after that the Mississippi and Louisiana Monuments
The Virginia Monument has General Lee on his horse Traveller and the men at the base of the monument represent those who served under General Lee.
 I was awestruck by the next two monuments.  The Mississippi State Monument shows a man fighting over a fallen comrade.

This monument reads:
On this ground our brave sires fought for their righteous cause
In glory they sleep who gave to it their lives
To valor they gave new dimensions of courage
To duty its noblest fulfillment
To posterity the sacred heritage of honor

And the Louisiana Monument showed an angel perched on what appears to be a magnolia tree over a fallen soldier.

We then went to Little Round Top and the Devils Den.  Here are a few pictures of the sights from these places.
This monument is dedicated to the 44th NY Infantry and is located on top of Little Round Top
You can see Devils Den at the left side of this picture....its a big rock formation

I don't remember who this monument represents but with sundown and the colors I couldn't not post the picture :)

Then Mike took me to see a monument that was placed in tribute to the Irish Brigades 63, 69 and 88

 We then went to a barn that still has a canon hole in its side from the battle.....
You can see the hole right under the diamond shaped structures
Then we went our separate ways.  I went back to the site of the battle on the third day and took a few more pictures.  Earlier in the day there were crowds of people but when I returned there were very few tourist left and it was even more beautiful for its serenity.

I hope you enjoyed looking at my pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them.  If you have never visited Gettysburg it is well worth the trip.....and I can rent out my brother as a tour guide....I promise to split the proceeds with his wife!


A Trip to Gettysburg

Yesterday we took a spur of the moment trip to Gettysburg, PA.  I think I have been there as a child but really don't remember much of that trip...except driving around in the car and maybe stopping and having a picnic lunch.  My brother, an avid history lover, was an excellent tour guide and provided me with a lot of  information of the battle and interesting stories.  I won't try to retell all of these, I'd probably get the facts messed up anyway, but wanted to share with you some of the pictures from our day (I took over 400 pictures but don't worry.....will only post a few)

We stopped at the site of Pickett's Charge first.  This was the site of the battle on the third day.  When we pulled up and I saw the battlefield I must admit, I got chill bumps and teary eyed. 

So as I understand it, the Union Army would have been stationed about where we were standing and the Confederate Army, 15,000 soldiers attacked from that range of trees in the distance.  They crossed the field under heavy artillery fire and met to battle.....

This spot of trees is where the two armies converged.  The Union Army, in desperation loaded the canons with double canister charge and blasted the Confederate Army from a distance of 10 yards.  My brother, Mike, described this as a shotgun effect of many smaller balls shooting into the approaching army.
Again, sorry if my explanation is oversimplified or incorrect.....I had to absorb a lot :)
High Water Mark
Lt. A.H. Cushing has had a marker placed near the spot where he fell during the battle.  His is an interesting story....(again, probably oversimplified by yours truly).  He was seriously wounded (my brother says in the groin) and was in immense pain but refused to be removed from the line of battle.  He asked to be supported by a comrade and that his orders be relayed to the troops.  He continued to lead until a bullet entered through his mouth....(I did read somewhere that this part may not be true but I haven't done enough research to say).

General Armistead was also killed in Gettysburg, not far from where Cushing was killed.  General Armistead's uncle defended Ft. McHenry in the War of 1812,......I remembered that tidbit from our field trip to Ft. McHenry....I think my brother was proud :)
Anyway, this is a marker to commemorate the place where Armistead fell....more on him later.

This is the Maryland Monument at Gettysburg.   Read the caption below the picture for more was taken from the back of the monument.
A Final Tribute
More than 3,000 Marylanders served on both sides of the conflict at the Battle of Gettysburg. They could be found in all branches of the army from the rank of private to major general and on all parts of the battlefield. Brother against brother would be their legacy, particularly on the slopes of Culp's Hill. This memorial symbolizes the aftermath of that battle and the war. Brothers again, Marylanders all.
The State of Maryland proudly honors its sons who fought at Gettysburg in defense of the causes they held so dear.

The Visitors Center
The visitors center was amazing and offers a museum, movies, etc. 
This is Jake at the visitors center with a statue of Abe Lincoln
We didn't view the movie but did go into the museum.  It was very interesting and reasonably priced.  I will have to go back again without my kids though so I can read more of the information.
These next two pictures show the damage of a canon ball going through a house.....

Entrance point of the cannon ball
Progression through the floor boards

The Gettysburg Address room is amazing.  You can sit in this peaceful room and listen to the speech.  Jake sat through the speech in its entirety and said "Wow, that was a good speech"  Better than good though even though at the time Lincoln was criticized and some said his remarks in the speech were silly.  (That was something else new that I learned)

Well, this post is getting long and I am not even to the halfway point so I think I will do this trip in at least 2 parts.  Hope you enjoyed my pictures and descriptions so far...

Have a Wonderful Memorial Day all and lets remember those who so dearly sacrificed their lives for our country.   God Bless America!!!


Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Baby Shower

My cousin and his Fiance are expecting a little one in the summer!!  So exciting..we can't wait to meet the little guy!! 

Today was the baby shower and I made the cake.  The bottom layer is chocolate mud cake and the top is pound cake.  Both covered with ganache and MMF.  I then painted the items and words on the cake.  The grass around the top layer is buttercream icing and the clouds were little marshmallows.

The cake design was inspired by a cake made by Amylou on

Here are a few pics from the shower.....

My Aunt Mary Jo is one of the grandma's to be and my Aunt Rose made this "No Sew" blanket.
She will be a wonderful Grandmommy :)

And here is the Mommy to be....she was simply glowing!!
Nothing like a baby shower..with all the cute little baby things...and yummy food and cake to make everyone smile :)

Thanks for looking!!  Hope your day was wonderful!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Making Soap

I saw this article in Martha Stewarts Living Magazine about making soap.  They looked so pretty and easy to make so I tried to make some as well.  Here is a short account of my efforts...

First you buy some soap base, I got one big brick of glycerin soap and another of something with aloe in it....sorry I can't remember the name.  I bought these at AC Moore (craft store) for roughly $10 each. 

Then I took some oranges and grated the zest off into a bowl.  I did the same with a couple of lemons.

Melt the soap base according to directions...

And stir in your zest  or fruit or herbs.
Pour the melted mixture into old yogurt containers or bottoms of cartons (the options are endless) that have been sprayed with cooking spray....  

Here is the orange soap finished  I also cut a strip of the orange peel to try to make a decorative swirl inside the soap.

For this I pureed some blueberries and added them to the soap base along with the lemon zest....I thought lemon blueberry would be nice. 

See how pretty when held to the light.

I did the same with some strawberries and added orange zest to that mix.

Anyway, now I have all of this soap!!!!

I'm thinking teacher gifts :)

For complete directions and other great ideas check out Marthas webpage!!

Thanks for looking