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PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2023 12:23 pm 

Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 9:33 pm
Posts: 320
Location: Old Northwest (Michigan)
Fellow Sharpshooters

Matt, host of the video-blog Addressing Gettysburg, enjoyed a personal tour of Little Round Top with Park Superintendent Steve Sims. Superintendent Sims did an excellent job explaining the many challenges to keep a “light touch” as much as possible to the hallowed ground, while creating space for visitors to observe and reflect on one of the Parks most visited landmarks. Here is the introduction: Superintendent of GNMP, Steve Sims takes Matt on a tour of Little Round Top to see what progress has been made since our last visit in April.

In the Spring of 1996, fellow Wolverine USSS reenactor, Steve and his wife Charlene, arrived at Gettysburg the week when then-Superintendent Latchter inaugurated the “Adopt a Monument” plan. Recognizing the NPS dire financial constraints, Latchter invited public citizens/groups to “adopt” a regimental monument, to maintain the immediate vicinity and report any damage or degradation to Park management. Due to his fortuitous timing, Steve received permission to adopt two USSS monuments; the New York USSS obelisk in Pitzer Woods, and the Michigan marker on the western slope of Little Round Top. Over the next few years both of us, made pilgrimages to “our monuments”, armed with rakes, hedge and brush cutters and construction bags to remove broken bottles, beer cans, trash and bushels of sumac. At one point Steve’s van was pressed into service to tow a downed 10 foot oak limb that was blocking the turn around in Pitzers. Sunburned, bandaging thorn gouges or applying ointment to poison ivy outbreaks, we’d encounter grinning fellow preservationists at Tommy’s Pizza; nursing their own “badges of courage”. Of the many opportunities to honor the men who fought at Gettysburg, the time spent caring for “our monuments” remains my most satisfying memory.

Viewing the newly created pathway to the Michigan USSS monument on Little Round Top has triggered some conflicting emotions for me. The new construction has filled the deep crevices (I believe ‘firing positions’ used by some members of the Michigan USSS on July 3rd), between the imposing boulders that lead to the site. On the other hand, the monument is now accessible to hundreds of visitors, who can learn of the valor and sacrifices of the original Michigan Sharpshooters, and their contribution to the victory there.

I will let those of us who cherish the battlefield arrive at their own conclusions.

Here is the YouTube link:

Bill Skillman
Michigan Companies
Berdan Sharpshooters Survivors Association

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