If you’ve visited the Gettysburg battlefield in the past few years, you might have noticed the temporary mesh fence surrounding a swath of land near Spangler’s Spring. This fence was probably put up because too many people were having the experience I myself had in April 2006 . . . I’d gotten out near Spangler’s and had seen a small flank marker that “called to me” for some reason. I still don’t know why it seemed so important. I hopped over a little ditch to take a photo, thinking it was only dirt and grass, as you certainly couldn’t see any water.
Or so I thought.
As I stepped into the “ditch”, I was horrified to find myself face-down in a muddy bog, on my stomach, wondering detachedly how in the world I got this way and how it happened so quickly. I’m just lucky I didn’t twist an ankle or suffer another equally unpleasant injury! It turns out that the marker I was so interested in was the Right Flank of the 1st Potomac Home Brigade. I subsequently became very interested in this unit and wondered if they were trying to “tell” me something. The Potomac Home Brigade was raised in Frederick, Maryland in 1861. Though Gettysburg was the regiment’s first major battle, they saw plenty of previous action in the form of guard duty, sieges, and even being paroled as prisoners of war. An official monument is located across the road from Spangler’s Spring.
Sadly, it appears that vandals have targeted the fence surrounding the ditch at Spangler’s Spring and also the enclosure around the spring. When I last visited, both the mesh fence and the posts protecting the spring were partially bent away or trampled in a way that was obviously not intended by Park Service officials.
CPL. SUMNER A. DAVIS
Co. K, 11th Massachusetts Infantry
Born about 1834 --- Died July 02, 1863 at age 29
(c) 2013 Skies of Blue and Gray