We are very excited for our Pack’s first trip to Gettysburg National Military Park. For those attending Hudson City Schools, there is a half day of school for full-day K-5 on Friday October 12th, and students will be released at noon (no school at all for half-day kindergartners). This gives those Hudson-School families opting to do so a chance to drive to our cabins on Friday afternoon, arrive Friday evening, spend the night Friday night, and go to Gettysburg early Saturday.
Because of limited bunks in the cabins and seating on tour buses, the first 80 registrants are guaranteed a bunk and a seat on Sunday’s tour bus. We will then keep the registration open after we receive 80 registrants, and, if there is enough interest thereafter, we will see if we can make arrangements for others to attend (though they will likely have to sleep in tents). So, if you want to go, register SOON.
We will be camping at Camp Tuckahoe in Dillsburg, PA (400 Tuckahoe Road, Dillsburg, PA). Camp Tuckahoe is about 4 hours and 45 minutes from Hudson and about 30 minutes from Gettysburg. See map here. We have reserved two cabins. One of the cabins is styled as a Medieval Castle and the other is styled as a Frontier Fort. Each cabin sleeps 40 people. Both cabins are in the Camp’s Cub World. See here for a map of the Camp (please print this out and take it with you). During registration, you will be asked what cabin you prefer. Cabins will be filled on a first requested, first served basis, taking into account the math of keeping families together and other logistical and Scout concerns. Again, if you REALLY want to sleep in a particular cabin, register SOON.
While at Gettysburg National Military Park we hope that each Scout earns a patch as part of the Gettysburg Heritage Trail Program. There are five separate parts of the Program and completing each part earns a distinct patch. During our October campout, Pack 3322 is only focused on each Scout earning the patch that is associated with touring (and answering questions about) the Visitor Center and the National Cemetery. By completing this particular part, each Scout will earn a patch, known as the Lincoln Patch, which looks like this. If you ever return to Gettysburg with your son or daughter, you can work on the other parts (some of them require the completion of longer trails that may be more appropriate for them while they are in Boy Scouts). If he or she earns all five parts, not only will he or she have earned five patches that all fit together like a puzzle, but he or she will also qualify for a medal. And, if he or she doesn’t ever return, he or she can still wear the Lincoln Patch with pride.
Click here for the specific requirements for the Lincoln Patch (if you’d like to read the entire Program’s requirements, please click here). My family recently toured the Museum and Cemetery, and my children completed the requirements for the Lincoln Patch. While doing so, we took notes and pictures of the places where you can find the answers. Unfortunately, I also noted that the requirements’ terminology are out of date. Specifically, I found that some (most) of the Museum’s gallery names referenced in the pamphlet have changed. To assist Pack families in locating and earning the Lincoln Patch, I have prepared a printer-friendly version of the Lincoln Patch requirements. Using this form while at the Museum and Cemetery (remember to print it out beforehand and bring it with you), allows your Scout to answer the questions right on the paper (you may want to also bring a clipboard and a pencil for each Scout). My printer-friendly version also has the updated gallery names where some of the answers can be found, as well as hyperlinks to pictures I took while I was there (if you are having trouble locating some of the answers while on site, just pull the electronic version up on your phone and click on the links).
Finally, please know, topics surrounding the Civil War, including war, death, and slavery, may be sensitive topics to your children. PLEASE do as much or as little during your visit as you deem appropriate for your children. This outing is meant to, among other things, provide a learning experience for your children where you control how much they are asked to comprehend. The Cub Scout Motto is Do Your Best, and that applies here. If your son or daughter has done his or her best in seeking the Lincoln Patch (while in your parameters), then he or she has earned the award.
Below is a detailed agenda. Note, that, to maximize time at the Battlefield and to minimize the amount of Pack gear that must be hauled, many of the meals are on your own as you travel to or from the Battlefield. Thus, you may want to bring a cooler with some cold cuts, chips, drinks etc. from home, so you can have a picnic or two as a family. You can also opt to purchase food in Gettysburg itself (there are fast-food and sit-down restaurants in the city).
Friday, October 12th
For those families willing and able, arrive at Camp Tuckahoe at 6:00 pm or later already fed. Set up your bunk. Drive to the cabin, unload your gear, then park your car in the parking lot. One Leader car is allowed per cabin in case there is an emergency. Weather permitting, we plan on having a campfire and s’mores.
Saturday, October 13th
Families that spent Friday night at Camp Tuckahoe will wake and have breakfast with the Pack (donuts, muffins, oatmeal, fruit, cold cereal etc.). We will seek to minimize the amount of gear used/dirtied/required to clean up. Accordingly, for this campout, and this campout only, the Pack will provide cups, plates, bowls, and utensils (as well as the usually supplied napkins). After cleanup, families will depart on their own to Gettysburg National Military Park (about a 30-minute drive).
Families spending Friday night in Ohio will wake and drive to Gettysburg National Military Park. It is about a five-hour drive from Hudson. Arrive in Gettysburg fed.
Whether departing from the Camp Tuckahoe or from Ohio, we suggest families arrive in Gettysburg as early as possible and fed. When you arrive at Gettysburg National Military Park, the Visitor Center (1195 Baltimore Pike, Gettysburg, PA) should be your first stop. To earn the Lincoln Patch, your Scout needs to tour the Museum located at the Visitor Center. While the Park’s website indicates admission is free, that is a bit misleading. You can access some of the Visitor Center and the battlefield for free; however, if you want to tour the Museum, watch the Park film, or take a gander at the Cyclorama, these all cost money. Families (on their own) have the option of either:
- buying admission just to the Museum (Adult (ages 13+): $9; Youth (ages 6-12): $7; Child (ages 5 and younger): Free) OR
- buying admission to the Museum, a film, and the Cyclorama (Adult (ages 13+): $15; Seniors (65+) and Military Veterans: $14; Active Duty U.S. Military Personnel: Free; AAA Discount: $14; Youth (ages 6-12): $10; Child (ages 5 and younger): Free).
Admission to the film and Cyclorama are timed, meaning if you buy your ticket at 10:00, depending on how many people bought tickets before you, your film admission may not be until 11:00 (at your designated time, you enter a theater, watch the film, and then are escorted to the Cyclorama). Whether your family opts to see the movie and the Cyclorama is your choice. Factors to consider are time, cost, and your level of understanding of what happened during the Battle. Regardless, if your Scout wants to earn the Lincoln Patch, please at least tour the Museum. While touring, complete the questions related to the Lincoln Patch (see here).
After exploring the Visitor Center, you will probably want to use the facilities, and then, perhaps get something to eat. You can grab a lunch from your cooler in the car (picnic tables are outside the Visitor Center; to remain reverent, please do not picnic on the Battlefield) or stop by a local restaurant (there is a McDonald’s five minutes away). You should next visit the National Cemetery, where Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address. While there, you will answer the remaining questions for the Lincoln Patch. Note, the pamphlet says to walk there. Please don’t. Just drive. It will save exploring time and precious energy. There is free parking after the three-minute drive to the Cemetery parking lot from the Visitor Center. Once you arrive at the Cemetery, walk (remaining reverent) through the Cemetery and have your Scout answer the remaining questions for the Lincoln Patch. Your Scout will then have had the opportunity to have completed all of the Lincoln Patch requirements.
When done visiting the Cemetery, you can fill the remainder of the day as you wish. We suggest you tour the Battlefield on your own, taking into account the amount of time you have remaining. You can drive the AutoTour and read the placards, buy a touring book at the Visitor Center bookstore or online and use that, or buy an audio-CD tour at the Visitor Center. Just as at the Cemetery, please ensure your children remain reverent (which is one of the points of the Scout Law), as the Battlefield is also a solemn place. Please see here for tips from the local Council that sponsors the Gettysburg Heritage Trail Program about how Scouts should conduct oneself while at the Battlefield and Cemetery. PLEASE go over these expectations with your family prior to arrival.
If possible, I personally suggest trying to budget your tour time so you are on Little Round Top at 3:00. At that time, GNMP Rangers will conduct a 60-minute program titled “Hold to the Last! The Battle for Little Round Top.” For those that don’t know, the second day of Gettysburg featured Confederate attacks on the Union line, which was in a fishhook shape just south of Gettysburg. One of the most storied portions of that day was the Union’s defense of the southern most end of the Union line on a rocky hill called Little Round Top. This high ground (which was very important during Civil War warfare) was abandoned by Union General Sickles, because he thought better ground was to be had near a peach orchard (later known in infamy as The Peach Orchard). Rebel forces, led by General Longstreet, recognized the apparent miscalculation by Sickles, and advanced on the hill. Union commanders, such as Brigadier General Warren and Colonels Vincent, O’Rorke, and Chamberlain, all took brave and drastic steps to prevent the Confederates from taking Little Round Top. Chamberlain and his 20th Maine regiment were tasked with holding the Union’s southernmost position and withstood numerous Rebel attacks. Between attacks and out of ammunition, Chamberlain ordered his men to fall out of position and to search for ammunition from soldiers who had fallen in earlier waves of attacks. In the end, out of ammunition, Chamberlain ordered his men to fix their bayonets and charge down the hill towards the Alabamians. It is a truly compelling story and one that should hold the attention of both the young and the not-so young. If you have the time, you may want to watch Gettysburg the movie (PG) before arrival. In addition to featuring this vignette, it is a somewhat historically accurate portrayal of what happened during those three fateful days in Gettysburg and may add to your understanding of what you see and hear during the weekend.
Regardless if you attend the Ranger Program or not, please depart Gettysburg in time to both eat dinner and arrive at Camp Tuckahoe by 7:00. We hope to have a campfire around 8:00. And, yes, we plan on having s’mores.
On Sunday, we will break camp, eat another low-mess breakfast (muffins, pastries, fruit, oatmeal, cold cereal), and drive to Gettysburg. At 11:00, we have reserved a tour with a licensed battlefield guide aboard an 80-passenger double-decker bus. We will tour the battlefield on the bus, while listening to a tour guide’s narration of what happened in Gettysburg in 1863. During a stop, the 40 attendees on the top of the bus will switch places with the 40 attendees on the bottom, so everyone gets to ride on top (if they want).
For the bus tour we are NOT meeting at the Visitor Center. Instead, families will meet at the Gettysburg Tour Center, 778 Baltimore Street. Take Route 15 south to Route 15/Baltimore Pike. Take a right (heading northwest into Gettysburg). Go past the Visitor’s Center, go past the National Cemetery, and it will be just after the Cemetery on the right (just before Jennie Wade House). It is about a 32-minute drive from Camp Tuckahoe.
At the conclusion of the two-hour bus tour, all families are again on their own. You can remain at Gettysburg and tour the battlefield, make their own arrangements to go to the Eisenhower house and complete the requirements for a second Gettysburg Heritage Trial patch, or immediately leave for northeast Ohio. You may also want to visit the National Apple Harvest Festival in nearby Arendtsville, PA (about a 20-minute drive).
Here is a sample itinerary. Feel free to adapt to your family’s time table and desires. To get the Lincoln Patch you, at a minimum, need to visit the Museum and Cemetery. You also want to be at the Tour Center (NOT the Visitor Center) before 11:00 am on Sunday, so you don’t miss the guided bus tour:
Friday, October 12th
- 1-6 Those opting to, drive from Hudson to Camp Tuckahoe (400 Tuckahoe Road, Dillsburg, PA), eating lunch and dinner on the way
- 6-8 Arrive at cabins and get situated
- 8-9:30 Campfire & s’mores
Saturday, October 13th
- Go into town on Washington Street, heading north. Make a left on West Middle Street, now heading west. Then turn left (south) on West Confederate. West Confederate is a one-way street, so make sure you enter the road from the north.
- Stop at the North Carolina Memorial (AutoTour Stop 4). Around here is where North Carolinian soldiers (under Pettigrew and Trimble) stood before taking part in Pickett’s Charge on the Battle’s Third Day. This memorial was created by the same person who carved Mt. Rushmore.
- Stop at the Virginia Memorial (AutoTour Stop 5), which is statue of General Lee on a horse. Around here is where Virginian soldiers (under Pickett, Armistead, and Garnett) stood before Pickett’s charge. From the statue, walk the short path towards the field. At the end of the path there are placards about Pickett’s charge. Note the grouping (copse) of trees that the soldiers marched towards. After the Ranger-led Little Round Top talk (if you continue to follow my suggestions, see below), you will visit the area around these trees, which is known as the Confederate High Watermark. This is where the charging Confederate soldiers were repelled by the Union line waiting for them. This is said to be the highest point the Southern rebellion ever reached. The Confederacy would never again be so close to achieving independence from the Union. After Pickett’s Charge failed, Lee retreated back to Virginia. Shortly thereafter, Grant was placed in charge of the Union Army and would lead several campaigns that eventually led to the Confederacy surrender at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865.
- 3-4 Little Round Top Ranger-led program
- 4-5 Jason Katz suggested stops (see here for map):
- Stop at the High Water Mark (AutoTour Stop 15). This is the pinnacle of Pickett’s Charge before being repelled by Union soldiers. Here you can see The Angle, The Copse of Trees, The Confederate High Water Mark, as well as the statue of Union General George Meade, which is on the other side of the street.
- 5-6 Travel back to camp (eating dinner on the way)
- 6-8 Prepare for evening
- 8-9:30 Campfire & s’mores
Sunday, October 14th (Scouts in Class Bs)
- 7-10 Wake up, breakfast, clean up, check out
- 10-11 Travel to Gettysburg, arriving at 778 Baltimore Street so you are ready for the tour bus to leave at 11:00
- 11-1 Guided Double Decker Bus Tour
- 1-6 Travel back home (with lunch (and dinner?) on the way)
The cost for the campout is $42 per person. This includes a group-rate for a guided double-decker tour, cabin rental, two breakfasts, and misc. costs. Remember that lunches, dinners, and Museum (and film and Cyclorama, if you are so inclined) entrance fees are on your own.
Scouts should wear their Class Bs on Sunday. If the weather calls for sweatshirts, please wear the Class B outside of a sweatshirt, to the extent practicable.
Registration is now open and will close on October 4th.
As there is for most Pack outings, a GroupMe group has been created for this event. If you are coming to this outing, especially since the group will be spread out throughout the Battlefield, we ask that all families join the GroupMe. You can do so by clicking here.
In addition to the traditional gear you should bring on a campout (no tent necessary if you are in a cabin) please bring:
- Camp Tuckahoe Map
- Jason Katz Suggested Saturday Itinerary Tour Map
- Lincoln-Patch printout
- Clipboard to help answering questions
As you may have guessed, I have read several books about the Civil War and the Battle of Gettysburg, and have visited the Battlefield several times. If you have any questions, please let me know.