We'll be taking a break for the rest of October due to some obligations. Plan to resume the first of November. Hope you'll be back then for some interesting news that, well, is surprising and ... guess you'll have to come back and see ...
At the Historical Society of Michigan State History Conference this coming weekend, a number of good sessions will be held ... and among them is "Sixteen Summer Days: General Custer Meets the Wolverines June 28-July 15, 1863" presented by Dave Finney. "Learn how these critical 16 days demonstrated Custer's exceptional leadership skills and how they played out in the Civil War's most critical engagement."
I am writing as chairman of the Michigan Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee to express concern over the gaming application proposed by the Mason-Dixon Resort & Casino for a site near Gettysburg National Military Park.
The Committee is charged with helping develop and implement the Civil War Sesquicentennial Work Plan approved by the Michigan Historical Commission. One of the components of that Work Plan is to secure appropriate recognition and veneration for the ultimate sacrifice made on behalf of our Nation by one of Michigan's own, Brevet Brigadier General Elon John Farnsworth, commander of the First Brigade of the Third Cavalry Division of the United States Army of the Potomac. General Farnsworth was killed in combat on the afternoon of the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg in an area of the Park commonly known as South Cavalry Field near the Emmitsburg Road. This Field is that part of the Park closest to -- indeed, less than a mile from -- the proposed casino location on that same historic route to and from the battlefield.
One historical account describes how "the gallant Farnsworth fell, heroically leading a charge of his brigade, against the rebel infantry" by suffering "five mortal wounds."
The field where General Farnsworth fell is hallowed ground. As Michigan works to secure proper commemoration and preservation of this site during its Civil War Sesquicentennial, any development that would increase nearby commercial activity should receive the strictest scrutiny and be held to a high standard to maintain the dignity of an irreplaceable location so vital to our Nation's heritage. In February 2007, the Board rejected a Gettysburg gaming application, finding "The Gettysburg area itself is primarily a rural area without large population centers nearby to sustain the casino …." That finding of fact remains unchanged. Furthermore, that site was 2.5 miles from the eastern edge of the Park, compared to the site so close to where Farnsworth fell.
Please respect the field of honor where Elon Farnsworth died for his country.