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  • I've got my journey all mapped out, and have reread a number of accounts about the events leading up to this battle, and the battle itself. I think I'm ready. I've scouted the enemy, walked a mile in his shoes, and now I'm ready to take a journey back in time, and try to get a slight sense of what that journey up to the big battle was actually like for my ancestor.

    I checked in with my brother to get any last minute tips he might have for me about the trek through the woods. He made the same trek a year ago.

    Jim's a very wise man. He said, "The best bet is to knock on the door of the farmhouse on Baltimore Pike immediately southeast of where the Pike crosses Rock Creek. If they give permission you can walk directly uphill to Neill Avenue and go right till you hit the 61st. If no one is home or if the answer is no, then try Clapsaddle (the way he went). My advice in the woods is to resist the temptation to head uphill to the right. Somehow I kept drifting that way (I guess because it looked like some trails went that way.) Instead, stay as much straight and level as you can until you hit the creek. Then go left along the hillside just above the creek and you’ll eventually hit Neill Avenue."
  • Going straight in from Baltimore Pike would be so much easier than the much more difficult trek from Clapsaddle Rd. In some other research I was doing, looking at accounts from others who have made the trek, someone mentioned the farmhouse owner by name. I looked him up, found a phone number, and gave him a call. I told him how I was planning to go in to Neill Avenue, and that my great grandfather had fought there. "How do you plan to get back there?", he asked. I told him my plan to go in from Clapsaddle. "Aw, hell, you'll break your leg going that way! Just go in across my property. I'm just past Rock Creek on Baltimore Pike. Park by the barn, and go straight back. You'll be there in a few minutes. Give me a call if you get lost."
  • I'm all set! This is how I plan to spend my last day before I turn 60, which also happens to be Veterans Day. This one might rival my Veterans Day activity of 12 years ago, in 2002. That's when I got to read the names of 30 men whose names were on The Wall, the Viet Nam Veterans Memorial in D.C., as part of the celebration of the 20th anniversary of The Wall. My turn to read my names came just before sunrise, on Veterans Day - surely one of the most sacred moments of my life. I've never felt quite as honored, or humbled, as I was to be able to read those names in that place, at that time.

    I believe tomorrow might be just as special, in a much different way, but also in exactly the same way. I am so pleased to have the opportunity to make this journey.
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