#1 NYT bestselling author Linda Lael Miller
More on Gettysburg

80 comments on yesterday’s blog.  WOW.  I love it!

As promised, here’s more on my trip:

On Day 1 (before the sprained ankle), Jenni and I met with Gary and Marsha Roche, mentioned yesterday, at breakfast in the restaurant next door to the Gettysburg Hotel, where we stayed.  (Here, the blog was interrupted by an insistent Yorkie wanting a walk out to the barn and back, with lots of dallying in between.  :) )  Gary and Marsha took us for a fascinating overview of the battlefield and many of the monuments.  After that, we went to the Gettysburg Visitor’s Center (best gift shop on the Civil War circuit, in my opinion), where we watched a film about Lincoln’s visit four months after the battle, then took a look at the fabulous Cyclorama–an ENORMOUS painting of the battle, displayed in the round, with lifesize figures.  Honestly, this painting looks almost three dimensional, so real that one could get lost in it! 

On Day 2, as you know, I promptly sprained my left ankle while visiting the North Carolina monument.  Later, we visited the famous Shriver House, our tour being led by Nancie Gudmestad, owner and director of this amazing structure.  (Trust me, all those stairs were a challenge, but I wouldn’t have missed a second of this experience.)  Some of the original furnishings remain in the house, and Nancie and her husband have done a marvelous job restoring the place to its original grandeur.  In July of 1863, the home was taken over by Confederate troops, as were many other homes and farms in the area; here, sharpshooters occupied the attic, firing on Union soldiers as they entered the town.  A few years ago, Nancie had a modern forensic scentist come in, and he used luminol, that substance the police employ to show hidden bloodstains under black light.  According to Nancie, the light revealed great swathes of blood, proof that the boys in blue fired back, though it’s hard to imagine how they could have been so accurate, since there was only one small window and a couple of rife holes about eight to ten inches in diameter.

Later, we met with Deb Novotny, who, like Gary, is a Licensed Battlefield Guide.  (This is no small accomplishment, since official guides have to pass rigorous exams.)  Deb, who lives in a Civil War era house with eight soldiers buried out back, showed us around the National Cemetry, where Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address, and the ajoining Evergreen Cemetery, which is for civilians.  I was limping a lot, so I didn’t see as much as I’d have liked, but Deb’s stories fascinated me.

In the afternoon, I spent some time with Sandy Pennesse and her aunt, Janet.  Despite my battlefield injury, we managed to hike around to a number of Gettysburg’s wonderful shops, and then Sandy and Janet treated me to supper at the Dobbin House, a true landmark.  (If you go there, be sure to try the baked sweet potato.  :))  I had crab cakes that were, excuse the expression, to die for.  If all that wasn’t enough, my friends showered me with gifts!

Day 3, I’m still pretty darn gimpy, as you can imagine.  Fortunately, that day’s presentations were indoors, at Destination Gettysburg, where I was delighted to find these words on the reader-board by the entrance: Desintation Gettysburg Welcomes Linda Lael Miller.  I got SUCH a kick out of that.  Marsha brought in delicious sandwiches and cookies (look the other way, Weight Watchers) and Gary gave his fabulous presentation about the Medal of Honor and his very illustrious ancestor, as I mentioned yesterday.  After lunch, John Fitzpatrick, also an LBG*, gave a wonderful Powerpoint talk on Lincoln at Gettysburg.  Meeting John was very helpful for many reasons–including his expertise on the Irish Brigade, since one of my main characters is an Irish immigrant.


When Linda Comes Limping Home Again, Hurrah, Hurrah…

Yes, limping.  While I had an unbelievably wonderful time in Gettysburg, I managed to become a battlefield casualty by spraining an ankle on the morning (yes, the morning) of Day 2.  We were visiting the North Carolina monument, and I was bragging about how the Laels were from N.C. and, you guessed it, I tripped over a teeny, tiny rock, put my left foot out to catch my balance, and felt a powerful wrench in the muscle.  It was almost as though the famous ghosts of the battleground were offering their opinion of a Yankee claiming to have Confederate roots.  :)  From then on, I was gimpy, but I wasn’t about to let anything slow me down.

It will take several blogs to tell you about the experience and the wonderful people I met.  For today, I’ll tell you about the Guide of Guides, Gary Roche, and his wonderful wife, Marsha.  I had met them briefly on my visit to Debbie Macomber’s Florida home last winter (thank you AGAIN, Deb!) but on this trip, we became good friends.  Gary knows the battle of Gettysburg backwards, forwards, and sideways, partly because he’s a major Civil War buff, and partly because his illustrious great-great grandfather, Patrick DeLacy (www.patrickdelacy.com), received the Medal of Honor for heroism during the battle.  Gary gives a wonderful presentation on the history of the Medal of Honor, and Jenni and I both enjoyed it to the max.  Follow the above link and you’ll be able to meet Gary virtually and access a lot of fascinating information.

More on the trip next time.

My ankle is still sore but much, much better.  I’m wearing a brace and using ice.  Yorkie Bernice does not see personal injury as an excuse for not taking her out for walks.  :)  It’s probably good for me to move around, but you can bet, I’m careful to stick to flat ground.

Now that I’m back in the saddle, so to speak, we’ll be running the weekly contest again.  Two winners will be chosen at the end of the week, and announced on the blog next Monday.  Each will receive an autographed copy of THE MARRIAGE SEASON, which is now available everywhere, I’m happy to say.  All you have to do is comment, and you’re entered.


Cattle drives rarely went more than ten or twelve miles a day, as the cattle had to be given time to rest and graze. A drive from Texas to Montana could take up to five months.