Robert Stiles, a Union artilleryman, was haunted by the Confederate dead:
“The dead bodies of men and horses had lain there putrefying under the summer sun for three days. The sights and smells that assailed us were simply indescribable — corpses swollen to twice their original size, some of them actually burst asunder with the pressure of foul gases and vapors. I recall … the shocking distension and protrusion of the eyeballs of dead men and dead horses. Several human or inhuman corpses sat upright against a fence, with arms extended in the air and faces hideous with something very like a fixed leer, as if taking a fiendish pleasure in showing us what we essentially were and might at any moment become.”
Such was the Battle of Gettysburg. The dead didn’t get up and walk back to their tents.
— Another Appalachian Trail hike.
I’m starting to plan an October backpacking trip: either 158 miles or 124 miles in the mountains of Pennsylvania and Maryland. If the weather is good, it should be spectacular. I can’t wait.
Danville native Kevin Cullen is a former Commercial-News reporter. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.