Coral Castle

Coral Castle is always listed in the “Top 35 out of 35,000 museums across the U.S.” to visit and people come from as far away as Indonesia to visit this incredible place. It’s also one of the Wonder’s of the World.”

The castle and its surrounding gardens were built by Edward Leedskalnin (1887–1951), a stonemason from Riga, Latvia. At the age of 26 Leedskalnin was rejected by his fiancée, a sixteen year old Agnes Skuvst, she broke off their engagement the day before the wedding. Leedskalnin was heartbroken and he set out on a quest to build a monument worthy of celebrating his lost love . He was diagnosed with tuberculosis and headed for the warmer climate of Florida, that is where it all begins.

He settled in Florida City in 1918, and began work on what he called his ‘Rock Gate Park’ sometime around 1923. With no modern construction tools or conveniences and equipped with only hand tools and a fourth grade education, he quarried huge blocks of coral rock before cutting them to shape and arranging them into position. And later, in 1936, Leedskalnin moved to Homestead where he purchased a plot of 10 acres and spent the next three years relocating, a distance of some 10 miles, using a friend’s tractor to transport each of his coral structures. Using no joint compound or mortar, the massive stones, when combined together, are held in place by their own weight. More incredible, he did all of this hard work by himself and he was was just five feet tall and weighed about 100 pounds.

Once we got inside the Castle we were amazed at what we saw! It was a fortress, a playground with incredible pieces of coral shaped into different things, a rock garden of sorts. ED single-handedly and mysteriously excavated, carved, and erected over 2.2 million pounds of coral rock to build this place. The walls alone, 8 foot high by 4 foot thick, weigh 58 tons per section. Each block around the park weighes an average of 15 short tons, and as much as 30 tons for the larger items – while some of the taller columns measure anything up to 25 foot in height.

This 9-ton stone gate  was built and installed by Ed at the turn of the 20th century,one finger could open it.  It stopped working in 1986. In order to remove it, six men and a 50-short-ton (45 t) crane were used. Once the gate was removed, the engineers discovered how he had centered and balanced it. He had drilled a hole from top to bottom and inserted a metal shaft.   Leedskalnin did this all by himself.

Lounge chairs he carved for a family he would never have. He carved a total of 25 rocking chairs from a single piece of coral that set with smooth, curving tracks beneath to allow for a gentle rocking motion. One of these – apparently, his favorite – was positioned up high, offering a panoramic view over the park. Now called the Billy Idol Chair
The mans, womens and childrens chairs
The beds with a crib on top.
Ed’s bath that he carved. He’d fill it in the early AM and it would be warm by mid day.

These pictures are of Ed’s well. He of course dug it, carved out stairs and also used the well for his refrigerator. In the last picture he used a round piece of coral to stop the children for going down the well. It could be rolled with just a slight nudge.

These 2 pictures are of Ed’s cooker. He built the cooker with old truck parts. He used this to cook chicken and hot dogs.

He would create a fire in the pit, and insert the food into the slits. It’s an air tight, which cooks the food faster and will prevent it from splattering all over the place.

Moon pool he carved the inner circumference of the circle like teeth of a gear.

Ed’s heart table is called “The Feast Of Love” table. “Ripley’s believe it or not” has awarded this table the “heaviest valentine” on earth, it weights 2½-tons.

A 30-ton lensless “telescope” that soars 25 feet above the castle walls. The telescope is perfectly aligned to the North Star, and on the first day of winter, sunlight pours directly through the scope’s opening.

Ed’s sundial can tell the time of day and also determine the seasons.

 A table in the shape of Florida that is geographically correct with an 8-inch indentation representing Lake Okeechobee that is filled with water.
Did he even have a map?

Billy Idol wrote the song “Sweet Little Sixteen” after watching “The Castle of Secrets”, an episode of Leonard Nimoy’s program, In Search of , which was based on Coral Castle. He visited Coral Castle and sat on Ed’s favorite rocking chair. The music video was shot there as well.

The Planets from the far corner is Jupiter, Saturn, and the Crescent Moon (what Ed called the “Crescent of the East.”)

Jupiter, Saturn and the moon from blocks weighing as much as 23 tons

Ed’s living quarters

Up the stairs is Ed’s bed & kitchen

The green doors on the ground are where he kept his tools

Ed’s rustic house

Behind the walls of the castle

Around 1940 Ed finished erecting the walls (the largest weighing 29 tons) of his coral castle. The gates to the castle were locked at all times but Ed would give tours of his home for a  fee  of 10 cents, he later raised it to  25 cents,  and those who wanted to have a tour had to ring the bell twice to summon Ed. The sign on the wall says “Ring Twice” and if your rang less or more than two times Ed would not open the gate to let you in. Ed would love to have children visit his castle and show them around.

He would show you the 8-ton gate that a child could push open with a finger. And would tell the story of his lost love as he showed you a telescope that points to the North Star, carvings of stars and planets and an accurate sundial and his other creations.

The castle has been on TV shows and various documentaries because nobody really knows how he built the castle? Here the question arises- how could a man using only hand-made tools, attained this height? The answer to this question is still unknown.

Ed was a very private person, and his methods were a closely guarded secret. In 28 years he refused to allow anyone to watch him work – carving the stones by night with a lantern, while a series of lookout posts along the castle walls provided an extra defense against prying eyes.  He used only tools that he fashioned himself from wrecks in an auto junkyard.

Some of his neighbors who took it upon themselves to have a peek one night, said that Leedskalnin placed both palms on a block of stone and started to sing and the slab reacted by levitating. For obvious reasons, many people have dismissed this claim.  Leedskalnin even told people that he had an in-depth understanding of the laws of gravity, leverage and weight and that he had “discovered the secrets of the pyramids,” implying that magnetism was used by the ancient Egyptians to construct the Great Pyramids. And of course some say it was aliens that helped him.

However, all these theories could it have just been the fact that a human being, when set their mind with a steady focus and powerful motivation, can attain anything. Even if the story of its creation doesn’t wow you, it’s hard not to be impressed when you see Coral Castle up close. Given the primitive tools that were available at the time it was constructed, even the most skeptical visitors will be a little dazzled.

Edward Leedskalnin died in the winter of 1951, aged 64. He closed the castle with a sign that read, ‘Going to the Hospital,’ then took a bus into Miami. He wouldn’t return – first suffering a stroke, before later dying in the hospital from a kidney infection.

Coral Castle stood the test of time, being hit by hurricanes and neglect, so glad we got to see this incredible place.

Ed & Me

We took a day off and went sightseeing ….

We decided we needed a break from volunteering and snorkeling and took a trip to the Lower Keys. We went to Bahia Honda State Park, Big Pine Key and No Name Key. Definitely an easy route all you do is get on Overseas Highway” (Highway That Goes to Sea), which is where Pennekamp is, and go South.

It’s really great to be driving on Route 1 again, having the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Gulf on the other and sometimes like above, there isn’t any keys in between. It’s one of the longest bridges in the world, approximately 130 miles with 42 bridges. I can’t imagine all the hard work and ingenuity it took to build it.

And there is also, the original Seven Mile Bridge, now called the Old Seven Mile Bridge (or “Old Seven”), that runs parallel to the modern structure. Located at the very west end of the City of Marathon is the Seven Mile Bridge.  It’s a famous bridge in the Florida Keys and connects the Middle Keys to the Lower Keys and is among the longest bridges in existence when it was built.  Of the many bridges that connect the FL Keys, the Seven mile bridge is the longest.

The Old Seven was built in early 1900 as part of Henry Flagler’s Florida East Coast Railway’s Key West Extension, also known as the Overseas Railroad.  In the early 1980’s this old bridge was no longer used for vehicular traffic when the new bridge was constructed.

Today the Old Seven Mile Bridge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and it was once named the 8th Wonder of the World. For now It’s a fishing pier, jogging and walking route and It’s famous for having appeared in a lot of movies like Licence to Kill, True Lies, The Haunted Mansion, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Mission Impossible III, I Am Number Four and Leverage, Key Largo, Up Close & Personal, The Triangle, CrissCross to and others.

But what makes The Old Seven Mile Bridge even more famous is Fred, Fred is the Tree you see above. He’s growing out of a roadbed on the historic Old Seven Mile Bridge. Fred is a non-native species, a salt-sprayed Casuarina, or an Australian pine tree. According to a 2013 story in the “Keys Weekly.” Fred sprouted from droppings of a passing bird or an osprey. Fred serves as a symbol to all the residents of The Keys because he has strong roots and wouldn’t let Hurricane Irma blow him away on October 10, 2017. And despite the lack of good soil, Fred has grown tall and green and is a symbol of strength for all who see him. The unexpectedly sturdy tree symbolizes the strength of The Keys.

Our 1st stop . . .

Bahia Honda Key’s has a deep natural bay that has been a harbor for passing sailors from a very long time ago. The island’s name, is Spanish for “deep bay,” it began showing up on Spanish nautical charts hundreds of years ago. The park was signed over to Monroe County sometime between 1953 and 1957, and in 1961 Monroe County gave the Florida Park Service control of the park on Bahia Honda. Most most of the island was still owned by Monroe County and private landowners, and in 1963 the county deeded an additional 63 acres to the Florida Park Service. On March 17, 1984, a private landowner sold their property at the east end of Bahia Honda to the state, bringing the entire island of Bahia Honda under the responsibility of the Florida Park Service. Dave & I have driven by the park before but we were glad we stopped in for a look, it is a very nice park with 3 beaches for swimming, plus camping, cabins, snorkeling, boating, fishing, biking and it is know for it’s beautiful sunsets.

“Your only worry should be if the tide is going to reach the chair.” – Zac Brown

Located on the west end of Bahia Honda Key, is another bridge that was originally built between 1905 and 1912 by Henry Flagler as part of the Overseas Railroad. It was intended to carry a single track of the Florida East Coast Railway across the Big Spanish Channel from Bahia Honda Key to Spanish Harbor Key. But the bridge was damaged during the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 and rather than rebuilding the bridge, the existing foundations were repaired and were converted to become part of the Overseas Highway in 1938 by adding the deck on top of the existing truss. The bridge served as the primary route of transport to the lower keys and as the main evacuation route. In 1980, a new four-lane bridge was constructed just a few hundred yards north of the old bridge, replacing the old route of U.S.  The old bridge is now in the National Register of Historic Places. The easternmost section of the bridge is open to pedestrian traffic and you can see a scenic view of the area from the bridge.

They took an old railroad bridge and decided to put a road on top of it? I did work for many years though, you can see from the picture below the lanes were a bit smaller than usual. Definitely had to be careful when passing another car and definitely no passing on the right lane.

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Our next stop was Big Pine Key where the Key Deer live. They are native to the Florida and are found no other place in the world except for Big Pine Key. The deer are a sub-species of the North American white-tailed deer and are the smallest deer on the continent. Adults are similar in size to a large dog, ranging in weight from 65-90 pounds and the fawns are about the size of a small house cat.

We visited Blue Hole where key deer, alligators and fish gather at the watering hole, formerly a limestone quarry, where fresh water is layered over salt water.

Right next to Big Pine Key is ……

Yes, there is an island called No Name Key. No Name is a relatively small island of approximately 1,140 acres and about one mile wide and two miles long and irregularly shaped.

We read about a great place to eat Called No Name Pub on No Name Key.

The history of the No Name Pub goes back to 1931 when it was  a general store, bait and tackle shop. In 1936 the owners added a small room on to the main structure which became a restaurant and a pub.

In the 1940’s tourists and locals alike began to discover this quirky out of the way place. The ladies would do their shopping in the general store as the men would browse the bait and tackle shop and have a beer and sandwich in the eatery.

By the mid 1950s, the general store and bait and tackle shop closed and the Pub became 100% bar and restaurant. No Name was added to the Pub name and it became the No Name Pub … and quickly became a Keys hangout.

The atmosphere of beer drinking, shooting pool and food became known from Miami to Key West. Crowds often grew so large that the interior would get so full of smoke and crowded, that customers would spill out into the backyard where dice, crap and card games would eventually break out. The old timers say the place never got raided because the Sheriff ran the dice games.

The 1970’s and 80’s became a rowdy time for the pub  Jimmy Buffett’s “Why don’t we get drunk and screw” played on the juke box while people would drink, eat and dance to excess in the Pub. There was a lot of illegal money passing through the Keys back then and everyone loved to spend it. They had so much money in fact they started signing the dollar bills hanging it on wall.  And this is how it looks today.

Every inch of the Pub is covered in money. Money hanging from the ceiling and walls. It definitely wouldn’t pass the NY building codes and laws. It was a great place and they had great food!

It was a great day out and about The Florida Keys!

KEY LARGO LIFE

We have been here in Key Largo now for a month or so. Pretty settled in . Our work days are Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. Melissa is working in the visitor center, greeting people who come in there to see the aquarium. I am now at the Gate. Because of my good looks and charming personality, they decided to put me there, Haha, if you believe that one. I greet people who are coming in for the day and take there money, basicly that’s what I do. I like it, I meet all kinds of people, most very friendly, a few not so much. I feel sorry for them, they are in the keys, and coming in the park is one of the cheapest things you can do for the day around here. Oh well, I’m happy. Cooper is doing very well when we see him, he has been spending a lot of time with his friends at the Pet Motel lately. On a side note a twelve foot Phyton was caught the other day on a road in the park. It is a female , it will be released back into the wild with a tracker on it. Then tracked to see if it attracts any males. If so they will be caught and killed.

Ranger Drew and Ranger Sierra with the snake

The weather was hot when we got here, now it has cooled off to the high 70’s or so. Some rain is in the forecast. We have been to the beach several times and have gone swimming. Melissa took a snorkeling lesson from one of the volunteers named Jinny, last week, she spent an hour with her, and she did very well. Now I can’t keep her out of the water. With the new type of masks, it is very easy to learn how to do it. Over the week end we both snorkeled out to the buoy, where there are old 1735 shipwreck cannon and an anchor on the bottom, she loved it. It was about 100 yards or so off shore. She did very well ,and I am very proud of her.

Me coming in from the buoy

Update on the couple of issues we have had on the rig.

TOILET, We have a new one, as the stopper valve on the old toilet broke I just went out and bought a brand new one. Took me five minutes to put it in, no more soft ball for the stopper.

Old Toilet
Our new toilet, WHOO HOO. The small things in life make you happy

HOT WATER TANK. We now have some hot water. After spending hours in the bay looking for a break in the wires.

The bay and a tangle of wires.

And buying a new control box for the hot water tank, (which was not the problem)

I had Chad come over. He is our next door volunteer, and he had a volt meter. We spent over an hour going through everything and finally found the short. Inside the panel switch box, where there is a whole lot of wires, we found that two small wires coming from the small circuit board going to the lights that lite up when you turn on the hot water tank, were the issue. We disconnected those, and turned on the propane, and it fired up. However when you turn on the electric for the tank the propane also lights. That should not do that, it should only run on electric. So for now I am leaving it that way and just using propane. I will get to it soon when I have more time, but at least we have hot water.

Look at all the damn wires, Yikes.

For now that is about it. This week we are going to take a few day trips down to the lower keys to visit some sites.

SHOOTING RANGE

Friday I went to the shooting range, say WHAT. Yep, i went and took a pistol class.

Island Arm & Indoor range is just a few miles down the road. I kept seeing the sign so I signed up for a class. The Class I took Friday was of course for beginners. A one hour class on how to properly hold, aim and shoot a pistol. It was $75.00 for the hour, I also had to rent a pistol, I choose one of there m1911 colt pistols, like the WWII kind, he said OK ,but I will also bring a Glock 9mm, for you also. With that I also had to buy ammunition for both pistols, A box of each for both was $75.00 . So with that and the rental of the pistol, it came to a grand total of $175.00

My instructor, who I forget his name was great, an, ex marine in his early thirties. The first 15 minutes was the on how to hold, stand, and get ready to shoot, we did a bunch of dry firing and all that. Then we went into the range. He set up a target of six circles, and put it out to about 15 feet or so away. Then we went over loading and safety stuff. We fired the m1911 first, my first shot kind of surprised me, it has a little bit of a kick. My grip was not tight as i was pretty nervous and sweaty. That all got better as we kept shooting. We fired 27 rounds of the m1911. Then we went to the Glock 9 mm., it was lighter and felt way better in my hand. We also changed the target to a silloeute of a person. That was about twenty or so feet away. He showed me where to shoot for the best results. We shot 27 rounds of that also. Then my time was up. He said I did very well, and if I want to come back I do not need another class.

45 caliber and 9mm ammo

Not bad for a half blind guy.

All in all, I had a great learning experience and a great time. I plan to go back about once a week. The pistol rental and range use is $45.00 an hour plus ammo. I will also use the Glock 9mm as I found it really easy to use. Do I plan on buying one after this, NO.

We are Glad to be in The Florida Keys !

Driving down to the Florida Keys

Sand and sun, my disease

Tall cold drink and coconut trees

Loving the feel of an island breeze

Might end up sleeping on the beach tonight

Under the stars and the full moons light

Laying on the beach right at Heavens door

Listenin to the sounds of the oceans roar

Seems a little crazy but one things for sure

I’ll come back again cause I just want more

Florida Keys, ocean breeze

Sand and sun, my disease

We definitely like it here too cause it’s now our 4th year here with our Fiver not in the cold of NY.

Upon our arrival at John Pennekamp we relaxed for maybe a day and then starting getting ready for Halloween!

yes Halloween, If you know me and my family that wouldn’t surprise you.

Helped decorate the Visitor Center for the Holiday. It was great to see that they used the decorations that me and other volunteers made over the past 3 years, recycle, recycle, it’s important.

It was definitely decorated really great! Unfortunately they can’t stay up all year and I had to take them all down Monday and yesterday. The Visitor Center/Aquarium looks empty without all the fun stuff hanging around.

On Friday the 29th of October Me, Ranger Tess and two other volunteers, Donna & Leah went to a Trunk or Treat at Key Largo Elementary School. We took some of the decorations at the aquarium and other Halloween paraphernalia and set up the truck.

We had a fun time! The kids got to poke a hole in the jellyfish for a prize, Ranger Tess brought some different animals skulls along to show and and tell. Donna & I got to get kids to color a fish take it with them of pin it on the reef which is the front of the table. We figure there was around 500 kids that came out for the fun!

We had our 2nd Halloween party on October 30th here in Key Largo. It was a lot of fun with all the volunteers and some rangers joining in on the fun. We had lots of good food, everyone brought a dish to pass, and played Halloween Trivia and other games.

I didn’t get a chance to take many pictures at all but here are a few. About 20 people were here.

Now we’re enjoying our stay in the Campground and will start to visit new and familiar old places in The Keys!

KEY LARGO FLORIDA

We are now in Key Largo, at John Pennacamp State park. Will be here until Jan 5th 2022. We got here Friday afternoon, and got into our site pretty good. When we came over the last bridge into town, we both looked at each other and smiled then laughed. Everything looks the same as it was when we last left. We have already met all the other volunteers, and already we have set up a Halloween party for October 30th at our site. A lot of new rangers here this time (young) only a few left that we already know. Start work next week Tuesday, three days on, four days off. Below is a picture of our spot.

Below is a wrap up of our trip down here.

~ We took thirteen days to get to Key Largo

~The first six days were damp, and rainy, the last seven were sun and 80

~ We traveled seven of those days

~ Put on 1,924 miles towing the 5er

~ We had some issues this time traveling, which I am listing below.

THE TRUCK;

The truck ran great, except for one time, which was my fault. In North Carolina, through the mountains, the engine light came on. I had a feeling that it was a fuel sensor, as I had filled up with regular gas that morning. The light stayed on a long while ,and I had to look it up on the internet to figure out how to get it off, which I did.

All of the trip I used premium gas, (except one time) a little more expensive, but actually I got about three more miles to the gallon, which was a surprise.

THE 5er

As I mentioned the first six days were damp and rainy. The Rv electric brakes went out all that time. Lucky I was on the thruways a lot. Somewhere I have a short in the wiring under the Rv. All of it is exposed so I am going to retape all the connections.

The hot water tank worked fine one day then it didn’t. When we turn on the switch for electric or propane, we trip the 10 amp breaker for the dc power. I checked on the Heartland forum, and everyone said I have a loose or broken connection. Well so far I cannot find it, I have had the big panel, the breaker panel off and the big bay is opened up now and I still could not find anything. I guess I will have to have someone come in and test everything. I think this will be a bigger job and more expensive job than I thought.

Look at all that wiring

The toilet took a dump, hay that’s funny. The closer valve broke on the toilet, and as it is five years old, I am just going to replace it. The water valve still works, but for now we have a softball in the drain to keep the gases out.

Batter up

THE ROOF

The roof held up very well. It still has all the bubbles on the front, but it stayed on and I believe it is not a problem for now.

That’s about it for now, we are here safe and sound, and looking forward to helping out at the park, and unwinding for a few months.

HARTWELL LAKE S.C.

We are now at Hartwell lake, a Corp of engineer park in the western part of South Carolina, for our first time. It is now warm and sunny, after a number of days with fog, mist, rain and dampness. Friday our four hour trip lasted six, with a lot of construction and delays in South Carolina thruway. Plus every day we drove ,I think every trucker in the United States was next to me. I thought there was a shortage of drivers, not so.

The park here is super nice, every site sits on the water and they are large and secluded. For $15.00 a night, how can you go wrong. We leave here Sunday morning. Some pictures of the park and our site below.

Springfield Campground consists of 60 acres of Virginia pine and some mixed hardwoods.  It has 79 campsites all are right next to the lake, except 2 . It has a beach and a boat launch and all the streets are paved which makes it nice for riding a bike.   

Our Site # 54

We took a few walks around the Lake

“Of all the paths you take in life make some lead to the lake.”

Our site at night

“Even a pebble cast in the middle of a lake creates ripples that eventually reach the shore.” – Jeffrey G. Duarte

We had a great two night stay at Hartwell Lake in S.C. We would definitely come back again if we’re in this area.

What we did this past

We had our

Ups and Downs this Summer, Here are some of the Ups

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Four generations of Coy’s

It was really yummy

When we were back in Newfane Dave with help from his brother Steve, replaced Steve’s much needed kitchen cabinets.

Before picture / Not really, but I didn’t get a chance to take a before picture

After picture

The house was built in 1865 it still needs work but it has come along way

That’s about it for the pictures I took of this summer 2021. Right now we’re at Mount Airy N.C. I wanted to get this done before my second summer of the year starts soon in Florida.

just outside of Gettysburg is Hanover

another one of Dave’s favorite places which is now 100 years old!

Just a short drive from Gettysburg is Hanover where Utz has it’s factory and also an outlet store.

This is our 3rd trip here to bad we didn’t find out about it sooner. Dave was in his glory because of his love for potato chips and such as you can see by his cart.

It was such a beautiful day Monday in Gettysburg we sat outside on the porch of

And had a tasty dinner. A great day was had by all !

GETTYSBURG DAY TWO

Today was our last day here at Gettysburg. It was a little dreary ,foggy for the morning but brighten up in the afternoon, with it being about 77 today. Tomorrow we leave here for a few one night hops. Our next stay longer than one night will be in Anderson South Carolina. Today I have two short stories about the battle.

Smith’s Artillery battery at Devil’s Den.

In the picture below, taken from little round top, shows the devil den area. Around noon on July 2nd, Smith had four of his six cannon atop the devils den. Also there were several hundred union infantry men. The other two cannon of his were in the low field off to the right of the picture. When the confederates attacked they over ran the devil’s den and were able to capture three of Smith’s guns, with the fourth being able to be with drawn to where the other two were. Soon the confederates were coming over the little hill to the soon to be called valley of death. With out any horses to move his remaining three cannon, he and his men decided to “retreat in prolong”. What does that men. Well when a cannon is fired it recoils about six to eight feet backwards, then moved back to position . In retreat in Prolong, it stays where it is and loaded and fired time and time again, all the while moving backward. Smith did this for over an hour, retreating over two hundred yards or so, back to the safety of a tree line. In doing this he denied the confederates, the lower part of the hill. All the while his men were being shot at , killed or wounded.

Smiths cannon are the little green spot as the road enters the picture on the right side. He fired right to left into devils den and his cannon retreated to the right out of view.

Smith’s artillery position as he started his retreat, is in the picture above. He fired at the top of the hill in front of him, while infantry men we in the lower part where the road is. In the late afternoon, the union took the hill and his three captured cannon were saved.

Sergeant Stouch Returns To Gettysburg.

In the picture above a little ways in front of Smith’s cannon, is a small boulder, it looks like many of the other ones around, but what a story it can tell. On July 2nd the 11th United States infantry was atop ,the devil’s den area. When the confederates attached in force, and unwilling to race away from danger, most of the men stood there ground or retreated slowly down into the valley. The confederates raced into the valley after them. One man who refused to leave a wounded man behind was Sergeant Stouch. Stouch and the wounded man were ordered by the confederates to go behind a rock boulder, so as to not be shot by there own men atop little round top. In a minute or two , rebel sharpshooters shot at them from there position atop devils den. What to do being shot at from both sides, so they moved around the boulder a few times. Two other union soldiers joined Stouch at his little rock area. Soon bullets were hitting the rock. Finally with the rebel soldiers leaving, they stayed behind the rock that faced toward the union. That was not enough, one man was shot in the face, one shot in the thigh and Slouch shot in the hand. Finally around 6pm the union charged down the slope of little round top and recaptured Slouch, his men and devils den. He was taken to the hospital, where they wanted to amputate his hand, he refused. A week later he had his hand operated on ,and it took 14 months to heal.

The Slouch boulder is located very close to smiths cannon, on the green spot next to the road as it enters the picture on the right.

On July 2nd 1886 Slouch returned to Gettysburg and had his picture taken at the rock that saved his life. On the back of the photo is written “This photo was taken about 4pm ,the 2nd of July 1886, the 23rd anniversary of the battle”. The photo is of Stouch ,leaning on the right side, his wife, son and daughter .

the boulder as it appears today.

As I mentioned this cold gray boulder sits quietly and mostly unnoticed in the “Valley of Death