Tennessee native Bobby Housch grew up near two of the Civil War’s bloodiest battlefields.
So I asked how come he and 150 other licensed battlefield guides operate at Gettysburg, while there are none at his hometown of Chattanooga-Chickamauga.
“More people visit Gettysburg than all [Civil War] parks combined.”
Gettysburg has these three advantages: Robert E. Lee, the Gettysburg Address and tens of millions of people who live within a few hours of the town.
“I still think that Chickamauga and Chattanooga were the greatest battles ever fought,” says Housch.
Regardless, the teacher has a passion for educating visitors about the war. He leads tours daily during the summer and on weekends the rest of the year.
Housch, who manages the popular Gettysburg Daily Web site, lists these venues among his favorites:
--Little Round Top, immortalized in the Pulitzer Prize-winning “The Killer Angels.”
--Culp’s Hill, a critical part of the Union defensive line. “It’s so historic but hardly anyone goes there.”
--First day battle, where Union generals Reynolds and Buford slowed the Confederate advance into town.
--Confederate battle line along Seminary Ridge.
Housch, whose ancestors fought and died for the South, won’t do ghost tours, a growing market at Gettysburg and other Civil War sites.
He appreciates both the casual and well-informed visitor.
“The Killer Angels” has had a major impact. “It gets people here to Gettysburg,” says Housch.
“Historical novels are great primers for people who want to get harder history.”
• Gettysburg Daily