Steve Hedgpeth and His- Story of Gettysburg
by Cate Murway
The Battle of Gettysburg was the turning point of the American Civil War. Many historians agree that it was on these hallowed grounds that our nation was saved.
“The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract….” President Abraham Lincoln’s “The Gettsburg Address”
After more than 150 years, what happened in Gettysburg is not forgotten. It could have gone either way and for three stifling days in early July 1863, the small Pennsylvania town of Gettysburg was the scene of the devastating epic combat, venerated bravery and the battle bloodshed of 51,000 men. In the mid-summer heat, the stench of the decomposing bodies which littered the fields must have caused many in Gettysburg to become violently ill. Every home and church in Gettysburg was a hospital, and every field and yard held a grave of a soldier, hastily dug and filled. The Confederates turned back with heavy losses, and the battle of Gettysburg ended in a triumph for the Union but the war would continue for almost two more years. Who were these people?
The multi-talented AF veteran, Airman First Class Stephen Anthony “Steve” Hedgpeth set out to find out. Steve offers a unique view, profiling individuals as he recounts the story of Little Round Top through his 170+ minibiography vignettes in his Kindle version of "What They Did There: Profiles From the Battle of Gettysburg". His inimitable style depicts “civilians, doctors, nurses, artists, photographers, Samaritans; saints, sinners and the moral terrain inbetween.” The personal stories are all gleaned from the Internet, letters and documents and Steve generously gives of his knowledge and experience.
“I didn’t want to write like other Civil War writers,” said the author. “I’m not like them. I had to write like the feature writer I was, like the pop culture writer I was.”
Steve shared his birth date with Johannes (Gensfleisch zur Laden zum) Gutenberg [1398 –1468], a German blacksmith, goldsmith, printer, and publisher who introduced printing to Europe and invented mechanical movable type printing, spreading learning to the masses.
‘Speak your Piece’ WBCB 1490AM radio host, Pat Wandling recommended this “Spotlight” for her friend and former colleague, “a Bristol resident, newspaperman, and great writer, etc. He recently wrote a book that is available on Kindle--- It should have been a big, fat book with paper pages.”
Pat has invited Steve to appear on her program again, coinciding with the Grundy Library presentation.
Steve is the third of four children and he spent five years of his youth in orphanages and foster homes. His late mother, Margaret [Porreca] Hedgpeth worked for a publisher in Baltimore in their bindery. “I’m the only writer in my family.”
Steve has lived in Bristol Borough since 1986. His academic concentration had actually been in American Studies, not in Literature at Towson University and Steve taught for nine years in Maryland. “I decided that wasn’t really my true goal and I took up writing.” He worked for the daily Baltimore News-American until that Hearst Corporation newspaper folded and he secured a position as a feature writer at the Bucks County Courier Times. After retiring from both the BCCT and the Newark Star-Ledger, the veteran journalist and longtime Civil War buff melded two of his strongest interests, combining his passion for the battle and his knack for creativity, and began a Battle of Gettysburg blog. That part of history had interested him since he was a child and now his resourceful circulation of information transcends borders.
“No Robert E. Lee or George G. Meade stories. I am not an historian.”
Formerly from Levittown, Carol Robidoux is the editor of ManchesterInkLink.com an online news site and she currently resides in Manchester, NH.
There are more, well deserved accolades for the author.
“Steve was a colleague of mine at the Bucks County Courier Times when I started there in 1990. I had actually written him a fan letter a few years earlier as a school assignment while at BCCC. I was an aspiring journalist and had to talk to someone who had a job I wanted. I asked if I could shadow him. He was and is a world class wordsmith and brilliant storyteller. When I saw his posts on his Facebook page with profiles of the many characters from Gettysburg, I knew he needed to put it all together and make it into a book, and so I encouraged him. Steve has many books in him, I believe, and many important stories to tell, but this one combines his passion for history and his gift for storytelling, and for anyone who loves the history of Gettysburg, this is a treasure.”
You are cordially invited to walk in the footsteps of those who left a legacy of American valor that has withstood the test of time. Author Steve Hedgpeth, along with his editor, John D. Wedo, will bring an edgy and accessible style to the fresh profile selections from his "What They Did There: Profiles From the Battle of Gettysburg" that “celebrate the sacrifices of the average soldier, citizen and resident of the surrounding region during the three day Battle of Gettysburg” at The Margaret R. Grundy Memorial Library. Reservations for this special adult program on Tuesday, August 26, 2014 from 6:30 PM- 7:45 PM are required. Register online at www.grundylibrary.org or by calling 215.788.7891 ext 5 or 6.
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