The summer would not be complete without reaching the goal of finding 100 geocaches since we started geocaching in 2003. I had mentioned “clever” in the last post and today I found yet another example of clever thinking by some very dedicated people in Pennsylvania. There were two multicaches that I was fortunate to be able to find. They were both in Sterling Township which is an area I know pretty well and enjoy motorcycling through. The first part of the ride for both caches was at North 41 20.477 West 75 23.354 which turned out to be the South Sterling Township Historical Society.
Just outside the building — fortunate since the museum itself was closed — there was a wooden sign which contained the Honor Roll of local heroes from the Civil War. There were nearly fifty listed. The first hero was the first on the list and the other was the last of those ending in “L”. The next step was to enter the latitude and longitude of each resting place — one at the Hometown Cemetery, the other at the Zion Cemetery — to find the caches. In both cases the challenge was to find the tombstone and then go 40 feet in one case and 60 feet in the other case in a certain direction. It was quite interesting to look for the correct tombstone and in the process I saw many that were roughly 150 years old. Some were damaged by the decades of wind and rain and were not readable. I was fortunate to find both cleverly hidden caches and sign the logbooks.
The geocache owners reported that the first hero served with the Salem Independents for 3 years, joined June 5, 1861, and mustered out June 17, 1864. The second hero fought with the 2nd Heavy Artillery Pennsylvania Volunteers. He was born in 1819, enlisted at the young age of 45 and was discharged January 29, 1866. He passed away in 1905 at the age of 86.
The loss of life was incredible. At least 618,000 Americans died in the Civil War, and some experts say the toll reached 700,000. The number that is most often quoted is 620,000. At any rate, these casualties exceed the nation’s loss in all its other wars, from the Revolution through Vietnam.