Meet Harry B. of Galesburg, IL | American Battlefield Trust
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Meet Harry B. of Galesburg, IL

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An interview with a Color Bearer member

Every time I go to a Trust event, I learn something from all the interesting, dedicated people that are there. The Color Bearers go the extra mile and share their enthusiasm with anyone who’ll listen. I’m proud to be part of the project.

Harry Bulkeley, Color Bearer

 

 

Color Bearer Harry Bulkeley
Color Bearer Harry Bulkeley

American Battlefield Trust: What moved you to first give to our organization?

Harry: When history grabs you, she doesn’t let go. History grabbed me during the Centennial of the Civil War in 1961. Since then I have read and studied and with our family visited historic sites all over the world. 
While visiting the Antietam battlefield, I learned about the Trust and joined. After attending the annual meetings and hearing of all the great preservation work being done, I wanted to do more and became a Color Bearer.

What do you enjoy most about being a Color Bearer?

Every time I go to a Trust event, I learn something from all the interesting, dedicated people that are there. The Color Bearers go the extra mile and share their enthusiasm with anyone who’ll listen. I’m proud to be part of the project.

What is your favorite battlefield you’ve visited?

Every battlefield has its own special features. The one constant is the bravery of the men who fought there. Once in a while, when I’m alone on a quiet part of a battlefield I can sense the spirit of the soldiers who were there. Whether at Burnside’s Bridge at Antietam or driving on the back roads where Grant’s troops marched on their way to Vicksburg, something abides in their great deeds (to borrow from Chamberlain) and remembering what they did on those great fields is one of my great joys.

Last year the Color Bearers visited King’s Mountain, South Carolina. Our family tells a story about one of our ancestors wandering the field with his father the day after the battle. The six-year-old found a conch shell that the British had used as a signal. None of the grownups could make a sound with it but little Hosea Camp blew in it and made it trumpeted. The ranger at the park knew the story and showed me a picture of the shell. That’s the kind of connection that brings battlefields to life.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

We have been blessed with the opportunity to travel to many interesting places. Often I find myself drawn to locations with military history. Pearl Harbor, Normandy and, most recently Hiroshima are all places I wanted to visit and was able to go. I would like to go to Waterloo someday.

What would you like to pass on to future generations?

More than places or things, I would like to pass on to future generations my love of history. I was delighted when we took our six-year-old grandson to Mount Vernon and, because he had memorized the Hamilton soundtrack, he was fascinated with the bedroom where Lafayette had slept. In the museum he saw the sign reading Yorktown and he shouted, “Yorktown! 1781! Cornwallis surrenders to Washington!” If I could pass that on to all my grandchildren, I would be very happy.

Anything else you want to share?

Sometimes I portray General Ulysses Grant and find him a fascinating and enigmatic character. I would even tolerate cigar smoke for the chance to talk to him over dinner.