Oct 30

From left, President Jimmy Carter, First Lady Rosalynn Carter, and author Shelby Foote listen intently to Park Tech Bob Prosperi at “the Angle” as he describes the events of Pickett’s Charge. In the center and right background is the van used by the Carter party on the tour. In the left background is the obelisk monument to the U.S. Regulars. This view was taken facing south on Thursday, July 6, 1978.

Bob Prosperi was a young National Park Service Technician (Park Tech) on July 5, 1978 when he received a phone call to take President Jimmy Carter, First Lady Rosalynn Carter, and author Shelby Foote on a tour of the Gettysburg Battlefield the next day July 6, 1978.

The tour went well, and Prosperi was requested by President Carter to give another tour on September 9, 1978. This tour was held in the midst of Carter’s Camp David Summit, and the participants included not only the Carter family, but President of Egypt Anwar Sadat, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, and Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan.

Bob Prosperi worked over 17 years for the National Park Service before working for the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC). He is now a Licensed Battlefield Guide at Gettysburg National Military Park.

In our first post, Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Bob Prosperi gave some general background about himself, how he received the call to take President Carter on the July 6, 1978 tour, and explained how he met the Carter party at the West End Guide Station.

In today’s post, the Carter Tour went from being led by Shelby Foote to being led by Bob Prosperi. The tour continued to the Peace Light, Culp’s Hill, and the Angle.

We would like to thank National Park Service Archivist Greg Goodell for allowing us to take pictures of the Carter visits photographs.

See our posts on President John F. Kennedy’s March 31, 1963 visit to Gettysburg by clicking here.

This map shows us the locations taken of videos for our Carter at Gettysburg series. Videos #1 and #2 were taken at the Baltimore Street entrance to the Soldiers National Cemetery near the Superintendent’s House. Video #3 was taken at the West End Guide Station on the Chambersburg Pike. Video #4 was taken at the Eternal Light Peace Memorial, “Peace Light.” Video #5 was taken on Culp’s Hill. Video #6 was taken at “the Angle,” (which is farther south of the maps than the star shows). This map was created facing north at approximately 3:00 PM on Sunday, October 25, 2009.

Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Bob Prosperi is standing by the Eternal Light Peace Memorial. After meeting the Carter party at the West End Guide Station, this was the first stop. This view was taken facing north at approximately 3:00 PM on Sunday, October 18, 2009.

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In Video #4 (Videos #1-#3 were shown in our previous Carter post) Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Bob Prosperi is standing near the Eternal Light Peace Memorial on Oak Hill. He describes how he went from the one hanging back on the tour and listening, to the person leading the tour. This view was taken facing north at approximately 3:00 PM on Sunday, October 18, 2009.

Interestingly enough, the next stop for President Carter’s group after they left the Peace Light was the observation tower on Culp’s Hill. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 3:00 PM on Sunday, October 18, 2009.

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In Video #5 Licensed Battlefield Guide Bob Prosperi is standing on Culp’s Hill near the observation tower. He explains how Carter jumped out the of the van and raced everyone, including the Secret Service, to the top of the tower. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 3:00 PM on Sunday, October 18, 2009.

Licensed Battlefield Guide Bob Prosperi has now moved to the area of the 71st Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment and the famous “Angle” of the stone walls. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 3:00 PM on Sunday, October 18, 2009.

There must have been some humor in telling the Pickett’s Charge story at “the Angle.” This view was taken facing south on Thursday, July 6, 1978.

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In Video #6 Bob Prosperi is standing at “the Angle.” This view was taken facing south to east to south to west to southeast to south at approximately 3:00 PM on Sunday, October 18, 2009.

This is the modern point of view from the previous photograph. The Carter party as any other visitor could do in 1978 was able to drive down to “the Angle” on Webb Avenue. Webb Avenue is the darker, greener grass in the area. In the left background is the “Copse of Trees” and the obelisk monument to the U.S. Regulars. Above Bob’s head is the monument to the 72nd Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment. This view was taken facing south at approximately 3:00 PM on Sunday, October 18, 2009.

To see other posts by Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guides, click here.


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