** Please check out my tribute page to two of my Civil War relatives who never made it home **

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

October 22, 2014

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

On my most recent trip, not only did I have the opportunity to walk down to the McPherson Barn, but also to visit another place I’d never before seen without weeds . . . Pardee Field. As soon as I discovered it had been mowed I knew I had to go and take a look. The sky wouldn’t cooperate by bursting out with gorgeous spring-like blue, and the grass refused to shed its murky brown, but it was still an enjoyable walk.!

The second photo shows the furthest spot reached by Steuart’s Marylanders (their flank marker is located in the woods). The distant monument just visible to the left of the rock is the 109TH Pennsylvania. Despite it being a very dreary day, I like the contrast of rock, field, stone wall, and a spattering of fall colors among the trees. We were absolutely alone and could really appreciate the positions both sides were obligated to defend.


Co. H, 11TH Pennsylvania Infantry

Born 1839 --- Died July 01, 1863 at age 24
Pvt. Adams enlisted in December 1861, bidding what he believed was a temporary farewell to wife Catherine and son Dan. He fell on Oak Ridge without ever having the chance to see his family again; he was later buried at Gettysburg’s National Cemetery. 

(c) 2012-2014 Skies of Blue and Gray

Sunday, October 19, 2014

October 20, 2014

Visiting the McPherson Barn: Part Two

On Friday I began a two-part series showing photos from my recent (exciting!) visit to the McPherson barn. Here is the conclusion:

Getting right down to business, photo #1 (above) is my favorite of the series. Blue skies would have made it even better, but October is finicky that way :-) The old wooden fences really help to frame the barn, and the doors look so inviting . . . until you get a bit closer and realize that birds have been utilizing the property quite a bit, and opening one of those doors would likely result in a face full of flying feathers. Despite a sense of desolation, the property appears to be cared-for, and looks much as it would have in 1863.

Photo #2 (above) is what I consider an “artsy” shot. I love the old fence, the red vines creeping over the door at left, the weeds sprouting up along the stone wall. And no, the large brown object in front of the second door isn’t an animal, though I thought it was when I stood there . . . it’s a rock. I couldn’t believe I was lucky enough to explore a place I’d wanted to visit for so many years.


Co. B, 16TH Georgia Infantry

Born 1831 --- Died July 1863 at age 32

Pvt. Kerbow, who went by the name “Dock”, was married with four children (John, born 1853, Florentine, born 1856, Josephine, born 1858, and Joseph, born 1861), at the time of his death. A fifth child, Doctor, Jr., called Singleton, would be born in September 1863. 

(c) 2012-2014 Skies of Blue and Gray

Friday, October 17, 2014

October 17, 2014

Visiting the McPherson Barn: Part One

Every time I’ve visited Gettysburg --- and if I count back to the first trip, that time frame spans over two decades --- I’ve wished I could see the McPherson barn up-close without falling in the mud or dodging ticks. Imagine my absolute delight, when, during my last trip a few days ago, I discovered a path has been mowed down to the barn! (In my defense, this path may have been here for quite some time and I just didn't notice it until now :-)) This was a complete surprise and definitely made this trip one to remember. Today I’ll feature photos of the “back” of the barn, visible from Stone-Meredith Avenue.

Photo #1 shows the back. My favorite details: The stonework (absolutely amazing, I’m a big fan of stone structures); the red vines peeking around the right-hand side; and the old fence at the corner. The thing I could take or leave: Larson’s Quality Inn property at center right (kudos for Civil War Trust for launching a worthy crusade to save the area. Can’t wait to see how it looked in 1863!)

Photo #2 is a scene I could stare at for quite a while (at least well past the “normal” stage). The patterns are mesmerizing . . . and when you consider that the soldiers of Gettysburg probably let their eyes wander over the same shapes and designs while lying there wounded, it makes the experience even more fascinating. Again, I like the red vines at bottom right. The doors at the front of the barn look very run down; I’m not sure what this property is being used for at the moment, though I’m sure the Park Service knows :-)


Co. A, 19TH Massachusetts Infantry

Born April 21, 1835 --- Died July 02/03, 1863 at age 28

Sgt. Coffin, who enlisted in August 1861 and was a shoemaker by trade, was mortally wounded on July 3RD and died a short time later. He was buried at Gettysburg’s National Cemetery. (He’s also listed as being buried at Bridge Street Cemetery in West Newbury, MA.

(c) 2012-2014 Skies of Blue and Gray

Friday, October 10, 2014

October 10, 2014

**I'll be away for a few days beginning Monday the 13th. My next post will be Friday the 17th**

There are many artillery pieces located along Confederate Avenue. Some are easier to photograph than others due to parking spaces, and this photo of Patterson’s Battery was taken from the small road that passes in around Gen. Longstreet’s equestrian statue. Take note of the natural landscape and lack of modern ingenuity; just the way a battlefield should be. The only modern things seen here are the information plaque, a One Way sign, and a stretch of well-paved Confederate Avenue.

The second photo shows the informational plaque for Patterson’s Battery, which tells the story of this particular unit. The natural scenery in the background helps elevate this picture from commonplace to interesting.


Co. I, 38TH North Carolina Infantry

Died July 01, 1863 at age 22

Pvt. Cogdell enlisted in November 1861, taking what he believed was a temporary leave from his life as a farmer. He left behind a wife and a little daughter named Eliza. Pvt. Cogdell stood at six feet tall, likely a promising target for the boys in blue, and was killed at Gettysburg on the first day of battle. He is thought to have been buried at Richmond’s Hollywood Cemetery as an unknown.

(c) 2012-2014 Skies of Blue and Gray

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

October 08, 2014

With as many times as I’ve visited Gettysburg, there are still monuments I’ve yet to fully appreciate. One of these is the Virginia State Memorial with its striking bronze scene. There’s so much going on here, from the separate figures to the plunging horse, from the unfurled flag to the broken cannon at bottom. If you click for a larger image, you can see the words Sic semper tyrannis, Virginia’s state motto, on the bottom of the flag. I’d have to say my favorite features are the cannon which has seen better days, and the man directly to the left of the horseman, holding out a revolver with a look of determination on his face. All the figures are stunning, though. It must have taken quite awhile to finish this amazing piece of art.


Co. A, 71ST New York Infantry

Born 1830 --- July 02, 1863 at age 33

Pvt. Kearns, a New Jersey man who enlisted in May 1861, never had the opportunity to be carried off to the field and cared for even briefly; suffering wounds that severed both legs, he died in battle. He now lies in Gettysburg’s National Cemetery, though his stone says “1ST New York.” 

(c) 2012-2014 Skies of Blue and Gray