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

Monday, July 21, 2014

July 21, 2014

If I were to guess, I’d say that many people who visit the Gettysburg battlefield don’t notice Benner’s Hill, which is unfortunate; I’d definitely recommend making the trip. There isn’t a whole lot to see, but cannon buffs will love the variety of Southern artillery pieces. The most “unique” artillery batteries are located not at Benner’s Hill but opposite the hill (across Hanover Road). Actually, it’s not the pieces themselves that make the batteries unique . . .

Once upon a time, every artillery piece in Gettysburg had a decorative triangle of cannonballs alongside it. As years passed and materials were needed for the war effort --- and there was likely theft involved --- the cannonballs disappeared. Those that remain at Milledge’s and Kirkpatrick’s Batteries are supposed the only piles of “authentic” cannonballs left on the battlefield.


Co. C, 110TH Pennsylvania Infantry

Born July 26, 1842 --- Died July 02, 1863 at age 20½ 

1ST Sgt. Tobias never had the opportunity to celebrate his twenty-first birthday. He was mortally wounded at Gettysburg and was first buried at the George Weikert house. He was later reinterred at Hickory Bottom Cemetery, Woodbury, Pennsylvania. His stone says “Killed at the battle of Gettysburg” underneath the words “Tribute of a Sister.”

(c) 2012-2014 Skies of Blue and Gray

Friday, July 18, 2014

July 18, 2014

**Antietam Friday**


This photo of the Piper farm, taken from the Bloody Lane observation tower, shows an interesting contrast of historic and modern. The farm has some interesting stories surrounding it, including being used as a headquarters by Confederate Gen. Longstreet and later being put to use by Federal troops. The Antietam National Battlefield has so much natural beauty; check out the mountains dipping gracefully in the far distance. I’m sure the farmers who settled this land knew how fortunate they were to have such sights literally right outside their doorsteps.


Co. B, 5TH Texas Infantry

Born 1842 --- Died July 09, 1863 at age 21

Pvt. Nelms had been wounded at 2ND Bull Run/Manassas before Gettysburg, but while he survived the first wound, he succumbed to the second after undergoing a leg amputation. He was later buried at Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia.

(c) 2012-2014 Skies of Blue and Gray

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

July 16, 2014

One of my “pet regiments” to study is the 26TH North Carolina Infantry, and they marched right past the Cashtown Inn just before the battle, as did countless other boys in gray. I’m not sure exactly how much time the Army of Northern Virginia spent in this area, but they must have taken note of the handsome brick building. Maybe they peered inside the windows or thought of better days, of times they’d relaxed in such an inn themselves. They probably lounged on the porch and hoped for food and drink.

It’s difficult to get pictures of the front of the building, considering Old Route 30/Lincoln Highway is very busy, but I hopefully managed to convey the age and impressiveness of the inn from the side. Take note of the Confederate flag at the left of the porch. There are two informational markers at the front entrance, as well as a marker in the parking lot where I was standing.


Co. C, 27TH Indiana Infantry

Born 1830 --- Died July 1863 at age 33

Pvt. Colvin was mortally wounded in the knee near Spangler’s Spring, leaving behind his wife Rebecca and five children, 9-year-old Andrew, 6-year-old George and Martha (twins), 4-year-old John, and Carius, who had been born in April 1863. Pvt. Colvin was a farmer and was buried at Gettysburg’s National Cemetery (his stone says “D. C. Calvin”).

(c) 2012-2014 Skies of Blue and Gray

Monday, July 14, 2014

July 14, 2014

Why Little Round Top “Rocks”

When you think about ancient boulders on the Gettysburg battlefield, you probably think of Devil’s Den. In truth, Little Round Top has the same kind of massive rocks. On the first photo you can see the haphazard way boulders are piled on top of each other, and I like this view because of the 155TH Pennsylvania poking up in the distance. Beyond, to the left, lies Emmitsburg Road and Cemetery Ridge. How many soldiers stepped on these rocks? Did they take notice of particular cracks, ridges, and crevices as they waited to meet the enemy? That’s the sort of thing I love to ponder.

View #2 showcases more of the surrounding area . . . the hill where part of the 4TH New York Battery was put to good use, Crawford Avenue (center), Wheatfield Road (at far right), and of course, the Zouave fellow from the 155TH Pennsylvania again. (He’s not very social, is he? Always has his back turned whenever I take a photo). The views from Little Round Top are amazing; I feel very glad that the only “observation deck” in the vicinity is the 12TH/44TH New York monument, as any other kind of tower would drastically reduce the beauty of the area. Now if only those invasive plants would beat a hasty retreat!


Co. I, 15TH South Carolina Infantry

Born October 05, 1837 --- Died July 10, 1863 at age 25

(Name also appears as William Walter). Pvt. Koon bid farewell to his wife Mary Jane before enlisting in Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, ultimately reaching Gettysburg in time to die for his cause. Letters from his wife must have been precious; his mother had died in 1844 and his father in 1855, and he and Mary Jane had no children. Years after his death Pvt. Koon was reburied at Magnolia Cemetery in Charlestown, SC.

(c) 2012-2014 Skies of Blue and Gray

Friday, July 11, 2014

July 11, 2014

**Antietam Friday**
Click for larger view

There are two ways to get to Burnside Bridge: The easy way and the not-so-easy way. The “easy” way is shown here . . . a nice straight walk down the bridge. Of course, if you’re driving, you’ll have to park in the parking lot up further and walk down to the path, but oh well! This photo from May is rather sad because it shows the railing that was put up after a huge chunk of stone fell out of the bridge. Thankfully this is being repaired.

The second photo shows a seldom-seen aspect of the area near Burnside Bridge: Antietam Creek in its natural beauty. I’m always a fan of images than illustrate how a battlefield would have looked when so many fought and died, and this is one of those images. Not a car or electric line or even a tourist in sight :-)


Co. E, 45TH New York Infantry

Born about 1832 --- Died July 31, 1863 at age 31

Cpl. Weisensel was born in Bavaria, and after coming to America he married a lady named Emeline and had a daughter, Catherine (who was three during the battle of Gettysburg). A son named John had been born in 1858 and had died just one year later. Cpl. Weisensel worked as a cabinet-maker. Having been mortally wounded on the second of July and later dying at the 11TH Corps hospital (George Spangler farm), he was eventually buried at the Gettysburg National Cemetery.

(c) 2012-2014 Skies of Blue and Gray