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

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

November 26, 2014



I’ve always been absolutely fascinated by Devil’s Den, and it has to do with a lot more than just the epic struggle that took place. I’ll admit, it’s the rocks. Where else can you touch boulders that have been jutting from the earth’s surface for millions of years? The rocks of Gettysburg have been a lifelong interest of mine. There seems to be no rhyme or reason . . . some flat, some round, some huge, some relatively small, popping up wherever they chose, with no apparent purpose. And why, one wonders, did the rocks of Devil’s Den “choose” to come up all together instead of spreading off in all directions? Why didn’t the boulders in the Plum Run ravine across the road grow into Devil’s Den instead of standing off by their lonesome? With appreciation for the Gettysburg boulders in mind, I offer two views of the Sharpshooter’s Nest!


(click for larger view)
 (1) Generic view of the area, with the Witness Tree visible
(2) Edge of the boulders showing the path through Devil's Den


**HONORED TODAY**

PVT. BENJAMIN FRANKLIN PITTMAN
Co. C, 1ST North Carolina Infantry

Born 1832/35 --- Died September 14, 1863

Pvt. Pittman survived almost a year in the army, but his luck ran out at Gettysburg. Records list him as both “Pitman” and “P. F. Pittman.” He was taken prisoner after the battle and sent to a Union hospital, later dying at Camp Letterman. He was married to Delaney with three children, James, Jonathan, and Ellen. Pvt. Pittman was later buried at Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh.  


(c) 2012-2014 Skies of Blue and Gray

Monday, November 24, 2014

November 24, 2014




Known only as the Thompson family home before the battle of Gettysburg, this beautiful old stone house will forever be labeled as General Lee’s Headquarters. I’ve mentioned in the past that I can’t get enough of stone buildings . . . they have a texture and appeal all their own, and the Thompson house is particularly enjoyable to visit because it’s so accessible. Even if you happen to arrive when the museum shop is closed for the season (as we did) you can still walk around, snapping photos and admiring this storied building.

The house has many great angles to photograph, making it one of my favorite historic structures. Whether it’s a charming pattern, an old red door opened by many a long-dead figure, or some as simple as a plaque, this is the place to be if you want to touch history. You may have heard that there are plans to tear down the modern structures located around Gen. Lee’s headquarters, thus restoring the property to its 1863 appearance. I can’t wait to see the transformation!


**HONORED TODAY**

PVT. GEORGE P. HAM
Co. I, 19TH Massachusetts Infantry

Born 1837 --- Died August 02, 1863 age 26

Pvt. Ham’s loss was perhaps most keenly felt by his daughter Sarah, who was only four years old when the battle of Gettysburg took away her father. Married to Martha, he had enlisted in August 1861 and was mortally wounded in combat, later dying at Fort Schuyler, NY.  


(c) 2012-2014 Skies of Blue and Gray

Friday, November 21, 2014

November 21, 2014




While snapping photos at the Angle, I decided to spend some time with this gentleman, who represents the 1ST Pennsylvania Cavalry. The bronze soldier has proudly guarded the Angle since 1890, and has never once deserted his post. :-) I *finally* had a nice blue sky (that’s been kind of an issue, especially with so many dreary fall days) and took full advantage, pulling out my camera practically everywhere I went.


I’ve always liked studying the bronze faces on these fantastic portrait statues, and the fellow from the 1ST Pennsylvania is no exception. His expression is flawless, his features forever fixed in time. It’s sort of eerie to stare at these faces for too long . . . in a way, it’s as if they represent the spirits of the fallen, and you almost have the sense that if you stare at them, really stare, you might be able to convince yourself they’ve moved.




**HONORED TODAY**

PVT. TOBIAS CRUSE
Co. K, 5TH North Carolina Infantry

Born March 14, 1831 --- Died July 01/03, 1863 age 32

Pvt. Tobias Cruse enlisted in August 1862 and was part of the ill-fated Iverson’s Brigade. Married to Catherine, with an eight-year-old daughter Mary, a seven-year-old son John, and a three-year-old daughter Laura, Tobias was killed at Gettysburg either during battle or shortly thereafter. Sadly, a brother, Ambrose, died less than two years later in February 1865, while another brother, Joseph, died in July 1865.


(c) 2012-2014 Skies of Blue and Gray

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

November 19, 2014




I love everything this photo has going for it! Smith’s 4TH New York Independent Battery steals the scene, while the 99TH Pennsylvania monument (distance, center left) and the downward slope of Little Round Top can be seen. And let’s not forget the oldest thing in the picture: The Devil’s Den witness tree, whose branches (and some straggly leaves not yet lost to autumn winds) are visible at the top of the photo. The leaves were really flying around while we were walking from the Sharpshooter’s Nest to Triangular Field, and I joked that it would really be something to be hit in the head with leaves from the witness tree :-)


**HONORED TODAY**

1ST LT. THOMAS J. WHEELER
Co. A, 75TH Ohio Infantry

Born November 28, 1837 --- Died July 28, 1863 age 25

1ST Lt. Wheeler, who enlisted in October 1861, was taken prisoner and subsequently released at 2ND Bull Run/Manassas in 1862. He suffered three wounds at Gettysburg and later died of his injuries, being buried at Ingomar Methodist Episcopal Church Cemetery in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. A photo can be found here.


(c) 2012-2014 Skies of Blue and Gray