The Abraham Bryan (sometimes spelled Brian) farm has the distinction of being one of the “famous” farms of the Pickett-Pettigrew-Trimble Charge, though it is probably mentioned less often than the beautiful red three-spired Nicholas Codori barn. Abraham Bryan’s very life and livelihood were threatened in the summer of 1863; as an African-American he was in danger of being taken off to slavery in the South when Confederate soldiers arrived in Gettysburg. He was not about to forfeit his little white home and little white barn for a life of servitude, and so he fled when the time was right.
The Bryan house was constructed over a period of fifty years beginning about 1800, and the handsome barn across the street was built by previous owners just seven years before the battle. Northern troops utilized the house as a shelter and meeting-point. Battle damage scarred the Bryan farm as a result of the artillery bombardment of July 3rd.
Died July 02, 1863
They waited in agony for their wounds to be cared for, but no one came . . . at least no one from their own army. Soon after, the barn, sparked by the combustion of mortal combat, caught ablaze, though few could say how it happened. The wounded men of the 114th Pennsylvania were trapped inside. By the time the fire burned its way out and the barn lay in ashes, they were already dead. Though all deaths at Gettysburg were grievous and horrific, this fate was particularly heinous --- and so unexpected. Unfortunately I cannot name the men who died, as even the official reports of the 114th Pennsylvania state that they could not be identified.
(c) 2013 Skies of Blue and Gray