Along Taneytown Road there is a small and relatively unassuming white house that passers-by might disregard if not for the historical marker in the front yard. Though the wide front porch and various windows at different heights proclaim it is a dwelling-place, a side view might put one in mind of a barn. This small and simple structure was known as the Lydia Leister residence during the battle of Gettysburg, and it was also used as the headquarters of Gen. George Gordon Meade, commander of the Army of the Potomac.
“Meade’s Headquarters” is one of three distinctive buildings in the Gettysburg National Park where, although entrance is forbidden, a glance inside the windows reveals a house relatively-unchanged since the time of the battle. “Look and don’t touch” might be a good sentiment for these houses. The other two such dwellings are the Abraham Bryan farm (see my post of January 2nd) along Hancock Avenue near the area of the Pickett-Pettigrew-Trimble Charge, and the Philip Snyder farm along Confederate Avenue and Warfield Ridge. At the Leister house, a view of the inside will convince visitors that people made do with cramped spaces in the “olden days.”
Contemporary photographs show that the Leister house was certainly not spared during the July 3rd bombardment, though many believe the Confederate artillery simply missed their intended targets and hit the structure instead . . . it is unlikely that they tried to destroy it.
CPT. JOSEPH S. CORBIN
Born 1831 --- Died July 01, 1863 at age 32
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