One of the things I love most about the Gettysburg battlefield is that 21st century men and women care enough, and are passionate enough, about the battle to pay their respects at any given monument. I love to see flowers, wreaths, flags, coins . . . they show that we still feel close enough to the boys in blue and gray that we can earnestly and empathetically honor their sacrifices and perpetuate their memory. In February 2013 I had the pleasure of seeing a beautiful artificial flower in the old stone fence at Triangular Field.
This place has been compared to the Pickett-Pettigrew-Charge though on a smaller scale, and when one looks across that field, which would have been mostly open in 1863, it is easy to see how the Arkansans and Texans might have suffered such horrific casualties from the New York and Pennsylvania infantry and the New York artillery located on the other side of the wall. Men of the 124th New York were killed here as well. I’ve been studying Robertson’s Brigade of Texans in particular, and much of the Texans’ position can be seen in this photo. Far in the distance (just barely visible at larger size) is the Philip Snyder farm, just to the left of the place where the Texans started across the field. To the right is Rose Woods. The Timbers farm, now just a memory, was located near the woods in 1863.
I’d love to know who left the flower, when, and why. Did this person (or people) have a relative killed at Triangular Field? Or did they simply feel compelled to honor and remember those who fell? To my surprise and delight, a second Gettysburg visit in late March 2013 revealed that the flower was still there. I won’t forget the sight even after it’s gone. Though the men who fought at Gettysburg have ceased to exist, history, and the reverence of it, will never die.
PVT. LEWIS H. DEAL
Co. H, 8th Alabama Infantry
Born April 17, 1831 --- Died July 3, 1863 at age 32
(c) 2013 Skies of Blue and Gray