Many Gettysburg enthusiasts are familiar with the story of Jennie Wade, the only civilian to lose her life during the three-day battle, and some of these same people have probably gone to Gettysburg with the purpose of visiting her home. Technically this home was shared between Jennie’s sister Georgia McClellan’s family and the McClain family; Jennie was occupied with baking bread here on July 3rd when she was killed by a stray bullet shot off by a soldier who never knew her identity. The above photo was taken in the parlor of the McClellan / McClain home. Though the décor is beautiful, it might be more important for Victorian enthusiasts and Civil War buffs to imagine how this room would have looked in Jennie’s time.
I remember being quite disappointed to learn that there actually was no wallpaper in this house during the Civil War. The walls would have been painted, probably white, though the mirrors, portraits, and perhaps artwork would have hung in a similar manner. The upholstered bench was probably too fancy for simple a mid-19th century home, especially if the family wasn’t particularly wealthy, though it’s certainly possible Georgia could have had such a piece. It stands to reason that the fireplace is probably original. I’m no expert on 19th century furnishings, but it certainly appears old, and if it was structurally intact, there’s no reason to assume it would have been replaced. Whether or not the wood floor is original, it’s very likely that such a floor existed in 1863, probably accented with a rug here and there.
CPL. DARWIN G. JOHNSON
Co. B, 11th United States Infantry
Born 1844 --- Died July 03, 1863 at age 19
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