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

Friday, June 28, 2013

July 01, 1863

***Just for the three days of the 150TH anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg, July 01 – 03, I’m going to make a special post with photos that concern the particular day of battle. Today’s photos will include battlegrounds relevant to July 01ST, 1863*** --- After the 3RD I’ll go back to my regular schedule of posting Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

 150 years ago, fighting occurred at the following places, as well as others not depicted.

***Honoring every soldier who gave his life on July 01ST, 1863, both blue and gray.***

 (click to enlarge)
1: McPherson's Ridge and the Edward McPherson barn
2: The Edward McPherson barn seen from Reynolds Avenue
3: Route 30 / Chambersburg Pike; Gen. Lee's HQ out of picture at right

 (click to enlarge)
1: The Railroad Cut and monuments to the 95TH NY and 6TH WI
2: 95TH NY and 6TH WI (Iron Brigade) near the Cut
3. Railroad Cut and part of the Lutheran Theological Seminary in the distance

 (click to enlarge)
     1: Fry's Battery, Carter's Battalion, at Oak Ridge
2: Oak Ridge and Moses McLean farm looking toward 11TH Corps Line
3. General area of "Iverson's Pits" and Oak Ridge

 (click to enlarge)
     1:Cannon representing Wheeler's 13TH New York Battery
2: Statue of Gen. Francis Barlow at Barlow Knoll
3. Fence and graves of old Alms House Cemetery

 (c) 2013 Skies of Blue and Gray

June 28, 2013


As with my last blog post photo, there are a few things going on in this shot besides the obvious. The eye is quickly drawn to the monument at center, an upright cannon barrel proclaiming this spot as the once-headquarters of Gen.Winfield Scott Hancock. I personally think it’s in great shape despite having been dedicated one hundred years ago. The gold trefoil at the bottom of the barrel represents Hancock’s Second Corps. But what’s that monument to the right of the headquarters marker?

This particular monument dates from the late 1880s and represents the 4TH New York Cavalry. Like Gen. Hancock’s headquarters marker, it can be reached from Pleasonton Avenue where it diverges from Hancock Avenue and Humphreys Avenue. Note the stone wall running from left to right in the background. I’m uncertain if it’s original, but it’s likely that there was a similar wall here in 1863. The large red barn in the right distance is the Peter Frey barn. Unfortunately the original barn is long gone and this one was built around thirty years after the battle.


CO. G, 1ST Minnesota Infantry

Born December 07, 1838 --- Died July 02, 1863 at age 21

War records give us a rare treat with Cpl. Sawyer: a physical description, putting a face to a man whose image would otherwise have been forgotten. He was 5 feet 9 inches tall, with blue eyes and dark brown hair, and his complexion was listed as fair. He was a farmer from Medford, Minnesota when he enlisted in the army. After dying at Gettysburg he was buried at Medford’s Riverside Cemetery.

(c) 2013 Skies of Blue and Gray

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

June 26, 2013

High on the summit of Culp’s Hill there stands a man whose bronze visage glints in the sun, whose finger points eternally toward the enemy. No, he’s not a figment of an overactive imagination . . . he’s Gen. George Sears Greene in statue form. There are a few features in this photo that might get overlooked, but if you analyze the background carefully, you’ll find some interesting things.

First, being a cannon lover, I couldn’t help but notice the Napoleon peeking out just to the right of the monument. This piece represents Battery K of the 5TH U.S. Artillery. The plaque (read from the “Gettysburg Stone Sentinels” website) says that on the second of July the battery “assisted in silencing Confederate Batteries on Benner’s Hill.” It was also responsible for giving the Southerners quite a wake-up call early the next morning.

To the right of Battery K stands a granite monument. It honors the 7TH Indiana Infantry, which fought on the third day of battle. “Stone Sentinels” mentions that this unit formed up alongside the surviving men of the Iron Brigade who had somehow escaped the firestorm of July 1ST. The large structure in the background is one of the Gettysburg National Military Park’s three observation towers, constructed just thirty years after the war and rising over fifty feet above what was once a chaotic battleground.


Co. H, 45TH North Carolina Infantry

Born 1827 --- Died August 16, 1863 at age 37

Pvt. Cobb had the misfortune of incurring a “shot fracture of right leg and amputation of thigh”, as Gettysburg’s Camp Letterman General Hospital records state. He suffered “secondary hemorrhaging” and was later buried at Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh, North Carolina. Left behind in Rockingham County were his wife of seventeen years, Sarah, and five children, Mary (age fourteen); Amanda (age eight); John (age seven); George (age six); and Eugenia (age two).

(c) 2013 Skies of Blue and Gray

Monday, June 24, 2013

June 24, 2013

 For a different and intriguing shot, I once took this photo of one of the Union cannon perched atop the High Water Mark monument at the Copse of Trees. Naturally, during the battle, the Union artillery (this isn’t an original piece) would have been turned in the opposite direction toward the men embarking on the Pickett-Pettigrew-Trimble Charge, but this angle allowed me to identify a few monuments, one of my all-time favorite blog activities :-)

The monument at which the cannon barrel is aiming represents the 106TH Pennsylvania Infantry (see my post of June 17). To the left is a statue monument honoring the 1ST Pennsylvania Cavalry. The multi-tiered monument to the left is dedicated to Brig. Gen. Alexander Webb. To the left of Webb’s monument, a large base with a bronze plaque can be seen in the distance. This is the base of the equestrian monument for Gen. George G. Meade.


CO. D, 4TH Michigan Infantry

Born 1842 --- Died July 02, 1863 at age 21

Pvt. Rouse’s young life ended in an unassuming wheatfield owned by a farmer called George Rose, a field that would infamously become known as the “Bloody Wheatfield” because of one day during the battle of Gettysburg. That particular part of the field is located on the opposite side of Sickles Avenue but was considered part of the larger field in 1863. Pvt. Rouse had enlisted in June of 1861 and left behind five brothers and two sisters. He had become an orphan at the age of thirteen when his mother Elsa died; father Van Rensselaer had passed away in 1842. Pvt. Rouse was buried at Gettysburg National Cemetery.

(c) 2013 Skies of Blue and Gray

Friday, June 21, 2013

June 21, 2013

Even the most intrepid battlefield hikers may pause before considering a trek to the summit of Big Round Top, which, unlike its benign, smaller cousin, is quite a haul. If you do choose to visit, there are a few interesting monuments and some stone walls (possibly original) worth checking out, though I haven’t been able to find out if these are original walls or if any walls existed here during the time of the battle.

The scene above shows part of a stone wall and two monuments on the crest. The large white monument at left honors the 34TH Pennsylvania Infantry (also known as the 5TH Pennsylvania Reserves), while the pink granite monument (tiered, at right) represents the 41ST Pennsylvania Infantry or 12TH Pennsylvania Reserves. There are three other monuments at the summit (two for Pennsylvania and one for Maine) and two on the lower slope (Massachusetts and Pennsylvania Reserves) as well.


Co. G, 42ND Mississippi Infantry

Born 1843 --- Died August 08 (or 18), 1863 at age 20

After being wounded during the battle of Gettysburg, Pvt. Anderson was moved to Camp Letterman north of town by reason of a fracture to the right femur. He didn’t survive long and was later buried at Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia. Unfortunately, this is nearly all I can discover about him.

(c) 2013 Skies of Blue and Gray

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

June 19, 2013

There are places on the battlefield that seem even more somber than others, at least in my opinion. I'm inclined to think that one of these places is the area just behind the Wheatfield and near the George Rose farm, the “back” network of roads along the Loop such as DeTrobriand Avenue, Brooke Avenue, etc. These roads aren’t part of the main tour and must be reached by turning left in the Rose Woods before reaching the Wheatfield. Along these paths one can find the scene above, complete with an old wooden face and a compelling plaque titled “Images of Death.” This area is quiet. Dark. Lightly-traveled. And on a rainy day, as it was when these photos were taken, the ambiance is even more chilling. At one point you can see the old fieldstone George Rose farm.

This area was overrun by South Carolinians on the afternoon of July 2ND, 1863. The men belonged to Kershaw’s Brigade (second photo) and consisted of the 2ND, 3RD, 7TH, and 15TH South Carolina and the 3RD Battalion under Gen. Joseph Kershaw. I remember feeling particularly sorrowful in this area, perhaps partially because of the grief-inducing maker that evokes “images of death” in a quite powerful way. If you’ve seen the photographs of dead Confederate soldiers on the nearby Rose farm, many of them likely came from Kershaw’s Brigade. In my quest to create a list of the Gettysburg Dead I found many South Carolinians and Georgians buried at the farm in an orchard, under a particular tree, by the springhouse, alongside a gravel path, etc. Thus was the fate of these brave men.


Co. H, 20TH Indiana Infantry

Born June 15, 1839 --- Died September 08, 1863 at age 24

Pvt. Ambrose survived his Gettysburg wound for over two months, yet in September it became evident that he could fight no longer. Eventually he succumbed to an infection that had raged in his amputated leg, dying at Camp Letterman. He was later buried at Gettysburg National Cemetery.

(c) 2013 Skies of Blue and Gray