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

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

June 05, 2013

Most people can attest to the fact that having a good project, an exciting project (not just one you’re forced to do without investing any real interest) can be both fun and inspiring. A few months I gave myself a humdinger of a goal: to document as many of the soldiers who died at Gettysburg as possible. Now, I realize there were about seven thousand dead and many more that died in the successive months, so I don’t presume to ever know all their names, but it’s become my pet project and is a profound labor of love.

The fields of Gettysburg are four dimensional to me now, I guess you could say. While collecting stories of each soldier --- dates of birth and death, military information, cause of death, family members, physical descriptions if possible --- I’ve come to see Gettysburg as a really human event. These men and boys in blue and gray are no longer nameless, faceless beings. That being said, much of my work involves perusing the Gettysburg National Cemetery records, leading to my choice of the above photo: The Baltimore Pike gate and old gatehouse of that sacred and hallowed ground. In the next few photos I’ve isolated various sections of the original photo to speak of each feature separately.

 The black wrought iron gate existed in its earliest form in early 1865. This was also around the time when the gatehouse was initially constructed, though it was enlarged, updated, and “brought into fashion” throughout the 1870s. Some seem to believe the gatehouse is haunted. Though I couldn’t say either way --- it’s been awhile since I walked those paths --- I must admit that the house has an eerie feel, especially in the chill of autumn. Back to the gate: The black posts on either side contain the names of Union states whose honored soldiers are buried here.


125th New York Infantry

Born August 15, 1827 --- Died July 02, 1863 at age 35

By the time Gettysburg changed --- and ended --- his life, Cpt. Willard was well-acquainted with war. He’d fought in the Mexican War and was honored for his gallant participation, and in the late 1840s he’d continued his career in the U.S. Army. It seemed only natural that he should find himself at one of the most influential battlefields of the American Civil War. He and his soldiers helped stem the tide of Mississippi soldiers flowing from the ranks of General William Barksdale, contributing to one of many smaller victories that helped the Union ultimately carry the battle. He is buried at Oakwood Cemetery in Troy, NY and was survived by his wife Mary, whom he married in 1854. A photo of Cpt. Lamb can be found here.

(c) 2013 Skies of Blue and Gray

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