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

Friday, August 30, 2013

August 30, 2013

The Spangler house and barn seem so tiny on this shot!

On my recent Gettysburg trip I decided to get artsy with my camera. I have so many photos of the battlefield from over the years that it just seems wrong to keep taking a thousand shots of the same subjects, so I experimented with different framing methods and such. I particularly like this shot of the Henry Spangler farm through a fence along Emmitsburg Road. This was one of those battlefield farms I knew existed but had never taken notice of before.

The Henry Spangler farm --- not to be confused with the George Spangler farm, which Civil War enthusiasts can seasonally visit on guided tours only --- was begun nearly 200 years ago in the early 1820s. The house was already forty-three years old during the 1863 battle. Unfortunately, this is not the original Spangler barn. “Draw the Sword” says the first barn was partially destroyed during the battle after catching on fire like the Sherfy barn on Emmitsburg Road.


Co. F, 27TH Indiana Infantry

Born February 22, 1839 --- Died July 03, 1863 at age 24

If you’ve ever visited the Spangler’s Spring area of Culp’s Hill, you might have noticed a granite monument perched atop a boulder, emblazoned with the words “27TH Indiana Infantry.” In this regiment there was a young man named Elijah McKnight who had enlisted on August 07TH, 1861. He was a farmer, described as having blue eyes, dark hair, and a light complexion, and as standing 6 feet 2 inches tall. When the 27TH Indiana and 2ND Massachusetts charged Confederate positions in a hopeless charge and were subsequently slaughtered, Sgt. McKnight was shot in the head and killed. He was first buried at the McAllister property and later reburied at the Gettysburg National Cemetery.

(c) 2013 Skies of Blue and Gray

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

August 28, 2013

Though I usually don’t use “busy” photos, I like the photo above for two reasons. First, it shows a cannon at a place where I don’t usually have an opportunity to snap a photo. Second, it adequately portrays how busy McPherson’s Ridge can be on a summer afternoon and shows a proliferation of monuments and other battlefield features. At the center of the photo, the main subject is a cannon representing Battery L of the 1ST New York Light Artillery. This is possibly the first cannon I ever touched or saw . . . I stood here at age eight on my first trip to Gettysburg and was enamored with Civil War artillery from the get-go.

The blocky monument to the left of the cannon is Battery L’s monument. The road at far left, full of cars as always, is Reynolds Avenue. The stone marker to the right of the large monument is a Division marker for the 1ST Division of the Union army’s Cavalry Corps. The tall black shaft is an upturned cannon barrel that marks the spot of Gen. Abner Doubleday’s headquarters during the Battle of Gettysburg. Another stone monument can be seen to the right, much the same as the Cavalry Corps marker but skinnier. This is the 8TH Illinois Cavalry. The stone marker toward the center of the photo, just below the bridge, is the 1ST Army Corps marker.

The bridge is a fairly new one, and rises above the Railroad Cut whose slope can be seen at the center and right of the photo. The traffic light regulates traffic from Route 30 and Reynolds Avenue. The road at right is known as Chambersburg Pike, Route 30, and Lincoln Highway, and is also the start of Buford Avenue. A bronze statue-topped monument to Gen. James Wadsworth is partially hidden in the trees to the right of the bridge. Two monuments can be seen down over the slope of the Railroad Cut . . . the tall white one honors the 3RD Indiana Cavalry, while the monument at far left behind the fence represents the 6TH Wisconsin Infantry, part of the Iron Brigade. I also like that there are two “Gettysburg style” fences visible here, one in the distance at Route 30 and one in the foreground.


BURNETT CHAPMAN MAUPIN (1836 – 03 Jul 1863) 

CARSON B. MAUPIN (1831 – 03 Jul 1863)

56TH Virginia Infantry

It’s hard enough to think of how many mothers and fathers wept for the sons they lost at Gettysburg, but for some families the occasion was even more heart-wrenching. Rice and Polly Carr Maupin of Albemarle County, Virginia were unfortunate enough to lose two sons during the battle, Burnett and Carson. It appears that neither man was married and that both were killed during the Pickett-Pettigrew-Trimble Charge.

(c) 2013 Skies of Blue and Gray

Monday, August 26, 2013

August 26, 2013

Last Thursday started out with a milky, overcast sky, but we didn’t think much of it. We figured we could tour the Gettysburg National Cemetery before the rain . . . were downright confident, in fact. And, should it rain, we could handle a gentle drizzle. Hmmm. Well, things were all right at first. I took photos of most of the artillery batteries and enjoyed the well-manicured paths, gazing in sadness and wonderment at the countless flat white stones that marked the graves of the Gettysburg dead. But, on the last long stretch of path, it happened. A rumble of thunder. Just one. And only a few minutes later, the rain started.

It was not a gentle drizzle.

This was an absolute torrent we were now faced with, and the problem was that the car was quite far away, across Taneytown Road in the old Visitor Center parking lot. The wind nearly ripped the umbrella from my hands as I ran for the safety of the car, thinking that if I were to give more thought to the paranormal aspect of the Gettysburg battlefield, I might believe that someone didn’t want us there. It also crossed my mind that the angels were crying for the many soldiers who now rest in that hallowed ground . . .

Despite this “adventure”, we managed a few good pictures. The photo at the top of the post is Battery C of the 4TH United States Artillery. The black wrought-iron gate separates the Soldiers’ National Cemetery from the much older Evergreen Cemetery, the latter of which can be seen in the background. The photo at right is a close-up of the base of the New York State Memorial. Of particular interest are the reproduced Corps badges that decorate the base. And the photo at bottom shows two figures resting eternally at the base of the Soldiers’ National Monument.

I wouldn’t necessarily call it a fun visit, but it was a meaningful one.


Co. B, 14TH Vermont Infantry

Born July 27, 1830 --- Died July 14, 1863 at age 32

Pvt. Archer of Wallingford, Vermont had seen nearly eleven months of military service before being mortally wounded at Gettysburg. He died eleven days after the battle ended and was buried at the Gettysburg National Cemetery. Those who buried him noted that they discovered a ring among his possessions . . . what sort of ring wasn’t indicated, but it seems likely that it was a gift from a loved one. One wonders if it was returned to Pvt. Archer’s family and if it is still in existence.

(c) 2013 Skies of Blue and Gray

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

August 21, 2013

***There won’t be a post on Friday ... I’m going to Gettysburg! :-) Next post will be Monday, August 26TH***

Gen. John B. Hood’s Texas Brigade had a lot to live up to. They were already known as some of the Army of Northern Virginia’s best fighters, and they’d sacrificed many of their comrades at Antietam’s bloody cornfield . . . doubtless they fought so fiercely at Gettysburg not only to uphold their title but also to avenge fallen friends. The monument dedicated to Hood’s Texas Brigade at Gettysburg marks the spot where they crossed the fields of Warfield Ridge to attack Weikert’s “Triangular Field”, Devil’s Den, and even Little Round Top.


7TH North Carolina Infantry

Died July 03, 1863 at age 34

After being grievously wounded during the Pickett-Pettigrew-Trimble Charge, Sgt. Jenkins, a man in gray, was shown compassion by a man in blue. The unnamed Union soldier wrote that William asked him to contact his family and say what had happened to him. He managed to say his name and county of birth, but then died before anything further could be done for him. Long after the battle, passersby could identify his grave near the Peter Frey farm along Taneytown Road, but one year it was no longer visible. It is very likely that Sgt. Jenkins is still buried on the battlefield.

(c) 2013 Skies of Blue and Gray

Monday, August 19, 2013

August 19, 2013

The area just beside the Virginia State Memorial is known as the “Point of Woods.” The inviting path shown on this photo leads partway down through the fields of the Pickett-Pettigrew-Trimble Charge, giving a better and more interesting perspective. The marker at right is titled “Pickett’s Charge” and explains what happened here. The domed, figure-topped monument seen between the two farthest-reaching branches is the Pennsylvania State Memorial along Cemetery Ridge, while the large red barn is the iconic Nicholas Codori barn. The Codori farmhouse can just barely be seen to the left. The tall monument further left is probably the 1ST Minnesota Infantry.


Co. A, 82ND Ohio Infantry

Born July 15, 1831 --- Died July 02, 1863 at age 31

Lt. McGreary suffered a horrific injury on the 02ND of July and was instantly killed. Interestingly, Find A Grave says his family asked that he be buried with his sword. He was later re-interred at Gettysburg National Cemetery and his grave is marked “2. Lieut. George McCary." A photo can be found here.

(c) 2013 Skies of Blue and Gray

Friday, August 16, 2013

August 16, 2013

In my post of January 02ND, I featured men from the 114TH Pennsylvania Infantry, Collis’ Zouaves, who, after being wounded during the fight at Joseph Sherfy’s farm, perished in a fire in Sherfy’s barn when the wooden barn was ignited by the conflict. The 114TH is one of the Gettysburg regiments which I have always found particularly interesting. The monument shown here is their official one, located near the Sherfy farm at Emmitsburg Road.

The quaint Sherfy farmhouse is visible in the left background, as are part of the white picket fence and a few of Joseph Sherfy’s historic trees. The impressive monument dates from 1888 and was dedicated on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the 114TH’s heroic struggle --- and death --- at Gettysburg. In case you’re interested in this Zouave unit and want to visit more places on the field associated with them, the 114TH’s secondary monument is located along Hancock Avenue near the Angle.


Co. I, 53RD Virginia Infantry
Died August 12 or 13, 1863

Sgt. Tucker survived over a month after having been wounded at Gettysburg, but some time after being moved to the general hospital at Camp Letterman he died of a “fracture of left leg.” He was marked as belonging to the 53RD North Carolina instead of the 53RD Virginia and was buried as a North Carolinian at Raleigh’s Oakwood Cemetery, but his stone has since been fixed.

(c) 2013 Skies of Blue and Gray

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

August 14, 2013

While researching Little Round Top I’ve come across quite a few photos showing the view from the summit, but relatively few showing the view from the base looking up through the trees. This photo was taken from one of the paths leading from the Sykes Avenue parking lot and shows some of the boulders which are synonymous with Gettysburg’s terrain. The monument rising up in the center of the photo just above the rocks is the 91ST Pennsylvania Infantry.

The tall granite monument to the left and on the other side of the pathway (which could easily blend in as a rock) is a second 91ST Pennsylvania marker, this one dedicated to Lt. Charles Hazlett and Gen. Stephen Weed who both lost their lives near this spot. The cannon and granite battery marker at far left represent Battery D, 5TH U.S. Artillery, also known as “Hazlett’s Battery.”


Co. I, 95TH New York Infantry

Born 1824 --- Died July 01, 1863 at age 39

Pvt. Connelly met his fate near the Railroad Cut sometime in the late morning of July 01ST, fighting alongside fellow soldiers of the 95TH New York Infantry and also men from the 6TH Wisconsin Infantry which had been detached from the rest of the Iron Brigade for the duration of the day’s battle. It is believed that he may still lie on the battlefield and that his remains have never been found.

(c) 2013 Skies of Blue and Gray