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

Monday, September 30, 2013

September 30, 2013

Favorite Close-ups, Part Three

Human figures aren’t the only close-ups I noticed on Gettysburg monuments. While sitting along Sedgwick Avenue, I captured this neat headshot of a horse on the 1ST Massachusetts Cavalry monument. This handsome hunk of stone has stood at this spot since 1885, likely a favorite for horse-lovers everywhere. Sedgwick Avenue can be reached by going straight after coming down off Little Round Top / Sykes Avenue instead of turning left on Wheatfield Road.

The second photo is the 96TH Pennsylvania Infantry along Wheatfield Road near the “Valley of Death” and Devil’s Den. With the trees behind him providing a backdrop that wouldn’t have been so different in the 19TH century, it almost seems as if a real-life soldier has been frozen in time and encased in granite. This is one of my favorite monuments and definitely packs a punch when seen up-close.


Co. B, 2ND North Carolina Infantry

Born November 28, 1834 --- Died July 01, 1863 at age 28

Lt. Bray had already had a few brushes with the enemy before Gettysburg, and not all on the battlefield. In February of 1862 he was captured while stationed on Roanoke Island and was released thirteen days later. His wife Martha must have been relieved to learn of that fact, at home with daughter Susan (born 1857) and son Thomas (born 1860), but soon their sorrow would manifest in an even graver way: Lt. Bray was killed at Gettysburg four months before his 29TH birthday. He was later buried at Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh, North Carolina. A photo can be found here.

(c) 2013 Skies of Blue and Gray

Friday, September 27, 2013

September 27, 2013

Favorite Close-ups, Part Two


In the second installment of my favorite close-ups photos, I chose the 53RD Pennsylvania Infantry’s bronze statue and the 17TH Maine Infantry’s granite masterpiece. The 53RD Pennsylvania monument is located along Brooke Avenue near the Wheatfield. Just seeing the way this statue’s eyes shift to the right makes you want to glance over to see if there really is anything to be concerned about. This monument dates from 1889, so he’s been making observant visitors nervous for quite awhile :-)

The 17TH Maine’s soldier is one of my favorites on the field. He’s been carved in the act of readying himself for combat at a stone wall, which, if you look at the “real” stone wall which runs behind the monument, is exactly what the Maine men were doing on the afternoon of July 02ND. I never really noticed the top of the monument until this last trip. It really is true that you could visit Gettysburg a thousand times and still see something new each time!


Co. C, 74TH New York Infantry

Born April 24, 1840 --- Died July 02, 1863 at age 23

Despite his relatively young age, Sgt. Knight worked as a blacksmith before the war, a job he probably thought much harder than soldiering. His death at Gettysburg would have firmly severed such an idea. Though he was first interred at the Nicholas Codori farm on the battlefield, he was later brought to the Gettysburg National Cemetery.

(c) 2013 Skies of Blue and Gray

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

September 25, 2013

Favorite Close-ups, Part One

Recently I became very interested in taking a good look at Gettysburg monuments featuring people, zooming in to capture their profiles instead of just glancing at the monument as a whole. These are two of my favorite close-ups, and there will be more posts like this in the coming days. The first photo is of the 13TH Massachusetts Infantry located on Oak Ridge by the road that leads to the Eleventh Corps Line tour. Notice how expressive the soldier’s features are when carved in granite. This monument was placed in 1885.

The second photo shows a head-shot of Gen. William Wells. This portrait statue can be found at the base of Big Round Top near the pull-off for Gen.Elon Farnsworth’s fatal cavalry charge on the 3RD of July. It seems that local spiders really enjoy Gen. Wells’ hat; they’ve had plenty of time to enjoy it, considering that this statue has stood at this spot since 1913.


Co. M, 21ST North Carolina Infantry

Born 1838 --- Died September 17, 1863 at age 25

Sgt. Coe certainly had more than his fair share of agony during the battle of Gettysburg and later at the general hospital at Camp Letterman. Not only did he suffer wounds to both eyes, but he also had a leg amputated and later passed away from persistent illness. His parents were no strangers to suffering either: Less than two years earlier they had lost William’s brother John after the Battle of 1ST Bull Run / 1ST Manassas. Sgt. Coe was later buried at Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh, North Carolina.

(c) 2013 Skies of Blue and Gray

Monday, September 23, 2013

September 23, 2013

On this last trip I really took notice of how many nice paths are scattered across the battlefield, and I came upon some of them quite by surprise. This photo op was discovered before we rounded the bend of the “Loop” just past the Wheatfield along Sickles Avenue. Not only was the view mysterious and appealing in its own right, but a hidden monument at the other end of the path made the shot even more intriguing. Of course, this monument isn’t actually hidden --- it’s right along the road --- but from this angle it appeared as if we were the only ones being given a glimpse of it.

This particular monument is an unusual one, dedicated to the 116TH Pennsylvania Infantry. It shows a dead soldier lying beside a rock wall; there are only a few monuments at Gettysburg that depict fallen soldiers. The “Stone Sentinels” site states that many believe the figure represents the 116TH’s sergeant, Charles Gardner. The monument was unveiled to the public in the late 1880s. The “trefoil” carved in its side is the symbol of the 2ND Union Army corps.


Co. E, 12TH New Hampshire Infantry

Died August 14/15, 1863 at age 39

Pvt. Taylor may have avoided an immediate death, but, according to Camp Letterman records which state that he suffered from a “compound fracture of the thigh”, his wound would overtake him in the end. He was later buried at Gettysburg National Cemetery.

(c) 2013 Skies of Blue and Gray