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

Friday, January 31, 2014

January 31, 2014

**Antietam Friday**

It was a cool September when I took these fog-softened photos, and I really like the effect. You can see the fog better on the second photo . . . often when we visited Antietam in the morning, there would be a lingering “shroud” over the high ground. The first picture gives a nice view of the observation tower and Bloody Lane / Sunken Road, as well as the monuments to the 123RD Pennsylvania (center of photo, between fences), the 8TH Ohio (small monument at lower center right), and the 14TH Connecticut (obelisk at lower left). The Irish Brigade memorial can also be seen to the right of the tower. The second photo is my favorite because, as I said above, you can see the rolls of fog drifting over the battlefield toward the mountains.


Co. G, 107TH Ohio Infantry

Born May 15, 1840 --- Died July 01, 1863 at age 23

“Johann” Weber, like many German immigrants, showed his fervor for his adopted country by enlisting in the Union army. He had been living in America for eight years when the war began, having emigrated at the age of thirteen. Unfortunately, the supreme test of loyalty would be required of him at Gettysburg. Pvt. Weber was buried at Saint Mary’s Catholic Cemetery in Avon (or Elyria), Ohio.

(c) 2013-2014 Skies of Blue and Gray

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

January 29, 2014

Ayres Avenue is one of those places I seldom remember to visit, but when I did, I’m always awed by the great photo ops of Little Round Top. In this photo I’m a happy camper because of four things: monuments in the foreground, monuments in the background, a great shot of “Sugar Loaf Mountain” as it was called at the time of the battle, and a smattering of fall colors. The left-hand marker in the foreground details the actions of the 1ST Brigade, 2ND Division, 5TH Corps. The larger marker at right represents the 6TH United States Regular Army infantry. Part of Ayres Avenue can be seen at bottom.

The first visible monument on Little Round Top is the 91ST Pennsylvania Infantry. If you look very closely, you can see “black dots” to the left of it . . . those are informational markers. Autumn trees guard the path to the small 140TH New York Infantry monument (to the right of the right-hand tree). You can just barely see the side of the 12TH and 44TH New York “castle” monument at far right.


Co. B, 49TH Georgia Infantry

Born about 1839 --- Died July 17, 1863 at age 24

Sgt. Jones’ baby daughter Mollie was only two months old when he enlisted in the Confederate Army, and though she would have no memory of him, he undoubtedly thought of her often during the Gettysburg campaign. He also carried the memory of his brother William, who had died just six months earlier in Virginia. Sgt. Jones was mortally wounded on the 2ND of July and passed away from his wounds fifteen days later.

(c) 2013-2014 Skies of Blue and Gray

Monday, January 27, 2014

January 27, 2014

I had a close call this week . . . I started having artillery withdrawal! Fortunately, the 10TH New York Independent Light Artillery was on hand to save me. This battery can be found along Wheatfield Road near Excelsior Field, and as proof, the Excelsior Brigade monument (along with Clark’s New Jersey battery) is visible in the background). Though the 10TH New York’s monument is classy in a simple, elegant sort of way, this photo automatically loses points with me because there are no monuments in the background to identify :-)


Co. C, 11TH New Jersey Infantry

Born November 23, 1845 --- Died July 02, 1863

How long did it take Pvt. Cheston’s mother to find out that her son had enlisted at the age of 16? His father had died just five months before, and Joseph’s newfound patriotism (and/or sense of adventure) must have been a blow for the family. He marched away to Gettysburg and made his “last stand” at Emmitsburg Road, only to fall mortally wounded at 17. 

(c) 2013-2014 Skies of Blue and Gray

Friday, January 24, 2014

January 24, 2014

**Antietam Friday**

Here’s one of my favorite Antietam photos (okay, I probably say that every week :-)) I like it because there isn’t one main focus point; instead, the eye wanders where it will, picking out things that weren’t immediately apparent. I immediately started searching for recognizable places and things in a sort of Civil War treasure hunt. The most obvious is the Maryland State Memorial located at center right. It’s a beaut. This monument was rather revolutionary for its time because it memorialized not only the Union Civil War dead from Maryland but also the Confederate dead. (This was a real Cain-and-Abel state during the war).

At far center left is the Antietam National Battlefield visitor center. To its left is the tall, impressive New York State Memorial. Over 650 New Yorkers lost their lives at Antietam, and that’s just the dead. There were many wounded and missing as well. Now, for the not-so-obvious photo features . . . see the fence running parallel to the Maryland memorial? It borders Smoketown Road. The modern road visible at the bottom of the photo is Dunker Church Road, also known as MD 65. If you click for a larger view, you can see two interesting things to the direct right of the Maryland State Memorial: A large pole with a sadly limp flag upon it, and a cluster of artillery pieces. These cannon represent the various pieces used in the Civil War and constitute one of many interpretive sites at Antietam.


Co. B, 1ST Maryland Battalion, CSA

Born June 23, 1842 --- Died September 23, 1863

In today’s post I mentioned how Marylanders fought in both the Union and the Confederate army. Unfortunately for Pvt. Hayden, his allegiances became unclear at his death. Someone came to the conclusion that he was a Union soldier and his burial at Camp Letterman reflected that mistaken identity. Later it was discovered that he had fought with the 1ST Maryland Battalion, Steuart’s Brigade, at Gettysburg. Pvt. Hayden died of the affects of amputation and of exhaustion and is currently buried at Christ Church in Chaptico, Maryland.

(c) 2013-2014 Skies of Blue and Gray

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

January 22, 2014

 “G-burg” has been my home away from home for the past twenty-two years, and the old wax 
museum, now officially known as the American Civil War Museum Complex, is one of the places where I first learned about and garnered a love for everything Gettysburg. (Plus they have a great gift shop, a little expensive but high quality items). It’s an impressive building in a simple and elegant sort of way, but it’s the details that always impress me more. And there’s a cannon in the front yard. Truth be told, I’d probably stop here just to see the cannon . . . It’s a Griffen Gun, and it’s been sitting in the museum’s yard for as long as I can remember. 
And then of course there are the flags. I’m a “Yankee”, but there’s just something about seeing the Confederate flags on one side of the museum entrance and American flags on the other side . . . something that highlights that long-ago clash in a symbolic and patriotic way. One time when I visited, I saw only the “Rebel” flags, and I asked, tongue-in-cheek, if the American flags would be coming back. It was pointed out to me that they were, in fact, on the other side of the porch :-) My power of observation apparently went bye-bye that day.

If you’ve visited the Civil War Museum you’ve probably noticed these things, but have you never noticed the plaques on the upper level? Union and Confederate-themed plaques alternate in a colorful “shadow-box-like” pattern, adding another layer of depth to the old building. I don’t know if any of my readers like this place as much as I do, but if you intend to go, you might want to check out the little things. Details are king.


Co. F, 141ST Pennsylvania Infantry

Died July 04 (also listed as July 09/10), 1863

Sgt. Peckens’ untimely death was mourned by wife Lydia and three children, Chauncey (age sixteen), Cynthia (fourteen), and Frederick. Some researchers add a fourth child, Philip. Sgt. Peckens was wounded twice and suffered an amputation. He was later buried at Gettysburg National Cemetery.

(c) 2013-2014 Skies of Blue and Gray