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

Friday, February 28, 2014

February 28, 2014

** Hi all! I’m going on vacation (not Gettysburg this time!) and my next post will be Friday, March 14. **

Apart from being part of Antietam National Battlefield, I’m not sure where the following photos were taken, but I think they speak volumes about the park’s natural beauty. The combination of wooden fences, dipping roads, fields, and mountains makes Antietam very special. The first photo shows one of many tour roads bordered by iconic fences and greenery. No, those aren’t ghosts coming up the road . . . they’re bicyclists :-)

In the second view, what I like best is the timeless view. There’s nothing in this photo that the soldiers of 1862 would not have seen, and if they paused at this exact spot, the scene doubtless would have been the same. There’s something special about the mountains that form a natural barrier around the battlefield; whether they’re highlighted with clouds or wreathed in fog, they’re always photogenic.


Co. E, 12TH New Hampshire Infantry

Born 1830 --- Died July 03, 1863 at age 33

Pvt. Gault was doing his duty along Emmitsburg Road, helping to push back the Alabamians under Gen. Wilcox, when a merciless artillery shell struck him in the leg. He lingered but briefly and died on the 3RD.

(c) 2013-2014 Skies of Blue and Gray

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

February 26, 2014

Pennsylvania’s state monument is the largest on the Gettysburg battlefield, and though it’s a handsome memorial in entirety, the details are what make it great. The first photo shows one of many plaques that showcase particular Pennsylvania regiments and their most valorous moments on the field. This scene brings the 150TH Infantry, the “Bucktails” to life. Note the McPherson barn in the background.

The figure standing high atop the monument represents peace, a fitting tribute on a field where peace was once the last thing on anyone’s mind. (Though one has to wonder exactly how peaceful it is to hold a sword over one’s head in a menacing fashion . . .) The second photo features the same relief but is clearer and shows more of the monument underneath.


Co. B, 47TH North Carolina Infantry

Born 1847 --- Died July 14, 1863 at age 16

If Pvt. Cooley had lived in this time, he would have been barely old enough to drive, still considered a child in many ways, yet at age 16 he gave his life for his cause on a battlefield hundreds of miles from home. He enlisted in March 1862 and fought his way through various conflicts until his regiment met its match at Gettysburg. Wounded during the Pickett-Pettigrew-Trimble Charge, he was taken prisoner and died eleven days later. Pvt. Cooley was buried at Richmond’s Hollywood Cemetery.

(c) 2013-2014 Skies of Blue and Gray

Monday, February 24, 2014

February 24, 2014

Albert Woolson Then and Now

Okay, this isn’t a super-exciting “then and now” involving photos from the 19TH century, but I guess nine years apart will have to suffice. I was recently struck by the difference in my two photos of Albert Woolson, the last remaining Union soldier (who died in 1956, or so the story goes). The view from 2005 shows the Cyclorama building, with which locals and tourists alike had either a love or a hate relationship . . . there wasn’t much of a middle ground :-) The 2013 photo, albeit shaky (taken from the car) shows Mr. Woolson and --- hold your applause --- no Cyclorama! I’ve got to say I appreciate the modern view much more.


Co. C, 74TH New York Infantry

Born November 1818 --- Died July 02, 1863 at age 44

Pvt. Harpell began his life in Nova Scotia and relocated to America at the age of seven.  He married a lady named Martha and had eight children, all but the eldest under the age of 21 when he was killed at Gettysburg. During that fateful battle, Jeanette was 21, John was 19, George was 18, David was 16, Thomas was 14, Ann was 12, Sarah was 9, and Arabelle was 1. It’s highly likely that if the three eldest boys didn’t join the war effort, it was certainly on their minds. Pvt. Harpell was later buried at Gettysburg National Cemetery.

(c) 2013-2014 Skies of Blue and Gray

Friday, February 21, 2014

February 21, 2014

**Antietam Friday**

If you go at the right time, Antietam National Battlefield is a very peaceful place. That makes it much easier to take the side roads, to linger, and to see things you might have missed before. One of these places is the Philadelphia Brigade Park, named for a Pennsylvania brigade that would also achieve fame at Gettysburg’s Pickett-Pettigrew-Trimble Charge almost ten months later. The monument represents the boys of the 69TH, 71ST, 72ND, and 106TH Pennsylvania Infantry units.

The second photo shows the base of the monument and the surrounding scenery. This was a very quiet and out-of-the-way stop and yet you couldn’t help but “feel” the importance of the battlefield even without an abundance of monuments and markers. I particularly like the large American flag that some caring visitor left for the Union boys. Both at Antietam and Gettysburg, I love seeing flags, flowers, wreaths, and the like. It’s a powerful reminder that we still consider the boys in blue and gray our extended family members and will keep their memories alive as long as we’re able.


Co. C, 11TH Virginia Infantry

Born April 06, 1842 --- Died July 03, 1863 at age 21

Pvt. Tweedy was one of many young men who died at the Pickett-Pettigrew-Trimble Charge. In civilian life he’d been a farmer, enlisting in May 1861 and somehow surviving over two years in the army. Luck hadn’t favored him; in May 1862 he was wounded at Williamsburg but survived. After his Gettysburg death he was buried at Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond.

(c) 2013-2014 Skies of Blue and Gray