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

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

April 30, 2014

Here is one of many views from the Oak Ridge tower, showing North Confederate Avenue where it merges with Doubleday Avenue (bottom) and part of Mummasburg Road (at right). This is the area known as Iverson’s Pits. I can’t identify the barn and farmhouse above the field line, but there are a few monuments to peruse. I’m guessing that the tall monument along what would be Buford Avenue is the 6TH New York Cavalry, and that the small monument to the right of it . . . no, that’s a car. Okay, the monument with the bronze plaque (much further right) is likely the 9TH New York Cavalry. The last monument on the photo is easily identifiable and sits to the left of Mummasburg Road; it’s the 17TH Pennsylvania Cavalry (another of my favorites . . . boy, I have a lot of favorites).


Co. C, 4TH Michigan Infantry

Born September 30, 1831 --- Died July 02, 1863 (age 31)

Cpl. Worden enlisted in June 1861, father of Lorena (age 9 in 1863) and Charles called Charlie (age 6). His wife Margaret had died in 1859. After being mortally wounding at George Rose’s wheatfield, Cpl. Worden was buried in the National Cemetery. Six Worden brothers fought for their country during the war, and brother Alfonzo had died in May 1863 in Louisiana.

(c) 2013-2014 Skies of Blue and Gray

Monday, April 28, 2014

April 28, 2014

Three More Favorite Gettysburg Monuments

On Wednesday I posted three of my favorite monuments, so, as it was very difficult to choose, I chose another three for today :-) First is the 109TH Pennsylvania, which I always found to be very similar to the 148TH PA (see Wednesday’s post). (All three of today's photos are located on Culp’s Hill --- I guess I like their monuments best . . .)

The second photo shows the 78TH and 102ND New York Infantry along Slocum Avenue. This has always been a favorite for two reasons: the design, and the hidden “lion” that was expertly carved to the right of the soldier. (Look for his head between “fence” rails, and his paw underneath the bottom rail).

Next is the 29TH Pennsylvania. What’s not to love? Nice sleek design, good color, and that stunning bronze eagle to top it all off. I also like the fact that the monument is sitting on a boulder, part of Gettysburg’s unique landscape. If you’ve got good eyes, you can make out a stone wall in the background. I wonder if it’s original . . .


Co. B, 56TH Virginia Infantry

Born February 26, 1836 --- Died July 03, 1863 (age 27)

Pvt. Rainey’s enlistment saddened a wife, Narcissa, and a widowed mother. His mother had reason to worry . . . Joseph’s brother Herbert had died in April 1862. Joseph himself would be killed by an artillery shell at Gettysburg.

(c) 2013-2014 Skies of Blue and Gray

Friday, April 25, 2014

April 25, 2014

**Antietam Friday**

Despite the turmoil that surrounded Rohrbach’s Bridge in September of 1862, I’ve always enjoyed peace there. This summer photo brings to life that tranquil scene . . . save for the monuments, everything in this photo except the cluster of monuments is original (unless the stone wall has been rebuilt). At center left is a piece of Federal artillery that either wasn’t there or I didn’t notice when I visited last year. (You'll see to click for the larger photo to see it).

The 21ST Massachusetts bullet monument can be seen just to the left of the Burnside Bridge witness tree (which is still going strong after 150 years!), while the cannonballs atop the 35TH Massachusetts Infantry are to the right of the tree. Off toward center right is the drum of the 51ST Pennsylvania.


Co. K, 26TH North Carolina Infantry

Born 1832 --- Died July 01, 1863 at age 31

Pvt. Gathings enlisted in May 1862 as the husband of Eliza and father of William, Sarah, James, and Thomas, all of whom were under the age of five. His death came by enemy sniper while he waded through Willoughby Run to reach what would become the 26TH’s battle line in Reynolds’ Woods. Pvt. Gathings’ burial site is unknown but it is believed he may have been interred at the Gettysburg National Cemetery by mistake.

(c) 2013-2014 Skies of Blue and Gray

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

April 23, 2014

Three of My Favorite Gettysburg Monuments

 As far back as I can remember, the 148TH Pennsylvania Infantry monument along Ayres Avenue had been one of my favorites. I suspect it’s aesthetics that won me over . . . there’s something about the monument that resembles a castle turret, and the decorative columns are a nice touch. It was only recently that I gave more attention to the accoutrements expertly carved at the top.

The second monument belongs to the 15TH and 50TH Engineers, and I first tagged it as a fave when I visited Gettysburg in childhood. What’s not to like? It’s a castle! How many monuments do you see shaped like castles? (With the exception of the 44TH and 12TH New York on Little Round Top). This particular castle can be found on Pleasanton Avenue near Taneytown Road. 
Also a favorite is the 28TH Pennsylvania Infantry, found on Culp’s Hill. There’s just something ‘different’ about this one . . . maybe it’s the star on top, but lots of Gettysburg monuments have stars. I also like the kepi cap perched in the center. I always look for this one when we take a drive to Culp’s Hill.


Co. I, 157TH New York Infantry

Born March 1838 --- Died July 01, 1863 (age 25)

Lt. Lower enlisted in August 1862. He was married to Annis and had two daughters, Mabelle (who was five during the battle of Gettysburg) and Blanche (who was two, and died just before her twentieth birthday in 1881). Though Lt. Lower is buried at Gettysburg National Cemetery (stone says “R. D. Lower”) he has a cenotaph at New Bridgeport Cemetery in Onondaga, New York.

(c) 2013-2014 Skies of Blue and Gray

Monday, April 21, 2014

April 21, 2014

Walcott’s 3RD Massachusetts Battery is located along Wheatfield Road at the John Weickert farm. The monument itself dates from 1885 and is flanked by two Model 1857 12-pounder Napoleons. In the distance is the 93RD Pennsylvania Infantry, and part of a granite marker can seen behind the right-hand cannon (left wheel), which is probably the Third Brigade, Sixth Corps marker. To the left of the 93RD PA there seems to be a small “block” which doesn’t appear to be a boulder (though there are some boulders near it). This may be a flank marker, but I couldn’t identify it. My favorite feature of the photo is the old stone wall at front. If stones could talk . . .


Co. K, 45TH North Carolina Infantry

Died July 01, 1863

Pvt. Sell was either age 36 or 39 depending on which birth-date is correct. At the time of the battle he was married to Rachel and they had five children, Joshua (age 12), Malinda (age 10), Elisha (age 8), Elizabeth (age 5), and Ethea (age 2). Pvt. Sell was later buried at Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia.

(c) 2013-2014 Skies of Blue and Gray

Friday, April 18, 2014

April 18, 2014

**Antietam Friday**
My favorite Dunker Church photos


I have a long way to go until my Antietam visits equal my Gettysburg visits, but even though I haven’t yet become an Antietam aficionado, one place I always find time to explore is Dunker Church. It’s so calm and peaceful, out-of-the-way even beside a busy road. Stepping inside catapults you to another time. So I gathered up my favorite personal photos and examined the church from every side.


Observations: On the first photo, there are piles of flowers getting ready to open at the left side of the church; there are two upper windows and a door (neither of these features are found on the other side of the building). The second photo shows the right side, and trees from the West Woods are visible. You can almost smell the late-summer air just looking at the blue of the sky. On photo number 3, the back of the church, the blue sky seems to have gone into hiding. This is an angle rarely seen --- or at least I haven’t noticed many similar photos --- which shows a scene unchanged from 1862. No roads, monuments, or power lines in sight.


Co. B, 13TH Vermont Infantry

Born 1842 --- Died July 2, 1863 at age 21

Though all Gettysburg deaths were tragic, some stories have an even sadder ring to them. Pvt. Wilson risked his life by dragging a friend to safety and was subsequently killed by an incoming shell. Mere months later, Delia Porter, whom he intended to marry when peace returned to the nation, passed away, supposedly from a broken heart. Pvt. Wilson was buried at East Warren Cemetery in East Warren, Vermont.

(c) 2013-2014 Skies of Blue and Gray

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

April 16, 2014

This photo, taken from Emmitsburg Road near the Peach Orchard, shows Gettysburg’s mixture of historicity and natural beauty. I noticed a few things right off the bat: At the center left of the photo, below the mountain line, there’s a white barn that I think is probably the George Weikert barn. At center right beside the rightmost tree is the Abraham Trostle barn at a rarely-seen angle. Big and Little Round Top can be seen in the distance. There’s a story about that one lone tree that sticks up on the side of Big Round Top away from all the others. Every time we visit Gettysburg and first see the hill from Confederate Avenue, I always look to see if that one tenacious tree is still there :-)


Co. D, 5TH Florida Infantry

Born November 20, 1832 --- Died July 3 or 24, 1863 at age 30

Lt. Devane enlisted in April 1862, bidding farewell to wife Eliza and their two children, Flora, aged four, and Mary, aged two. The girls would lose their father a little more than a year later. Lt. Devane was wounded at Gettysburg and sent to a hospital in Winchester, Virginia, where he died. He was described as being 5 feet 5 inches, with dark hair and blue eyes, and had been a farmer in Camp Leon, Florida.

(c) 2013-2014 Skies of Blue and Gray