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

Monday, September 29, 2014

September 29, 2014

If you catch Gettysburg’s portrait statues in a certain light, they seem almost real, bronze representations of soldiers standing at attention for all eternity. This fellow from Smith’s 4TH New York Independent Battery, seen from Devil’s Den, is one of those eerie guardians. You may remember that eight years ago, this monument was vandalized, but thankfully it has been restored to its former glory.


5TH Massachusetts Light Artillery

Born 1847 --- July 02/03, 1863 at age 16

Pvt. Purbeck was one of many soldiers who managed to slip by the recruiters and their “eighteen and above” rule, enlisting at the age of 15 or so to join the Union artillerists. He was a printer by trade, killed by a shell fragment at Gettysburg.

(c) 2012-2014 Skies of Blue and Gray

Friday, September 26, 2014

September 26, 2014

There are actually a few different ways to approach Culp’s Hill, one of which is by East Confederate Avenue, which begins near the Culp farm and can be reached from Middle Street. Taking this road allowed me to retrace the footsteps of Gen. “Maryland” Steuart’s Brigade, consisting of the 1ST Maryland Battalion, the 10TH Virginia, 23RD Virginia, 37TH Virginia, 1ST North Carolina, and 3RD North Carolina. You’ll notice that to the right of the marker is a path which wends its way down to Rock Creek and the 28TH Pennsylvania monument . . .

. . . which is seen here in the distance. You can’t see Rock Creek from this angle, but it’s there, believe me. As you can see, spring is an amazing time to visit, with abundant greenery and sprigs of redbuds to light up the scene. This path isn’t very well worn but provides an opportunity to follow Steuart’s Brigade’s path across Rock Creek and past the 28TH Pennsylvania, whose skirmishers harassed them the entire time.


Co. I, 32ND North Carolina Infantry

Born June 13, 1834 --- July 10/11, 1863 at age 29

Pvt. McGee enlisted in October 1862. He was the husband of Matilda and father of Fannie (born 1858), Jessie (a boy, born 1861), and Matilda (born 1863). Having been mortally wounded at Gettysburg, Pvt. McGee was later buried at Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh, North Carolina. (His gravestone lists his birth year as 1841).

(c) 2012-2014 Skies of Blue and Gray

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

September 24, 2014

House Hide and Seek

This view of the Philip Snyder house along South Confederate Avenue was taken from Emmitsburg Road. Despite the majority of the house being obscured by those skinny trees, I really like this shot with the fence in the foreground. The little purple flowers at the base of the fence help to complete the scene. There’s also another wooden fence on the other side of the house, visible at center far right.

If you’re curious what the house looks like without the tree cover, here’s another view taken from Emmitsburg Road (not the best quality, as it was zoomed in pretty impressively, but still, it’s something!). Despite seeming abandoned, the house seems to be in fair shape at least on the outside.


Co. C, 74TH New York Infantry

Born abt. 1842 --- July 03, 1863 at age 21

Cpl. Valentine, who enlisted in August 1862, was wounded in the lung during the second day’s fight. He was first buried at the Jacob Schwartz property and later interred at the Westbury Friends Cemetery in Westbury, New York.

(c) 2012-2014 Skies of Blue and Gray

Monday, September 22, 2014

September 22, 2014


The 9TH Massachusetts Battery is represented at three different places on the Gettysburg battlefield: Wheatfield Road, the Abraham Trostle farm along United States Avenue at Cemetery Ridge, and Ziegler’s Grove near the Angle. The battery in this photo is located at Ziegler’s Grove. Both artillery pieces are 6-pounder guns representing 12-pounder Napoleons (see my post on September 01). The monument in the center of the guns dates from 1885. Want a reminder of how much better the 9TH Massachusetts Battery looks now than it did with the sprawling Cyclorama building behind it? Here’s a photo I found on waymarking.com, posted in 2011: {http://www.waymarking.com/gallery/image.aspx?f=1&guid=4020c69b-582f-4aa5-aae0-14c33157f13d}. Which view do you prefer? :-)


Co. C, 43RD North Carolina Infantry

Born abt. 1825 --- July 10, 1863 at age 38

Pvt. Lamm, who enlisted in February 1862, was a farmer and a cooper by trade. His family consisted of wife Elizabeth and seven children, Ruffin (age 14 in 1863), John or Jonathan (age 13), Jacob (age 7), Martha (age 6), Jane (age 3), and Luranie (age 1). Another child, Sarah born in 1863, is sometimes listed. Pvt. Lamm received a mortal injury to the foot and died 8 days later.

(c) 2012-2014 Skies of Blue and Gray

Friday, September 19, 2014

September 19, 2014

Though only the very adventurous (and tick-resistant) among us Gettysburg lovers may want to explore the overgrown Slaughter Pen these days, this photo belies that fact: despite being rather neglected, the bridge over Plum Run is still charming in its own right. The stream was, as usual, muddy when I took this photo in May. Take note of the redbuds and one of the aforementioned adventurous souls in the center right background. No, it’s not a Civil War soldier. Soldiers didn’t wear blue t-shirts. At least I don’t think so! :-)

Except during flooding, Plum Run isn’t much to look at, yet knowing what happened here --- why it was so aptly named “Bloody Run” during the battle --- makes up for its humble appearance. In this photo there are no modern additions, nothing but brush and rocks and water. You can imagine soldiers of both sides kneeling here to get a drink, recoiling at the reddish surface for obvious reasons. It really puts things into perspective.


Co. A, 111TH New York Infantry

Born December 23, 1845 --- July 24, 1863 at age 17

Pvt. Jessup never got the chance to turn 18. Just five months before passing that milestone, he was mortally wounded in the hip during the second day of battle, succumbing to his injuries three weeks later. He had enlisted in July 1862 at the age of 16. Pvt. Jessup was buried at Palmyra Village Cemetery in Palmyra, New York.

(c) 2012-2014 Skies of Blue and Gray