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

Friday, October 31, 2014

October 31, 2014

On this last trip I made it a priority to walk where I’d never walked, to photograph what I’d never photographed, and the artillery pieces of Batteries F & K, 3RD U.S. Artillery were on my agenda. These pieces are located along a narrow path that leads from the Angle/Ziegler’s Grove area, past the statue of Gen. Meade. If you continue on the path you can visit Meade’s headquarters at the Lydia Leister farmhouse.

Both pieces are Model 1857 12-pounder Napoleons. Cannon tube #1 (see top photo) dates from 1862 and comes from the Henry Hooper & Co. foundry in Boston. Interestingly, the house in the left background marks the site of the Catherine Guinn farm. Tube #2 (directly above) was also forged in 1862 but this time at the Cyrus Alger Foundry. On the second photo you can see the Leister barn at top left (along with the statue of the 2ND Pennsylvania Cavalry monument, and the larger, closer monument to the 10TH New York Infantry), and, at top right, the Peter Frey barn.


Co. I, 134TH New York Infantry

Born abt. 1833 --- Died July 01, 1863 

Pvt. Cator, from Fulton, NY, enlisted in August 1862. He was 5’6” tall, with black hair, gray eyes, and a dark complexion, and was a laborer by trade. His surname was also listed as Cater. Unfortunately, there is little information concerning Pvt. Cator.

(c) 2012-2014 Skies of Blue and Gray

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

October 29, 2014

Into the Wheatfield – Again

Last November I thoroughly enjoyed taking my first walk through the “Bloody Wheatfield”, though I only explored the main path. This time --- October 13TH of this year --- I explored a bit more of the field, taking a second path that led me past other monuments I’d never had the opportunity to see in detail. My first photo shows part of the Irish Brigade’s route through the Wheatfield to Stony Hill. The monument seen at left, to the right of Sickles Avenue, is the 57TH New York.

The second photo shows another corner of the Wheatfield. The monument in the foreground honors the 61ST New York while the one at left is dedicated to the memory of the 27TH Connecticut. In the background, to the right of the 27TH CT, is the unmistakable pink granite of the 11TH Pennsylvania Reserves. To the left of the 61ST New York, part of Little Round Top’s downward slope can be seen.

Last but not least, here’s a close-up of the 81ST Pennsylvania. Rose Woods frames the background. In looking at these photos I wish once again that there would have been a bright blue sky that day, but unfortunately you visit when you can visit and the weather isn’t always accommodating! No, the distant figure to the immediate right of the monument isn’t a ghost. The taillight of his car can be seen at far right :-) (And I doubt Civil War ghosts would much appreciate modern garb . . .)


1ST Louisiana Infantry

Born 1821 --- Died July 02, 1863 

Lt. Col. Nolan, a native of Ireland, left his work as a merchant and grocer to enlist in the Confederate Army in April 1861. Rising through the ranks, he gained the respect of his peers --- he was called “a most gallant officer” --- and was wounded at Sharpsburg in September 1862. His final moments came at Rock Creek while assaulting Culp’s Hill. Lt. Col. Nolan was later buried at Richmond’s Hollywood Cemetery.

(c) 2012-2014 Skies of Blue and Gray

Monday, October 27, 2014

October 27, 2014

I am absolutely fascinated with Gettysburg boulders. Just knowing that they’re standing at the exact same spot where the soldiers once saw them is intriguing enough, but to ponder their age, to imagine how they might have come up through the earth so randomly, in a variety of shapes and sizes, blows my mind. There are small boulders, large flat, tall wide ones, and of course the amazing Devil’s Den. Perhaps the boulders are a big reason why I love the area near the Irish Brigade so much.


Co. I, 69TH Pennsylvania Infantry

Died July 03, 1863 

Pvt. Head’s death is especially tragic since it was due to an incident of “friendly fire.” The 69TH was positioned in front of Lt. Cushing’s Battery A, 4TH United States Artillery, and the battery’s guns were fired without proper precautions being taken to ensure that no Union soldiers were in harm’s way. Pvt. Head suffered a severe wound that resulted in an instant death, a fate shared by another man in his regiment, Pvt. Christian Rohlfing. Pvt. Head had enlisted in August 1861. 

(c) 2012-2014 Skies of Blue and Gray

Friday, October 24, 2014

October 24, 2014

Being a self-proclaimed Gettysburg artillery buff, it always bothered me that there were cannon down in the woods to the right of West Confederate Avenue near the McMillan House that I’d never visited. How could that be? I knew many of the batteries by name and had walked out to many of them, but this battery, hidden behind an old stone wall in Schultz Woods, had eluded me. I chose a crisp autumn day to remedy that sad situation. As I walked, a whirlwind of yellow leaves flew all around, giving the short journey a rather solemn feel.

I think this picture is the purest example of Gettysburg in the fall. I like the contrast of warm autumn colors, the rocks scattered here and there, the oranges and yellows of October. The darkness of the 3-inch ordnance rifle and its plaque are in harmony with the dark rocks and trees, while the beautiful house called Red Patch, once home to Col. Collis of the 114TH Pennsylvania, can be seen across the road at left.


Co. H, 53RD Georgia Infantry

Born May 05, 1830 --- Died July 14, 1863 at age 33

Pvt. Vaughn, husband of Catherine and father of Mary Martha A. (born 1859), Frances Elizabeth Adelia (born 1860), and William Cornelia (a daughter, born 1862), enlisted in May 1862. There is no record of his burial and it is possible he still lies on the battlefield at Gettysburg.

(c) 2012-2014 Skies of Blue and Gray

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

October 22, 2014

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

On my most recent trip, not only did I have the opportunity to walk down to the McPherson Barn, but also to visit another place I’d never before seen without weeds . . . Pardee Field. As soon as I discovered it had been mowed I knew I had to go and take a look. The sky wouldn’t cooperate by bursting out with gorgeous spring-like blue, and the grass refused to shed its murky brown, but it was still an enjoyable walk.!

The second photo shows the furthest spot reached by Steuart’s Marylanders (their flank marker is located in the woods). The distant monument just visible to the left of the rock is the 109TH Pennsylvania. Despite it being a very dreary day, I like the contrast of rock, field, stone wall, and a spattering of fall colors among the trees. We were absolutely alone and could really appreciate the positions both sides were obligated to defend.


Co. H, 11TH Pennsylvania Infantry

Born 1839 --- Died July 01, 1863 at age 24
Pvt. Adams enlisted in December 1861, bidding what he believed was a temporary farewell to wife Catherine and son Dan. He fell on Oak Ridge without ever having the chance to see his family again; he was later buried at Gettysburg’s National Cemetery. 

(c) 2012-2014 Skies of Blue and Gray

Sunday, October 19, 2014

October 20, 2014

Visiting the McPherson Barn: Part Two

On Friday I began a two-part series showing photos from my recent (exciting!) visit to the McPherson barn. Here is the conclusion:

Getting right down to business, photo #1 (above) is my favorite of the series. Blue skies would have made it even better, but October is finicky that way :-) The old wooden fences really help to frame the barn, and the doors look so inviting . . . until you get a bit closer and realize that birds have been utilizing the property quite a bit, and opening one of those doors would likely result in a face full of flying feathers. Despite a sense of desolation, the property appears to be cared-for, and looks much as it would have in 1863.

Photo #2 (above) is what I consider an “artsy” shot. I love the old fence, the red vines creeping over the door at left, the weeds sprouting up along the stone wall. And no, the large brown object in front of the second door isn’t an animal, though I thought it was when I stood there . . . it’s a rock. I couldn’t believe I was lucky enough to explore a place I’d wanted to visit for so many years.


Co. B, 16TH Georgia Infantry

Born 1831 --- Died July 1863 at age 32

Pvt. Kerbow, who went by the name “Dock”, was married with four children (John, born 1853, Florentine, born 1856, Josephine, born 1858, and Joseph, born 1861), at the time of his death. A fifth child, Doctor, Jr., called Singleton, would be born in September 1863. 

(c) 2012-2014 Skies of Blue and Gray