Fields of Conflict III: Rose Farm Damages, Claims, and Awards

 

This is the third post on the Gettysburg battlefield farms.  This post will cover the compensations claims made by Francis Ogden, John Rose, and George Rose.  It offers a window into the confusion residents faced after the battle as well as the challenges of the historical process a historian faces in trying to document the past.  For a refresher on the history of the Rose farm see these previous posts: Fields of Conflict: I and Fields of Conflict: II

On April 16, 1862 the state of Pennsylvania created a board of investigation, the first in a series of resolutions adopted to help citizens recuperate the financial losses caused by Confederate invasions. The first appropriation, $100,000 in 1864, was a grant to residents of Chambersburg whose town was burned by Confederate General Early in 1864.  Additional loans to Chambersburg residents of $500,000 and $300,000 followed in 1866 and 1871.  Pennsylvania accepted other claims for damages caused by Confederates and frequently urged its federal representatives to obtain a bill which would reimburse the state for those claims.  On, or just before, December 31, 1879, the auditor general of Pennsylvania filed some 5,000 claims amounting to $3,447,945.94 in damages with the quartermaster under the Department of War.

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Francis Ogden Federal Claim
Photo Credit: RG 92 Quartermaster’s Records/GNMP Vertical Files

On July 4, 1864, the United States Congress passed an act creating a compensation process.  The law barred citizens from seeking compensation through the federal claims courts and instead placed the process under the auspices of the executive branch to be administered by the War Department.  Moreover, the law forbade the acceptance of claims for damages caused by Confederate forces, allowing only claims for property taken by and for the use of the United States Army.  The process for examining a claim was meticulous including an investigation where an agent visited the area along with reviews by an auditor, a comptroller, and then someone in the treasury before payment could be disbursed.  An 1884 report submitted to Congress listed the claims accepted under the 1864 law as well as payments.  The quartermaster accepted a total of 1,171 claims: 655 claims from residents of Tennessee, 140 claims from residents of Kentucky, and just 99 claims from residents of Pennsylvania.  Total payments amounted to $229,170.84, an average of $195.71 per claim, of which $7,257.32 was paid to Pennsylvanians, an average of $73.31 per claim. Making a comparison to the claims submitted by the state of Pennsylvania, we find that approximately 1.98% of the claims were accepted, and the amount of money disbursed was 3.17% of the amount claimed. 

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Francis Ogden’s wheatfields on the Rose Property
Photo Credit: HSR Rose Farmhouse

Francis Ogden, a tenant farmer on the Rose farm, filed federal claim No. 214-918 on December 31, 1879, alleging the loss of property from two different locations.  (The date suggests that Pennsylvania filed this claim, but no record has been located of Ogden first filing a claim with the state, so he may have filed directly with the quartermaster).  Ogden sent nine sheep to a friend living five miles southwest of Gettysburg on the Fairfield road which were “taken by rebels” costing him $45.  Additionally, “two fields of wheat fought over and entirely destroyed by the Union and rebel armies on July 2d and 3d 1863” on the Rose farm cost Ogden $481, a total loss of $526.  The Rose property contained three fields of wheat: two fields located southeast of the farmhouse and the more well-known wheatfield located northeast of the farmhouse.   Upon investigation the deputy quartermaster general concluded, “the claimant swears, Ex. 2, that the wheat was destroyed, and it is no where alleged that any of it was taken and used by the army.  Sheep are not chargeable to this department.  They were taken by the rebels.  It is therefore recommended that the claim be disallowed, taking and use by the U. S. not proven.”  On February 18, 1887 the agents for the state Pennsylvania were informed that the claim was not allowed.  All known evidence suggests that Ogden received no compensation for his losses.

 

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2013 View of the location of Francis Ogden’s wheatfields
(Ogden’s fields would be the green area left of the house and between the orchard trees and the woodlot trees)
Photo Credit: Jim Flook

                Although John P. Rose filed one state claim and two federal claims and won awards from both, it is unclear whether he received any payment as records reveal contradictory information.  On November 24, 1868, Rose filed Claim No. 3538 with the state of Pennsylvania detailing the following losses:

Item Cost Situation
50 bushels of oats $25 Taken by US
50 bushels of corn in ears $25 Taken by US
1 cow $33 Killed in battle
1 heifer $17 Killed in battle
Farming utensils $25 Damaged by Rebels
Clothing for self, wife, 3 daughters, 2 sons $100 Damaged by Rebels
70 yds imported carpet $65 Damaged by Rebels
70 yds homemade carpet $35 Damaged by Rebels
Parlor furniture and 5 beds with clothing $250 Damaged by Rebels
Provisions (25 hams and shoulders, dried beef, 1.5 barrels of flour) $100 Damaged by Rebels
China, tableware, mirrors, kitchenware $75 Damaged by Rebels
TOTAL $750  

Rose filed his claim under a Pennsylvania Act dated April 9, 1868 using David McConaughy as his attorney.  On November 8, 1871, Commissioners E. W. Stahle and J. C. Neely awarded Rose $600 under an act dated May 22, 1871.  Rose received $40 for one cow (instead of $40 for a cow and heifer), $72.50 for oats, corn, and tools (instead of $75), and $387.50 for furniture, bed, and clothing (instead of $625).  However there is no record of payment and in an 1874 federal claim, Rose swore “that no payment has been made for the whole or any part of the claim.”

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Rose fields which once produced corn and oats
(Looking at the foreground, there is a division in the fields running toward the top of the picture.  Historically, the Rose’s planted corn to the left of that line, and oats to right; two grains that were taken by U.S. soldiers from John P. Rose.)
Photo Credit: Jim Flook

                On September 4, 1874, John Rose swore out a deposition and obtained affidavits from his brother George Rose and his neighbor Philip Snyder which became the basis for his first federal claim.  Rose listed his losses caused by the United States as:

Item Unit price Cost
50 bushels oats $1/bu $50
50 bushels ear corn $0.50/bushel $25
1 Heifer, 200 lbs $0.085/lb $17
Farming Utensils   $25
1 Cloth Suit   $30
2 Suits son’s clothes   $30
3 Gowns – daughter’s clothing   $60
40 yds carpet   $40
100 yds carpet   $60
5 feather beds and clothing $50/each $250
Injury to 2 beds   $30
China and tableware   $50
Kitchen utensils   $25
3 mirrors   $30
Injury to parlor and furniture   $25
12 Hams, 18lb each $0.20/lb $43.20
12 shoulders, 16 lb each $0.20/lb $38.40
50 lbs dried beef $0.20/lb $10
1.5 barrels flour   $18
½ of 40 acres oats yielding 30 bushels/acre $0.75/bushel $450
½ of 50 acres corn yielding 40 bushels/acre (1/3 taken) $1/bushel $333.33
½ 60 acres grass yielding 1 ton hay/acre $16/ton $480
TOTAL   $2152.93

This claim contained a few items added, a few missing, and a few re-priced in comparsion to the first claim.  The cow was not listed and either Mr. or Mrs. Rose’s clothing (probably Mrs. Rose’s given the suit/gown terminology) was not listed.  The oats were increased from $25 to $50 in value, the heifer from $17 to $42, clothing from $100 to $120, the carpet was valued at the same total cost with a different split, the bed and parlor losses increased from $250 to $275, and the provisions were itemized and increased from $100 to $109.60.  Rose also added his portion of the interest in three crops of oats, corn, and grass that he shared with his brother.  More importantly the largest distinction is found in the claim that the items were “alleged to have been taken July 1st, 1863, by Gen. Sickles’ command, U. S. troops, an[d] no receipts or vouchers received therefor.”  Previously, Confederates have been assigned responsibility for all of the damage excepting the oats and corn taken by Union soldiers and the animals killed in battle.

Image

Rose house and remains of barn
Photo Credit: Jim Flook

 The processing of John Rose’s first federal claim is fraught with contradictory statements and conclusions.  An investigating agent, Z. F. Nye, visited Pennsylvania to inspect the damages and interview witnesses.  He also obtained from Pennsylvania copies of Rose’s state claim and the award abstract.   On January 25, 1875, Nye concluded, “It appears to be well established that while the Union troops had possession they took from the barn and fed to their horses 50 bush. of oats and 50 bush. of ears of corn.  The balance of the property charged for was taken by the rebels or destroyed during the battle by both armies.  The oats are worth 50¢ per bush. and the corn 37½.” While the 50¢ per bushel of oats valuation assigned by Nye matched Rose’s state claim, the 37.5¢ per bushel valuation of the ears of corn matched neither of Rose’s claims.  The recipient of Nye’s report, Major William Myers who was the depot quartermaster in Washington D.C. reached the opposite conclusion, writing  “the proof that the supplies for which payment is claimed, or any definite portion thereof, were taken by proper authority for legitimate public use, without compensation, is not considered sufficient to warrant any recommendation for settlement of the claim.”  Under a section titled additional evidence added to the file in May 1878 is a statement showing that the quartermaster general has no records of any forage bought or taken from John P. Rose.  On July 2, 1878, Quartermaster R. N. Batchelder advised the quartermaster general, “ I do not consider that any of the charges in the nature of Q M Stores are proved to have been taken & used for the benefit of the U. S. Army & I recommend no allowance on the claim.  However, the quartermaster general  wrote “the inclosed claim … has been examined and being convinced that it is in part just and of the loyalty of the claimant, and that a part of the  stores have been actually received or taken for the use of and used by the Army, I respectfully report it [blank ], with a recommendation for settlement under Section 300, A, Revised Statutes, U.S., and Section 2 of Act approved June 16, 1874, chap. 285, as follows, viz: 50 bushels of oats at 50 ¢ = $25.00, 50 bushels of ear corn at 50¢ = $25.00, Total = $50.00.  Only items of the Quartermasters Stores have been considered.”  Several interesting items stand out in this report.  First, the quartermaster general rejected the advice of his subordinate officers and selected the course recommended by the investigative agent.  Second, the claim was considered under a June 16, 1874 act, not the July 4, 1864 act.  Third, the pricing appears to match Rose’s state claim rather than Agent Nye’s valuation.  Rose’s claim No. 50.379 was reported as allowed for the amount of $50 and received the recommendation of Third Auditor Horace Austin and Second Comptroller W. W. Upton on December 23, 1878 and December 31, 1878 respectively; after which the claim was forwarded to the Department of the Treasury for disbursement.

 

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John P. Rose Claim No. 50.379
Photo Credit: RG 92 Quartermaster’s Records/GNMP Vertical Files

A second federal claim, No. 214-937, was filed for John Rose on December 31, 1879.  The date, the amount, a response sent to Pennsylvania agents, and the absence of a deposition or affidavit from Rose collectively suggest this claim was filed by the auditor general of Pennsylvania. The claim was filed for $750 and was dismissed on January 24, 1882 on the basis that “Mr. Rose filed another claim in this office in 1874. For Forage &c stated at $2,152.98 which was investigated by Agt. Nye in 1875.  Nov. 20, 1878, it was reported to the Third Auditor of the Treasury with the recommendation for settlement at $50.00 and closed by Treasury settlement No. 4928, March 28, 1879, for the amount recommended.  All of the items of the quartermaster stores in the present case are embraced in the claim already settled.”  This statement appears to imply, with referenced documentation, that John Rose was paid $50.  However, the situation is complicated by two additional sources.  Executive Document #65 of the 1st Session of the 48th Congress which lists the claims allowed under the July 4, 1864 act and was submitted on January 24, 1884 does not list Rose as having received a claim. Perhaps this is explained by the quartermaster general’s reference to the 1874 act rather than the 1864 act under which Rose made the claim.  The rejected case also has the following note “July 19, 1889 Call of Court of Claims, rtd to Sec. of War with report see ‘M’ 723.”  It would appear that Rose, or someone on his behalf, attempted to file an appeal in federal court.  Consequently the million dollar, or perhaps more accurately, the fifty dollar question remains: did John Rose ever receive compensation for his losses?

 

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Rejection of John P. Rose Claim No. 214-937
Photo Credit: RG 92 Quartermaster’s Records/GNMP Vertical Files

George Rose’s claims process mirrored that of his brother, but the results appear to be much clearer indicating that he never received compensation.   On November 23, 1868 George W. and Dorothy Rose—Dorothy had a significant control over the property during the trusteeships—swore out a deposition claiming significant loss, which was abstracted as:

Item Unit Value Cost Situation
1,000 feet flooring boards   $22 Taken by US
1,000 feet weather boarding   $16 Taken by US
½ of 30 acres of wheat, 300 bushels $1.40/bushel $420 Damaged by Rebels
20 acres oats in growth, 600 bushels $0.48/bushel $288 Damaged by Rebels
25 acres of corn, damaged   $100 Damaged by Rebels
60 acres of grass = 60 tons hay $10/ton $600 Damaged by Rebels
1,000 panels fence prostrated (500 burned/destroyed)   $500 Damaged by Rebels
200 panels board fence, 400 posts, 3,000 feet fencing boards   $150 Damaged by Rebels
50 panels new paling fences   $50 Damaged by Rebels
Damage to house and barn   $400 Occupied by Rebels, shelled by Union
Land damage by trampling, hauling, hasty burial   $300 Rebels/Union
TOTAL LOSS   $3306*  

(*Rose’s file contains a deposition, abstract, petition covering the same items damaged with three different sums; the most frequently used abstract is shown above.)

Image

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Abstract of George Rose’s Pennsylvania Claim
Photo Credit: RG 92 Quartermaster’s Records/GNMP Vertical Files

Rose filed his claim under the April 9, 1868 Pennsylvania act.  He stated that Union forces took his property on the first day who later were driven back by a rebel division of 10,000 soldiers on the second day who themselves were then partially driven out by the Pennsylvania Reserves on July 3rd before the remainder retreated on July 4th.  Additionally, he noted that the Union forces shelled the Confederate forces in his woods while the enemy constructed defense in that timber and used his house and barn as hospitals.  Moreover, he believed 240 Union had been buried and later removed from his property while 1,000-2,000 rebels remained buried there (this number was probably under 1,000).  Rose also stated that they house and barn were shelled, but did not say who (presumably this would have been Union batteries shelling Kershaw’s brigade on July 2).   On November 8, 1871, Pennsylvania Commissioners E. W. Stahle and J. C. Neely determined that Rose was entitled to an award of $1606 under the Act of May 22, 1871. He was awarded the full $38 for 2,000 feet of fencing (the flooring and weather boards). He was awarded an additional $370 for damage to fencing (as opposed to $700), $600 for his wheat, oats and corn (as opposed to $760), $300 for 50 acres of grass (as opposed to 60 acres valued at $600), and $298 for damage to his buildings and land (as opposed to $700).  Although Rose was to be paid $1606 or 48.6% of the amount he claimed, it appears he received no payment as he listed the same items in a later federal claim and swore as part of a deposition “I have never received any compensation for the whole or any portion of this claim.”

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View of Rose farmhouse from Wheatfield Road
Photo Credit: Jim Flook

                On October 28, 1874, George Rose filed an affidavit in a District of Columbia Court, which became the basis of a federal claim supported by affidavits filed by his son George W. Rose Jr. and adjoining farm owner Philip Snyder on October 30th in Gettysburg.  In a document appointing William Fitch and Company to serve as his agent and attorney, Rose made the claim “for losses sustained by thefts, or depredations committed by … by Gen’l Sickles’ Brigade 3d Army Corps, US troops for the use of, and were used by the United States army … No receipts or vouchers were obtained as the officers manifest no inclination to give any.  That no payment has been made, or compensation received in any way, or from any source whatever, for the whole or any part of said claim…” Rose claimed:

Item Yield Unit Value Cost
30 acres wheat 25 bushels/acre $1.50/bushel $1125
65 acres of meadow 1.5 tons/acre $16/ton $1560
25 acres oats 30 bushels/acre $0.80/bushel $600
20 acres corn 40 bushels/acre $1/bushel $800
53 peach trees   $5/tree $265
14,400 rails   $10/100 rails $1440
1,000 feet floor boards     $22
Repairs to house     $500
70 acres timber – 500 cords wood taken 40 cords/acre $4/cord $2000
Repairs to barn and granary     $500
Cow     $25
Bull     $10
Injury to lands by roads, rifle pits, breastworks     $400
2,600 feet fencing   $20/1,000 feet $52
TOTAL     $9299

 

Only Rose’s itemization of the flooring boards is consistent with his state claim.  A combination of claiming sole ownership, increasing acreage, increasing yield, and increasing valuation caused Rose to value his wheat at $1125 instead of $420, hay at $1560 instead of $600, oats at $600 instead of $228, and corn at $800 instead of $100.  Even if terminology accounts for the difference between panels and fence in the state claim and rails and fencing in the federal claim, the value increased from $700 to $1492. Whereas land and building damage had amounted to $700 in the state claim, it increased to $3400 in the federal claim, especially with the valuation of lost timber at $2000. Moreover, Rose added in the loss of a cow and bull at a pittance of $35 in comparison to the total claim.

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Petition from George Rose’s 1874 (1st) Federal Claim
Photo Credit: RG 92 Quartermaster’s Records/GNMP Vertical Files 

                Although assigned to the same investigative agent, Z. F. Nye, as his brother John’s claim, George Rose’s claim found no support.  Noting that “the destruction of fencing, growing crops, fruit trees, standing timber, &c, on the place by both armies was very great,” Nye also found, “The position was too much exposed to render the legitimate use of claimant’s property by the army possible; nor would I judge that the rebels made much use of the property, except, perhaps, for the purpose of constructing shelter from the fire of the Union troops.”  Moreover, he reported on May 1, 1875, “The claim is for losses sustained during the battle, and on the field of battle, and, therefore, does not come within the jurisdiction conferred by the Act of July 4, 1864.”  A review from the quartermaster concurred with Nye’s conclusions, “there is no evidence to show that the stores for which payment is claimed were taken by proper authority, and applied to the legitimate wants of the United States Army.  The whole claim appears to partake of the nature of damages, and it is, therefore, recommended that it be disallowed,” wrote Major George Bell on May 12, 1875.  Additional notes from 1878 in the file show that the third auditor and second comptroller reached similar conclusions.  Consequently, Rose received no compensation.

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Deposition from George Rose’s 1874 (1st) Federal Claim
Photo Credit: RG 92 Quartermaster’s Records/GNMP Vertical Files 

                On November 3, 1880 federal claim No. 214-938 on behalf of George Rose was sent to a Captain Rockwell for report, showing that Rose (or someone on his behalf) filed a second claim.  As this claim followed the decision of the auditor general of Pennsylvania to submit some 5,000 claims, it appears highly likely that this claim was filed on December 31, 1879 at the same time as John Rose’s second claim by the state of Pennsylvania.  Whereas John Rose’s claims was sent to Capt. Rockwell on November 13, 1880, received back on April 14, 1881 and dismissed on January 24, 1882, George Rose’s claim went to Rockwell on November 13, 1880, was received back on April 14, 1881, and not allowed (dismissed) on December 15, 1882.  The amount of the claim, $3306, also matched the Pennsylvania claim.  In a letter addressed from the quartermaster general to the agents for the Pennsylvania claimants, Rose’s claim was “dismissed from further consideration in this office, and the papers have been filed with claim covering the same property considered by the Quartermaster General, December 5, 1878, and no allowance reported, he being unable to certify that he was convinced that the stores had been actually received or taken for the use of, and used by, the U.S. Army.”  The second claim was dismissed for claiming items already itemized on the first claim and previously rejected.  That appears to be the end of Rose’s efforts to obtain compensation as there are no comments about appellate courts in the files on his claims.

 

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Rose buildings from Wheatfield Road in 2013
Photo Credit: Jim Flook

                What can we make of the claims process from the cases of Francis Ogden, John Rose, and George Rose?  Although I have learned that these three cases challenge what I thought I knew about the compensation claims process, they also offer an excellent example of the challenge and excitement of research history.  I began this process using the term ‘damages’ loosely to cover everything a property owner might claim money for.  In process, I learned that the federal process understood ‘damages’ to mean things destroyed by fighting rather than items taken by the Union army; the latter of which might entitle an owner to compensation.  I had heard and believed that owners only received compensation for receipts, but clearly John Rose won compensation without receipts.  Unfortunately, conflicting documents don’t prove whether Rose got paid.  These three cases demonstrate that the process of history is messy.  There is an absence of concrete rules and patterns, more frequently than at first thought.  Similar cases (the Rose brothers) may easily lead to different results.  Files and sources are often incomplete and given contradictory statements.  Moreover, the research is not finished.  These cases offer leads to additional Pennsylvania and federal laws about compensation as well as the possibility of an appeal to a federal court, all of which could be examined in the future.

                Readers, thank you for wading through a dense article on the nexis of property, law, and the battle of Gettysburg.  We invite you to join the conversation by sharing your observations about the claims process, based on the above claims and/or others.  Are you aware of additional research information?  Please share that information as well.

                                                                                         Jim Flook, Park Ranger

 Gettysburg National Military Park library  sources include:  Kathy Georg Harrison, “Historic Structure Report – Rose Farmhouse,” National Park Service, 1982; Rose Farm File; Civilian Damage Claim Files. Additional research completed at the Adams County Historical Society in their farm files, family folders, and Civil War damage claim files. Moreover, the author would like to thank John Heiser and Thomas Greaney for their assistance.

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4 Responses to Fields of Conflict III: Rose Farm Damages, Claims, and Awards

  1. Chris Hays says:

    Jim,
    I just finished the third of your Blog posts. I am very impressed not only with the information but the professionalism in which it is presented. That is no surprise but very appreciated.
    Chris

  2. R. L. Buenger says:

    This series of articles was a fascinating look at the difficulties faced by Gettysburg area residents after the battle. Thank you for presenting it to us in such a clear, understandable manner.

  3. This article gave us a view of the ACW that one hardly or never gets to see.I was very impressed by this blog as i learned alot

  4. Safa Ry says:

    This is an impressive article. Find it very interesting. You’ve provided a great source of information. A big thumbs up for having created this blog. Thanks for sharing.
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