Samuel P. Bates – “Chronicler of the Pennsylvania Soldier”

In researching individual soldiers of the Civil War, the pre-eminent sources of information that come to mind are state rosters.  Among the more notable efforts are Frederick Phisterer’s work, New York in the War of the Rebellion, compiled in 1890, as well as North Carolina Troops, 1861-1865: A Roster.  This massive roster project, undertaken from 1961 until the present by the state of North Carolina, was headed initially by Louis H. Manarin and later, in 1970, by Weymouth T. Jordan Jr., and has been periodically updated.  From the Centennial era, other worthy roster projects were launched by Tennessee and Georgia.

Most all other states now have roster listings of some sort, and they all, over time, have proven lacking in one area or another.  Phisterer restricted his listings to units and officers exclusively; Georgia’s rosters, compiled by Lillian Henderson in the 1960’s, contain only the infantry soldiers, with no cavalry or artillery troops.

Bates

Samuel P. Bates

It is the variances in these listings, even within the modern records, that make the background, skills and meticulous efforts of one man of particular interest.  Samuel Penniman Bates was a native of Mendon, Massachusetts, yet it is he who Civil War researchers associate with Pennsylvania.  Nowadays, any researcher worth his salt instinctively reaches for Bates’ work when looking for regiment, company, dates of service and anything usual or unusual about the vast majority of Pennsylvanians who served the Union.

Born in 1829, Samuel was educated at the Worcester Academy, and later at Brown University, from which he graduated in 1851.  During his time in school he was remembered for his proficiency in the mathematics and in philosophy.

The following year, he immersed himself in further academic studies, and the writings of Milton and Shakespeare. He settled down in Meadville, Pennsylvania to teach ancient languages at the Academy there and eventually began to expand his lectures into the science and practice of teaching.  His success with these lectures led him to become the Superintendent of the Crawford County (PA) schools.

Meadevill School

North Ward Public School, Meadville, Crawford County, PA

This was more than fortuitous, as Crawford County is an extremely large, and at the time it was among the most influential, as it had an area nearly equal to the entire arable surface of Rhode Island.  Bates’ position gave him the opportunity to communicate with many in the field of education not only in the county, but also across the state. In 1860, he resigned from his second term to accept the office of Deputy State Superintendent of Schools.

He held this position for six years.  It would be during this time that many personal and professional associations were formed, many of which would serve him well in a wholly unplanned venue within a few years.  The arrival of War, and its insatiable desire for young men who might otherwise have been carefree students in happier times, caused an unplanned reduction in many schools.  However his gift for systematic observation and recordation did not escape the critical eye of his superior, Governor Andrew G. Curtin, who would, in 1866, appoint him to the newly-minted role of State Historian.

The Legislature had felt it appropriate to create the role, following the conclusion of hostilities, for the purpose of gathering material and forming complete accounts of the organizations from the state that had engaged in the conflict.

A contemporary account reviews Bates’ efforts –

 “To write of events that transpired ages ago, where the material is ample, is comparatively easy; but to gather up the fragmentary annals of campaigns scarcely finished, and weave from them veritable narratives which shall stand the criticism of men who were a part of the great transactions, is a far more difficult and embarrassing task, and requires for its accomplishment a degree of patience and painstaking, of careful discrimination and wise judgment rarely possessed. For …years he was unceasingly employed…at an expense of nearly a quarter a million dollars, [[to produce] five…volumes of over 1,400 pages each, entitled History of Pennsylvania Volunteers, and [it] forms an enduring monument of the patriotism of the state, and of the research and taste of the author.”

Immediately afterward followed another absorbing project, detailing the Lives of the Governors of Pennsylvania (1873.)  Then came three more works of particular interest to students of the American Civil War:  Martial Deeds of Pennsylvania, (1875) , The History of the Battle of Gettysburg (1878,) and  The Battle of Chancellorsville (1882.)  During these years, Bates also produced a regimental history of the “Roundheads,” the 100th PA, (1878,) as well as a biographical memoir of Col. Oliver Blanchly Knowles, late Col. Of the 21st PA. Cavalry and Brevet Brigadier – General (1878.)

In between writing these works and others on Pennsylvania history, and raising seven children, the active Dr. Bates also found time to be social.  In 1877 he toured Europe, and prepared a series of lectures entitled “Art Centers of Italy, Naples, Rome, Venice, and Florence.” Closer to home, Bates, “Chronicler of the Pennsylvania soldier,” though himself not a Union Army Veteran, accepted an honorary membership in the local Meadville chapter of the Grand Army of the Republic, Post 331.  In 1902, when he was laid to rest in Greendale Cemetery in Meadville, his headstone was accorded the traditional “GAR star.”

Bates grave

BATS GAR The final resting place of Samuel P. Bates, Crawford County, PA.

He, like so many others, had humbly performed his work for the Union; yet his efforts had been different.  His detailed volumes had been directed against a different enemy – time; so the people of Pennsylvania and their descendants might long remember, collectively and individually, what their state and its people had helped to achieve.

Bert Barnett, Park Ranger

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Gettysburg at 24 degrees

A path across the fields of Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg.

A path across the fields of Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg National Military Park.

As we enjoy another winter here at Gettysburg National Military Park, the park staff invite you to remember that a winter’s walk on the Gettysburg battlefield offers a terrific opportunity to study topography as well as a time for quiet reflection.

The fields of Longstreet's attack on July 2nd, 1863, with the Bushman farm on the left (red brick) and the Slyder farm in the center (white).

The Bushman farm with Little Round Top in the background, taken from South Confederate Avenue.

Newly built fences, replanted orchards, and long-lost meadows and farm lanes that have been reestablished help visitors see the battlefield the way soldiers did at the time of the fighting in July 1863.

The Witness Tree at Sickles' headquarters, United States Avenue.

The Witness Tree at Sickles’ headquarters marker, United States Avenue.

A Licensed Battlefield Guide gives a tour to a visiting school group.

A Licensed Battlefield Guide gives a tour to a visiting school group.

On Tuesday of this week I took a drive on Gettysburg National Military Park’s tour route, stopping to look around and enjoy some of the incredible views and catching a few pictures of our most hardy park visitors enjoying a visit in spite of the 24 degree temperature.

Reading the names on the Pennsylvania Memorial.

Reading the names on the Pennsylvania Memorial.

Frozen Plum Run, viewed from the Codori Farm Lane.

Frozen Plum Run, viewed from the Trostle farm lane.

While you’re here, don’t forget to stop in for one of our free “Winter Lectures” happening Saturdays and Sunday throughout January, February and

March, at 1:30 p.m. Download the full list of Winter Lectures here.

Also, please be aware that snow storms and freezing rain occasionally cause the closure of some roads and buildings in Gettysburg National Military Park. For updates keep an eye on the park’s Facebook page or call 717 334-1124.

 

Lots of animal tracks are visible in the snow, like these deer tracks on the Trostle farm lane.

Lots of animal tracks are visible in the snow, like these deer tracks on the Trostle farm lane.

Katie Lawhon, Management Assistant, January 15, 2015

 

 

 

 

Posted in Battlefield Farms, Natural History, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

The Widow and Her Farm

In comparison to other farm houses in rural Adams County in 1863, the home of Lydia Leister was non-descript. The wood frame and clapboarded house was very compact and humble, situated on a small, 9-acre farm that included a log barn, orchard, adequate pasture for her cow and a horse, wheat and oat fields. Near the house was a substantial garden planted with beans, turnips, cucumbers, potatoes, onions and other varieties of vegetables. A spring in the southern pasture offered some of the best drinking water in the county and for a person living the quiet life, its central location on the Taneytown Road near Cemetery Hill and not far from town made for a pleasant if not picturesque life for Leister and her two young children, Hannah, age 8, and Matilda, age 5.

Leister House- Meade's HQ

The Leister Farm House at Gettysburg National Military Park.

Widowed in 1859, Lydia purchased the farm in March 1861 and moved in soon after. The industrious woman went to work and improved the farm with stout fences around the garden and pasture and put in additional wheat and oats, which could be used for barter with grocers in Gettysburg. Her older sons and daughters lived in different places around the county and provided little support to their mother whose self-sufficiency was more than admirable. Despite the hardships and worry over one of her sons in military service, the future looked bright and she could have had no inkling of what was to come when a uniformed Federal officer rode into her front yard just before dusk on July 1, 1863.

The officer was abrupt, telling the widow that she must vacate her home. The armies were getting close and a battle near her farm imminent. For the safety of her and the children, they must go and with haste. The officer seemed determined to get Leister out so she quickly packed a basket with clothing for the children. Starting out the door, she remembered a can of lard she wanted to save and raced back into the house where she placed the can under a cobbler’s bench in the kitchen. There was no time for anything else, and taking her small bundle and two girls by the hand, started southward on the Taneytown Road, already filled with columns of Union infantry spattered with mud and straining under the loads of knapsacks, canteens and weapons as they plodded north. Looking back, the last sight of her land was that same column tramping into her pasture and oat field, lounging against the trunks of her fruit trees.

There was family in Maryland but they were too far away. Where was she to go? Wagons of ordnance now filled the road, pushing her and her two children off to the side. Fortunately, another staff officer saw the widow and rode to her rescue. Placing the youngest child onto his saddle and taking the basket from Lydia, the officer escorted the family to the George Spangler farm, far enough away to provide the widow and her children with a haven from the coming battle. As events turned out, the haven Lydia sought was short lived. The Spangler farm became a massive field hospital for the Eleventh Army Corps and wounded, mangled soldiers filled the barn, outbuildings and house. Union batteries with supporting wagons were massed in the fields around the buildings and those who remained at the farm were in constant danger from mounted couriers racing by, horses pulling cannon and caissons into park, and the flow of ambulances into the farm.

Without warning, artillery shells shrieked over the farm, some smashing into tree and men alike. This was no place for the widow and two young children, so another staff officer escorted the frightened family to the Baltimore Pike where he bade them goodbye with the final warning to head south as fast as possible, away from Gettysburg. Through the mercy of a farm family, the widow and her frightened children were taken in and for the next several days watched as lines of troops, Confederate prisoners, ambulances and wagons flowed up and down the Pike.

After several days of anxiously waiting, Lydia decided to journey home to see what was left of her farm, hoping that her crops, fruit trees, house and barn, and that can of lard had survived. One can only imagine the disappointment and shock that met her gaze as she walked up the Taneytown Road, past devastated farms and freshly dug graves by the roadside to behold her own farm, or what was left of it. Fences were gone- torn down for men and material to pass. The vegetable plants in her garden were trampled. The cow and horse were gone, along with tack and farm implements. The wheat, oats and pasture were trampled and nothing could be done to salvage them. “I owed a little on my land yit,” Lydia recalled in 1865, “and I didn’t get nothing from it. The fences were all tore down… and the rails burnt up. There was seventeen dead horses on my land. They burnt five of ‘em around my best peach tree and killed it; so I han’t no peaches. They broke down all my young apple trees for me. The dead horses spoiled my spring, so I had to have (a) well dug.”

Her house had suffered the worst damage: “One shell came into the house and knocked a bedstead all to pieces for me. The porch was all knocked down. I had seven pieces of meat yit, and all of them was took. All I had when I got back was jest a little bit of flour.” Surprisingly, the can of lard she had hidden survived though not without being tainted by wood pegs from the cobbler’s bench, spilled into the can by the shell that passed through the house. She later saved the lard by heating it and straining out the items that had fallen into the fat.

Leister Farm 1863

The Leister House, photographed by Alexander Gardner on or about July 6, 1863, and how the place looked when the Widow Leister returned a day or so later.  (Library of Congress)

The Widow Leister was a resourceful woman and immediately went to work, repairing her fences and buildings. It would be another two to three years before her new fruit trees would bear apples and peaches and her farm fields would once again produce the wheat she coveted to feed her family and use for trade and barter. Her vegetable garden once again thrived. It wasn’t until long after when she heard how her home had been used by General George Gordon Meade as his headquarters during the battle and that in her humble kitchen had taken place the all-important Council of War on July 2, when the critical decision whether the Army of the Potomac was going to change its battle strategy or, as General Henry Slocum put it, “Stay and fight it out!” was made. Her simple home had witnessed not that momentous event, but also the constant debates, discussions and passing of order after order by Meade and countless Union officers who came and went during those three warm summer days in 1863. It had served as the nerve center for the Army of the Potomac and though nearly ruined beyond repair, had survived to become one of the iconic buildings on the Gettysburg landscape. Did this really matter to Lydia Leister? Probably not. Never compensated for her losses, the widow rebuilt, replanted and recovered her farm, flourishing over the ensuing years with an addition to her house and acquisition of an additional 9 acres.

Leister Farm House

Meade’s Headquarters- the Lydia Leister House & barn today (National Park Service)

Age and infirmity finally caught up with Lydia and in 1888, she sold her farm to the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association for $3,000.00. She died at her daughter’s home in Gettysburg on December 29, 1893, her grave marked by a simple stone in Evergreen Cemetery barely a quarter mile away from the land she once owned. Repaired and rehabilitated over the years, the small white house stands near the Taneytown Road where the park tells and retells the story of its use as “Meade’s Headquarters.” But we just cannot resist mentioning in those programs, the brave widow who lost everything only to come back and rebuild her life in that same house on that same land, as much a symbol of the strength of the American spirit as was the stubborn will and determination exhibited by the Union generals who gathered in her kitchen on that fateful evening in July 1863.

-John Heiser
Historian
Gettysburg National Military Park

Posted in Battlefield Farms, Civilians, George G. Meade | 8 Comments

A Reason to Visit Gettysburg in the Winter: The 2015 Winter Lecture Series

Winter Lecture FB Promo

“So, what do you guys do in the winter?”

I’ve probably been asked that question a hundred times, and at each of the four different National Parks I’ve worked at. It’s a common misconception that the ranger staff hibernate over the winter, like many of the mammal species that inhabit our more naturally inclined parks, only to emerge when the ground thaws and spring has made its arrival. The truth of the matter is, and this is especially so at Gettysburg, that quite a bit goes on at the park with the arrival of winter weather. Sure, we don’t hike out on the battlefield quite as much, nor will you find us leading tours downtown or on Little Round Top in the middle of sleet or sub-freezing temperatures, but we are busy nevertheless. Take for example our Winter Lecture Series which begins tomorrow.  Every Saturday and Sunday, from January to Mid-March, National Park Rangers, historians, and educators present a free, hour-long lecture on some aspect of the American Civil War or the battle of Gettysburg. Since the inauguration of the sesquicentennial in 2011, we have focused our lectures on events happening that particular anniversary year. This winter we will be taking a look at the conclusion of the American Civil War and the very complicated and contested peace that followed. The final battles, such as those at Sailors Creek and Bentonville will be touched on, as will some of the defining personalities who shaped the war and the events following it. Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, and David Farragut, are but a few. Issues of reconstruction, race,  and rhetoric will be explored, as will the material culture of 1865.

Click on the image below for a full schedule.

blog winter lecture photo

Tomorrow (Saturday, January 3rd) our lecture series begins with Ranger Matt Atkinson who will examine Robert E. Lee’s final years, from the surrender at Appomattox in 1865, to his death in Lexington, Virginia in 1870. Matt will begin at 1:30 p.m. inside the theater at Continue reading

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Gettysburg – the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

First the good: Earlier this month Gettysburg National Military Park was honored when the head of our monument preservation team received a national award for excellence for the care of monuments, cannon, plaques, fences, headstones and signs.

All the monuments and cannon at Gettysburg are commemorative features left behind by the veterans who fought here. The monuments have a story to tell you. We want you to visit Gettysburg to learn more about what happened here and why it still matters today.

Now for the bad and the ugly:  In the last ten years, bad drivers and terrible weather have nearly demolished a number of Gettysburg’s historic monuments. This blog takes a look at seven monuments badly damaged since 2003.  These have all been repaired.

74th Pennsylvania Infantry monument after an SUV hit it in 2003

74th Pennsylvania Infantry monument after an SUV hit it in 2003

Pieces of the broken color bearer on the 74th Pa. before the repairs were completed.

Pieces of the broken color bearer on the 74th Pa. before the repairs were completed.

Mazda vs. the 58th New York Infantry monument, 2004

Mazda vs. the 58th New York Infantry monument, 2004

4th Ohio Infantry marker vs. the pickup truck, 2004.  The zinc marker was damaged beyond repair and entirely replaced in 2006.

4th Ohio Infantry marker vs. the pickup truck, 2004. The zinc marker was damaged beyond repair and entirely replaced in 2006.

Lightning struck the 6th New York Cavalry monument at Gettysburg and nearly blew it apart in in 2007.

Lightning struck the 6th New York Cavalry monument at Gettysburg and nearly blew it apart in 2007.

72nd Pennsylvania Infantry monument toppled by a windstorm in 2013.

72nd Pennsylvania Infantry monument toppled by a windstorm in 2013.

close-up of the 72nd Pa. after a wind storm blew it down just before the 150th anniversary.  Park maintenance reset the monument before sunset the same day it fell.

Close-up of the 72nd Pa. after a wind storm blew it down just before the 150th anniversary. Park maintenance reset the monument before sunset the same day it fell.

121st New York Infantry damaged by a heavy tree limb during Halloween snowstorm 2011.

121st New York Infantry damaged by a heavy tree limb during Halloween snowstorm 2011.

Cannon at Grandy’s Battery smashed by a fallen tree in the same Halloween snowstorm, 2011.

Cannon at Grandy’s Battery smashed by a fallen tree in the same Halloween snowstorm, 2011.

Once again, ALL of these monuments have been repaired.  Gettysburg’s monuments and cannon still have preservation problems though. We need your help. Occasionally, heedless actions by park visitors create concerns. These seemingly minor impacts add up when you think about the park’s more than one million visitors each year and the fact that we have been welcoming visitors since prior to 1895. Three particular actions have a way of making the job of the National Park Service – preserving Gettysburg resources unimpaired for future generations – more difficult.

Col. Patrick O’Rourke on the 140th New York Infantry monument at Little Round Top.

Col. Patrick O’Rourke on the 140th New York Infantry monument at Little Round Top.

Rubbing O’Rourke’s nose – Hand oils and constant rubbing wear away the patina giving it the shiny look, which changes the original commemorative intent of the monument. (Col. Patrick O’Rourke on the 140th New York Infantry monument at Little Round Top.)

 

 

Over time the chemical breakdown of the coins could have a negative impact on the stone, staining.

Over time the chemical breakdown of the coins could have a negative impact on the stone, staining.

Coins placed on headstones and monuments –  Over time the chemical breakdown of the coins could have a negative impact on the stone, staining.

 

 

 

 

Please don't climb on the cannon.

Please don’t climb on the cannon.

Climbing on carriages – Gettysburg’s cast iron cannon carriages are over 100 years old and fragile. They are like your great grandparent. The whole package weighs 2500 pounds+/- (carriages weigh in at 1600+/- and tubes range from 600-1200). You do not want to be near them during a collapse. Climbing on the cannon is dangerous …for lots of reasons.

 

Please help us by treating these “Silent Sentinels” gently and become our partners in protecting and honoring the monuments to the men who fought Gettysburg.

Finally, a special Happy New Year to all of our “From the Fields of Gettysburg” readers!  Thank you for your interest and support for Gettysburg’s history and preservation!

Sincerely,

Katie Lawhon, Management Assistant, 12/24/14

Posted in Gettysburg cannon, Monuments at Gettysburg, Soldiers' National Cemetery, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 6 Comments

“Is the Track Clear to Shohola?” – Gettysburg Fatalities in Pennsylvania’s Second Bloodiest Railroad Cut

King and Fuller Cut

The King and Fuller Cut today.

When one hears the term, “the railroad cut,” students of the Battle of Gettysburg may automatically be tempted to think of the slash in the ground extending through much of the July 1st battlefield, and the casualties it yielded.  However, in purely statistical terms, the afternoon of July 15th, 1864 was also slated to be remembered near tiny Shohola, in northeastern Pennsylvania.

A force of 833 Confederates and some 125 Union soldiers were destined to become entangled in a deadly, unexpected contest in a railroad cut there.  The former combatants, now prisoners and guards, were then travelling from Point Lookout Prison, Maryland, to their new home at the wartime prison in Elmira, New York.  For that leg of the journey, their 17-car train travelled westerly from Port Jervis at a rate of some twenty miles an hour. Unexpectedly, they were thrown headlong against a massive, 50 car coal train proceeding easterly at only twelve.  Both trains were pulled by 30-ton steam locomotives.  The result was predictable, and tragic.

map

The winding stretch of railroad track that borders the Delaware River was the site for a violent locomotive collision on July 15th, 1864.

In the sharp, blind curve of the railroad cut, only one engineer had time to jump free prior to the impact.  Given the physics involved, with the masses of material and energy in motion, the disaster was a terrible something to behold.  Tons of coal, metal, and wood compressed into the open spaces and softer cavities about them – sometimes with horrific results. One Veteran Reserve Guard, Frank Evans, remembered momentarily seeing how “the two locomotives were raised high in the air, face to face against each other, like giants grappling.”

Inside the cab of the troop train, one of the engineers, a man named Ingram, was pressed against the split boilerplate by the load of wood that had been thrown forward at the instant of the crash.  As Evans recalled, Ingram “was held [there] in plain sight and slowly roasted to death. With his last breath he warned away all those who went near to try and aid him, declaring that there was danger of the boiler exploding and killing them.”

The official report was filed by Captain Morris Church, commander of the detachments of the 11th and 20th Regiments of the United States Veteran Reserve Corps assigned to the train. His report, dated 22 July 1864, listed 14 guards as killed outright, with 3 that died later.  Confederate fatalities were initially marked as 40, plus another 8 that died later. Total dead, therefore, were figured at 65, with 93 injured.  Coffins were constructed ad hoc, from the ruins of the train-cars, and the bodies buried nearby.  It is worthwhile to note, however that Captain Church closed the body of his report with this caveat: “Many of the prisoners killed were so disfigured that it was impossible to recognize them, and five escaping whose names are unknown, I am unable to give you a correct list of killed.”

This bit of Victorian formalism, hinting at the gruesome nature of the accident while deliberately obscuring its details, only further documented the confusion about fatalities.  Today, the combined records serve to highlight the difficulty in obtaining accurate records about those who perished in the Shohola disaster.  Further complicating matters, it is thought that five quick-witted Confederates utilized the attendant chaos to escape. This has not been solidly documented, yet “teasers” remain to suggest such.

Wreckage of the troop train

Wreckage of the collision in the King and Fuller Cut.

The exact number involved, therefore, often varies with the incident’s retelling.  It would not be until June of 1911 that most of those killed in “King and Fuller’s Cut” were finally removed to more fitting surroundings, Woodlawn National Cemetery at Elmira, New York – their ultimate destination so many years ago.  Both the Federal and Confederate soldiers now rest on opposite sides of a common monument, recalling that terrible day.

Shortly after their reburial in Woodlawn, the death total was somehow calculated at 72; yet another death report listed a total of only 60 men, even factoring in two Confederate brothers that remain buried in a nearby churchyard, and not later reclaimed.

The apparent inconsistency in these figures was never officially addressed.  In his 1912 work The Elmira Prison Camp, author Clay W. Holmes offered up his own hypothesis, namely, “to presume that in the disinterring of bodies after so many years a slight error may have been made in the count, or some remains may have totally vanished.”

However, with all of this destruction, confusion, deception, and evasion concentrated in one spot, one student of the disaster noted, “It is highly possible that some of the names on the Shohola monument are those of the escapees; while some of the rebels who were killed were listed as having escaped.”  Recurring flooding of the Delaware River at the original burial site has also made it made it difficult to arrive at a standard number of total casualties. In an article from the Honesdale, PA “Citizen,” dated November 3rd, 1909, entitled Shameful Neglect of Soldiers Graves, the following appeared:

It is the opinion of some people that the graves have been washed away by high water in the Delaware and no less an authority than Edward H. Mott, the author of “Between the Ocean and the Lakes, or the Story of the Erie” holds to that view, for that is what he states in the concluding sentences of his account of that wreck.

Yet, others disbelieved this.  The closest home to the crash site was that of John Vogt, where “As many as twenty-five bodies were laid out until the following morning when there buried in a trench by the Delaware River.”

Mr. Vogt, and subsequently, Valentine Hipsman, of Shohola, [previously of the 151st PA, and yet another Gettysburg veteran, wounded and disabled, though not a member of the VRC, as he had lost his entire right arm,] indicated to government investigators the location of those overgrown graves.

Therefore, it is even harder to answer the secondary question: Were any of those killed in the accident veterans of the Battle of Gettysburg?

Although the names and units of the deceased are listed for the men of both sides, there are numerous errors of type and unit.  This has made easy confirmation difficult.  The simplest thing to do was to run the listing of units that had served in either army that fought at Gettysburg, and to proceed from there.   Tracing the Federal casualties (the United States Veterans Reserves Corps guards) back up to their original Gettysburg units, and thence to their verified time on the battlefield (and potential woundings there,) was the next.  The same was done for the listed Confederate soldiers of Gettysburg units, documenting their post-battle capture and subsequent placement on the train.

Following this methodology, it is possible to state that the men listed below, with a single possible exception, not only fought at Gettysburg, but later died in Pennsylvania’s almost forgotten railroad cut.

On the Federal side:

Private William H. Cornell, Company C, 134th New York, was, according to the History of Schoharie County, “born in Lisle, Broome County, March 5, 1840; enlisted in August 14, 1862. Fought in the battles of Chancellorsville and Gettysburgh, and was killed by a railroad collision July 15, 1864.”  His General Index Card in the Archives file also carries the notation “See V.R.C.”

 Private Edwin Plass, Company F, 24th Michigan, who had initially enlisted on August 8th, 1862; he joined the V.R.C. on May 1st, 1864 following his Gettysburg wounding.

 Private Lyman Weatherby, Company B, 143rd Pennsylvania , who had mustered in on the 26th of August, 1862.  Following his wounding at Gettysburg and recovery, he transferred to the 11th V.R.C. in November of 1863. His name appears on the Pennsylvania monument.

As this was a POW train, it seems appropriate to list a couple of the Confederates that previously fought at Gettysburg:

Private Michael Kane [or Kain,] of Captain McGraw’s Artillery Battery, Pegram’s Battalion.  Kane signed on in May of 1861, and was on “detached service” during the Gettysburg Campaign, serving during that campaign as one of “Willie” Pegram’s couriers.  However, he was captured at Mechanicsville on June 1st, 1864, and sent to Point Lookout, Maryland.  Shortly thereafter, he was sent North for his final ride.

Private J.S. Hatch, Company H, 53rd Georgia Infantry  successfully  survived the Battle of Gettysburg, only to become wounded at Funkstown, Maryland, a week later.  Enlisting on May 5th, 1862, “For 3 years or the war,” Hatch wouldn’t let a wounding stop him – he was back in the ranks by the time his corps transferred to Tennessee, where he was captured on November 29th, 1863.

However, in cross-referencing this soldier between the Fold 3 sourcing and Lillian Henderson’s Roster of the Confederate Soldiers of Georgia, a curious set of circumstances came to light.  Henderson’s listing merely concludes, “Released 1865,” while a General Index Card in the file of the Archives clearly states that he was again captured at Gaines Mill on June 1st, 1864, and that subsequently, his name “Appears on a roll of prisoners of war killed and missing (?) after R.R. accident at Shohola, Pa., July, 1864.”

Memorial

Memorial to those killed in the Shohola Crash.

What are we to make of this?  Is Hatch in fact one of the few Confederate escapees of that horrible day, bearing now two terrible experiences in Pennsylvania?  One other unusual fact to ponder – the accident took place in Pike County, Pennsylvania.  Pike County Georgia was the point of origin of Hatch’s company within his regiment, the 53rd.

In any case, this reflects a bit of the confusion that still covers the tragic events of that terrible day, when the only real enemy had been neither Reb nor Yank, but carelessness – an intoxicated switch-thrower named Douglas Kent, in the employ of the railroad.  According to The Tri-State Union, July 23rd, 1864,

“Mr. Kent is a man of intemperate habits, and had, on the night previous to the accident, been to Hawley (PA) to a ball, whence he returned on Friday in an intoxicated condition.  He remained in a partial state of drunkenness during the day, and even after this dreadful calamity, he is said to have gone to another party of pleasure on Friday evening, apparently unconcerned.  On Saturday morning he crawled on board the express train, and went west, since which time he has not been seen.  We learn that a detective is on his track.”

Bert Barnett, Park Ranger

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Gettysburg’s Forgotten Governor: Conrad Baker

Conrad Baker

Conrad Baker, Col. of the 1st Indiana Cavalry and Governor of Indiana. Image courtesy of http://www.in.gov

The town of Gettysburg abounds with stories of interesting people who fought for both the North and the South during the American Civil War.  Many of these stories have been told by historians and educators since the end of the battle on July 3, 1863.  However, one man who made a major contribution to the war effort, and had detached from his regiment two companies of cavalry who fought at Gettysburg has gone relatively unnoticed.  Conrad Baker not only influenced the people of Indiana and Pennsylvania in his private life, but he also served honorably as Colonel of the 1st Indiana Cavalry, Assistant Provost Marshal General of Indiana, and later as the Governor of Indiana.

Conrad Baker was born near Chambersburg, Pennsylvania on February 12, 1817.[1]  He was the son of Conrad Baker, Sr. and Mary (Winterheimer) Baker, who were influential farmers in the Chambersburg area.[2]  When Conrad was a teen his attention shifted away from his life on the farm, and he became interested in practicing law for a living.  This decision to led Baker to enroll at Pennsylvania College in Gettysburg, PA where he began the study of law.

Penn Hall, image couresty Gburg College

Pennsylvania Hall on the campus of Pennsylvania College (Now known as Gettysburg College). Image courtesy of gettysburg.edu

Thaddeus_Stevens_-_Brady-Handy-crop

Thaddeus Stevens

While a student at Pennsylvania College, Conrad soon caught the attention of the law firm of Stevens & Smyser, who gave the young man the opportunity to learn and study the law profession in their office.  Thaddeus Stevens and Judge Daniel M. Smyser, both prominent citizens of Gettysburg owned this law practice.  Conrad Baker worked hard for his employers, and in 1839, he was admitted to the Bar.[3]  Soon after obtaining his license to practice law, the new lawyer opened a firm in the town of Gettysburg, and served the people of that community for two years.  In 1841, Baker and his family made the decision to pack up their belongings and make the long trek to the Ohio River community of Evansville, Indiana to open a law office in that city.  The state of Indiana was only 25 years old when Baker made it his new home, and this young state allowed Baker’s new law firm to become very successful.  Soon after his arrival to Indiana, he took an interest in politics, and in 1845, he was elected to serve in the Indiana General Assembly representing Vanderburgh County for one term.[4]  In 1856, he was nominated by the Republican Party for lieutenant governor without his knowledge.  His running mate was Oliver P. Morton, but Morton was ultimately defeated by his Democrat challenger, Ashbel P. Willard, during this election.[5]

In 1860, the sounds of rattling sabers were heard throughout the South as the United States began to tumble out of control toward civil war.  During the early morning of April 12, 1861, a Confederate battery in Charleston fired the first shots on Fort Sumter leading the nation into the bloodiest war in its history.  In June of 1861, Indiana issued a call for fighting men throughout the counties bordering the Ohio River, including Vanderburgh County.  Conrad Baker answered his country’s call by organizing eight companies of men for service to the Union, and by the summer of 1861, the regiment consisted of ten companies that were subsequently titled the 28th Indiana Regiment. However, this designation will be changed to the 1st Indiana Cavalry Regiment in August 1861, with Conrad Baker nominated as Colonel.[6]  As Colonel Baker led eight companies of the 1st Indiana Cavalry to Missouri, his two remaining companies were detached for duty in the east.  Companies I and K of the 1st Indiana Cavalry provided escort duty for General Reynolds and General Rosecrans in the Department of Western Virginia. These two cavalry companies ultimately saw action during the Battle of Gettysburg on July 1, 1863, serving with Maj. Gen. Oliver O. Howard’s 11th Corps of the Army of the Potomac. Baker was not present for the fight at Gettysburg, but it is more than likely that he reflected on the safety and well-being of the citizens of his former home.

INdiana State Monument Courtesy of Gburg Daily

Indiana State Monument. The 1st Indiana Cavalry is one of the few Union units that have no marker or monument on the Gettysburg battlefield. The two companies that served at Gettysburg are however, listed on the Indiana State Monument. Image courtesy of gettysburgdaily.com

Conrad Baker served for over three years as the Colonel of the 1st Indiana Cavalry, seeing action in Missouri, Arkansas, and Mississippi.  On April 29, 1863, Baker received an order from Secretary of War Edwin Stanton to proceed from Helena, Arkansas back to Indianapolis, Indiana, and report to the Provost Marshal General.  Once Baker returned to Indianapolis, he was assigned as the Assistant Provost Marshall.  Baker was tasked with the organization of the Provost Marshal’s Bureau for the state of Indiana.[7]   Indiana’s Adjutant General W.H.H. Terrell wrote in Indiana In the War of the Rebellion that Baker’s, “fine ability as a lawyer, superior qualifications as a thorough and methodical business man, with his incorruptible integrity and the experience of eighteen months’ active service in the field, made his appointment eminently fit and proper, and entirely acceptable to the people of the State.”[8]

Baker remained the Assistant Provost Marshal until he was honorably discharged from the army on October 10, 1864.  Once Baker’s military career came to an end, he began to take a keen interest in public service.  Although Conrad Baker was not a candidate or applicant for the position of Lieutenant Governor during the1864 election year, he was unanimously added to the Republican ticket after General Nathan Kimball declined the nomination.[9]  The Republican ticket of Morton and Baker will win the election, but in October 1865, Governor Morton will suffer a paralytic stroke that will incapacitate him.  Morton will temporarily leave office and make a trip to Europe looking for a cure for his paralysis, to no avail.  This placed Conrad Baker in the office of Governor for a short period of time as the Civil War drew to a close.  In 1867, Oliver Morton was elected to the U.S. Senate to represent the state of Indiana.  This placed Baker in the position of Governor until the election of 1868.  Baker was nominated and elected to serve his first full term as the Governor of Indiana.[10] After Baker had served his term as governor, he returned to his law practice for the remaining years of his life.  On April 28, 1885, the man who grew up on a farm, and practiced law in Gettysburg passed away.  He is buried in Evansville, Indiana.

Park Ranger Brian D. Henry

[1] Robert Sobel and John Raimo, Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 1 (Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978).

[2] George Derby and James Terry White, National Cyclopedia of American Biography, Volume 13 (New York: James T. White & Company, 1906), 272.

[3] William Edward Chute, A Genealogy and History of the Chute Family in America (Salem, MA: s.n., 1894), 75.

[4]  John H. B. Nowland, Sketches of Prominent Citizens of 1876: With a Few of the Pioneers of the City and County who Have Passed Away (Indianapolis: Tilford & Carlon, 1877), 229.

[5] Indiana State Library, “Conrad Baker Papers,” Updated by Barbara Hilderbrand, February 2007. http://www.in.gov/library/4695.htm  Accessed: July 20, 2014.

[6] W.H.H. Terrell, Adjutant General, Indiana, Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Indiana, Volume 2 (Indianapolis: Samuel M. Douglass, State Printer, 1866).

[7] Nowland, Sketches, 229.

[8] W.H.H. Terrell, Indiana in the War of the Rebellion, Volume 1 (Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Bureau, 1869), 67.

[9] Nowland, Sketches, 230.

[10] Ibid.

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Update – Addressing challenges at Little Round Top – the planning process continues

Breastworks created by Union soldiers at the summit of Little Round Top on the evening of July 2, 1863.  These prominent rocks can easily be located today by looking downhill towards the south from the 44th and 12th New York Infantry monument.

Breastworks created by Union soldiers at the summit of Little Round Top on the evening of July 2, 1863. These prominent rocks can easily be located today by looking downhill towards the south from the 44th and 12th New York Infantry monument.

Little Round Top is one of the most visited landscapes within Gettysburg National Military Park.  A broad area around the summit with numerous cultural landscape features is subjected to a tremendous amount of pedestrian and vehicular traffic throughout the year. Overuse without sufficient visitor wayfinding has negatively impacted cultural resources, both battle era features such as earthworks, and commemorative features such as monuments there. Heavy visitor use has also contributed to the degradation of the natural landscapes features, resulting in serious erosion of the site and compaction of soils that inhibits the growth of grasses and other ground cover. One of the primary circulation problems at Little Round Top is the conflict between buses, pedestrians, cars, bicycles and Segways.

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A public scoping session will be Thursday, December 4, at the conclusion of Gettysburg National Military Park’s Advisory Commission meeting at 7:00 p.m. The meeting will be at the park Museum and Visitor Center, 1195 Baltimore Pike, Gettysburg. Since the meeting is being held after visiting hours, access will be through the museum’s group tour entrance.

At the scoping meeting the public will be invited to comment on strategies that provide solutions for overuse, overcrowding and landscape degradation, and identify appropriate locations for visitor conveniences at Little Round Top, as part of an environmental assessment (EA) planning process.

Comments from scoping will be incorporated into an EA. In 2012, to better understand the site and its uses today and over the past 150 years the National Park Service (NPS) prepared a Cultural Landscape Report (CLR) detailing site history, existing conditions, character analysis and recommendations. Through the CLR, a defined purpose and need was developed for the preservation of Little Round Top: Provide solutions for overuse, overcrowding and landscape degradation and identify appropriate locations for visitor conveniences at Little Round Top, one of Gettysburg National Military Park’s most heavily visited sites.

Stay tuned for your opportunity to comment on this EA in spring 2015. To Eroded paths LRTaccomplish the NPS goal of protecting park resources while providing solutions for use of Little Round Top, we are now conducting an EA planning process to guide decisions on the rehabilitation of Little Round Top. In spring 2015, the EA will be issued for public review, followed by a NPS decision document. The EA will be conducted in accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (NEPA) and its implementing regulations (40 CFR 1500-1508); the NEPA regulations of the Department of the Interior (43 CFR Part 46); and NPS Director’s Order #12, Conservation Planning, Environmental Impact Analysis, and Decision-Making (DO-12) and accompanying DO-12 Handbook (2001).

Primary.NPSCentennialLogo.FullColorIn celebration of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016, the Gettysburg Foundation plans on raising funds for the rehabilitation of this important piece of ground, which will include NPS plans for vehicular circulation, parking for cars and buses, pedestrian circulation, and gathering spaces for groups and individuals, determined through the EA.

Katie Lawhon, Management Assistant, 12/2/14

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Winter Lecture Series 2015 – The War in 1865 and Beyond

Ray Matlock_NPS_Gettysburg NMP

Photo courtesy of Ray Matlock, Gettysburg Foundation

Winter’s cold does not deter Gettysburg’s rangers from continuing to study and develop programs on the meaning, significance, and impact of the battle of Gettysburg and the American Civil War. From January through early March, Gettysburg National Military Park will offer a series of lectures that touch on many different aspects of the Civil War in 1865 with programs expanding beyond the boundaries of the Gettysburg Campaign. The consequences of the conflict, presidents and generals, the final battles and profound decisions, the aftermath and reconstruction will all be examined.

Programs are held on weekends in the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center at 1:30 PM.  The lectures from January 3 to February 22 will be held in one of the theaters and the lectures on February 28, March 1, 7, and 8 will be held in the Ford Education Center. All lectures are free and open to the public.

For more information, call the Visitor Information Desk at 717-334-1124 ext. 8023

Can’t make it to Gettysburg? All Winter Lectures will be filmed and made available on our park YouTube page: youtube.com/GettysburgNPS 


Winter Lectures Series – 2015
The War in 1865 and Beyond

Saturday, January 3
Robert E. Lee Comes Home from War – 1865 to 1870
Lee came home from Appomattox confronting an uncertain future.  He faced unemployment, failing health, and a potential indictment for treason.  Yet, Lee’s post-war years also represent a remarkable chapter for the once great general as he helped to set the tone for a torn nation beginning the long process of reconciliation and reunion.
– Matt Atkinson, GNMP

Sunday, January 4
“Not Yet!” Longstreet at Appomattox
Join Ranger Karlton Smith and examine the role played by Lt. Gen. James Longstreet in the final movements of the Army of Northern Virginia from Petersburg on April 2 to Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865. This lecture will trace Longstreet’s role in the fall and retreat from Petersburg, his reactions to Grant’s demands for surrender, as well as Longstreet’s return to his home in Georgia. – Karlton Smith, GNMP

Saturday, January 10
Famous Utterances on the Road to Appomattox: Importance of Rhetoric and Language in the War’s Final Hours
This lecture explores the richer contextual meaning of words uttered in the final days and hours of the war in the East. Because language and rhetoric are so vital in shaping perceptions then and now, it is important to look back at some of the statements made by Lee, Grant, Longstreet and others that helped to define memory of the war. Moreover, these words help us peer into the soul of a generation – Troy Harman, GNMP

Sunday, January 11
“It was, indeed, a scene of unsurpassed grandeur and majesty” – An Audio-Visual Presentation of the National Park Service’s Coverage of the 150th Anniversary of the American Civil War
Over the past four years, the National Park Service has covered the commemoration of the 150th Anniversary of the American Civil War through extensive photography and video projects. From behind the camera, Jason’s team of passionate and dedicated staff and volunteers have spent countless hours capturing these once-in-a-lifetime events. They have been used for immediate use on web and social media sites for a worldwide audience and have been saved and cataloged for ages to come. Beginning with the First Battle of Manassas (Bull Run) in July, 2011, Jason will highlight some of the most remarkable and stunning pictures and videos from the past four years.
– Jason Martz, Visual Information Specialist, Northeast Region, NPS

Saturday, January 17
Rocking the Cradle of the Confederacy – Sherman in South Carolina, 1865
Following his successful capture of Savannah in December of 1864, General Sherman’s next target proved to be South Carolina – “the cradle of the Confederacy.”   The intensity of his next campaign, almost countermanded before it commenced, proved in sharp contrast to his army’s advance through Georgia and North Carolina.  Opposed by relatively few, Sherman’s troops were determined here to leave “a warning to future generations to beware of treason.”    – Bertram Barnett, GNMP 

Sunday, January 18
The Civil War – A Waypoint in Military History
The Civil War provided a transformational platform for innovations in equipment, leadership, procedures and soldiering that had far-reaching impacts on the journey of the American military.  While in some instances these changes were immediate, others came with time. All had their roots in the four year conflict.  In this one hour lecture we will explore the broad and specific impacts the Civil War had on the American military.
– William Hewitt, GNMP

Saturday, January 24
What Gettysburg Meant:  Civil War Veterans Reflect on America’s Most Famous Battle

Few events figure as prominently in the American story as the battle of Gettysburg. In the past century and a half the three-day struggle has come to occupy a central place in our national memory and understanding of the American Civil War. But, what did Gettysburg mean to the Union and Confederate veterans who fought there? How did they reflect on its legacy and meaning in the decades immediately following the end of the four year conflict? Join Christopher Gwinn for a look at the significance of the battle of Gettysburg from the perspective of the men who fought there and lived to tell the tale.
– Christopher Gwinn, GNMP 

Sunday, January 25
If These Things Could Talk- 1865

Original objects from the park’s museum collection are examined for the larger stories they tell about the war in 1865 and the end of the four year conflict.
– Tom Holbrook, GNMP

Saturday, January 31
The Final Fourteen Days of Father Abraham

April 1865 marked one of the most dramatic and momentous times in American history. Join Ranger Chuck Teague and discover what Father Abraham experienced as the American Civil War drew to a climax. What would the first two weeks of that month have been like from the perspective of President Lincoln?  Where did he go? Who did he meet with?  What were his conversations? His decisions? His mood each day?
– Chuck Teague, GNMP

Sunday, February 1
“My God! Has the army been dissolved?”  – The Battles at Sailor’s Creek, Virginia, April 6, 1865
In the closing days of the war, a desperate battle was fought adjacent to a slow moving creek ten miles north of Burkeville, Virginia. Nearly one-third of Lee’s army, trapped between closely pursuing Union infantry and cavalry, fought a desperate battle that ultimately failed to prevent the devastating blow suffered by Lee’s command on the banks of this now tranquil stream. The final days of the Army of Northern Virginia were at hand and a mortified Lee was left to rally the remnants on the road to Appomattox.
– John Heiser, GNMP

Saturday, February 7
Going Back: Returning to Fields of Glory

After the Civil War, veterans returned to the Fredericksburg area to tour the fields and forests that witnessed some of the war’s most brutal combat. Some came to dedicate monuments, make speeches, or share camaraderie with old tent-mates. Each faced the hard reality of visiting a site of grief and glory: remembering friends long lost, recalling sites of hospitals and suffering, and noting great deeds and decisions in otherwise ordinary places. What compelled these men to return to these battlefields, and how did they experience these places that had defined their past?
– Beth Parnicza, Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park

Sunday, February 8
Going Home: The Grand Review and Demobilizing of the Armies

In the spring of 1865, even before all the shooting stopped and well before the government officially declared the war to be over, the United States began the awesome task of demobilizing its volunteer armies and sending the boys home. This program will examine the ways in which it did so and will include a look at the famed Grand Review of the Armies in Washington, D.C., on May 23-24, 1865, a discussion of the problems encountered in demobilizing the armies, and a look some of the experiences shared by Union veterans upon their return home. Topics related to the demobilization–or disbanding–of Confederate forces will also be discussed. – John Hoptak, GNMP

Saturday, February 14
 “A Peculiar Institution” –  A Century of Licensed Guiding at the Gettysburg National Military Park
October 17, 1915 the Gettysburg National Military Park began active enforcement of a newly enacted regulation requiring anyone conducting a tour of the battlefield to be duly licensed.  Yet the roots of the uniquely peculiar institution that has become the Licensed Battlefield Guides or LBG’s stretch back to the immediate aftermath of the great battle.  What caused the War Department to establish licensing regulations and how has the guide force evolved over the past century?
– Frederick Hawthorne, Licensed Battlefield Guide

Sunday, February 15
“Martyrs of the Race Course” – The Forgotten Decoration Day
On May 1, 1865 Union soldiers, some members of United States Colored Troops regiments, along with thousands of black men and women in Charleston, South Carolina came together to honor Union dead of the late conflict.  Confined in an outdoor racetrack turned prison outside of the city, nearly 300 Union soldiers had perished from illness and disease and were hastily and improperly buried.  With the fall of Charleston to Union troops, numerous formerly enslaved peoples came to properly rebury these men and plan a ceremony in their honor to remember their sacrifice.  Today, the origins of this first Decoration Day have largely been ignored and forgotten.
– Dan Welch,  Gettysburg Foundation
 

Saturday, February 21
“Injustice must cease before peace can prevail”- Frederick Douglass: The Post-Civil War Years

The self-emancipated Frederick Douglass had long argued and fought for the abolishment of slavery in America, and with the end of the Civil War and the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment, had seen the ultimate dissolution of the institution. For some abolitionists, the mission had been accomplished and their work fulfilled.  Frederick Douglass, however, saw much danger in this moment of joy.  For the next thirty years Douglass would continue to fight to ensure that the legacy of emancipation was not lost and guarantee voting rights and equality for the disenfranchised, including blacks and women. In many of his writings and speeches Douglass spoke about the meaning and memory of the Civil War.  As many white Northerners and Southerners began to omit slavery and the role blacks had played, Douglass argued that the war had been an “abolition war” and fought to control how Americans would remember the calamitous struggle and what lessons the nation should learn from it.
- Mark Maloy, Frederick Douglass National Historic Site

Sunday, February 22
From the Battlefield to the White House—The Civil War Careers of Post-Civil War Presidents
From 1865 to the end of the 19th century, the United States saw enormous and transformative change, from binding the wounds of civil war to becoming an economic and industrial power. During these decades, the country was led by a variety of men who are often forgotten by historians today. These bearded presidents—Grant, Hayes, Garfield, Harrison, and McKinley—were different men seeking to accomplish sometimes conflicting goals, yet they all shared one similarity: the experience of combat during the Civil War. Their Civil War experiences shaped them as men and as leaders, and they carried those experiences with them in their post-war political careers. Join Ranger Dan Vermilya for a look at the Civil War careers of Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, Benjamin Harrison, and William McKinley.
– Daniel Vermilya, Antietam National Battlefield

Saturday, February 28
Monuments that Place Gettysburg in the Greater Context of the War
Gettysburg features several monuments and memorials that place the battle in context with the war’s overall meaning. They transcend the battle itself to communicate layered truths easily missed without proper perspective. This presentation will go beyond basic facts, dates of dedication and construction materials to decode monumental messages intended to reverberate through time. – Troy Harman, GNMP

Sunday, March 1
Special Film PresentationBuster Keaton in The General
This 1926 silent film is loosely based on a true incident that occurred during the Civil War. The story follows the trials and tribulations of Engineer Johnny Gray and the two loves of his life: his girl, Annabelle, and his locomotive.  The movie, best known for its remarkable sight gags, also represents one of the earliest attempts to apply humor and comedy to the carnage and destruction of the American Civil War.  Unrated. Runtime:  78 minutes
-Introduction and commentary by Evangelina Rubalcava, GNMP

Saturday, March 7
To the Brink of Collapse: The Final Campaign of the Army of Tennessee
On March 8, 1865 William T. Sherman crossed into North Carolina with an army of approximately sixty thousand men. Opposing Sherman was a small, feeble force of Confederates under Joseph Johnston.  Over the next two months these two men and their armies would make North Carolina the scene of chaos and conflict.  This program will explore the last days of the Army of Tennessee in North Carolina as the Confederacy collapsed around and within its ranks.
– Philip Brown, Guilford Courthouse National Military Park

Sunday, March 8
The Closing Scenes: Admiral David G. Farragut and the End of the Civil War
This program will follow Admiral Farragut from Mobile Bay to the end of the Civil War and examine his part in its closing scenes. The lecture will also explore Farragut’s post-war career through his death in Portsmouth, NH in 1870. – Karlton Smith, GNMP 


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Lincoln Speech Memorial Repair/Rehabilitation

Historic Preservation training Center staff at work on the memorial.

Historic Preservation Training Center staff at work on the memorial.

The National Park Service Historic Preservation Training Center just completed this project to address maintenance preservation issues associated with the Lincoln Speech Memorial in the Soldiers’ National Cemetery at Gettysburg National Military Park.

The Lincoln Speech Memorial is unique: it commemorates the speech Lincoln gave at Gettysburg and not the man himself. Thus, it is one of the few memorials in the

masonry out of alignment

masonry out of alignment

world dedicated to honor a speech. The bronze bust of Lincoln, by sculptor Henry Bush-Brown, reveals the heavy toll the war and the nation’s suffering had upon him. Inscribed in bronze on the right is the Gettysburg Address. On the left is the letter Lincoln received inviting him to speak at Gettysburg. To download a pdf of the National Cemetery Walking Tour brochure click here.

Tasks included documentation and evaluation of existing conditions, mapping and documentation of the general configuration and alignment of brick pavers in preparation for possible disassembly. The granite obelisks were disassembled and reset in their original locations as determined by mortar ghost lines. The granite stair units and adjacent concrete

stonework in need of repair

stonework in need of repair

curb units were out of alignment and were removed and realigned. Repointing of all mortar joints was completed. JOS micro-abrasive cleaning was completed on all non-polished granite surfaces.  Areas stone deterioration, spalling or other damage were repaired with dutchmans.

Work started in mid-August and was completed in early November, just in time for the 151st anniversary of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address on November 19th.

Gettysburg National Military Park wishes to thank the Gettysburg Foundation for funding this project with partial funding from the American Express Foundation and the Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation.  We also thank our national Park Service colleagues at the Historic Preservation Training Center for their excellent work and for many of the photos used in this blog.

Katie Lawhon, Management Assistant, 11/14/14

Repairs have been completed.

Repairs have been completed.

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