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Posts Tagged ‘civil war’

54th Massachusetts Monument

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Original quilt (1)

Original quilt (2)

On the way home this weekend, we made an impulsive stop at Antietam National Battlefield just outside Sharpsburg, Maryland. It was a whim, but we really couldn’t have picked a better time. Not only was there an artillery demonstration by a crew of re-enactors, but there was a textile display, and one of the central pieces was this quilt. It’s different from what I used to post about. The Pry Memory quilt was created when, following the battle, the Pry family moved to Tennessee. The signatures on the quilt blocks allowed the piece to be traced back to its origins.

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Jennie Wade house

Jennie Wade statue

As a follow-up to the previous post, these are photos of the Jennie Wade House, which of course was never known by that name during her life. Jennie was born and lived elsewhere, but she died in this house during the Battle of Gettysburg, and so it is the place most associated with her.

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Jennie Wade birthplace

Jennie Wade birthplace (2)

In the old section of Gettysburg, a house that doesn’t have a historical plaque or marker on it is in the minority. Any house that stood at the time of the battle bears a plaque stating that fact, like the top plaque on this house.

House plaques

However, this house is also the birthplace of Mary Virginia Wade, the only civilian killed during the Battle of Gettysburg. Twenty-year-old Ginnie Wade was staying with her sister, the Georgia Wade McClellan who unveiled the plaque. McClellan had just given birth when the sleepy little crossroads of Gettysburg was overrun by soldiers, and the family found themselves in the middle of the battle lines as the armies skirmished. Ginnie was kneading bread for baking when a bullet traveled through the door of the house and struck her in the back, killing her. Ginnie Wade’s sudden, tragic death brought her a fame she never could have expected in life, and Gettysburg now plays host to three tourist attractions associated with her: her grave in Evergreen Cemetery, the Jennie Wade House (her sister’s house where she was killed), and the Jennie Wade birthplace (a tasting room for Reid’s Winery).

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Peace Light

The Eternal Peace Light Memorial overlooks the scene of the early fighting of the Battle of Gettysburg, atop Oak Hill. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt dedicated the monument in 1938 as part of the final Blue and Gray reunion on the 75th anniversary of the battle. In attendance were approximately 1,800 remaining veterans of the Union and Confederate armies, the youngest of whom was 88 years old. Built on northern and southern donations, the memorial is topped with an eternal flame. You can hear Roosevelt’s remarks and view photos from the event here.

It’s also the subject of one of the earliest photos I ever took with my own camera that was worth keeping.

1989 Gettysburg Field Trip

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Sacred to the memory of Alexander Doull, Colonel of Artillery in the Army of the Potomac, previously lieutenant in the Royal British Artillery

The inscription on Colonel Doull’s tombstone reminds us of a fact about the United States Civil War that be forgotten – the important role that immigrants played in the armies. About 25% of the Union army was estimated to be foreign-born immigrants. With the rate of immigration in the 19th century, we also have to assume that there was a significant slice of the United States-born soldiers who had parents or grandparents who were immigrants.

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Samuel Pickands joined the 1st Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Artillery, on February 1, 1862. By the end of March, he was dead, most likely of disease. According to the Ohio Roster Commission’s Offical Roster of soldiers, Pickands died on March 25 in Parkersburg, West Virginia. The tombstone identifies his place of death as Virginia rather than West Virginia. As West Virginia did not enter the Union until June 20, 1863, Pickand and his family would have known the state where he died as Virginia. Even if they were aware of the movement for West Virginia to become its own state, the convention to create a state constitution did not present a document for ratification until mid-February, and the ratification occurred at least a month after Pickands’ death.

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100_2211

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There aren’t a lot of crosses in Gettysburg National Military Park. The 142nd Pennsylvania has this rough-hewn, rugged cross.

142nd Pennsylvania Infantry

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You’ve probably never heard of this particular Charles Dickinson, but it’s likely that you are familiar with his wife. In 1853, Dickinson was a musician in a traveling variety show, and he married one of the actresses, born Harriet Wood, but known to history as Pauline Cushman. Dickinson and his bride eventually returned to his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, where he found work as a music teacher. The couple lived with Dickinson’s parents and had two children, Charlie and Ida. At the end of 1861, Dickinson enlisted as a musician and marched off to the Civil War. In less than a year, he was discharged home in extremely poor health. He expired almost exactly a year after his enlistment. Cushman left her children with her husband’s family and resumed her acting career. Not long after, the opportunity presented itself to become a spy for the Union Army. Once she was discovered to be a spy and narrowly escaped execution, Cushman continued to travel the lecture circuit talking about her exploits. She was not present when either of her children by Dickinson died. The rift between Cushman and her first husband’s family, who resented what they considered her abandonment of her maternal duties, never healed.

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