Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Top 10 Stories Behind the Structures At Gettysburg

1. This is the home of Mary Virginia Wade "Jennie Wade" the only civilian killed during the Battle of Gettysburg. The house is now a winery.  I guess it is an appropriate place to salute, Ms. Mary Virginia Wade.

2. I have heard two versions of the story and did not go inside the museum for the "real" story. Jennie was approximately five blocks away from her home.  It is a rather short walking distance.  She was inside the home of her sister Georgia McClellan.  I have heard her mother and brothers fled their home along with Jennie and I have heard that only Jennie was there helping her sister who had just had a newborn baby.  Jennie was making bread when a shot came through the kitchen door and killed her.  It was said that the family made bread for the troops.  There has never been a confirmation whether it was a bullet from a Confederate or Union rifle.  Over 150 bullet holes were found in the structure of the house. You can still visibly see many of them especially in the door. How many can you count?

3. Jennie was originally buried in the back yard of her sister's home. In 1864, her body was moved to the German Reform Church and later, November 1865 she was moved again to the Evergreen Cemetery her final resting place.  Here there is a monument designed by a Gettysburg resident, Anna Miller.  The memorial includes an American flag that flies 24 hours.  The only other site to display this perpetual tribute to a woman is the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia. Jennie is said to be one of the more popular spirits that roam the streets of Gettysburg.  Is it any wonder?  It took a while for this young lady to rest in peace.

4.  I found this to be one of the more disturbing stories that happened in the town.  In 1863, this was the home of Henry Stahle, the publisher of the Compiler newspaper.  His office was also on this site.  During the conflict, Stahle persuaded a Confederate surgeon to come into his home and perform a life saving amputation on a Union officer.  Stahle was temporarily incarcerated for aiding the enemy in capturing a Union officer and charged with disloyalty.  The charges were made by a political opponent.  Mr. Stahle was very vocal in his political beliefs in the newspaper.

 5.The Schriver and the Pierce Families were neighbors. During the fighting in Gettysburg Hettie Schriver decided to leave town and walk to her parents farm 3 miles away and take her two young daughters and a neighbors child, Tillie Pierce with her.  It landed them on the Weikert's Farm situated between Big Round Top and Little Round Top, a much worse case scenario.  When they returned after all the battles, Hettie was told that a sharpshooter held a position in her home and at least two Confederates were killed inside her home. Tillie Pierce was fifteen years old when she experience the first hand horrors of war.  She later wrote a book called "At Gettysburg,Or What a Young Girl Saw and heard of the Battle".  He home is now a bed and breakfast on Baltimore Street.


6.. In 1863, the Stoever-Schick building housed the family of Professor Stoever's family and the Schick general store.  During the unrest, the Stoever home became a makeshift hospital for about 20 wounded Union soldiers. After the end of the fighting the store was the store was taken over by the Christian Commission as the supply and distribution center.  The Stoever's held an open commissary in their backyard feeding countless hungry soldiers. This building is one of the four original building on Lincoln Square.  Next to the building is a monument tribute to Company K, First Pennsylvania Reserves.


7. General Meade made his headquarters at the Leister Farm during the Battle of Gettysburg. Lydia Leister, a widow was living there with her six children when she vacated the property just as the battle drew near.  She returned after the fighting to discover bullet holes in her home, trampled wheat and dead horses and extensive damage to her property.  The only compensation she received for the damage was the sale of the horse bones at fifty cents per hundred pounds.  Now I am curious, what are dead horse bones used for?
Meade's Headquarters

8. The house that Confederate General Robert E. Lee used as his headquarters was owned by Thaddeus Stevens and occupied by Mrs.Mary Thompson at the time of the conflict in Gettysburg.  I have read the Mrs. Thompson was none too pleased to have a "Rebel" in her home but he displayed gentlemanly qualities unlike the destruction and thievery displayed by his attendants.  This building is privately owned and is one of the oldest museums in Gettysburg.
Lee's Headquarters
9. Codori Farm was the site of heavy fighting July 2nd and the center of the fighting during Pickett's Charge on July 3rd. The farm was owned by Nicholas Codori but it is unclear who was living in the residence at the time of the engagement.  Wounded from both sides were sheltered inside the building and the grounds became a burial ground for over 500 Confederate soldiers.  Their remains were later moved.  The property is now owned by the National Park Service and it is occupied by personnel.  There is a question as to the authenticity of this being the location of Lee's Headquarters but i don't want to fight about it.

Codori Farm
10. The McLean House and Farm were owned by attorney Moses McLean who was living in town during the attacks. He was renting out the farm to David Beams and his wife.  Beams was a Union soldier away at another location during this conflict.  His wife and three year old child were forced to leave the area as the Confederates approach.  After the battle their possessions were either stolen or destroyed.  The property is now owned by the National Park Service.
McLean Farm

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