A forensic examination of Jennie Wade's death yields intriguing new revelations


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jgoodguy

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Pat Young

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#11
There's a photo of the north door still in place. I'm not arguing about your results, but the photo seems to be real. It's from a post war book. You've done a lot of wonderful work and I'm not challenging anything, it seems to be the door still in place, wood with bullet hole circled.

View attachment 295790
Hello. I always welcome feedback, so thank you. Yes, you are correct - this is one of the original doors, but it was not located here (northern side of residence) in 1863. This photo was taken after the house became a museum (c. 1903 or 1904 I believe). The door you have pictured here was originally located on the northwestern corner of the house when Jennie was killed. The photo included as Figure 3 in my paper (c. 1897 - prior to the site becoming a museum) is this very door. The circled bullet hole in your photo can also be seen in Figure 3 when the door was sitting at the northwestern corner of the house. If you look closely at the photos from 1863 (figs 2a and 2b), the windowed door is not where it is today (southeastern corner of residence), so it probably remained as the true front door from when Jennie was killed until some time after 1904. The notch in the windowed door (Fig 8) corresponds to the approximate height of Jennie's shoulder blade (she was 5'1"). This door is the same windowed door in Figure 1a that now resides at the southwestern corner of the museum. When all the doors are relocated to their original (1863) positions, the bullet holes match quite nicely and indicate that the fatal shot never struck the door you posted or the parlor door. That bullet came from the western side of the house. Anyway, hope this helps. :smile:
 

Northern Light

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This is quite interesting. Thank you for sharing it with us.
You know, Virginia Wade's story has always irritated me. What was she thinking to be in the kitchen while there was fighting going on around the house? Now with your explanation of the windows in the door, it makes even less sense for her to make herself such a visible target. How needless was her death. Why was she not in the cellar?
 

JPK Huson 1863

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Hello. I always welcome feedback, so thank you. Yes, you are correct - this is one of the original doors, but it was not located here (northern side of residence) in 1863. This photo was taken after the house became a museum (c. 1903 or 1904 I believe). The door you have pictured here was originally located on the northwestern corner of the house when Jennie was killed. The photo included as Figure 3 in my paper (c. 1897 - prior to the site becoming a museum) is this very door. The circled bullet hole in your photo can also be seen in Figure 3 when the door was sitting at the northwestern corner of the house. If you look closely at the photos from 1863 (figs 2a and 2b), the windowed door is not where it is today (southeastern corner of residence), so it probably remained as the true front door from when Jennie was killed until some time after 1904. The notch in the windowed door (Fig 8) corresponds to the approximate height of Jennie's shoulder blade (she was 5'1"). This door is the same windowed door in Figure 1a that now resides at the southwestern corner of the museum. When all the doors are relocated to their original (1863) positions, the bullet holes match quite nicely and indicate that the fatal shot never struck the door you posted or the parlor door. That bullet came from the western side of the house. Anyway, hope this helps. :smile:

Yes it does, thank you. I'm ( again ) not arguing or challenging your theory. Heck, how could I? I'm not an academic nor have done investigations. One thing about the book photo that bugs me is why only one hole has been circled? There are several. The others make more sense if snipers were on an upper floor? Is it possible no doors were glass in 1863? Only asking because one photo seems to be before they preserved the home ( looks like roof and cellar door sure needed attention ).

mcclellan wade hs snip.jpg
 

JPK Huson 1863

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#16
This is quite interesting. Thank you for sharing it with us.
You know, Virginia Wade's story has always irritated me. What was she thinking to be in the kitchen while there was fighting going on around the house? Now with your explanation of the windows in the door, it makes even less sense for her to make herself such a visible target. How needless was her death. Why was she not in the cellar?

Yes, it does seem odd- I did notice the cellar doors are outside, they'd have had to go out, open those things and get down there. There were also 2 kids, that famous 2 week old baby of her sister's and a small disabled child Virginia and her mother cared for. Georgiana said afterwards her sister had baked bread previously for the soldiers, handing it out from the front door ( a soldier's account which may not be apocryphal has him remembering getting bread from the Wade house ). Who knows, maybe she was at it again although yes, risky.
 
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#18
This is quite interesting. Thank you for sharing it with us.
You know, Virginia Wade's story has always irritated me. What was she thinking to be in the kitchen while there was fighting going on around the house? Now with your explanation of the windows in the door, it makes even less sense for her to make herself such a visible target. How needless was her death. Why was she not in the cellar?
Hello and thanks for your interest in the article. The way I understand it (based on what I have read), there are a few reasons why she decided to remain. One reason may have been because her sister was quite ill after giving birth to her son only days before the battle began and she and her mother were there to attend to her. I'm sure it would have been an inconvenience to relocate, but they were warned by both sides and decided to remain and the rest is history. Another reason may have been that they (like many Gettysburg residents) were clueless as to what was going to unfold - at least the magnitude of the danger. There had been numerous false alarms leading up to the actual battle and in fact, many folks left their homes and returned several times with their horses and possessions. This may have been a case of the boy who called wolf - when the real battle began, the town was overrun on the first day of battle. Thereafter, it would have been more challenging to leave safely. They also may have initially felt secure because the Federal units were quite literally in their backyard. Lastly, I think Jennie simply exhibited a heart of service. Besides attending to her sister, she and her mother saw men dying and attended to them. They feed them and provided water free of charge. Of course other Gettysburg residents did too. Just some thoughts anyway, for what they are worth.
 
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#20
Yes, it does seem odd- I did notice the cellar doors are outside, they'd have had to go out, open those things and get down there. There were also 2 kids, that famous 2 week old baby of her sister's and a small disabled child Virginia and her mother cared for. Georgiana said afterwards her sister had baked bread previously for the soldiers, handing it out from the front door ( a soldier's account which may not be apocryphal has him remembering getting bread from the Wade house ). Who knows, maybe she was at it again although yes, risky.
Interesting post! That's a good point - the food (essentially bread) or the means to cook it, were in the kitchen. The well was outside around the corner of the cellar. So making numerous trips in and out of the house would have been particularly perilous. The July heat probably kept them from seeking shelter upstairs.
 



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