Brev. Brig. Gen'l
- Feb 14, 2012
- Central Pennsylvania
Amelia Harmon's father was away, a trooper with a Pennsylvania Cavalry regiment. Her home in July, 1863? Sandwiched between these lines and names now carved in blood, Time and chalked bone.
Miss Carrie Shead's famous story like so many others was picked up by the National Press, blown on, magnified and added to. Carrie was a school marm, ma'am. Her house was now a hospital, and battlefield shambles. Brave? Yes. Also busy.
"A number of the North Carolina dead were buried on Harman’s property not far from Willoughby Run. Amelia Miller was living at the Harman farm with her aunt at the time of the battle. She and her aunt were forced to flee when Pettigrew’s soldiers swept through the property and set fire to the house and other buildings. She returned to the farm on July 5. “I will not describe the sickening sights of the ground over which we passed,” she wrote, “I would that I myself could forget them.” She found at the site of her home “only a blackened ruin and the silence of death.”
There's a book describing Amelia's relief at finding Confederate soldiers willing to help her- and apparently did so.
Not a long thread, swear. Bumped into this, in The Compiler, from Gettysburg, December, 1863. The press had just re-named poor Mary Virginia Wade. Elizabeth Thorn had anonymously for now buried 100 assorted dead, not for patriotic reasons but all that came later, several wounded women whose names we still do not discussed limped through Gettysburg and one woman, exhausted but frantic to save wounded- died. Just poof- died. Compassion killed her. The rest, labored in those hospitals.Read quite a few press accounts where they all just went home after the Sanitary Commission arrived. Good grief.
Carrie Sheads is portrayed in a neat, clean dress, bedside to a Union officer while her story unfolds. It is a 1,000th of her story, frantically nursing and attending gruesome deathbeds. While a terrific story, I'd have slapped someone and commend her restraint. Amelia, her student, kept her head-sights which would send squads of CPS case workers to her rescue, met her eyes, squished between armies, these accounts from 1863 seem the seeds of future legend although better than later versions. Will keep looking.