Early morning fire destroys barn used as a Civil War field hospital

LoyaltyOfDogs

Sergeant Major
Joined
Aug 8, 2011
Location
Gettysburg area

Tom Elmore

1st Lieutenant
Member of the Year
Joined
Jan 16, 2015
Jacob Schwartz farm. Site of a Union Second Corps hospital, it also received dozens of Confederates, including men from Heth’s division who fell in the July 3 charge against Cemetery Ridge (see following list). Some were buried between the Schwartz and Jacob Bushman farms. Two division hospitals of the Third Corps also occupied the ground nearby. It may have been this very barn that still held 100 Confederate wounded as of July 9.

Sgt Maj Robert G. Baines, 52 NC, died July 13
Capt Robert M. Brandon, D/2 MS
Pvt Lemuel Cooley, B/47 NC, died ca. July 14
Capt Henry Davenport, E/42 MS, died July 17
1st Sgt Albert L. Dement, F/47 NC, died July 23
Pvt William P. Elington, E/26 NC, died July 21
3Cpl William Freeman, I/2 MS
Pvt Elisha D. Gaddy, K/26 NC, died July 8
Sgt Matthew Goodson, A/52 NC, died July 12
Pvt Willis B. Grant, I/2 MS, died July 11
Pvt John Griffin, B/26 NC, died July 21
Pvt Andrew J. Hamby, G/42 MS
Pvt William F. Hardy, F/11 MS, died July 20
Pvt Alfred Hatley, I/52 NC, died July 17
Pvt Rufus Holmes, F/47 NC, died July 17
Pvt James C. House, C/47 NC, died July 20
Pvt William H. Howard, K/55 NC, died July 22
Pvt John R. Johnson, H/47 NC, died July 30.
Pvt John Thomas Jones, E/11 MS, died July 15
Sgt William M. Keel, I/42 MS
Pvt William H. Lile, I/11 MS, died August 1
Pvt Norvel J. McPherson, A/42 MS
Pvt Harris Mahorner, F/11 MS, died July 27
Pvt William B. Marcom, E/47 NC, died ca. July 3
Cpl Joseph J. Marshbourn, A/55 NC, died July 14
Pvt William C. Medlin, E/47 NC, died July 16
Pvt Thomas L. Medlin, E/47 NC, possibly
Pvt Joseph M. Miller, A/52 NC, died July 9 or 21
Lt William H. Moody, A/2 MS
Pvt Archibald Nixon, G/52 NC, died July 19
Pvt George Nixon, G/52 NC, died July 20
Pvt William A. Puckett, K/55 NC, died July 23
Pvt William Reynolds, 42 MS
Pvt James Saunders, H/52 NC, died July 19
Lt James M. Seals, F/42 MS, died July 20
Pvt James W. Shankle, I/52 NC, died July 6
Cpl Thomas N. Simmons, C/14 TN, died July 27
Sgt Benjamin A. Sims, B/11 MS, died July 5
Pvt John Smith, F/14 TN, grave still marked a year later
Pvt John S. Smith, A/11 NC, died July 15
Sgt William H. Smith, K/26 NC, died July 18
Lt John M. Spencer, G/42 MS, grave still marked a year later
Pvt R. L. Todd, D/11 NC, died July 26
Pvt John R. Waller, I/52 NC, died July 23
Pvt John J. Whitley, E/2 MS, died July 16
 
Last edited:

LoyaltyOfDogs

Sergeant Major
Joined
Aug 8, 2011
Location
Gettysburg area
Jacob Schwartz farm. Site of a Union Second Corps hospital, it also received dozens of Confederates, including men from Heth’s division who fell in the July 3 charge against Cemetery Ridge (see following list). Some were buried between the Schwartz and Jacob Bushman farms. Two division hospitals of the Third Corps also occupied the ground nearby.

Sgt Maj Robert G. Baines, 52 NC, died July 13
Capt Robert M. Brandon, D/2 MS
Pvt Lemuel Cooley, B/47 NC, died ca. July 14
Capt Henry Davenport, E/42 MS, died July 17
1st Sgt Albert L. Dement, F/47 NC, died July 23
Pvt William P. Elington, E/26 NC, died July 21
3Cpl William Freeman, I/2 MS
Pvt Elisha D. Gaddy, K/26 NC, died July 8
Sgt Matthew Goodson, A/52 NC, died July 12
Pvt Willis B. Grant, I/2 MS, died July 11
Pvt John Griffin, B/26 NC, died July 21
Pvt Andrew J. Hamby, G/42 MS
Pvt William F. Hardy, F/11 MS, died July 20
Pvt Alfred Hatley, I/52 NC, died July 17
Pvt Rufus Holmes, F/47 NC, died July 17
Pvt James C. House, C/47 NC, died July 20
Pvt William H. Howard, K/55 NC, died July 22
Pvt John R. Johnson, H/47 NC, died July 30.
Pvt John Thomas Jones, E/11 MS, died July 15
Sgt William M. Keel, I/42 MS
Pvt William H. Lile, I/11 MS, died August 1
Pvt Norvel J. McPherson, A/42 MS
Pvt Harris Mahorner, F/11 MS, died July 27
Pvt William B. Marcom, E/47 NC, died ca. July 3
Cpl Joseph J. Marshbourn, A/55 NC, died July 14
Pvt William C. Medlin, E/47 NC, died July 16
Pvt Thomas L. Medlin, E/47 NC, possibly
Pvt Joseph M. Miller, A/52 NC, died July 9 or 21
Lt William H. Moody, A/2 MS
Pvt Archibald Nixon, G/52 NC, died July 19
Pvt George Nixon, G/52 NC, died July 20
Pvt William A. Puckett, K/55 NC, died July 23
Pvt William Reynolds, 42 MS
Pvt James Saunders, H/52 NC, died July 19
Lt James M. Seals, F/42 MS, died July 20
Pvt James W. Shankle, I/52 NC, died July 6
Cpl Thomas N. Simmons, C/14 TN, died July 27
Sgt Benjamin A. Sims, B/11 MS, died July 5
Pvt John Smith, F/14 TN, grave still marked a year later
Pvt John S. Smith, A/11 NC, died July 15
Sgt William H. Smith, K/26 NC, died July 18
Lt John M. Spencer, G/42 MS, grave still marked a year later
Pvt R. L. Todd, D/11 NC, died July 26
Pvt John R. Waller, I/52 NC, died July 23
Pvt John J. Whitley, E/2 MS, died July 16
Thanks for this, @Tom Elmore. It really drives home the scale of the tragedy that individual farm families witnessed while the wounded were cared for in their barns and homes. Today's Gettysburg Times newspaper, following up on yesterday's report of the fire, references the Aaron Sheely barn, which it says the HG-AC Barn Registry lists as being owned by the Gettysburg Outlet Center. It's apparently quite close to the Schwartz farm, and maybe that's why the news media hadn't specified which Civil War hospital site was the one that burned. Do you have similar information on the hospital at the Sheely farm?
 
Last edited:

Tom Elmore

1st Lieutenant
Member of the Year
Joined
Jan 16, 2015
The Aaron Sheely farm was close to the Jacob Schwartz farm as Coco's map shows. Hundreds of wounded of both armies were spread out around the area, with three Union corps hospitals located with a quarter mile of each other. Dr. Bushrod W. James served as a volunteer surgeon as a member of the Christian Commission. He arrived at the Sheely place after the battle, and he worked in the hospital tents just to the north, and at operating tables just to the west on the wooded crest of what was known as Red Hill. But I don't have specific information on the Sheely barn as a hospital. Brig. Gen. Marsena R. Patrick, Provost Marshal under Meade, and his staff took refuge in the barn during the heavy rains on July 4, and it was his headquarters through at least the evening of July 6. (Greg Coco, A Vast Sea of Misery)
 

Tom McGrath

Cadet
Joined
Apr 29, 2021
I walked through this barn a few years ago. It looked all original inside, but also very neglected. I just wish there had been more attention paid to it both commemorating and protecting it.
There are other neglected Civil War structures around Gettysburg. The farmhouse at the stone quarry on Baltimore Pike as well as another house near the off ramp from 15 to York St. To my knowledge these were both there during the battle.
 
Last edited:

bayonet

Corporal
Joined
Nov 7, 2012
Sad, I used to live in upstate NY many years ago and there was an old Dutch Quaker Meeting House/Church dating to the 1620s. Some dumb kid as I remember in his 20s was fooling around and burned it down. Family got a good Lawyer and claimed mental health issues (boo hoo an excuse many over use) so I believe he avoided jail time. Just a terrible waste.
 

hoosier

1st Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Dillsburg, PA
I walked through this barn a few years ago. It looked all original inside, but also very neglected. I just wish there had been more attention paid to it both commemorating and protecting it.
There are other neglected Civil War structures around Gettysburg. The farmhouse at the stone quarry on Baltimore Pike as well as another house near the off ramp from 30 to York St. To my knowledge these were both there during the battle.
I'm a bit confused about the location of one of the houses you mentioned. To the best of my recollection, York St. in Gettysburg and Route 30 are the same street, so I don't see how there could be an off ramp from 30 to York St.

Did you perhaps mean to refer to an off ramp from Route 15 to York St.?
 

Tom McGrath

Cadet
Joined
Apr 29, 2021
Ha! Yes Route 15 off ramp to York St. It is the lot they recently developed into a strip mall....Taco Bell and Panera I believe.
You can see the house from the off ramp.
Sorry for the confusion... : )
 
Last edited:

redbob

Major
Regtl. Staff Shiloh 2020
Joined
Feb 18, 2013
Location
Hoover, Alabama
From a firefighter's standpoint, while sprinklers and other fire protection equipment certainly save lives and property, they aren't inexpensive, require maintenance and an individual property owner probably wouldn't have the financial resources to install them in an old barn-regardless of how historical it is.
 
Joined
May 12, 2018
I suspect that the key to preventing these sorts of fires is twofold: firstly decent physical security, so nobody can just wander and burn the place down, and secondly regular maintenance which addresses fire risks (oily rags, bad wiring ect). Redbob, I’d be interested to hear your thoughts?

Its a shame that there aren’t better anti-fire systems available to the average consumer. I can see where sprinklers would not work well in a historical structure, but I won’t if you couldn’t have some kind of automatically triggered chemical foam canister system? Some kind of system which would have a low volume of fire retardant but could be installed discretely room by room in historic houses? I think each device would have to be a self contained element, since retrofitting a large system would not be possible. Honestly, even outside the historical preservation industry I think it would be a good option to have.

I’m not sure that sort of thing would have helped in this situation as I imagine that the sheer open volume of a barn would make a fire hard to contain, however.
 
Top