He Said " Angel Hands ", And Died, Alice Powers, When The Singing Stopped At Gettysburg

Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Messages
19,138
Location
Central Pennsylvania
emmetsburg road and baltimore pike.jpg

“ The girls did sing, the boys did shout, the ladies they did all turn out “

" Such an ovation seldom greets anyone. Groups singing war songs on each corner; cheers and shouts all along the line "
Alice Powers' description of the welcome greeting Buford's Cavalry here on Emmitsburg and Baltimore fork and all along their route

Came across this in a 1903 Gettysburg Compiler;

" GIRLS OF ' 63 TO SING "

This evening, commencing 7 30, a number of the women of Gettysburg who were girls on June 30, 1863 when Buford's Cavalry rode through town will sing some of the old war songs at the band stand in Centre Square. The idea originated with Mrs. Sallie M. Stewart and immediately took hold with the other women.


That's truncated We've heard how young girls sang and threw flowers, welcoming Buford's cavalry. Alice Powers and her sister were there along with Sallie Broadhead , Sallie Myers,Tillie Pierce and a cadre of names now familiar to generations of Americans. Songs? " Just before the Battle, Mother ", " Rally ' Round the Flag, Boys ", " Tramp, Tramp, Tramp the Boys are Marching ", " When this Cruel War is Over ", " Tenting Tonight ", " John Brown's Body "

Alice Powers, one of 5 sisters home ( believe it or not ) on vacation was a school teacher- of Power's Quarry ' fame, dad Solomon owned the Edwin Forbes left us in grim water color.
powers sisters.jpg

That's Lydia, Jane, Alice ( top, L-R ), Mary, Virginia ( bottom, L-R )

She remembers how surreally it all began, June 29th, how a memorial in Evergreen marked those fallen in a war nervously watched from a town too close to a border.
civ alice cemetery sunday.JPG

June 29th, 1863

gh snip4.JPG

Post battle shambles in Evergreen

" Of all the dark days ever endured Monday was the darkest. A pall of apprehension hung over the entire community.


There was no certain knowledge of the whereabouts of the Army of the Potomac. Early’s Cavalry was beyond us and scouts brought in news of a great Southern army moving this way. All day we waited in dread.


In the evening Sam Herbst on a swift horse started out on Emmitsburg Road to secure, if possible, some news on the Army of the Potomac. He came back late at night with comforting assurance, that the road this side of Fredericksburg was thronged with marching ranks of “ The Boys in Blue “. The news flew through the town like wildfire. Glad and thankful people sought rest that night with hearts relieved.


The dawn of Tuesday found the advance of Lee’s army but s short distance away.


The how welcome was the sight of Buford’s cavalry turning from the Emmitsburg Road into Washington Street. Those who twit us with being slow and quiet should have seen the speed with which both sides of Washington Street were filled and heard the welcome afforded “ The Boys “ . A few lines from an army song well express it.


“ The girls did sing, the boys did shout, the ladies they did all turn out “


Such an ovation seldom greets anyone. Groups singing war songs on each corner; cheers and shouts all along the line, and later on in many homes nice substantial welcome of such a dinner that one of them said “ as mother makes “. All day long we listened to the tramp of soldiers and rested secure at night under their protecting care. One of those same men whose wound received the next day, was attended in our home remarked thirty years afterward, that they always knew when they passed the line into Pennsylvania for they always met with such kindness and some good things provided for them to eat, nearly always pies, home made bread, apple butter and preserves. "

Alice Powers

Her account is well, awful. Here's the rest. It's mostly Wednesday- Thursday, Friday and Saturday seem condensed, as if her young brain stopped- just stopped, unable to stuff more horror in there.

The fight was on
civ alice wed.JPG

civ alice wed 2.JPG

pa 150th bucktails.JPG



civ alice wed 3.JPG



civ alice wed 4.JPG


civ alice wed 5.JPG


civ alice 5.JPG


civ alice wed 5.JPG


That's Wednesday, for Alice Powers. Thursday, next post. It's too long for one. The ' angel hands ' quote is from Thursday's account.
 
Last edited:

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Messages
19,138
Location
Central Pennsylvania
Next day, and apologize for length. A typist I am not, having turned my nose up the offer in 1975 like a big idiot. These civilians accounts are just so staggeringly good, seems worth squinting at newsprint anyway? Is it just me?

civ alice thurs 1.JPG

" Quite a number of the " boys in blue "... were hidden until it was all over and thus saved from capture ". Somewhere are queries on how many soldiers were hidden?


civ alice thurs 2.JPG


civ alice thurs 3.JPG



civ alice thurs angel hands.JPG

It's the simplicity in the telling which makes it believable- devoid of the usual Victorian embellishment, ' angel hands ' is on of the most singular dying sentences out of Gettysburg, IMO.

She just, plain stops here. Perhaps there is more from Alice somewhere and maybe this much is somewhere in a book. Alice shares this in a newspaper of her era because she wanted us to know. Thought it would be good to respect her wishes and thank you, Alice Powers.
civ alice thurs fri sat.JPG
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

Tom Elmore

2nd Lieutenant
Member of the Year
Joined
Jan 16, 2015
Messages
2,531
Assistant Surgeon James Fulton, 143rd Pennsylvania, worked at the Third Division, First Corps hospital established at the St. Xavier Roman Catholic Church on High Street.
 

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Messages
19,138
Location
Central Pennsylvania
Assistant Surgeon James Fulton, 143rd Pennsylvania, worked at the Third Division, First Corps hospital established at the St. Xavier Roman Catholic Church on High Street.

Thank you! Hate to ' gush ' but love Xavier's- maybe we just have more stories from there or more bios lead there but cannot read enough about it. One reason is how docs on both sides worked in the same hospital- not as some idyllic, cooperative measure with everyone vastly pleased with each other. It's a better story knowing how tense it was, rubbing elbows and they did it anyway, you know?

It's also awfully difficult finding extensive information on the Sisters who were there- even in 2018, the bios from their order are brief-ish, service valued, not fame. Have a thread somewhere on Xavier's- years ago, so probably very lacking. It's just always been a source of light to me, in all the post battle shambles. Should re-do the thread, with the surgeons identified.

https://civilwartalk.com/threads/nurses-at-gettysburg-40-sisters-of-charitys-history-in-blue-and-gray-blood.121179/#post-1268989
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Top