Ladies At Gettysburg, A Small Tribute To Large Deeds

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JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Location
Central Pennsylvania
For all the estimated numbers of men those terrible days at Gettysburg, killed and wounded, prisoners and missing forever and those who shouldered muskets and cleaned sabres for long treks July 4th, there existed women thrown into the odious mix of battle and blood. For once soldiers were too occupied with business on-hand to notice feminine charms being much too grateful for their presence alone. Terribly wounded, beyond desperate; men were nursed, fed, dragged from death's clutching fist or walked hand in hand towards those welcoming shores. They buried dead, moisten cracked and dry lips, hid black neighbors from avaricious Rebel eyes, slipped through danger to a certain woodpile, bringing food and safety to a certain Union general.
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We'll never know who these Sanitary Commission nurses might be- stories will be singular but the same as so many others. They came to help.

They spent long months making sense of a battle torn town then welcomed war again, this time with purpose. Lincoln himself came to render their home sacred forever.

Some will be missing- remind me. Obviously so, so many unnamed. Citizens who took in wounded from the streets, allowed their carpets to be soaked in blood, Union and Confederate, heros all of them.

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Diana Sandoe was the first widow made by a Rebel bullet at Gettysburg

" George Washington Sandoe was a local of the Gettysburg area, hailing from Mount Joy, Pennsylvania. Unfortunately for George Sandoe, he has the unenviable title of being the first Union soldier killed in Gettysburg. "http://emergingcivilwar.com/2015/06/09/gettysburg-off-the-beaten-path-the-death-of-george-w-sandoe/

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The GJ George house, Gettysburg, Haven't found much information but am assuming the woman on the porch is either a nurse or Mrs. GJ George.

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Widow Leister seems to be a darkly clad image in a few photos of her home- albeit never identified as herself- is this her or an army officer? Just cannot tell!

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Mrs. Burns. You usually only see her husband- there's another photo of her somewhere. Found the dratted thing ages ago and cannot again. Mrs. Burns may have been a long-suffering soul. Your husband grabs his ancient gun in the middle of a battle and announces he is joining? And you know him well enough to know he means it?

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Mrs. Basil Biggs, Basil Biggs

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Harriet Hamilton Bayly, post war. Her story is that of a farm, family and extreme encounters with Confederates. One? Became a neighbor.

Biggs was hired to reinter Union dead, nearly 3,000, God Bless him. The government paid him around 1.25 dollars per, he did it anyway. His wife was there, no idea whether she helped but it's a fair bet.

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Our women of Gettysburg welcoming Union soldiers back into Gettysburg November, 1863

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Lee's HQ at Mrs. Thompson's house. Is the woman on the right she or a sister?
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It must be Mrs. Thompson, Brady and the bob-haired assistant we see again at Bryan's farm.

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Sallie Meyers
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Some women came and stayed until hospitals closed, tents collapsed, rolled and packed off to the next battlefield hospital. Temporary Gettysburg residents Sanitary Commission workers were missed.

tbc.....
 

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JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Location
Central Pennsylvania
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Maggie Palm was part of Gettysburg's thriving black community pre-battle, composed of people born 'free ' ( hate that designation, who was not? This disclaimer is not used for white people. ) and people not. Confederates had this weird idea they were looking at free jellybeans someone left laying around, swiped Maggie Palm right out of her shoes. Maggie Swiped herself right back. Most were not so lucky- taken South, 'sold' South, ( meaning selling an entire human being is not possible, either. We know Maggie did not think so. )

Crowds gather for celebrations and the consecration of our National Cemetery, ladies galore.
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In the news

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Nurse at Camp Letterman

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Meade's HQ, returned to original owner ( will remember her name very soon.... )

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Our Mary Tepe, viviandere at Gettysburg

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Lady in wagon, at gatehouse- could be the Thorns, figures in back seats.

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Camp Letterman, nurses, doctors and staff

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Elennsar

Colonel
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May 14, 2008
Location
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I can't think of anything eloquent at the moment to say about the subjects, so I'm just going to say that my ability to find words would never have been sufficient anyway.
 

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Location
Central Pennsylvania
Female Soldiers At Gettysburg

I must tell you that we have a female Secesh here. She was wounded at Gettysburg but our doctors soon found her out. They say she is very good looking but the poor girl has lost a leg. It is a great pity she did not stay at home with her mother but she gets good care and kind treatment.” Union soldier Thomas Reed, July 1863

" Two Confederate women were mortally wounded during the infamous Pickett’s Charge. One of the women died while storming a stone wall along Cemetery Ridge and the other died on the field. "

" According to “Women in the Civil War,” two Confederate women soldiers, cousins Mary and Mollie Bell, who served under General Jubal A. Early, did survive the battle of Gettysburg. "
http://civilwarsaga.com/female-soldiers-at-the-battle-of-gettysburg/

Martha Parks Lindley,female trooper serving as a man alongside her husband in the 6th US Regulars was at Gettysburg until Merrick sent this little regiment out to Fairfield on an investigative mission.

 

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JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Location
Central Pennsylvania
I can't think of anything eloquent at the moment to say about the subjects, so I'm just going to say that my ability to find words would never have been sufficient anyway.

What a lovely and eloquent thing to say! Noticably defeats the statement, but agreed and better than I could memorialize them so thank you!

Annie, nicely done post. Thank you!

Typically kind of you Mark, these women swarmed all the heck all over ' Kind ', you'd have a lot in common.
 
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JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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Joined
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Location
Central Pennsylvania
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Cornelia Hancock, legendarily kind, the Energizer Bunny of compassion arrived at Gettysburg almost immediately post-battle. Her first letter home July 8, 1863 contained this-

" I was the first woman who reached the Second Corps after the three days fight of Gettysburg. I was in that corps all day not another woman within 1/2 mile... women are needed very badly. There are no words in the English language to express the suffering I witnessed today. The men lie on the ground; their clothes have been cut off them to dress their wounds. They are half naked, have nothing but hard tack [very dense crackers] to eat only as the Sanitary Commissions, Christian Association, and so forth give them.

I gave to every man that had a leg or arm off a gill of wine, to every wounded in Third Division, one glass of lemonade, some bread and preserves and tobacco. They need it very much, they are so exhausted. I would get on first rate if they would not ask me to write to their wives; that I cannot do without crying. "
 

Anna Elizabeth Henry

1st Lieutenant
Silver Patron
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Location
New York, New York
The hardships faced by the women had to be extraordinary. Imagine your sleepy little town being invaded by thousands of soldiers who proceeded to blow your hamlet to pieces for three days. Women tirelessly baked bread during lulls in the battle to feed wounded men. Other women in town risked life and limb dodging Confederate sharpshooters at night to rush into the streets to give water to soldiers writhing in pain as they could not bear to listen to their cries for help. None of the women cared if they were Confederate or Union, they were someone's son, brother, husband.

The name of the woman escapes me now, but she was a resident of the town and heard that the Lutheran Seminary was in desperate need of medial supplies, especially a surgeon's kit as Union soldiers left behind with doctors had theirs confiscated by the Confederates who surrounded them. This brave lady the evening of July 2 took it upon herself to find a local doctor still in town, begged him for his surgical tools which she then ran up to the seminary at least a mile away from town through enemy lines. Then she made the same trip back to her home across enemy territory. Stories like hers - I have to remember to look her name up in the book I have at home - are not only astounding but show the courage these women had and expected nothing in return for it except having done the right thing.
 
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JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Location
Central Pennsylvania
The hardships faced by the women had to be extraordinary. Imagine your sleepy little town being invaded by thousands of soldiers who proceeded to blow your hamlet to pieces for three days. Women tirelessly baked bread during lulls in the battle to feed wounded men. Other women in town risked life and limb dodging Confederate sharpshooters at night to rush into the streets to give water to soldiers writhing in pain as they could not bear to listen to their cries for help. None of the women cared if they were Confederate or Union, they were someone's son, brother, husband.

The name of the woman escapes me now, but she was a resident of the town and heard that the Lutheran Seminary was in desperate need of medial supplies, especially a surgeon's kit as Union soldiers left behind with doctors had theirs confiscated by the Confederates who surrounded them. This brave lady the evening of July 2 took it upon herself to find a local doctor still in town, begged him for his surgical tools which she then ran up to the seminary at least a mile away from town through enemy lines. Then she made the same trip back to her home across enemy territory. Stories like hers - I have to remember to look her name up in the book I have at home - are not only astounding but show the courage these women had and expected nothing in return for it except having done the right thing.

Rats! Really must become better read! Had not come across her story although have no claim whatsoever to being more than a beginner. What I am is nosy, which can fool people. Pam will know too. She is an expert with an overlay of expert to spare. Thanks very much for bringing her up!

Yes, depending on agenda you read a ton of stories on Gettysburg civilians. Because 99% percent are selfless acts by nameless women the truth leans heavily that way. Once read something written by an out of state officer who bemoaned how awful the locals were and how soldiers had to wait unto getting to Maryland before receiving kind treatment. Based on first hand accounts we know his to be untrue. There are always a few scmucks- he encountered several- then painted the entire population schmuck brown. I think his story was seeing men selling bandages- selling, instead of finding wounded and giving them away, since they had them. I've only read one of this type of story; if it is true it must have been rare.
 

Anna Elizabeth Henry

1st Lieutenant
Silver Patron
Joined
Feb 15, 2015
Location
New York, New York
Rats! Really must become better read! Had not come across her story although have no claim whatsoever to being more than a beginner. What I am is nosy, which can fool people. Pam will know too. She is an expert with an overlay of expert to spare. Thanks very much for bringing her up!

Yes, depending on agenda you read a ton of stories on Gettysburg civilians. Because 99% percent are selfless acts by nameless women the truth leans heavily that way. Once read something written by an out of state officer who bemoaned how awful the locals were and how soldiers had to wait unto getting to Maryland before receiving kind treatment. Based on first hand accounts we know his to be untrue. There are always a few scmucks- he encountered several- then painted the entire population schmuck brown. I think his story was seeing men selling bandages- selling, instead of finding wounded and giving them away, since they had them. I've only read one of this type of story; if it is true it must have been rare.
I've found a lot of interesting stories while doing research and credit my knowledge especially about Gettysburg to that and my father's stories from his grandfather. I did dig up the book and found the passage about the brave woman running around with medical instruments - her name was Elizabeth 'Lizzie' Critzman. She was in her mid-40s at the time of the battle and ran a popular boarding house for students at the Pennsylvania College. Lizzie stood in front of her house on July 1 while bullets whizzed around handing out refreshments to Union soldiers but finally retreated when they began hitting her doorjamb. Later that day she hide away African Americans in her cellar who were running from Cemetery Hill.

If that wasn't enough there was her evening foray past Confederate lines to deliver the medical instruments on July 2 as I mentioned in my previous post. She concealed them in her clothing and made her way well over a mile between the campfires and roaming enemy soldiers that jeered at her while having to listen to men moaning and writhing in pain in dire of need of water. Supposedly according to Professor Howard Wert of the college it was her surgical instruments that facilitated the amputation of Colonel George McFarland. He was the last patient to leave the care of the Lutheran Seminary in September of 1863.

And as for scumcks who complained about the lack of care I have read a few of those tales here and there. Not sure if those soldiers happened to run into folks that were total heartless jerks at such a time or people too terrified to help. Not trying to defend folks selling bandages when people are laying there bleeding to death - if that's true shame on them for being so cruel! Though I do imagine a few women did shut their doors and refused to help. They had to be terrified and its hard to judge how I would react in such a situation. I'd like to believe I would do the right thing as I was raised that way, but one wonders if fear takes a strong enough hold that you don't end up with thirsty soldiers complaining about uncaring women in the town. However I think judging from all the stories that survive most are positive, selfless tales of heroism on the part of these women.
 

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Location
Central Pennsylvania
If ever a thread required bumping, it is this. In the year since feeling I'd met many women in Time it transpired no, I had not in fact met more than a handful. Each of us making the trek in a few days will be taking their own perspectives, tributes to pay, private memorials to remark. One of mine will be our women of Gettysburg, famous names or obscure or never heard from yet stood the shock those awful days. Feel free to add, am making no claims on how inclusive this is.

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The Spangler Farm circa 1870, from the Gettysburg blog. Amazing to see the family- a few years previously women here scrambled through those awful days, who knows each story?

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More nurses ate Camp Letterman- running out of time today but have several more.

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Mary Virginia Wade's mother Mary Ann. ' Ginnie ' Wade was never called ' Jennie '. A reporter made that up.

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Here she is, Mary Virginia on the right, her sister Georgia Wade McClellan, whose baby they were helping care for but was NOT just born as legend has it ( it's the McClellan House, not really the ' Jenny Wade House '). She and her mother lived elsewhere. ) and another sister.
 
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