Brev. Brig. Gen'l
- Feb 14, 2012
- Central Pennsylvania
Snip from one of several Sneden Gettysburg maps, no idea if the 59th New York's position is included but cannot be very far out of frame. So many regiments, so many stories. Easy enough to miss them. ( edited now to include the position of the 59th, thanks very much Ernie Mac )
Lieutenant Polman's death of wounds received July 2nd, 1863 wasn't singular or even notable. Nurses reported empty beds or unfamiliar faces on pillows where an hour previously they'd dressed wounds for another soldier. His story was probably much the same ' gallant ' death as more men than we can fathom.
From William's obituary. " Speak his name proudly! ", gets to you, doesn't it?
The public was hungry for stories from the battle. From civilians John Burns to Mary Virginia Wade to Carrie Sheads, on to Greene's audacious battle, the struggle for the other end of Round Top, ' Longstreet's Charge ', Buford's resolute stand and Reynold's shocking death. Too many- may have been why Polman's story didn't break the top 100. Should have, both young man and story tailor made for a public trying to wrap our heads around what in blazes happened in Adams County, Pennsylvania.
Last letter home- there's always one.
William Henry was the son of minister Rev. William J. Pohlman a missionary to China. William Jr., a Rutger's student also headed for the Methodist ministry. The 59th NY came to Gettysburg that July with a battle flag through which passed the bullets of Antietam, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville . From their position next to Halls' line on Cemetery Ridge, fighting was as intense July 2nd and 3rd as anywhere on the field. Battle flag of 48th Georgia captured, Lieutenant Col. Thoman lost, the 59th NY was still there for Pickett/Trimble/Pettigrew, July 3rd.
More of his last letter home.
It's this story that flattens you, of a 21 year old who wouldn't get to 22 or back to Rutger's. Stuff legends contain, determined not to turn his back on his men- or the enemy.
Speak his name proudly. " Not while I have my sword arm left ".