McPherson Farm (Gettysburg)

One of the most recognizable sites on the Lincoln Highway within Gettysburg is the Barn at the McPherson Farm. There was a tremendous amount of fighting here in the fields during the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg. The barn is the only structure that is left standing of the original farm.

LANDMARK PROFILE
  • Battlefield: Gettysburg National Military Park, Pennsylvania
  • Location: near Chambersburg Pike (US Route 30) and Stone Avenue Intersection
  • Map Coordinates: +39° 50' 15.09", -77° 15' 3.90"
  • Occupants in July 1863: John Slentz and his family
  • Owner in July 1863: Edward McPherson
  • Current Owner: National Park Service

LANDMARK DETAILS
  • Farm Size: 95 acres
  • Farm Structures in 1863: Farm House, Bank Barn, Corn Crib
  • Barn Built: Likely between 1811-1823
  • Barn Dimensions: 61.0 x 40.6 feet
  • Barn Square Footage: 4,951 square feet
  • Structural:
    • Walls: Fieldstone
    • Foundation: Stone
    • Framing: Wood
    • Roof: Wood Shingles
  • Barn Construction: A two-story frame and stone Pennsylvania bank barn on a stone foundation with a cantilevered forebay. The north and south stone walls with five embrasures and the east and west walls have vertical board siding. It has an unequal pitched gable roof that is covered with wood shingles. The earthen ramp to the upper level is on the west.
  • Farm Property Purchased by the NPS: All Remaining Property Including Barn, 1904
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McPherson Barn "Restoration", Historic American Buildings Survey, Page 2 of 4
Surveyed 1978, Drawn by Abraham Levy, Public Domain blueprint for the NPS
  • Farm History:
    • John B. McPherson Purchased the property, including the house and Bank Barn in January 1846, the purchase was completed at a Sherriff's sale, for a price of $2215.00
    • John Slentz applied to John B. McPherson to rent the farm sometime about 1858
    • The main Farm House burned to the ground in 1895
  • Repairs and Maintenance:
    • In the 1960s, the NPS spent considerable time and research restoring the barn to it's 1863 appearance.
    • The interior of barn was modified in late 1970s with inclusion of I-beams to stablize and reconstruct the lean-to sheds on west side.
    • The barn roof was replaced in 2007.

LANDMARK HISTORY
Edward McPherson's farm was a half mile west of Gettysburg, atop the ridge that also bears his name. The area was the scene of intense fighting on July 1st, 1863, as Confederate General Henry Heth's Division advanced towards Gettysburg against defending Union cavalry under General John Buford. Union reinforcements from General John Reynolds' First Corps arrived and counterattacked, and fighting swirled through McPherson's pasturelands and two fields planted in corn and wheat, as well as through neighbor John Herbst's woods.

During July 1 fighting here, barn was prominent landmark and used to shelter various Union regiments from artillery and small arms fire. Sharpshooters or snipers occupied barn and fired from embrasures located in gable walls. (CSA General Harry Heth later surmised he was wounded by a shot from this barn.)

The position was overrun by overwhelming numbers of Confederate infantry on afternoon of July 1, stranding scores of wounded Union soldiers. These men lay unattended until July 6 when the barn and other McPherson buildings were hastily transformed into an emergency field hospital.

The battle ruined the crops and pastures of McPherson's tenant farmer, John Slentz, and caused considerable damage to fences, buildings, property and supplies, for which McPherson was never compensated. McPherson sold the farm in 1868.

The National Park Service bought the property in 1904 and now maintains the McPherson barn. The barn is currently used by a local farmer who also leases the McPherson fields.

ADDITIONAL PHOTOS


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Photo after main house burned down,
about 1895.​

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McPherson Barn,
About 1900​

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McPherson Barn,
Early 1900's​

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McPherson Barn "Restoration", Historic American Buildings Survey, Page 1 of 4
Surveyed 1978, Drawn by Abraham Levy, Public Domain blueprint for the NPS

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McPherson Barn "Restoration", Historic American Buildings Survey, Page 2 of 4
Surveyed 1978, Drawn by Abraham Levy, Public Domain blueprint for the NPS

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McPherson Barn "Restoration", Historic American Buildings Survey, Page 3 of 4
Surveyed 1978, Drawn by Abraham Levy, Public Domain blueprint for the NPS

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McPherson Barn "Restoration", Historic American Buildings Survey, Page 4 of 4
Surveyed 1978, Drawn by Abraham Levy, Public Domain blueprint for the NPS

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© Mike Kendra, April 18, 2009.​

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As the Snow Falls on Christmas Eve
© Mike Kendra, December 24, 2012.​

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Snowfall
© Mike Kendra, December 29, 2012​

ADDITIONAL READING
RELATED LINKS

citation information The following information is provided for citations.
Article Title:
McPherson Farm (Gettysburg)
Authors:
CivilWarTalk
Website Name:
CivilWarTalk.com
URL:
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/mcpherson-farm-gettysburg.184398/
Publisher:
CivilWarTalk, LLC
Original Published Date:
6/2/2021

links to state and national monuments, and nearby landmarks Located at Gettysburg National Military Park, in Adams County, Pennsylvania (rev.6/1/21)
National Monuments
Eternal Light Peace Memorial Friend to Friend Masonic Memorial High Water Mark
Lincoln Speech Memorial Soldiers' National Monument
U.S. State Monuments
DE IN MD NY NY Auxiliary PA VT U.S. Regulars
C.S. State Monuments
AL AK DE FL GA LA MD MS NC SC TN TX VA
Union Regimentals
CT DE IL IN ME MD MA MI MN
NH NJ NY OH PA RI VT WV WI U.S. Regulars
Individual &
Commemorative
Monuments
Equestrian Monuments: Hancock Howard Lee Longstreet Meade Reynolds Sedgwick Slocum
Standing Bronze Statues:
Barlow Buford Burns Father Corby Crawford Doubleday Geary Gibbon
Greene Hays Humphreys Robinson Wadsworth Warren Webb
Wells
Other Individual Monuments:
Armistead Chapman Collis Cushing Fuller Rev. Howell Humiston Merwin
Nicholson Sickles Taylor Vincent Ward Weed & Hazlett Willard Woolson Zook
Landmarks
Black Horse Tavern Cashtown Inn Dobbin House Evergreen Cemetery Jennie Wade House Lutheran Theological Seminary
McAllister's Mill Railroad Station Sachs Covered Bridge
Thompson House David Wills House
Farms: Codori Bliss Brian
Daniel Schaefer Hummelbaugh Klingle Lady Leister McLean McPherson
Rogers Rose Rummel Sherfy Slyder Snyder Taney Trostle George Weikert Wentz
Points of Interest
New Museum & Visitor Center Benner's Hill Cemetery Hill Copse of Trees Culp's Hill
Devil's Den Peach Orchard Little Round Top
Big Round Top Sachs Covered Bridge
Spangler's Spring East Cavalry Field Soldiers' National Cemetery National Cemetery Annex

Gone But Not Forgotten: Old Museum, Visitor Center, & Electric Map Old Cyclorama National Tower
 
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