" There were no window glass in the whole house.... fifteen soldiers were buried by the pump " , " We saw some of our furniture going on some of our wagons down the pike ", " For all the foul air, we struck off the graves and began " Elizabeth Masser Thorn, Gettysburg
Badly impeded by lack of files, still needed to post this. What's still unclear to me is how well there's an understanding of what on earth happened to civilian populations when a war rolled over them.
And it was north and south- please do not ask me to use caps. 150 years after the fact it's geography, not loyalty. While an awful lot of $ ran away with the place civilians paid the highest price. The Thorn family of Gettysburg, while somewhat honored years later still maintained a lower historical profile than the man who told 4 months pregnant Elizabeth, caretaker of Evergreen Cemetery, to get home and make it quick- bury those bodies and tidy up the place. That'd be her boss, David McCaughy.
She describes Wednesday's terror first. Husband Peter was away fighting with the 148th PVI when yet another threatened invasion became the real thing.
Elizabeth Thorn's statue now adorns the cemetery grounds- best known for burying over 100 men in the July and August ( and September ) heat. it wasn't through patriotism. She had to. The thing is, that's only part of her story. Through the years a newspaper reporter would seek Elizabeth out and ask her, ' What was her battle? '. She'd tell them. Gluing together bits and pieces- some seem incomplete but you can hear her.
I've always wondered if this wagon was bringing another dead soldier to the cemetery- remember the National Cemetery hadn't been planned as yet- McCaughy told Elizabeth at one point the plan was that Evergreen would hold all of them. " It is made out that we will bury the soldiers in our cemetery for awhile ...."
You hear this kind of story a lot, neighbors clinging together, helping each other, finding basements and other places where it may have seemed to safe to ride out the battle. You don't hear these names and we should? Mrs. Cook, Mrs. Barbehenn? 17 all together in that teeny basement? Have you seen the Gatehouse?
Part of the shambles she came home to. Note laundry- wounded packed the Gatehouse, the family moved back in 5 days post battle, too.
It was a daughter, not a son. Rose- who died young. Elizabeth always blamed the dreadful exertions those awful days, burying men in baked PA earth for her daughter's ill health. She was probably correct.
Reporters tended to jot things down variously as time went on- posting bits and pieces as i found them, eralier ' finds ' , in her words are the most likely.
They'd been told by poor Howard to leave the gatehouse- and did.
More ( and sorry it seems all over the place- simply cannot find the sequence because the files are wreck but the gist is what's important ).