Brev. Brig. Gen'l
- Feb 14, 2012
- Central Pennsylvania
This was a long running hope, to bring them home. What happened to the Confederate dead at Gettysburg? This, and Dr. Samuel Weaver, and mothers, sisters, wives - collectively ' Ladies ' of the South. It was not only Richmond. Weaver sent trains to many cities through the next years.
They came home to North and South Carolina mothers, too. And wives, fathers, sisters, brothers and the places living flesh marched from 9, 10 and 13 years before a wall of flame scorched Union ties.
I'm making a point of this because it has always bothered me, worrying about families whose loved ones did not come home, North and South. Our family has 4 men, sons, three of them husbands, two were fathers buried on battlefields or far, far away. 150 years later it would still matter whether or not they were identified. Three are not despite knowing where they were when they fell. It's quite wonderful these got home. It must have been beyond painful, waiting so long. 1871. You can understand there were confusions. This was too long.
One long dead newspaper reporter form the 1870's has entitled a piece ' Memorial Day'. Before we all had bleacher seats here, refighting causes men who were soldiers never came home from a place in Pennsylvania called ' Gettysburg '. An horrific battle had been fought there, Blue and Gray. Baked Pennsylvania soil had been hacked and coaxed and convinced to accept the bodies of men who died amongst such savage chaos their bones call to us beneath Adams County soil 150 years later. Some.
While Soldier's National Cemetery was uniting Union dead, the incredible process was watched, heart in collective throat by families in the South. Samuel Weaver, meticulous, compassionate beyond all belief and Basil Biggs painstakingly recovered and identified when it was possible over 3,000 Union fallen. On farms and in treed copses, along lanes and in farmyards, in long trenches in meadows Confederate dead lay far from grieving families. Weaver was receptive to Southern pleas but was killed himself, ending his reign of compassion here on earth.
His son was also named Samuel Weaver. By 1870 he was a medical doctor. Southern mothers still had no sons to bury. Dr. Samuel Weaver son of Samuel Weaver, gave them their sons back. The Gettysburg dead came home.
There are accounts of several in Richmond and burials all over the South. Somewhere exists photos of one of these.
There were so many sent to Richmond, Hollywood has a ' Gettysburg ' section. This is the memorial there.
An article from South Carolina is next.