Brev. Brig. Gen'l
- Feb 14, 2012
- Central Pennsylvania
Rev. M.L. Cummings was a student at Gettysburg's Lutheran Seminary in July, 1863. He later recounted a moment inside that three days of mass horror that reminded him why he studied theology in the first place. That isn't a religious statement- it's a ' Do unto others ' statement. Image public access, LoC.
There are a handful of famous stories left behind on Gettysburg's shattered landscape in July, 1863. Along with wounded and dead men, artillery, dead horses and war's debris these hung over Gettysburg's battlefield. A century and a half after the last wounded man was moved to Baltimore or Philadelphia, after the last horse was burned, after we created the cemetery where sleep the dead the stories remain. Why we seem to have chosen a few stories is a mystery- acts of sheer humanity proliferate. What I can't figure out is why all of them are not famous.
Acts of kindness. Most of these could be their own thread- but the main point here is more impactful posting them together. We need to hear of them, that smack in the middle of our worst moment as a country and smack in the middle of one of it's greatest mass acts of violence we retained ' us '.
Beginning with one of my favorite ' Gettysburg ' stories. It's brief- an eye blink inside those awful days. It's also illustrative of who we are, I mean really are. By one of the women whose compassion led them to pack up and head towards reports of a shambles in Gettysburg, Adams County, Pennsylvania, you can see where Philadelphia native Emily Souder found this moving enough to include in her memoirs.
The ladies of Lancaster mention this terrified civilian too although missed this part of her story. Wish we knew who she was.
Posted this previously- I ' think ' it was eventually picked up by Century Magazine's editors along with a few newspapers.
There's a sketch of the shelter somewhere in a public access book- saved it and of course can't find it at the moment.
There's this, a wounded Union soldier who insisted he be left behind so his buddy was free to escape. So the ' enemy ' fed him.
There are more. I personally don't find them surprising. At all. Hate takes an awful lot of energy and requires constant feeling or it goes away. It's exhausting. Kindness is easy. You can buy it with a sandwich. Or a bucket of water.
Using some 1863 sources because memoirs written years post war sometimes are accused of being romanticized. This is from a Christian Commission ' agent '.
Sophronia Bucklin, although sometimes dismissive of Southern soldiers related this story from her months caring for wounded at Gettysburg- a wounded man's story of how he came by a Bible he carried.
Rev. M.L. Culler was a student at Gettysburg's Lutheran Seminary and left us this;
I've lost who authored this story ( cluttered files... ). It's from an 1863 Harper's- I ' think ' a Massachusetts officer on burial detail. Poignant.