Brev. Brig. Gen'l
- Feb 14, 2012
- Central Pennsylvania
Sadie Bushman of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, crowned " Most Beautiful Woman In Oakland ", California ( by anyone attending the meeting of her relief organization ), had a story about the battle and quite a few other things.
Sadie Bushman's civilian account of what happened when two armies collided and combusted all over the town where she lived is a little scanty so far. Like so many Gettysburg stories, hers was told as an elderly woman, a 1926 newspaper running a half page story. It's a little tough finding more. Since Annie Wittenmeyer confirms Sadie's account in her book ( who was no one's idea of a tall tale teller, she didn't have to make stuff up ), it's source enough for me.
There may or may not be a few items that fail the source test in the article written of Sadie in 1926. Hang on. It gets awesome.
That's 1860, Sadie's father a chair maker and son of Henry Bushman and Catherine Anastatia Hoffman. Since her account includes being sent to her grandparents on their farm two miles from town it's unclear which. Hoffman or Bushman and if the latter , there would be Michael and his wife to consider, the residents there at the time. The Bushmans can drive you a little crazy- Lewis Bushman's house is where Strong Vincent died after his wound on LRT. Well Sadie was headed somewhere.
Sadie in 1926, some family member cropped from her photo by the newspaper.
History frequently belongs in the head of whomever is telling the story at the time.
It sounds a little odd, having lain for two days across a woodbox. I haven't checked into Francis X. yet, he may have been on movie posters across the U.S.. John Henry's occupation is possible although later factoids give you enough pause to go dig up the facts.
This was probably the case, children sent out of harm's way, or trying to. Unclear where surging crowds came into it though.
The Michael Bushman farm was ( I think ) the 12th Corp hospital- was this also Henry's home? No idea and don't mean to imply it was Sadie's destination that day.
It does seem clear Sadie saw what she said she did, and also helped nurse wounded. At 10 years old it would have been a lot but children caught in the middle of a war could be astonishing.
I'm not sure what Sadie's " Appomatox " Relief Corps was- the part about being a former army nurse seems odd? IMO any woman who showed up at battlefields and hospitals to nurse, whether qualified or not, was indeed a Civil War nurse. Sadie was 10 years old, her service claimed on her pension file ( which she received ) says she was an army nurse, too. No judgement here, just confusing. ACW nurses had a heckish if not impossible task receiving pensions- the proof required was so extensive it became clear the object was not to provide pensions. How in heck did she pull this off? No quibbles here though. Anyone receiving anything for aiding wounded has my vote.
" Nurse Medical Dept US Volunteers ".
The part about Lord and Lady Stanbury? Her mother's name was Hoffman and I can't find her origin. ' Stanbury ' was a Quaker origin family settling early Baltimore ( I know because they show up in our tree ) although it could be a different family. There's not a lot of problem with the Revolutionary War great grandfather- although it would be interesting to see if Michael was a colonel.
Sadie must have been a pip. Her heart ( said Sadie ) was weakened by her experiences as a 10 year old, an apparent but unspecified miracle of medicine saved her, age 73 from the heart failure caused by the shock of her brother's death.
Who knows, our Sadie, who brushed maggots from wounds and who must have seen more gore than Hollywood will ever be able to portray one hot July in 1863 might very well be the great grandaughter of peers, have a wealthy silk merchant brother, a nephew who was a famous movie star, been an army nurse and was indeed the most stunning female Oakland ever had the fortune to claim despite the battle that ruined her heart at age 10 toboot. There are odder stories.
That she was once a terrified child making her way through a town suddenly at war there can be no doubt. Go Sadie and thank you.