Battle of Gettysburg by Thure de Thulstrup

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Battle of Gettysburg


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Marie Tepe

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Vivandieres were women who served in the Civil War by traveling with the army as cooks, nurses, mascots, and soldiers. Marie Tepe belonged to this class of women and fought at the Battle of Gettysburg. Born in France in 1834, she immigrated to the United States and married a tailor in Philadelphia. When the Civil War broke out she joined the military with her husband and served with the 27th Pennsylvania Infantry, Co. I and 114th Pennsylvania Infantry. At the Battle of Fredericksburg she was shot in the ankle, after the Battle of Chancelorsville she received the Kearney Cross, and at the Battle of Gettysburg she nursed the injured for weeks after the three-day conflict. Many of the men called her “French Mary”, but whatever her name, this courageous woman served her country at a time when staying out of the battle was easy and accepted. Hundreds of women served on both sides during the Civil War, and the service by these Vivandieres will never be forgotten by the soldiers whose lives they saved.

Jennie Wade, the only civilian killed

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Jenne Wade was the only civilian killed during the three day battle. She was bury in Everygreen Cememtary on the Cemetary Hill.
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Gettysburg had a population of 2400, despite of the three days of heavy fighting, only one civilian was killed. Her name was Jennie Wade, she was tired of hiding in the cellar, so she went to her kitchen to get something to eat.  A stray bullet came through the door and killed her. She was buried in Evergreen Cemetary on the Cemetary Hill.

  • Gettysburg, PA
  • 2 July 1863

Wesley Culp, the sad homecoming

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Wesley Culp

Wesley Culp was born in Gettysburg and grew up on the farm owned by his grandfather, Henry Culp which contains the famous Culp Hill. He was born in 1839 and in 1858, he moved 45 miles to Shepherdstown, Virginia (West Virginia today), and in 1862, he joined the 2nd Virginia of the Stonewall Brigade.  This brigade was attached to the First Corp, under Ewell.

On morning of July 3, before Pickett's Charge, the 2nd VA was fighting at the Culp Hill, and Wesley was killed somewhere on the Culp Hill. His family in Gettysburg heard that he was killed and tried to locate his body afterward, but only found a rifle bearing his name. Thus, Wesley Culp had the distinction of die in battle on the land named after his grandfather.

As example of brother against brother, Wesley Culp's brother was a private in the Fourth Corp of the Union Army. Wesley was member of Ewell's Corp which fought the Fourth Corp in the Battle of Winchester in June, 1863. The Culp were on the opposite side on this battle.

  • Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
  • 3 July 1863

General Howard and Sickles

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Sickle's shattered leg on display in museum
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During the Chancellorsville Campaign, the Eleventh Corp under General Howard was positioned on the right flank of the Union line. Howard lefted his flank up in the air. Seeing this, Confederate General Stonewall Jackson decided to attack the Eleventh Corp. The Eleventh Corp collapsed quickly and created a panic that caused the rest of the Union Army to collapse.

In the main time, the III Corp was position in the center of the Union line, its commander General Sickles decided to move his corp forward in a salient at Hazel Grove. While this salient seperated Jackson's Corp from rest of the Confederate Army, it was dangerous exposed and got attacked from both flanks, like being in a nutcracker. The III Corp also collapsed and adding to the confusing.

One the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg, the commander of the Union Army, John Reynolds was killed and the command was passed on to Howard. Howard decided to position his Eleventh Corp with flank up in the air again. Again, Confederate General Jubal Early took advantage of this and rolled up the Eleventh Corp and it made panic withdrew to the Cemetery Hill. Fortunately, General Hancock arrived in time to take replace Howard and prevented another Chancellorsville.

One the second day of battle, General Sickles again decided to move his III Corp forward in an exposed position, and even worse, he lefted a gap in the left side Union line, which included the Little Roundtop. Once again the exposed salient got attack from both sides, and again got crushed like a nut in a nutcracker, only the quick thinking General Warren who moved men ( including 20th Maine) to the Little Roundtop and General Hancock who ordered the First Minnesota into the gap left by the III Corp to buy him sometime, so he can get reinforcements. First Minnesota lost over 80% of it men, but they brought an extra eight minutes for reinforcement to arrive, thus, avoiding another Chancellorsville.

The moral to the story is "those who failed to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it"

General Sickles was directing the battle on a horse when leg was shot off by a cannon ball and was taken from the field and never commanded again. He placed the leg in a small coffin and donated it to the  National Museum of Health and Medicine.  Sickles die in 1914, it was noted he had visited his leg many times in the Museum! This Museum is now a part of the Walter Reed Hospital.

Howard and Eleventh Corp redeemed themselves when they helped General T. Sherman in capturing Atlanta and General Hooker in capturing the Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga. Later in life, Howard founded the famous Howard University in Washinton DC in 1867. In 1877,  the Nez Perce led by Chief Joseph were trying to escape to Canada. Howard led an army in pursue, the Nez Perce managered to stay miles ahead of Howard, until Nelson Miles Army came along and blocked their path only miles from the Canadian border. Howard was on hand to accept Chief Joseph's famous surrender "My heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands I will fight no more forever." 

  • Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
  • 1 July 1863

Nathaniel Claiborne Wilson Diary Manuscript # 0490 June 25 – July 3, 1863 Gettysburg Campaign

1 st Day Pennsylvania On the 25th of June Pickett’s Division (the Division to which I belong) crossed the Potomac into Maryland & encamped about one mile north of Williamsport, a town of about 500 inhabitants. This place is situated on the north bank of the Potomac in one of the most fertile regions of the state, little or no sympathy was shown us by the citizens of the town. Before going into camp we executed a Private from the 18th Va. Regt. for desertion. The Division waded the river, the water taking most of the men under the arms.

2 nd Day Pennsylvania 26th June Orders to move in the direction of Hagerstown at 4 o’clock, do not get off until 10, delay occasioned by the passing of A. P. Hill’s Corps to the front. Whisky rations issued (it being a very wet morning), every man in spirits, both good & bad. Marched through Hagerstown into Franklin Co. near Greencastle, Pa, passed through Middleburg, a small place on the Md. & Pa. line. Hagerstown is about 7 miles from the river & about 5 from the Pa. line & contains between 4500 and 5000 inhabitants a large majority of whom are ultra unionist in sentiment.

3 rd Day Pennsylvania 27th June Marched out of camp in the direction of Chambersburg, passed through Greencastle & Marion small villages, unworthy of note. The country from the Md. Line to Chambersburg is rather rugged & the soil not half so fine as that portion of Maryland we passed over on yesterday. There is a great quantity of the limestone & it is too near the surface. The country immediately around Chambersburg is as pretty & well cultivated as any country we have traveled through. All the farms are on a small scale, but are finely cultivated. Private dwellings are all neat & conveniently built, but no elegance of style whatever. Chambersburg has about 3000 inhabitants situated on the railroad leading from Hagerstown Md. to Harrisburg Pa. The town is handsomely laid off with a number of beautiful residences on its eastern outskirts. This is an abolition den with very few sympathizers for the Southern cause. My regiment was halted in this place & made the Provost Gd for the town, the remainder of the Division passed through in the direction of Carlisle & encamped about 3 miles north of the place.

4 th Day Pennsylvania Sabbath, June 28 Remained as Provost Guard for the town during the day, nothing of interest occurring. The day was spent in securing supplies for the army. Richmond papers of the24th (26th?) recd. Report the enemy repulsed with slaughter near Vicksburg. News recd of the capture of Carlisle by Genl. Ewell, the citizens prepared for him & 5000 of his troops a feast, Yankees mode of courting favor. Met today with Captain [left blank by Wilson] of the Austrian Army just arrived at Genl Lee’s HdQrs, a spectator in the present struggle sent over by his government to witness any military operations. He expresses admiration for our soldiers & thinks Genl Lee the greatest Genl of the age. A six or seven year old boy came into our office at 11 o’clock at night inquiring for the Provost Marshal. Says he is badly treated at home (his mother being dead & his father absent for the past three years, he knows not exactly where) and desires to join us. We offer to send him back to his home, but he refuses to go & asks permission to stay with us for the night. Sleeps with the surgeon on the floor.

5 th Day Pennsylvania June 29th Our regiment is relieved this morning by Col. Griffin’s Mississippi regt. & we report to our Division 3 miles north of the town. The Division under marching orders. Marched at 4 o’clock P.M. back in the direction of Chambersburg, encamp at night 2 miles south of the town on the Hagerstown road. Nothing of interest occurring

6 th & 7th Days Pennsylvania June 30th In camp. Nothing of interest occurring through the day. One party sent out this morning to destroy the railroad from Hagerstown to Harrisburg, another sent out to purchase Qr. Master & Commissary stores.

  July 1st Troops engaged in destroying public property in the town of Chambersburg & tearing up the railroad. Four roll calls a day ordered to be had to prevent the troops straggling from camp.

July 2nd, Pennsylvania Ordered to march in the direction of Gatesburgh [Gettysburg]. Marched within 4 miles of the town a distance of 25 miles from our camp. Heard before we arrived at Gatesburgh [Gettysburg] that our advance had heavy fighting around that place. Report correct. Six thousand prisoners taken and the enemy driven one or two miles. Number of killed and wounded not known. Loss heavy on both sides.

July 3rd In line of battle expecting to move forward every moment. With our trust in God we fear not an earthly enemy – God be with us.

Wilson was killed later that day, on July 3, 1863.

The Greensboro Patriot, 11 Jul 1863, Sat, Page 2

Contributor: Clio
Created: September 9, 2008 · Modified: March 16, 2015

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