Posts Tagged With: Battle of Gettysburg

New Custer monument at Hunterstown, Pennsylvania

(Click to enlarge)

Several descendants of Michigan Brigade soldiers and other interested persons donated money to acquire a small piece of land at Hunterstown and erect one of the country’s newest Civil War monuments. This marble slab and bronze relief is dedicated to Brig. Gen. George Armstrong Custer, who led the Michigan Brigade (the “Michigan Wolverines”) into action at Hunterstown against the troops of Wade Hampton III of the Confederate cavalry during the Gettysburg Campaign.

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Categories: Civil War sites, Preservation efforts | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Dead Confederates north of the Mason-Dixon line

Many of you are aware that I have a new full-length book coming out later this year as the next installment of Ironclad‘s popular Discovering Civil War America series (forward by Eric J. Wittenberg). This covers John Gordon’s brigade in its trek from Virginia to the banks of the Susquehanna River, and thence to Gettysburg and destiny, where 500 men would become casualties. Obviously, thousands of Confederates were interred in Gettysburg (many of which were been removed to the South in the late 19th Century). However, not all of them were taken up and transported to Dixie.

Here in adjoining York County, Pennsylvania, a few members of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia still rest in Northern soil. A few are buried in York’s Prospect Hill Cemetery (these are believed to be men who perished of wounds after being transported to the local U.S. Military Hospital immediately following Lee’s retreat, or perhaps were sick men left behind when Jubal Early departed York on June 29, 1863). However, there are two other local burials of interest that I discuss in my upcoming book.

Along the banks of the Susquehanna River north of Wrightsville (and south of Harrisburg) is the solitary grave of an unknown Confederate soldier. His remains were found washed up on the western riverbank shortly after the Battle of Gettysburg. He was buried on the spot and, decades later, a local veterans descendant group erected a small stone headstone in his memory. The grave just a few yards from the river and is subject to occasional flooding. It is about a mile north of the popular Accomac Inn, one of this area’s most historic taverns, on River Road. Access is fairly easy from U.S. Route 30 (get off at the Wrightsville exit, head north, and follow the signs for the Inn. Then turn left along the river and drive about a mile. The marker will be on the right along the road).

The identity of the man is of course unknown, as no identification was found with the body.  Speculation varies as to his regiment, or how he came to drown in the broad Susquehanna (which was running deep during the Gettysburg Campaign due to heavy rains). The general thought is that he was a cavalryman, perhaps from the 17th Virginia of Col. William French, sent to pick his way across the river on horseback to find a safe passage. The 17th had chased a large contingent of Federal militia across the river on June 27, and perhaps this man was searching for a way to cross the river to flank them. Another old local legend is that the man was a deserter from Early’s division (there were indeed several of them roaming York County; several made their escape to Canada, although most were picked up by roving Federal cavalry patrols from Bell’s Cavalry or the First Troop, Philadelphia City Cavalry). One variant to the deserter story states that the man was on a raft that overturned. he could not swim and perished in the swirling water. His identity lost, he remains an enduring local mystery.

Another Confederate was buried in Big Mount, just inside the York County line from neighboring Adams County. He was a member of Early’s division who died of natural causes along the line of march. His comrades buried him near where he fell. No stone currently marks the spot.

Other Rebels died in various places in Fulton and Franklin counties and were buried in unmarked graves.

Of course, there are thousands of Confederate graves scattered throughout the North (most from vets who died long after the war, or of POWS who succumbed to illness or exposure during the war).

What Northern graves of Rebels who died during the war are you aware of? Please leave your comments and thoughts.

Categories: Gettysburg | Tags: , | 6 Comments

Human Interest Stories of the Gettysburg Campaign

bookcover.gifThe influences which create emotional bonds between us, today, and those in the past are human interest stories. Such stories allow us to understand the hardships and deprivations endured from this event.  They connect and endear us in ways we can relate to the participants.  They instill in us respect by their commitment to duty and they amaze us with tales of lighter, sometimes humorous, moments amidst tragic circumstances.

This unique blend of stories, arranged in chronological order to enhance the reader’s experience, was taken from primary sources, including, diaries, pension records, historical collections, official records, as well as  newspapers, journals, and books.  Here are just a few samples:


An unusual group of volunteers responded in Harrisburg to Governor Curtin’s plea. Capt.  Charles C. Carson and a company of 17 men, the youngest being 68 years old, came forward  and presented themselves for military service. Each senior citizen was a veteran of the War of 1812, and they wanted to again serve their state and country in a time of need. A color bearer proudly carried a historic relic, a highly tattered battle flag that had once been borne at the Battle of Trenton by Pennsylvanians serving under George Washington.


In one case, some members of the 3rd Michigan found that the most threatening enemy was not the Confederates they were pursuing.  The Wolverines, hungry for some honey, raided some beehives in a nearby garden, initially driving off the bees. However, as the men reached the hives, the bees counterattacked en masse, repeatedly stinging the men as they struggled to get away from the prolonged assault. An amused onlooker, Color Sgt. Daniel Crotty, later wrote that the slashing and darting bees made some men “turn such somersaulting on the ground as to put to shame a lot of Japanese acrobat performers  in a circus ring.”  The soldiers made an inglorious retreat, their swollen heads and faces now resembling huge mortar shells.


A massive thunderstorm on the evening of July 4 drenched the armies, creating untold misery and torture for the thousands of wounded that still dotted the fields and woods surrounding Gettysburg. Creeks and streams, already swollen from days of rain before the Battle of Gettysburg, swiftly overflowed their banks, and flash floods claimed the lives of scores of unfortunate wounded men. The hospital of Clark’s Battery was in a field near Rock Creek east of Taneytown Road.. The attendants and orderlies frantically worked to  move the injured soldiers to higher ground. However, the water rose so quickly that not all could be moved. Artilleryman Dick Price held himself up above the torrent with his elbows draped over the branch of a dogwood tree. The lower extremities of both arms had been amputated, so Price’s agony must have been excruciating. Still, he held his composure…Price would soon die from complications resulting from his wounds. He is buried in the National Cemetery.

Human Interest Stories of the Gettysburg Campaign is published by Colecraft Industries, Orrtanna, PA 17353 and is now available for ordering online at,, and barnes&  It is also available at several Gettysburg area bookstores and gift centers.

Categories: Civil War books, Gettysburg | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

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