Civilians at the Battle of Gettysburg

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Civilians at Gettysburg Battlefield

Civilians at the Battle of Gettysburg

The Curious Dutchman

Mrs. Georgeanna Muirson (Woolsey) Bacon, a nurse with the United States Sanitary Commission, came to Gettysburg accompanied by another woman from the commission, to assist with the wounded at Camp Letterman General Hospital. Their main duty during the three weeks they stayed at the hospital was to help feed the multitude of Union and Confederate wounded who came into the "Sanitary Lodge" located near temporary railroad depot near the camp. Here the wounded men waited for the next train to take them out of Gettysburg, to hospitals in Baltimore and Philadelphia. The hours were long and wearisome, but Mrs. Bacon stuck through the hard times and assisted hundreds of injured soldiers. She wrote about her experiences soon after, praising the local Gettysburg women for their faithfulness and charity to the wounded and strangers who came to town. She was not so kind to the local male populace, especially in recounting the visit of a curious farmer to the camp:

"Few good things can be said of the Gettysburg farmers... One of this kind came creeping into our camp three weeks after the battle. He lived five miles only from the town, and had 'never seen a rebel.' He heard we had some of them, and came down to see them. 'Boys,' we said, marching him into the tent which happened to be full of rebels that were waiting for the train; 'Boys, here's a man who never saw a rebel in his life, and wants to look at you;' and there he stood with his mouth wide open, and there they lay in rows, laughing at him, (the) stupid old Dutchman.

'And why haven't you seen a rebel?' Mrs. --- said; 'why didn't you take your gun and help to drive them out of your town?'

'A feller might'er got hit!'- which reply was quite too much for the rebels. They roared with laughter at him, up and down the tent."

- from THREE WEEKS AT GETTYSBURG, Anson D. Randolph Printers, New York, 1863

Recommended Reading: Firestorm at Gettysburg: Civilian Voices (Hardcover). Description: The civilians who lived through the battle of Gettysburg recount this pivotal event in the American Civil War in their own words. The eyewitness accounts, spanning from June 15, 1863, through Lincoln’s address in November, are compelling tales told by those literally trapped inside the lines of the two great, warring armies. Over 160 historical photographs and illustrations accompany the text. Continued below.

The interactions between the townsfolk, including numerous women, and the soldiers make for a most fascinating read. The stories are from diaries, letters, newspaper articles, interviews, memoirs, and books written by the civilians after America's bloodiest battle. No effort has been made to change any of their language--there was no need. In this book, certain myths are exploded and one of the most monumental moments in American history comes to life before the reader’s eyes.

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Recommended Reading: Ghosts of Gettysburg: Walking on Hallowed Ground. Description: Ghosts of Gettysburg: Walking on Hallowed Ground is a keep-you-up-all-night book from real life master ghost hunters Drs. Dave and Sharon Oester, co-founders of the International Ghost Hunters Society, the largest ghost research society. Drs. Dave and Sharon Oester spend their time traveling the back roads of America, investigating some of its most haunted places. Over a six-year period, they explored and recorded the amazing ghostly experiences of visitors to the Gettysburg battlefield. One year they devoted a full month for battlefield investigations and drove over 1,000 miles on the battlefield gathering data for this book. Continued below.

Drs. Dave and Sharon Oester were the first to hold ghost conferences in Gettysburg teaching about ghost photography and electronic voice phenomena known as EVP. Their annual ghost conferences started the ghost hunting movement in Gettysburg. They share 40 haunted sites on the battlefield, not according to folklore, but from their own personal investigations using scientific tools to validate the existence of ghosts. Each haunted site contains a short history of its part in this three-day battle. Read about the ten most haunted Civil War hospitals sites that can be visited by the reader.


Recommended Reading: Ghosts of Gettysburg: Spirits, Apparitions and Haunted Places of the Battlefield. Description: Former Park Ranger Mark Nesbitt has spent several years gathering numerous ghost stories from other park rangers, visitors and people who reside in and around Gettysburg. Nesbitt strived to gather factual data on each story, so he can offer a background for each and every “encounter.” His stories are quite interesting. Continued below...

He discusses the battlefield soldiers as well as the civilians that were/are involved in the famous Gettysburg ghost stories. “A most fascinating read that will keep even the skeptic on that proverbial edge of the seat…”


Recommended Reading: Eyewitness to the Civil War (Hardcover: 416 pages) (National Geographic; Fists edition) (November 21, 2006). Description: At once an informed overview for general-interest readers and a superb resource for serious buffs, this extraordinary, gloriously illustrated volume is sure to become one of the fundamental books in any Civil War library. Its features include a dramatic narrative packed with eyewitness accounts and hundreds of rare photographs, pictures, artifacts, and period illustrations. Evocative sidebars, detailed maps, and timelines add to the reference-ready quality of the text. Continued below...

From John Brown's raid to Reconstruction, Eyewitness to the Civil War presents a clear, comprehensive discussion that addresses every military, political, and social aspect of this crucial period. In-depth descriptions of campaigns and battles in all theaters of war are accompanied by a thorough evaluation of the nonmilitary elements of the struggle between North and South. In their own words, commanders and common soldiers in both armies tell of life on the battlefield and behind the lines, while letters from wives, mothers, and sisters provide a portrait of the home front. More than 375 historical photographs, portraits, and artifacts—many never before published—evoke the era's flavor; and detailed maps of terrain and troop movements make it easy to follow the strategies and tactics of Union and Confederate generals as they fought through four harsh years of war. Photoessays on topics ranging from the everyday lives of soldiers to the dramatic escapades of the cavalry lend a breathtaking you-are-there feeling, and an inclusive appendix adds even more detail to what is already a magnificently meticulous history. (Includes rare soldiers photos and battlefield photo)


Recommended Reading: Ghosts Among Us: Uncovering the Truth About the Other Side, by James Van Praagh (Hardcover). Description: Everyone loves a good ghost story. Perhaps the human fascination with the supernatural stems from the fact that most of us, at some point in our lives, have experienced something we couldn't quite explain. From a very young age James Van Praagh was aware of a dimension that most of us cannot see, and he has dedicated his life to explaining it to the rest of us. Ghosts Among Us takes us on an incredible journey into the spirit world that brings to light one of our greatest mysteries—what happens to us after we die? Van Praagh, the New York Times bestselling author and co-executive producer of the CBS series The Ghost Whisperer, shares his knowledge and life experience about ghosts, a subject that can seem to many of us both bizarre and terrifying. Continued below... 

But when the world beyond is explained fully by an experienced guide, dismissal and apprehension can be turned into knowledge and inspiration. With incredible true ghost stories and surprising details about how ghosts actively participate in our lives, Van Praagh challenges us to question our perceptions and shows us how we can live more fully through understanding the world of spirits. Including eerily accurate readings, the author's development as a medium, and detailed how-to information, Ghosts Among Us is an all-encompassing guide to the supernatural. About the Author: James Van Praagh is the New York Times bestselling author of Talking to Heaven and Reaching to Heaven. Currently, Van Praagh is the co-executive producer of the primetime series Ghost Whisperer, the #1 CBS drama starring Jennifer Love Hewitt. Van Praagh is developing additional projects for Paramount and guest hosts the entertainment news shows Entertainment Tonight and The Insider.

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