Wounds of War

By Allie Ward ’14

When you think about Civil War soldiers what images come to mind? Do you picture one of the countless carte de visite’s soldiers left behind for loved ones to remember them by? Do you see the horrific images of death made famous after battles? Or perhaps you think of camp and the multitude of photographs of regimental life. Very few people will first think of images of Civil War amputees.

Veterans
Despite their humanity, images of Civil War amputees are not what most people think of when they think, at all, about the Civil War. The war’s human destruction is a topic widely known; the humans who lived with that destruction, often forgotten. Continue reading “Wounds of War”

RATCO visits Gettysburg

By Allie Ward ’14

On March 28 a group of inspirational students from Selma, Alabama from the Random Acts of Theatre Company (RATCO) toured the Gettysburg Battlefield with CWI fellows and staff. Led by Dr. Peter Carmichael and Dr. Jill Titus, we endeavored to answer the difficult question of whether or not the Civil War was worth it. Many of us would answer this question with a resounding yes without realizing the extent to which the environment we were brought up in shaped this response. For the students of RATCO, who are growing up in a segregated community where the war of northern aggression is still taught in schools, “yes” is a much harder conclusion to reach.
DSC_0063

Continue reading “RATCO visits Gettysburg”

The Restoration of the Gettysburg Cyclorama

by Allie Ward ’14, Art Conservation Correspondent The Battle of Gettysburg Cyclorama, located in the Gettysburg Museum and Visitor Center, is the second of four paintings by French artist Paul Philippoteaux depicting Pickett???s Charge. The cycloram…

By Allie Ward ’14

The Battle of Gettysburg Cyclorama, located in the Gettysburg Museum and Visitor Center, is the second of four paintings by French artist Paul Philippoteaux depicting Pickett’s Charge. The cyclorama was originally commissioned in 1884 for display in Boston due to the fervent popularity of the first Gettysburg cyclorama in Chicago. After a few years on display in Boston the cyclorama was moved about the country. It spent part of its life in Philadelphia, part as wall paper in a department store in New Jersey, part on display in an armory in Baltimore, and part housed in a crate in a warehouse, before the painting was finally brought to Gettysburg in 1913.

New_org

Continue reading “The Restoration of the Gettysburg Cyclorama”

Bury Them in Peace

The creation of the Soldiers??? National Cemetery in Gettysburg was designed to honor the fallen Union soldiers of the battle with a peaceful final resting place easily accessible for visitors. This was a difficult, costly, and momentous undertaking…

This post was first published on the Civil War Institute’s previous blog901 Stories from Gettysburg.
The creation of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg was designed to honor the fallen Union soldiers of the battle with a peaceful final resting place easily accessible for visitors.  This was a difficult, costly, and momentous undertaking, but its success is as important today as as it was in 1864. While only a small percentage of the total number of visitors to Gettysburg see the National Cemetery, it is important to recognize the hard work and dedication which went into its creation. Equally as important are those who were not buried in the cemetery, those who were left buried on the field until 1871, the Confederate dead.

After the initial burials of the dead soldiers of Gettysburg in July 1863, townspeople and officials noted a few problems with the grave sites: agricultural issues because bodies were buried on working farms, visitation issues for both known and unknown soldiers, shallow graves that failed to show the respect due for men who had died for their country, and the lack of a place  for communal remembrance. As a solution, Dr. Theodor Dimon, a relief surgeon sent from New York, suggested part of the Evergreen Cemetery should be purchased and turned into a national cemetery for the interment of the Union dead, as made possible by the passage of a law in 1862 allowing the Federal government to purchase land for use as national cemeteries. David McConaughy, president of the board of directors for Evergreen Cemetery, made a similar suggestion to the state of Pennsylvania to buy plots of land and bury all of the state’s dead there. Understanding the need for reinterment, David Wills, a prominent Gettysburg attorney, spearheaded the movement to purchase the land and create a national cemetery at Gettysburg for all Union men.

Continue reading “Bury Them in Peace”

Burying the Dead

???Burying the Dead ???Burial Parties were sent out, and those who could get away from their commands went out to view the scene of carnage, and surely it was a scene never to be forgotten. Upon the open fields, like sheaves bound by the reaper, in cr…

This post was first published on the Civil War Institute’s previous blog901 Stories from Gettysburg.
Burying_the_dead

“Burying the Dead “Burial Parties were sent out, and those who could get away from their commands went out to view the scene of carnage, and surely it was a scene never to be forgotten. Upon the open fields, like sheaves bound by the reaper, in crevices of the rocks, behind fences, trees and buildings; in thickets, where they had crept for safety only to die in agony; by stream or wall or hedge, wherever the battle had raged or their waking steps could carry them, lay the dead. Some with faces bloated and blackened beyond recognition, lay with glassy eyes staring up at the blazing summer sun; others, with faces downward and clenched hands filled with grass or earth, which told of the agony of the last moments. Here a headless trunk, there a severed limb; in all the grotesque positions that unbearable pain and intense suffering contorts the human form, they lay. Upon the faces of some death had frozen a smile; some showed the trembling shadow of fear, while upon others was indelibly set the grim stamp of determination. All around was the wreck the battle-storm leaves in its wake—broken caissons, dismounted guns, small arms bent and twisted by the storm or dropped and scattered by disabled hands; dead and bloated horses, torn and ragged equipments, and all the sorrowful wreck that the waves of battle leave at their ebb; and over all, hugging the earth like a fog, poisoning every breath, the pestilential stench of decaying humanity”

Continue reading “Burying the Dead”

The Story of Lewis Payne by Allie Ward

Lewis Payne His story started like that of many young men in the South. Lewis Thornton Powell was the youngest son of nine children born to the Baptist minister and plantation owner George Calder Powell. The Powell family was forced to sell their …

By Allie Ward ’14

Free_photo_lewis_payne_standing_in_an_overcoat_and_hat
Lewis Payne

His story started like that of many young men in the South. Lewis Thornton Powell was the youngest son of nine children born to the Baptist minister and plantation owner George Calder Powell. The Powell family was forced to sell their Alabama plantation due to financial difficulties when Lewis was young and moved to Live Oak, Florida, to start anew on a family farm. When news came that the Confederacy was in need of volunteers, Lewis and his two older brothers joined their ranks on May 30, 1861.  Private Powell and the 2nd Florida Infantry first marched into battle during the siege of Yorktown in April 1862. After this the 2nd was attached to Jubal Early’s Brigade and participated in numerous battles including Williamsburg, Seven Pines, Gains Mill, Second Manassas, Harpers Ferry, Sharpsburg, Antietam, and Fredericksburg.

Continue reading “The Story of Lewis Payne by Allie Ward”