Patriotism or Greed? Damage Claims after the Battle of Gettysburg

The Battle of Gettysburg brought the reality of war to northern civilians. Typically when people discuss the experiences of the citizens of Gettysburg they include tales of bravery, such as the well-known hero John Burns…

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The Battle of Gettysburg brought the reality of war to northern civilians. Typically when people discuss the experiences of the citizens of Gettysburg they include tales of bravery, such as the well-known hero John Burns, or the tragic Virginia “Jennie” Wade.  The stories rarely include themes of greed, selfishness, or unpatriotic behavior. However, this was a claim made against the citizens of Gettysburg in 1863. Lorenzo L. Crounse , a reporter for The New York Times wrote on July 5 that, “The actions of the people of Gettysburg are so sordidly mean and unpatriotic as to engender the belief that they were indifferent as to which party was whipped. . .. they have only manifested indecent haste to present their bills to the military authorities for payment of loses inflicted by both armies . . . .” This post will explore this accusation through an examination of a damage claim submitted by a Gettysburg resident.

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A Rare Glimpse of Gettysburg Field Hospitals

The first two photographs above are by Frederick Gutekunst and were most likely taken sometime between July 9th and 11th, 1863, at the field hospital of the Army of the Potomac???s Second Corps. These images are unique in that they are the only know…

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The first two photographs in this article are by Frederick Gutekunst and were most likely taken sometime between July 9th and 11th, 1863, at the field hospital of the Army of the Potomac’s Second Corps. These images are unique in that they are the only known photographs taken of any Gettysburg hospital tents besides those at Camp Letterman, and the only photos of any hospital tents taken in the immediate aftermath of the battle.  This is striking in that Union corps field hospitals and twenty-four Confederate field hospitals were present when two prominent groups of photographers, one headed by Matthew Brady and another by Alexander Gardner, made their trips to Gettysburg.  Camp Letterman was also in the process of being established at the time that Brady, the latter of the two to visit Gettysburg, arrived.  Why did these preeminent photographers ignore these potentially powerful subjects?  Continue reading “A Rare Glimpse of Gettysburg Field Hospitals”

George Leo Frankenstein’s View of East Cemetery Hill

This 1866 painting by George Frankenstein depicts a good portion of the so-called ???fish hook??? of the Union line during the Battle of Gettysburg. The scene that Frankenstein depicted is largely unchanged from what it looked like on the night of Jul…

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This 1866 painting by George Frankenstein depicts a good portion of the so-called “fish hook” of the Union line during the Battle of Gettysburg. The scene that Frankenstein depicted is largely unchanged from what it looked like on the night of July 2, 1863 when the hardest fighting occurred at this spot. The furrows on the bottom right are particularly eye-catching. They are most likely fortifications constructed by the Union soldiers defending East Cemetery Hill.  What do these fortifications suggest about the fighting on East Cemetery Hill? Why are they featured in a painting completed three years after they were last used?

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