is from Meade at
Gettysburg, p. 157. [the text is abridged].
It sets the stage for this page's narrative.
At daybreak on the morning of July 4, the reports
that came in showed that the enemy had disappeared from the front of
the extreme right of the line, but that he still was in force on the
left and left center. General Slocum,
in command of the
right, was immediately directed to advance his corps, and ascertain the
position of the enemy. Likewise, General Howard, in the
center, was directed to push into Gettysburg to see whether the enemy
still occupied the town.
At the first sign of the enemy’s withdrawal and
before anything definite was known of their intention, the following
order was sent to General French
at Frederick City in order to gain
time in case the enemy were actually withdrawing:
The Major General Commanding directs that you
proceed immediately, and seize and hold the South Mountain passes with
such forces as in your judgment are proper and sufficient to prevent
the enemy’s seizing them to cover his retreat. With the
balance of your force re-occupy Maryland Heights and operate upon the
contingency expressed yesterday in regards to the retreat of the
enemy. General Buford
will probably pass through South
Mountain tomorrow p.m. form this side.
At 7 a.m. the following despatch was sent to Major-General Halleck, at
Headquarters Army of the
4, 1863, 7 A.M.
This morning the enemy has withdrawn his pickets
from the positions of
yesterday. My own pickets are moving out to ascertain the
nature and extent of the enemy’s movements. My information is
not sufficient for me to decide its character yet – whether a retreat
or manoeuvre for other purposes.
George G. Meade,
In order to learn the condition and of the troops
after the past
three days' hard fighting and maneuvering, circulars were sent to all
the corps commanders.
Corps Commanders will report the present position
of the troops under
their command in their immediate front – location, etc., amount of
supplies on hand and condition. The intention of the Major
General Commanding is not to make any present move, but to refit and
rest for today. The opportunity must be made use of to get
the commands well in hand, and ready for such duties as the General may
direct. The lines as held are not to be changed without
orders; the skirmishers simply being advanced according to instructions
given to find and report the position and lines of the enemy.
Corps Commanders will detail burial parties to
bury all the enemy’s
dead in the vicinity of their lines. Correct accounts of the
numbers buried will be kept, and returns made through Corps
Headquarters to the Asst. Adj’t Gen’l. The arms,
acoutrements, etc., will all be collected and turned over to the
Ordnance officers. Reports of the number and kind of each
picked up will be reported to these Headquarters.
Headquarters Army of the
4, 1863, - 12 noon.
The position of affairs is not materially changed
from my last dispatch, 7 a.m. The enemy apparently has thrown
back his left, and placed guns and troops in position in rear of
Gettysburg, which we now hold. The enemy has abandoned large
numbers of his killed and wounded on the field. I shall
require some time to get up supplies, ammunition, &c., rest the
army, worn out by long marches and three days' hard fighting.
I shall probably be able to give you a return of our captures
and losses before night, and return of the enemy's killed and wounded
in our hands.
George G. Meade,
images are from
the Library of Congress Digital Collections with the following
Charles W. Reed's war-time sketches are from the
Special Collections of the New York Public Library Digital
Collections, [www.nypl.org]; ; his b&w
digitally from the Book HARDTACK & COFFEE, by John D.
Christ Lutheran Church (known as the College
Church at the time of the battle), is from the book 'Gettysburg College
Alumni Association, 1882; Timothy
Sullivan's photograph of the Baltimore Pike is from the
Museum of Art Digital Collections, www.chrysler.org;
Edwin Forbes sketch
of the battlefield & sketch of wounded soldiers in a barn
are from Battles & Leaders of the Civil
Publications, 1884 - 1888, Volumes 2 & 3;
Cyclorama are from Wikimedia Commons; The illustration
accompanying the 16th Maine narrative, is cropped from an image titled,
'Who Would Listen for Footsteps that Nevermore would Come,' artist
unknown, as is also, the illustration accompanying Chaplain Ward's
letter titled 'Caring For The Dead and Wounded,' from 'Boys
Charles Carleton Coffin, Boston, Estes & Lauriat; Battle sketch
accompanying Col. Root's letter is from
From New York Public Library Digital
Collections, [www.nypl.org]; Photograph of White
hospital and the
Plaque commemorating the Gettysburg Field Hospitals, Adams
County, is from a digital tour of historic Mount Joy found
[ww.mtjoytwp.us/Tour/]; Surgeons Whitney and Heard
the authors private collection, photograph by George L. Crosby, 1862;
Portraits of A.W. Leonard
& Colonel Adrian Root are from the Army Heritage
Center at Carlisle, PA
, Mass MOLLUS Collection; Melvin Walker's image is
Institutions and Genealogical and Personal Memoirs of Worcester County,
Mass.," vol. IV, by Ellery Bicknell Crane, Lewis Publishing Co., 1907;
(found on google books); ALL IMAGES have been
edited in PHOTOSHOP.
to Table of Contents
What's On This Page
The end to the fighting at Gettysburg provided a
period of reflection among the battered regiments of the First Corps.
They had been through two weeks of arduous marching and 3
brutal combat. Now there was time to tally the cost.
July 2nd, the
'13th Mass' numbered 78 men out of 260 that went into the fight of July
1. The other regiments of their brigade were in the
condition. The 104th NY, which fought along side the '13th
Oak Ridge, numbered only 45 men and 1 line officer. The 16th
Maine lost 223 men out of 298 on July 1st, leaving some 75 officers and
men left. The 107th PA tallied about 75 - 80 men.
Some more men who had been hiding out in the town during the
Rebel occupation, joined the ranks on July 4th. The
this page reflect on these sad conditions in the wake of the
page begins with commentary from the
'13th Mass', which is relatively quiet regarding losses; -- is it
because the hardened soldiers were used to
these horrid scenes after a battle? Author Charles E. Davis,
chose to address the subject by quoting liberally from an
Commission, whose report conveys the ravaged landscape.
16th Maine, Major Abner Small's writing is most
movingly portrays the sentiments felt by the shattered troops.
Colonel Adrian Root's letter home is more of a
straight-forward recounting of the battle on July 1, as the
experienced it. Upon being captured, Col. Root turned his
attention to caring for the wounded men left upon the battle-field
after the Federal retreat. Confederate General A.P. Hill
Root to gather together a detail of prisoners for that purpose.
The salient points of the story are told in his letter home.
That letter is followed up by Chaplain Ferdinand D.
careful casualty report for the 104th NY. He compares the
and seriousness of the wounds he witnessed in the hospitals among the
soldiers of the 11th Corps, the 3rd Corps and the Confederates left
behind by General Lee. The misery and suffering are evident
his controlled words.
short bit on the location of the field hospitals accompanies Chaplain
Ward's letters. A short presentation on Surgeon
Theodore Heard, Medical Director of the First Corps follows.
is because Surgeon Heard began his impressive military service as the
Assistant Surgeon of the '13th Mass' in 1861. Like Surgeon
the regiment, I do not have an extensive record of their
accomplishments, but it is satisfying to mention him here.
Charles Davis's narrative for the '13th Mass' on July
concludes the page. This is primarily the report from the Christian
Commission mentioned above. The subject
of 'caring for the wounded' continues on the next page with a look at
efforts of the soldiers and townspeople, with a few
letters and reminiscences of '13th Mass' soldiers at the field
to Table of Contents
4th; WHO LICKED ?
From the Regimental History, "
in the Army" by Charles E.
Saturday, July 4.
the whole North was probably celebrating with unrestrained joy the
Gettysburg and Vicksburg, two of the boys had crawled out of their
were now engaged in making coffee.
morning was cloudy. It was so early the troops were hardly astir.
The boys were too busy
with their labor to be
wasting time in idle words, nor were they in the mood for much talk.
The fatigue and excitement
of the last three
days had reacted, and they proceeded, in their melancholy way, to brew
stimulating beverage. Presently
to the other, “Bill, there was a fight yesterday, wasn’t’ there?”
“I believe there was, Jim.”
“Damned if I
know; I thought we
did, by the
“Then let’s call
it a victory.”
“I say, Jim, war
doesn’t seem such a
hell of a picnic as we
hoped it would be when we paid $12.50 for the privilege of enlisting
“I don’t give a
damn for the picnic,
but what makes me sick
is that every time we have a chance to finish up the business, we stop
the ‘rebs’ a chance to recover.”
“I wonder if the positions we left, on enlisting,
open to us as promised, when we get back?”
“If we carry on
the war much longer as
we do now, there’ll
be no ‘get back.”
“What are you
going to do about it?”
At this moment a
third man approached
fellows growling about?”
“Jim, here, says
we had a victory
“No, I didn’t.
said, let’s call it a victory.”
are right, Jim,”
said the new-comer. “We’ll
call it one,
though it draws hard on
reflects pretty well
the feeling that
prevailed among the soldiers the morning of the fourth.
we reflected on
the last three days’ terrible work, we
could not escape the impression that it was a repetition of Antietam,
for in both cases the enemy was granted “
leave to withdraw” at a time when it
could have had little
expectation of the exercise of so benignant a privilege.
By noon it began
to rain in torrents,
making the roads so
muddy that it was impossible to manoeuver artillery with any advantage,
furnishing a good reason to Meade for thanking Providence for granting
great victory. It
was now plain enough
to all that the fighting was over, and if Lee would only get back into
we might make the claim, without fear of dispute.
present, however, the enemy showed a
strong front, having apparently recovered from the paralyzing shock of
yesterday, thanks to our customary irresolutions.
We lay all day in a piece of woods to the south of
cemetery, wondering what would be the next move on the checker-board of
firing was kept up by
the enemy, whose sharpshooters occasionally hit a man.
On one of these occasions, when an officer of
our regiment was in the act of raising his dipper filled with coffee, a
passed completely through it. “A
shot,” said the officer, and proceeded to drink the remainder of the
coffee. Another one
of our boys was shot
in the thigh;* so the day didn’t pass without some excitement and the
Fourth of July accident.All
images are from
the Library of Congress Digital Collections with the following
*George S. Wise, Company D, as
mentioned by Sam Webster. Wise died of his wound on July 12,
kicks things off with a quick wrap up of the day's events in this short
entry. The 'Jack' Leonard he mentions is probably
A. W. Leonard, of Company D, [pictured] who is the only other 'Leonard'
in the roster besides the colonel. Acting Orderly Sergeant
Joe Kelly died in September of this year, of fever, at Armory Hospital
in Washington, D.C. Comrade George S. Wise died on July
12th, of the wound he received from a sharpshooter this day.
Diary of Sam Webster
Saturday, July 4th,
Rebels were driven out of
morning. Reg’t lays
in the strip of woods to the left
of the cemetery. Dead
sharpshooting from the
lines in front. Lt.
Jo Stewart’s cup was
shot through as he raised it to his mouth.
said it was a “close shot” and drank the rest of
the coffee. Jack
Leonard has been on
piquet line nearly
the whole time of the fight. Wise
shot in the thigh, by a sharpshooter, and is badly hurt. Joe
Kelly is acting
Orderly Sergt. Only
seven of us left. About
600 prisoners were taken this morning,
among them Lawrence Montague of Martinsburg.
him pass. No Ike
Stuart's encounter with a sharpshooter's bullet was a
popular story among the veterans, as it is repeated in the regimental
history and the in the following paragraph, which is
a very brief excerpt from an article titled, 'Victuals and
Drink,' published in Bivouac Magazine,
1884, written by '13th Mass'
veteran Clarence Bell.
In the trenches at Gettysburg an energetic
skirmisher, longing for
something more satisfying than tepid water from his canteen decided to
concoct a cup of coffee. Wood was very scarce, and there were
decided objections against standing up. These little difficulties did
not deter him from the effort. So an hour’s diligent search
twigs and splinters secured enough for a fire as large as one’s
hand. These were all obtained by crawling on hands and knees
quite a radius. Patient perseverance was at last rewarded,
with a grin almost audible, he sat with his cup of coffee steaming hot
resting on his knee, held by one hand while the other was busily
engaged in stirring up the sugar. “There’s many a slip,” etc.
insinuating little piece of lead from an enfilading direction, “zipped”
through that locality and ripped through that cup close to the lower
edge. With one leg almost scalded our hero rolled on the
bewailing his lost coffee, and giving vent to some choice expressions
suitable to the occasion, but which are left to the imagination of the
to Top of Page
We Swelled the Ranks to Nine
The following two excerpts
are from Sergeants Melvin Walker and Austin C. Stearns memoirs, both of
Company K. Walker's remembrance is part of an article titled,
"A Personal Experience"
published in Thirteenth Regiment Association
Circular #24, December, 1911. Some of the story overlaps what
has already been posted on the July 1st page of this site, but is
included for context here. Stearns memoirs are from the
book, "Three Years
With Company K," Edited by Arthur Kent, Fairleigh
Melvin Walker; 'A Personal
This story is set in the
Church Hospital on Chambersburg Street in Gettysburg. The
narrative begins on July 1st.
images are from
the Library of Congress Digital Collections with the following
was taken to a large
church on Carlisle street, where our division
hospital had been established on the ground floor. The large
vestry was fast filling and before
night was packed with men covering the floor. An operating
table was placed in an anteroom
opening off the main hall and here our surgeons worked with knife and
without rest or sleep, almost without food, for thirty-six hours before
first round had been made.
About five o'clock the town
was occupied by
the enemy, the sentry was shot down. A
chaplain of a Pennsylvania
regiment was killed on the steps leading to the room above, and one of
surgeons was wounded. A Confederate
guard was placed over the hospital, but otherwise we were left to
surgeons' work was done we had no care save such as the few less
wounded comrades could give. The weather
was very hot; we were wholly without food; the floor was drenched with
and water and men were dying on every side. The First night
twenty-three dead were carried
from our room and laid beside the church awaiting burial.
the suffering from inflamed wounds and
burning fever was intense there was no loud outcry, only sighs and
calls for water. Here for three nights
and days we watched and waited, listening with almost breathless
the tumult of the fighting of the second and third days. We
heard the crash of guns, the long roll of
musketry, the cheers and yells of the opposing lines as they swayed
forth through the changing fortunes of the day. Frequently
Confederate stragglers dropped in
to jibe and boast of certain victory on the morrow and the speedy
the southern cause.
Picketts' famous charge ended in dire disaster, we heard the resounding
of our gallant comrades and we joined the swelling chorus; with all our
General Ewell had his headquarters across the street and from the going
coming of aids and orderlies far into the night we were sure the
were being withdrawn and that after suffering overwhelming losses in
days' fighting Lee was about to retreat.
morning hearing scattering shots nearby I got into the seat of a window
on the street. Soon
a squad of the
enemy's skirmishers ran past the church stopping to fire and then
hurrying on. A
moment later I saw a few of
our boys in hot
pursuit firing as they ran, and close behind a regiment in column of
aloft the flag we loved. Turning
wounded comrades I shouted, "Boys, here they come, here is the old
distress and even the agonies of death were forgotten and with tears of
shouts of rejoicing we cheered the dear old flag, emblem of all we held
dear, some indeed with dying breath.
So was ushered
in that glorious morning anniversary of our nation's birth and
assurance of a
purified and reunited people to be indeed a beacon light of liberty to
downtrodden and oppressed of every land.
After a few
days I was, with hundreds of others, transferred to York,
where a large hospital had been opened. After
some eleven weeks spent here and at
another hospital in Baltimore,
and I was permitted to return to my regiment, then in Virginia.
the old regiment in camp near
Rappahannock Station. The
been greatly reduced by losses at Gettysburg
More of Sergeant Walker's
hospital experiences at York, PA are posted on the next
Austin Stearns' narrative
picks up on the morning of July 4th.
I was awakened early in the morning by the rain
down in a smart shower, and starting up, went for the street. A union
soldier who was a prisoner like myself warned me not to venture too far
as the bullets were singing merrily around. We waited a few moments and
then, peeking out from behind the building, saw a union soldier with a
gun in his hand up by the Diamond, then another and another until there
was a large squad marched into sight. We motioned them not to
fire, but to come to us. They, seeing we were union men, came
slowly down, as the rebs were down that street slowly falling
back. Those that had been prisoners now came out from the
and backyards, glad to think and know that we were free
Some of the boys knew where there was some rebs sleeping and they were
made prisoners. Amongst the number was the drunken Quartermaster, who
had been sleeping off his bad whiskey, and a more sheepish looking man
I never saw then he was. The boys recognizing him began
him by asking him “how many Yanks he could lick this morning?” and, if
he felt like taking a turn with any, they would see he had fair play.
But the fight was all out of him; he had no desire, was as humble as
anyone could wish.
It was soon noised around that Lee had given two hours for the citizens
and the wounded to leave the town in, and then he was going to shell
it. I did not credit the report, and still did not know but
might be true, so finding Fay and going in and bidding the boys good by
(for they were not going to be moved), we shouldered our
knapsacks and joined the long line of citizens and wounded soldiers
over the pike road that leads to Baltimore.
is the Baltimore Pike leading south out of Gettysburg, taken by Timothy
O'Sullivan from the roof of Evergreen Cemetery Gatehouse, July 7, 1863.
Oak Ridge is seen in the distance behind the town.
Image from Chrysler Art Museum, digital collections.
One idea of our
leaving the town was to see if we could get anything to eat, for we
were getting decidedly hungry. In going up a street that led
of the town, we saw an open door, the first we had seen, so we entered
in and found an elderly couple seated at a table eating. We
them if they could spare some for us, offering to pay for
The man pointed to a few slices of bread, said that was all they had,
but we were welcome to a slice; the lady buttered a slice apiece and we
ate it, while the man gave some of his experiences of the last three
days. Resuming our walk, we continued along until we came to
large barn – about two miles, I should think, from the
Here was one of the hospitals, and here were hundreds of wounded men of
both armies. We tried to get something to eat but there was
nothing. Fay said he would go to another farm house
was just over the fields and try his luck if I would furnish the
money. I gave him a dollar and told him to get something if
was only salt pork. Fay soon returned without any thing, everything was
all ate up. Fay was a hearty eater and needed food more than
did. We again made application at the barn and was told that
some beef that was then boiling was done we could have some.
There was nothing to do only wait, so we sat down and patiently waited,
if it is possible for a very hungry man to do so.
Another glimpse of Dr. Heard comes from Colonel Charles
Wainwright's war journals.
At last it was announced as done, and those that
waiting were requested to fall into line and receive their
rations. We that had dishes fell into line and marched up
the big pot and received about a pint of liquid that a very poor piece
of beef had been boiled in. Fay had no cup so as soon as we
we drank the water and Fay fell in and went round, but by the time he
reached the pot it was nearly empty and he only received half as much
as those first served. It was now well along into the
and we went and sat down and talked the matter over of what it was best
for us to do. We concluded it was best for us to stay and
where we were and in the morning find the regiment, so we prepared a
place behind a fence where we thought we would not be disturbed and at
dark lay down. It had rained in showers all day and there
little pools of water all around. I noticed one just behind
fence when we lay down. I was awakened in the night by a
of water running through where we lay and, rousing up, found it raining
hard and we half covered up by water. I said to Fay “are you
for it?” He said “Yes,” and we both lay still and let the
go where it would. The cause of our trouble was that some one in the
night had hitched a horse to the tree on the other side of the fence
and his stamping had loosened the bottom rail which had served as a
dam, and let the water down on us.
In the morning we folded our rubber blankets and
around for rations. The prospects at the barn were not
encouraging, so we were turning our attention in another direction when
we saw a long string of teams coming up the road and, turning into the
field near the barn, we with others went to see who they were and what
they wanted. We found they were from York, Pa. and were
with food and other goodies contributed by the citizens of that
place. After hearing of the victory, they had in a few hours
collected enough to load down twenty teams and they had been all night
on the way. The food was all consigned to the Surgeon in
of the Hospital, so there was no prospect of our getting any.
saw one of the drivers eating a big doughnut and, thinking he might
have more, asked him if he had any of them to sell. He said
had none, only took those few for a lunch and that was the
The contents of his wagon he knew nothing about for he only drove the
team. Fay and I now
thought if we did not wish to starve we
find the regiment, so we started keeping a good watch of everything by
the way. We hadn’t gone more than half a mile when we saw a
colored individual that we knew that belonged to the regiment, [and] we
enquired of him if he knew where it was. He said it
by the village, that the teams had just been up to issue rations and
that they were only a little ways from here. This was good
for us, and we went on keeping a good lookout for all
length I saw Dick Wells of the “Commissary”; he saw me at the same time
and we had many questions to ask and answer. On
arriving at the wagons, he told us to help ourselves, and we soon
filled our haversacks with coffee, sugar, pork, and hardtack, the
standard articles of a soldiers diet. He told us the regiment was where
we fought the first day, and bidding him a good morning, we moved on
until we came to a stream of water, where we stopped to cook
breakfast. Other soldiers were doing the same, and as fires
already kindled, we soon had a strong cup of coffee with hardtack fried
in pork fat. Being very much refreshed and anxious we put
extra exertions, for we wanted to be with the boys. We went
the “Hill,” stopping for a few moments to see the effects of the
shelling in the cemetery, then down town to the Diamond. We
going right on out to the scene of our first days fighting when we were
stopped by a union soldier who wanted to know where we were
going. We told him, and he said he guessed it was not in that
direction, for he was one of the pickets. We returned into
town and went to the hospital, found the boys as well as could be
expected, stayed only a few moments and started to find what it now
looked might be a long chase. On coming out I saw Col Coulter of the
11th P.V. and enquired of him. He told me where it was a
time ago, but said the troops were getting ready to move. We
in the direction he told us, and in going out saw a young lady selling
onions [and] bought five for six cents.
We went over the
where the terrible fighting of the 3d had taken place, and on every
hand was thickly strewed the effects of the fight. We darst
stop long, although there were many things that attracted our attention
and we would like to see. I picked up a sword (and carried it
some ways) that I would like to have kept, but threw it away and
selected a gun instead.
Correspondent Edwin Forbes sketched Cemetery Ridge near the Copse of
Trees after Pickett's Charge. Note the dead bodies and the
Way down towards “Round Top” we at
found the brigade, or what was left of it. The 13th had 80
which was a fair average number. K was commanded by Lt.
and had seven men; we swelled it to nine. It is needless to
that the boys were glad to see us and hear from others of some we knew
nothing of. Major Gould was in command, Col Leonard was
Paul lost both eyes. Robinson, our division Gen’l, was
and I don’t know how many more were in the hands of the
We had after a tremendous hard-fought fight gained a victory, and there
was no doubt of it. The boys were all feeling good over the
result, and if the victory were followed up and the fruits reaped,
there would be a prospect of peace soon. This made the boys
anxious, yes, more than anxious to be on the heels of the fleeing
rebels, for it was now known that Lee was in full retreat towards the
to Top of Page
of the 16th Maine
The '13th Mass', as
reported by Lt.-Col. N. Walter Bachelder, numbered
15 officers and 79 enlisted men, on July 4th after the hard fought
The other regiments of 'Paul's' Brigade, faired about the
same. The following excerpts of source material from the
16th Maine, 94th New York, and the 104th New York give a good
The following passages are
from, 'The Sixteenth
Maine Regiment in the War of the Rebellion; 1861-1865' by
Major A.R. Small, B. Thurston & Company, Portland, Maine, 1886.
July 4. The remnant of
the Sixteenth is sadly depressed.
The loved colonel on his way to Richmond – to
the prison-pens of the South; the brave lieutenant-colonel at the point
death; our valued surgeon, Alexander, wounded and a prisoner; all the
officers but four either killed, wounded, or missing, and a fearful
casualties among the men. We thought of the brave fellows started on a
pilgrimage worse than death. There
said to be an average time in every man’s life, when he learns to
I believe many of us
graduated in this
accomplishment that night.
captured was Benny Worth, of Company E.
He was kept busy in the unwelcome task of
carrying United States
muskets from the field, July 2d. He quickly discerned that
being worsted, and shrewdly worked his way into the hospital.
Procuring some bloody
bandages, he bound up
an imaginary wound in his ankle, and hence was left behind, while the
unharmed were marched toward Richmond.
Worth rejoined the
regiment on the morning of
others, rendered timely aid to many
of the wounded inside the rebel lines.
He found Captain Lowell of Company D, where he
fell mortally wounded, a
short distance from the Mummasburgh road, and near the
stone-wall. Although conscious, he was
speechless. He was
carried to a vacant room in the
seminary, on the first floor. Before
could find a surgeon, he, with others, was marched
to the rear some two miles. Corporal Bradford adds, that when he found
Lowell he had been robbed of all valuables, and the absence of papers,
small diary torn up and scattered, made it impossible for strangers to
the body, hence his burial place is unknown. While in the slough of
and trying to assist as skirmishers in the front line, Major Leavitt
regiment, and assumed command at ten o’clock P.M.
The heavy rain could not put out our
enthusiasm, or dampen our joy at his coming. While lying here, Sergeant
Morrill, of Company A, was mortally wounded in the breast, by a
Among the incidents of the battle, is
one written by Adjutant
Enquirer, brought out by the following letter published in
Editor: - Please send
me the paper for another year. I
don’t now how I could do without seeing a paper every day.
It may be an old woman’s
fancy, but somehow I
am not yet hopeless that I shall yet hear something to cheer my last
days. My bright,
manly boy, William left in ’61 to
join the Confederate Army. He
seventeen – my only boy – and from then till the battle of Gettysburgh,
him twice, and heard from him often. In
that dreadful battle he was left wounded on the battle-field.
His fate I know not, but I
read the papers
every day, hoping that I may gain some tidings of him.
I hope on, and still hope that he may be
alive. The shadows
are growing longer,
and a dark river is rolling nearer and nearer to me; but beyond the
brighter and brighter. William
there. I am waiting
for my Master’s
I have just been reading
the sad story of bereavement, and
it brings vividly before me the battle of Gettysburgh and its attendant
sadly patient mother tells her story and
brings to mind, distinctly, a spot in the grove at the left of Cemetery
nearly in front of General Meade’s head-quarters, where were lying a
wounded, in grey suits, fallen in the last brave charge on the 3d of
July. Sadly I made
my way among the dead and dying,
proffering such assistance as sympathy dictated.
One poor fellow, about twenty-five years of
age, was shot through the body. His
wants were few – “Only a
water. I am so cold
– so cold!” Won’t
you cover me up?” And
then his mind wandered, murmuring
something about “Dear mother. So
is all over.” Then
a clear sense of his
condition, and would I write to his father and tell him how he
loved them at home? “Tell
them all about
it, won’t you? Father’s
name is Robert
Jenkins. I belong to the Seventh North Carolina troops – came from
My name is Will -, ” and tearfully I covered
his face. Perhaps
he was this mother’s boy; perhaps
not, but he was some mother’s darling.
A little further
attention was attracted toward a
young man, of Kemper’s brigade, I think. Kneeling down by his side, I
his strikingly handsome face some few moments, when he unclosed his
eyes and looked
steadily into mine with such a questioning, hungry look, an appeal so
so eloquent, and I had not the power to answer – could only ask where
talk to me, please,” he
said. A moment
after he touched his
breast, and I saw there was but a chance for him.
Asking if he was afraid to die, he replied, “No; I am glad I
am through. Oh! I hope this will end the
I asked him if he was a
Christian, and I
think he told me he was not a professor, “but tried to be good,” when a
of pain closed his eyes. I
bear to leave him, and, putting my face close down to his, he suddenly
his eyes. I shall
never forget their
unearthly beauty, and the sweet, trusting expression which overspread
face, as he said to me, with a motion as though he would throw his arms
my neck, “I am going home – good by!”
did weep; I couldn’t help it. I
recollect his name; he might not have told me.
I only remember that boys from the Sixteenth
Maine carried him to the
field hospital because they wanted to, although they, too, saw it was
to Top of Page
Colonel Root's Letter; 94th
article presented here was found among the collected digitized pdf
for the 94th N.Y. Vols.
at the website for the New York State Military Museum and
Immediately after the
battle on July 5th, Chaplain P. G. Cook of this unit, estimated the
regiment's loss at 7 killed, 60 wounded and 160 missing.
Major Moffet claimed they could only muster 80 men of the
estimated 350 who entered the fight.* Chaplain
Cook wrote that one hundred twenty men were present for duty July 5.
Washington, July 14th, 1863
must not neglect to avail myself of the opportunity of writing to you,
which my present respite from active duty affords me, and remembering
the interest you have always taken in my regiment, will endeavor to
give you a connected account of its recent experiences. I
from Aquia, of which post and its defenses I had been placed in command.
the Army of the Potomac moved in pursuit of General Lee, General Hooker
sent me three additional regiments of infantry, with orders to hold the
post, and cover the embarkation of the sick of the Army and the immense
quantity of supplies in depot at Aquia.
On the 17th of June
embarkation had been completed, without loss, and I received
telegraphic orders to evacuate the post and proceed to the mouth of the
Monocacy River, in Maryland. Taking transports to
marched thence overland, reaching the Monocacy on the 20th ult.,
guarded the Potomac from the Monocacy down to Edward’s Ferry until the
26th ult., when Major-General Reynolds arrived and crossed the Potomac
with his First Army Corps, and obtained permission for me and my
regiment to accompany him. I reported to General Paul, commanding First
Brigade, Second Division, at Middletown, on the 27th ult.; 28th,
marched to Frederick; 29th, to Emmetsburg; 30th, marched nearly to
Gettysburg, our Brigade arriving at about one o’clock P.M., and finding
Wasdsworth’s Division engaged with a superior force of the enemy, and
suffering severely, General Reynolds the Corps Commander having been
killed early in the action. Our Division passed on to the
Gettysburg, and advanced to Wadsworth’s support, the First Brigade
forming line of battle upon a wooded ridge, and, by direction of
General Paul, throwing up hastily constructed breast-works of fence
rails, &c. These were scarcely completed before we
ordered to move to the right, and having moved about five hundred
yards, found ourselves under a heavy fire of musketry and
order to see
the enemy, I advanced the 94th in
through the grove to a rail fence, towards which the enemy’s line was
advancing through a wheat field. My regiment opened a heavy
upon th enemy’s line, which soon wavered then broke and hastily
regretted. I deemed the moment a proper one for advancing
the wheat field to another fence, whence I hoped to silence, and if
possible, capture a battery which was vigorously shelling us from a
wooded elevation beyond. At that moment an aid came up and
informed me that I was in command of the Brigade, General Paul having
been wounded. I hesitated no longer, but gave the order to
94th to charge. The gallant fellows sprang over the fence with a cheer,
charged across the field in the face of heavy fire, and occupied the
desired position, from which they opened a heavy fire upon the enemy’s
battery. I then went to General Robinson, reported my action,
asked for orders. General R. thought it hardly desirable to
attempt to carry the enemy’s position, and directed me to
recall my men
to their original position. Riding to the front, I ordered
regiment back, and was turning my horse, when a shell exploded directly
over me, and so near me as to completely stun me. One
tore my cap from my head, and my entire system was so shocked and
prostrated that I was unable to keep my seat in the saddle. I
accordingly rolled off, in a bewildered frame of mind - and my share in
battle had ended. Two of my men carried me to the rear and
drenched me with water.
Meantime the enemy pressing the corps in
superior force, succeeded in flanking it on both sides, and forced it
to retreat in haste through Gettysburg, to a hill beyond. In
passing through Gettysburg, the enemy headed off a portion the corps,
and captured a large number of prisoners, among whom were nearly two
hundred of my own regiment. While all this was transpiring,
helpless and semi-conscious on the field, and was taken possession of
some exultant rebels. By a sort of retributive justice, my captors
belonged to the 33d North Carolina regiment, the identical regiment
captured by my brigade at the first battle of Fredericksburg, December
17th, 1862.** When the rebels had occupied Gettysburg their
ceased, and having some leisure they turned their attention to their
prisoners, of whom they had taken about four thousand. The
North Carolina recognized me, shook hands vigorously, and
escorted me to their Colonel, who anxiously inquired if “I’d take a
drink,” at the same time proffering a canteen of whiskey.
in the evening my generous captors took me to the headquarters of Gen.
A.P. Hill, who gave me a good supper, and offered to parole me at once,
or to wait and exchange me after the Confederates had taken
Baltimore. I preferred being exchanged at Baltimore, but
subsequently I thought of the hundreds of our wounded men in the rebel
lines and asked permission to attend to their wants, and offering to be
personally responsible for a detail of prisoners, if they could be
me. Gen. Hill at once gave me permission to attend to our
wounded, and subsequently gave me a detail of one hundred and fifty men
of the 94th N.Y.V. to assist me. I was required to sign an
obligation to remain prisoner of war until duly exchanged.
the other prisoners were paroled and sent to Carlisle, but I declined
the parole, as did my men also, and only accepted the provisional
parole, in order to be enabled to relieve the sufferings of the
wounded. That night I passed on the battle field, doing what
little I could to relieve the misery around me. All I could
was to supply water and receive dying messages for home friends, and
encourage the less severely wounded. I shall never forget
first night, no, nor any of those days and nights, until the long and
fearful fight had ended. - But that first night was the most painful of
all, for with the exception of one man, I was alone in endeavoring to
assist the hundreds of wounded men around me, and meanwhile suffering
inexpressible distress myself, from very consciousness of my inability
to materially relieve the misery which wrung with useless sympathy
every chord of my nature.
But the next day, July 2d, my detail of
150 men of the 94th, came to my assistance, and while the fight raged
furiously at the front, my brave fellows labored assiduously under a
constant fire of our own batteries to collect our wounded men.
poor fellows were placed in a barn, until one hundred and seventeen had
been placed here, and there was no more room, and then the rest were
laid in rows on the ground outside. We had no luncheons, but
had water, and the men worked faithfully in their labor of mercy,
rendering me prouder of them than I had ever been before.
their labors were not entirely devoid of risk, may be inferred from the
fact that several shot and shells passed into and through our
improvised barn hospital. One of these shells exploded and tore the
lower jaw from a Tennessee Major who had stopped to look at our
and he died in a few moments. Of the great artillery fight of
July 3d, and subsequently of the magnificent infantry charges of
was as you may suppose a most interested spectator, but I cannot now
the time to describe them. I will only say that after having been
present at a number of important engagements, the battle of Gettysburg,
in my opinion, exceeded all previous battles of the war in sublimity
and grandeur, as well as in carnage and subsequent human
You will bear in mind that within the rebel lines, I was at perfect
liberty to go where I chose. I was a witness to their losses
well as our own. There were numerous instances in which it
as though all possible human misery had been concentrated.
you imagine anything more appalling than human beings with shattered
jaws, limbs, heads, helpless, speechless, yet conscious, and with the
pleading eye eloquent with imploring agony. I saw many such
could only leave them to perish slowly where they had fallen.
But I will not shock you with a detailed
During the night of the 4th inst., the rebels began their retreat,
disappointed, but very far from being dispirited; their artillery
intact, their cavalry splendidly mounted, their infantry in perfect
discipline. The officers bade me good
bye, saying as they shook
hands, that they hoped to meet me again under pleasanter
dawn of the 5th inst. the Confederates had entirely disappeared,
me and my detail with the wounded, and by noon our lines had extended
out to our rudely improvised hospitals, and our wounded, for the first
time since the action of the 1st inst., received medical
should like very much to tell you of some of the strange incidents
which occurred to me, during my involuntary sojourn with the rebels,
but cannot do so now without violating the terms of my parole. You will
doubtless be surprised to learn that I met several
in the rebel army, (where won't you meet them?) On one
while walking over the field I met a mounted rebel officer, who after
passing me, turned his horse, and overtaking me, asked if I was not
Col. R. On my replying in the affirmative, he asked me if
him. I looked at him a moment, and replied, “Yes, you rascal,
know you very well, I used to see you licked every day at
the rebel laughed, and announced himself as the Quarter
the 8th Georgia regiment and wanted to know if he could do anything
me. On my replying that I wanted nothing but Surgeons, which
could not supply, he began a review of the old school-boy days of the
long past childhood, asking after many who had been long ago dead and
buried, and finally, and with hesitation, inquiring about his
father and mother. I remembered that his brother was lost at
and I expressed the opinion that poor “Gussy” had been the more
fortunate of the brothers.- Whereupon the Confederate smiled
gravely, and said that he must be going along, as he had been detailed
to “borrow” some horses from the Pennsylvania farmers. Then with a
request that I would send his love to his parents and family, my old
schoolmate, Sammy Hall, rode away to negotiate his “loan”of some
horses from the Pennsylvania farmers.
This letter is becoming
too long for you to read with comfort, and I will finish it
forthwith. My own physical condition is quite satisfactory,
the exception of an occasional twinge of pain in my cranium, consequent
upon what the surgeon declares to have been a “concussion of the
brain.” I regard his opinion with much satisfaction, in view
the fact that a friend of mine has frequently told me that I had no
brains, or I would be at home behaving myself, instead of wasting my
days as a three years’ volunteer. I am now awaiting
as the validity of my parole, which I consider valid and binding, and
shall fulfill its conditions, to the extent of my ability, my only
in assuming them having been to relieve the sufferings of our wounded
I cannot state definitely the losses in my
the recent battles. About one hundred men only are now with the colors,
but doubtless most of the “missing” were taken prisoners. I
yet know the number of killed and wounded.
I remain yours very truly,
*Another officer, Walter T.
Chester claims the regiment's strength was 420 when it entered the
fight with only 78 present directly following it. The
is the regiment had about 410 men when it went into action. [See here].
to Table of Contents
Letters of Chaplain F. D.
Ward; 104th NY
articles presented here were found among the collected digitized files
for the 104th N.Y. Vols.,
at the website of the "New York State Military Museum and Veterans
Colonel Gilbert Prey's
Regiment, 104th N.Y. Vols., fought
along side the '13th Mass,' fronting north on Oak Ridge, July
1st. The other
regiments of General Paul's Brigade initially fronted west.
experiences of the 104th N.Y. will be the most like those of the '13th
Mass.' The morning of July 2nd, the 104th N.Y. could only
about 45 officers and men. It is estimated they brought about
Chaplain Ferdinand D. Ward,
104th N.Y., arrived at
the Gettysburg battle-field on Monday, July 8th.
After touring the hospitals he wrote the following interesting letter
Visit to the Pennsylvania
Army Corps, Hospital. – Camp near
Gettysburg, Pa., July 9th
– I arrived
in Washington a week ago this
morning, after three days uncertain journeying via Harrisburg,
Baltimore, and by two days more busy trying, secured a War Department
reach the Army of the Potomac; but my object being not so much to reach
Army as the wounded, I found it necessary to get another pass from Gen.
Schenck, at Baltimore. This took another day, and
I got here Monday
evening. I find our
Regiment like all in this corps, terribly cut up, having done the
part of Wednesday’s fighting, and been in all the later fighting on the
which was very severe on Thursday evening, and most of the day on
Friday. I have
visited the 11th and 3d
corps Hospitals, but do not find them so badly destroyed as the 1st,
although their losses are terrible indeed.
Especially the 3d, where the wounds so far as
I have visited, are more
severe than those of the 11th.
I think in them all, the killed in proportion
to the wounded is smaller
than usual. We have
many of the rebel
wounded among us, who are much more horribly mangled than
I judge this may be partly
from their removing
many of theirs, leaving only the worst cases, and partly from the
supply, and more effectiveness of our ammunition.
If we only have their “worst cases,” and they
are at all in proportion to ours, the number here tell an awful tale of
I have stolen as much time as I could feel like
the duties that press upon every working man on all sides, to visit the
field. These scenes
have been so often
described, I will not attempt any details of its horrors. It
is enough for me to
tell you that here is
a line of battle extending eight miles, nearly every foot of the whole
marked by all the usual indications of a fight desperate and sanguinary
by Brad Forbush]
This letter continues with
a list of wounded which
I have omitted. A week later, on July 15th, Chaplain Ward
wrote home again
with a more accurate list of wounded. That letter is written
from White Church Hospital, which is found in Mount Joy Township, Adams
County, Pa. I
found the following information about this Field Hospital on-line.
Mark’s German Reformed Church
(Evangelical Holiness Church)
(founded in 1789) was already an
active church before
the Battle of Gettysburg. In 1863, the building was described
as a wood church constructed of hewed logs, weather-board on the
outside and plastered on the inside. Locally it was called
“White Church”. The Church became a hospital immediately
following the Battle of Gettysburg.
By July 1, 1863, it was found the doors were taken off the church and
one door was being used as an amputation table. The pews were
taken out and some were cut up to make bunks. Tables were
used as beds for the soldiers. There were 1229 wounded soldiers treated
at the 1st Corps hospitals. The hospital was under the
supervision of General Patrick, Provost Marshall of the Army of the
Potomac. He recalled “I took possession the evening of the
1st, of a small white church building on the Baltimore road …Besides
the men of our army, the next day 2nd July Gen. Patrick had placed
the lawn and grove near the church several hundred wounded rebels, who
were fed and had their wounds cared for…”
REPUBLICAN (Geneseo, New York)
The late Battle – 104th
“White Church Field
Hospital Of 2d Div.,
First Corps, Near Gettysburg, Pa.,
Wednesday, July 15th 1863.
: - I have delayed communicating to you the results of the late battle
in order to greater correctness of statement. Waiving all
of the engagement itself, I would notice briefly the position of
officers and privates of the 104th. Col. Prey, Major Strang,
Rugg, and Lieut. McConnely are the only officers with the Regiment,
which contains but 40 privates. Quartermaster Colt is with
train. Lieut. Col. Tuthill has a serious, though we hope not
dangerous wound. He is at Gettysburg, and will go to
Corning so soon as possible. Adj. Stull is a paroled prisoner
at his home near you. His health has not been good for two
past. Dr. Chase is Brigade operative Surgeon. Dr.
and myself are on detached service at this Hospital and that at
Gettysburg. Captains Wiley and Fisher and Lieut. Stark are
wounded, though not severely; all have returned home.
Starr and Wilson are prisoners en route to Richmond. Lieuts.
Weed, Lamson, Snyder, Tuthill, Rose, Dixon, Stephens, Daily and Cain,
are supposed to be prisoners of war. Lieut. Thomas
Troy, a young officer of great amiability and oft-tried valor, was
killed by a ball through the lungs. Lieuts. Dow, of York, and
Richardson, Stark and Griggs are wounded. – Lieut. Trembly, severely
wounded at Bull Run, has but lately rejoined the Regiment, and though
not in active military service, is doing much good to the
wounded. Lieut. Kenny is on the staff of Gen. Paul, who is
severely wounded by a ball passing through each eye.
Sergeants Buckingham and Shea were badly wounded – the former losing a
leg also Sergeants Lefferts, [Joseph Leffleth] mortally in face –
having lost a leg – Wylie, Gearhart, Harris, Shea, Pierce, Foster,
Culver, Cutler, Carr, Curtis, and lt. Germain, with Corporals Powers,
Stanton, Sudbury, Cunningham, Tipkie [Henry Zipkie], and
Baker, in the Hospitals at Gettysburg; and here I have seen Privates A.
Lewis, P. Goller, A. Saubier, D. Richards,
Roberts, E. G. Washburne, [E. C. Washburne, G] J. P. Wells, F.
Shea, A. H. Peabody, J. Nubfang, [J. Newfang] G. Chick, M. McGee, W.
Hind, P. Garry, M. Flynn, E.
Faucher, E. Whipple, S. Streeter, J.B. W. Jock, W. Wetham,
J. Weedright, W. Singleton, G.
Laudwick, [also Lodowick] H.W. Hurlburt,[?] A, True, P.
Cannon, A. Hughes, J. Sweeney, J. W. Parr, N.
Wallace, P. Clark,
Maxson, N. Peaswick and A. Pratt, with many missing, most of them will,
by God’s blessing, recover, though not all.
In collecting the names of deceased soldiers, I
have aimed at great correctness, knowing the painfulness of a false
name. I have just returned from the Hospital. While
there I asked the inmates to give me the names of those who to their
certain knowledge, died on the field, or subsequently, as the result of
wounds. They gave me these, (many more, alas to be added)**
L. Johnstone, Lieutenant.
Thomas Johnston, Co. D]
J. Curtis, Sergeant.
Sgt. Thomas J. Curtis, Co. A]
William Woodruff, Co. A]
W. Lewis Private.
Wesley Lewis, Co. D]
Private J. Lodawick or Lodowick, Co. B]
F. Mix, Private.
Alonzo F. Mix, Co. B]
Samuel S. Lewis or Samuel L. Lewis, Co. D]
Horace Burgess, Co. D]
Orville O. Perry, Co. G]
James Tighe or Tyke, Co. H]
Charles W. Fisher, Co. I]
C. Galusha, Co. H]
A.M. Pectil or Pectell, Co. K]
This catalogue will be painfully enlarged as time
will be observed that the loss of officers is specially
due time there will be a thorough re-organization if not
consolidation of the Regiment.
The Hospital here established is
under the official control of Dr. Chambers, assisted by Dr.
Richmond, Darby And Wheeler. Too much cannot be
praise of their skill in many intensive[?] operations and of attention
by themselves and nurses to scores of wounded soldiers.
Wilson[?] Washburne, Lindsey, and Hamilton, are attentive as
usual at all hours. Additionally[?]
their charge, and received all needful service. The deaths
of course been many. A part of my deathbed duty has been to
the dead. Yesterday I conducted the burial of five
(two Union and three Confederate.) at the same time in low
ground, several more
ready for internment. Sad
scenes! I have not time, strength nor heart to recall and
what I have seen during the last two weeks. Oh, what
and exhaustion of body and spirit! The end is not
Another fearful battle is at hand, if not already waging. The
remnant of the 104th form part of the “line of battle,” now said to be
facing the foe. May God protect those noble men.
Ere long I
will write you at more length.
P.S. I met Geo. Hall at
Gettysburg. He is attending
John Parry, and in other ways rendering himself useful.
have cross-referenced the names on Chaplain Ward's list of soldiers
killed, with other newspaper sources and tried to correct some of the
errors. The corrected names appear in brackets.
to Table of Contents
Surgeon John Theodore Heard
The above letter written by Chaplain Ward is
addressed from the White
Church Hospital. A picture of the church accompanies the letter.
The field hospitals established in town on July 1
by Confederate forces. When the rest of the Federal
army arrived at Gettysburg, new field hospitals were established in
what is today called Mount Joy Township near Gettysburg. The
plaque pictured commemorates these hospitals and also mentions Surgeon
J.T. Heard, Medical Director of the 1st Corps, Surgeon John
T. Heard began his volunteer service with the '13th Mass Vols.
The plaque reads:
OF THE POTOMAC
The division Field Hospitals of the First Corps
were located July 1st
at the Lutheran Theological Seminary, The Penna. College, The
The Lutheran College Church, and other churches and Buildings in
Gettysburg. When these fell into the hands of the
Confederates the Chief Medical Officers Remained with the Wounded.
July 2nd Hospitals were established near White
Church on the Baltimore
Pike. These Hospitals cared for 2379 wounded.
Medical Director 1st Corps Surgeon J.T. Heard,
U.S. Volunteers; 1st Division Surgeon C.W. New, 7th
Indiana Infantry; 2nd Division Surgeon C.J. Nordquist, 83rd
N.Y. Infantry; 3rd Division Surgeon W.T. Humphrey, 149th
Medical Officer in charge of the Corps Hospitals,
Surgeon A.J. Ward, 2nd
[click on the image to view larger].
Dr. Heard is also
referenced.in one of Chaplain P.G. Cook's letters home, (94th N.Y.)
Colonel Root was able to organize a detail of prisoners to
help care for the wounded following the first days battle.
The terms of the acquired parole were printed in the
Pa., July 3, 1863.
Surgeon Hurd, Medical Director of the First Army
Corps, United States
Army, having applied for a detail of Federal prisoners for Hospital
purposes, and for attending to the wounded and burying the dead, the
following named prisoners of war, belonging to the Ninety-Fourth
Regiment, N.Y. Volunteers, having declined to avail themselves of the
ordinary parole, are hereby detailed for the above duties, the
condition being that they will not attempt to escape nor take up arms
against the Confederate States, nor give any information that may be
prejudicial to the interests of the Confederate States until regularly
exchanged and should the United States Government effuse to consider
this parole as valid and binding, and refuse to exchange the following
named prisoners, then they (the following named prisoners, are to
remain prisoners of war to the Confederate States Government until
regularly exchanged after returning within Confederate lines, and the
detail of prisoners are to be subsisted by the Confederate States
Government so long as they remain within its lines.
Col. Adrian Root, 94th N.Y.V. (wounded) is permitted to take charge of
the detail upon the above conditions.
(A list of the soldiers named for the detail from
the captured men of the 94th N.Y. follows).
newspaper file at the New York Military Museum; July 14 letter of
Chaplain Cook; Commercial
Advertiser, July 18, 1863.
Although they spelled his name incorrectly as
'Hurd', this is
the same Dr. Heard who began his distinguished army career in
the medical service, as Assistant Surgeon
of the 13th Massachusetts. A glimpse at Dr. Heard's service
'13th Mass' early in the war, is gleaned from one of Private John B.
Noyes letters home,
dated November 22, 1861. Private Noyes wrote:
don't know what reports you have heard of the Surgeon. I have seen
nothing in him to unfit him for his duties. He is not very
popular in the Regiment, partly owing to his infirmities, that is his
fatness, and partly to the fact that Dr. Heard, the Ass't. Surgeon is
the favorite. Hurd is a slim built man, very dark in
quick, active, and more neat in attire than his superior officer.
Of two Doctors, one must in time fall under when their
patients are the same. The chief complaint against
his giving too much quinine to those affected with the chills.
Several men in our Company haven't ceased to shake since we
Antietam & will not feed on quinine. Now Dr. Hurd
for those cases, although his sickness prevented his constant
attendance. Dr. Whitney agreed with Hurd on the quinine
that is on its use, and the benefits to be derived from it by
those affected with chills & typhoid fever. So you
Whitney suffers where Hurd should bear the burden...”
Assistant Surgeon J.T.
Heard and Surgeon Allston W. Whitney, 13th Mass., at Williamsport, MD
in February, 1862. The image is by George L. Crosby, and
a larger image in my personal collection of photos - B.F.
following two paragraphs of research on Heard's family was
compiled by Dr. John
Wausau, WI, December, 2015. Dr. Hatenhauer's is the custodian
some of Surgeon Heard's personal artifacts. His research
beyond these excerpts. Any interested readers may
contact me for more information. - B.F., Jan. 2017.
Theodore Heard was born on Hancock Street in Boston on May 28, 1836.
His great grandfather,
Nathaniel Heard, was
one of the Minute Men who marched from Ipswich to Lexington when the
arms was sounded on April 19, 1775. His
father, John Trull Heard, was born on May 4, 1809, also in
1832 he married
Almira Patterson of
Boston. The ceremony was performed by Ralph Waldo Emerson.
There were three children
from the marriage.
Two, a boy and a girl, died in infancy.
John Theodore survived. He was called
“Theodore” by his parents. In
1880, following the death of his
Theodore wrote a memorial
for him which was published in the New England Historical and
Register in 1882. This memorial describes his father as pursuing a
life”. Although not mentioned in the memorial, his father was a
(Trull and Heard Distillers) who was financially very
In 1859 the family was
living at 4 Louisburg
Square, perhaps the best neighborhood in Boston then and which remains
today. Subsequently the family was consistently listed as living at 20
Louisburg Square. As will be seen later it seems possible that both
remained in the Heard family until nearly the mid 20th
Theodore Heard attended Boston Latin and other private schools for his
education. He then attended Harvard Medical School from which he
1859. The Francis
Countway Library of
Medicine of the Harvard Medical School has two of Dr. Heard’s diaries
as bound volumes of his Case Records as House Surgeon at the
General Hospital from May 1858 to May 1859.
The first diary was kept on a Trip to Cuba,
February and March 1856. The
second was kept on two trips to Europe between
On the first trip to
Europe Heard sailed on the “Asia” from New York to Liverpool departing
November 23, 1859. His
visits to hospitals, infirmaries, clinics, medical society meetings and
physicians’ offices in London, Dublin, and other cities in Ireland and
Scotland. Heard records that he “…fell in with a Scotch MD by the name
Hunter who had been in the English Army in the Crimea”.
Perhaps this is
prompted Heard to purchase Notes
the Surgery of the War In The Crimea by George H.B.Macleod
originally published in 1858, Heard’s personal copy is in my
third page, in his hand, is his signature and the date July 16, 1861
the date he mustered into the 13th Regiment of
Volunteers.) While in Europe he also “…witnessed an amputation at the
took 45 seconds from the time he (the surgeon) was handed the
Heard returned to the
United States on May
29, 1860, arriving on the “Arabia”.
was not uncommon in that era for young physicians who could afford it
and enhance their medical training by visiting European clinics.
medical education was superior to that in the United States at that
time. Less than two
months after returning home
Heard left for Europe again, this time sailing from Boston on July 12,
the “Adriatic”. He arrived in Southhampton and spent much of his time
and Paris. However
he was in Moscow when
news of the firing on Fort Sumter reached him. According to a Latin
classmate who encountered Heard at the Cunard office in Paris, Heard
travelled “night and day” to reach Paris and when he found that all the
on the ships to the U.S. had been booked offered to sail in
That wasn’t necessary as
his classmate took
him into his cabin for the trip. Heard returned to Boston where he
into the 13th Massachusetts Infantry as Assistant Surgeon on July 16,
1861. The Surgeon
of the 13th
Regiment was Allston Waldo Whitney.
On May 1st,
1862, J. T. Heard was appointed Surgeon, to the 1st
Brigade of the 2nd Division of the
First Army Corps, which was at the time Duryea's brigade of McDowell's
October 28, 1862 he was appointed Chief Surgeon of the same division.
Just two weeks later he was appointed Medical Director of the
Corps, under Major-General John Reynolds.
Clearly Surgeon Heard was efficient, and well connected.
While serving on the First Army Corps staff, Dr.
Heard befriended Colonel Charles Wainwright, Chief of First Corps
Artillery. The cranky upper-class Wainwright, from
Dutchess County New York, became
fast friends with the Bostonian doctor. Wainwright kept an
extensive war-time journal, most of which has been published.
He mentions Medical Director Heard several times.
Here are some excerpts.
morning I rode around by the river, where we are to cross, with Dr.
Heard, who I find to be a most pleasant, gentlemanly companion.
At "White Oak Church" we took a road which leads directly
- Wednesday, December 10, 1862.
a passage dated August 9, 1863, Colonel Wainwright reflected on the
health of the troops and the skill of the medical department.
troops continue very healthy so far; very much more so than they were
last year at this time in any part of Virginia. This is owing
many reasons. The season is very different, this year being
while last was a constant pour. ...But the main reasons for
better health of the army lie in the facts that the men themselves as
well as their officers have
learned how to take proper care of
themselves, and that our medical staff is infinitely superior to what
it then was. ...The medical staff has changed
what it was a year ago; fully one-half of the old regimental surgeons
have been sent home, and better ones come out in their place.
Those that had brains enough to hold their commissions have
learned their duties, the business part of which was totally new to
every one of them, as well as the different mode of treatment required
for troops in this climate from that needed by people living in houses
men have a good time of it bathing in the river this warm weather.
Bache and Heard propose that we should go down and have a
some time if it is possible to find a spot out of sight of the men,
which is not likely.”
Heard's family was of a high social standing, and his diary mentions
that at one time
in 1864, he attended the theatre with President Lincoln. Colonel
another anecdote of Dr. Heard during the Army of the Potomac's winter
encampment at Culpeper that same year.
Rice, commanding our First Division, has had a bevy of girls at his
headquarters, a private theatre and what not. Heard says he
over there once or twice, and tells a good story of his mother when
giving her name to a shop girl in Baltimore being asked if she was any
relation to Dr. Heard of the First Corps, who the shop girl said she
knew very well, having met him during her visit to General Rice, int
army. Imagine Mamma's disgust, she having just social
enough to feel such a thing...”
- Culpeper, Feb. 29, 1864.
At Gettysburg, Colonel Wainwright (pictured) noted the
capture of his friend, and then his welcome return on July 4th.
loss of the corps today is put at 7,000, some 3,000 of them being sound
prisoners, captured at the last charge, and stragglers picked up in the
town. All our wounded, and nearly all our surgeons, were
prisoners in the town, including Heard and Bache, and my own little
- July 1, 1863.
4, Saturday. As usual, we were up by daylight this morning,
it was not ushered in by a volley of cannon and musketry as it was
yesterday. On the contrary, our pickets in the outskirts of
town soon reported that there was no enemy in their front.
soon after I saw Heard and Bache trudging up the hill on foot, and
joyfully went down to meet them. They said that the rebels
withdrawn from the town during the night, their pickets just gone at
daylight. How far they had gone, they did not know. All our
severely wounded of the first day and those of the enemy were left in
the town, as also all the surgeons of the First and Eleventh Corps who
were caught there on our falling back. They only stopped with
a minute or two, and then went on to report to General Newton and
More anecdotes of the doctor come from a lengthy
article by George Edward Jepson, Co. A, printed in Thirteenth
Massachusetts Regiment Association Circular #17, August 1904.
the members of the latter’s [Major-General John F. Reynolds] military
family was Dr. J.
Theodore Heard, a well-known physician of Boston
at the preset time, and our esteemed regimental surgeon
Doctor Heard was
called to Army Headquarters
at Frederick City, Md., early one morning and there learned that Hooker
just been relieved and the command turned over to Meade. On
his way back to the
head-quarters of the
First Corps he met General Reynolds, and thinking that he (the general)
of the change in commanders, told him of the surprising fact.
General Reynolds received
the statement with
a placid smile and, nodding his head, said shortly, “I know
He turned abruptly away,
however, as if to
avoid any discussion of the event.
was about this time that the rumor was whispered about that the command
army had been offered to Reynolds.
personal peculiarities alluded to as so remarkably distinguishing the
forbade any comment on the subject in the latter’s presence.
A more extraordinary
instance of his self-restraint
and extreme delicacy of feeling is furnished by the
In the Spring of
Heard passed a part
of an evening with President Lincoln and casually mentioned the rumor
concerning Reynolds. The
positively that it was true, adding also that General Reynolds had not
declined the high honor, but had strongly recommended General Meade for
position, the presumption being that Reynolds’ recommendation had been
sufficient to settle the matter. The
extraordinary point of the incident is that, so far as known, Meade
ignorance of it to the day of his death.”
Jepson's deductions may or may not be accurate but
the anecdote is true. Another is related in the same article.
during the conversation previously referred
to, related to the writer an interesting incident that had a
on the point in question. The doctor was
in the town attending to the wounded when Hill’s and Ewell’s troops
surging in. footnote
“A little later,
while consulting on the battlefield with
Gen. A.P. Hill, the Confederate corps commander, about caring for the
the latter, looking at the many caps of the Union soldiers that strewed
ground, observed in a tone of surprise, “Why I see you had the Third
as well as the first and Eleventh!”
“Now the Third
Corps badge was a diamond shaped piece of
cloth, while that of the First Corps was in the form of a sphere or
lozenge.The latter through hard service
had in some instances shrunk or become partially detached from the cap
lopped over in such a way as to present something of the appearance of
a diamond. In the fading light, and without close
scrutiny, it was not remarkable that Hill was deceived and took it for
a large part of Meade’s army was at hand than the rebel leaders
supposed to be
with quick apprehension of Hill’s mistake did
not feel called upon to undeceive him, however, particularly as the
general by his tone and manner indicated that he was quite satisfied of
correctness of his surmise.
Its nice to have these little glimpses into
military life, as I have very little mention about him considering his
impressive career. When the army was re-organized by General
Ulysses S. Grant in 1864, the diminished First Corps was consolidated
into the Fifth Corps, and Surgeon Heard lost his post. Not
after, he was appointed Medical Director of the 4th Army Corps, Army of
Cumberland in which he saw service with General William T. Sherman.
The following brief bit about Surgeon Heard was
published in the 13th Regiment Association Circular #19, December, 1906.
John Theodore Heard was born in Boston, May 28,
1836, the son of John
Trull Heard and Almira Patterson, both of Boston. He died at
his summer residence in Magnolia, Mass., Sept. 2, 1906.
He was educated in the Boston Latin School and at
the Harvard Medical
School, graduating from the latter institution in 1859. He then entered
the Massachusetts General Hospital as an intern, and completed his
service in the hospital in that capacity. Subsequently he studied
abroad in Dublin and Paris. He was married, Oct.
28, 1868, to Rosalie I. Gaw, of Philadelphia. He continued in
active practice of his profession for about three years after his
marriage, and was one of the surgeons in the out-patient department of
the Massachusetts General Hospital.
While he was abroad, pursuing his medical studies, the news of
the firing on Fort Sumter reached-him and he decided at once to
return home and offer his services to his country.
One of his classmates in the Latin School says:
"The news of the
firing on Fort Sumter reached my
brother John and me at Seville at sunset; we took the early morning
train for home by way of Paris, arriving at the Gare de Lyons with only
half a franc in our pockets, for we could not stop anywhere to draw
money on our letter of credit. The next morning, after a call on our
bankers, we hurried to the
Cunard office and bought the two remaining state rooms on the Cunarder
'America.' A moment after, in burst Theodore, and when told
last state room had just been taken, said, 'Then give me a second cabin
ticket.' When told there was no second cabin on the
'America,' he instantly said, 'Then I go in the steerage rather than
"Then I tapped him on the shoulder and asked him where he came from in
such a tearing hurry. He replied, 'I was in Moscow when
the news reached me and I have come night and day to get
said, 'The same with us in Seville,' adding that we had taken the last
remaining state rooms 'so that no secessionist shall have an extra
but as you are not of that type, it is yours.' So we went
together with a crowd of others like ourselves, seeking not military
glory, but to do
our best for our country's sake."
Dr. Heard was mustered in as assistant surgeon,
Massachusetts Infantry, July 16, '61; mustered out as surgeon, Oct. 25,
'65; promoted to surgeon, U.S. Vols., May 1, '62; brevetted lieut-col.,
March 13, '65; May 1, '62, assigned as brig.-surg., 1st Brig., 2d Div.,
1st. A.C. (then Duryea's brigade of McDowell's Corps); Oct. 28, '62,
assigned as surg.-in-chief, 2d Div., 1st A.C.; Nov. 10, '62, assigned
as medical director of the 1st Corps, Army
of the Potomac, commanded by Gen. John F. Reynolds, remaining in that
position until the 1st Corps was consolidated with the 5th Corps under
Gen. Warren, March 23, '64; March 25, '64, assigned as surg.-in-chief
of artillery reserve, Army of the Potomac; April 30, '64, assigned as
medical director, 4th Corps, Army of the Cumberland; promoted to
lieut.-col. by act of Congress (dated Feb. 25, '65), March
In this concise statement of his military career
is embodied four years of the hardest kind of service to a sympathetic
nature such as his. The duties of surgeons in the army were often
performed under circumstances heart-rending, particularly during the
excitement of battle, where the courage of a surgeon underwent the
severest test, and where coolness, gentleness and patience were of the
highest importance. These qualities Dr. Heard possessed in a
high degree, and are amply confirmed by reports and by the verbal
testimony of those with whom he had the honor to serve as a staff
officer. The young army surgeon of to-day can scarcely realize or
appreciate the comparatively meagre facilities surrounding the field
hospital of the Civil War, or the difficulties encountered in
administering to the sick and wounded or supplying their needs and
wants with comforts necessary to a rapid restoration to health.
He joined the Thirteenth Massachusetts Infantry at Fort Independence in
July, 1861, and was at once recognized as a man of refinement and
culture. Though modest and unassuming to a very unusual degree, he soon
acquired, by reason of his dignity, his sweetness of temper and
simplicity of manner, the love of the men of his regiment, who took
pride in his valor and the abilities he manifested during his service
as a medical director of the First Army Corps.
To write at any length of his services during the
war would be
difficult for any man, even his most intimate friend. He was extremely
reticent about his own service, preferring to be classed among those
who, having performed the duty assigned them, see no reason for
glorifying it by advertisement, or enlarging upon it any more than upon
any other contract they undertook to perform. His service, therefore,
can be summed up in a very few words. He was a meritorious officer,
acquiring distinction by his abilities and by the faithful and diligent
performance of his duties, and by his life and actions did the biggest
of all things, made his regiment respect and like him.
C. E. DAVIS, JR.
to Table of Contents
'The Christian Commission'
July 8, 1863.
THE SUBSCRIPTION OF
BOSTON in answer to the appeal of the
President of the Christian Commission has been prompt and very liberal.
At two o’clock this
afternoon, upwards of
Thousand Dollars had been contributed, and
Pictured below are the field offices of the
Christian Commission at Camp Letterman, Gettysburg.
Davis Jr., chose to concentrate on the characteristic slowness of the
Army of the Potomac, rather than the horrors of the battle-field in his
narrative for the regiment on July 4th. But he did not ignore
solemnity of the time. For his narrative of July 5th, he chose to quote
in the Christian Commission to convey the un-speakable scenes around
Gettysburg after the armies dis-engaged.
The following is from "Three Years
in the Army, The story of the Thirteenth
Massachusetts Volunteers from July 16, 1861 to August 1, 1864."
by Charles E. Davis Jr. Boston, Estes and Lauriat, 1894. Pages 247-248.
Sunday, July 5. At daylight it was
announced that the Confederate army had retreated. At 9
the regiment was moved to the left of the line to a position lately
occupied by the Third Corps. Burying parties were now busily
employed to bury the dead, from whose bodies the stench was almost
The following is an extract from a letter written
for the Christian Commission by Mr. R. G. McCreary, a prominent citizen
and lawyer of Gettysburg, who was an eye-witness of the scenes he
the 1st of July commenced about the
middle of the forenoon between the rebels advancing on the Chambersburg
turnpike and Buford’s cavalry who, as the infantry of the First Army
Corps came up and formed in line of battle, slowly retired to the
rear. The approaching storm was watched with intense anxiety
the citizens, but it was not long until the boom of cannon, the
bursting of shell, the rattle and crash of heavy infantry firing along
the ridges west of the town, and the streams of litters which began to
move in from the field of carnage, brought them to realize the fact
that a fierce and bloody contest was in progress.
I saw no more of
the battle till the middle of the afternoon, though there was abundant
evidence in the many mangled forms coming in, upon whom I was tending,
and the louder and increasing crash of arms, that the conflict was a
most terrible one, and was rapidly approaching the town. At
length, by the frequent explosion of shells in the immediate
neighborhood, I found that our army was falling back, and soon the rush
and roar in the streets banished everything else from my
That was a terrible night. Our army had been driven back; the
town was full of armed enemies. We saw and heard the progress
pillage all around us.
The morning of
July 2d revealed a dreadful
sight – dead horses and dead men lay about the streets, and there were
none to bury them. Our first care was for the multitude of
men now suffering for the want of food. The bakeries were in
hands of the rebels, and not a loaf nor a cracker remained; the
butchers’ cattle had been driven off or confiscated, and no meat could
be procured; the groceries were broken open, and their contents carried
away or destroyed by troops of rebels, who, like hungry wolves, roamed
through the streets in search of plunder.
until Friday (July 3), seemed to be entirely confident of
success. One of them said to me on the forenoon of Thursday
they would not remain with us more than a few hours, as General Lee had
his plan of battle nearly arranged, and they would move forward, and he
seemed to think with assured success; they extolled General Lee as the
great master of the military art, and spoke of his admirable strategy
in making a grand feint toward Philadelphia in order to concentrate his
army here for an attack on Baltimore and
this time a squad of soldiers passing were halted, and asked to what
they belonged? They replied, “To the Second Louisiana
Brigade.” They were then asked if they had taken a battery
had been charging upon? And they replied that they had “To come out,”
and could not take it. The officers were silent.
said the next day that they had but fifty men left in their brigade
after that assault. They were the “Louisiana Tigers,” of whom
those officers had boasted that “they had never been driven back in a
charge, and never would be.”
On Friday night
and Saturday morning
the rebel army had withdrawn from the town to the crest of Seminary
Ridge, and our skirmishers had driven out or captured their stragglers
and pickets. While the dead still lay unburied and the
wounded upon the field were numbered by the thousands, the call of the
bugle summoned the victors from the side of the dying, the faithful
surgeon from the pierced skull, the mangled flesh, and broken
limb. Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, the town of
presented a woeful appearance. Guns were scattered in the
or piled upon the sidewalks. Pavements were stained with
blood. Every church and public building, and in fact almost
private house, was filled with wounded. More than twenty
wounded men were in and around Gettysburg.”
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