The Battle of Gettysburg

Ancillary Stories, July 1, 1863.

Gilbert Gaul Illustration "To The Rear"

1887 Illustration by artist Gilbert Gaul; "To the Rear."  Although the color banding is superfluous to the b&w illustration, I liked the effect, so I left it in the picture.  The yellow, and blue tints suggest battle smoke, and the green tint in the foreground adds to the grimness of the subject.  My apologies to the artist.

Table of Contents

Introduction; What's On This Page

The battle stories of the veterans didn't end with the retreat from Oak Ridge on the afternoon of July 1.  The retreating soldiers had to get through the town and to Cemetery Hill to find safety.  Most of the First Corps didn't make it, and they were captured in the town.  The wounded were already there in private homes and public buildings hastily converted to hospitals.  Christ Church on Chambersburg Street was one such hospital.  And what of the residents of Gettysburg?  For those that didn't flee town the terrible ordeal was just beginning.  This page continues the narrative of July 1st with some selected experiences of the soldiers and townspeople. 

An excerpt from Mary McAllister's lengthy interview kicks things off.  Mary and her neighbors lived across the street from the College Church [Christ Lutheran Church today] on Chambersburg Street, and they all went over to assist the wounded in spite of their aversion to the horrible sights encountered there.  She mentions the shooting of Chaplain Horatio Howell of the 90th PA on the church steps.  His story follows accordingly.

Non-combatant Chaplain Horatio Howell was shot down on the steps of Christ Church by an impatient rebel who ordered the Chaplain to surrender.

Next a short summary of the military career and wounding of Brigadier-General Gabriel Rene Paul is outlined.   Incorporated into this record is a letter of Sergeant Charles A. Drew, '13th Mass.' Company A, who assisted the badly wounded general from the battle-field into town.  The experiences of Jennie McCreary, another resident of Gettysburg, come next.

Alfred Waud sketch of a woman

Jennie specifically mentions three wounded officers of the '13th Mass.' who were recuperating at her father's home next door to the church; Colonel Samuel H. Leonard, Surgeon Edgar Parker, and Captain Moses P. Palmer.  There may have been more.  Surgeon Parker was the 2nd non-combatant shot on the church steps, but he was luckier than Chaplain Howell and survived the attack.  His story follows Jennie's letter.

Next up are a series of miscellaneous tales worth noting.  Sergeant Austin Stearns recollections come first.  Among other things he tells what happened to Captain Charles H. Hovey and his horse.  Stearns humorous anecdotes are followed by another tale regarding Captain Charles Hovey, found among the pages of Bivouac magazine.  The final two stories on the page come from the 97th NY and 12th MA regiments.

Colonel Charles Wheelock's close encounter with a rebel officer at the home of Carrie Sheads, is recounted as told in the regimental history of the 97th NY.  The last story relates the stalwart sentiments of a dying soldier of the 12th MA Volunteers.  I'm pleased to add these experiences of that fateful day at Gettysburg, July 1st, 1863 to the narratives of the 13th Massachusetts Volunteers.

PICTURE CREDITS:    All images & Maps are from the Library of Congress digital images collection, with the following exceptions:   Edwin Forbes Illustration of soldier bringing in a wounded friend is from "Thirty Years After" LSU Press, Reprint, 1993;  Christ Church, Gettysburg, from "Gettysburg College Alumni Association, Pennsylvania College, 1882;  Charles Reed Illustrations are from NY Public Library Digital Collections, [];    Chaplain Horatio Howell portrait  & the photo of his monument dedication is found in Souvenir:  Survivors' Association, 90th Pennsylvania Volunteers, Gettysburg 1888-89. Alfred J. Sellars,  Philadelphia:  John W. Clark's Sons, 1889.;  Map of the Overland Mail Route is from wikipedia;  Photo of General Paul in his Civil War era uniform is from Cowan's Auctions,;  General G.R. Paul, post-Gettysburg, from the website "Gettysburg Stone Sentinels";  Portrait of Sergeant Charles A. Drew was provided by Mr. Tim Sewell;  John Alan Maxwell illustration of Civilians Watching Battle from their rooftops is from Civil War Times Illustrated;  Portrait of Colonel S.H. Leonard, seated, was provided by Mr. Jeff Kowalski;   Portrait of Edgar Parker is from  Norwich University, 1819 – 1911;  Her History, Her Graduates Her Roll of Honor by Greenville M. Dodge and William A. Ellis;  Illustration of man riding his horse hard is by Louis F. Braunhold, found in "General Nelson's Scout," by Byron A. Dunn, Chicago, A.C. McClugg & Co., 1898;  Portrait of Colonel Charles Wheelock is found in "History of the Ninety-seventh regiment, New York volunteers, ("Conkling rifles,") in the War for the Union." by Isaac Hall, Utica: L. C. Childs & Son, 1890.;  Picture of Miss Carrie Sheads' house is found on the blog titled "Stories Retold,";  I AM GRATEFUL TO THE HUNTINGTON LIBRARY IN SAN MARINO, CA where many rare materials were accessed.  ALL  IMAGES have been edited in photoshop.

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Mary McAllister - Excerpt

Mary McAllister, 41 years old at the time of the battle,  lived and operated a merchant store at #43-45 Chambersburg Street across the street from Christ Lutheran Church, (then known as the College Church).  The church became a hospital for the First Corps during the battle of Gettysburg.  Notwithstanding her natural aversion to gore, Mary went with her neighbor Nancy Weikert and her 19 year old niece, Amanda Reineckert,* to the makeshift hospital to see what could be done to help.  Many of the '13th Mass' wounded were present at the church at the time of Mary's visit. 

Many years later, she shared her experiences with a friend, Mrs. May Gerlach Hoffman, who in turn shared it with the Philadelphia Inquirer on the 75th Anniversary of the battle.  The account was serialized and appeared in that newspaper in four installments between June 26 & 29, 1938.  The following excerpt details some of her first experiences.

Illustration of soldiers camping in a street

About Sunday night, June 28, there came a company of Union soldiers from toward Emmitsburg.  We were all so glad we did not know what to do.  They camped down York street in a field and lots of women took them food.  We thought they had come to guard us and we told them the rebels had gone to Hanover.  Those men of the raid tore up the bridge.  But those Union men would not tell us much.  We begged them to stay.  No, they said they had their business.

“But,” they said, “In a very short time you will see more soldiers than you ever saw in your life.”

Then we put in some days of agony, and there was not much to eat.  Then on Tuesday evening came more soldiers.  This was the day before the battle.

Beginning of Battle

We slept none watching the rebels.  They were in the mountains at Cashtown.  We could see their campfires.  Then the rebels came and they got close.  Then on the first of July the Union soldiers began to come into town and we thought we were safe, but in an hour or two the shooting began and that was the battle starting.  The Union Infantry began to come down our street at double-quick.

Martha had baked bread all that morning and I was stowing away things.  When the soldiers began coming down the street they called:

‘Give us water! Give us water!”  They were going at double-quick.

Our boys and Horner’s boys dipped the tin cups in the tubs and the soldiers tossed back the cups as they ran on.  And then the biscuits got all burned and there was so much excitement that we went into the house.

We locked the doors and went upstairs and thought we could bar them out.  But soon the wounded ones came in so fast, and they took them in different houses and into the church.

First Wounded Soldier

Edwin Forbes "Last Act of Friendship"

The first wounded soldier I saw was with John McLean.  John was not fighting, he was too old to go into the army.  The first wounded man I saw he brought in.  The soldier was on a white horse and John waAll  images are from the Library of Congress Digital Collections with the following exceptions.s holding him by the leg.  The blood was running down out of the wound down over the horse.  Our John [John Scott, Mary's brother in law, owned the building] had been sick and was just able to be about and he fainted.

John McLean went to Belle King’s and he hollers: “Belle, come out here and help this man in.”

They got him off the horse and they let the horse go.  They brought him into our house and Martha and I put him on the lounge, and I didn’t know what in the world to do.

Mrs. Weikert lived near us and she said, “Let us go to the church, we can be of use there.”

Martha had torn up sheets for bandages and I gathered up sheets and water and Mrs. Welkert and I went to the church and we went to work.  They carried the wounded in there as fast as they could.  We took the cushions off the seats and some officers came in and said:

“Lay them in the aisles.”

Then we did all we could for the wounded men.

Christ Church, GettysburgAfter a while they carried in an awfully wounded one.  He was a fine officer.  They did not know who he was.

A doctor said to me: “Go and bring some wine or whiskey or some stimulant!”

When I got outside, I thought of Mr. Guyer near the church.

“Well.” I said, “Mr. Guyer, can you give me some wine?”

He said, “The rebels will be in here if you begin to carry that out.”

“I must have it,” I said, “Give me some!”

“Well,” he said, “I will give you some!”

I put it under my apron and went over to the church with it.  They poured some of it into the officer’s mouth.  I never knew who he was, but he died.

Scenes of Horror

Well, I went to doing what they told me to do, wetting cloths and putting them on the wounds and helping.  Every pew was full; some stirring, some lying, some leaning on others.

They cut off the legs and arms and threw them out of the windows.  Every morning the dead were laid on the platform in a sheet or blanket and carried away.

There was a boy with seven of his fingers near off.

nurse helping wounded manHe said: “Lady, would you do something for me?”

The surgeon came along and he said: “What is the use doing anything for them”” and he just took his knife and cut off the fingers and they dropped down.

Well, I was so sorry.

A man sat in a pew and he was young and white.

He said: “Lady, come here.  Do you know if there is a Mason in town?”

I said: “Yes, there is one Harper, a printer, but he has left town and I know no other.”

“Oh!” he said, “if you could only get to him.”

Charles Wellington Reed sketch of a shell explodingBut I was too scared.

The church was full and just then there was a shell struck the roof and they got scared, and I was scared.  I wanted to go home.  (I often think that shell might be in the church yet.)    I looked around for Mrs. Welkert.

They said:  “They are going to shell the church!”

Well, they begged me not to go, but I went out and there the high church steps were full of wounded men and they begged me not to try to cross the street.  Our men were retreating up the street.  Many wounded ones who could walk carried the worst wounded ones on their backs.Charles Reed illustration, Soldier Carrying Wounded Man

I said:  “Oh, I want to go home.”  So they let me go at last.

I struggled through the wounded and the dead and forgot the horror in the flight.  I was as high up as Buehler’s Drug store before I got across the street and got home.  When I came to the door it was standing open and the step was covered with blood.

“Oh!” I thought, “All are dead!”  and I ran through.

I could hardly get through for the dining room was full of soldiers, some lying, some standing.  Some ran in to get out of the shooting.  The rebels were sending grape shot down the street and everyone who was on the street had to get into the houses or be killed and that is the way some of these Union men got into our house.

*Detailed notes on the article are from the excellent book, "Days of Uncertainty and Dread" by Gerald R. Bennett; 1994, published by The Gettysburg Foundation, Gettysburg, PA.

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The Shooting of Chaplain Howell

After Mary McAllister left the church, the Rebel army flooded into the town.  In the pandemonium, Chaplain Horatio Howell of the 90th PA was shot and killed on the steps of the church-hospital.  Surgeon Edgar Parker of the '13th Mass,' was also wounded on the church steps and took refuge at the home of Jennie McCreary.  Jennie wrote:

     "When I went home I found two wounded at our house.  Col. Leonard shot in the arm and Dr. Parker slightly in the head.  They are both from Massachusetts.   Dr. Parker was wounded whilst coming down the college church steps.  One of the rebel sharpshooters fired on him from Boyer’s Corner, the same ball that struck him killed the chaplain of that regiment."*

The 90th Pennsylvania Survivors Association errected a tablet to Chaplain Howell in front of the church steps:

Chaplain Horatio Howell

"The tablet, erected at the Lutheran Church, in memory of Chaplain Howell, states that he was “cruelly shot,”  a phrase liable to create a wrong impression as to the facts.  An eye witness of the affair, Captain Archibald B. Snow, of Boonville, N.Y., gives in a recent letter the following version of the shooting:

Snow was then a sergeant in the Ninety-seventh New York, and knew Chaplain Howell by sight, as both belonged to the same brigade.  Snow was shot through the jaw, and went to the Lutheran Church Hospital, where his wound was dressed.  He then started to leave the hospital, and passed through the front door of the church just behind Chaplain Howell, at the time when the advance skirmishers of the Confederates were coming up the street on a run.  Howell, in addition to his shoulder straps and uniform, wore the straight dress sword prescribed in Army Regulations for chaplains, but which was very seldom worn by them.  The first skirmisher arrived at the foot of the church steps just as the chaplain and Snow came out.  Placing one foot on the first step the soldier called on the chaplain to surrender; but Howell, instead of throwing up his hands promptly and uttering the usual, “I surrender,” attempted some dignified explanation to the effect that he was a non-combatant, and as much was exempt from capture, when a shot from the skirmishers rifle ended the controversy.  A Confederate lieutenant, who came up at this time, placed a guard at the church door, and, to the protests of the surgeons against shooting a chaplain, replied that the dead officer was armed, in proof of which he pointed to the chaplain’s sash, and light, rapier like sword belted around the chaplain’s body.  The man who fired the shot stood on the exact spot where the memorial tablet has since been erected, and Chaplain Howell fell upon the landing at the top of the steps."

The following are excerpts from Reverend Dr. William Aikman's oration at the dedication of the monument.

"Chaplain Howell  entered the Presbyterian ministry, having been a student in Lafayette College and graduated at the Union Theological Seminary, in New York city, in the year 1845.  He was pastor in the Presbyterian church at East Whiteland, Pennsylvania; at Elkton, Delaware, and at the Delaware Water Gap till the year 1861, when he became Chaplain of the Ninetieth Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers.  He died here on that first day of the battle of Gettysburg.

"Chaplain Howell was of a peculiarly gentle and quiet disposition, one of the last to choose battle scenes, and one of the last to be thought of as dying by the bullet of an enemy.  But he was brave and patriotic, as he was calm.  At the call of his country he entered her service, leaving home and children and wife, enduring the privations and self-sacrifice like the good soldier that he was, and at the last giving the crown of his devotion - his life.

Of Howell’s work as any army chaplain, you, my soldier friends, are more competent to speak of than I, for you saw it and knew it.  But from what I knew of the man, I am sure that you saw him to be one in whom you could repose the supremest confidence, who everywhere and at all times adorned his sacred profession.  I know that you never found him shirking a duty or betraying a trust.  You saw that his acts were illustrations of his preaching, and himself a christian minister of unblemished life and efficient service.  You have told me how you enjoyed his companionship, and how you cherish its memories."

and later...

"It was, too, the chaplain’s part to take and bear, as the pastor of his regiment a burden of care and responsibility that called out all his sympathies, and often wrung his heart.  It was his, not to repress and stifle these sympathies, as largely officer and surgeon must do.  It was his to allow them scope and activity as he helped his men morally and religiously.  Ah, my friends, to stand by a dying man and try to lift him up toward hope and heaven, to take into one’s heart the burden of sorrow that a dying man tells, there to hear and record messages of love and grief, to send word that you know will crush hearts forever, blot out smiles, make tears to flow endlessly - some of you would rather go into battle than do that!  It was the chaplain’s work, and he must not, if he would do it well, steel his heart. That tempestuous night scene, that hungry and weary chaplain in mud and rain, that wagon train wounded and dying, was a type of a world of work and sorrow of a true chaplain’s life - and your Howell was a true chaplain. You remember it as you to-day honor his memory and his work.  Rightly you have carved on the bronze

“He being dead yet speaketh.”

Members of the 90th PA Survivors Association at dedication of Howell Monument

Members of the 90th Pennsylvania Survivors Association at the dedication of Chaplain Howell's Monument in front of Christ Church, September, 1888.

On behalf of the church, Prof. E. S. Breidenbough, Sc. D., stated the following:

"It is a fitting circumstance, that this monument stands in front of one of the churches used as  hospital, during and after the battle. This was by no means a misuse, but a very excellent use of the church of God - to make it a shelter of the wounded and dying.

Remembering all it stands for, this monument should inspire every one who passes by or enters the church, to greater faithfulness for the Master, in whose service Chaplain Howell gave his life."

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General G. R. Paul

Acknowlegements:  The brief synopsis of General Paul's military career prior to Gettysburg is sourced primarily from the 3 following websites.  The  The blog of Gettysburg National Military Park has an excellent article by John Hoptak titled, "Great in heart and mighty in valor” - General Gabriel Paul and his Mortal Wounding at Gettysburg"  posted July 10, 2014.  This article linked to a biography originally printed in the Campbell County (Kentucky) History News - January  1999.  The third site is a digitized version of "George W. Cullum's Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, since its establishment in 1802."  This site is maintained by Mr. Bill Thayer.  Links to all these sites can be found in this section's footnotes.

The horrible wound Brigadier-General René Paul received at Gettysburg ended a distinguished military career which started after he graduated from the Military Academy at West Point, July, 1834.1

Gabreil Rene Paul at the time of the Mexican War

Assigned to the 7th US Infantry, the young brevet 2nd Lieutenant kicked off his career in Oklahoma Indian Territory at Fort Gibson.  The fort was the last leg of the journey to a new land for thousands of displaced Creek, Cherokee, and Seminole Indians under President Andrew Jackson’s Indian Removal Act of 1830.  Six months later in December 1834, Paul's  rank of 2nd-Lieutenant was confirmed. The following year he divided his time between Fort Gibson and  Camp Nacogdoches, Texas, a frontier trading post used as the first district court of the newly Independent Republic of Texas.2   On October 26, 1836  2nd-Lt. Paul was promoted First Lieutenant. [G.R. Paul, pictured during the War with Mexico].

In 1839 First-Lieutenant Paul relocated to Florida amidst renewed hostilities with the Seminole Indians.  They refused to relocate.  Whether or not Paul immediately saw action I don’t know, for he spent much of his time on recruiting service until 1842. The latter year it is recorded in his record that he surprised a camp of Indians near Tampa, Florida.  Through 1843, he remained garrisoned at Fort Brooke of Tampa, ‘an embarkation point for the removal of Seminoles to the Indian Territory.’3

  Then, he spent several years in and around New Orleans until the outbreak of the War with Mexico, (1846 - 1848).    Captain G.R. Paul, promoted April, 1846, participated in the defense of Fort Brown Texas, a post established that year,  just before the outbreak of war.

In May 1846, Mexican forces besieged the Fort Brown and bombarded it with artillery.  The US artillery responded with great effect and drove away the attackers.  This was the first experience of many to follow for Captain Paul in the War with Mexico.

He was present at the Battle of Monterey, September 21 - 23, 1846;  the Siege of Vera Cruz, March 9-29, 1847, the Battle of Cerro Gordo, April 17 - 18, 1847;  where he was wounded;  the Battle of Contreras, August 19-20, 1847, the Battle of Molino Del Rey, September 8, 1847, and  the Storming of Chapultepec, September 13, 1847.

General Winfield Scott's Mexican War Campaign Map

The objective of these campaigns for the US troops, from April until September 1847 was Mexico City.

[Click Map to View Larger]

 General Antonio Lopez Santa Anna, of Mexico, interposed his army between Mexico City and the US forces to oppose them each step of the way.  At Cerro Gordo, the Mexican Army was outflanked when US forces found a passage through a dense jungle ravine which Santa Anna had thought impassable.  When the US troops broke through, 3 pieces of heavy artillery were brought to bear upon the main line of Santa Anna's defense.

A bloody diversionary attack in Santa Anna’s front occupied the Mexican forces, while US troops on the flank used the artillery they had brought up to bombard the Mexicans soldiers.  The artillery barrage was followed by a charge.  The Mexican forces held out for 3 hours then broke.  Casualties were high on both sides.  The Mexicans lost 436 killed and 700 wounded. Three thousand were captured.  The Americans lost 63 killed and 367 wounded.  Captain G. R. Paul numbered among those wounded.4

General Santa Anna’s army continued to suffer defeat as US forces pressed on toward the capitol city. 

General Winfield Scott took a difficult route across lava beds to brush aside a subordinate Mexican force at Contreras, then turned on Santa Anna’s principal arm at Churbusco the next day, August 20. These twin defeats forced Santa Anna to fall back to a last defensive position only two miles outside Mexico City.  His position was strengthened by the heavy guns of castle Chapultepec.  A fortress situated on a high promentory. The US frontal assaults on these strong defenses were repulsed with heavy loss.  Only with persistence and reinforcements did they prevail.  Captain Paul was promoted Brevet Major for gallant and meritorious conduct in the September 8th Battle of Chapultepec. 

“General Paul, though small in stature, was great in heart and mighty in valor, as particularly shown when leading the storming party and capturing the enemy's flag on the walls of Chapultepec.”  In 1848 the citizens of St. Louis, his home town, presented Major Paul with a sword honoring his service in Mexico.5

The Image below is a detail from a print depicting the storming of Chapultepec.

Battle of Chapultepec

After the excitement of the war years Major Paul returned to his home turf in Missouri for two years of recruiting duty.

In 1851 he returned to the Texas Frontier for another 3 years, helping to keep the peace on the turbulent border with Mexico.  The first year he was posted at Corpus Christi, then in 1852 & '53 he was posted at Ringgold Barracks.

 “Fort Ringgold assured permanence for the isolated Rio Grande City and socially and economically affected the life of the community while it safeguarded the citizenry from border violence.  The post housed the area's first telegraph office, fueled the local economy through federal appropriations, and waged protracted warfare on smugglers, rustlers, and insurrectionists who ravaged the region.”6

An additional four  years of service were clocked up at Fort Belknap, Texas a bit to the north.   At one time Captain Paul commanded this four company post.   Fort Belknap  provided protection for ‘the Brazos Indian Reservation which was located 12 miles away along the Brazos River and the Comanche Reservation which was 40 mile further west.’  In 1857 the Overland Mail Route, from St. Louis to San Francisco was established, with a stop at Fort Belknap.7

Detail of Overland Stage Route showing Fort Belknap

Sometime in the mid 1850s Captain Paul’s first marriage broke down.  Biographical information is found in an article printed by the Campbell County Historical Society, Newport, KY.  He had married   Mary Ann Whistler, in 1835.   Her father commanded the post at Fort Gibson.  To quote directly:

“Mary would have 3 daughters and a son  over the next several years.

“In 1854 William Whistler moved his family back to Newport, possibly bringing the Paul family with him. Available records do not indicate when the marriage of Mary Whistler Paul and Gabriel R. Paul broke up but Mary lived until 11 November 1871 and is buried in Kansas while Campbell County marriage records show G. R. Paul married Louise Rodgers on April 13, 1858.”8

The 2nd marriage would last.  Louise was apparently an engaging and outgoing woman as we shall see.  Following a brief stay in St. Louis at Jefferson Barracks in 1858, Captain Paul returned to the frontier; this time in Utah.  A patrol under his command surprised and captured a camp of hostile Indians on Spanish Fork, Utah, October 2, 1858.  Following Utah he was assigned to New Mexico Territory.  To quote directly from his service record:

“The outbreak of the Rebellion found Paul serving in New Mexico, where he was made the Colonel of the 4th Regiment of territorial troops, placed in command of the Southern Military District, and was engaged in the Skirmish of Peralta.”9

After 15 years as captain, G.R. Paul finally attained the rank of  Major, 8th US Infantry, April 22, 1861.

With this impressive service record in the regulars, Major Paul certainly deserved promotion in the volunteer army at the outbreak of hostilities between North and South.  Mrs. Paul thought so too.

On August 23, 1862, President Lincoln wrote in a memorandum:

Today, Mrs. Major Paul of the Regular Army calls and urges the appointment of her husband as Brigadier General.  She is a saucy woman and I am afraid she will keep tormenting me till I have to do it.

Less than two weeks later Major Gabriel R. Paul was appointed  brigadier general of volunteers.10 In April, 1862, he was promoted Lieut.-Colonel, 8th Infantry, (Regular Army).

 General Paul’s time with the Army of the Potomac was short.  He missed the fighting at Frederickburg.   At Chancellorsville he led a brigade of 9 months men from New Jersey.  This experience incited a comment from Sam Webster, the impish drummer/diarist of the 13th Mass., when General Paul assumed command of the Brigade in June, 1863,   "General Paul seems to think us all Jerseymen and recruits, if we may judge from the various orders and direction he gives at Brigade Guardmounting.  – The greatest trouble is that he never does it twice alike."  

Like the rest of the First Corps in the Chancellorsville Campaign, Paul's New Jersey Brigade suffered through grueling marches but saw little of the heavy fighting.  Nevertheless, he must have made an impression on his troops. The 29th New Jersey presented him with a jeweled sword in November, 1863. The biographical sketch included with his military record states:

“He was a soldier whose gentle mien engaged at once both confidence and love, and whose fearlessness in the presence of the greatest peril gave to his face the glow of true heroism.”11

General G. R. Paul

His heroism came at great cost at Gettysburg. 

The specific circumstances of his wounding remain sketchy.   Colonel Gilbert Prey's oratory at the dedication of the 104th NY Monument at Gettysburg is probably the best account.  Colonel Prey wrote:

"While the brigade was awaiting orders and the regiments were taking position I received an order from General Robinson in person to form on the right, and so moved obliquely to the line of the Thirteenth, when there came from the crest of the ridge a stentorian voice:  “Colonel Prey, ------   ---------   you, where are you going?  Form on the left.”  I glanced to the rear and saw at once that I was just in position so that by flanking to the left I would form on the left of the Thirteenth as nicely as if on brigade drill.  Remembering that the guns were unloaded, and knowing that we would be engaged immediately, I gave the command to “March! Load at will?”  The One hundred and fourth formed on the left of the Thirteenth on that occasion in as good style as General Robinson ever formed a regiment, or that he ever maneuvered in a brigade drill.

"Not until this time did General Paul appear on the field, and while riding up in the rear of the One hundred and fourth was shot through the face, destroying one eye and coming out under the other, but not injuring it.  My horse was hit at the same time, obliging me to dismount, which General Robinson said he very much regretted as he wanted all his regimental commanders mounted; yet, I remember seeing all of the regimental commanders unmounted during that fight."12

General Gabriel René Paul, pictured.

When General Paul fell, many thought he was killed.  General Meade listed him as such in a telegram to General Halleck at Army Headquarters in Washington D.C.

Headquarters Army of the Potomac,
July 2, 1863 - 8 p.m.  (Received July 3, 5:15 p.m.)

Maj.-Gen. H. W. Halleck,                                  General-in-Chief:

The enemy attacked me about 4 p.m. this day, and, after one of the severest contests of the war, was repulsed at all points.  We have suffered considerably in killed and wounded.  Among the former are Brigadier-Generals Paul and Zook, and among the wounded, Generals Sickles, Barlow, Graham, and Warren, slightly.  We have taken a large number of prisoners.  I shall remain in my present position to-morrow, but am not prepared to say, until better advised of the condition of the army, whether my operations will be an offensive or defensive character.

Geo. G. Meade,      Major-General.

Newspapers reported General Paul killed. The July 4th Cincinnati Daily Enquire wrote:

"Brigadier-General Paul -  This officer who was killed in the Battle near Gettysurg, Pennsylvania, was a resident of Newport.  His wife and family are now here."13

Yet General Paul survived, and was recovering from his wounds at the home of Jennie McCreary in the town of Gettysburg.  A story circulated that he had been discovered on the battle-field the day after the fight, by Union prisoners detailed to assist the wounded, then brought to town for medical attention.  Even General Paul’s family believed this rumor for years after the war.  But the following letter of Sergeant Charles A. Drew, '13th Mass' Vols, Company A, [pictured  below] surprisingly states otherwise.

Sergeant Drew’s letter is printed in the privately published book, "Letters From Two Brothers Serving in the War for the Union To Their Family at Home."  The book was printed in 1871 by Sergeant Warren H. Freeman’s father, to preserve the war record of his two sons, Warren (13th Mass) and Eugene, (transport service) in the American Civil War.  Sergeant Drew was Warren’s friend and messmate.  The letter is addressed to Warren’s father following the great battle of Gettysburg,

Letter of Sergeant Charles A. Drew

Gettysburg, Pa., July 6, 1863.

Mr. J. D. Freeman:

Sergeant Charles A. Drew

 Dear Sir, - Knowing that you must feel very anxious in regard to your son Warren, it gives me great pleasure to inform you that he came out of the late hard fought battle unharmed.  But as the First Corps fell back, on account of the enemy flanking the Eleventh Corps, a large number of our regiment were taken prisoners, and among them was Warren.  This I did not know till this morning, as on making inquiry for him on the day after the battle I was told that he was with the regiment.  I was with him in the first part of the fight, but assisted General Paul, who was dangerously wounded, off the field, before our regiment left.  This morning a member of the regiment, who was taken prisoner with Warren, in-formed me that he had been in the same party of prisoners for three days, and that on the second day after capture there were a few of the prisoners paroled and Warren was among them;  those that took the parole were to be sent to Carlisle, Pa;  at that time they were about twenty miles from this place.  This, sir, I am sorry to say, is all the information I can give in regard to Warren; but I believe he will soon be able to return home to you.  We have messed together for a long time, and I feel a particular friendship for him, and I do trust and believe he will come out of this free of harm.

I remain, sir, very truly yours,

Sergt. C.A. Drew,

Company A, Thirteenth Regiment.

 In the letter Sgt. Drew casually mentions the fact that he assisted General Paul from the battlefield.  It was at the home of Jennie McCreary, near the Christ Lutheran Church, that General Paul was sent to recuperate, under the care of the surgeon of the 11th Pennsylvania.  Colonel Leonard was also at this home, which makes sense as he is reported to have been wounded at the same time as General Paul.  The wife of General Paul did not know any of this when she and her family came to Gettysburg inquiring about her husband, with the belief that he was dead.  Another letter, found among the personal papers of Colonel Leonard, mentions the Paul family at Gettysburg. 

The unsigned letter is addressed to Colonel Leonard, and dated July 13th.  It is obviously written by a '13th Mass.' staff officer familiar to Colonel Leonard.  Besides Mrs. Paul and family, the letter mentions Fred, who is Colonel Leonard's Brother, and, Mr. Morris, the father of slain color-sergeant Roland Morris, and Mr. Alley, the father of Lt. William Alley.  I have divided the letter into paragraphs for easier reading.

 GLC03393.28  Letter to Colonel Leonard, 13 July 1863.  (The Gilder Lehrman Collection. Not to be reproduced without written permission.)

Gettysburg, ?? July 13, 1863

Dear Col.

Mead [?} has just come to town with my Mail, and I learn you have again gone “down East.”  Since you left, Col. Coulter was in town & left for Frederic Via, Baltimore.  He will not be able to assume duty for 10 or 12 days.

Fred was also here, but I saw little of him being very busy that day. He left in the first train, being assured that the Col. was not dead or buried. Col. Lyle is now in command of the Brigade.

Captain Paul arrived on Thursday evening & Capt. Chapin & wife on Saturday evening, also a younger Son and daughter of Mrs. Paul.  They do not think he will be able to be moved for some 3 or 4 weeks.  Mrs. P. is a resident of Newport, Kentucky, and came with out the Knowledge of his being alive.  They are all quite agreeable  - and Mrs. Chapin, quite engaging in her manners.  Her husband & his sister & younger brother all left this Morning on the 9 o’clock train.

We heard cannonading yesterday P.M., but rather light.  Report says it was Beauregard beating back our Militia.  I hope it is not so.

Mr. Morris left this P.M. with the body of his son.  Mr. Alley also left at 9. A.M. with the Lieut. Who is getting along very fast.

A short summary of the General's recovery is found in "Medical Histories of Union Generals" by Jack D. Welsh, M.D.

  "The ball entered about one and a half inches behind his right eye and emerged through the left eye socket, carrying the eye with it.  Paul remained insensible in a private home in Gettysburg for several days.  When he awoke he was blind with an impaired sense of smell and hearing.  He remained there until about August 1, when he was removed to Baltimore, Maryland.  Near the end of the month he received permission to proceed to Washington, D.C.  In October, he went to Newport, Kentucky, where he remained under treatment and awaiting further orders."

And, from the Campbel County Historical Society article:

"General Paul was absent from duty on account of wounds until February 1865 when he was retired from active military service 'for disability resulting from wounds received in the line of duty.'"

General G. R. Paul, post Gettysburg

He was placed as Deputy Governor of the Soldiers' Home near Washington, D.C.  This may have been a short-lived assignment. 

"In June 1865 he was placed in charge of the military asylum at Harrodsburg, KY where he served until December 1866."14

After this he was reported as unemployed.  Epilepsy and violent attacks of pain in his head plagued the General for the rest of his life.  His wound left him "so helpless as to constantly need attention."15  Louise Paul faithfully cared for her afflicted husband til the end of his days.  A Kentucky newspaper reported "The eyesight of Gen. Paul was destroyed at Gettysburg, and for over 20 years it was an every-day sight in Newport, Ky., their home, to see Mrs. Paul, with the hero on her arm, walking the streets of that city.”16

His official military biography states,  "Through all the years of his terrible affliction, he made no complaints, but only praised God that his life had been spared amid the carnage of the battlefield.  Unselfishly he thought more of the happiness of his family than of himself;  they had been eyes and everything to him during the weary days of his long isolation from the outer world."17

His seizures increased over the years and occurred up to six times a day.  On May 24, 1882 he went into a coma that lasted about 24 hours, and died the next day at 10 a.m. at his home in Washington D.C.   He died of the gunshot wound to his head received at Gettysburg 18 years earlier.

"He was given a hero's burial in Arlington National Cemetery with a monument erected over his grave  by his comrades in the Grand Army."18

1.  George W. Cullum's Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, since its establishment in 1802; retrieved online at a website maintained by Bill Thayer, accessed here.
2.  Information about Fort Gibson & Camp Nacogdoches retrieved at Fort Wiki; ( - linked from the Cullum's page in footnote #1.
3. Information about Fort Brooke;  same as  footnote  #2.
4. Information about the Battle of Cerro Gordo,  accessed at;  Battle of Cerro Gordo.
5.  Information about Chapultepec from; accessed here.   The quote is from Cullum's Register.
6. Information about Fort Ringgold found at the website of the Texas State Historical Association;  []  Accessed Here.
7. Information about Fort Belknap; same as footnote #2.
8.  Information about General Paul's married life from an article originally printed in the Campbell County (Kentucky) History News - January  1999;  Accessed Here.
9. Cullum's Register - see footnote #1.
10.  Anecdote of President Lincoln found at Michael Robert Patterson's website concerning Arlington National Cemetery,  (  This first appointment was not confirmed. but he was re-appointed in April, 1863 and duly confirmed.
11.  Quote from Cullum's Register - see footnote #1.
12.  New York at Gettysburg; 104th NY Monument Dedication, speech of Colonel Gilbert  Prey,  p. 756.
13.  From an article originally printed in the Campbell County (Kentucky) History News - January  1999;  See note #8.
14.  Campbell County (KY) History News. See note #8.
15.  From Louise Paul's Widow's Pension File;  Campbell County (KY) History News. See note #8.
16.  Louisville Courier-Journal as reported in Kentucky State Journal, July 19, 1888;  Campbell County (KY) History News. See note #8.
17.  Cullum's Register of West Point Graduates.  See note #1.
18. Campbell County (KY) History News. See note #8.

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Jennie McCreary Letter

Jennie McCreary's letter to her sister Julia was reprinted in the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, July 2, 1938.  A copy of the letter is on file at the Adams County Historical Society.  Jennie lived with her father Smith S. McCreary at #22 Chambersburg Street a couple of doors down from Christ Church.  In this letter Jennie mentions Colonel Leonard, and Dr. Edgar Parker, of the 13th Mass., being wounded, and seeking refuge at her father's home. Jennie also mentions Captain Palmer in her letter. This would almost certainly be Moses P. Palmer of Company I, 13th Mass.  Moses received a bad wound in the knee which kept him hospitalized for months.  I also have a note that General Paul was also recuperating at the McCreary home.*  Confederate General Isaac Trimble, of whom Jennie tells a tale, was recovering at the Robert McCurdy house a couple doors away at #26 Chambersburg Street.  Both houses still stand, but both have been modified over the years.

Gettysburg, July 22, 1863

My dear Julia:  Agnes wrote day before yesterday and I suppose has told you nearly everything concerning the battle.  Perhaps I can tell you some things that she may have forgotten or did not hear of.  But indeed I scarcely know how to begin, so many things have happened and in so short a time that I have gotten things confused.

It seems more like a dream than reality.  I wonder sometimes how we passed through it all with as little fear as we felt and with so small an amount of damage done to our home, which was indeed nothing to speak of, only the tearing down of our fences.  That was done by the rebels on the second day of the battle.  They made a road all the way through town so that, as they said, it would be a way of retreat if the enemy conquered.

But I had better begin with the first day of the battle and tell you all I can of it.

On Tuesday, which was the day before the battle we all were down at Huber’s Corner looking at some of our men who were passing through town on their way to the Mountain to attack the rebels there.  These were 5,000 of Beaufort’s Cavalry with 20,000 infantry following.  They, however, did not get there that day.  The cavalry were ordered back to town before they got to the Mountain, as it was supposed the rebel force there was too great for them to attack.  They encamped there that night.

John A. Maxwell Illustration; cropped, Citizens watching battle from rooftops

The next day we heard the rebels were just out of town.  We did not know how many there were, nor how many of our own men were here either.  About 9 o’clock every person was ordered to leave the street as it was supposed there would be a fight out at the Ridge.  We never expected a battle, thought it would only be an artillery duel or something of that kind.  Kate and I were on the roof of the house watching it.  We could not see the rebels and only part of our men.  We saw the shells fly in the air and then burst.  We did not stay on the roof long; found the contest was going to be of a more serious nature than we at first supposed.

We had been downstairs but a few minutes later when we saw an officer dash up the street and order ambulances to carry the wounded from the fields.  Next came a soldier wounded in the arm and then an officer on horseback.  He wore no hat, his head was tied up and blood streaming down his neck.

I then went over to Weaver’s to help them roll bandages.  We had not rolled many before we saw the street filled with wounded men.  Men wounded in arms, limbs, head and breast.  Oh, it was sickening to see them and hear their groans.  Weaver’s house was soon filled.  I never thought I could do anything about a wounded man but I find I have a little more nerve than I thought I had.  I could look at the wounds, bathe them, bind them up without feeling the least bit sick or nervous.

Illustration of wouned man surrounded by family

The tears only came once and that was when the first soldier came in the house.  He had walked from the field and was almost exhausted.  He threw himself in the chair and said “Oh, girls, I have as good a home as you.  If I were only there!”  He fainted directly afterward.  That was the only time I cried.

At first we thought our men would certainly be victorious, as they had brought quite a number of rebel prisoners into town, but it was not long before we found out differently.  General Reynolds, who had the plan of the attack, was killed shortly after the battle commenced.  He attacked them rather recklessly, too, I think.  His command was but a small one and they were worn out with hard marching and then he was not aware that the rebel force was so large.  After he was killed, General Doubleday took command but things went wrong with our poor soldiers all day.

It was about 12 o’clock when we were told to go to the cellar, the rebels were then entering town.  If ever I wished myself at home I did then. (She was then in the Weaver’s home, not her own.- Editor)  There I was, the only one of our family shut down in a damp, dark hole with crying children and a poor young soldier who had received three wounds which had not yet been attended to and though he seemed to try his best could not keep from groaning.  I cannot tell what my feelings were then.  Charles Reed illustration of soldier carrying wounded comradeTo be in that place, to know the rebels were in town, to hear the shells bursting and expecting every minute they would fall on the house, was indeed horrible.  If I had been with the rest, I would not have felt so badly, but I did not know where they were or what was happening to them.

        We were down in the cellar about two hours.  While there a good many of our soldiers were killed in our street.  I saw two dead ones lying in McCurdy’s alley when I crossed the street to go home.   Four of our men were carrying a wounded soldier on a stretcher down the street when a ball came along and took the legs off the the two front men.  There were some rebels killed too.  Kate and I were down at the end of our street the Sunday after the battle, when we saw dead rebels that had been lying there since Wednesday.

When I went home I found two wounded at our house.  Col. Leonard shot in the arm and Dr. Parker slightly in the head.  They are both from Massachusetts.   Dr. Parker was wounded whilst coming down the college church steps.  One of the rebel sharpshooters fired on him from Boyer’s Corner, the same ball that struck him killed the chaplain of that regiment.

All that day our house was full of soldiers, all wanting something to eat.  That day we gave them everything we had and what do you think we had to eat the rest of the week ?  Nothing but bread and molasses and coffee without milk.  I must say we felt rather poverty stricken.  If we had been by ourselves it would have been nothing but to seat from 12 to 15 men down to a table like that, with bread and molasses for breakfast, molasses and bread for dinner and the same for supper was anything but agreeable, but they were very well satisfied to get even that.

Surgeon Edgar Parker   Pictured at right is Surgeon Edgar Parker, of the 13th Massachusetts.  Parker was wounded in the head on the steps of Christ Lutheran Church and recovered at Jenny's home.

The next day of the battle, which was Thursday, we heard nothing but a continual roar of cannon and musketry.  The firing began about 4 in the morning and lasted until dark.  Our forces were then on the cemetery hill and Round Top.  We did not mind the shells so much, we were getting used to them.  The greatest danger was from the sharpshooters.  Early that morning some of the men we had overnight, I think the chaplain, a couple of surgeons and the Colonel were standing on the porch when a ball came and struck just above their heads.  Indeed, I had to laugh to see them jump, although it was not a laughing matter, for if it had been a little lower it would have struck one of them.  They did not appear to mind it at all, laughed at themselves for jumping.

[Colonel S. H. Leonard, 13th MA, pictured right].

Colonel Samuel H. Leonard

A good many shells were thrown into town that day and came from our own men.  The rebels still had possession of the town and as there were a great many collected in the diamond they fired on them.  We were not in much danger that day, all we had to do was keep in the house and and run to the cellar when the shells came thickest.  We retired about 11 o’clock.  All were in bed but myself when there was a rap at the door. Papa got up and went to the door.  There were two rebels.  They said the rebel General Trimble and three of his aides wanted supper and lodging.  Well, all we could do was to get what we had for super and made a place for them to sleep, although our house was full already.  After we had fixed everything his aides came to say the General had concluded to stay where he was.  They, however (his aides) took supper and then went away.

After they were gone Kate and I were standing in the kitchen when there was a knock at the door.  Kate went and there were two of our soldiers wanting bread.  They had not gone when someone knocked at the other door.  I opened it and three rebels asked for bread and permission to sleep in the kitchen.  I gave the bread but of course did not let them stay all night.  That night the rebels tried to break in the house but Captain Palmer,** the one who is still here, called them and told them it was a hospital and they went away.

I must tell you about General Trimble.  He was wounded in Friday’s battle, had his leg amputated and was at the college hospital and very anxious to be brought to town.  McCurdy had him brought to their house.  He had been there nearly two weeks when yesterday he was ordered to be taken to the hospital.  He was very angry about it.  When the surgeon went into his room, he said:

“General, I have orders to take you to the Seminary Hospital.”Confederate General Isaac Trimble

Well, the General refused to go, said it was certain death to go there.

“Well, but General, my orders are to take you there.”

“Well,” said the General, “give me a week to stay yet.”

“General, I am ordered to take you now.”

“Well, give me four days.”

“General, you have been in the army long enough to know that orders must be obeyed.”

“Well, give me until tomorrow, I’ll go then.”

“General, the ambulance is at the door and you must go now.”

“Well, is General Paul to be moved?”  (General Paul was quartered at the McCreary home.)

“General Paul is very comfortable where he is.”

The general had to go and is terribly angry, says it will not always be so, says the time is coming when they will retaliate.

The third day of the battle was comparatively quiet, until about three in the afternoon and then the cannonading began and such cannonading no one ever heard.  Nothing can be compared to it.  No one who has never heard it can form any idea of how terrible it is.  All felt that the day must decide who should conquer.  The firing was kept up until sometime after dark, it never for a moment  ceased.  During the night we knew we were victorious, we saw the rebel train moving off.  In the morning not a rebel was to be seen.  How happy everyone felt!  None but smiling faces were to be seen.  It was indeed a joyful Fourth for us.

“I wish you could be here now, ’tis not the same old place it was when you were here.  The streets are always full of strangers, soldiers, ambulances and government wagons.  Frank was here week before last from Thursday until Monday.  Richard is here now, is leader of a band that belongs to one of the regiments here.  We got Mr. Earnest’s note late evening.  Papa had gone to bed, was not at all well.  I opened the letter, just expected what was in it.  I know he was drafted, that his congregation thought too much of him to let him go.  Will he be here now?  Oh, I have so much to tell you but my sheet is full and I am so tired writing.  I know you will excuse bad writing,  have been writing so long my hand trembles.

You ought to see Uncle Samuel’s house. It is just riddled with shot.  Give my love to every person.  Kiss dear little Alice and Paul for me.

Write soon, Your sister, Jennie.

*NOTE:  Information about the McCreary and McCurdy Family homes, and General Paul residing therein, is contained in the book, "Days of Uncertainty and Dread" by Gerald R. Bennett, 1994; Published by the Gettysburg Foundation, Gettysburg, PA.

**Captain Palmer is probably Moses P. Palmer of the 13th Mass. Vols.

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Surgeon Parker

Christ Lutheran Church of Gettysburg is proud of its history as a sanctuary and healing in a time of extraordinary suffering.  On Saturday evenings during the summer months, the church presents a one hour program of music and stories, Candlelight at Christ, that tells the authentic history of Christ Lutheran as a Civil War hospital. Click Here for more information.  You will be leaving this site.

Dr. Edgar Parker:  Physician and Painter
        by Pastor Stephen Herr

The front stairs of a church building serve as the intersection between a congregation and the world.  Worshippers ascend the stairs to offer praise and thanksgiving to God and descend the same stairs out into the world to serve and witness to their faith.

The front stairs of Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church have served this purpose for close to 175 years.  In addition, these stairs have served as an intersection with events and people who have helped shape our nation and world.  The stairs, which over time, have varied in number from twelve to fourteen, have often been used as a natural amphitheater where visiting groups have had their picture taken.  United States Military Academy classes visiting the battlefield have been among such groups.  One particular picture of note is that of the class of 1915, which included Dwight David Eisenhower and Omar Bradley.  These two future five star generals, and in Eisenhower’s case, United States President, found themselves seated together on the front stairs of Christ Church.

About fifty years prior to that visit, a previous generation of United States soldiers utilized those stairs to gain access to a field hospital during the battle of Gettysburg.  On these steps, Chaplain Horatio Howell of the 90th Pennsylvania Volunteers was shot and killed on July 1st, 1863.  Howell was not the only person shot on the front stairs that fateful July day.  Dr. Edgar Parker, Assistant Surgeon of the 13th Massachusetts Infantry, Harvard Medical School graduate, and future White House presidential portrait painter was injured on the stairs of Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Edgar Parker, from his alumni biography

Edgar Parker, son of Charles and Mary Parker, was born in Framingham MA on June 7, 1840.  He entered Norwich University in Vermont and graduated from there in 1859.  Later that year he took a position as an instructor at the Military Academy in Sing Sing, New York.  In 1860 Parker began studies at Harvard Medical School and graduated in 1863.  A week following graduation on March 13 he was commissioned as a first assistant surgeon with the 13th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, Field and Staff Company.

In the spring of 1863 Parker participated in the Second Battle of Fredericksburg and in the Battle of Chancellorsville.  Following these engagements, he and the 13th Massachusetts arrived in Gettysburg on July 1st and took up a position on Oak Ridge just north of the town.  In an 1892 pension application to the United States government, Parker testifies to having his horse shot from under him and being thrown violently on the ground.  While this fall did not initially disable him, thirty years later he would claim that this injury left him unable to use his legs, leaving him in need of constant attention and care.

Parker, along with many soldiers from the 13th Massachusetts Infantry, found themselves at Christ Lutheran Church on the afternoon of July 1.  While on the Christ Church stairs, Parker was wounded and would later recover at the home of Gettysburg resident Jennie McCreary.  The McCreary family resided in a home just east of the church building towards the town square.  Jennie’s sister, Kate, later joined the congregation and was a member for forty years.  After her death death, Kate was memorialized in one of the church’s stain glass windows.  Jennie mentions Parker in the following excerpt from a letter she sent to another sister, Julia, following the battle:

“When I went home I found two wounded men at our house.  Col. Leonard shot in the am and Dr Parker slightly in the head.  They are both from Massachusetts.  Dr Parker was wounded whilst coming down the college church steps.  One of the rebel sharpshooters fired on him from Boyer’s corner…”

Again Parker’s pension request indicated he was struck in the forehead.  On account of his wounds Parker was discharged as an assistant surgeon on September 18, 1863.

John Adams by Dr. Edgar Parker

Dr. Parker returned to Massachusetts where he practiced his medical profession in Saxonville and Weston.  When his health began to fail he began painting and became a well-known portrait painter in Boston, widely known for his recreations of portraits especially those of Gilbert Stuart.

During the presidency of Rutherford B. Hayes (1877-1881), the President and his wife, Lucy, decided to complete the White House’s set of presidential and First Lady portraits.  After attempts to secure original portrait paintings of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson failed because  their families would not part with the artwork, President and Mrs. Hayes commissioned Dr. Parker to complete portraits of Adams, Jefferson, and James Madison.  Not only is Parker’s art part of the White House’s collection , but also his portrait of James Bowdoin is part of the Independence National Historical Park art collection.

In 1875, he was commissioned by the Pilgrim Society to produce a copy of Robert Weir’s Embarkation of the Pilgrims.  This painting is now on display at Pilgrim Hall Museum in Plymouth  MA and was the image used on the back of the United States $10,000 bill.

Parker was married to Frances Ames Hyde of Bridgewater on January 28, 1864, and they had one son, Joseph Hyde, born on December 12, 1865, who died less than a year later on May 24, 1866.  Dr. Edgar Parker died on April 9, 1892 at the age of 51. Frances Parker died on December 3, 1896.

Edgar Parker’s story adds yet another signifiant chapter to the history of the front stairs of Christ Lutheran Church’s intersection with our nation’s heritage.

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Other Incidents

In his memoirs, "Three Years with Company K" edited by Arthur Kent, 1975 Fairleigh Dickenson Press;  Sergeant Austin Stearns, included a few anecdotes from the battle of Gettysburg, which I present here.  Mentioned are Captain Hovey, Edwin Dorkham, (or Dockham as it appears in the regimental roster), and Corporal Sam Jordan, all of Company K.  The  record of these 3 soldiers as printed in the roster of the regiment follows Sergeant Stearns reflections.

Illustration by L. Braunhold

Incidents.  Capt Hovey who was on the staff of Gen’l Robinson was badly wounded and Dorkham, when we fell back, found him.  Hovey, who was unable to ride, asked Dorkham to take his horse to the rear, an ambulance being provided for him.  Dorkham mounted and, as some of the boys said who saw, rode through the streets of Gettysburg at a rate that would have taken him to Baltimore ninety miles away before night.  The boys used to laugh at Dorkham for his masterly retreat, but D was enough or them, for he would say that he saved himself and the Cap’t horse, and that was more then some did.

Jordan of K, when he was retreating at the full run, a reb in hot persuit, had to jump a little brook.  The extra exertion caused his only suspender button to come off and his pants falling down tripped him and he fell headlong into it.  While he was recovering himself, the reb came and, laughing at Jordan’s predicament said, “I have a good mind to shoot you.”  “Show,” said Jordan, which increased the rebs laughter, and he took Jordan along with him.

In the fight at Gettysburg, besides being hit on the shoulder, I had a bullet through the inside of my pants of the right leg about three inches below the body, also through the pants of my left leg at the knee.  Taking a spear of grass and passing it through from one hole to the other, I had to bend it to get it round my leg. In which ever way I tried, how it could go through my pants and drawers and not injure me, is to me a mystery.

I did not discover the holes in my pants till the next day, and when I rejoined the regiment and showed my wounds (in pants) to the boys, they all admitted a narrow escape for me.

NOTES:  "Three Years in the Army" by Charles E. Davis, Jr., 1894, Boston, Estes & Lauriat; presents the record of the 3 soldiers in Company K as follows:

CHARLES H. HOVEY;  age, 31; born, Boston, Mass.; clerk; mustered in as 1st lieut., Co. D, July 16, '61; promoted to capt., Co. K, Nov. 6, '61; to lieut.-col., April 16, '64; wounded, Sept. 17, '62, in face, at battle of Antietam, while in command of Co. K; wounded at Battle of Gettysburg, July 1, '63, and fell into the enemy's hands while acting as division inspector on General Robinson's staff; recaptured, July 4, '63; wounded at Gettysburg in right thigh near knee; detailed from regiment as brigade inspector on General Taylor's staff, 3d Brigade, 2d Div., 1st Corps, on Jan. 15, '63; on May 7, '63, on the retreat from Chancellorsville, promoted to division inspector on staff of General Robinson, commanding 2d Div., 1st Corps, and served in that capacity till wounded at Gettysburg; mustered out, Aug. 1, '64; address, 39 Circuit street, Boston Highlands.

EDWIN C. DOCKHAM;  age, 23; born, Oxford, N.H.; blacksmith; mustered in as priv., Co. K, July 16, '61; mustered out, Aug. 1, '64; wounded, May 8, '64; residence, Worcester, Mass.

SAMUEL JORDAN;  age, 37; born, Bridgeton, Me.; wheelwright; mustered in as priv., Co. K, Aug. 10, '62; mustered out as Corp., Aug. 1, '64; died, May 29, '93, at Worcester, Mass.; promoted to Corp., July 1, '64; taken prisoner at Gettysburg.

Captain Charles Henry Hovey

So, -  we know what happened to Capt Hovey's horse, but what happened to Captain Charles H. Hovey?  Captain Hovey was on the staff of Division Commander, General John C. Robinson.  General Robinson's report in the Official Records reads,  "Captain [John G.] Hovey, acting assistant inspector-general, was wounded and taken from the field early in the fight."   Somebody has erroneously identified Hovey as Captain John G. Hovey, the other 'Hovey'  in the '13th Mass.' Regiment.   Another report in the July 3rd, 1863 edition of the Boston Evening Transcript gets his name right, but assigns him to the wrong regiment;  -  "Capt. Charles Hovey, 12th Mass., a valuable and efficient Aide to Gen. Robinson, occupying upon the Staff the position of Inspector General..."  Poor Captain Hovey.  Well, here's a little something I found in the pages of  Bivouac, A military magazine published in the mid 1880's.  One of the magazines editors, Edward F. Rollins, was a former officer in the 13th Mass.' Regiment.

I have yet to identify the house mentioned in the opening of the article, so it may be questionable whether or not the Union Sentry in front was shot down.  It could be an embellishment.

From, 'Bivouac, A Military Magazine,' Vol. 3, 1885, p. 210. Capt. Charles H. Hovey, pictured.

A number of officers wounded in the first day’s fight at Gettysburg were gathered together in a house in the town awaiting surgical attendance.   Our forces, uttering from the scene of the first encounter, passed through the streets, closely followed by the victorious Confederates.  The first intuition of the arrival of the latter, was when a Federal soldier, standing in the doorway, fell dead from a musket shot, and a “grayback” stepped over the corpse, the smoke of the last dicker, still pouring from the muzzle of his gun.  He looked over the group officers on the floor, and selecting one in the corner, Captain Hovey of the Thirteenth Massachusetts, advanced upon him with fixed bayonet.  Knowing that the town was certain to be occupied by the Confederates, the later had concealed his sword beneath the blanket that formed his couch.  The dialogue that ensued was somewhat as follows:

Division Staff Officer Capt. Charles H. Hovey

“Get up here, you damned Yank.”

“I can’t do it.  I’m shot in the leg.”

“Where’s your sword?”

“Some ‘Johnnies’ got that long ago.”

“Where’s your pistol then?  Give it to me.”

“Some ‘reb has got that, too, I suppose; it was left in my holsters.”

The conversation proving fruitless of substantial result, the Confederate might have given up the “spoils system,” and passed on, had not an officer of the Ninety-seventh New York, who sat upon the opposite side of the room, with head bandaged with a  profusion bloody cloths, noticing that the intruder wore blue pantaloons, facetiously called out:

“I say, ‘Johnny,’ where did you get those pants?”

“Out of the Yankee wagon train, where we get all of our supplies.  Where are you wounded?”

The officer, beginning to see that he had made a mistake, resumed the air of suffering, and answered:  “I’m shot in the head.”

The skirmisher advanced upon him with the bayonet, evidently bound to have something or somebody to show from his capture of a whole houseful of shoulder-straps, realizing that here was one whose legs were in good order, anyhow.

“Get up here.”

“I can’t, I’m badly wounded.”

“Get up here, I say.”

All remonstrances were in vain, and with the point of the bayonet almost pricking his back, the New Yorker was marched out of the room into the street, and away to the prisoners’  “corral” sadder and less humorous.

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Colonel Wheelock and Miss Carrie Sheads

The 97th NY fought on Oak Ridge, July 1,  in General Robinson's Division which proved to be a formidable opponent to General Robert Rodes' attacking Confederates July.   Robinson's two brigades, General G. R. Paul's 1st Brigade and General Henry Baxter's 2nd Brigade inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy before giving way.  Colonel Charles Wheelock's  97th NY Vols., were with Baxter's Brigade.   General Alfred Iverson's North Carolina Brigade suffered dearly when they marched unknowingly into Baxter's line of fire.  Confederate Artilleryman, Henry Robinson Berkeley described the scene of the fight on the following morning.

“This morning on getting up, I saw a sight which was perfectly sickening and heart rending in the extreme.  It would have satiated the most blood-thirsty and cruel man on God’s earth. There were, within a few feet of us, by actual count, seventy-nine North Carolinians laying dead in a straight line. I stood on their right and looked down their line. It was perfectly dressed. Three had fallen to the front, the rest had fallen backward; yet the feet of all these men were in a perfectly straight line . . . They had evidently been killed by one volley of musketry and they had fallen in their tracks without a single struggle . . . I turned from this sight with a sickened heart and tried to eat my breakfast, but had to return it to my haversack untouched.”1

Within an hour however, the Confederates struck back with a massive co-ordinated attack that swept the men of Baxter's and Paul's brigades from the field.  Colonel Wheelock and a remnant of his regiment were surrounded and forced to surrender at the Sheads Seminary.  The story of Colonel Charles Wheelock and Miss Carrie Sheads is an incident worth including on this page.  The Colonel was 50 years of age at the time of this story.

1. Berkeley, Henry Robinson, Four Years in the Confederate Artillery, Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina Press, 1961, p. 50.  from the article "The Death of Iverson's Brigade" by Gerard A. Patterson; found at the following link:

This anecdote is found in  "History of the Ninety-seventh regiment, New York volunteers, ("Conkling rifles,") in the War for the Union." by Isaac Hall, Utica: L.C. Childs & Son, 1890. p. 141-143:

"As the regiment left the ridge it was flanked by a Confederate line from the north and nearly surrounded, and about seventy men and officers were captured.  Colonel Wheelock was taken at the home of Elias Sheads, which was occupied as a seminary for young ladies.  A Washington paper gives an account of this capture, from which the following extract is taken:

“Miss Carrie Sheads and Colonel Wheelock"

Colonel Charles Wheelock

“Among the last to leave the field were the 97th New York infantry, commanded by Colonel Charles Wheelock, who, after fighting hand to hand as long as there was a shadow of hope, undertook to lead his broken column through the only opening in the enemy’s lines, which were fast closing around him . . . Standing in a vortex of fire, from front, rear and both flanks, encouraged his men to fight with naked bayonet, hoping to force a passage through the walls of steel which surrounded him.  Finding all his efforts in vain, he ascended the steps of the seminary, and waved a white pocket handkerchief in token of a surrender.  The Rebels not seeing it, or taking no notice of it, continued to pour their murderous volleys into the helpless ranks.  The colonel then opened the door, and called for a large white cloth.  Carrie Sheads stood there, and readily supplied him with one. When the Rebels saw his token of surrender, they ceased firing, and the colonel went into the basement to rest himself, for he was thoroughly exhausted.

Soon a rebel officer came in with a detail of men, and, on entering, declared with an oath, that he would show them “Southern grit.’  He then began taking the officers side arms.   Seeing Colonel Wheelock vainly endeavoring to break his sword, which was of trusty metal, and resisted all efforts, the rebel demanded the weapon, but the colonel was of the same temper as his sword, and turning to the rebel soldier, declared he would never surrender his sword to a traitor while he lived.  The rebel then drew a revolver, and told him if he did not surrender his sword he would shoot him.  But the colonel was a veteran, and had been in close places before.  Drawing himself up proudly, he tore open his uniform, and still grasping his well tried blade, bared his bosom, and bade the rebel ‘shoot’ but he would guard his sword with his life.  At this moment, Elias Sheads, Carrie’s father, stepped between the two, and begged them not to be rash, but he was soon pushed aside, and the rebel repeated his threat.

Seeing the danger to which the colonel was exposed, Miss Sheads, true to the instincts of her sex, rushed between them, and besought the rebel not to kill a man so completely in his power.  There was already enough blood shed, and why add another defenceless victim to the list ?

Home of Miss Carrie Sheads around the time of the battle

Fortunately at this moment the attention of the rebel officer was drawn away for the time by the entrance of other prisoners, and while he was thus occupied, Miss Sheads, seizing the favorable oportuity, with admirable presence of mind, unclasped the colonel's sword from his belt, and hid it in the folds of her dress.   . . .  This artifice succeded, and the colonel 'fell in' with the other prisoners.'

"Miss Sheads . . .  turned to the rebel officer and told him that there were seventy-two wounded men in the building, and asked if he would not leave some of the prisoners to help take care of them.  The officer replied that he had already left three.  'But,' said Miss Sheads, 'three are not sufficient.' 

'Then keep five, and select those you want, except commissioned officers,' was the unexpected reply.  On the fifth day after the battle, Colonel Wheelock unexpectedly made his appearance, and received his sword from the hands of its noble guardian with those profound emotions which only the soldier can feel and understand, and with the sacred blade again in his possession, started at once to the front, where he won for himself new laurels, and was promoted to the rank of brigadier general."

 Colonel Wheelock's unlikely escape was noted by crusty old Colonel Charles S. Wainwright, Chief of First Corps Artillery.  On July 9th he wrote in his journal:

"...Lee must be somewhere over in the direction of Hagerstown.  A great many of the prisoners that were captured from us are escaping;  I hear of several officers arriving every day.  Even old Colonel Wheelock got off, though he is as big and old as Jack Falstaff;  the old fellow showed good pluck in running."*

*From,  "A diary of battle; the personal journals of Colonel Charles S. Wainwright, 1861-1865."  Edited by Allan Nevins.  New York, Harcourt, Brace & World [1962] p.258.

[Pictured above is the home of Miss Carrie Sheads.  The Chambersburg Pike runs passed it on the right.]

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Sergeant William R. Carr; 12th Massachusetts Volunteers

The 12th Massachusetts also belonged to Baxter's Brigade.  This particular incident found among the pages of Bivouac, is consistent with the theme of this page; the plight of the captured and wounded in town.

From, "Bivouac, A Military Magazine"; Vol. 3, 1885.

While the battle of Gettysburg was raging, Sergeant William R. Carr, of Company I, Twelfth Massachusetts, was lying wounded in a house in the suburbs of the town, inside the rebel lines.  There were a number of others there, including several of the enemy.  Carr had a wound which all believed to be mortal.  He lay near the door, when a Confederate surgeon came along.  Looking in, he asked:  “Are there any Confederate wounded here?”

God Save The South Illustration

“No, sir,” replied Carr, in an emphatic way. 

“Perhaps you didn’t understand my question,” said the surgeon, as he peered farther into the room and thought he saw men in gray.  Now was the plucky sergeant’s opportunity, and summoning all the strength he could he replied in a voice showing great determination:  “There are no Confederate wounded here, and you have no Confederacy yet - you are fighting desperately for it but will never get it.  There are a lot of rebel wounded here if that is what you mean.” 

There was great excitement for a moment, as many feared the effect of the sergeant’s heroic utterance, and those of his comrades who could drew near, fearing that bodily harm might come to him, but the surgeon soon allayed all fear by gently leaning over the prostrate form of the sufferer, and taking his hand in his, saying, in a voice showing deep emotion:  "I want to shake hands with you;  you are a brave man!”

 A few days after this, in the night, Carr awoke the comrade lying at his side.  “Joe,” said he, “my leg is bleeding.” 

“Then it must be attended to,” was the reply, and a nurse was dispatched for the surgeon, but that officer was so long in reaching the room that an unbidden Messenger entered before him, and took the brave spirit of Sergeant Carr where war is no more.  His body lies buried in the National Cemetery, and the dear old flag as it floats from its staff in that enclosure throws its beautiful shadow on the grave of no truer man than William R. Carr.

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