From the Fields of Gettysburg

About This Blog

Posts on this blog are composed by employees of the National Park Service at Gettysburg National Military Park as well as park interns and guests. Our purpose is to highlight the stories of the battle and campaign, with features on those who were involved in the development and remembrance of the story of Gettysburg. The National Park Service is dedicated to protecting the resource and providing visitors with a full experience in appreciating our nation’s past and we hope you enjoy our blog.

The Memory of Strong Vincent

January 15, 2021 Posted by: Bert Barnett

When one hears the name “Strong Vincent,” association is often made with the desperate fight of a brigade destined to claim the life of one promising 26-year old on the slopes of Little Round Top. Remarked upon in his times by many for his critical role in helping to preserve the Union left, General Meade recommended him for promotion to Brigadier General that evening. Yet, outside the arcane circle of those who share our interest, his example is infrequently remembered.


Seeking Closure: Sarah Ruth's Effort to Discover What Happened to her Son Amos at Gettysburg

September 22, 2020 Posted by: Steven Semmel

Sarah Ruth never knew for certain what happened to her son, Amos, at Gettysburg. Her efforts to secure a pension opened anew the wounds and heartache of losing a son in battle. Like so many others, Amos Ruth was likely killed and buried as an unknown, though his family would never receive that closure they so desperately sought.


Breaking Down Boundaries: Women of the Civil War

August 26, 2020 Posted by: Molly Elspas

The Civil War was an unprecedented event in United States history that reached every corner of the country. Thousands of men lost their lives at Gettysburg in 1863 in a battle for freedom and unity; a battle whose after-effects still reach us today. Though the story of these men is one to be remembered, we often forget about the people they left behind.


A Sojourn on the Plains: The Frontier Service of Henry Heth

August 07, 2020 Posted by: Karlton Smith

While best remembered as the Confederate general who sparked the Battle of Gettysburg, Henry Heth was a career army man who spent many a year on the American frontier. Discover more about his life and army service prior to the Civil War.


The Thin Line Between Freedom and Slavery: The Story of Catherine

July 29, 2020 Posted by: Rachael Nicholas

The line between freedom and slavery in antebellum Gettysburg was remarkably thin. Slaveholders frequently crossed the border in pursuit of freedom seekers and free people of color who could pass as fugitives. Catherine “Kitty” Payne and her children, Eliza, Mary, and James, were a legally emancipated family living in Adams County, Pennsylvania, when Samuel Maddox, Jr., had them seized as slaves in July 1845.


"One of the liveliest and most exciting times we had ever experienced”: The Battle of Middleburg and the Fight at Goose Creek Bridge

July 20, 2020 Posted by: Dan Welch

On June 21, 1863, the soldiers of Col. Strong Vincent's Union brigade, who would earn great glory for their heroic defense of Little Round Top at Gettysburg, engaged in a fierce though overlooked battle with Confederate horsemen at Goose Creek Bridge near Middleburg, Virginia. Discover more about this little-known but lively fight.


South Central Pennsylvanians in the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry

July 15, 2020 Posted by: John D. Hoptak

The first African American regiment to be raised in the North, east of the Mississippi River, the 54th Massachusetts ranks among the famous fighting units of the American Civil War. But did you know that when the 54th Massachusetts first departed Boston for the seat of war, there were more men from Pennsylvania within its ranks than from any other state? At least 124 of its soldiers were from south-central Pennsylvania, with two identifying Gettysburg as their place of birth


General George Meade's Forgotten Council of War

July 11, 2020 Posted by: Jon Tracey

The council of war held by General George Meade late on the night of July 2, 1863, is well known. But this was by no means Meade's only council. Although less known, he summoned his subordinates once more on July 4 to discuss the pursuit of the Confederate army. The consensus reached at this meeting generated much criticism of Meade. Read more about this forgotten council of war. .  .


“Raids have a wonderful effect..” - Raids and Panic of the Gettysburg Campaign

June 18, 2020 Posted by: Eva Blankenhorn

The American Civil War touched the lives of almost every American. Women watched their husbands and brothers march off to war, and fathers and sons fought together on fields of battle, sometimes side by side and occasionally under the enemy’s flag. Factories were built and burned to the ground and millions of enslaved people wondered what this fighting would mean for their futures.


What the Campaign Left Behind: The Aftermath of Brandy Station

June 10, 2020 Posted by: Eva Blankenhorn

Though the Battle of Brandy Station is remembered as the largest cavalry engagement of the American Civil War, discussion of the aftermath is often lost as the Gettysburg Campaign marched north towards Pennsylvania. Much like soldiers, homes, churches, and communities also became casualties of the fighting. Many of these historic structures retain strong associations with actions that raged around them. Brandy Station is no different.


Prelude to Gettysburg: The Battle of Brandy Station

June 09, 2020 Posted by: Nathaniel Bauder

“A battle so fierce that friends and foes knew not who they fought, or behind which banner they charged.” The Battle of Brandy Station, fought on June 9, 1863, would become the largest cavalry engagement ever fought on the North American continent. It was said by one of the aides to Confederate Major General J.E.B. Stuart that “Brandy Station made the Federal cavalry.”


African Americans during the Gettysburg Campaign

June 01, 2020 Posted by: Rachael Nicholas

In the face of Robert E. Lee’s Confederate invasion, African Americans fled en masse, fearing enslavement. Abraham Brian, a farmer on Cemetery Ridge, left with his family. Basil Biggs, a veterinarian, made a hasty retreat, as did Owen Robinson, a retailer of oysters and ice cream. They knew better than anyone that Gettysburg was not safe for people of color.


Last updated: August 5, 2020

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