The cost of Gettysburg
23,055 casualties and losses from the Union forces. 23,231 Confederate. Over 165,000 men involved in one of the greatest battles America has ever endured. July 1 – 3, 1863 were the dates that wove Gettysburg, Pennsylvania into the threads of our shared story.
The battle is commonly thought of as the turning point in the U.S. Civil War, and the site was recognized as a national cemetery just months after the men had left that field for the last time.
The soldiers of Gettysburg: More than names
We must never forget the actions of those at Gettysburg. Men such as George G. Benedict of Burlington, Vermont. A 2nd Lieutenant of the 12th Vermont Infantry, Company C, who received a Medal of Honour for passing “through a murderous fire of grape and canister in delivering orders and re-formed the crowded lines.”
Men such as Thomas Snowdeal, captured at Gettysburg and held at Andersonville Prison; a Private in the 4th Maine Infantry, Company C.
These men are more than just names, more than facts outlined in military records and headstone inscriptions. Each has their own unique story, some of which have already been told in publications and social histories.
Colonel Issac Avery was remembered in the November 2009 issue of the Burke Journal, “Colonel Isaac Avery struck down at Gettysburg, 1863” (Vol 27, Issue 4, Burke County Genealogical Society).
The role of our women not to be overlooked, the Blue & Gray Magazine published “Power sisters of Gettysburg” in their October 1983 issue (Vol 1, Issue 2, Blue & Gray Enterprises, Inc).
Additionally you can find the stories of the non-military, as well, as seen in “Civilian Jennie Wade killed at Gettysburg, 1863” published in Roots and Leaves (Vol. 29, Issue 3, Fall 2004, Eastern Nebraska Genealogical Society).
You can easily access more stories through the PERSI index on Findmypast.
Gettysburg: A global story
The people of the United States will honour the memory of Gettysburg with their brothers and sisters on every continent. They will do so in 2014, as they have always done before.
On July 3, 1938, President Roosevelt participated in a dedication of a Peace Monument at Gettysburg. This ceremony was recognized in newspapers around the globe, including the July 4, 1938 issue of the Kingston Gleaner in Jamaica.
The fiftieth anniversary included a military band, ending with the “Star Spangled Banner.” The North China Herald (June 6, 1914, page 747) tells the story a year later, weaving the moments together for its readers:
“Last year in the homeland we were commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg. Men of the south, men of the north, met together to review the incidents of that great struggle.
...Men wearing the grey, men wearing the blue, veterans of Picket’s charge and Longstreet’s command, those who followed Hill and Mead, rose to their feet as one man, uncovered, and bowed in silence. That was Gettysburg fifty years after.”
Family Historians, share your discoveries
Family Historians, are on the front lines of the effort to preserve these stories. We tug and pull at the strings of history to ensure that our ancestors are included in the memory of our generation and those of the future.
Together, we are ensuring that the individual man is remembered, and has a place in the fabric of time.