Gettysburg in Six Stops

Say you had the opportunity to lead a three hour tour of the Gettysburg battlefield that has time for six stops. That’s right, six … and that’s all. Where would you go, and what would you do in those six stops?

And I mean six, folks. Some of you spend more time playing with these questions in a quibbling sort of way than simply rising up to the challenge. You know who you are.

A Visit to Guiney Station, May 21, 1864

Generals Grant and Meade, with their staffs, took up their march on May 21, following the road taken by Hancock’s corps, and late in the afternoon reached Guiney’s Station. Our vigilant signal-officers, who had made every effort to read the enemy’s signals, now succeeded in deciphering an important despatch, from which it was learned that Lee had discovered the movement that our forces were making. Hancock was now many miles in advance, and the head of Warren’s corps was a considerable distance in the rear. Our party, besides a small cavalry and infantry escort, consisted entirely of officers, many of them of high rank. One might have said of it what Curran said of the books in his library, “Not numerous, but select.” It was suggested by some that, before pitching camp for the night, the headquarters had better move back upon the road on which we had advanced until Warren’s troops should be met; but General Grant made light of the proposition and ordered the camp to be established where we were, saying, “I think, instead of our going back, we had better hurry Warren forward.” Suggestions to the general to turn back fell as usual upon deaf ears.

While our people were putting up the tents and making preparations for supper, General Grant strolled over to a house near by, owned by a Mr. Chandler, and sat down on the porch. I accompanied him, and took a seat beside him. In a few minutes a lady came to the door, and was surprised to find that the visitor was the general-in-chief. He was always particularly civil to ladies, and he rose to his feet at once, took off his hat, and made a courteous bow. She was ladylike and polite in her behavior, and she and the general soon became engaged in a pleasant talk. Her conversation was exceedingly entertaining. She said, among other things: “This house has witnessed some sad scenes. One of our greatest generals died here just a year ago-General Jackson-Stonewall Jackson of blessed memory.” “Indeed!” remarked General Grant. “He and I were at West Point together for a year, and we served in the same army in Mexico.” “Then you must have known how good and great he was,” said the lady. “Oh, yes,” replied the general; “he was a sterling, manly cadet, and enjoyed the respect of every one who knew him. He was always of a religious turn of mind, and a plodding, hard-working student. His standing was at first very low in his class, but by his indomitable energy he managed to graduate quite high. He was a gallant soldier and a Christian gentleman, and I can understand fully the admiration your people have for him.”

“They brought him here the Monday after the battle of Chancellorsville,” she continued. “You probably know, sir, that he had been wounded in the left arm and right hand by his own men, who fired upon him accidentally in the night, and his arm had been amputated on the field. The operation was very successful, and he was getting along nicely; but the wet applications made to the wound brought on pneumonia, and it was that which caused his death. He lingered till the next Sunday afternoon, May 10, and then he was taken from us.” Here the lady of the house became very much affected, and almost broke down in recalling the sad event.

Our tents had by this time been pitched, and the general, after taking a polite leave of his hostess, and saying he would place a guard over her house to see that no damage was done to her property, walked over to camp, and soon after sat down with the mess to a light supper.

–Horace Porter, Campaigning with Grant (1897)