Monday, January 18, 2016

Gettysburg: McPherson barn details in 1886 Tipton image

149th Pennsylvania veterans at the dedication of their Gettysburg monument on Oct. 20, 1886.
In an enlargement of  the original 
Tipton image, a hay wagon appears 
behind the veterans.
On Oct. 20, 1886, 149th Pennsylvania veterans and members of their families gathered for the dedication of their monument on McPherson Ridge at Gettysburg. Many veterans in the image, taken by noted Gettysburg battlefield photographer William Tipton, may have been involved in savage fighting near there on the first day of the battle, July 1, 1863. The 149th Pennsylvania was bombarded by Rebel artillery on Herr Ridge while positioned on Edward McPherson's farm, and the regiment later held off several attacks before it, like much of the Union army, was forced to retreat that day.

Like many Tipton photos, this image includes much detail. Ribbons on the chests of the dour-looking vets stand out, and even a hay wagon can be seen in the right background. But what caught my eye is the building in the left background. That's the McPherson barn, which was used as a hospital during the fighting and long afterward. Perhaps it appeared during the battle much as it did when Tipton photographed it in the fall of 1886. (If you know where to look, you can still see initials of two 143rd Pennsylvania veterans etched in the outside stone wall of  the barn, still a prominent battlefield landmark today.)

As Steve Hawks notes on his tremendous Stone Sentinels web site, the original 149th Pennsylvania monument in the Tipton photograph was moved to Hancock Avenue and replaced by another monument on Chambersburg Road, also near the McPherson barn. For more Tipton images at Gettysburg, visit my Pinterest page.

(Click here for more Then & Now images on my blog.)

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