Monday, May 15, 2017

'Core battlefield': Civil War Trust acquires 37 acres on Barlow's Knoll at Gettysburg

(Photos courtesy of Civil War Trust)

Thirty-seven acres on Barlow’s Knoll, the site of a successful Confederate attack on the first day of fighting at Gettysburg, has been acquired by the Civil War Trust. The property eventually will be transferred to the National Park Service, officials said Monday.

Early on the afternoon of July 1, 1863, Union Brig. Gen. Francis Barlow placed his division of the Union 11th Corps on an overexposed small rise north of the Gettysburg Almshouse. 

Confederates under Brig. Gen. John B. Gordon attacked Barlow’s position, “steamrolling the Federals off the knoll and across the Almshouse property below,” the Trust said in a news release.

“Pockets of Yankees made short, desperate attempts to stem the tide, only to be washed away by Gordon’s impetuous men. Hundreds of men fell on the ground between the Almshouse and Barlow’s Knoll, including Gen. Barlow himself, who was captured. Half of Barlow's men became casualties at Gettysburg,” The Trust said. 

Battlefield photo taken early 20th century (Library of Conrgress)

The Trust raised $400,000 to buy the land from Adams County. It runs adjacent to Gettysburg National Military Park near a monument to Barlow. The trust said acreage is used for crop farming, and the land use will not change.
"This is without a doubt one of the most important unprotected properties at one of the most hallowed places in America," said Trust President James Lighthizer. "Barlow’s Knoll saw crucial and costly fighting on the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg, and this land will now be preserved for generations to come." 

Area in yellow was targeted property (CWT)

With this purchase, the Trust has helped save nearly 1,000 acres at Gettysburg, the group said.

In a video produced by the Trust during its campaign to acquire the land, Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Jim Hessler said the 37 acres were “core battlefield.”

As a side note, Gordon after the war wrote that he personally assisted the badly wounded Barlow at Gettysburg and wrote to the latter’s wife that she would have safe conduct if she could visit the general.

On a Gettysburg park blog, D. Scott Hartwig wrote in 2012 about Gordon’s debatable account of aiding the enemy commander. Gordon said he and Barlow met in 1879 at a dinner, neither suspecting the other survived the war. It makes for interesting reading.

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