Tag Archive | Battle of Gettysburg

The Emancipator and the Animator: Lincoln at Gettysburg

lincoln-interactive-smithsonian

Part of the interactive from Smithsonian Magazine showing Oakley’s discovery.

On November 19, 1863, at Gettysburg, President Abraham Lincoln paid tribute to the men who gave the “last full measure of devotion” on that hallowed ground four months earlier.

In the course of the battle between July 1 and 3, over 7,000 men were killed, and it’s estimated that North Carolinians represent one in four of battle’s overall Confederate casualties. The day’s losses were recorded by photographer Timothy Sullivan. The Gettysburg Address was less well documented, the primary record being stereographs by Alexander Gardner. Images from both events have been digitized and made available by the Library of Congress.

In 2013, UNC Asheville professor Chris Oakley, a former Disney animator and screenwriter, worked with several students to create the “Virtual Lincoln Project.” The project’s objective was to recreate the Gettysburg Address in 3-D animation. In the course of that work, Oakley discovered what he believes to be an image of Lincoln in a crowd scene.

A different image of Lincoln, sans top hat, on the dais alongside his Secretary of State William Seward, had long been believed to be the only shot of the President at Gettysburg. Others contend that a top-hatted, bearded man on horseback is Lincoln. Oakley’s discovery drew wide press attention and renewed interest during the Civil War sesquicentennial.

An interactive photograph, mounted by Smithsonian Magazine, allows you to look at the experts’ choices for Abraham Lincoln along with Oakley’s justifications for his own.

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I.E. Avery’s Words for His Father, the “Letter from the Dead”

Image from Dickinson College.

On July 3, 1863, 34-year-old Lt. Colonel Isaac E. Avery of the 6th North Carolina State Troops died from mortal wounds he received the previous day. Shot in the neck and partially paralyzed during the Battle of Gettysburg, the Burke County native was unable to speak on his deathbed.

Avery fell alone while leading his men in an attack on Cemetery Hill. He had taken command of Hoke’s brigade after Hoke himself was wounded at Chancellorsville. Avery was the only man mounted and, once found, was carried from the field. Clutched in his hand was a small bloodstained piece of paper, which has become one of the treasures of the State Archives.

The letter that Isaac Avery wrote to his father, now held by the State Archives

The letter that Isaac Avery wrote to his father, now held by the State Archives.

Though right handed, Avery was forced to write with his left because of paralysis. His letter said, “Major, tell my father that I died with my face to the enemy. IE Avery.” Major Samuel McDowell Tate, a friend from Burke County to whom the message was addressed, remained with Avery until he died.

The short letter contains words long on duty and sentiment and has been featured in many books and documentaries about the Civil War.  It is often referred to as the “Letter from the Dead.”

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North Carolina Veterans Honored at Gettysburg, 1929

The North Carolina Monument at Gettysburg National Military Park.

The North Carolina Monument at Gettysburg National Military Park

On July 3, 1929, the North Carolina Monument at Gettysburg National Military Park was dedicated. The monument commemorates the 32 North Carolina regiments that were involved in the action at the Battle of Gettysburg in early July 1863, and notes the one out of every four Confederate soldiers who died during the engagement was a North Carolinian.

The North Carolina Monument at Gettysburg being dedicated in July 1929. From left to right State Auditor Baxter Durham, Gov. Angus McLean, Gov. O. Max Gardner and State Adjutant General J. Vann B. Metts. Image from the N.C. Museum of History.

The North Carolina Monument at Gettysburg being dedicated in July 1929. From left to right State Auditor Baxter Durham, Gov. Angus McLean, Gov. O. Max Gardner and State Adjutant General J. Vann B. Metts. Image from the N.C. Museum of History.

The statue depicts four Confederate soldiers leaning forward in a charging position. One solider kneels down and points toward the enemy in the front. It was designed by Gutzon Borglum, who is most famous for sculpting Mount Rushmore. Borglum used photographs of Orren Smith of Warren County, a North Carolina veteran who died in 1913, as his model for the color bearer and developed the likeness of other three soldiers depicted from photographs of Confederate veterans.

More than 14,000 North Carolinians fought at Gettysburg as part of the Army of Northern Virginia, making the Tar Heel state’s contingent second only to Virginia in size. Over 6,000 North Carolinians died in the conflict, more than 40 percent of the total present.

Additional monuments were erected to the 26th and 43rd North Carolina Infantry Regiments at Gettysburg in 1985 and 1988, respectively.

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W. D. Pender, One of Lee’s Lieutenants

Image from the N.C. Museum of History

Image from the N.C. Museum of History

On May 27, 1863, William Dorsey Pender was promoted to major general in command of Gen. A.P. Hill’s division at only 29 years old.

Born in in 1834 in what is now Wilson County, Pender graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. From 1856 to 1860, he saw active service on the frontier in New Mexico, California, Oregon and Washington state.. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Pender resigned his commission, choosing to fight for his native state.

Pender was first elected colonel of the 3rd North Carolina Volunteers and then transferred as commander of the 6th North Carolina Troops. In combat at Seven Pines, Pender performed so valiantly that he received a promotion to brigadier general. While commanding the brigade, Pender was wounded at Malvern Hill, Second Manassas and Fredericksburg. He took over command of A.P. Hill’s division at Chancellorsville after Hill was wounded.

Two months after Chancellorsville, Pender led the division in Lee’s invasion of Pennsylvania. While leading his division in an assault on Cemetery Hill at Gettysburg, he was struck by a piece of artillery shell. He later suffered a botched amputation of his leg. The procedure ruptured an artery, and he bled to death.

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Emeline Pigott, Confederate Spy

An image of Piggot from the State Archives

An image of Piggot from the State Archives

On December 15, 1836, Confederate spy Emeline Jamison Pigott was born in Carteret County. Living on a farm on Calico Creek, near what is now Morehead City, she witnessed many of the hardships the Civil War brought on, when Confederate, and later, Union soldiers were encamped nearby.

Involved in the Confederate cause early in the war, Pigott became active in nursing as well as gathering supplies for the Confederacy after the death of Private Montford Stokes MacRae at Gettysburg. Piggott had fallen in love with MacRae several years earlier. She organized fishermen to get information that she passed along to her contacts. She also distracted Union soldiers, enabling her brother to carry food to Confederates nearby; and served as a courier, carrying food, medicine and mail to designated locations for pickup in specially-made pockets under her hoop skirt.

Arrested on suspicion of spying, Pigott was imprisoned and taken to court repeatedly, but was never brought to trial. While in prison, an attempt was made on her life but, even after her release, she continued to aid the Confederacy, remaining true to the cause until her death in 1919.

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For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day subscribe by email using the box on the right and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

Isaac Avery’s Dying Words at Gettysburg

The letter that Isaac Avery wrote to his father, now held by the State Archives

The letter that Isaac Avery wrote to his father, now held by the State Archives

On July 3, 1863, 34-year-old Lt. Colonel Isaac E. Avery of the 6th North Carolina State Troops died from mortal wounds received the previous day. Shot in the neck and partially paralyzed during the Battle of Gettysburg, the Burke County native was unable to speak.

Avery fell alone while leading his men in an attack on Cemetery Hill. He had taken command of Hoke’s brigade after Hoke, himself, was wounded at Chancellorsville. Avery was the only man mounted and, once found, was carried from the field. Clutched in his hand was a small bloodstained piece of paper which has become one of the treasures of the State Archives of North Carolina.

Though right handed, he was forced to write with his left because of paralysis. His letter said, “Major, tell my father that I died with my face to the enemy. IE Avery”. Major Samuel McDowell Tate, a friend from Burke County to whom the message was addressed, remained with Avery until he died. The short letter contains words long on duty and sentiment and has been featured in many books and documentaries about the Civil War.  It has become known as the “Letter from the Dead.”

Other related resources:

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day, subscribe by email using the box on the right and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.