THE BATTLE OF GETTYSBURG (1863)
At Gettysburg, the soldiers could read about themselves in the major newspapers almost in real time. A first in history!
Newspapers were delivered to the Gettysburg battlefield.
...Three long lines of mounted Union soldiers stood watch along the Hanover Road, their horses’ heads rearing and hooves stomping in place. They were waiting for the newspaper cart.
“Hello Jenkins. You’ve got news for me and I’ve got some for you,” said the captain. “My news is that the enemy wants to pierce our center. And as for your news, well, let’s see.” He reached down from his horse for a copy and paid his ten cents. “Dear God, man,” he exclaimed, as he saw the headline. “What have you done? This is about us yesterday!”
A murmur went along the line of soldiers, and then men began to dismount in excitement to get their copy.
“To your horses!” the captain commanded sharply. “They’ll come along with copies. Have your money ready.”
Gayle is related to one of the heroines of the three-day battle: Miss Carrie Sheads, who turned the family school for young ladies into a hospital for the wounded of both sides. She is described below, in addition to her family. Carrie's figure inspired both the character of Louise Culp in our novel....and another Culp (also a family name) of some importance.
Yet another Sheads family simply did what many other townspeople did: they opened their home to as many wounded soldiers as they had beds for. Here is a letter the father of one wrote to Gayle's ancestor, Jacob Sheads.
Link to see video of the 1963 tour made by U.S. President J.F. Kennedy and his wife Jackie of the Gettysburg Battlefield with Gayle’s great uncle, Col. J.M.Sheads, as their guide.
Still other women worked as nurses in field hospital tents. Like Eleonora in our book.
...Behind this cross and efficient American woman, Eleonora stalked through the mud and rain to the K Tent. On the cots to the right lay grossly bloody, unattended men—the unsavable. There was only a girl going from bed to bed with a basin of water and head rags. To the left, four women were dressing wounds.
“It’s time for their soup,” Mrs. Winslow said to the first.