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PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2023 11:11 am 

Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 9:33 pm
Posts: 320
Location: Old Northwest (Michigan)
Fellow Sharpshooters,

The Civil War Talk website featured a series of ‘cut outs’ of different portions of the Gettysburg battlefield from the S.G. Elliot map. According the JPK: “ Basil Biggs, one of Gettysburg's remaining black citizens, a vetrinarian had been paid I think a buck twenty five for each body recovered as the National Cemetery took solemn shape. From October 1863 to March 1864 he and his crew found, disinterred and reburied 3,500 cemeteries- raising money while he was at it for an organization he founded called 'The Sons of Good Will'. While burying our honored dead Basil bought land for black cemeteries.”

“Elliott's map of the battlefield of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania Made from an accurate survey of the ground by transit and chain. F. Bourquin & Co., liths., Philada. S. G. Elliott & Co. CREATED/PUBLISHED [Philadelphia], S. G. Elliott & Co., c1864. NOTES Scale 1:9051. Shows breastworks and rifle pits, graves of Union and Confederate soldiers, "dead horses" reads and streets, relief by hachures, vegetation, drainage, houses and names of residents. "

Map section 9 will be of particular interest to us Sharp Shooters, for it highlights the extreme southern potion of the battlefield that Hoods/Laws division marched over to attack the 3rd Corps line along Devils Den and the woods west. The 2nd USSS was deployed along Slyder (identified as Bollinger Farm) lane and buildings. For years there’s been, at times heated, discussions between modern USSS reenactors/living historians as to the number of casualties the Sharpshooters inflicted on the advancing Alabama and Texas/Arkansas regiments. The Elliot map, while not conclusive, accounts for the number of CSA gravesites near the Slyder fence line that were likely casualties of Sharpshooter fire. The gravesites by the farm buildings could be attributed to USSS fire, but also wounded from Devils Den/LRT that were removed there for treatment. For the CSA interments along Plum Run, ‘Valley of Death’ and LRT, it is impossible to determine what number was from USSS action.

During my visits to Gettysburg, I’ve spent hours exploring this area alone or in the company of fellow Sharpshooters. One legend had it that “four soldiers dressed in green” had been exhumed from the Slyder barn area. Speculation was they were Vermont USSS. The Elliot map does denote one “1 VT” grave, along with others scattered further south along the wood line. These graves belong to cavalry troopers of the disastrous Farnsworth charge the afternoon of July 3rd, not sharpshooters.

Here is the link: ... ow.119626/

Bill Skillman
Michigan Companies
Berdan Sharpshooter Survivors Association

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