June 30, 1863: Tillie’s Words

The following is taken from Tillie Pierce Alleman’s book At Gettysburg: Or What a Girl Saw and Heard of the Battle (1889):

A little before noon on Tuesday, June 3oth, a great number of Union cavalry began to arrive in the town. They passed northwardly along Washington Street, turned toward the west on reaching Chambersburg Street, and passed on in the direction of the Theological Seminary.

 

418px-John_Buford

General John Buford

It was to me a novel and grand sight. I had never seen so many soldiers at one time. They were Union soldiers and that was enough for me, for I then knew we had protection, and I felt they were our dearest friends. I afterwards learned that these men were Buford’s cavalry, numbering about six thousand.

 

A crowd of “us girls” were standing on the corner of Washington and High Streets as these soldiers passed by. Desiring to encourage them, who, as we were told, would before long be in battle, my sister started to sing the old war song “Our Union Forever.” As some of us did not know the whole of the piece we kept repeating the chorus.

 

Thus we sought to cheer our brave men; and we felt amply repaid when we saw that our efforts were appreciated. Their countenances brightened and we received their thanks and cheers. . . .

 

The movements of this day in addition to what we beheld a few days previous, told plainly that some great military event was coming pretty close to us. The town was all astir and every one was anxious.

 

Thus in the midst of great excitement and solicitude the day passed. As we lay down for the night, little did we think what the morrow would bring. (pp. 28–30)

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *