July 1, 1863 – Afternoon: Tillie’s Trip

After the events of the morning, Tillie returned for lunch (“dinner” to her), but was too excited to eat very much. If she had known what the afternoon held in store for her, she might have chosen to eat and drink more before her adventure began. Again, here are her own words:


Hettie Shriver (Schriver)

. . . Mrs. Schriver [Tillie’s spelling differs from modern “Shriver” spelling], called at the house and said she would leave the town and go to her father’s (Jacob Weikert), who lived on the Taneytown road at the eastern slope of the Round Top.


Mr. Schriver, her husband, was then serving in the Union army, so that under all the circumstances at this time surrounding her, Mrs. Schriver did not feel safe in the house.


sadie and mollie

Sadie and Mollie

As the battle had commenced and was still progressing at the west of the town, and was not very far off, she thought it safer for herself and two children to go to her parents, who lived about three miles to the south. She requested that I be permitted to accompany her, and as it was regarded a safer place for me than to remain in town, my parents readily consented that I should go. . . .


About one o’clock we started on foot; the battle still going on. We proceeded out Baltimore Street and centered the Evergreen Cemetery. This was our easiest and most direct route, as it would bring us to the Taneytown road a little further on.


As we were passing along the Cemetery hill, our men were already planting cannon.


They told us to hurry as fast as possible; that we were in great danger of being shot by the Rebels, whom they expected would shell toward us at any moment. We fairly ran to get out of this new danger.


fleeing from danger

“Fleeing from Danger” from Tillie’s book, AT GETTYSBURG. Click on it to see a larger version.

As I looked toward the Seminary Ridge I could see and hear the confusion of the battle. Troops moving hither and thither; the smoke of the conflict arising from the fields; shells bursting in the air, together with the din [noise], rising and falling in mighty undulations [waves]. These things, beheld for the first time, filled my soul with the greatest apprehensions. . . .


We continued on our way, and had gotten to a little one and a half story house, standing on the west side of the road, when, on account of the muddy condition of the road, we were compelled to stop. This place on the following day became General Meade’s headquarters.


. . . a soldier came out and kindly told us he would try to get some way to help us further on, as it was very dangerous to remain there.

It began to look as though we were getting into new dangers at every step, instead of getting away from them.


. . . after waiting a short time, this same soldier came to us saying:

“Now I have a chance for you. There is a wagon coming down the road and I will try to get them to make room for you.”

The wagon was already quite full, but the soldier insisted and prevailed. We fully appreciated his kindness . . . and we thanked him very much.


At last we reached Mr. Weikert’s and were gladly welcomed to their home. (AT GETTYSBURG, pp. 35–41)

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A Sad Date to Remember

George2_editedOn this date, February 27, 1864, Andersonville Prison Camp in Sumter County, Georgia, officially received its first Union prisoners of war. One of the prisoners, a seventeen-year-old, wrote that it was “a hole cut in this wilderness.” The fence was barely finished, few shelters existed, and no clean water flowed into the camp. More than 2,000 prisoners arrived by the beginning of March. One of them was George W. Shriver.

The men built lean-tos and huts as best they could. Some used blankets to make tents. Even before the heat and humidity of summer was upon them, the men were exposed to harsh elements. The water they had to use for bathing and drinking was contaminated because it was being used as a latrine, too. They received rations twice a day, usually corn meal and salted beef. The men were allowed to gather wood for fires. At first. Then a new commander came to the prison—Captain Henry Wirz.


Andersonville Prison, Camp Sumter, Ga., as it appeared August 1st 1864 when it contained 35,000 prisoners of war/Library of Congress

“During the 14 months it existed, more than 45,000 Union soldiers were confined here. Of these, almost 13,000 died from disease, poor sanitation, malnutrition, overcrowding, or exposure to the elements.”*

Nearly a quarter of all the prisoners died. Henry Wirz was the only man tried and executed for war crimes in Civil War—for the atrocities committed under his command.

*To read more about Andersonville, check out the Civil War website’s page here: http://www.civilwar.org/education/history/warfare-and-logistics/warfare/andersonville.html

I also highly recommend Catherine Gourley’s book, THE HORRORS OF ANDERSONVILLE, from Twenty-First Century Books/Lerner.


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