Wednesday, April 6, 2016

INSIDE GETTYSBURG - The Catherine Foster House

For today's post I would like to introduce you to, not only one of my best friends, but one of the most knowledgeable historians on the town of Gettysburg during the 1863 Pennsylvania Campaign, Dr. Steve Mock.  He is also one of the best story-tellers I have ever met and his depth of research and passion for telling the story of the Gettysburg civilians is simply contagious.  Only a select few people have the gift of almost transporting us back in time as if we were actually witnessing the dramatic events unfold around us.  Dr. Mock is one of them.

In today's video clip, he talks to us about the story of Corporal Leander W. Wilcox of the 151st Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry ("Schoolteacher Regiment") at the Catherine Foster house on the northwest corner of West High Street and South Washington Street.

Catherine Foster wrote of her experience on July 1 from her home, "We remained on our balcony watching the forming of the left wing, notwithstanding the unseen shells whizzing over our heads.  It being our first experience, we neither realized danger nor obeyed orders of passing officers until 1 P.M., the Eleventh Corps coming rushing in Washington Street, urged on to support the right wing, our attention was called to their pleading for water.  They dare not stop to drink, but we carried it to our front door and poured into their tins as they passed.  The officers frequently said to us, 'Stop giving water, they have not time to drink.'  Many of them got their last drink from our hands, as they were hurried along, saying as they went, 'We'll fight the enemy from your doors, we'll drive them or we'll die.'  A few minutes after we left the balcony, a twelve pound shell struck it, demolishing the roof and ceiling.  For two hours we carried water to the front door and poured into their tin cups..."1

1. David A. Murdoch, ed.  Catherine Mary White Foster's Eyewitness Account of the Battle of Gettysburg, with Background on the Foster Family Union Soldiers.  Adams County History, Volume 1, Article 5, 1995.   


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