Welcome to "Remembering the 142nd PVI". The purpose of this site is post pictures, information, and the final resting places of this regiment of the American Civil War. It seeks to tell a "bottom up" history, straight from the common soldiers themselves. If you have any information concerning the 142nd, please email me at bmonticue@gmail.com. Thank you and enjoy.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Gettysburg, Day Three

On July 3rd, the 142nd was held in reserve on Cemetery Ridge, near General George Meade's headquarters and the center of the Federal line. This was the spot that Confederate General Robert E. Lee chose to make his famed, and poorly named, "Pickett's Charge." They were close enough to the line that one man was killed during the Confederate artillery barrage that preceded the charge.

While this high drama and intrigue was happening south of town, back on Seminary Ridge the situation deteriorated into a bloody mess. Co. K's Lt. Jeremiah Hoffman was wounded and kept in the Seminary starting on July 1st. He wrote his recollections of his time there less than five years after the battle. The following are from the account that Lt. Hoffman wrote, and were part of a Gettysburg Magazine article by Michael Dreese entitled "Ordeal at the Lutheran Seminary Hospital."

"My first recollection of the hospital at Gettysburg Seminary is that our doctors had no instruments. They were taken prisoner, and in the hurry and excitement of the battle, neither of the parties recollected that it was necessary to attend to the wounded...On the first day, shortly after I was in the building, some of the men who were unhurt came in complaining that our own forces were firing upon the building in which we lay. The two armies had taken the people of the place by surprise, and everything was not packed away as nicely as it might have been. So it happened that our hostess, whose invitation to come in we could not receive, because she was not there, had left a generous petticoat of red flannel lying on a sort of lounge. The men asked what signal we could make to out army. I was the only officer in the room and the men turned to me. So we agreed that a red flag must be hoisted, and by dint of strict orders and threats of punishment in case of disobedience, we were able to persuade a soldier to mount the cupola, and to hoist thence the largest pieces he could tear from the garment. Thus, it happened during the fight and for some days after, the undergarment of our hostess floated over the building..."

"During the first night I was lying awake. I could not sleep for a long while after I was wounded. Col. Cummins was brought in soon after me...The Colonel was shot through the right lung. His agony was so great that one would have thought he was unconscious...While he was writhing and groaning with pain, he would cast his arms about wildly and sometimes sit up...Towards morning [Private Chester] Cammer came to me and said that the Colonel was sleeping. I asked him to watch him well, and soon he came and reported that the Colonel's feet and hands were becoming cold. I ordered him to hunt over the upper floors of the building and he would find some doctors. Just as day was breaking he came downstairs with two surgeons of our brigade. They looked at the Colonel as he lay, and ordered that he should not be disturbed as he was then dying. I could see him but could not speak to him. If he said anything on the subject, Cammer must have kept it to himself. They buried the Colonel the same morning in the garden..."

"On the morning of the Fourth, Capt. [Charles] Evans came to me and said the Act. Adjt. Tucker had died. Tucker had pushed me on his horse after I was wounded, he having been wounded through the arm. That was the last time I saw him alive. On that same day, the Fourth, they brought his body downstairs in a blanket. They roughly lined his grave with fence palings and buried him beside the Colonel. I as then lying on the bunk, and by lifting my head I could see into the garden. I could not assist in the burial but I could look on. They were holding the body over the grave when the head slipped over the edge of the blanket and the Lieutenant's beautiful, jet black hair dragged over the ground. The thought of his mother and sisters was called up, and surely it cannot be called unmanly that a few tears stole down my cheeks..."

Works Cited:
Dreese, Michael A. "Ordeal in the Lutheran Theological Seminary: The Recollections of First Lt. Jeremiah Hoffman, 142nd Pennsylvania Volunteers." Gettysburg Mag No. 23: pp. 100-10 (11 photocopied pages). E475.53G482no23. Includes info on civilians caring for wounded after battle.

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