But, I could feel another story in the air there...something more that had to be told aside from the battle itself. During my last couple of times in Gettysburg I had taken home tours and began to search out books - books that told another part of the story that one rarely hears about.
|The streets of old Gettysburg. Baltimore Street looking up from the 'Diamond' (town square) near the time of the infamous three day battle in July of 1863|
One book in particular is very well written: Firestorm at Gettysburg: Civilian Voices June-November 1863 by John Alexander and Jim Slade. It is filled with quotations and stories as told by those who were there: Tillie Pierce, Sarah Broadhead, Sallie Meyers, et al.
After reading this book, the streets of Gettysburg had a whole new (old?) feel to them for me. I imagined all that took place here - right where I stood as the quotes from actual eyewitnesses swirled around my head. The constant flow of traffic disappeared and a few horses with and without carriages replaced them, the souvenir shops magically became the homes, livery stables, and other 'ancient' businesses they once were.
And old Gettysburg came back to life.
I should like to present here a few of the recounts and journal entries covering the weeks leading up to the battle. One must remember that there was much excitement that took place in the days and weeks before the bloodshed befell the borough.
SALLIE MEYERS: “June 20, 1863 – Some cavalry from Philadelphia who armed and equipped themselves came to-night. They are entirely and altogether volunteers.”
Tillie PiercePeriod photograph of Washington street near High street where Tillie Pierce and the other girls of Gettysburg sang patriotic songs and passed out food and drink as Gen. Buford’s soldiers passed by on June 30, 1863.