Born in Wiltshire, England, Charles Appleton emigrated to Concord, Massachusetts in 1854 where he worked as a farm laborer. In 1862, possibly motivated by the political activism of his historic hometown as well as by the steady pay afforded by military service he said goodbye to his wife and two young children and enlisted in the Union Army as a Sergeant in the 32nd Massachusetts Infantry. Appleton would receive a mortal wound in Gettysburg’s bloody Wheatfield , joining the ranks of Concord patriots who sacrificed their lives for ideals that stretched back to the Revolutionary War itself.
Minion F. Knott grew up in the sharply-divided state of Maryland on the eve of the Civil War. He served in a Union unit in 1861 before joining the 2nd Maryland Battalion, C.S.A. in 1863. Mortally wounded in the Confederate attack on Culp’s Hill, Knott died at Camp Letterman, within 15 miles of his home state, and through administrative error was buried in the Soldiers’ National Cemetery. His final resting place symbolizes the complex contradictions and themes that characterized his life and his home state.
William H. P. Ivey, a poor Alabama farmer from Radfordsville, joined the 8th Alabama with his brother in the spring of 1861. Like many southern soldiers, Ivey and his brother owned no slaves but fought to preserve their stake in the “peculiar” institution as well as to protect their home and family. Ivey spent time in Union hospitals after being wounded in the Battle of Williamsburg on May 5th, 1862, but returned to the 8th Alabama in time to fight at the Battle of Antietam. Ivey would not be fortunate enough to survive his second wounding at Gettysburg. Although his brother, who was also wounded at Gettysburg, would ultimately survive. In many ways, William’s story is that of the common southern soldier.
Major Benjamin Watkins Leigh came to Gettysburg as the Adjutant in “Allegany” Johnson’s Division of the Second Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia. A wealthy slaveowner who used his status to become an officer, Leigh’s administrative skill had pulled him away from field command. Famous for assisting “Stonewall” Jackson following his wounding at the Battle of Chancellorsville, Leigh also gained renown for dying as he tried to rally men of the Stonewall Brigade atop Culp’s Hill on July 3rd, 1863. For decades, Leigh’s final resting place remained uncertain, but now his complicated story can be told in its entirety.
Colonel Augustus van Horne Ellis held a variety of careers after growing up in New York City. He proved to be a natural-born leader, and he died at the head of his “Orange Blossoms” near Devil’s Den. The colonel remains an enduring part of the battlefield landscape, with a life-sized statue of him atop his regiment’s monument.
Oscar Allen was just 18 years old when he signed up to serve in the famed 5th New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry. His wartime experiences chronicle the turbulent internal politics of the Civil War, as well as the diverse motivations that compelled the common Union soldier to serve. His sacrifice, made alongside so many of his peers, reveals the devastating impact of the war upon a single, small, northern community.