A family man at his core, Elijah Hayden deeply loved his wife and two children, but when war broke out in April 1861, he signed up for a three-month term. As soon as his term ended, he immediately re-enlisted for another three years, knowing that his country needed him just as desperately, if not more, than his family did. Despite numerous struggles with illness, homesickness, personal loss, and the stresses of combat, Elijah remained committed to the Union cause and his comrades, all the while maintaining an active correspondence with his family at home. Rising through the ranks, he earned the deep admiration of his subordinates whom he inspired through his personal demonstrations of bravery, loyalty, and persistence—qualities he exemplified through his actions during his small but valiant regiment’s stand against Pickett’s Charge, which ultimately took his life.
A young Canadian immigrant who grew up in an impoverished Vermont household surrounded by staunch republican politics, Marcell impatiently awaited his turn to perform his patriotic duty to his adopted country while supporting his widowed, invalid father through his army pay. Gettysburg would be his first and last battle. Left out of the heat of battle on July 2 as his fellow Vermonters rushed forth in defense of Cemetery Ridge, Marcell would finally receive the chance to prove his martial mettle during his regiment’s repulse of Kemper’s brigade during Pickett’s Charge on July 3. In the midst of the Vermonters’ counterattack, Marcell would fall with a bullet to the head and eventually be interred as an unknown in Soldiers’ National Cemetery . Years later, his surviving comrades, haunted by memories of their youth and drawn together by their shared experiences in battle, would return to Gettysburg and proudly record the history of their regiment in stone and with the pen, recalling the courage of the fallen and those who survived the war.
Mitchell A. Anderson was 24 years old in 1863, meaning he was born around 1839 in Lebanon, Tennessee. He was born into a family of great influence, largely due to the status of his father, Reverend Thomas Constantine Anderson. More often known as T.C. Anderson, Thomas served as a circuit minister in the Cumberland Presbyterian […]
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.
A young, single farmer from Opelousas, Louisiana, Horthere Fountenot served in Company F of the Eighth Louisiana Infantry, participating in the night-time assault on Cemetery Hill on July 2 prior to his mortal wounding on July 3 in the streets of Gettysburg. His story is at once contrasted with an agonizing, anti-climactic death in a military hospital near Gettysburg and the romantic, martyr’s death depicted on the Louisiana State Monument.
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.
Franz Benda emigrated from Bohemia to the United States at a young age. He joined the 26th Wisconsin Infantry in his new homeland, part of the much-maligned, ethnically diverse 11th Corps. His mortal wounding and death at Gettysburg left his parents destitute and badly in need of his soldier’s pension.
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.