Jun 1
The George Spangler Barn is the largest structure at the George Spangler Farm. Tents holding the wounded were around the barn, and wounded were also placed in the barn. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 13, 2011.

Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Phil Lechak retired after spending 37 years working for the United States Postal Service. Phil first came to Gettysburg in 1999 and had Paul Cooksey as his guide. Phil became a self-described “Gettysburgaholic,” and decided to study to become a Licensed Battlefield Guide. He passed the December 2004 exam, and was licensed in November of 2005. He started as a part-time Guide, but became full time when he retired in January, 2007.

To contact Phil Lechak, click here to reveal his email address.

To see Phil Lechak’s previous series on Camp Letterman, click here.

In our first Gettysburg Hospitals’ post
, Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Phil Lechak introduced us to the George Spangler Farm which is known as the site where Confederate Brigadier General Lewis Armistead died.

In our second Gettysburg Hospitals’ post, Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Phil Lechak shows some photographs taken on the farm by William Tipton circa the 1880s and in 1906.

In today’s Gettysburg Hospitals’ post, Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Phil Lechak shows us the George Spangler Barn, used by the wounded of both sides.

This map shows the location of the George Spangler Farm. The farm is bordered by the Granite Schoolhouse Lane to the north, and Blacksmith Shop Road to the east. Videos #1-4 were shown in our previous Gettysburg Hospitals posts. Video #5 was taken on the northwest side of the George Spangler Barn. This map was created facing north at approximately 8:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.

The George Spangler Barn has pretty much been weathered to the same color. This view was taken facing west at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 13, 2011.

The louvered windows… This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 13, 2011.

… and the doors were painted white in the 1800s. This view was taken facing west at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 13, 2011.

You can see the white windows and doors in this photograph. This view was taken facing southwest circa the 1880s-1890s.

The foundation of the barn is made of stone. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 13, 2011.

When Major-General Carl Schurz visited the Eleventh Corps hospital here on July 4, 1863, he stated that “I saw long rows of men lying under the eaves of the buildings, the water pouring down upon their bodies in streams.” We’ll enter the door. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 13, 2011.

Reuben Ruch, a hospital steward with the 153rd Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment stated that on July 4, 1863 “This barn was full of wounded from one end to the other…” This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 13, 2011.

“…The hay mows, the feed room…” This view was taken facing north at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 13, 2011.

“…the cow stable…” This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 13, 2011.

…the horse stable…” This view was taken facing south at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 13, 2011.

“…and the loft…” Look carefully at these original beams. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 13, 2011.

More than a few of the beams still have bark. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 13, 2011.

The stairs go up to the main floor or “threshing floor” of the barn. This view was taken facing west at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 13, 2011.

The addition on the right was probably not here at the time of the battle. This view was taken facing west circa the 1880s-1890s.

The addition is not visible in the late 1800s photograph that we showed you earlier in this post. This view was taken facing southwest at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 13, 2011.

The New York General Agent of the Sanitary Commission reported that the Eleventh Corps Hospital at the George Spangler Farm was “on a dry, airy knoll, consiting mainly of well-aranged hospital tents. A few of the wounded were deposited in a large barn.” This view was taken facing south at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 13, 2011.

The New York Sanitary Commision Agents’ report continued “There was a sufficient detail here of surgeons…also a regular supply of hospital attendants… Several good women were encamped here, cooking for, and nursing the wounded, and (some)relatives of the soldiers…were each caring for …brother or son. The wounded lay upon stretchers or upon ticks filled with hay or straw.” This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 13, 2011.

Notice how the upper floor of the north side of the barn was constructed with stones. This view was taken facing east at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 13, 2011.

Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Phil Lechak is the host for our series on Gettysburg Hospitals. He is standing on the bank of the barn. This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 13, 2011.

Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Phil Lechak is pointing to the “big doors” leading to the main floor or threshing floor of the barn. This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 13, 2011.

In Video #5 Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Phil Lechak is standing on the bank of the barn. He reads an account of how the soldiers laying on the floor and looking out the doors could see the artillery shells fired too long by the Confederates before Pickett’s Charge, exploding near the barn. This view was taken facing southeast to northwest to southeast at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 13, 2011.

Let’s climb the bank and walk towards the doors… This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 13, 2011.

… and then turn around to get the view the soldiers did when the “overshots” preceding Pickett’s Charge were landing in this field “withing twenty feet” of the barn. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 13, 2011.

Let’s again look at the bank and how it was constructed. This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 13, 2011.

Here’s a view of the right or north side of the bank. This view was taken facing east at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 13, 2011.

The stones are used as a retaining wall to keep the bank from collapsing in this direction. This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 13, 2011.

Hundreds of stones were used. This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 13, 2011.

We’re going to look at the bottom floor of this south side of the barn. This view was taken facing east at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 13, 2011.

It was used as a wagon shed. This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 13, 2011.

At least two sources state that the wagon shed was occupied by wounded Confederates. This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 13, 2011.

Justus Silliman of the 17th Connecticut stated that “There were at first 3000 wounded at our hospital, hundreds have had limbs amputated….” This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 13, 2011.

“…The barn more resembled a butcher shop than any other institution. One citizen on going near it fainted away.” This view was taken facing north at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 13, 2011.
The text for all of the Corps Hospital markers. For a pdf version, click here.
Dr. Jonathan Letterman’s Official Report of the Battle of Gettysburg. For a pdf version, click here.

Greg Coco’s book, A Vast Sea of Misery is available from Thomas Publications. For ordering information, click here.

To see other posts by Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guides, click here.


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