May 30

Donna Lechak is a volunteer for the National Park Service at the Eisenhower National Historic Site. She is also volunteering her time to place flags on the graves of veterans in Evergreen Cemetery. She is in the section of Evergreen where soldiers killed or mortally wounded during the Battle of Gettysburg are buried. This image was taken facing southeast at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.

While flags are being placed at graves for military personnel in our National Cemeteries this weekend, we pause to remember the veterans not buried in National Cemeteries. At Gettysburg’s Evergreen Cemetery, veterans from the French and Indian War to Vietnam are buried, and on this Memorial Day weekend they were recognized with a flag placed beside their grave.

See the previous parts to the Evergreen Cemetery tour here

This map shows the location of where our Evergreen Cemetery videos were produced. Video #1 was taken on the east side of the Baltimore Pike near the Evergreen Cemetery Gatehouse. Video #2 was taken at the statue of Elizabeth Thorn and the burial location of soldiers killed or mortally wounded during the Battle of Gettysburg. Video #3 was taken by the graves of veterans from the Revolutionary War. This map was created facing north at approximately 8:00 AM on Saturday, May 28, 2011.

Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Phil Lechak is one of the volunteers who helped place flags on the graves of veterans in Evergreen Cemetery. The Evergreen Cemetery Gatehouse, constructed in 1855, is in the background. This image was taken facing southwest at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.

In Video #1 Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Phil Lechak explains what the volunteers are doing at Gettysburg’s Evergreen Cemetery on Memorial Day Weekend. This view was taken facing southwest at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.

Most of the volunteers parked at the top of Cemetery Hill around the Brown vault to unload their flags. Some of the volunteers included: Deb Novotny, Fred Hawthorne, Christina Moon, Jim Clouse, Hank Seamon, Linda Seamon, Tim Smith, Sammy Smith, Donna Lechak, and Phil Lechak. This image was taken facing southwest at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.
Phil Lechak is standing by the statue of Elizabeth Thorn, who buried dozens of soldiers following the Battle of Gettysburg while she was approximately six months pregnant. The Baltimore Pike is the road in the background. Culp’s Hill is mostly hidden by the trees in the foreground. This image was taken facing southeast at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.

In Video #2 Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Phil Lechak explains that the caretaker of the cemetery, was Elizabeth Thorn, and shows us the section where she buried dozens of soldiers. This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.

Phil Lechak is standing by the section where Elizabeth Thorn buried most of the Union dead from the Battle of Gettysburg. Donna Lechak is placing flags by graves in the left background. A section like this with all the soldiers/veterans buried together is a relatively easy location to place flags. You are able to place a flag by every stone that you see. This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.

However, in the majority of Evergreen Cemetery, the veterans are not buried together. They are buried in their private family plots. Volunteers such as Licensed Battlefield Guides Jim Clouse on the right and Deb Novotny, who is partially hidden by a headstone work in teams to try to figure out where the veterans are located. Culp’s Hill is again hidden by the trees in the foreground. The flag in the right background is flying over the grave of John Burns. This view was taken facing east at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.

Jim Clouse is on the left. Deb Novotny is on the right. Culp’s Hill is in the right background above the flag flying over John Burns’ grave. Even with the best of maps marking the locations of the veterans, it can sometimes take a while to locate a headstone… This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.

… and then attempt to read the writing on the headstone to make sure that you have the correct person. This photo was taken facing south at approximtaely 5:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.

So even if you are fairly familiar with the cemetery, like Town Guide Linda Seamon on the left and her husband Hank Seamon on the right, you will spend some time being “stumped” by the location of some of these veterans. The Soldiers’ National Cemetery is behind Linda and Hank, on the other side of the black fence. This image was taken facing northwest at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.

Then, of course, there are volunteers such as Licensed Battlefield Guide Tim Smith… This image was taken facing east at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.

…who is probably teaching his son, Samuel Smith, to memorize every grave location so that he won’t need a map in the future. This image was taken facing southeast at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.

If you’re wondering why Sammy is putting a flag by Jenny Wade’s monument, her family did receive a pension from the U.S. government following her death. This image was taken facing southeast at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.

So let’s look at a representative sample of veterans from each war that are buried in Evergreen Cemetery. The French and Indian War veteran is Colonel Hance Hanson, who died in 1772 before there was a United States, but a British flag wasn’t available to put by his grave. This image was taken facing southwest at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.

Veterans in private burial plots and/or private cemeteries such as Evergreen have a choice to have either a United States government issued military headstone, or if they have a private headstone, they can have a bronze emblem placed at their grave site. This emblem is for the French and Indian War. Of course it was bronze and has turned green over the years as have many of the bronze cannon barrels on battlefields. The text states: “United Indian War Veterans U.S.A.” This image was taken facing southwest at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.
The large monument marks the burial location of one of the most well-known Revolutionary War veterans in Evergreen Cemetery. James Gettys was the founder of the Borough of Gettysburg. This image was taken facing west at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.

His bronze marker is on the east side of the monument. This view was taken facing southwest at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.

Here is the Revolutionary War bronze marker. This view was taken facing southwest at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.

Two other Revolutionary War veterans are brothers, and marked by flags in this location near the Soldiers’ National Cemetery. This view was taken facing north at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.

In Video #3 Phil Lechak shows us the locations of two Revolutionary War veterans and a veteran of the War of 1812. This view was taken facing southwest to northwest at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.

Robert Smith. This photo was taken facing northeast at approximtaely 5:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.

Walter Smith. This image was taken facing northeast at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.

The most famous War of 1812 veteran in Evergreen Cemetery is John Burns. This image was taken facing southeast at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.

However, he does not have a War of 1812 medallion by his headstone. This image was taken facing southeast at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.

He earned a Civil War medallion for his actions on July 1, 1863 on McPherson’s Ridge. In fact, although there are War of 1812 veterans buried in Evergreen Cemetery, none of them have War of 1812 medallions by their graves. This image was taken facing southeast at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.

However, there are War of 1812 Veterans buried in Gettysburg that have the War of 1812 medallions by their grave. Let’s go down to the G.A.R. Hall, which used to be the Methodist Church at the time of the battle. This image was taken facing south at approximately 6:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.
In the back of the G.A.R. Hall is the old Methodist Church graveyard. This image was taken facing northeast at approximately 6:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.

There are two War of 1812 veterans here, each marked by a flag. This view was taken facing south at approximately 6:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.

Each of them is marked by two War of 1812 medallions. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 6:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.

One War of 1812 medallion in the ground. This view was taken facing west at approximately 6:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.

The other is on the flagstaff. This photo was taken facing west at approximtaely 6:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.

There is a Revolutionary War veteran buried here. This image was taken facing east at approximately 6:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.

He has a very nice Revolutionary War medallion. This image was taken facing east at approximately 6:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.

The walkway leading to the Methodist graveyard is lined with six medallions. This image was taken facing southwest at approximately 6:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.

Each side of the sidewalk contains one Revolutionary War medallion and two War of 1812 medallions. So at the old Methodist Church, there are three Revolutionary War medallions for one Revolutionary War soldier, and eight War of 1812 medallions for two War of 1812 veterans. This image was taken facing southwest at approximately 6:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.

As far as it is known, there are no Mexican War veterans buried in Evergreen National Cemetery, and possibly not in Adams County, Pennsylvania. This image of a Mexican War medallion is from a cemetery in the State of Ohio. This image is courtesy of Deb Novotny.
We are now back in Evergreen Cemetery. There are two choices of medallions for Civil War United States’ veterans. This image was taken facing south at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.

This one, which we showed you previously on John Burns’ grave… This view was taken facing south at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.

…or the one at Samuel Weikert’s grave. This view was taken facing southwest at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.

If you were a member in good standing with the Grand Army of the Republic, then you were eligible for this medallion. This view was taken facing southwest at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.

For Spanish American War medallions, let’s go to the family plot of Civil War veteran and former Gettysburg National Military Park Superintendent Emmor b. Cope. His sons, buried behind him near the Soldiers’ National Cemetery, were Spanish American War Veterans. Emmor Cope Jr. is on the left, and John Cope is on the right. The base of the New York State Monument is in the left background. This photo was taken facing north at approximtaely 5:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.

The Spanish American War medallions are in the shape of a cross. This image was taken facing northeast at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.

Notice how they spelled “Porto Rico.” This image was taken facing northwest at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.

There are many veterans of World War I buried in Evergreen. This image was taken facing southeast at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.

The emblem for “The Great War.” This image was taken facing southeast at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.

Veterans of World War II also have a distinctive emblem. This image was taken facing south at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.
The World War II emblem has an eagle whose wings stretch beyond the limits of the medallion. This image was taken facing south at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.

Evergreen Cemetery has set aside a section for the burial of veterans. It is at the bottom of the southeastern slope of Cemetery Hill. This view was taken facing south at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.

In this section a Korean War Veteran and a Vietnam War Veteran are buried next to each other. This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.

Kenneth Small was the Korean War Veteran. This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.

The Korean War medallion. This photo was taken facing southeast at approximtately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.

Robert Spalding was a Vietnam War veteran. This image was taken facing southeast at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.

This Vietnam medallion is almost identical to the Korean War medallion. This image was taken facing southeast at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.

There is a newer Vietnam medallion. This image was taken facing northwest at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.

This gives us an idea of what they look like before they turn green. This image was taken facing northwest at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.

Two Confederates buried in Evergreen have United States flags, not Confederate flags. This image was taken facing south at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.
A Confederate organization supplies the iron crosses for Confederate veterans even if they have a government issued headstone. This image was taken facing south at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.

Oh, and if you were wondering, here’s what the Civil War soldiers’ section of Evergreen Cemetery looks like after all the flags are in place. This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 5:45 PM on Friday, May 27, 2011.

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


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