Jan 9



The David Troxell House is located at 221 Chambersburg Street, on the north side of the street. It has an artillery shell stuck in its south wall. It is visible on the top right of the house. This view was taken facing north at approximately 2:00 PM on Thursday, January 1, 2009.

An artillery shell is stuck in what, at the time of the Battle of Gettsyburg, was the David Troxell House. David Troxell was a Harness Maker, and his home was the haven for his family and his neighbors seeking protection during the battle. The shell sticking into the brick wall of the David Troxell House might have been moved from its original location.

As we do with many local history questions, we went back to look up an article by Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Tim Smith that he wrote for the Adams County Historical Society Journal in 1996. Tim is also a research assistant at the historical society, and his article in that year’s Journal (Volume 2), “A Tour of Gettysburg’s Visual Battle Damage,” presents a good overview of the buildings we will feature over the next couple of weeks. We highly recommend that you pick up a copy at the Adams County Historical Society on Seminary Ridge in Schmucker Hall, or order a copy ($6.95) from the Adams County Historical Society. Click this link for their online giftshop.



This map shows the buildings with visible battle damage that we will be featuring over the next couple of weeks. We have marked the locations with red stars. #1 is the McClean House at 11 Baltimore Street. #2 is the Wills Building at 9 York Street. #3 is the John Kuhn House at 221 North Stratton Street. #4 is the Crass Barbehenn House at 218 North Stratton Street. #5 is the David Troxell House at 221 Chambersburg Street. This map was created at approximately 5:00 PM on Thursday, January 1, 2009.



The 1860 census shows that David Troxell was “white,” a Harness Maker, born circa 1810 in Pennsylvania, and that he lived in the same dwelling and was part of the same family with Catharine Troxell (1785-), born in Maryland; Rebecca Keefer (1803-), born in Maryland. His real estate had a value of $900, and his personal estate had a value of $100. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 2:00 PM on Thursday, January 1, 2009.



During the Battle of Gettysburg, neighbors from the next building to the right or east took refuge in David Troxell’s basement. This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 2:00 PM on Thursday, January 1, 2009.



The large building to the right (east) of the Troxell House is known as the Warren Block. This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 2:00 PM on Thursday, January 1, 2009.



The Warren Block was constructed for four separate households. The address for the Warren Block is from right to left: 211, 213, 215, and 217 Chambersburg Street. On July 1st and the morning of July 2nd, it appears that the occupants of the Warren Block stayed in their cellars. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 2:00 PM on Thursday, January 1, 2009.



It is believed that the following families were living (from left to right) in the Warren Block during the battle: The Joseph Broadhead Family at 217 Chambersburg Street, the David Myers family at 215 Chambersburg Street, The Jacob Gilbert Family at 213 Chambersburg Street, and the Owens Davis Family at 211 Chambersburg Street. There were approximately 19 people living in the Warren Block in 1863. This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 2:00 PM on Thursday, January 1, 2009.



Approximately 4:00 PM on July 2, 1863, Longstreet’s attack began to the south of town, and Confederate artillery on Seminary Ridge and Benner’s Hill began concentrating their fire on Cemetery Hill. The families in the Warren Block thought it would be safer to move to the David Troxell House. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 2:00 PM on Thursday, January 1, 2009.



A total of 22 individuals gathered in the Troxell cellar. Joseph Broadhead’s wife, Sarah, wrote in her diary, “About 4 o’clcok PM the storm burst again with terrific violence. It seemed as though heaven and earth were being rolled together. For better security we went to the house of a neighbor and occupied the cellar, by far the most comfortable part of the house.” This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 2:00 PM on Thursday, January 1, 2009.



Sarah Broadhead’s account continued, “Whilst there a shell struck the house, but mercifully did not burst but remained embedded in the wall, one half protruding.” This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 2:00 PM on Thursday, January 1, 2009.



This is a Schenkl Shell. It has a diameter of 2.92 inches, and would have been fired from a 3-inch ordnance rifle. It is 9 3/16″ in length, and weighed eight pounds. This shell was said to be 82% effective. This one of the 18% when it was not. This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 2:00 PM on Thursday, January 1, 2009.



One of the mysteries associated with this shell is if it is stuck in the same place as it was on July 2, 1863. The front of the house changed, supposedly around 1910. But did that mean that the whole front of the house changed, or just part of it? This view was taken facing north at approximately 2:00 PM on Thursday, January 1, 2009.



The bottom part of the house changed. But was the porch added on, or just constructed in a different way? This view was taken facing north at approximately 2:00 PM on Thursday, January 1, 2009.



This view shows that only the bricks facing the street have been painted black. The bricks on the side below the water spout appear to match the other bricks to the left (north). The bricks on top of the water spout appear to be a different (darker) color. So the top part of the building may have been changed also. This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 2:00 PM on Thursday, January 1, 2009.



So the shell may have been taken out of the original wall, hopefully defused, and then stuck back in a new outer wall. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 2:00 PM on Thursday, January 1, 2009.



If the shell is in its original position, or if it was put in a new wall at the same angle as it was in the old wall, it was probably fired from Union artillery on Cemetery Ridge. This view was taken facing north at approximately 2:00 PM on Thursday, January 1, 2009.



On the afternoon of July 2, 1863, Union artillery on Cemetery Hill would have been firing at Confederate artillery on Seminary Ridge. This round obviously would have fallen a little short. This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 2:00 PM on Thursday, January 1, 2009.



The families in the cellar of the Troxell house came out after the fighting died down around 6:00 PM on July 2nd. Then the attack was made on East Cemetery Hill, and they went back to the Troxell cellar until approximately 10:00 PM. They then went back to their houses, but returned to the Troxell cellar on July 3rd around 4:00 AM when the fighting broke out on Culp’s Hill. They stayed there when the bombardment took place prior to Pickett’s Charge, and remained in the cellar until Pickett’s Charge was over. This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 2:00 PM on Thursday, January 1, 2009.

See the following related posts:

Gettysburg’s Crass-Barbehenn Artillery Shell on January 7, 2009.
Gettysburg’s John Kuhn House Artillery Shell on January 6, 2009.
Wills Building Artillery Shell Might be the Actual Shell on January 2, 2009.
Gettysburg’s McClean House Artillery Shell on December 27, 2008.
Christmas Decorations on the Carrie Sheads House on December 25, 2008.
Sweney House (Farnsworth House) Christmas Decorations on December 24, 2008.
Christmas Decorations at the Gettysburg Academy on December 21, 2008.
Civil War Artillery with Licensed Battlefield Guide George Newton on November 21, 2008.


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