Jan 13



The Carrie Sheads House is located at 331 Buford Avenue (formerly the Chambersburg Pike), on the north side of the street. It has an artillery shell stuck in its south wall. The artillery shell is visible on the top left of the house. This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 2:00 PM on Thursday, January 1, 2009.

We have previously featured the Carrie Sheads House as part of our series on Gettysburg Christmas Decorations. Today it is part of our series on Gettysburg area homes showing battle damage. At some point it will be part of our series on hospitals, and later in our series on schools etc…

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. #6 is the Carrie Sheads House at 331 Buford Avenue. This map was created at approximately 6:00 PM on Sunday, January 4, 2009.



Carrie Sheads opened the Oak Ridge Seminary in this building in 1862. This private school was for local students and for boarding students as far away as Baltimore, Maryland. Two sisters from Baltimore, the 15 and 16 year old daughters of William Callow remained in the home during the battle. This view was taken facing north at approximately 2:00 PM on Thursday, January 1, 2009.



The house was used as a hospital, and eventually 72 wounded soldiers were carried into the house to be treated. This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 2:00 PM on Thursday, January 1, 2009.



United States soldiers were captured in the house including Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Wheelock of the 97th New York. Carrie Sheads hid his sword from capture, and later returned it to him. This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 2:00 PM on Thursday, January 1, 2009.



In Frank Moore’s Women in the War, it was stated that the building was hit in more than 60 places, and that two artillery shells passed “entirely through” the building. This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 2:00 PM on Thursday, January 1, 2009.



To the left of the top window is an artillery shell that a reporter for the New York Herald reported: “The Ladies’ schoolhouse of Miss Carrie Shead [sic] presents a momento of the fight in a large aperture made near the roof…” This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 2:00 PM on Thursday, January 1, 2009.



This is a 10-pound Parrott shell that apparently has been defused. This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 2:00 PM on Thursday, January 1, 2009.



So the question is from what direction did it come? Is it one of the two shells that passed “entirely through” the building and therefore would have been fired from Confederate artillery positions on Oak Ridge? This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 2:00 PM on Thursday, January 1, 2009.



Or is it a shell fired from Union artillery on Cemetery Hill, firing toward Confederate artillery on Oak Ridge? If so, did the shell fell short, and stick in the wall? Did someone later take it out of the wall to defuse it, and replaced it backwards? This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 2:00 PM on Thursday, January 1, 2009.



10-pounder Parrott shells are approximately 2.9 inches in diameter, a little over 8 1/2″ long, and weighed approximately 9 1/2 lbs. They were fired from, surprisingly enough, 10-Pounder Parrott Rifles, and on rare occasions, 3-Inch Ordnance Rifles. This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 2:00 PM on Thursday, January 1, 2009.



With the exception of the dormers added to the roof, the outside of the house appears very similar to how it did in 1863. This view was taken facing north at approximately 2:00 PM on Thursday, January 1, 2009.

See the following related posts:

Gettysburg’s David Troxell Artillery Shell on January 9, 2009.
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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