Jan 24



The Henry Garlach House is located at 319 Baltimore Street (actually 319, 321 and 323 Baltimore Street), on the west side of the street. It was purchased by Henry Garlach in 1855. The structure shows battle damage on its south and west walls. This view was taken facing southwest at approximately 4:30 PM on Sunday, January 11, 2009.

Battle damage is visible on the walls of what, at the time of the Battle of Gettsyburg, was the John “Henry” Garlach House. Henry Garlach (1818-1887), as he was commonly called, was a cabinetmaker who left his home in the hands of his wife and children during the battle. His wife, Catharine P. Garlach, helped hide and feed Union General Alexander Schimmelfennig by a woodpile behind their house.

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. #7 is the Samuel Schmucker House on West Confederate Avenue. #8 is the Gettysburg Academy Building at 66 and 68 West High Street. #9 is the old Methodist Parsonage Building at 304 Baltimore Street. #10 is the Henry Garlach House at 319 Baltimore Street. This map was created at approximately 10:00 PM on Sunday, January 11, 2009.



The 1860 census shows that Henry Garlach (1818-1887) was “white,” that he was born in Hesse Darmstadt, Germany, that he was a Cabinetmaker, and that he lived in the same dwelling and was part of the same family with Catharine P. Garlach (1822-), born in Pennsylvania; Anna L. Garlach (1846-), born in Pennsylvania; George E. Garlach (1849-), born in Pennsylvania; William Garlach (1852-), born in Pennsylvania; Catharine Garlach (1859-), born in Pennsylvania. By 1862, Frank Garlach had also been born. This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 4:30 PM on Sunday, January 11, 2009.



John Henry Garlach’s real estate had a value of $1300, and his personal estate had a value of $500. The 1860 Gettysburg tax records show that he owned a half acre/lot valued at $550. His occupation as a cabinetmaker was valued at $125.00. Being a cabinetmaker, Henry Garlach was frequently employed to make coffins and caskets. This view was taken facing west at approximately 4:30 PM on Sunday, January 11, 2009.

The following individuals were listed as cabinetmakers on the 1860 federal census:

  • Aughinbaugh, Jacob (1815-) (White) Gettysburg, Adams County, Pennsylvania resident in 1860
  • Culp, Jeremiah (1822-) (White) Gettysburg, Adams County, Pennsylvania resident in 1860
  • Garlach, Henry (1818-) (White) Gettysburg, Adams County, Pennsylvania resident in 1860
  • McDonnel, Henry (1826-) (White) Gettysburg, Adams County, Pennsylvania resident in 1860
  • McDonnel, Jacob (1834-) (White) Gettysburg, Adams County, Pennsylvania resident in 1860
  • Miller, Peter (1825-) (White) Gettysburg, Adams County, Pennsylvania resident in 1860
  • Myers, Peter Appel (1816-) (White) Gettysburg, Adams County, Pennsylvania resident in 1860
  • Norbeck, George (1827-) (White) Gettysburg, Adams County, Pennsylvania resident in 1860
  • Ogden, Francis (Apprentice in 1860) (1839-) (White) Gettysburg, Pennsylvania in 1860
  • Ogden, James (1817-) (White) Gettysburg, Adams County, Pennsylvania resident in 1860
  • Reilly, Barnabus (1831-) (White) Gettysburg, Adams County, Pennsylvania resident in 1860
  • Shaffer, William (Journeyman in 1860) (1829-) (White) Gettysburg, Pennsylvania in 1860
  • Swope, George (1815-) (White) Gettysburg, Adams County, Pennsylvania resident in 1860
  • Trimmer, Daniel (1819-) (White) Gettysburg, Adams County, Pennsylvania resident in 1860

So if one comes across accounts of soldiers attempting to procure coffins from local individuals to contain the bodies of those killed during the battle, and would like to figure out where they acquired the coffins, the list above might be a good place to start.



A wounded soldier in the 17th Maine Infantry who stayed at the Garlach House beginning on July 6, 1863 stated that Henry Garlach, who was 45 years old at the time of the battle, “fled to the woods for fear of being impressed into service, while the mother and children remained in the cellar of the house for safety from exploding shells and stray bullets.” Actually, Henry Garlach had gone to the top of Cemetery Hill to get a better view of the battle. He found himself cut off from returning to his home during the Union retreat on the afternoon of July 1, 1863. TThis view was taken facing southwest at approximately 4:30 PM on Sunday, January 11, 2009.



Anna Garlach, a student at Rebecca Eyster’s Female Institute at the corner of West High Street and Washington Street, had been one of the young women singing to John Buford’s troopers on the corner as they rode into Gettysburg on June 30, 1863. On the morning of July 1, 1863, she was in the garden picking green beans for a dinner that she thought she would have with members of the cavalry units that night. This view was taken facing southwest at approximately 4:30 PM on Sunday, January 11, 2009.



As the Union soldiers retreated along Baltimore Street towards Cemetery Hill that afternoon, Anna Garlach watched them from her bedroom on the second floor of her house. She stated that “there were more people in the street than I have ever seen since at any time. The street seemed blocked. In front of our house the crowd was so great that I believed I could have walked across the street on the heads of the soldiers.” This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 4:30 PM on Sunday, January 11, 2009.


Some of the soldiers saw Anna in the second story window and told her, “Go to the cellar, go to the cellar.” Catharine or Catherine Garlach and her children could not go to their cellar because it contained a foot of water. They went to the cellar of the George Shriver House instead. Henrietta Shriver, her children, and Tillie Pierce had previously left to seek shelter at the Jacob Weikert Farm. This view was taken facing southwest at approximately 4:30 PM on Sunday, January 11, 2009.



While they were gone, United States Brigadier-General Alexander Schimmelfennig showed up in their back yard. He was travelling south down the alley at the rear of the Garlach House when Confederates showed up to block the south end of the alley near South Street and shot his horse from under him. Schimmelfennig climbed over a fence at the backyard of the Garlach house and began moving across the yard towards Baltimore Street. There he discovered that the Confederates now controlled Baltimore Street. This view was taken from the alley looking at the rear of the Garlach House. This view was taken facing east at approximately 4:30 PM on Sunday, January 11, 2009.



Some Confederates were climbing the fence behind him, and Schimmelfennig, who was not very tall, crawled under a covered drainage ditch in the yard. There he escaped detection until nightfall. After dark, he backed out of the ditch cover and hid near a woodshed by the Garlach’s kitchen. He squeezed himself between a double stack of firewood and a hog swill barrel. This view was taken facing east at approximately 4:30 PM on Sunday, January 11, 2009.



That night, Confederates occupied the Shriver House, and the Garlachs returned to their home. Catherine Garlach came out to feed the hogs, and as she was dipping her slop bucket Schimmelfennig let her know that he was there. At first Catharine was frightened, but agreed to supply him with food and water on her next feeding trip. We are near Baltimore Street looking towards the Garlach House backyard. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 4:30 PM on Sunday, January 11, 2009.



On July 2, 1863, the Garlach House was within the Confederate skirmish line, but Catherine returned to the yard to give him food and water. He safely remained hidden here until after the Confederates retreated, and ont he morning of July 4, 1863, he emerged to rejoin his men. This view was taken facing west at approximately 4:30 PM on Sunday, January 11, 2009.



The Garlachs had returned to their house, but at first could only stay on the first and second floors “in fear bullets would come in the windows and reach us.” The bricks here show some of the damage near the windows from projectiles fired at the house. This view was taken facing west at approximately 4:30 PM on Sunday, January 11, 2009.



Before daybreak on July 2, 1863, Catherine and her 12 year old son Will decided to make the cellar habitable despite the foot of water. They went out to the double pile of logs in the backyard where General Schimmelfennig was hidden, and turned the logs on their ends in the cellar. Then, being the good wife of a cabinetmaker that she was, she connected the logs with boards and created a makeshift floor. Other neighbors came to join them, and 11 people were in the cellar that day. Catherine arranged them by family groups so that “each party knew the place that he or she was to occupy.” This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 4:30 PM on Sunday, January 11, 2009.



More damage on the east wall of the house. Sometimes the firing was intense, but when it would slack off, the Garlachs came out of their cellar. Anna later wrote, “We stayed in the kitchen most of the time except when there was firing, then we would go to our places in the cellar.” This view was taken facing west at approximately 4:30 PM on Sunday, January 11, 2009.



Anna took “an occasional peep out the windows. She watched an interesting scene near the Samuel McCreary House, which is no longer standing, but would have been on the other (south) side of the white picket fence at the corner of Baltimore Street and Winebrenner Alley (Lefever Street). The Confederates were along Winebrenner Alley firing towards Union troops on Cemetery Hill at areas such as the Wagon Hotel (now a yellow gas pump overhang out of sight on the right of this photograph). “The building along the alley (McCreary House) was brick and the men there had thrown up a kind of barricade on the pavement.” The Confederates were sheltered out of site behind the McCreary House and the barricade, and would “put a hat on a stick over the barricade and draw the fire of the Union sharpshooters.” When the Confederates discovered the Union soldiers’ positions from their return fire, they would “jump up and fire out the street.” This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 4:30 PM on Sunday, January 11, 2009.



On more than one occasion, the Confederate sharpshooters/skirmishers attempted to use the Garlach home as a place from which to fire. At first they would ask Mrs. Garlach, and she would refuse. On one occasion a Confederate came in the front door anyway, and started up the staircase. Catherine ran after him, and tugged on his coat saying, “you can’t go up there. You will draw the fire on this house full of defenseless women and children.” The Confederate agreed not to proceed, but was worried about leaving the house and becoming a target. Catherine told him he could stay, but he “must not fire from the house.” The Confederate went back down the stairs, opened the front door, and fired his rifle to create a smoke screen. He then safely ran across the street and over to Winebrenner’s Alley. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 4:30 PM on Sunday, January 11, 2009.



Despite Catherine’s best efforts, the house was repeatedly hit. Confederates were firing from the Shriver House to the north of the Garlach House and the Sweney House to the south of the Garlach House. It is possible that shots aimed at those buildings hit the side of the Garlach home. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 4:30 PM on Sunday, January 11, 2009.



Here is a closer view of some of the “bullet holes” on the south wall of the Garlach House. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 4:30 PM on Sunday, January 11, 2009.



Then 12 year old Will Garlach wanted to look out the garret window at the top of the south wall and see what was going on. Being the “buggy” child that he must have been, Catherine Garlach finally granted him his wish. During one of the lulls in the fighting, Catherine and Will removed the board sash of the small garret window and took a brief look toward Union positions on Cemetery Hill. Nothing was going on, and Catherine became nervous, and finally replaced the board and turned to leave the garret. “Seconds” after replacing the board as they were starting down the steps, a minie ball went through the “right” window jamb and entered the garret. Federal troops probably thought Confederates had finally occupied this location. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 4:30 PM on Sunday, January 11, 2009.



On the evening of July 3, 1863 Confederates wanted to build a coffin at the Garlach House for one of their slain officers. Catherine Garlach refused because she didn’t want the activity to bring more fire upon the house. She told the Confederates that they could take the lumber to Daniel Culp’s House by the Courthouse and build the coffin there. They did so, but did not finish building it before they retreated on July 4th. Anna Garlach believes that the coffin was later finished and used for Jennie Wade when she was buried behind her sister’s house on Cemetery Hill. This view was taken facing west at approximately 4:30 PM on Sunday, January 11, 2009.

See the following related posts:

Gettysburg’s Methodist Parsonage Cannonball on January 22, 2009.
Gettysburg Female Institute Artillery Projectile on January 16, 2009.
Gettysburg’s Samuel Schmucker House Artillery Shell on January 15, 2009.
Gettysburg’s Carrie Sheads House Artillery Shell on January 13, 2009.
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.
Hanover’s Henry Winebrenner House on November 11, 2008.


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