Feb 3



The John Winebrenner House, located at 404 Baltimore Street, is one of the more controversial houses regarding battle damage in Gettysburg. It has some battle damage, but is all of it real, or was some of it contrived? This view was taken facing north at approximately 4:30 PM on Sunday, January 11, 2009.

Visible battle damage is apparent on the walls of what used to be, at the time of the Battle of Gettsyburg, the John Winebrenner House. The house is located at 404 Baltimore Street, and became involved in skirmishing between Confederate and Union troops on the south part of the Borough of Gettysburg. The house is more commonly known as “Twin Sycamores.”

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 Garlach House at 319 Baltimore Street. #11 is the Winebrenner House at 404 Baltimore Street. This map was created at approximately 9:00 PM on Sunday, January 11, 2009.



John Winebrenner was a Tanner, whose Tannery was located behind (north of) his house. Winebrenner Run would have been uncovered in the 1860s. Now it is under the ground in this area. This view was taken facing southwest at approximately 4:30 PM on Sunday, January 11, 2009.

Gettysburg, Adams County, Pennsylvania area residents who were listed as Tanners:

Crilly, Michael (circa 1820-) (White) Gettysburg, Adams County, Pennsylvania resident in 1860
Deardorff, Anthony (circa 1803-) (White) Straban Township, Adams County, Pennsylvania res. in 1860
Freyburger, John L. (1798-) (White) Gettysburg, Adams County, Pennsylvania resident in 1860
Gilbert, John (Master) (circa 1806-) (White) Gettysburg, Adams County, Pennsylvania resident in 1860
Lawerbeer, James (circa 1834-) (White) Straban Township, Adams County, Pennsylvania resident in 1860
Little, Daniel L. (Journeyman in 1860) (1837-1860) (White) Gettysburg, Adams County, Penn. in 1860
Miller, Isaac (Farmer/Tanner) (circa 1806-) (White) Straban Township, Adams County, Penn. in 1860
Miller, John (circa 1821-) (White) Straban Township, Adams County, Pennsylvania resident in 1860
Miller, Joseph (circa 1831-) (White) Straban Township, Adams County, Pennsylvania resident in 1860
Rupp, Henry (circa 1802-) (White) Gettysburg, Adams County, Pennsylvania resident in 1860
Rupp, John (Journeyman in 1860) (circa 1824-) (White) Gettysburg, Adams County, Pennsylvania 1860
Rupp, William H. (circa 1839-) (White) Gettysburg, Adams County, Pennsylvania resident in 1860
Tate, George (circa 1817-) (White) Straban Township, Adams County, Pennsylvania resident in 1860
Weirich, John (Journeyman in 1860) (circa 1820-) (White) Gettysburg, Adams County, Pennsylvania 1860
Weismontel, George (Journeyman 1860) (circa 1815-) (White) Cumberland Township, Pennsylvania 1860
Winebrenner, John (circa 1816-) (White) Gettysburg, Adams County, Pennsylvania resident in 1860



The 1860 census shows that John Winebrenner was “white,” born circa 1816, a Tanner, and that he lived in the same dwelling and was part of the same family with Hannah Winebrenner (1817-), born in Maryland; Emma F. Winebrenner (1845-), born in Pennsylvania; Mary E. Winebrenner (1847-), born in Pennsylvania; Dora H. Winebrenner (1852-), born in Pennsylvania; James W. Clark (1845-), born in Pennsylvania; Anna Fitzsimmons (1820-), born in England. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 4:30 PM on Sunday, January 11, 2009.



The 1860 census shows that John Winebrenner’s real estate had a value of $4600, and his personal estate had a value of $1200. His total wealth of $5800 made him the 75th wealthiest person in Gettysburg. The 1860 tax records for the Borough of Gettysburg show John Winebrenner owned two lots with a total value of $1300. This house was valued at $600. The Tannery was valued at $700. He also owned a horse valued at $25, a cow valued at $12, and a “pleasure carriage” valued at $50. His occupation as a Tanner was valued at $125. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 4:30 PM on Sunday, January 11, 2009.



On May 16, 1861, his daughter, Emma Frances Winebrenner (1845-1912) married Pennsylvania College (Gettysburg College) graduate Mahlon Carlton Horine (1838-1917). Horine was a student at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at the time of the battle. As civilians fled the town or took to their cellars on July 1, 1863, Horine invited a fellow Seminary student, Martin Luther Culler (1839-1925) to join them at the Winebrenner House. Culler left the most detailed account of the events at the Winebrenner House. We will present excerpts from his story in the next couple of pictures. This view was taken facing north at approximately 4:30 PM on Sunday, January 11, 2009.



“That afternoon (July 1, 1863) was one of awful suspense. And out of this house from Wednesday evening till Saturday morning we were not able to go without imminent danger of being killed. About 7 o’clock p.m. the Union army began rapidly falling back. The pavements as well as the streets were crowded with soldiers, wagons, ambulances and batteries, on their way to the lines on Cemetery Ridge… While the Union army was retreating in part through the town, the Confederates were pressing close upon them, and some of them entered the house where we were, and discharge shots from the doors and windows. Some of the Union soldiers took a position at a house two or three hundred yards distant on the same street, and held it all the time of the battle, while the Confederates held our prison house all the while. And these two squads of men kept up an almost continuous duel.” This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 4:30 PM on Sunday, January 11, 2009.



“About 9 o’clock at the height of the first day a corporal’s guard of Confederates pounded upon the door of our house and demanded admittance. The young man (Horine), whose guest I was longer than I intended to be, answered the demand saying: “Yes, the door will be opened, if you will guarantee protection to the ladies in this house.” Their reply being in the affirmative, when the door was opened, a wounded officer was brought in and laid in the hall. He asked the family that there should not be the least concern about his comfort; that the soldiers on the outside would provide for him…Next mmorning he was told that some of their soldiers had entered the house for a short time and that some jewelry had been stolen. He seemed very indignant, asked for his sword and pistols, and said he would shoot the first man who dared to enter without his orders. Finding from his soldiers who commanded the troops at that place the evening before, I saw himi write a note and order it to be taken to Gen. Early. About an hour later the soldier returned with the jewelry.” This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 4:30 PM on Sunday, January 11, 2009.



“We had to remain in the cellar as long as daylight lasted on Thursday and Friday. And what added to our discomfort and that of the entire family, when the Confederates entered the house they took away everything edible, except a small piece of dried beef and some coffee. In our prison we could hear the ‘Union cheer’ and the ‘Rebel yYell’ out on the bloody field, while the shells shrieked and moaned, flying over our heads, and hear the roar of the terrific cannonading which caused the house to shake, while ever and anon we heard minie balls crashing through the windows and doors about us.” This house is named “Twin Sycamores” for the two large sycamore trees on this west side of the house. One is still standing on the left. The other, which was taken down a couple of years ago, has a new tree replanted in its place on the right. This view was taken facing east at approximately 4:30 PM on Sunday, January 11, 2009.



“Friday night about 9 o’clock an incident occurred for which I shall always cherish feelings of gratitude for those who were the actors in it. Suddenly there was a knock upon the side. Door. Opening it we saw several Confderates, standing, bowing and saluting. We were amazed at their proposal. They said: ‘We beg the extreme pleasure of having the ladies and gentlemen of this house come to the out-kitchen and take supper.’ We accepted their invitation. These weather beaten men and soldiers of many battles stood, and asked the ladies and gentlemen to be seated that they might serve us with the excellent supper which they had prepared.” This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 4:30 PM on Sunday, January 11, 2009.



“They had chicken, biscuits, tea, coffee, butter, honey, milk and all the delicacies of the season. Of course we ate and thanked them. But they knew no more of the outcome of the three days battle than we did. But on Saturday morning we knew the victory was ours, and that Gen. Lee had retreated.” This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 4:30 PM on Sunday, January 11, 2009.



Although some battle damage is on the second floor, the best view of the battle damage is on the first floor on the south side of the house. On this southeast side of the house there is not a lot of battle damage because at the time of the battle, the Samuel McCreary House which stood on the other (south) side of Lefever Street (Winebrenner Alley) would have shielded this section of the Winebrenner House. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 4:30 PM on Sunday, January 11, 2009.



Most of the damage, therefore, is on the southwest side of the house where Union troops such as those near the Wagon Hotel, at the intersection of Baltimore Street and the Emmitsburg Road (Steinwehr Avenue) could see Confederates here. This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 4:30 PM on Sunday, January 11, 2009.



There is damage shown in the walls and in the shutters. Some damage visible on the house is controversial. In the 1980s an owner of this house stuck an artillery shell in the wall. The local Historical Architectural Review Board (HARB) made the owner remove the shell. Some historians suspect other damage was “faked.” This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 4:30 PM on Sunday, January 11, 2009.



It is believed that the damage shown in the walls is real… This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 4:30 PM on Sunday, January 11, 2009.



… but what about the damage shown on the shutters? Are these original shutters from the time of the battle? This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 4:30 PM on Sunday, January 11, 2009.



If one was hiding in this house during the battle, wouldn’t the shutters have been closed, or at best only partly open when the Confederates were firing from the windows? This view was taken facing north at approximately 4:30 PM on Sunday, January 11, 2009.



There might be damage shown on the other side of these shutters, but one prominent Gettysburg historian claims that a previous owner of this house drilled the holes himself to make it appear that they were battle damaged. This view was taken facing north at approximately 4:30 PM on Sunday, January 11, 2009.



On the other hand, a previous owner of this house tells the Gettysburg Daily that not only are the holes real, that there are “bullets” still in some of the shutters. This view was taken facing north at approximately 4:30 PM on Sunday, January 11, 2009.



This picture, taken from the location of the no longer standing Samuel McCreary House, shows three houses with battle damage. The John Winebrenner House is partially seen on the right. The Harvey Sweney House (Farnsworth House) is on the left. The Henry Garlach House is well in the background to the right of the blue hospital sign and behind the light colored post. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 4:30 PM on Sunday, January 11, 2009.

See the following related posts:

Gettysburg’s Henry Garlach House Battle Damage on January 24, 2009.
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.


About Us  •  Support  •  Archives  •  Subscribe  •  Creative Commons License