GETTYSBURG NATIONAL PARK,
Gettysburg, Pa., October 21, 1897
SIR: The Gettysburg National Park Commission respectfully submit the following report of the progress and present condition of their work, with some suggestions of their plans for the future:
Since the last report Slocum avenue, then under construction, has been completed. It leads from the Baltimore pike at the base of East Cemetery Hill over the summit of Culp's Hill to its southeastern base at Spanglers Spring, closely following and marking the main battle line of the right wing of the Union Army.
Sedgwick, Sykes, and Meade avenues have been surveyed, contracted for, and completed. Sedgwick avenue leads from the southern end of Hancock avenue to the northern base of Little Round Top following the Sixth Corps line on that part of the field; and Sykes avenue leads over the summit of Little Round Top, following the Fifth Corps line there, and continues on until it connects with the Confederate avenue, section 7, on the western slope of Big Round Top. Meade avenue leads from General Meade's headquarters on the Taneytown road to Hancock avenue, at the point where the Confederate assault of the third day culminated.
That section of Crawford avenue which leads from Devil's Den northward through the Valley of Death to the Wheatfield road, including a bridge over Plum Run is being rapidly pushed and will be completed before December 31,1897.
All these avenues, like those previously built by the commission on this field, are constructed on the Telford system and are substantial and durable. Wherever along their sides there are sloping banks, these are turfed or set with grass; the gutters are well paved with stones, and, wherever needful at short curves, low granite pillars, topped with 13-inch shells, have been set on the edge of the avenues to prevent careless driving off the roadway.
Hancock avenue has been widened to 100 feet by purchasing the necessary ground on each side and erecting along its borders an excellent standard fence.
Much yet remains to be done here in the construction of avenues and roadways. Two miles of the Confederate avenue on Seminary Ridge, along the battle line of Hill's Corps on second and third days, have not yet been constructed because the Government did not possess the right of way. After diligent efforts to secure this by purchase at reasonable figures from the land owners, but without success, proceedings for condemning the needed lands were begun in the circuit court of the United States for the eastern district of Pennsylvania and are still pending there. A jury of view was appointed, inspected the lands, heard testimony, and made report fixing prices for the lands; but the proprietors appealed, and the case stands for trial. It will doubtless be decided at the spring term, and we hope then to push that avenue to completion. It will connect the two parts of Confederate avenue already built at the northern and southern ends of Seminary Ridge and make a complete and splendid avenue along the whole front of Hill's and Longstreet's corps from the Chambersburg pike southward and eastward to the slopes of Round Top, a distance of over 5 miles. One or more bridges must be built along it over the streams which cut through the ridge.
There is need for important improvements upon the avenues on the cavalry field 3 miles east of the town and for more substantial fencing about those avenues and grounds. Moreover, the Confederate positions on that field are as yet entirely unmarked, and the commission is anxious to have sufficient provision made to enable them at an early day to secure the needed lands, erect tablets, and mount batteries, so as to show the lines and evolutions of the Confederate forces there. Among the other avenues which are now but rough, narrow, and unsightly ways, scarcely passable, and need to be converted into Telford roads, we may mention Wright avenue, leading from the gap between the Round Tops southeasterly across the Taneytown road along the line of the left division of the Sixth Corps; Pleasonton avenue, from Hancock avenue eastward by the cavalry headquarters to the Taneytown road; and the return avenue on Culp's Hill, from Spangler's spring westward along the southern base of that hill, marking the battle line where the Union forces formed in the early morning of July 3 and advanced for the recovery of their position captured by the Confederates the evening before.
The Reynolds, Buford, and Howard avenues on the first day's field are dirt roads, located by the Memorial Association, and often in bad condition. They mark the lines of the First and Eleventh corps and of the Union cavalry, and greatly need to be improved, either on the Macadam or Telford plan, and a substantial bridge upon Reynolds avenue across the railroad cut, made historic by the conflict there, must be built soon, the old one constructed by the Memorial Association having become dangerous.
There is urgent need for a new avenue leading from the southeastern base of Culp's Hill, across Rock Creek, to the extreme right flank of the Union and left flank of the Confederate forces, respectively, and this should be laid out with a view to its extension to the cavalry field, whither a good road is much needed.
The public roads within the bounds of the park, radiating in every direction from the town, the substantial center of the battlefield, would serve as convenient routes by which to reach many interesting parts of it if they were kept in good condition; but they are generally in a very unsatisfactory state and often well-nigh impassable.
MARKING POSITIONS OF TROOPS.
Under the supervision of the commission, the engineer, Lieut. Col. E. B. Cope, has noted on the field and marked upon the maps the positions of every command of both armies which has been authentically fixed, and this embraces nearly all of them. The indication of all these positions by tablets and markers on the ground will proceed as rapidly as practicable, having in some cases to await the acquisition of title to the land.
During the year iron gun carriages have been procured, of the excellent pattern adopted by the commission, and guns have been mounted upon them, marking the positions of 19 Union batteries in various parts of the field. Additional gun carriages are needed soon, to be used for mounting guns marking the positions of 42 Confederate batteries in addition to those of the Confederates which have already been marked and heretofore reported.
A monument to the Seventy-third New York Infantry, known as the "Fire Zouaves," was erected near Sickles avenue and the Peach Orchard, and dedicated with appropriate ceremonies in September. The monument of the First Minnesota Regiment, erected some years since, was dedicated, by the survivors of the regiment from that State, on July 2, 1897.
The Thirteenth and Fourteenth Vermont regiments of Stannard's Brigade have recently sent committees here to fix the locations for the monuments which are to be erected to these commands.
A commission from the State of Maine has recently verified the sites for tablets to be erected near Hanco
ck avenue, showing the respective positions of the Third and Fourth Maine Regiments on the third day of the battle.
We are glad to report that quite a number of Confederate veterans have visited here during the year for the purpose of viewing the battlefield and of locating and verifying the lines and positions of their commands. We interpret this as a favorable indication of growing interest on the part of the Southern States and people in this field.
In addition to the before-mentioned proceedings for condemning lands for the Confederate avenue on Seminary Ridge, there is also yet pending in the circuit court of the United States for the eastern district of Pennsylvania the proceeding begun some time since for condemning part of the Gettysburg Electric Railroad line and removing it from the military positions which it defaces on the battlefield. This case will probably be concluded ere long, and the amount of compensation which may be adjudged to said railroad company will then be payable. The amount awarded by the jury of view was $30,000. This was appealed from by both sides. We trust the court's final judgment may reduce it.
We will not encumber the report by attempting to specify the details of our work, nor the many minor expenses, aggregating a very considerable sum, which are necessarily incident to the prosecution of so great a design as the establishment of the Gettysburg National Military Park.
Feeling sure that it would be wise to appropriate $150,000 for this work for the next fiscal year, we respectfully recommend that amount.
JOHN P. NICHOLSON,
Wm. M. ROBBINS,
The SECRETARY OF WAR.
BLUE PRINTS SUBMITTED WITH THE REPORT OF THE COMMISSION.
304.-Plan for piking the Taneytown road from borough line to Meade headquarters property.
305.-Tract of land belonging to Basil Biggs and wife.
306.-Tract of land belonging to William Patterson and wife.
307.-Tract of land, No. 3, belonging to William Patterson and wife.
308.-Tract of land belonging to Calvin P. Krise.
309.-Cross-section of avenue of Antietam battlefield.
310.-Plan of Sedgwick and Sykes avenues and portion of Kilpatrick avenue.
311.-Map of United States national cemetery, showing the positions of batteries.
312.-Gate, of inch pipe.
313.-Fence. of inch pipe.
314.-Plan of retaining wall along Sykes avenue.
315.-Fence of steel tubing and steel wire cables.
316.-Positions of the Thirteenth Vermont Regiment on the Gettysburg battlefield.r> 317.-Plot of land belonging to Gettysburg Water Company, surrounding Twenty- fifth and Seventy-fifth Ohio monument.
318.-Blocks in Hancock statue pedestal damaged by lightning July 7, 1897.
319.-Map showing site of Seventy-third New York monument.
320.-Plan to connect equestrian statue of General Hancock with the ground, to prevent injury from lightning.
321.-Plan to connect equestrian statues with the ground, to prevent injury from lightning.
322.-Culp's Hill, C-4.
323.-Medicinal Springs, B-2.
PHOTOGRAPHS SUBMITTED WITH REPORT OF THE COMMISSION.
Entrance to East Cemetery Hill, showing General Hancock statue and walk.
Paving in front of East Cemetery Hill.
Entrance to Slocum avenue.
Slocum avenue at Sixty-sixth Ohio monument.
Retaining wall along Slocum avenue.
Retaining wall along Slocum avenue from One hundred and fiftieth New York monument.
Slocum avenue from Second Maryland C. S. A.
Slocum avenue north from One hundred and twenty-third New York monument.
Slocum avenue south from One hundred and twenty-third New York monument.
The walk through Ziegler's Grove, looking north.
The walk through Ziegler's Grove, showing Butler's Second United States Battery.
Sedgwick avenue from intersection of United States avenue.
Sedgwick avenue north.
Sedgwick avenue north from Wheatfield road.
Sykes avenue, north side Little Round Top.
Retaining wall along Sykes avenue, north side Little Round Top.v Sykes avenue, summit Little Round Top.
Sykes avenue, summit Little Round Top.
Building retaining wall, southside Little Round Top.
Sykes avenue south along retaining wall.
Rolling Sykes avenue between the Round Tops.
Graded roadway, foot of Big Round Top.
Laying foundation pavement, foot of Big Round Top.
Hitching rail at Devil's Den.
Hitching rail near Devil's Den, looking toward Little Round Top.
Turnbull's F and K Third United States Battery, Emmitsburg road,