GETTYSBURG, PA., October 2, 1899.
SIR: The Gettysburg National Park Commission respectfully submit the following report of the progress and condition of their work, with suggestions as to what they think needful for its successful prosecution:
Since the last report an avenue along the battle lines of the First Army Corps on the field of the first day's battle has been constructed. It is about a mile and two-thirds long, 20 feet wide, and made on the Telford plan, in the most substantial manner. The main section is called Reynolds avenue, but, with the approval of the Secretary of War, three minor sections have been named, respectively, Wadsworth, Doubleday, and Robinson avenues.
The two parts of Sickles avenue, which were previously disconnected, have been united by constructing an avenue, 1,100 feet in length, along what is known as the Wheatfield road, which, being a public highway at the time when Sickles avenue was made, could not then be occupied and improved as a battlefield avenue, as was likewise the case with all the public roads within the park. This difficulty has since been obviated by an act of the Pennsylvania legislature ceding jurisdiction of all such roads to the United States, and the act of Congress authorizing the Secretary of War to improve such of them as in his discretion might be deemed needful. Sickles avenue is now continuous and follows, as nearly as the contour of the ground will permit, the entire line of the Third Army Corps from the Emmitsburg road near the Rogers House to the Devil's Den.
There is also being constructed, and now nearly completed, an avenue one-half mile in length, from Spangler's spring around the southwestern slope and base of Culp's Hill, along the line on which the Union forces formed on the morning of July 3 for the struggle to recover their works occupied by the Confederates the previous evening.
The proceedings begun by us three years ago, by direction of the Secretary of War, in the circuit court of the United States for the eastern district of Pennsylvania to acquire, by condemnation, five tracts of land on Seminary Ridge, and embracing 2 miles of the Confederate battle lines of the second and third days, is not yet concluded. The jury of view made their award two and a half years ago. The respondents appealed to court in term, where, after much delay caused by them, it was tried, and a verdict rendered last December very liberal for them. They availed themselves of the six months allowed for appeal and then carried the case to the United States circuit court of appeals. This court is now sitting in Philadelphia,
and respondents' counsel seek further delay by continuance to next term.
One of the five respondents has withdrawn from the contest, accepted the liberal sum ($3,420) awarded by the jury, and conveyed to the United States the tract of land in controversy belonging to him. We trust the case will soon be concluded, and that we may be enabled to complete the avenue along the Confederate line on Seminary Ridge. Both ends of it have long been built, and the completion of the 2-mile gap in then center will open up one of the most interesting parts of this field, now almost inaccessible, that part from which the Confederate column of the third day moved out on its brilliant, though unsuccessful, charge.
A number of other avenues should be constructed, among them one along the Confederate battle line on the northeast side of Culp's Hill; another from between the Round Tops to Plum Run Valley and Devil's Den; another along the line of Wright's division, from between the Round Tops southeastwardly across the Taneytown road; another along the line of the Twentieth Maine, on Vincent's spur of Little Round Top; another along Buford's cavalry line; and others connecting the cavalry fields, both south and east of Gettysburg, with the infantry battlefield. In some of these cases it will be necessary to acquire land at reasonable prices, the owners being private citizens and not speculating corporations. The land purchased this year in different parcels is 194.89 acres, costing $11,747.
A striking proof of the great and general interest felt by the people with reference to this battlefield, and of the importance of making all parts of it easily accessible by good avenues, appears in this fact, stated by our engineer-that having caused a record to be kept by the guards it was found that about 9,000 vehicles, carrying 36,000 tourists, passed over the Hancock avenue in a single month.
MARKING POSITIONS OF TROOPS AND BATTERIES.
The positions of batteries belonging to the regular Union and Confederate armies are marked usually by two guns to each battery of the same class and caliber as those which constituted the battery, and also by iron tablets, supported by iron pillars deeply planted in the ground and bearing appropriate inscriptions, the letters of which are cast with the tablet. The guns are mounted upon substantial iron gun carriages set upon granite blocks. A number of these have been put in position this year and mounted with guns to mark both Union and Confederate batteries. The commission have, up to this date, mounted in this manner 207 guns.
The positions of the United States Regulars and of the Confederate troops are and will be marked by iron tablets similar to those above described and with suitable inscriptions. Such tablets have already been erected to all Confederate brigades whose lines are on the ground to which the United States has title, and as soon as the Government shall acquire the necessary lands all the other brigades will be similarly marked. We propose also putting up appropriate tablets to each Confederate regiment, and are taking steps to do this as rapidly as practicable; likewise memorials of suitable dignity to the Confederate divisions and army corps
The positions of the Union Regulars have all been accurately determined, suitable inscriptions prepared for each command, and the tablets have been contracted for and will soon be completed and erected.
The number of tablets erected this year to batteries and to infantry and cavalry commands, Union and Confederate, is 65, and the whole number of such erected by the commission to date is 91. The foregoing method of marking positions on this field has been adopted, and is being carried out with the approval of the Secretary of War.
The equestrian statue of General Reynolds was unveiled on the 1st day of July with appropriate ceremonies.
A monument to the Fourteenth Vermont Regiment was recently erected by the veterans of the regiment on Hancock avenue, south of the Vermont Brigade monument.
A monument to the Thirteenth Vermont Regiment is now being erected just north of the brigade monument.
SENTIMENTS OF THE VETERANS.
ANNUAL REUNION OF THE UNITED CONFEDERATE VETERANS, CHARLESTON, S. C., MAY 10-13, 1899.
The following Preamble and resolutions were unanimously reported by the Committee and unanimously adopted by the veterans:
"Whereas the Government of the United states has undertaken and is pushing forward the work of permanently marking the lines and positions of the troops of both the contending armies on several great battlefields of the civil war, among them Gettysburg, Chickamauga, Shiloh , Vicksburg, and others, with the design of making these battlefield permanent memorials of the prowess of American soldiers without respect of section..
Resolved, That we as Confederate veterans, sympathize with and commend this patriotic purpose of the government, and will lend our influence and aid toward its full realization.
Resolved, That we trust the people of the Southern States will take early and effective steps to erect upon these battlefields suitable monuments in honor of our glorious heroes in gray who fought and died for what they believed to be right."
I certify that the above and foregoing resolutions were unanimously passed at the Charleston S. C., reunion on May 12, 1899, and the above is a true copy from the minutes of the same.
J. B. GORDON,
Adjutant-General and Chief of Staff.
PREAMBLE AND RESOLUTIONS UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTED AT THE THIRTY-THIRD NATIONAL ENCAMPMENT OF THE GRAND ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC, HELD IN THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, SEPTEMBER 6 AND 7,1899.
Whereas the first efforts ever made to preserve and fully mark a battlefield were begun in 1863, immediately after the battle of Gettysburg, to preserve the features of that field and to mark the positions and movements of the troops engaged; this was done by loyal hearts and willing hands at a cost of over $2,000,000, and without any help from Congress; and
Whereas all this property was transferred to the General Government in 1895 free of cost, and in view of the liberal contributions by States, by societies, and by individuals, there should be more liberal appropriations on the part of Congress to complete this work on the field where the greatest battle of the war was fought one of the greatest battles of modern times: Therefore,
Resolved, That we earnestly commend the Gettysburg National Military Park Commission in its work of acquiring lands of historical interest, of constructing avenues along lines of battle otherwise inaccessible, in restoring and preserving the original features of the field and in marking with tablets and monuments the positions and movements of troops, so that the history of the battle will practically be written on the field; and
Resolved, That we ask Congress to make liberal appropriations to enable the commissioners to acquire the necessary lands and complete at an early day the work provided for by the act creating the park.
ALBERT D. SHAW
Commander in Chief.
THOMAS J. STEWART,
PROCEEDINGS OF THE THIRTIETH ANNUAL, REUNION OF THE SOCIETY OF THE ARMY
OF THE POTOMAC, HELD AT PITTSBURG, PA., OCTOBER 11 AND 12, 1899.
The following resolution was unanimously adopted:
The Society of the Army of the Potomac desires to express to the Secretary of War its high appreciation of the work Performed under the direction of his Department on the battlefield of Gettysburg, and to commend the commission, Col. John P. Nicholson, Maj. Charles A. Richardson, and Maj. William M. Robbins, for the intelligence and faithfulness with which they have accomplished the indication and preservation of the lines of battle, especial praise being due the commission for the character and quality of the avenues and the skill with which the system has been plotted making communication with all parts of the field possible and satisfactory. The society also asks that the continued support and aid of the Government be generously continued to the commission, that they may be enabled to complete the undertaking consistently with its beginning, and so make the national memorial at Gettysburg worthy the fame and the importance of the greatest battlefield of the great war.
D. MCM. GREGG,
HORATIO C. KING,
The commission are gratified to observe the deep interest thus manifested by the veterans of both armies in the great work which we are pushing forward as rapidly as possible, and we trust that Congress will respond to the praiseworthy sentiment of the veterans by suitable appropriations commensurate with the magnitude and importance of the work.
We will not encumber this report, by going into further details or attempting to specify the many minor expenses necessarily incident to the accomplishment of so important a design as the establishment of this national military park. Though yet incomplete, this is already the best marked battlefield in the world, and all who come to see it are surprised and delighted.
While the commission could judiciously and economically use in pushing this work during the next year a much larger sum, they earnestly recommend that not less than $100,000 be appropriated.
JOHN P. NICHOLSON,
Wm. M. ROBBINS,
CHARLES A. RICHARDSON,
The SECRETARY OF WAR.
LIST OF PHOTOGRAPHS ACCOMPANYING REPORT, SHOWING SOME OF THE DETAILS OF THE WORK DURING THE YEAR.
1.-Shell, stones, and chain, Barlow Knoll.
2.-Howard avenue, looking west.
3.-View of tower of Doubleday and Robinson avenues and hitching rail.
4.-Wadsworth avenue, looking west.
5.-From intersection of Wadsworth and Reynolds avenues, showing style of tablets adopted for avenues.
6.-Reynolds avenue, looking south from Reynolds Grove.
7.-Piked roadway through Reynolds Grove.
8.-Menchy's Spring, foot of East Cemetery Hill.
9.-Geary avenue on CuIp's Hill, near Spangler's Spring, showing foundation and shoulder stones.
10.-Geary avenue along ravine in front of One hundred and forty-seventh Pennsylvania monument.
11.-Geary avenue from near Spangler's Spring.
12.-Geary avenue from intersection with Slocum avenue.
13.-Section Kinzie's Battery L, Fifth United States.
14.-Rugg's Battery F, Fourth United States, and Kinzie's Battery K, Fifth United States.
15.-Section Taft's Fifth New York (Evergreen Cemetery).
16.-Dilger's Battery I, First Ohio (National Cemetery).
17.-Bancroft's Battery G, Fourth United States (National Cemetery).
18.-Eakin's Battery H, First United States (National Cemetery)
19.-Hill's Battery C, First West Virginia (National Cemetery).
20.-McCartney's Battery A, First Massachusetts (National Cemetery).
21.-Hall's Second Maine Battery.
22.-Edgell's First New Hampshire Battery.
23.-Breastworks in Patterson field east of Hancock avenue.
24.-Stone wall rebuilt on Sedgwick avenue.
25.-Wheatfield road connecting Sickles avenue.
26.-Path to summit of Big Round Top from avenue.
27.-Path near summit of Big Round Top,
28.-Path near summit of Big Round Top, looking toward base of hill.
29.-Vista near summit of Big Round Top, showing the Sphinx.
30.-Law's Brigade tablet, section 5, Confederate avenue.
31.-Taylor's and Parker's Battery, section 4, Confederate avenue.
32.-Carlton's Battery, section 4, Confederate avenue.
LIST OF BLUE PRINTS ACCOMPANYING REPORT, SHOWING SOME OF THE DETAILS OF THE WORK DURING THE YEAR.
359.-Stonework for Menchy's Spring.
360.-Tract belonging to Henry Osborn.
362.-Tract belonging to Alex Little.
363.-A monument to mark Camp Letterman.
364.-A monument to mark headquarters Fifth Army Corps.
365.-Property of heirs of Abraham Trostle.
366.-Camping ground for Second West Virginia Regiment.
367.-Map of Stevens Knoll.
368.-Map of avenues and roads.
369.-Position of chain and balls on Barlow Knoll.
370.-Map showing tracts exchanged between William Patterson and Simon J. Codori.
372.-Drain pipe on Howard avenue.
373.-Plot of Fourteenth Connecticut Regiment.
374.-Cast-iron tablet and stand.
376.-Land and Improvement Company's land.
377.-Drain pipe near Bryan House.
378.-Map showing road around Twenty-eighth Massachusetts monument.
379.-Map showing road around Twenty-eighth Massachusetts monument.
380.-Grand Army badges.
381.-Grand Army badges.
382.-Plan for piked roadway through Reynolds Grove.
383.-Orchard on Trostle farm.
384.-Plan of avenue along south base, Culp's Hill.
385.-Property of L. Trostle.
386.-Plan of ground around Reynolds statue.
387.-Plan of steps on Little Round Top.
389.-Property of Samuel M. Bushman.
390.-Plan of addition to stable.
391.-Cross section showing plan for surfacing avenue.
392.-Avenue from Sykes to Crawford avenue.
393.-Design for division tablet.
394.-South Emmitsburg road.
397.-Map showing line of proposed avenue through Culp's property.