The necessity for this study was prompted by an unsubstantiated local tradition, which required substantiation and documentation in order to properly manage and/or dispose of park resources. The case in point surrounds the one-story frame shed identified for years at a local tourist stop by a painted wooden board--"Gen. Longstreets Headquarters July 1863". Whereas all traces of the former tourist stop--the refreshment and souvenir stand, the picnic grounds, the hotel cabins, and the dance pavilion--have been eradicated by past park and private actions, the little frame shed remains standing out of a perverse kind of fear that it would be criminal to tear down the structure if it was indeed Longstreet's Headquarters. However, no written or concrete evidence has yet been uncovered which verifies this claim for the shed, and a policy of "no-action" will just as surely lead to the ultimate demise of the cause of fright anyway.
Since the ultimate end for the structure seems to be an ignoble disassembly, it behooves us to undertake this study to determine the acceptability or foolhardiness of this action. Up to the present time, the park has carried the building as a questionable historic structure, but included it in the List of Classified Structures, which would require justification and documentation to eliminate a structure from that category and dispose of it as a preservable park resource.
The first thing we must determine is the location of General James Longstreet's Headquarters during the Battle of Gettysburg. Longstreet, who commanded the First Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia, did not personally arrive on the field of battle until the late afternoon of July 1, 1863, and his corps did not come up into position on the Confederate right until after noon of July 2. Longstreet's Headquarters, therefore, were probably with his corps near Marsh Creek on the Chambersburg Pike on the evening and night of July 1. According to E. P. Alexander (Longstreet's artillery commander) the bulk of the Confederate First Corps was about four miles from the Battlefield, and McLaws noted that his division encamped about three miles from Gettysburg (letter to Longstreet June 12, 1873, Southern Historical Collection). Others noted that the column passed the field hospitals of Hill's Corps before encamping for the night of July 1, while another stated that the encampment was near Willoughby Run. (It appears that there may have been some confusion in post-war recollections about the three or four miles because earlier reminiscences meant that the encampment was three to four miles from the eventual battlefield or battle line of Longstreet's Corps, opposite the Round Tops south of Gettysburg, and not three or four miles west from the town on the pike. S. R. Johnston, who reconnoitered the field of march for Longstreet's Corps from the Chambersburg Pike to the Round Tops, recollected that the distance covered in this reconnaissance was about four miles, and also though he remembered Longstreet's people quite near Seminary Ridge and Lee's Headquarters by the time he returned to report to Lee and Longstreet about 8:00 A.M.)
Nonetheless, it is apparent that Longstreet's Headquarters could not yet have been much south of the town of Gettysburg, but were probably within a mile or a maximum of four miles west from Lee's Headquarters and the town of Gettysburg, with his corps. The night of July 1 the Confederate right apparently did not extend southward much beyond Schultz's Woods. That portion of the Army of Northern Virginia on the field was concentrated primarily north, northeast, and northwest of the town. Johnston performed an earlier reconnaissance during the night of July 1 for General Lee, accompanied by General William N. Pendleton. Johnston swore that this survey to locate the artillery and the eventual position of Longstreet's and the remainder of Hill's Corps did not extend farther than 3/4 mile from the Chambersburg Pike (Johnston to Fitz Lee, February 16, 1878, in Library of Congress). The clincher to the July 1 headquarters location would seem to rest in a post-war letter from J. S. D. Cullen of Longstreet's staff, which said that he came upon Longstreet on the night of July 1 "returning to [his] camp, a mile or two back" from Seminary Ridge (Longstreet, From Manassas to Appomattox, p. 383).
However, on July 2 and 3, 1863 Longstreet's Corps came into position along the Seminary, Warfield, and Bushman ridgelines, and the general would no doubt have accompanied them there. On July 2 only two of his divisions (Hood's and McLaws') were up, Pickett's Division being retained near Chambersburg to guard the wagon trains until relieved by cavalry. The two divisions, after a tedious and unnerving march from the Chambersburg Pike, took position on Warfield and Bushman Ridges. Hood's Division continued as far south as Bushman Ridge, while McLaws' Division had deployed on Warfield and Seminary Ridge, opposite the Union salient at the Peach Orchard. Whereas Hood's people almost immediately commenced the attack upon getting into position, McLaws' Division (first in position) was the last to attack. Longstreet was noticed by a few as accompanying the rear echelon of this latter attack, following on the heels of Barksdale's Mississippians. Although it is possible that Longstreet had established a headquarters site by this time, it is not outside the realm of possibility that his headquarters were in the saddle. This is especially viable since his corps commenced its assault on the Union left almost immediately after arriving in line of battle, and because Longstreet himself was apparently with his infantrymen as they stepped off. That he continued on the field to be kept informed of the developments can be implied by his own admission that he rode with his last reserve brigade (Wofford's) to force the final and decisive blow (From Manassas to Appomattox, p. 373). It was also in Longstreet's professional nature that he be there to overview the attack. Wofford's attack notwithstanding, Union counterattacks and their stubborn resistance from strong defensive positions, compelled Longstreet's Corps to curtail the attack between 6:30 and 7:00 P.M.
Longstreet's Corps, now halted, resumed a defensive position of its own. Longstreet, in all probability, rode around checking the deployment and condition of his corps after this fighting ceased. This is almost a certainty due to Longstreet's own passion for thoroughness, &C, which did not preclude midnight reconnaissances. (He would later be wounded at the Wilderness in 1864 while checking out his position and lines at 1:00 A.M.!) In addition, Longstreet had not yet given up on his idea to outflank the Union left and was probably still looking for a way to prove his case to Lee (From Manassas to Appomattox, pp. 368, 385, 386, 388). He had scouting parties out through the night searching for a way to strike the enemy's left and roll it up. In any case, he obviously did not leave the battlefield proper until after darkness fell and may have had little more contact with his corps unless with Pickett's Division then approaching the battlefield and encamping near Marsh Creek. According to Longstreet, he did not go over to Lee's headquarters because they were four miles off, but sent over his report to Lee by courier, so there is also the possibility he did not personally check on Pickett's dispositions, about two miles directly west of him.
Longstreet would have turned in late on the night of July 2, after all of these arrangements had been made, and probably conducted little business from his camp site. He was up before daylight on July 3, sending out a scouting party in order to "examine the ground on [his] right, and to get possession of the other road between Meade and Washington--having already possession of the Emmitsburg road, one of the roads to Washington." Longstreet's people found the road, reported it unoccupied, and Longstreet sent a "small force" which occupied it. (Longstreet to McLaws, July 25, 1873). About the same time this was done General Lee met with Longstreet, but it is uncertain where this meeting took place. D. S. Freeman, as usual, flatly states it was at First Corps headquarters, a surmisal on his part at best, and he did not document the source of this "fact". This is because the location was apparently never specified by Longstreet, who stated at various places that Lee "came to see me", and that Lee "joined me early on the morning of July 3d" (Annals of the War. p. 429; Longstreet to McLaws, July 25, 1873), and that Lee "rode over after sunrise" (From Manassas to Appomattox, pp. 385-386). Lee himself never specified the meeting site either, nor did Taylor or other members of Lee's staff who may have attended the meeting. If Lee rode from his own headquarters southward along his lines he could have met Longstreet anywhere along the latter's corps battle line. Longstreet continued in later years to complain that he did not learn of the proposed assault by his corps until this early morning meeting of July 3 with Lee. Lee contradicted these post-war assertions by his lieutenant in his official battle report, but this is not the place to get into the so-called Lee-Longstreet controversy. During this morning meeting, however, Longstreet revealed to Lee his proposal for moving his own and Ewell's Corps around the Union left to the Taneytown Road, find a strong position, and induce Meade to attack them. He had already gotten orders together and "was about to move the command" when Lee rode up (From Manassas to Appomattox, p. 385). That Longstreet already had a "small force on it" (the Baltimore Pike) and that he was just about to start moving his command before even informing Lee of his intentions seems not only presumptuous and irresponsible but almost "mutinous", considering his knowledge of Lee's expressed desires thus far in the battle, and that he would be leaving the rest of the army unguarded on their right. Initiative is one thing, but pre-meditated subversion of a commander's orders is another.
Longstreet took the refusal by Lee of his already-in-motion battle plan rather badly, presenting as many arguments against the Lee proposal of a frontal assault as possible. Although he was successful in dissuading Lee from using the two divisions of Hood and McLaws, he gained nothing. Lee told him that he would then give Longstreet overall command of a column composed of his own Pickett's Division plus two divisions and two brigades of Hill's Corps. Longstreet spent the remainder of the morning making ready for the attack which, according to his own memoirs, appear to have been concentrated solely on his own division. While much is written by him of Pickett and Alexander's artillery line, nothing is mentioned of orders to or contacts with the remainder of the assault column.
Longstreet tries to belay our suspicions by saying that Lee rode with him "twice over the lines to see that everything was arranged according to wishes" (Annals of the War, p. 432). Although Longstreet wrote:
"He was told that we had been more particular in giving the orders than ever before; that the commanders had been sent for, and the point of attack had been carefully designated, and that the commanders had been directed to communicate to their subordinates, and through them to every soldier in the command, the work that was before them, so that they should nerve themselves for the attack, and fully understand it." (Ibid.)this writer questions whether the truth was accurately told. No written reminiscence of officer or soldier alike in Pickett's Division reveals the kind of detailed orders and direction which Longstreet said was given by him to them (see A Common Pride and Fame study) And while Longstreet could surely have said all of this to Lee while riding along the line, how could Lee honestly know all of what he was told was fact? Lee could surely see the lines of battle awaiting the attack, but beyond that he could hardly know what was told to each regimental or company commander, or how much direction Alexander had as to the cannonade or the support.
Aside from all of this controversy of Longstreet's acknowledged "apathy" (noted by his own staff), we get an indication of the kind of day already engaged in by Longstreet. It appears that he may have been in the saddle from the early hours of the morning before dawn, awaiting the arrival of the Taneytown Road scouts, sending out the "small force", making preparations to move his corps to the right, meeting with Lee and discussing conditions on the field, making arrangements with Alexander and at least Pickett for the attack, and finally riding twice with Lee over the lines, that Longstreet was rarely (if at all) at his campsite or any established headquarters since the pre-dawn hours through the noon-time. The well-known accounts of him lying down preparatory to the cannonade, with Alexander coming upon him, back near the woodsline, seems to indicate that he was indeed upon Seminary Ridge (probably Spangler's or Pitzer's Woods) until at least 1:00 P.M. And the classic stories of Longstreet sitting whittling upon his fence while Pickett's men marched to their doom confirm that he was still in the vicinity during those momentous hours, and until Pickett was repulsed. Indeed, it was his job to be there, and he would continue to be there until after the repulse, making preparations for an expected counterattack by the enemy.
What all this means, in much shorter words, is that Longstreet had little or no established headquarters site during the Battle of Gettysburg except on the field of battle itself, and not behind the lines as is common in a defensive or siege operation. We have already accounted for Longstreet absence from the battlefield proper on July 1, when his headquarters were in the saddle while moving toward Gettysburg, then with Lee, and then with his command encamped near the Chambersburg Pike and Willoughby Run. On July 2 his headquarters were again in the saddle--during the march from the pike to his place in line some four miles southward, during the attack by his two divisions on the Sickles line, and during the evening when consolidating his gains and making arrangements to scout out a flanking movement. On July 3, his headquarters left any campsite early in the pre-dawn hours, while awaiting word from his scouts, sending out a holding party to the Baltimore Pike, making preparations to move around the Union army, meeting with Lee on the line (?), making dispositions for the cannonade and assault, watching the assault and repulse, and organizing a hasty defense. During all the important moments of the battle, Longstreet was not at any specific headquarters site, or at any point in the rear of the conflict, but with the troops themselves, where he could watch and direct their movements. Therefore, any claim by anyone for significance for a certain site or structure as Longstreet's Headquarters is pretty weak at best, since the site itself was secondary to the battle (if not tertiary in this case).
However, certain claims have been made for a one-story frame shed-like structure as the true Longstreet's Headquarters. Despite the above historical data which seem to imply that a fixed structure or site was irrelevant to Longstreet's movements and actions at Gettysburg, it might be warranted to examine the facts as they relate to this building and see where the relation may lie.
Major Genl Lafayette McLaws
Major Genl George E. Pickett
Major Genl John B. Hood
July 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 1863
These headquarters were located at a school-house 900 yards westerly.
The most intriguing and confusing statement on the marker, however, is the closing sentence designating the headquarters site of Longstreet's Corps as the schoolhouse known at the time as "Pitzer's Schoolhouse". There is no supporting evidence or documentation for this statement in any known records of the War Department's Gettysburg National Park Commission, the body responsible for erecting the markers. (The same is true of the designation of headquarters for Confederate Generals Hill and Early.)
A report prepared in 1936 by park junior historian Louis E. King recognized this same lack of evidence, including citing a portion of Colonel E. B. Cope's 1921 engineer's report, which stated:
The First Corps Headquarters Marker is located on section 4, Confederate Avenue near the Observation Tower, a bronze tablet on the base of the marker points out that the exact location was at a school house 900 yards westerly. This school house is in plain view from the marker and was occupied by Lieut. General Longstreet.Since King could not ascertain the source of Colonel Cope's information either, he assumed that Longstreet imparted such a story "to the Commission" during one of his visits to the battlefield in 1888 or 1893. That this was probably not the case is revealed by examining both the local newspapers of that period and the park records for the same period. Since "the Commission" did not exist until 1893, it is certain that Longstreet could not have consulted with them in 1888. He could have pointed out his headquarters site to the historian and superintendent of tablets (John B. Bachelder) of the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association during that 1888 visit, but no record has been found to verify this. Moreover, a newspaper notice of this 1888 visit directly contradicts the claim for Pitzer's Schoolhouse as the Longstreet Headquarters Site. The Star and Sentinel of July 10, 1888 recorded that
Longstreet was the guest of Rev. Dr. Swartz during the reunion. It seems that during the battle the General occupied that parsonage. Soon after his arrival he inquired about it.This newspaper account proves to be more confusing than the bronze tablet and its inscription. At least Pitzer's Schoolhouse was at a place almost directly behind the center of Longstreet's First Corps line. The parsonage of Reverend Dr. Joel Swartz in 1888 was at St. James' Lutheran Church in the borough of Gettysburg. During the war this parsonage was "immediately adjoining the church property" (Star and Sentinel April 4, 1859). It seems a little bit incredible that Longstreet would have had his headquarters at that location for the simple reason that none of his troops were at or near that site during any part of the battle, or for the day before the retreat began. But why would the editor of the Star and Sentinel have mentioned the incident, especially indicating that it was one of the first things visited by Longstreet upon his arrival in 1888? Perhaps the key lies not so much in the parsonage as in the parson. Rev. Swartz was married to a relative of former Union General William S. Rosecrans; Rosecrans had been the roommate of Longstreet at West Point, and their friendship continued throughout the post-war years. It is not beyond the realm of possibility that Rosecrans had informed his friend that Rev. Swartz and his wife were residents of Gettysburg (since 1881) and that Longstreet looked them up deliberately because of his relationship with Rosecrans. It would not then be unlikely that Mrs. Swartz would invite the general to stay over as a friend of her family. Since the newspaper would not have been privy to the personal interactions between the Swartzes and Longstreet, they may have jumped to the conclusion that he had used the parsonage during his short 1863 stay in Gettysburg. Not only would it have been grossly illogical to have his headquarters in the borough (July 2-4, 1863), but it is all the more logical for Longstreet to have stayed with mutual friends during his later visit to the town. This would not be the first or last time that Gettysburg's local newspapers mis-quoted someone or confused the facts. As a matter of fact, the rival editors of the Republican and Democratic newspapers were continually finding errors in their rival's papers and would publicly point them out (almost weekly).
Dr. Swartz himself gave some account of Longstreet's stay with him in 1888 in a letter dated July 11, 1893 which was published in the Army and Navy Journal (October 25, 1902). Quoting Longstreet's opinions concerning Sickles' July 2 line and Ewell's lack of support for the Confederate First Corps, Swartz specified that these remarks were spoken to him "personally in [his] parlor".
News accounts of Longstreet's visit in 1893 were confined solely to his tour of the battlefield with General Dan Sickles and to comments concerning the second day's battle, and do not mention Longstreet's headquarters (or the Swartzes).
Aside from the errors of dates when Longstreet could have been at Pitzer's Schoolhouse, Colonel Cope made an obvious error in stating in his 1921 report that the 1921-year schoolhouse was "in plain view from the marker and was occupied by Lieut. General Longstreet." The schoolhouse referred to by Cope in his report should be the same one which was later converted into John Eisenhower's house (in 1958). The schoolhouse, then, was brick during the time the marker was erected, but it was not the one "occupied by Longstreet". The 1921 schoolhouse was a later replacement of the Civil War era school.
The troops of Longstreet's column passed the schoolhouse on July 2, and it was mentioned by a few of the officers in their reports and accounts subsequent to the battle:
Arriving at the school-house, on the road leading across the Emmitsburg road by the peach orchard, then in possession of the enemy, the lieutenant-general commanding directed me to advance my brigade and attack the enemy at that point, turn his flank, and extend along the cross-road, with my left resting toward the Emmitsburg road. (Kershaw's report, ORs, vol. 27, part 2, p. 367.)As seen from a careful reading of the above recollections of the battle by Longstreet's followers, not one of these participants remembered or thought it necessary to describe the physical appearance of the schoolhouse itself. The composition of the building was not noted, and aside from Eshelman' battalion report, there was no descriptive wording whatsoever applied to the schoolhouse when speaking of it. Although Alexander referred to it once as a "little" schoolhouse, this does not help out the latter-day historians. To Alexander it was "little", but in comparison to what? Without a gauge of comparison to other buildings or items with which we are familiar, it would be difficult to relate the size of this "little" schoolhouse to something else. But, there was one account which added an adjective worth noting--"old". This report by Eshleman, made about one month after the battle, described it twice as the "old school-house". While the building probably did not have a date inscribed upon it in large numerals for Eshleman to read and conclude its age from, it is more likely that any casual observer could tell just by looking at the building that it was "old". And it is perhaps as true today as it was in 1863 that an aged log building would be termed an "old" building before the same would be applied to a similarly aged stone or brick structure. From news accounts and school records for the county during the decades of the 1860s and 1870s, it is more than possible that Pitzer's Schoolhouse was indeed a log building during the Battle of Gettysburg. For instance, an 1868 report for county schools documented the fact that there were yet 24 log schoolhouses in the county (Star and Sentinel, March 19, 1869). This number represented about 17% of the county's 146 schools at that time. In addition, newspaper accounts concerning Pitzer Schoolhouse and the area subsequent to this county school report verify that the school building was log.
Just before dark, your orders came to move speedily to the front. I mounted my cannoneers, and moved forward at a trot, but before reaching the old schoolhouse the firing had ceased, and, it being dark, you ordered me again into park . . . .
After having once been driven back, he made no farther advance in force, but threw out a heavy line of sharpshooters, which we held in check till dark, when, by order of Colonel Alexander, I withdrew, and by your direction went into park near the old schoolhouse, and bivouacked for the night. (Eshleman's report, ORs, vol. 27, part 2, pp. 433-434, 435-436)
We turned to the right and marched down the valley of Willoughby's Run until we got to the schoolhouse at the foot of the road which enters the Emmitsburg Road just south of the famous peach orchard, where we waited for our infantry to arrive and form for the attack.
As we were waiting there an ambulance came along and we saw Genl Hood, sitting in front with the driver, with his arm in a bloody bandage, as he had just been wounded and was being carried to the rear. Just as he came to the school-house a shell struck the roof almost in face, but Genl Hood merely looked up and took no notice of it. (account of Lt. Frederick M. Colston, Alexander's ordnance officer, in Southern Historical Collection, Univ. of N. Carolina)
. . . it seems to me, that before 11 A.M. I had gotten my Battalion down in the valley of Willoughby Run, in a few hundred yards of the "school-house" where I had to wait on the Infantry and Cabell's and Henry's Battalions before going further . . . .
At last somewhere about 3:30 or 4 P.M., Hood's and McLaws Divns were united in the valley of Willoughby Run near the little school house, and Hood took the lead to move to the attack . . . .
During the evening I found my way to Gen. Longstreet's bivouac, a little ways in the rear to ask the news from other quarters and orders for the morning. (E. P. Alexander Papers, unpublished manuscript, Southern Historical Collection, University of N. Carolina)
Putting these reports and accounts in chronological order, we will then examine them in detail and draw the conclusion already stated based upon them as evidence:
The June 11, 1869 issue of the Star and Sentinel recounted the great amount of damage done to property during a terrific rainstorm and floods which took place the week of June 4, 1869. Both Rock Creek and Willoughby Run were reported to be WAY over their banks. (Willoughby Run flows quite closely by the former site of Pitzer's Schoolhouse.)The April 12, 1877 Sentinel article noted that Pitzer's Schoolhouse was originally a log building, dating back to about 1807. That it was apparently destroyed or materially damaged in the 1869 storm and flood of June 1869 was confirmed not only by inference in the drop of log schoolhouses that year but by the fact that Cumberland Township built a new brick schoolhouse that year. It is also confirmed in the 1887 article which stated that an early wooden (log?) structure on the site was wrecked by a storm.
The January 14, 1870 issue of the
Star and Sentinel provided a condensed account of the 1869 annual school report. This report revealed that only 16 log schools remained (compared to the 24 of the year previous).
One new brick schoolhouse was built in Cumberland township during the year 1869. (Common Schools of Pennsylvania. Report of the Superintendent of Common Schools of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, for the year ending June 7. 1869. Harrisburg, 1870.) "School-House Burnt: Pitzer's schoolhouse, on Willoughby's Run, two and a half miles southwest of this place, was destroyed by fire about 11 o'clock on Wednesday night of last week. It is supposed that a pile of wood under the 'overjet' in front was first ignited, with the help of coal oil, and the flames reaching the wood-work above soon completed the work of destruction. Nothing was saved, the books of the children going with the building. The walls are said to be good, and that about $400 will only be required to restore the house. It was built seven years ago. The fire may have resulted from some accident, but the general belief is that it was incendiarism." (Gettysburg Compiler, February 15, 1877)
"On Friday night, the schoolhouse on Willoughby's Run, known as 'Pitzer's', was set on fire and burned with desks, books, &c. It was evidently set on fire. Mr. John Sherfy was passing and found a pile of wood at one end of the School house on fire, the flames having reached the eaves of the roof. He broke open the door, to get the water bucket, but the roof had by this time taken fire and it was impossible to stay the flames. (Star and Sentinel. February 15, 1877)
"The Pitzer Schoolhouse, on Willoughby Run, Cumberland township, burnt down last winter, is to be rebuilt at once. The walls remain in good condition. This is one of the oldest school-sites in the county--a log schoolhouse having been built there about seventy years ago." (Star and Sentinel, April 12, 1877) "Mr. Editor:--In your local issue announcing that the Pitzer school house is to be rebuilt at once, you state that the walls remain in good condition. Permit me to say that your informant cannot have personally inspected the walls. They have been thoroughly inspected by experienced brick-layers and carpenters, and they pronounce the wall so imperfect that they are not worth rebuilding on. As to the site, it may be a very 'old' one, yet unquestionably a very poor one. Your informant took care to stop very suddenly after giving the age. I suppose as the site would not bear any praise, he though best to stop short. I am glad to see that the matter is agitating the public. The locating and building of school-houses are matters of vast importance, and Boards of Directors should consider well the interest of all the children . . . . CUMBERLAND." (Star and Sentinel, April 19, 1877)
"Pitzer's School house, three miles west of this place, was partially unroofed and a gable demolished by the heavy blow of Friday night. Some years ago a wooden structure on the same site was wrecked by a storm; another burned about five years ago, and now a comparatively new brick school building is badly injured." (Compiler, February 8, 1887)
The G. K. Warren survey map of the battlefield purported to show the topographic features at the time of the battle, but the survey was not immune to error. The survey itself was undertaken in 1868 and resumed during the spring of 1869; it was still in progress as late as August of 1869, some two months after the rainstorm and flooding which presumably wrecked the old log schoolhouse. The survey designated that the Pitzer Schoolhouse was composed of brick (B). While the Warren team often made mistakes in designating composition of a building, it may be possible that the team noted the building as brick because they were representing the replacement structure.
This replacement schoolhouse was indeed brick, as revealed from the news accounts of the burning of the building in the winter of 1877. It is interesting and most important to note that this fire was started in a woodpile stacked on the "porch" of the schoolhouse, under the "overjet". This indicates that there apparently was no adjoining woodshed at the new school, necessitating storing it against the building. The Warren map tends to confirm that the schoolhouse may have been without an outbuilding, although photographs indicate that the team sometimes did not represent the smaller or less significant outbuildings (while at other times they did).
The importance of the woodshed issue ties in with more unsubstantiated local claims that will be more fully revealed. These claims state that the frame structure referred to as "Genl Longstreets Headquarters" currently on the historic Warfield Farm (Tract 03-115), is the original woodshed from Pitzer's Schoolhouse and it "was occupied by Longstreet during the battle. The shed was [originally] located at the side of the school house." (Louis E. King, "Information and Historical Notes Concerning the Swope Property, known in 1863 as the Warfield Property" p. 2) That these claims were made by the older battlefield guides lent them some credence, especially since one of the "woodshed" advocates was the noted William C. Storrick. Other older residents claimed that the building now referred to as Longstreet's Headquarters was "for a long time on the Flaharty property and was used as a blacksmith's shop." This group stated that it was moved to its present location from the Flaharty site about 1905-1906. (Ibid., p. 1) This comment by King does not specify which Flaharty tract he was referring to. The historic J. Flaharty tract, now part of Eisenhower National Historic Site, was a tenant farm of Samuel Pitzer in 1863. The Pitzer schoolhouse site was also on Samuel Pitzer's farm. There was another Flaharty property in the immediate vicinity, however--that post-war property of William N. Flaharty. This Flaharty tract was immediately across from the Warfield Farm, on the north side of the Millerstown Road. The Flahartys owned his old Shefferer Farm tract from 1881 until 1908, some 27 years. During part of this same time period Hannah S. Flaharty owned the Warfield Farm, when it may have been likely any transfer of buildings from one site to another was possible.
Whether or not this building relocated from the Flaharty tract was the original Pitzer schoolhouse's woodshed or whether it was always a Flaharty outbuilding and shop is unclear from King's presentation. Nonetheless, the major fallacy of this claim by early guides, &C., is why Longstreet would have chosen a woodshed for his "headquarters" to begin with. (Schimmelfennig had his hog pen, but we doubt if a Confederate corps commander would willingly seek out a lowly outbuilding for either a headquarters site or a place to sleep at night.) Even if the schoolhouse itself was battle-damaged, it is almost incredible to think Longstreet would leave it to take up residence in an adjoining outbuilding, when he could have easily moved to the Samuel Pitzer farm house or to the tenant farm buildings, as well as a number of other places within range of his corps and artillery (including the Eisenhower farm!). The most popular school of "thought" believes the current frame one-story building to be the original Pitzer's Schoolhouse. A Cumberland Township school director who had served as early as 1902, stated that the "building in question was the old schoolhouse" (quotation of Emory Fox in note of Sheely to F. Tilberg, n.d., GNMP files).
The most revealing account of the local traditional story was given by John McDonnell in an interview with NPS historian Fred Tilberg in 1944. McDonnell, then 75 years of age (which would have had him born in 1869--the year the original log school house should have been wrecked), told the historian that his mother taught at the Pitzer's Schoolhouse in 1859-1860. He remembered "clearly" his mother's description of this school as being a frame building, 16' x 16', with the seats along the walls of the building. Other recollections included McDonnell's statements that the school was heated by a tenplate stove, and that 16 pupils attended the school when his mother taught there.
According to McDonnell the original school building was "removed first to the Flaharty place just west of Warfield Ridge on Wheatfield Road Extension"; this would refer to the historic J. Flaharty or Samuel Pitzer tenant farm. McDonnell then claimed that it was "moved again to the Warfield house just east of Warfield Ridge and used as a blacksmith's shop. It was at that time that the extra doors were cut into the building. The house was later moved to its present location just east of W. Confederate Avenue." McDonnell further stated that his uncle (with the surname of Flaharty) lived in the Warfield house when the little building was used as a blacksmith shop. (Tilberg notes on "Pitzer School House" interview, GNMP files) This would have to be after 1897 and during the period before the widow sold the Warfield property to John D. Rosensteel in 1923.
There are a number of debatable points in McDonnell's story which bear closer examination. To verify his story of his mother teaching at the school, the number of students, &c, we checked the school reports and newspapers of the period but found nothing on the subject whatsoever. (A note by Tilberg stated that McDonnell's mother was a daughter of Solomon Powers, "who operated a blacksmith shop at the corner of High and Washington Streets." Whether Tilberg got this information from McDonnell or not isn't revealed, but Powers was NOT a blacksmith, neither was there a blacksmith shop at that location. Powers was a stone-cutter and quarryman, whose house and yard was at that location. If McDonnell supplied the information it is notable in showing how memories fail and family histories and stories distort over a passage of time.) Checking the schoolroom's dimensions, which his mother told him and which he "recalled clearly", against those of the present building we find there is no similarity. McDonnell's mother said her schoolroom was 16' x 16', whereas the frame shed is 18 1/2' X 13 1/2'. Neither of these jive with the dimensions depicted on the Warren survey map, which shows the schoolhouse at 45' x 26' (twice the size of the present structure).
It is also unclear how or why the building was removed from the J. Flaharty tract to the Warfield place. There were no common or related owners on these tracts in corresponding post-war years, and it is somewhat astounding that someone would go to all the effort to remove a small outbuilding and relocate it elsewhere when he could probably build a better and new one without the trouble of moving one. If it was relocated because the person then residing on the Warfield Farm was interested in it as a "historic relic" and intended to preserve it, then why were "extra doors . . . cut into the building"? In any event, the "extra doors" must not appear on the present building, since it has only one and that is a normal entrance door in the west gable side. Any blacksmith shop would have had wider than usual doors to accomodate large pieces and to allow light to enter the forge and working area. Since the present siding does not indicate any specific patch-work of siding to cover an obsolete doorway, it may be presumed that much of the siding was replaced as well.
A photograph of the era between 1886 and 1897 shows the blacksmith shop at the Warfield property before the Flaharty blacksmith shop was initiated. Donated in 1979 by a descendant of the blacksmith depicted in the photograph, the photograph represents the appearance of the blacksmith shop sometime before the Flahartys convened residence at the Warfield place. The blacksmith and owner at that time was Charles Starner, who appears in front of the shop. The weathered appearance of the shingled roof and the siding suggest that the building depicted was the Civil War-era shop on the same site. Indeed, to the Confederates of Longstreet's Corps the blacksmith shop was as much a landmark and a reference point as the schoolhouse in the rear, and was mentioned as such in the accounts of some soldiers. It is obvious from the photograph that this building is not the present structure when images of the two are compared. The adjoining lean-to in the photograph like-wise does not give that appearance, although the comparative lengths of the lean-to and the present frame building (identified as Longstreet's Headquarters) seem quite close--both having the butt ends of five rafters showing under the eaves of the roof. However, the appearance of opposing windows in the photograph of the Starner shop would seem to indicate that any closing of them by siding should show up likewise in present-day photos and observation. No patching of these windows appears on the present building, however, and the present windows do not correspond with fenestration in the above photograph or with photographs of the buildings at the Warfield place taken at the turn of the century.
This second photograph, taken from the observation tower near the junction of West Confederate Avenue and Millerstown Road, shows the development at the site during 1898-1899 (from album showing work done in the park during those years, vol. 4). The blacksmith shop that shows in the Starner photograph is circled at the center of the 1898-1899 photograph, with the building parallel to the Millerstown Road. The small building appended to the larger Starner shop seems dissimilar in configuration to that in the Starner photograph (mostly because of the style of the roof), but about the same in size. Upon close examination it appears that, like that original lean-to, the attached shed in the 1898-1899 photograph had five rafters visible below the eaves. This attached building, at first glance, bears a remarkable likeness to that building currently identified as Longstreet's Headquarters. But examination of the print shows a batten door in the south side of the shed, whereas no such door exists today or appears from evidence in the siding. The building also appears to have vertical siding on the gable end and south side, visible from this photo, whereas the present building has horizontal board siding on three sides, and vertical board on one side. No other outbuildings approximating the size or appearance of the present building can be seen on the farm in this view from the tower. If the building was on the property at these dates and was a separate structure, not being appended to the older blacksmith shop, it should show in this photograph. We are left with the dual possibilities then that either the appended building is the relocated "woodshed" or it had not yet been relocated by 1898-1899.
By the time of the 1936 King report, however, the building was at its present site and being promoted publicly via a sign as Longstreet's Headquarters. As a humorous and rather telling note, it also served as a billboard advertising the private park being run by the then property owner--S. F. Swope. Affixed to the west gable side, beside the present door, was a hand-painted sign designating "Roseland Camp". The untutored and unfamiliar visitor might have been hard pressed to discern the difference between the two signs or which of the two had the most significance. By inference, however, one might decide based upon the sizes or quality of the signs. The "Roseland" sign, while smaller, was much neater and uniform. The "Longstreet" sign, while larger, was quite crude and the dates of Longstreet's supposed occupance of the even cruder structure were quite unprofessionally crossed out with a darker shaded paint.
Even Mrs. Longstreet, the widow of the general, was confused during a visit to the park and later expressed not only her confusion but her concern for the commercialization of the supposed building by the Swopes. In a letter from the park dated April 8, 1939, she was told that the park was still unsure of the matter of Longstreet's Headquarters and whether or not the designation of the present structure as the headquarters building by the Swopes was correct. According to James R. McConaghie, the superintendent:
"The question as to whether the schoolhouse at that time was of wood or of brick construction, and also whether the present wood structure, branded as the headquarters, is the schoolhouse of the war period is certainly open to question. At this time, we have been unable to reach a conclusion in the matter."McConaghie's comments were based upon the research done up to this time, the 1936 King report, but without Tilberg's interview with Mr. McDonnell; he also used the Cope report, the park reports, school reports, &c. He did not use the contemporary newspapers, as we have done, to try to trace the history of the various buildings at the old schoolhouse site, and was therefore ignorant of the reference to the earlier LOG school building and its eventual destruction by a storm.
For the sake of historical integrity, it would perhaps be a blessing to let the old frame alteration have a well-deserved rest and quit calling it something it could never have been. Either let it stand as a humble outbuilding or remove it as a reminder of how easily history can become subverted by the entrepreneurs and self-seekers, and become distorted by the local residents and descendants to the detriment of the written record.