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Stories from the Wood: The George Weikert Farm

Gettysburg Sentinels crafts items out of pieces of walnut from the battlefield tree (a tree that was not standing at the time of battle) located on George Weikert’s farm. Here, we share the significance of the location of the farm and what happened there.

Located at the intersection of Sedgwick, United States and Hancock avenues, just north of the area of Little Round Top, the George Weikert Farm was used as a temporary field hospital by Union soldiers on the second and third day of the battle, July 2 and 3, 1863.

According to Tim Smith of the Adams County Historical Society, Weikert bought the 78-acre farm in about 1851 and lived there with his family. “As their home became a staging area for thousands of Union troops on Cemetery Ridge in July 1863, the Weikert family left to find shelter for their own safety,” according to a Facebook post from Gettysburg National Military Park (GNMP).

Barn on Weikert Property
One of three pre-Civil War buildings on the Weikert Farm. During the Battle of Gettysburg, the barn was used as a temporary field hospital by Union troops on the July 2-3, 1863. The barn may date from as far back as 1798, when the farm was owned by Peter Weikert.

When they returned, they were in for a gruesome sight. “The house, being used as a temporary field hospital, was filled with the wounded from both armies. Six men died in the parlor alone,” shares Smith. “The remains of hasty operations, bones, amputated arms and legs were piled high in front of a window.”

As they surveyed the scene, the Weikerts realized their parlor rug was missing. Smith says the mystery was solved when bodies from the farm were being exhumed so that they could be reinterred at the National Cemetery. “One strip of carpet had been placed in a trench and a number of bodies were laid on it, and it was covered with another strip of carpet,” he says.

The Weikerts sold the property shortly after the battle to members of the New Jersey Brigade. “The brigade, during the battle, held a defensive position on the property and wanted to make sure the ground was preserved,” according to GNMP. They placed their memorial about 200 yards from the Weikert home itself and transferred the property to the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association in 1887.

Visit our store and own a piece of history related to the Battle of Gettysburg, including items made from walnut located on the George Weikert Farm.

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