Owner of Gettysburg Sentinels, Greg Allen, makes a concentrated effort toward the craft of preserving history. This involves taking the wood from witness and battlefield trees found at Gettysburg National Military Park and crafting the wood into one-of-a-kind products that allow customers to take home a piece of history in a practical way.
The Legacy of Gettysburg Sentinels
Greg took on this mission after the founder of Gettysburg Sentinels, Lieutenant Colonel William D. Hewitt, retired and sold the company to this long time friend of his. Lieutenant Colonel Hewitt served his country for 31 years in the United States Army. During this time, he worked intelligence as well as armor and cavalry. He also taught at the U.S. Army Command, where he rewrote a tactics course, conducted seminars with senior officers, and wrote articles, manuals, and a book. Even Lieutenant Colonel Hewitt’s hobby and eventual establishment of Gettysburg Sentinels incorporates using wood from Gettysburg Witness and Battlefield trees to honor those in the armed forces who came before him.
What was the Battle of Gettysburg?
One of the bloodiest wars in American history was fought brother against brother during the mid 19th century. After the election of Abraham Lincoln, southerners, concerned that his election would threaten their way of life, decided to seceded the United States of America. Southern states - South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Tennessee - began to leave the country and form their own Confederate States of America.
Determined that the United States, a nation which had only existed for 72 years, would not dissolve, President Lincoln ordered Americans to fight against rebel confederates in order to preserve “a more perfect union”. While many battles of the American Civil War were fought in the Southern states, Robert E. Lee, the head of the Northern Army of Virginia, decided to try and bring the war to the north.
The Confederate army had won several battles during the first two years of the Civil War, like the First and Second Battles of Bull Run, but Lee decided to take the war out of the South. Not only was this done to be able to give farmers a break from the destruction, but also to sway public opinion in the north to abandon reuniting the rebel states.
With that plan in place, Lee marched his army of 72,000 men and met with General George Meade, the head of the Army of the Potomac, and his 100,000 men. The two armies fought during a three-day battle at the small town of Gettysburg. These three days of bloodshed ultimately resulted in about 51,000 soldiers killed, wounded, or captured. Nonetheless, the Union army managed to maintain their foothold in the area and delivered a sound defeat after the Confederate’s disastrous frontal assault on Cemetery Ridge, also known as Pickett’s Charge.
The Consequences of War
Naturally, the fighting had consequences for both the Union and Confederate armies. One of the most obvious was that the Confederate army’s loss ended General Lee’s plans to fight in the Northern states. It also shored up Northern support about the necessity of the preservation of the United States and the eradication of slavery, which flies in the face of the Declaration of Independence’s stance that “all men are created equal”. Finally, in honor of the dead who were buried on the battlefield, President Lincoln delivered one of the most important speeches in American history: The Gettysburg Address. Read more about this moment in history here.
More Than “Thank You for Your Service”
It’s important to keep in mind that there have only been six conflicts in which the United States drafted citizens into the armed forces: the American Revolution, Civil War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. All other times, the armed forces are made up of people who voluntarily give up their time with their families, friends, and livelihoods in order to preserve the American way of life. Every single soldier gave 'some' of themselves, while some, like those in the American Civil War, gave 'all' in the fight to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.
Ways to Show Your Appreciation
There are many different ways to thank those who have fought or gave their lives for this cause. While memorials and parades are a common way to support those who have served or are still serving, there are other ways to recognize their service to our country. Click here to continue reading (premiers this Saturday!).
Small Businesses Honor the Past
As a veteran himself, Lieutenant Colonel Hewitt’s Gettysburg Sentinels continues to honor soldiers who may have passed over a century or more ago, but whose actions helped shaped our nation’s history. Using trees that either witnessed the events of the Battle of Gettysburg or grew in the area afterwards continues to be a way that businesses honor those soldiers for their service.
History in Your Hands
While there are many different ways that civilians can thank service members for their dedication to their country, veteran-owned businesses like Gettysburg Sentinels not only support those who served, but helps keep the story of those who served long before us. To learn more about Lieutenant Colonel Hewitt, his vision, and the founding of the company, visit the About page on our website.
Take a look at our unique hand-crafted items made from the wood of the Battle of Gettysburg. Each piece is made with care and attention to detail and is a perfect addition to any history enthusiast's collection. They also make wonderful gifts!
Order now and own a piece of history!