Living with Colonel Burgwyn
Updated: Mar 8
When I purchased Gettysburg Sentinels, I was already well aware of and familiar with the inherent value of its purpose, and the opportunities our products open up. In fact, my acquaintance with Gettysburgs' history lives with me - quite literally. My wife Tina and I live in the house that Colonel Burgwyn was brought to and buried by after his passing. I like to think of the property as a 'witness house'!
The House on Chambersburg Road
My wife Tina and I have lived in Adams County, Pennsylvania since 1978. We've lived in our current home since late 1985. We're located on Chambersburg Road, about a mile west of the Gettysburg National Military Park boundary at Willoughby Run and about a quarter mile east of the First Shot Monument where, late in the afternoon/early evening of June 30, 1863, Confederate Sentinels from the 26th North Carolina Infantry fired upon troops from General John Buford's 1st Division Cavalry. Our house was near the middle of that exchange of fire!
The 26th North Carolina Infantry
The 26th North Carolina Infantry was at the lead of a line of Confederate troops, wagons, and artillery that stretched over twenty miles to Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.
The 26th came to Gettysburg with 843 men. They were the first in line and the first to engage their enemy. Through the three day Battle of Gettysburg, the 26th North Carolina suffered more casualties than any other. It endured 81.9 % casualties - 172 killed, 443 wounded, and 72 missing or captured (a total of 687). Every man of Company F was killed or wounded. No regiment on either side at Gettysburg suffered more casualties than the 26th North Carolina.
The 26th North Carolina was commanded by Colonel Henry Burgwyn. He was the youngest colonel in the Confederate Military at age 21 at the Battle of Gettysburg. He was shot through both lungs during the first day's actions, while rallying after ten color bearers had already been killed or wounded. Lieutenant Colonel Lane then took up the colors and resumed the attack - but he was badly wounded in the neck and jaw.
Colonel Burgwyn died on the battlefield in the woods just east of Willoughby Run. He was taken to our house and buried 75 yards from the northeast corner of the house at an angle of approximately 75 degrees. Researchers have confirmed this spot.
Our house stood at the time of the Battle of Gettysburg. It appears on the Bachelder Map and was part of a farm that lined both sides of Chambersburg Road. A yellow barn was directly across the street. The house was typical of its time, a simple two story stone structure. In the mid 1950's the house was substantially enlarged with additions to the east and the west. The old part of the house was gutted; the stone was removed from the sides and rear and reused on the additions.
Stories Never Die
There are 100's of structures on or near the Gettysburg Battlefield that have hauntings. Ours is one of them. And, like many others, ours was also used as a hospital during and after the battle. While Colonel Burgwyn's body was removed and reinterred in North Carolina in 1867, there's a spirit that has appeared to Tina and I a handful of times over the years. In every case, the sightings have appeared to us individually and only in the old part of the house. Coincidence? I think not.
The term 'haunting' is too severe for what we have experienced. In every sighting the apparition appears to have no sense of us being present. There is nothing 'scary' about the sightings. The apparition simply opens doors, walks down hallways, and stands in bedrooms that no longer exist - but they did in 1863.
We have accepted the presence as part of the house and, of course, we have n
o way to confirm if it's Colonel Burgwyn or some other unfortunate soul who died during that awful battle. But we like to think it's the Colonel - and we enjoy his company.
History in Your Hands
Gettysburg Sentinels was founded by answering a question: What happens to trees that are removed from the Gettysburg National Military Park? The answer led to the creation of a company that takes pride in working with wood that might have stood sentinel over the Gettysburg battlefield. From paper weights and bottle stoppers to engraved plaques and executive pens, you can be confident that any object that you purchase from our shop will be the product of hours of time and dedication. With 40 years of woodworking experience and the desire to tell the story of Gettysburg in a unique way, each item crafted has its own story to tell.
Take a moment to 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!