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Gettysburg Battlefield Online





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8/11/01

 
Sgt. Amos Humiston


Amos is buried in the National Cemetery in the NY section

Sach's Covered Bridge

Sach's Covered Bridge


Sach's Covered Bridge

The information on this page was written by Mr Mark Dunkelman of The Hardtack Regiment.He is author of the book > Gettysburg's Unknown Soldier: The Life, Death, and Celebrity of Amos > Humiston and The Coster Ave. Mural.Both of the books are excellent (I have them both) and are still in print.for more info visit the hartack Regiment ebsite from the link off this page.

The memorial to Sergeant Amos Humiston of the 154th New York Volunteer > Infantry is located on the grounds of the Gettysburg Fire Department on North > Stratton Street, just north of the intersection with York Street and south of > the railroad tracks. It is the only monument to an individual enlisted man > on the battlefield. Why was Sergeant Humiston singled out for that honor? > > Quite simply, Amos Humiston was the most famous casualty to emerge from > the battle among the thousands of enlisted men who fell at Gettysburg.

Sgt. Humiston monument
Monument dedicated to Sgt. Humiston.
Gettysburg Battlefield Online closeup
Close-up of the plaque on the Sgt. Humiston monument.
Gettysburg Battlefield Online
Amos Humiston
Amos Humiston
His > fame grew from the circumstances of his death. After the 154th New York and > the rest of Col. Charles R. Coster's brigade was driven from its position in > Kuhn's brickyard (site of present-day Coster Avenue, the smallest portion of > the Gettysburg National Military Park) during the battle of July 1, 1863, > Humiston raced for his life southward in the direction of Cemetery Hill until > he was shot by a Confederate in this vicinity. He crawled to a secluded spot > in an empty lot owned by Judge Samuel R. Russell, at the northeast corner of > Stratton and York streets. As his life blood ebbed away, Humiston grasped an > ambrotype photograph of his three little children (Franklin, Alice, and > Frederick) and stared at their cherubic faces. > > After the battle he was found dead with the picture still clutched in his > hand and his sightless eyes staring at it. There was nothing else on his > person to identify him.
Amos and his Children
Amos Humistons Gravesite in the National Cemetery
Gettysburg Battlefield Online

A Philadelphia doctor, John Francis Bourns, in > Gettysburg to tend the wounded in the aftermath of the battle, heard the > story and realized the ambrotype was the single, sad clue to the identity of > the soldier and his family. Bourns borrowed the picture, and on his return > to Philadelphia he initiated a nationwide search for the unknown soldier's > family, a search carried out in newspapers throughout the northern states. > > A month after the first story appeared, newspapers announced the soldier > had been identified as Amos Humiston, and his family located at Portville, > Cattaraugus County, New York. The touching story unleashed a wave of > sentiment and sympathy throughout the North, and was widely disseminated in > the popular culture.

In addition to the many newspaper stories, the Humiston > tale was related in magazines and books and in poems and songs, and the > now-famous picture of the children and a prewar portrait of their father > (retouched to add a beard and uniform) were widely reproduced and sold. The > story eventually inspired the establishment of The Homestead, an orphanage > for soldiers' children. The surviving Humistons were the first inmates of > the institution.

close-up
closeup of the plaque (Click to Enlarge
Gettysburg Battlefield Online
"Sgt. Humiston may be the number one human interest story concerning Gettysburg..."

> Other sites to visit in Gettysburg relating to the Humiston story are > Coster Avenue (a short distance to the north, the place where Amos fought and > is portrayed in the adjacent mural), the Gettysburg National Cemetery (where > Amos is buried in Grave #14, Section B of the New York State plot), and the > Soldier's National Museum at 777 Baltimore Street and the Homestead Lodging > for Tourists at 785 Baltimore, the former orphange buildings.

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What are people saying about This site!

I live across the street from where Sgt Humistion fell and its brings chills to me!"Frank P Marrone Jr.-Gettysburg,PA

"One of the best sites Ive ever seen quot;John J Gerald--Evans,IN.

"Gettysburg Battlefield Online...A Smash Hit!!"History Channel

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