Thursday, August 14, 2008

News---Preservation: Blood On A Battlefield Farm

In the autumn of 2006 The Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association received an unusual donation: the services of Detective Lt. Nicholas A. Paonessa and a Rofin Polilight 500. The Niagara Falls, NY policeman worked the scene of a Confederate hospital located on the Daniel Lady farm located on the Hanover Pike east of Gettysburg.
Twice September and November Paomessa investigated the 180 year old farmstead which is owned by the GBPA. In the parlor of the farm's stone house, Paonessa located the device's blue light and found blood stains. The shape of a body, from the knees up to the head was found on the floor to the wall. A small framed man had sat there bleeding; he left four bloody finger prints on the floor beside his hip. In the other half of the parlor, there were enough blood stains for Kathi Shue, president of the GBPA, to believe that it was used as a surgery. The blood appears to have channeled the the floor boards' joints and dripped into the basement. There is the possibility that a blood sample could be removed from between the floorboards and its DNA studied. Even at some point a descendant could be found. Previously, Paonessa had worked in the Schriver house on Baltimore Street; he confirmed the possibility that Confederate sharpshooters died in the home's attic.
In the spring of 2007, CWL spent a day on the Lady Farm with Kathi Shue and friends of the GBPA. Not only has the house and barn been preserved but a careful examination of the pastures and woods reveal Confederate artillery redoubts and infantry encampments. The GBPA researchers conclude that the redoubts were constructed during the afternoon July 3rd and the morning of July 4th; there was an expectation of a Federal counter assualt after the repulses of Ewell's divisions at Culp's Hills and Longstreets divisions at Cemetery Ridge.

Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association reports on its www site:

The GBPA was founded in 1959 as the first public/private partnership at Gettysburg. Over the years, the GBPA played a continuous role in purchasing endangered battlefield land. Such properties, like the Meals farm, Timbers farm, Wolf farm, Taney farm, the Colgrove tract, the Willoughby Run tract, the East Cavalry field tract, and other parcels have been saved from urban development and commercialism. President Eisenhower was among the early members who was concerned about this historic shrine. The General stated, "I am emphatic in my approval of what the GBPA is doing ... the battlefield should be preserved as a remembrance of the sacrifices made by men who fought for the things in which they believed." Today, the all volunteer Board and membership continues this preservation legacy. However, public support is yet needed.

Founders set the goals: conserve the historic battlefield, preserve the monuments, educate the public. For forty years, the GBPA has continuously worked to protect the battlefield from moden development. The site of the decisive battle should be preserved for future generations, so that they can understand the sacrifices made by common men and women for freedom's sake. The greatest number of monuments in the world on a battlefield were erected at Gettysburg. These "icons of freedom" commemorate the heroic deeds of the soldiers. By lectures, publications, seminars, and living history programs, the GBPA is informing the public of our unique American heritage.

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