Saving History Saturday: American Battlefield Trust to Save Field Hospital Site at Gettysburg

Recently, the American Battlefield Trust (in partnership with the Land Conservancy of Adams County) announced their latest campaign to save more hallowed ground at Gettysburg, less than one month out from the battle’s 156th anniversary.

Not far from the Seminary Ridge property they saved just months ago, is the 143-acre Plank Farm, which according to the trust, “witnessed every stage of the three-day Battle of Gettysburg – including its aftermath.” The property sits just west of Seminary Ridge and roughly one mile south of where Major General John Reynolds fell. Its location was prime for moving Federal and Confederate troops.

The Plank Farm visible from the Seminary Ridge observation tower. Courtesy of Garry Adelman and the American Battlefield Trust.
Map showing the location of the Plank Farm property, as well as the movement of troops during the Battle of Gettysburg. Courtesy of the American Battlefield Trust.

On July 1, the First Army Corps moved through the property, particularly members of Colonel Chapman Biddle’s Brigade. The next day, Lieutenant General James Longstreet’s column moved across the property during their march to attack the Federal left flank. On the last day of the battle, July 3, Major General George Pickett’s Division most likely advanced across portions of the property to Seminary Ridge and beyond.

Most importantly – and unique to most Trust campaigns – is that the Plank Farm was utilized as a Confederate hospital during and after the battle. The Trust states that “this farm was one of the biggest hospitals in all of Gettysburg, with more than 1,500 soldiers documented as being treated there, more than 500 of which were too dangerously wounded to be moved when Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia began its retreat.” In addition to that, there were numerous documented burials (approximately 60) at the Plank Farm, which most have been re-interred.

For more information on how you can contribute to this preservation effort, please click here.

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