Don’t Take My Photograph! Incidents at the Dedication of the 44th New York Monument at Gettysburg

As promised at the end of an article last week, here’s the piece from July 3, 1893, about incidents surrounding the dedication of the 44th New York Monument on Little Round Top at Gettysburg, including General Daniel Sickle’s opinions on creating memorials for the soldiers.

General Sickles (center) at Gettysburg in 1886, a few years before the 44th NY Monument incidents. (Library of Congress)


Gen. Sickles’s Unpleasant Experience At Gettysburg.

A Photographer Who Was Sent Off the Field by His Order Resorts to Law—Dedication of the Forty-fourth New York’s Monument—Speeches by All the Surviving Generals—Gov. Flower Compliments the Commissioners Upon the Work They Have Done for the State.

GETTYSBURG, Penn., July 3 — A strange sequel to Gen. Sickle’s work at Gettysburg, in the course of which he has placed $260,000 of New York State’s money into this field, occurred today when a Deputy Sheriff served notice upon the General in an action for trespass brought by William H. Tipton, the photographer, made returnable in the courts of this village on the fourth Monday of August.

It seems that yesterday, in the course of the proceedings following the dedication of the New York State Monument in the cemetery, Mr. Tipton was ordered from the field by Gen. Sickles the instant he placed his deadly camera in position to photograph the group. This morning, when the Forty-fourth New York State Monument was dedicated on Little Round Top, Mr. Tipton again attempted to take a photograph, and was promptly ordered to remove his instruments by Gen. Sickle’s, Gen. Butterfield, the old commander of the regiment; Col. Freeman Connor, and Lieut. Col. Herndon.

Upon his refusal to move, Col. Connor and a couple of his veterans moved forward and placed their hats over the camera, and when he persisted in holding his ground, the old soldiers folded his apparatus together and laid it on the ground.

William Tipton (Pennsylvania House of Representative Biographies)

“You will hear from me later,” cried the photographer.

“Take away your machine or we will break it,” yelled the veterans.

“All right, gentlemen,” said the artist. “You are having your fun now; I will have mine later.”

The veterans jeered, but Tipton was as good as his word. He appealed to Judge McClean of the Common Pleas for write for Gen. Sickles, Gen. Butterfield, and Cols. Connor and Hernden.

The Deputy Sheriff having the write in charge went at once to Gen. Sickles’s car, but thoughtfully put the Sickles’s writ in his pocket upon finding that the General was asleep. He then tried to pay his respects to the three other officers, but was disgusted to find that while he was in their quarters a train was bearing them to Harrisburg.

Gen. Sickles was in the jubilant mood tonight when THE NEW YORK TIMES’s correspondent called upon him.

“Behold me in chains,” he exclaimed. “You see me in the meshes of the Pennsylvania law. Yes, a writ has been served upon me and I have been endeavoring to determine on what grounds the complaint can be based. This objectionable photographer was ordered away from property that is owned by the State of New York. He claims action for trespass. But he is himself the trespasser.”

“I think I have right to determine whom I shall permit to photograph me. If an obnoxious person tries to take a snap shot photograph of me, I have a perfect right to object, and what is more, to order him away from property in which I as a Commissioner and an official of the State, have an interest.”

The amount of damages is not mentioned in the complaint but that matter will be determined by the court in August. If it is decided in favor of the photographer the amount will then be fixed and his right to take photographs anywhere in the battlefield and of any one will be firmly established.

This suit is the culmination of a long feud between the people of Adams County and the commander of the Third Corps beginning July 2, 1863, when Gen. Sickles’s attendants were charged by a thrifty farmer $5 apiece for two cotton sheets to be placed under his stretcher.

It is in keeping with the well-remembered policy of the inhabitants around here, who charged a quarter and even a half a dollar for a cup of water, and a dollar for a piece of ham and fried egg during the campaign.

The worst imposition, however, attempted was when the New York commission applied for conveyances for the three days’ celebration. They were informed that the rate had been fixed at $25 a day for a hack, not the latest style by any means, but the old ramshackle vehicles that have been in active service here continuously for a quarter of a century.

Gen. Sickles promptly and emphatically refused to accept these terms, and made arrangements at Hanover, Westminster, and Frederick for conveyances at $12 a day, about double the rates of ten years ago.

As soon as the borough officer heard of this the town authorities promptly assembled and passed an ordinance imposing a tax of $5 each upon every imported hack or carriage horse.

Civil War veterans from the 143rd New York in front of the 44th/12th New York Monument in 1902. (Library of Congress)

Gen. Sickles thereupon informed the authorities that rather than submit to such an imposition the Governor of the State, the Gettysburg Commissioners, and all the guests of the State would make the tour of the field afoot. This declaration brought the authorities from their high perch, and a rate of $12 a day was fixed for the conveyances.

Gov. Flower and his staff passed today on the field. At 9:25 this morning the party was conveyed in carriages to  Round Top to witness the dedication of the Forty-fourth New York’s monument. This is one of the most imposing monuments on the field, and commands a magnificent position, overlooking the Valley of Death and the Devil’s Den, and is within a stone’s throw of Warren’s statue and the spots where Strong Vincent, Gen. Weed, Lieut. Hazlet, and Col. O’Rourke were killed. The monument cost $20,000. The State appropriated $1,500, Gen. Butterfield gave $1,500, Mrs. Butterfield gave $500, and the remainder was raised by the patriotic survivors of the regiment.

Gens. Butterfield, Slocum, Sickles, George S. Greene, Gov. Flower an his staff, Gen. E.A. Merritt, Gen. Eugene A. Carr, Mrs. Bissell, who thirty years ago was known as the daughter of the regiment; Col. Freeman Conner, and a thousand other spectators were present at the dedication. All the surviving Generals made speeches, and a dozen photographs were taken.

At the conclusion of the ceremonies Gov. flower and his party, accompanied by the two official guides, Minnigh and Capt. Long, took in the field.

Governor Flower of New York

Before starting for New York tonight Gov. Flower, accompanied by Adjt. Gen. Porter and Orderly Harry Allen, made his farewell call upon Gen. Sickles. The General’s car was crowded. The General was giving a farewell dinner to Gen. Slocum, Bishop Potter, Capt. J.M. Lancaster of the Third Artillery, Capt. Hughes of the Ninth Cavalry, and the poet Sprague. The Governor was cordially greeted by the General, who said:

“Governor, behold a prisoner. The State of Pennsylvania has reached out its hand and grabbed me.”

Gov. Flower laughed and then said: “Before leaving for New York, Gen. Sickles, I wish to thank you and the commission of which you are a member for the kindness and consideration that you have extended to me and my staff during my stay here.

“I never was more proud of being Governor of the great State of New York than I was today when I went over the field and saw the beautiful works which your commission have constructed and which will perpetuate for all time the glory of our State and the heroism of her sons, and it filled me with pride to know that we had in our State such men as you and Gen. Slocum, who imperiled your lives on this field that this country should live.

“And it ought to be a source of unspeakable pride to every New Yorker to know that one of her sons, during the council of war which was held on the 2d of July, 1863, uttered that brave sentence in which there was no wavering, when asked what policy should be adopted toward the enemy, ‘Stay and fight it out.'”

This allusion to Gen. Slocum’s famous remark the night of July 2, when Gen. Meade waved between retreat and uncertainty, provoked hearty applause.

In conclusion, the Governor again expressed his thanks to the commission and his pride in the great exhibition which  which New York now makes on this famous field. Gen. Sickles in reply said:

“I am very much overcome by your gracious appreciation of the work of the commission. We all have tried to do our duty, and to do work not unworthy of the great State that directed us. We wanted to place memorials here not unworthy of the culture and art of the epoch in which we live; memorials that should contain no erroneous statements to future generations of what took place here; memorials that should record the truth, and nothing but the truth.

“We were determined that nothing should be placed here that would reflect upon our adversaries or our friends. All these considerations involved responsibilities which I must ay as Chairman of the commission we have had to face almost every hour in the day.

“I am glad that it has given satisfaction to the Chief Executive of our State. Our work has given satisfaction to the veterans. So, our duty having been performed to the satisfaction of our superior officers and the public, we will retire from office at an early day, I trust conscious of duty well performed, which is our greatest reward.”

Gov. Flower and his party left for New York at 11 o’clock tonight. Bishop Potter returned with the Governor.

[End of article]

Looking out of the 44th/12th New York Monument toward Devil’s Den. (Bierle)


July 4, 1893, The New York Times, Page 1. (Accessed at

3 Responses to Don’t Take My Photograph! Incidents at the Dedication of the 44th New York Monument at Gettysburg

  1. Neat little stories like this are one of the things that make history so interesting and enjoyable to me! Thanks for posting this!

    1. Thanks for reading! I thought it was unique and now, of course, I need to know what happened in that lawsuit. Maybe I can track down a few more details… 🙂

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