The Henry Culp Farm
“Sudden and Violent”
Located on the eastern most end of Middle Street in Gettysburg, stands the Culp family farm including a large brick home and barn with many dependencies. The farm is a sprawling property that extends to Cemetery Hill as seen from the rear of the house.
In the early days of the establishment of the military park, it was constantly referred to the “Great Confederate Hospital”. No matter how close it seemed to the battle lines along Cemetery Hill and Culp’s Hill, the farm became a stopping point for stretcher bearers with their bloody burdens. As a temporary field hospital for Confederate General Early’s Division, the house, barn and outbuildings became the safe haven of many wounded and dying battle worn soldiers, Confederate and Union. Cemetery Hill, the infamous rising ground of the near night attack upon the entrenched Union forces by the Louisiana Tigers of the Confederacy, brought pain and death to many soldiers of both sides. It was here that Colonel I. E. Avery of Hokes Brigade was taken after he was wounded. Shortly thereafter, he was removed and taken south; however, he died in transit and was buried near the Potomac River. His grave has never been found.
While death and destruction are a part of military campaigning, civilians rarely ever see or feel the power of warfare. Gettysburg residents like others from related battle zones came to know the horrors of war. The Compiler, a Gettysburg newspaper of the day, printed many articles about children and adults being injured or worse when tampering with found unstable artillery projectiles. One story about a year later read, “A terrible accident occurred on Wednesday evening, in the opening of a shell found on the battlefield, resulting in the death of James M. Culp, an interesting son of Mr. Daniel Culp, of this place. The deceased had opened a number of shells without incident, but while at work on another, near the cemetery grounds, the shell exploded, fearfully lacerating his hands and legs, and a piece entering his abdomen. The body was immediately removed to the residence of his afflicted parents on Baltimore Street. Death relieved the sufferer in an hour or so. He was in his 17th year.” Many more residents of Adams Co. and beyond would experience similar hazards as reported again and again in other local newspapers.
After the battle, the family returned to the farm seeing devastation all along the way. Upon entering the house and barn, they could not believe what lay before them. It took years to restore the farm to its once magnificent glory as we see it today.