(Excerpt from the 1863 Provincial Annals published with permission of the Daughters of Charity Provincial Archives)
As this year’s re-enactment activities draw to a close, we offer one final reflection on the Daughters of Charity and their work in Gettysburg. As soon as the gunfire ceased (and several Confederates stopped at St. Joseph’s Central House in Emmitsburg as they fled to the south), Fr. Francis Burlando took a group of Daughters of Charity to Gettysburg, just a few miles to the north. There, they would aid as nurses, a task they had accepted in both the North and the South since the very beginnings of the war. The following painful description came from Sr. Matilda Coskery, one of the sisters who went with Fr. Burlando on this ride across the corpse-strewn fields: “But on reaching the Battle grounds, awful to see the men lying dead on the road some by the side of their horses. O, it was beyond description, hundreds of both armies lying dead…. O! This picture of human beings being slaughtered down by their fellow men in a cruel civil war was perfectly awful.” When we first posted this image in July of 2012, Battlefield Guide Guillermo L. Bosch told us that these were in fact dead Georgians who had been felled by the Rose farmhouse, east of the Emmitsburg Road and south of the peach orchard. From their route into town, the Sisters would surely have seen just this sight.