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“Hero of Gettysburg” John Burns CDV

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Item No. CV2264TG Category


Rare carte view of Battle of War of 1812 veteran, Gettysburg resident and Battle of Gettysburg participant, John Burns. On July 1st, Burns took up his flintlock musket and powder horn and walked out to the scene of the fighting that morning. He encountered a wounded Union soldier and asked if he could use his more modern rifle. The soldier agreed and Burns moved on with the rifle and with cartridges in his pocket. Approaching Major Thomas Chamberlin of the 150th Pennsylvania Infantry, Burns requested that he be allowed to fall in with the regiment. Chamberlin later wrote of Burns moving with deliberate step, carrying his Enfield rifle at a trail. He had previously been named constable of Gettysburg.  During  Jubal Early’s brief occupation of Gettysburg on June 26, 1863, Burns was jailed for his adamant assertion of civil authority in resisting. As the Confederates departed, Burns was released from jail and arrested some of the Confederate stragglers, continuing his opposition to the invading army until he was relieved by Federal cavalry. Burns fought with the 7th Wisconsin Infantry along the McPherson Woods and then moved to join the 24th Michigan near the eastern end of the woods. He would fight beside the men of the famous Iron Brigade  throughout the afternoon, serving effectively as a sharpshooter, in one case shooting a charging Confederate officer from his horse. As the Union line began to give way and they fell back to the Seminary, Burns received wounds in the arm, the leg, and several minor ones in the breast and Union soldiers were forced to leave him behind on the field. Captured by Confederates, he convinced his captors that he was a noncombatant, wandering the battlefield seeking aid for his invalid wife, and his wounds were dressed by their surgeons. Following the battle, Burns was elevated to the role of national hero. This rare view of Burns shows the elder veteran photographed in the studio of Matthew Brady and armed with an Enfield musket. Outstanding and very hard view to find. back marked by Brady.

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