Civilian Account of the Day: Carrie Sheads, Chambersburg Pike (Gettysburg)
October 13, 2018
“Scenes of the Battle of Gettysburg.”
National Republican (Washington), November 28, 1863
Adams County Historical Society Civilian Accounts Collection
A Model School for Young Ladies.
We some time since copied from a Baltimore paper a notice of the courageous and loyal Misses Callows, two young ladies of that city, in connection with the battle of Gettysburg, where they were attending the Oak Ridge Seminary for young ladies.
Since then we have seen a letter from the principal, Miss Carrie Sheades [sic], herself, as we are informed, an interesting and superior young lady. We extract the most interesting portion of this letter. After speaking of the courage of the young ladies during the battle—their assistance in relieving the sufferings of the wounded, when no surgeon could be obtained—she says:
“It makes me sad to recount the scenes of the battle; yet there are some pleasant incidents connected with it—one of which I will mention: When our forces retreated from Seminary Ridge, many of the prisoners were taken here. At the time (though a coward before) it seemed that I was ready to meet the whole rebel army, every vestige of fear had vanished. A colonel rushed into the breakfast-room and a rebel after him, demanding of him to surrender. The Colonel [Charles Wheelock, 97th New York Infantry], being a very large man, could scarcely breathe, (he was asthmatical,) and begged for time to regain his breath; he told them to ‘shoot him,’ that ‘he would not surrender,’ ‘and if,’ said he, ‘I had my men here you could not take me.’”
“I saw that he would be shot if he resisted any longer, and while the rebels were contending with some prisoners in another part of the breakfast-room, I begged the colonel to go with him and I would save his sword. He consented and I concealed his sword in the folds of my dress, and begged them to grant him five minutes, which was granted, and he assured me that he ‘would be back for his sword.’ I was a sad sight to see them take that grey headed veteran, but it was a joyful sight to see him return to reclaim his sword, having gone with them as far as Monterey Springs and escaped—‘rolled away from them,’ he said, for he could not walk.”
“You should have seen the pleasure which it gave those wounded patriots (for the room was filled with them) to see their colonel’s sword safe. One of them, in the midst of his sufferings, sent some one to inquire if it was safe.”
Colonel Charles Wheelock, from History of the Ninety-Seventh Regiment, New York Volunteers.