Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Elizabeth Thorn

  Elizabeth Thorn was the wife of the caretaker of Evergreen Cemetery in Gettysburg. During the battle she was caring for her three children and her elderly parents. In addition she was six months pregnant and her husband was serving in the Union Army in Virginia. During the battle Thorn and her family were forced to flee their home in the cemetery gatehouse. On the second day at Gettysburg there was hand to hand fighting all around her house. When she returned there were unburied bodies everywhere and her food and possessions were stolen. Thorn was ordered to bury the bodies since she was the caretaker and men were detailed to help her but they soon left because they couldn't stand the smell of rotting flesh. The statue depicts Thorn leaning wearily on a shovel after personally burying 105 men with the help of her parents and children. Thorn gave birth to a daughter later that month. The baby was never healthy and died at the age of fourteen. Elizabeth always believed that her daughter's bad health was the result of the stress and fatigue associated with burying all those men. The statue is called the Women's Memorial and was dedicated in 2002. It honors the sacrifice of all the women of Gettysburg during and after the battle.

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