Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Sad Story Of Sergeant Humiston

  There were thousands of tragic stories in the Civil War but one of the saddest was that of Amos Humiston of the 154th New York Infantry who was killed on the first day at Gettysburg. The 154th was part of the 11th Corps that was routed andpushed back through town. Sergeant Humiston's body was found by a young girl and he was clutching the picture of his three children, 8 year old Franklin, 6 year old Alice, and 4 year old Frederick. Sergeant Humiston wanted to join the Army at the outbreak of the war but he felt a greater obligation to his family at that time. Then Lincoln called for three year volunteers to replace the 90 day troops. Humiston's patriotism drove him to enlist in September 1862 at the age of 33. He wouldn't see battle until May of 1863 when he fought at the battle of Chancellorsville. It was in May that his wife Philinda sent him an ambrotype of the children. He replied to her in a letter "and it pleased me more than anything you could have sent me. How I want to see them and their mother is more than I can tell. I hope that we all may live to see each other again if this war does not last too long". The girl that found Sergeant Humiston's body and picture took it to her father's tavern where a Dr. J Frances Bournes saw the picture and heard the story behind it. At the time Sergeant Humiston's identity was unknown. Dr. Bournes with the help of many newspapers circulated copies of the pictures all over the North in an attempt to identify the unknown soldier. When Philinda Humiston saw the picture she immediately recognized her children and the fact that she was a widow. Dr. Bournes was able to raise money for the support of Humiston's family and after the war established an orphanage in Gettysburg for children orphaned by the war. Philinda and her children lived there for a time. Sergeant Humiston was eventually buried in the Gettysburg National Cemetery and a monument was dedicated to him on the spot where his body was found in 1993. The first picture is a depiction of Sergeant Humiston holding the picture in Frank Leslie's illustrated Newspaper.

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