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  • Monument to John Burns, Gettysburg

Rare Stereocard Image of John Burns "Hero of Gettysburg" (SOLD)

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Product Description

This is another nice item being offered, it is a stereocard of John Burns, the “Hero of Gettysburg” card number 2402 in the series. Photo shows Burns sitting in a chair at his home. Crutches and flintlock musket propped against wall behind. Image is mounted on a card that states “The War for the Union” and “Photographic History” – it measures 7” x 3 1/2”. Back of mount has preprinted text and “Published by E. & H.T. Anthony & Co. / 501 Broadway, New York”.

John Burns was nearing 70 when the rebels came to Gettysburg. A veteran of the War of 1812 and former Gettysburg constable, he grabbed his flintlock musket, told his wife “I am going out to see what is going on,” and offered his services to the nearest Union regiment.

A number of Union soldiers came away from the battle with accounts of meeting Burns, and although details differ, they all agree on his amazing appearance: a swallowtail coat with brass buttons, yellow vest, tall hat, flintlock musket and powder horn. This caused a good deal of amused comments among the men in the ranks and polite concern among the officers he approached.

He was persistent to fight, and his ancient musket was replaced with a modern rifle, his powder horn with pocketfuls of cartridges (he refused a box and belt) and the jokes ceased when Confederate fire became thick and instead of running back into town as expected he coolly slipped behind a tree and began returning fire. He fought with the Iron Brigade during some of the most intense fighting of the war, suffering three wounds.

With his wounds he had to be left behind when Union forces retreated through town, and he was closely questioned by Confederates as to how he came to be in civilian clothes and wounded on the battlefield. His answers apparently satisfied them, and he was allowed to return home.

Burns became a celebrity after the battle, being made an honorary member of the Iron Brigade, photographed by Matthew Brady and meeting President Lincoln, who sought Burns out when he came to the dedication of the National Cemetery. Burns died in 1872 and is buried in Evergreen Cemetery.

This card is in excellent condition and the image of Burns is very clear. This is a hard to find card and sought out by many collectors.

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