Thursday, October 27, 2022

Civil War Soldier's Grave Stone Damaged By Artillery Shell During Gettysburg

Videos by Civil War historians and tour guides show what's left of the monument to Sergeant Frederick A. Huber (1842-1862) at Evergreen Cemetery


Sheared off by artillery fire during the Battle of Gettysburg, Sgt. Huber's grave marker on Cemetery Hill is the original "warrior-monument, crashed in fight" that Herman Melville referenced in his Civil War poem Gettysburg:

 . . .

Sloped on the hill the mounds were green,
     Our centre held that place of graves,
And some still hold it in their swoon,
     And over these a glory waves.
The warrior-monument, crashed in fight,
Shall soar transfigured in loftier light,
            A meaning ampler bear;
Soldier and priest with hymn and prayer
Have laid the stone, and every bone
            Shall rest in honor there.

Melville's poem "Gettysburg. / The Check. / (July, 1863.)" appears in Battle Pieces and Aspects of the War (New York, 1866) on pages 84-5. Without identifying Sgt. Huber by name, Melville provided more details about the broken gravestone "of a Federal officer killed before Richmond in 1862" in his note to "Gettysburg'": 

"Among numerous head-stones or monuments on Cemetery Hill, marred or destroyed by the enemy's concentrated fire, was one, somewhat conspicuous, of a Federal officer killed before Richmond in 1862.

On 4th July, 1865, the Gettysburg National Cemetery, on height with the original burial-ground, was consecrated, and the corner-stone laid of a commemorative pile."

-- Battle-Pieces, page 249

Melville may not have known the soldier's name but he correctly gave the place and year of his death. Frederick Huber, First Sergeant Company F of the Twenty-Third Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry aka Birney's Zouaves was killed at Fair Oaks, Virginia in the Battle of Seven Pines on May 31, 1862. 

Evercemadams huber

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