(My photo: Spangler's Spring)
Spangler’s Spring is a natural spring located on the south base of Culp’s Hill. The land on which is sits was occupied at various times by both the Union and Confederate armies, and at one point it was between the armies’ lines. Its was an important location, as it provided fresh water for the troops and their horses.
A legend grew up about the spring claiming that there was a point during the night of July 2 when a cease-fire supposedly was announced and men from both sides were allowed to go to the spring to fill their canteens. However, the story is undocumented and there is documentation that fighting occurred during the time of the alleged cease-fire (Stone Sentinels).
It’s a nice story, though. Kind of like the Christmas 1914 unofficial truces declared among German, French, and British soldiers. That story has been documented. Interestingly, the truces were called a scant five months after the outbreak of hostilities. According to History.Com, “It was never repeated—future attempts at holiday ceasefires were quashed by officers’ threats of disciplinary action—but it served as heartening proof, however brief, that beneath the brutal clash of weapons, the soldiers’ essential humanity endured.”
When we first arrived at Spangler’s Spring, my youngest grandson exclaimed, “Where is it?” As you can see from the photograph, the spring is covered by a stone and concrete cover. The covering was done around 1895 when the heavy influx of park visitors threatened to damage the site. Visitors also are not permitted to drink from the spring, as the groundwater might be contaminated (Stone Sentinals). There is, however, a monument and bronze plaques to commemorate the site.
Not far away from the spring was the farm of George Spangler. As was the case with so many farmers, this family found their farm turned into a field hospital. It was, in fact, “one of the largest field hospitals and artillery staging areas in the battle.” You can visit the site today but need to take a shuttle to get to it. The farm is open Friday to Sunday in the summer months and offers living history encampments and other programs. (Gettysburg Foundation)
Photo on Right: George Spangler Farm in late 1800s Penn Live, "Spangler Farm hospital site, Gettysburg's 'real deal," to open for second season in June," Paul Vigna, 30 May 2014. Accessed 29 April 2019.
Photo of Left: Spangler Farm today. From Gettysburg Foundation.
The George Spangler farm makes an appearance in Walk by Faith. This is where Frankie goes to volunteer. She and her friend Gus are cut off from her family by retreating Union soldiers on the first day of the battle. They take refuge at a farm owned by Gus’s aunt, who lives near George Spangler and his family. When Frankie hears that a field hospital is being set up at the Spangler farm, she and Gus immediately offer their help. After the battle, Frankie's beau Patrick gets permission to take leave from his regiment and goes in search of her so he can return her to her family. Read more below.
More on Friday! Next time we'll check out the Gettysburg National Cemetery and see what Eli thinks of Lincoln's Gettysburg address.
Janet Stafford, Squeaking Pips Founder