Battle of Gettysburg and Family Heritage

Camp Letterman tents

Camp Letterman tents 1863

On February 19th here at Layered Pages, I posted a blog post from Janet Stafford about her blog post on Gettysburg, and the in the blog Janet talks about the field hospital for the wounded and talks about the- “profound imprint on the town in the days, months, and years after hostilities.” Her post had me thinking about my great, great, great Grandfather James Marshall Sharp  on my mother’s mother side, who was enlisted in Company F of the 45th North Carolina Infantry during the American Civil War. He was injured in two different battles. One at Gettysburg… He was actually there, and I wish I could find out more about his experience, and what he saw-which we have a pretty good idea-but…I want more information. He recovered from that battle and was wounded again and captured at Spotsylvania Courthouse May 1864 and lived to tell about it. I believe he had to sign a paper pledging loyalty to the Union to be released like so many other soldiers did.

James was a tobacco farmer in Rockingham County and had several children and no doubt they helped on the farm. One of his descendants my third cousin remove, Susie Sharp was the first female supreme court justice of North Carolina. My mother met her when she was a young girl and tells me she was an extraordinary woman. She was quite impressed with her as I can tell by just listening to her speak of her.

Anyhow, the civil war divided this country in such a way at times I feel hearts are still hardened by it but not in all ways that people think. History has a way of staying with us, you know? Not just in the south but in the north as well. I have a lot on my mind about this and I wish I had more information about James Marshall Sharp and his insight of the battle of Gettysburg. I aim to see what I can come up through research and to hopefully be able to find Sharp’s in North Carolina who can help me. Also, I am finding conflicting information about his actual birth date which is leaving me perplexed. I want to know the extract age he was when he enlisted to fight in the war. I was told he owned slaves but if he was very young at the time-if there were slaves-then they would have been his Father’s I’m guessing? I plan to get to the bottom of this!

Isn’t amazing how when you read a post on history how it can hit close to home and your own family history? This is one of the many reasons why it’s so important for us to keep learning about the past so we don’t lose what shapes the present and future.

Be sure to follow Janet’s website and read her wonderful blog posts. You will learn a lot and be inspired about your own family’s past.

Stephanie M. Hopkins

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