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Friday, July 19, 2013

Tillie Pierce's Gun

By Matilda "Tillie" Jane Pierce
Teenage Eyewitness and Nurse at Gettysburg
Some weeks after they had left, a Provost Marshal was sent to the town, to collect all arms and accoutrements belonging to the Government.
Some one informed him, that there was a gun at our house, for it was not long before two soldiers called. I suppose I had been bragging too much about my relic.
On going to the door, they asked me whether we had a musket about the house.
I said: "Yes sir; but it is mine."
They replied that the Provost Marshal had sent them after it, and that they would have to take it.
I told them what the soldier who gave it to me had said; whereupon they expressed their sorrow, but added, that they would have to obey.
In my indignation at this treatment I said:
"If they are mean enough to take the gun they can have it; but it is my gun."
They seemed sorry as they rode away with my highly prized treasure, and I have no reason to doubt their sincerity.
About two hours after this, I happened to go to the front door, and on looking up the street, I saw the same two soldiers returning on horse back, one of them having a gun on his shoulder.
I ran into the house, and told my sister that I actually believed they were bringing back my gun.
Instantly the bell rang, and I told her that I was ashamed to go to the door, after talking to them the way I had.
So my sister went; but the soldiers said they wanted to see me.
I went to the door and found these same men looking quite pleased as they said to me:
"The Provost Marshal heard you were such a good Union girl, he has sent back your gun, and we are very happy to return it to you."
After attempting to apologize for the way I had addressed them, they said they did not blame me in the least for they knew how I must have felt at losing a gun obtained in the way I had this one. I still have it. On its stock are cut the initials P.L.W.T., a custom quite prevalent in the army. I need hardly state how greatly I prize this relic.
I have also in my possession an officer's sword and scabbard which were presented to my sister just after the battle, by a soldier named Barney M. Kline of Company C, 55th Ohio Regiment. The scabbard must have been hit by a bullet or piece of shell, as it was almost broken off near the middle. This sword and scabbard he picked up in our orchard along the Taneytown road, which place is now embraced in the National Cemetery.

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