Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

So Much for Reconciliation

Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on September 9, 2011

From the New York Times, July 3, 1913:

Stabbed at Gettysburg.

Affray Over Abraham Lincoln in Crowded Hotel Dining Room.

Gettysburg, Penn., July 2. — Seven men attending the Gettysburg Battle Celebration were stabbed to-night in the dining-room of the Gettysburg Hotel in a fight which started when several men aroused the anger of an old veteran in blue by abusing Abraham Lincoln.

The wounded men were:

  • Edward J. Carroll, Sergeant of the Quartermaster’s Corps, U.S.A.
  • David Farbor of Butler, Penn., a member of the State Constabulary.
  • John D. Maugin of Harrisburg.
  • Malcolm Griffin of Bedford City, Penn.
  • Charles Susler of West Fairview, Penn.
  • Hayder Renisbecker of Gettysburg.
  • Harry A. Root, Jr., of Harrisburg.

Farbor, Maugin and Griffin are in the most serious condition. Their wounds were in the left breast, and the surgeons at the Pennsylvania State Hospital would not venture predictions as to their chance of recovery.

The fight started suddenly and was over in a few minutes. The dining room was full, and the disturbance caused a panic. The old veteran, who was unhurt and who disappeared in the melee, was sitting near Farbor and Carroll when he heard the slighting remarks about Lincoln. He jumped to his feet and began to defend the martyred President and began to berate his detractors. The men who were stabbed jumped to the defense of the veteran when the others closed in. Knives were out in a second. Women fled for the doors and crowded to the windows, ready to jump to the street.

The row was over before the rest of the men in the room could get their breath. The fight spurred the medical men again to-night to an effort to have the Gettysburg saloons closed during the remainder of the celebration.

The Constabulary later arrested a man who said he was W. B. Henry of Philadelphia on a charge of having been in the affray.

Henry said he was the son of R. R. Henry of Tazewell, Va., a General in the Confederate Army. According to witnesses, it was Henry who applied the epithet to Lincoln. The Union veteran seized a glass or bottle and threw it at Henry, who, it is alleged, drew a knife and began slashing at those nearest to him. After a fierce fight he was subdued.

H. N. Baker of Pennsylvania is said to bet [sic.] the veteran who took offense at the remarked about Lincoln. C. A. Goldthwaite of Salem, Mass. seized the knife and turned it over to the police.

The old Union soldier may have been former Private Henry N. Baker of the 9th Regiment, Pennsylvania Reserve Infantry (38th Volunteers) . The regiment was present at Mechanicsville, Malvern Hill, Second Manassas, Sharpsburg, Gettysburg and the Wilderness before being mustered out in May 1864. No Confederate General Henry appears in either Warner or Allardice, so I have no idea about that. Image: Library of Congress.

9 Responses

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  1. Harry Smeltzer said, on September 10, 2011 at 8:14 am

    Andy – activate your share buttons!

    • Andy Hall said, on September 10, 2011 at 9:07 am

      Done, thanks. Gotta open individual posts to see them, though.

  2. Brooks D. Simpson said, on September 11, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    R. R. Henry was a major in the Confederate army.

  3. Tristan said, on September 13, 2011 at 10:38 am

    Actually, in the reading, it says that Major Henry was a Brig. General in the 2nd Brigade, VA. Division of the Confederate Veterans…Maybe that’s where “General Henry” came from.

    • Andy Hall said, on September 13, 2011 at 10:54 am

      Good catch — I missed that.

      I had a relative who was very active in Confederate veteran activities, and the local UDC chapter made him an honorary colonel. He liked the title, used it for years, and when he died all the obituaries addressed him as “Colonel” So-and-so. For more than a century it was family tradition that he’d actually been a Confederate officer, because no one actually knew — just that he was referred to as “Colonel.” The truth of the matter was that his actual military rank was private, from the start of the war to the end.

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