The Meade Society’s Adopted Position– Meade’s Gettysburg Headquarters the Leister House Garden Clean Up 

Our clean up is planned for Sunday October 1st, 2017.  As usual, we will meet around 10:30 and work until noon at the Leister House – then a lovely lunch before the journey home.  I hope most of you can make it – I am guessing this heat and humidity has encouraged the weeds so many hands will be needed!  Kindly let me know who can come (already on the list are Jeanne & Tom O’Toole and Ken & Jeanette).  Hoping for a beautiful, cool fall day!  Email me if you’re coming at: ginnyqop@aol.com

The Lydia Leister house on the Gettysburg battlefield holds a special significance.  Lydia was a widow of three years with six children (three older has left home, two younger still at home and one son away in the army) when the troops arrived in the little farming town of 2400 residents in July 1863.  When the battle started many residents packed up and left for a safer place to stay, as did Lydia.  Little did she know that Union commander General George Gordon Meade would use the little whitewashed house as his Headquarters and hold a council of war with other Union generals there on July 2nd 1863.  The battle lasted three days and took 51,000 casualties including wounded, missing and dead.  Most every building was used as a hospital because a substantial number of the 40,000 wounded and dead remained in this little town.  The Leister House was a hospital after the battle as well. Gettysburg was devastated.  Water was contaminated, crops ruined, livestock confiscated by hungry troops, houses and farms suffered damages.  Lydia and her neighbors struggled to restore their town.

About eight years ago The General Meade Society took over a garden restoration of the four raised garden beds at the Leister house planting herbs found in most every garden for hundreds of years, being used for culinary and medicinal purposes, via the GNMP’s Adopt-a-position program.  With an average of 15-17 volunteers we go out in spring and fall to weed, trim and plant.  As you can imagine, it is difficult to manage a garden with only two visits a season, but we do our best to keep the appearance of a working garden.  It is our privilege and pleasure to work this hallowed ground in an effort to restore it as it might have looked in 1863.

Look for our article and photos in Civil War News, August 2017, pages 46-47. – Ginny Benner