Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Searching For Gettysburg's Unknown Soldier

One of the most fascinating and long-lived subtexts to the Battle of Gettysburg is the story of Amos Humiston, the unknown soldier of the battlefield. It is a massive story even today, living on in books, tours, and stories, but was an even bigger story after the battle itself.
In brief, a body was found on the field with no identification, no regimental markings, nothing save an ambrotype of three children. The subsequent dissemination of this picture and the tremendous popular outcry to find the family of this unidentified slain warrior was as big a story on the homefront as the war would generate.
The story lives on and is the subject of a wonderful study by filmmaker Errol Morris. It's being presented in a serial format, one section per day, each day of this week, today being part III. Click here to read the first part, then you can move through each one. This is one of those incredible special pockets of our history that, when reopened, releases a staggering tale of sacrifice, tragedy, and mythmaking.