A Civil War
Company K, 1st Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment
Gettysburg July 1-4, 1863
Winona County Historical Society
This journal will present the battle of Gettysburg
July 1-3, 1863 and its aftermath in the words of the men from Winona County's Company K
who were at the center of this decisive battle of the Civil War. Letters written by Alfred Carpenter, Jane Ely (mother of Charles) Charles
Ely, Charles Goddard, William
Lochren, and Matthew Marvin as well as a lengthy account of the
battle by Alfred Carpenter and portions of Mathew Marvin's Diary are transcribed from the
original manuscripts. The original letters and manuscripts are located in the History
Center, Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, Minnesota and the Archives, Winona County
Historical Society, Winona, Minnesota. Brief biographies of the authors of the letters are
included with, in some cases pictures, in the Manuscript Section of this web site. Also
included in this journal are contemporary official documents and reports on the battle;
newspaper articles; photographs and drawings; and 19th and 20th
century articles on the First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment's role in this great
The primary objective of this journal is educational. We
believe that primary sources provide the best evidence for analyzing and understanding
historical events. Original sources are difficult to obtain and often too fragile to
handle. The Web offers the opportunity for students (of all ages) easier access to
original documents and sources. To assist students to focus on the documents and to relate
them or put them in perspective we are including questions which will guide students in
their study of this micro-history of the Battle of Gettysburg.
The letters and diaries that make up a significant portion
of this site are transcribed from the original handwritten documents. Our goal is to
transcribe these documents verbatim. In some cases we were unable to determine a word or
phrase, this is signified by an ellipsis . . . in cases where we were not sure of a word
or phrase our best opinion/guess is included in brackets [best /opinion guess].
This site is divided into an introductory "page"
on Winona and six "pages" which tell the story of the men of Company K at the
Battle of Gettysburg and conclude with Charles Goddard's search for the company and the
First Regiment in New York City. The story is told through primary sources, letters,
diaries, newspaper articles, photographs and reports. Additional pages beyond the
"story" are: Winona 1851-1861; Road to Gettysburg; 1st Minnesota and 20th Maine
and a Manuscript page which contains letters and diary entries as well as the complete
letters and reports which were excerpted in the story. There are also additional letters,
diary entries and newspaper articles.
Each page deals with one subject, for example, July 2
focuses on the famous First Regiment charge which occurred at dusk on that day and was one
of the major contributions to the Union victory. The unhesitating charge of these 262 men
against an enemy force which outnumbered them three to one is certainly comparable to the
magnificent work of the 20th Maine in its ultimate significance. The sub-pages cover
this action as seen by historians, participants and the official records. Not all of the
work on this page is complete at this time.
The July 4th page is complete. It briefly describes the
situation on the battlefield and then through eyewitness accounts and reports. A story in
the local paper describing a July 4th outing raises a number of issues, in particular the
apparent contrast between the home front (in Gettysburg and Winona) and the battlefront.
Questions for consideration are offered to guide the student's study of the topic(s). More
evidence on these issues is found (or soon will be) in the manuscript pages. The
manuscript pages contain the complete reports excerpted in the individual pages e.g.
Alfred Carpenter's long letter describing the battle, written on July 30th. These pages
contain many letters and newspaper articles not used in the individual pages. References
are made in some questions to assist students in finding the location of the appropriate
Note: This site is still under construction. New material
will be added as soon as it is prepared.
A Site Map is included to assist in navigation through the
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Comments, Questions, Complaints:
© 1998 Winona County Historical Society,160
Johnson Street, Winona, Mn 55987