Questions to Consider
The documents on this page and in the Manuscript pages enable us to analyze the immediate outcome of the Battle of Gettysburg from the perspective of four participants: Captain William Lochren, acting commanding officer of Company K, Sergeant Matthew Marvin, Alfred Carpenter and Charles Goddard. The article in the Winona Daily Republican provides a view of the home front during this great battle and allows us to contrast the attitudes of civilians in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and Winona, Minnesota. There are other articles from the Winona newspaper which are related to these questions.
Keep in mind that Marvin and Goddard were both wounded during the famous First Regiment charge against Wilcoxs Brigade on July 2nd. On the 3rd of July they were still in harms way in a field hospital which was in range of the Confederate artillery fire which preceded Pickets Charge. Later in the day, the hospital was moved further away from the battlefield. Their letters were written in the field hospital.
(1) Goddard, Lochren and Marvin each list the casualties in Company K. Which one of them should have access to the most reliable information? Why?
(2) What might be the reasons each had for writing down the names of the killed and wounded in Company K. Who were the intended recipients of the information?
(3) Why does Charles Goddard tell his mother not to show his letter to anyone in Winona? Does he permit her to provide any information to soldiers friends who may ask about them?
(4) Captain Lochren writes that they were in the midst of a "terrible battle," while Matthew Marvin indicates that the Confederate Army is retreating. Which statement is more accurate?
(5) Which of the correspondents clearly states that the Union forces were victorious at Gettysburg?
(6) What are the reasons Marvin calls it a "gloomy fourth?" How does Marvin make clear that this day is a national holiday?
(7) Did the people of Winona know that a battle was raging in Pennsylvania. If so, on what day did they know it? You will need to do a little historical detection to answer this question. There is information on the web that enables us to know when the people of Winona knew the Battle of Gettysburg had begun.
(8 ) In the report on the Fourth of July excursion to LaCrosse, the writer indicates that there was an effort to cancel the excursion. What may be some of the reasons for that debate? Did the people of Winona know that a great battle was being fought in Pennsylvania and that many local young men were in the midst of it?
(9) Were the people on the Winona home front unsympathetic to the dangers the soldiers of Company K were facing? Were people on the home front selfish and unfeeling? What insights do these documents give you about the attitudes or perspective of the soldiers and the civilians on the home front? Were similar attitudes evident during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War? Refer to the article in the Winona Daily Republican for July 6 on the activities in Winona on the Fourth.
Note: There were 51,000 casualties in the Battle of Gettysburg July 1-3, 1863. the greatest number of casualties in any battle of the Civil War.
(10) Marcus M. Pomeroy, the Marshall of the Day for LaCrosse's 4th of July celebration, was the editor of the LaCrosse Democrat and a leading opponent of the war in the Middle West. Many considered him to be a pro-southern Democrat. Some probably considered him a Copperhead. Do you see any irony in Pomeroy greeting the Winona people?
(11) Contrast the description of the food served to the excursionists to that described by Marvin in his diary for July 3 & 4.
(12) How did the Winona soldiers characterize the people of Gettysburg? Did they differentiate between southern and northern Pennsylvanians? Were their perceptions accurate? Refer to Charles Goddard's letter(s) published in the Winona Daily Republican of July 13, 1863 and the editorial comment published July 17th. Also read Matthew Marvin's diaries. (The Goddard letter also appears in the Goddard page under Manuscripts).
(13) Joseph T. Glatthaar writes about the ordinary Union soldier's sense of accomplishment and confidence in their ability in his article, "The Common Soldier's Gettysburg Campaign." (see Bibliography) Does Alfred Carpenter's letter of November 23rd to Matthew Marvin indicate his belief that the 1st Minnesota had made a significant contribution to the outcome of the battle?