2nd Manassas - Aug. 1862
The Battle of Gettysburg - Friday July 3, 1863
An Act of Mercy at the Bliss Farm

The Bliss Farm at Gettysburg
During the 2nd & 3rd days of the battle, Southern pickets fired upon their Union counterparts from the grounds of the Bliss Farm. During one of her Battlefield Walks, National Park Service Ranger Terry Latschar described an incident that occurred between these lines. She related that one Confederate soldier later reported thinking, "To be slain on the battlefield for one's country is glorious. To be wounded and left to lie helpless and in pain where bullets from friend and foe hiss in the air and to have the summer sun burning the already fevered body and the horrible thirst is pitiful in the extreme."

On Day 3 during a lull in the shooting, a Union soldier wrote that one of the Confederate pickets from Posey's brigade stood with his rifle over his shoulder and called out, "Don't fire Yanks". Several of the Union soldiers raised their guns but held. As Ms. Latschar stated, the Confederate soldier "went out into that deadly field, now quiet, took his canteen and shared his canteen and water with a Yankee wounded soldier that was lying there. It so impressed the Union line that they stood up and cheered for him. He shared what was left of his canteen, made it back to the skirmish line near the Bliss Farm, and then shouted the words, 'Get down Yanks. We're going to fire again'."

Relief from the monument of the 12th New Jersey.The Bliss Farm would change hands several times between July 2nd and 3rd before Union Brigadier General Alexander Hays of Winfield Scott Hancock's 2nd Corps had finally had enough. He would state in his official report, "On July 2, the division, moving on the Taneytown Road, arrived within about a mile of the town, where it was assigned a position on a ridge nearly parallel with the road, facing westward. A stone wall just below the crest of the hill gave much strength to the position, and an open space of half a mile in our front afforded the artillery posted on the right and left flanks a fair field for effective service. A strong line of skirmishers was thrown forward to our front, and during the day contended successfully with the enemy. Twice, at least, sorties were made from our position by the Twelfth New Jersey Volunteers, First Delaware, and Fourteenth Connecticut Regiments against a barn and house one-fourth of a mile in advance of our position, returning in each case successfully with prisoners.

The daylight of the 3d was a signal for renewed hostilities, and during the forenoon was a repetition of the practice of the previous day, excepting that their skirmishers appeared more pertinacious in their assault. About 11 a.m. an entire lull occurred, which was continued until nearly 2 p.m. Anticipating the movement of the enemy, I caused the house and barn in our front, which interrupted the fire of our artillery, to be burned." [9]