My Genealogy Hound

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, John L. Burns, Old Hero of Gettysburg, historic photos

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, John L. Burns, Old Hero of Gettysburg, historic photo

A photo view of John L. Burns, "the old hero of Gettysburg", who at the age of 69 participated as a civilian combatant in the Civil War Battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. A veteran of the War of 1812 some fifty years previously, he had sought to join the Union Army during the Civil War but was rejected due to his age. When the troops started assembling for what would be the Battle of Gettysburg on July 1, 1863, he gathered his musket rifle and powder horn and asked for permission to join the troops. He was assigned to what was thought to be a fringe area that would be unlikely to see much battle action. After fighting as a sharpshooter alongside the 7th Wisconsin Infantry and the 24th Michigan, he received several wounds and was left on the battlefield as the Union troops were forced to retreat from their position. He narrowly escaped being captured but was able to convince the advancing Confederate troops that he was a non-combatant who was caught in the battle and was finally able to crawl his way to safety.

After the Battle of Gettysburg, the story and fame of his participation in the battle grew to the point that he became known as a national hero. President Abraham Lincoln requested to meet him which he did when he traveled to the Gettysburg battlefield to deliver the Gettysburg Address on November 19, 1863.

The photo shown above was taken in July 1863, shortly after the battle as Burns was recovering from his wounds. His crutches can be seen behind him and his musket rifle is on his left side. See additional photos of John L. Burns below.

John L. Burns at his home in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, seated on the second floor porch with his crutches and musket rifle.

John L. Burns, seated on the second floor porch with his crutches and musket rifle, at his home in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
Born September 5, 1793; died February 4, 1872. Burns is buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

Statue of John L. Burns, Gettysburg National Military Park, Battle of Gettysburg

A statue of John L. Burns has been erected in his honor at the Gettysburg National Military Park by the State of Pennsylvania, near the area where he was located during the Battle of Gettysburg. Note the clinched fist and defiant posture of Burns.

View additional Civil War related vintage postcards, historic photos and images

Additional Abraham Lincoln related Historical Photos and Vintage Postcards

View additional Historic Homes of the Famous and Infamous

View additional Pennsylvania vintage postcards and historic photos

View thousands of additional historic photos and vintage postcards for other topics and locations

Use the links at the top right of this page to search or browse thousands of family biographies, vintage maps, historic photographs and vintage postcards.

Follow My Genealogy Hound on Facebook: Follow me on Facebook