What is VG? News Store Support Contact Us

Home > Exhibit > Monuments > Stephen Recker

Stephen Recker On:
Bachelder and
the GBMA

I had worked on Virtual Gettysburg for two years before it hit me that the monuments tell the story of the battle. It seem obvious now, but when I first tromped around for locations to shoot my battlefield panoramas, I was unaware that John Bachelder, veterans in tow, had spent years, actually staking out the spots where the soldiers had fought. His research, and subsequent court testimony, was the basis for the placement of many of the monuments you see today.

Bachelder became involved with the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association as a director (from 1880-81, and from 1883-94). Formed in 1864 to preserve the battlefield, the GBMA oversaw the acquisition of land as well as the erection of historical markers and monuments on its grounds. His knowledge of the battle earned Bachelder an appointment as Superintendent of Tablets and Legends; it was his responsibility to assure that all monuments contained accurate historical data.

Here are some of those rules as adopted by the GBMA July 3, 1887:

* On the front of each monument must be the number of the regiment or battery, State, brigade, division and corps, in letters not less than four inches long, and in addition thereto, the time the regiment held the position and a brief summary of any important movement it made.

* If the regiment was actively engaged, its effective strength and casualties must be given, which must agree with the official records of the War Department. If it was in reserve it should be so stated.

* If the same position was held by other troops, or if the command occupied more than one important position, the inscription should explain it.

* Any statue or figure of a soldier must be so placed as to face the enemy's line.

* The monument must be on the line of battle held by the brigade unless the regiment was detached, and if possible the right and left flanks of the regiment or battery must be marked with stones not less than two feet in height.

* If the same line was held by other troops the monuments must be placed in the order in which the several commands occupied the grounds, the first being on the first line, the second at least twenty feet in the rear of it and so on, the inscriptions explaining the movements.


* As the memorials erected upon this field will not only mark the positions held by the several commands, but will also be regimental or battery monuments, and in most instances the only ones ever erected by them, the Memorial Association strongly recommends that the inscription be not only historically accurate but be sufficient in detail to give an idea of the services of the command...

* In the years to come, when the identity of the regiment shall have been merged in the history of the battle, the visitor to this great battlefield will be interested to know just where the troops from his city or county fought and to learn something of the services rendered by them. It is therefore recommended that upon one side of the monument should be stated the part of the State from which the regiment was recruited, dates of muster in and muster out, total strength and losses during its service and the battles in which it participated.

Use our searchable monument database to view images of your favorite monuments on the Gettysburg Battlefield. Choose from hundreds of historic photographs.

We want to make Virtual Gettysburg a valuable tool in your classroom. We appreciate hearing your success stories and suggestions. Here are a few things we would like to know:

• How you are using Virtual Gettysburg in your classroom

• How we can make Virtual Gettysburg work towards meeting curriculum standards for your state or institution

• What supporting materials you would like to see

• How we can improve our website for educational use

Click here
To provide feedback, request materials, obtain more information, or to schedule a demonstration. Thank you!

What is Virtual Gettysburg | News | Store | Support | Connect | Exhibit | Gettysburg Traveler | Coming Soon | Contact Us
Battle Timeline | Confederate Currency | Guide's Bookshelf | Monuments | Photo Tradition
© 2002 Another Software Miracle, LLC. All rights reserved.