Description[Battle of Gettysburg]. John B. Bachelder Autograph Letter Signed. Four integral pages, 7.75" x 9.75", New York, January 24, 1870. John Badger Bachelder (1825-1894) began his career as an artist in 1853 and, with the outbreak if the Civil War, became obsessed with maintaining the artistic and historic record of the conflict, eventually concentrating his efforts on the battlefield of Gettysburg. He interviewed thousands of those who participated in the battle, including, in his words, 'the commanders of every regiment and battery in the Army of the Potomac." Included among those was General Thomas H. Ruger whom he is writing to thank for his "...version of the painful misapprehension on the morning of July 3d as Gettysburg. First because, as the historian of the battle, I am desirous of knowing the truth and also because your letter fully coroborates [sic] the statement of General Colgrove give me verbally."
Ruger, in his recent letter to Bachelder, has asked where he can get a map of the battlefield to which Bachelder replies: "There has never been a good one published. My Isometrical drawing of the field, sketched without measurements is very complete for general purposes and has the approval of all military men who have seen it..You will see that I am making the history of the battle, in all it [sic] details, a permanent business. I have been considerably determined in the preparation of the history, but hope now to give it more attention." Slight separation at the intersection of the folds, but with no loss of text. Also at the right edge of the horizontal fold of page one. Folds are toned. Ink smudging in places.
In 1869 Bachelder commissioned noted artist James Walker to create the monumental painting "Battle of Gettysburg: The Repulse of Longstreet's Assault" and in 1873 wrote and published the first guide book for the battlefield. The remainder of his life was dedicated to documenting and memorializing the battle, and he was responsible, more than any other man, for the placing of tablets and monuments, as well as the establishment of Gettysburg as a national military park.
Thomas H. Ruger (1833-1907), reenlisted in the volunteer army with the outbreak of the Civil War where he saw action at the Battle of Antietam and led troops at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. He remained in the regular army after the war and was breveted brigadier general for his actions at Gettysburg.
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