The following thrilling incident was related to the editor of the Bradford Argus
, by B. D. Beyea
, who spent several days on the battle-field in search of the body of Captain C. H. Flagg
, who fell in that terrible fight:
In the town of Gettysburgh
lives an old couple by the name of Burns
The old man was in the war of 1812, and is now nearly seventy years of age, yet the frosts of many winters has not chilled his patriotism or diminished his love for the old flag, under which he fought in his early days.
When the rebels invaded the beautiful Cumberland Valley
, and were marching on Gettysburgh
, Old Burns concluded that it was time for every loyal man, young or old, to be up and doing all in his power to beat back the rebel foe, and if possible, give them a quiet resting-place beneath the sod they were polluting with their unhallowed feet.
The Old Hero took down an old State musket he had in his house and commenced running bullets.
The old lady saw what he was about, and wanted to know what in the world he was going to do?
, “I thought some of the boys might want the old gun, and I am getting it ready for them.”
The rebels came on. Old Burns kept his eye on the lookout until he saw the Stars and Stripes coming in, carried by our brave boys.
This was more than the old fellow could stand; his patriotism got the better of his age and infirmity — grabbing his musket he started out — the old lady hallowed to him. “Burns
, where are you going?”
, “I am going out to see what is going on.”
He immediately went to a Wisconsin regiment and asked them if they would take him in. They told him they would, and gave him three rousing cheers.
The old musket was soon thrown aside and a firstrate rifle given him, and twenty-five rounds of cart-ridges.
The engagement between the two armies soon came on, and the old man fired eighteen of his twenty-five rounds, and says he killed three rebs to his certain knowledge.
Our forces were compelled to fall back and leave our dead and wounded on the field, and Burns
having received three wounds, was left also not being able to get away.
There he lay in citizen's dress, and if the rebs found him in that condition, he knew death was his portion.
So he concluded to try strategy as his only hope.
Soon the rebels came up, and approached him, saying: “Old man, what are you doing here?”
“I am lying here wounded, as you see,” he replied.
“Well, but what business have you to be here, and who wounded you, our troops or yours?”
“I don't know who wounded me, but I only know that I am wounded and in a bad fix.”
“Well, what was you doing here — what was your business?”
“If you will hear my story, I will tell you. My old woman's health is very poor, and I was over across the country to get a girl to help her, and coming back before I knew where I was, I had got right into this fix, and here I are.”
“Where do you live?”
inquired the rebels.
“Over in town, in such a small house.”
They then picked him up and carried him home and left him. But they soon returned, as if suspecting he had been lying to them, and made him answer a great many questions, but he stuck to his old story, and they failed to make any thing out of old Burns
, and then left him for good.
He says he shall always feel indebted to some of his copperhead neighbors for the last call, for he believes some one had informed them of him. Soon after they left, a bullet came into his room and struck in the wall about six inches above where he lay on his sofa, but he don't know who fired it. His wounds proved to be only flesh wounds, and he is getting well, feels first-rate, and says he would like one more good chance to give them a rip.
Old Burns is the great hero of the battle; his home is thronged with visitors.
and many other distinguished men have called on him, and have made him valuable presents.
Now mark the contrast between Burns
, who had risked his life to save his country, and lay there on his couch wounded and bleeding from three different wounds, and his copperhead neighbors, who, no doubt, sent the rebels back to cut his throat; and if they had been the one hundredth part as mean as their sympathizers, would have done it. He has but little doubt that after the rebels left him for good, those fiends in human shape, finding the rebels had some pity for suffering humanity and spared his life, tried to kill him themselves by firing at him in his own home.