Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Found out more information about these prints.  I spoke with Jan Hinshaw, a relation of the two men discussed in the letter.  Jan emailed me this information:

"The letter revolves around a poignant and harrowing event that occurred to Thomas & Jacob.  There's been much written about their unfortunate experience during the Civil War [I think it could be worthy of a movie].  Thomas & Jacob, being good Quakers, but living in North Carolina in the midst of a war, refused to bear arms and stayed at home tending their farms.  But the Confederate Army forcibly conscripted them, even threatening them with execution if they did not take up arms.  They refused, even with a threat of execution, but the Confederates dragged them along to Gettysburg.  During the "fog of war" and confusion at Gettysburg, they managed to escape the Confederates, only to find themselves arrested by the Union army as spies or deserters, and taken as prisoners to Fort Delaware.  It was only through the intervention of local Pennsylvania Quakers, and their petitioning to Abraham Lincoln, and his executive order, that they were finally released.  It was unsafe for them to return to North Carolina, so the Pennsylvania Friends gave them provisions and money and helped them escape to Indiana.
They managed to get to Indiana by the fall of 1863.  When Mary Barker Hinshaw and her cousin Elizabeth Barker Hinshaw learned that their husbands were alive and in Indiana, they loaded some provisions and their four children into a covered wagon and headed westward six hundred miles across the mountains in the early fall of 1864, during the darkest days of the war.  They arrived in Indiana in the spring of 1865.

The story of Thomas & Jacob Hinshaw has been published in "Retreat from Gettysburg: Lee, Logistics, and the Pennsylvania Campaign" by Kent Masterson Brown (UNC Press, 2005), and in "Mary Barker Hinshaw, Quaker", by Seth Bennett Hinshaw (Whittier College library).  There's a briefer version of their story that I included on Thomas Hinshaw's page (above)."


In regards to the photo, I was fairly certain that these men were not the ones discussed in the letter.  Jan informed me that Quakers tended not to wear military uniforms but acknowledged that since they were conscripted they may have had to.

I took to the internet and discovered the Civil War Talk website and forum.  I joined and posted a short summary of my finding.  Relatively quickly, I was informed that the photo was probably one of the most famous Civil War photos and is knows as "The Three Prisoners at Gettysburg."  According to the author of the post and verified through multiple online resources, the photo was "taken near the Lutheran seminary and across the street from Robert E. Lee's headquarters around July 5/6 1863."

If you do a search online for "The Three Prisoners at Gettysburg," you will find plenty of information about the photo.  That appears to confirm that the photo has nothing to do with the letter, even though they are both from the Battle of Gettysburg period of the Civil War.

At this point, I have multiple inquiries to different people, including the Hinshaws about whether or not they have any interest in obtaining the framed prints.  Even though they are copies, they both tell awesome stories...perhaps worth of a movie.  Two brothers torn from their home forced into military service, dealing with issues of faith and war, present at Gettysburg, escaping only to be arrested and sent to jail, excused by the President of the United States, moving across country to be with their family! Exciting stuff.

1 comment:

  1. Jacob is my GGG grandfather. After the war his brother returned to North Carolina but Jacob remained in Indiana and was widowed but remarried his wife's sister. The men in the picture above definitly are not Hinshaws or Barkers. They did not escape but rather were left behind by the commander who constantly tried to talk Jacob into fighting and he wrote in his memoirs that after being in Pickett's Charge he finally understood and agreed that Jacob was right in his beliefs. Many of the Barkers and Hinshaws still live in Hamilton County especially in the Sheridan area.

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