Gettysburg Seminar Papers


E.B. Cope and the Gettysburg National Military Park
by Thomas L. Schaefer

So who was he and what did he do at Gettysburg?

Questions like these naturally arise when scanning a list of "The Unsung Heroes of Gettysburg." And a certain skepticism about the propriety of E. B. Cope's inclusion on this list might also naturally arise when reading that he was one of Brigadier General Gouvenor K. Warren's topographical assistants and that, most probably, he never fired a shot while on the field.

Then what on earth makes Cope a hero?

I suppose one may reasonably challenge the premise that Cope is an unsung hero, especially when combatants like brigade commander George Sears Greene and artillerist John Bigelow have yet to receive the full attention due them. And I suppose one may also question if Cope's contributions were truly as noteworthy as those of the 2nd Virginia's ever-fluid skirmish line who kept units of two Union corps in check, or of George Doles' very attentive file closers who drove their companies to a stunning victory on 1 July. Succinctly, yes Cope's contributions were that noteworthy. We merely need to expand our concept of what a hero is and then be willing to explore some different perspectives.

Emmor Bradley Cope
(Chester County (NY) Historical Society)

We will find that Emmor Bradley Cope was a multi-faceted person whose contributions at Gettysburg were numerous and diverse, for Cope essentially directed the physical creation of the Gettysburg National Military Park. He designed significant elements of its landscape and its infrastructure (i.e. walls, gun carriages, monuments, towers, etc.); and as we drive the roads Cope helped create and view the spaces we struggle to understand, we should be aware that Cope's work and persona shaped nearly all of what we respond to viscerally, spiritually, and academically. Perhaps we cannot really understand "what they did here" until we understand what Cope and the Battlefield Commission did here. And that is this essay's gist.

After examining some philosophical and theoretical issues, I'll outline Cope's background, describe some of his contributions and interweave some perspectives of what it all might mean to us and to the continuing study of the battle. We'll first see Cope as a symbol, then as a man; and as his life, talents, and efforts become evident, I trust you will embrace E. B. Cope as one of Gettysburg's truly unsung heroes, and that as a student of the field, you will be persuaded to attach more significance to the phrase "what on earth" and be encouraged to "see" Gettysburg in a different, more holistic, or inclusive manner.

We first need to understand the type of hero Cope was, before we can fully appreciate the significance of his actions. We can also then appreciate that Cope can serve as a symbol of us all, and as such, he is linked to hallowed ground which is significant to us all. (Even Abraham Lincoln once had a few words to say about that.)

Our sense of what heroes are - especially ones with military association - is usually derived from the classical models: heroes are mythic demi-gods possessing great strength; they are cunning and courageous, and are nobel, fearless, and worthy of worship. Heroes like these can be easily named. They include Hercules, George Washington, John Wayne, and, more recently, Joshua L. Chamberlain, colonel of the now-famous 20th Maine, and featured figure in Michael Shaara's novel, The Killer Angels and Ted Turner's movie "Gettysburg."

When we broaden our vision of heroes to include Noah Webster's third definition, we find they can be "any person admired for his qualities or achievements and regarded as an ideal or model." [1] If we were to further expand our vision by probing into the anthropological and philosophical meaning of heroes, we would quickly find ourselves confronted by a host of figures evoking complex meanings and values; and that would pull us toward somewhat esoteric issues like being (ontology) and transcendence (metaphysics). [2] And while that is no place to journey when writing about a topographic engineer, it is necessary for us to take a few steps down that path, for ultimately, I would like you to view Cope as an heroic symbol called Everyman who toiled within the broader context of one of America's most famous and most studied symbolic landscapes.

The French philosopher Albert Camus addressed Cope's variety of heroism (Webster's third definition) in his essay on the eternal strivings of the Greek mythological figure Sisyphus. Camus viewed Sisyphus as Everyman - that composite individual who embodies all that is typical of and all that is experienced within the human condition. Many of you have seen Sisyphus' trials transformed into a desk ornament for over-burdened people. Sisyphus was an impudent individual who defied the gods and was therefore sentenced to an eternity spent pushing a huge boulder up a huge mountain, only to have it roll from his grasp a few feet from the summit. (We've all experienced frustrations like that, haven't we?) Camus labeled Sisyphus the "proletarian of the gods" (he meant "working class stiff") and drearily noted "the workman of today works every day in his life at the same tasks." [3]

It is not my intent to classify Cope's heroism as drudgery, but rather to illustrate its type while also providing a point of perspective concerning its duration and endurance. For instance, at Gettysburg heroic events in the classic sense are mostly measured in seconds, minutes, or hours, i.e. the mortally wounded Alonzo Cushing firing one more canister charge into Pickett's men, the 1st Minnesota's desperate plunge into Wilcox's overwhelming numbers, or the hellish fighting on Culp's Hill that raged for more than six hours. [4] In comparison, we will find that E. B. Cope's actions at Gettysburg spanned decades, and he was heroically consistent in their execution.

If we now appreciate that Cope's persona - the total of all that he was - consisted of elements of Everyman and Sisyphus blended together with his innate characteristics and abilities, and that his type of heroism is grounded upon the premise that the actions of talented, yet common people can be elevated to noble standards through skill, the striving for excellence, and unflagging effort, then we may next identify exactly what it was at Gettysburg that Cope did. Like much in life, the answer is simultaneously simple and complex. But, basically, E. B. Cope devoted more than thirty years (1893 - 1927) to overseeing the creation of a great American symbol.

As we know, symbols are things within a culture that are commonly understood to represent or "stand for" something else. Our culture is filled with them, including the Statue of Liberty, Valley Forge, and the U.S.S. Arizona. [5] Arguably, Gettysburg is the Civil War's most widely recognized symbolic place; and while Ft. Sumter and Appomattox - where the war started and ended - are also very symbolic, it is to Gettysburg that visitors flock by the millions. Because such numbers do come to "see" and to "experience" Gettysburg, we really should be conscious of its many symbolic aspects, for most who are drawn here because of its aura leave the place believing that the landscape they've seen and driven across is the actual battlefield. [6]

But wait a minute, that is the battlefield!

Well, no actually it isn't. What we see at Gettysburg is a symbolic landscape that was created within a military park. On the face of it, all of that should be obvious, except that this reality often escapes us because battlefield, park, and symbol have become so thoroughly blurred. [7] This transformation has actually taken a great deal of time, but it started soon after the firing stopped. Even as the debris of war was being gathered and as farmers were tearing down breastworks and artillery lunettes to reclaim their farmland and fence rails, the battlefield was being altered. [8] David McConaughy, writing as early as July and August, 1863, decried those changes as he and a few others struggled to begin their own transformative process to memorialize and preserve the field. [9] It is significant for us to know that everything we perceive as battlefield - all that we see while driving along Hancock and Confederate Avenues and all that we take in from Little Round Top's summit - is now a symbolic representation of what we think it to have been in 1863. Everything.

Now perhaps it is not the worst of things that most visitors drive by "The Copse of Trees" at the High Water Mark and believe it to be "the" copse of trees, for most are truly effected by the stories of the 3rd July struggle these trees help signify. [10] The great dilemma arises when visitors and students of the battle try to interpret, or "see" the copse as it was in 1863. The copse did not look as it does now. It was smaller. "But by how much? Was the copse of sufficient size to actually function as an artillery and infantry aiming point? How badly was the copse damaged? How well did this tree cover serve to protect the defenders or impede the attackers?" These are just some of the most basic questions that arise when we attempt to really see 1863 but find our vision blurred by the symbols. [11]

We can begin to appreciate that if we actually want to understand the battle rather than simply move across its field from symbol to symbol, we really need to know as much as we can about the field's original appearance; but the unknown variables we especially need to explore involve knowing how much throughout the intervening decades the field has been altered, as well as when, why, and by whom. I will close this essay with an example of that issue.

Thus far we have identified E. B. Cope as an heroic figure and gained a philosophical understanding of the type of heroism his figure exemplifies: a talented, common man doing essentially common things but with remarkable skill, exacting quality, and duration. As a symbol of Everyman, we see Cope's heroism linked to the creation of one of America's most significant symbolic landscapes: the Gettysburg National Military Park - which, itself, is a focal point commemorating the heroic efforts of countless common people. We have also learned that all that we know as battlefield has, in fact, been altered from its 1863 appearance, and that in order to truly understand the battle, we need to understand the field's alterations.

As we begin to learn of Cope as a person, we'll first explore, of all things, a musical metaphor.

The reference is to "Ein Heldenleben", Richard Strauss' last great tone poem. "A Hero's Life" depicts the actions and reactions of a great figure reflecting upon life's victories and tribulations. Assuredly, E. B. Cope was not Strauss' model, for his life was far from grandiose. But the point here is that Cope's life wasn't the model for "Symphonia Domestica" either! In "A Domestic Symphony" Strauss relates the ups and downs of a bourgeois man's family throughout a typical day. Now, due to the nature of the few writings assembled about Cope to date, he's usually been portrayed as a dour, pedantic figure who "got the job done", and as a good family man who was a nice, but a rather boring, chap. We'll find Cope to be far more interesting than his stereotype (and as Everyman, how could he not be?)

To close this metaphor, Cope's life, like Strauss' orchestration, was rich, full, fluid, and colorfully complex. Also, please liken what is presented here to a biographical overture rather than a detailed tone poem, for just as the overture of a musical or an opera introduces themes and motifs that will be developed throughout a larger work, so this writing serves to provide a range of information and ideas that truly require a larger work to do Cope's life full justice. He deserves a tone poem's worth of attention. [12]

Emmor Bradley Cope was born 23 July, 1834, the eldest of ten children born to Edge Taylor and Mary Bradley Cope. [13] Named for his mother's father, Emmor Bradley (1777 - 1837), he came into the world at his family's homestead, a sizeable, 2-1/2 story, five-bay stone farmhouse, banked into a slope near the picturesque, historic Brandywine Creek. [14] His home formed part of Copesville, a small collection of residential, agricultural, and milling and manufacturing structures that straddled the township lines of East and West Bradford in Chester County, Pennsylvania. Copesville may still be found on the old Strasburg Road (Route 162) approximately two miles west of West Chester. With a broad, stone-arched bridge built in 1807 near his front lane and the fresh flowing Brandywine by his yard's edge, his childhood setting was both idyllic and industrial, and bucolic and bustling; for Copesville was a busy milling and factory site throughout most of the nineteenth century. [15]

The Copesville Copes were a branch of a prominent Quaker family of strong lineage. Their English origins can be traced to Wiltshire in the West Country and to the reign of Richard II (1377 - 1399). The family's American fountainhead was Oliver Cope, who came to Pennsylvania in 1682 with William Penn. The Copes were very active as merchants and financiers but were also successful in other areas. One of E. B.'s distant cousins, Edward Brinker Cope, was "an eminent scientist", while other English cousins were artists elected to the Royal Academy. [16] E. B. and his siblings formed part of the seventh generation of Copes who lived and generally prospered in the greater Philadelphia region; and he and his younger brothers, Ezra and Edge T., would become the third generation of their family's branch to harness the Brandywine's waters to make their living.

Grandfather Ezra (1783 - 1840) was the first of the family to take over what had been known as the "Buffington old tilt mill property". He had an aptitude for more than milling. As a mechanic and inventor, he secured a U. S. patent in 1825 for an improved grain cutter called the Buckeye Mowing Machine which he also produced. Ezra Cope was very active in county politics, having been both Treasurer and Commissioner; and as a civic leader, in 1827 he was a charter member of the Chester County Athenaeum. [17] Though he was mechanically adept, there is some evidence that his skills did not extend to business management, and finally, in 1837, he lost title to his foundry. [18] Presumably the Brandywine Works, as the business was then called, was recovered by the family, for E. B.'s father ruled the operation for more than forty years.

Edge T. Cope (1810 - 1886) inherited his father's drive and skills but also possessed far better business sense. The local papers were liberally sprinkled with advertisements and notices for his new agricultural items, like corn shellers, chums, clover mills and hoop making machines. Cope expanded his production range (and certainly his profits) by receiving contracts to produce "switches, chairs, bridge bolts, car wheels, and axles" for the emerging Pennsylvania Railroad. [19] He, too, was active politically and served for many years as his township's Judge of Elections. [20] We have one other insight into his life which, I believe, may have some bearing on understanding E. B.'s own business and military careers: Edge T. was not afraid to speak up, especially on behalf of his family.

The inkling for this opinion comes to light in an incident where, "H. L. of Syracuse, N. Y." criticized the capabilities of the family-designed mowing machines. [21] Edge T.'s vehement response in the June, 1858 issue of the American Agriculturist: follows:

. . . if he thinks he has a machine that will beat either, in any respect all he has to do is to come to Chester Co. near West Chester, and I will be ready to give him trial, in any kind of grass - and let the farmers be the judges; we have some of the tall grass in Chester Co. - and heavy too. I will mow with him in lodged clover as well as in straight timothy [22]

Rhetoric of that sort was common then, but Cope's challenge was clear, and it was issued in a respected periodical that circulated nearly nationally. Perhaps there was an "edge" to Edge T. More descriptions of his demeanor are found in a pair of obituaries:

"As a workman the deceased has few superiors, and sent out from his shops a fine lot of work men. He was very careful of his apprentices, and almost invariably took them into his own family." The second states that the:

Deceased was recognized as one of the most active and useful citizens in East Bradford, and indeed his business and career won for him the confidence and respect of all with whom he came into contact . . . His deportment was marked by uniform kindness and urbanity . . . it may be properly said that one of the most highly esteemed men of Chester County has passed from amongst us, whose place it will be difficult to fill. [23]

It may also be properly said that the person most likely expected to fill Edge T.'s place, and the person most probably bred to fill that place was E. B. Cope. I believe we may presume that to be true, especially given that he was an eldest son living in an era when primogeniture was still an important social and economic dynamic. And therefore, because so little of E. B.'s private life is actually able to be documented, it has been doubly important for us to review his forbearers' lives so that, at the least, we can understand something of the role models he was most likely expected to emulate. [24]

What is documented of his childhood suggests that E. B. attended "locally run private schools" and that he possessed an interest in and a talent for art. (One of his Gettysburg home's prized objects was a picture of George Washington on horseback "which he painted when he was twelve years old.") [25] All else must be inferred from what we gauge his circumstances to have been: he was not "boarded" away at school, nor did he attend any post-secondary institution - nor perhaps even a high school; his home and the many buildings that gave his family their livelihood and much of their status were but a few yards apart. It is reasonable to presume that his schooling (which may have been quite sound) was meshed with an official or unofficial apprenticeship to his father's trades. Moreover, E. B. was probably in and out of the mill and factories from his earliest years. As we will find, E. B. certainly possessed the aptitude and abilities to master milling, machining, and manufacturing, and his father (who most likely held high standards) thought enough of him to later bring him into the business. We can only speculate as to the nature of E. B.'s relationship with his father, but we can be certain that familial and economic circumstances mandated that it was a constantly interactive one.

In attempting to form a sense of Cope's early life, we may well be correct in picturing him as dutiful, intelligent, good with his hands, and very mechanically adept. But we cannot overlook his artistic side - for he maintained those interests throughout his very long life, so we also need to picture E. B. as creative, sensitive, expressive, adept at transforming 3-D images into 2-D renderings (i.e. taking a real or a "made up" subject and painting or drawing it in a recognizable manner; or in other words - being able to transform the conceptual into something tangible - and that is exactly what he would do at Gettysburg!), while also possessing an appreciation for color, light, and composition.

Most certainly, E. B.'s interests and talents were diverse, and that is worth remembering, for now that we've developed a sense of Cope's heritage - essentially where he came from - and charted the pathway he was most likely destined to follow, we will discover that he chose to veer 180 degrees from that course. On 4 June, 1861, Emmor Bradley Cope turned away from his heritage, left his family and his father's business, and - as a seventh generation Quaker - went off to war. One certainly wonders why? [26]

E. B. Cope most likely enlisted for one of or a combination of the reasons any man enlisted: patriotic zeal, political or moral convictions; a chance to leave home, see the world, prove oneself; a relief from problems or boredom; or simply because it seemed the thing to do, or that someone whose opinion mattered said it was the thing to do.

He entered the service as part of Pennsylvania's second great wave of volunteers. His unit, the Brandywine Guards, was West Chester's local militia company. They formed as Company A, 30th Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry (First Pennsylvania Reserves) on 9 June, 1861. Cope enlisted as a private, or more likely a corporal, but was promoted (elected) to sergeant within his first week in camp. [27] His regiment's encampment, Fort Wayne, was located at the town's southern end. It was established through the efforts of another Chester County resident - Major General George A. McCall. [28]

Whatever Cope's reasons, he must have been highly motivated to enlist for he was no teenaged farmboy without commitments. His circumstances were as follows: he was twenty-five and older than most of his unit; [29] most likely he was engaged, for he married Miss Isabella L. Spackman a month later (11 July, 1861) in a Quaker ceremony at the local meeting house; [30] he was a skilled "machinist" and "manufacturer of machinery" who was integral to his father's business; [31] and finally, it has been our conventional understanding that he enlisted against his family's wishes and that he was the only Cope to do so. [32]

The irony here is that even though running off to war was a fairly conventional thing for a fellow to do in 1861, given Cope's religious, familial, and economic circumstances, it was, for him, a very unconventional thing! His decision certainly demonstrates the strength of his sense of individuality, and it may also suggest where he felt his duty must lie. His election as sergeant is evidence that he was known, liked, and trusted by his neighbors, but that he did not hold the political or social wherewithal to be an officer. Indeed, his sergeancy does beg the question of his pre-war association with the Guards, for it does seem unlikely that they would elect someone to such a position from outside of their membership. It is an issue that merits further investigation, as does Cope's pre-war relationship with General McCall. It is highly possible, especially through his father's connections, that E.B. and McCall knew each other. This relationship, with others, proved to be an important strand in the network that helped get Cope transferred to the topographical corps.

McCall, who was born in Philadelphia, had graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1822. He served in the regular army until 1855, having seen action in both the Seminole and Mexican Wars. Two years after his retirement he moved to Belair, an estate approximately one mile north of West Chester. Governor Andrew Curtin appointed him a military advisor at the war's outbreak, and on 15 May, 1861, gave him command of the Pennsylvania Reserve Corps, which would comprise fifteen regiments. [33]

General McCall held Cope's company in high esteem and detailed them as his headquarters guard. When the Reserves were transferred to Washington, D.C., the Brandywine Guards served him daily while also learning to be soldiers. They must, at least, have looked the part, for on 23 September during a review held for France's Prince de Joinville, McCall took special pride in pointing them out to Major General George B. "Little Mac" McClellan, [34] E.B. may not have been present to receive that particular praise, for he had been wounded a month earlier - not by a Sesech raider, but by one of his own comrades. The incident's details are vague, but Alfred Rupert, one of his company who was eventually promoted to first lieutenant, wrote of it to his brother, "Sergeant Cope is better [.] getting along very well [.] his father and mother came down in the next train after you left. . .Cope intends going home for a few weeks until he gets over [his] wound, the ball can't be found but the doctor says it will do him no harm." [35]

It is possible that E.B. won the dubious distinction of being the first in his company to be gun shot. We may presume he carried that ball with him throughout the war and to his grave - sixty-six years later. But Cope also carried other things with him into the service: ambition and talent.

The writings of others in his regiment narrate the fairly typical experiences common to all the units such as his who were in training around Washington. Drills and reviews are mentioned but most accounts suggest a fairly boring routine. Cope soon found an avenue to more exciting duties, for on 20 September, 1861, he was "detached for special duty at Division Head Quarters" by General McCall's request. [36] His work there is unspecified, but it allowed him to move in higher circles than most Quaker sergeants. He did have time to indulge his artistic talents for he produced a woodcut likeness of General McCall that was incorporated onto the general's headquarters envelopes. The image surely pleased McCall, and the image also demonstrates that Cope had a better than average grasp of the art of woodcutting and perhaps even of engraving. [37] By spring, 1862, E.B. had moved to another duty. Perhaps because of his penchant, or interest, in mechanical devices, he was attached to Battery C, 5th United States Artillery, per McCall's Order #74. He spent at least two months there, and it was during this assignment that Cope's star began to rise. [38]

Carrying on his family's gift for inventing things, Cope sent a letter to the Honorable Edward McPherson (yes, of Gettysburg's McPherson's Ridge) informing him of an interesting device he'd just worked out which would, he thought, be highly useful in determining artillery ranges from a fixed baseline using a form of scaled triangulation. It seemed to give a higher degree of accuracy than the standard drop-leaf tangent sight employed by artillerymen to register their fire. [39] As per McPherson's actions, the plans for the device were forwarded to Secretary of War, Edward Stanton. [40] The device itself looked much like a footed T-square with a sliding gauge which was then connected to a similar piece by a one hundred yard chain. A good eye and a sense of basic geometry were all that was required to employ Cope's invention. This object's fate is unknown, but it certainly did not find its way into the Union's field artillery chests. Most likely, its best use was for ranging targets in siege or fixed fortification situations - or perhaps in quickly establishing distances in certain map-making exercises.

Cope participated in all of the Army of the Potomac's campaigning throughout the spring and summer of 1862, although his specific actions remain unclear. But as his talents became more widely recognized at the proper levels, he was eventually granted his request to become part of the army's engineering corps. His transfer became effective 30 December, 1862 when he was "assigned to extra duty as mechanic, and will be ordered to report to the Chief of Topographical Engineers Army of the Potomac." [41] As an assistant to the Corps' topographical parties, E.B. would receive an additional 40¢ per day. [42]

We may assume that E.B.'s training as a topographer was on-the-job; but we may also assume that he was a fast learner for he was already a strong draftsman and he was precise, intelligent, and he thrived around mechanical instruments and on problem solving. He was just the sort to be involved in topographical work.

Cope's first opportunity to display his abilities came when he was assigned by General Warren to lead a work party to survey the Antietam Battlefield. [43] This assignment would be well completed, but as we will read shortly, it caused him some real consternation.

By the 1863 campaign season's start, Cope had become an integral member of the topographical engineers; but as his duties expanded, one discrepancy arose: most men detailed to do major topographical work were commissioned officers while E.B. remained a First Sergeant. Cope wasn't shy about calling upon favors as is evidenced in a letter from Attorney General Edward Bates to General Warren in which Bates speaks of "my young friend, E.B. Cope" in glowing terms and heartily requests that Warren push his promotion, for Cope had written to him "stating his strong desire for promotion" and felt that good words from Warren would clinch the deal. [44] Warren responded the following day and described Cope to Bates as being "one of my most efficient and useful assistants" and that "I have so much desired his advancement as to speak of him with Governor Curtin, as being most worthy of it." [45] But, as with working through any bureaucracy, one's intentions may be good, but the wheels and cogs usually grind slowly, and they certainly did in the case of Cope's promotion. It was often the situation that special duty men were required to pay for items and services directly and then submit their bills for reimbursements. Cope's extra 40¢ per day didn't always suffice, and so his lack of a commission became a real issue. But in early June, 1863, as the Army of the Potomac started north to blunt Robert E. Lee's plans for a second invasion of Maryland and Pennsylvania, the issue of one topographical sergeant's finances was deemed inconsequential.

Ironically, almost nothing is known about E.B. Cope's actions during the Battle of Gettysburg, but as previously stated, his heroic relationship with the field is a result of actions that transpired long after the fighting ended. General Gouvenor K. Warren's accounts mention many of his staff but contain nothing of Cope. Presumably he was on the field, and presumably he was doing something, but just what remains speculative. It is unlikely that he played a role in Warren's now famous reconnoitering actions on Little Round Top (LRT) during the afternoon of 2 July, and it would be futile to guess as to his whereabouts. To date, there is but one citation mentioning Cope at Gettysburg and it is an anticdotal account from one of the 155th Pennsylvania Infantry stationed on LRT. While it does place Cope and Warren together on the hill, it does so on 5 July.

"Before daylight on the 5th Meade and all his staff were awake and alert for action. General Warren, accompanied by Captain E.B. Cope, A.D.C., was dispatched to make observations of the enemy's movements from Little Round Top as soon as daylight would allow a view.

There, surrounded by the men of Weed's Brigade, still fast asleep in their water-soaked blankets, Warren, with his powerful field glasses, made important observations which caused him for confirmation to ride to the advanced picket lines of Wright's division of the Sixth Corps. This division then occupied the Peach Orchard, the scene of the great fight of the Third Corps on July 2nd. Warren then made a personal reconnaissance across the picket line and out along the Emmitsburg Road and found all the positions of the enemy deserted, and that Lee's entire army and trains had, under cover of darkness and of the heavy rains, retreated during the night. Warren, on this discovery, rejoined Captain Cope on Little Round Top and at once, representing Meade, delivered to General Sedgwick orders to have the Sixth Corps, then in reserve, immediately to march in pursuit of the retreating Confederate Army. On Warren's reporting the retreat of Lee's army, General Meade dispatched his cavalry in pursuit." [46]

It was during the weeks following the battle that Cope's real association with Gettysburg began. General Warren assigned him the responsibility of assembling the first comprehensive topographical map of the field. This he did, mainly on horseback, within a period of a week or so. Warren was so pleased with its quality he even cited Cope's work on the margin of what we now call the Warren Survey, and it is this document that has served as the base-line cartographic source for all battlefield surveys from 1868 to the present. Warren wrote:

"This is a photograph from a map mainly made by Major (then Sergeant) E.B. Cope of my force (while the Chief Engineer of the Army of the Potomac) and under my direction. It is valuable as showing how a good topographer can represent a field after a personal reconnaissance. It was mostly made from horseback sketches based upon the map of Adams County, Pa." [47]

Essentially, Cope estimated and drew in hatchured lines (a standard map making symbol) to denote the field's physical features and elevations. His high standard of performance set precedence for all subsequent mapping on the field. It was his first great contribution to Gettysburg, and yet his actions were simply that of an ordinary, yet talented man completing a relatively ordinary task (at least for map-makers) but doing the task exceedingly well. Surely, his actions were those of an heroic Everyman.

While at Gettysburg, E.B. was visited by his father and related to him the dilemma which arose as a result of his Antietam assignment. Cope had put the last touches on his Antietam map while still working at Gettysburg. He then sent it off to Washington via one of his assistants who, upon arriving at the War Department, promptly took credit for drawing the map himself! As his reward, he was given a discharge and hired on staff as a civilian topographical assistant - at the rate of $4.00 per day. Cope was crestfallen, but did not press the point, although his father certainly did in a letter that clamored for his son to be promoted. He pointed out the unfairness of his son's situation and also plead that he had a family to support and that "the paltry pay" of a sergeant just wasn't sufficient. The most telling information that Cope's father related is the long list of people who had recommended E.B. for a commission. Impressively, it included Warren, McCall, Attorney General Bates, his regiment's colonel and three congressmen. [48]

E.B. Cope was finally promoted to captain and Aide-de-Camp on Warren's staff on 20 April, 1864. [49] Details of his subsequent service are also spotty, but we can assume that he became a trusted member of Warren's entourage. Much of his time was spent in leading surveying parties for the Atlas to the Official Records lists him as the mapping authority for: Boydton Plank Road, Va; Hatcher's Run, Va; North Anna River, Va; Spotsylvania Court House, Va; and Wilderness, Va. He is also listed as the Senior Engineer for: Bristoe Station, Va; Chancellorsville Campaign; and Gettysburg, Pa. The many letterbooks found within the Warren Collection at the New York State Library are liberally sprinkled with additional Cope-made sketches and diagrams. They show a high degree of clarity and a sense of style and detail that would become integral to the many maps Cope would produce in his later years as the Gettysburg National Military Park's first topographical engineer. (A fully cataloged collection of Cope's maps would make a fascinating project.) As Cope's relationship with Warren developed, he was further entrusted with the responsibilities of any regular staff officer: there were messages to relate, orders to force into action, and tempers and egos to soothe at all times (and there was much of that to do in the Army of the Potomac in late 1864-65!)

As the opposing armies locked onto each other and combat became a daily routine, the dense Virginia landscape caused tremendous problems for both staff and line officers. The few dozen messages that exist between Cope and Warren certainly illustrate Cope's ability to observe, infer, and communicate clearly; yet as in any conflict, there existed certain situations that defied all reason and befuddled those on both sides. Cope found himself in the middle of just such a muddle in the dense woods near Hatcher's Run, southwest of Petersburg, Va. General Warren related the story in his report to Adjutant General Williams; the action took place in a light rain around 4:45 a.m.:

the enemy became so bewildered in these woods that upwards of 200 of them strayed into General Crawford's line and were captured. Some of these men before [captured] three of our ambulances a mile in rear of General Crawford. Six of them captured Captain Cope of my staff but finding themselves in our lines gave up to him and he brought them in. [50]

Picture that! Even though now an officer, E.B. was still plagued by financial troubles. In the following instance, General Warren attempted to intercede on Cope's behalf. On 29 October, 1864 he wrote,

Captain Cope tells me that the order he had for making the surveys at Gettysburg was insufficient to enable him and party to recover expenses incurred. It was written by Captain Paine according to my orders as I had a great deal to do at the time. I now send the order signed by myself on my endorsement to Captain Paine's order for you to use in settling the account. If you do not feel authorized to pay the amount on this, please return the paper to Captain Cope with your reasons, and I will send them to Major Woodruff for payment. [51]

One wonders if the reimbursement ever got through.

With the resignation of Washington Roebling on 21 January, 1865, a major's commission opened on Warren's staff. [52] (Roebling, by the way, was Warren's brother in law and the man responsible for completing the Brooklyn Bridge.) Warren was prompt to nominate E.B. Cope for the promotion. And four days later, the War Department was equally prompt in announcing that they had no paperwork for Cope's promotion. [53] While we can assume the papers were eventually located - for Cope was promoted to major - no one (including Cope) has any recollection of the effective date.

In his role as senior Aide-de-Camp, Cope was drawn even more intimately into Warren's actions, and he was in the thick of things at the Battle of Five Forks which proved to be General Warren's downfall. Accused by General Philip Sheridan of being dilatory and of not following orders, Warren was chosen to be the scapegoat for many of the Army of the Potomac's bungles and crossed messages that abounded during the war's last weeks. Warren was relieved of command, and he would spend much of the rest of his life seeking vindication.

Major Cope had his own troubles at Five Forks. He and his orderly had spent many hours reconnoitering and checking troop movements, and they were dead tired. After a short night's sleep they set off to find Warren's command. In riding toward the Gravelly Run Church, Cope missed a turn and headed directly to Five Forks, getting within six hundred yards of the site. In his advance, he passed through his own line of cavalry videttes. They did not bother to tell him they were the last outpost, so Cope rode directly into the Confederate pickets who promptly shot his horse from under him. He and his orderly made a hasty escape. [54] Major Cope, now horseless, took the liberty to "borrow" another animal from one of his headquarters friends who was on temporary duty elsewhere. The friend was Charles Reed, formally of the 9th Massachusetts Battery, which did such remarkable service near the Trostle house during Gettysburg's second afternoon of mayhem. In a letter to his mother, Reed complained that Cope had "used up" his horse "with hard riding"; but as the war finally came to a close and the victorious Army of the Potomac moved back toward Washington, he and Cope "took turns" riding the beast so as not to jade him further. [55]

By the war's end Emmor Bradley Cope had risen from a corporal of infantry to a major and senior-Aide-de-Camp in the headquarters of one of the Union Army's more active and more controversial generals. He served in the ranks, he worked with artillery, and he displayed his artistic and inventive flairs in many ways. He became a master topographer, a trusted staff member and, most likely, a confidant to Warren. Throughout it all, his work was excellent, his character noteworthy, and his sense of detail unflagging. For all this and more, General Warren recommended Cope for a brevet, or honorary promotion, to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, "for gallant conduct in Battle of Five Forks in which he had a horse killed under him." [56] This brevet was eventually awarded, and I believe it pleased E.B. Cope tremendously. He had gone off to war to answer his own inner calling, he returned whole, and carried with him the knowledge that he had done well and that others recognized the fact and appreciated his efforts. Ever the stickler for detail, Cope travelled from Washington to the Headquarters of the Department of the Mississippi in Vicksburg where Warren had been "reassigned" following his Five Forks troubles - simply to get the proper signature for his discharge! [57]

During E.B.'s absence, the waters of the Brandywine kept flowing and kept driving the wheels of the family business. We can imagine that Edge T. Cope was quite happy to have his eldest son back at work, for he was now in his mid-fifties and probably needed the help. By 1868, the business letterhead was changed to read "ET Cope and Son, Founders and Machinists." [58] Cope must have been very occupied between helping with the family business and helping with the business of having a family himself. His eldest child, Helen L. had been born while E.B. was away at war, but between 1866 and 1873, E.B. and Isabella gave Helen another five siblings. [59] His family lived in a very modest two story frame house sited a few hundred feet west of and upslope of his father's house. [60] Throughout the post-war years the local papers were filled with items pertaining to the Copes' mills and foundry, and to the many new products they had to offer like churns, improved mowing machines and sophisticated water wheels and turbines. [61] So, on the face of it, Cope's business was flourishing and he was fully occupied. Again, details of his life are not readily available, and it is therefore necessary to "read between the lines" as to his activities. For instance, even though E.B. was an inveterate reader, he had no affiliation with the nearby Copeland Literary Association, though his brother, Edge T. Cope, certainly did. Perhaps E.B. had little time or interest to attend such affairs where, during their 10 February, 1872 meeting, the Association firmly resolved that "modern dance is injurious to society." [62]

One thing that Cope did do was to stay in touch with Gouvenor K. Warren, his old commander. On 21 December, 1866 he responded to a letter Warren had written to him, presumably to ask Cope how he was doing, and he thanked Warren for helping him receive his brevet lieutenant colonelcy. [63] A few years later, as Cope was again following family tradition by entering local politics, he wrote to Warren for a letter of endorsement. He stated:

I am about to make an application for the office of Collector of Internal Rev, 7th District of Pennsylvania. It is an office that has never been held by a soldier. I must respectfully ask a few lines from you no matter how brief regarding my military record, for which I shall be extremely obliged. [64]

Cope would eventually take office as a township auditor and held that position sporadically between 1886 and 1893. [65]

E.B. Cope also continued to invent things, and on 29 June, 1875, he received a patent for a very elaborate form of water turbine. [66] A multi-paged, many-diagramed prospectus for this piece was developed, and this turbine was a featured item in the great Centennial Exhibition held in Philadelphia in 1876. An autographed copy of the prospectus found its way into G.K. Warren's papers. [67]

It is worth mentioning that even though E.B. Cope was accessible as a resource (and most probably was quite willing to serve as such) he had no involvement in the 1868-1869 efforts to resurvey the Gettysburg Battlefield for its inclusion in the Atlas of the Official Records. Nor, for that matter, was Warren intimately involved even though we refer to that document as the Warren Map or the Warren Survey. The work was obviously based on Cope's horseback survey, but absolutely no evidence has thus far come to light suggesting that Cope was even contacted. Instead, much of the fieldwork was directed by First Lieutenant William H. Chase of the U.S. Engineer Battalion. He and his teams would spend months on the work and would produce, arguably, the battlefield's most important cartographic reference. [68]

A portion of Cope's 1863 map showing Peach Orchard and Wheat Field.

(GNMP; click on image for a PDF version)

A portion of Cope's 1905 "Commission Map" showing the same area.

(GNMP; click on image for a PDF version)

Cope made his first map of the battlefield (portion at top) within two months of battle. He made his most complete map (the bottom view of the same area) in 1905. On his first mapping trip in August of 1863 he had crude resources and made the map from horseback. By 1905, however, he had become more aware of each portion of the field and had a great impact on how it looked.

But E.B. Cope also turned out some key cartographic references of his own during these years - and mainly for Gouvenor K. Warren. This situation seemed to arise after Cope (who apparently lost contact with Warren for an unspecified time) wrote to him to ask Warren to help him obtain copies of the Gettysburg maps he worked on in 1863. Cope wrote,

I once wrote to the Bureau at Washington begging a copy of the map of [Battle of Gettysburg] I had assisted in making. No notice whatsoever was taken of the request[.] General Crawford called at my place several years ago, thinking I had maps, or copies of maps of all battlefields. He was about to write a history of the war I had none. [69]

Warren quickly responded and did procure maps for Cope which he received within a month. [70] Soon thereafter, Warren began to correspond with Cope regarding certain military incidents and began to retain his services as a cartographer. He was first invited to meet Warren at Manassas Junction and work on portions of the field for between two and five days. Warren stated, "I have means to pay your expenses and a per diem of $5.00. I should like personally to meet you very much; and if you can come there about that time, I will introduce you to those investigating that battle. I know you can help them in the matter; and that you will but add to the numbers of those who appreciate you." [71]

As you might be beginning to suspect, Cope's work eventually expanded to produce a series of maps and sketches that Warren brought into evidence during the long Court of Inquiry concerning his conduct at Five Forks. Cope himself would also testify in Warren's defense. [72] The quality of Cope's drawing probably aided Warren's arguments and they are comparable to the work he produced during the war years, and with his later work at Gettysburg.

When E.B. wasn't off surveying, he was working to hold the family business together. His father finally retired in 1880 and turned over the enterprise to Emmor and his younger brother Ezra. [73] Six years later, E.B., his family, and many friends and neighbors stood in a near freezing, windblown rain to lay Edge T. Cope to rest. [74] Emmor Bradley Cope had become the family patriarch. Although he tried diligently to keep his family's very diverse operation solvent, toward the end of the 1880's there are growing indications that business was not going as well as it should. Cope himself would write letters to customers kindly asking for payment for services or for work already delivered, and there is often an urgency in his words. Even though the firm attempted to continue expanding and even diversified to the manufacturing of manilla paper, their financial situation worsened. [75]

Finally, in the spring of 1890 two suits were brought against the Cope business which resulted in Sheriff's sale proceedings. [76] The exact disposition of the business is sketchy, and the firm of E.T. Cope's Sons continued operating but, most likely, in a greatly reduced condition. It is no wonder that by the early 1890's, E.B. Cope was receptive to exploring other means of making a living. In 1893, such a chance came to him.

About the same time Cope was struggling with the family business, the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association (GBMA) was struggling with issues of organization, finance, and vision in relationship to the preservation of the field they were responsible to maintain. The GBMA had been troubled almost since its chartering in 1864. Its primary impediments were its control by locally-oriented entities and its lack of finances. Even in the 1870's when many Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) members and other veteran's organizations began taking a strong interest in the GBMA's activities (or lack thereof), a unified vision and the fiscal resources to create and maintain that vision remained serious, unresolved problems. With the battle's 25th anniversary celebration in 1888, veterans from across the country became painfully aware of the GBMA's lack of structure at a time when more than two hundred regimental and state-funded monuments had been placed on the field. However, it would be the proposal by a handful of private developers for an electric railway that would bisect the field and threaten its visual and topographical integrity that finally spurred the U.S. Congress to place the battlefield under federal control. [77]

On 25 May, 1893, Secretary of War Daniel S. Lamont appointed a three-person commission to oversee the activities that would lay the groundwork for the present GNMP. Their tasks included preservation, marking battle lines (of both northern and southern armies), building avenues, and interpreting the battle. The first commissioners were Colonel John P. Nicholson of Philadelphia, General W.H. Forney of Alabama, and John B. Bachelder, the field's unofficial/official historian. This group soon realized they needed a full-time, on-site engineer to fulfill their plans, and a position was soon authorized. [78]

It is not known how E.B. Cope was identified as a candidate for this position, but by 1893, he probably needed a steadier income than what his business was providing and welcomed the opportunity. I would speculate that given Cope's war time political connections, one or more of them mentioned Cope as a candidate - and he certainly was a strong candidate. It might prove useful to explore any connection Cope may have had with Nicholson in nearby Philadelphia, but that line of research is only born in speculation. It should be noted that Cope was not the only nominated candidate, and we have a clear account of how this position was filled from the minutes of one of the Commission's meetings:

Various communications were read from the Secretary of War relating to the Trolley Road on the Field, and from Colonel Cope and Mr Dager, applicants for the position of Chief Engineer to the Commission. Colonel Cope appeared before the Board and explained the details of the work suggested and withdrew Mr Dager appeared and explained the details as suggested to him with his qualifications and withdrew. The Board adjourned at 12:15 p.m. [79]

Their 3 July entry states:

Communications were read from Mr. Dager and Colonel Cope respectively offering their services at $2000 per annum each. Colonel Bachelder moved that the matter be referred to Colonel Nicholson with power to act. [80]

And so he did. Emmor Bradley Cope reported for duty on 17 July, 1893. Just as DeFoe's Robinson Crusoe, Cope entered his new situation by taking stock of all he had with him. In his case, it was a thorough list of all the engineering instruments he'd brought from his home, and of the additional instruments he had been authorized to purchase. [81] Cope then began to get acclimated and to assemble what he often referred to as "the Corps," which consisted of three to sometimes seven assistants. Throughout late July and early August, Cope was employed with basic surveying work like establishing a meridian line, and with "shooting in" some of the field's more prominent features and its adjoining farm tracts. His work on 26 July is worth citing entirely:

I caused an iron pin to be driven at the centre of the square of the town of Gettysburg to be used in our work as a datum point of reference, for the town is the centre of gravity of the Battlefield. This point was afterwards connected with a meridian line that I established on high ground of the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association, your Hancock Avenue. The north point of this line is near the 126 New York Infantry monument and is marked by a brass point in a granite stone set 30" in the ground, the south point is similarly marked near the line of the George Benner property, using this meridian line as a base of operations, many miles of back site transit lines have been run on various parts of the field. [82]

Essentially, what Cope described therein is the skeleton - the surveyor's very backbone - from which all other elements of the field would be measured and related to. In following Cope's many detailed entries, we can literally chart, segment by segment, the creation of the Gettysburg National Military Park!

And this introduces quite a dilemma. If we were to examine and relate all of Cope's work and his countless contributions, this writing would stretch to hundreds of pages. Instead, it is my intent to provide an overview of Cope's major activities, and then briefly address three areas which, in my opinion, comprise his most significant contributions to the military park and to the creation of the symbolic landscape we visit so enthusiastically. As previously stated, it was Cope who saw to the park's basic outlines and it would be he who fairly well administered everything else the Commissioners undertook, for E.B. was the only one of them who became a full time Gettysburg resident and he would be the one who was on the field nearly every day for over three decades. Cope moved his family to town in early October, 1893 and lived first on Chambersburg Street. [83] The family would later move to 516 Baltimore Street and that residence would serve as Cope's Gettysburg homestead. [84]

With the establishment of Gettysburg as a National Military Park in 1895, the work of the Commissioners and of their engineer began in earnest. By that time, two of the original commissioners, Forney and Bachelder died and had been replaced by William Robbins of Alabama and Charles Richardson of New York. In partnership with Nicholson and Cope, these four were responsible for effecting an amazing transformation of the battleground. In a mere ten years they:

transformed the muddy "cowpaths" of the GBMA into over twenty miles of semipermanent "telfordized" avenues which to this day provide the base for the macadamized avenues. Defense works were resodded, relaid, and rebuilt where necessary. Cast iron and bronze narrative tablets were written and contracted for to mark the positions of each battery brigade, division, and corps for the armies as well as the U.S. Regulars. More than 300 condemned cannon were mounted on cast-iron carriages to mark or approximate battery sites where convenient. Five steel observation towers were built at key overlook points to assist in instructing military students in the strategy and tactics of the battle. More than 25 miles of boundary and battlefield fencing was constructed, as well as 13 miles of gutter paving. In excess of five miles of stone walls were restored or rebuilt, and nearly 17,000 trees were planted in denoted parts of the field, including Ziegler's Grove, Pitzer's Woods, Trostle Woods, and Biesecker Woods. More than 800 acres of land were acquired, including Houck's Ridge, the Peach Orchard, and several significant battlefield farms and their structures (McPherson, Culp, Weikert, Trostle, Codori, Frey, etc.) [85]

When reviewing this incredible list, please remember that E.B. Cope oversaw most of it, in addition to keeping the books, paying the workers, producing plenty of maps, and simply "taking care of business." Also, when studying this list of accomplishments (which does not include all the park's subsequent work from 1905 to the present), can you now more fully accept why I maintain that what we see at Gettysburg is symbolic landscape rather than battlefield?

Now, in light of all this work, plus more, I would like to touch upon what I believe are Cope's three most significant contributions. They are; 1. his record keeping and tireless attention to detail, 2. his design and placement of the park's road system, and 3. the erection of the park's five observation towers.

Moreover, throughout Cope's involvements in each of these areas, he consistently displayed the traits of an heroic Everyman: he possessed vision, demonstrated precision, and he did so with unflagging energy.

No pun intended, honestly, but E.B. was a copious writer. He left three hefty engineering journals which daily chart his first years on the field. Much of his later writing formed the core of the Commission's annual reports. Cope maintained constant contact with the three commissioners, often writing them two to five letters a day. He would apprise them of work done, relate problems, seek advice or ask for clarifications, or he would remind them of impending issues. Much of this correspondence is extant. The Park's vertical files are also filled with Cope correspondence, usually arranged topically, like documents relating to walls and fences, contracts, guttering, artillery tubes and carriages, etc. I would estimate that the Park's vertical files and its other repositories hold more than a thousand Cope-generated or Cope-related documents.


This amount of material should not really be surprising, for Cope actually designed much of the Park's infrastructure including its curbing and guttering, fencing and gateways, the brigade, division, corps, and battery markers, the markers to the U.S. Regular units, and the beautiful U.S. Regulars Monument located on Hancock Avenue. He was also responsible for designing more mundane objects like the cast metal gun carriage replicas and even the stone supports upon which their wheels and trail pieces rest. We do need to remember that no models for most of these things existed, for nowhere else in the world was there a military park like Gettysburg. Cope and the Commission were designing and building a prototype landscape consisting of unique features and fittings.

E.B. also generated dozens of high quality blueprints, sketches, section drawings, and a full series of battlefield maps scaled at four foot contour intervals. The detail on these documents is invaluable. Another of his legacies is the massive wooden relief map (9'3" x 12'8") of the battlefield currently exhibited in the Cyclorama Center's upper lobby. Based on the Warren Survey, this 3-D depiction of the field was exhibited nationally, including being shown at the great St. Louis Exhibition. This model is yet another reminder of Cope's artistic, inventive nature. [86]

The details found in Cope's writings, especially in his journals can be exciting as well as pedestrian - for he noted nearly everything. In scanning them, one finds that Cope spent a lot of time on the field. Not only was he constantly supervising the work crews, he was constantly noting little things that "needed to be done." For example, each month he made up a "to do" list, and his July, 1914 sheet contained 69 items. These items could range from gutter clearing to fence mending, to road patching, and to fallen branches that needed gathered. E.B. Cope was the eyes and ears of the Commissioners; he was the Park's ultimate builder, and he was its quintessential protector.

I will cite just a sampling of his attention to details. His journal entry for June 12, 1897 includes the following:

John Took was put to work at sawing off posts at Hancock Statue. went out with the Commission to first days field. at about 11 AM a blast threw a stone against the 44 N.Y. Mon breaking a spall off of the bead running around the monument. the piece is an average of half in thick [87]

Cope included a small diagram of the damage. His next entry stated: "Went out with Major Richardson to view the 44 Monument damage and ordered no more blasting there until the monument was perfectly protected." [88]

The blasting in question was likely related to the construction of a portion of old Sykes Avenue and took place somewhere to the east or southeast of the monument. Cope saw to the replacement of the damaged portion and those with a keen eye can find the replacement segment of the astragal (the beaded stone course set about eight feet above the monument base) on the monument's east side to the north of the doorway on the rounded portion that contains the stairway.

Cope always had the best interests of the Park and the Commission in mind, and in this instance, he was remarkably proactive to a potential problem:

Fred Thom's daughter age 15 at Seminary last night coasting with a party of companions fell into Dr. Richard's cesspool and was drowned not missed at first discovered at midnight covering had rotted no repairs or danger sign.

He then writes:

I sent J. Aumen to examine all the well covers on the field, of which there are several, and report if any need renewing it shall be attended to at once. So far we had no accidents on account of the carelessness of anybody connected with this Commission. [89]

Sometimes Cope's entries involve more humorous details.

Chief of Police Gordon made a present of over half bushel of shell bark hickory nuts to the Commission for the squirrels. I will send them out by Lott to Reynolds, MacMillan, Spangler's, Hafer's and Round Top Woods and [have] them put in proper places. Other Hickory nuts have been given to Spangler for Culp's Hill. [90]

Cope's writings are essential to the understanding of the battlefield and to its transformation to symbolic parkland. The Park's whole story from that era is nearly intact, but it is not easily accessible nor is it easy to interpret; yet as I will maintain in this writing's final portion, it is imperative that historians understand the field's transformation, for if they do not, we run the risk of placing vast numbers of combatants upon terrain features that did not exist in 1863.

Here is just one example of a Cope entry that clearly notes change over time, and it should pique anyone's interest who might be studying Little Round Top's terrain:

11 cords of wood no logs cut between the Round Tops '2 roads, Tiptons line [on present Warren Ave.] and union stone wall around D. Wikert is 2 cords near 9 reserve 3 cords, all that is cut and corded up to this date [1896] total 19 cords. [91]

What might this tell us about the nature of the area's tree cover and how much it changed between 1863 and 1896? And what are the ways we might interpret this information to explore the line-of-sight issues between Vincent's Brigade and Oates' attackers on 2 July?

The ultimate value of E.B. Cope's writings and attention to detail is that we can literally recreate the construction of the military park week by week and month by month. It is a fabulous legacy when cross-referenced with other primary sources, and it is material that has been very much under-utilized in our study of the battle.

Before Cope's efforts began, as early photographs clearly attest, the "avenues" of the GBMA were nothing more than rutted dirt paths. E.B. was equally assiduous when it came to dealing with roadways, and one of his first major tasks was to create the "boiler plate" for the Park's paving contracts. He based his specifications on a paving method known as Telfordizing (named for the mid-nineteenth century British civil engineer who invented the process), and that meant the Park's roads were being designed to last. Cope's paving was to be completed as follows:

The center portion of the roadway feet in width should be piked with a fine course of stone 4 to 5 in size laid on edge, settled down evenly and compactly with raping hammers [.] this course shall be then covered with a layer of good hard 1 in. stone 4 in. in depth. This last course shall be covered with sufficient clay to form a bond and then thoroughly rolled until the surface is hard smooth and compact so that the wheels of a carriage passing over it will not leave an impression. The whole surface of the piking to be covered with a light coat of stone chips or screenings sufficient to conceal the clay and rolled down hard and smooth. [92]

As with all else, E.B. paid great attention to the road construction as this anecdote attests:

. . . two contractors, Mike and Tim Farrell of West Chester, Pa., were awarded the contract for building many of those Teleford and Macadam avenues. One day my father [Jesse K Cope] met Tim Farrel on the street in West Chester, who said "Mr Cope that brother of yours, the Colonel, is a hard man." We were starting on the construction of an avenue according to the specifications and on that day the Colonel was called away on official business and since he always kept his eyes on any work done in the Park, we thought that we would make time in his absence. The next morning, when I went into his office to report and told him that we had laid one fourth mile of an avenue, he said so I have observed and it is not according to the specifications, I have been out there before you were up this morning, I dug up a section of it, now you get your men out there dig up all of that section and rebuild it according to the specifications which I gave you! He is a hard man! [93]

Space does not permit a full examination of the relationship between Cope and the Farrell Brothers, Michael and Timothy, and I wish to be careful not to cast aspersions, but the Farrells were from West Chester and lived less than a mile from Cope's residence. In their earlier years, they were helped in establishing their business (quarrying and stone building) by none other than General George A. McCall, and they would win the bid to fulfill every road contract on the Gettysburg Battlefield. Every one. And some bids were remarkable close. [94] (There are many other relationships that interweave throughout Cope's career, especially between other members of the topographical engineers, but this line of research does not fall within this writing's scope.)

What is more significant than the quality of the Park's roads and the process by which they were built (although a tremendous amount of data about the field is also contained in these records) is the whole issue of where the roads were placed and how they effect our interpretation of the battle. Certain of the roads existed at the time of the battle or were widened from pre-existing lanes and paths. Others were cut specifically to parallel battlelines or to allow visitors easy access to more remote parts of the field. In some instances, road alignments conformed to where early monuments had been placed, but in other instances, especially with West Confederate Avenue's many segments, the roadbed fairly well determined where the Confederate monuments were to be erected. Now, as any engineer will attest, you can not put a road just anywhere, and in this era of road building, one needed to consider the degree of slope and turning radius that horse drawn carriages could negotiate. The implication here is that sometimes roads could not be built exactly where the fighting occurred. (The same, incidentally, can be said for monument placement.)

Roads also needed to be well drained, so this entailed banking, cutting, filling, guttering and channelling, and many other intrusive operations that we as non-engineering visitors rarely consider. All of this requires substantial earth moving. In reality, it would be quite accurate to state that the construction of the Park's roads caused more significant change to the battlefield than any other factor. Whole hillsides were affected, low lying areas filled in, boulders blasted (not only to clear the way for roads, but also to supply road bed ballast and other related material), and field elevations raised or lowered that alter or confuse our sense of the 1863 terrain and lines-of-sight.

Cope's roads are excellent roads, and many remain virtually unchanged (except for more modern paving) since their construction; but they have dramatically altered the field itself - in both subtle and blatant ways - and, even more significantly, they have determined how most everyone views the battlefield. Practically every soldier walked across these fields and from all angles and many directions, but because of the roads almost every visitor since the 1890's has ridden or driven across the battleground in very prescribed manners, and now visitors do so in air-conditioned comfort, or with headsets affixed, or with eyes scanning everywhere - looking out for other cars, pedestrians, animals, and the many signs or the next way-side markers to read. Thus the roads can actually isolate visitors from the field by channelling their senses; and with the roads many twists and turns (think of Sedgwick and Brooke Avenues as examples) they can sometimes confuse rather than clarify where visitors believe they are. Certainly, the roads are necessary to accommodate the lay person's ability to interpret the field, but they are also significant intrusions that often skew one's ability to understand the 1863 landscape. As an example of how much we rely upon the roads, try to imagine where the Union line actually ran if the monuments and the roads were removed.

It is likely that there is no person living today who can remember visiting the Gettysburg Battlefield and not seeing the Commission's observation towers. They have been integral to the battlefield's landscape for a century and it is very difficult to filter them out of one's view. They offer both pleasurable experiences and some problems. The vistas from their platforms are most wonderful, but these vistas encompass far more than just the battlefield, and unless one knows exactly where to look and what to look for, or is in the company of one who knows "what's out there," the towers provide little more than a great series of panoramic photo opportunities along with a burst of healthy cardiovascular exercise getting to the top.

These towers quite unnaturally provide a perspective that many generals on both sides would have loved to have had in July, 1863, and that is the point: no soldier ever had such a perspective, and the clarity the towers may afford to us also skew our own sense (which we really need to have to understand the battle) of how unclear and confused the field was to most soldiers who fought there. From general to private, most at Gettysburg had little or no idea where they were, where they were going next, or even how to get there.

Essentially, these towers bring an unnatural order to a field where disorder was quite natural. Another point to ponder is that when these towers were erected in 1895-1896, they were as visually intrusive to the battlefield's landscape as Ottenstein's National Tower is at present. Also, because the towers are so prominent, they can help establish handy reference points (like viewing the Culp's Hill tower's cupola from LRT to form a sense of the "fishhook-shaped" Union line), but many visitors also naturally assume that their prominent placement is somehow significant. For the Culp's Hill (Tower #4), Oak Ridge (Tower #3) and to some degree the Ziegler's Grove (Tower #5) towers, their siting is relevant to segments of important actions; but the Big Round Top (Tower #1) and Warfield Ridge (Tower #2) towers, were simply placed to provide comprehensive views - the plan being that the towers were to ring the battlefield, and therefore provide vistas of every part of the Park.

Now, when these devices were erected, they were done so to enable "students" of the field, both military and civilian, to get a good bird's eye view; and, I might add, a free view. In prior years, shorter towers existed on East Cemetery Hill (where the Hancock monument now stands) and on the summit of Big Round Top; but one needed a change purse for those.

E.B. Cope designed these towers - every part from base to flagpole. They came in two sizes, a 60 ft version, and a 75 ft version. Go look at one closely sometime. They are graceful yet utilitarian, and sturdy yet not overbuilt. Their blueprints show Cope's meticulous sense of detail, and illustrate that he obviously put much thought into their utility and cost effectiveness. [95] When compiled for bidding, Cope's specifications totaled five pages. [96] The Variety Iron Works Company of Cleveland, Ohio won the bid (at $2196.75 for each of the first four) and thus opened an interesting correspondence with Cope and the Commissioners. [97] As usual, Cope was careful with the details. In one instance, the Iron Works sent the wrong sized anchor bolts and Cope was quick to spot the error. [98] But in an earlier situation, the Iron Works picked up what they felt was a major error on Cope's part in computing the strain and stress on the stairs. They petitioned to add additional supporting rods (at an additional cost), but Cope stuck to his original figures: "With all due respect to your engineers I am unable to discover the strain they speak of upon the uprights of the Tower from the weight of the stairway..." [99] Great wrangling ensued and the gist of it was that the extra rods were placed, but for stress reasons other than those identified by the Iron Works. Cope studied the problem in detail and worked with the company that was contracted to erect the towers. He was quite willing to admit to a miscalculation, but he was also dogmatic enough to correctly identify where the miscalculation was, because he knew it wasn't where the Iron Works suspected. [100] The towers have held up relatively well over time, excepting the Oak Knoll Tower which was truncated to its present height due to structural deterioration. The Ziegler's Grove Tower was removed to make way for the Cyclorama Center in 1961, and the Big Round Top Tower was removed in 1968 due to underuse by visitors and overuse by turkey vultures. That tower was also very susceptible to high winds, and in fact, its roof blew off very shortly after it had been erected. [101]

In summation, Cope's towers are yet another marvelous example of his abilities and versatility and they stand as prominent reference points on the battlefield's landscape. They also stand among the most impressive symbols of the Battlefield Commission's most productive period, and they bring delightful overviews to thousands of visitors every year - especially to children under twelve who can still run the whole way to the top.

As we scan the decades of E.B's long life, it is frustrating to admit that despite all the journals, letters, and official documents that tell us about the public man, there is still so little found to date that tells us of the private man. I believe enough has been brought forward here that describes him to be more interesting and more complex than he's previously been thought to be, but his very diversity and the magnitude of his accomplishments only seem to make us want to know more of him.

E.B. Cope, even in his older years was a large, robust man. He stood fully six feet tall and weighed (in 1904 when he applied for his pension) 194 lbs. He said of himself that he had hazel eyes and partly greying hair. He was fair complexioned and admitted to having no scars. Throughout his life he referred to himself as E.B. when signing his name. We've already mentioned many of his qualities, but his obituary touches upon a few others: he was modest and self-effacing to a fault. The Gettysburg Compiler mentions "Colonel Cope always shunned personal publicity, preferring to do his work without the fanfare of public acclaim." [102] This was not an idle comment for another source helps reinforce that point. A fellow named Captain Jastrum wrote to Cope to praise him for some unidentified action. Cope replied, "The credit of doing this work for you belongs to the Commission, of which Colonel John P. Nicholson is Chairman, I simply carry out the orders for them. The knowledge that this work is appreciated is sufficient glory for me. . ."

His obituary also mentions that "he smoked in moderation" and "was temperate in all of his habits." He liked children and he was known to be ever so tactful. [103] This is highly likely to be true given the political minefields through which he had to negotiate with the Commissioners, the War Department, and the dozens of workers and contractors he oversaw. It is also known that in his later years he left his Quaker heritage and became a Presbyterian, even becoming an elder. He also belonged to both the Loyal Legion, the United War Veterans and the local Grand Army of the Republic chapter. He occasionally even traveled to Philadelphia for veteran's meetings and usually stopped to visit those at home on the way. [104]

With the death of Commissioner John Nicholson in 1922, the Secretary of War made an unprecedented decision as to his replacement. He appointed E.B. Cope to the Military Park's superintendency - even though he was 80 years old at the time. This was not simply an honorary naming, for everyone had full faith in Cope's abilities and energies. So he then not only held the responsibility for the Park's day to day doings, he was also to be in charge of policy formulation, planning, and operational procedures. In a touching letter to his sister Debbie, E.B. states, "I am running the whole business of the National Park now. I was a little doubtful if I could do it at first, but all insisted that I should do it, and I find I can do it better than I expected. I have the Secretary [of] War behind me and am getting along very well so far." [105]

And indeed he did, most likely for most of the rest of his days. Emmor Bradley Cope died Saturday, May 29, 1927 within seven weeks of his 93rd birthday. It was not his advanced age that killed him, but rather complications from hip troubles resulting from a fall he'd suffered that September. Despite the fact that he was never able to return to his office after his accident, he continued to run things from his home, right up to his last days. He was described in the newspaper's announcement of his death as Gettysburg's "Grand Old Man." No doubt many in the town and many across the nation, both northerners and southerners, were deeply saddened by his loss. And with his death, the leadership of the Gettysburg National Military Park passed, for the first time, into the hands of one who was not a veteran of the battle. Cope's death marked the end of an era. [106] In retrospect, he had indeed lived "A Hero's Life".

Unlike rhetoric and mathematics whose academic roots are ancient, the study of history in the present social science/liberal arts sense only dates from the late nineteenth century when "modern" departments were founded in universities like Gottigen in Germany and Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. So in the not too distant past, historians would have been trained to delve into earlier eras to identify patterns and precedents for whatever it was that they were studying - and the more ancient and classical the examples and allegories, the better! [107]

Just for fun (at first) I looked at Emmor Bradley Cope and his contributions in that ancient of ways. Interestingly, and quite easily, one strong set of parallels came to mind, and they involved the works of Sir Christopher Wren, architect of London's famous St. Paul's Cathedral. Upon examination, a whole series of similarities arose: the family roots of both Wren and Cope were grounded in Wiltshire, England; they both became best known for work they performed in their later years, and they both performed these works in fields outside of the ones they first studied; both excelled in mathematics and had mechanical aptitudes, yet both possessed artistic talents. Both men lived into their nineties. (I could go on.) [108]

But the most significant ties they share are these: both were employed to superimpose order on once ordinary landscapes that were rendered chaotic by extraordinary events; and in their transformative processes, both created great national symbols. In Wren's case, he designed a new London to replace the acres of city destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666. While economics and local politics precluded the implementation of most of his plan, he was able to rebuild the great cathedral of St. Paul's which stands today as one of England's most beautiful and most notable structures. During the London Blitz in the early years of World War Two, the images of St. Paul's grand dome shining clear and whole through the fires and destruction from the bombs that fell around it were viewed symbolically to represent the very heart and soul of the British people and their resistance to their foe. [109]

In E.B. Cope's situation, he was asked to transform common fields and farmland that had been forever imprinted by the struggles of more than 150,000 souls over a nightmarish three day battle. By diligence, vision, inventiveness, and hard work, he systematically transformed a war-damaged agrarian setting into America's best known Civil War-related symbolic landscape: the Gettysburg National Military Park. And he did most of his work so subtly that the majority of the Park's visitors have little idea that what they see is anything other than the battlefield of 1863. Moreover, because Cope was so thoroughly involved in nearly every aspect of the field's transformation, he literally embodied himself in this landscape - and that form of transcendence is heroic in itself.

Those who pay a little extra when they visit St. Paul's Cathedral can go down into the undercroft and walk among the great building's foundations, explore nooks and chapels, and find the elaborate tombs of both Lord Nelson and the Duke of Wellington. Upon further exploration, they might find the plain, black marble slab that marks the resting place of Sir Christopher Wren (1632-1723). Above this most simple stone is a tablet bearing a Latin inscription that includes these words:

"Si Monumentum Requiris Circumspice"
("If you seek his monument, look around.")

The words are equally applicable to Emmor Bradley Cope (1834-1927), buried below a simple marker near the fence edge of Gettysburg's Evergreen Cemetery - for his heroic legacy is really no less magnificent than Wren's. Requiescat in pace.


For the past two years or more my research partner, Darrell Smoker, and myself have spent an inordinate amount of time on the section of Little Round Top—in all weathers; in all hours—where the 20th Maine fought on July 2. We stare at things. We stare through things - trying to get the feel and the view of the 1863 landscape.

Though not writing specifically about Gettysburg, Thomas Moore in his poignant Care of the Soul, does touch upon the feel of places and the placing of markers. He notes,

The spirituality of a place might be marked with a well or a drawing on the ground or a pile of stones. When we place historical markers on old battlefields...we are performing a genuine spiritual act. We are honoring the special spirit that is attached to a particular place. [111]

Picking up the spirit of that segment of Little Round Top is not the issue here (for, to many, an aura clearly exists), but the marker Moore mentions (in this instance, the 20th Maine's regimental monument and its flank markers) certainly is, for one problem historians sometimes have regarding such a monument is they must remind themselves that the monument was not there at the time of the battle. It is not easy to ignore monuments for they hold great power: not only are they the ultimate symbols of the soldiers and their actions, but monuments also almost indelibly codify - visually and mentally - how we interpret the field.

Yet it is highly useful to filter them out - along with the roads, paths, stone walls, and parking areas that bear no relationship to the 1863 landscape that Chamberlain of the 20th Maine and Oates of the 15th Alabama struggled across so valiantly. Chamberlain himself would have loved to have "filtered out" the stone walls which now run across the position he defended. He objected to their presence most vehemently and referred to them as an "excrescence". He further stated, "I do not know how the walls ever came there: they surely were not there at any time during our defense of that position, and their presence there confuses, stultifies the records and true history of the defense." [112]

So does the placement of the 2Oth's monument. And Chamberlain had a few words to say about that too, which he delivered upon the occasion of the monument's dedication on 3 October, 1889. He noted,

I am certain that the position of this monument is quite to the left of the centre of our regimental line when the final charge was ordered. Our original left did not extend quite to the great rock which now supports this memorial of honor. [113]

"Ok," you might ask, "so where did the 20th Maine fight, and if they weren't where their monument places them, why was the monument put there?" It is safe to say that the 20th Maine fought somewhere near that monument at some period of time, but we believe the monument's placement is wholly symbolic and represents the position of the regiment when in its gravest peril, for it is very unlikely that the 20th ever assumed the neatly triangular form the monument and its flankers depict. When studying that configuration on the 1890's maps E.B. Cope produced and that mark every object on the battlefield, one finds that the 2Oth's markers are set nearly equilaterally. Additionally, as we were experimenting with compass lines to establish a baseline for some of our own surveying work, it was discovered that the 2Oth's monument and its right flank marker are perfectly aligned on magnetic north. (I trust no one believes that Chamberlain set his men in position by using a compass.)

It is worth mentioning that Cope's map also clearly shows the position of the 20th's "lost" left flank marker; and while it is still unclear when and how that flank marker disappeared, there is no question at all as to where it once was. In studying this position and all the other lines that make up the monument placements of Strong Vincent's brigade, it has become apparent to us that there exists an entire "engineer's code" that underlays the battlefield's monumentation, roadways, and infrastructure in the same way that programming codes underlay our computer software packages. What we now need to do is to decipher these codes and understand what they can tell us about what has been done to the landscape.

Cope knew this codified language and understood the battlefield's terrain in ways we should be exploring but rarely do. Albert Einstein once said "There is no place in this new kind of physics both for the field and matter, for the field is the only reality." [114] The field he was referring to was not Gettysburg, but I emphatically believe the metaphor holds, and that many of the answers we seek about the horrible three days of conflict we know as the battle of Gettysburg can be found in the matter of the landscape itself rather than only in the words of the men who fought there. The landscape can also tell us what was and wasn't plausible in many combat situations and can verify or negate primary sources if we only think to pose to it the right questions.

For example, many readers are aware that Confederate Colonel Oates maintained for years that he got much farther up into Chamberlain's position than anyone would ever admit. The Oates File in the Park's library is filled with point and counterpoint between Oates and the Commissioners and Oates and Chamberlain. Some of it is nearly heated discussion. Studying this issue on the field is especially difficult for the line of attack in question has been badly altered by the construction of Chamberlain Avenue in 1902. [115] Fortunately, the plan for the avenue and its section drawings yield some information about the slope's original profile and the nature of its cutting and banking; and all this needs to be understood when attempting to determine the spur's 1863 configuration and its actual summit. This is confusing because between three and six feet of fill was added to elevate the section of avenue that runs in a straight N.E. direction to intersect with Sykes Avenue (the path we use to walk to the monument). Standing there today, just at the spot near the 20th's right flank marker where the old avenue curves down and away to join Wright Avenue, one might say, "No, Oates never could have gotten this far up the hill", and he didn't quite, because we must remember that perhaps six feet of the present elevation wasn't there in 1863. One final citation will illustrate how important it truly is to let the landscape yield certain answers.

The reference here describes an incident during the heaviest fighting when Chamberlain's left wing was struck hard and nearly flanked. The citation is drawn from the 83rd Pennsylvania Regimental History (and members of the 20th Maine write of it as well) and it describes the 83rd being hit in their rear by Confederate fire:

They now opened a severe fire upon this [Chamberlain's] left wing, and the bullets began to come into the rear of the Eighty-third and the other regiments of the brigade. Capt. Woodward immediately sent Lieut. Gifford, the acting Adjutant, to Col. Chamberlain, to ascertain if the enemy were turning his left. [116]

I will now ask you to seriously reevaluate any image you might have of the whereabouts of Oates' attackers, especially if you mentally picture them attacking from the eastern downslope side of the 20th's monument, and therefore firing upward toward the rocky shelf and the line now occupied by the stone walls Chamberlain so detested - for now it is time to consider some basics of ballistics and trajectories. If Oates' men were firing upslope with weapons that tended to overshoot in the first place, the Confederate angles of fire would be so high that their overshoot would most likely be landing in the Wheatfield, or at least around Houck's Ridge. They could not, at that angle, deliver fire into a unit that was a mere 100 yards away (unless they were using mortars). In order to hit into or even hit closely over the heads of the 83rd, the trajectory of their weapons must be flattened out considerably, and the only way for that to occur is for the Alabamians to be firing from a line that was considerably higher on that spur; and indeed, they need to be on or near its summit. There is a line of opportunity that stretches about 30 to 40 feet near and above what is now being identified as the Oates Boulder that would have given them the ability to hit into the 83rd (who also, by the way, obviously had to be positioned much higher on the slope than their monuments suggest) - and if the Confederates were not at least that far upslope, they would not have been able to deliver the fire that so concerned the 83rd. But to fully appreciate their lines of fire we also need to "filter out" of our vision the mounds of fill Cope had brought in to level up that section of Chamberlain Avenue! Yes, ultimately, the field is everything. And even in its much altered state, it can still yield a fantastic amount of information if we can determine a suitable methodology by which we may retrieve and interpret such information. And understanding Cope's work is one of the keys.


1. Webster's Unabridged Dictionary, (2nd Ed., 1976, 852).

2. Although there are many works to cite for readers interested in a deeper understanding of heroes and myths, I'll direct attention to the writings of the late Joseph Campbell, especially "The Hero With A Thousand Faces" (Bollinger Series XVII, 1949; Princeton, 1976). Due to his popularity and his Jungian flavor, Campbell is not wholly embraced by purists, but his work provides an excellent introduction for lay persons. His writing also serves as a model for explaining the interconnectedness of ideas and people, and that is an important theme in this essay.

3. Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus, (New York, 1955, esp. 88-91.) Camus was writing in the Paris of 1940, a less than happy place for most people. Even so, his essay was not designed to dwell on negativism nor to denigrate the seeming futility of Sisyphus' task. Indeed, he ponders the joy Sisyphus finds in accepting his fate and the pleasure he experiences walking back downhill without the boulder. Camus states, "One always finds one's burden again. But Sisyphus teaches the higher fidelity that negates the gods and raises rocks." He also suggests that "The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy."

4. Time spent under fire or other acute peril is relative and inexactly measured. It has little to do with multiples of sixty units as combat veterans and police officers can verify. Hours can seem like seconds and seconds like hours, and it is very important for us to understand time at Gettysburg in that way. This is especially so given that few people had watches, fewer of them were synchronized, nor did a standard time exist to which anything could be synchronized. At best we can establish the relative sequence of events at Gettysburg, but to insist that specific events can be pinned to precise times is ill-founded. Those looking for thought-provoking reading about soldiers in combat can find much of interest in John Baynes, Morale, A Study of Men and Courage, (New York, 1967); Roy G. Grinker and John P. Spiegel, Men Under Stress, (New York, 1963); S.L.A. Marshall's controversial, Men Against Fire, (New York, 1947); and the many excellent writings of John Keegan, especially The Face of Battle, (New York, 1977); for a concise, popularized work on the standardization of time see, William H. Earle, "November 18, 1883: The day that noon showed up on time", Smithsonian Magazine 14 (November, 1983), 193-208.

5. There are many works to consult concerning symbolism in American culture. As an introduction see Henry Nash Smith, Virgin Land: The American West as Symbol and Myth, (Cambridge, 1950); Leo Marx, "The Machine in the Garden." New England Quarterly, 29 (March, 1956), 27-42; Bruce Kuklick, "Myth and Symbol in American Studies," American Quarterly, 24 (October, 1972), 435-450; and John Camelti, "Myth, Symbol and Formula," Journal of Popular Culture, 8 (Summer, 1974).

6. A tremendous number of visitors come with good intentions but little knowledge of either the battle or the war. But, on balance, most understand that something significant happened here and that the place is worth visiting. These statements are not meant to be perjurative and they are based upon twenty-five years of non-scientific observation. Quantitative studies along these themes would be most fertile.

7. Only recently have scholars begun to explore Gettysburg's non-military aspects, especially the concept of the field as a place imbued with meaning. Those who have include John S. Patterson, "A Patriotic Landscape: Gettysburg, 1863-1913," The Annual of American Cultural Studies Prospects, 7 (New York, 1982), 315-333; and Kathleen R. Georg, "A Fitting and Expressive Memorial," (1988 rev. 1994), Vertical Files, Gettysburg National Military Park (hereafter GNMP); other related articles may be found in the proceedings of last year's seminar. "Gettysburg 1895-1995: The Shaping of an American Shrine, (Gettysburg 1995); see also Kent Gramm, Gettysburg: A Meditation on War and Values, (Bloomington, 1994).

8. Please consider that knowing where the vast splays of millions of cartridge shreds, the tens of thousands of dropped rounds, and the thousands of abandoned muskets actually were would tell us much more about the battle lines than the monuments ever will. There is more to follow on this theme.

9. Kathleen R. Georg, "This Grand National Enterprise: The Origins of Gettysburg's Soldiers' National Cemetery and Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association," (May 1982, rev. November 1982), Vertical Files, GNMP.

10. The High Water Mark's symbolism is multi-layered. As just one example, the great iron fence erected to protect the copse actually even gives the site a heightened sacredness, i.e. "These symbols are so important we can't even let you touch them." There is an irony to this that David Lowenthal addresses, "Even the least conspicuous marker or the most dramatic site drastically alters the context and flavor of historical experience," also, "[when] we mark the site, we dissociate it from its surroundings, diminishing its continuity with its milieu." See "Age and Artifact: Dilemmas of Appreciation," The Interpretation of Ordinary Landscapes, D. W. Meinig, Ed. (Oxford, 1979), 103-128, esp. 110-111.

11. These issues and others were addressed in Kathleen R. Georg and John W. Busey, Nothing But Glory, (Hightstown, N. J., 1987), their in-depth study of what we popularly refer to as Pickett's Charge.

12. As a reminder, metaphors transfer the sense of one object or thought to another, they liken differing things, and they illustrate comparisons: sometimes blatantly (i.e. the cavalry's thundering hoof beats), sometimes subtly ("the tear whispered down her cheek").

13. Gilbert Cope, A Record of the Cope Family as Established in America by Oliver Cope, (Philadelphia, 1861), 109, Cope's siblings, with their birth years included: Hannah (1836), Ezra (1838), Sarah T. (1841), Thomas E. (1842), Caroline (1844), Jesse K. (1846), Deborah (1848), Edge T. (1852), and Mary (1854).

14. Eleanor D. B. Fairley, DAR Chart (March, 1983), Cope Family Files (hereafter CFF), Chester County Historical Society (hereafter CCHS).

15. Edward Pinkowski, Chester County Place Names, (Philadelphia, 1932), 63.

16. Frank Willing Leach, "Old Philadelphia Families," CLVIII, The North American (Philadelphia, April 13, 1913), CFF, CCHS.

17. W. W. Thomson, Chester County and Its People, (Chicago, 1898), 960; MS 2589 and MS 12919 CCHS; Athenia and similar organizations were founded across early nineteenth century America to encourage educational, literary, and civic pursuits; they often served as libraries, lecture and concert halls, and community centers.

18. Chester County Court of Common Pleas, Assigned Estates 1820-1942, File 14.

19. East Bradford and West Bradford Township Business Files, Vertical Files; CCHS.

20. East Bradford Township Public Officers, 1856-1911, MS 76211; CCHS.

21. These devices were featured on the business letterhead until the late 1860's.

22. The Village Record, (8 June, 1858) clipping in E. T. Cope Family File, Vertical Files, CCHS.

23. Coatsville Weekly Times, (30 January, 1886); Daily Local News, (25 January, 1886); both contained in E. T. Cope Family File, Vertical Files, CCHS. Admittedly, obituaries are not the most unbiased sources.

24. This hypothesis is, of course, problematic but, at present, solid data is conspicuously lacking. Cope's life is a hard one to chart directly, and much research that has been brought to light has been found through oblique searching. For example, the equivalent of six person-days were spent in the CCHS files - Cope's home territory; and while they contain plenty on the greater Cope family, almost nothing directly related to E. B.'s life. Conversely, the eight person-days spent pouring through more than thirty-six boxes of General G. K. Warren's papers held in the New York State Library yielded more than thirty items of interest. I suspect other officers' papers will yield the same.

25. "Death of Colonel E. B. Cope", Gettysburg Compiler, No. 39, (4 June, 1927), (hereafter Cope Obit.)

26. Samuel P. Bates, History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-1865, 1, (Harrisburg, 1869-1871), 555.

27. Bates, 545; also John P. Turner, History of the Brandywine Guards, Ms. 28411, CCHS; Cope himself was unsure of his earliest rank, and states so while providing background information while testifying before the Court of Inquiry for G.K. Warren's actions at Five Forks (p. 328, "I believe my rank was corporal at that time."); Warren Testimonials held in the Alice Trulock Collection, Vertical Files, Pejebscot Historical Society, Brunswick, ME (hereafter Warren Test); the Saturday, 8 June, 1861 issue of the Chester County Times printed, a roster of the "Brandywine Rifles" in which E. B. is listed as "1st Corporal."

28. Chester County Times, (1 June, 1861), West Chester Military, Vertical Files, CCHS; an other publication, the Village Record, stated in their 7 May issue that a local camp, "will bring our citizens in familiar intercourse with the pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war." Such was the innocence of the day.

29. Douglas, R. Harper, Chester County Civil War Soldiers and Sailors, (No date) Vertical Files, Chester County Military Affairs, CCHS.

30. Emmor B. Cope Pension File, National Archives (hereafter NA). A Village Record item dated 14 July states the marriage took place "at the residence of the bride's father."

31. Ibid.

32. Park Superintendents' File, Vertical Files, GNMP.

33. George A. McCall Vertical Files, CCHS; for an overview of McCall's career see, Ezra J. Warner, Generals in Blue, Lives of Union Commanders, (Baton Rouge, LA, 1964).

34. John P. Turner, History of the Brandywine Guards, (MS 28411, n.d.); also Ms 3391023 September, 1861.

35. Bates, 556; Alfred Rupert Letters (Ms 33901, 29 August, 1861) CCHS.

36. E. B. Cope File, National Archives (NA), Special Order N. 127, 20 September, 1861.

37. This image which is approximately 2" square was discovered in the inside cover of the GNMP's General Information of Commissioners Book, presumably placed there by Cope. Its caption reads "Print from a woodcut made at Langley, VA in the winter of 1861-1862 at McCall's Head Quarters by E.B. Cope." The same image can be found on an envelope held as part of the McCall Collection, CCHS.

38. Cope Pension Files, (NA) Bureau of Pensions. Indicates March and April, 1862.

39. Register of Letters, Topographical Bureau, 1824-1865, (NA) M505, roll 4 (hereafter Topo Letters); Cope to McPherson, 8 April 1862. (Lest we forget, McPherson served briefly as the captain of Company K, 1st Pennsylvania Reserve, Bates, 572.)

40. Topo Letters, 22 April, 1862 Watson to McPherson, (NA)

41. Adjutant Generals Correspondence, Special Orders No. 421 (NA) [hereafter AGC].

42. AGC, 21 December, 1862.

43. (NA) Letter of Edge T. Cope to P.H. Watson (C. 257 February/64) 2 February, 1864 44. Gouvenor K. Warren Papers, (New York State Library Manuscripts and Special Collections, Albany, NY) Box 47 - Letterbook 70, Bates to Warren, 15 May, 1863 (hereafter WP).

44. WP, Box 47 - Letterbook 70, Bates to Warren, 15 May, 1863.

45. WP, Box 47 - Letterbook 70, Warren to Bates, 16 May, 1863.

46. 155th Regimental Association, Under the Maltese Cross, Antietam to Appomattox, Campaigns of the 155th Pennsylvania Volunteers (Pittsburgh, 1910) 203. Note that in July, 63, Cope was neither a captain nor an Aide-de-Camp. This would come in 1864. Cope himself wrote of this incident on a postcard sent as a Christmas greeting to Thomas D. Cope. He states "I stood on the rock where the statue of General Warren is standing, on July 5 about 8 AM and watched the General ride out towards the Peach Orchard, I had instructions from him viz, if he reached the Emmitsburg Road to send General Wright's division to him. I saw him reach the road and then gave the order to Wright and that was the first we knew the Rebels had left." Signed EBC. Cope File, Vertical Files, GNMP.

47. Major George B. David, Leslie Perry, Joseph Kirkley, Atlas To Accompany The Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, (Washington, D.C., 1891-95) Plate XL, No. 2. The Adams County map referred to was the Converse Wall Map of Adams County produced between 1856 and 1858. This land ownership map was one of many produced throughout the country in the middle of the nineteenth century. This work also formed part of the mapping system compiled by Jedadiah Hotchkiss for Lee's invasion plans. The Converse map showed many details but it was not a relief map. For more on the Converse map and other battle-related cartographic sources see William A. Frassanito, Early Photography at Gettysburg, (Gettysburg, 1995), 7-19.

48. Cope to Watson 2 February, 1864 (NA)

49. Cope Pension File (NA)

50. WP, Box 29 Hatcher's Run Letterbook 13-31 October, 1864, Report of Operations, 2 November, 1864, Warren to Williams, p. 18.

51. WP, Hatcher's Run Letterbook Box 29, Warren to Michler, 29 October, 1864.

52. Earl Miers, Ed., Wash Roebling's War (Newark, Delaware, 1961) 6.

53. WP, Box 47 Letterbook, Commendations after 1 January, 1865, Vol. 2, Warren to Thomas, 2 February, 1865; J. Hardie to Warren, 6 February, 1865.

54. Warren Court of Inquiry, 321.

55. Bigelow Correspondence, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (hereafter LC), Box 3, Folder "Corres 1865"; provided courtesy of Eric Campbell.

56. WP, Box 47 Warren to Stanton 5 July, 1865.

57. WP, Box 3 Correspondence, Folder 5, Warren 19 May, 1865 "Captain Cope came here yesterday, but I let him resign and he goes back tonight. My resignation carries his anyhow, but I have to wait here for action on mine...

58. East Bradford Township Business Files, Vertical Files, CCHS.

59. Cope Pension File (NA); his children included: Helen L., born 16 August, 1862; Mary V., 16 February, 1866; William P., 11 June, 1868, and John B. whose birthdate is not recorded but who died of illness in the Spanish American War, so presumably he was born sometime in the late 1860's or early 1870's.

60. Atlas of Chester County, 1883, West Bradford Township.

61. East and West Bradford Business files, Vertical Files, CCHS.

62. Copeland Literary Association File 2610 Vertical Files, CCHS.

63. WP. Box 47 Letterbook, Commendation after January 1, 1865, Volume 2. Cope to Warren 21 December, 1866.

64. WP. Box 48 Letterbook 72, Commendations after January 1888, Volume #3, Cope to Warren, 30 January, 1869.

65. East Bradford Township Public Offices, 1856-1911, Ms 7621, CCHS.

66. Daily Local News, 17 July, 1875.

67. WP. Box 35, Volume 51 Correspondence File: Military and Personal, 1876.

68. Folder #52, Vertical Files, GNMP.

69. WP. Box 46, Gettysburg Letterbook, May 18, 1866 to July 18, 1878. Cope to Warren, 28 November, 1877.

70. Ibid. Warren to Cope, 30 November, 1877; Cope to Warren, 21 December, 1877.

71. WP. Box 31, Letterbook Five Forks, March 4, 1868 to May 20, 1879.

72. The Warren Papers contain eight boxes comprising approximately twenty-five volumes of material on Five Forks. It was an obsession for Warren that his name be exonerated, but unfortunately, he died in 1882 before the verdict was pronounced in his favor. (Generally speaking, the Warren Papers are an absolute treasure trove of material.)

73. Daily Local News, 27 March, 1880.

74. Diary of Sallie Scattergood 1886 CCHS. Edge Cope's funeral took place at 10 a.m. Wednesday, 27 January, 1886.

75. Daily Local News, 13 July, 1888.

76. Chester County Orphan's Court Records, Jones and Langley vs. Cope, 12 March, 1890, Appearance Docket 54 P278; and Whitney and Kemmer vs. Cope Sons, 16 April, 1890, Execution Docket Q, p. 439.

77. Georg Harrison, "A Fitting and Expressive Memorial," see also Harlan Unrau, Administrative History of the Gettysburg National Military Park and National Cemetery (Washington, D.C. 1991) especially Chapters IV, V, and VI.

78. Unrau, 70-73.

79. Journals of John P. Nicholson, 1893; entry for Saturday, 1 July, 1893; and Monday 3 July, 1893, pp. 14, 15.

80. Ibid.

81. War Department Gettysburg Battlefield Commission Engineer's Journal From July 25, 1893 to January 31, 1896, E.B. Cope, Engineer, 1 (hereafter CEJ).

82. Ibid, p. 13-14.

83. Daily Local News, October 9, 1893; Gettysburg Times April 3, 1994, Obituary of Miss Helen Cope, copy in File 11-34a Biographical Information GNMP Commissioners, Vertical File, GNMP.

84. Ibid, Cope Pension File (NA).

85. Unrau and Kathleen R. Georg. "Gettysburg - A Happy and Patriotic Conception" 1979, 8-9.

86. For details of its construction see Vertical File #52, GNMP; also typescript by Jesse Cope, Jr. Vertical Files, GNMP.

87. CEJ, (July, 1897 - August, 1898), (GNMP) 21

88. Ibid, p. 22.

89. CEJ, entry 18 December, 1902.

90. CEJ, entry 7 January, 1903.

91. CEJ, 14 October, 1896

92. CEJ, 27 September, 1893

93. Typescript account by Jesse Cope, Jr. given to W.C. Storrick, Vertical Files, GNMP.

94. McCall Files, CCHS; Battlefield Avenue Reports, GNMP; see also Farrell Brothers and Family File #1415, Vertical Files, CCHS.

95. Blueprints #83, #85, #96, #99, Accompanying The Annual Report of the Gettysburg National Military Park Commission to the Secretary of War, 1895 (Washington, 1902) (hereafter Annual Reports)

96. Specifications for Manufacturing and Erecting One Steel Tower Upon the Battlefield of Gettysburg, Adams Co., Pa, Office Copy Battlefield Towers Vertical File, GNMP. (hereafter BTF)

97. The Towers File contains some wonderful material which, in itself, would make a wonderful little study. It lies beyond the scope of this work however.

98. BTF, Iron Works to Cope, 19 June, 1896.

99. BTF, Iron Works to Commissioners, 31 August, 1895; Cope to Iron Works, 2 September, 1895.

100. BTF, see Cope to Nicholson, 2 October, 1895; Iron Works to Cope, 12 October, 1895; and the remaining file's correspondence - it makes interesting reading; it may also be of interest to some that the towers were not originally Navy Battleship Grey; they were done in a polychromatic scheme of red, green and black; see George D. Wetherill Co. to Cope, 19 September, 1896.

101. BTF, Harrison to Neville, 31 January, 1978 and Cope to Iron Works, 26 February, 1896.

102. Gettysburg Compiler, 4 June 1927.

103. Ibid.

104. Ibid.

105 Cope to Sister Debbie, 23 July 1922. Copy in GNMP Vertical Files (Emmor B. Cope Participant Account File).

106. Gettysburg Compiler, 4 June 1927.

107. For an overview of the history of history, see P. Conkin and R. Stromberg, The Heritage and Challenge of History, (New York, 1971).

108. Those interested in more information about Wren may see Ralph Dutton, Sir Christopher Wren (London, 1971) and Margaret Whinney, Christopher Wren (New York, 1971).

109. Ibid.

110. Sir David Floyd Ewin, St. Paul's Cathedral (London, 1975), 17

111. Thomas Moore, Care of the Soul, (New York, 1992) 241

112. J. L. Chamberlain to John P. Nicholson (4 April, 1913), Maine Historical Society, copy in the Nicholson Files, GNMP.

113. "Chamberlain's Address, Dedication of the Twentieth Maine Monuments at Gettysburg" (Waldeboro, ME, 1891) 26; Maine Historical Society, copy in 20th Maine Vertical File, GNMP.

114. M. Capek, The Philosophical Impact of Contemporary Physics, (Princeton, 1961), 319.

115. Annual Report of the GNMP Commission to the Secretary of War, 1902. (Washington, 1903).

116. A. M. Judson, History of the 83rd Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers, (Erie, PA, 1865) 68.


I would like to thank my research partner, Darrell Smoker, for his ideas, comments, and many hours of assistance. He had been a good student who became a good friend, and is now a trusted colleague. The staff of both the Chester County Historical Society and the Special Collections Division of the New York State Library took great interest in assisting as they could. Many thanks also go to the following staff members of the Gettysburg National Military Park: to John Heiser for his kindness and advice, and for always making me feel at home; to Kathy Georg, for her willingness to share her knowledge so unselfishly and for her many helpful comments; to Eric Campbell, for his enthusiasm and spirit of congeniality; and especially to Scott Hartwig, for his comments, encouragement, and his patience as this writing came together I greatly respect both his scholarship and his humanity. And finally, very special feelings and my deepest gratitude are given to Cindy Roberts, who helped bring together these ideas and this writing in many ways - both subtle and profound. Bless you, Cyn. This work is for you.

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