Sunday, September 16, 2018

W. Britain 17292 - 140th Pennsylvania.

Uncommon valor at Gettysburg.

This 2001 three-piece set from W. Britains depicts Lieutenant James Jackson Purman and Sergeant James Milton Pipes struggling to carry a wounded comrade to safety during the Wheatfield fight on July 2, 1863.

Lieutenant Purman's account:

"When we emerged from the woods and were about to retreat across the wheat field, the only man of my company whom I could see was Sergeant J.M. Pipes.At this moment we came across a comrade whom I did not know, wounded badly in the legs. He cried out 'Comrades carry me off!' I replied that we could not do that as the enemy was too close upon us, but we immediately noticed two rocks nearby suitable for protection from the enemy's fire, and I said to the Sergeant 'come help me and I will him between these rocks.'  With the assistance from the Sergeant , I carried him and placed him between the rocks in  an apparent place of safety. I remained with him long enough to straighten out his limbs and take his hands and say 'good bye. But this delay of a few minutes caused the enemy to gain upon me so much that it proved fatal to my intention of crossing the wheat field and reaching our reserves on the opposite side.  Within a few yards of me the enemy called out 'Halt you damned yankee, halt!'. I did not obey his command and in consequence , a few moments later received a gunshot wound to my left leg below the knee, crushing both bones, and fell instantly to the ground, the enemy charging over me.  Sergeant Pipes was also wounded in the legs.  Unable to crawl off, I lay on the field all night and the next day between the fires of both armies.  About the middle of the afternoon July 3rd I received a second gunshot wound passing through my right leg.  Some time after this I was carried within the Confederate lines by Lieutenant Thomas P. Oliver, of the 24th Georgia and was given a canteen of water and placed in the edge of the woods under the shade of the trees.

As a result of the wounds, my left leg was amputated on the morning of July 4th and the strength and movement of my right leg was impaired.  

Since the war, I have ascertained that the unknown comrade who's life I tried to save was John Buckley, of Company B, and that he died from loss of blood and exposure before help could reach him."

For their gallantry, Purman and Pipes were awarded the Medal of Honor.


Both Pipes and Purman are interred in Arlington National Cemetery.

Sergeant James Milton Pipes

Lieutenant James Jackson Purman

John Buckley - the wounded comrade.

See you next time with more toy soldier action.

Soldier on!


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