Auction Of Skull Of Civil War Soldier
Found At Gettysburg Canceled
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[June 03, 2014]
By David DeKok
HARRISBURG Pa. (Reuters) - Facing wide
criticism, including from the National Parks Service, an auction house
has canceled plans to sell the skull of a Civil War soldier and military
relics found near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
Estate Auction Company had hoped the auction, by an anonymous
seller, would raise between $50,000 to $250,000 from a private
collector or museum.
But late on Monday, auctioneer Thomas Taylor of the Hagerstown,
Maryland-based company said the skull would be handed over to the
National Park Service at the Gettysburg National Military Park.
The park service had earlier called for the skull to be donated for
burial in the Soldiers National Cemetery at Gettysburg, alongside
the bones of other unknown soldiers.
The Battle of Gettysburg, which lasted three days in 1863, is often
described as the turning point of the Civil War. Some 164,000 troops
from both sides participated, and some 45,000 were left dead,
wounded or missing.
The most recent discovery of Civil War soldier remains was in 1996.
Those were interred with full military honors in the national
cemetery at Gettysburg, which President Abraham Lincoln dedicated
with his famous Gettysburg Address.
The skull was found in 1949 on private land near Bennerís Farm, site
of a Confederate field hospital, by someone tilling a garden. A
breastplate found nearby came from a Louisiana unit of the
Confederate Army, the auction house said.
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Katie Lawhon, spokeswoman for Gettysburg National Military Park, had
described the proposed sale as "very unfortunate."
U.S. National Park Service officials believe there are still
undiscovered soldier remains at Gettysburg and treat the entire
battlefield as a sacred burial ground, she said.
(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst, Bill Trott, Daniel Wallis and Ken
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