Who is the Angel of Gettysburg? This and More on Stories & Myths.

Who was the 'Angel of Gettysburg?' Why did Union soldiers give their lives to save High Bridge near Appomattox? All this and more on this week's Stories & Myths with Dr. Craig von Buseck and his special guest, Aaron von Buseck.





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Stories & Myths Transcript: June 24, 2021


and good evening good morning good

afternoon wherever you are tuning in

around the world

we are so glad for you to join us

tonight

on stories and myths and you might

notice

in the lower part of the screen uh

that the last names of both people

are the same this week and even though

he looks a little bit like

john c farrell this is not john c

farrell this is my son aaron

c von busick and we want to welcome

aaron to the program tonight so glad

that you could be with us

thank you yeah this is awesome i'm

really excited to be a part of this

this is uh well i am excited to have you

as well

and uh for those who are tuning in

um aaron has just uh made some history

himself

in the last couple of weeks and uh

you're coming up on the two-week

anniversary am i right

yep me and my wife we tied the knot

literally

we did the not tying ceremony in our

wedding and

yeah it's been it's been amazing so it's

certainly a new

season so it's been really awesome so

that is exciting and uh

we uh we did this uh and

very wisely uh aaron and his

wife julie are both

graduates of the regents school of

communication

where they studied tv and film and video

and so this wedding was prepared

uh as you know from through the eyes of

filmmakers

and so because of that uh

they wanted us there uh for golden hour

at sunrise and we were right on the

shores of

lake erie and the sun rose behind us

as uh well i say behind us

i mean um because i co-officiated

the ceremony with julie's father who's

also an ordained

minister so what gave you guys the idea

to uh to do this cinematic

type of wedding

yeah it certainly is cinematic um yeah

we just you know we both

we you know we've worked on plenty of

film projects in the past and

you know there's just something about

early morning light that is just

incredible and lake erie

uh they have a bang that it's like the

third most beautiful sunrise

you know they don't set the standards

too high but it's but it's certainly

amazing

and so we just knew that it would look

gorgeous and

you know from a

you know from an emotional standpoint in

our connection we wanted to look at this

as a new season

and so we wanted to start it at the

beginning of the day so we wanted it to

symbolize as much of a new beginning

for the two of us as possible which you

know was

kind of always the idea so there's an

element like that there to it but it was

also

simply because we knew that the photos

and videos would look pristine and

and so far yeah everything that we've

seen from our amazing photographer uh

daryl morgan i'll give him a little plug

has been amazing um so we're we're

really thrilled

and really excited to see the rest of it

so

uh i am as well as you said the uh

photos that i've seen in the one little

clip of video that i've seen

have been amazing and i can't wait to

see

more so that is very exciting

yeah so uh one of i was going to say my

uh that was there she was saying that it

was amazing because as soon as

julie got down the aisle the clouds

parted and the sun shone through it was

really

kind of spectacular the way that it all

came together so

yeah it it really was it was uh

for me uh it was almost like a dream

moment or a movie moment uh living it

felt like it was we were in a movie

yeah right i was waiting for someone to

shout cut

yeah well hopefully no one will ever do

that so let me just let the movement

absolutely keep playing yeah

that's awesome well uh we said earlier

that you and julie

attended the regent film school uh tell

us

what the two of you are are doing now in

the film and video

and television industry

so uh currently julie is working

um as a producer uh for cbn

um specifically with the uh

show gizmo go and uh the soup and

also on the side uh super book show

where she does a lot of editing but also

you know a lot of producing and so

that's kind of been

where she's been going but she's also

excellent uh behind camera like as an

operator

and so uh we've been able to work

together actually on a couple projects

which is really cool

you know you know a lot of people you

know don't necessarily get the

opportunity to go to work with their

wife you know

it's really cool to be able to be on set

and to collaborate

because you know film is such an

artistic medium you know and so there

have been a couple opportunities that

we've had where it was really great

getting to work together um and getting

to see her shine in that way because

you know i've only ever seen the product

i've never gotten to see

up until recently gotten to see operate

that one

as for me i just got done working on um

a show up in richmond

uh called swagger uh it's

produced through apple tv and it looks

like it's gonna be amazing i'm really

excited to see it

uh the you know it's a show about um

basketball and youth programs and and

and

the struggles that you know young people

go through

trying to carve their way you know

especially in something as

huge as a sport you know that and you

know national sport like basketball you

know

the competition is so high and so it

makes for a lot of good drama

so uh i'm excited to see that i was a

part of that on their lighting team

um started as a set lighting technician

and then moved to the rigging electric

team

and uh it was very rewarding being a

part of such a large production

uh and now now i just got to work on the

pilot for

a uh a tv series that they're trying to

make

for uh history it's called hidden

history and the episode that we made for

the pilot

uh was about the train that was buried

in richmond uh when they the tunnel

collapsed

and it you know buried like four or five

um

people that are confirmed and then they

think that there might have been

you know up to a dozen or so you know

workers

that were buried as well and so it's

this kind of almost titanic like

story but he hit it you know hidden in

richmond's

ground you know it's kind of incredible

yeah i have never heard this story

before you

worked on this project yeah i mean

either it was really kind of incredible

but uh when i was talking to the

um the producer and uh the

cinematographer ryan pace uh we were he

was telling me the story

about how they've been trying to make

this show

for like 10 years and just now i've

gotten

uh the green light to go make this hook

and then they're working on the second

one which will be happening soon and so

i'm

waiting to hear about that that one too

so it's gonna be cool i love these

stories of you know not well-known

stories

you know from our history but they have

really great lessons i mean

lessons of hubris you know you can be

overstated

you know so well that's what the stories

of this program

is all about to tell those kind of

stories that are amazing interesting

thought-provoking informative sometimes

they make you furious

but then on the myth side you know

the program is meant to also debunk

some of the myths that are out there as

well because

not all history is completely

what happened so there are some things

that we call history

that we find out later as uh further

documentation is discovered

were not exactly what we thought that

that it was

so i'm so glad to have you on the

program uh tonight aaron

yeah no i it's awesome i'm excited to

hear

more about these things i saw your uh

your post on uh the angel of gettysburg

and i was immediately like

well that sounds like a movie

oh my gosh what a title it it really is

so just before we go into the questions

and do you have those questions ready

yeah yeah i have some questions here

that uh okay you know got me thinking

here

before we go into those questions we

want to um announce that

um aaron and i are actually

working on developing one of my books

into a video project the details of

which

will be announced uh in further

upcoming episodes once we get further

down the road

but we are taking the things that i have

been working on

and combining with aaron's video skills

and both of our writing skills because

aaron is also

a talented writer and uh we are

developing a very interesting project

uh so we will announce more about that

as

time goes by yeah i certainly think so

already

like my mind has been blown so many

times i'm like how has this

how are we the first ones to be talking

about this

coming to being a project like this is

that type of thing where you know

in my mind it's in the ranks of you know

the stories that we hear of like you

know george washington crossing

you know and like all that stuff like

all these huge historical stories

that make american history so rich

and i'm very excited to bring more light

to it

so yeah me too and it's also exciting to

be working together

as father and son but in this capacity

as partners

yeah no it's it's amazing it's funny you

know um

growing up in a you know you definitely

didn't hide history from us

so uh i guess it was inevitable that we

would eventually work together when

you shared so much and you you know talk

so much of you know the lessons that can

be learned and

you know and to value what we've gone

through and to learn from our mistakes

but to also

honor you know the good that has been

done

and you know the times that humanity's

goodness has shown through you know

especially in a world that can be so

dark and you know unpleasant

so absolutely well one of those stories

of light

uh is the angel of gettysburg that you

talked about

earlier so what's your question about

the angel of gettysburg

well number one that monument the photo

of the monument

is stunning oh my goodness it's the

artistry behind that alone

was enough to keep my interest much less

you know i know that there's an

incredible story behind it

but i wanted to hear like you know what

is that story and

you know is there some you know other

significance to the monument

itself absolutely well

elizabeth thorne is the woman that is

now known as the angel of gettysburg

she was the mother of three children and

she and her husband

had been hired in 1855

they were immigrants from germany and so

they were hired to be the caretakers of

the new

evergreen cemetery in gettysburg it was

newly established and laid out and they

had just

built uh the archway

entrance and if you've ever been to

gettysburg or you've ever seen the

cemetery

you see that that archway entrance has

on the two sides

uh they were basically two apartments

so there was an apartment on uh one side

where elizabeth and her husband lived

with their three

boys and then on the other side of the

archway was another apartment

that was housed that housed elizabeth's

parents her elderly parents now in 1862

i'm sorry 18 yeah 1862

i believe it was that her husband

um felt that

he needed to join the union army

and so he joined the army

and he went off uh to fight and was

actually fighting

ironically was actually stationed in

virginia

when general robert e lee and the

army of northern virginia invaded

pennsylvania

and eventually invaded gettysburg

so she was elizabeth was alone

uh caring for the cemetery she and her

father

had an average of about five burials

per month until the battle of gettysburg

and you can imagine uh what happened

because

their home was literally on ground

zero it was the central

point for the union army their home

that that uh wow was called cemetery

hill

and uh it was the high ground apartment

what's that yeah i was gonna say i

couldn't i could imagine the high ground

would have been

like tactically you know advantageous

for them to

hold yeah and as i pointed out with uh

my co-host john last week

general reynolds had been

overseeing the pennsylvania militia

earlier in the war

and he was actually from lancaster which

is not far from gettysburg

and so he had studied all of the ground

in and around gettysburg he knew it very

well

and so when lee started to approach

reynolds

had a very strong suspicion that lee

would want to consolidate his army

in gettysburg because gettysburg is like

the hub of a wheel with spokes going off

in every direction

and all of those roads converged on

gettysburg

which is one of the main reasons why the

battle

was not fought in harrisburg it was not

fought in carlisle

it was not fought in pipe creek where

general mead wanted to fight it was

fought in gettysburg

because that was the place where lee

could say

to all his different army corps come

together

let's come together in this place and uh

and reynolds had a suspicion that that's

what would happen and that's exactly

what happened

and so reynolds had been studying the

ground and he met

with one of the other core commanders

general

otis howard the night before the first

day of the battle

and they unrolled some maps and they

looked at it and they agreed

that they needed to hold cemetery hill

which is exactly where

elizabeth thorne's house was

and so um she

they um when they moved into gettysburg

after general buford who was in charge

of the cavalry

sent word back to general reynolds

saying lee and his course

they're gathering here move in we need

your help

and so on july 1st reynolds

and howard moved in in the morning

howard stopped and left one of his

divisions

on top of little or on top of uh

cemetery

hill and he went up to the door and

knocked on the door

of elizabeth thorne and said um just to

let you know

when i tell you to leave don't ask

questions

leave but for now go down into your

basement

and i'll tell you when it's time to go

and so

um the first day of battle was a an

overwhelming confederate victory

and so the union army

got pushed all the way back to cemetery

hill

and then there was a little bit of a

saddle between

and then next to it was culps hill and

that is where the union army was

at the evening of the first battle well

they were sitting in the yard

of elizabeth thorne and so elizabeth and

her parents were down in the basement

with the three boys

and early the next morning when the

battle erupted

general howard sent an assistant to go

tell

elizabeth thorne to get out of there and

so the

the family left and they moved uh far

south beyond a little round top uh where

several people in town had gathered

waiting out the battle

well uh the battle was absolutely

hellacious on uh both uh

cemetery hill and culps hill it was

hellacious all the way down cemetery

ridge and out into the peachfield the

wheat field

devil's den and especially strong and

difficult on little round top uh which

we talked about a little bit last week

with uh

general strong vincent and um

so the third day of battle actually

uh the tables turned the second day was

about a draw between the union and the

confederates

a little bit of a union victory in that

they held their

high ground the third day was pick

pickett's charge which was a total

annihilation the uh

union wiped out the confederates

and that is why the union won the battle

of gettysburg

so it was first day uh a confederate

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