Thursday, May 24, 2012

Simeon Roosa


Simeon  J. Roosa was born March 18, 1836 in Fallsburg, New York. In 1862, at the age of 26, he enlisted with the 145th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. At the time Gen. George McClellan had been pushed by from the Peninsula by Robert E. Lee in the daring Seven Days Battles, and there was an urgent need for troops.Simeon's unit, after its organization, was immediately sent to the front to serve with the Army of the Potomac, and would subsequently fight in the Battles of Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville. In a daring move in the summer of 1863, Robert E. Lee moved his army of Northern Virginia north for an invasion of Pennsylvania. George G. Meade, the newly appointed commander of the Army of the Potomac moved to counter Lee's move and block any advance to Baltimore or Washington, D.C. Even though neither army originally planned to fight at Gettysburg, the "spider web" of roads passing through the town made it an idea place to mass troops. 

Simeon Roosa's regiment, the 145th, found itself in the thick of the fighting in the Wheatfield late on July 2nd. This small field would be one of the most fiercely contested portions of that day's fighting.  While fighting with his unit, a bullet entered Simeon's right eye and came out his left eye, destroying both eyes, but somehow leaving his eyelids intact. Rendered unconscious by the hit, he was left for dead on the battlefield. The next morning, when members of his unit when to find and bury him, they could not find his body, but noticing that a freshly dug grave was near where they thought he fell, they declared him dead and buried. Three days later, he was discovered wandering blindly through the woods 3 miles from where he was wounded, calling for his mother. He was positively identified, taken to a hospital in Harrisburg, and reunited with his family, and discharged. However, due to his injuries, he passed away several months later in Tidioute, PA on September 30th.

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