[CIVIL WAR]. TYSON Brothers, photographers. CDV of a Man Believed to be Civil War Civilian Soldier John L. Burns. Gettysburg, n.d.

CDV of a seated man believed to be Civil War civilian soldier, John L. Burns. Tyson Brothers: Gettysburg, PA, n.d., ca late 19th century.

Burns, a veteran of the War of 1812 and the Mexican-American War, was eager to support the Union during the Civil War despite his advanced age. As a resident of Gettysburg, he marched toward the field of battle on July 1, 1863, armed and ready to join the fight. After approaching Major Thomas Chamberlain and reporting to Colonel Langhorne Wister, Burns was sent to the McPherson Woods to fight with the 7th Wisconsin Infantry (and later the 24th Michigan Infantry). Burns served as a sharpshooter and was wounded at least three times during the battle, after which he was left by Union forces and found by Confederate forces. In a moment of quick wit and cleverness, Burns, having buried his ammunition, convinced the Confederates that he was a simple civilian attempting to get medical help for his sick wife.

Narrowly escaping death, Burns became a national hero and a symbol for Union bravery. President Lincoln even requested to meet Burns, and the two spent time together following Lincoln's Gettysburg Address on November 19, 1863. His legacy of heroism lived on in many ways after his death in 1872, including in the form of a monument placed on McPherson's Ridge and dedicated on July 1, 1903, on the 40th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.

Estimate: $200 - $400


Have a Similar Item?

Consign With Us


Cowan’s Cincinnati Office offers an in-house, full-service shipping department which is unparalleled in the auction industry. Shipping costs are provided with your finalized invoice 24-48 hours after auction. For furniture and oversized items, we recommend using third-party services. For more information, click HERE or contact cowansshipping@hindmanauctions.com.  

NOTE: All pickups and preview are by appointment only. To make an appointment, please call 513-871-1670 or email cincinnati@hindmanauctions.com