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Abraham Bryan: Wikis


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Abraham Bryan, or Brian (died 1875) was a free black man whose farm on Cemetery Ridge near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, was near the epicenter of the famed Pickett's Charge during the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg. Federal troops positioned around Bryan's whitewashed house and barn were assaulted by Confederate troops under the command of J. Johnston Pettigrew.

In 1857, Bryan purchased a small farm just south of the town along the low Cemetery Ridge. He soon lost his wife and had to raise five children on his own until he remarried a third wife.

During the Gettysburg Campaign in late June 1863, residents including Bryan heard reports of the approach of Confederate troops. Bryan and several other blacks left the area to avoid any possibility of capture and enslavement. His small farm was in front of the Union line on Cemetery Ridge, and was the target of a spirited attack by Confederate troops from Mississippi.

After the battle had ended and he returned, Bryan discovered his house was nearly destroyed; its walls filled with bullet holes, windows broken, and furniture tossed about. His fences were gone, crops trampled, and his orchard trees were useless. Bryan accepted an invitation to assist in the reburial of dead Union soldiers. He was offered a dollar per body that he dug up on the vast battlefield to be reinterred in the National Cemetery. Later, Bryan filed a claim with the Federal government for damages to his property totalling $1,028. However, he only received $15 as compensation.

Abraham Bryan died in 1875 and is buried in Gettysburg with his first two wives.

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