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Tillie Pierce: Teen Eyewitness to the Battle of Gettysburg Library Binding – January 1, 2013


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Product Details

  • Library Binding: 96 pages
  • Publisher: 21st Century (January 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1467706922
  • ISBN-13: 978-1467706926
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 7.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #856,201 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 6-9-Fifteen-year-old Gettysburg resident Matilda Pierce witnessed the momentous 1863 battle and recounted it in her 1889 memoir. Anderson combines lengthy excerpts from the memoir with a narrative that follows the teen and her family through the battle and includes background information about the Pierces and Gettysburg and its importance in the Civil War. The family lived in town, but as the Union and Confederate armies drew near, Tillie's parents sent her to a nearby farm to help a neighbor. It was there, near the area known as the Round Tops, that she observed some of the most savage fighting of the day. As she and the women at the farm saw the horrors of war firsthand, they aided Union soldiers, cared for wounded and dying men, and worried about their relatives in town. The memoir records the girl's anguish, and Anderson's use of those quotes and a smooth narrative will help readers identify with Tillie's feelings and better understand the human cost of the war. Large, well-captioned period photos and maps and sidebars about related topics supplement the text. Offering far more detail than Patricia Gauch's fictional account of Tillie's experiences, Thunder at Gettysburg (Coward, 1975), this book offers a unique perspective through the eyes of a young woman who observed and survived the worst of war.-Mary Mueller, Rolla Public Schools, MOα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

This is not a book about what happened on the battlefield of Gettysburg. Rather, it is a book about a real-life 15-year-old girl and the small Pennsylvania town where she happened to live in 1863. Based mostly on Tillie’s own recollection of the conflict, which she wrote and published in 1889, this book combines that writing with Anderson’s smooth retelling to describe the weeks leading up to and following the battle from the perspective of an extremely relatable young witness. Anderson describes Tillie’s fear at seeing the arrival of Confederate cavalry on an otherwise quiet afternoon at school, as well as her tireless tending of the wounded as the battle raged. The narrative is driven home by captivating photographs of the town before and after the battle and of artifacts that were dear to the Pierce family. Copious endnotes and a carefully selected bibliography with plenty of primary source documentation speak to Anderson’s careful research on one of the most exhaustively covered events in American history. Grades 6-9. --Erin Anderson

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Format: Library Binding
The winds of war were in the air, swirling around Gettysburg and families prepared for the onslaught. The Shrivers and the Pierces, residents of the town, grew fretful when they heard "alarming news about growing tension between the Southern and Northern states." Troops were converging on Gettysburg and families began to prepare, hiding their valuables and stockpiling food. Tillie Pierce, a fifteen-year-old girl, nervously watched the changes around her. The free blacks, fearing for their lives, began to move because they knew "they were in danger of being captured and dragged back into slavery." Some fled to the woods while others sought shelter with families in the community.

The shouts began to ring out while Tillie was in class. "Children," Mrs. Eyster urged, "run home as quickly as you can." The desperate Rebels, led by Major General Early, were filling the streets. They began to plunder and loot the town, demanding food and stealing their very horses, including Tillie's. The town became silent as they moved on and a few days later Union soldiers began to arrive and shots were fired. Hettie Shriver came knocking, asking for Tillie's help with her children. She was going to head to her parent's farm on Taneytown Road. Surely they would be safer there, so the Pierces agreed to the request.

Three miles seemed like a hundred as they waded through mud, trying to get to the farmhouse. The safety they longed for was not to be had, because the horrors of war quickly descended upon them. An explosion rocked the air and they "saw a man thrown high in the air and come down in a wheat field close by." The man was brought into the Weikert household, but he would be the first of hundreds to fall in battle.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Peggy Keating-Butler on March 20, 2013
Format: Library Binding Verified Purchase
Tillie Pierce: Teen Eyewitness to the Battle of Gettysburg is a perfect book, balancing historical scope (the Battle of Gettysburg) with an intimate narrative of a fifteen-year-old girl caught within the three-day maelstrom of war. Anderson allows us to experience the Battle of Gettysburg through the eyes and words of Matilda "Tillie" Pierce, who accompanies her neighbor Hettie (whose husband is in the army) and children to escape the imminent dangers posed by the Confederate and Union armies converging on the town. By foot they hurry from Baltimore Street to what they expect will be a safer locale, farther south of town, along the Taneytown Road, east of Little Round Top. They head to the residence of Hettie's parents: the Weikert Farm. For those who a little about the Gettysburg Battle, this farm was about to become a field hospital for over 700 soldiers, from both the North and South.

Anderson retells the story first written by Matilida Pierce Alleman herself as a mature woman and published in 1889: At Gettysburg; or What a Girl Saw and Heard of the Battle. In retelling the story, Anderson provides what "Tillie" could not: the larger historical context within which to place the personal narrative. And she does so deftly, not only through a concise yet interesting overview of the political and social struggles between North and South but also convey through photographs taken from that period and side bar information on cultural customs (like hiding a child's shoe in the walls of a house for good luck) and current history relevant to key locations during the battle.

What is most amazing, of course, is Tillie's specific experiences, narrated mostly by Anderson and sprinkled with direct quotes from Alleman's own narrative (a book I intend to read immediately). A wonderful story teller, Anderson's account will keep you glued to the pages of this incredible story.

I highly recommend this book and can't imagine a school library without it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Reader on February 19, 2013
Format: Library Binding
Tillie Pierce was right in the middle of things when the Battle of Gettysburg started in 1863. Her family lived in the town of Gettysburg, but on the first day of battle she went with a neighbor to a farm nearby, where they believed they would be safer--the farm was located beside Big and Little Round Top. As a result, Tillie witnessed much of the battle, and pitched in to help wounded soldiers. This is great for teens who are interested in history, particularly the Civil War. It's a pretty light read, and doesn't go into a lot of detail, but readers who want to know more can always turn to Tillie's memoirs of the battle. The layout of the book is very attractive, with a nice balance between text and photos.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kim Baccellia, "YA Books Central reviewer" on January 30, 2013
Format: Library Binding
I've always been fascinated with the Civil War so I was excited to find a teen's eyewitness account of the war. Tillie Pierce and her family lived in the town of Gettysburg right before and during the war. Her journal accounts are woven throughout this book. The photos and illustrations add to the horror that a fifteen year old must have witnessed during that time.

There is a lot to recommend about this non-fiction historical book which includes the interesting tidbits throughout. We're shown the instruments doctors used during that time. Chances were very slim a wounded soldier lived. There's a poster warning of kidnappings due to the Fugitive Slave Act which made it legal for anyone to 'capture' runaway slaves. What's chilling is that not only slaves but free Blacks had to fear for their safety. Also there are some photos of what new owners in 1990 found when restoring a couple of these houses that verify what Tillie wrote in her journal.

I loved reading this eyewitness account to one of the most horrific wars that took place on US soil. It shows the bravery, courage, and even spunk of this teen.

Haunting as well as fascinating account of the horror of war told through the eyes of teen who lived in the town while it happened.

Good Points
1. Fascinating account of a teen who actually witnessed the Battle of Gettysburg
2. Interesting facts woven throughout
3. Photos and illustrations add to the horror of war

Originally posted at YABC:

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