Gettysburg Farms & Buildings > The Brian Farm


The Brian Farm wayside marker is in front of the Brian Farmhouse along Hancock Avenue at Ziegler’s Grove.

The Brian Farm wayside marker on the Gettysburg battlefield

From the wayside marker:

The Brian Farm

“His property … was thus under fire of the enemy and the very midst and thickest of the battle”
-damage claim of Abraham Brian

In 1863, this was the home and farm of Abraham Brian. He and James Warfield, who owned a farm and blacksmith shop near Seminary Ridge, were among a small, unique group of farmers on the battlefield. They were free black men, and they were property owners.

When the Confederate army invaded Pennsylvania during the summer of 1863, Brian and his family left the area. On July 2, Union soldiers occupied Brian’s farm and home. They dismantled his fences to build breastworks, and trampled his crops. Heavy fighting raged around the farm, particularly on July 3 during the Pickett-Pettigrew Charge, exposing the home and buildings to musketry and shell fire.

Following the battle, Brian returned to begin repairs on his farm. Like nearly all the area farmers he filed claims (with the federal government) for damages. Out of $1028 requested, he received $15. Many farmers received nothing.

The damage inflicted by the battle did not discourage or ruin Brian. He rebuilt his 12-acre farm and prospered until his death in 1879.

From the caption to the photo and drawing on the bottom right:

In mid-July, 1863 photographer Mathew Brady visited the battlefield and recorded images of Brian’s farm. They provide a photographic record of the farm as Abraham Brian would have seen it upon his return.

His farmhouse (left) displays battle damage, while behind the house are the rails and stones of his fencing, which Union soldiers piled for protection.

This etching (above) by John B. Bachelder shows Union infantry men using Brian’s stone wall and buildings for protection during the Pickett-Pettigrew Charge on July 3.

Closeup of the Brian Farm wayside marker on the Gettysburg battlefield