Except for occasional special tours, the best way to see inside the Leister Farmhouse – Meade’s Headquarters – is from the windows on the porch.
The door to the Leister house is on the south side, on the small sheltered porch. The house is usually closed to visitors, but it is easy to look into the house – and completely through it – from the windows.
The main room is where the famous council of war took place on the night of July 2. The tiny room was packed with a dozen generals: George Meade, who had taken over the Army of the Potomac from Joseph Hooker just four days before; Daniel Butterfield, the Chief of Staff Meade inherited from Hooker took notes at the table; John Newton, who had taken over the 1st Corps from John Reynolds, killed on the first day of the battle; Winfield Scott Hancock, normally 2nd Corps commander, now commanding the center of the army on Cemetery Ridge; John Gibbon, in temporary command of the 2nd Corps; David B. Birney, who had taken over the 3rd Corps after Daniel Sickles had been wounded that afternoon; George Sykes, who had taken over the 5th Corps from Meade when he was promoted four days earlier; John Sedgwick, whose 6th Corps had just reached the battlefield after a 35 mile march; Oliver O. Howard, who for a time after Reynolds died had commanded the entire battlefield; Alpheus Williams, temporarily commanding the 12th Corps; and the normal 12th Corps commander Henry Slocum, temporarily commanding the army’s right wing. The army’s Chief of Engineers, Gouverneur Warren, who had exhausted himself and suffered a minor wound saving Little Round Top earlier that day, fell asleep on the floor.
The bedroom of the Leister farmhouse. Several tables and chairs were taken into the yard and all her food had disappeared but a small bit of flour and some lard Lydia had hidden under a bench before she left. A shell had torn through the house, “knocking a bedstead all to pieces,” and another had knocked down the porch supports.
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