The farm of George and Dorothy Rose is about two miles south of Gettysburg on the eastern side of Emmitsburg Road. (39.79698° N, 77.249211° W; map) George Rose was a butcher from Germantown, Pennsylvania, who had purchased the farm from Jacob Benner in 1858 for a little over $8,000. Evidence suggests that George did not live on the farm at the time of the battle, and only moved in sometime in 1868.
Instead George’s brother John lived there with his wife Elizabeth, and seven children. Also living there was an older women working as a “domestic.” a young woman who was “help,” a middle-aged farmhand and 14 year old hired boy. A tenant farmer, Francis Ogden, his wife, and four sons also lived on the Rose farm, probably in the large farmhouse. The oldest son, Charles Francis Ogden, joined the 138th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment, who were not at Gettysburg. While some of the Civil War’s most intense fighting was swirling around his home, Charles and his regiment were a few miles to the south escorting supplies from Harpers Ferry to Washington.
The farmhouse dates back to 1811 and was completed to its present form in 1824. The barn was built in 1812.
The Rose Farm was at the center of some of the fiercest fighting on the second day of the battle. Tthe farm included the Stony Hill, the Rose Woods, and a twenty acre field where over 20,000 men engaged in brutal and often hand-to-hand combat leaving over six thousand killed or wounded. Ever since it has been known simply as The Wheatfield.
The thick stone walls of the farmhouse and barn provided shelter to the Confederates of Semmes’ and Kershaw’s Brigades, and the farm buildings were used as a Confederate field hospital. It is estimated that between 500 and 1,000 Confederate soldiers were buried on the property. Some of the most famous photograps after the battle were taken here by Alexander Gardner.
The stone farmhouse is still standing, but the barn is in ruins after burning down in 1910. The farm was in private hands until the 1950s, when it was acquired by the National Park Service.