The farm of George and Dorothy Rose is about two miles south of Gettysburg on the eastern side of Emmitsburg Road. The farmhouse dates back to 1811 and was completed to its present form in 1824. The barn was built in 1812.
The Rose family in 1863
George Rose was a butcher from Germantown, Pennsylvania. He 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. The regiment was not at Gettysburg. While 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 Rose farm in the battle
The Rose Farm was at the center of some of the fiercest fighting of the war on the second day of the battle. The farm included the Stony Hill and the Rose Woods. It also included a twenty acre field where over 20,000 men engaged in brutal and often hand-to-hand combat. Over six thousand men were killed or wounded there. 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. Alexander Gardner took some of the most famous photographs after the battle here.
The Rose farm today
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. The house is only open to the public on special occasions.
Location of the Rose farm at Gettysburg
The farm of George and Dorothy Rose is about two miles south of Gettysburg on the eastern side of Emmitsburg Road. (39°47’49.0″N 77°14’58.1″W)