for immediate release
Texan helps keep PA ancestor standing
HARRISBURG, Dec. 12 - Day and night, in summer's heat and winter's frigid winds, he maintains his vigilance, gazing across the "Valley of Death" toward the enemy in Devil's Den. His right arm ends abruptly in a stump at his wrist -- he did not give in to the Confederates on July 2, 1863, but he has been losing the battle against time and the elements.
The image of young Samuel Washington Hill, a private in the 155th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, is well known, though few of the millions of people who have experienced his presence are aware of the name behind his image. Hill was the model for the granite figure atop the monument to the 155th P.V.I. where the regiment recruited from the Pittsburgh area stood its ground at Gettysburg.
His hand, ramming a round into the barrel of his musket, fell off and disappeared decades ago, along with the end of the rifle and his ramrod. During the next few years, the missing parts will be replaced and the monument restored, thanks to the efforts of state Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny, and his Pennsylvania Gettysburg Monuments Project, which has accounted for the funds to complete restoration of the 146 Pennsylvania monuments that dot the Adams County battlefield.
The emphasis now is to raise funds for endowment trusts to finance any other work the monuments may need in the decades to come. That's where transplanted Pennsylvanian Harry Graham comes in. The Granite Shoals, Texas, man, born in Pittsburgh, recently learned of Readshaw's crusade to save the Pennsylvania monuments. He is especially interested in the 155th P.V.I. monument because Private Hill was his father's uncle.
Graham recently wrote Readshaw in support of the Pennsylvania Gettysburg Monuments Project and included a donation toward the endowment trust to provide for any future work the 155th monument requires.
"I know $100 will not go far, but it is donated in memory of my 'Uncle Wash,' who was wounded at Gettysburg," Graham wrote. "He survived the war, including the Petersburg Campaign, and died of pneumonia in his 90s." Graham added that "Wash" had two brothers who died during the war. One is believed to have died at Andersonville prison after being captured. The other was killed in the Battle of the Wilderness in Virginia in 1864.
"When I receive letters like this from people who have a family link to Gettysburg, it adds to my resolve to see this project through," Readshaw said. "It brings to life the reason that so many men risked all at Gettysburg - for the good of future generations of their family, as well as all of Pennsylvania and the United States."
Readshaw and the Pennsylvania Gettysburg Monuments Project may be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone, 717-783-0411.
Updated: December 14, 2000
Copyright: 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000
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