06 March 2010
Not So Blissful Farm
William Bliss and his wife Adeline moved to Gettysburg from upstate New York in 1857. They had lost three of their five children and moved to the Pennsylvania area looking for better weather and farming. William was in his early sixties at the time. The original farm bought in 1857 from Alexander Cobean included 53 acres, William added another seven the next year. The Bliss family had a small house, bank style barn and an orchard. On the morning of the battle William, his wife and two daughters; Frances and Sara left the house quickly, leaving the “doors open, the table set, the beds were made” taking nothing with them.
On the morning of the 3rd of July the 14th Connecticut and the 12th New Jersey were sent out to take the buildings in their front. The 14th which was able to occupied the Bliss house found themselves out flanked, and made a run for the barn which was then being held by the 12th New Jersey. As it became clearer to the Union commanders that these building would hard to hold onto, and that there was an action coming, Union Brigadier General Alexander Hays ordered, “the house and barn in our front, which interrupted the fire of our artillery, to be burned.”
William Bliss came back to find nothing left of his farm. He filed a claim for damages of $1,256.00. As the Government dragged its feet in paying on any claims, Mr. Bliss sold his holdings to Nicholas Codori in October 1865 for $1,000. The family moved to Jamestown, New York, were Mr. Bliss died in 1888, and his wife followed him in 1889. The United States government finally granted the family’s claim in 1902. There is a story that when William Bliss sold his farm to Mr. Codori he said, “Let it go. I would give twenty farms for such a victory.”