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York CWRT presents Union General Francis Barlow – Controversial General of Gettysburg and an American Hero

Francis Barlow (Library on Congress)
Francis Barlow (Library on Congress)

The York Civil War Round Table will feature guest speaker and member Brian J. Blake at its upcoming meeting at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 18, 2015, at the York County Heritage Trust, 250 E. Market Street, York, Pennsylvania. The meeting is free and open to the public. Everyone is welcome!

Here is Brian’s description of his program…Union General Francis Barlow is a general we’ve heard of, usually from the Battle of Gettysburg and the familiar “Barlow–Gordon Story” but in reality, he is a man we really know little about.

During the Civil War Barlow was one of the few to rise in rank from private to general and became “one of the North’s premier combat leaders.”   His upbringing in Boston and graduation from Harvard gave no indication of military aptitude or even a desire for military life but aptitude he had, becoming a general by age 28. He served in most of the eastern battles of 1862-1865 suffering near-fatal wounds at Antietam and Gettysburg. Barlow served in the Army of the Potomac until Lee’s surrender at Appomattox in April of 1865.

Upon his return to civilian life, Barlow would continue to be newsworthy. He returned to his law practice in New York City but also serve as the New York Secretary of State and New York State Attorney General where his efforts lead to the downfall of the “Boss Tweed” organized crime syndicate. He also investigated the disputed election of 1876 on behalf of President Grant. While Francis Barlow never published his memoirs he was involved in veteran’s affairs and attended reunions including the 25th Anniversary of Gettysburg in 1888.

Brian Blake is an independent historian and has spoken at multiple locations from New Jersey to Virginia. He and his wife have been volunteers at the Gettysburg National Military Park for over 15 years. They are also members of the York (PA) Civil War Roundtable and reside in Hanover, PA.