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Dallastown Soldier buried in Gettysburg National Cemetery

Grave Location of John Curtis Barshinger within Gettysburg National Cemetery (Location marked and headstone photo by S. H. Smith, superimposed onto an old guide to Gettysburg National Military Park; the former Visitor Center was torn down in 2009)

The grave location of Dallastown native John Curtis Barshinger within Gettysburg National Cemetery is shown in this illustration.  John was a student of the Civil War; especially The Battle of Gettysburg.  When John Barshinger died while in the service of our country, his Mother requested his burial at Gettysburg National Cemetery.

This cemetery was established during the Civil War as a place to bury Union soldiers killed during the Battle of Gettysburg.  There are over 3,500 Civil War graves in the cemetery.  During the November 19th 1863 dedication, President Abraham Lincoln gave his famous remarks; The Gettysburg Address.

Related Gettysburg & Lincoln posts include:


The Gettysburg Cemetery was originally state owned; it was turned over to the Federal Government in 1872.  In the late 1880’s the government started to honor special requests from veterans to be buried within this cemetery in an area outside the semi-circle of original graves.  These new burials were made in several rows south of the boundary stonewall within the north end of the original cemetery.  John C. Barshinger is interred near the angle of this stonewall.

Beginning in 1942, additional new burials were located in an area south of the Rostrum, behind the Lincoln Speech Memorial.  In total, there are about 1,500 non-Civil War veterans buried within the original boundaries of the Gettysburg National Cemetery.  The National Cemetery Annex was added to the north side of the original cemetery grounds in 1968; where there are about 1,700 veterans buried.

John Curtis Barshinger  (1915-1939)

John C. Barshinger was born June 7th 1915 in Dallastown, York County.  John’s father Orrin Barshinger died when John was 10-years old.  John had 6 brothers and 2 sisters; he grew up with his mother Florence and siblings at 220 East Maple Street in Dallastown.

John joined the Army was eventually stationed in Hawaii in the years prior to World War II.  John was with the Coast Artillery Corps of the United States Army.  The ‘CAC’ on John’s headstone stand for Coast Artillery Corps.

At the time of John Barshinger’s death, he was a 23-year-old Corporal in Headquarters Battery of the 64th Regiment of the Coast Artillery Corps.  The following government photo shows the 64th Coast Artillery passing the reviewing stand during a Hawaiian Department Review on February 20th 1933.  This photo of the 64th Coast Artillery was only a few years before John was stationed in Hawaii; therefore it is representative of the time he was stationed there.

64th Coast Artillery passing the Reviewing Stand during a Hawaiian Department Review on February 20th 1933 (U.S. Government Photo in the Coast Artillery Journal issue of May-June 1933)

The text accompanying this photo notes the recent delivery of three 1931 GMC Model T95 trucks; the three trucks closest to the reviewing stand.  The role of the 64th Coastal Artillery was anti-aircraft (AA).  The text further notes that 3-inch Anti-aircraft guns are being towed.

John C. Barshinger died while serving in the Coast Artillery Corps; he died February 2nd 1939 in Honolulu, Hawaii.  His body was sent home for burial by ship and via the Panama Canal.  John was interred in Gettysburg National Cemetery on April 16th 1939.

Attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7th 1941

By December 1941, the Army had four regiments of anti-aircraft Coast Artillery Corps in Hawaii.  Some were in position to engage a portion of the attacking Japanese aircraft; downing 11 planes.  A few of the ships along Battleship Row were likewise able to down 18 Japanese aircraft with their anti-aircraft guns.  However these Japanese losses were essentially insignificant compared to the American losses.

On December 7th 1941, the Navy and Army were still using antiquated anti-aircraft guns.  Limited production had just started during November 1941 on the-latest-and-greatest 40-MM Anti-aircraft Bofors Guns.  None of these guns were in Pearl Harbor on that “date which will live in infamy.”

The Bofors gun fired a two-pound projectile from each barrel at the rate of 120 or better per minute.  The projectile itself was of the tracer type, high explosive, with a super-sensitive nose fuse; the fuse did not become active until the projectile left the gun.  The projectiles could reach two-miles into the air; it became the deadliest weapon for close-in anti-aircraft defense following the United States entry into WWII.

After the United States purchased manufacturing rights to the Bofors gun on June 21st 1941, a contract called for the York Safe & Lock Company to do the drawing conversions and to produce one gun to the resulting Navy Spec. Drawings by October 1941.  Likewise, the Chrysler Corporation, which had accepted a similar assignment from the Army version of the gun, had the same deadline.  Working together York Safe & Lock Company and Chrysler Corporation overcame many obstacles and produced the first Navy and first Army Bofors guns by October 1941.

Their contracts called for limited production starting November 1941, with a gradual production increase thereafter to 50 guns per month by May 1942.  Of course, December 7th 1941 changed every thing; the Navy and Army wanted 50-and-more Bofors guns per month immediately.

It makes one wonder, what would have been the outcome if Japanese had waited two more months to attack.  Bofors guns might have been deployed in Hawaii by that time.  On December 7th 1941 experimental mobile radar sets on the island also were within a month or two of being integrated into a functioning aircraft warning system; therefore the element of surprise by the Japanese likely would have been lost.  How would have history changed with a thwarted Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor?

Post a Reply if You Have an Opinion

I’ve seen some comments on the Internet by Civil War purists that the Federal Government should have kept the Gettysburg National Cemetery restricted for use by Civil War veterans only.  What do you think?

This is my 103rd post. An inventory of the general topics and locations that have been the subjects of my first 100 posts are presented in a 100-tile mosaic that breaks down these posts into seven general categories.

Reading the Headlines: A Quick Index to All YorksPast Posts