After the battle was over, the blanket of corpses and horror was almost too much to comprehend.
In one hollow, the body of a Union soldier was found. He had died alone, but must have known that he was going.
He had removed from his pocket a photograph of his three young children. His final sight must have been of them, as his unseeing eyes stared still at the picture.
After such tragedies, the human spirit wants to find something good to hold on to. This was one of the moments of humanity and pathos which quickly caught the public imagination after Gettysburg.
A press search was soon on, printing the photograph and calling upon the family to get in touch.
Someone did. This was Phelinda Humiston, a teacher and the mother of the three little ones. It was her husband who had died clutching the picture.
Readers reacted as they often do today, when confronted with something so sad. They sent money. So much money, in fact, that Mrs Humiston was suddenly quite rich. But she didn't spend it on a life of luxury. She set up an orphanage in Gettysburg itself, and took in only children orphaned by the battle.
So far so sad, but with a nice ending. That is until she grew too old to care for her wards. Over sixty children had passed through her care, but now she was exhausted.
Mrs Humiston entrusted her orphanage to an assistant named Rosa Carmichaels. What she wasn't to know is that Carmichaels was not the best woman for the job.
One day, a little girl fled from the house. She was half-starved and injured, which led credence to the story that she was about to relate. It seemed that child abuse was now rife in the house. Children were not only beaten by Carmichaels, but given sticks and encouraged to batter a little victim in mob violence.
In the basement were shackles. That's where Carmichaels chained up children whom she had selected to die. They were left there, disturbed only for torture with one of her many devices, until they expired from their wounds or starvation.
It is said, by local paranormal investigators and ghost tour operators, that the most haunted place of all is not on the open battlefield, but here, in the basement of the Soldiers' Orphanage, built in the wake of war.