Civil War- Brother Against Brother - Pvt Welsey Culp, And The Undelivered Note To Jennie Wade-The Only Civilian Killed During The Battle Of Gettysburg. Photo: Culp, Jennie Wade and Jack Skelly
Gettysburg: In 1861, when the war broke out, Wesley chose to join the Confederate Army and fight as a member of Company B, 2nd Virginia Infantry Regiment. The 2nd Virginia, part of the famous “Stonewall Brigade” led by General “Stonewall” Jackson, saw its first combat during the First Battle of Manassas. Wesley survived the battle and went on to participate in the Valley Campaign of 1862, the Peninsula Campaign, the Second Battle of Manassas, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, the Second Battle of Winchester and Gettysburg.
Wesley’s Brother William, who had remained in Pennsylvania, enlisted with the Union Army and was a member of the 87th Pennsylvania Infantry. William and Wesley Culp’s Regiments faced each other in combat at the Second Battle of Winchester. Fortunately, neither brother was wounded in the action. Wesley Culp came across a friend from Gettysburg on June 15, a Private Jack Skelly, who had been badly wounded and was in a Confederate hospital. Skelly gave Wesley a note to give to his fiance, Virginia “Jennie” Wade, who was back at home in Gettysburg. But Wesley was unable to deliver the note, as he was shot and killed a short time later.
July 3, 1863: Sometime during the fighting on July 3, Wesley Culp was struck and killed on or near his uncle’s farm and the hill of his namesake. He was killed by Union fire while racing up the very same hill he’d played on as a child.
Members of the 2nd Virginia Infantry Regiment buried Culp, the only casualty of Company B, and supposedly marked his grave. The only remains of Private Culp to be uncovered later, however, was a rifle stock with his name carved into it.
After Gettysburg: In a sad twist of fate, Jennie Wade was the only civilian killed during the Battle of Gettysburg. An errant round struck her down and she died not knowing the fate of her fiance, Jack Skelly.
William Culp, Wesley’s brother, survived the war and left his service to the Union as an officer. The story goes that he considered his brother a traitor for fighting against Pennsylvania and never spoke of him again.