I’d heard about this girl, Tillie Pierce for several years. When reading some excerpts from other Civil War books, her name would come up periodically and especially when I was reading about the Battle of Gettysburg. So I was very excited to see there is a whole book written about this brave girl who witnessed one of the most pivotal battles of the whole Civil War.
Tillie Pierce: Teen Eyewitness to the Battle of Gettysburg by Tanya Anderson does a wonderful job of giving the reader lots of background on how the town of Gettysburg was founded, who the main citizens were, and how Tillie came to be in the thick of the battlefield, filled with the dead and dying men and horses.
Tillie’s family thought she would be safer outside of town, at the farm of a neighbor’s parents, away from where they thought the fighting would happen. Instead, Tillie and the neighbor’s family found their farm in the midst of horrific shelling and bullets whizzing close by. At one point, Tillie and the others found themselves running through a field as shells exploded around them!
What Tillie probably remembered the most, and what the read will too, was the aftermath of the battle. The shear amount of dead was almost beyond comprehension. Tillie, as a young girl, struggled to help the sick as best she could, and her vivid descriptions of seeing amputated limbs stacked next to a fence will resonate with readers long after the story is finished.
Recommended for 7th grade and up, and especially for any students interested in the Civil War.