Civil War Wiki
Amos Humiston
[[Image:File:Humiston.jpg|center|200px|border]]Amos Humiston
Personal Information
Born: April 26, 1830(1830-04-26)
Place of Birth: {{{place of birth}}}
Died: July 1, 1863 (aged 33)
Place of Death: {{{place of death}}}
Birth Name: {{{birth name}}}
Other Information
Allegiance: United States of America
Participation(s): {{{participations}}}
Branch: United States Army
Union Army
Service Years: {{{service years}}}
Rank: sergeant
Service number : {{{servicenumber}}}
Unit: 154th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment
Battles: American Civil War
*Battle of Chancellorsville
*Battle of Gettysburg
Other work: {{{otherwork}}}

Sergeant Amos Humiston (April 26, 1830 – July 1, 1863) was the "unknown soldier" killed at the Battle of Gettysburg.

When Humiston's body was found the only identification he had on his person was a picture of three children that he clutched in his hand at his death.


This is the picture Sgt. Humiston clutched as he died

A description of the picture was printed on October 19, 1863, in the Philadelphia Inquirer with a story under the provocative headline: "Whose Father Was He?" At that time, newspapers were unable to print photos.

The article said "a Union soldier was found in a secluded spot on the battlefield, where, wounded, he had laid himself down to die. In his hands, tightly clasped, was an ambrotype containing the portraits of three small children ... and as he silently gazed upon them his soul died. How touching! How solemn! ... It is earnestly desired that all papers in the country will draw attention to the discovery of this picture and its attendant circumstances, so that, if possible, the family of the dead hero may come into possession of it. Of what inestimable value will it be to these children, proving, as it does, that the last thought of their dying father was for them, and them only."

Amos' wife, Philinda Humiston, living in Portville, New York, eventually came upon a news account of the photo. So much sympathy was poured out for the Humiston family that the proceeds allowed for the creation of an orphanage in Gettysburg for children of soldiers. (Those three children went on to attend Lawrence Academy, located in Groton, Massachusetts.)

In a New York Times interview by filmmaker Errol Morris, author Mark H. Dunkelman describes the process of researching Humiston, and writing a book about him and his family Gettysburg's Unknown Soldier. Dunkelman was able to find a descendant, Allan Lawrence Cox, who had a collection of letters written by Humiston.[1] One of the letters includes a poignant poem written by Humiston in May 1863 detailing how much he missed his family.