Play - A Picture of Three Children
A Picture of Three Children – Russell Moore
(Paula Breedlove, Mark “Brink” Brinkman)
Paulajon Music – ASCAP/Mark Brinkman Songs – BMI
“…upon this picture his eyes, set in death, rested. The last object upon which the dying father looked was the image of his children…” -“Whose Father Was He?” The Philadelphia Inquirer Oct. 19, 1863
In the October 19, 1863 edition of The Philadelphia Inquirer, an article entitled “Whose Father Was He?” described in detail a picture of three children, all under age ten, that was found clutched in the hand of an unknown soldier killed three months prior in the Battle of Gettysburg. Dr. J. Francis Bourns was determined to find the family. This type of photograph, called an ambrotype, could not be printed in newspapers, so the description was circulated far and wide until it was fatefully read by a woman in Portville, NY. Philinda Humiston recognized the picture of her children Franklin, Alice and Frederick, and knew then that her husband, Amos Humiston, would not be returning home from war.
When that three day battle ended, one man in blue was found
With no name to tell his story, as they laid him in the ground
Just one more unknown soldier, but held tightly to his chest
Was a picture of three children, dressed in their Sunday best.
They pried it from his cold fingers, clutched tightly in his grasp
Knowing it was the last thing, he’d seen before he passed
The story of that picture, traveled farther north each day
Where all the local papers, described on their front page.
A picture of three children, in three little wooden chairs
Two brothers and one sister, sweet faces and dark hair
Three angels to one soldier, whose name remains unknown
A picture of three children, whose father won’t be coming home.
In New York a wife and mother, was waiting for some word
From the father of her children, last seen in Gettysburg
When she read about that picture, found on a Union man
And knew her husband Amos, had held tightly in his hand.
A picture of three children, Amos won’t be coming home.