Gaines Mill Battlefield

Watt Family Farm
Civil War armies selected battlefields without, regard to the civilians who made their homes there. The resulting death and destruction affected the residents' lives for decades.
The Watts lived here for nearly 60 years before the battle. They owned 523 acres and 28 slaves who tended the fields of corn, oats, wheat and potatoes.
On June 27, 1862, nearly 100,000 soldiers battled within a two-mile radius of this farmhouse. In the aftermath "the walls and roof were torn with shot and shell," a visitor wrote, "the weather-boarding honeycombed by minnie balls, and every pane of glass shattered." The bloody work of the surgeons devastated the interior. Fresh graves surrounded the house, and the rail fences, crops and equipment necessary to operate the farm were destroyed or carried away.
On the day of the battle, the family and servants moved the ailing 77-year-old widow, Sarah Watt, to the safety of a nearby farm,. She died the next spring and it is believed she was buried in an unmarked grave south of the house.
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