I love finding odd-ball exceptions to the rules.
Remember some time back I compared the Antietam and Gettysburg tablets? Of note, I found the Gettysburg examples to be lacking a bit in punctuation. Earlier in the summer I photographed a set around the Peach Orchard. Only recently, when examining all prior to posting, did I notice some differences and variations. These tablets with variations seem to be “new” replacements of the older ones placed in the early 1900s.
The Wofford Brigade tablet along Emmitsburg Road stands out like a sore thumb:
Sweeping curved edges. The top tab is an integral part of the tablet, not a separate piece attached by screws. The typeset is different (and the paint smeared a bit). The possessive for McLaws is in the accepted format. Oh, forgot to mention all those periods in the text. Perhaps someone figured, the metal saved omitting the extra “S” behind McLaws, the government could apply around the marker as punctuation.
Compare to the nearby Barksdale’s Brigade tablet:
Note the lack of punctuation. On the Barksdale’s Tablet, metal saved on periods was consolidated into the “s” behind McLaws’.
And other, less noticeable, oddities exist nearby on the Federal side. Take a look at the tablet for Humphreys’ Division:
Looks like the others, except on close examination, there are periods AND commas!
I know what you are thinking. This now throws the entire Gettysburg campaign into a different light. Instead of the battle fought under the context of one long, run-on sentence, we now have evidence the Battlefield Board knew about punctuation! A complete revision of Coddington is in order!
“….General, I told him, give me one semi-colon, and I will take that hill!”
All kidding aside, clearly the Wofford Brigade tablet (and possibly Humphreys Division) was replaced some time in the recent past. I doubt it was for revision of the text. More likely the tablets were damaged or somehow lost, then replaced by the Park Service. The folks over at Gettysburg Daily might make a good article out of the story. Otherwise it is just another piece of interesting trivia about the Gettysburg battlefield.