Culp was born in the Adams County town of Gettysburg in 1839. A relative of his, Henry Culp, owned Culp's Hill and the adjacent land, which the family had farmed since 1787. An apprentice carriage maker, Wesley Culp followed his employer forty-two miles south to Shepherdstown, Virginia, in 1858, and there joined the local militia, the Hamtramck Guards. In 1861, he followed his fellow guardsmen, and not his family, by joining the Confederate army. (Wesley's brother, William, joined the 87th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment.) One of his officers, Henry Kyd Douglas, described Culp as "twenty-four years old and very little, if any, over five feet, and when captain of the company I procured a special gun for him." He fought with that gun at Gettysburg and died with it on July 2, 1863.
What is clear, however, is that the people of Gettysburg were not happy to see Culp join the Confederacy. In the June 3, 1862, edition of the Adams Sentinel, just after the First Battle of Winchester, Culp's hometown paper reported first about his former employer: "We learn that C. W. HOFFMAN, (coach-maker), formerly of this place, has been in the Rebel army for some time, with his three sons." The paper goes on to mention, without hiding its delight, that Hoffman had been captured.
Just below this item appeared news of Culp: "It is also said that another of our young townsmen, WESLEY CULP, was taken prisoner at the battle of Winchester—took the oath of allegiance to the U. States—was released—then joined a band of guerillas, and has been captured again. He is good and ripe for summary process, or at least ought to be."
- Civil War, American (1861–1865)
Cite This Entry
- APA Citation:
Wolfe, B. Culp's Hill and Wesley Culp (1839–1863). (2012, June 4). In Encyclopedia Virginia. Retrieved from http://www.EncyclopediaVirginia.org/Culp_s_Hill_and_Wesley_Culp_1839-1863.
- MLA Citation:
Wolfe, Brendan. "Culp's Hill and Wesley Culp (1839–1863)." Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Humanities, 4 Jun. 2012. Web. READ_DATE.
First published: February 18, 2009 | Last modified: June 4, 2012
Contributed by Brendan Wolfe, editor of Encyclopedia Virginia from 2008 to 2019.