# 19th Indiana Tree #08

#### How to Find Witness Tree #08

From street level or slightly below, face the monument to the 19th Indiana. Now look into the woods to the left of the monument. Abot 60 feet away from the monument rises a very large white oak, by far the most dominant tree in the lot. This is our Witness Tree #09.

**Identification**

This tree was originally photographically identified by Gerg Gober, using an 1898 image not reproduced here. The tree was further identified using the photographs in **Figures 1 and 2** below by the author.

### Musician James Fergason (19th Indiana) Witness Tree

**Tree Species:** white oak**Circumference 2022:** 117”**Diameter:** 37.3”**Calculated Average Growth Rate:** 5.7-5.9 years / inch diameter**Estimated age:** 210-220 years**Estimated diameter in 1863:** 9-10.2”**GPS:** 39.83406 N, 77.25427 W

This witness white oak stands about 60 feet to the south-east of the 19^{th} Indiana monument on Meredith Avenue. We have two 19th century photographs by which to estimate the age of the tree, an earlier one taken at the dedication (1885, see **Figure 1**) and a slightly later one taken after a new base was added onto the original monument (1905, see **Figure 2**).

This is a massive tree, owning a diameter of over a yard. By carefully comparing the older images with modern recreations, we can conservatively estimate the ratio of the diameter of the tree 1885:2023 to be 0.37, and for 1905:2023 to be 0.45, a little larger as would be expected, as the tree was 20 years older by that time. Working backwards, we can estimate the age of the tree to be over 200 years, and its diameter at the time of the battle was likely about 9-10 inches.

The tree is named for **Musician James Fergason** of the 19th Indiana Volunteer Infantry. “Musician” was a real rank, one that was one step above private. Fergason enlisted in 1861 as part of the 19th Indiana’s Company H, whose members hailed entirely from Johnson County. A massive, 8-volume compendium of Indiana’s war records, published 1865-1869, tells us that there were two men of the rank of musician in Company H during the war. One of them, Musician Fergason, was killed at Gettysburg during the first day of the battle. It is unknown if Fergason traded in his instrument for a rifle on this day, or if he was just simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

No further information is known about Musician James Fergason.