The Empty Chair


Sergeant Adam Shank, Company H, Sixth Maryland Volunteers,

Wounded In Action at The Wilderness

The Adam Shank Family

Photo provided by 6th Maryland Infantry Descendant Frank Greenwalt


The "empty chair" . . .

to signify the loss of a beloved husband and father


The Adam Shank family was photographed in 1871, seven years after Sgt. Adam Shank was seriously wounded in battle on May 5, 1864 at The Wilderness. Seated next to the "empty chair" in the center is his widow, Anna McGuire Shank. Anna was born in 1830, married Adam in 1846 and they lived in Smithsburg, Maryland. It appears that the daughter standing behind the "empty chair" is holding a rose. The daughter standing second from the right is Alverta Shank Pouder, Frank Greenwalt's great-grandmother, who married Thomas Talbot Pouder and moved to Roanoke, Virginia. Anna Shank's brother, Sgt. Charles McGuire served in Company A, Second Maryland Infantry (C.S.A.), part of the Stonewall Brigade and later, Ewell's Second Corps, Army of Northern Virginia.

Adam Shank was elected Sergeant when the company was formed in the summer of 1862. However he was reduced in rank to private for being absence without leave from December, 1862 to February, 1863; his rank was later reinstated. Sgt. Shank was shot in the left side during the first day's fighting at the Wilderness and, unable to move, he remained on the battlefield all night. He was run over by a squadron of cavalry just before daylight and the horse's hooves did serious damage to his hips and legs. Sgt. Shank was hospitalized until several months after the close of the war and remained an invalid for the few years remaining before his death.


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