The planned auction of a skull found at Gettysburg that purportedly was that of a Civil War soldier has been canceled rather quickly amid an uproar, and officials say the remains have instead been donated by the auction company for burial with honors. Estate Auction Co. of Hershey had listed the skull for sale at auction yesterday, drawing protests from the US National Park Service in Gettysburg and others. Gettysburg National Military Park and the nonprofit Gettysburg Foundation said yesterday in a news release that the skull had been donated to the foundation late Monday. After it is authenticated, it will be donated to the park "for interment with full military honors in the Soldiers' National Cemetery at Gettysburg," the statement says.
The park and foundation said auction organizers had been "overwhelmed" by "an unprecedented outcry from concerned citizens." Auctioneer Tom Taylor told WHAG he believed "it should have a proper burial." Gettysburg National Military Park superintendent Ed Clark said in a statement that officials were grateful for the opportunity "to honor what is very likely an American veteran and have his final resting place recognized." The auction site said the remains were found in 1949 as a garden was being tilled on the Benner Farm in Gettysburg. Notarized and handwritten documents said the skull, along with 13 other artifacts, was found two miles north of a barn used as a field hospital during the Battle of Gettysburg. (Read more Gettysburg stories.)