Gettysburg Photo Album
The Borough: Civilian Experience in Town

Photos courtesy of Don Worth, UCLA, and Richard Edling, Philadelphia, PA (Page13)


The Borough: Civilian Experience in TownThe time of trial for the citizens of the Borough of Gettysburg began as Jubal Early's troops marched through town on June 26th, 1863, on the way north toward Harrisburg. But it reached a crescendo on the afternoon of July 1 as the Federal army poured through the streets of the town to Cemetery hill with the rebels in hot pursuit. Many of the blacks in the community had left town long ago, as had several of the political and business leaders  who feared possible capture by the Confederates. In many cases, only the  women and children remained as the fighting erupted in the streets and in their very back yards. Most hid in their basements - in many cases for the entire duration of the battle. Others emerged once the immediate danger passed and began nursing the wounded on both sides. Churches and other public buildings became makeshift hospitals. While the Confederates stationed in the town scoured houses and outbuildings for Yankee fugitives, many Union soldiers were successfully hidden from them by the townspeople. In the southern portion of the town, sharpshooters created a war zone with civilians trapped between them. Young Jenny Wade was killed when a stray bullet plunged through the kitchen door as she was baking bread. Once the battle ended, the residents of the town emerged from their hiding places to assess the damage to their town. They also became the caretakers of over 21,000 wounded that had been left behind by both armies. As the bodies of dead men and animals in the surrounding fields rotted in the summer heat, the town was invaded again - this time by the curious and those searching for missing relatives. The "temporary" population of the town surged again in November when the Soldiers National Cemetery was dedicated. In the years that followed, Gettysburg's residents had to come to grips with the fact that their town was now a national focal point - and their lives would never be the same again.



(7-01) The Borough of Gettysburg was founded in 1780 by James Gettys and became the Adams County seat in 1800. By the time of the Civil War, Gettysburg was a good-sized Pennsylvania town with 2400 residents and a thriving agricultural and carriage-making industry

(7-01) If you move beyond the section of town dedicated to the tourist trade, you can uncover a great deal of history that reflects the experience of the civilians who were present during the battle of Gettysburg.  (Baltimore Pike from Cemetery Hill looking northwest into town.)




(7-01) Gettysburg College is in the north end of town. Founded as Pennsylvania College by Rev. Samuel Schmucker and Thaddeus Stevens, abolitionist and drafter of the 14th amendment. It stood on the path of the Federal retreat on July 1, 1863

(7-01) "The Whitehouse", one of two buildings that survive from the time of the battle

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