Civil War Blog

A project of PA Historian

Special Project from June 15 – July 15

Posted By on June 13, 2013

From June 15 through July 15, I will be publishing a special series of posts that concern the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg and its effects on the Pennsylvania home front. As an invading army pressed north across the Potomac from Maryland, the diverse people of the Keystone State faced the Union’s most perilous hour.

The stories created in June and July 1863 are vital to understanding the local history of Central Pennsylvania but also provide context for the larger war effort. Together, we will examine the stories of people from all walks of life. Politicians, generals, businessmen, the average farmer, and people from all walks of life reacted very differently to the threat they faced. Some ran from the invading rebels, others picked up picks and shovels and helped build defenses. Others picked up rifles and muskets to defend home and family. By utilizing the historical record, including diaries, maps, newspapers, contemporary writings, photographs, and other documents, these stories come back to us today.

This month provides so many amazing tales that it is hard to bring them all to the reader. What I am attempting to do is to weave many of these stories into a cohesive narrative that will help to bring these perilous weeks to life, over a century and a half after they occurred.

I will also be examining events occurring within the Lykens Valley area to show the effects that two years of war had on small Pennsylvania communities.

1863 would prove to be an important year. This was true not only on the national scale, but also at the local level in towns like Gratz or Lykens, Hegins or Tremont. As you will find in reading these upcoming posts, the national, state, and local stories all come together in June and July of that year and provide a story that differs greatly from the military story alone.

I hope to bring these stories back to prominence and tell not only of the great military struggle that occurred during July 1863, but of the many other fascinating events that occurred that seem to have been overshadowed.

So I hope as we commemorate the 150th anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg, you will join myself and the Gratz Historical Society in this special project. 


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