Posted By Norman Gasbarro on May 10, 2016
The following message was forwarded to The Civil War Blog by Barry Stocker, regular contributor of information on Civil War soldiers from the Klingerstown, Schuylkill County, area.
I found an interesting story about some Confederate POW’s used by an Iron Baron by the name of Grubb. They died while being used for slave labor in Manada Gap, Dauphin County and are buried there. Copy this link… http://www.civilwaralbum.com/misc2/manadagap1.htm
At the web link information is given about the use of the prisoners as wood cutters to feed the pig iron furnaces, that they lived in wooden worker shacks, and that they all died during the war. There is speculation about how they died and whether they all died at the same time – disease? explosion? etc. There is also information given about the possibility of more Confederate soldiers buried near the Old Hanover Cemetery a distance away.
It is a known fact that some prisoners of war were held at Camp Curtin, a short distance away from the Manada Furnace, and is possible that some of these prisoners were used by the Grubb family in some kind of arrangement with the government. Camp Curtin was not equipped to handle large numbers of prisoners, especially at the time of Lee’s invasion of Pennsylvania in June-July 1863, so it may have been a natural solution to “contract” some of them to area industries.
Information is sought on these “unknown” prisoners and the pig iron operation that they supposedly were supplied to as prison labor.
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One photograph of the grave site is down-linked from the URL noted above. There are three other photographs at the web site.
Unknown Confederate soldiers grave, Dauphin County, PA, about 20 miles NE of Harrisburg. The following is from notes by George Nagel of the Camp Curtin Historical Society:
According to local historian LeRoy Lingle, of East Hanover Township, the Confederate soldiers were prisoners-of-war from Harrisburg’s Camp Curtin, who were being used as laborers at the nearby Manada Furnace, a local industry located along Manada Creek. Apparently the furnace owners, the Grubb family, used prisoners as wood cutters to feed the busy furnace that turned out many tons of pig iron. The soldiers lived near the furnace in wooden shacks, according to Lingle, and died during the war . He believes that they died at about the same time, and that their burial site is only the most well known of local Confederate burials. Up to a dozen more prisoners, he says, are buried near the original site of the worker’s shacks, the stone foundations of which can still be seen. Still more Confederates may be buried near the Old Hanover Cemetery only a few miles away. All died during the war, before they could be released to return home. This explanation has been correlated by other local historians. All other details about the Confederate laborers remain scarce. Their names, cause of death, and dates of death are all mysteries. One story tells of a furnace explosion that killed the three unidentified soldiers. Another story claims yellow fever claimed up to 15 Confederate laborers. Small pox is mentioned in yet a third story. If they did all die at about the same time, then disease is a plausible explanation, rather than one catastrophic explosion. If they had all died in an explosion, then it would probably also be likely that they would all have been buried together, rather than in different locations. They well may have been captured at the battle of Gettysburg.