From the stories of the trails...

The Columbia Bridge Company was formed in 1811 and began to raise money for a bridge between Columbia and Wrightsville.

A Brother's Bond

The stories of civilian militia who stood on Battlefields and defended the Commonwealth.

  • By late June 1863, the Confederate Army had invaded Pennsylvania.

  • The Pennsylvania Railroad had three routes radiating from Columbia during the Civil War.

  • In 1863, York became the largest Northern town occupied by the Confederate Army.

  • George Armstrong Custer was appointed brigadier general on June 29, 1863, and assigned as commander of the Michigan brigade which he led as the Union cavalry entered Hanover on the morning of June 30, 1863.

  • An important railroad intersection linking the Northern Central and Hanover-Gettysburg railways, Hanover Junction contributed to the economic and agricultural prosperity of the surrounding area.

  • The engagement fought in Hanover may have had an effect on the outcome of the Battle of Gettysburg.

  • Union Brigadier General John Buford used the Seminary's cupola to gather intelligence about Confederate troop movements.

  • In the first three days of July 1863, 165,000 soldiers converged on Gettysburg, leaving their mark forever on its land, buildings, and people.

  • Next to Gettysburg, Monterey was the largest Civil War action fought in Pennsylvania.

  • On July 3, 1863, three Confederate riders in Mercersburg's town square were ambushed by two Union stragglers

  • The events at Gettysburg soon overshadowed the skirmish at Fleming farm, but the people of Greencastle remembered, as did the veterans of the 1st New York Cavalry.

  • Before the war, the student body of Dickinson College was fairly evenly divided between Northern and Southern students, and thus the college was represented by soldiers on both sides of the conflict.

  • Someone, seeing great clouds of dust in the State Road west of town, started a rumor that a foe was approaching.

  • On September 4, 1862, Pennsylvania's wartime governor, Andrew Gregg Curtin, issued a proclamation ordering the formation of militia companies and regiments to defend the Commonwealth from the Confederate Army advancing into Maryland.

  • Berks County responded quickly to the beginning of the Civil War.

  • Depending on who you talk to, Abner Doubleday did or didn’t invent Baseball in 1839.

News from the Home Front

Stories of the war's impact on the social landscape and daily life for men and women on the home front.

  • The Confederate Army occupied York by choice, not by chance.

  • On the whole, the Confederates rarely resorted to violence against civilians for supplies.

  • John and Caroline Rupp and their six children lived on Baltimore Street, not far from the base of Cemetery Hill.

  • Each Gettysburg family had a story after July 1863.

  • In the days after the Confederate Army retreated from the North in July 1863, civilians labored to bury the thousands of soldiers lying dead in towns and hillsides across south-central Pennsylvania.

  • Like the majority of the African American residents of Gettysburg, Brien fled in fear of capture during the Gettysburg Campaign.

  • Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart, during the first Chambersburg Raid (October 1862), stopped in Mercersburg at Bridgeside, the home of Mr. and Mrs. George Steiger.

  • During the Gettysburg campaign, Confederate troops restrained themselves from destroying non-government property.

  • In late June 1863 in Shippensburg, rumors about the Confederate advance were rampant.

  • A shell exploded with a deafening force back by the First Presbyterian Church

  • By mid-June 1863, communities in Cumberland County knew the Confederate Army was approaching.

  • The first major military engagement in Cumberland County during the Civil War took place in Shippensburg in the week leading up to the Battle of Gettysburg.

  • Harrisburg's economic and cultural life centered on Market Square.

  • Hopewell Furnace ran 24 hours a day producing pig iron needed for the manufacturing of Union weapons.

  • The Columbia Bridge Company was formed in 1811 and began to raise money for a bridge between Columbia and Wrightsville.

Women and the War

The remarkable accounts of courageous women and children whose lives were changed forever by the war.

  • Marietta women demonstrated their patriotism during the Civil War by forming organizations such as The Ladies Patriotic Circle and The Ladies Social Knitting Society of Marietta.

  • Four decades after the Civil War, the June 1863 fire at Wrightsville still loomed in Confederate General John Brown Gordon's memory.

  • The women of York responded in great numbers to the needs of the wounded throughout the Civil War.

  • From the Civil War's earliest days through its darkest hours, York played an important role in the Union cause.

  • Within the span of one year, Elizabeth Hoffacker of West Manheim Township received the news of her two sons' deaths in combat during the Civil War.

  • For three long days, the community of Gettysburg endured the raging battle.

  • From virtually the first shots of the Civil War, the women of Harrisburg worked in a variety of behind-the-scenes roles that proved essential to the Union victory.

  • Civil War combat never reached Berks County, thanks to the Union victories that stopped Confederate invasions at Antietam and Gettysburg.

  • After Reading sent a company of First Defenders into military service, the women of Reading formed a Ladies Aid Society, later known as the Ladies Volunteer Association.

The Battle Cry For Equality

The lesser told stories of African-American contributions during the Civil War from abolitionists as well as those who served on the battlefields.

When Johnny Comes Marching Home

The stories of remembrance and the hallowed grounds honoring those lost in the Civil War.

  • Eighty-eight African Americans from Mercersburg volunteered to defend the Union during the Civil War.

  • More than 1,000 Civil War soldiers rest at Prospect Hill Cemetery.

  • Four months after the Battle of Gettysburg, President Abraham Lincoln spoke at the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery.

  • Harrisburg Cemetery holds the remains of many famous Pennsylvanians

  • Opened at a time when blacks and whites legally could not be buried next to one another, Zion Hill Cemetery is the final resting place of countless African American wives and mothers, husbands and sons, chambermaids and schoolteachers, and valiant soldiers.