Lutheran Seminary Serves as Hospital At Gettysburg

In 1826, Dr. Samuel Simon Schmucker established a seminary for the Lutheran Church in America at Gettysburg. Construction of the Seminary building was finished in 1832 and it went on to take its place in history. Daniel Payne, born in South Carolina, was the first African American to graduate from this seminary school before he built his own AME church in Gettysburg and went on to have a huge impact in the Black population of Gettysburg.

On the morning of July 1, 1863, Union Brigadier General John Buford used the Seminary's cupola to gather intelligence about Confederate troop movements. Dr. George New, a Union First Corps surgeon, designated the Seminary for use as a hospital that same day.

While the students and faculty had left prior to the Battle of Gettysburg, the building steward, Emanuel Ziegler and his family remained in the Seminary. Mary Ziegler was among the first civilian nurses during the battle, treating wounded soldiers shortly after the fighting began.
After the battle, the scene at the Seminary was gruesome. Thirteen-year-old Lydia Ziegler remembered, "Oh, what a home-coming! Everything we owned was gone and the rest had been converted to hospital purposes." Eleven-year-old Hugh Ziegler had the task of carrying amputated limbs to the rear of the Seminary for burial.
Hundreds of wounded soldiers, both Union and Confederate, were treated in the Seminary hospital. The last convalescent did not leave the Seminary until September 16. The Seminary building itself suffered significant battle damage.