The Steiger House – Mercersburg

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. He intended to use the house as his headquarters while his troops rounded up supplies and civilian hostages from the town. However, Mrs. Steiger informed Stuart that her husband was away on business and that her children had German measles. She suggested it might not be safe to enter her home. Stuart complied and settled for having lunch outside on a side porch.

Ironically, as the rebels moved out of town towards Chambersburg later in the day, they encountered a livestock dealer and seized his horses and wagon and took him hostage. The rebels did not know he was George Steiger. That evening, when they allowed him to seek forage for his horses, Steiger managed to escape from his captors by hiding in a cornfield. Traveling by a circuitous route to avoid recapture, Steiger returned to Bridgeside around 1 a.m. to find a large group of neighbors gathered to console his wife and children. All were amazed when a tired and wet George Steiger walked in the back door.