Citizens of Gettysburg in the Aftermath

Care giving isn’t sexy. The history books and movies stick with the big events and vivid bursts of heroism but not what follows (often for a good long time). This author looks into a story of those who picked up the pieces and suffered the fallout.

Wishing you a good Independence Day, knowing that my good wishes don’t change your reality. May some little measure of freedom – from worry, for example – come your way.

Sandra Merville Hart

Confederate cannons at North Carolina Memorial, Gettysburg Battlefield

“We do not know until tried what we are capable of.” Sarah Broadhead, Gettysburg citizen, wrote this on July 7, 1863—just four days after the battle ended.

An undated article in Adams County Sentinel reported that the town was one vast hospital. Wounded soldiers filled churches, colleges, the seminary, the courthouse, and many homes. Houses and barns outside of town were filled with thousands of Rebels, left behind when their army retreated. Citizens were doing everything in their power for them.

The Sanitary Commission took over the Fahnestock store, a one-hundred-foot long building in the center of town. They filled it with provisions and clothing, which were distributed to soldiers in the hospitals. Sarah Broadhead praised the work of both the Sanitary Commission and the Christian Commission. Private contributions enabled both organizations to provide generously for the injured men.

Nellie Auginbaugh remembered…

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