“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Cumberland Township in Adams County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Prelude To Gettysburg / Gettysburg Showdown

Prelude To Gettysburg Side image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Swain, July 24, 2008
1. Prelude To Gettysburg Side
Prelude to Gettysburg

One of the great debates of our Country's history and legacy is what scholars call "the two Civil Wars": the first a matter of campaigns, generals, and troop movements and the second focusing on the ways that the great conflict affected the daily rhythms of life on farms, and in communities.

Regardless, Gettysburg was the site of the largest battle ever fought on American soil and it involved a great deal more than the resources of one single, famous town.

In six counties near Gettysburg, civilians and militia answered the first call to arms and bravely endured relentless threats and the destruction of their property. Here, women raised funds to support the war and nursed tens of thousands of wounded soldiers left behind from the battles fought in the orchards and fields. Interestingly, part of the battlefield was owned by Freeman, Abraham Brien. Although a number of Gettysburg area Black men joined volunteer militias or USCT regiments during the war, no Black veteran was interred in Soldiers' National Cemetery until 1884. Still, free men and freed men alike enlisted to fight for
Gettysburg Showdown Side image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Swain, July 24, 2008
2. Gettysburg Showdown Side
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their own rights, and children sacrificed their security, sometimes their lives. Their combined efforts provided the turning point for the Union cause.

Gettysburg Showdown
Learning of the approach of the Union army through Maryland the Confederate army canceled its effort to capture Harrisburg and began to concentrate toward Gettysburg in preparation for a showdown battle. The events of that battle forms the treasure chest of offerings at Gettysburg National Military Park.

After the battle the Confederate army retreated along different roads through Adams County. The pursuit by Union cavalry sparked several engagements, including a fierce skirmish at Monterey Pass, in the small community of Blue Ridge Summit near the border of Franklin and Adams county.

In a matter of three days, 165,000 troops converged on the small community of Gettysburg. By July 4, as the armies retreated, they left behind 22,000 injured soldiers (out of the 51,000 total human casualties), thousands of dead horses, ravaged fields, undrinkable water and little to no food. Gettysburg, a town of 2,400, found that every farm field was a graveyard and churches, public buildings, and even private homes were hospitals. Well past the date of President Lincoln's famous Gettysburg Address on November 19, 1863, men like Basil Biggs were still assisting moving slain soldiers
Map on the Prelude to Gettysburg Side image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Swain, July 24, 2008
3. Map on the Prelude to Gettysburg Side
to proper burials. It would be years before the southern soldiers' families made their way to Gettysburg to take their husbands, sons, and brothers home. This small southern Pennsylvania community would never be the same - for in those three hot days in July 1863, Gettysburg became the "High Water Mark of the Confederacy" and the turning point of the Civil War.
Erected 2008 by Pennsylvania Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansCemeteries & Burial SitesWar, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #16 Abraham Lincoln, and the Pennsylvania Civil War Trails series lists. A significant historical date for this entry is July 1, 1863.
Location. 39° 48.699′ N, 77° 13.625′ W. Marker is in Cumberland Township, Pennsylvania, in Adams County. Marker can be reached from Taneytown Road (State Highway 134), on the right when traveling north. Located on a foot trail from the west parking area to the Gettysburg National Military Park Visitor Center. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Gettysburg PA 17325, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The George Spangler Farm Civil War Hospital Site (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Gettysburg Address (about 500 feet away); Gettysburg National Military Park Museum & Visitor Center
Marker Beside the Visitor Center image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Swain, July 24, 2008
4. Marker Beside the Visitor Center
Opened in the spring of 2008, the new Gettysburg Visitor Center is designed to house and display the park's extensive collection of artifacts related to the battle and the Civil War. Additionally, the center contains a theater and the Gettysburg Cyclorama.
(about 700 feet away); Battery K, Fifth U.S. Artillery (approx. 0.2 miles away); Battery F, Fourth U.S. Artillery (approx. 0.2 miles away); Artillery Brigade (approx. Ό mile away); Henry Spangler Farm (approx. Ό mile away); 1st West Virginia Cavalry (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Cumberland Township.
More about this marker. On the Prelude to Gettysburg side, in the upper left is a wartime photo showing Colonel William Averell and Staff, 3rd Pennsylvania Cavalry, 1862. On the right is a photo of Market day on the Public Square in Carlisle, c. 1862. In the center is a portrait of Thomas Morris Chester. Chester recruited Black soldiers for the United States Colored Troops and was a noted Civil War correspondent. On the lower left is a portrait of Elizabeth Salome Stewart with her son Henry Stewart. Mrs. Stewart is better known as Sallie Myers, a civilian nurse in the aftermath of the Battle of Gettysburg. To the lower right is a map of six counties mentioned in the text.

On the Gettysburg Showdown side, a painting titled Battle of Gettysburg: Pickett's Charge is prominently displayed. In the lower left is a photo of Basil Biggs and family. Biggs had seen the farm he rented ruined by the invading Confederate army. Biggs was later one of the Black subcontractors that removed more than three thousand bodies killed during the battle of Gettysburg for reburial in the National Cemetery.
Regarding Prelude To Gettysburg / Gettysburg Showdown. This marker's text and layout is duplicated at several Pennsylvania Civil War Trails locations.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Markers, tablets, and monuments for the Federal Rear Area.
Also see . . .  Gettysburg National Military Park. National Park Service site. (Submitted on September 24, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
Gettysburg Visitor Center image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Swain, April 12, 2008
5. Gettysburg Visitor Center
Shown about a week before the official opening of the new center.
High Water Mark from the Cyclorama image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Henry T. McLin, September 11, 2009
6. High Water Mark from the Cyclorama
"The Battle of Gettysburg", painted in 1884 by French artist Paul Dominic Philippoteaux. This spectacular scene from the Gettysburg Cyclorama, is the artist's impression of Armistead's attack into the Angle. The painting was first shown in Boston before it was moved to Gettysburg in 1913. - Gettysburg National Park Service.
Credits. This page was last revised on December 3, 2020. It was originally submitted on September 24, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 3,509 times since then and 71 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on September 24, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   6. submitted on September 21, 2009, by Henry T. McLin of Hanover, Pennsylvania.

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Oct. 2, 2022