Gettysburg in Adams County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
The Battle Arrives
The U.S. Signal Corps, soon after came into the College… This created considerable noise and aroused suspicions." - Horatio Watkins, Class of 1864
When completed in the fall of 1837, the Edifice, known today as Pennsylvania Hall, became the heart of the campus. It housed all classrooms, meeting rooms, libraries and dormitories, as well as the College's first president and steward. The building comfortably held around 100 students, but by the summer of 1863 very few remained. Attendance dropped with the onset of the Civil War and plummeted further in June 1863 when the Confederate army marched into Pennsylvania, causing 54 students to join a volunteer militia in defense of the state.
On the morning of July 1, 1863. students attended their classes, still unaware that thousands of soldiers were converging on the quiet college town. College President Henry Baugher was in the midst of a lecture when the U.S. Signal Corps entered the Edifice to use its cupola as a vantage point. Order collapsed as the first echoes of cannon fire shook the peaceful campus. The Battle of Gettysburg had begun.
Alarmed and unprepared,
Michael Culver, Class of 1863
Michael Culver was on his way to class when fellow student Horatio Watkins called to him from the third floor of the Edifice, asking if Culver heard gunfire. Culver "instantly heard the ominous sounds." Together they went to Seminary Ridge to investigate. "We saw… pickets of both armies exchanging bullets," Culver wrote. Later, from a cabin outside of town, Culver earned "the title of doctor" for his efforts to care for the wounded.
Colver and Watkins observed the skirmishing from the cupola of the nearby Theological Seminary. When a shell whizzed by their ears, they decided they had seen enough.
Erected by Gettysburg College.
Location. 39° 50.107′ N, 77° 14.042′ W. Marker is in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in Adams County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of North Washington Street and West Stevens Street, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Located in front of Pennsylvania Hall, 50 yards west of intersection. 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. "United to Serve" (within shouting distance of this marker); U.S.A. Signal Station (within shouting distance of this marker); The College Hospital (within shouting distance of this marker); Daniel Alexander Payne (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); For the Union Cause (about 400 feet away); The Founding of Gettysburg College (about 400 feet away); First Lieutenant Stephen Holden Doane '70 (about 500 feet away); Miller Hall (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Gettysburg.
Categories. • Education • War, US Civil •
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Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 18, 2015, by Bill Donovan of Maplewood, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 300 times since then and 22 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on September 18, 2015, by Bill Donovan of Maplewood, New Jersey. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.