Friday, June 5, 2015

26. Growing Up in Gettysburg on Baltimore Street

When we were growing up in Gettysburg in the Forties, Nancy lived on Baltimore Street, one of the most important locations during the three-day battle that occurred in that famous village in 1863.

Baltimore street and the adjacent Washington Street were the two north/south roads the Union Army used as the battle began, and on which it retreated in the afternoon and evening of the first day. It was also the route that President Lincoln travelled to deliver his famous speech at the new National Cemetery on November 19.

When Nancy walked the .3 of a mile from the town square to her two story home at the base of the Baltimore Street Hill, she passed numerous sites associated with the battle.  

For example, the Presbyterian Church on the corner of Baltimore and East High Street was one of many churches in Gettysburg that served as hospitals during and after the battle. It is also the church President Lincoln attended on the afternoon of his visit to Gettysburg. On February 1, 1963, President and Mrs. Dwight David Eisenhower became members of that church.

As the Union army retreated along Baltimore Street many soldiers hid from the Rebels in houses, basements, attics and sheds of the residents along the way. 

One home across from Nancy’s house, was owned by cabinet maker Henry Garlach, and it was here that Union General Alexander Schimmelfennig hid behind a woodpile. When Nancy was growing up, she remembers that a Garlach family still owned the home.

Another historic building across the street from Nancy’s home is the Farnsworth House, which is a restaurant and Inn today and known as one of the most haunted houses in America.  The Farnsworth House and many of the two-story houses along the street were used by Confederate sharpshooters during the three-day battle.

Living and walking on Baltimore Street in Gettysburg was and still is a history lesson about the most significant battle of the Civil War.

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