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Short stories of Harrisburg

Harrisburg PA's response to Antietam. Click on the MEDIA ITEMS below for more information



Preparation for observance of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the bloody battle of Antietam this month has something more than a mere historic note for Harrisburg. As has been told, at this time in 1862 Pennsylvania's capital was much wrought up by dispatches from Hagerstown telling of an impending invasion of our Commonwealth by Lee's army. It was a foretaste of what was to come in the following year when Lee attacked at Gettysburg. But the way Harrisburg turned to defense measures in the early September days of that year has never been well recorded. The flurry over the disaster at Bull Run in 1861 was nothing compared to what was getting under way just about this time in 1862. Governor Andrew G. Curtin had telegraph wires run into his office at the Capitol and response to his appeals brought 200 companies of soldiers here within ten days. It has already been related in this corner how meetings were held in every ward in Harrisburg to organize companies. One newspaper article of this very week said "Camp Curtin is over flowing and soldiers are being quartered in the Capitol buildings and park, the churches and the schools." It was at this time work of fortification began on Fort Washington, although most people associate that defensive operation with June of 1863. The difficulty was that Antietam ended the menace of invasion and the project was permitted to drop, being revived in a hurry and without adequate thought when danger threatened again in the summer of 1863. Company after company was formed in Dauphin county and rushed down the Cumberland Valley to the vicinity of Chambersburg where General John F. Reynolds, fated to lose his life at Gettysburg the next year, was in command. Several prominent Harrisburgers were officers in the organizations sent down the valley, while in Harrisburg companies of Captain F. Asbury Awl and Valentine Hummel. Jr. assisted the provost marshal, who must have had his hands full.
A. B. H.



Harrisburg PA Evening Telegraph

Used with permission of the Harrisburg Telegraph/The Patriot-News


Collection Location:
Western Maryland Room, Washington County Free Library.

Antietam, Battle of, Md., 1862: Centennial celebrations, etc

Washington County (Md.), 1937.

Western Maryland Regional Library
100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

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