The Battle of Gettysburg and Jennie Wade: The Only Civilian Casualty During the Battle of Gettysburg!

Jennie Wade

On the evening of June 30, 1863, General John Bufford and his division of over 3,000 Northern soldiers came through Gettysburg by way of Emmitsburg Road in search of General Lee’s army. By Wenesday, July 1, Confederate General Henry Heth’s division of over 5,000 infantrymen poured into town. when the two opposing sides encountered one another just west of the Seminary, the battle began, marking the beginning of the Battle of Gettysburg.

The first day of war was an incomplete confederate victory, with the Northern Army of Potomac being forced to retreat. As the troops made their way into town, sharpshooters seized people’s homes, using them as look-outs and hiding places. As the battle went on, Confederate troops, all tweleve thousand of them went up against the Army of the Potomac. This final assault ultimately eneded the conflict.

By four o’clock in the afternoon, the Confederate troops were down. More than 10,000 casualties on both sides. The numbers afterwards would more than increase the number of deaths. After the war, music and drum beats filled the streets to let the townspeople know that the war was over with. The village had to pick up all the pieces after the war was over; the aftermath, the dead bodies, destroyed town, and tragic losses. One family in particular had to deal with the loss of their beloved daughter, and sister; Mary “Jennie:Virginia Wade.

Jennie Wade happens to be the only civilian casualty killed during the Battle of Gettysburg. Although she is the only civilian casualty during those three days of battle, there were three local Pennsylvania men along with two other civilians who were injured as a result of the battle.  Civilian casualty during the Civil War, or any war for that fact, is not a common thing

I did some research at the Adams County Historical Society and read a very good book written by Cindy L. Small, a Communications/Journalism major who graduated from Shippensburg University in Pa. Small did extensive research and found accurate sources to gather all of the information needed to write a true account of the events leading up to Jennie Wade’s death, along with background information on her family and friends.

Brian Kennell, the Superintendent at the Evergreen Cemetery, also recommend that I read her book, “The Jennie Wade Story: A True and Complete Account of the Only Civilian Killed During the Battle of Gettysburg,” which I purchased at the Adams County Historical Society.

I began my research with the information that I gathered from, “The Jennie Wade Story,” book, the research that I had done at the historical society and the Evergreen Cemetery, and my tour with the Jennie Wade House.

According to sources, a few other casualties were mentioned during the Civil War. One of the three local Pennsylvania men was Jacob Gilbert who was shot in the upper left arm by a stray bullet while walking down Middle St.

Mr. Lehman, a local college student, received injuries due to a shot in the leg. Another college student, a student of the seminary, was injured by a sharpshooter in his thigh. Finally, a Mr. R.F. McIlhenny was injured his ankle while shots rang out.

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