Thursday, September 24, 2009

Pennsylvania North of Gettysburg Part I: Jeff King

The Middle Creek United Presbyterian Church location is north of Shippensburg 2.6 miles, just off Route 696. The church is on the right at 130 Middle Springs Road and the monuments are to the west of the church. The church was founded in 1738 and has a Civil War obelisk, a Revolutionary/1812/Mexican War monument, and a French and Indian War monument. The French and Indian War monument dwarfs the others. It was easily the most enjoyable site I visited this day. It is pastoral, scenic, and historic.

There are half a dozen Civil War story boards on King Street near the intersection of Earl Street to the west. Three are located on each side of King. CSA General Jenkins used this corner for his headquarters during the southern visit. The storyboard for the Occupation of Shippensburg is at the southwest corner of King and Earl.

The James Kelso home at 110 E. King St. was looted by Confederates when they learned a Union soldier lived there. Impassioned speeches were made from this porch for recruiting Company D of the 130th PA. A marker at 20 W. King St. honors Brigadier General Samuel Sturgis, who was one of the heroes of Burnside Bridge at Sharpsburg/Antietam and lost the Battle of Brice’s Crossroads to Nathan Bedford Forrest. The location is Sturgis's boyhood home.

There are two merchant stories about ingenious way that inventory was hidden from Confederates at the McLean Tannery at 49 W. King St. The Pague and Fegan Hardware Store nearby is the oldest business in the county.

Spring Hill Cemetery does not have a separate Civil War section, and the graves are not marked with flags. James Kelso is buried here.

The black cemetery in Shippensburg is at the corner of Queen Street and Britton Road. Parking is limited for Locust Grove Cemetery where 26 USCTs are buried.

The Dykeman Springs area, where the Confederates bivouacked, is a public park and has the Dykeman House Bed and Breakfast for those of you who are interested in sleeping where the Rebels slept. This area is south of the intersection of South Penn and Dykeman Road. There is some rich irony that this American Legion Post had “southern foreigners” sleeping at their location.
Boiling Springs
The state marker for Daniel Kauffman and his Underground Railroad activities is at 301 Front St. in this beautiful town. He was actually fined $4,000.00 for supporting escapees.
Mount Holly Springs
The storyboard for the First Casualty of Cumberland County is in front of the Holly Inn at 31 S. Baltimore/PA 34. William Luther Beetem’s sad story is an interesting one.
Several state markers and storyboards about Carlisle occupy the square at South Hanover and West High streets. You can see damage from the shelling to the 1846 courthouse to the windowsill brick and the pillar. The Union marker lists all the volunteers of Cumberland County.

Just across the street is the CW Trails storyboard with a personal story of the shelling of Carlisle during JEB Stuart’s visit. There is a marker on the McClintock Slave Catcher Riot across the street to the east of the 1846 Courthouse.

The Dickinson College storyboard is about one half block west of the intersection of (358 West) High and College avenues. The old City Cemetery at 177 S. Bedford intersecting with East South Street has several Union graves all currently marked with flags. The Molly Pitcher state is striking. There are well-marked Revolutionary War grave sites. The Cumberland County Historical Society is located at 21 N. Pitt St.

I’m not sure what I expected from the Army Heritage Center at 950 Soldiers Drive, but it wasn’t as exciting as I had hoped. The outdoor trail is a nice walk with remarkable Civil War winter cabins. I’ve not seen any this complete anywhere else. The ones at Pamplin Park in Petersburg VA are nice, but these cover quarters for officers as well as enlisted soldiers. The Antietam Artillery section is informative, but doesn’t offer any information not readily available from many sources. Inside the Heritage Center are an incredible library, several research computers, and some busts of the prominent Union generals, but little else. For those so interested, there are are WWI and WWII displays in the museum upstairs.

There is a state historical marker across from the front gate of the Carlisle Barracks at 3939 Harrisburg Pike/US 11. The JEB Stuart state marker is on Route 74 just north of Interstate-81. The Joseph Miller state marker for the farthest north Rebel penetration is north of the Route 34 bridge construction, and I did not visit it. The Ewell state marker is at 497 Walnut Bottom Road just north of the Interstate-81 exit ramp.
Coming soon: Mechanicsburg, Camp Hill, New Cumberland and Harrisburg

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