Saturday, September 26, 2009

Pennsylvania North of Gettysburg Part II: Jeff King



Mechanicsburg
The Burgess George Hummel House, 312 E. Main, is a two-story brick structure with blue shutters. There are no historical markers. This is where Jenkins ordered the lowering of the U.S. flag, which was last seen leaving town under a Rebel saddle. The Occupation of Mechanicsburg is at the intersection of East Main (PA 641) and South Market.

The Railroad Station/Mechanicsburg Museum is about 1.5 blocks north of this intersection. It is open noon to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Civil War and More, about one block south of this intersection at 10 S. Market, is more than just a book store. Jim and Jack are very knowledgeable and support all sorts of Civil War and even World War II activities. I picked up a couple of older issues of the Blue and Gray magazine on Chickamauga and an Irish Brigade flag.

The Rupp House, which served as Jenkins's headquarters from 28 until 30 June when the order came to withdraw to Gettysburg, is located at 5115 Trindle Road (PA 641) and has a monument to Jenkins’s occupation. The Sporting Hill Skirmish state marker is at the intersection of Sporting Hill Road and Route 11/Carlisle Road. Sporting Hill Road does run between Routes 11 and 641.
Camp Hill
The Oyster Point state marker is at 3025 Market (an extremely busy road) at a USPS mail depository. This was the farthest advance of an organized Rebel body of troops to Harrisburg. For directions of the exact location of the skirmish, ask at Civil War and More.
Lemoyne
The earthworks of Camp Couch at Eighth and Ohio are now a small park. There is a state marker at one end and a new three-part monument at the other end with maps of the fortifications. Be sure to take in the entire city block for information on Ft. Couch, General Couch, and Ft. Washington. This area marks the limit of the travel of Rebel Scouts.
New Cumberland
The Brigadier General Marcus Reno state marker is on the southwest corner of Third and Reno streets. He was at Sharpsburg/Antietam, injured at Kelly’s Ford, Cold Harbor, Trevilian Station, and Cedar Creek. He confronted Mosby at the end of the conflict.

The General John W. Geary state marker is at Third and North Bridge streets. Geary was a Mexican War veteran, chased T.J.J. Jackson in the 1862 Shenandoah Valley Campaign, fought at Cedar Mountain and Second Manassas/Bull Run, was under Slocum at Chancellorsville and knocked unconscious, and participated at Culp’s Hill at Gettysburg. After the XII Corps was transferred west, his son died in his arms at the Battle of Wauhatchie GA. He fought at Lookout Mountain in the Atlanta Campaign; the March to the Sea; and finally the Carolinas Campaign. He later served two terms as the governor of Pennsylvania.
Harrisburg
The PA Trails for the Crossroads storyboard is at the Amtrak Train station (east end of building) at Fourth and Chestnut streets. The state marker for Underground Railroad activity at old Tanner’s Alley is on the northeast yard of the Statehouse near Fourth and Walnut streets. This was a multi-cultural neighborhood that was taken over for expansion of the statehouse grounds.

The statue honoring Brigadier General John Frederick Hartranft, who was governor and a Medal of Honor winner at First Manassas/Bull Run, is on the southeast corner of the statehouse. The noticeable differences and irony of his equestrian statue and that of Wade Hampton on the South Carolina statehouse grounds are pronounced.

The State Museum at 300 North St. has some information on the Civil War including a Lincoln Room. There will be a new Civil War gallery opening up in the fall of 2009. The state marker for the USCT Grand Review on 14 November 1865 is on the northeast corner of the Soldiers Grove. Soldier’s Grove is the Medal of Honor memorial for all Pennsylvanians located east of the intersection of North and Commonwealth streets.

While I am partial to the Hoosier one in Indianapolis, this is tastefully done. Parking around Soldier’s Grove will be a challenge during normal state government business hours as it is directly north of the statehouse and accompanying office buildings.

The end of the USCT parade route is honored with a PA Trails storyboard a 219 Front St. in front of the Harris/Cameron Mansion. The Soldiers Grove state marker designates the beginning. As the USCTs were snubbed at the Washington DC Grand Review, this was the only Black Troop Review at the end of the conflict. The Harris/Cameron Museum is open weekdays for tours 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The state marker honoring T. Morris Chester at Third and Walnut streets. He was the “starter” of the USCT Grand Review and a key black man in central PA history. He will be portrayed at a presentation at the Dauphin County Historical Society (Harris/Cameron Mansion) on 9 February 2010 at 7 p.m. The society also will be hosting Thaddeus Stevens in May 2010.

The PA Trails storyboard for the activities at Market Square is just south at Second and Market. It is a unique standup two-sided design. The Harrisburg Visitors Center is at Second and Blackberry. The "Threatened Invasion" PA CW Trails storyboard is farther south at the Market Street walking bridge to City Island at the Susquehanna Riverfront just south of the intersection of Front and Market streets.

The National Civil War Museum at One Lincoln Circle was the brain child of Mayor Reed of Harrisburg. It is located on the highest point in Harrisburg at Reservoir Park. The huge American flag is easily visible to those coming north on Interstate-83 crossing the Susquehanna River Bridge.

As I understand the story, Mayor Reed began collecting museum pieces for the War of Northern Aggression, got state funding to build the museum, and had some success. He also made an even stronger effort to attract Gettysburg visitors to Harrisburg by pursuing the Civil War Trails program. Again anything to promote the education and understanding of the Second American Revolutionary War is good.

I was fortunate enough to be involved with bringing the esteemed Frank O’Reilly to Central PA for three Civil War Roundtables a few years ago. He spoke at the White Rose (York), Hershey, and Camp Curtain roundtables, which is held at the National Civil War Museum. Mr. O’Reilly spoke on Pennsylvania Units at the Battle of Fredericksburg (he is a historian there and had just written the definitive book on the campaign). He was informative, funny, entertaining, patient, and most of all engaging. He has been more than kind with the many questions I have asked him. I am beyond fortunate to have him as a bit of a mentor and most of all a kindred spirit. Thanks, Frank! Anyone who walks in the steps of the Irish Brigade with him on the December Fredericksburg Battle Anniversary is truly lucky.

Now for some podcasts!

The PA Trails storyboard for the Woman of Harrisburg is very near the statue of Governor Curtain at Sixth and Woodbine. When you realize the enormous size of the storage at Camp Curtain, Lee’s desired prize of Harrisburg might have been more than enough to warrant the chance he took. Of course, if the dog hadn’t stopped to scratch he would have caught the rabbit, too.

The very large Dauphin County Union Monument is tricky to find due to the trees surrounding it. It is just north of the intersection of Third and Division streets. It is north of the Italian Lake and west of the Zembo Temple. I believe it was moved to this location from downtown after motorcars became prevalent and began crashing into it all too regularly.

The black Lincoln Cemetery is open
only on Saturday and Sunday. Several USCTs and T. Morris Chester are buried there. It is located at 30th and Penbrook Avenue.

The Harrisburg Cemetery houses many union soldiers, abolitionists, and Simon Cameron at 13th and Liberty. The PA Trails storyboard is just inside the entrance gate.

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