National Lutheran News

Gettysburg Seminary participates in Civil War remembrance

One-hundred-and-fifty years ago, on July 1, 1863, Union cavalry commander Gen. John Buford observed Confederate soldiers advancing on Gettysburg from the west. He surveyed the advance from the cupola of a Lutheran seminary building. Within a few hours the fields surrounding the seminary became a battleground, turning the seminary building into perhaps the largest field hospital of the three-day Battle of Gettysburg.

The Seminary Ridge Museum opened July 1, 2013, inside that building, historically known as Schmucker Hall on the campus of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg (ELCA). The museum is designed to preserve Schmucker Hall in the historical interpretive period from 1832 to 1914.

“When the seminary building and campus were overrun by warring armies 150 years ago, this place became a fierce battleground where the future of the nation was at stake,” the Rev. Michael Cooper-White, seminary president, said in welcoming remarks on the steps of the museum. “In the battle’s aftermath, it was a place of healing for hundreds, and a hospice where some 70 soldiers closed their eyes for the final time. We can, we must, ponder the meaning of those who, in the words of one, ‘have come here to stay.’”

Care for more than 600 wounded Union and Confederate soldiers continued in the building until September 1863.

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