Civil War Times


George and Elizabeth Spangler had worked hard to cultivate their farm south of Gettysburg. When they purchased the property in 1848, seven years after they married, it consisted of only 80 acres. By 1863, however, the farm had expanded to 166 acres. Their prosperity—the real estate was valued at $5,000 in 1860—kept the elder Spanglers and their four children (two girls and two boys, ranging in age from 14 to 21) busy with innumerable chores.

Part of that prosperity was also due to the farm’s location. Good roads such as the Baltimore Pike, Blacksmith Shop Road, and Granite Schoolhouse Lane gave the Spanglers easy access to other areas of their community and the nearby agricultural hub of Gettysburg. But in July 1863, during the Battle of Gettysburg, that same location made the farm a target.

Cemetery Hill and Culp’s Hill to the north, Cemetery Ridge to the due west, and Little Round Top to the southwest went from pleasant local landmarks to blood-soaked battlefields in the blink of an eye. And then horrible war came calling at the Spanglers’ front door on July 1 when surgeons from the Army of the Potomac rode down the lane and told the shocked family their farm was now the 11th Corps hospital.

The Spanglers’ world shrank to one upstairs room where they lived from that day until August 6 as moaning, wounded men replaced the lowing cattle in their barn, and troops and artillery pieces crushed their wheat and battered their fruit trees. By July 3, the mass of confusion and agony on

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