Exploring the Civil War Era in the Cumberland Valley

The Cumberland Valley played a significant role in America’s Civil War. This region of Pennsylvania provided sanctuary to runaway slaves and even participants in John Brown’s raid at Harpers Ferry. When the war began, local residents rushed to join the Union army. Area families made deep sacrifices for the war effort culminating with the Confederate invasion of Pennsylvania in summer 1863. Southern troops passed through the valley, occupied communities, skirmished with militia and sometimes even shelled towns. With the Union triumph in 1865, came relief and a “new birth of freedom” but not a final answer about how Americans defined equality. Frederick Douglass visited in 1872, for example, but found himself excluded from segregated dining rooms.

Posted in Antebellum (1840-1861)

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