Confederates Take The Shriver House
In June 1863 - during the height of the American Civil War - rumors circulated through Gettysburg, Pa., that General Lee’s army may finally invade the north. While George Shriver served in the Union army, his wife, Hettie, was worried about the safety of their daughters, Mollie (5) and Sadie (7), as well as their home. When soldiers filled the streets of Gettysburg, Hettie chose to take her children back to her family’s farm three miles south of town, by Little Round Top; she knew they would be out of harm’s way there. Hettie could not know she jumped from the frying pan into the fire. The Shrivers’ vacant home offered the Rebels an outstanding view of Union ground and was quickly commandeered by Confederates to set up a sharpshooters’ nest in the attic.
On Saturday, July 6, 2013, from 5 to 9 p.m., Confederate sharpshooters will once again fire their rifles from the attic window of George and Hettie Shriver’s home just as they did during the Battle of Gettysburg 150 years ago. This time, however, visitors are invited to observe the Rebels to learn first-hand what occurred during those three days of horror that terrified the citizens of Gettysburg.
The Battle of Gettysburg was undoubtedly frightening for the citizens of this historic town. But the end of the battle was truly the beginning of the nightmare for civilians who had never been exposed to the incredible horrors of war. When the fighting ended, the 2,400 residents of Gettysburg were left to deal not only with the devastation of the battle but with more than 7,000 dead soldiers and 5,000 dead horses. The battle encompassed not only the surrounding countryside but the streets of town as well.
This living history re-enactment will provide visitors an opportunity to understand what the battle was like for one family who called Gettysburg ‘home’ in 1863. Visitors can talk with Confederate soldiers as they prepare for battle, stand in the attic to watch sharpshooters fire muskets at their adversaries on Cemetery Hill and, in some cases, take their last breath before meeting their maker. Doctors will perform surgery on wounded soldiers in a make-shift hospital in the summer kitchen.
At the end of the tour, visitors can cool off with a root beer in Shriver’s Saloon while younger visitors have a nurse bandage their wounds (a small spurt of blood on the bandage helps make the injury look more realistic) or make whirligigs to take along as a memento of their visit.
This is the only Civil War re-enactment to take place in the streets of Gettysburg - in the house where it truly happened in July 1863.
The Shrivers’ home was painstakingly restored in 1996 and is now open to the public as a heritage museum. Tours offers special insight into the lives of the people of Gettysburg and how the Civil War, and in particular the Battle of Gettysburg, affected them. The story is told through the eyes of the Shriver family and gives a glimpse into the lifestyles, customs and furnishings of the 1860s.