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The Battle of Gettysburg Through the Eyes of Two Who Were There


Gettysburg Lutheran Theological Seminary  

  On July 1, 1863 the world crashed into the little community of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania with a vengeance. We know what happened on that and succeeding days, from those who contributed a broader, perhaps more intellectual analysis of the events. Here, are two accounts, probably never heard from before, of world changing events through the eyes of a brother and sister, ten and thirteen years old at the time of the Battle.

   They were both written years after the events they describe, however, the immediacy is still palpable in their aging voices.

  The first account is that of Hugh M. Ziegler, ten years old on July 1, 1863. He describes those days of youth and innocence, blended with knowledge gained over his subsequent lifetime. Hugh grew up in Gettysburg, moved to Philadelphia and later joined a land-rush to gain a farm in Kansas. He married Alice L. Shelton and together they raised five children near Newkirk, Kansas. He put his account on paper in 1933, seventy years after the events described.

   Lydia Catherine (Ziegler) Clare's account, even though written about thirty-seven years after the battle, is filled with the emotion and concern she felt for the wounded and dying soldiers. In some ways it is a more human account, not mixed with later analysis of the battle. Lydia married the Reverend Richard M. Clare in the Lutheran Theological Semiary Chapel in Gettysburg, the home in which she lived during the Battle. The couple later served in parishes across Pennsylvania and New Jersey and raised five children. Of her four boys, three became clergymen and the fourth a doctor.

   Both accounts were delivered orally to a typist or stenographer. Interestingly, they were dictated thirty-three years apart, perhaps unknowing of the account of the other. These oral histories were located in the files of the Adams County Historical Society by Allen and Elaine Ziegler, the authors of Hans Georg Ziegler's Progress 1622-2007. Coincidentally, the Adams County Historical Society is, today, the very same building where Hugh and Lydia Ziegler were born, raised and where they experienced the opening scenes of one of the bloodiest battles in American history.

Lydia Catherine Ziegler ClareHugh M. Ziegler

Lydia Catherine ZieglerHugh McClain Ziegler

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