HISTORY

Pennsylvania's Civil War Struggles Documented

Dr. Judith Giesberg, Professor of History, has completed two projects documenting the trials of Pennsylvania and its citizens during the Civil War. In her recent book, Keystone State in Crisis: Pennsylvania in the Civil War, Giesberg takes you to cities and towns throughout the state, where Pennsylvanians fought over the meaning of the Union even as they fought for it. Along the state's southern border, white and black Pennsylvanians had been fighting with slave owners and catchers for decades when the war broke out, and they stood ready to withstand Conferate invasions at Chambersburg and Gettysburg.  While in the coal fields of the northeast and the oil and lumbering and region of the far north, Pennsylvanians provided critical industrial support to the Union Army, at the same time as workers there resisted changes to their trades and a rapidly changing environment.  Keystone State tells the story of Pennsylvanians fighting the war (mostly) abroad while fighting over its meaning at home.

At the same time, Dr. Giesberg built the Memorable Days website to allow students of American History to experience the U.S. Civil War with all the anticipation and nervous excitement that it was lived to provide a research for her American History classes. Emilie Davis was an African-American woman living in Philadelphia during the Civil War. This website is a transcription of Emilie’s three pocket diaries for the years 1863, 1864, and 1865. In them, she recounts black Philadelphians’ celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation, nervous excitement during the battle of Gettysburg, and their collective mourning of President Lincoln. The diary allows readers to experience the war in real time, as events unfolded for Civil War Americans. Visit the Emilie Davis Diaries.