This fall I was assigned an internship at the Adams County Historical Society. The Historical Society is located in one of the old seminary buildings on Seminary Ridge; the building where General John Buford observed the battle on the first day of Gettysburg.
The Society now invests itself in preserving the history of Adams County. My job at the soicety entailed cataloging old Gettysburg guide books and personal accounts of the battle from citizens and soldiers who witnessed the battle. Many of the guide books were written in the late nineteenth century by battlefield guides; for example L.W Minnigh. Reading the personal accounts gave me a new perceptive on the battle and how hard life was during the battle and afterward. One of the most interesting stories I read was by Emma Yount Stumpt. Stumpt was a young girl living in Gettysburg. Before the battle began, a Union soldier gave her a handkerchief. She preserved the handkerchief and the society has it in its possession today. Most accounts detailed how they hid in cellars during the battle or fled the town. During and after the battle was over, the residents helped take care of the wounded. Sallie Myers Stewart, a young teacher in Gettysburg, details in her diary the men she cared for after the battle. Others like Albertus McCreary describe how he and his friends went on the battlefield to find bullets and other artifacts they could receive money for.
One of my favorite days there was when I and a couple other interns were allowed up in the cupola. The view was amazing and I was very thankful I was allowed up there.
After visiting the cupola, we were given a tour of the museum on one of the floors of the building. The society has one room dedicated to the Civil War with various interesting Civil War artifacts including one of the guns used by John Burns. Overall I enjoyed my internship not only because I learned a new skill but also because I learned more about the battle itself and the aftermath of the battle on the town. I recommend this internship to anyone who is interested in working with archives or any type of historic preservation.