Benjamin Brown of the National Constitution center recently examined to role that Pennsylvania (now Gettysburg) College students played during the Battle of Gettysburg in an article featured on Yahoo! News.
From Yahoo! News:
Gettysburg College students played role in battle
After classes let out one summer, Gettysburg College students took to the fields to fight in an epic battle.
That was in July 1863, however.
A prestigious liberal arts school, Gettysburg College, then-called Pennsylvania College of Gettysburg, played a pivotal role in the battle for both the Union and Confederate armies.
According to National Park Service employee and Gettysburg College alumnus John Rudy ’07, students put down their books and rose to the governor’s call for emergency troops to defend the state and the town.
The men were placed at Harrisburg as Company A of the 26th Pennsylvania Emergency Militia Regiment. By this time, the Confederate army was hot off a victory in Chancellorsville and it had to be stopped from punching a hole into Union territory. The students’ participation was vital.
Upon their return to Pennsylvania College, the militiamen made a brave stand against experienced Confederate troops, but they were forced to return to Harrisburg after losing 160 men as prisoners.