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Michael Jacobs (1808-1871)
Jacobs was one of only seven professors at Pennsylvania College (now Gettysburg College) during the Battle of Gettysburg. He wrote the first book about the Battle: Notes on the Rebel Invasion of Maryland and Pennsylvania and the Battle of Gettysburg, July 1st, 2nd and 3rd, 1863 (J.B. Lippincott, Philadelphia, 1864).
Jacobs and Gettysburg College
A Pennsylvania native, Jacobs came to Gettysburg after graduating from Jefferson College (Canonsburg) in 1828. He taught at the Gettysburg Gymnasium, a school founded by his brother David, which in 1832, became Pennsylvania College.
Jacobs was professor of mathematics, chemistry, and natural philosophy and served as a clergyman at the College’s church. He retired in 1866.
In 1958, his papers were given to the College by the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia.
Michael Jacobs Portrait
This portrait (artist unknown) was donated by Michael Jacobs' children.
Excerpt from His Notes on the Battle
Going out over the hard fought field, immediately after the end of the battle, we every where saw the most striking evidences of the severity of that terrible struggle. Shattered trees, perforated houses, fences swept away; trodden down corn & what fields; scattered blankets, coats knap sacks, scabbards, canteens, muskets, rifles; and hundreds of thousands of minnie balls, shot & shells gave evidence of that the storm of war had swept over that field.
But still more striking evidences we saw, in the soil stained with human give; in the 3000 noble horses whose carcasses which met the eye in every direction; & especially in the 8 to 9000 human bodies dead & mangled, with eyes staring horribly, strewed over the ground; & man of the more than 20,000 wounded of both armies yet remaining in the fields…