Remembering the Fishing Creek Confederacy

During the summer of 1864 rumors began to circulate that Columbia County had become a place of refuge for hundreds of deserters from the Union army. The federal government promised a reward of $30 for every deserter captured. So on the night of July 31, 1864, eight men left neighboring Luzerne County hoping to track down some deserters around Benton. They cornered a house in Raven Creek Valley,...
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John Frederick Hartranft Papers

Although little recognized today, John Frederick Hartranft (1830-1889) did make his mark in the history of the Commonwealth and the nation as governor and as general. Born near Norristown, Montgomery County, he attended college, practiced law, and in 1861 entered the Union army at the outbreak of the Civil War. His dedication to the military was unswerving. He was commissioned colonel of the...
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A New Birth of Freedom

President Lincoln listened patiently to Everett’s lengthy speech, noting the powerful cadence of his delivery. Then he rose, his lanky frame casting a shadow across the lectern. He reached into a pocket of his black frock coat and withdrew a single sheet of paper. He began his address with words that have since become immortal. A crowd of nearly fifteen thousand dignitaries, spectators,...
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The Lincoln Train is Coming!

On Saturday morning, April 15, 1865, news of President Abraham Lincoln’s assas­sination reached Philadelphia. The treacher­ousness of the crime created a mix of feel­ings surging from fear and horror to inconsolable grief. A galvanized nation began mourning immediately. Printer cranked out broadside that were posted throughout Philadelphia lamenting the “Martyred Father.”...
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Martin Robison Delany

Martin Robison Delany (1812-1885) proved to be a man of many talents and interests. He was an abolitionist, Civil War army officer, explorer, editor, author, physician, politician and, to many, the “father of black nationalism” in the United States. “Do not fail to meet this most extraordinary and intelligent black man,” President Abraham Lincoln advised Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton in...
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Pennsylvania Copperheads: Traitors or Peacemakers?

Panic swept through Philadelphia in 1860, gripping manufacturers and merchants in its throes as southern slave states threatened to leave the federal union. The South had grown into an enormous market for Philadelphia’s merchants, and the city’s textile manufacturers depended on Dixie to supply the cotton they needed. Fears of secession and resulting massive unemployment prompted Mayor Alexander...
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Waging War Their Own Way: Women and the Civil War in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania’s recently conserved Civil War Muster Rolls, housed at the Pennsylvania State Archives, document the commonwealth’s contributions to the Union. Nearly 345,000 Pennsylvanians served in the U.S. Army during the war, or approximately 60 percent of the adult male population.1 A century and a half ago clerks carefully transcribed the names, ages, regiments, and brief...
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The Union League of Philadelphia and the Civil War


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Current and Coming

Abraham Lincoln’s Journey to Greatness More than five hundred objects, artifacts, documents, and photographs have been assembled for a landmark exhibit newly opened at the Lehigh Valley Heritage Museum in Allentown. Abraham Lincoln’s Journey to Greatness explores the Keystone State’s impact on the sixteenth president’s life, political career, and rise to power. Lincoln’s great-great-grandfather...
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Bookshelf

The Lincoln Assassination Conspirators: Their Confinement and Execution, as Recorded in the Letterbook of John Frederick Hartranft edited by Edward Steers Jr. and Harold Holzer published by the Louisiana State University Press, 2009; 179 pages, cloth, $24.95 Pennsylvanian John Frederick Hartranft (1830–1889) was a decorated Union general — he received the Medal of Honor for his actions during...
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