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2023 Lessons in History Speaker Series with Pete Miele

January 28, 2023 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

The National Civil War Museum will host Pete Miele, Seminary Ridge Executive Director, on Saturday, January 28, 2023, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm, presenting "A Scene of So Much Sorrow and Anguish" Gettysburg's Humanitarian Crisis. As 1863 dawned, the Borough of Gettysburg and its surrounding townships were home to just over ten thousand individuals. For four days that July, the area around Gettysburg swelled to almost one hundred seventy thousand, making it the sixth largest city in the United States. The rapid and unexpected influx of soldiers and military support staff from two armies placed a tremendous strain on this small rural community. By the time the United States and Confederate forces departed the area, they had trampled farmers' crops, stolen foodstuffs, befouled the landscape with human and animal waste, and touched off disease. The conditions within the town and surrounding townships between the summer of 1863 and the summer of 1864 would today be called a humanitarian emergency or crisis. Although it may seem obvious, scholars have not yet examined the battle's aftermath through a long-term study of both the effects on and resilience of the civilian populace. This discussion introduces a reversal of the traditional Gettysburg narrative by foregrounding the experience of a beleaguered community and examining the humanitarian emergency through the eyes of civilians. By ascertaining how these historical actors comprehended public health and war, we can re-establish the agency of community and explore how citizens made sense of and existed within a horror and destruction that is nearly unfathomable.

About the speaker: Peter c. Miele was named Executive Director of Seminary Ridge Museum and Education center on May 26,2020, and President of the Seminary Ridge Historic Preservation Foundation on September 26, 2021. Born and raised in northern New Jersey, Miele received his Bachelor of Arts in History and Secondary Education from Ramapo College of New Jersey in 2011. In 2013, he relocated to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and earned his Master of Arts in Applied History from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania in 2014. In the fall of 2021, he began coursework toward a Ph.D. in American Studies at the Pennsylvania State University. His academic focus includes American Studies theory and method, nature and environment, and American History.

The 2023 Lessons in History program is free to the public. Regular museum admission applies for entrance to the museum galleries. The National Civil War Museum will follow CDC and OSHA/HHS guidance as well as orders and recommendations from federal/state/local governments and our state and local health officials.


January 28, 2023
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm


The National Civil War Museum
1 Lincoln Circle at Reservoir Park
Harrisburg, PA 17103 United States
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