As part of our nation's continuing commemoration of the American Civil War, "Songs and Stories of a Civil War Hospital" will be presented Saturday evenings at 8 p.m. in the nave of Christ Lutheran Church, 30 Chambersburg St., Gettysburg.

The first program will be presented on June 20, and will continue each Saturday through Sept. 5 (except July 11, Aug. 22, and Aug. 29).

Songs and Stories of a Civil War Hospital brings to life the true stories of wounded soldiers and the doctors and nurses who worked valiantly to save lives -- both Union and Confederate -- during the Battle of Gettysburg and the following weeks. The experiences of the wounded and their caregivers are presented through poignant readings from the journals of wounded soldiers and the diary of a citizen-nurse who served in this church hospital; through live Civil War-era music, especially the Civil War songs of Stephen Foster; and through the poetry of Walt Whitman, who served as a Civil War nurse for more than three years. Songs and Stories also includes passages from President Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address.

The music group "Dearest Home," which is well-known and features the Stephen Folkemer family, will perform a variety of vocal and instrumental music from the Civil War era, and lead the audience in sing-alongs.

Songs and Stories includes a brief history of Christ Lutheran Church, the oldest building in Gettysburg in continuous use for worship. Immediately on the first day of the Battle, this church was converted into a hospital, and it continued to care for the wounded and dying for five weeks. Songs and Stories will recount the slaying of Chaplain Horatio Howell on the church's front steps on the first day of the Battle, and it will recount how a local African-American woman escaped her captors and hid in the church to avoid life as a slave.

Period attire is encouraged, and light refreshments will be served after the program. The church is accessible to all, and there is no admission fee.

Visit the website at or call 717-334-5212 for more information.

Read or Share this story: