Battle of Gettysburg, July 8 – July 30, 1863

Mary Henry Diary, Gettysburg  - July 1863 - Page 1

June 30th Tues[day]. Various rumours are afloat today but it is difficult to know what to believe. The Rebels at Rockville seem to be a body of cavelry under Gen Stewart on their way to join the main body of the army which is supposed to [be] concentrating some where near Gettysburg. Paid a visit to Prof Matill in his room this evening & watched him make a casting of a South American idol. Father read Chalk on the war after tea. He likes his views very much.
July lst. Wed[nesday]. Mr & Mrs. Peale & Mr. Welling spent the evening with us. In speaking of improvements which may be made in the city- Father said when he first came here he had taken great interest in the matter & had made great efforts for carrying out of certain plans for beautifying the city but met with so little encouragement from the mean self interested motives & petty party spirit of men in office that he became disgusted. It was through his influence however that the range of parks from the Capitol to the river were left open & so many of the triangular spaces along Penn. Av. fenced in & planted with shrubbery.

Mr. Peale in speaking of the war thought we had the rebels now completely in our power. If Government were to intrust him with our armys he thought he could surround & completely destroy them without the slightest hope of escape. Father without meaning to be personal to Mr. Peale told an amusing anecedote of speaking of 

Mary Henry Diary, Gettysburg - July 1863 - Page 2

the genius of Shakespere said he did not think him at all remarkable he could himself write as good plays "if he had a min to". They said "if you had a mind to."
Harrisburg is still safe troops are rapidly arriving for its protection. Six bridges have been burned upon the Northern central railroad.
[July] 2nd. Thursday. Went to Mrs. Peale's this afternoon to meet Father & Mother Miss Dix was there. She seemed to be in good spirits & was playfully unbraiding Father for not speaking to her in the streets. She said some of the rebels had been in the city on Monday night attending the theatre & others has passed the evening with their friends. Saw Gen. Casey went to his boarding House to enquire if his daughter has gone & found him sitting on the porch reading a book of Hebrew prayers.
[July] 3rd. Exciting news to night, a great battle yesterday between the combined armies of Lee & Meade near Gettysburg our arms said to be successfull but two of our Generals Reynolds & Paule killed. Gen. Rosencrans has driven the enemy quite out of Tenn. after a bloddy battle at Tullahoma.
[July] 4th. The day unusually quiet. Went to the hospital in the evening the men had supper given them in honour of the day. A band discoursed sweet music for some time in front of the wards. Mary & some of the other nurses passed the evening with us. 

Mary Henry Diary, Gettysburg - July 1863 - Page 3

July 6th. Mon[day]. The fighting at Gettysburg commenced on Wed. & continued on Thursday & Friday. The loss on both sides has been terribly severe but the Rebels are in full retreat. Their bridge at Williamsport has been destroyed & the rain has swollen the river so that the fords must be impassable. Their retreat seems to be cut off. Gen. Lee in this move has evidently trusted too much to the incapacity of Hooker.
[July] 8th. Vicksburg is ours. I passed last night with Mrs. Peale. The President & Secretaries were serenaded & speeches were made by the dignitaries in honour of the recent victories. We heard the distant music & shouts & Mr. Peale reported the speeches. The President commenced his with the stupendous announcement that the 4th of July was a remarkable day with the reasons for its being so considered & ended with the elegent expression that on this particular 4th the Rebels has "turned tail & run." Mr. Sewards speech was fine. 700 guns have been fired to day for the taking of Vicksburg.