|Camp Curtin - Harper's Weekly|
|layout of Camp Curtin - William J. Miller|
|Maj. Joseph Knipe|
Over the course of the bloody American Civil War, Camp Curtin would see over 300,000 soldiers pass through it's gates, including those of the Pennsylvania Emergency Militia, as well as large amounts of food, supplies, and equipment. Pennsylvania and Camp Curtin became vital for President Lincoln, and the Union war effort. For the soldiers, Camp Curtin would change their lives forever. "It was in Camp Curtin," writes historian William J. Miller, "that volunteers learned that the life of a soldier was one of discomfort and frustration. There, amid the disease and discomfort, in leaky tents and on the sun-baked parade ground, boyish illusions died. Men learned to tolerate and work with other men. They made strong friendships, some of which ended on battlefields, some of which survived and endured for decades. There, also, they said farewell, often tearfully, to friends and comrades and to the life of extreme excitement, danger and boredom they had lived in the army. For these men, Camp Curtin was as much a part of their war experience as were the marches, battlefields and hospitals."
Almost immediately at the end of the Civil War, and with the closing of the Camp, the Harrisburg neighborhood, fittingly known as Camp Curtin, sprang up. However, it wasn't until 1922 that Union veterans were finally able to place a fitting memorial to Camp Curtin, and the Pennsylvania Governor for which it was named. Even though it was memorializing the nation's largest and most productive Civil War camp, Camp Curtin Park, at 6th & Woodbine Sts. became the country's smallest state park.
|Gov. Curtin monument - Camp Curtin Park|
151 years after Joseph Knipe's theatrics, and proclamation in which he named Camp Curtin, on April 18, 2012, nearly 100 people gathered in Harrisburg's Camp Curtin Park to honor the history made there. Attendees and speakers included: Harrisburg Mayor Linda Thompson, Harrisburg City Council, James Schmick of the Camp Curtin Historical Society, David Demmy of the Sons of Union Veterans, Jean Cutler of the Bureau for Historic Preservation, Wayne Motts of the National Civil War Museum, members of the Camp Curtin Memorial-Mitchell United Methodist Church, a military honor guard from Fort Indiantown Gap, living historians portraying Camp Curtin's soldiers and carrying reproduction flags on loan from the Pennsylvania Capital Preservation Committee, and residents of the Camp Curtin neighborhood. Organized by Jeremy Young, of the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission - Bureau for Historic Preservation, the ceremony not only honored the history of the Camp, but also celebrated the listing of the neighboring Camp Curtin Memorial-Mitchell United Methodist Church in the National Register of Historic Places.
LOCAL NEWS STORIES ON THE EVENT:
Miller, William J. The Training of an Army: Camp Curtin and the North's Civil War. Shippensburg, PA: White Mane Publishing Co., 1990.