Following the retreat of Union forces to Cemetery Hill on the afternoon of July 1, 1863, the Confederates occupied the town of Gettysburg until early morning, July 4th. The main Confederate battle line facing the Union forces on Cemetery Hill ran east to west here, along High and Middle Streets.
Life for Gettysburg citizens during Confederate occupation was both confining and dangerous. Families sought safety in their cellars. Bullets flew across the streets and errant shells occasionally struck buildings. Albertus McCreary, whose house was nearby (now the site of Prince of Peace Episcopal Church), recalled, "the bullets were continually flying across our yard, so that none of us dared to go out."
Despite the constant danger only a few civilians were hurt and only one, Jennie Wade, was killed. The real suffering was from mental anxiety. In the words of one townsperson, "every hour was one of uncertainty and dread."