Union Hotel was established on this site in 1854. Little
did the owner, Zephaniah Herbert know that in just a few
years this country would be at war. In July 1863, 75,000
confederate soldiers and 97,000 Union soldiers converged
on this sleepy little town of Gettysburg. What happened
during those three short days changed the course of the
war, our nation's history and the town of Gettysburg forever.
After the first days fighting on
July 1, the confederate troops took control of the town.
All public buildings were flooded with wounded soldiers
from both the north and south. The Union Hotel, Christ Lutheran
Church located across the street and many private homes
were occupied with soldiers. This building was used as a
hospital, with the basement serving as an operating room.
Gettysburg, a community of 2,400
was overrun with 51,000 wounded and dead soldiers. In addition
thousands of family members swarmed upon the town to see
the battlefields, search for fallen loved ones and to offer
help. Gettysburg ran out of fresh water, as it was easier
to throw amputated limbs into a well than it was to bury
them. It took months to get the community back on its feet
and Gettysburg was never the same. The hotels were never
the same and literally on July 4, 1863 Gettysburg added
a new industry in town and that was the tourism business.
Many town hotes and taverns began to expand their businesses
to accommodate those travelers coming to see our famous