In 1863, in the blistering summer heat, Gettysburg faced an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. When the great armies moved on after the battle, they left behind more than 21,000 wounded soldiers. Members of the Gettysburg community, men, women, and children, were outnumbered nine-to-one by severely wounded and dying men.

Songs and Stories of a Civil War Hospital presents a unique opportunity to learn about the valiant efforts to comfort and save these wounded men. Immediately on the first day of the battle, historic Christ Church was converted into a field hospital, and for five weeks, this church hospital served mankind as a sanctuary for the wounded, and a haven for the dying.

Songs and Stories of a Civil War Hospital will be presented Saturday evenings in the nave of historic Christ Lutheran Church, 30 Chambersburg St., Gettysburg. The first program will be presented this evening, June 23, and will continue each Saturday evening through Sept. 15, except Aug. 18, Aug. 25, and Sept. 8. Prelude music begins at 7:30 p.m., and the main program begins at 8 p.m.

For 2018, Songs and Stories has added a new feature to help audience members connect with the wounded soldiers. As they arrive, attendees will be given the name and personal information about a wounded soldier who was in this church hospital in July 1863. After the program, attendees can learn the fate of their soldier, whether their soldier perished, or survived. Following performances, audience members often respond with hand-written notes such as this one: "Wonderful combination of stories and music. A different perspective that we thoroughly enjoyed. Thank you!"

Dearest Home, the well-known music group which features the Stephen Folkemer family, will lead the audience in sing-alongs and perform Civil War era music, both vocal and instrumental. Songs and Stories brings to life the true stories of wounded soldiers and the doctors and nurses who worked valiantly to save lives, both Union and Confederate.

Light refreshments will be served after the program. The church is air conditioned, accessible to all, and the 65-minute program is free.

For more information, visit www.songsandstoriesgettysburg.org or call 717-334-5212.

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