Did Any Civilians Engage in Combat During the Battle of Gettysburg?


Quick Answer

At least one civilian fought in the Battle of Gettysburg. On July 1, 1863, a roughly 70-year-old man named John Burns joined the Union side of the conflict. He was killed in the battle, and a statue was later erected on the battlefield in his honor.

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Full Answer

Although only a few civilian casualties resulted from the Gettysburg battle, many of the region’s citizens were trapped amid the fighting. An estimated 2,500 citizens were still in the area when the conflict began, according to the Stone Sentinels website. Many of these individuals hid in basements or other shelters during the duration of the 3-day battle.

The handful of fallen citizens are believed to  have been killed by Confederate bullets. Some were accidentally caught in the line of fire, while others died defending their property or their land. Many civilians also risked their lives by hiding and treating wounded Union soldiers.

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