The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg was in the hands of Americans considered to be the school's enemies 150 years ago.
It was July 1, 1863, and the Civil War's Confederate Army took over the building.
The occupation only lasted three days. By July 3, 1863, Gen. Robert E. Lee had suffered defeat and led the Confederate troops back to Virginia.
Reflections on what happened on the first day of the Civil War's bloodiest battle will be told in music and narrative at 4 p.m. June 16 at St. Matthew Lutheran Church, 115 E. Penn St., Martinsburg.
The church will host a presentation of "Songs of the Civil War" by Music Gettysburg! On Tour!
The Rev. Dr. Gerald Christianson, narrator for the event, will quote four people who had ties to the seminary or lived through the battle. The quotes will be interspersed with music from the period, sung by baritone Wayne Hill, accompanied by pianist Michael Matsinko.
Among the people Christianson will quote is Lydia Ziegler, a teenage girl whose parents were the matron and steward for the seminary. When Union cavalry Brig. Gen. John Buford went to the seminary's cupola to check out the advancing Confederate Army, Lydia snuck up, too, said Christianson. She also ventured into the woods to see the battle, but ran back to the seminary after the first shots were fired, he said.
Christianson will quote Daniel Alexander Payne, a black man who had studied at the seminary in the 1830s and later went on to become a bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
It was revolutionary at the time for a black man to be student at a seminary, Christianson said. Payne's acceptance at the school was probably due to Samuel Simon Schmucker, its leader and a founder.
He was an abolitionist.
Christianson said Schmucker's stance against slavery was so well known that the Confederate Army trashed his library when they occupied the building.
Schmucker, the students and Lydia and her family fled the seminary as the Confederates advanced, hoping to take refuge elsewhere in the town of about 2,500.
Christianson said Gettysburg's residents were in the same predicament. As the Confederates moved into town, people took refuge in their cold and damp cellars for three days. But not all went into hiding.
Christianson will quote Henry Jacobs who saw the fighting from a different perspective. Jacobs had a telescope and watched the action from his attic.
While Christianson will speak the thoughts of people who were alive in July 1863, Hill will sing songs from that era.
"The music is the main thing," Christianson said.
Hill's selections will include "O Freedom," "Tenting Tonight," and "the Battle Hymn of the Republic."
Christianson said songs were an important part of the war because they built morale and gave people a vision for the future.
He said no commentary will be part of the program, because the quotes and music will speak for themselves.
"It has a tremendous impact," he said.
Pastor Scott Schul of St. Matthew Lutheran Church noted that what the Civil War-era residents believed influenced their lives, just as Christians' beliefs affect their lives today.
He said during the 1860s, different preachers would use the same Scriptures to defend slavery as a gift or curse it as one of the worse practices of mankind.
He said the program may make people think about how their faith impacts the rest of the world.
The event is free but an offering will be taken to benefit the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg. The Rev. Michael Cooper-White, president of the seminary, will bring greetings.
The seminary building that is the focus of the program became a hospital for soldiers of the Union and Confederate armies after the battle. It was recently converted into the Seminary Ridge Museum and will open July 1.
It is a cooperative between the seminary and the community of Gettysburg as is Music Gettysburg!, which presents 12 or more concerts a year.
They feature musical artists and are held in the seminary chapel or on the lawn.