Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts




Although many studies of Chambersburg's devastation during the American Civil War have been researched, all have focused on the military actions taken by both sides during the conflict. This thesis instead attempts to explore some of the effects of military actions upon the permanent civilian population.

The Introduction develops a sense of the events which transpired in the town on the fateful day of July 30, 1864, provides an overview of potential research subjects, and details sources available to complete successfully the research parameters outlined. The early development of the community is explored in Chapter 1. This data is necessary for a reader's understanding of Chambersburg' s business and social structure at the dawn of the 1860's. Chapter 2 narrates events which occurred within the town during the period 1860-1864 with some analysis of the effects upon thy civilian population during that time. The third chapter deals extensively with studies conducted in the areas of migration · patterns, and occupational changes that transpired from the burning event to the end of the decade. Research was conducted upon the permanent household heads as to their wealth during the decade of study and resultant changes. Further study delved into patterns of recovery from the destruction caused by the burning. Additional findings were enumerated in the conclusion. Although a wealth of material was uncovered by the research, only several selected areas were developed for this project. Some of these undeveloped areas are pointed out in the conclusion.

Chambersburg survived as the only northern town touched by wide-spread devastation caused by the sectional conflict. In this respect, the town mirrored numerous southern communities who sustained similar fates. The reaction of the population was much the same as in that region. A few left for other locales, but the majority of permanent residents banded together and, sheltering their own, stoically began the laborious process of rebuilding the town, its wealth, and their individual lives.