Daniel Lady Farm Hosts Numerous Events for History Buffs
By Molly McKim
The 146-acre Daniel Lady Farm is mainly known for serving as Maj. Gen. Edward Johnson’s staging area for the Confederate attack on Culp’s Hill. The property was later used as a Confederate field hospital during the battle. Many of the casualties from the Hill battle were moved to the Daniel Lady Farm, where the officers were treated in the farmhouse and the enlisted men in the barn.
After four days of battle, the Confederate forces retreated. The more seriously wounded remained at the farm at houses and barns across the battlefield. They later moved to the nearby Camp Letterman, the Union field hospital north of the farm.
The house and barn ultimately survived the battle. The furniture was not only used for comfort but also for hospital use; doors were used as stretchers and operating tables. Bloodstains from the wounded and dying can be seen in the house, as can carved initials of Confederate soldiers in the barn and a fragment of a Union cannonball lodged in a floor joist.
Since 1999, the Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association (GBPA) has owned, restored, and operated the Daniel Lady Farm on Hanover Street, and staff offer tours, camping for reenactors and scouts, living history demonstrations, and educational workshops.
The Daniel Lady Farm continues to host various reenactment events, most notably the annual Battle of Gettysburg Reenactment. But the farm also hosts the annual Military Field Days Historical Timeline and the anniversary of the Battle of Antietam/Sharpsburg. Each reenactment showcases relics and weapons, hosts people with significant knowledge of the battles, and exemplifies their significance.
Shaun Phiel, the farm’s promotions and marketing director, has worked there for three years. His favorite event is the Military Field Days Historical Timeline event held each June. “We have had everything from Native American, to Revolutionary, to Civil War, to World War I and II and Vietnam—all kinds of attendees who bring different perspectives from throughout American history. You can talk to them about the different tactics and weaponries,” Phiel says. Weapon demonstrations at the event show how different weapons are made and fired, some with more than 400 years of American history behind them.
“Being able to see all of the eras and weapons is neat,” he says. “Being able to stand there and talk to people in person about their passions about different parts of history is unique.”
The farm’s Annual Civil War Relic show each June is also a great way to view and appreciate authentic pieces of Gettysburg history. More than 300 tables fill the Eisenhower Star Complex, accompanied by people who are happy to give you a history lesson and answer questions.
Inspired by the TV show Yellowstone, the Daniel Lady Farm has started to showcase Western-themed events in addition to its Gettysburg-focused offerings. In May, the farm hosted its first Western event, where kids searched for gold nuggets throughout the miner’s claims and exchanged them for coins. Then they used them to play period games or to buy a shot of “whisky” (tea or lemonade) at the saloon or candy at the mercantile.
“We had historians set up a tent village. We also had a saloon, a bank, a sheriff, a merchant store—they set up a little town,” Phiel says. “Every 30 minutes, there was a skirmish where there was a fight at the saloon or where someone tried to steal money or fight.” The next Western-themed event will take place in August.
The newest addition to the farm is the Gen. Eisenhower Learning Center. The building, an old T-shirt plant on the grounds, is currently being converted into offices for the Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association and will feature a special museum with rotating displays as well as a large meeting space.
Through all of its endeavors, the Daniel Lady Farm aims to educate and preserve these important times in our nation’s history.
The Historic Daniel Lady Farm
1008 Hanover St., Gettysburg
Did You Know?
The Daniel Lady Farm is also the site of the Historic Gettysburg Adams County’s architectural salvage warehouse. The warehouse was established to encourage the use of items that otherwise may end up in a landfill. The warehouse accepts anything from vintage items to fireplace mantels, shutters, wood and metal beds, and lampshades and globes. Learn more at www.hgaconline.com.
Upcoming Events at the Historic Daniel Lady Farm:
2022 Battle of Gettysburg Reenactment
July 2 & 3
Celebrate the 159th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg! Witness battle reenactments, artillery and cavalry demonstrations, living history programs, tours of the restored house and barn, and more!
Frontier Living History Towns
August 6 & 7
Check the Daniel Lady Farm website for more details.
160th Anniversary of the Battle of Antietam/Sharpsburg
September 17 & 18
Experience a reenactment of the Antietam and Sharpsburg battles. Smell the gunpower in the air, see the clashing of cavalry swords, hear the rebel yell during the battles, and interact with Civil War living historians.
Fall Harvest Days – Family Fun
October 15 & 22
Enjoy a family fun harvest event with games, prizes, pumpkin painting, and other activities.
Halloween Frontier Living History Towns
October 29 & 30
Another family fun event, this time with a Western flair! Learn about the history of Halloween.
Remembrance Day Reenactor Swap Meet & Yard Sale
November 18 & 19
Bring your own table, chairs, blankets, and items to sell to this reenactor swap meet event.
Holiday Candlelight Farm & House Tours
December 3 & 10
Celebrate the holidays with the Daniel Lady Farm and learn about traditions from the late 1800s.