Sarah "Sallie" Middleton Robbins Broadhead (11 December 1831 – 21 March 1910, in Winslow, Pennsylvania[1]) was a teacher, diarist, and resident of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania during the Battle of Gettysburg. She was the author of The Diary of a Lady of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania from June 15 to July 15, 1863, which is a primary historical source for what happened during the battle and especially how it impacted the residents of the borough. It has been called the most comprehensive written document on the role of women in the Civil War.[2] Ken Burns quoted entries from the diary in his 1990 documentary series, The Civil War.[3]

Biography

Civil War years

Sarah Broadhead lived with her husband Joseph and their then four-year-old daughter Mary at the western end of Chambersburg Street, Gettysburg. She was a teacher by profession and the Broadheads were members of the Religious Society of Friends. The diary tells of her life during that month and relates information that would have otherwise been lost. When the battle raged outside their house the family took shelter in their basement. She describes the aftermath of the battle in detail and the destruction and human toil that resulted. She helped nurse the survivors, taking three wounded soldiers into her home. She wrote that there were things she would never forget. The account she gave was deeply personal.[4]

The United States Sanitary Commission provided aid and supplies to the field hospital located at the Lutheran Seminary. In 1864, Sarah had her diary privately published, printing 200 copies, as a 24-page pamphlet.[5] She gave copies to family and friends who inquired about her experiences during and after the battle. She donated 75 copies of the diary to the commission to be sold to raise funds at the Great Central Fair, held in Philadelphia in June 1864.[6]

Later life and death

About 1885, Joseph and Sarah moved, for reasons unknown to history, to what soon thereafter became Linwood, New Jersey, where they lived the rest of their lives. They were both active in community affairs and Joseph (1830–1903) was, in 1889, elected a member of the first borough council. They were buried in the Friends burying ground, now known as Friends Central Cemetery, on Shore Road in Linwood.[7] Their son Benjamin (1869–1918) and his wife Lydia are buried next to them. The cemetery has been, since 1944, the church cemetery of Central United Methodist Church.

Legacy

On June 6, 2015 the Linwood Historical Society dedicated a monument to Sarah Broadhead at her grave-site recognizing her contribution to the history of the Gettysburg Battle and her humanitarian work in its aftermath. The ceremony was attended by three of her great-great-granddaughters.[8]

See also

References

  1. ^ Pennsylvania death certificate, no. 28327, filed 22 March 1910
  2. ^ "Marker dedicated to Battle of Gettysburg nurse turned historian" The Current of Northfield, Linwood and Somers Point, 11 June 2015, pg. 1
  3. ^ Rotondo, Christie (30 May 2015). "Linwood historians find grave site of Gettysburg's Sarah Broadhead". pressofatlanticcity.com. Press of Atlantic City. Retrieved 25 November 2015. That diary, called The Diary of A Lady of Gettysburg is widely quoted by Civil War historians, and even featured in The Civil War documentary produced by Ken Burns.
  4. ^ Swartz, Brian (7 August 2013). "Nurses, other volunteers cared for Maine's Gettysburg wounded". bangordailynews.com. BDN. Retrieved 25 November 2015. 'Men, wounded in three and four places, not able to help themselves the least bit, lay almost swimming in water,' Broadhead said.
  5. ^ MacLean, Maggie (12 April 2009). "Sallie Robbins Broadhead; Civil War Nurse and Teacher". civilwarwomenblog.com. Retrieved 25 November 2015. Sallie Broadhead privately published her diary in 1864, as The Diary of a Lady of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, from June 15 to July 15, 1863, in a 24-page pamphlet. It was intended solely for 'the kindred and nearest friends of the writer,' but it was printed as a fund-raiser for the Sanitary fairs in the Pennsylvania area.
  6. ^ Hill, Bob. "Sarah Broadhead". pacivilwar150.com. PHS & PHMC. Retrieved 25 November 2015. ...she donated seventy-five copies of the diary to raise funds for the commission at the Great Central Fair, held in Philadelphia in June 1864.
  7. ^ Rotondo, Christie (30 May 2015). "Linwood historians find grave site of Gettysburg's Sarah Broadhead". pressofatlanticcity.com. Press of Atlantic City. Retrieved 25 November 2015. ...we now know where her final resting place is: The Friends Central Cemetery in Linwood, along Shore Road...
  8. ^ Marino, Suzanne (10 June 2015). "Marker dedicated to Battle of Gettysburg nurse turned historian". shorenewstoday.com. The Current and Gazette. Retrieved 25 November 2015. A historical marker was placed near the burial site of Sarah Broadhead and her husband Joseph Saturday, June 6.