-Daniel Sheaffer Farmhouse (Gettysburg)


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Daniel Sheaffer Farmhouse


  • Also Known As:
    • The Nicholas Mark House
    • "One of the first brick houses, if not the first, in Adams County"
  • Battlefield: Gettysburg National Military Park, Pennsylvania
  • Location: 2159 Baltimore Pike
  • Current Owner: John Pannick
  • Map Coordinates: 39.79437111022179, -77.19638816945125

  • Architect: Nicholas Mark
  • Farm House Built: 1781 on 300 acres of land provided by William Penn
  • Residents at the Time of Battle:
    • Daniel Sheaffer (Shaffer), born circa 1802 in PA, a Farmer & Head of household
    • Lydia, born circa 1820 in PA
    • John B., born 1840 in PA
    • Leo, born circa 1842 in PA
    • Jacob, born circa 1843 in PA
    • Susannah, born circa 1849 in PA
    • Sarah, born circa 1851 in PA
  • Remarks: The house was operated as a tavern under the “sign of George Washington” in the early 1800s. Later, it was a shelter for the underground railroad. Honored (Dedication) in 1988.

The DANIEL SHEAFFER FARM remains a prominent Gettysburg landmark whose original property was a 300+ acre land grant from William Penn, first surveyed in 1763, and referred to as 'Wolf's Walk'. There was, at one time, an Indian camp on the property S.W. of where the main house was later built. The house (the first brick house in Adams County) was built in c.1780-81 and was originally used as a tavern 'under the Sign of George Washington' from 1808-1815.

During this period the green in front of the house was used as a site for military muster and drills and in the 1840's the house was used as a place for abolitionist meetings, and as a stop on the Underground Railway for slaves fleeing from neighboring Maryland, only a few miles away.

At the time of the Battle of Gettysburg, the property was owned by Daniel Sheaffer and his wife and consisted of the brick house, several outbuildings and a sawmill located on White Run Creek. Occupied by a portion of the III and XII Corps of the Army of the Potomac, with baggage trains resting in the fields, Gregg's Cavalry Division camped on the farm on July 2nd and Reserve Artillery occupied the fields S.W. of the house. Nearly 3,000 Rebel prisoners, many taken during the famous 'Pickett's Charge' were kept on the property southwest of the house, near the stream.

When the wounded began to arrive, the Sheaffers were asked to leave. The surgeons performed amputations on every available surface and the piles of severed limbs grew outside, holes were drilled in the planking of the floors on the downstairs level so that the blood could be washed into the cellar.

The most famous patient at the Sheaffer House Field Hospital was the controversial General Daniel Sickles who was wounded in the leg by a projectile, smashing the bone. In a later claim for damages, Mrs. Sheaffer recalled that "on the second day of July 1863, Maj. Gen. Sickles was carried to the house in consequence of a wound which resulted in the amputation of a leg--he remained overnight."

Sickles himself wrote in 1882: "In a moment I was removed from the ground to the field hospital on the Baltimore Pike that night, in the gloaming, Dr. Calhoun cut off the useless limb." A young neighbor of the Sheaffers' J. Howard Wert wrote that he "saw the noble chieftain borne with shattered leg to the sombre brick house on the Baltimore Pike, at that time occupied by Daniel Sheaffer."

On one of his visits to the Battlefield in later times, the General was quoted as saying that he had requested champagne after the amputation. When that wasn't available, a bottle of wine was found in the baggage train. He wouldn't drink it warm, so it was put down the stone-lined well beside the house for an hour. Sickles drank the wine at one mouthful every five minutes, and passed the night and was later carried to the train and taken to Washington to complete his recovery.

The property was used as a Union Field Hospital for over two weeks. During that time the sawmill by the creek provided lumber for bunks and coffins for the III Corps. In 1868 Daniel Sheaffer put in a government claim for property damage due to the use of the property as a field hospital, stating the items taken or used by Federal troops included nearly 3000 fence rails, 2926 feet of board lumber, 80 bushels of wheat, 24 bushels of rye, 90 bushels of oats, 180 bushels of corn, 12 tons of hay, 50 lbs. of bacon, towels and table linen, 2 shirts, 2 pr. shoes, 4 pr. stockings, 1 pr. pants and 1 lot of poultry.

Daniel Sheaffer had also done his own gathering of items. A military telegram of July 19th, 1863 states that several Army items were discovered at "Shaffer's, a Dutchman" which included "300 shirts and drawers, 50 blankets, 28 guns, some artillery harness and etc. They were secreted in a well dug under the house and in four large sinks filled with water. The guns were hid under piles of board along his fence and in the garrets. Every care seemed to have been taken to prevent detection. I worked the Dutchman hard fixing up & loading the property that is not sufficient punishment. What shall I do with him?"

Since 1983 the property has been owned by John & Betty Pannick. During a remodel of an upstairs room, the stained planking was discovered. It was hardly a surprise as several other rooms in the house bear bloodstains on the flooring, and a room on the lower level adjacent to the kitchen still has the small round hole bored in a plank to sweep the water and blood into the cellar. There is also a disruption in the brickwork on the N.E. corner of the house where it was struck by a shell, and scorching of the beams in the attic from another artillery strike. The house remains as it did during the time of the Battle, a silent witness to the turning of the tide of the Civil War.

citation information The following information is provided for citations.
Article Title:
Daniel Schaefer Farm
Website Name:
CivilWarTalk, LLC
Original Published Date:
June 1, 2021

links to state and national monuments, and nearby landmarks Located at Gettysburg National Military Park, in Adams County, Pennsylvania (rev.6/1/21)
National Monuments
Eternal Light Peace Memorial Friend to Friend Masonic Memorial High Water Mark
Lincoln Speech Memorial Soldiers' National Monument
U.S. State Monuments
DE IN MD NY NY Auxiliary PA VT U.S. Regulars
C.S. State Monuments
Union Regimentals
Black Horse Tavern Cashtown Inn Alexander Dobbin House Evergreen Cemetery Gatehouse Jennie Wade House
Lutheran Theological Seminary McAllister's Mill Railroad Station
Thompson House David Wills House
Farms: Codori Bliss Brian
Daniel Schaefer Hummelbaugh Klingle Lady Leister McLean McPherson
Rogers Rose Rummel Sherfy Slyder Snyder Taney Trostle George Weikert Wentz
Points of Interest
New Museum & Visitor Center Benner's Hill Cemetery Hill Copse of Trees Culp's Hill
Devil's Den Peach Orchard Little Round Top
Big Round Top Sachs Covered Bridge
Spangler's Spring East Cavalry Field Soldiers' National Cemetery National Cemetery Annex

Gone But Not Forgotten: Old Museum, Visitor Center, & Electric Map Old Cyclorama National Tower
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