“Not only was this General Cullen's headquarters during the Battle of Antietam but it was also the headquarters of the medical director of the Army of the Potomac, a man by the name of Dr Jonathan Letterman,” said Thomas Frezza, Superintendent at the Pry House Field Hospital Museum.
Dr. Letterman developed the Ambulance Corps and System of Evacuation, that’s still used today. People came out to learn about history, and how it remains a big part of the Four State area. Civil War Santa taught people about the tradition of Santa Claus or Father Christmas that goes back centuries.
“American morale was quite low after a series of defeats by the union armies needed a morale boost,” said Civil War Santa James Tent.
Civil War Santa became an icon in December 1862 though a man named Thomas Nast, and his newspaper illustrations.
“After the civil war was over he was still so hugely popular that Nast civilized him and put him back in his red uniform and for the rest of the century kids were treated with the famous illustrations of Thomas Nast,” said Tent.
Centuries ago, Christmas was celebrated in the Pry House and by others by putting up the tree on Christmas Eve, and fits were left under the tree unwrapped. While, it’s a little different from the tradition many celebrate today, it still remains relevant.
“Today currently in Afghanistan you have people that have the war on their doorstep so they are actually facing some of the same issues that the Pry’s faced back in 1862 so history does repeat itself,” said Susan Yano, of the Pry House.
Yano says it’s important to teach future generations about this history, so it doesn’t repeat itself.
Many parts of the Pry House Hospital Museum have been restored to keep it in shape so the public can still go there and learn about the rich history of our area and country.