Jennie Wade House - Gettysburg, PA
Updated: Aug 18, 2022
Jennie Wade House - Mary Virginia “Jennie” Wade lived on Breckenridge Street in Gettysburg, PA where she and her mother worked as seamstresses. They left their home in fear of the coming battle, choosing to stay with Jennie’s sister Georgia McClellan. Not only did they do this for their own safety, but also because Georgia was pregnant and would give birth just one hour before the Confederate Army arrived in Gettysburg.
Jennie's mother, Georgia and Jennie did their patriotic duty by serving bread and water to the nearby Union forces. On the morning of July 3rd, Jennie began to knead a fresh batch of dough so they could continue to provide food for the soldiers.
It was said that Jennie was engaged to be married to Corporal Johnston “Jack” Skelly. Jack and Jennie were childhood friends and over time it turned into romantic interest. Jack was wounded and captured in Winchester, a detail that Jennie would never learn.
That same morning, Confederate soldiers began firing over 150 bullets, which hit the North side of the house. One bullet, a Minié ball, passed through two doors and struck Jennie in the shoulder, penetrating her heart and ending her life at approximately 8:30 a.m. on July 3rd, 1863.
Jennie’s body was carried to the cellar by Federal soldiers. Later she would be buried. Corporal Skelly, Jennie’s fiancé, never learned of her death. He died in captivity just one week later, on July 12th.
Jennie's work did not lack worth or appreciation. On July 4th, a day after her passing, her mother used Jennie's dough to bake 15 loaves of bread for the hungry Union soldiers.
Today, Jennie is buried near Jack in the Evergreen Cemetery. A monument marks her resting place, as well as the American flag that flies day and night. The only other woman to claim that honor is Betsy Ross.
We did not have an opportunity to visit the inside of the home, but it’s on our list for our next trip to Gettysburg.
Jennie Wade House Museum
548 Baltimore Street
Gettysburg, PA 17325