The Steiger Family | Pennsylvania Civil War 150
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Pennsylvania Civil War 150

Pennsylvania Civil War 150

Civilians

The Steiger Family

How Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart learned not to mess with a Steiger.

In October 1862, Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart stopped in Mercersburg at Bridgeside, the home of the Steiger family. He intended to use the house as his headquarters while his troops rounded up supplies and civilian hostages from the town. However, Mrs. Steiger told Stuart that her husband George was away on business and that her children had the measles. She said it might not be safe to enter her home, so Stuart ate lunch outside on her porch.

As the rebels moved out of town towards Chambersburg later in the day, they encountered a livestock dealer. They seized his horses and wagon and took him hostage, without knowing that he was George Steiger. That evening, when they let him forage for food for his horses, Steiger escaped from his captors by hiding in a cornfield. Traveling by a circuitous route to avoid recapture, Steiger returned home around 1 a.m. to find a large group of neighbors gathered to console his wife and children. All were amazed when a tired and wet George Steiger walked in the back door.

Today, the Steiger house still stands and operates as a Bed & Breakfast in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania.

Image Courtesy of PA Historical and Museum Commission

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