For three long days, the community of Gettysburg endured the raging battle. Houses, churches, and schools became makeshift hospitals. The community was left with thousands of dead and wounded soldiers, dead horses, and little food. Many dwellings and businesses were damaged or destroyed. Lives were forever changed.
During the battle, families found refuge in their cellars. Elizabeth Salome "Sallie" Myers described her experience as, "The noise above our heads, the rattling of musketry, the screeching of shells, and the unearthly yells, added to the cries of the children, were enough to shake the stoutest heart."
When the call went out for women to assist in caring for the wounded, Sallie went to St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church. The sights and sounds were too much for Sallie, who ran outside to cry on the makeshift hospital's steps. Later that day, twelve wounded men were moved to her house for care.
The wounded remained in town through the end of July. Townspeople visited them daily, doing whatever they could to make them more comfortable. All the rooms in Sallie's home were kept full with the wounded, and she slept on the floor in the upstairs hall.