PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — “In 1863, Robert E. Lee invades Pennsylvania. Here in Pittsburgh, people were panicked.”
A large crowd joins Andy Masich at Heinz History Center, in the final week of the exhibit, “Pennsylvania’s Civil War.”
The History Center president says Pittsburgh was a prime target.
“Pittsburgh was the Arsenal of the Union,'” he explains. “They turned out tons and tons of cannons and shells, small arms and equipment, dried foods, wagons. Everything that you can imagine that was needed for the war effort.”
The Fort Pitt Foundry created the biggest cannon in the world.
“Eighty tons of molten iron poured from three furnaces continuously for 24 hours to pour this monster cannon,” Masich tells the crowd.
We learn that “pup tents” got their name originally from Civil War “dog tents.”
Speaking of dogs, Pittsburgh mascot dog, Jack, was once swapped for a Confederate prisoner.
South Park Middle School science teacher Howard Anderson has seen this exhibit at least six times.
“Every time you come here you seem to find something that you didn’t know before,” he says. “One more piece to the puzzle that makes it a bigger and more enjoyable learning experience.”
The Union cause received a tremendous boost from Martin Delaney of Pittsburgh. He recruited thousands of former slaves following the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863.
“Pennsylvania’s Civil War” continues through Jan. 6, with two more tours scheduled for Dec. 31.
More information is available at www.heinzhistorycenter.org.