At the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, Philadelphia
was the second-largest city in the country and had the industrial might to earn the title “Arsenal of the Union.” With Pennsylvania’s anthracite coal, the city mills forged steel into arms, and a vast network of rails carried the ammunition and other manufactured goods to the troops. Over the course of the war, Philadelphia contributed 100,000 soldiers to the Union army, including many free blacks and such notables as General George McClellan
and General George Meade, the victor of Gettysburg
. Anthony Waskie chronicles Philadelphia’s role in the conflict while also taking an intimate view of life in the city with stories of all those who volunteered to serve and guard the Cradle of Liberty.
Philadelphia was founded by William Penn and has many of the iconic monuments of the American Revolution. George B. McClellan was a commander of the Union forces in the early part of the Civil War, much criticized for his extreme caution. The Battle of Gettysburg represented the high water mark of the Confederacy when it was fought in July 1863.