Jennie Wade, Gettysburg Bread Baker

July 3, 1863

Jennie Wade

Jennie Wade

The Battle of Gettysburg was fought on July 1, 2, and 3, 1863. July 3, was a Friday. Around 8:30 that morning, 20-year-old Miss Mary Virginia (Jennie) Wade was at home and busy baking bread for hungry Union soldiers. At the Farnsworth house, almost two blocks away from Jennie Wade’s home, a Rebel sharpshooter perched in hiding. Thinking the Wade house was a Union headquarters and hoping to pick off a Yankee officer or soldier, the Confederate sharpshooter fired a single bullet toward the Wade home.

The sniper’s bullet passed through two doors of the Wade house before it struck Jennie Wade in the small of her back just below the left shoulder blade. Jennie died instantly as the bullet tore through her heart.

Jennie Wade began each day reading from the Bible. The passage she happened to read on July 3, was; “Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart.” Death was abundant at Gettysburg in early July of 1863. The Union suffered approximately 3,155 killed and the Confederacy approximately 3,903 killed. Miss Jennie Wade was the only civilian killed at the Battle of Gettysburg.

You can visit the Jennie Wade House in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. When you visit Jennie’s home, you can see where the north side of the house is blemished with over 150 bullet and shell holes from the Gettysburg battle. On display at the Wade house, is the bullet that killed Jennie Wade, the young bread baker.

Congress later declared that the United States flag be flown over Jennie Wade’s tomb. The United States flag still flies there now in honor and memory of Jennie Wade and of all innocent civilians killed in the Civil War.

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2 thoughts on “Jennie Wade, Gettysburg Bread Baker

  1. May I ask what source you have that reports that Ginnie read that particular scripture on the morning of July 3rd? Also can you tell me of any sources that have quotes of Ginnie Wade?

    • Hello Joe Colflesh,

      The book, "My Enemy, My Brother: Men and Days of Gettysburg" by Joseph E. Persico explains: "In town that Thursday morning Jennie Wade recited the Twenty- seventh Psalm with a sense of rapture." Specifically, the verse is Psalms 27:14. I don’t know of any sources of quotes by Ginnie/Jennie Wade. There may not be that many quotes from her, as she died so young, but letters she wrote may be available. I first learned of this Jennie Wade Bible-reading fact during a visit to Gettysburg.


      Jonathan R. Allen

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