September 17, 1862
On September 17, 1862, a mix of anticipation and uncertainty filled the air as young girls assembled to collect their pay at Pittsburgh’s Allegheny Arsenal. In the 1860s, news trickled in by word-of-mouth, telegraph, and newspaper. For weeks rumors swirled of a possible Confederate attack as Union and Confederate forces descended on western Maryland for what would become known as the bloodiest battle of the Civil War.
Workers back at Pittsburgh’s Allegheny Arsenal sensed something would happen, but did not know what. Fear and concern gripped the munitions workers as they rushed to fill cartridges, assemble small arms, and make harnesses. What did happen on that fateful day rocked their community.