A visit to the Horse Soldier Gettysburg is like walking into a museum or library—except that everything is for sale.
In other words, it’s pretty much heaven to a Civil War buff or history enthusiast.
I walked in with the intention of taking a few photos and leaving, but spent quite a bit of time looking at the vast collection of original artifacts, many of which are one-of-a-kind.
Of course, I also walked out with a new “old” book to add to my collection.
If you’re planning a visit to Gettysburg, put the Horse Solider on your list of must-see’s. It’s an amazing trip through history.
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The Horse Soldier Gettysburg History
The Horse Soldier in Gettysburg didn’t just pop up in the last few years. It’s a family owned and operated antique store that got its start in 1971 in the living room of a house that sat across from the historic Sherfy Farm on the Emmitsburg Road.
Back in those days, Chet Small was a young man who often hunted relics from the Battle of Gettysburg with his brothers.
He then began selling the bullets, shrapnel and cannonballs he found. (Back in those days, these relics were abundant in the fields around Gettysburg.
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As years went by and business increased, Chet’s wife Pat suggested that the Civil War “relic business” should move out of their house. In 1972 Chet and his sons built a small Dutch-style barn into which the rusty relics moved.
The business operated out of this location until 1979 when the property was sold to the National Park Service.
The Horse Soldier found a new home in Gettysburg at the Old Gettysburg Village on Baltimore Street, until it moved to its current location at 219 Steinwehr Avenue in 2010.
Chet and Pat’s sons Sam and Wes graduated from college in the early 1980s and started full time with the family business in 1984 and 1985.
The Horse Soldier Gettysburg
This amazing store specializes in Military Antiques from the American Revolution to World War II, but their emphasis is on the American Civil War.
Of course, Gettysburg has lots of museums, but if you want a place to spend a few hours looking at one-of-a-kind Civil War relics and other antiques, you should check out the Horse Soldier.
Just like the Gettysburg Museum of History, it’s a free way to spend an afternoon (unless you’re like me, and buy something).
This Civil War militaria store carries books, currency, weapons, soldier letters, documents of all kinds, musical instrument and photographs to name a few.
They also have excavated battlefield relics and more Civil War militaria items and Civil War antiques than I’ve ever seen all in one place.
The Horse Soldier relics range from bridle bits to stirrups, pistols, and a large variety of bullets and artillery shells.
Unique Items At The Horse Soldier
One of the items I would LOVE to have is a CDV of Colonel John Mosby of Virginia.
The image shows Mosby, the Gray Ghost of the Confederacy, seated in a chair holding a light-colored slouch hat in his lap. Standing next to him posed with one hand resting on Mosby’s shoulder is a man identified as John N. Hefflebower who served in Colonel Mosby’s Partisan Rangers.
I have spent many hours in Virginia, following in the footsteps of Mosby and his men.
Another unique item in The Horse Soldier’s inventory is an image of John Hunt Morgan without a beard.
On July 4, 1862, Morgan set out on a thousand-mile ride through Kentucky – destroying railroad and telegraph lines, seizing supplies, taking prisoners and generally wreaking havoc in the Union rear. His raid made national headlines and helped cement the fearsome reputation of the Southern cavalryman.
He was killed in Greeneville, TN, while staying at the Dickson-Williams Mansion.
Consignments At The Horse Soldier Gettysburg
If you have something to sell, the Horse Soldier continues to purchase entire collections, as well as single items of historic value.
They offer competitive consignment rates and can provide consignment letters of recommendation.
Since the Horse Soldier Gettysburg is one of the better known Civil War dealers around, it offers a great opportunity to get your Civil War antiques seen by a lot of people.
Horse Soldier Military Research
With all of its connections and experience in the Civil War antique and militaria field, the Horse Soldier Gettysburg also offers a Research Service.
They can do research for soldiers who served anytime from the Revolutionary War to the Spanish/American War &/or Philippine Insurrection.
All of the records are scanned/copied or photographed at the National Archives in Washington, DC.
The Compiled Military Service Record includes information taken from the original muster rolls on the soldier’s enlistment, time & duration of service, along with a record of any wounds, POW experience or fatality.
The Federal Pension File is a copy of the original documents including details of the soldier’s life both during and after the war. It also provides descriptions of battles fought, injuries received and hardships endured along with family information of marriages, children, occupations, residences and death.
This report follows the soldier’s life right to his dying day and if his widow or children qualified for a pension it continues with details on their lives.
The research fee is $110.00 per Union soldier, $85.00 per Confederate soldier, plus copying (.25 from an original document and .60 from microfilm) and shipping charges, unless the scanned option is chosen.
Other Historical Research By The Horse Soldier
In addition to individual soldier’s records, Vonnie from the Horse Soldier can do other research at the National Archives for the records of the U.S. military from 1775 until approximately 1910.
If you want to find out about a soldier who served in the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, early Indian Wars, or the Mexican War, a search of these records may be worthwhile. Many of the bounty land application files relating to Revolutionary War and War of 1812 service have been combined with the pension files.
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Vonnie also has over 20 years experience researching historic documents, newspapers and books at the Library of Congress. She has worked extensively for historians, authors, museums, historic societies and the hit TV show “Who Do You Think You Are?”
Wrap-Up Of The Horse Soldier Gettysburg PA
The Horse Soldier Gettysburg is a true gem for history enthusiasts, collectors and visitors alike.
Stepping into this unique establishment near downtown Gettysburg is like embarking on a journey through time, where the relics and memorabilia of the Civil War era combine to tell a story.
By preserving and showcasing a diverse array of artifacts, the Horse Soldier Civil War antique store offers a unique window into the past.
Whether you are a seasoned historian, a curious traveler, or an avid collector, this Civil War relic and antique shop provides an opportunity to connect with the past.
For someone looking to purchase any type of Civil War relics or militaria items, The Horse Soldier Gettysburg holds a treasure trove that is worth exploring.
The Horse Soldier is located at 219 Steinwehr Avenue, Gettysburg.