The final year of the Civil War
A special Union Army post was swiftly erected on a hilltop in Lower Merion to handle a jumble of returning citizen-soldiers.
Many bore bullet wounds, broken bones, and other scars of combat. Some had lost limbs. Some were laid low by illness. Hundreds arrived half-dead as survivors of wretched prison camps.
Others were blessedly unscathed — but all grappled with the fresh, ferocious memories of their time at war.
The post, known as Camp Discharge, did its best to help move the young Union veterans back to civilian life. During its brief existence, it sat on a bluff overlooking what is today the Schuylkill Expressway, one of the nation’s busiest highways. The post was quickly dismantled, its story nearly forgotten.
Back From Battle reclaims the history of Camp Discharge and follows the often tumultuous lives of the Pennsylvania volunteer soldiers who passed through its gates.