WASHINGTON — In the 1780s, the son of a farmer in south-central Pennsylvania purchased from his father 116 acres where two roads intersected. He laid out 210 lots for a town he named for himself. He was James Gettys.
What happened when two armies collided there 150 years ago was, some might argue, not the most important battle in American history or even in the Civil War. The 1777 defeat of the British at Saratoga won French support for the American Revolution. The Battle of Antietam (Sept. 17, 1862) enabled Abraham Lincoln to redefine the war by issuing the Emancipation Proclamation. The Battle of Midway sealed Japan’s fate.