Gettysburg Battlefield guide David Richards to speak in Muncy

MUNCY – David L. Richards, historian and author, will present “Sad Hearts At Home: Civil War Dead From Eastern Lycoming County” at 2:30 p.m. Sunday in the First United Methodist Church sanctuary, 602 S. Market Street.

Richards, an authority on Civil War soldiers from Eastern Lycoming County, is releasing his second book by the same title as the presentation.

His first book, Priceless Treasures (2001), was a study concerning Muncy’s Soldiers’ Monument and the 71 Civil War soldiers’ names engraved on its weathered panels. While researching the fates of these young men, Richards discovered that a great number of others from the Muncy vicinity died during the war but their names were not recorded on the monument. This latest book dates its origins back to that discovery.

By utilizing extensive government records at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., incredible tales began to unfold concerning these forgotten patriots. During the past few years, Richards discovered that nearly 120 others form the Eastern Lycoming County community died during the Civil War. With the 71 names recorded on the Soldiers’ Monument the total number of lives lost is rapidly approaching 200.

While doing research for both books, Richards uncovered a great number of letters and diaries written by soldiers from the Eastern Lycoming vicinity. These precious historic documents describe, often in great detail, the soldier’s day to day experiences during the war, enabling the modern day reader to gain a glimpse into the minds of the common soldier.

Richards, a graduate of Hughesville High School, was inducted into that school’s Academic Hall of Fame in 2008 in recognition of his contributions to local history.

A 1985 graduate of Lycoming College, he has been a licensed battlefield guide at Gettysburg National Military Park since 1986. During his tenure there, he has introduced literally tens of thousands of school students to the story of the American Civil War in general, and the Battle of Gettysburg, in particular.

Richards is considered an authority on Pennsylvania Civil War units and the soldiers that served from the Lycoming County area. In addition to Priceless Treasures, he has written numerous articles for local historical societies and veteran publications. The Blue & Gray Magazine, a nationwide periodical, published one of his Gettysburg-related essays in 2002 and another in 2004.

The society’s meetings and events always are open to the public. Light refreshments will be served immediately following the program in the church’s community room.