A Union regiment visits York
During the early part of the Gettysburg Campaign, militia troops from New York and New Jersey were sent to Harrisburg to help defend the city. These soldiers arrived via a variety of trains from diverse garrisons throughout the East Coast. Following the Battle of Gettysburg, many of them marched into Maryland in pursuit of Robert E. Lee’s army before being ordered to return home. On Saturday, July 18, the 23rd New York State National Guard entrained at Baltimore on the Northern Central Railway and headed northward through Maryland and southern York County. The regiment, almost entirely city boys from Brooklyn and New York City, would pause for a rest break at York’s train station.
Private John Lockwood left his impressions of that day.
“We spent the day for the most part on the car-tops which offered a charming panorama of the pretty country we were traversing. The train being more than one half the time at a stand-still, some of us had the enterprise to build fires on the road and cook coffee; some hunted for berries; some ran off, at no small risk, to a neighboring farm-house for bread and butter, milk, cakes, pies, etc.; some whiled the time away with playing checkers, the squares being scratched on the tin roofs of the cars and small flakes of stone being used for pieces.
At York we found awaiting our arrival a crowd of small vendors of cakes, pies, etc., who brought their commodities eagerly to us, which we as eagerly purchased at outrageous prices.