Another opinion on York’s surrender
Artist Lewis Miller’s depiction of the occupation of downtown York by the Confederate army in late June 1863. (YCHT).
Francis Wallace was a veteran newspaper editor in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. When the Confederate army marched down the Shenandoah Valley toward the Potomac River, Wallace and several of the employees of his paper enlisted in one of the emergency militia regiments, the 27th Volunteer Militia. Wallace sent back frequent reports to the remaining newspapermen, which were later published in the local paper in Pottsville, PA. These accounts are often colorful, spiced occasionally with humor, and present the thoughts and opinions of one participant in the Gettysburg Campaign.
Here are Lieutenant Wallace’s initial thoughts when he and his colleagues (stationed in Columbia just east of the Susquehanna River) first learned from refugees crossing the toll bridge that York had surrendered to the Confederates.
“Before the rebels left York, they ‘salted’ the population to the following terms, threatening that if their demands were not complied with, they would sack the place.
The rebels demanded $100,000, but the citizens could only raise $30,000, which was handed over to the rebs in “green backs.” The rebs would not take any other money, although they scattered their counterfeit trash around freely, paying $5 or $10 for a couple of cigars, and waiting for change.
They exacted from the Yorkites,
32,000 lbs. fresh beef
28,000 lbs. pickled pork
165 barrels flour
Rather heavy, but the citizens of a town who will permit the authorities to go out obsequiously, and hunt for seven miles for the rebels to whom they may surrender, deserve such treatment. I don’t pity them.”