Another York County merchant gets robbed by Rebels
As the spring of 1863 began, the last thing many York Countians expected was that the Civil War would roll northward into this lush agrarian region. The war was down in Virginia, and in places way out west where names like Murfreesboro had been in the news over the winter. Yet, as April and May rolled into June, little did the locals dream that they would soon play host to two separate major Confederate incursions within a three-day period, as well as smaller raids.
Heidelberg Township merchant George Zinn was among the dozens of merchants and shopkeepers who were visited by Confederate troops.
On June 30, 1863, a party of mounted Confederate cavalrymen from one of J.E.B. Stuart’s regiments rode up to Zinn’s modest dry goods store. Entering the shop, they proceeded to pick merchandise and food products from the shelves and bins. Some paid for their purchases with worthless Confederate money; others simply walked out with their arms loaded.
Years later, Zinn filed a claim with the U.S. government, but never received compensation to match his losses. In his legal filing, he reported the loss of 2 watches worth $25, a large box of gold jewelry and earrings, 5 hand-woven silk shawls, several woolen shawls, many shirts, bolts of broadcloth, dozens of handkerchiefs, piles of light weight cotton clothing, and 2 nice new men’s suits.
The Rebels did not stop there. They also hauled off all the meat they could carry, as well as crocks of hand-churned butter, jars of York County apple butter, and other food. To facilitate consuming the delicables, the Southerners also carried off a dozen table knives and forks, as well as eighteen spoons.
George Zinn was dismayed and upset, but he was powerless to stop the invaders from taking his merchandise. It was a story many other merchants in York County could sympathize with.