Confederate column passes through Hallam
A view of the exterior of the Schultz house on Emig Street in Hallam, Pennsylvania. This heavily modified stone house dates from the early 19th century, and is shown in this U.S. government photograph taken in the 1980s. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.
On Sunday afternoon, June 28, 1863, nearly 2000 Confederate soldiers marched through the tiny village of Hallam, Pennsylvania, in the heart of Hellam Township in eastern York County. Led by pre-wear Georgia attorney and businessman John Brown Gordon, the Rebels were marching from York to Wrightsville, where they were supposed to seize the Columbia-Wrightsville Bridge and control access to Lancaster County.
It would not work out as General Gordon hoped.
The living room of the Schultz house showing the old stone fireplace. The house was restored in 1973.
There are scores of houses in Hellam Township that were present in 1863 when the Rebels tramped through the vicinity. The Martin Schultz house is 0.2 miles south of the main road, Hellam Street, in Hallam borough. It is one of the earliest extant houses in the county, and, according to the government survey team that photographed the home in 1933, it is an “Interesting example of stone vernacular construction, influenced by German building techniques.”
The Confederates frequently commented on the sturdy construction of the Pennsylvania Germans. Often, they were surprised the locals built their barns so much larger than their homes. I have read perhaps two dozen CSA accounts that mention this phenomenon, something totally foreign to the Scotch-Irish farmers of the South, who were used to large houses and small barns.
The Schultz house still retains its original, uniquely German vaulted stone cellar.
One thing Gordon’s column needed was fresh horses for the officers and the artillery pieces, limbers, caissons, forges, ambulances, and supply wagons. Gordon had hundreds of horses with him as he moved eastward through Hellam Township on June 28 and westward a day later on the same turnpike between York and Wrightsville. Horses and mules were priority targets, and many local residents were visited by Rebel raiding parties.
In some cases, it is known that York Countians tried hiding their horses in their homes and in their cellars such as the one shown above. However, often these efforts were futile. In other cases, the Southerners found the horses in their stalls in stables and barns and simply walked off with them. Among the victims in the vicinity of Hallam borough were Jacob Rudy, Eli Emig, and George Ebert (I will discuss Mr. Emig in some detail in a future Cannonball blog entry). All lost draft animals to Gordon’s men.
An upstairs bedroom in the Martin Schultz house shows the influences of German architectural style.
As the Confederates passed through the countryside, residents often remained indoors until the column was out of sight, although stragglers remained in Hallam for some time after Gordon’s main body was gone.
The Library of Congress collection also contains several interesting photographs of what John Gordon had deemed in 1863 to be “a panorama both interesting and enchanting,” the rural countryside of the “Valley of Pennsylvania.”