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Confederate officer left receipt for taking York County farmer’s mules

Leip, Peter

As the Confederate army invaded Pennsylvania in late June 1863, foraging patrols scoured the countryside for fresh horses, mules, and supplies, often paying with Confederate script. Officers were supposed to leave a signed receipt for what their men procured. Few of these receipts have surfaced over the years, but thanks to a massive amount of damage claims (also known as border claims because they originated in the border counties of south-central PA), we have a record of the residents who lost property to the Rebels.

The National Archives has a small file of original private property receipts, a handful of which have York County ties. The above example is a wonderful example of these now scarce pre-printed military forms which has been filled out in its entirety.

So who was Peter Leip, what did he state the Rebels took in his damage claim, and who were the Confederates who likely visited his farm?

Washington Leip

The Leip farm was north of East Berlin in Washington Township, York County, near of the intersection of the Baltimore Pike and Ruppert Road. In this detail from the 1860 Shearer & Lake map of York County, it is shown as the J Lipe farm.

On June 30, 1863, as Confederate Major General Jubal A. Early’s division was marching westward to Heidlersburg, foraging patrols scoured the countryside looking for horses and mules. However, most of the farmers and residents had wisely either hidden them or taken them elsewhere to safety. For some reason, Peter Leip failed to take the precautions, perhaps unaware of the return of the Confederates (they had marched through the East Berlin region on June 27 on their way eastward from Gettysburg to Big Mount). Now they were back and Peter watched helplessly as Rebels procured his two sturdy mules, draft animals he would need for the summer harvest season. Instead, they would now serve the Confederate cause.

Major Clement Young of the famed (and much feared) “Louisiana Tigers” completed and signed the receipt, likely handing it to Leip in person. Interestingly, the document lists the as both June 29 and June 30, 1863. Leip’s damage claim states it was June 30 and that date coincides with the known date when the Tigers marched through East Berlin. Both Leip and Young agree on the basic facts – the Louisianans took the pair of mules, valued at $200, and they paid in Confederate currency.

Like all York Countians, Leip never received a dime from his $200 border claim, which tied up in Pennsylvania sectional politics and commonwealth budgetary constraints.

Major Clement Young would remain as the quartermaster of the Louisiana Tigers for another year when the depleted brigade was combined the Second Louisiana Brigade for added firepower. Young then joined the staff of Brigadier General James L. Kemper (of Pickett’s Charge fame) and served in the Richmond area for the rest of the war.

For more on the Louisiana Tigers and their interactions with Pennsylvania citizens, pick up a copy of The Louisiana Tigers in the Gettysburg Campaign (LSU Press, 2009).