Great Caesar, didn’t we get a lot of horses
In early May 1901, a small group of former officers in the Confederate army were sitting in the Confederate records room of the War Department in Washington, D.C. They included the famed “Gray Ghost of the Confederacy,” John Singleton Mosby, and other prominent officers, including one of Robert E. Lee’s senior staff officers and W.H.F. Payne, who was captured in an embarrassing incident during the June 30, 1863, Battle of Hanover in southwestern York County, Pa. Another attendee was a former general who had served under Jubal Early during his division’s invasion of Franklin, Adams, and York counties during the Gettysburg Campaign.
That unidentified officer made some brief remarks about his time in York. A reporter retold the story, which appeared in several papers around the country, including the May 10, 1901, York Daily.
He Fought With Early
A tall, handsome man of sixty-five who is modest about seeing his name in print, and who served under Jubal Early when his division reached York in 1863, and was later as a major general in the hard campaigns under that officer in the Shenandoah Valley, said: “I think it would be quite possible that General Early would have gotten his requisition of $100,000 out of York when he was there, just as successfully as he got $200,000 from Frederick, Maryland, the following year just before the battle of Monocacy, if it had not been for one incident of our occupancy of York.”
“What was that incident?,” [the reporter] asked.
“Well, it was really more than an incident, it was an accident,” he continued. “General Early found too much Mount Vernon whiskey in York, and I have always had a suspicion that some of the people of that town knew of the general’s weakness, and provided it for him in order to control his movement. Anyway we did not get the money [actually, they did receive $28,610 in door-to-door collections by York’s officials], only some shoes and clothing for our men, but great Caesar, didn’t we get a lot of horses in some parts of the county around York. Many of the deluded farmers had kept their stock at home until we came there.”