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Jenkins’ Confederate Cavalry Raid on Dillsburg, PA

The Maple Shade barn on the old Harrisburg Pike in Dillsburg, Pennsylvania, serves as the headquarters, meeting room, and gift shop for the local historical society. Confederate raiders are known to have camped nearby on the old John Mumper farm along Logan’s Run. The small sign to the right advertises my talk on J.E.B. Stuart’s Ride to Dillsburg.”
Not much has previously appeared in books and historical documents regarding the June 28-29, 1863, raid through extreme northwestern York County by of a portion of Confederate Brig. Gen. Albert G. Jenkins‘ brigade of mounted infantry. I am currently assembling materials for an article I plan to submit to the Gettysburg Magazine regarding this incursion, and have found some interesting new material. Recently I spoke at the Northern York County Historical and Preservation Society on the topic of “J.E.B. Stuart’s Ride to Dillsburg,” and I included a few snippets from my recent research into Jenkins’ {West} Virginians and their earlier raid, including the near-miss between Dillsburg and Franklintown between the retreating 26th Pennsylvania Volunteer Militia and Jenkins’ advance guard.
After the talk, Martin and Connie Trostle were among the attendees who paused to share the stories they had heard concerning the two separate Confederate raids through the Dillsburg area. Connie, the secretary of the NYCHAPS group, was kind enough to send me a copy of a transcript generated in 1930 by an older lady from Dillsburg who had been an 8-year-old girl named Anna Mumper when the Rebels came through Carroll Township in June and July of 1863. The account is fascinating, albeit heavily colored by time and dimming of memory (and the mixing up of the various raids, events, timeline, and officers). Still, much of her basic recollections corroborate other earlier accounts of events in Dillsburg (that brief account can be purchased at the NYCHAPS gift shop in the Maple Shade Barn).
Here is one anecdote with its genesis from the Anna Mumper account, with historical facts added from my research…

A battalion of the 16th Virginia Cavalry entered the Dillsburg area on Sunday, June 28, 1863. Commanded by Major James H. Nounnan of Wayne County, Virginia (now West Virginia), the battalion split up into smaller foraging parties and scoured the region for good horses that could be pressed into service to replace played out mounts. More than a dozen farmers in the region later filed state border claims for lost horses to this patrol. One of the patrols encountered the remnants of the 26th PVM on a hilltop camp between Franklintown and Dillsburg.
Here is historian / postmaster / merchant Augustus N. Eslinger’s brief account of Nounnan’s escapades from his History of Dillsburg: “On June 28th, 1863, part of the Confederate Army came into Dillsburg on Sunday afternoon. This was part of General Ewell’s Corps. They were under the command of Col. Jenkins. They encamped over night just a short distance south of the borough. They sent squads of their soldiers into Dillsburg for provisions, such as bread, meat, coffee and tobacco, &c, and offered to pay for it in Confederate script, but it was worthless to our people. They left the camp on Monday morning the 29th, after taking all the good horses in the borough and from the farmers all around the country.”
The Anna Mumper / NYCHAPS booklet tells the story of Willie Caldwell, a twelve-year-old boy who was among a group of some forty refugees from Shippensburg who had made their way to Dillsburg as they took their horses to safety in the wake of the advance of Lt. General Richard S. Ewell‘s advance through the Cumberland Valley toward Carlisle. Some of the men knew Anna’s father, Micheal Mumper, and asked to stay at the farm overnight. Young Willie Caldwell was nursing a sore leg that had been kicked by one of the horses. An open wound had festered and he was in considerable pain.
The Caldwells and the other refugees were heading for York to get provisions for the rest of the journey (they are presumed to have been among the more than a thousand refugees who passed through York that weekend headed for the Columbia-Wrightsville Bridge and presumed safety across the Susquehanna River in Lancaster Township.
Young Willie could no longer put any weight on his leg, and his father decided to leave him with the Mumpers until he was well enough to go home. The dad left an old horse with Michael Mumper for that occasion, and Mumper hid the animal in one of the small quarries in the woods along Ore Bank Road.
About 9:00 AM on Monday morning, June 29, Rebels rode onto the Mumper farm. In Anna’s account, she claims they included General Stuart, but the notes from the transcriptionist correctly state that Stuart was not in Dillsburg that day, although he certainly was in the vicinity of the sprawling Mumper farms on July 1 (Wade Hampton’s brigade camped there later that day and some evidence suggests that Stuart and his staff selected the site in advance).
While enjoying a home-cooked meal at Michael Mumper’s house (across the street from the Maple Shade Barn) the Confederate leader inquired as to how the boy became injured. He ordered his regimental surgeon to treat the open wound and redress it. When informed that the boy was from Shippensburg, a town several miles to the west, the Rebel officer offered him a pass so that he could safely travel through Confederate lines, and that his old horse would not be confiscated.
The transcript of that signed pass is included in the NYCHAPS booklet:
Head Quarters
16th Regt Va Cav
Near Dillstown, Pa.
June 29th, 1863
Guard & pickets:
Will pass Mr. Caldwell from this place to Shippensburg with security to his private property.
James H. Nounnan
Maj. Commanding

Young Caldwell later headed home, but was stopped by Confederate guards just past at the Coover-Welty house (now restored as the historic Dill Tavern). The Rebels ordered him to halt and get down from the horse. In his fright, he forgot he had a pass, so he painfully dismounted. Then, he remembered the signed pass in his pocket and showed it to his captors.
Taking sympathy on the lad because of his lameness, they helped him remount, told him the location of the next picket post, and ordered the boy to make sure he freely showed the pass to each patrol he encountered. Willie Caldwell rode westward to his home, where his mother joyfully met him.
Major James Hope Nounnan went on to have a storied career as a Confederate officer, leading a raid that captured a Federal armed steamship at Winfield, Virginia, in which they captured a Union general, Eliakim P. Scammon. After the war, Nounnan was an agent in the coal mining industry in West Virginia before spending several years in the Utah Territory. Becoming invalided in his old age from war-time injuries, he retired to a Confederate veterans home in Richmond, where he spent his last few years. He is buried in the famed Hollywood Cemetery.
Over the next few months, I will occasionally post other entries on Cannonball from my research on Jenkins’ raid. I plan to submit the article to Andy Turner at the Gettysburg Magazine for publication next year (he had previously printed three other articles I wrote about the Gettysburg Campaign in York County).