Jenkins’ Cavalry Raid through Northwestern York County: Part 9
1876 Atlas of York County, Pennsylvania; farms known to have been raided by Jenkins’ cavalry are boxed in red, with one possible route for the Rebels delineated by the red line. The exact roads used to reach Cumberland County are not certain.
As evening fell on Monday, June 29, 1863, Major James H. Nounnan‘s patrol of the 16th Virginia Cavalry Regiment wound its way through Franklin Township in extreme northwestern York County, Pennsylvania en route to a rendezvous with the rest of Brigadier General Albert G. Jenkins‘ brigade of mounted infantry which was operating in Cumberland County. The day had been warm and muggy, and the riders were surely tired and hot, but the day had gone well. Scores of fresh horses had been taken; wagons filled with supplies and provisions; and some of the men had picked up personal items of interest or need from Northern merchants or by robbing civilians.
As the long column entered Franklin Township, they found less horses in stables or grazing in farm fields. By now the alarm had been sounded and most residents had taken their horses to South Mountain or elsewhere to presumed safety. The Rebels did not have time for the luxury of scouting extensively to locate these hidden horses, but they did find a few York Countians who were still on the roads desperately trying to reach safety.
Among them were John Raffensperger, whose sprawling farm was between Clear Spring Road and Bushey School Road. He was riding his 4-year-old roan away from his home when he was overtaken by some of the Rebel outriders. They leveled pistols at the farmer and took his horse and halter.
Henry Ritter, a 67-year-old merchant from Franklintown, lost a spring wagon when he too encountered some of Jenkins’ mounted mountaineers. One of the wealthiest men in town, his post-war claim was for $75.
Wearily, the Rebels continued toward Cumberland County, but not before raiding a few last York Countians who had apparently neglected to take their horses to safety.
Franklintown, Pennsylvania, merchant Henry Ritter is buried in the graveyard of Franklin Union Church in Franklin Township, York County. He lost a spring wagon valued at $75 to Jenkins’ raiders on June 29, 1863. Ritter’s daughter Henrietta was married to prominent businessman and Union troop organizer John Klugh. Photo by Dr. Thomas M. Mingus.
Another victim of the Rebels was farmer William Flohr, who lost an 8-year-old roan and an 8-year-old gray mare which he valued at $250 for the pair.
Sixty-year-old Franklintown shoemaker Garret Baisch, Sr. reported that a “large body of armed Rebels” took his 12-year-old dark bay horse; he later filed a claim for $100.
Perhaps the last York Countian to be robbed by the Virginians that Monday was D. P. Kilgore, whose farm was along the old Harrisburg Pike on northern Franklin Township. He was taking two horses to safety near Lisburn in Cumberland County when he was overtaken by a Rebel patrol and forced to surrender his 4-year-old black horse and a 4-year-old sorrel.
As night fell, Jenkins’ Raid on York County was finally over, much to the relief of the citizenry. Little did they know that more than 5,000 Confederate cavalrymen would ride through the same area on July 1 en route from Dover to Dillsburg, and on the early morning of July 2 one brigade of Stuart’s force would pass through Franklin Township on some of the same roads used by Major Nounnan’s battalion of Jenkins’ Brigade.
Part 1: Context and historical setting
Part 2: The approach on Mechanicsburg
Part 3: Major Nounnan’s patrol enters York County
Part 4: A Sabbath in Dillsburg
Part 5: Monday Morning in Carroll Township
Part 6: Rebels Raid Warrington Township
Part 7: The Raiders reach Wellsville
Part 8: To Dover and the Return toward Cumberland County
Part 9: The Raiders reach Franklin Township
Part 10: Jenkins’ campsite on the Lerew farm