John Gibson’s History of York County – Civil War entries
In 1886, York author, lawyer and judge John Gibson penned what at the time was the “official” history of York County, Pennsylvania. Much of his section on the Civil War was taken from research and notes by George Reeser Prowell, who would in 1907 publish his own, larger history of York County.
The York County Heritage Trust has hard copies of Gibson’s and Prowell’s works, and they are well worth perusing for the history buff interested in learning more about York County, Pennsylvania, during the Civil War. From an Internet genealogy dealer a few years ago, I picked up a fully searchable, downloadable copy of Gibson’s history in CD format, and I have used it quite often as a reference to this area’s local history. I have found Gibson and Prowell to be very useful, although they clearly have several errors when it comes to the Civil War information.
Here is the bulk of Gibson’s information on York County in the Rebellion, which I have slightly edited for clarity and rearranged the order to make a little more sense (the original text is not well organized). I have also changed a couple of Gibson’s titles and subtitles. I have also italicized the names of most York countians in case you spot an ancestor’s name.
Reenactors at York’s 2008 Patriot Days celebration recreate a typical Civil War camp scene.
EARLY RECRUITMENT AND ORGANIZATION OF YORK COUNTY REGIMENTS IN THE UNION ARMY
The news of the firing upon Fort Sumter, which occurred on the 12th of April, 1861, followed by the proclamation of President [Abraham] Lincoln on the 15th, calling for 75.000 troops, aroused the patriotism of our people. Gov. [Andrew G.] Curtin made a requisition upon the organized companies of Pennsylvania, and the citizen soldiers of York, consisting of the Worth Infantry, Captain Thomas A. Ziegle, and the York Rifles, Capt. George Hay, responded unanimously to the call, and obeyed with alacrity the order of the governor.
On the evening of Thursday, the 18th, in pursuance of a general call, the people of York assembled in great numbers in the court house, for the purpose of expressing their sense of the condition of the national government, and to offer aid to those called into the service. John Evans, Esq., was called to the chair, and other prominent citizens were made officers of the meeting. Patriotic resolutions were adopted, and measures taken to provide means for the support of the families of volunteers. The borough authorities appropriated $1,000 for this purpose, the commissioners were recommended to make an appropriation of $5,000, and committees were appointed to collect money by voluntary subscription from our citizens, and over $2,000 were contributed. The union feeling in York was intensely strong. Flags were suspended from the principal buildings, places of business and private residences, and poles were erected from which the stars and stripes floated proudly to the breeze. The ancient borough of York was not behind any of her neighbors in patriotism and zeal.
Events thickened and aroused intense feeling. The Sixth Massachusetts Regiment while passing through Baltimore, on the 19th, was attacked by a mob, and the passage of some of the cars obstructed. The soldiers who were obliged to form for the purpose of marching through the city, being assaulted with increased violence, fired upon the crowd. Two of the Massachusetts soldiers were killed and seven persons in the crowd, some rioters and some who were looking on. On that night a portion of the track of the Northern Central Railway was torn up between Cockeysville and Baltimore, and a number of the bridges on the road were set on fire and burned down for the purpose of impeding the passage of troops from the North.
The military companies from this place received orders on Saturday evening, the 20th, to hold themselves in readiness to march, and at 11 o’clock at night they left in a special train, going toward Baltimore, and were stationed in squads at the several bridges along the route of the road, and some at Cockeysville. Ten or twelve trains with troops passed through York on Sunday, from early in the morning until late at night, proceeding as far as Ashland and Cockeysville, concentrating some 3,000 men at those points. But on Monday these several regiments returned to York, and encamped on the fair grounds.
At the meeting of the court on Monday, the 22d, the president judge, Hon. Robert J. Fisher, in charging the grand jury, referred to the distracted state of the country, and urged upon them the necessity of providing for the comfort and support of those who had so promptly obeyed their country’s call. He stated that the citizens of York had subscribed several thousand dollars, and that the borough authorities had appropriated $1,000, and recommended the grand jury to request the commissioners to make a liberal appropriation for the same purpose out of the county funds, and said that he had no doubt the appropriation would be legalized by the Legislature. Several members of the bar also addressed the grand jury. The scene was a very impressive one. The grand jury the next day recommended that the commissioners appropriate $10,000, which was promptly done. Hanover and Wrightsville made liberal appropriations, making about $15,000 in all. The Legislature subsequently ratified these proceedings.
The troops which had passed through York to Cockeysville on Saturday and Sunday, were the First, Second and Third Regiments of Pennsylvania Volunteers, for the three months’ service, composed of organized companies from nearly all the cities and principal towns in the State, the military companies of Easton, Allentown, Reading, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Chambersburg, Gettysburg, Columbia, Bloomfield, West Chester, Bellefonte, Hollidaysburg, Altoona, Johnstown, East Liberty, and other places – some unattached – together with our own military companies who were as early as any of them in the field. They came from comfortable homes and were unaccustomed to exposure and hardship. The commissary arrangements were not sufficient for so large a body of men suddenly thrown together, and they depended to some extent on voluntary supplies from our own people.
The hospitality of the citizens of York, on this occasion, extended to these new recruits, has frequently been mentioned by them in complimentary terms. The encampment here was for the purpose of instruction, and was called Camp Scott, in honor of the veteran commander-in-chief of the United States Army [Mexican War hero Winfield Scott]. The town assumed a warlike appearance. Other troops came on the 26th of April, the Twelfth and Thirteenth Regiments from Pittsburgh arrived, and by the 7th of May there were 5,500 men in camp here. In addition to these was Capt. [Charles T.] Campbell’s battery of twelve pieces of artillery. The Second Regiment, Col. [Frederich S.] Stumbaugh, of Chambersburg, had been organized on the 21st of April. The York Rifles, George Hay, captain, John W. Schall, first lieutenant, and Jacob Emmitt, Jr., second lieutenant, were attached to it here as company K.
The material of which the Sixteenth Regiment was formed, was also encamped on the fair grounds. Five companies were from Schuylkill County, one from Mechanicsburg, Capt. Dorsheimer’s, the first company in the State that enlisted for three years, and four companies from York County. These were Company A (Worth Infantry), captain, John Hays; first lieutenant, Solomon Myers; second lieutenant, John M. Deitch. Company F (Marion Rifles of Hanover), captain, Horatio Gates Myers; first lieutenant, Joseph Renaut; second lieutenant, Jacob W. Bender. Company G (Hanover Infantry), captain, Cyrus Diller; first lieutenant, Henry Morningstar; second lieutenant, Joseph S. Jenkins. Company H (York Voltiguers), captain, Theodore D. Cochran; first lieutenant, Michael Gallagher; second lieutenant, Andrew D. Yocum. The regiment was organized at Camp Curtin on the 3d of May, by the selection of Thomas A. Ziegle as colonel. A. H. Glatz was made quartermaster, and Charles Garretson, assistant quartermaster.
The regiments here were all ordered to Chambersburg and left about the 1st of June, with every demonstration of encouragement, amid cheers and waving of handkerchiefs – the Rifles leaving with their regiment; but the Sixteenth remained for a few days. This regiment had already acquired great proficiency of drill under the care of its accomplished commander. On Saturday, the 8th of June, it marched into town to take its departure for the seat of war. In the morning a flag was presented to the regiment by the ladies of York. A perfect storm of flowers fell upon the soldiers as they marched through the streets, every one had a bouquet in his musket.
The Sixteenth was in the brigade of Col. [Dixon] Miles, U.S.A., First Division, and the Second regiment was in a brigade of the Second Division of the army of Gen. [Robert] Patterson in the campaign of the valley of the Shenandoah. They moved from Chambersburg to Hagerstown and Williamsport. At the latter place Albertus Welsh died on the 27th of June, the first soldier from York who died in the war. He was a member of the Worth Infantry, and as already mentioned was one of the nine veterans from here in the war with Mexico.
The Potomac was crossed on the 2d of July by fording it, and an advance made to Martinsburg, arriving about the middle of July at Bunker Hill, driving in Johnston’s advance guard. The regiment then made a forced march toward Harper’s Ferry, the enemy’s pickets retreating before them, and encamped at Charlestown, on the 17th of June. They were constantly threatened with attack, but no action took place. When their term of service expired the Second and Sixteenth Regiments returned to Harrisburg and were mustered out. The Worth Infantry and York Rifles arrived home on the 27th of July, where they were welcomed by the ringing of bells, firing of cannon, speeches and a banquet. The Voltigeurs arrived home on the 2d of August, their commander, T.D. Cochran, was subsequently appointed a captain in the regular army. Capt. H.G. Myers, of the Marion Rifles, had been left ill at Hagerstown, where he died on the 8th of August. Thomas Brannon, a member of his company, died at the same place, on the 17th of July.
Thus ended the campaign of the three months’ men. Though our soldiers were not engaged in battle, and we were glad to see them home safe and sound, events showed that they might have been. The demonstrations of Johnston in the neighborhood of Harper’s Ferry were only feints, as was proved by his opportune arrival on the battle field of Bull Run, on Sunday, the 21st of July. Instead of the army of Gen. Patterson engaging him and preventing him from reinforcing Beauregard, he was permitted to retire with all the appearance of a retreat. The great embarrassment under which Gen. Patterson labored, and perhaps an altogether sufficient excuse for him, is found in the fact of the expiration of the term of enlistment of so many of his men just at the time of that battle, which after all, some have considered a Providential reverse.
There had already been a call on the part of the Government for men to serve for three years unless sooner discharged. The Thirtieth Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers otherwise known as the First Regiment of the Pennsylvania Reserve Corps, organized on June 9, 1861, at Camp Wayne, Chester County, was represented by Company D, recruited in Lancaster and York counties.
The Forty-first regiment, the Twelfth Reserves, was first raised for the three months’ service. Samuel N. Bailey, of York County, was made lieutenant-colonel. Company G., Capt. Charles W. Diven, afterward major, was recruited in York County. To enumerate the battles of .this renowned corps would be to relate the greater part of the history of the war. It is sufficient to say that York County had men in the Pennsylvania Reserves.
The Forty-third Regiment, known as the First Pennsylvania Artillery, was formed under the call for volunteers of April 13, 1861. One company was recruited in York by Alfred E. Lewis; who at the organization of the regiment was made senior major. The colonel was Charles T. Campbell, who, it will be remembered, was here with a battery during the encampment of troops on the fair grounds. He had enlisted twenty or more men here who were attached to battery A, commanded by Capt. Easton, which performed gallant service at Drainesville, and Gaines’ Mill, where Capt. Easton was killed. The other company recruited here became Battery E, Capt. Thomas G. Orwig, and served in the Peninsular Campaign, under McClellan, and in the Army of the James, rendering valuable service at Drury’s Bluff and Fort Harrison, and at the siege of Petersburg and Richmond. It was the first battery that entered the capital, reaching there before the enemy’ s flag was pulled down, and hastening the retreat of his rear guard, who had intended to fire the city.
Two companies of infantry for three years’ service were recruited in York County early in 1861 – one in York by H. Clay McIntyre, and the other in Hanover by Cyrus Diller, immediately after his return from the three months’ service. These companies were attached to the Seventy-sixth Regiment, which was raised under a special order of the secretary of war, and was known as the Keystone Zouaves, John M. Power, of Cambria County, colonel. Charles Garettson, of York, was made quartermaster, who, while serving with it, was appointed a captain in the regular army. The captains of Company D were successively Cyrus Diller (afterward major), William S. Diller and Charles L. Bittenger; of Company I, H. Clay McIntyre, Jacob J. Young, Frank J. Magee [of Wrightsville] and Harrison Stair.
On the 18th of November, 1861, the regiment received its colors from the hands of Gov. Curtin, and proceeded to Fortress Monroe, sailed from there to Hilton Head; assisted in taking Fort Pulaski at the mouth of the Savannah River; participated in the attack on Charleston under Gen. [Horatio G.] Wright, and engaged the enemy with heavy loss in an expedition to sever communication between Charleston and Savannah. On the 6th of July, 1863, it moved to Morris Island, and on the 10th it took part in the memorable assault on Fort Wagner, which it charged in gallant style. They received the order to charge as the flash of the artillery fire was seen, knelt and permitted the discharge of’ the guns to pass over them, then started forward with a yell. The ranks were thinned at every discharge. The moat was reached and crossed, and many fell on the parapet beyond; 130 men and five officers were left behind.
A second assault took place on the 18th of July, with a similar result. Frank J. Magee acted as aid to Gen. Strong in the engagement. Company I went in with thirty-six men and but twelve escaped. Twelve regiments were afterward ordered to take the fort by storm, but were repulsed with great loss. Fort Wagner was a heavy sand fort, bomb proof, covering several acres. It was ultimately demolished after a fierce cannonading of fifty days’ duration, when it was discovered that it had been abandoned by the enemy.
In May, 1864, the Tenth Corps, to which the Seventy-sixth was attached, was ordered to Virginia. The regiment took part in the battle at Drury’s Bluff, where Capt. J.J. Young, of Company I, was killed, also in the sanguinary engagements at Cold Harbor, Deep Bottom, and numerous other localities on lines before Petersburg and Richmond. Capt. Magee served as aid-de-camp on staff of Gen. [Alfred H.] Terry, commanding corps; also was for a time with Gen. [Adelbert] Ames. The Seventy-sixth, under command of Gen. [Galusha] Pennypacker, assisted in the capture of Fort Fisher, in January, 1865. It was disbanded at Harrisburg, July 23, 1865, after one of the longest terms of service in the war.
After the departure of the regiments quartered here, a company was organized by Capt. James A. Stahle, called the Ellsworth Zouaves, after the brave but ill-fated officer of that name. This company became Company A, of the Eighty-seventh Regiment. Capt. George Hay immediately after the return of the Rifles on the 19th of August, 1861, received a commission as colonel. The project originally was the raising of a regiment for the purpose of guarding the Northern Central Railway, in relief of other regiments recruited for the war. By the 12th of September there were five companies mustered in. John W. Schall was made lieutenant-colonel, and Charles H. Buehler, major. Eight of the companies were from York County and two from Adams. The officers commanding this regiment successively were colonels, George Hay, John W. Schall and James Tearney; lieutenant-colonel, James A. Stahle; major, Noah G. Ruhl; adjutant, Jacob Emmitt, Jr. Company A, captains, John Fahs, James Tearney, George J. Chalfant. Company B, captains, Jacob Detweiler, Lewis Maish, Zeph. E. Hersh. Company C, Andrew J. Fulton, Murray S. Cross, Findlay S. Thomas. Company D, James H. Blasser, Edgar M. Ruhl. Company E, Solomon Myers, Charles J. Fox. Company F, William J. Martin, James Adair. Company G, V.C. S. Eckert, H. Morningstar. Company I, Thaddeus S. Pfeiffer, William H. Lanius. Company H, Ross L. Harman, Wells A. Farrah. Company K, John Albright.
The first duty assigned them was the guarding of the railroad, relieving the Twentieth Indiana. On the 28th of May, 1862, the regiment was moved to Baltimore, and thence to West Virginia, and was kept actively employed and moving from point to point, under great fatigue and exposure, until it went into winter quarters with Gen. [Robert H.] Milroy’s Division at Winchester, about the 1st of January, 1863. Here they performed picket duty during the winter under very severe exposure.
In May, 1863, by the resignation of Col. Hay, John W. Schall became Colonel, James A. Stahle, Lieutenant-Colonel, and Noah G. Ruhl, Major. Maj. Buehler was made Colonel of the One Hundred and Sixty-sixth. If the army of Gen. Patterson in 1861 ought to have engaged the enemy, it may be said that the command of Gen. Milroy, in 1863, ought not to have hazarded an engagement. He was over sanguine of holding his position; and by the consent of Gen. Schenck, disobeyed an order to retreat. The advance of Gen. Lee’s forces for the invasion of the North, flushed with success, could not be checked by his comparatively small force.
June 12, 1863, the first of a series of battles was fought by the Eighty-seventh, at Middletown, ten miles distant from Winchester, with the advance guard of Ewell’s army, and on the 13th and 14th they behaved with great gallantry in the battle of Winchester. On the 14th a brilliant charge was made by it at Carter’s Woods, in which Col. Schall had a horse shot under him. Capt. Farrah and Lieutenant Slothower, of Company H, were killed. The regiment joined the Army of the Potomac in July, 1863, and was attached to the Third Corps, Gen. [William] French, and was in the battles of Manassas Gap, Bealton Station, Kelley’s Ford, Brandy Station, Locust Grove, and Mine Run.
Afterward assigned to the Sixth Corps,, Gen. Hancock, it was in the battles of the Wilderness, and at Cold Harbor where Col. Schall was wounded and Capt. Pfeiffer was killed, and the regiment sustained a loss in killed and wounded of nearly a third of its strength.
On the 6th of July, the battle of Monocacy was fought against superior numbers, the loss of the regiment being greater than in any other battle. Among those who lost their lives at this battle were Adjt. Martin and Lieuts. Haak, Dietrich, Spangler and Waltemeyer. In September the regiment was with the army of Sheridan at the battle of Opequon [or Third Winchester], where the enemy were defeated, and on the 22d at Fisher’s Hill, where he was again routed. The next day the term of service expired, and the remnant of the regiment returned home, arriving at York on the 27th of September, 1864, where a reception was awaiting them- their arrival announced by the ringing of bells. The old flag which they bore through all their battles was carried in the procession torn in shreds. Few regiments saw more active service and work or suffered more.
The veterans who had re-enlisted, and the new recruits who remained at the seat of war, were consolidated into a battalion of five companies, under command of Capt. Edgar M. Ruhl, who was killed while gallantly leading them in the battle of Cedar Creek, October 19, 1864. The regiment being recruited to its full strength, Capt. Tearney was commissioned colonel, and it participated in the charge upon the works before Petersburg, where Lieuts. Keasey and Nichol were killed. It was mustered out on the 29th of June, 1865.
After his return from the three months’ service, Col. Thomas A. Ziegle received authority to recruit a regiment. One of the most experienced and accomplished volunteer officers in the service, he assisted in the organization of troops at Harrisburg, and March 5, 1862, was given the command of the One Hundred and Seventh. Company A, Capt. Jacob Dorsheimer, had volunteers from York County – Oliver P. Stair, first lieutenant, George C. Stair, second lieutenant. On Sunday, the 9th of March, the regiment passed through York, for the seat of war, moved to Washington, and on the 2d of April crossed the Potomac, and was assigned to Duryea’s brigade, Ord’s division, of McDowell’ s corps. After the defeat of Fremont and Banks by Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley, the regiment reached Front Royal by forced march on the 1st of June, where Jackson had retreated.
The regiment encamped at different places, and while near Warrenton, on the morning of the 16th of July, Col. Ziegle died. The whole regiment were devotedly attached to him, and he was regarded as one of the most efficient officers in the brigade. He had been identified with the military of York for so many years, that his career was regarded with expectations of unusual success. He has already been mentioned as one of the volunteers in the Mexican war from York, where he had displayed remarkable coolness and bravery, and became captain of his company. Immediately after that war he raised the military company known as the Worth Infantry, whose discipline and drill were not excelled by any corps in the Union. The Worth Infantry was the equal in their peculiar drill of the gallant Ellsworth’s company of’ Zouaves. His readiness and that of his company on the breaking out of the war for the Union, their services, the organization of the Sixteenth Regiment and its service have already been mentioned. His remains were brought home and were interred with impressive obsequies in Prospect Hill Cemetery, on July 20, 1862.
The One Hundred and Seventh Regiment became part of the army under Gen. Pope, and was first under fire at Cedar Mountain on the 9th of August, 1862, and was in the second battle of Bull Run, and at Chantilly, South Mountain and Antietam. In October, 1862, it took position in Gen. Franklin’s grand division, and was at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. It was in the First Corps, Gen. Reynolds, at Gettysburg, engaged the first day on Seminary Ridge, and on the third to the right of Cemetery Hill. In February, 1864, nearly the entire regiment re-enlisted, and after the veteran furlough, was with Grant in his movement across the James, heavily engaged, and before Petersburg. At Weldon’s Station lieutenant George C. Stair was captured, and with other officers made his escape through the enemy’s lines. Oliver P. Stair was promoted to captain and made brevet major. James Crimmons was wounded at Antietam, taken prisoner at Gettysburg and Weldon Station, and was made first lieutenant in July, 1865. The regiment was mustered out on the 13th of July, 1865.
In the summer of 1862 a company was raised in York by Col. Levi Maish, and about the same time companies by Capts. Hamilton Glessner and Lewis Small, and a company in Hanover by Capt. Joseph S. Jenkins, which were mustered into the service at Harrisburg about the middle of August. These, with five companies from Cumberland County, and some recruits from other counties, were formed into the One Hundred and Thirtieth Regiment, Henry J. Zinn. of Cumberland, colonel; and Levi Maish, of York, lieutenant-colonel; and John Lee, of Cumberland, major. Company B, Capt. Glessner; lieutenants, William H. Tomes, Henry Reisinger; Company C, Capt. Jenkins; lieutenants, Benj. F. Myers, William Bossier; Company I, Capt. Small; lieutenants, D. Wilson Grove, Franklin G. Torbet, Jere Oliver; Company K, Capts. Maish, David Z. Seipe; lieutenants, James Lece. John J. Frick.
The regiment proceeded at once to Washington, and was moved across the Potomac. After the retreat of Pope it was assigned in September to French’s division of [William “Bull”] Sumner’s corps, and on the 16th, but one month after its formation, was in front of the enemy at Antietam, in the center.
The One Hundred and Thirtieth were posted on the 17th upon the crest of a hill, with a field of corn in front, and the enemy lay at the further edge behind a stone wall. Company K was 100 yards from where the enemy lay in the rifle pits. The regiment held this exposed position for hours. “The shot and shell flew like heavy hail, and the men became deaf from the roar of musketry and cannon.” Gen. French said: “The conduct of the new regiments must take a prominent place in the history of this great battle. There never was such material in any army.” The officers from York County wounded, were Col. Maish, Capt. afterward Maj. Jenkins, and Lieuts. Seipe and Tomes. Maj. Jenkins afterward was attached to the One Hundred and Eighty-fourth regiment, and was killed in November, 1864, in front of Petersburg.
At daylight on the 11th of December, the regiment moved to within sight of the spires of Fredericksburg, at night assisted in laying a pontoon bridge opposite the upper end of the city, and on the following morning crossed with the division and bivouacked in the streets of the city, part of which was still burning, and at night occupied the ruins of a large brick building on Caroline Street. The great battle began on the morning of the 13th by the firing of the artillery on both sides, and when the infantry was put in motion, the division of Gen. French was in advance, which was exposed to a terrific cross fire of shot and shell, but pressed on with broken and thinned ranks until it was compelled to fall back. Among the killed were Col. Zinn, commanding the regiment, and lieutenant Torbet, of this county.
Levi Maish was promoted to colonel on the 3d of February, 1863. When the command of the army devolved upon Gen. Hooker, the regiment was moved to Chancellorsville, and it was engaged in the furious battle of the 3d of May, 1863, when Col. Maish was again wounded.
On the 12th of May the regiment was relieved from further duty. The special order of Maj.-Gen. French, relieving the One Hundred and Thirtieth and One Hundred and Thirty-second, said: “The General commanding the division takes pleasure in promulgating, in orders, their gallantry, soldier-like bearing and efficiency, during their entire term of service.” And after referring to the great battles in which they had been engaged, said: “Soldiers, you return to your native State which has received lustre from your achievements, and by your devotion to your country’s cause. This army, and the division to which you are attached, although they lose you, will always retain and cherish the credit which your military bearing on all occasions reflected on them.”
On the announcement of their return a town meeting was held for their reception, and on Saturday, the 23d of May, 1863, they received a handsome and hearty welcome. The bells were rung, business suspended, a procession formed under a military and civic escort to the United States Hospital, where a collation was served by the Ladies’ Aid Society, and speeches of welcome were made and responded to by the Colonel in praise of the bravery of his men in their great battles.
In all great wars, as was remarked in noting the events of the Revolution, the first volunteers are not sufficient to the conduct of a prolonged war, and especially in the recent war, carried on upon such an immense scale, a draft was necessary. On two occasions there was a draft in York, on October 16, 1862, and in August, 1863. There were other calls, and partial drafts, but, generally, on the announcement of the quota for any district it was filled either by volunteers or by means of subscriptions for the purpose. Many took their chances of the draft and went in person when drawn. It is the experience of army officers that men raised by this means are as steady and efficient as any other troops.
The One Hundred and Sixty-sixth Regiment was formed, in large part, by men raised under the draft of 1862. It was organized on the 29th of November in that year, on the fair grounds, named Camp Franklin, after Maj.-Gen. William B. Franklin, with the following field officers: Andrew J. Fulton, late captain of Company C. of the Eighty-seventh, colonel; George W. Reisinger, lieutenant-colonel, and Joseph A. Renaut, Major. The troops comprising this regiment were exclusively from York County, and proved themselves to be good soldiers. On the 8th of November, the regiment proceeded to Washington, and from thence to Newport, and under Gen. Peck, to Suffolk, which place was besieged by Gen. Longstreet for more than three weeks, who failed to reduce it. While there, companies of the One Hundred and Sixty-sixth were engaged in heavy skirmishes with the enemy, and sustained considerable loss in killed, wounded and prisoners. Companies D and I had a severe conflict on the 14th of May, near Carnsville. After further service in the destruction of railroads leading North, during which they were exposed to the fire of the enemy, especially at Hanover Junction [Virginia], while engaged in destroying the Richmond & Fredericksburg Railroad. At the expiration of their term of service, on July 28, 1863, they were mustered out. The regiment left with over 800 men and about 650 returned – 9 were killed, about 25 died, and others were left sick at Fortress Monroe.
In the meantime, events at home gave our people work to do; and in all cases when called upon to furnish provisions or give aid to the sick and wounded, they were ready with abundance, and with sanitary help. The Second Regiment of the Ira Harris Cavalry (Sixth New York) took up winter quarters here about Christmas, 1861. In the course of the winter barracks were erected on the commons for their accommodation. This regiment had occasion to express their appreciations of the hospitable attention they received from our citizens. Gen. [Henry] Havelock, a distinguished British officer, a volunteer on the staff of Gen. [George B.] McClellan, as Inspector-General of Cavalry, visited York, in March 1862, for the purpose of superintending the transportation of the New York regiment which soon after left us. The barracks erected for them were converted into a military hospital, in the course of the summer, in which many hundreds of soldiers were placed. The ladies of the borough formed a society for the relief of sick and wounded soldiers, Mrs. C. A. Morris, president which was perfect in organization and effectiveness, and the attention, sympathy and aid afforded by it have been gratefully remembered.
Great apprehensions were excited by the retreat of the army under Gen. [John] Pope, in September, 1862, and still further increased by the crossing of the Potomac by the rebels in large force, and the occupation