Cannonball

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More Civil War Voices from York County, Pa.

With the success of Civil War Voices from York County, Pa. (shown above; Colecraft Books, 2011), co-author Jim McClure and I are working on a sequel, tentatively entitled More Civil War Voices from York County, Pa. We are collecting more stories and anecdotes from York Countians, or from soldiers stationed in York County or passing through the area.

We would invite you to submit photocopies of old war-time diaries, letters to or from soldiers, civilian accounts, old newspaper clippings, journal entries, photographs, etc. More than 150 York Countians have already sent in useful material for the first volume or for the new manuscript, and we appreciate the information very much!

I have also been scouring the holdings of out-of-state libraries and historical societies as time allows to look for York County-related material. I am grateful for all those accounts which have surfaced recently, many of which I have incorporated into the working manuscript for More Civil War Voices from York County, Pa.

Here is a small sampling of some of the stories in the upcoming book, which we hope to have in print by the summer of 2013.

Rossville, in northwestern York County, saw a small skirmish in its streets when Union cavalry briefly clashed with J.E.B. Stuart's rear guard on July 1, 1863, the same day as the opening of the Battle of Gettysburg in the next county to the west.

As an example of the contents of the new manuscript, here is the story of one of the first wartime “casualties” in York County.

On July 30, 1861, the Baltimore Sun ran an article entitled “A Sad Occurrence at York, Pa.”

“On Saturday last the York Rifles and Worth Infantry returned home to York, Pa., from Harrisburg. They were handsomely received. While a number of persons were firing a salute in their honor, a sad incident occurred, of which the York Press gives the following account:

Messrs. L. B. Schlosser, H. Z. Schlosser, Henry Hubley and Moses Bennington, were engaged in firing the cannon on the north bank of the Codorus creek, immediately below Cottage Hill Seminary, and after a succession of rounds had been fired, while the two latter named gentlemen were ramming down the charge, it accidentally went off, maiming and burning them in a most horrible manner—Mr. H. Z. Schlosser, who was standing at the hind end of the gun, with his face immediately over the blow hole, was also considerably burned.

The gun was pointed in an eastern direction, and the rammer was thrown clear across to the station house, at the depot, a distance of a quarter of a mile, and in its descent struck an old gentleman named John Fisher, in the head, who was standing in the crowd congregated at that point awaiting the arrival of the troops, and almost instantly killed.

The old gentleman was taken to an adjoining building, where he died in ten or fifteen minutes afterwards. He resided in South Queen street, and was a man highly respected. He was in the 80th year of his age. The rammer was thrown with such a force that after striking the unfortunate man, it was broken into pieces as it came into contact with the ground.”