More tales of Rebel thievery!
Among the many damage claims filed after the Civil War by York Countians are depositions regarding thievery of the Confederate soldiers. York resident William Ross reported that, on July 1, 1863, a squad of Rebel cavalry rode up to his farm, escorting a train of empty supply wagons. When the “Johnnies” departed, the wagons were now filled with 75 bushels of corn and other items taken from Ross’s farm.
Dover resident Mary Roth had been visited a day earlier by William A. French’s 17th Virginia Cavalry, which served under Major General Jubal A. Early. Confederate troopers confiscated 40 pairs of horseshoes and 50 pounds of horseshoe nails, as well as stealing 9 bushels of coal.
Confederates broke into Charles Spangler‘s store in downtown York and walked off with dry goods, ginghams, calicoes, notions, stationery, gloves, and other sundries amounting to $116 in 1863 dollars.
The Sprenkle family was particularly hard hit by the invaders. George Sprenkle lost a 5-year-old sorrel worth $150, a 3-year-old black horse also valued at $150, and an old-timer, a 20-year-old dark bay that he estimated was still worth $50. David Sprenkle reported that Rebels entered his stable on June 30 and emerged with a dark bay worth $175. Jacob Sprenkle lost a pair of mares, as well as two other horses, totalling $475 in his estimation. Finally, Levi Sprenkle reported that Rebs procured a bay from his father’s barn and never returned it.
Having spent the weekend in the Shenandoah Valley, the Rebels’ tally in York County pales in comparison with the destruction that Union general David Hunter inflicted upon the Virginians. Still, with harvest season fast approaching, the loss of all those vital farm horses, many of which were pressed into Confederate service to pull their wagons or artillery pieces, meant that York County farmers would struggle to bring in their crops. One farmer, George Rutter, would be crippled for life when he was forced to use mules to replace his stolen draft horses. One of the beasts kicked Rutter in the leg, incapacitating him.