Not worth naming
J. W. Greathead was a merchant in the Fulton County town of McConnellsburg. With his father, the 29-year-old co-owned a thriving general merchandise store, which had been cleaned out during a Confederate raid in the fall of 1862. Undaunted, the two men had restocked their inventory and resumed operations. During the 1863 Gettysburg Campaign, Confederate troops occupied McConnellsburg on several occasions. On June 29, Rebel cavalry chased off a company of the First New York Lincoln Cavalry and entered town. Fearful that the shop would be raided again, John Greathead asked an officer to post guards at the door to prevent looting. The Rebel assigned three men to the post, ordering them to “see that this man and his property are not molested.”
After a while, a thankful Greathead sat down on the doorstep with one of the guards and began talking. The borough of York was among the topics of the friendly conversation.
As they sat on the steps in front of the store, the guard casually asked Greathead if he had “heard the news from Vicksburg.” When the merchant replied that he had not, the trooper boasted that the siege had been lifted. He added that Confederate forces had also retaken Chattanooga. A skeptical Greathead politely listened as the guard continued. However, when the cavalryman mentioned that York, Pa. had also been taken, Greathead was compelled to challenge his assertions.
The shopkeeper looked at the braggart and laughingly replied, “You have spoilt it all now. There are no fortifications at York worth naming.”
Greathead suggested, “Your officers evidently are cheering you up with stories of victories not won.”
They spent some time discussing the fortunes of the war before being interrupted by an arrogant officer who rudely interrogated Greathead about the Yankees who had recently left. Not satisfied with the merchant’s answers, he finally bade him “go to a place noted for its heat.” When the glowering officer rode off, the trio of guards burst out laughing. They explained that most of their officers were men of education and wealth who were not liked by the rank and file because of their pompous attitude. They resumed their conversation until it was time for the patrol to leave McConnellsburg. Greathead’s merchandise was untouched.
Vicksburg, Chattanooga, and York all in one conversation… it may have been one of the few times in the war these three Confederate objectives were mentioned together as being equally important and worthy of a boast.