Rebels take York County man into captivity
In some cases during the 1863 Gettysburg Campaign, patrols from the Army of Northern Virginia went around searching for specific individuals who had been targeted for seizure because of their position as employees of the Federal government. Mostly, these unfortunate individuals were postmasters and similar occupations. York’s postmaster fled to Lancaster County to avoid capture (as did Gettysburg’s David Beuhler) and Dover’s postmaster remained hidden for several days. In other towns, the men were indeed rounded up and taken back to Virginia in captivity. Other men were also detained, including a few civilians who became belligerent with the occupation force. In a few cases, the captives were former Union soldiers, such as in the case of one York Countian snatched on July 1 in northwestern York County.
Taken from 19th century historian George Reeser Prowell’s account of the passage of J.E.B. Stuart’s cavalry from Dover en route to Carlisle, Pennsylvania…
“Just as the Confederate advance had reached Rossville, [Union] Sergeant John M. Griffith was returning to his home in that village. He was a member of Company H, Eighty-seventh Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers, and had been slightly wounded near Winchester [Virginia] about two weeks before. He was not dressed in military uniform, but the Southern soldiers believed that he had been in the Union army and demanded that he should accompany them. They made him go with them to Dillsburg, to Carlisle, and even to Gettysburg, which they reached in the evening of the next day.”
Griffith was released from Confederate custody before the Rebels retreated toward the Potomac River on July 4. He managed to make it home to tell about his brief stay as a prisoner of war.