The Cost of the Rebel Invasion – Part 5
The Cost of the Rebel Invasion – Part 1
The Cost of the Rebel Invasion – Part 2
The Cost of the Rebel Invasion – Part 3
The Cost of the Rebel Invasion – Part 4
The Gettysburg Campaign, notwithstanding the 50,000+ human casualties and countless animals, cost the citizens of several southern tier Pennsylvania counties a significant financial loss in terms of damage or loss of personal property and, in some cases, loss of real property such as houses and barns.
A government commission in 1869 covened in York, Hanover, and Dillsburg to hear citizens complaints and tally their losses. Any York Countian who wished to file a claim for damages could do so at that time. The commissioners officially placed the damages to York County, Pennsylvania, at $127,668.55 (an astounding $2,003,824.66 in 2007 using the Consumer Price Index calculations for relative worth).
How did this rank compared to other Pennsylvania counties, and how much was caused by the Confederates and Yankees respectively?
The commissioners, D. W. Woods, A. S. Ely, and W. S. Woods, tabulated thousands of border claims from Pennsylvanians from various counties and submitted a final report on April 21, 1869, to Major General John F. Hartranft (a Pennsylvanian who would later become governor of the commonwealth). The estimated the total cost to Pennsylvania as a whole to have been $1,831,039.04 ($28,739,688.75 in 2007 dollars).
Here is the breakdown for York County, with 2007 dollars in parentheses)
Damages by Union troops to real property, $1,330.30 ( $17,736)
Damage by Union troop to personal property, $5,909.12 ( $92,746)
Damages by Rebels to real property, $7,832.48 ( $122,929)
Damages by Rebels to personal property, $112,630.57 ($1,767,822)
Total amount claimed, $127,668.55
Because some citizens overestimated their claims or could not substantiate them, the commission only allowed $124,728.59 as the net for York County.
Here were totals for the rest of Pennsylvania:
Adams County – $550,383
Bedford County – $7,186
Cumberland County – $238,400
Franklin County – $838,162
Fulton County – $54,421
Perry County – $2,698
As you can see, York County ranked fourth in Pennsylvania in terms of the amount of damages citizens claimed. The worst, of course, was Franklin County, which had troops present continuously for a two-week period during the advance and retreat. The county was devastated in terms of loss of horses, livestock, and personal property taken by the 170,000 soldiers who marched through there. In addition, the claims include damages from the Union militia (PA, NY, NJ) which occupied the area for weeks after the Gettysburg Campaign. This does not include the tally for the burning of Chambersburg, which was reported and calculated independent from the border claims.
The commission “found in many instances in the same locality different values set upon the staple articles by the different claimants, and we have endeavored to make them a uniform price in the same locality, and as nearly as we could ascertain the regular market prices. Some of the damages claimed for use of barns, etc., for hospitals, were manifestly excessive, and we have in such cases reduced the amount.”