The Lost Letters (Part 1)
During the Confederate occupation of York, a number of soldiers took the opportunity to write letters home to their families and/or sweethearts. A few of these letters survive, and I include portions of them in my two manuscripts on York in the Gettysburg Campaign (One book will at long last be in print later this year!).
Some letters may have been dropped off at the local post office for later mailing, but most were sent through the regular Confederate army mail system, which usually involved a courier on horseback riding back through the enemy-held countryside to friendly territory to post the mail. Sometimes these couriers never made it.
Somehow, a group of letters written by Rebels while stationed in or near York were never delivered and ended up in Union hands near Hanover. We don’t know the exact circumstances of how these epistles were captured, but they never reached their intended addressees in the rebelling states. Some of these captured letters were later published for the world to read, and over the next few blog posts, I will present a few of them.
Here is a Union dispatch that introduces the captured Rebel letters:
Hanover, Pa. July 1, 1863 – The rebel cavalry left this vicinity last evening or this morning, and passed on by way of Duke’s Mill, Jefferson, and Seven Valleys.
The following correspondence from rebel soldiers to their friends in Dixie was captured this morning:
Stay tuned to read some of these Rebel letters written in York!!!