The Louisiana Tigers visit Myers’ mill in Manchester Township
The Myers grist mill was one of several similar establishments that once dotted the banks of the Codorus Creek north of York, Pennsylvania. The old mill is in excellent condition today, and is privately owned. It is next to the York Heritage Rail Trail and Locust Lane Park off of Emig Mill Road in Manchester Township.
In late June 1863, this peaceful setting was the site of a break-in and robbery. The perpetrators were infantrymen from the famed (and much feared) “Louisiana Tigers” of veteran Brigadier General Harry Thompson Hays of New Orleans.
Major General Jubal A. Early led his Confederate troops into central York County on June 28, 1863. Here is a portion of his memoirs… the bolding is my emphasis, not Old Jube’s.
“On the next day (the 28th) both columns moved at daylight, and a deputation consisting of the Mayor and other citizens of York came out to meet Gordon and surrender the town, which he entered early in the day without opposition. Moving by the way of Weiglestown into the Harrisburg and York road with the other column, I entered the town shortly afterwards, and repeated my instructions to Gordon about the bridge over the Susquehanna, cautioning him to prevent the bridge from being burned if possible.
At Weiglestown French had been sent with the greater part of his cavalry to the mouth of the Conewago to burn two railroad bridges at that point and all others between there and York. Before reaching town Hays’ and Smith’s brigades were ordered into camp about two miles on the north of it at some mills near the railroad. Hoke’s brigade under Colonel Avery was moved into town to occupy it, and preserve order, being ‘quartered in some extensive hospital buildings erected by the United States Government.”
The miller’s house has been nicely restored and maintained, and is used as private dwelling. View taken from the rail trail on Sunday, January 18. The 40′ x 60’ brick grist mill was constructed in 1841 by Samuel Myers and his wife on the site of an older mill that dated from 1799. By the Civil War, Josiah E. Myers ran the daily operations of the mill.
On June 29, a day after Hays’ Brigade (the Louisiana Tigers) marched to their camps near the Henry L. and Zachariah K. Loucks mills and the Samuel Hively farm off Druck Valley Road, patrols were sent out to collect horses, mules, and supplies under the overall direction of Hays’ quartermaster, Major John G. Campbell. One patrol visited Myers’ mill, which was locked. Myers later filed a damage claim, citing that Hays’ infantrymen broke into the mill and destroyed some of his private property. They also walked off with 8 barrels of stone ground flour, 15 bushels of corn, and 15 empty meal bags. Spring Garden farmer Daniel Kohr lost another 8 barrels of flour he had left at the mill to be ground on consignment.
Myers asked for $86.50 from the government as compensation for his losses. On the afternoon of June 30, 1863, young York attorney James W. Latimer penned a postscript to a letter he had written earlier in the day to his brother Bartow, “Afternoon. No rebs here. The County people are beginning to come in. They were plundered indiscriminately particularly by a Louisiana brigade. Horses and mules taken, houses broken open, and everything the thieves fancied stolen.” Myers’ mill was of course a part of this spree by the Louisianians.
The mill remained in operation until 1977. The old mill race is gone, but traces are still visible, and the mill dam is still intact.
Adapted from my upcoming book, The Louisiana Tigers in the Gettysburg Campaign, June-July 1863, which will be published in September by LSU Press.