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The Skirmish at Rossville

Rossville, in northwestern York County, saw a small skirmish in its streets when Union cavalry briefly clashed with J.E.B. Stuart’s rear guard on July 1, 1863, the same day as the opening of the Battle of Gettysburg in the next county to the west. (Scott Mingus photo)

See also: Dueling carbines in Warrington Township for another local Civil War skirmish
Many York Countians are well aware of the Battle of Hanover, and some have heard of the engagement at Wrightsville. Few are aware that very minor skirmishes took place at several other locations within York County; minor encountered that left no or few casualties and have long since been forgotten. Even their exact locations are now hard to pinpoint, so don’t plan on relic hunting.
Here’s another example of these times when gunfire between the Blue and the Gray echoed through a section of York County.

On July 1, 1863, some of Wadw Hampton’s Confederate cavalrymen tarried in Rossville after a rest break. They went door to door, demanding “the best provisions their larder afforded.” Some of the citizens complied, and soon the Rebels were laden with all kinds of delicacies. However, before they could enjoy their bountiful feast, a lookout spotted half a dozen Union troopers riding toward the village. The Federals were from a patrol that had been shadowing Hampton’s column for some time, keeping an eye on Confederate movements. The Johnnies raced to their horses, mounted quickly, and headed northward out of town to rejoin their brigade.
The Yankees spurred their horses and chased after the Rebels. According to a local 19th century historian, George Prowell, “shots were exchanged, just as the Southerners were leaving the village. None of these shots took effect.”
However, the sudden gunfire surely brought some excitement, and perhaps some concern, as the Civil War, for however a brief moment, had come to Rossville, Pennsylvania.