Three-time Rebel target — Emig’s Mill in Dover Township
This house along South Salem Church Road in Dover Township, York County, Pennsylvania, was once a three-story grist mill owned by wealthy miller George B. Emig. The historic mill closed in the 20th century and was heavily renovated to be used as private housing, with the top two floors and roof removed and a new roof put in place. The old mill equipment is long gone, although traces of the mill creek and race may still be seen along the Little Conewago Creek.
Emig’s Mill was visited on multiple times during the Gettysburg Campaign by Confederate cavalrymen. Here are at three of those stories…
On June 29, 1863, a foraging party from the 17th Virginia Cavalry was traversing the region searching for horses. They hit a number of farms along South Salem Church Road and other nearby roads. Upon arriving at Emig’s Mill, some of the Rebels entered the old barn and haltered Emig’s 6-year-old bay horse and a 4-year-old black mare. They emerged leading the animals away despite the miller’s protests.
This beautiful stone home has been nicely preserved. It was once the miller’s home, and sits directly across South Salem Church from the barn in the above photograph. Located on the slope of the highlands above Little Conewago Creek, it overlooks the old mill.
On the evening of June 30, the day after Jubal Early’s Rebels had departed westward toward Adams County, Emig and his fellow Dover Township residents must have breathed a sigh of relief, assuming their troubles were over. For George Emig, and hundreds of other York Countians, the problems were just beginning… J.E.B. Stuart was coming.
Stuart’s four to five thousand weary cavalrymen rode directly past Emig’s Mill after leaving Hanover and then York-New Salem during their numbing ride to Dover. Emig was hit again, this time losing an 18-year-old gray horse and a 9-year-old dark bay. He would later ask the government for $600 in compensation for the four lost horses.
This view of the modernized old mill was taken from the modern open grid steel bridge that spans the Little Conewago Creek at Emig’s Mill. In 1863, this crossing was accomplished by an old stone bridge, which has long since been demolished to erect a stronger, more flood resistant structure.
On July 1, for the third day in a row, we have an account of Rebels at Emig’s Mill. The following incident is taken from an article I wrote a couple of years ago on Stuart’s Ride for The Gettysburg Magazine…
“East Berlin farmer Peter Altland had been driving his six-horse team eastward to cross the Susquehanna River to safety in Lancaster County. He reached Loucks’ Mill north of York, where he heard reports the Columbia-Wrightsville Bridge had been burned. With no other way to cross the mile-wide river, the 55-year-old Dutchman turned around and headed elsewhere. He was passing over a stone bridge on Little Conewago Creek when Rebels overtook him and appropriated his horses.”
Altland was devastated – losing everything he had sought to save. He later filed a claim for $974.50 for 6 horses, 5 harnesses, 2 saddles, 2 bridles, and 3 halters, plus his wagon. He was forced to find other means to return to his Paradise Township home.
The Emig’s Mill area was the largest haul of horses lost by York Countians at a single site (albeit over a three-day period) – ten in all.