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York commemorates 50th anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg: Part 2

Veterans arrive at the tent city during the 50th anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg (Library of Congress)
Veterans arrive at the tent city during the 50th anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg (Library of Congress)

In my last post, I shared an old 1913 newspaper account of the preparations in York, Pennsylvania, for the 50th anniversary of Jubal Early’s occupation of the borough and the subsequent battle of Gettysburg.

Here is the follow-up article from the June 30, 1913, York Daily, following the local services to remember the Rebel occupation and preceding the much larger Gettysburg ceremonies and veterans encampment.

The mayor of York, businessman John R.Lafean, understandably took a decidedly pro-Union slant in his comments.

Headlines from the June 30, 1913, edition of the York Daily (adapted from
Headlines from the June 30, 1913, edition of the York Daily (adapted from

Urges York to Display Colors

Mayor Wants City to Decorate During Gettysburg Celebration

Forty Trains Will Pass Over Northern Central Today — Local Veterans and Boy Scouts Part of Great Camp — S. of V. Reserves Return

The veterans of the Civil war, more than 100 in number, and 24 members of the Boy Scouts Troop No. 7, this city, are part of the great camp at Gettysburg which is being held during the celebration, this week, of the fiftieth anniversary of the battle. Hundreds of other Yorkers will visit the battlefield town during the week on sightseeing trips. Many veterans from other parts of the country who are on their way to Gettysburg are stopping here to renew acquaintances.

York is in such proximity to Gettysburg, and many of the incidents connected with the great battle, whose semicentennial is observed this week, has their echo here, that Mayor John R. Lafean has issued a proclamation urging that citizens will make a generous display of flags and the national colors, while the celebration is in progress. When the battle was fought fifty years ago there were men and women who went from here to the bloody field and did a noble work ministering to the wounded and dying. Many of the battle scarred veterans of the Blue and Gray were brought to hospitals in this city. Some were nursed to health again. Many [about 32] died and are buried in Prospect Hill Cemetery.

Mayor’s Proclamation

Mayor Lafean’s proclamation is as follows:

“With the approach of the period commemorating the battle of Gettysburg in which our fore-fathers were engaged in defense of a great principle, it is but fitting and proper that our citizens should pay tribute to the noble cause for which they fought and died.

“We should with new devotional patriotic sense of duty assist in commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of one of the most decisive battles ever waged for the cause of liberty.

“To give expression to this spirit I call upon our citizens to display the American flag and decorate with the national colors, from July first to fourth inclusive.

“Let us do this in honor of these brave men who struggled to preserve thus union, and perpetuate life, liberty, and independence throughout this entire nation.”

The members of General John Sedgwick post No. 37, G.A.R. [Grand Army of the Republic, a leading Union veterans organization] and other veterans from this city who are at the fiftieth anniversary celebration of the battle, have been assigned quarters in the great camp on the battlefield on Seventh avenue. The tents are located between Nos 100 and 200. This avenue is not far from the town and easy of access of all who wish to visit the York men.

One of the many trains that passed through Hanover Junction, PA. in southern York County on its way to Gettysburg to deliver the old veterans for the anniversary encampment (Library of Congress)
One of the many passenger trains that delivered old veterans from across the country for the 50th anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg. Many of these trains passed through Hanover Junction, PA, in southern York County on their way to and from Gettysburg. Scores of these veterans paused in downtown York to visit acquaintances. (Library of Congress)

Boy Scouts Depart

The party of 24 members of Boy Scouts, Troop No. 7, this city, with Scoutmaster D. D. Strite, left York Saturday afternoon at 5:30 o’clock via the Western Maryland railway for Gettysburg.

The Boy Scouts assembled at the home of the scoutmaster, South George street, and after doing some drilling, marched to the railroad station. Those in the party were Scoutmaster D. D. Strite; Robert Barnitz, Ellis Lewis, Dewees Strite, George Horner, Nathan Lehmayer, Dodson McClellan, Charles Frick, Henry Yeagley, Charles Kain, Harry Swartz, Joseph Kindig, John Webster, Edward Frick, Walter Mitzel, Ralph Stabley, Charles Selemeyer, Roland Fulton, Weto De Zychlinski, Charles Mentol, Paul Ramsay, Fred Motter, Stuart Folkes, John Bruggeman, William Palmer, Joseph Hendrickson and Martin Werner.

To be continued.