Landmark York County farm was robbed by Rebels in 1863
The historic Horn Farm Center for Agricultural Education is a well known landmark in Hellam Township in eastern York County, Pennsylvania, along U.S. Route 30. Donated to the county in 1981 by the David E. Horn family, the farm has become a popular learning center that is “dedicated to showcasing and interpreting the rich heritage, viable present and exciting future of York County agriculture.” The Horn Farm has a 250-year history that reflects the evolution of farming practice and technology.
During the Civil War, the Horn Farm was owned by a man named Samuel Rudy and his wife Christian Bixler Rudy, part of a sprawling family with offshoots that owned several other farmsteads in Hellam Township.
On the afternoon of Monday, June 28, 1863, outriders from Lt. Col. Elijah V. White‘s 35th Battalion, Virginia Cavalry rode into Sam Rudy’s property (the Horn farm shown in the photo set) and led away a 6-year-old roan horse valued at $250. They were returning from their expedition to Wrightsville and the failed attempt to seize the Columbia-Wrightsville Bridge. The cavalry’s mission had been to screen the movements of the infantry brigade of Brig. Gen. John B. Gordon during the advance to the river the previous day. Now on Monday, their job was to procure as many horses as possible, as well as to burn the railroad bridges between Wrightsville and York and sever the track and telegraph wires.
The Rebels weren’t finished with the Rudys, however.
Some of Gordon’s Georgia infantrymen visited two other Rudy properties, taking an 8-year-old family horse from a large bank barn on the nearby Jacob Rudy farm. Jake would file a claim after the Civil War for $300 in hopes of getting compensation from the commonwealth. He didn’t get his money.
Gordon’s boys that same day paid a social visit at the farm of Sam Rudy’s older brother, 35-year-old Jacob R. Rudy, whose property was not far away. They led away a large roan horse and a young sorrel colt that belonged to Jacob and his wife of less than three years, 25-year-old Sarah Dietz Rudy. Jacob filed a claim for $425.
It was definitely not a good day for the Rudy clan!
Four valuable horses gone, right before the summer harvest.
Such was the case for more than eight hundred other York County farmers during the Gettysburg Campaign as nearby 11,000 Confederate soldiers marched or rode through this region, and horses were a prized commodity for the raiders.