York PA soldier left colorful description of “ragged Rebels”
- Confederate soldiers pause during a march through Frederick, Maryland. The exact date and the identity of the troops pictured are both uncertain.
Corporal Abraham Rudisill of Battery G, 1st Pennsylvania Light Artillery hailed from York, Pennsylvania. Older than most Civil War soldiers, he was 50 at the time of his enlistment in 1861. His memories of the war years can be found in an interesting first-person book in the collection of the York County Heritage Trust. The tailor-turned-artilleryman served in the Gettysburg Campaign and was one of a handful of York County men to fight in the Battle of Gettysburg.
During the late June 1863 march northward into Pennsylvania, Rudisill observed a group of Confederate prisoners of war near Fairfax Courthouse, Virginia. On June 22, he left this description of the Southern soldiers:
“Just now nearly a whole regiment of ‘Johnny Reb’ prisoners were marched past our camp; a real hard looking crowd, looking like a set of real desperadoes; no soldiers’ dress about them; clothed in a kind of gray and red, dirty looking Kentucky jean; broad brim hats of all kinds and colors. They looked like a mean, wicked set of rascals. Perhaps more than any I ever saw before.”
Rudisill would survive the war and return home.