Confederate Cousins Invade York in 1863
Lewis Miller drawing of the Confederate invasion of York, June 1863.
Cassandra Small’s vivid letters to cousin Lissie Latimer, describing the Confederate invasion of York during the end of June 1863, are often quoted. Cassandra was the daughter of Philip A. Small, a leading businessman or York at the time, and his wife, Sarah Bartow Latimer.
In one letter Cassandra relates: “George Latimer was with General Gordon’s Division; happily we didn’t see him, as we should not have spoken to him. Some of his Copperhead friends shook hands with him, and he begged them not to tell us, but they couldn’t keep it to themselves. We all respect him a great deal more than we do them.”
Cassandra’s first cousin, James William Latimer of York, wrote to his brother Bartow Latimer that, during the occupation, “Most ladies had sense to stay home. Men went about freely. I spoke to one of the Rebs once. Others talked and questioned them, but I did not feel like it. Heard nothing of Geo. Latimer or Tom.”
Who were George and Tom?
Turns out that brothers George and Tom Latimer were also first cousins of Cassandra Small and James William Latimer. Why were they serving in the Confederate Army?
According to the Small-Latimer genealogy, Cassandra and James Williams’ uncle, William G. Latimer was in government at Savannah, GA. Ironically, his family later moved to Shrewsbury, York County, after he died. Both Confederate sons are buried at the Lutheran cemetery in Shrewsbury. The tombstone inscriptions read “Geo. S. Latimer, CSA, died January 5, 1905, age 67 and Thomas S. Latimer, Surgeon CSA died May 16, 1906, age 67.
Want to learn more about York County people in the Civil War? Come to the free Patriot Days Symposium, Looking through Gray Clouds: Personal Accounts of the Confederate Invasion, at DeMeester Recital Hall in Wolf Hall from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday June 25. The project is co-sponsored by York College of Pennsylvania and York County Heritage Trust.
The moderator will be Jim McClure, author of East of Gettysburg: A Gray Shadow Crosses York County, Pa. Participants include Dennis Brandt, author of From Home Guards to Heroes: The 87th Pennsylvania and Its Civil War Community; Scott L. Mingus, Sr., author of Flames beyond Gettysburg: the Gordon Expedition, June 1863 and Terry Latschar, licensed Gettysburg Guide, who will provide a first person interpretation of Cassandra Small.
Click here for more on York County Heritage Trust Patriot Days, including the Civil War symposium and a bus tour.
Click here for Jim McClure’s recent post on York women in the Civil War, including a link to Cassandra Small’s letters.