York Town Square

Part of the USAToday Network

Pain & trauma Archives

Union military and civilian officials in Pennsylvania rightly viewed the Susquehanna River as a formidable barrier to the Confederate advance to the east. Still, they supplemented the mile-wide river with earthworks along its course. Here, an artist who witnessed the excavation shows workers digging trenches near Wrightsville in eastern York County to provide defenders leverage against an anticipated Confederate offensive to capture the bridge spanning the Susquehanna River between York and Lancaster counties.

Nineteenth-century artist Lewis Miller captures the façade of York, Pa.’s, Washington Hall, built in 1849. The building, sometimes referred to as the Independent Order of Odd Fellows or IOOF hall, housed overflow prisoners after the Battle of Gettysburg. Chief Surgeon Henry Palmer had threatened to resign, rather than treat Rebel wounded, according to letter writer Cassandra Small. The hospital and its satellites were military posts, so Washington Hall can be viewed as a prisoner of war camp site.

A memorial garden featuring the names of firefighters and police officers who have died in the line of duty is to the right of the York County, Pa., emergency services building. The 911 center in Springettsbury Township is protected by a curved continuous concrete wall, between 18 and 24 inches wide.

A new marker for an unknown Confederate soldier was unveiled at his longtime burial spot along the Susquehanna River recently. In my York Sunday News column today (3/14/13) – Another unknown soldier – I suggest we remember another unknown soldier, a black militiaman fighting for the Union on Pennsylvania soil in Wrightsville.