Gettysburg fighting heard about 60 miles away
It was one of those wonderful gold nuggets that make reading so wonderful.
Jack J. Jones was writing about the Welsh slate miners who settled in York County’s southeast corner in the Harford Historical Bulletin (Summer 2001).
He included an intriguing note in the middle of a likewise interesting discussion on the Delta miners:
“An article in the Delta Star newspaper of August 12, 1955 stated that Enoch P. Swayne, resident of Delta in the 1860’s, claimed to have heard gunfire from the Battle of Gettysburg on the day the battle began in 1865… .”
That, of course, was July 1, 1863, and echoes other reports that the booming of big guns and the rattling of musket fire could be heard at several other points in neighboring York County. That’s how people in York, for example, knew a major fight was happening 30 miles to the west.
Experts have studied irregularities in how the sound of Civil War battle carried. You could have been in the next valley and heard nothing, but people 60 miles away could clearly hear the strife of battle.
Sixty miles is roughly the distance from Gettysburg to Delta, about as far way as you can get from Gettysburg and still be in York County.