Rebel trooper in York County: ‘Broken down & in no condition to fight’
With a dramatic leap over a small stream, Jeb Stuart escapes a Union patrol during the Battle of Hanover. His cavalrymen later rode through the heart of York County in an attempt to link up with Gen. Robert E. Lee before the Battle of Gettysburg. Scott Mingus has written a detailed account of Stuart’s raid through York County in the current issue of Gettysburg Magazine. E-mailer queries about Confederate invasion and Jubal Early heard the booming of the Battle of Hanover’s guns.
Cannonball blogger Scott Mingus has again revealed York County’s Civil War history to a national audience.
In the recently published issue (No. 38) of “The Gettysburg Magazine,” his “J.E.B. Stuart Rides Through Dover, Pennsylvania” explores the Confederate cavalry chief’s raid through York County’s heartland before the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863.
Mingus is at the top of the pack in explaining York County’s rich Civil War involvement to the rest of the world, an effort that’s long overdue.
See if Mingus’ lead, beginning with the Battle of Hanover, doesn’t pull you into the drama of a miles-long column of thundering horsemen riding through the county in the middle of the night:
An exhausted Confederate horseman said it well. “Broken down & in no condition to fight,” Confederate Maj. Gen. James Ewell Brown Stuart’s three cavalry brigades and two batteries of horse artillery rode through rural southwestern York County, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday evening, June 30, 1863. After battling Brig. Gen. H. Judson Kilpatrick’s division of Union cavalry earlier that day at Hanover, Stuart wanted to rendezvous with Maj. Gen. Jubal A. Early’s division, reportedly in York, more than twenty miles to the northeast. Exhausted by the fighting and grueling marches across winding, hilly county roads, men and animals neared the breaking point. Since leaving Virginia three days before, Stuart’s 5,000 horse soldiers rode through Maryland, terrorizing the population and seizing supplies, forage, and horses. The prize was a 125-wagon Federal supply train and four hundred prisoners. Delayed by a skirmish in Westminster, Maryland, on June 29, Stuart camped between there and Union Mills, just south of the Mason-Dixon Line. The next morning, sixteen-year-old Herbert Shriver guided Stuart via a back road to Hanover, bypassing Federal cavalry reportedly in nearby Littlestown.
Although Stuart did not know it, Hanover was only seven miles south of Early’s cavalry screen on the Gettysburg Turnpike, and his infantry was just beyond on two parallel roads, marching from York westward into Adams County… .
The Gettysburg Magazine is available at Gettysburg-area booksellers and on the Web at www.gettysburgmagazine.net.
Drawing courtesy of Hanover Public Library.