New York Times on its toes in covering Confederate raid of York, Pa.
That the New York Times received information about the Confederate invasion of York County in late-June 1863 was remarkable because the rebels had knocked down telegraph lines west of the Susquehanna. But the Times published the breaking news the next day, and for the most part, the newspaper got it right.
The same telegraph lines that Confederates tore down to impair the passage of military intelligence also carried dispatches from war correspondents.
So it was remarkable that the New York Times’ coverage of the rebel occupation of York County on Monday, June 29, 1863, was topped with headlines summarizing the previous day’s events with accuracy. For background of the occupation see: Gordon’s raid and books.
The exception was the report of the defeat of two rebel cavalry companies below York.
Col. Elijah V. White’s Comanches chose not to atack Yankee troops guarding railroad bridges near Hanover Junction, hardly a Union victory. Rebel cavalry took them down the next day anyway.
The Times’ story admits that reports from the direction of York, locked in a rebel stranglehold, were conflicting.
It also tells of ‘contrabands’ responding to the call to defend Harrisburg. Authorities provided these fugitive slaves with guns, sending them to fortifications opposite Harrisburg on the west shore of the Susquehanna.