York Town Square

Part of the USAToday Network

The 4 Yorkbloggers speak about history

Brad Smith, dressed as a Confederate corporal, took part in the 2005 dramatization of York’s surrender to rebel forces in June 1863. The re-enactment is scheduled again this year, along with a panel presentation on the occupation of York and other Patriot Days activities. Background posts: The Four Bloggers write, Panel to explore pre-Gettysburg rebel occupation and Pro/Con: Should York’s leaders have surrendered to the rebels?

The York-area’s link to the Civil War has been the topic of extensive research and writing in the past five years.
For decades, the best book-length references on York County in the Civil War – and particularly Jubal Early’s occupation of York in the pre-Battle of Gettysburg days of 1863 – came as chapters in W.S. Nye’s “Here Comes the Rebels!” and Edwin Coddington’s “The Gettysburg Campaign.”
So in preparing remarks as moderator for Wednesday evening’s panel discussion on Confederate occupation of York (7 p.m., June 25, York County Heritage Trust), I inventoried some of the work done on the Civil War since about 2002.
There’s a lot… .

I have explained in previous posts reasons for the dry period of local research, and those attending Wednesday’s forum will receive a bellyfull of additional analysis. But it mainly stems from the York-area’s overwhelming interest historically in its American Revolution links and the perceived lack of local success, particularly considering York’s surrender, in the Civil War.
Some of the writers in this renaissance are York residents. Others are York natives living elsewhere. Still others are insightful Civil War researchers with little York County contact.
Some of the work has been undertaken by members of our Yorkblog history team – Scott Mingus, June Lloyd and Scott Butcher – who also will present along with Mark Snell at Wednesday’s panel presentation.
Here’s a sampling of recent publications that touch, in full or in part, on York County in the Civil War:
– Dennis W. Brandt’s “From Home Guards to Heroes, The 87th Pennsylvania and Its Civil War Community.”
– Scott Mingus’ “Human Interest Stories of the Gettysburg Campaign, Volume I & II.” Mingus also has written the forthcoming book “Flames Beyond Gettysburg: The Gordon Expedition,” a micro-study of the Confederation occupation of York County.
– George A. Rummel’s “Calvary on the Roads to Gettysburg, Kirkpatrick at Hanover and Hunterstown.”
– Eric J. Wittenberg and J. David Petruzzi’s “Plenty of Blame to Go Around, Jeb Stuart’s Controversial Ride to Gettysburg.”
– Scott Butcher’s “Civil War Walking Tour.”
– Lila Fourhman Shaull’s “A Walking Tour of Civil War-Era residents at Prospect Hill Cemetery, York, Pa.”
– Mark Snell’s “From First to Last, The Life of Major General William B. Franklin.”
– My “East of Gettysburg, A Gray Shadow Crosses York County, Pa.” and “Almost Forgotten, A Glimpse of Black History in York County, Pa.”
– John V. Jezierski’s “Enterprising Images, The Goodridge Brothers, African-American Photographers, 1847-1922.”
– June Lloyd’s “Faith and Family, Pennsylvania German Heritage in York County Area Fraktur.”
And I’m probably forgetting some.
Cassandra Small, an eye-witness who wrote to her cousin about the occupation, said the rebel invasion of York is a matter never to be forgotten.
Judging from the research now available, it looks like the community is taking her at her word.