York Town Square

Part of the USAToday Network

E-mailer queries about Confederate invasion

E-mailer Jack Stuckey has raised several good questions about the Confederate occupation of York in late-June of 1863.
I’ll put up some of the questions with answers: …

Q. When rebel commander Jubal Early was leaving York on Tuesday morning, June 30, couldn’t he hear the cannonading taking place just 15 miles away in Hanover?
A. The Battle of Hanover was indeed raging when Early was countermarching in the vicinity of Davidsburg. There was simply no way he could tell that one side of that cannon volley came from Jeb Stuart’s guns. If Stuart’s cavalry had not run into a blue road block in Hanover, he would have met Early’s countermarchers on or about East Berlin and thereby communicated valuable troop movement to Robert E. Lee. The Confederates would have gone into first day of fighting at Gettysburg with a better idea of what they were facing – the entire Yankee army.
Q. Did the captured wagon train that was encumbering Stuart make it all the way to Gettysburg?
A. Yes, but it accompanied Stuart only past Dillsburg before it took off cross-country toward Gettysburg instead of following him to Carlisle. The wagons helped carry wounded and supplies southward after the battle. The context here is that Stuart had to ride around the Union blockade after fighting in Hanover. His column hit Jefferson, York New Salem, Dover and Dillsburg before heading to Carlisle – all in an attempt to locate Early or any friendly infantry column.
Q. Did the Confederates damage rails and bridges near Seven Valleys.
A. Yes, the rebel raiders destroyed bridges, for example, between Seven Valleys and York. They were quickly rebuilt after the battle to enable trains filled with wounded men and blue – and some in gray – access to the large military hospital in York’s Penn Park.
For more on the Civil War locally, see Scott Mingus’ Cannonball.