York Town Square

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Errant ramrod projectile fells York Fourth of July onlooker

York’s Ellsworth Zouaves, featured in an earlier post, were part of a gala celebration early in the war.
The Zouaves, a flashy military unit, provided a demonstration of close-order drills, as part of Fourth of July festivities in 1862, the first Independence Day celebrated during the war.
“Young and old, male and female, were all apparently baptized anew with the fire of patriotism … ,” The York Republican reported.
The fireworks that evening concluded with the ignition of a large arch, displaying the word “Union,” with two large stars on either side.
Later that month, another celebration turned into tragedy… .

York was celebrating the end of three-month enlistments of scores of their favorite sons.
As “East of Gettysburg” recounts:
During these welcome home ceremonies, a six-pound cannon went off with a rammer still in its barrel, injuring its tenders, Henry Hubly and Moses Bennington. The projectile traveled 400 years before striking an elderly onlooker, John Fisher, tearing away his lower jaw. He died about an hour later.
In drawing the scene, Lewis Miller, a York carpenter and artist, could only observe of the crowd: “A confused multitude.”
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