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Civil War affected women in York County – and vice versa

Cassandra Small, who wrote about the Confederate occupation of York in 1863, will come to life at a Civil War symposium at York College. Terry Latschar will take on her character. The free public event starts at 7 p.m., Thursday, June 25, at DeMeester Recital Hall in Wolf Hall, York College. Scott Mingus and Dennis Brandt will also present. Photos courtesy, York County Heritage Trust. Background posts: All Civil War posts from the start and Cassandra Small’s, James Latimer’s Civil War letters from York will ‘never be forgotten’ and Burial site reportedly found for rebel officer who occupied York.

Terry Latschar will give a first-person account of the rebel occupation of York County through the eyes of letter writer Cassandra Morris Small in a Civil War Symposium next week at York College.
In assuming Cassandra Small’s character, the former Gettysburg park ranger and licensed battlefield guide will do more than remind those attending about the high emotions linked with the rebel raid in late-June 1863 through York County.
Latschar’s part also will underscore the fact that local Civil War demands elevated the profile of women onto local history’s pages.
During war and peace, women always had helped form the community’s backbone in unsung – and often undocumented – fashion. Their heroics during the Civil War give particularly rich content for Latschar and those writing history to draw from.
Cassandra Morris Small, Cassandra Small Morris, Isabel Cassat Small, Mary Sophia Cadwell Fisher and Sarah Latimer Small were among those who helped support a large military hospital at York’s Penn Park. Their contributions, among many others, included making bandages and providing nursing care… .



Cassandra Morris Small added Blair to her name upon her marriage to Dr. Alexander Blair, a surgeon at the Civil War military hospital in Penn Park.
After the war, their Ladies Aid Society aided in the formation of the Children’s Home of York, caring for those orphaned by the Civil War.
And Mary Jane Rewalt stood up to Confederate Gen. John B. Gordon in her Wrightsville home.
Here is a snapshot about their community contributions:
Cassandra Morris Small – She wrote letters to her cousin capturing the scene of the two-day Confederate occupation of York. “Can it be true that our quiet town has been in possession of the Rebels, and that for the last two days we have all been prisoners of the war! Oh, Lissie, you can’t form any idea of our situation… .” Click here to see her letters.
Cassandra Small Morris – Niece, Cassandra Small wrote about this sister of York leaders P.A. and Samuel Small: “She was terrified beyond all. Didn’t take her clothes off at night for more than a week; sat up in a chair; couldn’t sleep at all; looked miserably, and never smiled.” This breakdown came after the older woman’s trip as a nurse to the battlefield or pressures from the Confederate occupation, or both.
Sarah Latimer Small and Isabel Cassat Small – These woman were spouses of P.A. and Samuel Small, respectively. Isabel Small’s name appears in young Henry C. Niles account of the group delivering flowers to Abraham Lincoln’s funeral train on its stop in York: “The silent crowd made a way for York’s floral expression of patriotism and grief, borne by Aquilla Howard, the tall negro butler of the Philip A. Small family. From John Joice’s shoulder, I saw my mother, follwing Mrs. Samuel Small, pass into one car door and out the other.”
Mary Jane Rewalt – According to Gen. John B. Gordon, this wife of a Civil War surgeon told him: “I must tell you, however, that, with my assent and approval, my husband is a soldier in the Union army, and my constant prayer to Heaven is that our cause may triumph and the Union be saved.”
Mary Sophia Cadwell Fisher – This nurse described the scene in Gettysburg after the battle: “In all that ghastly array of human misery, between three and four hundred men, there was not one whole individual. Everyone had lost either an arm or a leg, and in some cases, both were gone.”
To read more about Cassandra Small’s letters, see this post from fellow blogger June Lloyd.