During the Civil War, York, Pennsylvania, boasted a 2,000-bed U.S. Army Hospital with one of the lowest mortality rates of any military medical facility in the country. Less than 200 patients out of 14,000 during course of the war died while recuperating in York, a remarkable statistic. Credit should go to Chief Surgeon Dr. Henry Palmer and his talented assistant Dr. Alexander R. Blair.
The December 21, 1912, issue of the Reading (Pa.) Eagle neatly covered the brief history of the York U.S. Army Hospital, including commenting on several North Carolina soldiers who had camped there during Jubal Early’s June 1863 occupation of York prior to the battle of Gettysburg; 40 of which were later brought back to York after being shot at Gettysburg. Dr. Palmer, upset at his treatment while briefly a prisoner of war, refused to tend to them and they wound up as patients of York’s civilian doctors in a makeshift hospital in the Odd Fellows Hall on S. George Street.
Here is the text of the 1912 article from the Reading newspaper…
Continue reading “1912 newspaper article discussed York’s Civil War U.S. Army Hospital” »
The York Civil War Round Table will feature Daniel Roe, Director of Education at the York County Heritage Trust, as their featured speaker at the monthly meeting on November 19, 2014. Mr. Roe will present a PowerPoint talk on “Lewis Miller and the American Civil War.”
The meeting will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday evening in the auditorium of the York County Heritage Trust at 250 E. Market St. in downtown York, Pennsylvania. There is no charge for admission and the public is welcome!
Continue reading “York CWRT to discuss Lewis Miller and the American Civil War on November 19” »
The Smithsonian has recently released a wonderful new set of 35 stereoscopic images of the Civil War, a sturdy metal 3D viewer, and a full color photo book by long-time military historian Michael Stephenson. Entitled Smithsonian Institution’s Civil War in 3D: The Life and Death of the Soldier, this is a delightful set for the Civil War buff on your Christmas or birthday gift list.
First, the viewer and the 3D images should provide hours of entertainment for the buff, and especially for the younger crowd. When I was a kid, my grandparents had an antique stereoscopic viewer and more than 100 cards, many of exotic locations. I spent considerable time viewing the 3D images and dreaming of the locations, and was particularly enthralled with the military images. The editors and staff at the Smithsonian have assembled 35 images, many from the institution’s own collection, with a rich, diverse mix of subject matters and 3D compositions. Most show soldiers in everyday activities in camp life. Some of the images are familiar to the veteran Civil War buff; others are much more obscure but combined they reveal a glimpse of the everyday life of the soldiers, both blue and gray.
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A Northern Central Railway train steams into the yard at York, Pennsylvania, in this 19th-century sketch. The NCRW was an important supply route for the Union army and navy during the American Civil War, carrying thousands of troops, as well as supplies, ammunition, horses, forage, and coal southward.
Here are some more of your questions regarding the Civil War in York County, PA…
Continue reading “York County’s Civil War questions: Part 3” »
First, I must begin by mentioning that I am not a fan of historical fiction and do not regularly read the genre. In my limited reading time, I much prefer non-fiction. That said, many years go I bought, read, and very much enjoyed Douglas C. Jones’ riveting and well written novel The Court Martial of George Armstrong Custer. I have reread that paperback several times over the years and continue to find it an easy and interesting read.
Usually I turn down requests to read and review new historical fiction titles. However, when I was asked if I would consider reviewing Still Standing: Surviving Custer’s Last Battle – Part 1 by Don Solenberger and Judith Gotwald, I agreed.
That proved to be a good decision.
Continue reading “New historical fiction novel explores Mr. & Mrs. Custer’s relationship if George had survived Little Big Horn” »
A jauntily clad Union cavalry stands guard over Penn Common in this detail from the York County Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Monument. Thousands of young men from the county joined the army and thousands more men and women supported the war effort by providing food, money, forage, supplies, nursing aid, and other assistance.
Several questions have been received concerning the Civil War in York County. Here are a few of these, with our thoughts.
Continue reading “York County’s Civil War questions: Part 2” »
The York Civil War Round Table will feature author Ronald L. Hershner at its monthly meeting on October 15, 2014. Mr. Hershner will present a PowerPoint talk based on his book “Letters From Home: York County, Pennsylvania during the Civil War.”
The meeting will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday evening in the auditorium of the York County Heritage Trust at 250 E. Market St. in downtown York, Pennsylvania. There is no charge for admission and the public is welcome.
With the Civil War raging in 1863, nineteen year old farm boy John Harvey Anderson left the quiet cornfields of southern York County and rose to the defense of his country and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. By the end of the war, this cavalryman was fighting his way through the Carolinas, riding with one of the most battle-hardened and respected units in the Army of the Cumberland.
“Letters From Home: York County, Pennsylvania during the Civil War” offers a rare personal insight into the Civil War homefront through twenty-three letters written to Harvey Anderson from 1863 to 1865. “It is a story of a family coping with the distance that divided them from each other,” author Ron Hershner writes. “And it is a view into the ardently held and fiercely advocated opinions about the war that divided the southern York County community.” Harvey Anderson’s boyhood home served as a wartime microcosm of what transpired in countless northern communities.
Ronald L. Hershner, a native of York County, grew up on his family’s farm in East Hopewell Township. He is a graduate of Kennard Dale High School, Dickinson College, and Dickinson School of Law. Hershner is Managing Partner of the law firm Stock and Leader, LLP. He is active in a number of charitable and civic organizations. He has served as Chair of the Board of Directors of the York County Heritage Trust and has been President of the Red Lion Historical Society. He regularly speaks to civic groups on topics of local history.
During my book signings and lectures on York County’s Civil War history, I am frequently asked questions about various topics. Most of them are straight forward and I have a ready answer; a few are trickier to answer without researching the answers off-line.
Here is a diverse sampling of some of these questions I have received over the years (including by email), and my thoughts…
Continue reading “York County’s Civil War questions: Part 1” »
Adams and York counties back during the mid-1800s were heavily pastoral. Many of the residents were of German origin, including hundreds of members of religious denominations with decided pacifist or non-interventionist ideals.
An interesting and unique Civil War presentation is coming to York on Sunday, October 5, 2014. The South Central Pennsylvania Genealogical Society will be hosting a presentation by Roger Heller of Gettysburg entitled “Adams County’s Civil War Conscientious Objectors” at 2:15 p.m. at the York County Heritage Trust, 250 E. Market Street, in downtown York.
Mr. Heller identified Adams County’s Civil War objectors and then grouped them by township and denomination, determining where concentrations of such men were found in the county. He also uncovered intriguing stories about the Provost Marshal in Adams County’s draft district and his dealings with the objectors. His presentation is illustrated with helpful maps and charts, and he is an engaging speaker.
The public is welcome!
Thomas Jonathan Jackson at the beginning of the War Between the States was a rather obscure Confederate general. A professor at the Virginia Military Academy, he had enough political connections, military training, and stature to secure a commission as a brigadier, but few knew how transcendent he would become in the lore of the Civil War. Early on nicknamed Stonewall Jackson for his exploits (or, in the belief of some detractors, his stubbornness in not moving forward) at Manassas, Jackson cemented his legend in 1862 with his triumphs in the Shenandoah Valley and his hard-hitting performance in the bloody battles of the late summer at Second Manassas and Antietam.
By the time of his death in May 1863 from the complications of pneumonia following the amputation of his left arm, Jackson was a celebrated hero to much of the Southern populace. His demise led to widespread extended periods of mourning and led many to speculate for years “what if” Jackson was at Gettysburg, or the Wilderness, or Spotsylvania, or, or, or.
Renown Old West author S. C. Gwynne, a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award for his highly regarded book Empire of the Summer Moon, now has added his spin to the litany of biographies of Stonewall Jackson.
Continue reading “New book on the legendary Stonewall Jackson” »