Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, played a key role in the 1863 Gettysburg Campaign. As with neighboring York County, its strategic importance to Confederate military movements has been downplayed somewhat over the years as the focal shifted to Adams County and the bloody battle of Gettysburg. In the week before that battle, however, more than 20,000 Confederates in two powerful columns marched through Cumberland and York counties, with a goal of reaching the Susquehanna River and exploring a possible assault on the state capital of Harrisburg. Only when orders arrived from General Robert E. Lee recalling these forces did their commander, Lt. Gen. Richard S. Ewell, abandon Lee’s original plan to “capture Harrisburg, if it comes within your means.”
Ewell personally led 2/3 of his corps on the march through Cumberland County up to Harrisburg, leaving his trusted subordinate Jubal Early to deal with Adams and York counties. Cooper H. Wingert, an author from the Enola, Pa., area, has previously discussed Ewell’s movements and skirmishes in detail in his excellent book on The Confederate Approach to Harrisburg.
Now, Cooper is back with a series of essays on certain aspects of Ewell’s invasion of Cumberland County. Entitled Dick Ewell at Carlisle: Chapters of the Confederate Advance on Harrisburg, this spiral-bound softback book examines six different, yet inter-related, topics.
The individual chapters/essays are as follows:
* Riding with Jenkins: Confederate Horse Artillery on the West Shore
* Debacle at Chambersburg: General Joseph Knipe and the 8th and 71st New York State National Guard, June 19-23
* “As Likely to Capture the ‘Man in the Moon’ as any part of Lee’s Army”: Adjutant General Lorenzo Thomas at Harrisburg, 1863
* They Fought in the Susquehanna: Notable Soldiers and Generals Who Served in the Harrisburg Area
* “Greener than Any of the Boys in the Brigade”: The Civil and Military Career of Philip Schuyler Crooke
* “The Reverse of Pleasant”: General Charles W. Sandford and the New York State National Guard
Cooper also includes three useful appendices which offer more information on the military affairs and people who served in the defense of Harrisburg that fateful summer 150 years ago.
* Appendix A: Pennsylvania Nine-Months Officers who served as Colonels in the Emergency
* Appendix B: “The Vice of Pillaging”: The Department of the Susquehanna’s Official Stance on Plundering
* Appendix C: Daily Routine at Fort Washington
I have been privileged to appear on television with Cooper Wingert a few times, and he has attended some of my Civil War talks and tours, and vice versa. He’s knowledgeable and bright, and has established himself as one of the leading experts on the Confederate invasion of south-central Pennsylvania during the Gettysburg Campaign. He has a remarkable ability to ferret out information often overlooked by other researchers, and to understand the historical context of that data. That detailed research is evident again in Dick Ewell at Carlisle.
Produced by Trauts & Maxwell, this new book checks in at 164 pages and includes a sprinkling of photographs, maps, and illustrations. It is annotated with the endnotes placed conveniently at the end of each individual chapter versus being collected all at the end of the book. The book did not have an ISBN number on its cover.