Category Archives: Civilians

Spy Stories

Savas Beatie LLC has just published Tom Ryan’s excellent new book on Spies, Scouts, and Secrets in the Gettysburg Campaign: How the Critical Role of Intelligence Impacted the Outcome of Lee’s Invasion of the North. June-July 1865. It is a … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Civilians, Confederates, Gettysburg Campaign, Wrightsville, Yankees, York, York Haven | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Lincoln used prominent anti-slavery bishop to influence British opinion

During the first half of the 19th century, citizens in the young country of the United States of America found plenty of topics of dissension. Besides fighting British, Native Americans, North Africans, and Mexicans in military conflicts, residents quarreled on … Continue reading

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Some York Countians fled as Rebels approached in June 1863

In mid-June 1863, more than 6,600 Confederate soldiers approached York County from the west. Their commander, Major General Jubal A. Early, was a West Point graduate, a veteran of the Mexican War, and one of the Confederacy’s more aggressive generals. … Continue reading

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New book on alleged Lincoln conspirator John Surratt

Many Americans are aware of the role Mrs. Mary Surratt reportedly played in the Lincoln assassination. The military tribunal hearing the case convicted her in being involved in the heinous crime, though her exact role is debated. She reportedly helped … Continue reading

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New booklet on JEB Stuart’s Ride through York County

A couple of years ago, I wrote a series of blog posts (the “In the Footsteps of J.E.B. Stuart” series) on the damage claims York County farmers filed after the Civil War for horses, supplies, and personal goods taken by … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Civilians, Confederates, Dillsburg, Dover, Franklin Township, Gettysburg Campaign, Jefferson, Warrington Township, West Manchester Township | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Kindly Friend Willis” was conductor on the Underground Railroad

According to the Library of Congress, the Willis House is the most pretentious and academically correct example of eighteenth century English domestic architecture in York County. The builder, William Willis, was a Quaker farmer and mason who built the York … Continue reading

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The Runaway Balloon

When the Union army headed north in June 1863 for the summer campaign, it left behind its observation balloon which had been floating high enough for riders to observe the distant Confederate lines. Hence, there were no balloons at the … Continue reading

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Black history month: Eli Grey, Civil War-era barber in York

Eli Grey (also spelled Gray in some accounts) was a fixture in downtown York, Pennsylvania, during the Civil War years (1861-1865). Since medieval times, surgeons and physicians often also doubled as barbers (hence the red stripes for blood on traditional … Continue reading

Posted in Black history, Civil War people, Civilians, Gettysburg Campaign, York | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Rebels passed by Sultzbach’s Tannery en route to Wrightsville

On a cool Sunday afternoon, June 28, 1863, as rainclouds threatened, more than 2,000 well armed, veteran Confederate soldiers marched or rode past the sprawling Sultzbach tannery in Hellam Township in eastern York County, Pa. Consisting of 1,800 Georgia infantrymen, … Continue reading

Posted in Civilians, Wrightsville | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

York residents flocked to local photographers during the Civil War

Photography originated in Europe in the early 1800s, with a variety of techniques of using light-sensitive chemicals spread onto a substrate such as paper, leather, pewter, or a glass plate. The resultant image often took hours to develop, so most … Continue reading

Posted in Civil War collectibles, Civilians, York | Tagged , | 2 Comments