The rebel advance pushed residents west of
the Susquehanna River to Columbia and points east.
York County’s Scott Mingus has been working on a got-to-have-for-my-library account of John B. Gordon’s campaign to the Susquehanna River in the days preceding the Battle of Gettysburg.
Meanwhile, his booklet detailing human interest stories surrounding the Gettysburg campaign is out and available at
http://www.amazon.com/Human-Interest-Stories-Gettysburg-Campaign/dp/0977712524/sr=1-1/qid=1164508088/ref=sr_1_1/102-1469953-4136120?i and http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?z=y&EAN=9780977712526&itm=1
They no doubt will serve as an entertaining and informative warmup to this indefatigable researcher’s Gordon book.
And on the topic of stories about the Gordon campaign, I ran across an account in “Pennsylvania Civil War Heritage” that I had not seen before. It was submitted to the magazine by Wrightsville’s Dana K. Shirey, whose neighbor had found it in an attic.
Signed “Your Aunt Rachel Bahn,” the excerpted letter follows:…
“…Our soil has been, at last, polluted by the feet of rebel hordes. We witnessed sights that we never expected to witness. A week prior to their appearance the community was in a perpetual excitement. Most all kind of business was suspended. The number of horses, cattle, &c. that passed our place was extraordinary. The farmers, or most of the farmers, moved their stock to Lancaster County to prevent it from falling into rebel hands. And they had done wisely too. Nearly all those who kept their horses at home were heavy losers. They stole them all they could get. On Sunday 28th inst., the Rebels entered York about 10 o’clock A.M. which place had surrendered on the previous evening. General Gordon’s brigade marched on to Wrightsville & passed this place at 2 o’clock P.M. & re-passed it the following day about the same hour. Hoke’s & Smith’s brigade commanded by General Early were encamped in & about York. As our forces were too weak at Wrightsville they met but little resistance. Our troops retreated to Columbia and then fired the Bridge. They behaved pretty civilly while passing here. Hundreds of them came in, one wanted bread, another wanted butter, the next wanted apple butter, milk &c. They wanted to pay everything with their worthless money, but of course we did not take any. A dirtier, more motley, obnoxious-looking set of fellows I never saw. The majority of them seem to be tired of this unholy war, & would be willing to lay down their arms & come into the Union again. When the battle was going on at Gettysburg, 33 miles from our place, we heard the cannonading distinctly.”