‘Surrender of York to Gen. Early and Gen. Gordon, June 28th 1863,’ wrote Lewis Miller atop his drawing of this significant moment in York County, Pa., history. The Confederates overran York County in these late-June days before the Battle of Gettysburg. They pulled down this flag in York after the town’s fathers sought them out at their camp, 10 miles to the west, the night before. York’s Committee of Safety surrendered the town in a deal that looked like this: York wouldn’t resist the rebel advance if the Confederates wouldn’t burn it and otherwise harm the citizenry. In this drawing, notice the Confederate flags carried by the various rebel units of the Army of Northern Virginia. As far as is known, no Confederate flag was hoisted atop this pole. This is one of two iconic drawings of Miller’s work showing the Confederates in York’s square. See below for the other drawing. Both are part of the York County Heritage Trust’s extensive Miller collection. More: Pro/Con: Should York’s leaders have surrendered to the rebels.
One May afternoon in 1861, workers raised a 110-foot-tall pine pole with a foot-thick base in York’s Centre Square.
It stood tall between the two squat market sheds at Market and George that had occupied this public gathering space for years.
Judge Robert J. Fisher and the Rev. J.A. Ross of York’s Methodist Church addressed the large crowd that had gathered for the pole raising.
A beautiful bunting flag was run up the pole as a band played “The Star-Spangled Banner,” then a patriotic song appropriate for a Northern town whose side was then embroiled in a bloody and corrosive Civil War.
Earlier, the pole raising came at a price. Continue reading “Scarred Civil War soldier took the surrendered York flag and ‘stood with it in his arms, holding it in front of him’” »