“To the Susquehanna Boys!”

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IV. “To the Susquehanna Boys!” :

Lancaster and the Battle of Gettysburg

“MEN OF LANCASTER COUNTY AROUSE! The invaders are near us, only separated by the Susquehanna river. It is impossible to tell what hour they may be upon our soil. What are you doing to repel the enemy? The apathy which exists in our midst must be shaken off at once, or all will be lost. Let every man do his duty in the present terrible crisis, if we would save ourselves from the disgrace and ruin which threaten us.1
This was the plea from the’ The Lancaster Intellegencer’. Its rival, The Examiner and Herald, two weeks earlier had printed General Order No. 1. from the {Headquarters of Defenses of Lancaster County}
“...ORGANIZE YOURSELVES- into Companies of not less than fifty men, with proper officers, and report to me as soon as possible . . . Parties having Rifles of good range will bring them . . . One HUNDRED Mounted Men as Couriers are urgently demanded . . . Citizens with picks, shovels and Axes are requested to furnish them to me.


Colonel Commanding.2
Panic was finally setting into inhabitants of the Susquehanna Valley as the Army of Northern Virginia boldly appeared. Widespread apathy throughout the state frustrated officials as their call to arms were answered by far fewer numbers of men than would later be boasted about.

President Lincoln had issued forth the request of 100,000 additional men to take up arms in defense of the North3. Pennsylvania was requested to furnish a quota of 50,000 of these men.

On 12, June of 1863, Governor Andrew Curtin issued his proclamation to the state appealing;

“to all the citizens of Pennsylvania, who love liberty and are mindful of the history and traditions of their Revolutionary Fathers, and who feel that it is a sacred duty to guard and maintain the free institutions of our country, who hate treason and abettors and who are willing to defend their homes and fire-sides, to invoke them to rise in their might and rush to the rescue in the hour of imminent peril . . . It is now to be determined by deeds and not by words alone, who are with us and who are against us. That is the purpose of the enemy to invade our borders with all the strength he can command, is now apparent. Our only dependence rests upon the determined action of the citizens of our free Commonwealth.”

Thirty odd miles from the Susquehanna River’s border of Lancaster County, on the first three days of July in 1863, the fate of the war and Pennsylvania itself, would be fought by the two greatest armies of the war at Gettysburg.

From October of 1862 until the beginning of June 1863, the Army of Northern Virginia and the Army of the Potomac stared each other down along the banks of the Rappahannock River in Virginia. Twice the Northern army crossed the river in that time, only to be sent back across in defeat.

The first time, Union troops under Major Gen. Ambrose Everett Burnside, attacked on 13, December 1862 the city of Fredericksburg, Virginia and the heights beyond. After initial success by Union troops led by Pennsylvanian Gen. George Gordon Meade, Union men were butchered by the thousands late in the day by strongly protected Confederates at the foot of Mayre’s Heights. Wave after wave of attacking bluecoats were shot down by shell and shot until in the words of a Union soldier, who knowing that darkness would end the carnage, “wished that he could kick the sun out of the sky.”. The next day, the survivors would re-cross the field and the river that they had died getting over, and settled into dreary winter quarters.

Springtime saw the Army of the Potomac, now under the command of Major Gen. Joseph Hooker. Lincoln had relieved Burnside of command, but not after another Union ordeal in the “Mud March” of January and early February of 1863. On May 1-3, the Federal army was once again defeated, this time at the Battle of Chancellorsville, after their second crossing of the Rappahannock. Called by some, General Robert E. Lee’s greatest victory, the southern Army of Northern Virginia was divided and maneuvered by Lee and his famous lieutenant, General Thomas”Stonewall”Jackson, to another victory over the numerically superior Northern forces.

The victory would prove costly to Lee and his men with staggering casualties on both sides, draining the south of men that it could never replace in body and spirit. This included “Stonewall” Jackson being shot on the evening of the 2nd, accidentally by his own troops, and dying 10 days later of pneumonia, which developed after the amputation of his left arm. With his passing, Lee had lost his “right arm” of battle command.

Hooker took the Union Army back to the other side of the river and kept a wary eye on Lee, waiting to see what the Rebel army’s next move would be. After reorganizing his army, Lee set his troops in motion on June 3 for his second invasion of the North.4 Using the Shenandoah Mountains as their shield, the butternut and gray clad soldiers of the South marched their way north, away from the searching eyes of their counterparts clad in blue. Hooker’s orders from Washington were to keep his army between Lee’s forces and the Union capital, a watch for their inevitable turn East that would bring on battle once more.5

After weeks of marching and thrusts by Union cavalry, Lee’s objective of an invasion of Northern soil was apparent. But still not entirely known to the Northern forces was the whereabouts of his whole army and where they were headed. This brought about the proclamations by the Northern officials for the extra militia troops, who were slow in responding. In addition to this, President Lincoln and the War Department had created the Department of the Susquehanna, led by Pennsylvanian General Darius Couch6 to head up the defense of the Commonwealth.

Despite the fact that the Militia of 62' still had not been paid, the reluctance to serve the original length of time requested, and a kind of “Little Boy Who Cried Wolf” attitude among the populace, men from Lancaster soon began responding in droves to the call. The fact that at this time of year in the county, able-bodied men who were bringing in their ripened crops, left their fields for duty speaks well of them.

Colonel Ellen Franklin, commander of the 122nd Penna. Regiment who with his officers and men had returned home just one month ago, was summoned by Governor Curtin to organize the Lancaster defense forces.7

Rallying with the slogan “To the Susquehanna Boys,” Col. Franklin issued these orders;8
. Headquarters of Defenses of Lancaster County,

June 16, 1863.
General Orders No. 1
The citizens of the townships of Fulton, Little Britain, Colerain, Bart, Sadsbury, Eden,

Paradise, Salisbury, Drumore, Providence, Strasburg, Leacock Earl, Earl East, Earl West, shall rendezvous at Peach Bottom Ferry.

The citizens of the townships of Martic, Pequa, East and West Lampeter shall rendezvous at McCall’s Ferry.

The citizens of Conestoga and Lancaster townships shall rendezvous at Shenk’s ferry.

The citizens of Manor and Millersville shall rendezvous at Safe Harbor.

The citizens of Columbia Borough, East and West Hempfield, Manheim, Manheim Borough, Mount Joy Township and Borough, Warwick, Elizabeth and Rapho shall rendezvous at Columbia.

The citizens of Marietta, East and West Donegal, and Conoy shall rendezvous at Marietta.

The citizens of Caernarvon, Brecknock, East Cocalico, West Cocalico, Clay, Ephrata,

and Lancaster City shall rendezvous in Lancaster City.

Each citizen shall provide his own arms and ammunition until a sufficient supply of arms reaches this department, also his own rations for three days to be carried with him. Also entrenching tools, either an axe, shovel or pick.

Officers will be assigned to the command of the several points, and will give the necessary directions.

The line of the river from the Chester County line to York Furnace Bridge is placed under the command of Major Thaddeus Stevens, Jr. 122nd Penna. Volunteers.

The line of the river from York Furnace Bridge to the line of Columbia borough is placed under the command of Major R.W. Shenk, 135th Penna. Volunteers, headquarters at Safe Harbor.

Columbia Borough and the line of the river to Marietta is placed under the command Major Haldeman; headquarters, Columbia.

The line of the river from Marietta to the Dauphin County line is placed under the command of Lieutenant Johnson, Co. H, 135th Penna. Volunteers.

Citizens equipped and ordered as above are designed for the defense of the county, and may arrive at the place of rendezvous singly, in squads or companies, and report to the commanding officer of the line, who will report the same direct to the officer commanding defenses.

As the honor and safety of Lancaster County depends upon a prompt obedience to this order, the commanding officer trusts that it may be forth-with respected.

By command of

Emlen Franklin

Colonel Commanding Defenses of Lancaster County.

By the time these orders were issued, the advance troops of the southern army were already in Pennsylvania. For on Monday the 15th, Brig Gen. Alfred G. Jenkins and his brigade of Virginia cavalry splashed across the Potomac River and soon after occupied Greencastle and Chambersburg.9

General Couch telegraphed the War Department on the 16th, describing correctly the dispersal of Jenkins’ troopers in a triangular area from Chambersburg to Waynesboro to Hagerstown.10 Following close on Jenkins heels was Major General Richard S. Ewell and his Second Army Corps. Twelve thousand men and 16 pieces of artillery also crossed the Potomac on the 15th.11

The Union Army of the Potomac at this time was still playing catch up, marching north, but still in Virginia. First the threat, now the real presence of the invaders in the Keystone state began to seize the inhabitants with fear. Families carrying their valuables began to flee across the Susquehanna from the western counties of Franklin, Adams and York. Farmers drove their stock east, lest they be captured by the Rebels. The residents of Harrisburg began to empty the city, some fleeing to Philadelphia. The city soon began to fill up with the newly mustered militia forces who began a crash course on military regimens. Earthworks were constructed around the Capital and all-important state documents including works of art were spirited away to safe locations.

The Lancaster City Council on the 15th of June resolved to be offered “that a bounty of twenty dollars to each volunteer for six months and a committee of sustenance, to subsist troops while in the city of Lancaster or on the Susquehanna, be appointed.”12 The great bridge spanning the Susquehanna from Wrightsville on the York County side to the Lancaster County side at Columbia saw a steady stream of humanity cross over, escaping the invaders. Soon earthworks and defensive barriers were going up in defense of the bridge itself. General Couch in his official report stated ‘Col. E. Franklin, a citizen of Lancaster, had been placed in command of the fords and bridges on the lower Susquehanna, to Conowingo, in Maryland, Some of which were guarded by citizens partially armed with shot-guns.”13

At the Millersville State Normal School [now Millersville State University], Principle James P. Wickersham and 100 of his students took up arms and with Wickersham as their Captain marched to Wrightsville to defend /guard the bridge. They stayed there for a week until relieved

by a formal Pennsylvania Emergency Regimental force.14

The government of Lancaster City had now began to pack up its important papers in preparation of evacuation and many of the inhabitants of the city and nearby towns began to follow suit. Not all were going to flee though. Peter Reist, a farmer from Warwick, gave each of his farm hands ten dollars, and sent them to Lancaster to enlist. By the end of the day fifty more farmers traveled to Lancaster and enlisted into the defense force.15 The local papers were also continuing the call for more men. The Lancaster Examiner and Herald wrote.:

”..Men of Lancaster County, the invading vandals are approaching your borders. To ARMS to defend your homes and firesides.”.16

The time had come for the defense of the county. It would begin on the western shore of the Susquehanna.

On Friday, June 26, Brigadier General John B. Gordon and five thousand men of Major General Jubal Early’s Division of Ewell’s Corps reached Gettysburg and brushed aside all resistance on their way east toward the Susquehanna. By Saturday evening, Early’s men were camping on the outskirts of the city of York. That evening a local man was passed through the Confederate lines asking that he be allowed to inform York that tomorrow the Rebels would arrive there. He was allowed to do so with conditions along with his warning. At 10am the main Rebel column arrived in York with church bells ringing for morning service. The Confederates soon began to deploy for their taking of the bridge to Columbia. What little chance the hastily organized militia defending the bridge had against battle hardened veterans, was lessened by the fact that they possessed not a single piece of field artillery.

As the sun began to burn out of the sky, a new flame filled it. A plan to blow up one the sections of the bridge failed and as a last recourse the span was set on fire. As the last defenders scrambled across, a westerly breeze pushed the flames across the great wooden structure toward the Lancaster side. Attempts to extinguish the flames by both sides were futile. A reporter from the York Gazette wrote the next day:

“It was almost eight o’clock in the evening when the fire gained headway, and the scene was magnificent. Some of the arches remained stationary even when the timbers were all in flames, seeming like a fiery skeleton bridge whose reflections, were pictured in the water beneath. The moon was bright, and the blue clouds afforded the best contrast possible to the red glare of the conflagration. The light in the heavens must have been seen for many miles. Some of the timbers as they fell into the stream seemed to form themselves into rafts, which floated down like infernal ferry boats of the region of Dante . . . The remains of the bridge on Monday morning consists only of the piers which stretched themselves across the river like giant stepping stones.”17

The next day, thwarted in their plans to capture the bridge intact, and proceed across to the other side to Columbia, the Rebel troops left York on orders from General Lee to “rejoin the rest of the Corps on the western side of South Mountain.”18 The Southern forces in front of Harrisburg were also called back on the eve of their stab at the Pennsylvania Capital. Many of these men would never make it back to the other side of the mountain. The battle at Gettysburg was soon to begin. [For an in-depth examination of the actions, attack and defense of the Columbia-Wrightsville Bridge see Chapter 4.]

The northern Army of the Potomac had caught up with its enemy here in Pennsylvania. Now led by George Meade, [ Hooker had been replaced by Lincoln on June 28], the fight began in earnest on the morning of July 1. Even though Rebel infantry had gone through the town earlier in the week on its way to the Susquehanna, Meade and the Union army were not completely sure where the main body of Lee’s men were. Equally in the dark was Lee as to the whereabouts of the northern army. His ‘eyes and ears’ were the cavalry troopers of Maj. Gen J.E.B. Staurt. This formidable and feared force was at this time north and east of the mountain passes that the Confederate army was now going through. It may seem hard for us today to grasp the concept that 175,000 men and animals could avoid being seen by each other, separated by a low round mountain range and fifty or so fewer miles, but consider that little more than sixty years ago a Japanese task force would emerge off of Hawaii to attack Pearl Harbor undetected.19

While Meade prepared a plan of defense to be placed near Union Mills, Maryland [the Pipe Creek Line as it was called], Confederate infantry under Maj. Gen. Henry Heath were moving west along the Chambersburg Pike.20 Standing in his way in videttes on each little ridge leading to Gettysburg was Union cavalry led by Brig.Gen John Buford. Buford, a Kentuckian by birth, was accurately described by Col Theodore Lyman this way:

“ [Buford is] one of the best officers of [the Union Cavalry] and is a singular-looking party... a compactly built man of middle height, with a tawny mustache and a little triangular gray eye, whose expression is determined, not to say sinister. His ancient corduroys are tucked into a pair of ordinary cowhide boots and his blue blouse is ornamented with holes... notwithstanding this get-up, he is a very soldierly-looking man. He is of a good natured disposition but not to be trifled with."

Nor were his men to be trifled with this day. Holding their position along McPherson Ridge and Seminary Ridge west of town would prove critical for the Union army. The First Corps of the Army of the Potomac was hustling its way to meet the Rebel advance. These 11,350 infantrymen were led into battle by Lancaster’s greatest hero of the war, Maj. Gen John Fulton


After meeting with Buford, Reynold’s rode to the front directing his arriving troops into lines of battle. Looking over his shoulder, urging his men;“Forward men, Forward for Gods sake, and drive those fellows out of those woods.”22 Reynold’s was knocked from his big black horse. Hit behind his right ear, the general was dead within half an hour of his arrival on the field.

His death would have a profound effect on the army. Offered command of the entire army earlier in the month, Reynold’s had declined, not willing to deal with the politics of the job, for he was a soldier and a fighter. His men from top to bottom fully respected him as did his peers in high command. Meade relied on him in the difficult days after given the command that Reynold’s had turned down. 5500 others in the First Corps would be casualties in this battle with many sharing their commander’s fate, but none would be missed more than John Reynolds.

While Reynold’s men were fighting west of Gettysburg, the same Confederates who two days earlier had Lancaster as their objective, were advancing from the north to attack the town near present day Gettysburg college. The men of Gen. Richard Ewell’s Second Corps, led by John Gordon pushed the Union Eleventh Corps through town where they met the retreating men of the Union First Corps. At the end of this bloody day the surviving Union troops held the high ground of Cemetery Hill, Culps Hill and Cemetery Ridge to the south of town. All through the night, troops for both sides arrived for the battle that would continue tomorrow.

Back in Lancaster, news of the battle was received with great agitation. All knew that the result would decide the course which their own lives and the nation’s would be obliged to follow. James Wickersham’s boys from Millersville had disbanded after their service by the now smoking bridge was over. The inferno though had restoked their fires of patriotism and soon they reformed what would become the 47th Penna Emergency Regiment, the “Normal Guards”with 105 men and Wickersham as their Captain. Not to be outdone, students from Franklin and Marshall had also enlisted, as that the excitement had caused the university to “suspend studies” as of June 26.

Day Two of the battle saw the Confederates attack both ends of the Union line, but fail to break the strong Union positions. After much delay, the main Confederate attack began at around 4pm. Men on both sides fought as if their own individual actions would be responsible for the outcome. In the end their individual gallantry would in fact galvanize the result. As darkness descended, the fighting would ebb with the lines of the two armies in nearly the same positions as the day began.

The climax of the battle would be the great assault on the center of the Union line by Lee’s “invincible men”. The soldiers of Lee had known nothing but victory in the past months and felt, as did their leader, that they were invincible. The attack was proceeded by a great artillery cannonade. Beginning just past 1pm, 159 heavy guns opened fire on the Union troops defending Cemetery Ridge.23 In response, 150 Union cannon on the targeted ridge roared out. The noise of these instruments of death was the loudest man-made sound ever made till that time on the North American Continent. People in Lancaster and as faraway as Pittsburgh reported hearing it.

For two hours, the two sides dueled. The amount of smoke that lingered on this hot, nearly breeze less day, made even seeing a target impossible and the natural tendency of gunners to aim too high added up to the shells and balls fired not having their full, deadly effect on the other side. At three o’clock the cannon fire stopped, and an eerie silence, save for the moans of the wounded, fell over the field.

From out of the tree covered ridge a mile away, the men of the Union army watched in terrorized awe as thirteen thousand Confederates, the cream of southern manhood, emerged to form a perfect battle line. As their battle flags and sword waving officers led the mass of butternut and gray forward, Union cannons once more opened fire. With shell and cannister fire tearing huge gaps in the Rebel lines, the Southerners would close up their ranks and continue their relentless march onward. “ Pickett’s Charge”24 was aiming at the center of the Union line, behind a low stone wall that took a right, backward 90 degree jog and clustered near a large pile of scrub vegetation and young trees.

The awaiting defenders equaled the bravery of their attackers,and in less than an hour, the assault was over. General Lee met the returning survivors, telling them that “It will be alright, it is all my fault”. Across the bloody field the Northern men chanted Fredericksburg! Fredericksburg!,

remembering their comrades, butchered in front of that other stonewall seven months earlier. By nightfall the news of Union victory had spread to Lancaster, throughout the Commonwealth and to the country.

Not until the heavens opened up with a furious rain late in the afternoon of the next day , Saturday, the Fourth of July, did anyone know for sure that the battle was really over. The rain washed away the blood on the ground and rocks but could not wash away the horror that remained in the eyes and minds of those who were there. That evening Lee put his army in motion for the long, sad journey south. His wagon train of wounded stretched for 17 miles.

Showing skill and resourcefulness that was lacking during the battle itself, the Southern commanders were able to extradite their army from total annihilation finally crossing the rain swollen Potomac on the evening of July 15. The Union army again, as they were on the march up North, were behind the retreating Rebels in their movements.

Captain Wickersham and his 47th were part of this pursuit, arriving in Hagerstown, Maryland as the last of the Confederate troops were crossing the river. Soon after upon returning to Pennsylvania, they were sent upstate into the coal regions to help quell unrest among the miners of that region. Finally on the 19th of August, the boys from Millersville were mustered out and sent back to their studies. Others would not be so fortunate as to be able to return home and pick up their lives.

General John Reynolds arrived home on July 4, 1863, escorted by members of his staff and family members. His body was brought from up from Philadelphia by train, in one of the finest parlor cars of the Pennsylvania Railroad. Five thousand people met the train at the old Chestnut Street station at around noon. The general’s body was drawn through the black draped streets to Lancaster Cemetery where he was laid to rest, dressed in his bloodstained uniform, with the words of the Rev. Walter Powell;

It is with propriety, my friends, that we mourn with those who mourn here to-day. He who died in the defense of our homes

deserves more then a friendly funeral respect, the common decency of such occasions. The sacrifice he made of himself commands us to forget that we are not brothers and sisters by the affinities of blood. Our mourning should be, and is, of the sincerity which swells up the kindred hearts. We shall not allow him to be called theirs alone who base their claim on family ties.

He was a nation's son, and all the people shall mourn him as their loss.

Today is the anniversary of the Declaration of American Independence. What a day for a military hero to be buried on ! I cannot refrain from a reflection upon such a conjecture. It recalls to me the unity that was then felt, and professed. Alas ! that it should now be necessary to make such sacrifices to preserve it. But it is some consolation to know that the spirit which actuated our fathers is not yet wholly dead, and that there are those ready to fight and die for the integrity of our nation. To-day we are asserting against a domestic, what we then asserted against a foreign foe. And the funeral pageants of our fallen braves are the periods to the style of our Declaration. We breathe and reflect at them, only to grow more stern in our voice.

But we must restrain our words. It were fondness to linger longer at his open grave. The work is not yet wholly done in which he so gloriously died. Take up his fallen sword and go forth. Leave him to his quiet resting-place. May the dust lie lightly upon his coffin and when the grass shall again start above him, may the tears of affection and love keep it ever green.25

The scene of family and friends burying their loved ones lost in service to their country would be repeated over and over. On the same day as the Express reported on the burial of Gen. Reynolds, the Examiner and Herald reported;

Killed by Lightning,--Emanuel Erb, son of Jacob Erb of West Earl twp., enlisted in a company and went to Harrisburg on Friday. On the evening of the same day, while lying in a tent at Harrisburg, he was struck with lightning and instantly killed. Two young men from the same neighborhood were lying, one on each side of him, and both were injured by the shock, but not dangerously. The body of the deceased was sent to his father’s residence and buried Monday.”26

On July 1, Lancaster men in Company C, 17th Pa Cavalry were at the far right of Buford’s defensive line. These men of the ”Ephrata Mountain Cavalry” also helped to cover the Union Eleventh Corps’ retreat.

Company E of the 107th P.V.I,, led by Capt. Emanual D. Roath,, also played a large part in keeping the Confederates from advancing before the rest of the Union army was able to arrive on the field that first day. Taking heavy casualties they would again be asked to repel the Rebels of “Picketts Charge” on the third day of the battle.

Lancaster men also served in the 30th, 31st and 34th Penna [1st,2nd,5th Reserves], at Gettysburg, seeing action on July 2nd and at the base of both Little Roundtop and Big Roundtop. On the Third, these men would be part of the famous counter-charge by the Reserves led by Col.William McCandless, capturing a gun, two caissons and three hundred prisoners and flag of the Fifteenth Georgia.27

Troopers in Company D of the 2nd Pa. Cavalry served as orderlies and messengers throughout the battle. Afterward the regiment was put in charge of escorting 3000 prisoners to Westminster, Md.28

Companies G and K of the 73rd P.V.I. saw severe fighting on Cemetery Hill the evening of July 2nd. The desperate defense of the batteries perched on the high ground there against the “Louisiana Tigers” was a key to holding the most important spot on the whole battlefield.

The men of the 99th P.V.I. stood atop the ridge by “ Devils Den” on the second day of the battle. Placed there to plug a gap at the far left of the Union Third Corps, between Captain William Smith’s Fourth New York Independent Battery and the 124th New York Volunteer Infantry, they saw perhaps the fiercest fighting of all the Lancaster men serving during the battle.

Commanded by Major John William Moore29 of Philadelphia, Company B of the 99th, with 37 men, led by Capt. Peter Fritz, who succeeded in command after Moore went down, suffered 11 casualties.

Company D of the 99th, commanded by Captain Washington M.. Worrall, entered the fray with 35 men and suffered 13 casualties. Among the dead was Private Reinhart Moganstein from Lancaster City. Shot in the hip, he would linger until July 15. When death finally came, he was buried in Micheal Fiscel’s clover field at Gettysburg.30 Other Lancaster men in the 99th, who were casualties in the battle were John Bearo, killed, Sargent John Windler, Privates Andrew Getts, William Heisler and Edward Miller all wounded.31 After the fighting was over on the second day, the regiment would be placed in the second line of defense, behind “The Angle” on day three. The survivors of the regiment would then be part of the pursuit of Lee’s forces till their crossing of the Potomac.

The fighting had ended, but the suffering would not. The Patriot Daughters of Lancaster would within days, go to Gettysburg to administer aid and comfort to men of both sides for weeks to come.32 The heavy rains that fell after the battle made the now bridge less crossing of the Susquehanna a chore. The swollen river was making ferrying of people and goods a risky

business. Still, somehow, the people and livestock that had fled in the face of the invaders, to the perceived safety of Lancaster, made it back across to the western counties. Much needed goods, medicine, doctors, nurses, food all came from Lancaster to help ease the suffering.

Also among the throng that soon descended on the battlefield and environs were the ghouls, the sightseers and profiteers all adding to the ghastly scene. The provost guard were the busiest group, except for the burial details. There had been approximately 51,00 casualties inflicted over the three days of battle [killed, wounded or missing]. Over 7000 men on both sides were killed outright on the battlefield. Shortly thereafter 3000 more men died of their wounds.

The number of wounded left behind by the two armies was 20,342 with 6,739 of these being Confederates. Added to the macabre arithmetic was 3,00 dead horses. All of this was left in a town whose population before the battle numbered little more than 2,400.33

Lancaster itself could have been the site of this devastation had the gods of war so chosen.

Confederate General Early in his official report stated his disappointment at the way things had gone at the Columbia-Wrightsville bridge;
“I regretted very much the failure to secure this bridge, as, finding the defenseless condition of the country generally, and the little obstacle likely to be afforded by the militia to, our progress, I had determined, if I could get possession of the Columbia Bridge, to cross my division over the Susquehanna, and cut the Pennsylvania Central Railroad, march upon Lancaster, lay that town under contribution, and then attack Harrisburg in the rear while it should be attacked in front by the rest of the corps, relying, in the worst contingency that might happen upon being able to mount in division from the immense number of horses that had been run across the river, and then move to the west, destroying the railroads and canals, and returning back again to a place of safety. This project, however, was entirely thwarted by the destruction of the bridge, as the river was otherwise impassable, being very wide and deep at this point.”34
In a unique way the “defenseless” militia men that General had referred to, had in fact defended their hearths and homes, which had been their only goal anyhow.

In November, many folks from Lancaster would travel to Gettysburg to hear President Lincoln deliver a few appropriate remarks, as his invitation had asked. His words there, would give the conflict a new direction, as did all who fought and died there. The war and all of its horrors had truly come to the shoreline and the doorsteps of Lancaster County.


Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this

continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the

proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in

a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so

conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great

battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of

that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their

lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and

proper that we should do this. But in a larger sense, we cannot

dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground.

The brave men, living and dead who struggled here have consecrated

it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will

little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never

forget what they did here. It is for us the living rather to be

dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here

have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here

dedicated to the great task remaining before us--that from these

honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which

they gave the last full measure of devotion--that we here highly

resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this

nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that

government of the people, by the people, for the people shall

not perish from the earth.
Abraham Lincoln November 19, 1863

1 1Lancaster, Intelligencer. June 30,1863

2 2Lancaster, Examiner and Herald. June 17, 1863

3 350,00 from Pennsylvania, 30,00 from Ohio, 10,00 each from Maryland and West Virginia.

4 4. Lee’s first campaign had ended 9 months earlier with the battle of Antietam in Maryland on 17, September 1862. A bloody climax to a plan to bring the war to Northern soil, the call to arms had went up to the Union states that were most threatened. This included Pennsylvania, who responded to the call with Emergency forces to stem the threat. The fact that Confederates never got beyond Maryland in this campaign and the many rumors of impending invasion by the Rebels following the defeats of the Northern Army at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville was one of the major factors for the apathy of the populace right up until the Confederates were in the backyards of the citizenry of Pennsylvania in June of 1863.

5 5 At this time along the Mississippi River at Vicksburg, Miss., U.S. Grant was laying siege to the city whose surrender on July the Fourth would seal the inevitable defeat to the South.

6 6Couch had resigned as commander of the Army of the Potomac’s II Corps because of his disgust at the way the army had been handled at Chancellorsville by Joe Hooker.

7 7The officers and men of the late 122nd would form in essence the 50th Regiment 63" Penna. Militia with Col. Franklin commanding and Thaddeus Stevens Jr. as Lt. Colonel.

8 8Heisey, Luther M., “Lancaster in the Gettysburg CampaignLancaster County Historical Society [JOURNAL of the Lancaster County Historical Society], Vol. 43, # 2, 1939. p.59-60

9 9Bates, Samuel P., Martial Deeds of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia, Pa.: T.H. Davis, 1876.


0 10Nye, Wilber S. Here Come the Rebels. Dayton, Ohio, Morningside Press: 1988 [reprint] p.146

1 11Bates, Martial Deeds of Pennsylvania. p.171

2 12Ellis, Franklin. Evans, Samuel. History of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania: with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men. Philadelphia, Pa.: Everts & Peck, 1883. p.86

3 13War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. 130 vols. Washington D.C.: 1880-1901 SERIES I-VOLUME XXVII/2 [S#44] [Further referred to as O.R.]

4 14The 27th Pennsylvania Emergency Infantry under the command of Col. Jacob Frick.

5 15Heisey, Luther M., “Lancaster in the Gettysburg Campaign”. p.62

6 16Lancaster Examiner & Herald. , June 30,1863

7 17York Gazette., June 29, 1863

8 18O.R..VOLUME. XXVII/2. [S#44] p.466

9 19Some historians may dispute the Japanese as undetected, but it was a surprise attack none the less.

0 20Present day Route 30 or the “Lincoln Highway”.

1 21For a Biography of Reynolds see Chapter 9.

2 22Letter from Charles H. Veil to David McConaughy, narrating the death of Maj. General Reynolds, April 11th, 1864. [Lancaster County Historical Society MG.17, Folder #5 Box 1

3 23Coddington, Edwin A, The Gettysburg Campaign: A Study in Command. New York, N.Y.: Charles Scribners and Sons, 1968. p.462

4 24Perhaps more correctly called the “Pickett-Pettigrew-Trimble Assault”, naming all of the Confederate Division commanders spearheading the attack. Or also “Longstreet’s Assault” named for Maj. Gen. James Longstreet whose First Corps, Army of Northern Virginia, these Divisions were assigned to.

5 25Lancaster, Daily Express., July 8, 1863.

6 26Lancaster, Examiner and Herald., July 8, 1863

7 27Bates, Samuel P., History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers 1861-1865. Harrisburg, Pa.: Singerly, 1870. Vol. 1 p.558

8 28Rollins, Richard. and Schultz, Dave. Guide to Pennsylvania Troops at Gettysburg. Redondo Beach, Ca.: Rank and File Publications, 1996. p.163

9 29Wounded early in the fight, Moore would later be promoted to Colonel of the 203rd P.V.I., [which consisted of five companies of men from Lancaster], in September 1864. He would die leading these men on the second assault of Fort Fisher, North Carolina on January 15, 1865.

0 30Busey John W., These Honored Dead, The Union Casualties at Gettysburg. Hightstown, New Jersey: Longstreet House, 1996 p.270

1 31Casualty report in the Lancaster Daily Express, July 9, 1863

2 32Their story, of their time at Gettysburg is wonderfully told in ‘Hospital Scenes after The Battle of Gettysburg’ July, 1863 by The Patriot Daughters of Lancaster.

3 33Coco, Gregory A. A Strange and Blighted Land, Gettysburg: The Aftermath of Battle. Gettysburg, Pa.: Thomas Publications, 1995. p. 3, 150-153

4 34O.R. -Series 1 - VOLUME XXVII/2 [S#44 pg.467]


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