John Gibson.

History of York County Pennsylvania From the Earliest Time to the Present online

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portation. The directors did not relish the
idea of leaving so much money to fill the
pockets of the invaders. As there was no
time for consideration, the whole quantity
was put into an immense carpet bag, and
thus carried to Philadelphia in safety. All
persons having private boxes and valuable
deposits of silverware, or other articles, were
notified to take them away, as the bank offi-
cers could not assume the responsibility of
removing them.^ There was a large tin box
unclaimed. As it could not be identified,
and was too heavy to take, it was left in the
safe. Some months afterward a prominent
citizen of York called for his box. After a
long search it was found hidden away, and
proved to be the one left. It contained gov-
ernment bonds to the value of many thou-
sands, and a large amount of gold and silver
coin. It would have well paid Gen. Early
if he had taken a fancy to inspect the inte-
rior of the bank. • The banking house of
Weiser Sons & Carl was taken to Easton by
Charles Weiser, Jr., who reached there too
late at night to deposit in any of the banks ;
the hotel safes being packed with valuables
from the refugees, he was compelled to watch
his precious load all night in his bed cham-
ber. It is impossible at the present day,
with almost hourly trains, and perfect facili-
ties for safe conveyance and travel, to realize
the obstacles in the way of the hurried re-
moval of so much treasure in cars crowded
with an excited multitude fleeing from dan-
ger, fiill the banks resumed business on the
8d of -July, but the securities remained in
Philadelphia some months. The second re-
moval of the bank ti-easures occurred just
before the burning of Chambersburg. The
deposits were then taken to Reading. The
postoffice was taken to Lancaster on the even-
ing of the 27th, as the situation hourly be-
came more threatening.^ Mr. Alexander Frey,
the postmaster, ordered everything to be
packed ready for instant removal, but con-
tinued the distribution of the mails as they
came in. About 5 P. M., as he was shutting
up the office, some one came to him in great
excitement, and told him the Confederates
had reached Bottstown Gate, Maj. Haller's
command in their retreat being taken for
them, when they first appeared at the edge of
the town. Mr. Frey went out into the street,
and saw the mounted troops, which were re-
ported to be the enemy's advance, There
was no available means of transportation ;
he ran to the express office. The wagon was

standing there with the horse in the shafts.
He could see nothing oC the agent, Mr. Rus-
sell, and without waiting for consent, took
possession of the wagon, loaded itp his mail-
bags, and drove in great haste in the direc-
tion of the Columbia Pike. Mr. Russell soon
came back to move his valuables, but could
find no trace of his wagon. Hearing from
a bystander of its seizure he hurried after,
and overtook it below Freystown. Fortu-
nately for the mail-bags, Mr. John H. Small
was driving toward town with Mr. David E.
Small. Mr. Frey pressed them mto the ser-
vice, and Mr. Small gave up his wagon and
both gentlemen went to Lancaster with Mr.
Frey. Mr. Frey had requested Mr. Kauflf-
man, who was in the postoffice, to remain,
and, if possible, bring up the business to the
end of the quarter, but on Sunday, finding
that no mails were permitted to come in, Mr,
Kauffiuan was advised to leave. He walked
to Lancaster, and joined Mr. Frey that even-
ing. 'Previous to this date, the situation
grew daily more threatening. Many persons
sent away their plate and jewelry. On the-
26th and 27th, a large proportion of the
horses and stock were put beyond reach.
When Gen. Gordon's command was really ap-
proaching, we had become so accustomed to-
the rumor, "The Rebels are coming," that
we hardly credited the oft-told tale, until
positive proofs wore brought in by our scouts,
who reported the advance force but a few
miles from town, i Mr. Arthur B. Farquhar
started immediately and succeeded in getting
through the lines. I here insert his letter in
part :

On Saturday morning, June 27, 1863, the excite-
ment had increased. Rumors were rife of the
immediate invasion of the rebel troops. I proposed
to Mr. Samuel Small and others that a representa-
tive should be sent out to meet the invaders and
learn their purposes, and arrange terms, as we had
no means of defense. One of the Committee of
Safely asked, "Who would bell the cat?" referring,.
I suppose, to the old fable, and a celebrated remark
of one of the Douglasses. As I was familiar with
the country, having driven over it several times,
and believed that several of my old schoolmates,
were in the rebel army, I undertook the mission;
reached the advance guard of Gordon's brigade at
Abbottstown; obtained an introduction to Gen.
Gordon, and secured, in writing, an outline of
terms of occupation, in substance that no private
property should be destroyed, that the ladies should
be respected (to use Gen. Gordon's own words, " the
slightest indignity offered to any of our ladies
would be punished with immediate death)," and if
the army was supported and supplied with provis-
ions and clothes, private property would be re-
spected. Securing Gen. Gordon's signature lo this
written agreement, and having it verbally approved
by Gen. Early, I obtained the password and re-
turned, running the gauntlet of the pickets, who
had orders, it appears, not to pass me. Upon my
arrival in town I reported to Maj. Haller and the
Committee of Safety at Small's store, and it wa.3


•decided (wisely, I think, now) to send a committee
•out to complete terms of occupation. This delega-
tion was composed of our Chief Burgess: Mr. David
Small, William Latimer Small, Gen. Hay, Thomas
White and myself. We found the troops had fallen
back two miles from where I passed the pickets,
deciding to encamp there for the ni^ht, it appears,
although when I left them they anticipated reach-
ing town that evening, and our committee expected
to meet them near town. We found Gen. Gordon
in bed at his headquarters, a little farmhouse at the
side of the road, and. after a full talk, in which he
reiterated what he had promised me, repeated his
assurances about the protection of property in case
the army was maintained; promised again particu-
larly that none of our people should suffer the
slightest indignity under any circumstances, the
thing I was most particular about, and gave us per-
mission to return to town. They kept faith in the
main, but insisted upon the army being paid, as
well as clothed while with us, and in greenbacks
instead of Confederate currency, as we would have
preferred. Private property was not molested, nor
"was there any disorder. Gens.. Gordon and Early
made it a condition upon protecting our factorie"s
and other property that we were not'manufacturing
for the government. I assured them of this, but,
finding that some cars were being made to be used
by the army, although not made directly for the
government, we had hard work to save the shops.
Yours very truly, A. B. Farqchae.

These gentlemen weat by order of the
Committee of Safety, which was composed
of fifteen of the most prominent members of
the community — Gen. Hay carried the white
flag of truce. Some persons had left town, but
the greater part of the inhabiiants remained
calmly awaiting whatever might come to them
in the fortnnes of war. It was a brilliant
June night when the committee rettirned
with Gen. Gordon's assurances of safety,
providing his commands were not molested,
.and no resistance was made to the occupation
of the town. Inasmuch as we were utterly
without means of defense, there was not
much danger of opposition. Morning dawned
■clear and beautiful. A Sabbath stillness
reigned over the ancient borough. ' At the
usual hour for worship, the bells rang out
the call to service, the streets were filled with
the church-going people, when they were
suddenly startled by a furious rider dashing
through Main Street, shouting, "The rebels
•are at Bottstown Gate. " He vanished down
the pike to carry the news to Wrightsville
and Columbia, and a moment after, on the
•distant hills, a line of glittering bayonets
flashed in the morning sun, and the superbly j
mounted cavalry of Gen. Gordon rode rajD- !
idly into town and halted in Centre Square
under the flag which boldly proclaimed a loyal
community. .. As they were ajsproaching, Mr.
John Evans, who lived af the corner of Cen-
tre Square, implored the citizens to take
down the flag. In a voice choked with emo-
tion the venerable old gentleman said, "Is it
possible I have lived to this day to see the

flag torn down and trampled in the dirt ?"
A number of citizens gathered around, and
joined with him, urging that we were an
overpowered town, and our flag would be
taken away. A gentleman standing by said,
"Let them take the flag and I will replace
it," (which was done by him, and within a
month a superb new flag floated in the breeze
never again to be lowered by a disloyal
hand). '' It was quickly seized by a Confeder-
ate officer and born away in triumph as a
trophy of a defenseless town. Gen. Gordon
and his escort continued their advance to
Wrightsville. Gen. Early followed the ad-
vance immediately into town with the flower
of the Confederate Array. As the streets filled
with his forces, we fitlly realized that we
had not fallen into the hands of a demoral-
ized horde of starving hirelings, but a disci-
plined army with nerve, vigor and brain, fully
equal to the emergencies of wai'. They had
indeed made a field night of it, and had fort-
ified the surrounding hills, thus placing the
town entirely at their mercy, under the tire
of their guns. ^\ hat might we not fear from
these desperate men, smarting with memories
of distant, desolate homes and ruined vil-
lages, and fired by the energy of despair in
this last supreme effort to assert their inde-
pendence. At a signal the infantry threw
themselves down on the pavement, resting
their heads on their knapsacks. After a
brief rest they were assigned to stations in
difi'erent parts of the town. A large force
occupied the hospital barracks.^'

The arms that were left there were broken
by the order of Dr. Palmer. One lot of very
fine rifles had been loaded on wagons for re-
moval to a place of concealment. While the
men were dragging them away (there were
no horses on this side of the river) Gen.
Gordon's advance entered town. The wag-
ons were hastily run down the hill to an out-
house, where they remained untouched until
after the departure of the Confederate troops.
Gen. Early assumed military command. He
looked like a plain, comitry farmer in his
worn and dusty military undress and felt
hat, with broad, flapping rim shading his
i rugged face. He greeted the bystanders in
j a bluff, off-hand manner, but his keen, black
j ej'es, peering from under the shaggy brows,
took in every detail of the situation. He
was much impressed with the evidences of
thrift and prosperity in the beautifully built
borough with its clean, regular streets shaded
with trees, and with the comfortable well-to-
do air of the citizens, and expressed gi'eat
surprise at the crowds of ladies in their hand -
: some costumes hurrying home from the




churches. He at once decided that such a
community could well afford to pay a good
round sum for their personal safety, and the
preservation of their homes and public build-
ings. Accompanied by his staff, he went di-
rectly to the house of the chief burgess,
who courteously invited him in. Gen. Ear-
ly went in without his escort, and had an
amicable conference with Mr. Small. He
asked for §100,000 in money. Mr. Small
told him that the banks had been removed.
and that it would be impossible to obtain
sQch a large sum of money. ''What," said
he, "in such a rich country as this these
people ruust have laid by immense sums. I
am sure you can lind it hoarded up in the
farmers' canvas bags and housewives' stock-
ings." "But," remonstrated the burgess,
"these hard-working people have not earned
their money to give it to you." Early de-
clared in his proverbially forcible language,
that he must and would have it. An hour
was fixed upon for a meeting of the citizens
to settle terms with him. "While Gen. Early
was taking some refreshments, some one in
the crowd outside dropped a pistol. He
started to his feet in an excited manner,
thinking an attack upon his escort had com-

At the appointed hour a meeting took place
at the court house. The Committee of Safety
and many influential citizens gathered there
to confer with Gen. Early, who made his
demands upon the authorities of the town
with threats, and said: ''I am in the enemy's
country, and my men must be fed and clothed.
I know the things which I have demanded
are here. I know where they are, if you do
not supply them, I must and shall take
them." There was no alternative, we were
utterly in his power, and the authorities
were forced to comply with his requisitions.
Refusal and remonstrance were alike impos-
sible, under the circumstances. He was
clothed with the full power of a military dic-
tator, which he promised to administer in
good faith if he was met in like manner, but
woe be unto the community, if any other line
of action were attempted.

Guards were stationed in different portions
of the town to protect property. A sentinel
was placed before the door of our house,
pacing his beat with ceaseless step, occasion-
ally halting to rest against a tree. I tried
to learn the reason for this patrol. His
reply was : " I must obey orders." I offei-ed
him food as the day wore on, and he contin-
ued his measui-ed tread. He civilly replied:
"I thank you madam, we are not allowed to
accept anything." I learned subsequently

he was stationed to prevent the escape of
Dr. Roland, who was in the United States
Army service, as well as for the protection
of the house. Hour after hour passed. Save
the tread of sentinels and march of troops the
town was hushed in silence. We knew not
how soon might come a signal to unleash the
dogs of war in our midst, and give our homes
a prey to the invader; although Gen. Early
had ordered the saloons and beer shops to be
closed, and the soldiers were forbidden to
encroach upon private dwellings, we feared
an outbreak. The discipline, self-control
and endurance of the troops were marvelous.
All that long, hot day they stood at their
posts, starving in the midst of plenty, with-
out even a cup of cold water, until the demand
for supplies had been tilled, and flour and
beef carried to the headquarters. At night the
men were summoned to the first hot cooked
meal of bread and meat they had eaten for
many a day. Flour was furnished by the
firm of P. A. & S. Small. On Sunday after-
noon much excitement was occasioned at the
sight of Samuel Small, Jr., riding through
the street, escorted by Maj. Snodgrass,
quartermaster of the Confederates, and the
colonel of a Louisiana regiment. Gen. Early
ordered the firm to send one of their mem-
bers to the mills, which were guarded by
their employees, to see the flour delivered.
The following morning reports came to town
that the mills had been sacked and the flour
thrown into the run, and great damage com-
mitted. Mr. Small went to Gen. Early, who
ordered him to go and look after his property.
He naturally objected to a journey of several
miles through a country occupied by an
enemy's forces. Gen. Early said, "You must
go, but I will give you a pass.'' The pass
read as follows:

Permit Samuel Small, .Jr., to pass to LoucUs and
Codorus to prociu-e flour for the C. S. A..
By order of Maj. Gen. Early.

W. G. Galloway, A. D. C.

Mr. Small had secreted a horse for a pos-
sible ernergency, in the old stable behind the
drug store of Charles A. Morris. He, there
fore had the satisfaction of riding his own
horse to the mills. He found the story a
canard. The mills were safe, and nothing
disturbed. On the way he had continital
offers to swap horses, and was frequently
stopped and his right of way challenged, but
the pass from Gen. Early was all powerful.
A countryman came in on Sunday evening,
and reported that his mules had been taken.
He was referred to one of the officers, a cap-
tain in the regiment, to whom he made his
complaint. "How many did you lose?" was


the inquiry. "Two." "Two mules! what
an etample of the patriotism of these North
ern heroes! I have staked everything on this
issue, houses, lands, negroes, money, every-
thing I have in this world, and you complain
of two mules," said he, with pathetic irony.
"Go to the court house and tell your wrongs
to Gen. Early. I think you can get your
mules." They were restored to him at once.
They expressed great surprise at the thickly
inhabited country and numbers of men.
One of the officers approached a party of
young men and said, " What are you doing
here, why are you not in the service? are you
disabled?" "Oh, no," said one jokingly, "we
are not needed yet. our services have not
been called for. "

The long day, so full of anxious fears,
ended at' last, but there was not much sleep
that night. On Monday Gen. Early sent
for the president judge of the district, and
made a demand for the keys of the offices of
the court house. Judge Fisher asked why
he wanted them. He replied that he in-
tended to destroy the records. When asked
the reason for the barbarous intention, he
said, the Union soldiers had burned Fairfax
court house, with all the deeds and archives
of the county, and now was the time for
retaliation. After an earnest appeal to his
sense of honor and justice in an unresisting,
helpless community, he consented to at least
defer the work of destruction, and inquired
if there was not some property there that
was contraband of war. He was informed
that there was a large lot of cigars. "Ah,"
said he, " that is good, let us have them.
Where were they made?" When told
they were York County cigars, he shrugged
his shoulders, and drily said, " I think we
won't rob you of them." The day dragged
along and we were still at the mercy of our
captors. The town was disturbed by fright-
ful rumors. Now it was said that orders
had been issued to cut otf the water pipes,
and fire the town; then, that the soldiers had
rebelled and were about to sack the town.
Some amusing incidents occurred in the
dealings with the shopkeepers. One old
gentleman, who kept a clothing store, had
concealed most of his stock, and declared he
had nothing to sell, but was tempted by a
liberal offer in gold, for some shirts, from a
Confederate officer, who went back to the
quarters, and reported where shirts could be
obtained. A posse of " Louisiana Tigers"
went and asked for shirts. When the old
gentleman refused to sell, they got into his
store to search for themselves. In addition
to clothing, he kept a small supply of fine

old whisky, and other choice liquors, which
the boys discovered in their search for the
shirts. He objected to giving them any,
and they tui-ned him out, and locked the
door, and indulged in a royal spree. A great
crowd gathered round his premises to dis-
cover the cause of the disturbance, which
doubtless gave rise to the report that a loot
had commenced. At one place several men
bought a large quantity of goods, selecting
the best of the stock, assuring the owner
that they would pay for evei-y thing they had
selected. They asked for an item bill to be
made out and receipted, and paid the amount
in Confederate notes, which were received
with a rueful countenance, nothwithstanding
the assurances of the officers in charge of
the men, that the da.y would come, when he
would be glad to have some Confederate
money in his hands. They usually paid for
all articles for private use, in greenbacks,
but everything purchased for army use was
paid in their own currency.

The portable machinery of the car-shops,
and the rolling stock of the railway were
taken to Columbia on Friday, the '26th. Fred.
Scott, who had charge of the shops, railroad
machinery and rolling stock at the station,
hid the tools, with a large quantity of oil
and some other property, which could not be
moved for want of time, and means of trans-
portation, in a pile of cinders and a sewer
trench, which had just been dug. The Con-
federates took possession of his office, but
did not do any damage. They seized a
Union flag, which he always kept there, but
finally returned it to him uninjm-ed. He
still shows it as a reminder of the days
when he was a subject of Jeff. Davis.

On Monday afternoon it was reported
that the car-shops and buildings at the rail-
road station were about to be fired. A panic
ensued in the neighborhood. The people
filled casks and tubs with water and began
to remove their furniture. As the posse of
Early's men marched down street, women
and children were crying and begging for
help to save their property. Gen. Early had
gone to the station to examine the location of
the two car-factories, and the railroad depot,
and ascertain if they could be burned with-
out burning private houses. He took the
chief bm-gess with him and directed him to
have his tire engines on the spot to prevent
the fire from spreading if he decided to
burn the two factories, etc. His requisition
upon the town had been" complied with, ex
cept of the demand for SI0O,000 in money,
only 8'2S,000 had been 'paid to the Confed-
erate quartermaster. Gen. Early says,


after examining the locality, "I was satisfied
that neither the car-factories, nor the depot,
could be burned without setting tire to a
number of houses near them, some of which
were of wood, and I determined not to burn,
but thought I would make a further efi'ort to
get the balance of the $100,000. so I took a
seat in the railroad depot, which was tilled
with a large number of boxes containing
goods, that had never been opened, and said
to the mayor. • If you will pav me the
balance of the §100,000, I have called for. 1
will save these car-factories and depot.' He
replied, " General. I would do so very will-
ingly, but the fact is, I have raised all the
money I could raise in town, and a good
(leal of it has been contributed in small
sums. I don't know any man in town who has
more than one dollar.' During this con-
versation a messenger from Gen. Ewell
brought a dispatch ordering me to retrace my
steps and join Gen. Lee. I then took the
mayor to one side, and told him I had deter-
mined not to burn as I was satisfied it would
endanger the safety of a considerable por-
tion of the town. York could not have
raised the money, if T had prolonged my
visit and staid there several days."

The soldiers made a bonfire of some old
cars which had been used for government
transportation. After receiving his dispatch
from Gen. Ewell, Gen. Early rode hastily
away, and it was evident that some impor-
tant news had been brought him. During
the night the constant rumbling of the heavy
artillery wheels, and hunied march of the
soldiery, proved that they were changing
their position. About 6 A. M. on Tuesday
morning Gen. Gordon and his staff passed
through in great haste.

"We were rejoiced to once more see our
streets free from hostile soldiery, and to
breathe the air of freedom. But we were
left in entire ignorance of the movements of
either army. It was rumored that the Con-
federates had met the Union Army, and that
a battle was then being fought in the imme-
diate neighborhood. We lived in an isolated
world. Wo had no means of communication
beyond the limits of the town. For three
days and nights we listened with strained
ears and beating hearts to the constant roar
of artillery, which told of the terrible con-
flict raging between the armies. Beyond
this we knew nothing; unofficial reports
reached our ears from time to time, and it
was rumored that the victorious enemy were
returning on their ti'ack to lay waste and
plunder the fertile fields and fair homesteads
that lay in their way

On Friday night we heard of our glorious
victory, and that the invaders were retreating
across the Potomac in discordant haste. On
Saturday the glad tidings were confirmed, but
with the contirmatioa came the horrible story
of suffering and destitution among the
wounded men of both armies lying in the
field hospitals at Gettysburg, accompanied
with an urgent appeal for help. The entire
community began to prepare and pack sup-

Online LibraryJohn GibsonHistory of York County Pennsylvania From the Earliest Time to the Present → online text (page 44 of 218)