York in York County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
“Men who don't often weep wept then”
Prelude to Gettysburg
Faced with the impossible task of defending an essentially unarmed city against the six thousand battle hardened troops of General Jubal Early, the citizens of York met with the Confederates and negotiated surrender, in and act which was controversial then and remains so today. On June 28th, Confederate General John Brown Gordon' brigade (whose soldiers said their commander's oratory could make them "storm hell" and "put fight into a whipped chicken,") lowered the town's Union flag. Cassandra Small, the 34 year old daughter of a prominent York businessman, wrote in a letter concerning the town's occupation that "men who don't often weep wept then."
York the town that had once served as the de facto capital of the nation during the American Revolutionary War, was not the prize of the Confederacy. Elsewhere in York County, Confederate troops led by General J.E.B. Stuart encountered Union forces at Hanover. General George Armstrong Custer, the "boy general," helped stop the Confederate advance there and delayed four thousand troops headed for Gettysburg, a force some think could have changed the outcome of the battle, and perhaps the war.
One of the great debates of our country's history and legacy is what scholars call "the two civil wars": the first a matter of campaigns, generals and
Regardless, Gettysburg was the site of the largest battle ever fought on American soil and it involved a great deal of resources of one single famous town.
In six counties near Gettysburg, civilians and militia answered the first call to arms and bravely endured relentless threats and the destruction of their property. Here, women raised funds to support the war and nursed tens of thousands of wounded soldiers left behind from the battles fought in the orchards and fields. Interestingly, part of the battle was owned by Freeman, Abraham Brien. Although a number of Gettysburg area black man joined to volunteer militias or USCT regiments during the war, no black veteran was interred in Soldiers' National Cemetery until 1884. Still, free men and freed men enlisted to fight for their own rights, and children sacrificed their security, sometimes their lives. Their combined efforts provided the turning point for the Union cause.
Erected 2009 by Civil War Trails.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Pennsylvania Civil War Trails marker series.
Location. 39° 57.761′ N, 76° 43.607′ W. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 28 East Market Street, York PA 17401, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The First National Thanksgiving (a few steps from this marker); The First Court House of York County (within shouting distance of this marker); Provincial Courthouse (within shouting distance of this marker); McClean House (within shouting distance of this marker); York surrenders to save city (within shouting distance of this marker); Articles of Confederation (within shouting distance of this marker); Continental Treasury (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Underground Railroad and Precursors to War (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in York.
More about this marker. The back of this marker is the standard "Prelude to Gettysburg" marker panel seen on many Pennsylvania Civil War Trails markers.
Also see . . . Custer's Wolverines Visit York. Just before the battle of Gettysburg, Custer's Brigade passed through York County, as detailed here by historian Scott Mingus. (Submitted on October 5, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
Categories. • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 18, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 30, 2009, by Henry T. McLin of Hanover, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 1,442 times since then and 33 times this year. Last updated on September 30, 2009, by Henry T. McLin of Hanover, Pennsylvania. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on September 30, 2009, by Henry T. McLin of Hanover, Pennsylvania. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.