Chambersburg in Franklin County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
The Burning of Chambersburg
On July 30, 1864, Brigadier General John McCausland and 2,800 Confederate cavalrymen entered Chambersburg and demanded $100,000 in gold or $500,000 in greenbacks. The residents of Chambersburg failed to raise the ransom, and McCausland ordered his men to burn the town. Flames destroyed more than 500 structures leaving more than 2,000 homeless. One resident died of smoke inhalation. Damage was estimated at more than $1.6 million. To make matters worse, many inebriated Confederate soldiers looted homes and abused civilians. Mobs of angry townspeople looking for retribution killed several Rebels.
Good Samaritans in the Rebel ranks helped citizens escape and save their valuables; a Confederate captain even ordered his company to douse the flames. One officers, Colonel William Peters, staunchly refused to take part in the burning. McCausland had him placed under arrest.
Chambersburg was the only Northern town the Confederates destroyed. The raid inspired a national aid campaign and influenced the Union Army to adopt a more aggressive strategy, contributing to the war’s end.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Pennsylvania Civil War Trails marker series.
Location. 39° 56.238′ N, 77° 39.698′ W. Marker is in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, in Franklin County. Marker is on Lincoln Way (Route 30). Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Chambersburg PA 17201, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Abolitionist John Brown Boards in Chambersburg (here, next to this marker); Confederate Conference (here, next to this marker); Memorial Fountain and Union Soldier Statue (a few steps from this marker); Union Soldiers of Franklin County (within shouting distance of this marker); World War II – Korean Conflict – Vietnam Conflict (within shouting distance of this marker); U.S.S. Maine Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Mexican War – Spanish American War – World War (within shouting distance of this marker); War Between the States (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Chambersburg.
More about this marker. The marker displays a Sketch of the Burning of Chambersburg from Harper’s, courtesy of Cumberland Historical Society; And a photo of Chambersburg
Categories. • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on May 2, 2009, by Robert H. Moore, II of Winchester, Virginia. This page has been viewed 4,202 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on May 2, 2009, by Robert H. Moore, II of Winchester, Virginia. 2. submitted on September 1, 2010, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. 3. submitted on May 2, 2009, by Robert H. Moore, II of Winchester, Virginia. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.