Unlucky Chambersburg

Most Northern cities and towns came through the Civil War unscathed, far from the combat that raged in the Confederacy and the Border States.  Not so Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, located only 13 miles north of the Maryland border in southcentral Pennsylvania which would be occupied three times during the Civil War.

The first occupation occurred on October 10, 1862 when General Jeb Stuart, launching a raid in the aftermath of Antietam, captured it with 1800 cavalrymen, destroying a quarter of a million in railroad property and seizing hundreds of horses.

During the Gettysburg campaign in 1863, the town was occupied by the Confederates for a number of days in June, with General Lee establishing his headquarters for a time in a nearby farm.  Once again railroad property was destroyed along with several warehouses.

On July 30, 1864 for the third and final time, with much of the town burned when a ransom of half a million dollars could not be raised.  This was done in retaliation for burnings carried out by the Union in the Shenandoah Valley.  Go here to read an article in defense of the burning which appeared in The Confederate Veteran in 1903.

The good citizens of Chambersburg reenact the burning each year, in that odd, and good, way we Americans have of making events from the fratricidal Civil War sources of pride and tourist attractions!

Published in: on October 10, 2019 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Unlucky Chambersburg  
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