Civil War Heritage of Emmitsburg

To educate, to interpret and to preserve

"The capture of Captain B. F. Fisher, chief acting signal officer, has been previously mentioned. Captain C. S. Kendall and Lieutenant L. R. Fortescue, acting signal officers, were taken at Emmitsburg, where they had been on station, by Stuart's cavalry upon their retreat from Gettysburg" Lieutenant L. B. Norton, Signal Corps 


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 In Their Own Words; The Maryland Campaign & The Chambersburg Raid of 1862

“The battle of South Mountain, which lasted all day Sunday, the 14th of September, 1862, could be plainly heard at the College. As we were going up to Mass to the old church on the hill and as we were returning from Mass, we could hear the firing distinctly. Yet, recreation went on on the terraces and the ordinary routine of college life was followed, as if nothing unusual was happening. After vespers, which were held in the church on the hill, at 3 p. m., a few of us, under the care of Mr. John Crimmens, went down the Frederick pike, along the mountain side, to a place where a stream crossed the road well on towards Mechanicstown, and stood listening with awe to the sharp, ringing volleys of musketry and then the quick, sullen booming of the cannon, as they came along the reverberating sides of the mountain. The falling shades compelled us to tear ourselves away, as the rules required us all to be at home in time for supper. Again and again we stopped, as one report louder than another followed us, as if begging us to stay.”

"The battle of Antietam followed immediately after South Mountain. During two days, the 16th and 17th of September, the battle raged, and more men were killed than in any previous battle of the war. The New York papers of the time even asserted that it was as great as the battle of Waterloo. As studies and classes and recreation succeeded one another, during those fearful days, little attention was paid, if even the students were conscious of it, to the battle.” Rt. Rev. Monsignor James T. Dunn

"A report from Governor Curtin this morning states the rebel cavalry force camped at Chambersburg last night, and left there at 9 this morning the direction of Gettysburg. Force about 2,000 strong, consisting of Stuart and Hampton's cavalry. It is thought, by Mr. McClure, of Chambersburg, that they intend returning by way of Frederick and Leesburg. You will at once move with your force, and all of Davis' cavalry, at Hagerstown, by Cavetown and Harmon's Gap, to Mechanicstown, where the Sixth Cavalry has been ordered to join you.

You will send scouts on the direct road from Hagerstown to Gettysburg, and also to Emmitsburg and beyond, to ascertain the movements of the enemy. It might be well to send citizens, if you can get them to go, and send any information you may get to these headquarters by telegraph from Hagerstown or Frederick, as may be most convenient.

You will take the best route to cut off the enemy, depending on the information you obtain. Pursue them vigorously, and do not spare your men or horses, if you see an opportunity of overtaking them. They should not be allowed to escape unharmed."  R. B. Marcy, Chief of Staff

“The success of the expedition was largely due to the excellent guides General Stuart had provided himself with; and now Logan and Harbaugh, who had lived in Pennsylvania, acted, but as we approached Maryland, Capt. B. S. White became the guide; his residence in that part of Maryland made him thoroughly acquainted with every road in it. It was very pleasant to get amongst friends once more upon crossing the line into Maryland, though we could not take their horses.

The first place we came to was the little town of Emmitsburg, which we reached about sundown, thirty-one miles from Chambersburg, and still forty-five miles from our crossing place. If we had fallen from the clouds the people could not have been more astonished than at seeing us come from the direction we followed, and their demonstrations of delight at seeing us were unbounded.

An hour before our arrival a detachment of Rush’s Lancers, a scouting party of a hundred-forty men, sent to look for us, had passed through the town, and hearing of this, General Stuart had issued orders to overtake and capture any one attempting to leave the place while we were in it. Just as the advanced guard entered the street, a young lady rode out of a yard of a house before us, and seeing, to her dismay, a body of soldiers, which she took for Federals of course, she dashed off out of town towards her home some miles in the country.

Our men called upon her to halt, but this only made her whip up her horse the more, and being reluctant to use their firearms, the only thing to do was for two of the best mounted to overtake and capture her. It was an exciting race for a mile and the poor young lady was, as she told us, scared almost to death, but finding she could not escape she pulled up and surrendered in great terror. But when she and her captors appeared leisurely riding back they were in high good humor, laughing and talking over the adventure.

The young lady returned to the house she had been visiting and was requested to remain there until we had been gone an hour. Though only a mile or two from the Pennsylvania state line, the people here seemed to be intensely Southern in their sympathies and omitted no opportunity of showing us attention during the short half hour we passed among them.” Lieutenant Colonel W.W. Blackford

"Basket after basket of provisions was passed around. The old battle scarred boys of the battery, with their farmers’ hats were indeed an object of curiosity to those sweet and dear ladies. Several boys could not resist the tender smiles of the fairer sex; I was one of the first victims, so we gave them our straw hats as souvenirs. I doubt not that some of those hats are still treasured by some of the ladies in that locality yet.” Private Henry Matthews, Stuart's Horse Artillery CSA