This Week in History: Greencastle, Pennsylvania and the Gettysburg Campaign

Monday, June 15, 1863

The fall of Martinsburg, Virginia, (now West Virginia) on June 14th encouraged Confederate Lieutenant Hermann Schuricht, Fourteenth Virginia Cavalry. He was happy that the glorious battle ended with the Southerners in possession of the city and several thousand bushels of grain. It was the first Battle of Martinsburg.

Buglers sounded orders to mount their horses around 2 am. By breakfast time Schuricht and his comrades were in Williamsport, Maryland, where the residents kindly set up tables in the streets stocked with meat, bread, and milk. Schuricht and other hungry troops ate quickly before remounting.

They received an enthusiastic welcome from the ladies in Hagerstown, Maryland, at noon. The women gave flowers to the soldiers. The children shouted, “Hurrah for Jeff Davis!”

They rode to Greencastle, Pennsylvania. General Albert G. Jenkins divided his brigade. Schuricht, along with others in the right wing who intimidated locals by waving muskets and pistols, rode his horse over ditches and fences to take the town. Federal cavalry there all escaped except one lieutenant.

The Confederates cut telegraph wires and destroyed the railroad depot in Greencastle.

Their day wasn’t over.

By 11 pm, an exhausted Schuricht entered Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, with his companions. They camped on the eastern outskirts of town.

Confederates occupied Greencastle from mid-June until early July. Federal cavalry led by Captain Ulric Dahlgren rode into the town square on July 2nd. The Union troops captured several Confederate cavalry troops in the square while a bigger battle took place in another part of Pennsylvania.

Gettysburg.  

-Sandra Merville Hart

Sources

Gragg, Rod. The Illustrated Gettysburg Reader, Regnery History, 2013.

“Greencastle, Pennsylvania,” Wikipedia, 2017/05/01 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greencastle,_Pennsylvania.

Long, E.B with Long, Barbara. The Civil War Day by Day: An Almanac 1861-1865, A Da Capo Paperback, 1971.

Noyalas, J. A. “Martinsburg during the Civil War.” Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, 27 Oct. 2015. Web. 1 May. 2017.

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