Historical Markers
Gettysburg Campaign [Early's Division] Historical Marker
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Gettysburg Campaign [Early's Division]

Hershey/Gettysburg/Dutch Country Region


Marker Location:
State Route 3001 (old US 15), just north of Heidlersburg

Dedication Date:
December 12, 1947

Behind the Marker

Photograph of Jubal "Ol Jubilee" Early as an old man.
Jubal "Ol Jubilee" Early
Following the Confederate attack atmarkerWrightsville on June 28, markerGeneral Jubal A. Early's Division settled into occupation duty at York. The general presented city officials with a list of goods to be supplied to his troops, which included three days' rations, 2,000 pairs of shoes or boots, 1,000 felt hats, 1,000 pairs of socks, and $100,000 in cash. 
York Gazette Handbill with the address of General Early to the People of York, June 30, 1863.
Address of General Early to the People of York.
A second list specified the rations he required, which were to be delivered by 4:00 p.m. on the 28th.

Soon, most of the goods were gathered, but the residents of York had provided only $28,000 in cash. Irritated by this failure, Early loudly threatened to burn all facilities in the area that could be used by the Union army. In particular, Early was determined to burn the extensive rail facilities and railcar-making businesses in York.

Even as Early was meeting with a prominent York businessman named Philip Small who agreed to post a $50,000 bond to help cover the monetary demand on the city, one of General Richard S. Ewell's couriers arrived with a message for Early to abandon York and move to join the rest of the corps.

By that time, Early had the city in a fearful mood. Many people knew of the general's threat to burn the rail facilities. Officials argued that such an act would leave the city vulnerable to widespread fires if the wind shifted. That night, though, after his men had destroyed railroad property and a few cars, Early had the press of the York Gazette print a handbill notifying the citizenry that he would not burn the railroad buildings. Early reasoned that he would have been perfectly justified applying the torch. "But we do nor war upon women and children," he wrote. The people of the North would see that unlike their own army, Southerners were not barbarians.

The "Gray Comanches" painting depicts Confederate Colonel Elijah White leading the 35th Battalion  Virginia Cavalry into the center of the battle.
Don Troiani's Gray Comanches
On June 30, Early's Division, now joined by Gordon's Brigade from Wrightsville, left York and headed west through Weiglestown and East Berlin, near which his cavalry battalion, the 35th Virginia, skirmished with mounted Union troopers. Receiving a new order from Ewell to head toward Heidlersburg, where he was to rendezvous with Robert Rodes' Division, Early then marched his men west. Sometime around dark, Early's tired men, having marched twenty-two miles from York, made camp three miles east of this marker, near the source of Plum Run, which provided fresh water for his soldiers.
Oil on canvas painting of Colonel Elijah V. White
Colonel Elijah V. White, by J.P. Walker

That night, Ewell, Rodes, and Early conferred about their next day's plans. A new message from General Lee gave Ewell the option of bringing his two divisions either to Cashtown or Gettysburg, depending on circumstances. A second courier then brought a note from General A. P. Hill, Lee's Third Corps commander, stating that his troops were in and around Cashtown. Neither message said anything about enemy troops in Gettysburg.

The next morning, July 1, Ewell issued his orders. Rodes would take his large division toward Cashtown via Middletown (modern Biglerville) and Arendtsville. Early would move on parallel roads through Hunterstown and Mummasburg to Cashtown. Both divisions would thus be within supporting distance if the enemy suddenly appeared.

But General Early was not happy with his orders. The road to Hunterstown appeared to be a small country road full of twists and turns. Rather than waste time and perhaps get lost, Early decided to move through Heidlersburg, then down the Harrisburg Pike (modern Route 3001,(old US 15) a few miles before crossing over to Mummasburg.

But, events changed Ewell's plans. On his advance to Gettysburg that morning Hill discovered Yankee cavalry and fighting started. Messengers quickly relayed the news to Ewell, who ordered Rodes to turn south toward the escalating battle. Early also received word to head for Gettysburg. His advance down the Harrisburg Pike placed his oncoming veterans in a perfect position on the battlefield to turn the tide in favor of the Confederacy.
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