Historical Markers
Gettysburg Campaign [Rodes Moves South] Historical Marker
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Gettysburg Campaign [Rodes Moves South]

Hershey/Gettysburg/Dutch Country Region


Marker Location:
SR 3001 (Old US 15) just north of Heidlersburg

Dedication Date:
December 12, 1947

Behind the Marker

"Tues. 30th. Today we marched through Papertown and crossed the mountains-South Mountain I believe-; then marched through Petersburg which is 14 miles from Carlisle. Here we left the Baltimore turnpike and took a road to the right (Gettysburg road) and marched on about 5 miles and camped at Heidelburg. It drizzled and showered frequently and the latter part of the road was muddy and slippery. Came 19 miles to-day."
Oil on canvas of Robert Emmett Rodes
Robert Emmett Rodes

So wrote Samuel Pickens, Company D, 5th Alabama Infantry Regiment, in his daily diary for June 30, 1863. His regiment was part of the brigade led by Colonel Edward A. O'Neal, one of five in Robert Rodes' division.

These men, who came from North Carolina, Alabama, and Georgia, were accompanied by Lieutenant Colonel Thomas H. Carter's battalion of artillery, which consisted of four batteries from Alabama and Virginia. General Ewell and his staff accompanied Rodes as the division marched out of Carlisle along the road that would eventually become Pennsylvania Route 34. A company of Maryland horsemen from Major Harry Gilmor's battalion tarried briefly in Carlisle to ensure that none of Rodes' men would remain behind to plunder.

Five miles south of Carlisle, the column crossed Yellow Breeches Creek. Beyond that lay the village of Papertown, today a part of the borough of Mt. Holly Springs. Here, Rodes' 8,000 men halted to fill their canteens and wash their aching feet in the cold water of Mountain Run, a swiftly flowing brook that fed into Yellow Breeches, and supplied the power for the area's several small paper mills.

Ewell himself toured the Kempton and Mullen paper factory, nervously followed by one of the owners. Shut down that day because of the unexpected arrival of Rebel infantry, Ewell was nevertheless impressed with the factory, especially by the storeroom, which was filled with boxes of military paper forms the plant printed for the United States government. Ewell gave the unhappy owner a voucher for $5,000 worth of these forms, which were loaded onto supply wagons.
Givens Brothers paper mill at Papertown.
Givens Brothers paper mill at Papertown.

The column then moved on, marching through the gap between Mount Holly and Piney mountains. Just beyond Papertown the road forked. Right would lead the column directly to Gettysburg. Left was the main York Pike (today's Route 94) that led to Hanover and York.

Following General Lee's orders, Ewell turned the column to the left along a road that meandered up and down the local hills. For marching troops loaded with weapons and gear, this was purgatory. And then it began to shower. Rain fell intermittently, making the dirt road both slippery and muddy. After a sixteen-mile march, the division entered the small town of Petersburg, today's York Springs.

Here, Rodes allowed another rest at a spring, then directed his men to the southwest, along present-day Pennsylvania Route 3001 (old Route 15). By dusk, the division was making camp near Heidlersburg. A short time later, markerGeneral Jubal Early's Division arrived and set up camp about three miles to the east. Thus, by sunset on June 30, Ewell had two of his three divisions at hand should the enemy be encountered on the morrow.
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