Transcribed Letter

This is a letter from James Wallace, Dickinson class of 1840, to John Bachelder, the official government historian of the Battle of Gettysburg.

Letter of Col. James Wallace

Cambridge, Maryland

July 4th, 1878

Major John Bachelder

Dear Sir

You circular letter in relation to the maps of the field of Gettysburg was duly received. I am much pleased with the work. I am sorry I did not meet with you at the spot on last decoration day, to point out an omission in the location of the 1st E.S. Md. Vol. under Lockwood on the 3d July. We were dispatched about 8 o’clock AM from across the Baltimore Pike, down Spanglers Lane to reinforce Genl. Geary. We took position on the crest of the slope, Geary’s extreme left, on Culp’s Hill, at the angle in toe works as shown by your maps, to the right of the swale.

We arrived just in time & opened fore over the heads of a Pennsylvania regiment laying in the trenches out of amunition & repelled the last dash of Stewarts Confederate brigade & held the position until 10 o’clock Am when we were relieved.

This was the regiment that appeared in new uniforms & bright burnished arms, that attracted the attention of the reporter of the New York Herald & noticed by him in his account of the affair at that point on the 3d (which please see). I do not perceive that you place my regiment at that place. It was the turning point of the day on Culps Hill. The 1st Maryland Confederate regiment met us and were cut to pieces. We sorrowfully gathered up many of our old friends & acquaintances & had them carefully & tenderly cared for.

In your isometrical drawing you place Lockwood too far to the right towards Mr. Patersons Mill. We were there at night &threw up the defense, but we met the enemy on Culps Hill & lost all of our men there.

I will be grateful if you correct this matter & give us the position & credit we are entitled to.

Yours respectfully

James Wallace

Late Col. 1st E.S. Md. Vol.

Final Project and Projects to finish

So I have been continuing to research for my final project and clean it up as much as possible. Still struggling with Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper. have only been able to track down one article form the whole month of July 1863 and it is some what informative but not as much as I would have liked. However, I think it will be helpful to add it to my paper none the less. Don’t know if anyone got a chance to look at the draft I posted last week and if anyone had any comments for me? If so please feel free to share them with me any constrictive criticism will help me. I have also been cleaning up my letter editing project as well and getting ready to submit tomorrow. Hope all you guys are getting through your work as well and not too crazy with the end of the semester approaching.

draft 2

Here’s my updated draft.  I took out a few sections from the original because they were dumb and made less sense than chewbacca and I added a few pages about public opinion on the know-nothings.  its still a work in progress, but its coming along.

Know-Nothing Dominance and Public Opinion in 1854

The political spectrum in America changed greatly during the 1850s.  Established political parties, such as the Democratic Party underwent sweeping changes that would permanently shape them, while other once powerful parties, such as the Whig Party would not be able to survive the decade as a result of internal strife and external pressures.  All the while, smaller parties were able to infiltrate the political sphere and bring about great reform.  Notable parties that would not survive but would leave their mark included the Know-Nothing, or American Party, which will be the subject of this paper, and the Free-soil party, which would eventually help to form the Republican Party.  This paper will address the impact of the Know-Nothing party, in terms of its impact on other political parties.  Although they were an organized group, their activities were kept highly secretive, so little is known about them, but what is known is that the Know-Nothings were able to infiltrate the Whigs, Democrats, and Republicans so as to support their own candidate[1].  This paper will assert that as a result of the subversive the actions of the Know-Nothing party, politics in Pennsylvania were greatly impacted.

From their inception as the “Order of United Americans” in 1848 and their official organization in the 1854, the Know-Nothings were very prominent in politics in Pennsylvania, even though they tried very hard to avoid drawing attention to themselves and making themselves noticeable[2].  The infiltration in some instances went as high as the governor.  In October of 1854, James Pollock, then a candidate for governor who would go on to win election, was present and spoke at a council of Know-Nothings[3].  The know-nothings of Pennsylvania pledged their support for Pollock on the grounds that his opponent, William Bigler’s parents were German, unlike those of Pollock, who were Scotch-Irish, but were born in America.[4] Pollock’s election as governor was widely recognized to be a result of the know-nothing vote[5].  The know-nothing vote greatly affected every election in which it was counted.  The Know-Nothings had strong enough numbers, that when combined with the party of the candidate that they were backing, they were almost unstoppable.  In 1854, the Democratic party of Pennsylvania asserted that the Democrats stood very little chance in elections because, “on all questions of importance the Whig and Native American members of course out vote them”[6].  In the election, the Democrats were only able to secure less than 45% of the vote, falling by a wide margin to the combined vote of the Whigs and Know-Nothings who combined for 55% of the total vote, with the remaining one percent being distributed to other candidates[7].  The know-nothings generally made a point not to nominate their own candidate, and instead opted to support whichever candidate from another party best represented their views.  Typically, the candidate being supported by the know-nothings did not know that were supported by the know-nothing delegation[8].

One of the keys to the success of the Know-Nothings in infiltrating politics was the way they dispersed.  Many similar organizations were spread out across the country, btu the know-nothings were centralized in cities.  They were able to first focus on gaining local leadership and winning local elections.  As they became established in the cities, they were then better able to extend to extend their influence over the major population centers, which of course led to the ability to dictate the course of larger elections[9].

The know-nothings were a relatively large group in comparison to the other parties of the time both nationally and locally[10].  In Pennsylvania, the Know-Nothing order had more members and supporters than the Whig party, and almost as many as the Democratic Party with roughly 120,000 members, as opposed to only 83,000 Whigs and 167,000 Democrats.  They were however, very well dispersed and drew members from many parties.  The know-nothings were not a political party per se, but rather an amalgamation of malcontent members of other political parties.  In addition to outright joining the know-nothing order, members of anti-Nebraska, Temperance, Whig, and anti-slavery movements all felt a “natural sympathy” towards the know-nothings and their movement[11].  During the 1850s the Whig party was in a sharp downward spiral, and as it begin to disintegrate, the Know-Nothings were quick to step in and fill the gaps in the Whig party.  In essence, the collapse of the Whig party provided a medium for the Know-Nothing movement to flourish[12].

With substantial amounts of members and sympathizers operating within the Whig party, the know-nothings were able to determine who the Whigs would put up for nomination, and in many instances, were able to shoot down the nomination of once prominent Whigs in favor of a Nativist sympathizer, especially a Kansas-Nebraska supporter. In the 1854 elections in Pennsylvania and Philadelphia, this happened in several notable instances.  In the Philadelphia mayoral election of 1854, Gilpin was favored to receive nomination, however, as a result of know-nothing influence within the Whig party, Judge Robert T. Conrad was instead given the nomination.  The same goes for William M Meredith, a prominent and popular Whig who had previously held the position of Secretary of the Treasury, was defeated for nomination by the Know-Nothing delegation of the Whig party.  John Yarrow and Joseph R. Chandler were also denied nomination by their own party in favor of candidates more favorable to the nativist movement[13].  Chandler had previously been popular amongst Whigs, however, the Know-Nothings within the party managed to deny him nomination for reelection on the grounds that he was a catholic, and when he decided to run as an independent without the support of the Know-Nothings, he was easily defeated, while the nominees who were backed by the Know-Nothings were able to win handily. Conrad was able to win the position of Mayor in June of 1854 by a margin of over 8,428 votes in an election that proved to be a prelude to the gubernatorial election held in October, where James Pollock easily defeated the incumbent Democrat, William Bigler[14].  In Lancaster, the Know-Nothing influence was obvious in the elections.  In 1854, Lancaster was dominated by Democrats, and at election, the Democrats were expected to win heavily, which they did, with the lone exceptions being the three democratic candidates who were not born in the United States.  In Chambersburg, the Know-Nothings were able to claim a surprising victory over the Whigs, who dominated the area to the point that the Democrats did not even field a ticket.  Despite the Whig domination, the Know-Nothings secretly submitted their own candidates and managed to steal the election from the Whigs[15].

The Know-Nothings staunchly opposed the Kansas-Nebraska act and opposed any legislation or candidate who would work to support it.  It was their opposition to the Kansas-Nebraska legislation that motivated many of their activities in Pennsylvania.  The order knew that they held substantial political pull in the state and decided to use it to only support candidates who it knew to be in opposition to the Kansas-Nebraska act. In the 1854 congressional election, of the twenty-five men elected to office, twenty-one were pro-Kansas-Nebraska act and were thus backed by the Know-nothings, leaving the Democrats with only four representatives from a state that was once a haven for democrats[16].  The 1854 Philadelphia elections were among the first of the Know-Nothing victories, and they were victories that made the other parties, especially the democrats pay attention.[17]

Surprise Know-Nothing victories were not limited to Philadelphia.  In Pennsylvania, the Know-Nothings were successful in getting their candidates elected municipal elections of 1854 held in Lancaster, Chambersburg, Allegheny, and Washington[18].  After the elections in 1854, the Pennsylvania State Legislature was comprised of 33 Know-Nothings or Know-Nothing backed candidates, against 25 Democrats and 36 Whigs[19].  When considering these numbers it is important to remember that the Know-Nothings never organized as a party and did not submit their own candidate for nomination.  Know-Nothings were also successful outside of Pennsylvania.  Know-Nothing backed candidates were able to walk away with sweeping victories in Massachusetts, Delaware, New York, and were generally successful throughout New England and the Ohio Valley[20].

Little was known about the Know-Nothing party in 1854 and many Americans were both afraid of the order and mystified by it.  In 1854, most Americans only knew about the Know-Nothings because of their tremendous success in elections throughout the country.  They saw how the Know-Nothings were able to successfully elect their candidates or the candidate that they supported and were quick to assume that they would be able to have similar success in other elections.  Many people were fearful of the know-nothings and likened them to a disease that was rapidly spreading throughout the country and infecting everyone, regardless of their social standing.  Many were afraid because the know-nothing vote was very strong and very active in the politics.  Fear of the know-nothings also came from the mystery that surrounded them.  The American public knew very little about the order, but they did see what they were capable of in elections.  As a result, people were wary of the order and considered them a “terror” that was not to be trusted.  The perception was that Know-Nothings voted together and were able to elect unknown politicians who supported their cause, and typically, get them elected over prominent, well-respected politicians[21].  At times, fear of the know-nothings led to action.  The democrats held rallies and meetings in Washington DC to “extinguish the ‘enemies of civil and religious liberty’”, but were widely recognized as meetings specifically targeting know-nothings.  They only reason they used the phrase “enemies of civil and religious liberty” because the know-nothing movement was popular in DC at the time, and to outwardly proclaim a meeting to criticize them would not have been popular and nobody would have gone to the meetings.  However, it did not matter, as the meetings proved to be remarkably unsuccessful to the point that the democrats essentially gave up on holding anti-know-nothing meetings during the 1854 campaign[22].  In some places, Know-Nothings were the target of persecution.  During a Brooklyn riot in the summer of 1854, men wearing a particular style of hat that had been associated with the order were targeted and assaulted[23].  Although that was an extreme case, it shows how high tensions rose between know-nothings and the rest of the country, particularly the foreign-born population.  However, there were foreign-born Americans that did support the know-nothing order.  Some foreigners felt that the know-nothings were working to instate a status quo that had existed in their old country.  In many parts of Europe, rights were restricted for foreign-born citizens, however, it did not negatively affect them and they were able to go about their lives and be productive members of society.  Some foreigners also supported the know-nothings because their children were American-born and the know-nothing platform supported the well being of them[24].

[1] Humprey Desmond, The Know-Nothing Party (Washington: New Century Press, 1904), 51; Thomas R. Whitney, A Defense of the American Policy. (New York: DeWitt and Davenport Publishers, 1856), 284; Henry Richard Mueller, The Whig Party in Pennsylvania (New York: Columbia University, 1922), 213-214

[2] Whitney 272

[3] “Pennsylvania Politics.” New York Times. 6 October 1854; “The Know-Nothing Convention- Proceedins of the Second Days Session- Political Nomination.” New York Times. 6 October 1854. Both articles are referring to the same meeting.

[4] Mueller 209, James Pollock, LL.D. Governor of Pennsylvania 1854-1857, 10

[5]Pollock, LL.D., 21-22; the chapter also includes excerpts from several newspapers that assert that Pollock was supported by the know-nothing vote.

[6] A Few Words to the Thinking and Judicious Voters of Pennsylvania. (Pennsylvania, Democratic Party, 1854), 24

[7] from Snulls Legislative Handbook (1919), 720, as cited by Mueller, 215

[8] “The Society of Know-Nothings- its Principles and its Purposes.” New York Times. 10 October 1854.

[9] ibid

[10] most contemporary estimates claim that the order had between 800,000 and 1.5 million members nationally (Michael F. Holt,  The Political Crisis of the 1850s. (New York: Norton, 1983), 157).  Thomas Whitney asserted that the Know-Nothings had at least 1.5 million registered voters (Whitney, 285).

[11] Allan Nevins, Ordeal of the Union, V. 2. (New York: Scribner, 1947), 329

[12] John F. Coleman, The Disruption of the Pennsylvania Democracy, 1848-1860 (Harrisburg: The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1975), 66

[13] To the Thinking Voter, 26; Mueller, 214

[14] Mueller 212, election results from Keystone (Harrisburg), 6/14/1854, as cited in Coleman, 67. Conrad defeated Richard Vaux (Democrat) 29,421 to 20,993

[15] Tyler Abinder, Nativism and Slavery: The Northern Know Nothings and the Politics of the 1850’s.  (New York, Oxford University Press, 1992.), 53

[16] Whinety, 368; Mueller 214-125

[17] Nevins, 326

[18] Hewitt, Warren F. “The Know Nothing Party in Pennsylvania”. Pennsylvania History 2.2 (1935), 75

[19] Mueller, 216

[20]“Know-Nothing Victory in Wilmington, Del.” New York Times. 4 October 1854.;  Nevins, 341-344.

[21] “The Know Nothing Movement: Correspondent of the Boston Chronicle,” North American and United States Cazette, 23 August 1854; “The Administration and the Know Nothings,” North American and United States Gazette, 21 December 1854

[22] “Correspondence of the North American and United States Gazette,” North American and United States Gazette, 23 September 1854

[23] “The Know Nothing Party in New York,” North American and United States Gazette, 14 June 1854

[24] “Letter from Pittsfield, Massachusetts,” North American and United States Gazette, 22 august 1854

Here is my corrected draft. I’m not totally satisfied with it but I feel much better about it than the first draft. I’m not sure how to attach a file so I have copied and pasted it bellow. If the footnotes look all messed up, its because for whatever reason, they appear differently when I copy and paste. Here it is:

Kristina Niedermayer

November 1, 2010

Professor Osborne

History 204

Final Paper

War is often most traumatic for the innocent civilians such as women and children who become engulfed by its unyielding course.  The American Civil War was no exception to this unfortunate truth. However, the southerners were more directly affected by the brutality of warfare as the majority of fighting occurred on confederate soil. The Confederate shelling of Carlisle, during the invasion of in June and July of 1863, was one unique exceptions when Union women and children were caught in the crossfire of bombardment.  Though Carlisle was never occupied, the shelling of the town proved profoundly traumatic to Carlisle’s citizens who feared for their lives, their loved ones and their homes.

Three upper-middle class Carlisle natives depicted their experiences during the event through written letters. Margaret Fleming Murray and Marry Murray were two teenagers who wrote to their brother Harmer Denny explicitly detailing the Confederate bombardment. [1] The Murray sisters wrote to their brother Harmar about their personal experiences of the shelling in days immideatly following the event. Sarah Meyers, an elderly widow living by herself, wrote a thank you letter to General Smith’s wife in the aftermath of the shelling.[2]. The two sisters and Sarah Meyers were from different age groups and their letters concerned different elements of the event. Regardless of these minor differences, all three women present the common themes of general unease, fear for their homes, and gratitude for General Smith’s bravery. Their writing offers small but precise personal insight into the traumatic shelling. More importantly, the women’s depictions of first-hand contact with the Confederate  army are telling as very few Union women were exposed to Confederate  bombardment during the war.

The Confederate bombardment of Carlisle occurred during the second stage of rebel occupation. Initially, the Confederate General Richard S. Ewell occupied the town on June 27, 1863 to accumulate supplies on his journey to seize the state capital. After his departure, the Carlisle residents believed their encounter with rebel troups was final; however, on July 1, 1863, they were surprised by the arrival of General J.E.B Stuart who had come in search of Ewell’s army and supplies. General Stuart initially attempted to seize the town through peaceful Union surrender but General William F. Smith refused Stuarts’s requests. Stuart responded with by shelling the town and burning the Carlisle Barracks, a lumberyard, and the gas works on July 1, 1863. General Smith defended the small Pennsylvania town and Stuart and his continued to Gettysburg where fighting had broken out in the initial stages of the Battle of Gettysburg.[3] By the end of the bombardment, Carlisle civilians experienced only twelve casualties and one death and houses were only minimally damaged by the shells, the civilians who were present during the attack were emotionally traumatized by one of the only encounters union civilians had with Confederate soldiers over the course of the entire war.  [4]

Margaret Fleming Murray and Mary Denny Murray were only young women during the shelling of the town of Carlisle. The two girls were the daughters of William Boyd Murray and Margaret Parker Fleming.[5] Additionally, the Murrays were decedents of Parker family – long time settlers who came to the Pennsborough Township before Indian titles had been diminished. [6] The Murray sisters came from a comfortable fortune, which included multiple properties throughout Carlisle – one of which was later donated to Dickinson college and is today known as Denny Hall. Margaret, the eldest of the two sisters, was born in November of 1841.[7] Her younger sister Mary was born in November, 1846. [8] Neither of the two was ever married, and they seem to have moved to Allegheny, Pennsylvania in the later years of their lives. Throughout the Civil War, the two wrote letters to their older brother Harmar Denny Murray, who was living in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. In the aftermath of the war, Harmar became involved in the glass business in Pittsburg.[9] The two sisters wrote to their brother during the few days following the shelling. The letters that the sisters wrote reveal vivid details of the event and the actions taken on the part of native residents. Undoubtedly, the girls were frightened for their safety and the well being of their homes as well as the well being of their brother.

Margaret Flemming, the younger of the two sisters was the first to write a letter detailing the events of the shelling. Margaret’s letter was written on July 3,1863. The

sixteen year old recalled the event as being both “inhumane” and “barbarous” because it disregarded the fact that there were innocent women and children civilians who were being bombarded. Margaret’s writing depicts her personal experience of the events of the shelling and thus provides a source for understanding both the events that occurred as well as the personal reactions that ensued. Her words reveal her panic for the safety of her home and her well-being. Margaret recalls the attack coming as a blatant surprise to the people of Carlisle whom she recalls ran in a state of panic. She writes, “Such a stampede of women and children you never saw in your life. You cannot imagine the confusion that ensued. It was a disagreeable surprise.” She continues in her recollection of the traumatic event during which she feared for her life. Margaret depicts the horridness of hearing the shells ricocheting off of town buildings and homes. She exclaims, “The shot and shell were coming thick and fast, and we all retreated to the cellar for our safety, the sound of the shells as they came over the house and exploded near by was terrific.” Margaret continues by emphasizing the perpetual noise and explains, “I cannot use a more significant expression that to say they had an infernal sound. I liked the booming of the cannon but the whizzing of those shells, I hope to never hear again.” Margaret goes on to highlight her particular concern for the safety of her home on West High Street when she writes, “we thought it best to go out of the town, as a great many were leaving and our houses were just in the rage of the guns. (Besides we did not know but the town would be completely shelled before morning).” Margaret’s recollection specifically emphasize her uncertainty of the situation and her fear for her personal safety as well as the security of her home.[10] The illustration of the Shelling of Carlisle by Thomas Nast that appeared in Harper’s Weekly Magazine on July 25, 1863 attests to Margaret’s depiction of the event.  The sketch reveals women and children flocking in all directions in the chaotic downtown Carlisle.[11]

Mary Murray, the elder Murray sister, wrote a letter to her brother in the aftermath of the battle on July 23, 1963. Her writing exhibits the uncertainty she maintained in regard to her brothers potential conscription as well as focuses on the physical state of Carlisle in the aftermath of the shelling.  Throughout the letter, her tone reflects the personal impact that the damage had on her and her family. At the commencement of the letter, Mary mostly concentrates on the fact that her brother had not yet been drafted. She exhibits profound relief that he is still living safely in Pittsburg. Mary highlights her relief when she writes, “You have been remarkably fortunate in escaping the Draft, Harmar, and feel very much relieved I assure you.” Mary notes that a family friend will surely pay a three hundred dollar fee in order for Harmar to escape the draft, a practice that some families took part in to avoid military service during the war. Mary’s concentration on the subject of her brother’s drafting clearly emphasizes her fear perpetual fear regarding his safety and security. Her concern of his being drafted was undoubtedly a fear shared by many women at this time who were frightened by the notion of potentially losing loved one in wartime conflict. In her description of the damaged town, she reveals her disdain for the destructive actions of the Confederate s when she explains, “but the other buildings have all been destroyed, the bare and smoked walls alone are standing; monuments of rebel barbarism.” [12] Mary’s letter, though not as distinctly descriptive as her sisters, reveals her intense fearfulness concerning her brother’s involvement in the war as well as her personal response to the damaged town. Though Mary’s fear is demonstrated in a different way than her sisters, it is evident that she too was living in a state of continual fear concerning her loved one.

Sarah Meyers, a woman who was not originally from Carlisle, but who had come to Carlisle from her native Wilmington, Delaware with her physician husband Theodore Myers, wrote another telling letter. Her letter presents the similar the theme of fearfulness that was presented in both letters written by the Murray sisters.  Sarah Meyers was a graduate of the Moravian Seminary as well as a talented musician who studied art at the Philadelphia Academy. She was born in a Scots-Irish household and was very familiar with German. She translated several books from German and supported herself my giving music lessons and painting. When her husband died at the age of 36, she supported herself by giving music lessons in Carlisle. She resided on 127 West High Street.[13] Meyer’s response to the bombardment was a very personal one. Meyers wrote a thank you letter to General Smith’s wife whom she thought was in New York though in reality was residing in Vermont. Though the letter was returned to her and never conveyed to Mrs. Smith, the letter serves as crucial evidence in revealing Meyer’s personal response to the attack. While the Murray sisters wrote during the few days following the battle and depicted certain specific details, Sarah Meyer’s undated letter was clearly written some time in the aftermath of the event and thus offers a personal response instead of a chronological reflection. Her words provide distinct gratitude for her undamaged home and for the bravery of General Smith – the person she viewed most responsible for saving her town and her home.  Upon reflection on leaving her home during the attack, she recalls the sadness and fear she felt when leaving her home and recalls,” I although a great invalid wished also to do my part and in my own way. I left my home where I have lived for thirty years – twenty-five as a widow- with everything in it to the mercy of the rebels, never expecting to see it again.” However, Meyer’s fears were put to rest when she returned after the battle to find her home “saved although somewhat injured.” Meyer’s letter continues and addresses her unwavering gratitude and admiration for the bravery exhibited by General Smith and his soldiers whom she considers personally responsible for the safety of her home. She writes, “on my return my first feeling was that of gratitude, for I am assured that under Providence, I am indebted to the exertions of Gen. Smith and his brave soldiers – I wish I could do something for each of them – that I still have a home.” Sarah Meyer’s letter is brief, but her words contain important insight into a personal encounter with the brutality of war violence. Throughout her letter, she most clearly emphasizes her attachment to her home and her admiration for those who were able to protect it. It is safe to assume that her fears were similar if not identical to the fears of other women who experienced first-hand encounters with enemy forces. [14]

While countless southern women dreadfully suffered from Union invasions between the years 1861 to 1865, very few northern women were exposed to encounters with the rebel army. In addition to the town of Carlisle, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania was the only other Federal town that uprooted by the Confederate army. Margaret and Mary Murray and Sarah Meyers serve as crucial witness to rebel bombardment as they were apart of the small handful of women who not only encountered the Confederate army, but also lived to tell their experiences through their letters. The common and overlapping fears of Margaret Murray, Marry Murray, and Sarah Meyers provides telling details that reveal the strong connection that women felt towards their homes and their loved ones. It can thus be concluded that the experiences of the three Carlisle women are distinctively symbolic and noteworthy as they reflect the experiences of a minute number of Union women who came into distinct contact with rebel forces. Their words are not only pertinent in furthering our understanding of the personal reactions of female citizens but more simply provide contextual evidence that provides us with  historical details of the shelling.

Appendix I:

Note: I have reproduced this transcription exactly as it was transcribed by an unknown amateur historian.

Carlisle, July 3, 1863

Dear Harmer –

I wrote to you Tuesday morning, after the Rebs had nearly all left; but on account of there being no mail, either to or from Harrisburg, I could not send it until yesterday, when I gave it to a gentleman to post it in the Harrisburg P.O. We have not seen a newspaper for a week, — the cars made their appearance at the edge of town today, the first time since yesterday week; it was a freight train, bringing commissary stores for the soldiers quartered here, and also timber to build the bridge. They can’t come farther that the Fas House- or rather where the Gas House Stood, it having been burned by the Rebs. We will have to do without gas for some time to come, as we thought the Rebs had taken their final departure, my last letter was written in rather a hopeful strain, and we never dreamed that the very evening the Rebel demons would attempt to shell the town, and that too, without giving the usual warning.  A number of regiments N. York, Philadelphia, and others from the country, amassed here on foot from Harrisburg, stopped here to rest themselves and partake of refreshments provided by the citizens which were sent to the Market house for their use. They were on their way out the Baltimore Pike after the Rebs and did not expect to stop here longer than necessary. A great many citizens-ladies ad gentlemen- were down at the Square looking at them, and talking with them, Mary and I among the number. We were having a very nice time, when the cry “the Rebels are coming” was raised, sure enough it was true; the Rebs were in sight- just bellow the ramains of the Gas House; they had come in the Trindle Spring road and as we had not sent the Scouts out in that direction owing to the fleet that they ( the Rebs) were out towards Holly, and our scouts were in every direction, but the one in which the Rebels came. Such a stampede of women and children you never saw in your life. You cannot imagine the confusion that ensued. It was a disagreeable surprise. Officers calling to their men, who were scattered in all directions, some eating, others worn out with their long march, fast asleep on the square and on the pavements; soldiers loading their pieces; the gunners away from their armour and no where to be seen; the excitement was intense, Uncle Joe and Pappers helped to draw one of the guns out and place it in proper position. Mary and the rest of us ran up the 1st Church alley, as far as the Senseman’s stable, and I proposed we should go onto Main St. to see if it was really true that the Rebs were in sight, and our men drawn up in line of battle. We go as far as Mr. Mile’s store, and were gazing down Main St. when a shell came whizzing over the town, right above us; we all rushed into the house, but as we were two squares from home I could not stay there. We got out the back way, tore up the alley like wild people, then accross to Maine St, then home. The shot and shell were coming thick and fast, and we all retreated to the cellar for our safety, the sound of the shells as they came over the house and exploaded near by was terrific. I cannot use a more significant expression that to say they had an infernal sound. I liked the booming of the cannon but the whizzing of those shells, I hope to never hear again. The firing commenced about ____? and lasted until 11; there was a short cessation about 11 we thought it best to go out of the town, as a great many were leaving and our houses were just in the range of the guns. (Besides we did not know but the town would be completely shelled before morning). We took a few valuables with us and went out to the ——. Mr. —-?—. where we met a great many citizens who had left the town; we stayed all night and next day went to the Meeting House Springs and then came home this morning. A few shots were fired after we left town and the enemy retreated after burning the Barracks and Gas house. Several houses in town were damaged by the shells, but not to a very great extent. I think the attack was the most inhuman and barbarous I ever heard of, attempting to destroy a town with the women and children in it. Fitzhugh Lee was the commander of the Rebs: it just shows what they would do if they had the opportunity…We have a great many soldiers in town, and many more are expected – they are coming as fast as they can. Henderson’s warehouse is used by them for a depot for provisions. The College West is used for a hospital, where the wounded were taken after the engagement, we had not more that 15 or 20 wounded and none killed. There were 42 Rebel prisoners brought into town this evening captured by Capt. Boyd’s cavalry, near Shippensburg. They will be taken to Harrisburg. It is late and I will close for tonight. Saturday Morn, July 4. I hear the drum and fife this morning and understand 8 or 10 thousand men have just passed out the Baltimore Pike to the mountain to the Gaps. Everything tells us we are in the midst of the war–that this state–Pennsylvania is a battleground now. We were afraid you might be anxious about us and come home, but Mother says stay where you are; we are perfectly safe and if Carlisle should be attacked we can leave the town. If you have been getting late papers containing an account of the engagement here, save them for us, and sent them when the mail is regularly established again. Write us soon and as often as you can. I hear we are to have mail today, and will close in time for it.

Your sister,


N.B We have not yet receive and word from you since the Rebs were here; June 22 was the date of the last one. All mail matter to Harrisburg, from East to West was sent to Philadelphia but we expect it to be sent back, and we in Carlisle look for ours today; your letter will probably arrive today. It is now 9 o’clock, and the news from Adams county is very cheering; there has been heavy fighting for the last tow days near Gettysburg and Cashtown, the Army of the Potomac has been driving them back towards Benderville: ot os saod tjh(?) are slaughtered terribly- the division that stopped in Carlisle is among those who suffered most – I rejoice to hear it. I mentioned Costa’s bill in my last, but for fear you have not received it, I will remind you of it again; attend to it, if it is possible to do so. We need all the money we can get.


Appendix II:

Carlisle July 23, 1863

Dear Harmer,

Your long looked for letter arrived safely Thursday afternoon, we are glad that you have got back to the usual time of writing – the beginning of the week, which sums to come more material to receive your letters than the later part of the week.  You also directed your letters rightly, as it was my turn to receive one. We were glad to hear that you enjoyed the cake from home, but you did not mention the sweet and “sour ball or the beautiful engraving of the bombardment of Carlisle which you could not fail to recognize. The way we came to sent those articles, Maggie happened to meet on the street on Thursday evening. He said he was going to Pittsburg on Wednesday, and very kindly offered to take any packages to you, that we might have to send. We embraced the opportunity, and sent the package on Wednesday morning, thinking that of course he had a trunk but found otherwise, however we thought we would send the package any how. You have been remarkably fortunate in escaping the Draft, Harmar, and feel very much relieved I assure you. In looking over the “Pittsburg Chronicle” I see the names of some young men who were drafted in two or three different wards, how you escaped seemed very strange. But Mrs. V says if you had been drafted, Mrs. L would certainly have paid the three hundred dollars, in order to keep you in the establishment. I see by the paper, Mr. Hailman is Drafted, the gentleman who owns that handsome riodimer, Miss Plaks about. The Draft has not yet come off here and the young men are feeling very anxious as to  who will be the “lucky ones.” Monday I believe is the day appointed for Draft. I am glad we have anxiety on that score. Carlisle is beginning to wear its old appearance again. The College yard looks beautiful, the late heavy rains having washed away all braces of the rebs. The grass has grown so rank and luxuriant, we can scarcely tell where the rebel camp fires were no other damage having  been done to this yard, not even a tree cut down. The College is now used as a hospital for our sick and wounded. The stores are all opened again, the store keepers having bought back their goods again. The warehouses are doing business and altogether the town wears a lively appearance. Mr. Henderson’s warehouses is still used as a depot for commissary stores. Poor Nonmaker lost a little by his southern friends. They stole his (——-?) which he feels very much provoked about. Made nice camp kettles & —– this morning the two burden trains came down the usual time the first time they have made their appearance for five weeks. We were really glad to see them although they were small trains. Nonemakers cars have not yet been brought back from Baltimore. Master Abe is growing fast and seems to be growing in mischief as well as in size. Altogether he is too “many” for miss Maggie. He says he would like very much to see Harmar. In answer to your inquiry about the firm of —- Flemming, I will inform you that it is not our John, but “cousin Crawford” Flemming who is in partnership with Charly Halbert. Our John has gone to Philadelphia. Last Saturday evening Papa, Mother and myself walked out to the garrison to see the Garrison to see the ruins. It’s really a desolate looking place. The old magazine was not destroyed, neither was Samson’s house, (the bakery I suppose) situated at the western part of the Garrison ground, but the other buildings have all been destroyed, the bare and smoked walls alone are standing; monuments of rebel barbarism, but our flag is again waving from the flag-staff and looks more beautiful than ever. The regulars are back, and are —- in tents on the open green around the flag staff. How have you been doing about going to church since uncle Cliff’s? Have you a ——-?  Is old Mrs. Lyon still at Mrs. Lagars? I wish you would tell me. If you have not made a party, call at Alice’s you can call and see. Miss Virginia is well and in very good spirits, Harmar, we have for the last two weeks been looking, and hoping, and expecting, the “needful”, and hope it will —- come this week. Write soon.

Your sister,


Appendx III:

Dear Madam,

When the ladies of Carlisle resolved on presenting a memorial to General Smith for his gallant defense of our town on the night of July 1st, I although a great invalid wished also to do my part and in my own way. I left my home where I have lived for thirty years – twenty-five as a widow- with everything in it to the mercy of the rebels, never expecting to see it again. But it was saved although somewhat injured. On my return my first feeling was that of gratitude, for I am assured that under Providence, I am indebted to the exertions of Gen. Smith and his brave soldiers – I wish I could do something for each of them – that I still have a home.

Will you therefore accept the accompanying picture which is my own work, as a pledge of my appreciating of his important service in Carlisle. I offer it not on account of its worth as a painting or ivorytype, for you may have many better, but because of the spirit in which it is offered. For ‘A grateful mind

By owing owes not, but still

Payes at once

Indebted and discharged’

The frame is no the kind I wished or intended, but it is the best that coupd be procured in time to send the picture as it was feared you might leave new york and in such case that delay might cause the loss of the box.

Very Respectfully Yours,

Sarah A. Myers

Mrs. General Smith 9 Street New York

List of Works Cited

Flower, Lenore E. Civil War: Cumberland County. Middletown: Wert Bookbinding,            Inc., 1969.

Jeremiah Zeamer. Biography Annals of Cumberland County Pennsylvania.            Maryland:The Genealogical Publishing Co., 1905.

Boatner, Mark Mayo. The Civil War Dictionary. New York: McKay, 1988.

Murray, Margaret, to Harmar Denny, Pittsburg, Carlisle, 3 July 1863. Record Group            1838-1910, Papers of Harmar Denny Murray, Collection of the Cumberland            County Historical Society, Carlisle PA.

Murray, Mary, to Harmar Denny, Pittsburg, Carlisle, 23 July 1863. Record Group            1838-1910, Papers of Harmar Denny Murray, Collection of the Cumberland            County Historical Society, Carlisle, PA.

United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Twelfth Census of the Unites States,            1900. Washington D.C: National Archives and Records Administration, 1900.

United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Twelfth Census of the United States,            1900. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration 1900.            Allegheny Ward 2, Allegheny, Pennsylvania.

Wittenberg, Eric J. The Shelling of Carlisle.” Blue and Gray 25, no. 2(2007):41-45.

Zeamer, Jeremiah. Biographical Annals of Cumberland County. New York: The            Genealogical Publishing Co., 1905, PAGE

[1] The two letters written by the Murray sisters that are referred to in this paper are located at the Carlisle Historical Society in Carlisle Pennsylvania. Margaret Murray to Harmar Denny, Carlisle, 3 July 1863. Record Group 1838-1910, Papers of Harmar Denny Murray, Collection of the Cumberland County Historical Society, Carlisle PA. Mary Murray to Harmar Denny, Carlisle, 23 July 1863. Record Group 1838-1910, Papers of Harmar Denny Murray, Collection of the Cumberland County Historical Society, Carlisle, PA.

[2] Sarah Meyers to Mrs. Smith. Civil War: Cumberland County (Middletown: Wert Bookbinding, Inc., 1969).

[3] Eric J Wittenberg. “The Shelling of Carlisle.” Blue and Gray 25. 2(2007):41-45.

[4] Mark Mayo Botner, The Civil War Dictionary. (New York: McKay, 1988) PAGE.

[5] Jearemiah Zeamer, Biographical Annals of Cumberland County. (New York: The Genealogical Publishing Co., 1905), 12.

[6] Lenore E. Flower, Civil War: Cumberland County (Middletown: Wert Bookbinding, Inc., 1969).

[7] “Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900.” Prepared by the National Archives (Washington D.C, 1900).

[8] “Allegheny, Pennsylvania, Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900.” Prepared by the National Archives (Washington, DC: 1900): 2.

[9] Jeremiah Zeamer, Biography Annals of Cumberland County Pennsylvania (Maryland: The Genealogical Publishing Co., 1905). PAGE

[10] Margaret Murray to Harmar Denny, Carlisle, 3 July 1863. Record Group 1838-1910, Papers of Harmar Denny Murray, Collection of the Cumberland County Historical Society, Carlisle PA. For full text see appendix I.

[11] Dickinson College. “House Divided The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College.” Shelling of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, July 1, 1863 (2010).

[12] Murray, Mary, Carlisle, 23 July 1863. Record Group 1838-1910, Papers of Harmar Denny Murray, Collection of the Cumberland County Historical Society, Carlisle, PA. For full text see Appendix II.

[13] Lenore E. Flower, Civil War: Cumberland County (Middletown: Wert Bookbinding, Inc., 1969).

[14] Sarah Meyers to Mrs. Smith, Civil War: Cumberland County (Middletown: Wert Bookbinding, Inc., 1969).