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The Confederate Approach on Harrisburg: The Gettysburg Campaign's Northernmost Reaches
     

The Confederate Approach on Harrisburg: The Gettysburg Campaign's Northernmost Reaches

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by Cooper H. Wingert, Scott L. Mingus Sr. (Foreword by)
 

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In June 1863, Harrisburg braced for an invasion. The Confederate troops of Lieutenant General Richard S. Ewell steadily moved toward the Pennsylvania capital. Capturing Carlisle en route, Ewell sent forth a brigade of cavalry under Brigadier General Albert Gallatin Jenkins. After occupying Mechanicsburg for two days, Jenkins's troops skirmished with Union

Overview


In June 1863, Harrisburg braced for an invasion. The Confederate troops of Lieutenant General Richard S. Ewell steadily moved toward the Pennsylvania capital. Capturing Carlisle en route, Ewell sent forth a brigade of cavalry under Brigadier General Albert Gallatin Jenkins. After occupying Mechanicsburg for two days, Jenkins's troops skirmished with Union militia near Harrisburg. Jenkins then reported back to Ewell that Harrisburg was vulnerable. Ewell, however, received orders from army commander Lee to concentrate southward--toward Gettysburg--immediately. Left in front of Harrisburg, Jenkins had to fight his way out at the Battle of Sporting Hill. The following day, Jeb Stuart's Confederate cavalry made its way to Carlisle and began the infamous shelling of its Union defenders and civilian population. Running out of ammunition and finally making contact with Lee, Stuart also retired south toward Gettysburg. Author Cooper H. Wingert traces the Confederates to the gates of Harrisburg in these northernmost actions of the Gettysburg Campaign.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781609498580
Publisher:
History Press, The
Publication date:
11/13/2012
Series:
Civil War Sesquicentennial Series
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
271,821
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

Meet the Author


Cooper H. Wingert is a Civil War historian based in Enola, Pennsylvania. Since 2011, he has given talks at the Hershey Civil War Round Table, the Camp Curtin Historical Society and Civil War Round Table, and the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg. Gettysburg Magazine featured Wingert's article, "Master's of the Field: A New Interpretation of Wright's Brigade."

Scott L. Mingus, Sr. is a Civil War historian, author, and tour guide based in York, Pennsylvania.

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The Confederate Approach on Harrisburg: The Gettysburg Campaign's Northernmost Reaches 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
civiwarlibrarian More than 1 year ago
Pennsylvanians, fans of the Army of Northern Virginia and enthusiasts of the 1863 Pennsylvania Campaign are well served by Cooper Wingert's The Confederate Approach On Harrisburg: The Gettysburg Campaign's Northernmost Reaches. Personalities, terrain, military objectives are smoothly woven into a compelling story of an invasion and an emergency response. On June 15 1863, while wading the Potomac river, Richard Ewell's Second Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia, understood that Pennsylvania was the target and Harrisburg was the bull's eye. On June 12 Governor Andrew Curtain anticipated the invasion and called up the state's militia for the dual purpose of patrolling Fulton, Adams and York counties and constructing defenses for Harrisburg. During the next fifteen days, Chambersburg, Gettysburg, Carlisle and York would be seized by Ewell's divisions and their assigned cavalry escorts. Spies, scouts and assorted ner' do wells are pushed forward, through and behind the Confederate advance. Whirl becomes king for nearly three weeks. The New York State Militia arrives in Harrisburg and makes progress with the east bank earthworks. On June 28 a Confederate cavalry brigade galloped into Mechanicsburg, a mere 30 minute dash west of Harrisburg. Brief artillery salvos occurred around Peace Church. June 29 at Oyster Point the closest Confederate approach to Harrisburg occurred. The artillery skirmish provided cover for scouts to reach a spot from which Harrisburg's fortifications were viewed. Ewell prepared orders for an attack on June 30, but other orders reached him from Lee. Ewell's divisions [Rodes, Early, and Johnson] were to return to the Chambersburg-Gettysburg area. Wingert presents clearly and concisely the many personalities and circumstances of Ewell's approach to Harrisburg. Maps are admirably drawn by John Heiser, cartographer for GNMP and Gettysburg Magazine. Photographs include the many well known soldiers and civilians; many photographs are historical and present day images of regional locations. Wingert provides an insightful and detail discussion of the Confederate march further east of Gettysburg. Segments of the text are short and focused; the author stays within the limits of the primary sources available; artificial suspense is not injected into the story. The Confederate Approach On Harrisburg: The Gettysburg Campaign's Northernmost Reaches is an example of local history well written
scottmingus More than 1 year ago
In the spirit of full disclosure, I wrote the forward to Cooper's book and did a little minor proofreading and editing on the original raw manuscript. However, casting aside any bias I may have from those efforts, the fact is that this is a valuable and welcome addition to the historiography of the 1863 Gettysburg Campaign. The thrust toward Harrisburg has long been ignored as a stand-alone book, and Cooper's excellent, thorough research brings this phase of the Confederate movements to life. He has mined sources which other authors (myself included) have not previously used to add color and depth to Richard S. Ewell's two-division movement through Carlisle toward the Pennsylvania capital. The author covers this movement admirably, giving a solid description of the occupation of Carlisle, the march to the Susquehanna River, the engagements at Sporting Hill and Oyster's Point, the effect on the civilians and farmers of the region, and the desperate efforts of the state militia and imported New York national guard troops to dig entrenchments and form defenses to dissuade any Rebel attack. This book is highly readable, with crisp verbiage and a good flow. It should be required reading for anyone interested in learning more about the two weeks before the battle of Gettysburg, particularly the northern thrust. Coupled with my own book on the eastern thrust (Jubal Early's), Cooper's book now completes the picture of what was happening as Ewell's Corps invaded Pennsylvania. This book is well worth the read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting account which shows the citizens as well as soldiers not too unlike present day. With the aid of the book maps my area search found the original fort positions. Some had granite markers, others with signage. Standing on the hill overlooking Harrisburg reveals just how close the Confederacy came to taking a major northern city. Something many Harrisburg citizens may know little about. Also, driving through the neighborhood I saw another example of urban sprawl all but removing our history.
efm More than 1 year ago
Living in the Harrisburg it was easy to follow the toop movements with the landmarks presented, the south's failure to attack Harrisburg contributed to their failure at gettysburg.