The Civil War Visits Carlisle

Hanover & High Streets,
Carlisle, PA 17013

The spearhead of General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia reached Carlisle on Saturday, June 27, 1863. The force, led by General Richard Ewell, included a vanguard of about 1,200 cavalrymen and 8,000 infantrymen. The Confederate troops occupied and controlled the town for three days. They confiscated needed supplies and damaged the Cumberland Valley Railroad but otherwise left the town relatively unharmed. On July 1, another Confederate force approached the town from the southeast, demanding the surrender of Carlisle under threat of artillery bombardment. The Union militia, under the command of Major General William "Baldy" Smith refused, replying "Shell away and be damned." The Confederate troops complied and Carlisle came under several attacks. There were some casualties and minor damage to property. The U.S. Army Barracks and most of the buildings there were burned down. The Confederate force was recalled to Gettysburg and Carlisle was spared further damage. Download The Civil War Visits Carlisle (.pdf)