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Doc. 81.-the occupation of York, Pa.

York Qazette account,

York, June 2, 1863.
news of the advance of the forces of the enemy upon York reached this place on Friday last, and although it was believed to be only a cavalry raid, on Saturday it was discovered by a Union scout that the force was large, numbering some ten thousand. Mr. Arthur Farquhar, a citizen of this place, entered their lines some distance from town, and obtained permission to inform the citizens of York of their approach, on the condition that he should return to their command and inform them whether or not our forces would make any resistance to the occupation of this place. A meeting of the Safety Committee was called, and it was then determined, on account of the strong force of the enemy, to make no resistance, and Chief Burgess Small and George Hay, Thomas White and W. Latimer Small, members of the committee, accompanied by Mr. Farquhar, went out to meet the advance, to inform them of the decision of the committee, and ask the protection of the private property and unarmed citizens.

They met General Gordon, of Early's division, and informed him that, having no sufficient force to resist their advance, they were authorized to ask that no injury be done the citizens in their persons or private property. General Gordon heard their request, and assured them that no injury should be done to either.

On Sunday morning, about ten o'clock, the vanguard of the enemy approached in three columns, the centre through Main street. Gordon's brigade passed through town and encamped on the turnpike about two miles east of town. General Early next arrived with another brigade of his division, and, after an interview with the Chief Burgess, took possession of the Fair Ground and Government Hospital. Thither the forces were stationed with their artillery, consisting of some fourteen pieces, together with their infantry, mounted riflemen, cavalry, etc. Headquarters were established in the court-house, General Early occupying the sheriffs office, the provostmarsal the register's office, and other members of the staff of the general commanding other offices.

The following requisitions were made upon the citizens by General Early:

Required for the use of early's division.

One hundred and sixty-five barrels flour, or twenty-eight thousand pounds baked bread. Three thousand five hundred pounds sugar. One thousand six hundred and fifty pounds coffee. Three hundred gallons molasses. One thousand two hundred pounds salt. Thirty-two thousand pounds fresh beef, or twenty-one thousand pounds bacon or pork.

The above articles to be delivered at the market-house on Main street, at four o'clock P. M.

Wm. W. Thornton, Captain and A. C. S.

Required for the use of Major-General early's command.

Two thousand pairs shoes or boots. One thousand pairs socks. One thousand felt hats. One hundred thousand dollars in money.

C. E. Snodgrass, Major and Chief Q. M. Early's Division.

June 28, 1863.
Approved, and the authorities of the town of York will furnish the above articles and the money required, for which certificates will be given.

J. A. Early, Major-General Commanding.

A meeting of the citizens was called, and every effort was made to fill the requisition. Upon the representation of the committee appointed to see to the obtaining of the required articles, that they had done the best in their power to do, General Early signified his satisfaction, and agreed to accept their offer.

On Sunday afternoon, Gordon's brigade reached Wrightsville, and after a slight skirmish, in which two of Bell's Adams County cavalry are supposed to have been taken prisoners, our forces, consisting of several regiments of New-York and Pennsylvania militia, fell back across the Susquehanna, destroying the bridge in their rear by fire. The fire was distinctly seen from town. No property was burnt at Wrightsville, except Moore's foundery and some frame buildings attached, which took fire from the burning bridge. No property was burned at Columbia. The rebel cavalry dismounted and used their muskets and rifles.

On Sunday, the bridges on the Northern Central Railway, north to near Harrisburgh, and south to below Hanover Junction, were burned by the enemy's forces. We are also informed that some bridges on the Wrightsville Railroad were burned, and the large bridge over the Conewago, on the Harrisburgh turnpike.

Last evening General Early visited the railroad property and machine-shops in this borough, in company with the Chief Burgess and other citizens, to see what should be destroyed, but, upon their urgent request, abstained from burning them, because their destruction would have endangered the safety of the town.

Beyond the destruction of the switches, portions of the track and of the telegraph, and some company cars yet remaining here, no public property, as far as we are informed, was destroyed. Several cars, the property of citizens, were not destroyed. Last evening Gordon's brigade returned through town and encamped several miles from the borough. on the Carlisle road. This morning the other brigades followed westward, with their artillery and munitions. The town is now no longer occupied by the enemy in force, but a few pickets and scouts are passing through town as we write, and they are no doubt yet in the surrounding country. Let us hope that they are on the retreat, and that the invasion of our fair State by the enemy may soon be at an end, and never again be repeated.

We have no news from the outside world, being completely cut off from all sources of intelligence. [322] There are rumors, which we shall not now repeat for the want of reliability.

While the enemy was in occupation of the town the citizens were left free to pass through the streets from place to place, though passes were required to get out of town. Many horses and cattle were taken, and the losses of our farmers are heavy, though during the whole of the latter part of last week large droves with wagons were passing through across the river. In several cases the horses were returned on identification and demand of the owners. Guards were placed at the hotels, stores, etc., and the town was kept comparatively quiet, the soldiers being under very strict discipline. Places of business were generally closed, though in many cases were on request opened and articles were purchased, the soldiers and officers paying for them in confederate money. So far as we are informed, their promise to respect the rights of persons and property was kept.

The time the enemy remained here in force was nearly two days, and long weary days they were, rendered more dark by the gloomy weather which prevailed. The apprehension, excitement, and humiliation at the presence of the enemy, together with the total suppression of business, cast an universal gloom over the place, which we pray we may be spared from ever beholding again. But the people submitted with becoming resignation to imperious necessity. What shall yet be our fate or the fate of our beloved country must be developed by the future. God grant us a happy deliverance

The rebel force in and around the borough of York, consisted of Early's division, made up of Gordon's, Hoke's, Hayes's, and Smith's ( “Extra Billy,” recently elected Governor of Virginia) brigades, and numbered about ten in cavalry, artillery, and infantry. Their cannon were part of those captured from Milroy at Winchester, and consisted of heavy brass pieces and five-inch Parrott rifled guns. Some of these were planted on the hills commanding the borough early on Sunday morning.

The amount of money received by the rebels in York, on their requisition or demand for one hundred thousand dollars, was about twenty-eight thousand dollars. The compliance, in part, of their demand, beyond all doubt saved the burning of all the shops and buildings of the railway company and machine-shops where government work is done, the burning of which would have involved the destruction of an immense amount of private property in the immediate neighborhood of these shops.

Fight at Wrightsville.

Columbia, Pa., June 29, 5 A. M.
The conflict near Wrightsville, Pa., commenced about half-past 6 o'clock on Sunday evening last. Colonel Frick, with a regiment composed of men from the interior counties of Pennsylvania, principally those of Schuylkill, Lehigh, Berks, and Northampton, with three companies of Colonel Thomas's (Twentieth) regiment, the City Troop of Philadelphia, Captain Bell's independent company of cavalry from Gettysburgh, and several hundred men unattached to any particular command, aided by about two companies of volunteer negroes, held the enemy, supposed to consist of eight thousand men, at bay for at least forty-five minutes, retreating in good order and burning the bridge over the Susquehanna to prevent the crossing of the rebel cavalry.

The intrenchments of Colonel Frick were thrown up across the centre of the valley leading from Wrightsville, opposite Columbia, to York. They were simply trenches constructed by negroes, and commanded the turnpike approach to the Susquehanna. Had they been supported on each adjacent hill by other works, the position would have been tenable, but Colonel Frick had not a sufficient number of men to protect himself from a flank movement. The rebels came not only in his front, but sent flanking parties along roads leading to the river, which skirted his position on either side. After the contest commenced, it soon became apparent that a retreat was necessary.

The rebel batteries throwing shell into the intrenchments were stationed at various points. That the range of their guns was great, was evident from the fact that some of the shell passed over our troops, and either fell into the river beyond Wrightsville or into the town itself, doing an execution among the peaceable inhabitants, the extent of which is as yet unknown. As we stated yesterday, nearly all of the women and children had remained at Wrightsville.

In order to insure the safety of the command, should a retreat become necessary, a train of coal-cars was drawn across the entrance to the bridge, on the Wrightsville side of the River. leaving between them only an opening sufficient for the passage of our men. These cars protected the retreat during the time that a party of workmen, with torpedoes and axes, were preparing the structure for demolishment. After our men had all retired, closely followed by the rebel cavalry, the torch was applied to the fourth span from Wrightsville, and before the flames could be checked by the enemy they had enveloped the entire span and were making rapid headway toward the two ends, which they reached. The remains of the bridge, on Monday morning, consisted only of the piers, which stretched themselves across the river — more than a mile wide — like giant's stepping-stones.

It was almost eight o'clock in the evening of Sunday when the fire first gained headway, and the scene was magnificent. Some of the arches remained stationary even when the timbers, were all in flames, seeming like a fiery skeleton bridge whose reflection was pictured in the water beneath. The moon was bright, and the blue clouds afforded the best contrast possible to the red glare of the conflagration. The light in the heavens must have been seen for many miles. Some of the timbers as they fell into the stream seemed to form themselves into rafts, which floated down like infernal ferry-boats of the region pictured by Dante. [323]

The heavy fog this (Monday) morning, at the hour this is written, prevents any object over the river from being distinctly seen. The flames do not appear, however, to have extended to any dwelling in Wrightsville, although two or three board-yards above the town were destroyed. Another yard below the town still contains sufficient lumber for the enemy to construct as many rafts as may seem desirable, but it is impossible to see whether the rebel guns are planted in its vicinity, or on the hills which come out naked and abrupt, with fields upon their tops, to the very edge of the river. One fact is certain, and the truth may as well be told, Columbia is completely at the mercy of the enemy, who, from the opposite hills just mentioned, can shell every building in the town. Nothing of importance was captured at the intrenchments except about five hundred rations, which have since been replaced.

At the intrenchments the rebel fire was returned by our men to the best of their ability. The adjacent fields, however, were covered with long grain, in which the enemy could hide and fire at leisure. For this purpose some of their cavalry dismounted. During the whole affair the coolness and intrepidity of Colonel Frick were displayed, and to other officers the official report will do full justice.

The three companies of Colonel Thomas's regiment were on the right. The City Troop and Bell's cavalry acted as scouts, aids, and orderlies. The colored volunteers behaved well. After the retreat the troops encamped on a hill back of Columbia, a portion of them, however, being detailed to guard a ford. One negro was killed in the intrenchments, and as many members of the white companies are still missing, it is not possible to give the exact loss. It will not exceed twenty, however; a small number, comparatively, but it must be recollected that the engagement derives its importance more from the fact of its proximity to Philadelphia, and the danger which threatens to the State, than from the mere loss in killed, wounded, and missing. The City Troop and Colonel Thomas's companies suffered no loss.

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