Battle of Monterey Pass

Battle of Monterey Pass

Fought during the retreat of Gettysburg, the Battle of Monterey Pass is the second largest Civil War battle fought on Pennsylvania soil with 10,000 from both Union and Confederate forces. The fight took place in the late hours of July 4, 1863 and the early hours of July 5, 1863 during solid darkness and a torrential downpour on a precarious mountainside, spanning two states and four counties.

After the Confederate defeat at Gettysburg, General Robert E. Lee was faced with returning troops, supplies, artillery, wagons, and wounded across South Mountain to Virginia. From July 3 to July 6, the retreating Confederate troops moved across South Mountain. There were two routes the Confederate army took.  One was along the Chambersburg Pike to Cashtown, onto Greenwood—today known as Fayetteville—and south to Hagerstown. A shorter route traveled winding mountain roads through Fairfield Gap and across Monterey Pass to Hagerstown.

A twenty-mile train of Conestoga-style wagons retreated on the longer route through Cashtown and was led by Brigadier General John Imboden. With so much rain, there was much mud. The multitude and weight of the wagons made an arduous and long retreat.

The exodus via the shorter route through Fairfield Gap and across Monterey Pass did not escape the terrible impacts of the rain. Men marched on flooded roads and thick mud. In many Confederate soldier’s diaries and letters, it was referred to as Mount Misery or the quagmire. The conditions made night travel even more dangerous because visibility was so limited.

On July 4, Union troops led by General Judson Kirkpatrick removed the Confederate sentries at Fairfield and were able to advance toward Monterey Pass. Brigadier General George Custer charged the Confederates with the 6th Michigan Cavalry, allowing Kilpatrick’s men to reach and attack the wagon train. Ultimately, the Union forces captured more than 1300 Confederate men and destroyed nine miles of wagons.

Today, the site of the battle is along PA Route 16, just east of Waynesboro. The battlefield land is preserved by the local municipality, Washington Township, and houses the Monterey Pass Battlefield Museum, open weekends from April to November. The museum interprets Civil War history, depicts details of the Battle of Monterey Pass, and portrays the historical significance of the region.

Kick Off 2018 First Fridays in Chambersburg on May 4

Kick Off 2018 First Fridays in Chambersburg on May 4

The Downtown Business Council (DBC) and Council for the Arts of Chambersburg will present the start of 2018’s First Friday events on Friday May 4th from 5-8pm.  Just as “Star Wars” fans around the world celebrate “May the Fourth”, Chambersburg’s May 4th First Friday events will feature a Star Wars theme as well, sponsored by Noelker & Hull.  For more details, call 717-658-4372 or check the Facebook page of the Downtown Business Council. (more…)

The Franklin County Visitors Bureau & Capitol Theatre Seek Talent For A Cappella & Unplugged 2018

The Franklin County Visitors Bureau & Capitol Theatre Seek Talent For A Cappella & Unplugged 2018

The Franklin County Visitors Bureau (FCVB) and Capitol Theatre are teaming up for A Cappella & Unplugged 2018. It is a journey to $500 and it begins with auditions at the Capitol Theatre on ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­May 22, 7 PM to 9 PM, and May 24, 6 PM to 9 PM. Audition on Tuesday, May 22, are in the Wood Center Stage and on Thursday, May 24 are on the main theatre stage.

Performers–ages 2 to 102–are invited to audition for the 2018 A Cappella & Unplugged Singing Competition. Acts can be solo or groups–vocal or unplugged instrumental. Acts must be appropriate for a variety of ages and people, FCVB is seeking celebratory–lively, illuminating, inspiring performers–something that makes the audience feel good. Auditions are closed format. Registration fee to audition is $10 per act.

The top performers from the audition will be invited to perform and compete at Round 1 of A Cappella & Unplugged Musical Competition, performed live, onstage June 16 @ 7 PM, at the Capitol Theatre, where a panel of judges will select the top six acts.

From here, voting goes public. Friends, family, and the public can vote for the top 6 acts by liking the performers on Facebook.com/FCVBen. The top three performers with the most public votes will have a chance to move forward in the competition and perform live on the steps of the Franklin County Courthouse on the evening of July 21, as part of the festivities leading up to 1864, the Civil War light show portraying the Ransoming & Burning of Chambersburg. The public at the event and through Facebook will select the winner of $500 and the title of “2018 A Cappella & Unplugged Champion.” Once the champion is crowned, they will then perform in front of thousands of people on the steps of the Franklin County Courthouse opening the 1864 light show. It will be an exciting competition showcasing amazing talent.

Get started today by registering to audition at Eventbrite.

For more information about the 2018 A Cappella & Unplugged Championship, visit https://www.explorefranklincountypa.com/home/acappella_unplugged/  or call 866.646.8060.

The Franklin County Visitors Bureau invites all to explore Franklin County PA and enjoy the trails of history, arts, recreation, natural beauty, fresh foods and the warm hospitality of communities like Chambersburg, Greencastle, Mercersburg, Shippensburg, and Waynesboro.

Remember Chambersburg

In the early hours of July 30, 1864, as McCausland advanced on Chambersburg, a division of Union cavalry, commanded by General William Averell was camped near Greencastle.  Averell planned to intercept McCausland and expected he would take the route J.E.B. Stuart used in 1862, so Averell moved east. When scouts reported that McCausland’s troops were moving west, Averell changed course and moved toward Chambersburg. Averell’s men had no idea of the destruction they would encounter in Chambersburg.

At 2 P.M (on July 30, 1864), the Union forces advanced through the town. The citizens cheered the dusty and jaded warriors, but no soldierly huzzas came from their parched and suffocated throats, as they rode through smoke and flame and the intense heat of the smoldering ruins. One repeated exclamation of “My God” was all that was heard, and then, as they passed the flag staff, each one shouted “Remember Chambersburg.” And so they exclaimed, and so they shouted, as they dashed at a trot through the town.

– J.K. Shryock in Schneck’s Burning of Chambersburg

As General Averell’s troops entered Chambersburg, the troops of Generals McCausland and Johnson were moving toward McConnellsburg. Upon arriving in the town, the Confederates demanded rations, threatening to fire the town, if they were not provided. The telegraph wires were cut, stores relieved of merchandise, and citizens robbed before the Confederates set camp outside the town with an eye on the road from Chambersburg.  In the morning, the Confederates departed McConnellsburg and headed toward Hancock, where McCausland made another ransom demand –$30,000 and food for the men or Hancock would be left as Chambersburg was.  Johnson did not concur with McCausland’s demand, but the two generals had no time to settle the difference because Union troops led by Averell were advancing and engaging.  Averell drove McCausland and Bradley’s men out of Hancock, and the Confederates headed west toward Cumberland, Maryland.

On August 7, General William Averell caught up with the Chambersburg raiders at Moorefield, West Virginia, where he attacked and took 500-600 prisoners.  Among those captured was General Bradley Johnson, who later escaped. General McCausland was not captured.