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.