• Confederates Burn Chambersburg, Citizens Retaliate By Shooting Rebs

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    On July 30, 1864, Brigadier General John McCausland and 2,800 Confederate cavalrymen entered Chambersburg and demanded $100,000 in gold or $500,000 in greenbacks. The residents of Chambersburg failed to raise the ransom, and McCausland ordered his men to burn the town.


    JOSEPH CORBIN enlisted as a private on September 20, 1861, five months after the Civil War began.  He mustered into G Co. Ohio 44th Infantry and was later transferred to the Ohio 8th Infantry.  The regiment was active in the Battles Of Lewisburg and Cumberland Gap, Siege of Knoxville and Sanders’ Knoxville Road. Corbin was later promoted to corporal.

    Corbin was mustered out on July 30, 1865, at Clarksburg, W.VA.  During his enlistment, Corbin was promoted to corporal.


    Corbin details the Confederate raid in this 3 ½ pp, 5 x 8, Harrisburg, PA, to his father. August 6th, 1864.


    “...At present, we are encamped at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. How I came to get here was that all the dismounted cavalry of Averils division was sent here to recruit up and draw new horses. My horse played out on the arid into East VA and I have had to take it a foot ever since. But good luck when we move. We always go on the cars. Our duty here is very light. Our greatest trouble is to cook what little we eat. I suppose when we came here we would get plenty to eat but all the difference is when we are at the front. We get hard tack and here we get lite bread and only half rations of it although we are having good times here. I would rather get to the regiment where we can get our mail and also our pay. There is now $202 coming to us from the government and we haven’t money enough to buy what few little articles we need. There is no telling when the regt will concentrate on our way here. We left some men at Parkersburg. Some at Harpers Ferry, Baltimore, Beverly, Cumberland and here and so on. There is all kinds of reports here about the rebel raiders on the Potomac but there is no use to waste papers and ink writing such stuff.  One hour we hear one thing and the next hour it is contradicted.


    “I suppose you are very well acquainted with the localities of Hagerstown, MD & Chambersburg, PA and a number of other little towns between here and the Potomac.  About three hundred rebel cavalry made a raid in the rear of Averill and burned greater portion of Chambersburg and then retired. At first they demanded $100,000 in specie or they would burn the town. The citizens refused to do this and in a short time their houses was in flames.  A rebel major who was at the head of the work was shot by a citizen who afterwards went out on the street and put six more holes through the reb Maj. Whenever the citizens would see a reb, they would shoot him down and say that’s what you get for burning our property. Well it’s almost noon and I am about one mile from Camp in a grove writing on a stage that was fixed up to dance on...Joseph H. Corbin...Camp Curtain”


    Folds, light toning.


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