Early in the evening of July 1, 1863, Union Brig. General William F. "Baldy" Smith entered Carlisle from Bridgeport (Lemoyne) with 2,500 troops subsequent to the departure of Confederate infantry the prior day, only to find the town facing attack by a second rebel force of 1,500 cavalry under the command of Maj. General J.E.B. Stuart. Stuart's force was comprised of Brig. General Fitzhugh Lee's Brigade and the 1st Stuart Horse Artillery, commanded by CPT James Breathed. Refusing to surrender the town, Smith soon found his men and the town receiving fire from four 3 inch Phoenix Ordnance Rifles deployed in two sections.
With the Union forces concentrated in the square, the dismounted Confederate cavalry occupied positions in this general vicinity on the East side of the Letort Spring Run, trading rifle fire with Union troops positioned on the other side. Two of Breathed's guns were positioned here, at the intersection of Trindle and York Roads. The second section of two guns was located a few hundred yards behind on higher ground. When the firing started, the second gun section mistook the first for the enemy and fired upon them - an error quickly corrected. The firing continued throughout the night until 3:00 AM the next morning, when, low on ammunition and summoned to the battle at Gettysburg, Breathed's guns took three parting
shots and Stuart's force left under the cover of darkness.
Union General Smith's report of the action cited 134 Confederate cannon rounds fired on the town, inflicting minor damage with few casualties. As a result of the shelling of Carlisle, the Army of Northern Virginia was deprived of Stuart's cavalry on the first day of battle at Gettysburg, and Breathed's artillery could not take action at Gettysburg until resupplied with ammunition on the third day.