The Burning of Chambersburg

The Burning of Chambersburg (HMC5T)

Location: Chambersburg, PA 17201 Franklin County
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 56.238', W 77° 39.698'

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During the Gettysburg campaign, Confederate troops were restrained, under orders, from destroying non-government property. By the time of the Rebels' next raid into the North, however, the policy had changed.

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. Flames destroyed more than 500 structures leaving more than 2,000 homeless. One resident died of smoke inhalation. Damage was estimated at more than $1.6 million. To make matters worse, many inebriated Confederate soldiers looted homes and abused civilians. Mobs of angry townspeople looking for retribution killed several Rebels.

Good Samaritans in the Rebel ranks helped citizens escape and save their valuables; a Confederate captain even ordered his company to douse the flames. One officers, Colonel William Peters, staunchly refused to take part in the burning. McCausland had him placed under arrest.

Chambersburg was the only Northern town the Confederates destroyed. The raid inspired a national aid campaign and influenced the Union Army to adopt a more aggressive strategy, contributing to the war's end.
HM NumberHMC5T
Series This marker is part of the Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania Civil War Trails series
Year Placed2009
Placed ByPennsylvania Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, October 11th, 2014 at 3:17am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 272581 N 4424190
Decimal Degrees39.93730000, -77.66163333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 56.238', W 77° 39.698'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 56' 14.28" N, 77° 39' 41.88" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)717
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 1868 Lincoln Way W, Chambersburg PA 17201, US
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