Jeb Stuart Civil War Sign
Hand Painted Vintage sign
Removed from the location of where Jeb Stuart burned down the train station in Chambersburg Pa. during The Civil War.
Chambersburg RR Depot Information
Hand painted wood sign erected December 5th 1947
That same evening, as rain shrouded the fading light, Stuart’s troopers arrived on a hill west of Chambersburg. After setting up his four cannon, Stuart dispatched a detail with a white flag into the city to demand its surrender. Even as three townsmen went out to meet the enemy, the militia disbanded, well aware of the odds against them.
“Burning of the Engine House and Machine Shops at Chambersburg, PA, sketched…
Stuart’s men occupied Chambersburg without incident, cut the telegraph wires, and captured wounded Union soldiers in the local hospitals, then paroled them. Stuart also dispatched a party to burn the railroad bridge at Scotland. But the detail returned with discouraging news. Local citizens had told them that the bridge was made of iron and would not burn. Stuart included this assertion in his later report of the expedition to General Lee, and when this historical marker was erected in 1947, the preparers included this information in the marker text. Patriotic citizens, however, had misled Stuart’s men to save the bridge, which was actually made of wood. (Lee’s men would easily destroy it in June 1863 during the Gettysburg campaign.)
Stuart’s men departed Chambersburg early on October 11. The rearguard set fire to the railroad depot, several warehouses stuffed with military goods, some machine shops, and several trains of railroad cars sitting on sidings. A huge plume of smoke rose over the city as the Rebels rode off to the east toward Gettysburg. Knowing the enemy would now know where he was, Stuart turned south at Cashtown, managed to evade pursuing Yankee troops, and crossed the Potomac at White’s Ford on October 12.
The three-day Confederate raid, heralded in Harper’s Weekly as ” one of the most surprising feats of the war,” was a huge success. At the cost of only a few men wounded, Stuart brought back close to 1,200 horses and a handful of hostages, destroyed military stores worth $250,000 at Chambersburg, and scared the local populace of south-central Pennsylvania.
For weeks afterward, Chambersburg store clerk Jacob Hoke later recalled, a kind of “raider paranoia” hung over the city, as skittish residents were unnerved by every false report of more enemy horsemen. Stuart’s 1862 raid would not be the last time Pennsylvania faced an invasion. The great Confederate invasion in June 1863 would make the brief October 1862 foray seem inconsequential by comparison, and a Confederate raid in July 1864 would leave the town in ruins.