The first major military engagement in Cumberland County during the Civil War took place in Shippensburg in the week leading up to the Battle of Gettysburg. As the action moved close to Shippensburg many in the town climbed onto their rooftops to observe the fight and to avoid being mistaken for a soldier.
Confederate Brigadier General Albert Jenkins and is cavalry arrived in Shippensburg on the afternoon of June 23, 1863. Around 2 p.m. Captain William Boyd and his Union cavalry moved along Main Street, now King Street, under pressure from the Confederate forces, and by 3 p.m. the Confederates were in possession of the entire town.
After clearing Shippensburg of Union cavalry, Jenkins' troops scavenged the town for supplies. They found the tannery and home of William McLean and set about looking for any finished leather. McLean had hidden his leather in the false bottoms of his tanning vats, which the Confederates never found. Jenkins' troops also visited a grist mill which was on the north side of town where they seized an estimated $30,000 worth of flour and grain.
The Confederates camped in and near Shippensburg from June 23-27, when they began to move towards Carlisle.
[Photo/illustration captions read]
· Union Cavalry Captain William Boyd
· Street life in Shippensburg c. 1863