Conference in the Road
— Gettysburg Campaign —
After a stunning victory at Chancellorsville in May 1863, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee led the Army of Northern Virginia through Maryland into Pennsylvania, marching east to threaten Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C. The Army of the Potomac marched north from the capital, searching for Lee. On July 1-3, the armies collided at Gettysburg in one of the pivotal battles of the Civil War. Three days later, after a bloody defeat, the Confederates began retracing their steps to Virgina.
You are standing where Gen. Robert E. Lee and Gen. A.P. Hill stood on the morning of July 1, 1863, as they listened to the sounds of a growing battle in the distance, a few miles east, near Gettysburg. There, two Confederate infantry brigades clashed with two Union cavalry brigades and, because the armies were marching toward each other, the fighting intensified as additional troops arrived. Soon, the rest of Hill's corps hurried forward to join the fray.
This was not the first time that Confederates had marched past the Cashtown Inn. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart had led his cavalrymen past this spot in October 1862 while on a raid. On this day, however, as tavernkeeper Jacob Mickley later wrote, "The entire rebel force under General Lee came down the Chambersburg Pike, passing within twenty feet of my bar room dore [sic]." With thousands of hungry and thirsty Confederates marching by, it is no wonder that Mickley lost by his own account at wagon, a horse, a steer, 50 chickens, 100 apple trees, and 480 gallons of whiskey and brandy - more than $2,000 in damages.
Peter Mark probably constructed the brick building known as the Cashtown Inn between 1804 and 1806. In 1813, a new road was built between Chambersburg and Gettysburg, and the enterprising Mark applied for a tavern license in 1815. He operated a tavern here for the next three decades. Henry Mickley bought the building in 1854, and his son Jacob Mickley ran the establishment during the Civil War. He sold the inn to Daniel and Mary Heintzelman in 1864, and they operated it until 1890. More than ninety years later, after passing through the hands of many owners, the Cashtown Inn was restored. Today, the historic tavern continues to serve travelers and visitors to south-central Pennsylvania.