July 15th, 1863
Prof. Marshal, W.S.G.
Our last was duly read. I write from Lewistown as my self & family have been boarding here in Pealy Hotel for some three weeks. We were drove out of Carlisle by the rebels. We left on Thursday night at 7 oco, the last train that left the place before the rebels entered. We gathered up our trunk only, left every thing else; when I returned, I found all perfectly safe just as we left it, for which we are thankful. The rebels entered Carlisle in a strong force, twelve thousand, on Saturday evening. Officers pitched their tents near the door of Dr. Johnson& the campus filled with men and tents. Officers sent in to Mrs. Johnson for their supper, she sent it to them. Next morning, they sent for breakfast, but she declined. They then used the outer cookingstove as her servants had run off. She made their servants cook for her. They placed a strict guard around the men, to prevent discontent & keep them from plundering. But early on Sat morning, they detailed officers & men to plunder & they were thieving all day on Sat, flour, groceries & dry goods, shoes, et. While Mr. Hollert was dying on one end of his house, they were robbing him & the others. Robt Moore had a few of my shoes hid, some rebel sympathizer, took them of the faith & they searched his house, then took him prisoner & forced a confession from him where the shoes were & took them. They had no respect to privates when ever it suited them. They received information on Monday morning, that the army of the Potomac has made an attack near Gettysburg, they left speedily. Then some few thousand militia from Harrisburg marched into Carlisle, on Tuesday evening at 6 oco in the evening, just as they stacked their arms in the public square, the rebel cavalry having planted their cannons in the road near W. Calvary, commenced shelling the town. This was then flying artillery after throwing a few shells they sent in a flag of truce to General Smith, to surrender the town, he refused, Judge Graham tried to get him to surrender. They commenced the battle & shelled the town until three oco in the morning when they left. They burned the Barracks & Gashouse. One shell struck Dr. Henderson’s house in front but did very little injury. One exploded in Dr. Johnson’s reading room doing very little damage, he was standing just outside in the hall. The family then went to the cellar & spent the night, when most of the inhabitants took refuge. It was an awful night. Robt Moore & family gathered up a few bundles & left the night during the shelling & went into the country as far as Biturns. Others did Thurs. I was very glad that I was so fortunate as to take my family out at the time I did, as they were quiet & safe in Lewistown. The four children have all had the hooping [whooping] cough, the youngest was quite ill, but all are now recovering & about in their usual health. Fanny and Mrs. Crawford are well. The rebels did not give us quite time to get through with the commencement, by hurrying the matter we got through by dispensing with a form of the exams. The graduating class received their diplomas, though not in the usual way. Only eight trustees present, no quorum & no meeting of the board. They will have one soon & college will open as usual in July. Durbin & Alexander are in the freshman class. The financial committee did the business. The college is doing well all things considered. We expect to return to Carlisle in a few days. And Army gained a complete victory over Lee at Gettysburg. The rebel loss in killed, wounded & prisoners from twenty to thirty thousand now has just announced that the rebel army has escaped across the Potomac at Williamsport, we conspired to catch them & had another battle, but they run too fast. Vicksburg has fallen with 20,000 prisoners & small arms to over one hundred heavy guns. Port Hudson will go next. Then the Mississippi will be open. Our force feels we’re never so bright as now for crushing the rebellion. A fearful sight in Newyork the copperheads resisting the draft. That would all be erroneous for good I hope.
Fanny & Mrs. Crawford give our nicest love to self & family. Tell Mrs. Marshal she owes us a letter.
Your dear friend,
G. D. Chenoweth