How To Annoy Two Commanding Generals And Maybe Get Yourself Arrested, July 1863

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JPK Huson 1863

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gatehouse windows laundry.JPG

We're very familiar with the 1863 sign within Evergreen Cemetery's gates prohibiting the discharge of firearms. Shattered windows on the Masser's side of the gatehouse and general debris beneath Elizabeth Thorn's laundry indicate perhaps no one saw it. The burnt bodies encountered by Elizabeth by her well are removed by the time of this photo, Elizabeth is just over the rise behind the gatehouse, with a shovel and pickax burying them and 100 others. Firearms discharged all the heck all over the place.

Kept running into references to H.J. Stahle's arrest sometime during the Gettysburg campaign. You see various stories. A Democrat running The Gettysburg Compiler, also a Burgess and involved in Gettysburg ' doins', he seems to have been darkly suspected of Southern sympathies- nothing new there. Not far from the border, men like Dr. O'Neil also openly expressed their loyalties and not to the Union. Heck, we have O'Neil as well as the Weavers to thank for ensuring Confederate grave sites were not lost and men were returned home when The Gettysburg Dead ' project commenced. Caring for wounded from both armies, Doc O'Neil took careful notes when coming across the grave of a Confederate soldier. Southern PA could be awfully Southern.

Only including one of several references in papers to HJ Stahle's arrest. None list why.
stahl returned.JPG


Anyway, articles in The Compiler unsurprisingly express outrage at Stahle's arrest, The Adams County Sentinel seems a little ' he had it coming ' smug. Conjecture was rife- he'd revealed the location of Union soldiers to Confederate authorties is one, another speculation held seems to have been he was just, plain considered an enemy.

SOOOO came across this. Newspapers at the time being what they were who knows how to judge veracity? CWT has a few knock-down, drag out experts in All-Thngs-Gettysburg, what better place to bring it up? I'd ' at ' those members but would forget someone and risk being annoying. IF true, it's a pretty darn good story. And I'm not saying it is. The thing is, there's the famous sign already in place in Evergreen Cemetery about how no shots were to be fired inside the grounds. Genesis? No idea.

DID H.J. Stahle remind both armies firing guns was forbidden inside the boundaries of Gettysburg? Best irony of the battle if so. Trying to shove Commanding generals around seems a good way to get yourself arrested. What's awfully interesting is this later story makes no mention of Stahle's arrest.

stahl no guns.JPG

Gettysburg Borough forbid the firing of guns inside city limits just in time for two armies to collide there?

stahl no guns 2.JPG

An editor with fine irony- " ... and they do say that there was firing ... "

Guessing poor H.J.'s story has been around- had it on a side burner to poke around in because it's Gettysburg. Everything is interesting. If true, can you imagine Lee and Meade's level of tolerance for a town official buzzing around ensuring no one fired a gun in his town? Maybe he was arrested as a Southern sympathizer or maybe just for being the most intrepid man in two armies.
 
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JPK Huson 1863

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An interesting story and one that I had not heard it before. Good job @JPK Huson 1863.

Ryan

Thank you! It's always a risk posting what's new to me- so many experts entrenched in ' Gettysburg ' it's never a good idea assuming something hasn't already been well hashed out, documented, confirmed or soundly refuted. These mysterious references to H.J. Stahle's arrest keep popping up post battle, in local papers. They've bugged me for years and couldn't find anything.

Has anyone done much on civilians who were Southern sympathizers living in Gettysburg? Love to read it because finding Dr. O'Neils personal account inclusive of the role he had in the Weaver's work was surprising, too.
 

Tom Elmore

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William H. Swallow on Jubal Early's staff wrote: In Gettysburg met Mr. Henry Stahle, editor of the Gettysburg Compiler; after the battle the Provost Marshal took him into custody for disloyalty and sent him to Fort Delaware.
 
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ErnieMac

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Obituaries following his sudden death in 1892 painted a different picture. Excerpt from entry in Find A Grave:
He knew every nook and corner in the county, all its byways and the people thereof. For every man, woman or child there he had a cheerful word. It was not enough with him to bid one the day, but he would stop and then would come some kind of inquiry as "so hows this or that member of the family.", or "what are you doing now or hows that young orchard coming on you were planting last time I was along." It was the every day life of other people that interested him. There was that strength of character and geniality flowing from his soul that gave him a personal magnestisum which attracted people. His conversations with the people he came in contact were guided with useful suggestions, good advice and encouragement.​
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/49804935/henry-j-stahle

A historical marker located outside the old Compiler office puts a political spin on the story. The marker states:
"During the Battle of Gettysburg Stahle took into his home a badly wounded Union officer and persuaded a Confederate surgeon to come and perform a life-saving leg amputation. This humanitarian act led to Stahle's temporary incarceration at Ft. McHenry in Baltimore for aiding the enemy to capture a Union officer, a baseless charge of disloyalty concocted by a local Republican for political revenge."​
https://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=18056
 
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I can see where that might lead to a charge of disloyalty... albeit prehaps excused by the desperate reality of the battle and a life threatening situation (for the Union Officer, at least). His obit makes him sound like the nosy neighbor type, I can imagine that while that’s positive for a reporter it would not win you any friends especially in rather private Victorian eyes.
 
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