Allison-Antrim Museum 

                                     Greencastle, PA

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Corporal Rihl

The Archibald Fleming farm just north of Greencastle at 9389 Molly Pitcher Highway was where, in an ambush by the Confederates, that Corp. William H. Rihl, Company C, 1st New York (Lincoln) Cavalry, became the first Union soldier killed north of the Mason-Dixon Line on June 22, 1863. The Confederates buried Rihl in a shallow grave. A few days later, Rihlís body was disinterred, by a group of citizenís, and was placed it in a coffin. Rihlís body was reburied in the Lutheran Church cemetery on North Washington Street.  Twenty-three years later, Rihlís body was re-interred on June 22, 1886, at the site of his death, where a granite monument now stands.  The monument, funded by the GAR Corporal Rihl Post No. 438 and a $500 appropriation from the State Legislature, was erected and dedicated on June 22, 1887. 

Dr. Franklin A. Bushey (1841-1904), a surgeon in the 4th Pennsylvania Cavalry was a charter member of the Corp. Rihl Post No. 438 and was instrumental in raising the funds for the granite monument.  Bushey married the youngest daughter of Dr. Adam Carl who established Carlís Drug Store. 

The companies of the 1st NY Lincoln Cavalry were raised mostly in New York City.  Co. F was raised in Syracuse, NY, Co. K in Grand Rapids, MI, and Co. C. ďBoydís Company C,Ē of which Corp. Rihl was a member, was raised in Philadelphia, PA.  The 1st New York Cavalry was the very first regiment of the Civil War that was composed of all volunteers.  Some of its nicknames are Lincoln Cavalry (the most used), Carbine Rangers, Sabre Regiment, and First United States Volunteer Cavalry.  It was organized in New York City between July 16 and August 31, 1861.  Its first duty assignment was to Washington City where it was attached to Defenses of Washington and Alexandria from July 31 to October 4, 1861, to guard and protect President Lincoln and the capitol. 

Greencastle-Antrim GAR members are shown as they gathered at the monument, which is located at the Fleming farm along Route 11, aka the Molly Pitcher Highway. The Fleming family and descendants have owned this property for five generations. The photograph is courtesy of the Helen Welch Family.

 
   
(pictures taken in 2003)

Click for high resolution panorama photo


 

 

Charles Hartman's Diary
1799-1864
(excerpt)

That part of this army which passed through Chambersburg was carefully estimated by competent persons both at Greencastle and Chambersburg, July 8th 1863, while the matter was fresh in the minds of the people, and taking its figures from the several estimates made by citizens as the army marched through here, states the number at forty-seven thousand confederate army which passed through Chambersburg, was as follows. Ewell's corps, fifteen thousand men, infantry, artillery and cavalry with sixty pieces of artillery and over one thousand wagons, A.F. Hill's corps the same. Longstreet's corps twenty thousand men, eighty pieces of artillery and over one thousand wagons, the entire army did not number over forty eight or fifty thousand men, infantry, cavalry and artillery. This is an estimate made by a competent person from his own actual observation, the result being he noted at the time.  Now taking fifty thousand, the numbers generally fixed upon by all who estimated them that passed through Chambersburg, and add to them Early's division which passed by way of Waynesboro, Quincy Funkstown, and Greencastle. Stuart's cavalry which passed around east of the Federal army, and we [have] here already seventy to seventy-five thousand men. It may safely be said that the entire strength of the invading army did not exceed that number. When within a half a mile of Greencastle, Jenkins' cavalry with the advance of Rhodes' infantry were met, and seeing the scouting party retreating, pursued by Captain Boyd and his troopers, and not knowing the number of Federals who might be near at hand, and upon their line of battle, was hastily formed. Fences were torn down to the right and left of the road. Rhodes' infantry were met, and seeing the scouting party were retreating unaware of the number of Federals who might be near at hand, a line of battle was hastily formed. Rhodes' infantry took position on the high ground of Mr. John Kissecker's farm.  Jenkins threw his cavalry forward, and formed a skirmish line upon the land of Mr. William Fleming, about a quarter of a mile in advance of the infantry. Jenkins established his headquarters in Mr. Fleming's house.  As soon as the Union cavalry came within range of their guns, fire was opened upon them for a time. The noise and clatter were quite lively. A sister of Mr. Blair Fleming going to the window to look out, barely escaped a ball which came crashing in through the glass close by her head. As soon as the dash and curiosity of these bold riders were satisfied, they withdrew out of range and were then pursued by part of Jenkinsí force. All persons who saw and witnessed this brave engagement, say of all the bold and fearless soldiers they ever saw, these New York cavalry exceeded any in these qualities.  Had they gone but a short distance further, they would have come into a cress fire which would have swept them nearly all away. Their foresight, however, was equal to their courage. They knew when to stop. The result of this fight was one man killed and one wounded upon the federal side.

The killed was Corporal Rihl. He was shot through the upper lip, the ball passing through his head, his blood bespattering the paling fence in front of Mr. Fleming's dwelling. Corporal Rihl was buried by the Confederates in a shallow grave. The citizens of Greencastle, a few days afterwards disinterred his body and placing it in a coffin, reburied it in the Lutheran graveyard of this place. Sergeant Coffey was taken in charge and cared for by the Greencastle people. Attended by one of our physicians, he recovered. Rihl post of the Grand Army of the Republic of Greencastle was named after this brave soldier who fell in that engagement. This fight was the first to occur upon Pennsylvania soil during the rebellion, and corporal Rihl Was the first man to lose his life. It happened in front of Archibald Fleming's home.

From the time Jenkins' cavalry men fell back to Greencastle, Wednesday 17, until Monday morning the 22nd the whole southern portion of Franklin County was plundered by these men. What they got was sent to Rhodes' division at Williamsport. It would be difficult to estimate the value of property taken by this raid, it coming in the season of the year when the farming interests required the use of the horses, followed a few days afterwards by Lee's vast army. Many croppers who had little else than their stock, were bankrupt. Monday morning the 22nd, Jenkins' command had all rejoined the main body between Greencastle and Hagerstown on that day were joined by Rhodes' division of infantry, when the real invasion of the state was begun at once.