|Title:||Civil War History of Bonneauville.|
Seldom in the multitude of volumes of Civil War History is there any mention of a relationship between the town of Bonneauville and the Battle of Gettysburg. The most noted fact that I have found is that Gen. Sykes' exhausted Union troops, just four miles from the battle, were allowed about four hours of sleep before proceeding east to west, to the battle area. It was on the streets of the town of Bonneauville that Sykes’ weary, and fatigued men stopped marching and dropped to the road surface and to the fields that bordered them, for much needed sleep. The soldiers were on a tiring forced march to the great battle that had already began in Gettysburg.
Most of the exhausted troops (in a line that stretched from Bonneauville to Hanover) had laid down on the road surface where they stood. Soon the unfortunate men who slept directly on the road had to roll to the sides of after just a few hours of sleep, so that a train of ambulances traveling to battle sites in Gettysburg, could pass through.
Historic records of the conflict state that just before the Battle of East Cavalry Field, Gen. George Armstrong Custer sent a rear scouting guard one mile behind, to a "multiple road intersection." The location would most logically have been the Bonneauville Square. From that area enemy troops could have been spotted on their approach from any of six entrances to the town. Hunterstown, New Oxford, Hanover, Littlestown, Two Taverns and Gettysburg, were the roads.
It has been often written and passed down through oral history that barns in the Bonneauville area had been used as hospitals for wounded men of the Battle of the East Cavalry Field. These writings are typically unsigned and not sourced. Rumored too was that several of these barns were used as drop off places for badly wounded horses after the cavalry battle. The battle at its closest, took place about 2000 yards from the western edge of the town of Bonneauville.
Confirmed in Scott Mingus' book: "Flames Beyond Gettysburg" is the fact that both Union and Confederate troops passed through the town of Bonneauville – in opposite directions albeit not simultaneously. Confederate Lt. Col Elijah White and his men passed through the town in a west to easterly direction from Gettysburg to McSherrystown and Hanover, ultimately to plunder "the wealthy city of York."
White and his mounted cavalry, were known as “White’s Comanches”. Their terroristically executed version of The Rebel Yell was a war cry that struck fear into the hearts of Northern civilians. The sounds were thought to resemble the screams of Comanche Warriors.
Whites Comanches mission was to confiscate by whatever means necessary, fresh horses and mules, food, alcohol, and whatever else may benefit the Southern war effort (and its individual troops). Their encompassing orders were to raid every small hamlet and dwelling along the way. It would be shear folly to believe that Bonneauville's population was unaffected by White's orders. However, no known diary, letter, or document seems to have survived the old German Catholic population of the town to verify this.
In this autographed copy of Menges' book, the author penned the following addendum to his writing: "Much of Elijah White's 35th Battalion, VA Cavalry, rode through Bonneauville on their way to McSherrystown and Hanover on June 27, 1863." (Whites 35th was the first Confederate unit to enter Gettysburg preceding the battle.)
There seems to have been no shortage of Copperheads (Southern Sympathisers) in the area of Bonneauville. This fact is best illustrated in a writing by Union Civil War Soldier George Felty of east of Bonneauville. See Cat. No’s. 2002-41, 2016-21 and 2020-26 for more information.
I (Karl Orndorff) once knew Mrs. Lizzy Gilbert of Hanover St., Bonneauville, PA. I was about eight years old at the time. Lizzy was nearing 100. She said that she "was eight years old" when the cannons were blasting away at the East Cavalry Field. I recall her comment regarding the question “what was it like? “We all thought we were gonna die”’ was her quivering response. (See Cat. No’s. 2008-09 and 2010-02 for more information.)
See Cat. No's: 2008-09, 2010-02, 2016-08 and 2020-26 for related information.
Bonneauville Doctor Agideous Noel attended medical school in New Oxford, PA. He served as a surgeon with Co.G. 165th Reg., PA Vol. during the Civil War. After his duty at war was completed, he returned home to Bonneauville and served the community as a medical doctor. His home and office were located at what is now 26 E. Hanover Street.
See Cat. No's. 1995-01, 2002-01 and 2002-24.
Co. G, 165th Reg., PA Vol. Soldiers Memorial. See Cat No. 2002-24 for a list of "Bonneauville Boys" and others who fought in this unit.
The flag under which Co. G, 165th fought is still in existance, The colors are meticuously stored in Harrisburg, PA. See Cat. No's. 2002-25 and 2022-05 for more information on the flag.
See Cat. No's. 2002-24, 2013-62A, and 2020-15 for photographs of Civil War vteran Ezra Noel.