Hunterstown ...Then and Now

North Cavalry Battlefield

July 2, 1863

 Gettysburg Campaign 




Civil War Battlefields - James O. Phelps - Panoramics

360* Panoramics @ Gallery 30, Gettysburg, PA


In Memory of Those who Fought and Died

for Our Freedom.

"These Dead Shall Not Have Died in Vain."

       ~  President  Lincoln  ~

RT 394 & Hunterstown Road
New Custer Memorial, dedicated July 2, 2008

"We stopped at the new Hunterstown Memorial to General Custer and the Battle of Hunterstown.
I must say I had never heard of the battle before.
I now believe this highly overlooked battle was a major part
of the reason the Union held on to victory during that hard fought 2nd day.
Another 2100 rebel troops attacking East Cemetary Ridge surely would have turned the tide
and the day would have belonged to the Confederacy!
I shudder to think what America would be like today
if the Battle of Huntertsown had not been fought."
 ~ Harold D. Sausser, July 6, 2013

Co-Founders: Roger & Laurie Harding

In Memory of artist Anne Leslie 
who designed the silouettes,
And also to Bob McIlhenny for the  banner,
Logo Design: Troy Harman NPS

"Too often, places that matter to us can be lost in a heartbeat — sometimes even before we realize they will be missed.

 The best way to save a place that matters is to call attention to it and value it before it is endangered."

National Trust for Historic Places

Battlefield Panoramics - James O. Phelps

The Felty Farm/ North Cavalry Battlefield
by Edwin L. Green, Williamsburg, VA.


"General George Armstrong Custer is an unsung hero of the Battle of Gettysburg, for without his gallant charges, the Confederates would have broken through the Union resistance. Critics often cite his high casualty rate in the battle as poor performance. General Custer knew the Rebel advance had to be stopped at all costs. He didn’t order his men into a known high casualty fight. He LED them. I wonder how many armchair quarterbacks would have changed seats with him?"

"CusterLives!" Website Quote

“The [Civil] war “proved Custer was simply the greatest cavalry tactician of the Union Army,
perhaps the greatest of either army North or South.
The fame and rewards he gained were more than earned by not just his boldness and courage but his military acuity.”


Stephen Budiansky



Unveiled by GBC&VB on 7/2/09
Located at The Historic Tate Farm


Shown in picture:

Background ...Steve Alexander as Brigadier General George Armstrong Custer, Michigan Wolverines, John Volhken, & Dan Dunn

Author, Frank Meredith, GBC&VB's Norris Flowers, Authors, J D Petruzzi, Mike Nugent, & Steve Stanley,

Artist, Jared Frederick,  GNP Ranger, Troy Harman

Actors & Living Historians, Mrs. Julia Dent Grant with General Ulysses S. Grant, 

Lenwood Sloan & PA Museum's Living Historians


Our Thanks to Bob McIlhenny & Fred Kammerer!
~ 2013 ~

Did You Know...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Hunterstown, formerly called Woodstock,
is one of the oldest towns in the country.
It was settled in the mid 1700's by David Hunter,
a Revolutionary War soldier,
for whom the town was named.
In fact, because he had been training militia here in Hunterstown,
Lord Dunmore, Govenor of the colonies
in Williamsburg, put a bounty on David Hunter's head,
"dead or alive"...
To this very day, no one knows where David Hunter is buried.

Click here to

Hunterstown, Pennsylvania

July 2, 1863
Known by historians as
"North Cavalry Field,"
Hunterstown was recently recognized by
the National Parks Service (Sept. '06) as part of the Gettysburg Campaign.
Unfortunately, the site is
extremely vulnerable
to development and is still unprotected.

"And though Hunterstown is a new addition (2006), Lawhon said there is still work to do to help preserve

the land within the boundaries of the Gettysburg National Military Park."        


... Evening Sun quote 

Battle History...

Will Hutchison's Thoughts ....

Books on the Battle of Hunterstown...

Michigan Cavalry & George Armstrong Custer


"A major Alton (Illinois) developer, Charles Hunter, was one of Alton's best known Underground Railroad conductors.

His Hunterstown area, founded in the 1830's, had many free Blacks as residents, some of whom were escaped slaves.

He was also the only landowner who allowed Elijah Lovejoy to live on his property. "

To





National Trust's "This Place Matters"
Members of Hunterstown Historical Society/Tate Farm

To View the Historic Village of Hunterstown...

Mrs. Linda Cleveland
HHS 2010 "Historian of the Year"


"A small but significantly Historical Village"

Hunterstown, Pennsylvania is located on Route 394 one mile east of the Hunterstown Exchange of Route U.S. 15 North of Gettysburg.

After the American Indians made their trade routes west of the Susquehanna River through this area, immigrants started to settle along their trails. Many were Scotch-Irish. The Penn proprietors of the land through this area, which is now Hunterstown, granted Michael Drumgold a warrant for 100 acres on June 8, 1749. In October the same year surveyor Thomas Cookson laid out a total of 182 acres for Drumgold. It was on October 8, 1760 Michael and Margaret Drumgold sold this land to David Hunter. On March 14, 1764 the Penn heirs awarded Hunter a patent deed for the 182 acres granting him the full and complete title he desired to establish a village.

On April 2, 1764 David Hunter gave William Galbreath a deed for the first lot "situate in the town of "Straban" as it was called then. Later it was referred to as "Woodstock". As lots were sold, small log homes were built. Later weather-board and brick dwellings appeared.

As the year 1800 was drawing nigh the village was appropriately named after its founder and called Hunterstown. A county seat was being sought for the new county of Adams and Hunterstown vied for that status. It was centrally located as far as population in the county and it was located on "The Great Road" from York to Pittsburgh by the way of "Black’s Gap". The town of Gettysburg received the final honor as County Seat.

One special landmark in Hunterstown is the Historic Tate Farm and Blacksmith Shop. In October 1794 President George Washington had the occasion to stop here. Because of the taxation put on liquor, many in western Pennsylvania were rebelling and decided they were not going to abide by the law. President Washington called up troops from four states and he himself went by carriage and horseback to review the troops, 15,000 strong, in Carlisle and Bedford and planned how they were to quell what was called the Whiskey Rebellion. This was accomplished without any major fight. On returning to Philadelphia, the capitol at that time, a horse in the President’s party threw a shoe and they stopped in Hunterstown at the Tate Farm blacksmith shop near Beaver Dam Creek to have it shod.

Just fields away from the Tate Farm is the Felty and Gilbert Farms where Brigadier General George Armstrong Custer’s Cavalry under the direction of Brigadier General Hugh Judson Kilpatrick met in battle with General Wade Hampton’s Division of J.E.B. Stuart’s Cavalry on July 2, 1863. This battle, now referred to as North Cavalry Field, is viewed as having a significant bearing on the remainder of the Battle of Gettysburg. Here Brigadier General George Armstrong Custer set a "trap" for the enemy in which he narrowly escaped losing his own life. Kilpatrick reported 32 dead and wounded of his division of some 3,500. The confederates suffered around 100 casualties in the fighting of 2,000 involved.

In the center of Hunterstown is the Grass Hotel built before the Civil War. The hotel served as temporary Union headquarters for Brig. General Judson Kilpatrick during the battle of Hunterstown and afterwards served as a hospital for the north and south. A number of officers died here.

The Great Conewago Presbyterian Church was organized in 1740. They met in a log structure until a fieldstone church was built in 1787. It is still in use today. It also served as a hospital during the Civil War. The adjacent cemetery contains gravesites of Revolutionary War soldiers and Civil War veterans along with generations of local inhabitants.

In 1885 the Galloway Brothers opened a copper mine just north of the village. After several years it closed and the township used the copper/gold bearing rock for the streets and roads. So they claimed "the roads were paved in gold." The mine was opened once again by the Reliance Mining and Milling Company of Arizona in 1905. Although it was not hugely successful it employed 20 local men working "around the clock." The mine was abandoned in 1916.

Through the 19th and 20th century the village had a two-room country school and a Methodist Church on the main street, both are still existing but not used today.

Among the early inhabitants of the village were a doctor, undertaker, watchmaker, shoemaker, carpenter, tailor, and wagon maker. During the 1830’s John C. Studebaker, a blacksmith, and his skilled employees built conestoga-type wagons in a shop between Hunterstown and Heidlersburg. He ventured to Ohio and then to South Bend Indiana to have the largest company for manufacturing wagons and carriages and later through his descendants the Studebaker automobile.

Over the years Hunterstown had many small country stores, a post office, creamery, fruit-packing house, millinery shop, gun club and horse race track. As many as ten families made chairs as early as 1830’s into the early 1900’s. It once had a military guard unit and a baseball team. The village currently has two churches, a dog kennel and grooming establishment, a horse-boarding farm with lesson programs, a childcare center, a tea room, go-cart track, car body shop, transmission shop, and vintage car shop.

Hunterstown, population 100, a village rich in history where the desire of its people is to restore and preserve what it now has to share with others. Here you can’t help but feel the heart beat of the past and imagine those who walked and rode these once dusty roads. You may hear the distant toll of the school bell, the happy sounds of children at play or music from the old church pump organ. You may hear the hoof beats of the cavalry approaching or the sound of the artillery that echoed over the village. Memories linger of the mournful groans of the injured and dying in the fields and makeshift hospitals and the prayers of the faithful as they gave their last full measure here.Hunterstown, Pennsylvania – A quaint little village with

A story to tell!

Linda K. Cleveland

Straban Historical Reflections

Historian – Hunterstown Historical Society

Revised - 2009

Local and National Contacts...

Civil War Preservation Trust

Congressman Scott Perry

State Representative
Dan Moul

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North Cavalry Battlefield Preservation Plea

Dear CWPT Folks and Adams County Land Conservancy:
 We are very supportive of the preservation of the Hunterstown Battlefield near Gettysburg.  My great, great grandfather 1st Sgt. George Thomas Patten fought there on July 2, 1863 in the 6th Michigan Cavalry Regiment in Brig. General Custer's cavalry brigade.  My family and I attended the first memorial dedication of the battle last summer on July 2, 2008, 145th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.  It was a great event and we were so pleased to see our ancestor's name engraved on the memorial bronze plaque.  We are also planning to attend the 2009 celebration on July 2nd, and will be coming from our home in Tucson, Arizona.
 The Hunterstown segment of my ancestor's life in the cavalry is very important to me and my family, so much so, that I wrote a book about his life in the Civil War and it was published in May 2008.  It is titled; Oh! Hast Thou Forgotten, Michigan Cavalry in the Civil War: The Gettysburg Campaign. Many readers, that number 700+ have written me to tell me they have found their ancestor in the Michigan cavalry regiments listed in my book and I have received letters from people 9 years of age in Rhode Island, to 93 years old lady in Owosso, Michigan who's grandmother had a piece of cloth that came from the uniform of Gen. Custer.
 Please support the preservation effors of the Hunterstown Battlefield.


Richard L. and Ruth Ann Hamilton
and the Patten and Hamilton families.

4:51 pm edt          Comments

Letter to Park Superintendent John Latschar
The following  letter was written before the new NPS Superintendant,
Bob Kirby, visited the Tate Farm in Hunterstown on April 1st, 2010. Gettysburg/Hunterstown is proud to welcome such a fine person to oversee
our National Park here in Gettysburg!    (added 7/6/2010)

Good Morning!
Every year at this time there seems to be a renewed interest in battlefield preservation. Whether it is "springtime" and folks are getting ready to make their trips to Gettysburg...
or perhaps it is that CWPT is getting ready to announce its
"10 Most Endangered Battlesites"....we are not quite sure.
Whatever the reason, we find it quite unusual that GB's NPS  does not share the same concerns as the people who have been mailing us daily concerning the protection of the "North Cavalry" battlesite here in Hunterstown.
In a recent article:
"Latschar, who has a Ph.D. in American history, said he enjoys wide support among Civil War historians, preservationists, and local business leaders. They understand, he said, that a desire to protect Gettysburg's treasures and to provide the public with high-quality interpretation of the Gettysburg campaign and its consequences has always motivated him."
In September of 2006, the Department of the Interior came to Hunterstown, took a tour and mapped out the whole town
(and Fairfield) to include them as part of the Gettysburg Campaign.
And yet, there is no talk of any battlefield preservation for the Hunterstown area.
IF.... the historians are correct ...then, this tiny hamlet has had a HUGE impact on the outcome of the Gettysburg Campaign.
Several historians have stated that...IF Jeb Stuart's cavalry had reached Culp's Hill....then, perhaps the outcome of the Gettysburg Campaign could have been quite different.
We believe, that if you indeed have "a desire to protect Gettysburg's treasures" and  if you are  motivated " to provide the public with
high-quality interpretation of the Gettysburg campaign
and its consequences,"  then, we believe it behooves NPS
to tell the whole story of the Gettysburg Campaign.
When visiting the new Visitor's center, we noticed several battle maps
showing troop movements in the Day 1 and Day 2 sections,
and HUNTERSTOWN was not even seen on these maps...
but New Oxford and Abbottstown were?
Then, on another wall is a map of sorts showing the Civil War Hospital sites in Hunterstown, about 7 or so.....
Two of which have received plaques from Historic Gettysburg-Adams County, but no mention of the battle here...
OR of the courageous acts of Norvell Churchill and the Michigan Cavalry....or Cobbs Legion that fought here?
This same cavalry then proceeds to East Cavalry battlefield,
 and much is written of their brave efforts there....
 not to mention its inclusion in the Gettysburg National Military Park.
In 2006, the Gettysburg Re-enactment highlighted the "Battle of Hunterstown." We extended an invitation to you and Katie Lawhon to come out to Hunterstown for a tour. Perhaps "seeing" the area,
it would help with the interpretation of the battle here.
Unfortunately, you had to decline as you were "busy" with
plans for the reenactment! 
As a co-founder of the Hunterstown Historical Society, we have found that it is a real balancing act, to portray both the town's
wonderful Civil War history and it's amazing personal history.
(i.e., The Studebaker Family is from Hunterstown,
Eddie Plank's mother (a McCreary) was from Hunterstown,
Jennie Wade's family is in the family tree of  David Little, one of the original chairmakers in Hunterstown.... 
President George Washington stopped at the Tate Farm Blacksmith shop on his way back from the Whiskey Rebellion....
And! One of Hunterstown's forefathers was the first
State Senator who occupied the same position as our new
State Senator, Rich Alloway.
We feel, it is just as important to share the town's rich history from the mid 1700's when David Hunter first laid the foundation for what is now known as Hunterstown (which incidently, almost became the county seat) it is to tell of the 5,000 cavalry that galloped right through this little hamlet on July 2nd, 1863,  who then charged the Confederate line as they were headed towards, what some have called "the greatest battle of the Civil War"...Gettysburg.
That is why, this year's Annual Walking Tour of Hunterstown,
on July 2nd, 11:00 am, is being called...
"Hunterstown Heritage Day".
It is our desire, for history's sake,  to "tell the whole story" of this amazing little town!
We only ask that the GB National Military Park does the same.
Thank you so much for your time and consideration of this matter.
As always, we invite you to visit Hunterstown.
We all would be happy to show you around!
4:48 pm edt          Comments


Hunterstown Battlesite / Call to Action!
If you are concerned about the status of the battlefield 
here in Hunterstown, part of the Gettysburg Campaign,
would you please take a moment to email  these two gentleman
from CWPT for an update.
Also, you can email Dick Mountfort of the Adams County
Land Conservancy as well as Dean Schultz.
Or can call our local representaives,
who support what we are doing here in their district.
Congressman Todd Platts

Senator Rich Alloway  *** New State Senator

State Representative
Dan Maul

All these gentlemen would love to hear from concerned persons...especially from outside of the immediate area!

Thanks so much
for your continued interest and support!

It is greatly appreciated!
Hope to see you all on July 2nd!

Laurie Harding, President
Hunterstown Historical Society
9:23 am est          Comments

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