The Confederates took almost everything he had. Union soldiers finished the job.
More than 700 York County residents suffered losses from the passing armies during the decisive Gettysburg Campaign. When Civil War soldiers needed supplies, they pilfered from local residents.
Hanover dry-goods merchant Josiah Gitt was particularly hard hit during a two-week June 1863 Confederate invasion of Pennsylvania.
A life-long Hanover resident, Josiah was the son of George W. Gitt, a well-known landowner and developer in the area. In addition to his main residence, a brick house in downtown Hanover, Josiah owned a sprawling farm in York County along Westminster Road. After the Battle of Hanover on, as Confederates passed the farm on June 30, they took three horses, three mules, 75 bushels of corn, and 20 bushels of oats.
However, his troubles were not over, as the very next day, Union V Corps marching along the same road took from him a horse, a saddle and some farm gear. Gitt later filed damages claims with state and Federal governments but was never compensated for his losses.
During the two-week raid, Confederate rebels confiscated thousands of barrels of flour, 30,000 cattle, and 20,000 horses and mule from area residents.
After the war, Gitt expanded his business and civic interests. He served on the board of directors for the Bachman Valley Railroad in the 1870s. Gitt retired in 1888 and sold his thriving business to two of his sons, George and Newman. He died February 10, 1898, in Hanover, where he is buried. His business lived on as the J. W. Gitt Company until 1934 when it was liquidated upon the retirement of H. N. Gitt
Image Courtesy of Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission