Gettysburg civilians as “hostages” of the Confederacy!?

Posted on December 2, 2008 by


This is interesting and something of which I had never heard. Thanks to a link from Jenny’s Draw the Sword Blog blogroll, I took a little Web-trip to the Cordori family site and found this interesting page about George J. Codori. If you are familiar with the Civil War, the Codori name should quickly ring a bell… the farm being on memory-worthy ground on the Gettysburg battlefield.

I had no idea that Confederates took some Gettysburg civilians (apparently seven men from the Gettysburg area… the other six being J. Crawford Gwinn, Alexander Harper, William Harper, Samuel Sitzer, George Patterson, George Arendt AND Emanuel Trostle) from their homes and put them in POW camps in the South (I’m not sure, however, that the word “hostages” can be applied to the situation, because there is no mention of anything like a ransom), but it seems the proof is in the story of George J. Codori. Be sure to read the page completely.

While not qualifying for my Southern Unionists Chronicles blog, clearly a “forgotten” atrocity against Northern civilians committed by Confederates. It certainly adds something to my “If the shoe was on the other foot” post.

Speaking of “forgotten,” I just added “Civil War ‘forgetfulness'” as a category.

Update #1 – From this site, it looks like Emanuel Trostle (with the middle initial of “G”) was born ca. 1839 and was a soldier. However, he can’t be found in the Soldiers & Sailors database. There is am “Emanual H. Trostle,” but the regiment (184th Pa. Inf.) in which this man served was not organized until May 1864.

Update #2 – Since the link that I found for Trostle raised some questions regarding the possibility that some of the seven men may have been soldiers, I checked the Soldiers and Sailors database again.

Conclusion… (well, not necessarily. I do want to know why they were taken by the Confederates and held in POW camps for 22 months) there is a “George Arendt” in the database roster, but he is in a 90 day regiment that was formed in 1861 (and mustered out by July 1861), and I’m not even sure this is the same man. Furthermore, database matches are also plentiful for the names “William Harper” (27 entries) and “George Patterson,” (24 entries) but there is no way for me to tell if any of these men are from among the seven civilians taken by the Confederates from Gettysburg.

Update #3 – This thing just continues to draw my interest. I realized that the link about Trostle states that he was held at Libby Prison, while the link about Codori shows he was held at Salisbury, N.C. (apparently being the next stop after some time in Libby). I found a website that focuses specifically on Salisbury as a POW camp, but not much there to help. I did find that a Maryland civilian (see Bean, E.H.… this may have been Edward H. Bean of Harford Co., Md. If so, he was in his mid-40s at the time of the war) was held and died there, but also noticed that the dates of death are all wrong (1902). I also found this link which mentions, among many other things, the “From the Prison Pen, Schuylkill County Soldiers and Civilians in Rebel Prisons” presentation made in September.

Update #4 – According to another obit for Emanuel G. Trostle, it appears the first obit I found was wrong…

Source, Gettysburg Times, September 26, 1914:

EMANUEL G. TROSTLE – Stricken with Heart trouble, form which he was a sufferer for some years, Emanuel G. Trostle, of Cashtown, one of the town’s oldest and best known citizens, died Tuesday morning, aged 75 years, 9 months and 14 days. He was found by his wife, who was awakened as her husband fell across the side of the bed. Mr. Trostle was in the habit of getting up during the night, when troubled with shortness of breath, and it was in a moment of this kind that he received the fatal attack. He was dead when Mrs. Trostle reached his side. Mr. Trostle was not a veteran of the Civil War, but was taken along with a number of other Adams County residents by the Confederates army. He was sent to Libby Prison and there served as nurse. Later he was put into Castle Thunder prison and remained there until his ultimate release, after a period of twenty-two months in both places. He conducted a shoemaker establishment in Cashtown for a number of years, prior to which he was engaged at farming. Surviving him are his wife, one son, Harry [McClellan] Trostle, of Highland township; and two daughters, Mrs. I. D. Mickley, of Cashtown, and Mrs. William Carbaugh, of Highland township. Funeral Thursday at 1 P. M. Services in the Cashtown Reformed church. Interment in Evergreen Cemetery, Gettysburg.

Emanuel George Trostle was born Dec. 1, 1838, in Gettysburg, a son of Henry Trostle and Jane Pitzer. He was baptized on Feb. 27, 1839 in St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church, Gettysburg. He was a shoemaker and farmer by trade. He died on Sept. 22, 1914 and was buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Gettysburg on Sept. 24.

Update #5 – Continued in this post on 12/3/08.