Ambush at Mercersburg

On July 3, 1863, three Confederate riders in Mercersburg's town square were ambushed by two Union stragglers. Bullets passed through Private J.W. Alban, killing him and also the horse of the rider beside him. The third man quickly galloped out of town.

The horseless Confederate fled from the square and into an alley beside Judge Carson's property (Buchanan house) but was quickly captured by townsfolk. Panic then set in as the townspeople feared reprisals for the ambush. In haste the dead man and horse were buried in a nearby brick kiln. The captured soldier was given to authorities in McConnellsburg. On July 4, calmer voices prevailed and the dead man was exhumed and given decent burial in the Presbyterian graveyard.

Sunday services at the local churches were disrupted on July 5 as a captured Confederate wagon train was led into town containing 100 wagons and nearly 700 wounded from the Battle of Gettysburg. Churches were transformed into hospitals, and the townspeople assisted in ministering to the wounded. In a few days, only the most seriously wounded were left behind. Of those, two would die by August and be buried in Fairview Cemetery.