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   ETERNAL REST IN
CASHTOWN

small crimson logo
BY CHRIS POH
A brisk cloudy day marked the beginning of our brief autumn campaign in western Pennsylvania. David and I headed out of Gettysburg late afternoon toward that historic Confederate stronghold, and what is claimed by many to be the most haunted tavern in America – the legendary, almost mythical CASHTOWN INN.



Cashtown Inn porch as seen in american Public House Review
THE PORCH WITH FLAG AND FELINE AT THE CASHTOWN INN



We arrived to an empty parking lot. Our initial fear of closure was abated by a quick check of the hours of posted operation. We celebrated our good fortune of the potential pick of prime barstools; but opted to remain outside to take advantage of the early evening light to photograph the exterior of this welcoming old building. Our tour of the perimeter was interrupted by an attractive woman who inquired about our presence on the property. She informed us that the inn was presently closed to the public because of a scheduled private party. Two very forlorn out-of-state interlopers retreated to our bivouac in the eastern heights. Had A.P. Hill’s Third Corps suffered a similar reception during the summer of 1863, the butternut clad southerners may have experienced a very different outcome on the fields of Gettysburg.




Cashtown Inn as seen in American Public Hiouse Review
THE HISTORIC AND PERHAPS HAUNTED
CASHTOWN INN



Buford & Reynolds statues as seen in American Public House Review
JOHN BUFORD STANDING TALL
  AND JOHN F REYNOLDS ON HIS HORSE


The next morning David and I parted company. Previous commitments back in Jersey awaited both of us, and David being the more responsible party, and the one who had to share his hotel room with a spirited Airedale Terrier opted to head home. I headed west back to Cashtown, pausing briefly along Seminary Ridge to pay my respects to the memory of Yankee, Brigadier General John Buford.

AP Hill as seen in American Public House Review
A. P. Hill
Much of the lore of the Cashtown Inn revolves around the battlefield relationship of A. P. Hill and John Buford. Historians continue to debate as to whether the dramatic clash at Gettysburg was by chance or design. I suspect the truth, as always, is somewhere in between. Lee certainly understood the psychological impact of his bold incursion into Pennsylvania, and even a minor victory this near to Washington might cause the war weary north to sue for peace. John Buford as seen in American Public House Review
John Buford



Gettysburg Cannon as seen in American Public House Review
GETTYSBURG LANDSCAPE WITH CANNON



On June 29th of 1863, an ailing Confederate, Lieutenant General Ambrose P. Hill annexed the accommodations at Cashtown for comfort and military purpose. He, along with Generals Henry Heth and John D. Imboden headquartered there for the duration of the conflict, and it was from this location that the initial actions on July 1st were launched. Many historians contend that Heth’s division, with shopping list in hand, was on a routine supply mission when as a matter of happenstance encountered segments of  Union cavalry under Brigadier General John Buford. A report filed by A. P. Hill in November of 1863 concerning that summer’s campaign, and Lee’s orders that day indicate otherwise. Nonetheless, it was the inspired tactics and precise ground maneuvers employed by Buford on July 1st that awarded the north the pivotal terrain that would eventually prove sacred to the preservation of the Union. (It is interesting to note that Sam Elliot, who portrayed Gen. John Buford in the film Gettysburg, chose to lodge at the Cashtown Inn during production; much to the consternation of any rebel wraith that still considers the inn confederate spoils.)

My arrival at the CASHTOWN INN that morning preceded the opening of the tavern, so I used the time to explore the adjacent countryside. There is an inexplicable feeling of peace that overwhelms the senses when one gazes upon the pastoral setting that surrounds the inn. David and I experienced the same feelings the previous evening under grey foreboding skies, and now as I wandered alongside rolling farmland beneath a perfect cover of blue, I wondered how a place that had witnessed so much of the tumult and carnage of that fateful July could so inspire and rejuvenate the soul.



The bar at Cashtown Inn as seen in American Public House Review
THE MYTHICAL AND MYSTICAL MAIN ROOM



Fire in the Cashtown Inn's fireplace as seen in American Public House Review

My brisk morning jaunt significantly stimulated both appetite and thirst, so I retired inside to the rustic charm and warmth of the tavern room to avail myself of a repast that superbly addressed both conditions. During my visit I conversed with Krystle and Jack in between their attentions to other customers. Like most tourists I queried about the supposed specters that frequent the establishment.

Krystle, whose veracity seemed unquestionable, shared a couple of personal experiences that would convince even the most hardened skeptic.


Jack, who co-owns the inn with his wife Maria Paladino, was open to such possibilities; but, like myself, did not seem to possess the skills or sensitivities needed to detect those souls that may still be paying for their whiskey with Confederate scrip.



Battleground ales as seen in American Public Housev Review
COMMERATIVE BATTLEGROUND ALES



Somewhere towards mid-afternoon I faced the fact that I had to muster the energy and will to leave this idyllic setting. On the way out to my car I paused a while on the front porch and reflected on the endless columns of brimmed felt hats that poured through this narrow passage of ground one hundred and forty four summers ago. I suspect those wide brims were turned up on that day in June so that the uneasy citizens of Cashtown might gaze upon the face of the conquering soldier. A few days later they would pass this way again, turned down to hide the pain, the fear and the shame of the vanquished.



Cashtown painting as seen in American Public House Review



The majority of those amongst the living believe that they possess freewill, and that the departed are governed by forces that dictate their eternal fate: rewarded in Heaven, cast into Hell or trapped behind on this earthly plain for some incomprehensible reason. Perhaps it is the other way around. Because I have to ask myself why would men choose war over peace, and why would I choose Jersey over Cashtown?

I turn around and look at the very door that A.P. Hill walked through, and I wonder who might have decided to remain behind. The Cashtown Inn is certainly the perfect place to spend the day, the night or quite possibly - even eternity!






THE CASHTOWN INN


1325 Old Route 30

P.O. Box 103

Cashtown, Pennsylvania 17310


 (800) 367-1797

(717) 334-9722



www.cashtowninn.com

DIRECTIONS



AMERICAN PUBLIC HOUSE REVIEW text, images, and music © 2007-2009. All rights reserved. 
All content is subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. Email: ed.petersen@americanpublichousereview.com for permission before use.

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