Confederate Gen. J.E.B. Stuart
Confederate Gen. J.E.B. Stuart (Submitted photo)

Mayor Rick Pope lived near an old garage on Main Street in Dover Borough, not knowing the historical significance of the site.

"J.E.B. Stuart was here for a day," he said. "I never understood, never knew any of that all those years."

Confederate Gen. James Ewell Brown Stuart set up headquarters at a hotel in the borough for four hours

on June 31, 1863, during the Civil War.

The hotel was where the older garage is, Pope said.

"When I learned this history, I thought it was amazing that little Dover borough with 1,000 residents had that history," he said. "I just want to make sure the younger generation doesn't forget what happened here."

Celebration: The borough will recall this history with a Civil War Remembrance celebration from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 29, at Ketterman Park, along Butter Road.

The day includes living history presentations and speeches on women, Christians and family in the war. Event attendees also will hear from several local historians.

Also, Civil War artifacts, photographs and quilts will be on display, a blacksmith shop will be open and official Gettysburg National Park quarters will be on sale.

Local Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts will provide games and activities for children.

The event is being organized by the borough's recreation board, borough council and several local residents.

Ron Botterbusch, a recreation board member and local historian, said he is preparing a display featuring replicas of a gun and saber Stuart used.

The visit: Botterbusch, also a Dover Historical Society member, said Stuart arrived in Dover at 8 a.m. June 31, 1863, with 4,500 of his troops, 125 supply wagons and several prisoners from the Union Army.

At the time, the borough had at least 500 residents, and Stuart instructed his soldiers to be courteous to the residents and not to steal from them, Botterbusch said.

He said Stuart, who was from Virginia, had traveled to Dover from Hanover.

During the four-hour stay in Dover, the Confederate soldiers purchased material, thread, needles and thimbles, which were scarce in the South during wartime, Botterbusch said.

The soldiers paid with American greenbacks rather than Confederate money, he said. However, soldiers didn't get to taste Pennsylvania Dutch dishes as they requested.

Instead, a woman made them hotcakes, which the soldiers ate while sitting on a pile of ashes, Botterbusch said.

"The soldiers asked for ham, and they had no idea that the hams were hidden in the ash pile," he said. "The people didn't know what to expect with the soldiers, so they hid the good stuff."

The Confederate Army left town at noon, heading to Dillsburg. However, they changed directions, heading to Gettysburg after Stuart received a message from Gen. Robert E. Lee that Stuart's help was needed there.

On his way to Gettysburg, Stuart had the Union Army prisoners sign a note promising not to participate in the war and then dropped them off at Penn Commons Park in what is now York City, Botterbusch said.

"A lot of people don't realize the part we have in Civil War history, that Confederates occupied Dover," he said. "That's one of the biggest events in Dover borough history."

-- Reach Eyana Adah McMillan at

Civil War

Dover Borough's Civil War Remembrance celebration will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 29, at Ketterman Park, along Butter Road.

The event is free, but food and drinks will be sold. Attendees can bring lawn chairs.

For information, call the borough at 292-6530.