The York area and the Mansion played a role in the civil war when General Robert E Lee sent troops under the command of Jubal Early north into Pennsylvania with the goal of capturing the Capital city of Harrisburg in June of 1863. Lee's goal was to strike deep into northern territory, destroy the rail system that supplied northern troops, and to cut off Washington and Baltimore from supplies from the northern states.
A major event took place nearby in Wrightsville Pa. when Confederate troops attacked Union militia. The incident resulted in the total destruction of the mile long railroad bridge that crossed the Susquehanna. Other rail bridges in the area were also destroyed. The 17th Va. Calvary under the command of Colonel French came to the Emig Mansion on the evening of June 28th , occupied the mansion and its grounds.
The officers are reported to have had dinner served by the Emig Daughters, and afterwards ordered John to open his store and the confederates bought provisions with confederate dollars leaving with the statement often repeated. ..."hold onto that money, you're going to need it when this war is over." History also records that a large contingent of confederate troops were camped on the hill that exist just behind the Mansion and John Emig fired several shots at the unwanted occupiers. He was quickly confronted and subdued by confederate infantry.
Before they could move further north to Harrisburg, orders were dispatched for the 8000 man force to head back south towards Gettysburg where a large contingent of the Union Army had been discovered. The confederate army would never again move this far north into Union territory, thus the engagements in York, Emigsville and nearby Manchester Township were the true" High water mark" for Lee's army.