June 2, 1860 the Pottsville Miners Journal ran an article about the capture
ofa local resident by the Commanche
Captivity Among the Commanches-Return After Thirteen Years Absence.
The St. Joseph
Journal of the 16th ult. States that Mr. George Brubaker, a citizen of
Lancaster County, Pa. Reached that city the previous day, on his way home. He
was captured by a band of Commanches while on his way to California in 1847,
thirteen years ago, and has just escaped from them. There were but three of the
party captured alive, George Richardson, of Schuylkill, and Peter Demy, of
Dauphin County, Pa. Both of whom were afterwards burnt at the stake for
attempting to escape from the savages.
acquainted with the language and habits of the Indians, he was made a medicine
man, and in that capacity did a great deal of good among them, and has
succeeded in converting over two hundred to the Christian religion. It was only
after the most solemn promise that he would return that they allowed him to
depart, and he will go back as soon as he has seen his family, who have mourned
him for years as dead.
It was probably
in the quest for the new found Gold fields of California that drove Mr.
Richardson in that direction, only to have his dream of wealth, ruined by being
killed by the Indians.
July 6, 1865 the Pottsville MinersJournal posted this article concerning A
Capt. A. H. Halberstadt. A.A. I. Gen.. 1st Cavalry Division, ( Bufords old
Division) was in town this week. We learn that the Captain has been assigned to
duty upon the staff of Major General Gibbs, who is ordered to report to General
Sheridan in Texas. Captain H. Sailed on Wednesday last for his field of duties.
It is satisfactory to the many friends to know that the Captain rendered
valuable service during the war, and has won the esteem ofhis general officers.
The Pottsville Miners Journal November 24, 1866.
Ran an interesting article concerning the career of one of its local residents
Captain. Edward L. Hartz .
Captain Edward L.
Hartz, we are pleased to learn, has been reinstated as Captain in the regular
service. The news must be equally gratifying to the many friends here of the
Captain, who admire his many excellent social qualities, and recognize his
capacity for military command. A brief sketch of the Captain’s military career
mat not be uninteresting. We subjoin it:
He entered West
Point in 1851, and graduated in 1855 as a first Captain of the Corps of Cadets.
He was appointed brevet-second lieutenant in the Seventh Infantry, and shortly
after advanced to second Lieut. In the Eight Infantry. After temporary services
as a topographical officer of several expeditions. July 26, 1856, he was
gazetted for gallantry in action against the Indians. In 1857-8 he commanded
Infantry escort to Captain now Major General Pope, in the Artesian well
expedition in the Llano Estacado and in New Mexico. During the summer of 1859
captain Hartz conducted the experiments upon the adaptability of the camel for
military service. During the winter of 1859 he served with his company in the
expedition against Cortinas, the Mexican bandit. March 1861, he was appointed
adjutant of his regiment, the Eight ; on the 14th of May, same year Captain,
and on the 17th captain on staff. From July 1861 to January 1864 he was chief
A.Q.M. department Washington. From the latter date until April, 1864 he was
confidential sea-service, when he was assigned to duty as chief A.Q.M.,
department of the Cumberland, and was placed in charge of the depots of
Chattanooga and of the supplies of the armies of the Ohio, Tennessee and
Cumberland, combined, combined under Sherman. He was the originator and founder
of the United States Mortuary, record and burial system.
The Pottsville Miners Journal forMarch 30, 1867 ran this article
concerning one of the Military Surgeons from Schuylkill County.
Brevet Major H.
R. Silliman, Assistant Surgeon, United States Army, who during the past few
months has been stationed at Fort Wadesworth, Dakotah Territory, has in the
consequence of ill health, been ordered to report tot he retiring board. We
understandthat he was so severely
prostrated by sickness at his post lately, that grave apprehensions were
entertained for his life, and that Dr.CharlesWoodmitt, late of this
borough, but now of De Pere Wisconsin,had gone for the purpose of bringing home the Doctor to his home in this
borough. Wheter he will attempt the fatigues of so long a journey at this
inclement season of the year we have yet learned.
Also on the 30th
Brevet Major H. C. Parry,Asst. Surgeon
United States Army, has been transferred from the department of the East to the
department of the Platte., also Lieut. William W. Parry has been promoted to a
First Lieut. In the Thirty fourth U.S. Infantry.
On May 11. 1867 The Miners Journal reported
that a familiar named person was once against he news. William H. Werner of the
late 2nd California Cavalry, during the war was off again for another
Left For Colorado.
On Monday last
Henry son of Mr. John Morris, Valentine Guss and Harry Slater, of this Borough
started for Colorado. On TuesdayMr. W.
H. H. Werner son of John T. Werner,Esq. Who for the last eighteen months has
been a clerk in the Miners Life Insurance and Trust company, of this Borough,
also started for the same destination. Mr. Werner crossed the plains in 1850,
when he was about 17 years old, and was for some time in gold diggings of California.
During the rebellion he served in the Second California Regiment, for three
years. He returned home to Pottsville in 1864, in which place he resided up to
the time of starting for Colorado. We wish these energetic young men success in
their future enterprises in the distant West.
On July 29th The Journal had a follow up article on
the young men who left for Colorado. Entitled:
William W. H.
Werner, J.C. Guss, Henry Morris and Harry P. Slater, who left this Borough on
the 7th of May, reached denver City, Colorado, on the 30th of the same month.
All are well. In consequence of the Indian War, and the necessity of the
citizens taking up arms to defend the territory, they all enlisted on the 8th,
for sixty days’ service against the savages. These troubles have caused a
complete stagnation in business in Colorado, and is not advisable to emigrate
there at the present time.
July 28th 1867 The Miners Journal reported a story
about another son of Old Schuylkill:
General William A Nichols
General William A Nichols, USA, who
has been during the past fortnight on a visit to this Borough, sojourning at
the residence of his brother, Mr. H.K. Nichols, went to Washington on Thursday
last. The General will return to this Borough on Tuesday next, and in a few
days thereafter start for St. Louis, which is the H.Q.of the Department of Missouri. We never see
the soldierly figure of Gen. Nichols here amid scenes familiar to his youth and
early manhood, with out thinking of the noble stand he took when General
Twiggs, his commanding officer in Texas early in 1861, dishonored the uniform
he wore by becoming a traitor. Intimations of Twiggs disloyalty had reached the
Secretary of War, Holt, and on the 18th of January, in a general order was
relieved from the command of the Department of Texas, and it was turned over to
Col. Carl A. Waite, of the First Regiment of Infantry. But the suticipated
mischief was accomplished before the order could perform its intended work.
When the Rebel Commissioners were informed of its arrival at Twiggs
headquarters, at the Alamo, in the city of San Antonio, they took measures to
prevent it reaching Col.Waite, whose headquarters were at least sixty miles
distant, on the Verde Creek, a branch of the Guadeloupe River. But the
vigilance and Activity of General ( then Colonel) Nichols who was Twiggs asst.
Adjutant-General, and who watched his chief with the keen eye of full
suspicion, foiled them. He duplicated the order and sent two carriers by
different routes. One of them was captured and taken back to San Antonio, and
the other reached Waite with the order, on the 17th of February. At that period
when every inducement was held out to officers and men in the department, to
desert the colors, Col. Nichols wrote a letter to a friend in Pottsville, in
which he used the following patriotic language. “ If but one State remains to
float the flag of the Union I will remain with that state, be it Maine or
We refer to these
interesting reminiscensenses with greater pleasure as General Nichols is a son
of Schuylkill, in whose career we feel a natural interest. The General now goes
west in an important Military position and his many friends here wish him
continued health and Prosperity in the future.
Lieut. Edward Leib of Pottsville a member of the famed 5th U.S.
Cavalry, "The Dandy Fifth", was commended for bravery in battle after
their commanding officer was wounded. Lieut. Leib took command of the
detachment and brought the men back to camp safely after fighting against
superior odds. All the officers of the detachment were wounded except Lieut.
Leib who had his horse shot out from under him.
The Right Wing, Army
of The Potomac
Friday, June 13,
1862 10 P.M.
Today the right wing of the army was
attacked by the rebels at a point little anticipated. It has been known for
several days past that the enemy has been lurking near Hanover Court House, and
a small force has been detailed every day to watch his movements. The rebels
became emboldened by the apparent indifference with which we kept watch of that
motion. By not having a larger force on guard, and made a bold dash toward our
pickets and rear-guard which was not wholly successful.
The portions of our force engaged was
companies D,C, F and H of the Fifth United States Cavalry, who have been for
the last ten days stationed on picket duty at the Old church, which is situated
on the main road midway between the ChickahominyBridge and the White
Early this morning, Company F was sent out
on a scouting expedition to the right of the Hanover Road. Company B and a part of
company H having been detailed to picket the road leading to Hanover Court
House, establishing a line not far from that place. At about 11 o'clock the
rebels made their appearance and commenced an attack upon our pickets, and
succeeded in capturing nearly all of them.
At the same time the scouting party also
fell in with a large body of rebel cavalry, but did not venture to attack them
until reinforcements should arrive, a messenger having been sent back to OldChurch
to get what force was remains there.
The enemy, however was not to be delayed
in his movements and immediately made a dash for our scouts, forcing them to
retire, but on the retreat they were met by company F and the remains portion
of company B when the combined forces turned and engaged the enemy.
The rebel force was estimated to be four companies of
cavalry, one of infantry, and a portion of artillery.
It did not take long to ascertain the
rebel force outnumbered our own and that it would be useless to break or drive
them. But our gallant band was determined to do the best they could, and show
the rebels that they had a good quality of metal to extend against. with this
our men under the command of Capt. Boyd formed in line prior to making a dash.
A the same moment the rebels opened their pieces with the infantry coming
forward and pouring out a volley of musketry. The cavalry then came on, the
combined effort of the whole causing our men to fall back to the OldChurch.
The enemy pursued them to the camp after which they burned the tents and
destroyed everything that they could not take with them. They also took a few
of our men prisoner. The portion of our men not captured retreated to the
Chickahominy river but the rebels didn't continue the pursuit. Capt. Royal of
Company C was shot in the head and twice in the body. Lieut. Jones was shot
through the head and left on the field.
Miners Journal June 27, 1862.
One of the first engagements after the Union defeat at Bull Run was a
small engagement by Federal and Confederate foraging parties, five days before
Christmas of 1861, at the town of Dranesville, Va. The confederate command consisted of a
foraging party of infantry and cavalry
of Joseph Johnston's command. With the foraging party was a 150 men of J.E.B.
Stuart's cavalry, and 4 regiments of infantry. The Union forces consisted of 5 Pennsylvania infantry
regiments and a battery of 4 cannons. Both commands moved out simultaneously
and meet in combat near the farm lands of Dranesville,
Serving with the 6th Pennsylvania Reserves was a Schuylkill
countian, Lieut. Jacob A. Bonewitz, who wrote a descriptive account of the
fight, which would become a big morale lifting victory for the Union forces.
Langlytown Camp, Pierpont January 8th,
Dear --- We had a little fun on the 20th of December last in Dranesville
with the rebels. I shall not enter into details, as I suppose you have seen the
particulars of the fight in the papers.
We left our camp a little before daybreak on the morning of the 20th and
started for Dranesville on a foraging expedition. We got as far as Difficult
Creek when began throwing skirmishers out in front of our regiment. As company
A, and our company K, are the two flank companies, we were thrown out on the
left of the pike. Company A near the road, and my company on the left of the
former. We started through the woods on quick time. I was the only officer in
our company that day. The Capt. was in Washington,
and the other Lieut. was at home on leave of absence. As I said before we
started through the woods on quick time for some three miles, when we came out
into a large clearing. I was about one mile from the regiments on a double
quick. I started my skirmishers on a full run in order to keep in advance of
the regiments, and we kept this up for four miles. Some of my men gave out, and
fell back on the reserve that was coming on. It was pretty severe but we had to
do it. After getting within a half a mile of Dranesville, there were some
twenty shots fired at us, doing no damage, we kept on. I was now in an open field
and just about to enter a pine thicket, when I discovered something wrong in
there. I passed the word along the line of skirmishers to halt, which was done
immediately. I then looked in the woods again, and saw one regiment of
infantry, and one of Cavalry laying there not more than five rods from left
hand man, while a Sergeant was not more than 20 paces from myself. I then
passed the word along the line again, to rally on the road, and on the
Regiment. When the Rebels observed this, they opened fire on us with muskets,
and shot one of the men through the arm, this however did not frighten him
much. He followed us. We got on the road and meet the Regiment. We were then
ordered across the hill to support the left-our Battery.
The balls were now flying like hail from the rebel infantry. When they saw us
try to cross the hill, they opened their large guns on us. The shells and
canister poured upon us. After getting near half way across, two of my men
fell. One was shot through the side, and the other in the leg. They crawled
behind a small bank near the pike, as we had no time to lose going over there.
When I got a little further a piece of shell struck me on the leg tearing off
one of my pantaloon legs, and scratching my leg slightly. We got a little
further, when two more dropped, that had got in my company (strangers) They
died in a few minutes: but we got across and now came our time for operation.
Our Battery opened on them and the Rebels were
soon laying in all kinds of shapes. Some with no heads on; some with no arms,
no legs, and some you could not tell what they were. We soon silenced their
battery. We then made a charge on them through the woods. I must admit they can
run faster than we can by a good deal, but they could not run out of sight of
our balls. The woods were full of them. There was one spot were we could
scarcely get over the dead and wounded rebels. Our loss was 10 killed and 30 or
40 wounded. The Rebel loss was severe. There were 170 rebels buried the day
after the fight and we brought in some 40 of them wounded and 14 prisoners. All
in all, it was a complete victory for Uncle Sam. Our wounded are doing well in
the hospital; are in good spirits, and express themselves anxious to have
another chance at the rebels soon. In our Regiment their were three killed, and
thirteen wounded, of which three belong to our company. The Bucktail Regiment;
our Regiment, and the 9th suffered the most. The 10th and the 12th I believe, did not lose a man,
as they were not in the hottest of the fire.
Miners Journal February 15, 1862.
On July 16, 1864 a letter was written to the Miners Journal concerning
the death of Capt. Samuel McKee, formerly from Pottsville, who was accidentally killed by
one of his own men.
The letter states that on the
June 21, 1864 before Marrietta, while skirmishing with the enemy, he was killed
by a gun in the hands of one of his own men.
seems that Capt. Mckee and his men were sheltered in an old log house, picking
off rebel sharpshooters. Capt. Mckee the
best marksman wounded a rebel sharpshooter. Two rebels came from behind their
shelter to help their comrade off. The Captain saw this, and asked that another
gun be handed to him quickly. It was
handed to him cocked, it discharged and the contents entered his right side,
and passing out of the left, carrying away part of his lungs and liver. He
lived until the next day. When he died he breathed the following words:
"Tell my brother I have done my duty."
Capt. Mckee was an officer who was highly esteemed by all who knew him.
He was faithful in the discharge of his duty, and brave to a fault. In his
death the cause of liberty and human rights lost a staunch champion.
November 22, 1862 brought home to the people of SchuylkillCounty
the news that another of her sons was dead, accidentally killed. GeorgeW.Overbrook, aged 28 years, a member of Company G, 8th
Penna. Cavalry, was accidentally killed on the 2d instant, while assisting at Unionville, Va.,
to convey wounded men from the field. It seems that while lifting a wounded man
into the ambulance he was driving, a gun was accidentally discharged, the
contents entering his head killing him instantly. Mr. Overbreck was a son of
J.B. Overbeck of this borough- an excellent young man, and a thoroughly good
soldier. He had passed through four battles unscathed, to meet his death by
this unfortunate occurrence. A sad affair, truly.
MUSIC WAS INSPIRING.
BANDS AND THEIR REGIMENTS.
One of the most popular pastimes for
people of the 1860's was music. Families sang around the fire place, concerts
were held by local brass bands throughout the summer months in almost all the
communities in the county. And with the news of the capture of FortSumter,
and the southern states' talk of succeeding from the Union,
bands were utilized by the captains of local militia units to entice men to
join their ranks.
After the three months regiments fulfilled
their tour of duty, and President Lincoln called for men to enlist for three
years, two bands composed of men from Pottsville
and the surrounding area played martial airs for the 96th P.V.I. and the 48th
According to letters written from soldiers
and books concerning different regiments in the civil war, many of these army bands just made a lot of noise. But the
two bands from SchuylkillCounty were composed of
excellent musicians who had been playing together for years prior to the out
break of the war.
From an article printed in the Pottsville
Republican on April 18, 1900 entitled " Schuylkill County Bands
With Some Famous Regiments", we take the following items.
The Forty - eighth Regiment Band with J.W.
Souders as its leader and twenty three members known as the Citizens Band of
Pottsville, were mustered in on September 2, 1861.
48th REGIMENTAL BAND.
Wm. A. Maize, Staff Major. J.W. Souders, Leader.
Wm. J. Feger, Eb coronet. Daniel Kopp, Eb coronet.
John T. Hays, Eb coronet. Chas. Hemming, Alto.
Levi Nagle, Alto. Wm. Birt, Eb clarinet.
John Cruikshank, Alto. Thomas Severn, piccilo.
Chas. A. Glenn, Alto. John George, Tenor.
Wm. Lee, clarinet/cymbals. Edward L. Hass, baritone.
James Aikman, Eb bass. Fred'k Brown, tenor.
Nickolas McArthur, Eb bass. Albert Bowen,snare drum.
Jas. N. Garrett, snare drum. John Aikman, bas drum.
Wm. Hodgson, Tenor. Chas. Singluff, alto.
Wm. H. Gore, Tenor. C.T. McDaniel, cook.
The band soon got down to work playing for
the different military movements in a style which called forth praise from
They were next called to duty at Fort
Monroe, next to New Berne, then Newport News, where they were placed on
transports several times to be taken to the seat of war, only to be recalled.
Their impatience was finally appeased by
the regiment being ordered to Fredricksburg and later Culpepper Court House,
from which place the band received the order to muster out.
During this year of service with the
regiment they had played at receptions and gatherings of many distinguished
At one time a grand ovation was tendered
by General Burnside, a corps commander of remarkable ability, at which the band
held the place of honor in the musical department.
Many gatherings of Union officers were
assisted by the 48th Regiment Band. At Brigader General Nagle's headquarters on
numerous occasions the band did the honors for leading Generals of the U.S.
NINETY - SIXTH REGIMENTAL BAND.
The Ninety - Sixth Regt. Band, with N. J.
Rehr, leader, left for Washington
on Friday, November 8, 1861. The roster follows:
N.J. Rehr, Leader H.K. Downing,
Horace G. Walbridge, Eb coronet.
Christian Ferg, Eb coronet.
Amos F. Walbridge, 1st coronet.
Christ Rodman, 2d coronet.
H.M. Law, 2d clarinet. Henry
Henry Hoffman, clarinet. John W.
Morgan , clarinet.
Fidel Fisher, piccolo. Adolphus
W. McDaniel, cook Henry Walbridge, alto.
George W. Roehrig, alto. John
Charles Oberlies, tenor. Andrew Smith, baritone. H. Curtis Shoener, 2d baritone. John Rodefield, Bass.
J.N. Lauer, 1st bass. Joseph Kepley, snare dr.
Augustus Pfaltzgraph, snare dr.
Samuel H. Parker, bass dr.
Cornelius Trout, cymbals.
THE REGIMENTAL BAND SHIPPED IN
The freight car had its roof broken in,
and it rained all day. The train went via Gordon, where the regiment got out
and walked down the plane, and then on to Sunbury, Harrisburg, and arriving at
Washington on Saturday, November 9th 1861 at 2 a.m. in anything but good
They were immediately given quarters in an
old stable, and Oh, how cold it was! Wet to the body, and with no covering,
they shivered until daylight appeared, at which time they took up the march to
new quarters through mud knee deep, for several miles, arriving at Camp Blatensburg
Toll Gates, having gained in the meantime the knowledge that it was much better
playing for the regiment on Lawton's Hill, Pottsville than through which they
had just passed.
The band remained here with the regiment
for sometime, until they received orders to go into winter quarters at CampNorthumberland.
While the weather permitted, their duties were guard mount at 8 a.m. drills at
9 a.m. and 2 p.m. and dress parade at 5:30 p.m.
After almost a year's service, the band
received its discharge August 14, 1862 all bands being mustered out, and the
regiment having been given marching orders.
THE 48th REGIMENT.
After both bands had received their
discharges from the service and returned to their respective duties at home, they
formed a new musical organization called the Pottsville Coronet Band.
They received a three months engagement
with the 48th regiment which was then stationed in LexingtonKy.
with H.G. Walbridge as leader. During their stay with the regiment they gave
many concerts which were highly appreciated in that section of the country.
A local entertainment at Cynthiana, Ky.
had the band assist them at one time. At another time they were engaged for the
High School commencement at Paris,
the county seat of Bourbon. During the commencement someone cried out in the
audience, play "The Bonnie Blue Flag." The boys refused and for a
time it looked as though there would be trouble, so the Sheriff escorted
the band to the county prison where he
remained with them over night, and the
following day they returned safely to the regimental headquarters, feeling that they had better
remain nearer the Union lines in the
When the subject of a picnic at the Henry
Clay homestead at Ashland, Ky.
they jumped at the chance to play a concert and the banquet which followed has
left a train of pleasant memories which can never fade.
WITH A FLAG.
Before the regiment broke camp to proceed
on marching orders, two ladies residing near the camp, purchased a handsome
silk flag and presented it to the band. They thought it a handsome and
appropriate gift, and resolved to keep it in a safe place until they got home.
Having a little money in their treasury, several hundred dollars, they decided
to visit some of the principal cities of the United States before returning
home. They started east, and among the places visited was Cincinnati and they say they will never
forget it. They put up in the Galt House during the night, and when they got on
the train the next day, discovered that their much beloved silk flag had taken
wings during the night; someone had removed it from its accustomed place.
Telegrams were immediately sent on to the hotel to hunt up the flag, but a
gentleman on the train asked, "What house did you stop at?" "Why
the Galt House," responded the boys, "Then you will never see the
said he, "for that is the
worst rebel house in the city of Cincinnati."
And so it proved, they never saw their flag again, and secretly hold Cincinnati responsible
The above stories were taken from the
Pottsville Daily Republican. April 18, 1900. There were numerous stories in
this issue pertaining to the 39th anniversary of the First Defenders that was
being held in Pottsville.
SchuylkillCounty Received The News of The
In the files of the Schuylkill County Historical Society is a short
article written about the first dispatches of the shelling of Ft. Sumter It was
written by a Mr. John Beck of Pottsville.
Mr Beck accepted a posting as a pressman on the Willmington N.C. Herald.
As the time grew near when it was apparent that war must come, Mr. Beck quietly
began to make arrangements to return north. There was a strong Union sentiment
in Willmington but not strong enough to secure absolute protection to its
advocates. The editor of the paper was opposed to secession, but there were the
controlling interests in the paper directorate that held him to the course of
supporting the south.
On the day on which FortSumter was fired on (
April 1861) Mr. Beck was in
consultation with the editor of the Herald when the assistant cut man entered
the editorial room, under intense excitement. As Mr. Beck overheard the editor
say: " Tell Beck." Mr. Beck was recalled into the office and he was
informed that the Herald was just in receipt of a telegram announcing the
firing on the Fort. He was advised to smother his Union sentiments and remain
with the paper, very flattering inducements being offered. but they were refused.
He asked as a very special favor permission to telegraph the news to the Miners
Journal, but was told that all communications north had been stopped, and that
it might be impossible to grant his request. However if it was at all possible
to get the news north he was to copy the message as received by the Herald.
" The ball is opened, FortSumter fired on. Fighting
The message did get through. On its receipt, Mr. Benjamin Bannon greatly
excited took the telegraph up to the Miners National Bank, and should it to Mr.
Issac Beck, saying: " I have just recieved a message this message from
John, can I believe it ?"
" What ever John has said must be true. Try to have it
confirmed," was the reply. Mr. Bannon immediately got in communication
with Philadelphia and New York, but they had heard nothing, saying
it was very difficult to hear from the South.
So it is very possible Pottsville
was one of the very first cities to hear the news of the opening of the Civil
War, and this was all made possible by a Schuylkill Countian, Mr. John Beck.
June and July 1864
June 2, 1864:
We made extensive earth works, remained in
them till the afternoon when we left, we marched 2 1/2 miles when the rebs
piched into our rear then we met and hansomley repulsed. We laid in line all
June 3, 1864
We advanced on the rebs, our co. as
skirmishers. We drove them into their pits. We silenced their artillery. Our
company lost one killed and nine wounded. 4 casehorns were destroyed. They left
one battery wagon in our care.
The rebs left our front last night> Today we attacked their postion they
lost very heavey in horses and left their dead in our hands. About a dozen
prisoners came in this morning.
June 5, 1864
Cold Harbor Va. Went on detail with 17 men
to build brest
works. The weather is very wet. I was sent on picket this afternoon with nine
men at ?. Nothing of importance ??
June 6, 1864
Our regiment is on picket.Our company on
the reserve. The rebs shelled us very heavy, they then advanced in line of
battle. Our skirmishers fell back, we gave the rebs a warm reception. The
firing lasted until dusk.
June 7, 1864
last night the rebels fell back. This
morning our skirmishers advanced to where yesterday. The firing was prety heavy
June 8, 1864
We were relieved of picket duty by the 1st
Div. Corp. R. Pennman and Antony Wade both of company E were wounded while the
regiment was resting the gun went off accidently.
June 9, 1864
Anthony Wade died today. The casulaties of
company E 48th up to the present since the commenement of the campagin is 2
killed 2 sergents wounded 3 Corp, and 15 enlisted men wounded Lieut. William L
June 10, 1864
Yesterday Antony Wade expired about 3
o'clock afternoon. The lss of so good a soldier is greatly felt in the company.
I wrote a letter home today we remain in the same postion as before.
June 11, 1864
Since we left Shady grove va. we have been in the vicinity of Cold
Harbor about one mile apart. I have sent today for the
Philadelphia Inquire for a period of three months. We are near the pahiquet
Chicky rivers, rich Va 8 miles.
June 12, 1864
Red. a letter from home yesterday.
Anserwed it today. Attended devine service today. Marched all night towards the
White House. Left Cold Harbor at dark. The march was a weary some one. It being
very bad road.
June 13, 1864
This morning we halted on General Lee's
estate. Remained there until noon, we then marched until mid night. Direct
across the peninsula.
June 14, 1864
Marched all day in the direction of the James River. reached camp about 8 o'clock P.M. we can see
the boats on the river.
June 15, 1864
We crossed the river at dusk and marched all
night we marched about 25 miles after crossing the James
river. We marched in direction of PetersburgVa.
June 16, 1864
Marched all forenoon in the afternoon we
came up with the jonnies who found strongly entrenched. Near Petersburg prepared all night for an asault
on the rebels fortified postion. Pulled of every thing but canteens.
June 17, 1864
Charged the rebs batteries a little before daylight. Our regiment losses pretty
heavy it was a hand to ahnd contest. We took 2 pieces of artillery and 1500
prisoners. Co. E 1 killed 6 wounded took the wounded in the rear.
June 18, 1864
This morning we advanced about 1 1/2 miles
the rebels were driven beyond the railroad to within sight of PetersburgVa.
The loses of our armies is heavy to day.
June 19, 1864
I wrote a letter home today to Benj.
Tomhpson and Robert Thompson. was both wounded in the foot. John Major was
killed on the 17th six others were wounded near Petersburg.
June 20, 1864
Near petersburgVa. we drew rations of whiskey
and pork and bean soup today. The sharpshooters continue to pick off men. We
are 1 1/2 miles from Petersburg.
June 21, 1864
Wearing thin is ??? front, with the
reception of a few Col. Pleasant
commanding the brigade.
June 22, 1864
Avanced to the second line of
entrenchments remained there until midnight. Felt prety sick the commisary
effected my head a little. PetersburgVa.
June 23, 1864
Near PetersburgVa. At midnight last night we
went on picket on the skirmish line. Today our regiment lost 3 killed and 2
wounded were relieved at 1 o'clock in night.
June 24, 1864
Today we drew rations for three days,
crackers coffee and sugar and pepper and salt dryed apples. Beef and pickles
and sour crout. I had a good wash today.
June 25, 1864
The weather is very warm the last 2 days.
Everything is quiet in front. The 48th regt. started to undermine the rebel
June 26, 1864
Near petersburgVa. Our regiment is pretty much
all out on detail at the drift. Then average about 5 feet every two hours.
June 27, 1864
The rebels annoyed us greatly with their
mortars. Pat grant and John Watson was both wounded in the leg today. It is
feared that Grant will lose the leg.
June 28, 1864
Yesterday I recieved a letter from home.
Today I answered it. We draw whiskey regular at the commisary. We still lay in
front of Petersburg
all quiet only mortars.
June 29, 1864
Our regiment is on special duty, at
driving a tunnel they are in up to this evening about 60 yards. The regiment is
excused from picket duty on that account. Near PetersburgVa.
June 30, 1864
Today we moved back to the rear and
entrenched our selves. heavy fighting on the right of our division. This
evening don't know the results.
July 1, 1864
Today the weather is fair, the heavy
firing yesterday was caused by an assault on the rebel army. On the right our
corps and the left the 5th.
July 2, 1864
Today the weather is fair but very warm.
Nothing of importance transpired. Wm. McWath sick P Rodgers detailed as cook
recieved intelligence of the deaths of William Wvans J. Regan Wm. Reasons all
of company E.
July 3, 1864
Today was passed in silence, the working
men keep coming and going all night the duty is pretty heavy, pretty much all
the regiment are on that detail.
July 4, 1864
As this day is always most highly
celebrated by the civil and millatary ?? it was passed to day without any thing
transpiring it passed off very quiet. Talking of ????
Today was a very fair the firing of
mortars and sharpshooters was about the only thing practiced. I wrote a letter
home to day in answer to one rec'd July 1st today one of Co. D 48th was killed
by miiny ball.
July 6, 1864
Weather fair, nothing unusuall transpired
Big Jim Wilson
James A. Wilson
a 19 year old Irish miner born in Kilkenny, Ireland
lived and worked in FraileyTownship. He enlisted in
the 7th Penna. Cavalry on October 19, 1861 at Donaldson, SchuylkillCounty. Known to the members of Company
F as “Big Jim”, he advanced quickly through the ranks and attained the rank
On June 27th
1863 the Seventh Pa. Cavalry made one of the
most daring charges against the rebels at Shelbyville, Tenn.
During this charge the 7th suffered numerous casualties. One of
these men was Pvt. Felix Herb, from SchuylkillCounty. Herb came upon
two rebel prisoners who threw up their arms as if to surrender. When they saw
no one coming to his aid, they changed their minds and shot Herb in the
forehead and killed him instantly. Seeing this deadly deed, Sgt. Jim Wilson
rode over and shot both of the rebels dead, telling his adjutant “The devils
shot Felix Herb after they surrendered, so I made short work of them.” Jim was
commended for bravery at Shelbyville stating that “He distinguished himself by
acts of coolness and daring.”
incident that was well remembered by the men of the Seventh was the time when
Jim Wilson was acting as a mounted Provost Guard in the city of Huntsville, Ala.
One evening Corp. Wilson came upon a group of drunken officers, who were loud
and happy. He asked them for their passes, which brought out the response that
they could do and go where ever they wanted and that the provost guard could go
to hell. Big Jim, not taking to this type of verbal abuse, drew his saber and
came down upon the head of a captain, cutting through his hat and making a deep
gash on his head. The officers, surprised and sobered by this event, went back
to their camp at the double quick. The next day these officers went to the
commanding General and demanded punishment for Wilson. The General told the officers that
the provost guard must be respected and not resisted and the offending officer
must take the consequences. Corp. Wilson was worried about what he had done to
the officer and went to his Col.
and asked him if something would happen to him for what he had done. Col. Sipes
told him he was safe. Jim replied “Be jabbers, I didn’t mane to cut him so
hard, but me saber was so sharp it wint through his hat and into his skull as
it wud go through a cheese”. Col. Sipes remembered Jim as “The mildest mannered
man that ever scuttled ship or cut a throat.”
would also be remembered for his kindness. On December 22, 1862, a few days
after the battle of StonesRiver a detail of company
F was sent out between the lines to meet a flag of truce, and to escort within
the Union lines, Mrs. George D. Prentice. The wife of the then brilliant and
famous editor of the Louisville Journal, who had been visiting relatives in the
south, and had received permission from the commanders of both armies to pass
It was a bitter
cold day and when the detail of the southern army appeared on the scene it
proved to be members of the eighth Georgia, crackerjack fighters who were
worthy of brave men’s steel.
uniforms were tattered and torn and they had little or no shoes on their feet.
Their condition moving to compassion their enemies of the Northern army, so
much so that big Jim Wilson made the rounds of the Seventh’s ranks and the
result was that every Georgian soldier went back to his camp well clad and
comfortably shod while the knapsacks of the Seventh boys were that much
action so impressed the Georgians that thereafter whenever the two regiments
were opposite each other on the contending army lines the 7th’s men
would be hailed thusly. “ Who’s on picket thur?” and if the reply was, “The
Seventh Penna. Cavalry,” the confederate picket would call out. “No firing from
the Eight Georgia tonight,” and there would be none on either side.
would fight through hundreds of skirmishes and numerous major battles with the
Seventh Pa., and would be only wounded one time. On October 14th
1863 while on a mission to Nashville to procure
a lot of horses for the regiment, he was shot in the right shoulder by a member
of the 18th Michigan
that was acting as a provost guard. They were about to arrest a Pvt. Abraham
Van dike for being drunk when he fled and was fired upon, only they missed him
and hit Jim Wilson in the shoulder. Jim would suffer from the effects of this
wound for the rest of his life.
Big Jim would
return home after serving three years in the cavalry, and work in the mines. He
died and was buried in Branchdale in 1894 at the age of 52.
Republican May 12, 1913
The Seventh Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Cavalry, Its
Record, Reminiscenes and roster.
Miners Journal, William B. Sipes
During the CivilWarSchuylkillCounty had over 12, 500
men serve in the Union army. Of this number over 1,600 men served in the
cavalry. These men served in various regiments throughout the state and in
other states and also in the regular army. Some would find their careers in the
army well into the 1880's.
Following is a list of the
regiments in which the boys served and
the number of Schuylkill coutians in each
1st. 23 men.
2nd. 6 men
3rd. 205 men.
4th. 6 men
5th. 145 men.
6th. 66 men
7th. 544 men.
8th. 43 men.
9th. 29 men.
11th. 47 men.
12th. 10 men.
13th. 66 men.
14th. 2 men
15th. 25 men.
16th. 96 men.
17th. 176 men
18th. 2 men.
19th. 3 men.
21st. 15 men
Capt. Thomas Richards' SchuylkillCounty Cavalry. 114 men.
John Weidman's Cavalry. 2 men.
Harris Pennsylvania Cavalry. 4
Lamberts Independent Cavalry. 12
1st. N.Y. 2 men.
3rd. N.Y. 1 man.
5th. N.Y. 1 man.
18th. N.Y. 1 man.
24th. N.Y. 1 man.
2nd. N.J. 1 man
3rd. N.J. 2 men.
2nd. Mass. 1 man.
2nd. Calif. 1 man.
8th Ill. 1 man.
2nd Iowa. 1 man.
1st. Colo. 1 man.
1st. U.S. 8 men.
2nd. U.S. 3 men.
5th. U.S. 3 men.
6th. U.S. 14 men.
the Army and Get the girls.
Like any major war when the men from the community are gone and the
soldiers from other areas are occupying the homefront, the local non serving
men and boys are lacking for female companionship.
On September 12, 1863 a young man known only as "M" wrote a
complaint to the Miners Journal about the attention of young ladies in the
area. The Journal offered some good advise to this young man.
"M" complains that the soldiers monopolize all the attention
of the girls, and that young masculine civilians have no show when the brass
buttons are around. We have no consolation to offer "M." We can only
advise him to don Uncle Samuel's uniform, and do service for the country, and
then possibly, if he is a pleasant fellow, the girls won't cut him.
BETTER TO BE A COAL HEAVER !
During the Civil War, many SchuylkillCounty men turned in
their coal shovels for the musket and volunteered to join the army to serve
their country and the Union cause. According to a Mr. A. Lee, a former Lieut.
in the 8th Pennsylvania Cavalry and a
mine owner, the men and boys would have fared out better by remaining at home
and working in the coal pits. From an article he wrote to the National Tribune
on November 16, 1893 titled "A Computation" we learn the differences.
Editor National Tribune; The following is a comparison of work performed
by a soldier in the war of 1861 to 1865, and his wages, with that of a laboring
man at the coal mines of Pennsylvania at the same time.
The labor performed by a soldier was to march and carry his load; the
average laboring man to load coal. The average day's work of a soldier we will
say, was to march 16 miles per day, carry his gun, 40 rounds of ammunition,
three days rations, and knapsack, which would weigh 56 pounds: the average
weight of a soldier is 150 pounds; making a total weight of 206 pounds.
While walking on a level road his average step would be about 28 inches,
and the height from the ground to his thigh joint would be 34 inches. At every
step he lifts his center of gravity 2½ inches. All the weight above the knee
would be raised 2½ inches at every step. Now we will assume 180 pounds to be
lifted 2½ inches at every step.
one mile there are 2,263 steps; 2,263 steps by 2½ inches equils 5,658 inch
pounds; or 471 foot pounds by 180, equals 84,780 pounds. The soldier's weight
with his load would equal 84,780 foot pounds, or 2,58 horse power per mile.
soldier marches 16 miles per day this would equal 41 horse power , or 1,383,000
units of work per day.
work performed by a laboring man about the mines is to load eight cars of coal
per day from the bottom of the chamber or gangway. As each car holds 96 cubic
feet of loose coal it will take 350 No. 3 scoop shovels of coal to fill one car
350 by 8 cars equals 2800 shovels of coal per day. The labors throw the coal
seven feet high into the cars. The weight of the coal and shovel is 20 pounds.
The force necessary to throw the coal 7 feet high would be 40 pounds, making a total
of 60 pounds. 2,800 by 60 equals 168,000 pounds by 7 feet high equals 1,176,000
foot pounds. The soldier received an average of $1.10 per day to perform 41
horse power. The laboring man receives $2.37 per day to perform 35.6 horsepower
per day. The soldier received 26 months at $13.00 per month. $338.00; 10 months
at $16 per month, $260.00: Us bounty, $100.00: Three years board at 25 cents
per day $275.75: three years clothing $126.00; Total $997.75 . The laborer
received 12 months at $30.00 per month;
$360.00 12 months at $60.00, $720.00, 12 months at $87.50 per month,
$1,030.00, total $2,180.000.
soldier would have to receive a pension of $4.00 per month for 23 years 7
months and 2 days to receive as much wages as the laboring man who stayed at
home. This average I send you is that of a strong young man employed by me in
my mines for the last 13 years. If I should take the average of 300 men
in my employ it
would be 25 % less.
interesting to speculate as to how many men would have made a different choice
knowing the facts presented, and would have stayed with the coal shovel instead
of shouldering a musket for Uncle Sam. Either way both the soldier and the coal
heaver suffered in their own way.
ONLY THE BRAVE WERE CHOSEN.
FLAGS AND COLOR BEARERS OF SCHUYLKILLCOUNTY
This stirring poem was written about the
battle flag of the 96th P.V.I. and states with pride and honor what an
important part the flag played in the make up of this regiment.
The regimental flag was to be protected at
all costs, even with the lives of the men entrusted with its care, the color
bearers and the color guard. To be selected as a member of the color guard was
one of the most distinguished honors bestowed upon a Civil war soldier. To carry
the colors into battle meant that one was in the fore front of the regiment.
One knew that enemy fire would be focused on one's position and the possibility
existed that one would be killed or wounded. It took a man of extraordinary courage to be a color bearer,
and men from Schuylkill county courageously
filled this post of honor often paying with their lives. Not once in battle did
a Schuylkill county regiment permanently lose
their colors to an enemy regiment.
At the out break of the Civil War every
regiment had a flag that was either
given to them or was purchased by the individual companies comprising the
regiment. The call went out in 1862 for volunteers to enlist for three years.
These regiments were formed from the remnants of the three month volunteers.
After forming and being mustered into service the regiment was issued a
regimental flag by the State of Pennsylvania.
The flag had the regimental number painted on the center red stripe and the
state coat of arms was centered in the blue canton surrounded by the stars
representing the States of the Union.
In 1861-1862 Governor Andrew Curtin of Pennsylvania personally
presented the flags to the regiments. He presented the 48th's at CampCurtin
on the outskirts of Harrisburg just before their
departure from CampCurtin. The 50th P.V.I.
was drawn up in position of a three square, with Col. Christ in the center.
Governor Curtin arrived and presented the regiment with their flag in the name
of the Commonwealth. After an emotional speech by the Governor, the flag was
accepted by Col. Christ and he returned his most grateful
thanks to the authorities of the State.
On November 6, 1861, the 96th P.V.I.
marched down from their Camp on Lawton's Hill to
the American House hotel in downtown Pottsville.
There at the hotel was Governor Curtin, with flag in hand. He addressed the men
in a long, patriotic speech, and at the conclusion of his speech he presented
the flag to Col. Cake, who made a short acceptance speech. When the ceremony
was over, the men cheered the Governor and the flag.
The 129th, also encamped at CampCurtin,
had their flag presented to them by Col. Samuel B. Thomas, an aide to the Governor. On a cold December 18,
1861 the 7th Penna. Cavalry marched dismounted into Harrisburg and formed in front of the Capitol
and listened to a stirring speech by the Governor who then presented the State
Standard and 10 guidons to Col. George C. Wynkoop. Many other men from SchuylkillCounty in various other regiments would
witness the presentation of their regimental colors by the Governor or his
The regiments carried their State flags
into battle and also flags that were presented to them by the people from their
communities. The 96th carried with them a flag that was presented to the old
25th Regiment and Col. Joseph W. Cake who commanded it. This flag was carried
on the Peninsula Campaign and was used in the fight at Crampton's Pass Md. on
September 14, 1862. On June 11, 1863 a flag was presented to the regiment by a
group of men on behalf of the Ladies' Aid Society Of Pottsville. It was a
magnificent flag that carried the names of the battles that the 96th had
participated in up till that time. On February 22, 1864, Webster Bland of Pottsville, the Surgeon
of the Regiment, brought home the battle damaged and worn flag.
The 48th carried a flag given to them by a
citizen of Pottsville,
a Mr. John T. Werner. The flag had the regimental number painted on the center
red stripe, and in the blue field were painted the words "In The Cause of
The Union We Know No Such Word As
Fail." This flag was carried by the regiment until 1864.
The men of the 48th came home on veteran
furlough in 1864 and while at home were presented with a blue regimental flag
with the state coat of arms on one side and the national arms on the other.
Surrounding the coat of arms were the names of four battles the 48th
participated in. This flag was presented to
the regiment by Representative John H. Campbell on behalf of Mrs. E.R.
Bohannon and Miss. Miesse both ladies of Pottsville.
The 7th Penna. Vol. Cavalry received a
blue standard and 12 swallow tailed guidons on March 1, 1864, given to them
jointly by the Ladies Aid Societies of Pottsville and St. Clair. They also carried two state standards throughout
The 129th, a nine month regiment carried a
state flag and a national flag, both of which would fall into enemy hands
during the battle of Chancellorsville in May
of 1863, but would be immediately recaptured by the heroic actions of Col.
Jacob Frick and returned to the
In February 1865 Pottsville lady friends of Capt. Edward H.
Lieb, of the Fifth United States Cavalry, presented a flag to the regiment. They valued his service and
that of the regiment and had a silk flag made that was on display in Capt. David A. Smith's store on Center street in Pottsville. The flag was forwarded to the regiment in February but
was delayed in getting to them. The 5th did not receive the flag until June of
1865. J.W. Maron of the 5th U.S.
wrote to the Ladies of Pottsville thanking them for the flag.
The color company of a Civil War regiment
was usually" C" company and always placed in the center of the
regiment. The other nine companies were placed around the color company usually
by the seniority of their Captain. Such as:
The color guard was composed of
eight corporals and one or two sergeants who were selected to carry the flags.
The formation of the color guard was highly visible in line of battle as these
men were usually out in front marching ahead of the regiment. The color guard
was formed up in the following fashion.
SGT. SGT. CORP.
As men were wounded, the color guard would
naturally diminish in size and upon the order to halt, the colors would retreat
behind the double lines of infantry and remain there until the order of
"advance the colors" was given. At that time they would move to the
front once again.
On September 14, 1862 the 96th P.V.I. went
into action at Cramptons Gap, Md.
northeast of Harpers Ferry, in an effort
to thwart Robert E. Lee's proposed
invasion into Maryland and the taking
of Harpers Ferry. Opposing the 96th were
Confederate soldiers of Gen. Lafayette McLaws.
Advancing in line of battle and being
shelled by Confederate artillery
postioned on the slopes of SouthMountain, the 96th
approached a stone wall that was heavily defended by Confederate infantry . The
order to halt was given by Col. Cake. John. T. Boyle, the captain of company D,
continues the narrative which he wrote for the Pottsville Republican on September 30, 1871.
" The disposition for the final
charge having been made, the 96th was ordered forward to draw the concentrated fire of the enemy,
and turn his left which was immediately in front, and held by the 16th Georgia. Stepping over the reclining men of
the 27th New York
picket reserve, whose ammunition was nearly expended, the regiment some distance in the advance
of the main line, pressed forward to the attack. Obliquing to the left to keep as much as possible
under cover of foliage and a slight
elevation, it moved forward until within five or six hundred yards of the
enemy, when the right was delayed by a stone wall, and the left by a high worm fence and by a galling cross
fire of the enemy.
Col. Cake, on foot, as were most of
the officers, was the first man on the right to leap the fence, waving his sword and calling on the men to
follow. Seeing some hesitate, he returned toward the fence from which he and others had gone a dozen steps or
more, just as some of the more nervous of the men fired their muskets at random, some in the air, others into
the earth at no great distance ahead, and a few in the direction of the enemy. The very great majority,
however, returned their fire, and a few moments thereafter used it most effectively.
The regiment or that part of it which
now remained, was within forty or more
paces of stone wall behind which
the enemy was fortressed. Here a narrow patch of standing corn hid the centre
companies from view, the right
companies being fully exposed to the foe together with the left, which was a
distance to the rear of the 5th Maine, 16th New York, and Newton's
Brigade. It was her that the regiment met with the heaviest loss. Scarcel had it entered the
corn patch than the companies were thrown into charging disorder, and their
further progress momentarily stayed by a tremendous reserve fire from the enemy
behind the stone wall. First Lieut. John Doughert, commanding Company F. Who was some few paces in advance of his
command, and waving his sword in the air and calling on his men to follow, received a ball in his breast and
sunk down within sword length of the
"Here, Casey," he exclaimed
to his first sergeant, "take my sword and follow the Colonel." Casey
moving near received the sword
from the hand of his dying leader,
whirled it around his head and called on the
men who were now as fierce as bloodhounds, to move forward. For this act which transpired under
the immediate notice of Colonel Cake, the sergeant received honorable mention
in that officer's official report, and shortly afterwards became the recipient
of a second Lieutenant's commission, which he foully disgraced. A moment after Dougherty fell, the gray
headed Scotchman color Sergeant Sol. McMinzie of company C, who was bravely
upholding the State Ensign received a mortal wound in the breast. "I am
shot," he exclaimed, as he staggered forward his eyes sparkling with
unearthly luster and his manly frame - inured to war by twelve years in the
Royal Artillery - trembled all over with excitement, and again he cried. As the flag staff slipped from his
nervous grasp, and with shattered thigh, he sank with a sigh into the arms of
death. The old standard shot-torn and gory with the blood of Gaines Hill, had
scarcely kissed the earth, before the
regimental or Col. Joseph C. Cake flag, which thus far had been borne by Sergeant Thomas
Oliver, of company C. trailed its drooping
folds in the dust, its carrier
having received a disabling wound in the foot. A cry of exultation went up from the rebel line,
and a chill of dismay shivered through the frames of those of the regiment who
saw the occurrence. The situation was
critical; The moment one of terrible apprehension enough to appall the stoutest heart.
Ordered by Captain Royer, private
William Ortner,of company H, stopped to take the flag staff from the hands of Sol. McMinzie, but scarcely
had he touched it before he was struck by a ball, which forced him to relinquish his hold. Color Sergeant
Johnson raised the staff, but relinqushed it with a disabling wound. Seeing this private Charles Ziegler
of the same company, with distinguished gallantry, rushed from his position, grasped the staff and essayed to roar
it in the air, but before he could accomplish it, a bullet deprived him of life and he fell forward to earth,
covering its silken folds with his blood. Nothing daunted by the fate of his
comrades, Corporal Henry H. Hunsicker caught up the standard and had the honor
unscathed of carrying it through the rest of the engagement. The other flag
after passing through the hands of private David Thomas, William Miller
and others, came at length into
the keeping of gallant Patrick Powers,
of company F. who bore it full high advanced to the top of the mountain."
The two color bearers who gave their
lives on this gallant charge were
Solomon McMinzie, a forty - one year - old native of Scotland,
who resided in Pottsville
at the time of the Civil War. He laid in pain for an additional day with a
minnie ball lodged in his chest. The second color bearer, Charles Ziegler, died
painfully with his left thigh shattered and broken by a musket ball. He was
initially wounded while at the stone wall
with a bayonet to the stomach.
On April 2, 1865 the largest cavalry
force ever used in the Civil War was on
the move near the outskirts of Selma,
Alabama. This force was commanded
by a young Brigadier General named James H. Wilson. Wilson
was ordered by Gen. George H. Thomas commander of the Department of Tennessee and the Cumberland to mount an attack against Selma,
Alabama, a vital munitions depot.
The campaign began on March 22, 1865 and the troops arrived on the perimeter of
the heavily fortified city of Selma
about 3 P.M. on the 2nd of April.
Riding with Wilson
on this raid was the Seventh Penna. Cavalry consisting of two full companies of
SchuylkillCounty boys. Along with the Seventh in
their brigade was the Fourth Michigan, Fourth Ohio and the Seventeenth Indiana.
This brigade and other brigades numbered 13,000 mounted troopers.
Facing the Seventh and her sister
regiments was a formidable array of defenses. The Union troops looked out upon
an open field with no natural cover. If that field was successfully crossed
while enduring constant enemy shot and shell, the troops would fall upon
abatis, sharpened wooden stakes pointing toward them. If they made it beyond
the abatis, they entered into a deep ditch which fronted a fifteen foot embankment.
Behind the embankment, the rebels waited to repulse their Union enemies.
A mounted attack would never work on this
type of defense so Gen. Wilson ordered the men to dismount. The Brigade
Commander, Gen. Eli Long, gave his 1500 men the command to advance. With
officers out in front, the Seventh boys, now dismounted, started across the
open field to their front. Under heavy shot and shell the whole way across the
open field, the Seventh successfully reached the stockade where they pulled out
some of the abatis and made a small opening through which they passed. Just
outside the fortification, Sergeant John Ennis, color bearer from St. Clair,
was fatally wounded by a minnie ball. Sergeant Louis Bickel, company I,
retrieved the standard from the dying grasp of John Ennis and carried the
colors to the top of the embankment and into the rebel held fort.
This charge cost the life of one officer
killed, three wounded and forty seven enlisted men wounded. The Seventh
captured 198 prisoners, seven pieces of artillery and over 250 enemy muskets
John Ennis was the only enlisted man from
the Seventh killed in the charge. He would lay wounded for five more days dying
on April 7, 1865 two days before Gen. Robert E. Lee would surrender to Gen.
Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox,
Virgina. He was also a member of the British Cavalry participating in the famed
charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava in the Crimea,
holding several medals of honor for his service to Crown. He was commended in
orders numerous times with the Seventh Pa. Cav. Also the John Ennis Post No. 44
of the Grand army of The Republic was
named in his honor by his comrades from St. Clair.
On December 13, 1862 the battle of
Fredricksburg was raging. As the 129th P.V.I. was attacking the enemy postions
on the Heights above the city, most of the color bearers were down with wounds.
Leading his men, Col. Jacob Frick of Pottsville,
saw the State Colors fall to the ground. He ran to them, picked them up and
waved them over his head and advanced forward. While charging, a rebel bullet
would shatter the flag staff. Col. Frick
retrieved the colors back to the Union lines and received the
Congressional Medal of Honor for his deed.
Again on May 3, 1863 Col. Frick would be
involved in another rescue of the regiments colors at the batte of Chancellorsville. While rebel soldiers tried to capture
the regiment's colors, Col. Frick recognized the danger and went forward and in
hand to hand fighting rescued and saved his regiment's colors.
The color bearers from SchuylkillCounty
Sgt. John Roarty Company C. to
Sgt. Samuel Bedall Company E.
10-02-64 to 07-20-65. Tamaqua.
Sgt. John Taylor Company A.
04-02-65. Port Clinton.
Sgt. Arthur Hatch Company C. Port
Sgt. Edward Flanagan Company G.
Sgt. Joseph S. Johnston Company
H. Wounded 09-14-62 Cramptons
Corp. William Ortner Company H.
Wounded 09-14-62 Cramptons Gap.
Sgt. Charles B. Zeigler Company
H. Killed 09-14-62 Cramptons Gap.
Sgt. Solomon McMinzie Company
C. Died 09-17-62 Cramptons Gap. Pottsville.
Corp. Thomas Oliver Company C.
Wounded 09-14-62 Cramptons Gap.
Pvt. Harry Hunsicher Company H.
Carried Flag at Cramptons Gap.
Sgt. J.W. Conrad Company Wounded 5-9-64 at SpotsylvaniaVa. Campaign. Pottsville.
Corp. George W. Foltz Company C.
Wounded 05-10-64 SpotsylvaniaVa.
Corp. William Beynon, Co. A
Killed May 11, 1864.
Sgt. Fredrick Snyder, Co. B
wounded May 10, 1864.
Sgt. Charles Fisher, Co. C
wounded May 10, 1864.
Sgt. Ezra Hendley Company D.
Wounded 05-10-64 SpotsylvaniaVa.
Sgt. William Lord Company A.
Carried Colors 05-10-64 SpotsylvaniaVa.
Sgt. John Shan, Co. H. Wounded May 10, 1864 died May 15, 1864.
Sgt. John Keegan Co. I.
Sgt. John Gough, Co. D killed May 10, 1864.
Sgt. John Ennis Company A. Killed
07-04-65. St. Clair.
Corp. Thomas Foster. Company I.
Sgt. James B. Murray. Company H.
Killed Reams Station. Va.
THIRTY FIRST P.V.I.
Corp. Thomas J. Foster.
Corp. Samuel Williams, Co. I
Color Sgt. Michael Murry, wounded
at Cold Harbor. 6-3-64
Color Sgt. James Miller, died of
disease at Beaufort, South Carolina.
He was a native of Scotland
and had served in the Crimean
War, and lived in Minersville.
Hundred and Sixteenth P.V.I.
Sgt. Charles Mauer Co. F. The
regiments last color Bearer.
Sgt. Edward Kelly Co. F.
Pvt. James M. Seitzinger Co. G
Hundred and Twenty Ninth P.V.I.
Sgt. Lewis S. Boner Co. E
Col. Jacob Frick rescued and
carried the colors at Fredricksburg.
WAIT TO BE DRAFTED !
It may not be out of place at this time to
state that should the Government find it necessary to resort to a draft to
raise the new levy called for by the President, the men enrolled under it will
not receive a dollar of the bounty offered to volunteers. There is, indeed, a
wide difference between volunteer and the drafted soldier. The former receives
the full bounty, being $25 advance bounty, one month's advance pay, $13, and
$75 at the end of his term of service, and, if he chooses, he can have the one
hundred and sixty acres of bounty land. His family, also, receives pecuiary
assistance during his absence. Those who are drafted, however receive no bounty
money, no advance, and but $13 per month pay.
So stated this article in the Miners
Journal of early July, 1862. In the summer of 1862 President Lincoln had
called for three hundred thousand volunteers and the fear was that he would not
get them, so the talk of a draft was on the public's mind creating many news stories. Governor Andrew
Curtain set the quota for SchuylkilllCounty at 1,667 men to be drafted or to
volunteer for military service. Meetings were held throughout the county and in
a meeting on September 9, 1862 in Pottsville
it was decided to give a fifty dollar bounty to any man who would volunteer.
The meetings were successful and the county supplied 310 men to serve in the
173rd Pennsylvania Drafted Militia.
The draft would not come about until
1863, when Congress would sign into law the national conscription act. The
first names drawn on 13 July 1863 would create riots through out the country
and also in Schuylkill county.
Miners Journal July 8, 1862
A Memorial to Patriotism,
Charge At Chancellorsville
The Eighth Pennsylvania Cavalry was raised
mainly in the Phialdelphia area, although over 45 men served in the ranks from
the Schuylkill county area. During the Chancellorsville campaign under General Hooker in early
May of 1863 the Eighth played a pivotal part in stopping General Stonewall
Jackson's command. While riding down a very narrow dirt road, the Eighth
charged the on coming confederate troops thus delaying their advance.
George W. Burton, from Schuylkill Haven, and a member of company K wrote
to the Miners Journal about their engagment at Chancellorsville.
The 8th Pa.
Editors Miners Journal:- I see in
your paper letters from a number of Pennsylvania Regiments but none from ours.,
The 8th Pa. Cavalry. As there atre quite a number of the regiment from SchuylkillCounty. I have no doubt it will be
gratifying to their friends to know what they are doing for their country. I
will commence with the battle of Chancellorsville,
and if you think the incidents of suffcient interest to publish, they are at
On the morning of the 29th of April our regiment crossed the Rappahannock at Kelly's Ford to take the advance of the
5th Army Corps, which had already crossed, and started for Ely's Ford on the
Rapidan with the intention of forming a junction with the 12th Corps. Which
would cross the Rapidan at Germania Ford at Chancellorsville.
Nothing of importance occured on the march until we arrived at Richardville,
when the gallant Major Keenan took a battalion to Richard's Ford on the
Rappahannock, and succeeded in surprising and capturing the entire post,
consisting of one Captain, two Lieutenants and 35 men. In the meantime the rest of the regiment, under
the command of Major Huey, proceeded to Ely's Ford, where they found the enemy
on the other side.They formed their skirmishers on the hills above the ford and
challenged us to come over. Captain Goddard's squadron was ordered to deploy as
shirmishers and cross. The moment our men obtained a footing on the opposite
shore the enemy took to their heels. We pursued them about two miles, when we
stopped for the night as it was then almost dark.General Griffith’s Division of General Meade’s Corps
(5th) crossed immediately after us to hold the ford against any
force the enemy might bring down in the night. The men were wet to their waists
in crossing the river, but the fences being in good condition furnished an
amble supply of fuel with which to dry themselves. At day light next morning
(30th) we started again and soon came upon the enemy pickets, who
opened fire upon us. Our advanced guard wioth capt. Arrowsmith and Lieutenant
Carpenter at the head, charged them capturing the entire party, consisting of
three commissioned officers and twenty seven privates. We then pushed on and
soon found ourselves in front of two brigades of infantry, who were drawn up in
line of battle to revieve us. After a sharp skirmish of about two hours they were driven from
position and fell back some two miles beyond Chancellorsville
. The p[soition they had just left
Major Edward Wynkoop
Of the 1st Colorado
With the war
progressing in the east and most of the regular cavalry and infantry fighting
the great battles, the members of the 1st Colorado Cavalry were keeping the trails and
routes open to the west, while constantly skirmishing with the hostile Indians.
In the midst of the civil War Major Edward Wynkoop would find time for scientific investigation and
write an interesting article to the Miners Journal.
Major Edward W.
Wynkoop of the 1st. Cavalry of Colorado, recently had an
interesting chase after Ute and Shoshone Indians, who infest the overland stage
route. Although the “Red skins” succeeded in escaping, the force had an
interesting march through portions of the Territories of Colorado, Nevada, Idaho and Utah. On the expedition
the Major struck a curious sulphur spring which he describes in his official
report as follows:
up the trail of the Indians, I followed it by rapid marches for the distance of
about eighty miles in a westerly direction, passing the waters of Bear and
White rivers, and coming on the waters of the Grand. From that point the trail
struck directly south. In the vicinity of our last camp ground, before
proceeding in a southerly direction was a peculiar sulphur spring, which I hope
some day it may be scientifically investigated. It has formed for itself a
basin in the shape of a cauldron-out of a crust, produced by the continual
overflow of the water. It is as near as we could ascertain, about sixty-eight
foot above the level of the river. It is of a circular form, perfectly
symmetrical, and as my horse’s feet struck the crust forming the outside of
this immense cauldron, it gave forth a hollow sound, leaving the impression
that were it possible for you to break through, you might soon be engulfed in
an ocean of boiling water.”
Miners Journal Sept. 19, 1863
± To Be Shot To Death.
the Civil War 267 Union soldiers were executed for infractions of military law
such as rape, murder, and the most
common of all, desertion in the face of the enemy. The 96th P.V.I.
witnessed three executions during their three years of service, and in one
execution was assigned the unpopular task of being the firing squad.
The 96th witnessed their first execution on December 13, 1861. The
soldier executed was a Private William Johnston, a deserter from the 1st New
York Cavalry. He would be the first soldier executed for desertion during the
war. Pvt. Henry Keiser a member of company G of the 96th wrote about this
execution in his diary. " At two O'clock this afternoon, our regiment was
formed to be in readiness to go to the execution. At two-thirty P.M. we left
camp and marched about one mile to where the execution was to take place. Our
regiment, the 5th Maine,
and the 27th N.Y. and several regiments I don't know were formed on the west.
The 16th N.Y., of our brigade, the N.Y.
Zouaves and two other regiments formed the north. The 95th P.V. and three N.Y.
regiments formed on the south. The cavalry and the artillery formed on the
east, leaving a space open in the center of the east line to permit the balls
to pass, which should miss the mark ( as the executioners were to fire in that
direction), in this way forming a hollow square. At three O'clock, the escort
with the prisoner on the wagon, sitting on his coffin, made their appearance at
the east side of the square. They took him around the square between two lines
of troops, the band playing a dead march all the time. When they had gone
around the square, they took the prisoner very near the center of the square.
He shook hands with his executioners, after which the minister offered up a
prayer. The prisoner was then blindfolded, and made to sit down on his coffin.
The executioners ( twelve in number ) then made ready, took aim, and the signal
was given by Col. Boyd ( by raising a white handkerchief ), nine of the
executioners fired. He sat on the coffin about four seconds after they had
fired, and then fell backward over it. He raised one leg several times, when an
officer gave him another shot. It was twenty minutes after four O'clock when he
was executed. They left him lie as he fell ( on his back ), and the troops were
all marched by him, so as to have a good view. I seen one hole in his forehead,
above the left eye, one in the mouth, and four in the breast. We then went back
to camp. "
On August 13, 1863 the 96th was detailed to supply twenty men, two from
each company to man a firing squad for the execution of a deserter from the 5th
man was named Thomas Jewitt, an Englishman who deserted his regiment at the
battle of SalemChurch on May 3, 1863. The officers of
the regiment decided the men would draw lots, and the losers would be members
of the firing party. Henry Keiser stated that " The boys did not like the
idea of shooting one of our own men , but so decreed, and had to be."
Joseph Workman and William Buck drew the unwanted number in company G. John
Reed and Isreal Reul drew the numbers for company B, and Reuben Rishel and
William Beadle from Company C. And fourteen other men from the remainder of the
regiment drew the number. A letter was written to the Miners Journal on August
22, 1863 by Capt. Samuel Russel
of Company H describing this
Camp near New
Baltimore, Aug. 14, 1863.
This afternoon we are to have a military execution. The victim is Thomas
Jewitt, of the 5th Maine Volunteers. He has been convicted of desertion and
sentenced to be shot on this " 14th day of August between the hours of
twelve and four." A detail of twenty men from our regiment is to do the
shooting, two being taken from each company. Only ten will fire, and if that does
not produce the desired effect, the others will have a chance. Desertion has
become such an evil, that it is necessary to shot somebody; and I think, before
the month is out, several more will meet the same fate.
Aug. 15, - About 10 A.M., yesterday, the Regiment started from camp, and
marched to within about two miles of Warrenton, the place decided upon for the
execution. The Division was drawn up in two lines, and formed three sides of a
square. About 12½ O'clock, a Government wagon, drawn by four horses, and
containing the prisoner and the Chaplain of the 5th Maine Regiment, made its
appearance. Everything being ready, our brigade band struck up a funeral dirge,
and the wagon, with the prisoner, was driven around the inside of the square so
that everyone could have a good view at him. The prisoner was then taken out
and placed on his coffin. The Chaplain offered up a short prayer, and the
prisoners eyes were bound with a white handerchief. The executioners were drawn
up in two lines of ten men each. Eight muskets in each rank contained the fatal
balls, the balance being blank cartridges. As I said before, only the front
rank were to fire, unless they did not succeed in killing him. The shooting
party now moved up to within twelve paces of the prisoner, and the command,
"fire!" the muskets were discharged simultaneously. I never heard
better firing in my life. Before we heard the report of the guns the prisoner
fell from his coffin. Six balls passed through his body. Two guns failed to go
off, which accounts for more balls not going through. As soon as he was
pronounced dead, the bands struck up lively airs, and we were all marched by
him, and continued on our way home. The firing party were very highly
complimented for their excellent firing.
FIRE COMPANIES IN THE CIVIL WAR.
had four active fire companies during the Civil War: the Good Intent, the
American Hose, the Humane Fire Company and the Schuylkill Hydraulian Company,
known today as the Phoenix.
In April 1861 after the out break of
hostilities the American Hose Company held their monthly meeting. At which time
most members volunteered for duty in the local regiments. Unfortunatly there are no records indicating
which regiments the men joined. American Hose Company files state that from May
1861 to April 1864 "No records of meetings was kept because entire company
having joined the service of the North during the Civil war."
The Schuylkill Hydraulian Company, (Phoenix) formed their own
company called the "Union Guards of Pottsville". From a booklet
entitled, "The 125 Anniversary of Pottsville Fire Companies" and the
article called, "When Duty Calls," Phoenix Fire Company 1867-1967 we
take the following.
Hydraulians were located on North
Centre Street the site of the N. Centre St.
School. Meeting on April
17, 1861 in the fire house a discussion on the Civil War was started and that
same night a resolution was adopted by the firemen as follows."Resolved
that the members of the Schuylkil
Hydraulian Fire Co. form themselves into a military company and offer
their services to the United States Goverment." President Powers calling
attention to the fire companies motto "When Duty Calls' Tis Ours To
Obey." They called on the membership to enroll themselves in the defense
of the Union. The firemen adopted the name the
Union Guards of Pottsville and the unit left Pottsville
on April 24, going to Harrisburg
where they were greeted by Governor A.
President John Powers.
On April 17, 1861 the Miners Journal
The Union Guards of Pottsville
composed largely of members of the
Schuylkill Hydraulians Fire Company
and Captain Joseph Anthony attended Mass at St. Patricks church last
Tuesday and Wednesday morning immediately before their leaving. Rev. Father
Nugent, the resident Irish Catholic Priest, addressed them in a most patriotic
strain and with thrilling effect urging
stalwart defense and maintainence of
Government as the highest form of their
The Union Guards of Pottsville mustered in
at Harrisburg and become company I 16th Regiment of
Pennsylvania Volunteers, and served for three months. They were not heavily
engaged in combat and suffered no casualties. On their return to Pottsville the majority
of the company enlisted in Company F of the 96th P.V.I.. While serving with the
96th, they suffered many casualties five original members of the old Union
Guards made the ultimate sacrifice.
History of the Good Intent Fire
Company No. 1 1899.
125th Anniversary Good Intent
When Duty Calls Phoenix Fire Engine Company 1861-1967
Memorial To Patriotism, Wallace.
Advance the Colors Vol. 1-2.
Pottsville Daily Republican. April 18, 1900.
Braver Man Never Drew The Sword
Col. George C. Wynkoop
Col. George C. Wynkoop the
Colonel of the Seventh Pennsylvania Cavalry would serve and fight with his
regiment for almost three years, before his health failed and he had to resign.
During the battle of Gallatin,
Tenn. on August 21, 1862, Col.
Wynkoop would lose his son Nick, the
adjudant of the regiment and almost have some companies of his regiment
captured. But Col. Wynkoop had another idea.
From the Miners Journal October 18, 1862 is the
account of this action.
Mr. Editor: We
were filled with surprise and indignation on seeing the report of the battle
near GallatinTenn. When General Johnson surrendered to
General Morgan on the 21, of August. which falsely charges the Pennsylvanians
with cowardice. and Col. Wynkoop with being a Poltroon. We have at last learend
the facts of this fight, from paroled prisoners and other sources, which are
these: three days after which we left our regiment to report to Harrisburg, General
Johnson was sent from McMinnville on the early morning of the 15th
ult. with a force of cavalry, artillery and infantry, in pursuit of the enemy.
For reasons best knopwn to himself, the general left his artillery and infantry
at Liberty, and pursued, with less than half the reported strength of Morgan’s
force, and came upon him in his chosen position, where instead of attacking
vigorously and driving the enemy, formed a line of battle in an open field,
suffering severly from his terrible cross fire; and when Col. Wynkoop, Capt. May and Lieut. Taylor and
Greeno were anxious to charge upon the enemy and “Drive him from hias hiding
place,” they were ordered to retreat, which they did for about four miles,
where another stand was made, and fine execution doing, when the white flag was
raised and we were ordered to cease firing. Col. Wynkoop rode up to General
Johnson and asked, “Have you surrendered ?” Johnson replied “ I have.” The
Colonel turned to his command saying, “ We are not doing that kind of business.
Boys fall in !” And made good his escape, taking with him many good and true
officers, and a full six hundred of our best men, horses and equipment. And for
this noble act of bravery is he to be published as an arrant coward ? No
verily, this is a ring of the right mettle, and these the kind of officers,
that we, the soldiers and common people delight and honor. And especially
should such men be appreciated in these trying times, when officers of high
rank with so little resistance surrender large armies; and that his when
retreat is practicable.
Mr. Editor, we
have had the honor to be on duty with the 7th Pa. Cav. almost daily
since its organization; we have seen the Colonel’s fortitude in great many
hardships and fatique, and we have fought side by his side, when steel met
steel, and when the clash of arms in hand to hand conflict was the music of the
hour, and when the enemy fled in uter rout and dismay, before our rapidly
advancing column, we believe we express the opion of every man in his command,
when we say, a braver man never drew the sword than Col. George C. Wynkoop.
Gallant Charge At Shelbyville,
During the Civil War the Seventh
Pennsylvania Cavalry was known as one of the finest cavalry regiments in the
Serving with the Army of the Cumberland the Seventh
had some very hard fights and gallant charges. General Rosecrans gave them the
title of the Saber Regiment because of their expert use of the saber in battle.
Fighting with this regiment were two full companies from SchuylkillCounty,
A and F, and part of company L. Here is an article written by Orwigsburg native
George F. Steahlin the Adjutant of the regiment, about that glorious charge at Shelbyville, Tenn
on June 27, 1863.
The Army of the Cumberland was organized
in November, 1862, out of the army of the Ohio. After general Don Carlos Buell's
efforts to withstand the confederate General Braxton Bragg at PeryvilleKy.
on October 8, 1862. Gen. william S. Rosecrans was placed in command of the Army
of the Cumberland which marched out of Kentucky to Nashville, Tenn. where
General Rosecrans began the arduous duty of reorganization. The cavalry was too
small in numbers to cope with the thousands of confederates Generals Forrest,
Wheeler, Morgan and Roddy, who were continually hovering around our flanks,
attacking supply trains, cutting railroad communications and capturing isolated
outposts. General Rosecrans decided to increase the cavalry. His requisitions
for cavalry reinforcements were favorably received by the war department at Washington. Gen. David
Stanley was selected as commander of the cavalry troops, and he at once began
to place cavalry in the best condition possible.
By the time General Rosecrans was ready to move on Murfreesboro the cavalry was considerably
increased and thoroughly organized. Brigades and divisions were formed and
officered by experienced brigade and division commanders. The cavalry was
handled by General Stanley with telling effect through the battle of Stones
River, but it was really too weak to cope with the enemy's cavalry, who out
numbered us three to one. The brigade of which I shall speak particularly was
the First Brigad Second Division. The First Brigade was composed of the Seventh
Pennsylvania volunteer cavalry, commanded by Lt. Col. Seipes; Fourth United
States cavalry (Regulars) commanded by Capt. McIntire; Fourth Michagan,
volunteer cavalry, commanded by Col. R.H. Minty; and a battlion of the Third
Indiana commanded by Lt. Col. Kline. The brigade was commanded by Col. Minty.
On the 5th day of January, 1863 we returned from pursuing the rear guard of
confederates and camped east of Murfreesboro.
During the five months the army
remained at Murfreesboro General Stanley was exceedingly active in
strengthening, equiping and remounting the corps. The corps was kept
reconnoitering and making raids upon the confederate outposts and flanks.
Numerous skirmishes took place; some almost amounted to regular battles. The
Seventh Pennsylvania made several saber charges; ,one at Rover Tenn. January
31, 1863, upon the Seventh confederate regular cavalry, completley routing
them; one into the town of Franklin Tenn.; one at Eagleville; one at Spring
Hill, Tenn. under an expedtion commanded by General Phil Sheridan; another at
McMinville, Tenn. and several others. General Rosecrans named the Seventh
Pennsylvania cavalry "The Saber Regiment of the Army of the Cumberland."
On the 25th of June one of the best equipped corps of Cavalry in the
Union army moved out of camp at daybreak. General Rosecrans had decided,
contrary to his corps commanders opinions, to move on the confederate strong
holds at Tullhoma, Belbuckel, and Shelbyville; twoe thirds of our cavalry moved
out on our right on the Shelbyville pike. The movement was unexpected by
General Bragg. The pickets were driven to the main army the first day. His
right was very heavily pressed, causing Bragg to draw from his left at Columbia. By noon a
drizzling rain began to fall and by night it rained copiously. The following
day June 26, a severe storm raged, making military movements tedious; in fact,
the army almost came to a halt. The cavalry bivouacked in a woods on the night
of the 25th, and remained inactive during the 26th.
At 3 O'clock a.m. June 27, the bugle sounded reville. A heavy fog
surrounded us. The cavalry was formed in an open field in columns of regiments.
By 7 O'clock the fog had disappeared. As the bright morning sun shone upon the
seven thousand horsemen massed in the field I beheld one of the finest military
displays I saw during the entire war. The "Forward" was sounded and
seven thousand men and horses began to move for the pike. After marching in
column for several miles we came to a halt. The Seventh Pennsylvania depolyed
on the right of the pike in a small piece of cedar woods. A forward movement
was made about a half mile, then we recieved orders to take the advance of the
column. As we reached the top of a hill we passed a fortified picket post,
which Colonel Stokes, with the First Tennessee cavalry, had charged
Before us was the beautiful Guy's Gap, through which we passed on a trot
for the distance of three miles. The east end of the Gap was protected by a
line of trenches running along the summit of a hill, north and south, as far as
the eye could see. Wheeler's confederate cavalry had moved from Columbia, and was posted
behind Guy's Gap trenches. Our column was brought to a walk by four pieces of
confederate artillery. Colonel Sipes turned the Seventh cavalry into a field on
the right of the pike, formed a line of battle, and dismounted Major C.C. Davis
third battalion to move on our front on foot. The Fourth United States cavalry
formed on the left of the pike. The Fourth Michigan were ordered to move to our
right and find a briddle path that led to the trenches about a mile beyond; the
Third Indiana cavalry was held as our reserve. Colonel Minty ordered Colonel
Sipes to move to the pike with the two battalions of the Seventh to move to the
pike with the two battalions of the Seventh Pennsylvania, form in column of
fours, and charge the trenches.
We moved on a walk till we passed over a small bridge spanning a
rivulet. Then we went up the hill on a trot intil we reached the trenches,
through which we passed on a gallop. The Fourth Michigan were coming in on the
right on the confederates' left flank. The enemy's line wavered, the men
huddled like sheep, broke and went at full speed towards Shelbyville. The first
battalion of the Seventh Pennsylvania did not halt, but charged with
impetousity, cutting right and left, causing hundreds to fall. The second
battalion charged through the woods on the
left of the pike. A hand to hand
fight took place for two miles, when the confederates turned off the pike on to
a road leading to Wartrace. The second battalion under Capt. B.S. Dartt, coming
in on the left cut them off, and with the aid of a cedar stockade fence brought
four hundred and eighty to a stand; these were taken prisoners. Colonel Seipes
gathered the prisoners and took them to the rear, having over five hundred in
The dead and wounded along the pike numbered over a hundred. Our loss
was but one man, private Felix Herb, of company A. I must relate how he was
killed at the cedar stockade fence. Herb took two prisoners; they threw up
their arms as a signal of surrender, but changed their minds. Not seeing
immediate support for Herb they shot him, the bullet passing through the centre
of the forehead. While this was going on Sergeant James A. Wilson of company F,
arrived and shot both the confederates who had shot Herb. I reached the spot
just as Wilson
shot the second man. Wilson
turned towards me, saying "Adjudant ! the devils shot Felix Herb after
they had surrendered, so I made short work of them."
As Colonel Seipes passed to the rear with the prisoners he gave me
orders to gather up the men who had become seperated from the regiment during
the charge. In the meantime the confederate artillery posted on the square in
Shelbyville was throwing shells along the pike. I collected eighty men of our
regiment and formed them into a company; then deployed them on our front and
flanks. In the meantime our third battalion arrived; also the other regiments
of the second division. Davis's
third battalion was in good order with fresh horses. Colonel Seipes arrived
just as I received the order. I repeated Colonel Minty's order, when Colonel
"My regiment is back with the prisoners. I cannot make another
Colonel Minty overheard this remark and came to Colonel Seipes saying;
"Your third battlion is in good order - horses comparatively fresh.
All the other horses of the brigade have been run down."
Colonel Seipes replied.
"If I must make the charge I will take the artillery and drive them
into the DuckRiver."
I then called in the men I had depolyed and formed them on the left of Davis's third battalion,
which by now numbered only two hundred rank and file. This battalion had been cut
by Forrest at Murfreesboro,
in 1862, which accounted for its weakness.
Major Charles C. Davis led the charge. The Colonel and myself took our
proper place in column. Two pieces of Captain Newwll's Ohio battery were placed on the right ahd
left of the pike. As they belched forth fire, smoke and shell, our bugler, John
Cole, sounded the charge. Through the smoke, down the hill went the little
band, yelling like mad. We were on the dead run. Half the distance between the
mile post and the confederate battery was passed in safety. Two shots had
screamed over our heads, but the third shot hit Company G, killing three men
and a horse, but onward we ran. A ravine was reached a few feet from the
artillery. Fortunately we were below their point blank range. As we reached the
slight rise going into Shelbyville we saw the confederate cavalry waver and
break. The artillery limberd up and joined the fleeing cavalry. The two hundred
pushed on with the yell revoiced. The last piece of artilley turned the corner
of a street as the two hundred began to sabre the cannoniers. Then the riders
were cut off the horses. One piece was ours in a twinkling. The second piece
was also ours in two minutes. The railroad depot was reached and there the road
turns to the right while on the left lays an open plateau. At that m,oment Gen
Wheeler led his escourt in a counter charge. He delivered one volley and broke,
caused by the third Indiana
coming down on our left flank. Lieutenants Rhoads and Reed fell there and ten
men also died. Still we hardly stopped to look, cutting right cuts, left cuts,
front cuts, and rear cuts, making thrusts right, left and front - dealing death
at every blow, until the DuckRiver was reached. We
pushed over the bridge, where a dozen confederates were crushed by their two
remaining pieces of artillery.
At the east end of the bridge stood Sergeant Edward Shutt, of company A,
bareheaded his long golden hair disheveled and waving in the breeze, sabre
drawn and holding the third piece of artillery. But in this river was one of
the most heartrendling scenes man ever beheld. The river was high and a strong
current flowing owing to the rain the day before. The banks of the river are
very high - at least twenty feet high. Down the precipice leaped the
confederate cavalry, on both sides of the bridge to escape the sabres of the
Seventh. In the stream were hundreds of horses and men struggling to escape.
Many horses and men were drowned. Some gained the shore and stood wet and
shivering. The sun was down as the last man of the two hundred returned and
reported no enemy to be seen. The sick in the hospitals in Shelbyville took up
the stampede and assisted to choke the bridge and add to the misery of the
General Wheeler's cavalry never stood our cold steel. This day they
stampeded and were totally routed. General Wheeler had his horse shot from
under him during the charge. He escaped by mounting another horse and swimming
the river. The confederate captain of artillery said that he would have given
us a dose of grape as we came in town, but he dared not. He was a German, and
took his misfortune philosophically. Sgt. Major Braut took a sword from a
confederate officer marked "Toledo
1762". Lieut. Waters of the Ninth Pennsylvania, was killed coming down the
hill leading into Shelbyville by his horse falling. He was a private in the
Lewisburg company in the three months service. One of the companies that
April 18, 1861. The regimental color-bearer was an Englishman. He had his
discharge from the light Brigade that made the charge at Balaklava
during the Crimean War. He, remarked, after the charge into Shelbyville, that
the charge was not surpassed at Balaklava. The
Sergeant John Ennis, was killed at Selma,
Alabama, in taking the colors
upon the ramparts of the last fort that was captured late in the war.
From the National Tribune May 27,
RIGHT FLANK AT GETTYSBURG
3RD PENNA. CAVALRY
On July 3rd 1863 General J.E.B. Stuart and
3 brigades of cavalry numbering about 6500 men moved to the left of General
Ewell's position near Culps Hill. Stuart trying to avoid Federal cavalry
screened his troops behind a small rise in the ground called Cress ridge. The
ridge was located about three miles east of Gettysburg over looking the Rummel farm fields.
One of the theories surrounding Gen.
Stuart's battle plan called for him to
attack the Union rear and try to turn the union right flank while General
George Picket's infantry attack would assail the Federal front located on
Cemetery ridge. Although there is no evidence to support this theory, it now
appears to some historians that General R.E. Lee just wanted Stuart to protect
his left flank and to harass any Federal troops that would be routed in
Arriving at Cress ridge, Stuart observed
that there were no federal troops in
view, and an open area to his front seemed clear for any attack. The only
obstruction facing Stuart was the farm buildings of the Rummel farm. Stuart
sent out sharpshooters to occupy the farm buildings and snipe at any federal
troops in range. He also split up his cavalry brigades putting Wade Hampton and
Rooney Lee on the right and General John Chambliss's cavalry on the left along
with Col. Milton Ferguson's mounted infantry.
Around noon General David McMurtrie
Gregg's federal cavalry division with two brigades lead by Col. John B.
McIntosh and Col. J. I. Gregg was reinforced by General George Custers Michigan
brigade. Close to 1 P.M. Col. McIntosh relieved Custers Brigade which had been ordered to go to the Union left near the roundtops. Riding with McIntosh was
the 3rd Pennsylvania Cavalry containing 28 men from SchuylkillCounty.
They were placed in a field west of the Lott farm house. During this
deployment, the great artillery barrage that preceded Pickets charge was heard
by all the men present.
At 2 P.M. McIntosh sent out the first New
Jersey cavalry as dismounted skirmishers toward the Rummel farm where they met
a fierce fire from the rebel sharpshooters placed there by Stuart. Joining the
1st New Jersey were two squadrons of the 3rd Pa. under the command of
Captains Rodgers and Triechel. Under Rodgers were the Schuylkill Countians of
company L led by Lt. Howard Edmonds of Ashland.
Two other squadrons under Captain Miller of the 3rd Pa. remained mounted on a small road in the woods near the Lott house. The road
lead directly toward the rebel lines on Cress ridge.
Stuart's horse artillery commenced firing
from behind the Rummel farm which caused Col. McIntosh to call for reinforcements.
He also sent word to Gen. Gregg that he was
outnumbered. General Gregg met with Custer and decided to countermand
his orders to go to the left and sent him in support of McIntosh near the
The fighting around the Rummel farm
continued into the early afternoon when the 1st New Jersey
and the boys from Schuylkill in the 3rd Pa.
began running low on ammunition. The 5th Michigan
was ordered to relieve them. While falling back, a dismounted charge was made
upon the 3rd Pa. but was immediately checked
by the arrival of the 5th Michigan
armed with the Spencer repeater.
A mounted charge was attempted by the
rebels but was halted short by the fire on their flanks by the dismounted
members of the 3rd Pa.,
1st. New Jersey and 5th Michigan. The 7th
lead by Gen. Custer, went out to meet the rebel attack and came face to face
with the 1st Virginia
near a stone and rail fence. With all the shooting from the dismounted men on
the flanks and from the mounted troopers of the 7th Michigan,
the 1st Virginia
fell back in a disorganized mass caused by artillery fire in their front and
small arms fire on their flanks.
After the fight, a short pause occurred
until shortly after 3 P.M.. At that time General Wade Hampton and General Fitz
Hugh Lee's brigades formed with sabers drawn in front of Cress Ridge. The
rebels advanced in close columns of squadrons, the Union artillery opened on
them with canister inflicting many casualties. The Schuylkill
countians in the 3rd Pa. Cav, who were dismounted, fell back toward their
horses. In the mean time General Gregg rode toward the men of the 1st Michigan which had
already formed into close columns of squadrons and ordered them to charge. They
drew their sabers and advanced. At the same moment General George A. Custer
rode to the front of the 1st Michigan
and took the lead. Advancing toward each other, the columns drew closer. Men of
the 3rd Pa.
located on the flanks could hear the commands of the advancing rebel officers,
"Keep to your sabers, men keep to your sabers". As the men drew
nearer, their pace quickened from a walk to a trot to a gallop and finally to a
charge. Men yelling, horses thundering, the sound would almost drown out the
sound of firing. The artillery was taking a heavy toll on the Confederates.
Ranks were completely blown apart only to be replaced by other troops. The
artillery ceased firing when Custer's men came into their line of fire. General
Custer, seeing the Confederate cavalry waver, shouted to his men while at a
full gallop, "Come on, you Wolverines".
Given orders to rally their men, Captains Rodgers, Triechel
ordered their men to charge the right flank of the rebels as they passed them.
Only sixteen men could get to their horses in time, and with their officers
they charged. Heading directly for Wade Hampton's colors, Captain Newhall of
company A was just about to seize the enemy colors when he was struck in the
face by the rebel standard bearer's flag staff, knocking him off his horse to
land heavily upon the ground. Captain Rodgers was wounded as was Captain
Treichel. Lieutenant Howard Edmonds was seriously wounded in the charge on the
flank, Private George Wilson from FraielyTownship fell from his
horse and was instantly killed by a rebel horseman. At the same moment charging
from the direction of the Lott house, Captain Miller of the 3rd Pa's remaining
squadron hit the rebel left rear and cut off their rear section and caused them
to retreat back toward the Rummel farm. Riding with Captain Miller was Quatermaster
Sergeant John Heistine from Schuylkill Haven and Thomas Bull from Port Carbon.
They both would survive the attack.
In the initial charge when the heads of
both columns met, horses were seen to go end over end crushing their riders
beneath them. The fight then developed into a hand to hand melee. It was only
minutes but it seemed like hours as the rebels held their positions. Quickly
their flanks started to collapse and they started to retreat. Their retreat
turned into a mad rush toward the cover of the Rummel farm and Cress Ridge. The
Union troops followed in close pursuit capturing many straggling and wounded
The Union troopers remained in control of
the field all night and into the morning. Then they moved out in pursuit of the
rebels. All six officers of the 3rd Pa. were wounded 3 enlisted men were killed and
two died later of wounds that they received.
When Mr. Rummel was helping to remove the
dead soldiers from his farm area, he came upon a private in the 3rd Pa. and rebel who had
cut each other with their sabers and were lying with their feet toward each
other. There heads were in opposite directions and their blood stained sabers
werein each of their hands. He also found a Virginian and another 3rd Pa. cavalryman who must have
fought on horse back with each other. Both men were severely cut on the head
and shoulders and when found had their fingers around each other firmly
embedded in each others flesh. Mr Rummel also removed thirty dead horses from
his farm. One might wonder whether one of the scenes would be of the body of
George Wilson, a private in the 3rd Pa. from SchuylkillCounty.
FIREMEN OF POTTSVILLE.
GOOD INTENT LIGHT ARTILLERY.
Patriotism runs deep in the blood of SchuylkillCounty
and when the southern traitors fired their guns on Ft. Sumter Schuylkill
Countians by the hundreds volunteered their service for the defense of the Union. The issue of slavery was hardly thought of by the
common man in the county. The men went of to war with a burning feeling of
patriotism and a desire to preserve the Republic as their forefathers had.
Bands played military marches, citizens made rousing speeches, women and
children paraded in the streets waving flags and handerchiefs. What man could
resist the call to volunteer and to
fight for the Union?
Preserving the Union was one reason to
fight but many SchuylkillCounty boys went for
other reasons. Working in the mines, on the canals, or as laborers weren't jobs
that many of the boys wanted. The adventure of marching off to war with flags
waving, people cheering while wearing fancy uniforms enticed many of the men to
Poverty was a major fact of life in rural Schuylkill. Posters showing a fifty dollar bounty, and an
advance of thirteen dollars, the monthly pay of a private soldier, and with
bonuses of up to one hundred dollars certainly encouraged some of the men to
enlist. For whatever reason the men of Schuylkill
did enlist and went off to war with pride and a sense of honor. They fought and died on the bloody
battlefields of America
for the next three years.
Many of these men were local members of
volunteer fire companies. One of these companies was "Pottsville's Good Intent". On April 17,
1861 twenty three men from the Good Intent enlisted in volunteer companies from
Schuylkill. The majority enlisted in the Washington Artillerists and
the National Light Infantry, the famed First Defenders. Subsequently, they
marched off to Washington
to defend the Capitol.
On September 7, 1861 at a meeting held by
the Good Intent a resolution was passed that, due to the large number of men
serving in the volunteer regiments from the fire company and the depressed
state of finances, each member would be credited with six months dues. A
committee, consisting of I.E. Severn, John Lesig, Samuel R. Russel, Wm. Lessig,
Wm. B. Severn and Geo. Foltz, was appointed to procure a light rifled cannon
for the company. On that day in the Miners Journal a short
Good Intent Light Artillery is the name
of a new military organization
intended to be connected with Col. Cake's Regiment. It was started by
members of the Good Intent Fire
Company of this borough. Quite a large number of names are involved. A brass
field piece intended for use of the company will be cast by G.W. Snyder and
rifled by Mr. Shalk. It will have a point blank range of 2 miles.
Mr. Hugh Stevenson of 332 E. Arch St. and a former member of
the Good Intent Light Artillery shared an interesting story regarding the
service of many of these boys. It appeared in the April 18, 1900 Pottsville Daily
The members of the battery were mostly
firemen of the Good Intent Co.
after which the battery was named. The battery which was first commanded by
Capt. Wm. Lessig; First Lieut. Isaac Severn; Second Lieut. Samuel Russel and
First Sergeant Edward L. Severn, was to be short lived, that is as far as the
name was concerned. The members were unable to secure any ordnance to drill
with and finally the "boys" decided to swipe brass and make a cannon
themselves. Piece by piece they scraped together the brass while some poor,
unsuspectin victim scratched his head and wondered at the mysterious
disappearance of some article of brass from his shop or household. When enough had been secured the
brass was melted and molded into a fine
cannon by Geo. W. Snyder. The cannon was the "only one" in the
eyes of the boys and carefully guarded. The battery camped on Lawton's hill and awaited a call to the
front. The Good Intent Battery would undoubtedly have become famous, as the
members did, but for an unlooked for occurrence. The 96th regiment had been
recruited and lacked but one company. The Good Intent Battery was mustered into
this regiment and the members then became infantrymen and "shouldered the
cannon" as they remarked for ever
afterward. The precious cannon was taken along with the 96th Regt., but
was finally turned over to a New England Battery, and that was the last seen or
heard of it, although the members of the old battery after the war made many an
attempt to discover its whereabouts, the cannon accomplished valuable service
and the men feel confident that they have been forgiven for pilfering the brass with which it was made.
The cannon was a centerpiece of pride for
the citizenry of Pottsville.
In the Miners Journal for October 5, 1861 it was reported that.
The Good Intent Light Artillery
Company, attached to Col. Cake's
regiment pitched its tents on the hill this week. A cannon for this company is
being cast by Geo. W. Snyder and the gun
carriage is also being made here. This company has some thirty men encamped on
From the Miners Journal of
October 19, 1861 this interesting article appeared:
The Good Intent Light Artillery Co.
took a brass field piece up to
their camp on Saturday last. It was cast by Mr. George W. Snyder and rifled by
Mr. Schalk. A trial of the gun was held last week at Tumbling Run and was satisfactory.
At 500 yards it planted a ball one pound and a quarter in weight within three
inches of the center of the target. With a couple of these guns, and three or four howitzers
this company could bring an
effective battery into the field. We understand that it is rapidly filling up.
The men of the Good Intent Artillery now
attached to the 96th P.V.I. as company C (The Color Company) would make their
mark throughout the war with the 96th and famed Sixth Corps. Because they were
an infantry regiment, the men would lose their cannon to a Massachusetts
Battery while attached to the First Brigade of the Sixth Corps in July of 1862.
The only Massachusetts Battery attached to the first Brigade was the 1st Mass.
Artillery. The Miners Journal of August 2, 1862 reported the
transfer of the cannon to the 1st Mass:
The small rifle cannon cast by Mr.
George Shalk, for Company C 96th
Regiment is now in a Mass. Battery and
the men think so much of it that they would sooner part with any other pieces than it. This
speaks so highly for its
Where is the cannon? Did it survive the
war? We may never know the answers to these questions.The whereabouts of this
cannon still remain a mystery onehundred and thirty three years after it was
turned over to the 1st. Mass.Battery..
Memorial To Patriotism, Wallace.
125th Anniversary of The Good
Intent Fire Company.
Miners Journal Sept. 7, 1861
Miners Journal October 5, 1861
Miners Journal October 19, 1861
Miners Journal October 12, 1861.
Miners Journal August 2, 1862.
Pottsville Daily Republican. April 18, 1900.
WAR SERVICE WITH THE RINGGOLD RIFLES
After the Washington Artillery and the
National Light Infantry returned home from Washington, Pennsylvania
was required to furnish fourteen
regiments to be fielded for up to three months. One of these regiments was the
Fifth Regiment composed of men from Allegheny, Huntington,
Berks, Lebanon and SchuylkillCounties,
Schuylkill sending four companies to fill the
regiment. One of these companies was the
Ringgold Rifles of Minersville.
Fredrick Gunther, residing in Minersville
in April of 1861 was a member of the
Ringgold Rifles and left an interesting letter describing service with the
Ringgold Rifles and Fifth Regiment.
"I was a member of the Ringgold
MinersvillePa. at that time we offered our
services as a company to Governor
April 19th 1861 and where immediately
We left Minersville Saturday April
20th and arrived
that night. Mustered into U.S.
service Sunday April 21st as Company I
Vol. Infantry Capt. J. Laurence, 1st.
Richards 1st Lieut. C.N. Brumm company
The company left Harrisburg
of little York, Pa.
and Baltimore but had to return
to Harrisburg as culverts and bridges east of
were destroyed. We returned to Harrisburg
Monday morning at daybreak. Started
by way of Lancaster,
Philadelphia and Delaware and
Chesepeak canal and AnnapolisNavalAcademy. From the
Philadelphia Navy Yard was transported
Academy by boat. Marched after a few
days rest at
Academy to Annapolis Junction over
had been torn up and bridges and culverts
destroyed . Distance marched about 21
was made by the regiment in one day.
egiments which made the march took two
in covering the same distance. 5th
duty at Annapolis for the night and in the morning
boarded flat cars with benches for seats
WashingtonD.C. on the afternoon of April
The regiment was assigned to quarters
In temporary building in rear of the
old city hall
the building had been used as the
room, President Lincolns Inauguration
1861. The regiment was later sent out
to camp in
tents on east capitol hill, and later
on when the
advance on Alexandria was ordered the 5th Regt.
marched over the Long bridge to AlexandriaVa.
distance about 9 miles. made the march
three hours on a very warm day in
June. The same
day Col. Ellsworth of the New York
was shot by Jackson after he (Ellsworth) had taken
down the confederate flag off the pole
house, of which Jackson
was the proprietor.
The 5th Regiment arrived on the scene
shooting about two hours after. The
of the expedition came down by boat on
and the 5th Regiment marched down. It
in the newspapers at the time of the
arrival and march down Pennsylvania Avenue
the B&O.R.R. Depot to the City
Hall that the Penna.
5th was the first regiment to arrive in
fully equipped for action armed with Harpers Ferry
muskets, 40 rounds of ammunition and 5
of sea biscuits and salt horse sugar
But the rations had been mostly
consumed by the
time we reached Washington."
Fredrick Gunther served as 1st. and 2nd
Sergeant of company I 5th Regiment P.V.I. from April 21st 1861 to July 23rd
1861. He also served for three years in company L 3rd Pa. Vol. Cavalry from August 19th 1861 to
August 24th, 1864. Gunther was a Pattern Maker by trade working at Potts and
Vastine Orchard Iron Works Pottsville. The letter of his experience in the 5th
Regiment was written while he was a resident of the National Soldiers home in Sawtewlle, Calif.
January 13, 1921.
The actual letter is in the files
of the Schuylkill County Historical Society.
Should Be A Memorial For Horses
Horses of The Seventh Penna. Cavalry
During the Atlanta campaign, the 7th Pennsylvania
Cavalry was heavily engaged in scouting and skirmishing with the rebels. The
men suffered daily and also their horses. Here is a report taken from the
monthly regimental reports found in the National Archives in WashingtonD.C.
about how the horses suffered.
HQ 7th Penna.
Capt. R. Burns
1st Brig. 2nd Cav. Div.
Sir, I have the honor to report that the
7th Reg. Penna Vol. Cav. started on the 30th day of April with 919 horses,
fresh from the corral at Nashville
and unused to military duty. The majority were young horses not aged. 300 of
the enlisted men were raw recruits some had never been on a horse before. They
entered the service and without drill. We travelled along the line of the Nashville and Chat. R. Rd. for 48
consecutive hours the horses were without feed and travellled 43 miles passing
a depot from which forage was carried at least eight miles. May 5 we marched 23
miles without feed. At NedCity rec'd 28 Ibs of corn for 3 days to be carried
upon the horses in addition to 5 days rations and travelled 33 miles crossing
at Raccoon Sand and a spur of LookoutMtn. The young horses
commenced to lag. A few were abandoned and the hearty and strong horses were
fatigued. The Col. Wm. B. Sipes then commanding instituted morning inspections
compelling every man to groom his horse and graze when an opportunity occured.
From the 16th of May to the 19th the
horses had no feed except the leaves and short grass to be found in the hills
around Andersonville, Ga. During this time we travelled 35 miles.
The last 5 from Kingston
to the free badge was travelled at a gallop causing the horses to give out by
the dozen (as figures will prove.) That night we rec'd the first forage the
horses had for 3 days. Out of 72 hours the horses were under saddle for 60
hours and receiving all the attention the men were able to give. On the morning
of May 22 the comdg. officer of companies reported the loss of 76 horses as died
of starvation and abandoned. Upon investigation the vet. surgeon corroborated
the statement and pronounced 43 were unserviceable and unfit to travel. Up to
this point the horses were groomed as regularly as circumstances would permit.
Out of the 43 horses left to recuperate 15 were returned to the command Aug.
5/64. From May 26 to June 2 (7days) the horses were without and actually
starved. One battalion (the 3rd) lost in action trying to procure forage 33
horses and 101 were starved to death and compelled to be abandoned. A detail
commanded by Capt. Garrett travelled 30 miles and returned without forage. June
11 and 12 no forage. A detachment commanded by Capt. Newlin travelled 26 miles
returning with 1 qt. for a horse. From July 13 to 18 rec'd half forage. From 19
to 22 no forage. But stuble field to graze in. June 20 lost in 26 horses. From
June 23 to July 17 rec'd 1/2 rations. July 18 and 19 no forage. From July 27 to
30 forage on the country for 20 miles around Stone
Mountain. All was hacked upon the withers of the horses doing as
much harm to the horses as the feed did good causing sore backs. From Aug. 1 to
Aug. 15 the command was 5 miles away from the horses. 4 horses were groomed by
1 man cause consequently they were not as well taken care of as the ride would
give them. For 48 hurs they were without feed.
Aug 15 and 16 rec'd 1 qt. per head and
travelled 24 miles over a country devastated by the army. Aug 17 and 18 rec'd 1
pint feed from 3d Div. Aug 19, 20, 21,22,23, and 24 travelled 120 miles feeding
but once on green corn. 1/2 ration of forage was issued to Sept. 9 Sept. 9
,10,11 no feed and no grazing. The stock rec'd no salt or hay during the
campaign. Lost in action Aug. 20 112 horses.
Started with 919 horses
captured 42 horses
total 961 horses
and died 230 horses
captured 171 horses
Total Lost 401 horses
the field 560 horses
From the Regimental Records Book
Crawford, The Poet Scout
Jack Crawford from Minersville, enlisted
in the 48th Pennsylavania Volunteer along with his father in February 1864.
Jack's father had served with the
Ringold Rifles of Minersville in the early part of the war. The elder Crawford
was wounded twice during the war, once at Antietam and again on May 18, 1864 at
Cold Harbor so badly that it would cause his
death shortly after the war.
When Jack was a young teenager, he would
try to enlist in two differnt regiments but would be rejected because of his
age. Finally he would be excepted inthe 48th regiment company F along with his
father. Jack fought with the regiment through the Wilderness campaign and
Spottsylvania where he was wounded on May 31, 1864 thirteen days after his
father was wounded. On the 31st near the Totopotomy Creek, the 48th was
advancing across some of the worst ground of the campagin, they encountered the
rebels and a very severe fight insued. The regiment lost very heavily in this
fight. Along with Jack being wounded the regiment lost Major Joseph A. Gilmor
and two Lieuts.
Jack would again be wounded on April 2,
1865 in General Grant's all out assault on the Petersburg trenches. The 48th charged the rebel held FortVirgina,
and completly routed their army. Seven days later on the ninth, General Lee
would surrender to General Grant at Appomatox Court House.
The Civil War would be just the begining
for one of the most interesting Schuylkill
countians who ever lived. Jack would go on to become known as the "Poet
Scout". He would be one of the founders of 5 cities Deadwood; CusterCity,
Crook, Gayville and Spearfish, South
Dakota. He would fight Apache Indians in New Mexico, was second
in command of General Crook's scouts following the massacre of General Custer
at the Little Big Horn,and was a personal friend of the famed Indian scout,
Buffalo Bill Cody. He became known as Captain Jack and performed along with
Buffalo Bill in his Wild West show and wrote his own book of poetry called
"The Poet Scout A Book of Song and Story". Captain Jack died of
pneumonia at his home in Wood Haven, Long Island,
on February 28, 1917.
Nothing But His Duty.
On August 30th 1862 James Kane a 26 year old married man with three
small children would feel the patriotic fever that struck many a man from Schuylkill county and volunteer his services to the Union
cause. He would leave his native Port Carbon and travel to Philadelphia were he would enlist as a sergeant for three years in company I of the
13th PA. Cavalry.
He would serve for just 4 months and five days when he would tragically die at Point of RocksMd.
from the effects of a severe form of punishment
known as "bucking". This form of punishment was quite common
in both the confederate and union armies during the civil war. To be bucked the
soldiers hands were tied with the palms together and the elbows placed outside
of the knees, while in a sitting posture a stick was placed between the arms
and knees. It was a very uncomfortable and sometimes painful punishment and
also very humiliating to the soldier.
Sergeant Kane was bucked on December 27, 1862 for disobeying an order to
fetch a lose horse that was in camp. He was ordered to catch the horse by a
Major White, the adjutant. Kane stated that he did not obey the order because
at the time he was acting orderly Sgt. and was hunting two men for another
detail and didn't notice the horse. Kane was put under arrest at 9:00 AM on the
27th of December and the punishment continued till 3:00 PM. He was released
from the punishment when his company Captain returned from a scout. On January
4, 1863 Sgt. James Kane was dead.
James body was returned to his native Port Carbon and was laid to rest
with full military honors on the 11th of January 1863. His grieving wife
Dorothea and their 3 small children stood by his grave on that cold and cloudy
Sunday. The tragic story of this soldier does not end here, In the January 17th
issue of the Miners Journal two articles were written in regards to James Kane.
One titled "Coroner's Inquest" stated that Coroner Johnson performed
an inquest on the body of Sgt. James B. Kane at Port Carbon and according to
the evidence, unwarranted punishment (called bucking) and exposure, by order of
Major White, who was then in command of the 13th Pa. Cavalry. Verdict
accordingly. Another article was titled "A matter for investigation".
James was a member of the Schuylkill lodge No.
27 of I.O. of O.F. Lodge of Odd Fellows. The members of the Port Carbon Lodge met during the week and
made up three resolutions involving the
death of there fellow brother. We have
learned with regret of the death of our late brother James Kane, We have
learned that brother Kane should have come to his death by undue and improper
punishment inflicted by order of the Major of the said cavalry; and we ask that
the Honorable James Campbell M.C., to represent the matter to the War
Department for investigation.
The resolutions were sent to the Hon. James Campbell and an
investigation was opened on February 3, 1863 by order of Brig. Gen. Kelly.
Passing the investigation down through channels it finally fell into the hands
of Col. Galligher the commanding officer of the 13th Pa. Cavalry. An
investigating board was set up to question those who were involved in the
punishment. First to be questioned was the regimental Surgeon Geo. B. Lummis,
he stated that he attended the Sgt. on the 30th December and that he died of an
inflammation of the brain on the 4th of January. In his opinion the bucking
could not have been the cause of the soldiers death. The condition of the
soldier when first seen was comatose accompanied by wandering delirium which is
common of the disease. He had no marks of bucking. Another Surgeon named Stanton also saw the man
when he was sick and was of the opinion that he had meningitis and was not
produced by bucking. He thought that the punishment was an unfortunate affair
and just happened when the disease was hatching. It was barely possible that it
may have injured him.
Eight witnesses were questioned and various statements were made in the
official record of the case. Some of the statements made concerning his bucking
were: " He was tied tight, orders
were to see the bucking through", Kane complained of being unwell on
Monday night he said "his wrists hurt". He complained that he was
tied to tight for doing nothing but his duty. Another private stated
"Sunday was a chilly day for one to be tied". Private White stated
"His wrists were all swollen and he appeared to be excited", another
stated "it was awful cold in the morning; no fire in the guard house, and
he was in a very weak condition on Monday, said he was to weak to come after a
drink of water." Private Cole remarked "when Kane came into the
hospital he showed me his wrists, they were all swelled, he was so sore across
his bowels that he could not stoop over, and his last words spoke was that
bucking would be the cause of his death.
The court of Inquiry report states the evidence is sufficient to require
the said Major White's case to be examined and proceed upon by a General Court
Martial and the evidence does not leave Major White blameless.
The Coroners jury report that Kane died of congestion of the brain
produced by unwarranted punishment called bucking, inflicted by Major white.
On April 24, 1863 charges were preferred against Major White that while
awaiting the findings of the General Court Martial he left the town of Winchester and went to Bunker Hill,
charge: Breach of Arrest and being drunk. On April 24, 1863 Brig. General
Elliott recommended the dismissal of Major White stating " Of this quiet
Major White I have no doubt and I believe that the sooner the service is rid of
him the better." White tendered his resignation in a letter stating "
I know my conduct has been exemplary until this unfortunate affair
happened." The reason he gives for
resigning are the sickness of his wife, and a desire to engage in more peaceful
Corporal punishment was permitted in both the Union and Confederate
armies during the war and was at the discretion of the officers in charge, as
this story states a man died from the effects of this cruel punishment leaving
a wife and three small children, to die in combat was almost expected by the
families but I don't think any family would expect to receive news such as what
the Kane family received.
When the rebel guns fired on FortSumter
on April 12, 1861, 21 year old William Madara of Pottsville, Pennsylvania
was working as an errand boy and assistant in Mr. Edward McDonald's mercantile
store located at the corner of Center and Arch street.
His wages were almost wholly paid
to him in dry goods and groceries from the store. The goods were used in
support of his widowed mother and sister with whom he lived. There was also
another brother, Charles, who was older than William and who also helped in
support of the family.
What compelled William to enlist in the
army,is not known. It could have been the need for money or the patriotic fever
that struck most of the 13,000 young men from Schuylkill
county. But on April 15, 1861 William would enlist in the National Light
Infantry from Pottsville.
He departed Pottsville
in company with the Washington Artillery, another local company, on a very cold
and raw day. They would be cheered by thousands of people who came to Pottsville to see the
first volunteers. The two volunteer companies marched down Center Street to the railroad depot and
arrived in front of a very large crowd of people. The Pottsville Coronet Band
played "Hail Columbia" and "Yankee Doodle". As the train
departed. The depot, the thousands of spectators let out cheer upon cheer until
the train was out of sight. William and his company passed through Baltimore on the 18th
unarmed and subjected to the insults of the secessionist people of that city.
Arriving at Washington
in the evening, William and his company were the first volunteers to enter Washington at the
call President Lincoln and would be
forever known as the "First Defenders". The two companies would be
formed into the 25th P.V.I. and serve at FortWashington, on the Potomac for about
three months and finally returned home to Pottsville
As soon as the three month regiments
returned to Pottsville, Col. Henry L. Cake received
permission to raise a regiment of infantry for the period of three years. This
regiment would be known as the 96th P.V.I. and William once again volunteered
joining company C, known as the" Good Intent Light Artillery" On November
11, 1861. William served unharmed for a period of 18 months with the 96th
through all their major battles and campagains.
After leaving winter camp at White House
Landing, the 96th crossed the RappahannockRiver near Fredricksburg
on May 3, 1863. William had just been promoted to corporal on the 1st and was
with his company as they advanced at the double quick to a railroad area near
Fredricksburg known as Deep Run. With orders to move out of Fredricksburg, the
96th was assigned a position south of the Orange
turnpike. They move west on the turnpike with the 5th Maine on their left flank and the 121st NY
on their right, advancing into a wooded area. The regiment received a heavy
volley of musketry from the ridge line near SalemChurch
when two lines of rebel infantry rose up and fired directly into the advancing
96th. In the center of the regiment was
company C, the color company of the 96th. Whether William was a member of this
group of brave men was not stated, but he was in the center of the action. Firing
at the regiment was the 8th Alabama Infantry, members of General Cadamus
Wilcox's brigade. The firing went back and forth for a very short time when the
federals finally began to fall back. Giving the rebels a final volley, the
regiment retreated back toward Fredricksburg. The 96th would suffer 16 men
killed, 54 wounded and 9 men missing. Lying somewhere on that field near SalemChurch
was 23 year old William, his blood flowing on to the Virgina soil. A musket
ball had entered his head right between the eyes.
This story occured many times to
families in SchuylkillCounty and shows the
ultimate price that is paid to defend one's country by the common soldier.
Memorial To Patriotism. Wallace
On Battle Fields and Bitter Feuds. David A. Ward
of the " White Horse
Major White was born in England
on May 29, 1829. He settled in SchuylkillCounty during the year 1852 and was in
the coal operation business in ReillyTownship, and resided in Swatara, Pa.
On the out break of war, Major White volunteered as a three months
volunteer. He would recruit his own company of men for a regiment of cavalry
known as " The Kentucky Light Cavalry" which became the 3rd
Pennsylvania Cavalry, company L and would muster over 200 men.
This story concerning Major White, was taken from the regimental
history entitled, " History of the
Third Pa. Cav. 1861-1865.
" Of all our drills none were more exciting than when Major Claude
White was in command. How he loved to charge us down to the station, calling
quickly, "Halt", then adding "Fours right wheel, forward, head
of the column right". All of this was for the fun of seeing the men get
untangled and figure their place in line. It was not an easy task to keep our
line as some of our horses persisted in going into the ditch. Those which could
not be cured of this habit were relegated to the wagon train."
Another interesting story about Major White was how he choose the color
of the company horses. In some regiments the horses were separated into
different companies by their colors. Most company commanders avoided the whites
" Captain White, he made this appropriately his choice and his
command was mounted chiefly on white horses. The men spoke of Captain White
jocularly as Captain White of the "White Horse Company" always
however with respect, for he won our esteem, affection and regard by his
kindness of heart, as well as his brave and soldierly qualities."
Major White resigned his commission with the Third Pa. Cavalry on July
15, 1863 for health reasons. He returned to Pennsylvania in 1864 to the mining business
for a number of years. After his career in mining, Major White ran a large
stock farm in Hegins township and was famous for his horses and cattle. Major
White died January 15, 1902.
was nothing safe at Petersburg.
On January 2, 1865 Corporal William
Levinson of Company C 48th P.V.I. was instantly killed by a sixty-four pound
mortar shell coming through his quarters in FortSedgwick, or as it its called at the
front, "FortHell" in front of Petersburg, fragments from the same shell
wounded Lieut. James Clark of the same company. Two men belonging to the Sixth
Corps were also wounded by the same shell. One had his leg broken, subsequently
it was amputated.
Miners Journal January 1865.
Lewis Lewis, was eight years old when he was brought to this country
from his native South Wales in 1851, by his
parents Thomas and Cecilia Lewis. The family settled in the mining community of
Swatara, SchuylkillCounty. In February, 1864
Lewis was mustered into the service of
his country by Capt. Hill of the 55th P.V.V. He joined company E, known as the Schuylkill Guards,
and went off to war. Lewis fought with the 55th at the battle of Cold Harbor
were the Regiment lost 151 men on June 3, 1864. On June 18 the 55th was engaged
in the attacks on the rebel held positions near PetersburgVa.
These attacks were poorly coordinated
and meet with heavy Union losses. Lewis was severely wounded in one of these
attacks. From the Miners Journal of August 27, 1864 comes the story of Lewis
and his final meeting with his mother and family.
"In a charge that was made on the rebel works in front of Petersburg, on the 18th
of June, he was severely wounded in the leg, and slightly in the hip. After
creeping from the battlefield and across a corn field, his leg was amputated
and he was brought to the Hospital at HamptonVa. Having heard that their son
was wounded, his father and mother went to see him. They were unsuccessful the
first time. His mother went the second time and was successful. She had the
satisfaction of seeing her dear son and waiting on him until he breathed his
last. She brought his body home with her. Our young friend was a brave and
gallant soldier, highly respected by all who knew him, and was only 21 years of
age when he died. On the 7th inst. a large number of his friends assembled to
pay the last tribute of respect to him. His remains were interred in the Welsh
Congregational Church Cemetery at Minersville."
MEN BEFORE THE MAST.
Contributing less than 40 men to the
United States Navy and Marine Corps, during the war of the rebellion, SchuylkillCounty men served with pride and distinction
as seaman, gunnersmates, engineers and surgeons. In 1861 the United States Navy
had only a few sailing ships that were worthy of fighting and running
blockades. By the end of the war there would be over 600 Federal naval vessels
In late 1861 the Miners Journal
lists several countians that enlisted in the navy and have applied for and
passed their Asst. Engineer test and served on board ship as engineers. From Pottsville were 3rd Asst.
Engineer Thomas Petherich Jr. also Howard Potts, Hiram Parker and Richard
Serving aboard the U.S. Steamship
Hatteras, was First Defender, Thomas Corby, from Pottsville. A former member of the Washington
Artillerists, Corby who was a seaman enlisted
in the Navy on October 10, 1861. He was assigned on board the U.S.S. Hatteras,
a sidewheel steamer: 1126 tons. She was 210 feet long and was armed with 4
32-pdrs and 1 20 pdr. rodman. She had a speed of 8 knots.
The sinking of the Hatteras is one of the
most interesting naval engagements of the Civil War. The Hatteras was anchored
off the coast of Texas near Galveston under the command of Commodore Bell
when they were ordered by the U.S.S. Brooklyn, the fleet flag ship, to chase a
strange sail to the southeast. After sometime a sail could be seen and was
identified as a steamer. From the captain's official report the narrative
"Knowing the slow rate of speed
of the Hatteras, I at once suspected
that deception was being practiced, and hence ordered the ship cleared for
action, with everything in readiness for a determined attack and a vigorouse
When within about four miles of the
vessel, I observed that she had ceased
to steam, and was lying broadside and awaiting us. It was nearly seven o'clock,
and quite dark; but, notwithstanding the obscurity of the night, I felt
assured, from the general character of the vessel and her maneuvers, that I
should son encounter the rebel steamer Alabama.
Being able to work only four guns on the side of the Hatteras-two short 32
pdrs. one 30 pdr. rifled Parott gun, and one 20 pdr. rifled gun, I concluded to
close with her.
I came within easy speaking
range-about 75 yards, and upon asking, "What steamer is that ?"
received the answer, "Her Britannic Majesty's
Ship Vixen." I replied that I would
send a boat aboard, and immediately gave the order. In the meantime, the
vessels were changing positions, the stranger endeavoring to gain a position
for a raking fire. Almost simultaneously with the piping away of the boat, the
strange craft again replied, "We are the Confederate steamer Alabama ," which
was accompanied by a broadside. I, at the same moment, returned the fire. The
captain continues, I steamed for the Alabama,
but she was enabled by her great speed, and foulness of the bottom of the
Hatteras, and, consequently, her diminished speed, to thwart my attempt when I
gained a distance of but thirty yards from her. At this range, musket and
pistol shots were exchanged. The firing continued with great vigor on both sides. At length a
shell entered amidships in the hold, setting fire to it, and at the same
instant - as I can hardly divide the
time - a shell passed through the sick bay, exploding in an adjoining
compartment, also producing a fire. Another entered the cylinder, filling the
engine room and deck with steam, and depriving me of my power to maneuver the
vessel, or to work the pumps, upon which the reduction of the fire depended.
With the vessel on fire in two
places, and beyond human power, a
hopeless wreck upon the waters, with her
walking - beam shot away, and her engine rendered useless,I maintained
an active fire, with the active hope of disabling the Alabama and attracting
the attention of the fleet off Galveston, which was only twenty - eight miles
Ordering the magazine flooded so that the
ship would not explode, and firing of a lee gun, the Hatteras admitted defeat.
then asked if assistance was needed. The captain of the Hatteras answered in
the affirmative. The Hatteras was sinking. Two minutes later she went down bow
first, taking everything with her. The rebels were not able to salvage a single
Corby and the rest of his crew went into
the water, and after a short delay from the Alabama were rescued and immediately put in
irons. Five men were wounded and two were killed. The Alabama
set sail to the east and after a long journey through rough sea she reached Jamaica, and
landed her prisoners on neutral soil so that they could be paroled.
Thomas Corby would eventually return to
the navy, finish out the war as a gunners mate on the U.S.S. Gertrude a Screw
Steamer of 350 tons, and would be discharged from the navy on November 8, 1864.
The First Defenders. Heber
Service Afloat. The Remarkable
Career of The Confederate Cruiser
Raphael Semmes. C.S.Navy.
Total Number of Men Furnished By
SchuylkillCounty During the Civil War.
From The Miners Journal:
Hardly had we finished copying the list of
Volunteers, in April, 1865, when an order from the War Department, cnsequent
upon the fall of Richmond
and the surrender of General Lee's army, to the Provost Marshal of the Tenth
District, Captain Bowen, stopped recruiting. NO MORE MEN WERE WANTED---THE WAR
From April 17, 1861, to April 13, 1865,
the number of men furnished by SchuylkillCounty, in responce to
the calls of the National and State Goverments, was as follows:
Three months Service...........................1,795
Three's years' troops, recruited
Nine Months' troops
Militia for state defence,
173rd Regiment (drafted men) nine
If we add to this the number of citizens
who furnished substitutes, we find that SchuylkillCounty
sent, during the war, into the field between thirteen and fourteen thousand
men, a record of which a county of but ninety thousand inhabitants, need not
To Old To Serve.
During the Civil War Pennsylvania was credited with 337,936 men who
served in the Union Army, this was 12.1% of the army and consisted of 14.3 % of
the states population. Of this number less than 1 % of the men were over the
age of sixty.
Serving in the 48th Regiment was a soldier by the name of Charles Arndt, and at the ripe old age of 67
was on active duty. On July 12, 1862 in the Miners Journal an article entitled, "An Old Soldier And A Patriot",
which described his military career.
"The following communication from a non-commissioned officer of Co.
D, 48th Reg. P.V., we publish with pleasure. The facts contained in it, are
highly creditable to the subject of the notice:
Editors Miners Journal:- There is a man in Co.D, 48th Reg. P.V. who is
67 years old, and quite an active man, having never missed a day's duty, while
in the service of the United
States. He says he can stand as much as one
half of the young men yet. His name is Charles Arndt. He is a native of Germany; but has resided in SchuylkillCounty
for the last 21 years. He has seen service in Germany, having been in the cavalry
service for seven years. Old Charley has been blessed with good health for
sixty-seven years never needing the service of a physician. Mr. Arndt lives in
the vicinity of Ashland, SchuylkillCountyPa. He says he has warm
blood in his veins yet and is willing to sacrifice his all for a free
government like ours; that has been trampled upon by the rebels. He is a fine
old gentleman, scholar and a soldier; and stands high in the estimation of Co.
D, 48th Reg. P.V.
Charles served his three year enlistment and was discharged on February
12, 1865 on a surgeons certificate, there is no listing of him being wounded, so
one assumes he became ill and was discharged for illness.
Union Guards Of
The Union Guards were formed shortly after the fall of FortSumter
and consisited of 67 men from Orwigsburg and the surrounding farms. The unit
did no active duty service during the war. Most of the men would serve in other
regiments through out the war.
On September 12, 1862 the men met in the Arcadian Institute in the
Borough of Orwigsburg for the purpose of voting in there officers. Following is
a list of the men of this unit and there elected officers.
1. William H. Schall
2. John Schall
3. Charles Hermansader
4. Samuel M. Yost
5. James Lehr
6. John A. Shingler
7. Joseph Shoener
8. Morgan Shoener
9. Jacob Hay
10. James A. Gerber
11. William Kimmel
12. David Houser
13. Edward Yeager
14. George Koch
15. George W. Maurer
16. William Smith
17. Jacob Leng
18. William H. Leffler
19. Thomas Schall
20. Victor Wernert
21. Charles H. Miller
22. Christian Deifender
23. George Lewis Jr.
24. Charles Medlar
25. Charles Fisher
26. Henry Hammer
27. Henry Day
28. Jacob Kimmel
29. E.L. Hultzer
30. Jerimiah Leymeister
31. Joseph Zall Jr.
32. Jermiah Smith
33. Morgan Albright
34. Jacob Deen
35. Jacob Faust
36. Felix Smith
37. Joseph Hillabach
38. Lewis F. Kimmel
39. Morgan W. Koch
40. Daniel Ruhf
41. Henry A. Newman
42. Lewis Reigel
43. Edward Shoener
44. Thomas Wagner
45. William Gerhard
46. Joel Deitrich
47. John A. Hasesler
48. George Freed
49. William H. Mayer
50. Goerge W. Faust
51. Francis Fidler
52. Thomas Hammer
53. Rhubin Hay
54. Francis Yeager
55. Franklin W. Wagner
56. Henry Hay
57. Thomas Hoy
58. William J.F. Sterner
59. Benj. Pott Jr.
60. William F. Leymeister
61. Solomon Reed
62. Francis Moyer
63. Charles Maurer
64. John S. Snyder
65. Edward H. Mull
66. J.T. Clause
67. Samuel H. Madden
We the superintendent and assistants at the election for Officers of the
Military Company call the Union Guard of Orwigsburg, held at the Arcadian
Institute in the Borough of Orwigsburg in the County of Schuylkill, Pa. on the
12 day of September 1862 having carefully added together the votes polled
according to law do certify that the following is the result as appears by the
For Captain: William M. Bickel 49
Ed. K. Mull 19 votes.
For 1st. Lieut. James O Lehr 53
Charles Hermansader 14 votes.
For 2d Lieut. William H. Schall
For Quartermaster Sgt. John
Clouse 42 votes
For 1st. Sgt. Eugene L. Holzer 9
Daniel Ruhf 18 votes.
Victor Wernert 35 votes.
For 2d Sgt. Thomas Hammer 53
For 3rd Sgt. John Schall 51 votes
For 4th Sgt. John B. Snyder 58
For Corporal Francis Fiddler 26
votes. Thomas Hoy 29 votes.
Samuel M. Yost 11 votes. Reuben Hoy 30 votes.
Charles Maurer 46 votes.
In the early part of 1863 our regiment
joined the army of the Potomac, being assigned to the first Corps, and doing
picket duty until the move on Chancellorsville,
when we were sent to the extreme right to occupy the postions vacated by the
eleventh corps. Not gaining our object under Hooker, we crossed the river and
went into camp near our old grounds overlooking Fredricksburg, but we were not
to remain long.
Lee's army was short of food, and he was
on his way to Pennsylvania,
to have a good time. We struck tents and went after him as fast as possible, on
forced marches. Well he got there sometime before us, and was enjoying himself
on the fat of the land until he was disturbed early on the morning of July 1,
1863, by the first corps and a brigade of cavalry. Starting early in the
morning from near Emmitsburg, we marched rapidly onto Gettysburg,
going across fields directly into postion. As our forces were being hard
pressed for awhile, we supported the battery, but in a short time we were sent
to fill up the gap in our lines made by shot and shell.
I could see we could not hold our postion
long, as the rebel reinforcements were being thrown on to our left flank, and
our men gradually giving way. Occupying a postion n the centre of the line,
while the right and left were being driven back, placed us in a very exposed
postion, when we, too had to fall back to the rear and took shelter in a grove
surrounding the Seminary Building, while all other troops had fallen back,
leaving us alone to hold our ground as well as we cold, with one battery of
We soon found that we must vacate our
postion, or be surrounded and our whole command captured. Our general officers
had all left the field, excepting Col. Chapman Biddle, who commanded our
brigade, and was wounded in the head, but he was well mounted, and made his
escape. Retreating for the second time, we made directly for the town, thinking
we would be able to make another stand, but, to our great surprise, the rebel
cavalry had cut off our retreat, and we were well bottled up.
It had never occured to me that I might be
taken prisoner, and when I found out that I was helpless in their hands my
feelings can't be described.
Meeting a few wounded men of my company, I
took them into the Lutheran church, then used as a hospital and rather than
have the humiliation of delivering my sword to a rebel, I hid it in the
After supplying the boys with
water, I went to the front just in time to see the chaplin of the 90th Penna.
killed, while standing in the doorway of the church. In company, with two
others, we picked him up, but he had been instantly killed, the ball entering
his mouth and taking an upward course through his brain. The rebels were
picking up lose yankees and sending them to a prison camp north of the town
under the command of Col. French of the 14th West Virginia.
He extended us a welcome, taking our
names, rank, and regiment, but offering us no further accommodations than the
cold ground for a bed and an empty haversack for supper. We found him a good
hearted old Virginia
Our regiment in a few hours had been
completley torn to pieces. We marched into the engagement with 66 al told, and
our loss was 337. Our opponents were the
11th and the 26th North Carolina
regiments, of which the 11th lost 50 killed, 159 wounded, and the 26th lost 86
killed and 502 wounded. So our boys must have done some good shooting. The
official reports show that these three regiments suffered a graeter loss than
any other regiment in this battle.
The guns had ceased firing, the remainder
of our army had taken up a postion on Cemetery Ridge, entrenched and waiting
reinforcements. As night was approaching we thought it was time to have
something to eat, before retiring to a bed of clover. I found my stock of
provisions consisted of only three and one half pieces of hardtack.
On the morning of July 2d we were moved to
Willoghby Run at the Rebel General Pickett's headquaters, and there remained
during the remainder of the fighting, being directly in the rear of the rebel
batteries, until the morning of the fourth, when the enemy thought it better to
All this time the rebs gave us no food
until the eve of the 3rd, when they gave us a small quantity of flour, which we
mixed with the waters of the creek and baked it on flat stones, as best we
could, into some kind of bread, the like of which I had never seen before, but
would have been very glad to have later on.
From A First Defender in Rebel
By Charles Potts, Late Lieut.
Read before the Society October
Men Open the Battle Of Chickamauga.
On the morning of September 18, 1863
Captain Heber Thompson of the Seventh Pa. Cavalry was ordered to lead a
reconnaissance of 100 men toward RinggoldGa. with orders to proceed to
that place and make contact with Union General Granger. Before arriving at
Ringgold Captain Thompson and his detachment met the confederate advance about
three miles from Reed's Bridge on the Pea Vine Creek and fired into the rebel
infantry and opened the famed battle of Chickamauga about 5:30 A.M. Captain
Thompson's small detachment held off over 4,000 infantry and three batteries of
artillery. Captain Thompson held this position until 10:00 A.M. Credit was
given to the men of the Seventh Pa. Cavalry for opening the battle of Chickamauga. Schuylkill countian Pvt. John Ward was the first Union
soldier killed in the battle.
regiment that was sent to burn the bridge noticed the body of a dead cavalry
man and also his horse. The body was probably that of Owen Brennan, who was
struck by a cannon ball while the regiment was charging Longstreets men on the
other side of the bridge. Brennan was on horse back when he was struck, also
John Ward was killed in this charge. Ward was a splendid horseman according to
Sgt. Samuel Winn, and always took delight in breaking to the saddle spirited
horses. The horse that Ward was mounted on this day was also a spirited animal
and became excited while under fire and ran ahead of the regiment in the charge
and John Ward was struck by a ball from a confederate sharpshooter. Both Ward
and Brennan were from the west end of the county and are buried in the NationalCemetery
Miners Journal Oct. 26, 1914
At Chickamauga and Chattanooga 1897
Native of Scotland
Resided in Pottsville.
Worked in Fishback
Palo Alto Rolling mills were he was employed
before the war.
From Mulhollands History of
Mr. Reid was born at Raploch,
near Stirling Scotland, Jan 22, 1842: At Petersburg June 17, 1864 he captured a
flag of the 44th Tenn. Infantry, and these few words tell of a sever fight, of
a hand to hand struggle in which Mr. Reid conquered. A splendid soldier and
true son of old Scotland,
brave and fearles and Heroic. He was never wounded.
During the Spottsylvania engagement of May
12, Robert Reid of Company G descripred the battle which the 48th took part in.
It was a very foggy morning when Captain
Mc Kibben of General Potter's staff ordered Col. Pleasants to follow him with
the 48th, and it will be remembered that McKibben rode a very dilapidated plug
of a horse that day, but he rode right to the front, leaning forward on his
horse, as he led us up on the hill, until he had us under fire, when we formed
line of battle behind the brow of a hill, directly in our front, and our
postion did not suit the Colonel. We moved forward past the right of the
advanced regiment until we got about half way between it and the enemy, which
proved to be the 13th Ga.
Before we commenced firing about twenty of the rebel troops came in and
surrendered. When within about 75 yards of the enemy we were orderd to halt,
and commence firing, when for a short time the engagement was very lively. The
enemy were at a decided disadvantage, they being down the slope of the hill, we
at the top. About the time we opened fire another, or part of a rebel regiment,
came to their support. We hammered away at them until some one from the cntre
of the regiment called out that they wanted to surrender, but Col. Pleasants
ordered us to continue firing, which we did until the rebels threw down their
arms and came in in a body. We captured fully two hundred prisoners. They left
one colonel, three line officers and sventy-five men killed, and a large number
of wounded on the field.
"I claim that this was the regiment
of the enemy which Grant in his memoirs claims to have captured on the same day
that Hancock captured Johnson's divsion.
"Among the many killed in this
engagement, none was more deeply regretted thatn Lieut. Henry Jackson, of
From The Story of The
Forty-Eighth Joseph Gould.
For His New Country
Family members fighting in the Civil War was a common occurance and many
families suffered grief with the death of a loved one, this story taken from
the Miners Journal on November 26, 1864 describes a patriotic story of two
immigrant brothers from Scotland.
Death of a Soldier-A Remarkable Case-Two gallant young men, brothers,
named David Miller and John Miller, natives of Lanarkshire,
Scotland, landed in New York on the 6th of September last, and a few days thereafter
arrived in Pottsville.
They soon made up their minds to assist in suppressing this unholy Slaveholders
Rebellion against the best Government in the world. On the 12th of September,
they enlisted in the 48th Regt., P.V.V. left Pottsville
on the 14th, arriving before Petersburg
on the 20th of September. On the 20th of the same month David received a severe
gunshot wound in the right knee, was taken prisoner and sent to Richmond. On the 15th of
October he was paroled by the rebels and sent to the General U.S. Hospital at Annapolis, Md.,
where he died on the 6th of November. He requested that his remains be brought
for interment, and the funneral took place from the residence of a friend, Mr.
Hugh Allen, Market street,
this borough, on the 17th of November. He was buried in the PresbyterianCemetery,
and was 22 years of age.
John the brother of the deceased, is still with the Regiment, fighting
in defense of the liberties that he hopes in the future to enjoy peacefully.
His age is 26 years. All honor to these patriotic young Scotchmen.
Born Aug 29 1842
Enlisted March 23 in USMC
He was under Admiral Dupont, Dahlgren,
Farragut and Porter, and served with the South Atlantic Sqd. In all its
operations from the time he entered the service,including the naval investment
of Forts Wagner and Sumter, in CharlestonHarbor, serving at different times on
the vessels Wabash and Pawnee. In the siege if
Charleston he had charge of and command of a naval battery on Morris Island, In
the harbor, and after captiulation of Fort Sumter, when the services of the
Marines were no longer required on the south atlantic seaboard, the battlion of
marines under the command of col. Reynolds, to which Mr. Slater belonged was transferred
to the marine barracks at Washington, and there held in reserve for a
considerable time. In the meantime the Confederate cruiser Alabama
was committing depradations on the commerce of the United States, and the goverment
fitted out a detail of marines on the sister ships Kearsarge and Iroquois, to
follow and destroy the rebel cruiser. Mr. Slater being included in the
battalion on the later vessel. On that expedtion they sailed the south atlantic
without success, as the Kearsarge discovered the rebel ship in Cherboug harbor,
and challenging her sunk and destroyed her. Mr. Slater's vessel sailed to St. thomas, W.I. where it lay for several days for repair
and general overhauling and were the news of the destruction of the Alabama reached them. They
then sailed for Philadelphia were he was honorably discharged after over
three years of service.
SCHUYLKILL HAVEN BLUE
JACKET SEES ACTION.
In early May 1862 Gen. McClellan’s army
was advancing up the Peninsula in pursuit of a retreating Confederate General
Joseph E. Johnston, who was falling back toward Richmond. Thus leaving the Confederate port of Norfolk defenseless. The U.S. Navy was
ordered by the newly elected President Abraham Lincoln to bombard the
Confederate held Sewell”s Point opposite Fort Monroe on the Virginia Peninsula
in order to see if any rebel batteries were still occupied and also to draw out
the Confederate ironclad C.S.S. Virgina (Merrimac). On board one of the Federal
ships was a Schuylkill Haven man S. Stein Bassler, a Yeoman or clerk to the
Captain of the U.S. Frigate Susquehanna. The Susquehanna was built in 1850 and
displaced 3824 tons she was 257 ft long by 45 feet wide, and was driven by two
inclined direct drive sidewheels. She was armed with twelve 8 inch and six
32-pdrs. and had a crew of over 300 men. The ship had been on blockade duty in
the Charleston, South Carolina area before being assigned
north in April 1862. During the war Bassler wrote over 20 letters to the Miners
Journal, and two of these letters
concern this important engagement off Sewell’s Point.
Road, Va. May
Editors Miners Journal - We had a
glorious” days shooting” yesterday. The Susquehanna, San
Jacinto, Seminole, Naugetuck
and the Monitor bombarded Sewell’s Point. Agreeably to Flag Officer Goldsborough’s order we all got under
way about noon yesterday and steamed up off Sewell’s Point in fine style. Upon
arriving as close as possible to the rebel batteries on the point, which is
nearly opposite Fortress Monroe, we immediately opened fire upon them. The day
was a magnificent one - clear, pleasant and just breeze enough to raise the
smoke. The secession flag was plainly seen over the batteries on the Point. The
bombardment was kept up briskly on our part for several hours. The water
splashed, the sand flew about in torrents, and shells exploded with tremendous
reports in and around their batteries.
We knocked down their flag staff, which
was however, instantly replaced, dismounted some of their guns, scattered their
sand battery, and what other damage or loss of life the enemy sustained we
could of course not learn, as the sequel will show. The enemy did not appear to
be very earnest, or else our shells and the flying sand must have prevented
them from working their guns, as they fired only now and then, and most of
their shots were directed at the Susquehanna and the daring Monitor. One rebel
shell burst near the water close by our ship, and several whizzed over our
heads, causing us to repeat our Port Royal
politeness and courtesy to the enemy’s fire, vis, bowing and dodging. The
Monitor, which by the way, is the greatest, smallest, queerest “Institution”
ever got up, closely hugged the shore and sent her shot with unerring precision
at the enemy’s stronghold. She steamed
up alongside of us once during the action, when we all had a fine chance to see
her. The enemy, notwithstanding the galling fire on our part, and their
inability to work their guns, obstinately refused to haul down their colors. We
shelled them, without receiving any loss or damage from them, for about four
hours, when a dense black smoke across in their fortifications and near their
flag. Soon licking flames surrounded and rapidly spread, the smoke becoming yet
thicker and blacker. While this fire, caused by one of our shells, raged, we
still kept pouring in our shot and shell. Their flag still defiantly flew and
occasionally a shot came toward us. Some striking too short, others passing
over us. We could not understand this game, this desperate holding out on their
part. Soon however, we observed another column of smoke in the direction of Norfolk. Down the river,
like a furious, wounded wild beast, came the Merrimac. A shout of joy sprang up
at the hope of an engagement with that monster. Up the river a short way, near Newport News, we saw the remains of the Cumberland, the noble victim of the terrible
Merrimac, and yet we were glad to try our luck with her. A desultory fire upon
the Point was still kept up, more to hurry the Merrimac down than anything
else, while the Monitor , who I believe can whip her unaided, steamed up so as
to intercept her, should she really have the temerity to come down far enough.
“ But a change came over the spirit of our dreams” The Commodore ordered us all
by signal to cease firing and return to Hampton Roads.
There are three foreign nations
represented here in the roads; England
by her war vessel, Rinaldo, France by the Gasseudi, and Norway by her
corvette Nebion. These vessels lie close by the Susquehanna. During this week
the President of the United
States, and several members of his Cabinet
visited Fortress Monroe. Time passes away quickly here. We regularly get the
papers the day after they issued. The Baltimore
boats also bring us daily mail.
10, 1862 infantry was landed across Hamptons Roads and advanced to Norfolk, capturing the
town in the late afternoon. With Norfolk
in Federal hands Josiah Tattnall the Captain of the Merrimac was in a dilemma,
Sewell’s Point had been had been abandoned by the Confederate troops there and
now the Merrimac was in danger of falling into the hands of the Federal forces.
On May 11, and faced with this problem Tattnall steamed to Craney Island and
ran the Merrimac aground, being in to deep of water the crew had to use their
boats to get to shore. Setting fire to the ship, she burned for awhile and then
her magazine exploded with a tremendous roar. The Merrimac was no more. Bassler
was anchored in the Roads, (Hampton Roads) and witnessed this memorable event.
Virgina May 11, 1862.
other evening troops were conveyed across the Roads from Fortress Monroe, who
marched towards Norfolk.
Yesterday reinforcements were sent for and a number more immediately
dispatched. Last night we saw from our anchorage in the Roads several large
fires raging in the direction of Norfolk.
Those we have since discovered were the Navy Yard and other buildings here.
This morning about daybreak we heard a terrible explosion, and saw a tremendous
black column of smoke ascend in the direction of Craney Island, which we then conjectured and have since been told was
the blowing up of the Merimac.
sunrise this morning the Flag Officer signaled to a portion of the fleet in
Hampton Roads to get under way, and prepare for action. In obedience to another
signal our barge went to the Flag-ship and upon returning, the Captain
immediately gave the order to ship the cable, saying we were off for Norfolk. This you may
imagine produced a sensation on board. In a few moments the Monitor, Naugatuek,
(Stevens Battery.) Susquehanna - acting Flag Ship, San Jacinto, Seminole, Dacotah, Mount Vernon,
and one or two others, were under way and stood towards Elizabeth river. We all expected hard and
terrible work before we got to Norfolk.
Upon arriving at Sewell’s Point we found the glorious Stars and Stripes flying
over the battery we shelled the other day and which it appears had immediately
afterwards been abandoned by the enemy. Upon coming to the entrance into the Elizabeth river, we found
the Lightship sunk, and the channel otherwise obstructed. It took us over two
hours to pass the obstructions and discover the proper river channel again.
We cautiously felt our way along
suspicious of explosive obstructions until we came to Craney Island, where we
expected the first engagement, all hands were at their quarters ready for
action, waiting for any demonstrations from the enemy, who we supposed occupied
their fortifications on Craney Island and all along the river. The most intense
excitement prevailed as we passed CraneyIsland, upon which two
rebel flags floated, and on which they had erected a magnificent fortification.
A single human being was observed on the beach, and the rebels had apparently
fled. A boat was sent ashore and the island was found to have been evacuated.
The succession flags were hauled down and Union ones run up amidst the
heartiest, most tumultuous cheers from the ships. Now we came across what
we took to be the remains of the once
terrible Merrimac. We passed in our way up the river some six or eight
batteries, besides CraneyIsland, and that
protecting the city; all had been abandoned. Some of the occupants of the
country residences on the banks of the river, waved their handkerchiefs to us
as we passed by. Finally we arrived at Norfolk
where an immense crowd of citizens and our soldiers were gathered on the
wharves. As we came by the hospital, our band struck up “Hail Columbia,” which
the crowd ashore, especially our noble soldiers, vociferously cheered. Our crew
manned the rigging and returned their cheers with equal gusto. Then the band
played “Yankee Doddle,” which set the people in the most intense excitement,
cheering and shouting without ceasing. As we came further in, a magnificent new
flag flying at our peak, and a large concourse of citizens and soldiers on the
wharf, the band played in their finest style, “The Star Spangled Banner.” This
was responded to by intense cheering, and in return our crew again manned the
rigging and used their throats and lungs, not to say anything of arms and caps.
But then the grandest most soul stirring event then came. As we dropped anchor
the band played “Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot.” What must have been the
feelings of these deluded and humbugged people as they listened again to the
good old tunes, and saw again the good old flag, and the staunch old ships ? We
lie here now awaiting further orders. This was the grandest triumphal march I
ever heard of. It was one of McClellan’s sort of victories - a bloodless one. I
have given you a brief and hurried sketch of this glorious affair, and must now
close in order to be in time for any mail that may leave here. I hope you will
all get this in time for your next issue.
I shall write again
Respectfully yours, S.S.B.
Miners Journal, May 10, 1862 Warships and
Naval Battles Of The Civil War./ Tony Gibbons. Duel Between The First
Ironclads. William C. Davis.
Charge At Chancellorsville
The Eighth Pennsylvania Cavalry was raised
mainly in the Philadelphia area, although over
45 men served in the ranks from the Schuylkill
county area. During the Chancellorsville
campaign under General Hooker in early May of 1863 the Eighth played a pivotal
part in stopping General Stonewall Jackson's command. While riding down a very
narrow dirt road, the Eighth charged the on coming confederate troops thus
delaying their advance.
George W. Burton, from Schuylkill Haven, and a member of company K wrote
to the Miners Journal about their engagement at Chancellorsville.
the 8th Pa.
Editors Miners Journal: - I see
in your paper letters from a number of Pennsylvania Regiments but none from
ours. The 8th Pa.
Cavalry. As there are quite a number of the regiment from SchuylkillCounty.
I have no doubt it will be gratifying to their friends to know what they are
doing for their country. I will commence with the battle of Chancellorsville,
and if you think the incidents of sufficient interest to publish, they are at
On the morning of the 29th of April our regiment crossed the Rappahannock at Kelly's Ford to take the advance of the
5th Army Corps, which had already crossed, and started, for Ely's Ford on the
Rapidan with the intention of forming a junction with the 12th Corps. Which
would cross the Rapidan at Germania Ford at Chancellorsville.
Nothing of importance occurred on the march until we arrived at Richardville,
when the gallant Major Keenan took a battalion to Richard's Ford on the Rappahannock, and succeeded in surprising and capturing
the entire post, consisting of one Captain, two Lieutenants and 35 men. In the
meantime the rest of the regiment, under the command of Major Huey, proceeded
to Ely's Ford, where they found the enemy on the other side. They formed their
skirmishers on the hills above the ford and challenged us to come over. Captain
Goddard's squadron was ordered to deploy as skirmishers and cross. The moment
our men obtained a footing on the opposite shore the enemy took to their heels.
We pursued them about two miles, when we stopped for the night as it was then
almost dark. General Griffith’s Division of General Meade’s Corps (5th)
crossed immediately after us to hold the ford against any force the enemy might
bring down in the night. The men were wet to their waists in crossing the
river, but the fences being in good condition furnished an amble supply of fuel
with which to dry themselves. At day light next morning (30th) we
started again and soon came upon the enemy pickets, who opened fire upon us.
Our advanced guard with Capt. Arrowsmith and Lieutenant Carpenter at the head,
charged them capturing the entire party, consisting of three commissioned
officers and twenty seven privates. We then pushed on and soon found ourselves
in front of two brigades of infantry, who were drawn up in line of battle to
relieve us. After a sharp skirmish of about two hours they were driven from
position and fell back some two miles beyond Chancellorville . The position
they had just left was a line of earth works at the junction of the roads
leading from United States Ford on the Rappahannock and the road we were on. Our infantry moved
up and occupied Chancellorville, while we followed up the enemy’s rear. At a
point about two miles beyond Chancellorville we found the enemy in strong force
and strongly entrenched. After reconnoitering the position to our satisfaction
we fell back near Chancellorsville, leaving
pickets on the road. The enemy were busy all night. We could distinctly hear
them felling trees and moving artillery. About 8 o’clock the next morning, May
1st the enemy were discovered
approaching our lines in apparently strong force and soon our pickets,
consisting of Co’s K and H commanded by Captain Wickersham, were attacked by
the enemy’s skirmishers. We, however, held our ground against greatly superior
numbers until the balance of the regiment came to our support, and finally,
until General Sykes had sent out his skirmishers and formed them into line of
battle, when the fight became general, the artillery on both sides having
commenced their work of death. The enemy followed up their attack with vigor,
but were promptly met and driven back by our troops. The fighting continued all
day, ceasing when it became dark.
At an early hour the next morning the
fighting was renewed. At about three o’clock, p.m. it was supposed that the
enemy was in retreat and the 2nd Cavalry Brigade, consisting of the
6th N.Y., 8th Pa.
And the 17th pa. With a battery of horse artillery, were ordered to
pursue them. They had scarcely moved to the front, and were about to commence
the attack, when sharp firing was heard on our right flank and presently an
“Aid” came dashing up to General Sickles to say that General Howard’s line was
giving way, and he wanted a regiment of cavalry to support him. Our regiment
was ordered to report to him and immediately started to do so, when to our
surprise we found the ground on which we expected to find our troops occupied
by the rebels, who had driven General Howard’s Corps (11th) nearly a
mile and a half. Major Huey immediately ordered a charge, which was done in
good style by each battalion, the first lead by Major Keenan, the second by Capt.
Wickersham, and the third by Captain Wistar. It was a fearful moment. There was
a perfect shower of lead about our ears, while grape and canister were flying
all around us. We succeeded however in checking the enemy long enough to allow
our troops to form on new lines of battle, and get our artillery in position...
We lost three commissioned officers, the brave Major Keenan, Capt. Arrowsmith
and Capt. Haddock with some 30 men and 80 horses.
Major Keenan’s loss is severely felt, as
he was considered one of the most efficient cavalry officers in the service.
The fighting continued until past midnight and was again renewed early the next
morning. Shortly after it commenced word was received that Fitzhugh Lee, with a
force of cavalry and artillery was coming down on our rear from Warrenton. We
were ordered to ascertain if such was the case. The regiment moved across
United States Ford to HartwoodChurch, when it halted,
and a company (K) sent out to reconnaissance. Finding no signs of the enemy we
proceeded to bivouac for the night. The next morning we were ordered to Bank’s
Ford. Since the above we came to our present position. King Georges’s County,
where we are now doing picket duty.
Plenty of Rebs are to be seen on the
opposite side of the river. They are very quiet and sometimes very
communicative. We frequently ask them about Vicksburg,
and they in return as us about Chancellorsville.
BOYS AT VICKSBURG.
General Ulysses S. Grant endeavored to
take VicksburgMiss. numerous times, constantly resulting
in failure. The Vicksburg campaign was started
on the 16th Of October 1862, the day he became commander of the Department of
This campaign lasted until the 20th of December 1862 ending in failure.
In the spring of 1863 Grant would change
his strategy and attempt to take Vicksburg from
the west bank of the Mississippi
and attack the city from the south and east. The drive on Vicksburg
started on May 14th with the attack on Jackson, Mississippi cutting of Confederate General Joseph Johnson
from General John Pemberton and isolated Pemberton inside the heavily defended Vicksburg for the
remainder of the campaign. Under the
command of General Grant are Generals William Sherman, General John McClernand
and General James Mcpherson. On the 16th of May the battle of Champions Hill
was fought which became the most arduously fought battle of the Vicksburg campaign. The
Union casualties exceeded over 2800 and the Confederates lost over 3850 men. Grant's forces moved
closer to the fortifications outside of Vicksburg
and on the 19th of May made a grand
assault by Generals Sherman, McClernand and
McPherson. The outcome of this failed attack would cost the Union close to 1000 men. On the 20th Grant met with his
commanders and agreed the attack of the 19th failed because of the natural
strength of the position and the nature of the ground. They were limited to
attacking the most heavily defended points. They decided to attack again on the
morning of the 22nd, with Sherman
attacking on the right flank and McPherson in the center and McClernand on the
Fighting under the command of General
Sherman was his old regular army regiment the 13th U.S. Infantry. Among the
members of the 13th Regulars were 15 Schuylkill countians who were in all the
engagements of the Vicksburg
campaign. The 13th Regulars suffered
heavily on the engagement of the 19th and while trying to plant their colors on
the rebel works, they would lose three color bearers, and their colors would be
pierced by fifty-five balls. They would once again be engaged on the charge of
On the 21st of May, William R. Griffiths
wrote a letter to his parents in Jalappa, in the Borough of Pottsville from Vicksburg, Mississippi:
There is nothing here at present but
blood, blood; nothing but the continual
of cannons, musketry, gunboats, etc. We
on the 14th. We have been fighting
almost day and night. We are in
Jackson, and I hope and pray that Vicksburg
will be ours soon. We have whipped them
at every point, capturing thousands and
thousands of rebels, and have taken
their largest guns. You can think
we have fought, when they had for 15
around the city, breastworks after
and our brave boys have driven them
one mile of the city. Gen. Grant has
Our regiment is under our favorite,
He has done his duty. Day before
yesterday Sherman's army corps took Haines
Bluff of which you have read about,
prisoners; but hundreds of our brave
the dust. Dear Mother I have stood
lead before but it was nothing to this
We have traveled for the last two days
blood and mud and water up to our
we have won the laurels. We have driven
over twelve miles in seven days, which
been fortifying for the last two years.
Pemberton, their commanding General was
irons by his own men because he wanted
surrender the city three days ago. Gen.
Taylor old Zachariah
Taylor's son has command in his
place. Yesterday they sent to General
that they would surrender the city if
let them get all of their men out, but
not except it.
There are a great many of our brave
boys in my
regiment killed. Our flag floats on the
to the city, and before another sun
I hope will be ours. Our men are in
and put great confidence in Gen. Grant.
It is true
a great many of our brave boys are
killed, but not
near as many as the rebels.
The 13th U.S. Regulars, General William T.
Sherman's favorite regiment performed a military funeral for his son, Willie, who became sick and died from the
effects of typhoid fever on October 3rd 1863. General Sherman wrote a letter to
the commanding officer of the 13th battalion tellling him that
"Willie was, or thought he was a
in the Thirteenth. I have seen his
his heart beat, as he beheld the
under arms, and asked me if they were
General Sherman conveyed to the members of
the Thirteenth battalion that in years after if they:
"Call on me or mine, and mention
they were of the Thirteenth Regulars
Willie was a sergeant, they will have a
the affections of my family that will
it has; that we will share with them
blanket, our last crust!"
Miners Journal June 11,
"In this fight I was one of the color
Guard of the regiment. Comrade John Morrisey, of my company, came to me just
before our charge across the swamp and bade me good-bye. Inquiring why he did
so, he replied: I shall be killed today. I chided him, and tried to cheer him:
then suggested that he remain out of the fight, which we all felt to be at
hand. He indignantly refused, and said: "I have never shirked my duty, and
will not do it now. After I am dead, write to my sister, Mary, and tell her I
died facing the enemy." Just then the bugle sounded the advance. He ran to
his company, and immediately fell, shot through the forehead. After returning
to our postion, subsequent to the charge, we dug a hole with the bayonet;
wrapped him in his blanket and buried him. Then, upon a piece of cracker box,
we wrote, with a charred stick, his
name, company and regiment. While lying in the hospital at Chestnut Hill, Pa.
his sister, finding my name among the new arrivals, visted me, and I delivered
his dying message to her. She was poor servant girl in the city of Philadelphia, but I shall
never forget her distress."
Related by William J. Wells, of
From The story of the Forty
eighth Joseph Gould.
War In The West.
During the Civil War most of the fighting
was done in the east the western theatre, Tennessee,
Very little fighting was done west of the Mississippi
and hardly anything was ever reported about the fighting in Schuylkill
county. Major Edward Wynkoop and private William H.H. Werner were exceptions to
this rule. They both fought Indians, not rebels, in Colorado
during the war.
The following letter was written by a Pottsville boy, now a member of the 2d Regiment of
California Cavalry, and on duty in the northern part of the GoldenState,
to his relative in the borough of Pottsville.
My Dear father-Yours dated May 6th was
handed to me yesterday when I arrived in camp, having been out on a scouting
expedition for the past twelve days, scouting the mountains to the north and
west of this place, trying to catch "Jim," an old Indian chief, who
refuses to come in with his band. The other "Captains" or
"Chiefs" have all come in, and are all desirous for peace. They have
come to the conclusion that it won't pay to fight "white men" any
longer with starvation staring them in the face, and say that they "no
care to fight Mexicans (white men) more." They were in starving conditions
when they came in, but are getting fat on "Uncle Sam's " feed beef
and barley now. It is a caution to see them eat a whole beef, leaving nothing
but horns and bones, and even the bones they burn and suck as though they were
even unwilling to throw them away; as for the hide, they burn, roast and pound
until it becomes soft, and then it disappears also. It is laughable to go down
and witness the scene at the slaughter pen, for as quick as a bullock is driven
up the Indians flock over and watch every movement of the butcher. After the
beef is skinned the offal is thrown one side the Indians both old and young
make a rush for it and such scratching, cutting and slashing you never
witnessed. The boys stand back about that time, for it is dangerous to be near,
especially if a person has any regards for personal cleanliness. Yet strange to
say, with so many knives flying about, none of them are hurt. "Captain
Jim" said to the Indian runner who brought in the Indians, when peace was
proposed to him, "Mexicana much a lie, no come." Jim is much like
Jeff Davis, all he wants is to be let alone, so he says.
In our recent scout we started
from this place on the 6th inst. and on the 8th camped on Bishop"s creek,
(the home and camping ground of Jim's) 50 miles above this place, where we lay
several days, sending out Indian runners to tell Jim to come in, and every time
they would come back they would bring the above message from him. So one
evening orders were given to put up 6 days rations for a trip into the
mountains. Some of our under strappers made a mistake in giving out party or
detail from our company the order, and told us two instead of 6 days rations.
The other parties had received the order correctly, and went supplied, while
our party went hungry for two days after getting on the other side of the
Sierra Nevadas. We left Bishop's creek on the morning of the 12th, passing
through Round Valley, (one of the prettiest valleys this side of the mountains,
contains about 3000 acres of tillable land, well watered, with plenty of timber
within a few miles, almost round with high bluffs to the east and mountains on
the west, and would require but little fencing, and then it would be the best
farm I have met with in many a day, 12 miles from Bishop's Creek, and if the
mines turn out to be rich, I think it will be very valuable. I think if I were
free I would settle here for a few years until I found out whether the mines
were good for anything or not.) and then passed north, bearing a little west,
over a ridge, and around the base of a high spur of the Sierra Nevadas. The
land here is composed almost entirely of sand and rocks, with no vegetation. We
then struck the Indian trail, and traveled a little west of south up the south
fork of Owen's River, and camped on the side of the mountains, on one of the
heads of Owen's River, about 40 or 45 miles from Bishop's Creek. Via the way we
came, though the Indian guide told me we were
west of Bishop's Creek and I should suppose but 15 miles from there in a
direct line. I was detailed for guard this night, and was so tired I could hardly
walk, besides it was very cold, as we were in the regions of the snow, which
lay piled up in immense banks above and below, though around us was the only
green spot I could see. The scenery was magnificent. High mountains on three
sides, and the pass through to the north through which we came, and looking
down which we see in the smoky distance a small valley, while at our feet flows
the river, with here and there lakes and lakekets, while above, below and
around us the pine trees sigh and moan forever, while silvery streams come
trickling down the sides of the mountains, here forming falls, and there
running quietly and smoothly, as though nothing could disturb their silvery
beauty. The sun, shedding its last rays on the mountain tops, caused the snow
to sparkle like ten thousand diamonds. The scene was grand. My pen, my mind is
to weak to do justice to it; but after dark when our bonfires lit up the gloomy
darkness, it was wild. With our hundred Indians scattered around, adding still
a wilder expression to our surrounding objects, how can I describe the scene? I
was sick and tired. After I lay down I could not sleep for some time; my legs
ached so. Walking up and down the mountains during the day so as to save my
horse, pretty nearly used me up. Laying in camp and having little or no exercise,
and then rushing a man over these mountains is no fun, I assure you. Next
morning the bugle sounded early, and after breakfast we started up the side of
the mountain, traveling still south for 8 or 10 miles, when our course changed
to west and north, coming to the base of a high hill. The Indians told us the
top was the summit. We took a zig zag course up the side. On the top we found a
large bed of snow, which we crossed making the fifth that we crossed in the
course of five miles. We crossed over the top and began our decent to the head
waters of the San JoaquinRiver. The trail along
was steep and rocky, and a man would suppose that a horse can walk were a man
can. We got along first rate now, making good time, and traveling west.
We could see what we supposed to
be the San JoaquinValley in the distance.
Our grub began failing traveling had given the boys an appetite and they ate
more than if lying still. As for me I began looking around and found out that
we were to be gone more than two days. We traveled until about noon when our runners brought in news that fresh
signs of "Jim" were found a little ways ahead, and Capt. McLaughlin
ordered a halt until sundown, when we proceeded ten miles further, and camped
as I thought, for the night. I laid down and slept for about an hour and a
half, when I was awakened and told that we were to proceed on foot to the
Indian camp. We started and traveled as quietly as possible over a passable
trail until we came to a mountain torrent, the passage of which detained us for
an hour or more, for after finding a fallen tree we had to cross. The distance
was greater to the Indian camp than we supposed, and we did not get in sight of
the fires until the break of day, and then we were some distance off yet. When
we arrived within a mile of the fires a halt was ordered, and the Indians threw
off their clothing and started on the run for what we supposed to be the camp,
and we followed, but when we arrived there the bird had flown, and we had our
trouble for nothing, as the Indians must have left a day or two before with the
exception of a few who kept the fires lighted, and they must have seen us
before we got up to them. We had nothing to do now but turn back and go home.
We found by the time we got back that we had traveled the night before about 10
or twelve miles. I assure you I felt tired before I got back again, and hungry
besides, for I had nothing to eat since
4 O'clock the day before, and then my meal was composed of dry bread and wild
onions, and the onions made me more hunger. When we got to where we left our
horses some of the men in the other companies gave us some flour, which we
mixed with cold water and baked on the coals. Towards 2 o'clock we started for
Owen's Valley, 90 miles off, on tired horses and empty bellies. We camped at
the head of the canyon in which we were, so as to seal in the cool of the
morning. The scenery on this side equals, if not surpasses the scenery on the
Owen's Valley side of the slope of the Sierra Nevadas. I noticed several falls
where the water fell from 600 to 1000 feet as near as I could judge, though the
streams are not very large. One of the falls is a very large stream, but is not
very high. The snow in the mountains has not increased this year, as very
little fell. We have had an exceedingly mild winter and spring this year,
consequently our streams are not very large, as the snow supplies the springs
and our mountain streams. Next morning we started over the summit and arrived
at our old camping ground at 9 o'clock, where we found provisions which were
sent out from Bishop's Creek to meet us. From here we went home to CampIndependence
by easy marches. So ended this scout.
Brevet Lt. Col. William Thompson was born in Pottsville on May 22, 1834. Prior to the war,
Lt. Col. Thompson was engaged in the business of banking and was a repected
business man in the town of Pottsville.
At the out break of the Civil War
Governor Curtain authorized the raising of a company of cavalry from Schuylkill county, which would become company H, 17th
Penna. Cavalry and William was appointed
As a Captain, William commanded General George G. Meade's escourt. He
would later serve with General Phil Sheradin in all his cavalry battles. He
would be severly wounded in the shoulder in a charge during the battle of
Kearneystown, W. Va. He never lost time away
from his regiment other than when he was wounded.
After the war Lt. Col. Thompson went back to the business of Banking and
was actively engaged in GAR. He would design the monument of the 17th Pa. Cav.
Lt. Col. Thompson died on July 9, 1903 and is buried in Charles Baber Cemtery
In 1861 Colorado was instituted as a territory and
participated in the Civil War in the year 1862. The people had divided
loyalties, some for the Union and others for
the Confederacy. There were no battles fought in the territory but the state
supplied 3 cavalry regiments, 1 artillery battery and 2 infantry regiments for the Union cause.
Fighting with one of these cavalry regiments was Major Edward Wynkoop, of the
famous Wynkoop family. He was in command of the 1st Colorado Cavalry, and was
the post commander at FortLyon. In July of 1864
Wynkoop would be involved in one of the worst massacres of over 300 Cheyenne and Arapahoe Indians, at Sand Creek near FortLyon.
Major Wynkoop had set up a meeting between
The Governor of Colorado and the Indian Chiefs of the Cheyenne and Arapahoe tribes, These Indians
had been attacking white settlers for most of the winter months. On November
29, 1864 the Indians were encamped at Sand Creek waiting to meet with the
Governor and thinking that they were under the protection of the army.
Leading about 900 men from the 3rd Colorado Cavalry Col. John M.
Chivington attacked the camp from three different sides, Chief Black Kettle
raised the American flag over his camp as a sign of peace. Following the orders
of Chivington, the soldiers killed over 400 of the Indians.
COUNTYSOLDIERS WHO SERVED IN
A very fashionable uniform during the civil war was the zouave uniform
copied after the French soldiers who fought in the Crimea
in the 1850's. These soldiers were noted for their bravery and their colorful
uniforms. This uniform was copied from the Algerian tribesmen from Zouaoua. The
uniform consisted of
different colored baggy pants, a
short jacket, and a tasseled fez. Most American Zouave units designed their own
version of this uniform.
SchuylkillCounty had 50 men who
served in different Zouave regiments during the war. The most numerous served
in the 76th P.V.I. known as the Keystone Zouaves who fought at the famed battle
The 76th P.V.I. known as the Keystone Zouaves was formed in August 1861.
All of the companies came from different counties in the state. Company K in
which the Schuylkill boys served was from Schuylkill, Allegheny and BeaverCounties.
The regiment was assigned to General Wright at Hilton Head South Carolina. They
fought at the seige of FortPulaski, and were also
repulsed at the fight for Secessionville on June 16th 1862. At The Pocotaligo river on October 22, 1862 the regiment
was assigned to destroy the bridges that crossed the river thus severing the
communication line between Savanah and Charleston.
They lost 75 officers and men killed while driving the rebels back to their
works. 4 men from the area were killed in this fight. They were William Hurley
and Thomas Connel from CassTownship and George Haas
and Robert Davis from Minersville.
On July 11, 1863 the regiment was involved in the attack on Charleston. The men
charged FortWagner and were defeated suffering over
50% casualties. The men killed from this area
number three. They were Francis Doonen Co. I and Franklin Moser from BarryTownship.
Also Issaac Davis from Minersville. They
again tried to assault the fort on the 18th, and were again repulsed. After the
two unsuccessful assaults on FortWagner, the regiment was
sent back to Hilton Head and performed guard duty.