Saturday, May 31, 2008

Schuylkill County Ambulance Drivers World War 1

Ambulance Ford Model T

A remarkable number of well known authors were ambulance drivers during World War I. Among them were Ernest Hemingway, John Dos Passos, E.E. Cummings, and Somerset Maugham. Robert Service, the writer of Yukon poetry including The Shooting of Dan McGrew, and Charles Nordhoff, co-author of Mutiny On the Bounty, drove ambulances in the Great War.
At least 23 well known literary figures drove ambulances in the First World War.

Also here in Schuylkill County we had quite a few men who went off to war to be ambulance drivers and quite a few were awarded the famed FRENCH CROIX de GUERRE military award for bravery and heroism in action. In this blog article I tried to find most of the men who served as ambulance drivers and a list of those who earned the CDeG.
Included in the blog are a couple of stories about these men from my book “Pennsylvanian Voices of the Great War.” McFarland Press.

Model T
During World War I, the Allies used thousands of Model T cars and trucks because of their low cost and ease of repair. The ambulance version's light weight made it well-suited for use on the muddy and shell-torn roads in forward combat areas. If stuck in a hole, a group of soldiers could lift one without much difficulty. By Nov. 1, 1918, 4,362 Model T ambulances had been shipped overseas.

The light wooden body was mounted on a standard Model T auto chassis. The 4-cylinder engine produced about 20 hp. There was no self-starter; the engine had to be cranked by hand. This vehicle was equipped with an early form of automatic transmission and could carry three litters or four seated patients and two more could sit with the driver. Canvas "pockets" covered the litter handles that stuck out beyond the tailgate. Many American field service and Red Cross volunteer drivers, including writers Ernest Hemingway and Bret Harte and cartoonist Walt Disney drove Model T ambulances.

"Hunka Tin," a poem written as a parody on Rudyard Kipling's "Gunga Din," appeared in the American Field Service Bulletin and was used in Ford dealers' advertising throughout the United States. The final stanza read:

Yes, Tin, Tin, Tin.
You exasperating puzzle, Hunka Tin.
I've abused you and I've flayed you,
But by Henry Ford who made you,
You are better than a Packard, Hunka Tin.
Volunteer Ambulance Corps.
Schuylkill County.

May 28, 1917; 50 recruits were accepted for the local C.A. Snyder Ambulance Corps.

June 7, 1917.....3 units of ambulance corps were given a great send off by the people of Pottsville. They
for Allentown.

June 16, 1917.....New Philadelphia recruits under the title of Robert D. Heaton Unit ambulance corps was
Given great send off.

June 25, 1917.....A Tamaqua unit of the ambulance Corps left for Allentown.

June 26, 1917.....The Ambulance Corps at Allentown were uniformed this date.

June 30, 1917.....The Robert D. Heaton Unit Ambulance Corps sent more recruits to Allentown
encampment. It now numbers 73.

July 6, 1917.....The Bobby Jenkins Unit of Ambulance Corps members left for Allentown.

July 27, 1917.....The ambulance Corps at Allentown, of whom Schuylkill County has the honor
To be represented by her sons, discovered they had diphtheria in their camp, and
At once precautionary measures were taken to isolate the case.

August 17, 1917.. A letter from Joseph Shortall, of American Ambulance Corps in France, showed
his compatriots were in health and enjoying themselves in camp near Le Triport,

February 14, 1918. Charles Hulet, U.S.A. Ambulance Service is serving n France where he was sent
December 26.

February 15, 1918. Homer H. Riegel, of Ambulance unit 519, says that they arrived in France safely.

The Ambulance corps left in December.

From Schuylkill County

Adaskievicz, Enoch, Shenandoah: Pvt. 308th Ambul. Co. 302dn San.Tn.
Albert Robert H. Sch. Haven. Pvt. Co. A 2nd Amb. Train.
Allenbach, Augustus, Pottsville: Corp. Amb. Co. 20, 6 San. Tr.
Aulenbach August Alfred, Pottsville: Amp. Cps. Camp Greenleaf Ga.
Bartasavage, John . J, Mahanoy City: Pvt. Amb. Co. 21 Sn. Tr.
Bensinger, Guy A. Ashland; Pvt. 1 Cl. Ambulance Sevice, Wounded in Action. Fr.
Berry Ivan L. Snyders; Pvt. 1 Cl. Ambulance Co. 17 San. Tr.
Betz John M. Tremont; Sgt. M Trk Co., “C” 1 Ambulance Train.
Billig Frank A, Tamaqua; SSU 627, Con Autos Par BCM Paris Fr.
Bixler Harold M. St. Clair; Pvt, USA Ambulance Section 19. Fr.
Bluvas, Walter, Shenandoah; Pvt. 1 Cl. Co. “ E “ 103 Ambulance Train. Fr.
Bokumewicz, Adam, Shenandoah; Pvt. 1 Cl., Ambulance Co. 15 Sec. San Train. Fr.
Boroiski Joseph; Pvt. Co. E 117 Ambulance Train. Fr.
Boyer Gouverneur H. Pottsville; Major British Army, 1917; Transferred to American
Medical Staff; 13d Field Ambulance With British and 308th eng.
With U.S. Made Captain.
Brennan Harold A, Minersville: Corp. Amb. Co. 5 AEF. Fr.
Brennan Myles L. Mahanoy Plain; Pvt. Co “F “ 103rd Amb. Train Fr.
Brobst Clarance S, Auburn; S.S. 544, U.S. Ambulance Service. Fr.
Brobst George E, Shenandoah; Pvt. Sec. 506 USA Ambulance Service. Fr.
Brosius William G. Shenandoah, 2nd Sanitary Sq. France.
Buchanon John C. Minersville; Corp. Med. Det. Ambulance Co. No. 5 France.
Bugness William, Shenahdoah; Pvt. Co. “ G “ 103rd Ambulance Train Fr.
Campbell Walter G. Tower City; Pvt. 1 Cl. U.S. Ambulance Corps, Sec. 506 Fr.
Cauley Martin Delano, Sgt. MD. 311 Ambulance Co. 303 San. Train. Fr.
Cavanaugh Daniel: Lost Creek; Pvt. 1Cl. Med. Ambulance Co. 338 Fr.
Clock Adolph; Shenahdoah, Pvt. 1 Cl. U.S. Ambulance Corp. Fr.
Collins Silas; St. Clair; Wagoner, Med. Det. Ambulance Co. 10 Fr.
Comerford James F; Mahanoy City; Sgt. Ambulance Co. 393, Fr.
Compitus, Walter Minersville; Pvt. MD. Ambulance Co. 338 Fr.
Copley Charles F, Mahanoy Cvity; Pvt 1 cl. Army Ambulance Ser., 30 MED. Dep. Wounded in Action.
Crane John White, Pottsville; SSU No. 506 Fr. Killed In Action.
Curran Jerimiah Pottsville; Pvt. 1 Cl. Med. Det. Mot. Ambulance Corps, 29 San,. Tr 5 Fr.
Curtin Charles, Shenandoah; Pvt. 1 Cl. Sec. 552 USA Ambulance Ser. Fr.
Davenport, B.G., Raven Run; Pvt. Ambulance Co. 241, 11 San. Tr. Fr.
Davis Herbert W., St. Clair; Co. “ A “ 127 Ambulance Co. Evac. Ambulance Fr.
Davis Harry, Duncott: Pvt. 1Cl. Ambulance Co. 315, 304 San. Trn. Fr.
Davis Thomas J. Tamaqua; GGV 640 Ambulance Fr. Wounded in Action.
Davis Thomas V. St. Clair; Pvt. Mtr. Ambulance Co. 29.
Davis Uriah, Gilberton; 20th Ambulance Corps. Fr.
Dean Thomas J. Ashland; Pvt. 344 Ambulance Co. 311 San. Train. Fr.
Denchy Anthony, Shenandoah; Wagoneer Co. “ G “ 103rd Ambulance Train. Fr.
Diehl George G. Minersville; Pvt. 1 Cl. Co. 5 ambulance 3 San. Train. Fr.
Dolan Bernard J, Big Mine Run, Ashland; Corp 2, 1 Div. Ambulance Co. Fr. Killed In Action..
Dormer Francis William, St. Clair; Sgt. Ambulance Service France and Italy.
Dorst Charles, Minersville; Ambulance Corps, Camp Merritt N.J.
Dorst Edwin C. Minersville; Ambulance unit 5 France Killed In Action..
Dougherty Charles E. Pottsville; Sgt. 1 cl. Ambulance Co. 637 Serv. Unit Fr. Wounded in Action.
Dumkus Joseph, Mahanoy City; Pvt. Hg. Gd. Co. 117 Ambulance Serv. Fr.
Ernst George Henry, Gordon; Pvt. Co. “ F “ 305 Ambulance train.
Evans George M. Minersville; Pvt. Ambulance Co. 5 Fr.
Faust James F. Auburn, Mechanic, U.S. Ambulance Service Sec. 650 Fr.
Feger Harry R. Sch. Haven; Sgt. 1 cl. A.Ambulance Sr. Sec. Unit 637 Fr.
Fegley Harry George, Orwigsburg; Mechanic Sec. 647 USA Ambulance Service Fr.
Fisher Howard V. Tamaqua; Pvt. 1cl. Ambulance Sec. 535 U.S. Ambulance Service Fr.
Fligge Fred. B. Hecla; Ck., Co. “ C “ 2nd Ambulance Train France.`
Foster, Ernest L, Pottsville; Snyder Ambulance unit, Allentown Pa.
Freiler Francis J, Minersville: Pvt, Ambulance Co. 5 San tr. 3rd Division. Fr.
Freiler Louis J., Ashland; Co. 5 Ambulance Company, Fort Clark Tex.
Fuller, James F. Hillside; Pvt. Motor Ambulance Co. 29-5 San. TR. Med Det. FR.
Gabralovich, Jacob, Pottsville; Corp. Med Det Cas. Co., Ambulance Fr.
Gaudino Joseph, Girardville; Wagoneer 322 Ambualnce Co. 30r San. TR. FR.
Gillespie Michael P. Girardville; Pvt. Ambulance co. 319 San. Tr. 305, Fr.
Gittleman Abraham, Pottsville; Ck Ambulance co. 519. Fr.
Goldworthy William M. Gilberton; Pvt. Co. “ G “ 103 Ambulance train. FR.
Green Anthony W. Gilberton; 25 Ambulance Corps, Fr.
Greenwald Howard K, Orwigsburg; Pvt. Ambulance Corps. Fr.
Greenan Anthony W. Gilberton; Pvt. 1cl. Ambulance Co. 25, 5 San Tr. Fr. Wounded in Action.
Grigonice Alex, Shenandoah; Pvt. Ambulance Co. 18.
Gulick Andrew, Mahanoy City; Pvt. 1cl. 2 Ambulance Co. 1 Sdn. Tr. Fr. Wounded in Action.
Haas Earl O, Port Carbon; Pvt. 1 cl. San Service, 637 USA ambulance Serv. Fr. Cited Fr. C. De G.
Harvey Paul F. Pottsville Sgt. 1167 Cas. Co. Ambulance unit 631, Fr.
Hilbert John D, Pottsville Ambulance Corps Washington.
Hoban John R. Mahanoy City; Sgt. Ambulance Co. 7 Sn. 3 Div. Fr. Wounded in Action.
Hoffman Jerome Shenandoah;Wagoneer Evac. Ambulance co. 1 Fr.
Holahan, Michael, Pottsville, Ck Sec. 629 U.S. Ambulance service, Fr. Cited.
Hulet Charles, St. Clair 1cl Clk., Unit 519 Ambulance service French Army Fr. Awarded C. De.G.
Jankowski Joseph, Shenandoah; Pvt. 1cl. Ambulance Co. 29 San. Tr. Fr., Wounded in Action.
Kaster Stephen, Minersville; Pvt. Sec 624 USA ambulance service. French Army.
Kardasemire John R. Auburn; Pvt. Sec 1 ASMS, Kelly Field Texas.
Kear H.W. Minersville; Corp USA 627 Ambulance Serv. Fr.
Kear Richard Minewrsville; Sgt. US Ambulance Serv.
Kelly Cyril, Minersville; Pvt. 5 Ambulance Co. Fr.
Lecher Walter J. Pottsville; Pvt. S.S.U. 506 Ambulance Corps Fr. Wounded.
Leidich Ray D. Tremont; Corp. 16th Ambulance Corps. Fr.
Leonard John A. Palo Alto; 2d Med Det. Co. U.S. Ambulance Service Fr.
Lewis Albert R, Pottsville Pvt. 1cl. S.G.U. 604 Ambulance Corps Fr. Awarded G.
Loeser David H. Minersville; Pvt. Sec. 630 U.S. Ambulance Corps. Fr.
Loew Harold R Tamaqua; Pvt. 1 cl. Sec. 624 Army ambulance Service. Fr.
Lord Leon, Pottsville; Sec. 638 Ambulance Corps Ck. Mo. Awarded C. De. G. Fr.
Lundy Francis, Pottsville Mec. Sec. 640 Ambulance Service Fr. Awarded C.De G.
Lupia Vincent Mahanoy City Med. Det. Ambualnce Hospital Camp Stuart.
Lutz Frank Tam,aqua; Mech Sec 574 U.S. Ambulance Service Fr.
Lynch Joseph Francis, Pottsville; Pvt. U.S. Ambulance Service Sec. 339 Fr.
Lyons Joseph A. Jolliet Mec. S.S.A. 646 U, S, Ambulance Corps. Fr.
Makonis, Peter J. Shenandoah Pvt. Ambulance Co. 7 Med Det. Fr.
McCarthy James J. Shenandoah; Corp. Med Det. Am. Co. 7, 3 Sn. Tn. Fr.
McDonald James Pottsville; Ambulance Unit Fr.
McDonald John P. Minersville, Mech. Army Ambulance Corps, Fr.
McDonald Lawerence J. Pottsville, Ck. Sec. 634 U.S.S. Fr. French Army.
McDonald Vincent, Minersville, USA Ambulance Service Fr.
McFadden Francis A. Port Carbon Pvt. 1 cl. Ambulance Co. 350, 313 San Tr. Fr.
McLaughlin Patrick, Maizeville; Wagoneer 16th Ambulance corps Med Det. Fr.
Mettam John E. St. Clair; Pvt. 1 cl. Army Ambulance Service, Sec. 617.
Millar Hugh S. Tamaqua; Corp. Sec. 645, Army Ambulance Service French army.
Miller Charles S. Donaldson Pvt. 1 cl. 243 Ambulance co. 11 Sn. Tr.

Miller Edward T. Pottsville; Pvt. Ambul;ance Sec. 506 Fr.

Miller Edward J. Pottsville; Ambulance 510 Section, Fr.

Miller Hugh Stewart, Tamaqua USA A.S.U Ambulance 645 Regt. Fr.

Minnich Henry I. Branchdale; Ambulance Corps 509 Rgt. Sec. 563 Fr. Cited.

Minnig Henry L. Branchdale Pvt. 1 Cl. Med Dept. USA Ambulance, French Army. Fr

Mitchel Benjamin, Coaldale, Bgir, Mot. Ambulance Co. 58.

Mizzer August J. Minersville; Pvt. Ambulance Co. 5 San. Tr. Fr.

Morgan Howard O. Frackville; Sgt. Ambulance Co. 318, 305 San . Tr. Fr.

Morrison John W. Auburn; Pvt. 1 cl. US Ambulance Corps, Sec. 529 Fr.

Morrison Joseph, Auburn; Ambulance Corps Fr. Died of Wounds.

O’Connor James H. Mahanoy city Pvt. 1cl. 532 Ambulance Serv. With the Italian Army.

O’Neil John J. Ashland; Pvt. 244 Ambulance co. 11 San. Tr.

Otto theodore, Hegins, Band Att. To Ambulance Unit, Camp Craine Alllentown.

Oxenford Conrad F. Pottsville; Sgt. USA Ambulance Corps Fr.

Palapas, Joseph Gilberton; Pvt. 362 Ambulance Company 316 San Tr. Fr.

Petiskey William T. Shenandoah; Ambulance Corps Harrisburg, PA.

Pfeiffer Charles Tower City, Pvt. USA Ambulance Corps, Allentown.

Phillips Frank Shenandoah; Pvt. 1cl. 15 thAmbulance Corps 2n San. Tr. Fr.

Plunkett Aloysius, Minersville: Mech. Ambualnce Corps. Med Det. Fr.

Pritchard Harrison P. Minersville; Pvt. Med. Det. 3 San.Tr. Ambulance Co. 5 Fr.

Reed Clyde I. Mahanoy city; Corp. Mot. Ambulance Co. 332. Fr.

Reifsnyder James W. Pottsville: Mch. USA Ambulance Service Sec 532 Italy, Decorated Itl. Cross FR.

Reigle Homer H. Pottsville Sgt; U.S. Army Ambulance Service, with French Army. Fr.

Rice Edward New Philadelphia; Pvt. Ambulance Co. 29 % san Tr. Fr.

Riley John D. Jr. Mahanoy city, Pvt. USA Ambulance Service Sec. 607 FR.

Rinkenberg Daniel O, Tamaqua; Sgt. 334 Ambulance Co. San Tr. 84 Division Fr.

Roeder William J. Tamaqua; Pvt. 1cl. USA Ambulance Service Sec. 645 FR.

Rumble Charles R. Orwigsburg; Pvt. USA Ambulance Service, Allentown.

Sanzick Albert, St. Clair; Pvt. Army Ambulance service Allentown, Pa.

Saylor Ralph H. Tamaqua; Wagoner Evac. Ambulance Co. No. 11, FR.

Seebach Julius Mahanoy city; Ambulance corps Fr,

Seltzer Stewart, Pottsville Ambulance Corps Allentown, Pa.

Senhauser William A. New Philadelphia; Sgt. Ambulance co. 145, 112th San. TR. Fr.

Shortall joseph P. Pottsville; USA Gen. Hospital 16 Phila. Med Corps Fr.

Shuman Daniel O, Pottsville Pvt. 1 cl. Sec 609 ambulance Corps Fr.

Smith John W. St. Clair; Sgt. 13 Ambulance Co. 1 San. Tr. Fr. Wounded in Action.

Snedden Wallace A, Seek Pvt. Mot. Ambulance Co. 58.

Soukalites Charles Glberton; Saddler 18 San Tr. Ambulance Co. 269. Inf.

Stanakis Frank Minersville; Sgt. Med. Det. Ambulance Co. 5 Logan Tex.

Truskey Jos. Tamaqua, Pvt. Sec. 609 Ambulance Serv. Fr.

Ulmer Joseph Pottsville Pvt. Sec 20 Ambulance Fr. Cited G.

Umbenhauer Ernest J. Port Carbon Pvt. 142 Ambulance Co. 36 Div. Fr.

Vernolis Peter Shenandoah; Pvt. Ambulance Co. 26 Med Dept Fr.

Wachter John A. Pottsville Ck. Army Ambulance Service French Army. Fr.

Wanamaker Bernhard Mechanicsville, Pvt. Ambulance Co.
Whitmyer George L. Pottsville Sec 502 Amb. Corps Fr. Co. C 164 inf Stayed In N.Dakota Williams John
P. Shenandoah Pvt. SSU 525 Fr. Convois Autos Pa. BCM with Fr, Army Awarded C de G. Woselis Enick
W. Shenandoah Pvt. 307 Ambualnce Co. 302 San tr. Fr.
Zeigler Sylvester D. Tamaqua Mech. SSU 622 USA Ambulance service. Fr.


Boyer Gouvenour Henry,
1st Lieut, Medical Corps United States Army.
Attached to 133d Field Ambulance.
British Expeditionary Forces.

September 3, 1918, British War Office.
“For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. On the night of 28th April during an enemy attack and while they were rapidly advancing he collected and organized a party of bearers and under the heaviest shell and machine gun fire led them up to the outpost line and cleared 9 wounded men. As this post immediately afterwards fell into the hands of the enemy he undoubtedly by his prompt and gallant action saved these men from capture. For 5 days during the fighting at Voormezeele he was bearer officer and showed great bravery and endurance. It was due to his reconnaissance’s which were constantly made irrespective of shelling that constant touch was kept with the changing line and evacuations maintained.”
Residence: 219 Mahantonga St. Pottsville.

Copley Charles F. 639885.
Private first class
Section No. 601 Ambulance Service.

Italian War Service Ribbon
Residence: 402 W. Spruce St. Mahanoy City, Pa.

Crane John W. 7761
Section No. 506, Ambulance Service.
( Posthumous award )

March 5, 1919
General Headquarters French Armies of the East.
“ After having displayed an example of the greatest bravery during 5 weeks of battle, he died for France on July 16th 1918.
Residence: Pottsville. Pa.

Davies Tom J. 10156.
Private first class.
Section No. 640 Ambulance Service.

with gilt star.
March 14, 1919.
General Headquarters French Armies of the East. “ An American driver who always performed his duty with the greatest spirit under the most difficult circumstances which his section experienced. He displayed the highest sense of duty and contempt for danger on October 3, 1918, at the attack of Montfaucon in volunteering with a litter to remove the wounded from the field of battle under a most violent bombardment, thus assuring their prompt evacuation.”
Residence: 434 East Broad St. Tamaqua, PA.

Dougherty Charles E. 10050
Section No. 637 Ambulance Service.

with bronze star.
December 20th, 1918.
General Headquarters French Armies of the East. “ A very zealous and devoted non-commissioned officer. He gave the measure of his valor and displayed courage and coolness on August 30th, 1918, in going out to pick up the wounded at an advanced regimental first aid station over a route in view of the enemy and notwithstanding a violent bombardment.”
Residence: 142 W. Railroad St. Pottsville, PA.

Fisher Howard V. 8204
Section No. 525 Ambulance Service.

with bronze star.
March 3, 1919.
General Headquarters French Armies of the East. “ During the evacuation service, he displayed remarkable courage. On October 1, 1918 directed to go the assistance of the wounded in an advanced first aid station, and over violently bombarded routes, he carried out his task with absolute contempt for danger.”
Residence: 224 Pine Street Tamaqua, PA.

Golden Harry L. 7802
Private, first class.
Section No. 637 Ambulance Service.

with bronze star.
General Headquarters French Armies of the East: “ A very courageous he displayed the greatest qualities of endurance and spirit during the entire very severe period from October 20th to November 10th 1918, He had been wounded by shell fragments previously in the attacks in the month of August at Ecouvillon. “
Residence: 315 North Center St. Pottsville, PA.

Haas Earl O. 10055.
Section No. 637 Ambulance Service.

with bronze star.
General Headquarters French Armies of the East: “ A courageous driver of remarkable spirit. He displayed these qualities in effecting the evacuations of the wounded which were rendered very difficult by the bombardments of the enemy. Although gassed, he never the less continued to keep up his services to the end.
Residence: Rose Street, Port Carbon, PA.

Holahan Michael, 642609
Section No. 629, Ambulance Service.

with silver star.
General Headquarters French Armies of the East: “ A very devoted and self sacrificing driver. At Westrosebeke, Belgium, he remained at his post with the utmost contempt for danger under violent bombardment, thus facilitating the supply of the entire section.”
Residence: 114 North Center St. Pottsville, PA.

Hulet Charles 10084.
Section No. 638 Ambulance Service.

with bronze star.
General Headquarters French Armies of the East: “ A driver of energy and great coolness who has always demonstrated his devotion to duty in going to pick up the wounded in the violently shelled dressing stations, at Mont. Kemmel in May, on the Marne in July, and during the last offensive operations of October on the Rne and Aisne.”
Residence: 339 South Nicholas St. St. Clair, PA.

Lecher Walter J. 7787
Section No. 506 Ambulance Service.

with silver star.
March 3 1919.
General Headquarters French Armies of the East: “ Always displaying a true soldierly disregard for danger, he was severely wounded on July 16, 1918. At Hautvillers.”
Residence: Pottsville, Pa.

Lewis Albert R. 10159.
Private first class.
Section No. 640 Ambulance Service.

with silver star.
March 10th 1919.
General Headquarters French Armies of the East: “ An American driver a model of zeal and abnegation who always exerted himself to the utmost and was a constant example for his comrades. During the Reims counter offensive of July 18th, 1918, he went out on several occasions into a violently bombarded area to search for the wounded of different units attached to the division.”
Residence: 354 South Center St. Pottsville, PA.

Lord Leon R. 10091.
Section No. 638 Ambulance Service

with bronze star.
March 19th 1919.
General Headquarters French Armies of the East: “ A driver of energy and great coolness who always demonstrated his devotion to duty in going to pick up the wounded in the violently shelled dressing stations, at Mount Kemmel in May, on the Marne in July, and during the last offensive operations of October on the Arne and Aisne.”
Residence: 717 West Race Street, Pottsville. Pa.

Lundy Francis, 10160.
Private first class.
Section No. 640 Ambulance Service.

with silver star.
March 10, 1919
General Headquarters French Armies of the East: “ An American driver a model of zeal and abnegation who always exerted himself to the utmost and was a constant example for his comrades. During the Reims counter offensive of July 18th, 1918, he went out on several occasions into a violently bombarded area to search for the wounded of different units not attached to the division. “
Residence 527 Harrison St. Pottsville, Pa.

Morrison Joseph W. 8586.
Private first class.
Section No. 554 Ambulance Service.

with palm.
November 19,1918.
General Headquarters French Armies of the North and Northeast: “ During the attack to the north of Somme-Py from October 2-9, he drove his ambulance night and day and always was the first to go out to evacuate the wounded. He never sought protection when the roads over which he was driving were being bombarded and was often exposed to the fire of machine guns. He distinguished himself in immediately evacuating the wounded regardless of the danger.”
Residence: Auburn, Pa.

Nolan Raymond M, 642679.
Private first class.
Section No. 604 Ambulance Service.

Residence: St. Clair, Pa.

Phillips Frank J. 5627
Private first class.
15th Ambulance company 2d Division.

With silver star.
February 9, 1919.
General Headquarters French Armies of the East: “ During the period from October 4-9, 1918, at St. Etienne-a-Arnes, he displayed exceptional courage and great zeal in transporting the wounded from the front lines under a violent fire of machine guns. On several occasions he volunteered to go out under a violent bombardment to render first aid to he wounded and to effect their removal to the rear.”
1136 East Center St. Mahanoy city.

Roeder William J. 10334
Section No. 645, Ambulance Service.

with silver star.
March 24, 1919.
General Headquarters French Armies of the East: “ A volunteer in the ambulance service. On September 21, 1918, he unhesitatingly stopped his ambulance which was being shot at by the enemy in order to give assistance to the wounded man whom he brought in to the nearest first aid station.”
Residence: 325 Arlington St., Tamaqua. Pa.

Ulmer Joseph J. 9652
Section 625, Ambulance Service.

With bronze star.
May 2d ,1918.
162 Regiment French Infantry: “ On April 17, 1918, as driver of an auto mobile ambulance and in charge of the evacuation of the wounded, he displayed much coolness and devotion to in unhesitatingly crossing zones violently beaten by enemy artillery.”
Residence Pottsville. Pa.

Warner Paul L. 10068
Section No. 638 Ambulance Service.

With silver star.
January 25, 1919.
General Headquarters French Armies of the East: “ He was always performed his duties with the most complete devotion. On several occasions during the attacks of Kemmel in May and June, 1918, at the Marne, in July and in the last offensive in Champagne, he went to the most advanced first aid stations and with the coolness and great contempt for danger brought back an ambulance that had been damaged by the bombardment.”
Residence: 100 Hunter Street, Tamaqua, Pa.

Williams John P. 8222.
Section No. 525, Ambulance Service.

with bronze star.
March 3, 1919.
General Headquarters French Armies of the East: “ An intrepid and courageous driver. He displayed great zeal in his evacuation service particularly during the operations from August 1-6 and October 1-10, 1918, keeping up the evacuation of numerous wounded with t he greatest coolness over violently bombarded routes.”
Residence: 110 South Jardin St. Shenandoah, Pa.

Model t Ambulance
We had to stay low from flying stray bullets.

June 12, 1918
George L. Whitmeyer
Sec. 502 Ambulance Corps
Somewhere in France.

Yes go on, I know what you are about to say. I’m pretty long between letters, but then that cannot be helped even now I’m writing this, not knowing whether or not I can get it off, for we are not allowed to write letters send them front to front, too many spies around. However, we do send little cards saying I am well, some of which I already sent you, and guess you understood why I delayed my letters. If possible, I’ll get this censored and carry it in my pocket until I can have it sent to the rear and mailed.
To begin with, we have been on the go continuously for three solid weeks, hardly any sleep and very much driving. At the start we were all kept busy during the big drive the Marines made, then after 72 hours some of us got some sleep, but only six hours a day. This kept up for a few days, and things began to go a little better and one of our men even went across the Fritz lines and with a load of wounded. He was lost and just turned into the wrong road. Our outposts saw him but could not run out and stop him without letting Fritz know their location.
We have many machines blown up while going after wounded through these shelled towns and woods, but none killed, only a few wounded. Then the last day Dr. Boone, of St. Clair, was here at the dressing station, where he had been stationed for a few weeks, and which was always under shell fire, the place was hit and four of our ambulance men had to be dug out from under the debris, not badly hurt, but giving us less ambulance drivers, and more duty for those able to work. I lost one machine there, mashed by a big shell, another went up in flames being hit by shrapnel, one half mile to the rear, and Sunday, June 23rd , I went into a town the Hun had just been driven from and had to wait for patients. I camouflaged the Ford under the branches of a tree, crawled to a dugout and from there it was not more than 100-150 yards to the front lines. The Fritz were about 300 to 400 yards further on, and snipers were firing at every moving object., which you know can be seen pretty plainly from a tree 500 yards away unless one gets down and crawls. About dusk the Marines made an attack and we could stick our heads out see them make a run toward the Hun, and such a racket by small arms. Fourth of July was nothing like it. They gained another strip of woods, and we had to keep low from flying stray bullets. Did not hear much then until midnight when somebody from Berlin sent Fritz another basket of shells and they immediately got ready to use them. They fired about five hundred shells into this little town and literally tore what remained to pieces. Our dugout was not hit, although shrapnel flew all over the top and only a direct hit could have hurt us, but my goodness, gas was thick as smoke and there we were pinned in that hole for two hours with gas masks on. One minute we’d be praying and the next cussing the Boche. Another crowd of men who had been to the rear for food were caught and got to another dugout ( namely French wine cellars ) and it was hit, wounding five, one dying a few minutes after being given aid. I then sneaked, mostly crawled, like a snake, to my car, and poor Henry was no more. The body that remained was like a sieve, and the wheel and engine were all on the ground. Old Fritz had made a direct hit. So they sent for more cars and a truck for the remains of Henry Ford’s little wonder, but by then it was day light and the firing was too heavy to get near the place. So they had to stay there with us, without food or water during the firing, and when it became dusk the ambulance and truck came out taking the men and part of the Ford to the rear. I then slept the rest of the night and am now waiting for a call to go out to some post in another Ford.
Oh ! this is a great life. We live on a few hours sleep, lots of poor coffee, canned meat and hard tack, but, our section will soon be all used up and will have to be relieved till we strengthen up. We hope to be relieved soon and if practicable, get to Paris for the Fourth of July.
Now if you receive this little epistle you can consider yourself lucky, for until we leave this fighting zone no kind of mail is supposed to leave here, but when we get relieved for a rest I will send more news.
Good luck to all.

George Whitmeyer

I thought a shell had come through the back window of the car.

August 4, 1918
George L. Whitmeyer
Sec. 502 Ambualnce Corps.
Somewhere in France.

The talk is all over this country at this time is peace. Everybody is wondering if it won’t soon come, and looking forward for this coming fall to end the Worlds greatest war. Yes we boys over here look for an end to come soon but even though we want the time to hasten when all wars shall cease and can hardly wait for that glad day to come, yet through it all, do we want peace? When the war is over and the boys are once more backs in the U.S.A., will we be satisfied if the war ends this fall or coming spring. No not the boys who have sacrificed everything to come across, and have seen the ghastly work of the Hun. Nor will the parents, wives and sweethearts of the boys who have fallen on the field of battle be satisfied.
Can the sinking of the Lusitania, the blowing up of ships and factories, the sinking of the Tuscania, the hospital ships, the bombing of the Red Cross buildings where many of the wounded were being treated. The ravages of the Huns on the Belgian people, cutting off the breast of women, the arms of small children and the old and infirm who were unable to get away from their home to be left starving, the ruination of the French villages, the terrible things like the shelling of the church on Good Friday, during the three hours between 2 and 3,000 people were kneeling and saying “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” Can a thing like that be over looked?
We have them on the run now and will keep them going. Every day all along the front the boys go “over the top” ad make great progress, so much so that they keep the Ambulance companies busy. Changing quarters, It’s always move forward the boys have advanced.
Our Aviators are on the job and keep the Boche from making any headway in their observation and bombing planes. Are airplanes are getting through to Germany and doing excellent work and now the German people yell, “Why do they do such things to ruin our villages? “ Yes why do we. Well because we are playing there own game, soon we will have them way back and out will come a peace proposal and we will give them peace? Yes perhaps we will for we are fighting for civilization, not for gain. But-put yourself in our places, we leave fond parents, wives, sweethearts and friends, drill hard, work day and night, sleep in the open with clothes on, yes gas masks at the ready and gun for a bedfellow, move forward faster than supplies can be brought up and thereby get poor food, always on duty, in foreign country and must go through more hardships than people at home can ever imagine. See men fall at our sides, brought in moaning and asking for mother. Do we want peace-again I say no-Not one boy over here wants peace till we get the Hun back on their ground. Ruin their cities and have them starving and homeless, begging for mercy. Then and only then do we want peace.
Of course Germany has lost many men, but they are taught militarism from birth and have been practicing it for years. Man power is nothing to them, and if we have peace now, Germany will not be whipped, but will be getting extra breath, only to go on preparing for another war, a war on the east, they must be put down now sot that ten years from now we won’t have to take up arms again in the far east.
Every day we learn to hate more and more, but until yesterday August 3rd I always pitied the German wounded. and gave them water and food always drove slowly so no jarring would hurt them, but hereafter I will hardly be blamed if I went over the largest bounces and tried to end them before they reach the hospitals. Every wounded German is brought in properly treated and evacuated to the hospital, there given food and attention till well and placed in a prison camp, given food, clothing and a little work and plenty of recreation while our boys are sent to hospitals then back to the fight.
Well about 4:30 p.m. Saturday August 3, I made a trip to the lines and got two Americans and one Hun, the Americans I put on the bottom racks and the Hun on the top away from the boys. That Hun had a rifle bullet through his thigh and was unable to sit up, although not badly hurt I started out and while driving along the road I heard a crash of broken glass behind me and I thought a shell come through the rear of the car so I ducked and thanks to my steel helmet I got a smack on the top and when I turned the Hun had a big trench knife in his hand but had missed me when I ducked, my machine swerved into the land along the side of the woods and stopped so I quick got off the seat and looked at the Boche and the way he had broken the little window in the front of the car to get me, then at the hat which had a nice shinny streak on the top where the knife skidded. Now the ambulance drivers are part of the Red Cross organization and are not supposed to be armed and the Hun dropped the knife on the seat and said “Kamerad” I thought how much he loved me, so I opened the rear of the machine, pulled out the stretcher out and made him roll over off the road and put the stretcher back into the car, dragged the Hun into the woods him crying “Kamerad” all the time: I only stayed in the woods a few minutes then backed the car onto the road and delivered my patriots at the hospital. When I got back to the dressing station the doctor asked me if the Prussian gave me any trouble. He said the Prussians were his worst to deal with and forgot to send a guard with me. I told the doctor I had no trouble but the poor Hun had died on the way in and I dumped him in a shell hole. The doctor understood me, so gave me two extra cartridges as souvenirs to repay me for the two I lent the Hun. I passed those woods twice during the night and I honestly believe I could smell a skunk.
Yes I guess we will be glad when peace does come, but lets up hold it with a glorious victory and the Boche begging for mercy.

George L. Whitmeyer

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Color Bearers

Recently I had the wonderful opportunity to be part of a great production entitled the "Color Bearers" Written and directed by John Foley. His ancestor was from Fountain Springs. James Seitzinger was a soldier awarded the MOH during the Civil War, for gallantry under fire while serving with the 116th P.V.I.
John directed and produced a fabulous film. Read his story of the film.

Tag the Photo article to read in large scale

And most importantly don't forget to view the trailer of this great film at.

For Those Who Served In The Vietnam War

The Names on the Wall. Vietnam War Memorial.

There are some words to a song that I know almost every veteran who has gone to war can relate to. These words were written about a soldier in WWl and going off to the fight at Galliopli, Turkey.
I quote,"In 1915 my country said son, its time to stop rambling theres work to be done, so they gave me a tin hat and they gave me a gun, and they sent me away to the war."
I wanted to share this letter I wrote to the Pottsville Republican And Herald. Only because the Vietnam War played a significant role in my life, and what I and my brothers and sisters did there is very important and should never be forgotten.

Published: Saturday, May 10, 2008 5:31 AM EDT Pottsville Republican and Herald
To the Editor:

President Richard M. Nixon once wrote: “No event in American history is more misunderstood than the Vietnam War. It was misreported then, and it is misremembered now. Rarely have so many people been so wrong about so much. Never have the consequences of their misunderstanding been so tragic.’’

April 30 marked the 33rd year since the end of the American involvement in the Vietnam War. Many of the ensuing books, movies and documentaries have portrayed the Vietnam veteran and the war in general in a negative manner.

Vietnam veterans have had to endure slander from within their own ranks, such as that from U.S. Sen. John Kerry and the Vietnam Veterans Against the War.

It is necessary to keep the public educated in the realities of what Vietnam veterans have endured. In no way think I am crying the blues. I am very proud of what I and my fellow brothers and sisters did in service to our country. I only want to make sure what we did and who we are is never forgotten.

We Vietnam veterans for many years had to live under the fallacies that we were all addicted to drugs, guilt-ridden about our service and the role we played in the war, and that we used inhumane and cruel tactics against the enemy.

According to statistics from the Gen. Westmoreland Study, 91 percent of us say they were glad they served, 74 percent of us said they would serve again, even knowing the outcome,

Another study proved there was no difference in drug use between Vietnam vets and non-veterans of the same age group. Ninety-seven percent of us were discharged under honorable conditions. And amazingly, 85 percent of us made a successful transition to civilian life when there were no government-sponsored programs to help with problems associated with post traumatic stress disorder and major health issues (Agent Orange).

A recent statistic shows that 87 percent of Americans hold Vietnam veterans in high esteem. That is something that should never have been needed to be surveyed. although here in Schuylkill County I never once felt any negative misgivings toward our service.

Most people thought we were all drafted and did not want to go — two-thirds of the men who served were volunteers in comparison to World War II, where two-thirds were drafted. Seventy percent of my brothers who were killed in Vietnam were volunteers.

The far-left thinking people always liked to say there was a disproportionate number of blacks to whites killed in the war, another lie. Eighty-six percent of the men who died in Vietnam were Caucasians, 12.5 percent were black and 1.2 percent were other races.

One of my favorites was the lie that the war was fought largely by the poor and uneducated. Vietnam veterans were the best educated forces our nation had ever sent into combat. Seventy-nine percent had a high school education or better.

It has always been said that the United States lost the war in Vietnam. In reality, “The American military was not defeated in Vietnam. The American military did not lose a battle of any consequence. From a military standpoint, it was almost an unprecedented performance.’’

This is a quote from a study done at the University of California, Berkley. The actual fall of Saigon happened on April 30, 1975, two years after the American military left Vietnam. The last American combat troops departed in their entirety on March 29, 1973.

What is a fact is 58,156 American personnel died in Vietnam, 47,359 to hostile actions and 10,797 to non-hostile action; 33,704 Americans were wounded in action; 75,000 were severely disabled; 2,338 were MIA, 766 were POWs and 114 died in captivity. Eight women died in Vietnam.

The disaster that was Vietnam happened because the United States lacked the political willpower to see it through when the military had victory in its grasp. They allowed the far-left factions, peace demonstrators and communists to have their way and gave up.

Vietnam was a tragic experience for America and for those who saw combat there. There was no welcome home and little government help. We all learned from this experience. Today’s soldiers are welcomed back as heroes.

To the brave men and women who served this nation in Vietnam and all wars, your service and sacrifices will be always remembered by me.

Stu Richards


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Schuylkill County in the Battle of Salem Church, Fredericksburg Va. May 3, 1863

Sixth Corps Troops, Before Fredericksburg, May 1863. I often wondered are we looking at men from the 96th in this photo.

Salem Church.

This is the story of the 96th P.V.I. and their costly fight at Salem Church, Fredericksburg Va. May 3, 1863.

Salem Church, May 3, 1863

On May 3, 1863 after a short rest the 96th P.V.I. received orders to attack confederate positions along the wooded ridge west of Fredericksburg near the old Salem Church. The 96th was placed to the left of the Orange plank road leading west out of Fredericksburg. On their left was the 5th Maine and on their right was the 121st N.Y. along with the 23 N.J. just touching the road. Also on the right of the road consisted of the 1st N.J. and 3rd N.J with the 16th N.Y, 95th Pa. and 119th Pa in reserve. 6 companies of skirmishers advanced in there front. Leading the ten companies of the 96th was Lt. Col Lessig. This fight would prove to be one of the most costly the 96th would engage in. Advancing in line of battle the 96th entered a heavy wooded area. Concealed in trenches beyond the woods were soldiers of Gen. Cadmus Wilcox. Most of the rebs were Alabamians. As the 96th exited the woods a heavy volume of musket fire erupted from the trenches as men of the 8th Alabama stood in two ranks and opened fire on the advancing 96th. Capt. Jacob Haas company commander of G Company described the fight:
As we got in the edge of the woods I saw a few rebels
Skirmishers popping at our skirmishers. I told my men
to take plenty of room and leave a pace between each
file. We passed on and within 30 paces of the field on
the other side of the woods, suddenly I saw two lines of
Battle of the “Rebs” rise to their feet. I ordered my men
to put a volley which they did with fine effect. And then
the circus commenced. We fired as fast as we could and
Johnny Reb did the same.
Volley after volley was fired but the 96th could not break the rebel position, during this fight Lieut. Alexander Allison was ordering his men to load and fire, at some time a rebel soldier fired his musket and a musket ball entered his right side knocking him down with a painful wound that would cause his death two days later. It’s not known whether John Allison was killed before Alex was wounded. But during this heavy fire fight with Minnie balls flying in every direction John was dropped and instantly killed. William Madara another Corporal of Company C was hit squarely between the eyes and instantly killed.
The fight was very costly to the 96th having 16 men killed and 54 wounded, and 9 men listed as missing or captured. Retreating back through the woods the 96th would fire a final volley at the rebels in defiance. Alex was probably carried back to the hospital at Acquia Creek were he was laid out with the rest of the wounded from fighting in and around Fredericksburg. He would die two days later on the 5th of May with grief in his heart at knowing his younger brother was also killed. In all probability William Madara and John Allison were left on the field of battle and buried by the rebels. Sometime in May Mrs. Allison would receive the news that two of her sons were killed in battle.

The Ground over which the attack was made. Salem Church in the background.

There were others from Schuylkill County who fought in this battle here is a short story from the Miners Journal.

Salem Church
May 3, 1863

On May 3, 1863 General John Sedgwick's Union troops crossed the Rappahannock river at Fredricksburg and attacked the old confederate works on Marye's Heights. After taking the heights the Federals moved about 7 miles west along the Plank road to help Gen. Joseph Hooker fighting at Chancellorsville. On a small ridge outside of Fredricksburg stood an old Baptist church known as Salem Church, and located in and around this church were rebel soldiers of Gen. Lafayette Mclaws division. The fight at Salem Church would cost the Union army over 4,700 casualties, among the casualties would be many Schuylkill countians.
Sergeant John J. Jones, formerly from Pottsville but was residing in Frankford, Pa. in 1861 enlisted in the 15th New Jersey Volunteers, he was the son of the late John J. Jones of Pottsville, and was 39 years old. Sgt. Jones was a member of the Sixth Corps under Gen. John Sedgwick, the 15th New Jersey was the second regiment to cross the Rappahannock at Franklins crossing. On Sunday May 3d, 1863 the 15th was marching toward the church on the heights, posted on the extreme left of the line the 15th N.J. Vols. advanced through the woods in their front and came out the other side were they were meet by a tremendous volley of musketry from the rebels who were posted in a ditch and behind a fence. Advancing as a file closer with his regiment Jones was struck by a musket ball and died on the field near Salem Church. Jones leaves a wife and five children to mourn his loss.
Fighting with the 98th Pa. Vols at Salem church were two Pottsville residents, H.K. Seddinger a Hospital Steward, and Lt. Col. George Wynkoop, Seddinger wrote an interesting article to the Miners Journal on May 30th, 1863 about the battle.
"During the battle at Salem Heights, the 98th P.V.I. and the 62d N.Y.V., were necessarily left on the south side of the main road where they performed gallant service under the officer in charge of that portion of the line. They lost heavily and held their position to the last. Col. John J. Ballier, of the 98th received a serious wound in the foot and was taken from the field. At 5 P.M.

The Ninety-Sixth Regiment in the Battle
Of Second Fredricksburg
May 3, 1863

In the May 23rd issue of the Miners Journal a annoynamos writer of the regiment by the pen name of Amicus Curae wrote a first hand account of the action taken by the 96th P.V. during the battle of Second Fredricksburg and Salem Heights.

Lacy House opposite Fredricksburg, Va.
May 13, 1863

Dear Journal: In my last communication I predicted an early crossing of the Rappahannock by our forces-but at the time I must confess, that I was not in the least apprehensive of recrossing. The complete success with which we effected a crossing you have been informed of. The blunt of the campaign seems to have fallen to the Sixth Corps, and I am proud to say they performed their whole duty upon all occasions. The terrible and fearful odds with which we were obliged to contend, and the wholesale destruction dealt out to them attests in words of high praise to the indomitable valor and energy of our tired troops. The Corps fought like tigers. The confederate army are willing to admit that we fought superior to any other time.
After the crossing the men at the same point crossed in December, the 1st division of the 6th Corps were drawn up in line of battle, the 2d Brigade being on the extreme left and had anything but a pleasant position to occupy. The rebel battery, located so as to control the railroad and the depot of supplies proved a formidable opponent. The accuracy with which our batteries were used silenced that of the enemy on several occasions during the day. At this point the 96th was ordered to take the railroad, with the promise of support from the 5th Maine. The 96th reached the road in most splendid style, but without any support-hence were ordered to fall back. During the operation we had several men killed and quite a large number wounded. Had the regiment received its proper support we would have charged upon the battery and no doubt captured it.

The 96th Pennsylvania at Camp Northumberland 1861
This is the story of William Harrison Madara, born and raised in Pottsville. Madara was my wife Danielle's relative
A Soldier

When the rebel guns fired on Fort Sumter 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 enlisted 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 Fort Washington, on the Potomac for about three months and finally returned home to Pottsville in July.
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 campaigns.
After leaving winter camp at White House Landing, the 96th crossed the Rappahannock River near Fredericksburg 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 Fredericksburg known as Deep Run. With orders to move out of Fredericksburg, 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 Salem Church 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 Cadmus 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 Fredericksburg. The 96th would suffer 16 men killed, 54 wounded and 9 men missing. Lying somewhere on that field near Salem Church was 23 year old William, his blood flowing on to the Virginia soil. A musket ball had entered his head right between the eyes.
This story occurred many times to families in Schuylkill County and shows the ultimate price that is paid to defend one's country by the common soldier.

Tragedy in War

Civil War type fortifications.

Accidentally Killed.

It is one thing to be killed in battle, but shot accidentally or by one of your own men is a real tragedy.

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.
It 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.

A Civil War a ambulance crew.

November 22, 1862 brought home to the people of Schuylkill County the news that another of her sons was dead, accidentally killed. George W. 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 (Pottsville) 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.

Hard Hit On The Field

Wounded soldiers during the Wilderness Campaign.

I found this interesting article in the Miners Journal. A sensation many a Schuylkill soldier experienced during the Civil War.



We had been held in reserve for five hours while cannon thundered and muskets crackled spitefully along the front a mile away. A procession of dead and wounded had filed past us until we were sick with horror. Shot and shell and bullet had fallen upon us behind the woods until the dry dead grass bore many a stain of blood.
“Attention! Forward-guide-Right March!”
Our Brigade was going in at last, and there was a look of relief on the face of the officers and man as we got the word.
“Guide Right-Front-Forward-March!”
As we swung clear of the woods a gust of wind raised the smoke for a minute and I saw the plain in our front blue with dead and wounded. Away beyond them was a line of earthworks, and I had one swift glimpse of a thin blue line kneeling behind the cover.
“Steady! Right Dress! Double Quick-March!”
The air was alive with the ping of bullets and the whiz and shriek of shot and shell. We bend our heads as if breasting a fierce gale laden with icy pellets. There is a wild cry-a shriek-a groan as men are struck and fall to the earth, but no one heeds them-no one hesitates. It is a hurricane of death, but we feel a wild exultation in breasting it. Men shout curse, sing, swing their hats and cheer.
We are driving through the smoke cloud when there is a flash of fire in front! I seem to rise into the air and float hither and thither, and the sensation is so dreamy and full of rest that I wish it could last forever. It is suddenly broken by the sound of my own voice. Is it my voice? It sounds so strange and afar to me. Why should I cheer and curse by turns? What has happened?
Ah! Now I come back to earth again! Above and around me is the smoke-the earth trembles under the artillery-men are lying about and beside me. Where is the Brigade? Why did I drop out? I am lying on my back, and I struggle to sit up and look around. I rise to my knees-weave this way and that-topple over and struggle again. There is red, fresh blood on the grass-on my hands –on my face. I taste it on my lips parched as my parched tongue thrusts itself out in search of moisture.
Who is groaning? Who is Shrieking? Who is cheering? And why should I laugh and exult? Have we held the line against a grand charge? Did we scatter and decimate the legions hurled against us? Have we won a great victory to be flashed over the country and cause the bells to ring with gladness? Let me think. Give me time to remember how it all happened. Strange that my thought s should be so confused, and the the desire to sleep be so strong upon me when I should be up and doing. I will shake it off. I will spring up and follow on after the Brigade. Here-
“How do you feel?”
My eyes are wide open and I am lying on a cot in a large room. I see people walking about-other people lying on cots like my own.
“I feel all right. Why?”
“You were hard hit in the fight four days ago, my boy.”
“So there was a battle?”
“And I was wounded?”
“Had your left arm shattered by a piece of shell and we had to amputate it.”