Friday, November 27, 2009

Schuylkill County Civil War Heroes


Sergt. James Murray, formerly of Tamaqua late of Co. H. 81st Pennsylvania was killed in the Battle of Reams Station, on the Weldon Railroad, on the 25th of August 1864. He had served with his regiment for three years, says the Journal, participating in all the engagements of the Second Corps, and his time of service would have expired in about two weeks.
He was the Color Sergeant of the Regiment, and met his death while bravely trying to rally the men, who had just given under the terrible onslaught of overwhelming numbers of rebels. He was a most worthy young man, agreeable, kind and brave as a lion. He was about twenty one years of age. His father started last week to recover his body.
In the same engagement, James King, of Tamaqua, and two others were taken prisoners. These, together with Murray, were the last of the original Company H, 81st P.V. so that now the company is completely wiped out.


Private John Jones, Company B, 55th Regiment, P.V.V., died August 26th 1864 in White Hall Hospital, Bucks County. Mr. Jones was the son of Thomas J. Jones, of Minersville; and was born in Monmonthshire, South Wales; he came to this country about eighteen years ago, and settled in Minersville, where he and his relatives have been until now. At the breaking out of the rebellion, John Felt it his duty to defend his country, and enlisted in the above named regiment, under Captain John C. Shearer, and served most of his time at Beaufort,S.C. but went to Virginia when the eighteenth Corps was called to operate with the Army of The Potomac in the western Virginia Campaign. He was in many skirmished, but it appears there was no bullet cast by the rebels to hurt him, as he often said.
Death however came to him in another shape. About two months before he breathed his last, he was taken very sick and placed in a Virginia Hospital. Having been there for some time, he was removed to the hospital where he died. After his parents heard that he was so low, his mother went to him in order to have him brought home, if it was practicable; but he was too weak. In a few days afterwards his spirit took its flight to the spiritual world. John was only 25 years of age. His body was brought home and interred in the Welsh Congregational Cemetery. The departed was a highly respected by all his acquaintances, and was a brave soldier. Had he been spared he was determined to stay in the Army until the rebellion was crushed. When his three years were almost out, he re-enlisted as a veteran volunteer for another three years. May his remains rest undisturbed till the last trumpet shall blow, and those that have done good shall come forth unto the resurrection of life.


Private Henry H. Bickley, of Company E 10th New Jersey Volunteers, a son of John Bickley, of Kendon County, N.J. died at the Summit House Hospital, Philadelphia, on the 23rd from exhaustion, the result of the loss of blood from a wound received in the Battle of the Wilderness, May 14th , 1864. Henry was formerly a resident of Pottsville. His remains were brought here, and interred from the residence of his brother, John Bickley Jr. in the Odd Fellows Cemetery, on Sunday last, with Military Honors. At the time of his death he was in the 22nd year of his age.
Surgeon G. W. Webb who attended Prvt. Bickley in his last hours writes under the date of August 27th, as follows.
“During my daily visits amongst my patients, I observed in the character of this young man, those fine qualities which go to make up the true and brave soldier, the conscientious and upright Christian, with the honorable and high minded gentleman.
“When it became necessary to amputate his limb, to save life, with calm, self procession, he remarked to me, that his life was now entirely in my hands, under the guidance of the almighty God, who could now give him spiritual fortitude. He progressed finely after the operation for a few days, when unforeseen complications in his case took place, secondary hemorrhage, beyond the control of the surgeons, resulting in his death.. He died happy in his mind, and without pain or struggle. Being an almost hourly attended upon him for several days after the fatal hemorrhage, I observed with in him Christian resignation, with a consciousness of his critical condition, disposed, as he said, to bow in obedience to the will of the creator.
“he died from exhaustion, the result of loss of blood, sleeping for some hours, apparently, almost unconscious, until death took place, noiselessly, scarcely at the moment attracting his attendant’s notice, that he had breathed his last.”


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 in a few days after 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 1864 they enlisted in the 48th Regt. P.V.V., left Pottsville on the 14th, arriving before Petersburg on the 20th of September. On the 30th 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 General U.S. Hospital at Annapolis, Md. where he died on the 6th of November. He requested that his remains be brought to Pottsville for interment, and the funeral took place from the residence of his friend Mr. Hugh Allen, Market St., Pottsville, on the 17th of November. He was buried in the Presbyterian Cemetery, and was 22 years of age.
John, 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.


Pvt. John Bowler son of Mr. Samuel Bowler of Mt. Laffee, near Pottsville, died at the residence of his father on the 7th inst. Immediately after the traitors fired upon our glorious flag at Fort Sumter, young Bowler, like hundreds of our patriotic Coal Miners, exchanged the pick and shovel for the musket, and enrolled in Capt. Daniel Nagle’s company remarking, “We must now stop working in the mines and go and fight for our country. “After doing his duty manfully during the first three months of the war he joined Co. I of the 96th P.V.V. and of which he was appointed Orderly Sgt. At the Battle of Chancellorsville he was severely wounded and left on the battlefield and captured by the rebels. After remaining in their hands 10 days he was paroled and sent into our lines. After being some months in one of our hospitals he was honorably discharged. He served his country faithfully and was always at his post. He died from consumption contracted on the field; was in the 25th year of his ager and unmarried. On Thursday afternoon last his remains were interred with honors at Flowery Field, Peace be to his ashes.


John C. Hoskin was born in Minersville, this county, September 27th, 1839, and died in that Borough; March 27th, 1865 aged 25 years and 6 months. His funeral was one of the largest and most impressive ever witnessed in Minersville. The military, Odd Fellows, Sons of America, Firemen, and a large number of citizens attended it. Mr. Hoskin entered the service of the United States at the commencement of the Rebellion, in the Fifteenth Pennsylvania regiment in April, 1861 for three months. He was taken prisoner on the 2nd of July, 1861, near Haynesville, Va. And was sent through Martinsburg, to Charlottesville, where he remained a few days, and was then transfered to Libby Prison, Richmond. From there he was taken to New Orleans, and subsequently to Salisbury, North Carolina. While at the latter place he was paroled and entered our lines at New Bern, North Carolina in 1862, having been a prisoner for eleven months. He returned home as soon as his strength would permit. At the time of the nine month troops were being raised, he reenlisted in the services not withstanding his exchange had not been effected. He entered the 129th Regiment, Col. Jacob Frick, and was wounded at the Battle of Fredericksburg. After the battle he was promoted to First Sergeant of his company. He was a good soldier, and an admirable man in all the relations of life.


Henry clay Graeff, 1st Lieutenant Company D, 48th Regiment P.V.V. died in this borough on Wednesday last from disease contracted in rebel prisons. At the time of his death he was in the 21st year of age. He had been in the 48th Regiment since its organization and was known as a thoroughly good soldier. His father Franklin Graeff, is a member of the same Company, and is now with his command. Henry was taken prisoner at the fight on the Weldon Railroad in September last, and was an prisoner up to within a fort night of his death. At the time of his capture he was sergeant of his company, and was commissioned a lieutenant shortly after while he was in rebel hands. The remains of Lieutenant Graeff will be interred tomorrow afternoon at 2 o’clock, from the residence of Mr. Jacob Matthews, Port Carbon Road. Return soldiers will meet at the Union Hotel, Centre St. at 1 o’clock to proceed to the residence of Mr. Matthews.

Private Joseph Reed, son of Mr. Israel Reed of Barry Township, this county died at the residence of his father on the 18th , April, 1865, aged 30 years and 8 months. Mr. Reed died from the effects of Starvation experienced at Salisbury, N.C. prison. He was a good soldier, a faithful friend, and unselfish patriot. Though dead he will live in the memory and affection of his countrymen.

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