Friday, August 11, 2017


Schuylkill County and the American

Indian Wars.



     On June 2, 1860 the Pottsville Miners Journal ran an article about the capture of  a local resident by the Commanche Indians.

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.

     After becoming 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 Miners  Journal 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 of  his 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 for  March 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 understand  that he was so severely prostrated by sickness at his post lately, that grave apprehensions were entertained for his life, and that Dr.  Charles  Woodmitt, 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 adventure.

Left For Colorado.

     On Monday last Henry son of Mr. John Morris, Valentine Guss and Harry Slater, of this Borough started for Colorado. On Tuesday  Mr. 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:

Reached Colorado.

     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 Texas.”

     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.


The Gallant Conduct of Lieut. Leib


Of The Fifth U.S. Cavalry




     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 Chickahominy Bridge and the White House.


     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 Old Church 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 Old Church. 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, Va.


   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, 1862.


   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.


                                              Yours &c.


                                              Lieut. J.A.B.






Miners Journal February 15, 1862.










Accidentally Killed.




   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.


   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- 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.














     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 Fort Sumter, 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 P.V.I.


     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 Schuylkill County 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.




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 commanding officers.


     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 army officers.


     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. Army.










     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, drum major.


Horace G. Walbridge, Eb coronet. Christian Ferg, Eb coronet.


Amos F. Walbridge, 1st coronet. Christ Rodman, 2d coronet.


H.M. Law, 2d clarinet. Henry Rodman, clarinet.


Henry Hoffman, clarinet. John W. Morgan , clarinet.


Fidel Fisher, piccolo. Adolphus Walbridge, alto.


W. McDaniel, cook  Henry Walbridge, alto.


George W. Roehrig, alto. John Ward, teno.


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 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 condition.


     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 Camp Northumberland. 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.






     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 Lexington Ky. 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 future.


     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.




     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 flag again,"


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 for it.




     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.




How Schuylkill County Received The News of The


Shelling of Fort Sumter.




   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 Fort Sumter 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, Fort Sumter fired on. Fighting like hell."


   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.


Samuel Beddal


Diary 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 night.




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.




June 4,1864


     Shady Grove Va. 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 all day.




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 Farell killed.




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


     Cold harbor. 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 Petersburg Va.




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


     Battle near petersburg. 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 Petersburg Va. 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 petersburg Va. 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. Va.




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. Petersburg Va.




June 23, 1864


     Near Petersburg Va. 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 fortifacations.




June 26, 1864


     Near petersburg Va. 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 Petersburg Va.




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 ????




July 5,1864


     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 today.


Big Jim Wilson




     James A. Wilson a 19 year old Irish miner born in KilkennyIreland lived and worked in Frailey Township. He enlisted in the 7th Penna. Cavalry on October 19, 1861 at Donaldson, Schuylkill County. Known to the members of Company F as “Big Jim”, he advanced quickly through the ranks and attained the rank of  Sergeant.


     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 Schuylkill County. 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.”


     Another 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.”


     Jim Wilson would also be remembered for his kindness. On December 22, 1862, a few days after the battle of Stones River 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 the lines.


     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.


     The Georgians’ 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 lighter.


     This soldierly 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.


     Jim Wilson 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.


Pottsville Republican May 12, 1913


The Seventh Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Cavalry, Its Record,  Reminiscenes and roster.


Pottsville Miners Journal, William B. Sipes






                       SCHUYLKILL COUNTIANS










   During the Civil War Schuylkill County 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 regiment.








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' Schuylkill County Cavalry.  114 men.


John Weidman's Cavalry. 2 men.


Harris Pennsylvania Cavalry. 4 men.


Lamberts Independent Cavalry. 12 men.








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.


5th. Ohio.  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.


Join 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.






   During the Civil War, many Schuylkill County 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.




   In 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.


   If a soldier marches 16 miles per day this would equal 41 horse power , or 1,383,000 units of work per day.


   The 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.


   A 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.


   It is 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.










     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 Camp Curtin on the outskirts of Harrisburg just before their departure from Camp Curtin. 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 Camp Curtin, 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 Schuylkill County in various other regiments would witness the presentation of their regimental colors by the Governor or his aide.


     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 their service.


     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 regiment.


     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.








     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 South Mountain, 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 writer.


          "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 Schuylkill County 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 and rifles.




     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 Schuylkill County were:








Sgt. John Roarty Company C. to 10-02-64.


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 Clinton.


Sgt. Edward Flanagan Company G. Pottsville.






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.


      Port Carbon.


Pvt. Harry Hunsicher Company H. Carried Flag at Cramptons Gap.


     West Brunswick.


Sgt. J.W. Conrad Company   Wounded 5-9-64 at Spotsylvania Va.       Campaign. Pottsville.


Corp. George W. Foltz Company C. Wounded 05-10-64 Spotsylvania        Va. Campaign. Tremont.


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 Spotsylvania Va.




Sgt. William Lord Company A. Carried Colors 05-10-64 Spotsylvania       Va. Campaign. Pottsville.


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 Selma Alabama, 07-04-65. St.       Clair.






Corp. Thomas Foster. Company I.


Sgt. James B. Murray. Company H. Killed Reams Station. Va.








Corp. Thomas J. Foster.


Fifty-Second P.V.I.


Corp. Samuel Williams, Co. I


Fifty-Fifth P.V.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.


One 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


One Hundred and Twenty Ninth P.V.I.


Sgt. Lewis S. Boner Co. E


Col. Jacob Frick rescued and carried the colors at Fredricksburg.








     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 Schuylkilll County 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, Wallace.


The Eighth Pennsylvania Cavalry


Gallant Charge At Chancellorsville


May 2, 1863






     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.




                                     Camp Of The 8th Pa. Cavalry.


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 Schuylkill County. 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 your service.


   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 Cavalry




     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:


     “Having taken 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 Military Execution.




   During 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 Maine. This man was named Thomas Jewitt, an Englishman who deserted his regiment at the battle of Salem Church 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 execution.


                         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.








      Pottsville 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.




           The  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.           Curtin.


                                       President John Powers.


     On April 17, 1861 the Miners Journal reported:




          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 their


        stalwart defense and maintainence of our National


        Government as the highest form of their religion.




     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 Fire Co.


When Duty Calls Phoenix Fire Engine Company 1861-1967


Memorial To Patriotism, Wallace.


Advance the Colors Vol. 1-2. Richard Sauers.


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 Gallatin Tenn. 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.


The Saber Regiment


The Seventh Pennsylvania Cavalry


The Gallant Charge At Shelbyville, Tennessee




     During the Civil War the Seventh Pennsylvania Cavalry was known as one of the finest cavalry regiments in the Union Army.


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 Schuylkill County, 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 Peryville Ky. 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 successfully.


   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 his possession.


   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 Seipes repilied:


   "My regiment is back with the prisoners. I cannot make another charge."


   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 Duck River."


   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 Duck River 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 troops.


   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 entered Washington 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, 1882








     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 Picket's charge.


     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 Schuylkill County. 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 Rummel farm.


     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


Michigan, 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 and Edmonds 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 Fraiely Township 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 rebels.


     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 Schuylkill County.








     Patriotism runs deep in the blood of Schuylkill County 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 Schuylkill County 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 join.


     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 article appeared.




       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 Republican.




      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 the hill.




     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 quality.




     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.








     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 Schuylkill Counties, 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 Rifles of


         Minersville Pa. at that time we offered our


         services as a company to Governor Curtin,


         April 19th 1861 and where immediately excepted.


         We left Minersville Saturday April 20th and arrived          


         at Camp Curtin that night. Mustered into U.S.


         service Sunday April 21st as Company I 5th Regt. Pa.


         Vol. Infantry Capt. J. Laurence, 1st. Lieut. S.


         Richards 1st Lieut. C.N. Brumm company officers.


         The company left Harrisburg for Washington by way


         of little York, Pa. and Baltimore but had to return          


         to Harrisburg as culverts and bridges east of little          


        York were destroyed. We returned to Harrisburg


         Monday morning at daybreak. Started for Washington         


        by way of Lancaster, Philadelphia and Delaware and          


       Chesepeak canal and Annapolis Naval Academy. From the        


       Philadelphia Navy Yard was transported to Naval


       Academy by boat. Marched after a few days rest at         


      Academy to Annapolis Junction over railroad which


       had been torn up and bridges and culverts had been         


      destroyed . Distance marched about 21 miles which


       was made by the regiment in one day. Other


       egiments which made the march took two days


       in covering the same distance. 5th Regiment done


       duty at Annapolis for the night and in the morning


       boarded flat cars with benches for seats and reached


         Washington D.C. on the afternoon of April 27th.


         The regiment was assigned to quarters temporarily.


         In temporary building in rear of the old city hall


         the building had been used as the inaugural ball


         room, President Lincolns Inauguration March 4th


         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 Alexandria Va.


         distance about 9 miles. made the march in about


         three hours on a very warm day in June. The same


         day Col. Ellsworth of the New York Fire Zouaves


         was shot by Jackson after he (Ellsworth) had taken          


        down the confederate flag off the pole on the


         Marshall house, of which Jackson was the proprietor.         


        The 5th Regiment arrived on the scene of the


         shooting about two hours after. The other troops


         of the expedition came down by boat on the Potomac          


        and the 5th Regiment marched down. It was reported         


        in the newspapers at the time of the 5th Regts.


         arrival and march down Pennsylvania Avenue from


         the B&O.R.R. Depot to the City Hall that the Penna.          


        5th was the first regiment to arrive in Washington          


       fully equipped for action armed with Harpers Ferry        


        muskets, 40 rounds of ammunition and 5 days rations         


        of sea biscuits and salt horse sugar and coffee.


        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.








There Should Be A Memorial For Horses


The 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 Washington D.C. about how the horses suffered.




                                   HQ 7th Penna. Cav.


                                   Near Blakes Mills, Ga


                                   Sept. 13, 1864




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 Ned City 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 Lookout Mtn. 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


killed and


captured        171 horses




Total Lost      401 horses


Present in


the field       560 horses




                961 horses.




From the Regimental Records Book


National Archives.


Jack 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 Fort Virgina, 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; Custer City, 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.


Doing Nothing But His Duty.


John Kanes Story.




   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 Rocks Md. 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 pursuits.




   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.






William Harrison Madara


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 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 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 campagains.


      After leaving winter camp at White House Landing, the 96th crossed the Rappahannock River 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 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 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 Salem Church 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 Schuylkill County 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


Major Claude White


                 of the " White Horse Company "


3rd Pennsylvania Cavalry.




   Major White was born in England on May 29, 1829. He settled in Schuylkill County during the year 1852 and was in the coal operation business in Reilly Township, 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 or greys.


   " 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.


There 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 Fort Sedgwick, or as it its called at the front, "Fort Hell" 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.


A Mothers Sorrow




   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, Schuylkill County. 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 Petersburg Va. 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 Hampton Va. 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."






     Contributing less than 40 men to the United States Navy and Marine Corps, during the war of the rebellion, Schuylkill County 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 service.


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 Hodgeon.


     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 continues;                                        


         "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 defense.


          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 distant."




     Ordering the magazine flooded so that the ship would not explode, and firing of a lee gun, the Hatteras admitted defeat. The Alabama 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 gun.


      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 Thompson.


Service Afloat. The Remarkable Career of The Confederate Cruiser


Sumter And Alabama. Raphael Semmes. C.S.Navy.












The Total Number of Men Furnished By


Schuylkill County 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 WAS OVER.


     From April 17, 1861, to April 13, 1865, the number of men furnished by Schuylkill County, in responce to the calls of the National and State Goverments, was as follows:


Three months Service...........................1,795


Three's years' troops, recruited in 1861.......4,007


Nine Months' troops 1862.......................786


Militia for state defence, 1862................647


173rd Regiment (drafted men) nine months.......310


Emergency militia, 1863........................1,576


Drafted men who entered the service under draft


of 1863........................................72


Re-Enlisted veterans and volunteers recruited


in winter and spring of 1864...................1,864


Volunteers under call, July 1864...............351


One hundred days men, 1864.....................175


116th Regiment.................................71


Volunteers under defiiency call, December


19, 1864.......................................681








     If we add to this the number of citizens who furnished substitutes, we find that Schuylkill County 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 feel ashamed.


Never 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 Schuylkill County 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, Schuylkill County Pa. 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.


The Union Guards Of








   The Union Guards were formed shortly after the fall of Fort Sumter 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




Union Guards




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 tally paper.




For Captain: William M. Bickel 49 votes.


             Ed. K. Mull 19 votes.


For 1st. Lieut. James O Lehr 53 votes.


                Charles Hermansader 14 votes.


For 2d Lieut. William H. Schall 57 votes.


For Quartermaster Sgt. John Clouse 42 votes


For 1st. Sgt. Eugene L. Holzer 9 votes.


              Daniel Ruhf  18 votes.


              Victor Wernert 35 votes.


For 2d Sgt. Thomas Hammer 53 votes.


For 3rd Sgt. John Schall 51 votes


For 4th Sgt. John B. Snyder 58 votes


For Corporal Francis Fiddler 26 votes. Thomas Hoy 29 votes.


             Samuel M. Yost 11 votes.   Reuben Hoy 30 votes.


             Charles Maurer 46 votes.


Charles P. Potts


151st Pennsylavania Regiment


At Gettysburg.




     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 artillery.


     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 building.


     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 gentleman.


     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 go south.


     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 Prison Pens.


By Charles Potts, Late Lieut. 151st P.V.I.


Read before the Society October 29, 1913


Schuylkill 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 Ringgold Ga. 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.


     A Illinois 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 National Cemetery in Chattanooga.




Miners Journal Oct. 26, 1914


Pennsylvania At Chickamauga and Chattanooga 1897


Robert Reid


Native of Scotland


Resided in Pottsville.


Worked in Fishback


Palo Alto Rolling mills were he was employed before the war.


Co. G 48th


From Mulhollands History of Honor:


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 Company G."




From The Story of The Forty-Eighth  Joseph Gould.




Dying 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 to Pottsville 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 Presbyterian Cemetery, 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


at Philadelphia


     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 Charleston Harbor, 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, France 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.










     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.


      Hampton’s Road, Va. May 9, 1862.


     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.




On May 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.


Norfolk, Virgina May 11, 1862.


The 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.


About 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 Craney Island, 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 Craney Island, 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 soon, meanwhile


                          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.


The Eighth Pennsylvania Cavalry


Gallant Charge At Chancellorsville


May 2, 1863






     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.




                                     Camp of the 8th Pa. Cavalry.


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 Schuylkill County. 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 your service.


   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 Hartwood Church, 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.


More Anon….




Yours respectfully,












     General Ulysses S. Grant endeavored to take Vicksburg Miss. 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 the Tennessee. 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 left.


     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 the 22nd.


     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, blood; nothing but the continual roar


        of cannons, musketry, gunboats, etc. We attacked


        Vicksburg on the 14th. We have been fighting


        almost day and night. We are in possession of


        Jackson, and I hope and pray that Vicksburg


        will be ours soon. We have whipped them almost


        at every point, capturing thousands and


        thousands of rebels, and have taken hundreds of


        their largest guns. You can think yourself how


        we have fought, when they had for 15 miles all


        around the city, breastworks after breastworks


        and our brave boys have driven them into within


        one mile of the city. Gen. Grant has command.


        Our regiment is under our favorite, General


        Sherman. He has done his duty. Day before


        yesterday Sherman's army corps took Haines


        Bluff of which you have read about, with 9000


        prisoners; but hundreds of our brave boys bit


        the dust. Dear Mother I have stood before secesh


        lead before but it was nothing to this time.


        We have traveled for the last two days with


        blood and mud and water up to our knees: but


        we have won the laurels. We have driven them


        over twelve miles in seven days, which they have


        been fortifying for the last two years. Gen.


        Pemberton, their commanding General was put in


        irons by his own men because he wanted to


        surrender the city three days ago. Gen. Taylor              old Zachariah Taylor's son has command in his


        place. Yesterday they sent to General Grant


        that they would surrender the city if he would


        let them get all of their men out, but he would


        not except it.


         There are a great many of our brave boys in my


        regiment killed. Our flag floats on the next fort


        to the city, and before another sun sets Vicksburg


        I hope will be ours. Our men are in great spirits


        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 sergeant


         in the Thirteenth. I have seen his eyes brighten,


         his heart beat, as he beheld the battalion


         under arms, and asked me if they were not real


         soldiers. "




     General Sherman conveyed to the members of the Thirteenth battalion that in years after if they:




          "Call on me or mine, and mention that


        they were of the Thirteenth Regulars when


        Willie was a sergeant, they will have a key to


        the affections of my family that will open all


        it has; that we will share with them our last


        blanket, our last crust!"




Miners Journal June 11, 1863.     


A Soldier's Farewell.




     "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 Company F:


From The story of the Forty eighth   Joseph Gould.




The War In The West.




     During the Civil War most of the fighting was done in the east the western theatre, Tennessee, Kentucky  Alabama. 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 and California 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 Golden State, to his relative in the borough of Pottsville.




Camp Independence, Owen's River Valley


                                       June 19, 1863,


     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 Joaquin River. 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 Joaquin Valley 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 Camp Independence by easy marches. So ended this scout.




Col. William Thompson


17th Pennsylvania Cavalry.






   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 the Captain.


   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. at Gettysburg. Lt. Col. Thompson died on July 9, 1903 and is buried in Charles Baber Cemtery in Pottsville.


Major Edward Wynkoop




   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 Fort Lyon. 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  Fort Lyon.


     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.










   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.


   Schuylkill County 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 of Fort Wagner, at Charleston S.C..


   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 Beaver Counties. The regiment was assigned to General Wright at Hilton Head South Carolina. They fought at the seige of Fort Pulaski, 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 Cass Township and George Haas and Robert Davis from Minersville.


   On July 11, 1863 the regiment was involved in the attack on Charleston. The men charged Fort Wagner 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 Barry Township. 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 Fort Wagner, the regiment was sent back to Hilton Head and performed guard duty.