Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Arranging A General's Funeral. . .

This past weekend, I had the great privilege to participate in the "Sparks Around the Campfire" event in Schuylkill County. This four-day-long series of special programs highlighted my native county's Civil War history. By all accounts, the event was an unqualified success, drawing hundreds to the various programs. (You can read more about the success of this event by clicking here ). It was an honor for me to asked to participate, and I have to thank Stu Richards and the members of the planning committee for the invitation. (Read Stu's excellent blog on Schuylkill County Military history).
On Saturday morning, along with fellow Schuylkill County Civil War buff and friend Tom Shay, I led a walking tour of the Presbyterian Cemetery in Pottsville, and despite the rain, we had about 30 people come along. In the afternoon, I delivered a presentation on the life and forgotten service of James Nagle. In the end, I could not have been more pleased. Before the morning program, I was approached by an older man, a native of Pottsville, who had been in the antiques business for years. He had with him a photocopy of one of his Civil War documents, thinking that both Tom and I would be interested. He was absolutely correct. What he had was a copy of the Funeral Arrangements for General James Nagle, of interest to me, certainly, but also a great little piece of history.

The funeral arrangements were prepared on August 23, 1866, just the day after the general's death. Planning the arrangements was Joshua K. Sigfried, former colonel of the 48th Pennsylvania and assisting him was Oliver Christian Bosbyshell, former major of the 48th and the regimental historian. The copy this gentleman from Pottsville had was sent to Henry Krebs, and reads as follows:

Pottsville, Aug. 23, 1866
To Lieut. Henry Krebs.
You are respectfully invited to attend the funeral of the late Brig-General James Nagle, on Saturday Afternoon, next, at 2 o'clock. Please reply

Respectfully Yours,
J.K. Sigfried

N.B. Specially requested to wear uniforms if convenient.

At the bottom of the invitation was a note penned by Bosbyshell:

Gen. Sigfried desires me to state that you are appointed one of his Aides. Please invite all soldiers in your neighborhood to participate in the funeral. See enclosed Programme.

The program included the following:

The following order of Parade will be observed at the Funeral of the late Brig. Gen. James Nagle on,
Saturday, August 25, 1866
The line will be formed at 1 o'clock P.M. in Centre Street, right resting on Market Street, in the following order:
1st Brig. Gen. J.K. Sigfried Commanding and Staff
2d All mounted Officers in uniform
3d Uniformed Military Organizations--according to rank.
4th Soldiers' Central League of Pottsville, consisting of discharged Soldiers in Citizens's Dress, with Fatgue Cap, White Gloves and mourning badge on left arm.

The order of march from the house to the Cemetery will be as follows:

Military Escort
Pall Bearers Hearse Pall Bearers
Horse and Groom
Citizens in Carriages
Fire Department
Members of the Boro Council and Boro Officers
Members of the Court and Bar, and County Officers
Citizens of Foot

The line will move over the following route: From hourse to Market Street; down Market to Centre; down Centre to Mahantango; up Mahantango to Clay; down Clay to Howard Avenue; down Howard Avenue to Cemetery.
All soldiers who have uniforms are requested to wear them, and those without to attend in fatigue cap and white gloves.
All soldiers not connected with the Soldiers' Central League, are invited to meet at its room, in Clayton's Hall, at 12 o'clock to join in with it.
The citizens of Pottsville are requested to suspend business between the hours of 1 and 4 o'clock P.M. on Saturday, 25th inst., and that colors and hourse along the route be draped in mourning.
General James Nagle died at the age of 44 on August 22, 1866; his funeral was held on Saturday, August 25.
Lieutenant Henry Krebs was among the thousands that turned out that Saturday to pay their last respects to the general.

I cannot thank the kind gentleman from Pottsville enough for generously providing me with a great piece of Schuylkill County Civil War history.

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