Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The 48th PA/150th: Raising The Regiment: Company A

One hundred and fifty years ago this month, volunteers from throughout Schuylkill County, both young and old, signed up to serve in what would become the 48th Pennsylvania Infantry, a regiment organized under the direction of Colonel James Nagle. Nagle received authorization from Pennsylvania's governor, Andrew Curtin, to recruit a regiment of "three-year" volunteers, and Nagle immediately went to work, enlisting the services of a number of acquaintances who established recruiting offices in the towns and townships of Schuylkill County. It was Nagle's desire to have the regiment recruited entirely from the anthracite-rich county in east-central Pennsylvania.

Port Clinton, Pennsylvania

Daniel B. Kauffman, a twenty-nine-year-old dispatcher of the Schuylkill Canal from the village of Port Clinton, set to work, organizing what became Company A. Like Kauffman, many of his volunteers hailed from Port Clinton--indeed, a good number had already served in the uniform of the Port Clinton Artillerists, a three-month organization that had served in the Shenandoah Valley from May-July, 1861, but saw no combat. Other recruits hailed from Tamaqua and the areas between in southern Schuylkill County. Also like Kauffman, many of his volunteers earned their living laboring on the Schuylkill Canal, which cut directly through Port Clinton.

Tamaqua, Pennsylvania

After enlisting their services, Kauffman's volunteers were directed to rendezvous at Harrisburg's Camp Curtin where, on September 17, 1861, they were formally mustered into federal service as Company A, 48th Pennsylvania Volunteers.

The 1861 roster of Company A, 48th PA was as follows:

Captain: Daniel B. Kauffman

1st Lieutenant: Abiel H. Jackson
2nd Lieutenant: Henry Boyer
Orderly Sergeant: Benjamin G. Otto
1st Sergeant: Lewis B. Eveland

2nd Sergeant: Albert C. Huckey
3rd Sergeant: William Taylor
4th Sergeant: Milton B. Nice
1st Corporal: John J. Huntzinger
2nd Corporal: Francis M. Stidham

3rd Corporal: Peter Zimmerman
4th Corporal: John Little
5th Corporal: John S. Bell
6th Corporal: John Taylor
7th Corporal: Joseph B. Carter


George Airgood
George Albright
George Betz

William Betz
Elias Britton

Israel Britton
George Briegel
Thomas B. Boyer

Charles Brandenburg
William A. Berger
John Cochran

John Cochley
Benjamin F. Cummings
James Day
Patrick Dailey
Henry Davis

Jacob Dietrich
William Dreibelbeis
Benjamin Dreibelbeis
James S. Eveland
William Eddinger
Samuel Eckroth
Franklin Frederici
Charles Goodman
Abram Greenawald
John Gallagher
Charles Krueger
John Hummel
William F. Heiser
Henry C. Honsberger
Jacob S. Honsberger
William Jacob Hein
John Heck
Jordan C. Haas
Lewis Hessinger
William K. Jones
Newry Kuret
Willis L. Kerst
William H. Koch
Coleman Jacob Kramer
Benjamin Keller
Franklin Koenig
George Liviston
Daniel Leiser
John H. Leiser
William Miller
William Meck
Bernhard McGuire
Levi Morganroth
John McLain
James Meck
Samuel B. Moyer
Joel Marshall
George Miller
William Neeley
Andrew Neeley
Simon Nelson
Isaac Otto
John Pugh
Henry H. Price

Richard B. Perry
George Ramer
Lewis M. Reese
John Ruff
Frank W. Simon
Augustus Shickram
John Springer
Morgan Simon
Henry Schreyer
John V. Spreese
Nelson Simon
David Steel
Jesse Springer
Abraham F. Seltzer
John Shenk
Henry Simpson
John Stahlnecker
Obediah Stahlnecker
Bernard West
Franklin Wentzell
John Weibels
John Whitaker
Samuel Weiser
Oliver Williams
John F. Youser

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Sam Schwalm's Letters: A New Book on the 50th Pennsylvania Infantry

The 50th Pennsylvania Monument at Antietam at Daybreak

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Just a brief interruption of my look at the 150th anniversary of the formation of the 48th Pennsylvania to announce the publication of a new book, The Civil War Letters and Experiences of Samuel Schwalm of the 50th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment, which includes an introduction written by Yours Truly. Published by the Pennsylvania-based Johannes Schwalm Historical Association, the book contains dozens of letters written by Samuel Schwalm, who enlisted in the summer of 1861 into what would become Company A, 50th Pennsylvania Infantry, a company recruited largely from northern and northwestern Schuylkill County. I was familiar with some of Schwalm's letters; copies of several are held at the Antietam Battlefield Library, which I used in my 2009 book Our Boys Did Nobly: Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, Soldiers at the Battles of South Mountain and Antietam.

It was a great thrill and a great honor for me to have been asked to write the introduction for this new book. Several months back, Dr. Michael Gabriel of Kutztown University asked if I would be interested in penning the introduction. Because of my familiarity with the 50th, and because I was familiar with some of the Schwalm letters--and, of course, because the 50th fought in the Ninth Army Corps--I gladly accepted. My contribution to this book is a concise overview of the war service of the 50th Pennsylvania, which I titled "With Stripes Unmarred and Stars Undimmed," the words Colonel Benjamin Christ used to describe the promised condition of the regiment's flags upon their return from war.

More information on this book, including ordering information, can be found here.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The 48th PA/150th: Raising the Regiment

Record Banner of the 48th Pennsylvania Infantry

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This month marks the 150th Anniversary of the recruitment of the 48th Pennsylvania Infantry, and to help commemorate this, I will be devoting the next several weeks worth of posts to the origins of the regiment as well as its recruitment from the anthracite-laden coal fields and lush agricultural countryside of Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania.

In late July 1861, with the three-months' terms of service of the war's first volunteers about to expire and with no end to the Southern rebellion in sight, President Abraham Lincoln issued a call for 300,000 men to serve for "three years or the course of the war," whichever should come first. Governor Andrew Curtin of Pennsylvania immediately went to work, seeking to fill the quota established for his state. On August 14, he commissioned Colonel James Nagle, of Pottsville, to raise a regiment. Nagle was an experienced officer, whom Curtin could rely upon to raise and then lead a regiment of three-year men. In 1840, and at just eighteen years of age, Nagle organized the Washington Artillerists, a company of militiamen he would lead in Mexico, when it was mustered into Federal service as Company B, 1st Pennsylvania Volunteers. Nagle, who served a term as sheriff of Schuylkill County, had just recently been mustered out of service as colonel of the Sixth Pennsylvania Infantry, a three-month organization that served under General Robert Patterson in the lower Shenandoah Valley of Virginia from April-July 1861. Receiving his authorization to raise a regiment of three-year volunteer soldiers, Nagle determined to raise it almost entirely from his own Schuylkill County.

James Nagle raised the 48th Pennsylvania Infantry in the late summer of 1861

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To assist in his efforts, Nagle recruited the services of several friends and associates who proceeded to set up enlistment offices throughout the county. Nagle was well aware of the military capabilities of these men, they for the most part having served either under him in the 6th PA, or in other three-month organizations. Daniel B. Kauffman raised what would become Company A in and around the towns of Port Clinton and Tamaqua. James Wren, Joseph Gilmour, Henry Pleasants, and two of James Nagle's brothers--Daniel and Philip--set up recruiting stations in Pottsville, the county seat, drawing men from there and nearby St. Clair. Most of the men in Wren's company had served with the Washington Artillerists during the war's first three months and were among the very first Northern volunteer soldiers to reach Washington, D.C. following the outbreak of hostilities. William Winlack found volunteers from the coal fields surrounding Port Carbon, New Philadelphia, and Silver Creek, while Joseph Hoskings raised his company from Minersville and its surrounding areas. John R. Porter sought out recruits from Middleport and Schuylkill Valley, while Henry A.M. Filbert, a native of neighboring Berks County, drew his volunteers from Schuylkill Haven and Cressona in southern Schuylkill County.

An 1850 Map of Schuylkill County; the 48th Pennsylvania was raised almost entirely from Schuylkill County during the months of August-September 1861

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Oliver Bosbyshell, who served with the Washington Artillerists and who was mustered into what would soon become Company G, 48th Pennsylvania, in the summer of 1861, remembered the enlistment process. "As rapidly as men were secured the were forwarded to Camp Curtin, in Harrisburg, where the regiment rendezvoused. The medical examinations having been successfully passed, the recruits were equipped and assigned to their respective companies. Drills were instituted by the squad and company, and twice during its stay at Camp Curtin regimental drills were had. For the majority this was their first taste of military duty; however, there were many who had served in the Three Months' Service, in the Sixth, Fourteenth, Sixteenth, Twenty-Fifth, and other organizations. A number of those who first entered Washington City, and who are now known as the "First Defenders," re-entered the service in the Forty-Eighth Regiment, nearly all attaining the rank of commissioned officers."

Within just two months, 1,010 men volunteered to serve in what became the 48th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry.

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In the weeks ahead--as we continue to commemorate the Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War--I will be posting biographical information on each of the above-mentioned men who recruited companies for the 48th, as well as the original field and staff officers. I will also be describing further their enlistment into Federal service and their first few weeks in uniform. Full rosters of each of the companies, with descriptions of each soldier, will also be provided.