Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Civil War Letters of Private Daniel E. Reedy: Company E, 48th Pennsylvania Infantry


Sometimes really strange things happen. . .

Early last year--during those cold, cold late winter days of 2016--I received an email from a Mr. Thomas Golden who had read an article of mine published in February 2016 issue of Civil War Times. The article told of the discovery of a cache of documents, muster rolls, requisitions, and so on, once belonging to Captain William Winlack, the commanding officer of Company E, 48th Pennsylvania Infantry. The Winlack papers had quite literally been rescued from a dump heap; discovered inside an old wooden table-top desk during the demolition of a dilapidated building in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. I told of this remarkable discovery in that article, entitled Treasure in a Coal Patch Town. Mr. Golden read the article with much interest and reached out to me because he had himself just recently come into possession of a collection of Civil War letters. . .

A Sampling of Reedy's Letters


. . . and not just any collection of Civil War letters but the letters of a soldier who just so happened to serve in Captain Winlack's Company E, 48th Pennsylvania. 

Like I said. . .sometimes strange things happen. So strange it is difficult to attribute it simply and purely to coincidence. 

I could hardly believe the email I was reading. Of the more than two million soldiers who served in Union blue, I thought, this gentleman just so happened to come into possession of letters written by one who served in Winlack's Company E, 48th PA. In my article on Winlack I stated my wonder about what else could possibly be out there...what other treasures that are tucked away in attics or in shoe boxes under beds. As it turned out, I did not have long to wait for an answer, for here were letters--over 100 of them--never before published that were discovered, said Mr. Golden, by an acquaintance who was remodeling a home in Donaldson, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. 


The letters were written by Private Daniel Emmanuel Reedy, a twenty-year-old laborer from Donaldson who, in December 1861, volunteered his services. He was mustered into Company E and served for the next two-and-a-half years with the 48th Pennsylvania, campaigning in North Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Reedy was captured in August 1862 just prior to the 2nd Battle of Bull Run and confined briefly at Libby Prison. Exchanged, he returned to the 48th in time to participate in the Battle of Fredericksburg. Reedy next traveled with the regiment out west, first to Lexington, Kentucky, and then the mountains of eastern Tennessee. Returning to Virginia prior to the commencement of the bloody Overland Campaign, Reedy survived the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and North Anna, but fell mortally wounded--pierced by at least seven bullets--on June 3, 1864, at Cold Harbor. 

Mr. Golden very kindly allowed me to transcribe Reedy's many letters, which, of course, allowed me the opportunity to discover more not only about this young man from Donaldson but also more about the 48th Pennsylvania Infantry itself. Included with Reedy's letters was his 1864 diary, which contained a number of images. Unfortunately, none of the images were identified. There was one image, however, of a soldier wearing the uniform of a private--the others were officers, both commissioned and non-commissioned. I could not say for sure, of course, but if any of the soldiers shown in the images was Reedy, then it was likely the soldier in the private's uniform. 


The 1864 Diary of Daniel E. Reedy
Contained in the diary were the following unidentified images. . . 



Unidentified Private
Is this an image of Daniel Reedy?
It is likely but we cannot know for sure. . .

Unidentified Officer 


Unidentified Sergeant


Unidentified Officer 




The letters, the diary and the photographs, are incredible and their discovery yet another remarkable find--especially considering that my article on Winlack had just, literally, been published when Mr. Golden came into possession of these items, and considering further that Reedy just so happened to have served under Winlack's command! The letters are in great condition, clearly passed down with love and care until tucked away at some point, only to be later discovered during the renovation of that home in Donaldson. Amazingly and interestingly enough, all the envelopes were also kept and preserved, which is something one does not often see. 

I wrote to Dana Shoaf, editor of Civil War Times, about this amazingly coincidental discovery and he asked me to do a follow up story, which appeared in the February 2017 issue. The article, entitled Repulsing the Rebs in Fine Style told of the discovery of these letters and of Reedy's service record, including his horrific death at Cold Harbor. Believing all the letters needed to be seen and published, however, I asked Mr. Golden just last week if I can post them on my blog. He very generously and very kindly agreed. 

I am thus proud to say that the complete collection of Daniel Reedy's Civil War letters--over 100 in all, chronicling his experienced from December 1861 to May 1864--are now available as a Page on this blog. The link to the letters can be found under the blog's title banner on the home page or by clicking here.

I cannot thank Mr. Golden enough for allowing me to publish Reedy's letters, though he did very rightly request that they not be used for any commercial reason or for any publication without first getting his permission. 



Wednesday, March 8, 2017

5,507 Miles: The Civil War Experiences and Diaries of Captain Francis D. Koch, Company I, 48th Pennsylvania Infantry

Captain Francis D. Koch and his wife Mattie
(Courtesy of Ronn Palm/Museum of Civil War Images)


Oliver Bosbyshell remembered quite vividly the moment when Francis Koch was shot. 

It was at the Battle of Fredericksburg, on December 13, 1862, and more than thirty years later, in his history of the 48th Pennsylvania, Bosbsyshell was sure to include a mention of it, so vivid an impression did it sear into his mind. In discussing the regiment's actions that Saturday at Fredericksburg Bosbyshell wrote of what he labeled as the "rather singular circumstance" of seeing Koch struck down. He recalled that as the fighting was winding down, he saw Koch and Captain Henry Pleasants standing next to one another, talking, when, in a flash, a minie ball struck Koch in the chest, "and came out his back passing through the rolled blanket he had slung over his shoulder." Serving all four years and rising to the rank of major himself, Bosbyshell saw many a man shot down on many a different field. But what made this one different, at least as Bosbyshell explained, was the fact that his eyes at that very moment had "just happened to rest upon the exact spot where the bullet made its egress from the blanket," and he remembered with perfect clarity seeing the "separation of fibers [of the blanket] as the bullet passed out," before he even knew or realized that Koch had been hit. It was a serious wound, for sure, though not a mortal one. 

"Fortunately," concluded Bosbyshell, "the bullet did not end Koch's life." 

That life had begun twenty years earlier, in the summer of 1842, near McKeansburg, Pennsylvania, in the rich agricultural districts of southeastern Schuylkill County. His early childhood was seemingly spent on the family farm, for in the spring of 1861, when he responded to his country's call and volunteered to fight, he listed his occupation as "Farmer," though by then his place of residence was Auburn, some ten miles south and west of McKeansburg. The United States had been rent asunder by civil war, and Koch, like so many others his age, decided to leave his home and family and take up arms in defense of the country. He served first in Company F, 5th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, having enlisted on April 20, 1861, less than a week after President Abraham Lincoln's first call-to-arms. The 5th was a three-month unit and in late July, it was mustered out of service. Koch, for his part, had entered as a private but was discharged as a sergeant. One month after returning home and just a few days before his nineteenth birthday, Francis Koch enlisted once more, this time signing up under Captain John Porter, whose company would soon become Company I, 48th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. He was mustered in as a sergeant and, physically, was described as having a Light Complexion, Blue Eyes, and Brown Hair. At 5'10" in height, he stood among the tallest soldiers in the entire regiment. 

Koch served with Company I, 48th Pennsylvania, until the regiment's discharge in the summer of 1865. He remained a sergeant for most of that time, but on March 16, 1864, with the regiment being recruited back up to full strength and just prior to the outset of the bloody spring campaign in Virginia, he was promoted from Sergeant to Second Lieutenant to First Lieutenant. Surviving the horrors that was the Wildnerness, and the hell that was Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, and Petersburg, Koch was ultimately promoted to captain following the death of Benjamin B. Schuck in the trenches of Petersburg. 

On December 1 of that year, the soldiers of Company I presented Koch with a "very handsome sword, sash, and belt." A ceremony was held, and Private Charles Wagner, selected by the members of the company to formally present the gifts to the flattered captain, spoke  "Sir: I have been selected by the members of Co. I to present to you, in their behalf, this sword, sash and belt, and however I may feel my utter incompetency to fulfill the task assigned me I still know that perhaps no one feels more the deep responsibility resting upon me, in giving vent and free expressions of the entire sentiments of the company, which is honored by your commanding; yes, we are proud to say our commander, and we have long as we do now, looked on you with pride, knowing you by long experience, to be well tried and trustworthy. And when such a feeling exists you can feel well satisfied that whenever duty calls we will follow." 

Captain Koch was touched by the sentiments and responded that he was perfectly surprised by the occasion. "A sword as a token of your respect is far more than I ever expected; I am at a loss for words to express myself in a manner no doubt that you expect me to respond. I feel that I am incapable to delivering an oration at a time like this, on such an occasion being entirely unprepared; however, I hope that I may be prepared at a time more trying than this, when I may not lack the courage as your commander, to lead you forth in battle to brave every danger, be it ever so great, that you may achieve a glorious victory, in conquering your enemy, whereby we would connect that link so long broken. I trust that in studying to promote your honor, I may insure my own, and never bring the gray hairs of your doting parents with sorrow to their graves by a disgraceful or cowardly act of mine, which would give you a reason in after years to curse the hour you honored me with this sword, the esteem and respect of noblemen, tried and true soldiers. I am well pleased to learn from the expression of those who I have the honor of addressing, that you are satisfied with what you have done in presenting me with this gift, which I fully appreciate. My greatest pleasure is in knowing that its donors are safe and contended, and that I have done my duty as your commander, in caring for your welfare, and that of our country. For this honor you have bestowed upon me in presenting this sword, sash and belt, accept my fervent thanks with that only hope that I may never sheath it disgraced.” Following Koch's remarks, the company gave three cheers for its "noble commander." Captain Francis D. Koch remained in command of Company I through the duration of the war and on July 17, 1865, was mustered out of service. 


Francis Koch's Handmade 9th Corps Badge


Koch had taken ill in mid-September 1862 and was sent to Harwood Hospital to recover. While recuperating, it appears that he was able and well enough to serve as a nurse in the hospital, no doubt helping to relieve the sufferings of those who fell at Second Bull and at Antietam. By early December he had returned to the 48th only to be shot down and seriously wounded at Fredericksburg, as related by Bosbyshell. The bullet that wounded Koch, though, did not enter his chest as Bosbyshell assumed. Rather, it struck his left clavicle, fracturing it, then passed diagonally downward, exiting his back near the 2nd dorsal vertebra and grazing the spine. On its way out, the bullet tore through the blanket slung across his back, which Bosbyshell so vividly remembered. Taken first to a field hospital, Koch eventually found himself back in a D.C. hospital before going home to Auburn to better recuperate under the care of the family physician. 

After the war, Koch settled down to family life. On January 17, 1865, having taken leave from the army, he married Martha Jane Huff, whom he referred to lovingly at Mattie. The couple would have four children survive to adulthood: Allen, (b. 1868), Howard (b, 1873), Benjamin (b. 1875), and George (b. 1875). Sadly, the couple's only daughter, Minnie (b. 1870) died in childhood. Departing Schuylkill County for presumably better opportunity, the Koch family moved to the suburbs of Philadelphia, settling first in Manayunk and then finding a more permanent home in Conshohocken. It was there where Francis and Mattie celebrated their Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary in 1915 and it was there, two years later, on December 5, 1917, where Francis Koch passed away at age 75. 




* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


The Diaries and Journals of Francis D. Koch 
(Hoptak Collection) 


A number of years ago, I was fortunate enough to come into possession of items that once belonged to Captain Koch, including his 9th Corps badge, the diaries he kept during the conflict, as well as other journals and papers he kept afterward. Included among the collection was a clipping from the Miners' Journal of December 14, 1864, which related the presentation of the sword he received from his company. Among his post-war items, is a small booklet--or journal--that he used to begin writing what seemed to be a history of the 48th Pennsylvania. He wrote a Preface, including an overview of the regiment's service record, as well as rosters of each of the ten companies. There was no real narrative, though, so I am not sure if Koch just never did get around to completing it. Nevertheless, in the back of this little journal are a number of pages that list nothing but the regiment's "Arrivals and Departures" and "Distances" traveled throughout his time in uniform. At the end, Koch tallied up that he and the regiment had covered no fewer that 5,507 miles. 

Below are a few pages of this journal: 

Departures and Arrivals--1861-1862
Distances Traveled (1863)

Total Miles Covered By 48th Pennsylvania 



The diaries Captain Koch during the war are also largely incomplete; the entries for many months, for example, are empty. When he did record his thoughts, they were rather short and to-the-point, which was common, especially since the diaries themselves were so small and did not permit for much text. His entries covering the Fredericksburg Campaign do include a rather abrupt mention of his injury:  

Thursday, December 11, 1862:
Today our men shelled and took Fredericksburg Virginia
Friday, December 12, 1862:
This morning we entered Fredericksburg we were under shell all day
Tonight we are in town
Saturday, December 13, 1862:
This morning we went into battle. I fired 45 rounds and then fell with a shot in the shoulder. 




The most thorough and most descriptive of all of Koch's diary entries pertain to the opening of the 1864 Overland Campaign, particularly May 1864, which was a devastatingly bloody month for the 48th. During this time, Koch served as the company's First Lieutenant and did his best to record his impressions and thoughts of this sanguinary month. But then, again abruptly, the entries stop on May 20, and are not resumed. 

Below are the transcribed entries for the spring of 1864 from Koch's diary, published here for the first time, and using Koch's own spelling. They recount the regiment's activities and actions from its camp at Annapolis, Maryland, through the Wilderness, to the blood-stained fields of Spotsylvania, Virginia.  



April 27th 1864
This morning we formed line at 10 A.M. and marched a ½ of a mile and rested but afterwards made a right start. Gen Burnside rode through the camp of the corps this morning and was cheered by thousands as he rode on. Lt. Helms’ Mess and ours formed one this morning. We arrived at Fairfax this evening at 6 P.M. and encamped for the night. I noticed the colored troops out drilling as we passed their camp. I nearly pittied them having to march all day and drill in the dark after they camp. In the evening Lt. Helms, Capt. Schuck and myself went to town to the sutlers, and returned to camp by abt. 11 P.M. There are 1500 troops stationed here under command of Brig Gen Tyler

Army of the Potomac
April 28, 1864
This morning we left camp at 6 A.M. Just before leaving Camp we received a mail which contained three letters for me, one from Sister Hattie, one from Kate M. Huff, her Cart de Visit enclosed, & one from My Dear Mattie.

April 29th 1864
This morning we struck tents at 7 A.M. formed line marched a few paces stacked arms, and rested. While we were resting I sat down along side of an empty Cracker box and on the top of it wrote a letter to Dear Mattie. I was relieved on Guard this morning by Lieut. Joseph Edwards.
We fooled around here for nearly all day and _____ succeeded in getting a camping ground in top of a high hill near Bristoe Station. The Reserve Corps was all moved to the front and we relieved them to guard the rail road from here to Exander [Alexandria?] Virginia. The Reserves were not pleased by the movement.

Bristoe Station VA
April 30th 1864
This morning I succeeded in sending away the letter to Mattie that I wrote yesterday. This morning Capt. went on Picket duty and every thing was left in my hands to fix up, I was as busy as a bee all day writing and making out our pay Rolls. We were mustered by Col. H.C. Pleasants at 3 P.M. every thing passed off very nicely. The weather has been very nice during the forenoon but in the afternoon it rained every now & then. Troops are passing here every day on the cars to the front. This evening I received a notice the Private Lewis Garber of our Company died in Div No. 2 U.S. General Hospital Annapolis MD on the 23rd past of typhoid fever.

Bristoe’s Station
May 1st, 1864
This has been a beautiful day. We had an inspection of company this morning and Services by the Chaplain at 2 P.M. at dress parade we had a prayer by the Chaplain.
In the evening Lt. Edwards, Capt. Bosbyshell, Doc Blackwood several others and myself met at Doc’s tent to organize a choir we sang several pieces very well and all passed the evening amusing ourselves very much. Trains have been passing all day with troops going to the front to reinforce Gen Grant.

May 2nd, 1864
Bristoe Station
This morning I received two letters, one from Brother Jerry and one from Cousin man Reed. I wrote a letter to Sister Hattie and one to the Miners’ Journal in regard to the deaths of two of our men. In the evening it began to rain and storm still continues. 9 P.M. I retire

May 3rd, 1864
B. Station
This morning we have clear but cold weather. I took the company out on drill this morning. When I came in the Capt handed me a letter from My Dear Mattie which could not well be more interesting than it was. I answered it immediately writing her a letter of 8 Pages.
This afternoon we had Company or rather Regimental drill by Col. Pleasants. I was in command of Co. K. I got along very well. This afternoon and evening we were busey all the time at packing up our things ready to leave. During the day we received marching orders to be ready to move if called on. The men received Six days’ Rations this afternoon. 3 Day to be coocked in haversack, and 3 in knapsacks.

May 4th,1864
Camp In The Field
This morning we left camp at 9 A.M. and moved pretty briskly. We had a very hard march during the day. We marched 14 miles. The weather was beautiful it was pretty warm but a nice cool breeze continued to blow the whole day long. This morning Col. J.K. Sigfried bid the Regt. farewell. He made a short speech after which we gave him three Hearty cheers. We regret to part with such a noble commander as he has been. He takes command of colored Brigade in the 4th Division of our Corps (9th) Before leaving I received two letters from Brother Allen the other from My Dear Mattie. God bless her noble heart and make her a future a happy one. I wrote two letters to day. One to Brother Jerry to other to Cousin Man Reed. We sleep under the Guide off an Almighty Providence to night.
On the march during the day I made good use of my time by reading the Travels & Adventures of Capt. GrantSpeekes [?] which was indeed very interesting. The Army of the Potomac in front is said to have mooved at midnight last night across the Rapidan River. Success to Grant & his Command.

May 5th, 1864
This morning we left camp at 5 ½ A.M. and marched pretty fast during the day until 6 P.M.  We have marched over the Rappahannock and Rappidan Rivers and now encamp for the night in the woods on this side of the Rappidan River about 4 miles. We cross the River at Jamimaks [?] Bridge but on a pontoon we constructed and layed across. The enemy are not far from us this Evening when we stopped to encamp our artillery was engaged then pretty hot with the enemy. We came about 15 miles today.

May 6th, 1864
Camp in the Front
During the last night we were not allowed to make a bed but were obliged to lay down with out anything to lay on or cover us with. I did not get any sleep by the orders we had to obey. This morning we left at 3 O’clock marched about 2 miles and then found ourselves in the midst of ___ enemy but in their front. I was sent out on our right with 150 men to form a line of skirmishers to watch any flank moovements the enemy would undertake to make. I soon came in contact with the Picket line of the enemy I ordered my men to forward at once. They did so. The enemy charging on us at two different times but I repulsed them on bouth _________. We drove them about 4 hundred yards and kept then at bay from daylight this morning untill 3 P.M. when I was relieved by the 1st Michigan Sharpshooters. I then marched over 2 miles ere I got to may Regt. I joined it while under a heavy fire of infantry. The fighting has been very hard on all sides and the loss very heavy. Our Regt. is now on Picket line on the left 9 P.M. We lost Gen. Wadsworth today. He was shot through the head. Thomas Yerks, Co. G, 51st N.Y.V. wounded today in both legs.


May 7th, 1864
Still on Picket on this Morning at a place called the Wilderness via 5 miles Chancellorsville & 15 miles from Fredericksburg. We remained on Picket till 4 P.M. when we were relieved by the 2nd Brig of the 2nd Division and then we marched out into the open field where we lay until 7 P.M. During the day we were skirmishing with the Enemy in front of us continually. Yesterday our Regt. charged the enemy in the two day fight we lost 4 men killed and 7 wounded. The loss in bouth armies was very heavey during the day we flanked the enemy on the left and in all it is supposed we beat them. The Enemy have been Retreating all day. In the forenoon they charged on Old Benjamins Battery which resulted in very heavey loss on their Side. Benjamin paid them the same compliment he did at Knoxville, Tennessee, November 29th 1863. I presume they will not be apt to forget him supported by the 9th Army Corps. The enemy’s force is said to have been 80,000 men on the 5th Inst. & Commanded by Generals A.P. Hill, Longstreet, Ewell, and the Great Gen. Lee. Today I read while at leizure the Life of Minnie the Child of the Wreck

May 8th, 1864
Camp at Chancellorsville
This morning we left the Wilderness and marched to this camp where we encamped once more for the night. The first time for the last three nights it was quiet. A curiosity to sleep in a tent once more. About 4 A.M. I was ordered (after we had marched 5 miles and stopped to Camp) to go two miles further on with a detail from each Company to draw 4 days rations and cook them which was all done very nicely and in the Evening brought up to the Regt. Col. Pleasants formed the Regt into a Square and told us that the Enemy were in full retreat towards Richmond as fast as they could travel and two corps of ours driving them like forty.

May 9th, 1864
Camp Near Fredericksburg
This morning we ran around untill 9 A.M. when we formed line & Stacked arms for about an hour. The order came then to march and we were Soon on the road. We marched back & forwards untill dark then pulled out at double quick for about 2 miles to catch up with the other troops. We marched untill 12 Oclock and then Camped for the night. The day has been a beautifull one. The 2nd & 5th Corps have been fighting all day near Spottilvania Court house. we Camped within 3 miles South East of Fredericksburg for the night. About 6 P.M. we passed the 2nd provisional Regt. of the 112th Pa. V. Artillery and Camped. I met 3 good Friends, David Blair, James Reed, & M. Huff all of Pottsgrove & vicinity. The latter is an Uncle to Mattie J. Huff. Gen. Sedgwick is reported to have been killed this morning by a ball from the Enemy.

May 10th, 1864
In the morning the Sun is very warm. We lay still in camp until 3 P.M. when we again packed up our things and soon formed line after which we received orders to forward and we did forward for about 6 miles and finnally found ourselves on the extreme left in line of Battle and under a very heavey fire of Shell from the Enemy. We are now laying on the advance on Picket line.

May 11th, 1864
Still in front throwing up intrenchments this morning right in front of the Enemy. We held this post untill dusk and then we fell back for about 1 ½ miles and at 8 P.M. we advanced forward again and lay in other intrenchments within about ½ miles of those we made. Col. Pleasants Send me out on the advance with a detail to find a line of Battle and Skirmishers of ours reported in front. I advanced a ¼ of a mile but could not find any thing. I then formed a line of Skirmishers or rather a Picket line which I held until 1 Oclock in the morning when I was relieved by a detail of the 14th N.Y. heavey artillary. I fell back to the Regt. 4 wounded in the Regt to day. Missing to day W.F. Scheerer.

May 12th, 1864
At 4 A.M. our whole division mooved forward and drove the Enemy about a mile. We lay in line of Battle fighting the Enemy untill 2 P.M. when our Regt. and the 17th Vermont charged the enemy but were repulsed with a heavey loss and were obliged to fall back about halfway where we Soon threw up Rifle Pits and Kept ___ position under a heavey fire, during the day our loss was 26 killed 88 wounded and 19 missing out of Regt. Lt. Jackson of Co. G was among the killed our Company had one Killed an 9 wounded and 5 missing. I got through very safe to day. I had my sword strap shot off. About 100 of the Enemy came in and gave themselves up. We whipped the Enemy pretty well during the day their loss is much heavier than ours. The 2nd Corps drove the Enemy on our Right capturing 8000 prisoners and 13 pieces of artillary. Among the Prisoners was Gens Steuart & Johnson. William Henn was wounded through the right breast very seriously afterward shot himself. Simon Hoffman wounded in Ankle. Henry Shultz wounded in right side and Arm, all from Auburn, All members of Co. K
Casualties of Co. I
Killed H.J. Ege
Wounded D. Klase, F. Boner, C. Lindemuth, J. Brown, C.W. Horn, Wm. Tyson, J. Ongstadt, M. Dooley, C. Delong, W. Knittle

May 13th, 1864
We are still laying in front this morning in our intrenchments and are determined to hold our ground. During last night the enemy tryed our line on the extreme left but were repulsed about about 1 Oclock. To day they charged on the 36th Mass Vol. but were repulsed with a very loss. We have been skirmishing with the enemy all day long. No regular engagement was brought on during the day. We had three men wounded in the Regt. to day. During to night the Rebs charged our left 4 times in Succession and were repulsed every time without severe loss.
Missing since the 6th
B. McArdle & W.F. Bierley

May 14th, 1864
Our Regt is still in the intrenchments in front keeping up a continual Skirmish fire with the Enemy all day. We lost no men to day. Lt. Schnerr returned to day from Washington. He reports Richmond in our possession. The 2nd Corps came from off the right to reinforce us to day. They are now laying in mass in our rear. This Evening Capt. Frank Leib came over to See us this evening. He belongs to the 116th PA V. Irish Brigade of the 2nd Corps. He reports the Orderly Sergt of Capt. Wellington Jones Company wounded. Kline is his name a school teacher from Auburn.
2nd Lt. Frank Sterner of the 51st Pa V. was killed on the 12th inst.

May 15th, 1864
We are still laying in the intrenchments in front. During the forenoon the 2nd Corps moved to the front on our right and intrenched themselves. It still continues to rain. This is now the 5th day that it has been raining bouth day & night, during which time we have been exposed to it all times and as wet as drowned cats, laying in the mud without any blankets or shelter of any kind untill this evening we built up a barricade (The Captain and I) and by good luck favoring us we got hold of several gum blankets and one piece of tent with which we made a shelter and a bed for the night. About noon to day the enemy fired several shells into and over us without effect. Our Artillary soon answered them and in short all was quiet accept an occasional Shot from the intrenchments. One man of Co. H was wounded through the neck this Afternoon. I sent a short note to my Dear Mattie this afternoon.

May 16th, 1864
This morning Gen Burnside had all the troops wakened in the Rifle Pitts at 3 ½ Oclock, to be prepared for an attack from the Enemy. Lt. Col. Pleasants reduced Theodore Pletz to the Ranks this morning for absenting himself from the Battlefield without Authority. Corp. James McReynolds was promoted in his place to the Rank of 5th Sergt. This forenoon I sent a word or about 15 words to Mattie and in the Afternoon I wrote a pretty long letter to Hattie and one to Father. During the afternoon Lt. Col. Pleasants read orders from Gen Grant or rather official dispatches viz. that 24700 reinforcements were on they way to join us from Washington City by way of Aquia Creek, further that Gen Butler has taken the outer works of Fort Darling and our Cavalry force under Gen Scheridan has taken the outer works of Richmond whipped Steuart cavalry and cut the communication off from Lee’s Army from Linchburg western Virginia. Gen Thomas has whipped the enemy and drove them beyond Dalton which is in Georgia.

May 17th, 1864
We are still in our old place. Things have been pretty quiet all day. The re-enforcements came up today. Two regiments were engaged on our right for a short time this evening.  Sgt. Allebach wounded slightly in head to day.

May 18th, 1864
This morning at 2 A.M. we were relieved by the 58th Mass Vol. and our Regt moved further ahead and held a line there until 2 P.M. when we received orders to fall back relieve the 58th Regt and take our old position. We did so in good order. One division of the 2nd Corps mooved forward and attacked the enemy. They drove the Enemy and took their front line of intrenchments but could not go and further it being too hot in front of the Enemy’s batterys for us. They are very strongly fortified. Our forces Captured 500 Prisoners, but fell back to their former positions. John Huntzinger from Auburn died yesterday of a wound received on the 12th. Christian Seward wounded slightly in the head to day. Sergt. McReynolds with his Pioneirs buried in front of our Pitts (43) Rebels they have been laying dead Since the 12th inst. and have turned perfectly black. A Colonel was among them.
Lt. Col. Pleasants threatened to send Lt. Sticter to the rear under Guard for Allowing a man near him to ___ ship within 15 yards of the Rifle Pitts this Afternoon.

May 19th, 1864
I received three letters to day. One of the 8th inst. from Mattie and one from the 12th Inst from Mattie the other was dated the 3rd inst and from Cousin M.C. Deibert. This mail I received about 4 P.M. and at 6 P.M. I received three more. One dated the 1st one the 3rd inst. bouth from My Dear Friend Mattie the third I opened was dated 1st Also and was from Mary Conrad ____ ____ She had inclosed which I think a very good Copy of the original.
This morning at One Oclock our Corps left our Rifle Pitts and marched untill 3 Oclock toward the left during which time we marched about 4 miles and then layed down in a clear field and slept untill 6 in the morning when we fell in and stacked arms until 9 A.M. when we again moved off to the left a mile or more and rested there until 6 P.M. when we the right wing were sent out on Picket Guard we relieved the 14th Delaware Regt. and the 170th New York. Bouth Regts belong to the 2nd Corps, 3rd division.
Our position is rather a critical one the line runs about 3 miles west of the corps to the Ny River and we had no reserve to fall back on. In the early part of the evening Gen Eual tryed to capture our wagon train with his corps but we happened to be on hand with three Brigades of the 5th Corps under Gen Birney who fought Johnny for a short time and gave them a complete whipping and drove them off again.

May 20, 1864
Camp on the

[Here the Diary ends]    



Tuesday, February 14, 2017

"No Greater Tribute Could Have Been Paid To This Venerable Old Veteran:" The Funeral of Thomas J. Reed, One of the Last Surviving Veterans of the 48th Pennsylvania Infantry



A Horse-Drawn Hearse Carries The Remains of Civil War Veteran Thomas Reed
Around the Square in Orwigsburg, Pennsylvania July 1938

(Courtesy of Mr. Bob Fisher) 

Thomas J. Reed was among the last surviving veterans of the 48th Pennsylvania Infantry. Indeed, of the more than 1,800 men who served in the regiment, Reed outlived all but a small handful. The regiment's last surviving soldier was Charles Washington Horn, who passed away in the summer of 1941 at the age of 94. Reed, who incidentally served alongside Horn in the ranks of Company I, passed away three years earlier, in July 1938 at his home in Orwigsburg, Pennsylvania. I grew up in Orwigsburg and whenever I walked around the cemeteries in my hometown, I was sure to visit the grave and pay my respects to Thomas Reed, whose remains were interred in the Salem Evangelical Cemetery along Franklin Street. Even as a young kid I had a hard time believing that Reed--a Civil War soldier--had lived that long. 1938, after all, was just forty years before I was born and just one year before the movie The Wizard of Oz came out, as well as Gone With The Wind. My dad's parents were in their late twenties that year, while my mom's parents were in middle school. It didn't seem that long ago. . .but, indeed, it was so, and seeing the date 1938 on Reed's grave always served to remind me just how recent an event the American Civil War was--and still is. 


Private Thomas Reed
Company I, 48th Pennsylvania Infantry
(Courtesy of Mr. Ronn Palm and the Museum of Civil War Images) 
Reed was born in Orwigsburg ninety-two years earlier, on January 26, 1847, the son of  Elijah and Anna Linder Reed. His obituary in 1938 maintained that Reed had enlisted upon the outbreak of war in April 1861--at the age of 14!--and that he had survived 23 "major" battles. The regimental records, however, reflect that Reed instead entered the service on the much more believable date on February 11, 1864, just a few weeks after his seventeenth birthday. Upon his enlistment, Reed stood 5'5" in height, had a Light Complexion, and Brown Hair. He gave his occupation as Farmer. Young Private Reed did see horrific combat during his seventeen months in the uniform of the 48th, at such places as the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, North Anna, Cold Harbor, and during the hellish nine-month siege of Petersburg. Records indicate that he was, in fact, wounded at Cold Harbor and that he had been captured by the Confederate forces at Petersburg, during the regiment's final battle of the war on April 2, 1865. He must have been rather quickly liberated soon after capture for he was back with the regiment when it was disbanded and the soldiers sent home in July 1865. 

Having survived the conflict and his life really just getting started, Reed first made his way to Chicago and thence to Missouri for a time before returning to his native Schuylkill County, settling in Girardville where he married Mary Jane Hendricks. Reed would soon find his way back to his native Orwigsburg, however, where he assumed ownership of Moyer's Hardware Store, a position he held until his retirement at age 75. Still, he remained busy as a both a storekeeper and a tinsmith in his retirement and was an active member of his community, holding various offices in Orwigsburg. He had hoped to attend the the 75th Anniversary Ceremony in Gettysburg in early July 1938, but his health was poor and rapidly failing. The end came on July 23 of that year, a Saturday. He left behind a son, Guy Thomas Reed, two daughters--Anna Jane Reed Miller and Amy Reed Zimmerman--nine grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. 


Thomas Reed's Obituary in the
Pottsville Republican

Thomas Reed lived a long and a full life and the people of Orwigsburg determined to pay full and just homage to this long-living Civil War veteran. A viewing was held on the evening of Tuesday of July 26, in his home of Market Street in Orwigsburg with an honor guard standing by. "[W]ith beautiful flowers surrounding his casket," reported the Pottsville Republican "the aged veteran received the tribute of hundreds of townspeople." The funeral was held the next day--Wednesday July 27. Reverend Darlington Kulp of Reading and Reverend C.E. Huegel, pastor of St, Paul's Lutheran Church in Orwigsburg, conducted the services at Reed's home. Following the services, the flag-draped casket containing the earthly remains of Reed was removed from his home and placed atop a horse-drawn caisson. And thence commenced a fitting funeral procession through the town of Orwigsburg and around the town's square. After passing around the square, the procession continued south of Liberty Street and then west on Independence to the Salem Evangelical Cemetery. Veterans from community belonging to the Joseph Morrison Post No. 2198 of the V.F.W.--likely veterans of the Spanish-American War or the Great War--served as the pall bearers as well as the guard of honor, color bearers, and color guard. The Orwigsburg Community Band played the funeral march through town and also played "softly" during the grave services. Business in town was suspended for part of the day to allow the people of Orwisgburg to view the funeral and pay their final respects to Thomas J. Reed. "Full Military Honors" were paid to Reed, declared the Pottsville Republican. "Had he fallen in battle no greater tribute could have been paid to this venerable old veteran." 

Several years ago, Mr. Bob Fisher of Orwigsburg shared with my mom and me the following photographs that were taken of Reed's Funeral through the streets of my hometown of Orwigsburg. Certainly anyone from Orwigsburg today or from Schuylkill County, for that matter, can instantly and immediately recognize the town square. Truly, though, these photographs are quite remarkable. After all, when was the last time you saw pictures of the funeral of a Civil War veteran? Especially photographs that also show a glimpse of America in the immediate pre-World War II years? The images of the funeral of Thomas Reed--one of the last surviving veterans of the 48th Pennsylvania Infantry--make it very clear that America's Civil War was truly not that long ago. 








(Thank You to Mr. Fisher for sharing these photographs) 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 




The Grave of Thomas Reed in the Salem Evangelical Cemetery, Orwigsburg
(www.findagrave.com) 


Sunday, December 18, 2016

Henry Jenkins: Born in Wales and Died in Georgetown from Wounds Received at 2nd Bull Run

The Likely Image of Henry Jenkins
Company F, 48th Pennsylvania Infantry
(Courtesy of Mr. Richard  Hammons and 

Mr. RichardJenkins) 
2016 has been quite the remarkable year for me in discovering new accounts and seeing new faces from the 48th Pennsylvania. It began back in January, when I had the privilege of leading descendants of Lt. William Cullen, of Company E, 48th Pennsylvania, on a tour of Antietam. When we arrived near the place where Cullen received his death wound, the family presented me with an image of Cullen, one they had only recently themselves discovered and an image I had never before seen. I told that story here. Soon after this, I received an email from a gentleman who had just acquired a large collection of over 150 letters written by Private Daniel Reedy, also of Company E, 48th Pennsylvania. The letters had been discovered during the renovation of a home in the small, Schuylkill County, town of Donaldson, and, as it turned out, the gentleman who purchased the letters had just finished reading an article of mine that appeared in the February 2016 edition of Civil War Times, which documented the discovery of a desk containing a cache of wartime documents in Silver Creek, Pennsylvania, that all belonged to Captain William Winlack of--you guessed it--Company E, 48th Pennsylvania! How remarkable that this gentleman came across a previously unknown collection of letters from one of Winlack's own soldiers. . .He very kindly allowed me to transcribe them and because of the almost incredible coincidence of this discovery, Dana Shoaf at Civil War Times asked me to write a follow up piece about the Reedy letters, which now appears in the latest (February 2017) edition of Civil War Times. It was not long after this, that I received another email, this time from a gentleman in Minnesota whose ancestor, Thomas Major, fought with the 48th; in what company? Well, yet again, it was Company E! By this point, I was beginning to think the soldiers of Company E were trying to send me some kind of message! Thomas Major was fatally wounded at 2nd Bull Run, which was, in terms of numbers lost, the worst battle of the war for the 48th but I had never before seen an image of any of the 48th's soldiers who were listed among that battle's killed or mortally wounded. That is until I received that email from the gentleman in Minnesota, who sent along not only an image of Major but also some letters and a trove of familial information that allowed me to discover so much about this soldier. That story I told in depth here. And, of course, perhaps most incredible of all was the image I at last saw of Emerguildo Marquiz, who was adopted by the 48th's organizer, James Nagle, while in Mexico, and who had served as a bugler on his staff during the Civil War. An ancestor of Nagle kindly sent me that image and I told that amazing story just a few weeks ago, which you can read here.


While I initially launched this blog (almost ten years ago!) in order to tell the story of the 48th and to pay tribute and honor to its soldiers, it is absolutely amazing how much I have learned and discovered in return. Over the years, so many descendants of soldiers in the 48th have reached out to me and very kindly shared letters, stories...and photographs of their ancestors in the 48th. 

It happened a good bit this past year, and, yes, it happened again...just last week. 

Last Thursday morning, I received an email from a Mr. Richard Jenkins, with the subject line: "Henry Jenkins 48th PA Company F." I could not help but notice that there was that little paperclip there, too, which indicated an attachment. I was thrilled when I saw that it was a photograph of a Civil War soldier, a soldier Mr. Jenkins believed to be his ancestor, Henry Jenkins of Company F, 48th Pennsylvania. I had to admit, I had never seen a hat quite like the one worn by this soldier in this photograph and very few photographs of 48th soldiers that show them wearing their frock coats. What is more, the regimental history records Jenkins as a corporal and there is nothing on the uniform of the soldier in this photograph to indicate that rank. Still, the soldier in the photograph is holding a .53 Enfield, which the 48th carried early in the war, and the name "Henry Jenkins" does appear inscribed upon the back of this image. There were a total of 70 Henry Jenkins who served in the Union army during the Civil War, yet a good number of these 70 served in either the artillery or cavalry, and there a number who served in U.S.C.T. units. Aside from the name inscribed upon the back of the image, Mr. Richard Jenkins had received the image from a relative of his and, what is more, the soldier identified as Henry bears a strong resemblance to an Elizabeth Jenkins, Henry's sister, of whom Richard had a photograph and which he sent along as a side-by-side comparison. This convinced me that despite the hat and the lack of corporal's chevrons, that this soldier identified in the photograph as "Henry Jenkins" was, indeed, most likely Henry Jenkins of Company F, 48th Pennsylvania. I asked Mr. Richard Jenkins if I could share the photograph and Jenkins's story on this blog, and not only he did he say 'yes,' but he also sent along Henry's entire pension file in order for me to better tell his story. 

A Side-by-Side Comparison of Elizabeth Jenkins Jones (1849-1928) and Henry Jenkins Helped Convince Me That The Soldier in the Image Was Most Likely the Henry Jenkins who served in the 48th  
(Courtesy of Mr. Richard Jenkins) 

Henry Jenkins was born at 4:50 a.m. either on the morning of March 17 or March 22 (the dates vary in the records) in the year 1842, in Cardiff, Wales, the son David and Lydia Walters Jenkins, who had been married nearly ten years earlier, on May 11, 1833, in Monmouthshire, in south east Wales. Henry had an older brother named David, who arrived in 1839, and after Henry's birth, Lydia would give birth to another child in 1844, a daughter named Hannah. In November 1849, the family grew once more with the arrival of another daughter, Elizabeth.  "Lizzie" Jenkins was born in Tamaqua, in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, meaning that at some point between 1842 and her birth in 1849, the Jenkins family had immigrated from Wales to the United States.  And by the time the Jenkins's adopted country plunged into civil war, the family had moved from Tamaqua and had settled in Minersville.  

Captain Joseph Hoskings
Company F, 48th Pennsylvania 
(Courtesy Patriotic Order Sons of America) 
In 1861, both Henry Jenkins and his older brother David were employed as coal miners, helping to support the family, which, according to the pension records, was rather destitute. Father David Jenkins was partially disabled and could not find enough work to support the family. Lydia appears to have brought in some income but is was likely the boys who were providing, in some small way, for them. Despite this (or perhaps because of this), and despite having recently arrived in America, Henry Jenkins answered his country's call on August 22, 1861, when he volunteered to serve in the company just then being recruited in Minersville by Captain Joseph Hoskings, This company would soon become Company F, of the 48th Pennsylvania Infantry.  Henry's older brother, David, would also answer the call though he would not enlist until mid-September, By this time, Captain Hoskings's company was at Harrisburg's Camp Curtin so David Jenkins would enlist into the ranks of Company K, 76th Pennsylvania. He would serve for just over a year, before being discharged in November 1862 upon a surgeon's certificate. 

Henry Jenkins was formally mustered into service on October 1, 1861, at Camp Hamilton, near Fortress Monroe, Virginia, and he was mustered in as First Corporal in Company F. I have to wonder, then, if the photograph sent by Mr. Richard Jenkins was taken between then time the company reached Harrisburg and when they arrived near Fortress Monroe, to be mustered in. If so, that might explain why there are no corporal's stripes upon his sleeves. Regardless, when he was mustered into service, Henry Jenkins was nineteen years old, and was described as having a "dark" complexion, hazel eyes, and "dark" hair. He stood 5'4" in height and was, by occupation, a miner. He served faithfully and well in the ranks of Company F, journeying with the regiment from Fortress Monroe, to Hatteras Island, NC, to New Bern, NC, and back to Virginia where, as part of Reno's Division, of the 9th Corps, they joined up with General John Pope's army just then gathering in northern Virginia and preparing for a showdown with Lee and his Army of Northern Virginia. It was during this showdown, which occurred near the old Bull Run battlefield, that Henry Jenkins fell, mortally wounded. On August 29, the 48th Pennsylvania--forming part of Nagle's 9th Corps brigade--attacked a portion of Confederate General "Stonewall" Jackson's line along an unfinished railroad cut in a smoke-filled woodlot. Nagle's men achieved success in driving Jackson's men from their position, but lack of any kind of support enabled the Confederates to rally and soon drive Nagle's men from the cut. During this savage action, the 48th lost over 150 of its soldiers. Among the wounded was Henry Jenkins; he had received a gun shot wound to the groin. Carried from the field, Jenkins was taken to the Union Hotel Hospital in Georgetown, D.C., where on either September 15 or 16 (again, the records vary) he passed away at just twenty years of age, having given his life to the cause of the United States. His remains were buried at the U.S. Soldiers' Home Cemetery (today the U.S. Soldiers' and Airmen's Home Cemetery) in Washington, D.C.  

The Union Hotel Hospital in Georgetown, where Henry Jenkins Died
(Library of Congress) 



The Grave of Henry Jenkins at the U.S. Soldiers' and Airmen's Home National Cemetery
in Washington, D.C. 
(www.findagrave.com) 





Following his death, Henry's mother Lydia successfully applied for a pension and would receive $8.00 a month until her own passing, which came in October 1880. Following the death of his wife, Henry's father, now almost entirely disabled and residing with his daughter and son-in-law in Williamstown, Pennsylvania, would receive Henry's pension. 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

My thanks to Mr. Richard Jenkins for sending along the photograph as well as the pension files, where much of the above information was gathered. Other information came from the regimental history penned by Joseph Gould. 


A Magnified Look At The Likely Face of Henry Jenkins
Company F, 48th Pennsylvania Infantry 







Friday, November 25, 2016

Discovering Emerguildo Marquiz: Mexican. American. Civil War Soldier.




I first came across his name nearly twenty years ago. . . .   




It was in the late '90s and I was back at home during one of my summer breaks from college. One day, I decided to take the short, eight-mile-drive from Orwigsburg to the Free Public Library in Pottsville to see what else I could discover about the life and services of General James Nagle. I already knew much about him--or at least I thought I did. General James Nagle--the house and sign painter and wallpaper hanger who in 1840 raised a volunteer militia company which he subsequently led in the Mexican-American War; General James Nagle--who, during the Civil War, organized and commanded no fewer than four regiments of volunteer infantry--including the 48th Pennsylvania--and who led a brigade at such fierce and fiery battles of 2nd Bull Run, Antietam, and Fredericksburg. General James Nagle--who survived the horrors of war only to die of heart disease at age 44 in 1866 and whose remains lie buried in Pottsville Presbyterian Cemetery. 

Yes, this part of Nagle's story I knew well; all the dates, the regiments, the orders of battle, and so on. So I went to Pottsville that day to see if I could find out more about this man--his family, perhaps, his home life. . . who he was as a person. 

Pulling up a chair in front of one of those massive microfilm reader machines,I began scanning through the records of the 1850 Census. After searching through page after page--after page--I at last found what I was looking for, in the records for Pottsville's Northwest Ward, page 322, the entry for James Nagle and his family. I studied the entries, beginning at "Head of Household" at the top and then reading down the list of those who resided in the household, There was James Nagle, of course, age 28, a painter, with real estate valued at a decent and respectable $1,800; his wife, Elizabeth Nagle, age 29, and then their three children, Emma Nagle--their first born--age 7--five-year-old George Washington Nagle, and one-year-old James Winfield Nagle. But then, to my great surprise, I came across the next name, the next entry in the Nagle family household: Emerguildo Marquiz, age 11, born in Mexico. My curiosity was certainly piqued, and I sat there in silence wondering 'just who in the world was this Emerguildo?' 

Knowing that Nagle had served in the Mexican-American War three years earlier, in 1847, as the commander of a company of Pennsylvania volunteers during General Winfield Scott's campaign from Vera Cruz to Mexico City, I naturally assumed that Nagle had essentially adopted this young child and returned with him to Pottsville where he raised him as one of the family. Naturally, though, I wanted to find out for certain. . .and this led me on a many years' long journey to discover more about  this Mexican-born boy named Emerguildo. 


1850 Census Records for James Nagle and Family
(Joseph Kaercher, also residing in the home, was the younger brother of Elizabeth)


And so I searched. . .
. . .and searched. . .
. . .and searched through all the records, coming up empty most of the time.

The thought crossed my mind that perhaps Emerguildo later served in the Civil War but I knew for a fact that I had never before come across his name while studying any of the rosters for the 48th Pennsylvania. But maybe he served in one of Nagle's other regiments. 

Nagle's first command in the Civil War was the 6th Pennsylvania Infantry, a three-month regiment, which, from April to late July 1861 was assigned to General George Thomas's Brigade in General Robert Patterson's army in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. 

And there, in the ranks of the Llewellyn Rifles, which became Company G, 6th Pennsylvania, I saw it. . .not Emerguildo Marquiz, but an entry instead for an "M. Emrigeuldo." This had to be the same guy, I thought. Convinced now that he had served in the Civil War my next step was to contact the National Archives in Washington and request copies of his service records.  Several weeks later, and hopeful that I had included enough possible variations of spellings for his name, a copy of Emerguildo's file arrived at my door. The records did much more than simply confirm that he did, indeed, serve as a private in the 6th Pennsylvania, for along with his service files for the 6th were those for when he served as a bugler in the 3rd Pennsylvania Cavalry. That was the first I discovered that Emerguildo had also served in the cavalry, and as a company bugler no less. Also in his service records was a letter written by James Nagle--I recognized his handwriting immediately. The letter was dated December 22, 1862, and by then Nagle was a a Brigadier General. "I have the honor to make application to have Emerguildo Marquis, Bugler in Captain White's Company 3rd PA Cavalry, detailed as bugler and orderly, for these Hd. Qrs.," the letter began. "He is a Mexican Boy that I brought along from Mexico. He was with me in the three months service, after that he enlisted in the Cavalry, and he is now desirous of joining me in some capacity, and I only have three mounted orderlies, and need a bugler at Head Quarters to sound the General Calls." 

Nagle's request was granted and Emerguildo became a member of General Nagle's staff. I was struck by the fact that Emerguildo was a bugler. For me, this was most interesting, for the Nagle family was very much musically-inclined. In his younger days, James Nagle was a fifer; his brother Daniel was the drummer of the militia company James had organized and led off to Mexico, and his brothers Levi and Abraham were both musicians who would serve in the regimental band of the 48th Pennsylvania! Music must then have been an important part of the Nagle family upbringing and household. 

I was thrilled with what I had discovered and especially that Emerguildo, whom Nagle had "brought along from Mexico" had served on the general's staff! I was still hoping to find out more, however, but for a long while the trail on Emerguildo went cold. 

And it remained cold for some time. 

Civil War Service "Index Card" for Emerguildo "Marqueese," 3rd PA Cavalry
(Courtesy of Pennsylvania State Archives) 



It was now April 2007...and nearly ten years had already passed since I first came across that name, Emerguildo Marquiz. I was working at Antietam at that time and a very special visitor arrived to meet me at the Visitor Center: Mr. John Nagle, from North Carolina, a great-great grandson of General James Nagle. John and I had been in contact via mail and email for years prior to this, but this was the first time we had ever met. He brought along with him a number of old documents: letters, diaries, et cetera, all related in some way to James Nagle and I was quite simply blown away.  

Included in the collection of paper items he had with him was Emerguildo's original discharge certificate. As I discovered, Emerguildo was discharged from the service on August 24, 1864, upon the expiration of his three-year term in the 3rd Pennsylvania Cavalry. The document also stated that Emerguildo has been born in Mexico, that he was twenty-six years of age, stood 5'1" in height, had a dark complexion, black eyes, and black hair. His occupation? Painter. 

A painter, just like General James Nagle.


John had also brought along a handwritten account of James Nagle's service in Mexico, penned by the general's youngest daughter Kate, which at last answered the question about just where Emerguildo came from and how he ended up in Pottsville with the Nagle family. 


"It was a long sad time for folks at home," wrote Kate, "but great rejoicing when word came that the war was over and the Army was waiting for orders to move; and greater was the joy when a telegram came saying Come to Philadelphia with the children to meet us. . . . A number of the wives of the Soldiers went to Philadelphia to meet their husbands. When they met them, they saw three persons who were not Soldiers, but little Mexican boys about 9 or 10 years of age. They were very small, dark skin, no shoes. . . .They learned to love the Soldiers, and when they broke Camp the little boys followed them (stole their way, so to speak). When they were discovered the Army was miles out of the City of Mexico. They would not go back. They were little orphans, and the Officers took charge of them and landed them at home in Pottsville. Captain [James] Nagle, Lieut. Simon Nagle, and Lieut. Frank B. Kaercher, each took a little Mexican boy to their homes. The one Captain Nagle cared for was, by name, Emerigildo Marquis, known as 'Marium.' He was treated as one of the family. He was sent to school, sent to learn a trade, Jeweler. He was away from home to work, but never forgot the family; he came home very often over the week ends. He lived to be about 45, grew up with the family. He loved Father & Mother Nagle, and the Children all loved him. He died at the Nagle home, about the year 1877."


I could hardly believe what I was reading. It felt like the end of long, long journey to be reading these words, written by General Nagle's own daughter about Emerguildo and confirming what I had initially assumed way back when I first came across Emerguildo's name: that Nagle must have brought him back from Mexico and raised him in Pottsville as one of his own; and now I knew that he must have also taught him music and the painter's trade. For me, it felt like quite the "discovery;" that I at last knew his story. Little did I know that just a few days later, I was to make yet another remarkable discovery about Emerguildo Marquiz. 

Later that same week after meeting with John Nagle at Antietam, I took a trip up to Schuylkill County to visit my family and to gather some photographs of gravestones in Pottsville's Presbyterian Cemetery for a walking tour brochure I was just then putting together.  As I wandered around the graveyard, I came across the grave sites of Daniel and Mary Nagle, General James Nagle's parents, who are buried next to two of the general's sisters, Eleanor and Elizabeth. Two of the four of these Nagle family headstones were knocked over, and a third was severely leaning. So I went home, waited for my dad to come home from work, and my sister from her classes at Lehigh University, and then, with my mom as well, we all grabbed some pry bars and shovels and headed up to the cemetery to do some repair work. We reset the stone that was leaning, lifted up and reset the two that had fallen down. But then I noticed it... at the foot of the grave of Nagle's sister's was a stone that was sunken deep into the ground. My sister started to remove the dirt and grass that was covering the stone, and soon it struck us all. 

There inscribed upon the stone and underneath years of dirt and grass was the name "Emerguildo Marquis." 

I had to sit down for a moment to process all of this. . . 

In one week, in a just a few days, rather, his story was at last told and his grave "found." It's funny how some things work out this way.

As I then learned, Emerguildo passed away in 1880 at the much-too-young age of 42. He was buried along with the rest of the Nagle family, another testimonial to the fact that he was, indeed, considered a member of the family. 


The pictures below show me and my family helping to set the stones at the graves of the Nagle family in the Presbyterian Cemetery. including Emerquildo's.

The "Before" Picture. . .
(See the one at bottom right, buried in the ground?)


The Stone of Emerguildo Marquis
(Buried deep into the ground)





The "After" Picture
(The tall white monument in the background is the final resting place of General James Nagle)




And now, here we are, in November 2016. .  .All of this was nearly a decade ago--reading that account of Emerguildo, locating his grave site. Of course, I wrote about all of this back then when it occurred; for me, personally, it was such an amazing story. I thought then that it had all been told. But still, in the back of my mind, there was another piece of this puzzle missing. 

I could not help but think about what Emerguildo looked like. I naturally wondered if any photographs of Emerguildo existed and I had asked John Nagle on several occasions if he had ever seen any or if any even exist. He indicated that, yes, he believed there was a photograph. . . somewhere. He had seen it before, he was certain. 

He would first have to look and see if he could find it. . .


And then, amazingly, about two weeks ago and out of the proverbial blue. . .I received a message from John: 


He had found a picture of Emerguildo! 


The Soldier on the right is Emerguildo Marquiz; the young man on the left is General James Nagle's son, James Winfield Nagle, who was born in 1849. This photograph was likely taken between August 1861 and August 1864. Emerguildo is rather short (5'1") and appears to be holding gloves in his right hand. (Courtesy of John Nagle)



After all these years. . .nearly twenty of them!...at last a photograph of Emerguildo, at last a chance to finally see what this Mexican-American Civil War soldier looked like.

For someone who has spent over 25 years studying the Civil War, and especially General Nagle, the 48th Pennsylvania, and especially its soldiers, there is nothing quite like a moment like this. 



To Mr. John Nagle. . .thank you!