Saturday, January 18, 2020

Soldier Snapshot: Private Elias Britton, Co. A (1832-1892)


Private Elias Britton
[Hoptak Collection] 


Elias Britton survived two battle wounds as well as a wartime illness, only to die in a work-related accident in 1892. 

* * * * * * * *

Britton served throughout all four years of the Civil War. Mustered into service as a Private in Company A, 48th Pennsylvania Infantry, on September 17, 1861, Britton served with the regiment in all its many campaigns and battles, seeing action in North Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee. His age was listed as 25 years old at the time of his enlistment, however, his grave marker states that he was born in October 1832, which would have made him 29 in 1861. He stood 5'6" in height and was described as having dark eyes, dark hair, and a dark complexion. He provided his occupation as miller, and his residence as Auburn, in Schuylkill County, PA. The regimental records list Britton among the wounded at both the Battle of 2nd Bull Run (8/29/1862), and at the Battle of Petersburg (6/17/1864). Surviving these injuries, Britton was sick in the hospital when the regiment was discharged in July 1865. 

Struck presumably by lead or fragments of iron on the field of battle, it was wood that ultimately killed Britton in a freak work-related accident in May 1892. Working as an engineer at the Hope Brush Factory in Shoemakersville, Pennsylvania, Britton was struck in an abdomen by a wooden plank that was launched through the air from a circular saw. Sadly, the injury was fatal. Elias Britton was not yet sixty years old. His remains were laid to rest in the Odd Fellows' Cemetery, in Tamaqua, PA. 

[From the Harrisburg Independent Daily, 5/21/1892]
The Grave of Elias Britton
Odd Fellows' Cemetery, Tamaqua, PA
[findagrave.com] 



Sunday, October 6, 2019

A Great Discovery In An Antique Store: John Dechant: Sergeant Major, 48th Pennsylvania Infantry

You just never know what you might find. . .

Recently, a friend of mine named Britt was exploring an antique store in Frederick, Maryland. 

Arriving at a stack of old cabinet cards, he examined each one, looking for any names, photographer's mark, and so on.  On the back of one, he saw the name "John Dechant." On front was an inscription of where the photograph had been taken and by whom, "D.W. Boss, Mechanicsburg, Pa."  And so he did an internet search for a John Dechant from Mechanicsburg and up popped a hit. . .a link to a findagrave.com listing for a John Dechant who is buried in Mechanicsburg. And inscribed upon the tombstone: Co. K 48th Regt. Penna. Vol. GAR 

Britt had discovered a post-war image of John Dechant, the Sergeant Major of the 48th Pennsylvania Infantry. And the price for this image, well, just one dollar.  You simply can't beat that. 

A Post War Image of John W. Dechant
Discovered For Just $1 At An Antique Store


Prior to this fortuitous discovery, I had never before seen an image of Dechant, wartime or otherwise and so I was simply thrilled when Britt had sent this along to me.  
Born on February 27, 1841, John Dechant was twenty-years of age when the Civil War broke out. A laborer from the small Schuylkill County town of Cressona, young Dechant decided to volunteer his services and on October 1, 1861, became a member of Company K, 48th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. He stood 5'10 1/2" in height, had a dark complexion, grey eyes, and dark hair.  Dechant must have certainly impressed for, as the war progressed, he advanced in rank until, on June 6, 1865, he became third and final Sergeant-Major of the regiment. He was mustered out of service when the regiment disbanded the following month. 

He moved to Mechanicsburg, PA, at some point during the post-war years, though little is known of him from there.  In May 1875 his name appears--alongside a John Sponslor, who also served in the 48th--in the Carlisle Weekly Herald as having attained a licensed to keep and operated a hotel, restaurant, and serve liquor in Mechanicsburg. He lived on Market Street in Mechanicsburg and one day--it appears as though to be in the 1880s-1890s--donned what appears to be his best grey suit and made his way to the photography studio of D.W. Boss to have his picture taken. 

He passed away at the too young age of sixty, on March 23, 1901, and was laid to rest with full military honors in the Mechanicsburg Cemetery. 

Notice of the funeral of John Dechant
Carlisle Weekly Sentinel, March 27, 1901





Fast-forward some 118 years later to the year 2019, and there was Britt, in that antique store shuffling through a stack of old photographs, and discovering this image of John Dechant, Sergeant-Major of the 48th Pennsylvania Infantry. 

I suppose I, too, will now look more closely at those pictures I sometimes just pass by since as this story illustrates, you never know what you might just find.  .  . 






The Grave of John Dechant
(findagrave.com) 


Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Stabbed To Death In Silver Creek: The Murder Of A Civil War Soldier

If not one of the most tragic, then at least it was one of the saddest stories in the history of the 48th Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry. 

One of its soldiers, at home on furlough, murdered in Silver Creek. 
And it all began, apparently, with an argument over who was a better general: George McClellan, or Ambrose Burnside. . . .

It happened late on a Friday night--February 26, 1864. The war-weary, veteran soldiers of the 48th Pennsylvania Infantry were at home in Schuylkill County, on their month-long regimental furlough. Over the past two-and-a-half years, these tough, seasoned soldiers had campaigned in North Carolina, slugged it out at 2nd Bull Run, Antietam, and at Fredericksburg—the regiment having suffered heavily during each of these sanguinary engagements—and had just recently endured what may have been their toughest trial yet, shivering in the cold, snowy mountains of East Tennessee.  It was there, one month earlier and while the regiment was encamped in those cold, snowy mountains, when the question was asked of the men: would you enlist, again, for another three-year term of service?
With the war still raging and its end still nowhere in sight, the government desperately needed veteran soldiers like those of the 48th whose original enlistments were due to expire in the late summer of 1864. And so the government offered various incentives if these tried and true soldiers agreed to reenlist for a second term of service: a $300 bounty, the designation of ‘Veteran Volunteer,’ and, if at least three-quarters of the regiment decided to re-enlist, the ability for the regiment to retain its numeric designation, meaning the 48th Pennsylvania would continue to exist as the 48th Pennsylvania. 
But maybe most appealing of all, at least to those who hadn’t seen their families in more than two years . . . a thirty-day furlough home.
For many, it was an easy decision. Having already seen the horrors of war, still, they were committed to the cause, and devoted to one another. For others, their decision was to fulfill their original enlistment and then, hopefully, return home after an honorable discharge. The regiment at this point numbered around 400 men. 316 decided to reenlist.
A heroes’ welcome greeted these weary 316 upon their arrival in Pottsville on February 3, 1864. Patriotic music was played, flags were waved, speeches given, and toasts made, as hundreds turned out to welcome back their sons, their husbands, their brothers, and their fathers from the front. A beautiful new stand of colors was presented to the regiment, to replace their torn and tattered flags of '61. After all the fanfare and celebration, the soldiers made their way to their homes. . .
Three-and-a-half-weeks later—and just one week before the regiment was scheduled to depart, once more, for the seat of war—one of these veteran volunteers would be dead; murdered at the home of his sister-in-law in Silver Creek, Pennsylvania.

His named was James Shields and he was about twenty-one, maybe twenty-two-years old. He had enlisted in December 1861 at age nineteen. He was a laborer with blue eyes, auburn-colored hair, and a light complexion. He had survived the worst of the war up to this part, walking away unscathed from the hell of 2nd Bull Run and Antietam, Fredericksburg, and East Tennessee.
But late on that fateful Friday evening, at his sister-in-law's home in Silver Creek, he and a friend—another hard-fighting soldier of Captain William Winlack’s Company E, named David McAllister—found trouble in the form of two men: Patrick Goldey and Peter Curren.
It was about 9:00 p.m. when James Shields and his comrade-in-arms McAllister arrived at Hannah Shields’s home. Once inside, James went into the kitchen while McAllister made his way into the living room. It was there, in the living room, where McAllister “got to arguing politics” with Patrick Goldey. It appears their conversation boiled down to an argument over who was the better general: George B. McClellan or Ambrose Burnside. 
McAllister, Shields, and the rest of the soldiers of the 48th were very much devoted to Burnside, the heavily whiskered, hard luck commander, under whom they had served since their days in North Carolina. It is not known whether Goldey, or Curren had been in the service—though a quick glance through Pennsylvania’s service records does not reveal that they had—but, apparently, Goldey was speaking poorly of Burnside, calling him a “mean man,” and probably some other, worse, things. McAllister would not let the attacks on his corps commander go unanswered. He responded that at least Burnside “did not get on a gunboat like McClellan when fighting was going on,” a reference to the July 1, 1862, Battle of Malvern Hill during which McClellan watched the battle unfold from the decks of a boat in the James River. 1864 was also an election year and McClellan was seen as the likely Democratic Party candidate who would take on Lincoln at the ballot box. Not wanting to argue further with Goldey, McAllister left the living room and went into the kitchen where his comrade James Shields had been. Peter Curren, sometimes known as Hugh Curran, was also there. It is not known what, if anything, was said by or to McAllister when he arrived in the kitchen but, soon after, Patrick Goldey was there, too, in the now cramped kitchen of Hannah Shields's home. 
Seeing Goldey, Curren said, “Paddy, he’s the man that said he’d shoot you,” apparently pointing to, or gesturing at McAllister. McAllister denied the allegation, to which Curren called him a liar. According to McAllister, Curren then reached into the inside pocket of his coat. McAllister put his hand onto the handle of his pistol but decided instead to escape the escalating situation and seek help. He quickly hunched down and made his escape through a window in the kitchen. 
McAllister ran to the nearby home of Henry Donoho’s and returned with him to Hannah Shield’s house, he said, not more than five minutes later. But by then, it was already too late. 
Arriving back at the house, McAllister“found Shields dead in the back kitchen.” He had been stabbed in the heart, repeatedly in the chest, and several times in the abdomen. At the back door of the house lay another man--John Stinson--dead.
McAllister was gone, he said, not more than five minutes. So what happened inside that kitchen after he made his escape?
Hannah Shields later testified that Curren—probably soon after McAllister had escaped through the window and seemingly looking for trouble—told Patrick Goldey that it was instead Shields, and not McAllister, who had said he was going to shoot him. Hannah Shields protested, saying that Curren was lying—that James had said no such thing. Curren and Goldey grabbed a hold of James, holding him down in a stooping position, one of them reaching for Shields’s pistol.  Attempting to defuse the situation, Hannah told James to give her his pistol; he said he would. She reached for it just as Patrick Goldey grabbed it from Shields’s pocket.  Hannah then grabbed Curren, begging the two men--

"for God's sake"--not to kill her brother-in-law. But sadly--tragically--her pleas went unanswered. Curren told her to back off or he would take care of her next. He gave her a shove and, while doing so, hit her on the lip. 


It was in the midst of this melee that James Shields was stabbed to death.
Who stabbed him? Was it Curren? Goldey?

Goldey ran off first, said Hannah, followed closely by Curren.  At this point, another man, John Stinson—an innocent bystander, perhaps, who had heard the commotion in the kitchen and who was on his way to help—was near the back entrance of the house when Goldey and Curren ran off. Hannah Shields saw Curren grab hold of Stinson. He gave him a shove, she said, and told him to get inside. “When I saw him next,” Hannah testified, “Stinson was dead.” He had received a gash to his thigh which severed an artery and the poor man bled to death. The knife used to kill Shields and Stinson was later found; it was “a shoemaker’s knife sharpened down to a keen edge and narrow point.”
Word of the murders spread quickly. Shields was killed at about 10:00 p.m. Within an hour, word of it arrived in Pottsville and Constable Christman immediately obtained a warrant to arrest the men involved.  Christman, with a squad of soldiers belonging to the 1st New York Artillery—who were in Schuylkill County, in part, to suppress striking miners and ensure the coal mines remained in operation, as well as to put down any draft resistance—set off for Silver Creek where they arrested Curren, Goldey, and two other men who were apparently involved, or at least present.
The following afternoon these men appeared before the magistrate who set a trial date for the following week.
At that trial, Curren was found guilty of the crimes and sentenced to just five years in prison. Goldey and the other two men were acquitted of all charges.
A few days after the trial, the veteran soldiers of the 48th departed Pottsville, their month-long furlough having come to an end.  Private James Shields, of course, was not with them; his remains had already been laid to rest in Schuylkill County.  
But departing with his company and his regiment once more was the man who was with Shields that tragic night. 
David McAllister would see much action in the months ahead, at places like the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, and at Petersburg.  He survived the war and was mustered out of service as a sergeant on July 17, 1865. Returning home to Schuylkill County, I could only wonder if the veteran McAllister paid a visit to the grave of his murdered friend James Shields, who had been stabbed to death in Silver Creek. 

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

In all of my years studying the 48th Pennsylvania I have never come across a photograph of Private James Shields. But late last week, arriving in my inbox from out of the proverbial blue, was an image of the man who was with Shields the night he was murdered:  David McAllister. 
Christopher Jordan, a collector of Civil War images, sent me the image, which is a part of his collection. Of course, seeing a "new" face of the 48th is always a special thing for me, but I was particularly struck by this image.  It is McAllister's expression that is most striking. His eyes are piercing and the look on his face is one of pride, determination, and hard work. The brass on his kepi:

 E 
48
PV 


David McAllister
Company E, 48th Pennsylvania Infantry
(Courtesy of Mr. Christopher Jordan) 


David McAllister was one of those guys who was in the war from start to finish. Along with James Shields, McAllister began his Civil War service as a private in the Wynkoop Artillery, a militia company based out of Silver Creek, and one that was formed and led by Captain William Winlack. The Wynkoop Artillery marched off to war on April 22, 1861, and soon formed part of the 16th Pennsylvania Infantry--a three month regiment.  Upon the expiration of this three-month term of service, most of the Wynkoop Artillery enlisted for a three-year term, and their company became Company E, 48th Pennsylvania Infantry. McAllister said he was nineteen years of age when, on August 20, 1861, he signed up to serve under Winlack in the 48th PA. But it would appear that he lied about his age in order to enlist.  According to what is inscribed upon his tombstone, McAllister was born April 4, 1844, making him just seventeen years of age in the summer of 1861. He stood 5'7" in height and was described as having a Light Complexion, Sandy Hair, and Grey Eyes. Like Shields, McAllister was a laborer by profession. He entered the 48th as seventh corporal; by war's end, he was a sergeant.  McAllister's name appears among the "missing" at Second Bull Run but it would seem he soon returned to the regiment following that chaotic fight. David McAllister's life was still just beginning when he was mustered out of service when the regiment was disbanded on July 17, 1865. He died in Coal Township, Northumberland County, on June 25, 1907, at the age of 63, and laid to rest there at Saint Edward's Cemetery. 

It was an amazing thing to see this image of McAllister, a man I had previously 'known' only through the regimental records and as the man who was there the night Shields was killed. For me, his is a "new face" of the 48th. 


I can only hope that perhaps one day an image of James Shields will be discovered. . . 




***Thank you to Mr. Christopher Jordan for sending along his CDV image of McAllister and for letting me use it to tell this story. The details of Shields's murder and the testimonies of David McAllister and Hannah Shields appeared in the March 5, 1864, edition of the Miners' Journal.*** 



David McAllister
(Photograph Courtesy of Mr. Christopher Jordan) 





The Grave of David McAllister
(findagrave.com)

Monday, August 12, 2019

The Last of the 48th: Private Charles Washington Horn

Seventy-eight years ago this week--on August 4, 1941--Charles Washington Horn, the last surviving soldier of the 48th Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry, passed away.  

Charles Washington Horn
Last Surviving Veteran of the 48th Pennsylvania Infantry
[Pottsville Republican, August 5, 1941] 


He had been born some ninety-four years earlier, on March 15, 1847, near Brockton, a small coal town sometimes also called Patterson, midway between Middleport and Tamaqua, in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, the son of Thomas and Mary Magdalena Myer Horn. Although the regimental records indicate that Horn was 18 when he enlisted as a private on February 27, 1864, he was, in fact, still a few weeks shy of his seventeenth birthday, making him one of the youngest soldiers in the 48th.  One account declares that Horn had run away from home in order to enlist. Perhaps he felt the army a more appealing alternative to his work as a slate picker at a local coal mine, where he worked ten-hour days, earning just sixteen cents a day, with half of that wage being deducted for purchases at the company store. At the time of his enlistment, he stood 5'5" and was described as having a "Light" complexion, hazel eyes, and dark hair. Young Private Horn would be thrice wounded during his time in uniform, being shot through both legs and losing a finger during the regiment's actions during the bloody Overland Campaign. Despite these injuries, Horn served for the duration of the conflict, being honorably discharged when the regiment was disbanded and mustered out of service on July 17, 1865. 

Horn returned home to Schuylkill County though would remain there for just a couple more years.  In 1867, the twenty-year-old, wounded veteran left the coal region behind and moved to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where he would live for the rest of his very long life. He became a carpenter and then found employment with the Lehigh Zinc and Iron Company, working there for some forty-two years before the plant moved from Bethlehem to Patterson, New Jersey. He was then pensioned and, at last, settled down. He married Ms. Aravesta Wohlbach and together, the couple would have six children, though two died in childhood. Aravesta passed away in 1911 at age 63 and Charles Horn would remain a widower for the next thirty years. 

Of course, living such a long life, Horn, known affectionately in his later years as "Uncle Charlie," was an active figure in veterans' affairs. He served for a time as commander of the J.K. Taylor Post of the Grand Army of the Republic and was a regular attendee at many of the 48th Pennsylvania's Veteran Reunions, an event held each year in early September. It would appear, though, that he was the only attendee of the regiment's 73rd Reunion in September 1938 and was once again the only attendee to the regiment's 75th (and final) Reunion held in Bethlehem at the Methodist Church in September 1940. 


[Pottsville Republican obituary of Charles W. Horn, August 5, 1941] 


Charles Washington Horn died on Monday, August 4, 1941, at his daughter Mabel's home at 546 Main Street in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Three days later, on August 7, 1941--just four months before the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor--the remains of this Civil War soldier were laid to rest with full military honors at Bethlehem's Nisky Hill Cemetery. 


Of the more than 1,860 men who served in the 48th Pennsylvania during the American Civil War, Charles Washington Horn had the distinction of being the regiment's longest and last surviving veteran. 


The Grave of Charles Washington Horn
Nisky Hill Cemetery, Bethlehem, PA
[findagrave.com] 




Thursday, July 18, 2019

Schuylkill County's African-American Civil War Soldiers: A Roster

The ranks of the 48th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry were composed primarily of Schuylkill County men. So, too, were the ranks of the 96th Pennsylvania, as well as several companies of the 50th Pennsylvania, 129th Pennsylvania, and 7th Pennsylvania Cavalry. Indeed, throughout the four years of America's Civil War, many thousands of Schuylkill County's brave sons, hailing from places like Pottsville and Tamaqua, Port Clinton, St. Clair, Middleport, Cressona, and all the many towns, townships, and coal patches in between, served in Union blue. 


From a USCT Recruiting Poster
"Come and Join Us!"


Included among this number were more than three dozen African-American men who were prohibited from serving in the county's white volunteer regiments but who still proudly served--and bravely fought--in segregated regiments, commanded by white commissioned officers, regiments such as the hard-fighting 3rd United States Colored Infantry (USCI) and the 8th USCI. Two black men from Schuylkill County--James Phoenix and William Haines--served within the ranks of the famed and fabled 54th Massachusetts Infantry, seeing action at James Island and during the regiment's storied assault upon Battery Wagner. Others, like those who served in the 43rd USCI, fought with a fierce determination during the attack upon the Crater. It was there were forty-three-year-old John Cole, a shoemaker from Pottsville, suffered a mortal wound, and where young Jonathan Enty, a twenty-year-old laborer from Tamaqua, went listed as Missing In Action. He would never return and was most likely killed in action. 

Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, had a very small black population on the eve of Civil War. Of the 89,510 men, women, and children counted in Schuylkill County in the Census of 1860, only 357 were identified as either black or mulatto. Of this number, only 92 were black men of fighting age. Still, despite this small number, at least 37 of these men (a remarkable 40%) served in the Civil War, a few of them were drafted or served as substitutes, the majority, however, enlisted as volunteers. 



The names of these soldiers are provided below, along with pertinent biographical information and military data garnered from service records, muster rolls, and other such places. Please note that this list is not exhaustive; there were likely other African-American soldiers who called Schuylkill County home. What follows is simply a roster of all the black Civil War soldiers from Schuylkill County I was able to locate in several sources, including Francis Wallace's Memorial to the Patriotism of Schuylkill County, newspaper accounts, and cemetery records. Some of the information was contradictory; sometimes I could not locate records for a particular soldier, but I tried to gather as much information as I could in an effort to tell their stories, and let their service be known.





Samuel Bartlett
Private
Company B
43rd USCI

Age: 18; Height: 5'6 1/2"; Complexion: Fair; Eye Color: Hazel; Hair Color: Dark
Occupation: Laborer

Enlisted: 4/3/1865 in Pottsville, Pennsylvania
Credited to: Cass Township
Date of Discharge: 5/23/1865 at Camp Cadwalader, Philadelphia
Born: Schuylkill County, PA 
Notes: Mustered Out Of Service by Virtue of War Department General Order 77


Henry Bhular/Buehler
Private
Company B
8th USCI

Age: 45; Height: 5'4 1/2"; Complexion: Black; Eye Color: Black; Hair Color: "Wooly" 
Occupation: Laborer

Enlisted: 3/4/1864 in Pottsville, Pennsylvania
Credited to: North Manheim Township, Schuylkill County
Born: Berks County, PA


Alexander Brown
Private
Company A
24th USCI

Age: 19; Height: 5'4 1/2"; Complexion: Yellow; Eye Color: Grey; Hair Color: Black
Occupation: Teamster

Enlisted: 1/18/1865 in Pottsville, Pennsylvania
Credited to: Tremont, PA
Discharged: 10/1/1865 at Richmond, Virginia
Born: Chambersburg, PA


Charles Calaman
1st Sergeant
Company A
24th USCI

Age: 20; Height: 5'7"; Complexion: Brown; Eye Color: Brown; Hair Color: Black
Occupation: Laborer

Enlisted: 1/12/1865 in Pottsville, PA
Credited to: Port Carbon, PA
Discharged: 10/1/1865 at Richmond, VA
Born: Either in Frederick, MD or Winchester, VA
Notes: 
Appointed Sergeant: 1/23/1865; Promoted 1st Sergeant per G.O. No. 2: 6/1865

Flag of the 24th USCT
"Let Soldiers in War Be Citizens in Peace"
[www.loc.gov] 



John Cole
Private
Company E
43rd USCI

Age: 42; Height: 5'10"; Complexion: Yellow: Eye Color: Light Brown; Hair Color: "Curly Black"
Occupation: Shoemaker

Enlisted: 3/29/1864 in Pottsville, PA
Credited to: Washington Township, Schuylkill County, PA
Notes: "A good soldier;" Wounded at the Crater, 7/30/1864; "Corps. R. Julius and Jeff Henry who were wounded in same action testified to having seen him dead at City Point, VA. No official notice of his death having been received & the men who knew of his death having been absent for a long time in Hos, his name was not dropped from the Company Rolls until Sept. 12, 1865;" Died of Wounds: 8/4/1864

Mortally Wounded at Battle of the Crater: July 30, 1864; Died of Wounds: August 4, 1864

Casualty Sheet for John Cole, 43rd USCT
[nara.gov] 

Obituary of John Cole
Miners' Journal, August 1864




More on the life and death of Private John Cole can be found here


George Dellaman/Dellamaw
Private
Company B
8th USCT 

Age: 17; Height: 5'4 1/2"; Complexion: Black; Eye Color: Black; Hair Color: "Wooly"
Occupation: Laborer

Enlisted: 3/4/1864 in Pottsville, PA
Credited to: Tamaqua, PA
Born: Newbern, North Carolina


Elijah Enty
1st Sergeant/Private
Company F
43rd USCI

Age: 35; Height: 5'7 1/2"; Complexion: Yellow; Eye Color: Dark; Hair Color: Black
Occupation: Laborer

Enlisted: 3/31/1864
Credited to: Porter Township, Schuylkill County; Resided in: Newcastle
Born: Schuylkill County, PA
Discharged: 6/12/1865 from L'Ouverture Hospital, Alexandria, Virginia, due to Disability
Notes: Wounded in Action at the Crater: 7/30/1864; Sent to Hospital, sick: 9/5/1864; Promoted to 1st Sergeant: 10/1/1864; Reduced in Ranks to Private: 9/1/1865


Gabriel Enty
Corporal
Company D
43rd USCI

Age: 18; Height: 5'7 1/2"; Complexion: Dark; Eye Color: Dark; Hair Color: Dark
Occupation: Blacksmith

Enlisted: 3/22/1864 in Pottsville, PA
Credited to: Blythe Township, Schuylkill County, PA
Born: Northumberland County, PA 
Discharged: 6/8/1864 from L'Ouverture Hospital, Alexandria, Virginia, due to Disability
Notes: Wounded in Action near Petersburg: 7/24/1864


George Enty
Private
Company H
43rd USCI

Age: 33; Height: 5'5"; Complexion: Black; Eye Color: Black; Hair Color: Black
Occupation: Miner

Enlisted: 4/4/1864 in Brookville, PA
Credited to: Eldred Township, PA
Born: Schuylkill County, PA
Discharged: 10/20/1865 at Brownsville, Texas
Notes: Sick in Hospital: 8/1864; Sick in Hospital: 10/1865


Jonathan Enty 
Corporal
Company D
43rd USCI

Age: 20; Height: 5'7"; Complexion: Dark; Eye Color: Dark; Hair Color: Dark
Occupation: Laborer

Enlisted: 3/22/1864 at Pottsville, PA
Credited to: Tamaqua, PA
Notes: Appointed Corporal: 4/18/1864; Wounded and Missing In Action: 7/30/1864 Battle of the Crater
Missing in Action and Likely Killed or Mortally Wounded at the Battle of the Crater: July 30, 1864


James Fisher
Private
Company D
3rd USCI

Age: 19; Height: 5' 1/2"; Complexion: Black; Eye Color: Black; Hair Color: Black

Enlisted: 7/4/1863 in Philadelphia
From Pottsville
Discharged: 10/31/1865 at Jacksonville, Florida
Notes: Sick--Left at Hilton Head, SC, by order of Surgeon: 2/6/1864; returned to regt by March '64
Buried: Bethel A.M.E. Cemetery, Pottsville, PA


The Grave of Private James Fisher
3rd USCT
Bethel A.M.E. Cemetery, Pottsville, PA 


David Fry
Private
Company I
3rd USCI


Age: 29; Height: 5'11"; Complexion: Light; Eye Color: Dark; Hair Color: Black
Occupation: Farmer


Enlisted: 7/21/1863 in Philadelphia
Born: Lancaster County, PA
Resided: Port Clinton, PA
Died: 9/8/1897
Buried: St. John's Cemetery, Auburn, PA



The Grave of Private David Fry
3rd USCT

[findagrave.com] 




Stroud Groves
Private
Company D
3rd USCI

Age: 46; Height: 5'10"; Complexion: Black; Eye Color: Black; Hair Color: Black
Occupation: Farmer

Enlisted: 7/4/1863 in Philadelphia
Born: Lehigh County, PA
Discharged: 10/31/1865 at Jacksonville, Florida
Died: 9/12/1896
Buried: Bethel A.M.E. Cemetery, Pottsville, PA



The Grave of Private Stroud Grove
3rd USCT
Bethel A.M.E. Cemetery, Pottsville, PA 



William Haines
Private
Company G
54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry

Age: 19
Occupation: Boatman

Enlisted: 4/12/1863
Born: 1844 in Schuylkill County, PA 
Discharged: 8/20/1865


Thornton Heath
Private
Company C
24th USCI

Age: 37; Height: 5’2”; Complexion: Black; Eye Color: Black: Hair: “Wool”
Occupation: Blacksmith
Enlisted: 2/2/1865 in Pottsville
Born: Virginia
Notes: Substitute for Gillard Dock, Tremont, PA; Deserted from Camp William Penn: 4/11/1865


George Jackson
Private
32nd USCI

Age: 32; Height: 5'10 1/2"; Complexion: Dark; Eye Color: Dark; Hair Color: "Wooly"
Occupation: Laborer

Enlisted: 6/27/1864 in Pottsville
Credited to: Port Carbon
Born: Columbia, PA
Buried: Perhaps at Lincoln Cemetery, Mechanicsburg, PA


John B. Jones
Musician
Company F
8th USCI

Age: 24; Height: 5'4 1/2"; Complexion: Black; Eye Color: Black; Hair Color: Black
Occupation: Laborer

Enlisted: 9/23/1863 in Pottsville
From: 8/5/1840 in Port Carbon, PA 
Discharged: 11/10/1865 at Brownsville, Texas
Buried: Bethel A.M.E. Cemetery, Pottsville, PA


The Grave of John B. Jones
Musician, 8th USCT
Bethel A.M.E. Cemetery, Pottsville, PA 



Joseph Jones
Private
Company K
8th USCI
24th USCI

Age: 27; Complexion: Black; Eye Color: Black; Hair Color: Black
Occupation: Laborer

Enlisted in 24th USCI: 1/18/1865 at Pottsville
Born: Harper County, Virginia
Notes:  Deserted from 8th USCT under the name Joseph Garner; This Enlistment Void; 1/26/65: "This man is a deserter from Co. G, 8th Regt. USCT under the name Joseph Garner;" "Joseph Jones having been recognized as a Deserter from the 8th USCT is hereby dropped from the Rolls of Company "A" 24th Regt. U.S. Colored," Signed Louis Wagner, Lt. Col. 88th PA; commanding post at Camp William Penn


Charles Lee
Corporal
Company H
22nd USCI

Age: 24; Height: 5'6 1/2"; Complexion: Black; Eye Color: Black; Hair Color: Black
Occupation Waiter

Enlisted: 1/18/1865 in Pottsville
Credited to: Cressona, PA
Born: Harrisburg, PA
Notes: Promoted Corporal: 6/4/1864; Sent to Field Hospital, 3/15/1865; Returned: 3/16/1865
Died: 8/30/1888 in Pottsville
Buried: Bethel A.M.E. Cemetery, Pottsville, PA


Edward Lee
Corporal
Company K
32nd USCI

Age: 19; Height: 5'6 1/2"; Complexion: Black; Eye Color: Black; Hair Color: "Wooly"
Occupation : Laborer

Enlisted: 3/3/1864 in Pottsville
Credited to: Tamaqua, PA 
Born: Charles County, Maryland
Discharged: 8/22/1865 at Hilton Head, South Carolina
Notes: Appointed Corporal 3/18/1865
Died: 3/22/1913 in Schuylkill County
Buried: Bethel A.M.E. Cemetery, Pottsville, PA


John L. Martin 
Sergeant
Company E
3rd USCI
Age: 33; Height: 5’10; Complexion: Brown; Eye Color: Black; Hair Color: Black
Occupation: Mason
Enlisted: 7/6/1863 in Philadelphia
Born: 1827 in Lancaster County, PA
Notes: Sergeant from Enlistment
Died: 10/30/1907 in North Manheim Township, Schuylkill County, PA
Buried: Bethel A.M.E. Cemetery, Pottsville, PA

The Grave of Sergeant John L. Martin
3rd USCT
Bethel A.M.E. Cemetery, Pottsville, PA



Daniel Molson
Corporal
Company B
24th USCI

Age: 34; Height: 5’6 ¼”; Complexion: Black; Eye Color: Black; Hair Color: Black
Occupation: Boatman
Enlisted: 1/27/1865 in Pottsville
Credited to: Port Clinton, PA
Born: Schuylkill County, PA
Discharged: 10/1/1865 at Richmond, Virginia
Notes: Promoted to Corporal: 2/8/1865


David Molson
Sergeant
Company B
24th USCI

Age: 38; Height: 5’2 ½”; Complexion: Black; Eye Color: Black; Hair Color: Black
Occupation: Boatman
Enlisted: 1/27/1865 in Pottsville
Credited to: Port Clinton, PA
Born: Berks County, PA
Discharged: 10/1/1865 at Richmond, Virginia
Notes: Promoted to Corporal: 2/8/1865; Promoted to Sergeant: 4/22/1865, to date from: 4/2/1865


Henry Morgan
Wagoneer
Company H
6th USCI

Age: 33; Height: 5’8”; Complexion: Black; Eye Color: Black; Hair Color: Black
Occupation: Boatman
Enlisted: 8/29/1863 in Philadelphia
Discharged: 9/20/1865 at Wilmington, North Carolina


James Phoenix
Private
Company K
54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry

Age: 24; Height: 5'9"; Complexion: Dark; Eye Color: Brown; Hair Color: Black
Occupation: Laborer
Enlisted: 5/5/1863
Notes: Wounded at the Battle of James Island, 7/16/1864; in Hospital at Beaufort, South Carolina; Died of Disease: 7/8/1865 in Charleston, South Carolina. 

Kurz and Allison's Famed Print of the 54th Massachusetts' Attack at Fort Wagner



Daniel Proctor
Private
Company F
25th USCI
Age: 31; Height: 5’5”; Complexion: Dark; Eye Color: Grey; Hair Color: Black
Occupation: Laborer
Enlisted: 1/21/1864 at Reading, PA
Discharged: 9/19/1865
Notes:
 Identified on one Enlistment Form as Mulatto; Sent to Hospital on 4/7/1865; Dicharged per Certificate of Disability at David's Island Hospital, New YorkDied: 10/8/1903
Buried: Port Clinton Cemetery, Port Clinton, PA

Obituary of Daniel Proctor
Harrisburg Telegraph October 10, 1903

The Grave of Daniel Proctor
25th USCT
Port Clinton Cemetery, Port Clinton, PA 


George Richardson
Corporal
Company I
6th USCI
Age: 25; Height: 5’4”; Complexion: Black; Eye Color: Black; Hair Color: Black
Occupation: Tailor
Enlisted: 9/8/1863
Born: Bucks County, PA
Discharged: 9/20/1865
Notes: 
Substitute for Tillman Seidle, 3rd Ward, Reading, PA; Wounded while on picket duty and sent to General Hospital: 6/25/1864; Sent to D.C. General Hospital: 11/15/1864; June-August 1865: On Detached Service as Brigade Headquarters' Guard
Buried: Bethel A.M.E. Cemetery, Pottsville, PA 



Hosea Rigbee
Corporal
Company C
127th USCI

Age: 30; Height: 5'6 1/4"; Complexion: Black; Eye Color: Black; Hair Color: Black
Occupation: Barber

Enlisted: 8/24/1864 in Pottsville
Credited to: Port Carbon, PA
Born: Harford County, Maryland
Buried: Bethel A.M.E. Cemetery, Pottsville PA


Benjamin Robinson
Private
Company C
127th USCI

Age: 35; Height: 5'9 1/2"; Complexion: Black; Eye Color: Black; Hair Color: Black
Occupation: Laborer

Enlisted: 8/24/1864 in Pottsville
Credited to: Port Carbon, PA 
Born: Fredericksburg, Virginia
Discharged: 9/8/1865 at Brazos Santiago, Texas
Notes: Absent, sick in hospital at Point of Rocks, 3/26/1865


Israel Smith
Private
Company B
24th USCI

Age: 17; Height: 5'7"; Complexion: Black; Eye Color: Black; Hair Color: Black
Occupation: Boatman

Enlisted: 1/27/1865 in Pottsville, PA
Credited to: Port Clinton, PA
Born: Schuylkill County, PA
Discharged: 10/1/1865 at Richmond, Virginia

At age 17, Israel Smith Needed the Consent of His Grandfather in Order to Serve
nara.gov

Enlistment Form of Israel Smith



James H. Snowden
Private
Company A
24th USCI

Age: 22; Height: 5'7 1/4"; Complexion: Dark; Eye Color: Hazel; Hair Color: Dark
Occupation: Forgeman

Enlisted: 1/3/1865 in Pottsville, PA
Credited to: Pine Grove, PA
Born: 10/6/1838 in Huntingdon, PA
Discharged: 11/10/1865 at Brownsville, Texas
Notes: Wounded at Olustee, FL, 2/20/1864; in Hospital at Beaufort, SC; returned from hospital by 5/1864; Engaged at Chapin's Farm, VA; Petersburg, VA; Detached as Brigade Teamster as of 10/1864; Appomattox, VA
Died: 10/21/1889 at age 50; "Death came when he lost control of the wagon he was driving down a steep hill, and the team ran away. He was thrown to the ground and fatally injured when a wagon wheel rolled over him."
Buried: Big Spring Presbyterian Cemetery, Newville, PA


Martin Snowell/Snowden
Private
Company I
8th USCI

Age: 20; Height: 5'6"; Complexion: Black; Eye Color: Black; Hair Color: Black
Occupation: Boatman

Enlisted: 9/24/1863 in Port Clinton, PA
Born: 1842 in Spotswood, New Jersey
Discharged: 11/10/1865 at Brownsville, Texas
Notes:
 Drafted; Wounded at Olustee, FL, 2/20/1864; in Hospital at Beaufort, SC; returned from hospital by 5/1864; Engaged at Chapin's Farm, VA; Petersburg, VA; Detached as Brigade Teamster as of 10/1864;  Appomattox, VA
Died: 1917
Buried: Bethel A.M.E. Cemetery, Pottsville, PA


Nelson Searls
Corporal
Company K
8th USCI

Age: 38; Height: 6'2"; Complexion: Dark; Eye Color: Dark; Hair Color: Dark
Occupation: Boatman

Enlisted: 9/24/1863 in Port Clinton, PA
Discharged: 11/10/1865 in Brownsville, Texas
Notes: Drafted; Resigned as Corporal to enter Band: 1/11/1864


John Surls
Sergeant
Company B
24th USCI

Age: 22; Height: 5'7"; Complexion: Light; Eye Color: Hazel; Hair Color: Black
Occupation: Boatman

Enlisted: 1/27/1865 in Pottsville
Credited to: Port Clinton, PA
Discharged: 10/1/1865 at Richmond, Virginia
Notes: Promoted to Corporal: 2/8/1865; Promoted to Sergeant: 7/10/1865


William Tarr
Sergeant
21st USCI

Age: 20; Height: 5'; Complexion: Black; Eye Color: Black; Hair Color: Black
Occupation: Servant

Enlisted: 9/1/1864 in Jacksonville, Florida
Mustered into Service: 9/6/1864 at Hilton Head, South Carolina
Credited to: Vermont
Born: September 1844 in Pottsville, PA
Notes: Appointed Sergeant on 9/15/1864; Police Sergeant per Special Order 83 Headquarters U.S. Forces, Hilton Head, SC: 8/11/1865
Died: 9/26/1925
Buried: Bethel A.M.E. Cemetery, Pottsville, PA

The Grave of Sergeant William Tarr
21st USCT

Bethel A.M.E. Cemetery, Pottsville, PA 



Charles Thomas
Company B
8th USCI

Age: 40; Height: 5'8 1/2"; Complexion: Black; Eye Color: Black; Hair Color: "Wooly"
Occupation: Laborer

Enlisted: 3/4/1864 in Pottsville, PA
Credited to: Tamaqua, PA
Born: Middlesex, New Jersey
Buried: Perhaps in Odd Fellows' Cemetery, Tamaqua, PA


Charles Titus
Private
Company D
3rd USCI

Age: 30; Height: 5'8 1/2"; Complexion: Black; Eye Color: Black; Hair Color: "Wooly"
Occupation: Laborer

Enlisted: 7/4/1863 in Philadelphia
Born: Chester County, PA
Discharged: 10/31/1865 at Jacksonville, Florida
Buried: Bethel A.M.E. Cemetery, Pottsville, PA



The Flag of the 3rd USCT
"Rather Die Freemen Than Live To Be A Slave"


Daniel Wright 
Sergeant
Company A
24th USCI

Age: 20; Height: 5’3”; Complexion: Yellow; Eye Color: Dark; Hair Color: Brown
Occupation: Laborer

Enlisted: 1/12/1865 in Pottsville, PA
Credited to Port Carbon, PA
Discharged: 10/1/1865 at Richmond, VA
Notes: Appointed Sergeant: 1/23/1865






Nicholas Biddle
Wounded While Marching With The Washington Artillery
Through Baltimore on April 18, 1861
"First to Shed Blood in Civil War" 


Schuylkill County's best-known black Civil War veteran, Nicholas Biddle, was not, officially, a soldier, but his was the proud distinction of shedding the first blood in the conflict. His story can be found here, in an article I wrote years ago for Pennsylvania Heritage magazine.