Friday, November 17, 2006

The Formation of the 48th Pennsylvania

In July 1861, President Abraham Lincoln issued a call for 300,000 volunteers to serve for “three years, or the course of the war,” whichever came first. To help meet Pennsylvania’s quota, Governor Andrew G. Curtin, on August 14, 1861, authorized Colonel James Nagle of Pottsville to raise and recruit a regiment of three-year volunteers. Nagle resolved to raise this regiment from the towns and townships of Schuylkill County, and, to this end, he enlisted the help of ten men who set up recruiting stations throughout the county. Two of Nagle’s younger brothers, Daniel and Philip, set up recruitment offices in Pottsville, as did James Wren, Henry Pleasants, and Joseph Gilmour. Daniel Kaufman drew volunteers from Port Clinton and Tamaqua, while recruits from Middleport and Orwigsburg signed up under John R. Porter. William Winlack set up his recruiting office in Silver Creek and New Philadelphia, while Joseph Hoskings signed up men from Minersville. Volunteers from Schuylkill Haven and Cressona enlisted under Henry A. Filbert. All of these men, including Colonel Nagle and his brothers, had experience leading troops in the three-months’ service (April-July 1861). Within a matter of weeks, 1,010 men had volunteered to serve in Colonel Nagle’s regiment.

“As rapidly as men were secured,” recorded Oliver Bosbyshell, “they were forwarded to Camp Curtin, in Harrisburg, where the regiment rendezvoused.” On September 19, 1861, these 1,010 volunteers from Schuylkill County were mustered into service as the 48th Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers. A few weeks earlier, on September 2, the Citizens’ Cornet Band of Pottsville, numbering 25 musicians, left the Schuylkill County seat for Harrisburg, where they were mustered in as the regimental band.

All recruits, on arriving at Camp Curtin, underwent medical examinations and were then “equipped and assigned to their respective companies.” “Drills were instituted by the squad and company, and twice during its stay at Camp Curtin regimental drills were had,” wrote Bosbyshell.

On September 20, 1861, Governor Andrew Curtin presented the regiment with two flags. The first was presented on behalf of the state, while the other was purchased for the regiment by John T. Werner, a prominent Pottsville attorney, whose son signed up to serve in Captain Dan Nagle’s Company D. Upon the blue canton of this Pottsville flag, which cost Mr. Werner $60.00, was inscribed a fitting motto:
In The Cause Of The Union, We Know No Such Word As Fail

On September 28, after the regiment arrived at Fortress Monroe in Virginia, Colonel Nagle, thanked Mr. Werner for his generous gift in a letter to the Miners’ Journal, Pottsville’s leading newspaper:
“I desire to acknowledge. . .the receipt of a beautiful Flag, forwarded and presented to my Regiment by our fellow-townsmen, John T. Werner, ESQ. We feel very grateful to him, and return our most sincere thanks for the beautiful National Flag he saw fit to present us with—the flag we all swore to defend, and I have every reason to believe that the 48th will do its duty; believing our cause just, and trusting in Him who rules all nations and armies, we will be able to have our National emblem once more floating proudly over the whole of our beloved country.”

Field and Staff
48th Pennsylvania
September 1861

Colonel: James Nagle
Lieutenant Colonel: David A. Smith (Resigned 11/1/1861)
Major: Joshua K. Sigfried
Adjutant: John D. Bertolette
Quartermaster: James Ellis
Surgeon: David Minis
Assistant Surgeon: Charles T. Reber
Chaplain: Samuel Holman

Company Commanders
48th Pennsylvania
September 1861

Company A: Captain Daniel B. Kaufman (Port Clinton & Tamaqua)
Company B: Captain James Wren (Pottsville & St. Clair)
Company C: Captain Henry Pleasants (Pottsville)
Company D: Captain Daniel Nagle (Pottsville)
Company E: Captain William Winlack (Silver Creek & New Philadelphia)
Company F: Captain Joseph Hoskings (Minersville)
Company G: Captain Philip Nagle (Pottsville & St. Clair)
Company H: Captain Joseph Gilmour (Pottsville)
Company I: Captain John R. Porter (Middleport & Orwigsburg)
Company K: Captain Henry A. Filbert (Schuylkill Haven & Cressona)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I recently purchased 3 CDv's of what I believe to be 48th PVV soldiers. I do know one is from the 48th, and the others have Mechanicsburg Photographer's backmarks. The soldier, I know, is either John F. Bachman, or Jacob Bachman. I have the first initials not his full first name. There is a notation on the back of the CDV that has J. Borkman...(mispelled by whoever ID'd it) Drummer, of Co. I, 48th PVV. He is holding a kepi that you can see I 48th PVV on its top. Since Jacob is listed as a musician in the Civil War data base, and John, in another source...I can't swear which one the CDV is of, but if you would like me to send a copy of the well as the two other case you know who they may be, I would be glad to send them. Joanne