Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Soldiers of the 48th: Major Jacob Wagner, 48th Pennsylvania

It has been quite some time since I last posted a Profiles piece on a 48th Pennsylvania soldier, so today I thought I'd focus in on Jacob Wagner, who served creditably throughout the entirety of the war, rising through the regimental ranks.
Jacob F. Wagner was twenty-one years of age when, in September 1861, he was mustered into service as a private in Company H, 48th Pennsylvania. He stood 5'6 1/2" in height, had a dark complexion, dark eyes, and black hair. His occupation was listed as painter and his residence was Pottsville, home to most of the men in Company H. Only two and a half weeks later, however, Wagner was named as the regiment's Quartermaster Sergeant, a position he held until December 1862, when he was promoted once more, this time to lieutenant and given then position of full Quartermaster.
The regimental history of the 48th penned by Oliver Bosbyshell refers many times to Wagner and his great efforts in keeping the soldiers well fed and comforted. One such example was on the night of September 17, 1862, when near the Burnside Bridge, the famished soldiers of the 48th were greatly relieved to see Wagner "with a fine lot of boiled beef and fresh coffee, which he had prepared by the cooks. . . .What a relish that midnight repast had!" Other references to Wagner in Bosbyshell's work hint that the quartermaster was much respected by the soldiers and throughout the war always performed his important duties with credit.
Jacob Wagner served as the 48th's Quartermaster throughout most of the conflict, but on June 21, 1865, was promoted one final time, to major. He held this rank for less than one month, being mustered out of volunteer service with the regiment on July 17, 1865 and holding the distinguished title of "Veteran." Yet Wagner's time in uniform was not finished. Apparently taking a liking to military life, Wagner returned not to Pottsville and his pre-war vocation as painter, but instead entered the U.S. Army as a First Lieutenant in the 29th Infantry. In July 1867, he was serving at Norfolk where he held the triple duties of Post Adjutant, Acting Assistant Quartermaster, and Assistant Comissary of Subsistence.

No comments: