Friday, March 25, 2011

"War in Human Form" At Mysteries and Conundrums

Mysteries and Conundrums, maintained largely by the staff at Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park, is one of the very best Civil War blogs out there. Today, esteemed historian John Hennessy posted a poignant story about Private Henry Ege of the 48th Pennsylvania, for which he has given me much credit, though I only supplied the photographs and factual information. Mr. Hennessy deserves high praise for his eloquence in penning this moving account of so young a soldier to give his life to the nation and in capturing the human side of war.

Please click here to read Hennessy's thoughts in "War in Human Form."

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Union's First Defenders: The Logan Guards

The Logan Guards was a militia company founded in 1858 in Lewistown, the seat of Mifflin County in central Pennsylvania. A public meeting held in August 1858 established the constitution and by-laws of the company and immediately thereafter John B. Selheimer was elected its captain.

The company was quickly organized and it was not long before it was brought up to strength. Company and squad drills were conducted nearly every night at the company’s headquarters, an unfinished brick building on Logan Street, which had originally been intended for a church, but was now converted into an armory and drill room. Assisting Selheimer and his lieutenants in drilling the recruits were two other militia officers from nearby areas: Captain Henry Zollinger of Perry County, who would later lead a company in the 49th Pennsylvania, and Captain William Irwin, a Mexican-American War veteran who held command of the Juniata Guards of Mifflin County. Irwin would later serve in the Logan Guards and rise to brigade commander’s rank in the Civil War.

Even before the firing upon Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861, Captain Selheimer offered the services of the Logan Guards to Governor Andrew Curtin, of Pennsylvania. On April 16, and in response to Lincoln’s first-call-to-arms, Curtin summoned the Logan Guards to Harrisburg. The company immediately responded and by the following morning, had arrived in the state capital where it was joined by Ringgold Light Artillery, National Light Infantry, Washington Artillerists, and Allen Infantry.

Together with these four other companies, the Logan Guards would march into history the following day—April 18—when they arrived in Washington, first in defense of the Union. They shared in the dangerous march through Baltimore, in which several of these Pennsylvanians shed the first blood of the war, and would spend their thirty-days’ term of service mainly at Fort Washington, along with Pottsville’s Washington Artillerists.

Near the end of July, the Logan Guards were mustered out of service and the men began their journey home. Private William McKay described the journey home: “Having been mustered out of the United States service and received our pay in gold, we astonished the citizens of Harrisburg by our soldierly appearance and exemplary conduct. We arrived home safely. The entire population turned out to receive us and we received a perfect ovation. The citizens and the ‘Slemmer Guards’ received us with all the honors, the members thereof being of the most respectable families. A bounteous and never-to-be-forgotten dinner was provided for us in the Court House, and speeches of welcome were made and responded to, after which we broke ranks and the old Logan Guards ceased to have an organized existence.”

Yet the war was just beginning. Most of the men who marched off to war with the Logan Guards reenlisted that summer of Summer of 1861 and many would go on to great laurels and distinction in the Civil War. Indeed, no less than thirty-three Logan Guards would rise to commissioned officers’ rank. Among the notable were Thomas Hulings, William Irwin, Joseph A. Matthews, and William Galbraith Mitchell, who would become one of Major General Winfield Scott Hancock’s most trusted aides.

The following is the roster of the Logan Guards, complete with a brief record of their subsequent wartime service.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The Logan Guards

Captain John B. Selheimer
Lieutenant Colonel, 25th PA

1st Lieutenant Thomas M. Hulings

Colonel, 49th PA; Killed in Action At Spotsylvania, 5/10/1864

2nd Lieutenant Robert W. Patton
Major, 131st PA
3rd Lieutenant William H. Irwin

Colonel, 49th PA; Brigadier General

1st Sergeant Joseph A. Matthews
Major, 46th PA; Colonel, 128th PA; Bvt. Brigadier General
Sergeant Joseph S. Waream
Captain, Co. K, 131st PA
Sergeant Henry A. Eisenbise
Lieutenant, 45th PA; Captain, Co. A, 46th PA (Twice prisoner of war)
Sergeant William B. Weber
Adjutant, 46th PA; Captain, Co. A, 46th PA
Sergeant Chauncey M. Shull
Corporal, 2nd I, 83rd PA
Quartermaster Sergeant David Wasson
Commissary Sergeant William T. McEwen
Major, 1st PA Cavalry
Corporal Elias Eisenbise

Captain, Co. F, 107th PA

Corporal Porter P. Butts
Corporal John M. Nolte
Captain, Co. A, 46th PA
Corporal Frederick Hart
Sergeant, Co. F, 107th PA; Killed at Gettysburg, 7/1/1863
Fifer Samuel McLaughlin
Drummer William Hooper
Sergeant, Co. A, 46th PA; Mortally Wounded, Chancellorsville, Died 5/5/63

Jesse J. Alexander
Corporal, Co. C, 1st PA Cavalry
William E. Benner
Robert Betts
Private, Co. C, 1st PA Cavalry
William H. Bowsman
Private, Co. A, 46th PA; Captured at Winchester, 5/25/62; Released
James D. Burns
Quartermaster Sergeant, Co. A, 20th PA Cavalry
Jeremiah Cogley
2nd Lt. U.S. Marines
Emmanuel Cole
Henry Comfort
Corporal, Co. A , 4th PA (1862 Militia)
Samuel Comfort
2nd Lieutenant, Co. A, 4th PA (1862 Militia); Private, Co. C, 78th PA
William R. Cooper
Private, 76th PA
William Cowden
Private, Co. A, 46th PA; Killed at Cedar Mountain, 8/9/1862
Franklin D’Armit
Thomas Dewees
Private, Co. A, 1st PA Cavalry; Private, Co. F, 16th PA Cavalry
James Eckeberger
Captain, Co. C, 49th PA
George W. Elberty
Sergeant-Major, 46th PA
W. Asberry Elberty
Musician, Co. A, 4th PA (1862 Militia); Co. A, 36th PA (1863 Militia)
Joseph Bingham Ferrerr
Daniel Fessler
Stevens’s Battery (Independent, Battery E), PA Artillery
Abraham Files
Private, Co. D, 131st PA
Owen M. Fowler
Captain, U.S.C.T.
George M. Freeborn
William H. Freeborn
Captain, Co. B, 49th PA; Mortally Wounded at Fredericksburg while laying Pontoons;
Died 8/20/1863
Joseph A. Frichthorn
Sergeant, 78th PA
George Hart
Private, 78th PA
James W. Henry
Sergeant, 149th PA
John Hughes
Private, Co. C, 20th PA Cavalry; Died of Disease
John T. Hunter
Captain, 1st U.S.C.T.; Mortally Wounded, Fort Wagner, SC
James M. Jackson
Private, 12th U.S. Infantry
John W. Jones
Sergeant, Co. F, 107th PA; Wounded at Fredericksburg
Henry F. Kaiser
Jonathan S. Kauffman
Private, 131st PA
Thomas Kinkade
Private, Co. A, 46th PA; Died at New Market of Wounds, 5/11/1862
John Langton
Private, Mann’s Independent Company, (1862 Militia)
Charles Laub (Lamb)
Sergeant, 1st DC Volunteers; Died of Disease
Elias Link
Private, Co. A, 46th PA; Died at Harpers Ferry, 11/11/1862
George J. Loff
Samuel B. Marks
1st Lieut., Co. A, 4th PA Militia (1862)
Robert A. Matthews
William McCay (McCoy)
Private, Co. F, 107th PA
William McEwen
John A. McKee
Captain, Co. A, 4th PA Militia (1862)
William McKnew
Private 24 54th PA
John S. Miller
Private, Co. K, 131st PA
Joseph A. Miller
Private, 2nd Co., 78th PA
William Mitchell

Captain, 49th PA; Chief-of-Staff to General Winfield Scott Hancock

Robert Morten
Corporal, 22nd PA Cavalry; Killed in Action, 1864
John Nail (Nale)
Corporal, Co. F, 107th PA; Died 10/9/62 of wounds received at Antietam
Robert Nelson
Private, Co. C, 6th PA Militia (1862)
William A. Nelson
1st Sergeant, Co. K 131st PA; Captain Co. K, 36th PA Militia (1863)
Thomas A. Nurse
Corporal, Co. A, 46th PA; Killed at Antietam, 9/17/1862
John M. Postlethwait
Musician, 49th PA Band
Joseph W. Postlethwait
Musician, 49th PA Band
James Price
Henry Printz
1st Sergeant, Co. A, 46th PA; Lieut., 205th PA
James Rager (Roger)
Private, Co. D, 49th PA; Died of Disease, 5/11/1864
Bronson Rothrock
Corporal, Co. A, 46th PA
Nathaniel W. Scott
Corporal, Co. C, 1st PA Cavalry; Died 7/2/1863 in Libby Prison, from
Wounds received at Brandy Station
William Sherwood
Captain, Co. F, 49th PA
Augustus Smith
Sergeant, Co. F, 107th PA; 1st Sergeant, 22nd PA
James T. Smith
49th PA
Theodore Smith
Sergeant, Co. K, 131st PA; Private, 2nd Co., 78th PA
George A. Snyder
Private, Co. K, 131st PA; Private, 2nd Co., 78th PA
Lucien T. Snyder
Charles W. Stahl
Private, Co. A, 4th PA Militia (1862)
Francis Sterrett
2nd Lieutenant, Co. D, 107th PA
Gideon M. Tice
Sergeant, Co. A, 4th PA Militia (1862); Private, 2nd Co., 79th PA
Thomas M. Utley
Adjutant, 4th PA Militia (1862); Adjutant, 36th PA Militia (1863); Clerk in War
Henry G. Walters
Gilbert Waters
Captain, Co. L, 9th PA Cavalry; Killed in Action, 6/28/1863
David B. Weber
1st Lieutenant, Co. K, 131st PA; Corporal Co. C, 78th PA
Franklin H. Wentz

Captain, Co. F, 107th PA; Wounded at Gettysburg, 7/1/1863

David Wertz
Died of rheumatism, 1862
George White
Corporal, Co. C, 1st PA Cavalry; Wounded, 5/9/64; Captured, 6/21/64;
Released; Believed to have died of wounds
Phillip Winterod
Private, Co. D, 49th PA; Killed in Train Accident
Edwin Ziegler
Captain, Co. G, 107th PA; Major & Brevet Lt. Col., 107th PA

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Union's First Defenders: Sergeant Val Stichter's Diary: Part Two: June-July, 1861

We conclude today with the final two months' entries of Valentine Stichter, a First Defender serving in the Washington Artillerists, of Pottsville. Stichter along with most of his company were assigned to guard duty at Fort Washington, several miles south of Washington along the Potomac, where the men were drilled and trained in soldiering under the leadership of Major Joseph A. Haskins of the U.S. Regular Army. The level of frustration among the First Defenders grew, however, as the weeks passed and they remained inactive.

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


1—Engagement at Aquia Creek by Pawnee and two other vessels destroying secessionists’ battery. Heard the report of the guns here to-day. News brought up by steamer St. Nicholas. T. Riley and A. Russel came here last night at 12 o’clock. Brought soap for men. All well. Rain in the evening. Another rumor of us going to Washington. Major Haskins writes on to keep us here.
2—Sunday. Inspection with knapsack on. Steamer Chas. Freeborn passed here on her way to Alexandria for repairs. Had four holes in her. Captain said two batteries destroyed; a number of rebels killed; none of our men hurt; cannon ball knocked off one of our men’s hats, but not hurting him.
Depot and other buildings burned. Articles of war read. Wrote letter home.
3—Commenced four drills per day. On picket guard.
4—Came off picket. Chopped wood for cooks. Raining. Word received by Gypsey. All quiet at Aquia Creek. A regular hobbled in blacksmith shop for deserting; his third time. Received havelocks, etc, with letter from Brother Joe. All well. Bath in river.
5—Appointed orderly for Lieutenant Reynolds. Rain. Thos. Wren, Frick, Shippen and Snyder visited us. Companies were divided, 17 taken out of the Logan Guards.
6—Company B moved to our old quarters on the hill. John Curry went over to Company B. R.C. Wilder and S. Harris visited us. Notified of my appointment as third sergeant. Chas. Potts and Geo. Hartman, cooks; Chas. Van Horn, assistant. Rain.
7—Entered upon my duties. Wilder went home. Shipped our boxes off on steamer Gypsey. Beefsteak for dinner.
8—Took a bath. Five negro runaways came to wharf. Offered themselves to Major Haskins. They were forward to Washington.
9—Sunday. Came off picket. Inspection. Shippen and Snyder started for home.
10—Lieutenant Nagle, Wallace and myself went to the ravine to look for petrified shells, etc. Very warm.
11—Arrangements made for mail daily. A basket of letters lost. Five drills to-day. All well.
12—Major Haskins gone to Washington. Captain D.A. Smith acting commander of the fort. Two skirmishing parties of Federal troops had an engagement on James River. Ten of our troops killed and wounded. General Butler afterwards reinforced the battery taken.
13—Major Haskins reports. Order written for our removal by General Mansfield, but declined leaving us to. Richards and others from Minersville here.
14—Practicing at aiming. John Curry preparing for work. Jas. H. Campbell and Dr. Owens arrived.
15—Cleaned up all the quarters. Campbell franked 500 envelopes for the company.
16—Sunday. Inspection at 8 o’clock. Wrote a letter to wife and two for C. Hinkle. Complimented by Major Haskins on our appearance.
17—Logan Guards moved into their new quarters. Signal rockets seen by our pickets. Troops up under arms last night in Alexandria and Washington, reported by Drummer Bowen.
18—D.B. Christ paid us a visit. William Bartholomew received an appointment in the army as second lieutenant to report at Illinois in ten days; D.A. Smith, major, commanding; F.B. Wallace, adjutant, of dress parade; engagements 15 miles above Alexandria. Fifteen killed and wounded of our troops.
19—D.B. Christ returned to Washington; his business here to get the companies for three years did not succeed. Saw a balloon floating over Washington, which is to be used taking observations of the surrounding country.
20—Very warm, captain gone to Washington.
21—On duty as sergeant. Very warm.
22—Maize and Rickert arrived. Received our dress coats.
23—Sunday. Inspection at 8 o’clock. Church at 10 o’clock and 3 o’clock; Maize preached.
24—On parade to Washington city. Purchased things wanted after dinner. City lined with volunteers. Went to theatre in the evening. Stopped by patrol going to boarding house.
25—Had our photographs taken . B. Reilly came. Gilmour and I went with him to Colonel Cake’s quarters. All took dinner with him and Major Campbell; after dinner visited infantry’s quarters. Rode with him to War Department. Saw the White House on our way. Two regiments arrived from Milwaukee.
26—More soldiers arriving. Went to Alexandria. Two deserted. Military seen quartered in all the streets.
27—Started on duty. Regimental parade.
28—B. Riley started for home. Engagement three miles from Alexandria
29—Three large steamers passed loaded with Massachusetts troops. Brought the steamer Jas. Guy to by a 32-pounder. Sent company photograph to wife. Party out scouting.
30—Sunday. General monthly inspection of all the troops. Rain to-day. Read chapter in testament.


1—All anxious to know what time we were to be discharged. Rain. Received papers from Brother H.
2—Heber S. Thompson came back. Steamer Pawnee and Pocahontas went down to Aquia Creek and Matthias Point to reconnoiter.
3—First target practice by company. Had the most in target, 5 out of 5. F.T. Brown, Garret and others arrived. Comet very large, has been visible one week north of west.
4—Salute of 34 guns from nine of the guns from the fort. No whisky allowed in the camp. A lonesome Fourth. Sat on parapets of water battery looking at fireworks going on at Washington.
5—Regular drills. Target practice at 300 yards. Got nine balls in target out of ten. Major gave sentinels extra instructions through the night; expecting an attack.
6—Target practice again; have 13 balls out of 15 in best shot. John Bannan, Shippen, Evans and others arrived. Another scouting party out. Great sport seeing the old fellows lay down on our bunks to sleep.
7—Weather very hot. Got a contraband slave at 12 o’clock M. with a small boat.
8—John Bannan and party started for Washington. Also Major Haskins. Major orders for muster-out rolls to be made for the 17th of July.
9—Three contraband slaves came to wharf to-day. Father of one that came Sunday. Rain in the evening. Very welcome. No dress parade.
10—Major Campbell and C.M. Atkins arrived here. Brought news of our being discharged on the 17th of this month. Captain E.L. Hartz was here.
11—Campbell, Atkins and Hartz started for Washington. Weather fine. Went up ravine again; found turtle heads; hard work to dig them out. Dobson, Esterly and Judge Foster came.
12—Esterly and company went to Washington. Paymaster Cameron and Adjutant General Thomas arrived. Received pay up to June 1, 1861, $23.60. Complimented by the adjutant on our drilling. Dissatisfaction of the Logan Guards in not receiving any pay on account of pay roll not being right. They term us Major Haskins’ pets. Bayonet exercise to-day. A shell fired from the fort up the river for the benefit of adjutant, his wife and daughters.
13—Rain. No drills. Packed up baggage and knapsacks. News of Captain McDonald’s company being disbanded and on their way home from Harrisburg. Jas. Graeff arrived here to-day. Named the bunks to-day; ours is the Continental House and Restaurant.
14—Sunday. Off main guard.
15—Cane off main guard. Heber S. Thompson was made orderly for the officer of the day by Captain Smith. Wrote two letters.
16—Fired at target yesterday; made poor showing. Looking for steamer.
17—Gold pencil from the ladies of Pottsville was presented to Major Haskins to-day by our officers. Making preparations to leave to-morrow for certain. Received a letter from father. Abraham Nagle came Thursday.
18—No battalion parade; all anxious to see the reinforcements; disappointed. C. Sheetz started for home this evening on a schooner.
19—Company skirmish drill this morning. All hands on the lookout for steamer with troops. Report started to-morrow for certain.
20—On the lookout for steamers. Major received an order of mustering us out; to start for Washington to-morrow and leave our arms at the arsenal; no reinforcement for the fort; major takes it very hard.
21—On main guard. Still at our post. Steamboats busy transporting troops to Alexandria. Sixteen thousand sent out of Washington to-day. Heavy cannonading in direction of Manassas Junction from 3 o’clock this morning, keeping up at intervals all day. Supposed by us to be a hot battle. Sound of guns seem nearer as if on the retreat this evening, 6 o’clock. At 12 o’clock this night steamer Baltimore came to wharf with news of our troops retreating toward Alexandria, with orders for Major Haskins to put things in working order around the fort. The guard employed in getting ammunition for the companies. The regulars load all the cannon. All hands have to have their cartridge boxes filled. Positions given for each company. Anticipation of an attack by the rebels, in crossing the river below us. All prepared. Wrote to wife.
22—Raining. All quiet. Lieutenant Wallace gone to Washington bearer of dispatches from major to War Department concerning our removal. Steamers Pawnee and Pocahontas passed here on their way to Washington. Brig. Perry lying off Alexandria. Steamer Gypsey seized by Major Haskins and attached to Brig. Perry. News of fight yesterday better than was reported here. Had fire in the stove in officers’ quarters to-day. Wore our overcoats. Cold rain all day. Another battle in Virginia to-day. Living on hard bread, pork and beans.
23—Cleaned up the quarters of the water battery. Quite a number of Government vessels and steamers passing up the river. Various reports of the Manassas battle; the one of our batteries being taken is false. General McDowell reported to have been arrested by order of General Scott. Steamer Mt. Vernon arrived with Christopher Loeser and daughter, of Pottsville, in company with two gentlemen and other ladies in time to see our dress parade. Lieutenant Patton and orderly sergeant of Logan Guards have gone to Washington to demand their pay or discharge.
24—Saw the balloon ascend in rear of Alexandria; landed nearly opposite the fort on the Virginia side. Steamer Philadelphia landed at the wharf to take us to Washington; left the fort at 7:30 P.M.; reached Washington Arsenal at 9:10 P.M. Exchanged our muskets and were quartered in officers’ building outside of the arsenal grounds. Guard of three from each company detailed to keep men from going up to the city. Officers went to War Department to see about transportation.
25—At 7:30 o’clock order to march to depot. Formed line immediately. Very dusty and warm. Remained at depot until 1 P.M. Started for Baltimore. Reached Baltimore at 9 P.M. Served bread and coffee. Started for Harrisburg at 3 o’clock A.M.
26—Arrived Little York at 6:30 A.M. Cheered along the route. Arrived in Harrisburg at 9:45. Stacked muskets in depot. Slept at depot.
27—Arrangements for mustering us out. Moved to Capitol. Some 10,000 or 12,000 volunteers in town; Capitol grounds covered with them waiting to be paid. Second Pennsylvania Regiment marched to quarters of paymaster and demanded pay. Twelfth Regiment three-year troops brought down double-quick from Camp Curtin to guard the arsenal.
28—Went downtown to be mustered out, but could find none of the mustering-out officers. Returned and handed our muskets over at arsenal; to be mustered out and paid to-morrow morning.
29—At 5 o’clock formed line and marched downtown and were mustered out at 8 o’clock. Dismissed company to be at quarters when wanted to receive our pay. Formed line at 12:30 o’clock; marched to Market street; returned without pay to quarters. Fear of mob being raised to mob the paymaster. Formed line again at 1:30 P.M. Marched down again. Received pay as sergeant, $31.86 in full. Discharged honorably out of service of the U.S. Government this day. Captain Smith making arrangements with the P. & R. R.R. Co. for taking us home. Going home to-morrow morning at 8 o’clock.
30—Started for home this morning at 8 o’clock via R.R. Road in company with Easton Volunteers. Arrived in Reading in time to make the connection for Pottsville. Arrived at Pottsville at 12:45 o’clock. Marched around town by the Committee of Arrangements, who gave us a grand reception and a welcome home. Stopped at Market House, where speeches were delivered by John Bannan and Benjamin Haywood, Esq., after which we marched to the armory. Dismissed and returned to our homes well satisfied with duty performed and happy to meet our families and friends.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Union's First Defenders: Sergeant Val Stichter's Diary: Part One: April-May, 1861

Post-War View of First Defender Val Stichter of the Washington Artillerists

* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Valentine Stichter was twenty-seven years old when the American Civil War broke out. He was quick to enlist, and as a member of the Washington Artillerists would be listed among the First Defenders. However, because of "certain circumstances," Stichter did not travel with his company on that fateful April 18 trip to Baltimore and on to D.C. Instead, he was a few days' behind, arriving in the Capital on April 20.

Stichter described his journey to Washington in his diary, as well as noting the day-to-day doings of those first three months in Washington. Stichter's diary appeared first in Heber Thompson's 1910 publication, The First Defenders.

This is the first of two posts, covering the months of April and May 1861.

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

Left home on April 17th, 1861, with the company. Accompanied them to Reading, but, owing to certain circumstances had to remain over until next day. Satisfactory arrangements being made, advised Captain Wren, of following up next morning. Returned home, arranged matters and next morning telegraphed Captain James Wren, “On our way.”

Several other recruits, after finding out my intentions, desired to accompany me. We received the following transportation:
E.H. Wheeler, Esq.
Pottsville, April 18, 1861

Please pass over the P. & R. R.R. on to Washington City the following recruits, and charge the same to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, by order of the Hon. Eli Slifer, Secretary of State:
Valentine Stichter
Franklin Myers
Franklin B. Bannan
George A. Lerch

(Signed) James Nagle
Brigade Inspector for 1st Brig. 6th Div.

We left here on the morning of the 18th for Harrisburg, arriving there at five o’clock, and after a red tape delay of twenty-four hours to get transportation for Washington, D.C. from State officials, we became disgusted and concluded to forward our blue overcoats and baggage by express to Washington, purchase our own tickets and start for the capital, which we did at 1 o’clock P.M.

On approaching Baltimore the newsboys distributed a number of circulars, marked: ‘Extra—Riot in Baltimore with the Mass. 6th Regt.,’ etc. (Startling news for us on our mission). Having three hotels recommended to stop at and not knowing location of either, we chose the Maltby House.

On arrival at the city our cabman was obliged to drive us several squares out of our way, owing to some of the streets being occupied by the city military, called out to suppress the riot. Unpleasantly for us, as we thought afterward, that we had made that selection, for on arrival at the Maltby House and aligning from the cab, one of the first sights that met our eyes was a wounded man being by on a cellar door, a victim of the riot.

Entering the hotel, we found a very large room supported by cast iron columns. The whole floor seemed to be taken up with groups of men discussing the situation and outcome of the riot which had taken place that afternoon, giving vent to their feelings, to wit: ‘Three cheers for Jeff Davis’ ‘Damn the Northern Abolitionists’ ‘We’ll see whether any more of those (oath) will pass through here for Washington.’

We registered our names proper, which was in turn scanned by most of them. The eye of suspicion was cast upon us, our party at supper table noticed, eager to catch on to our mission. After supper enjoyed a smoke, and between nine and ten o’clock retired to bed for pleasant dreams, orders being given landlord to wake us in time to take the 4 o’clock A.M. train south. Fortunately, we thought (through a kind Providence) to enter cars next morning unmolested, but not forgetting that probably the forethought of sending our blue army coats by express from Harrisburg and not visible in our possession on that occasion was the means of saving our lives from an infuriated mob, and our bodies sent home in rough boxes.

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


18—Left home at 2 o’clock P.M. Arrived at Harrisburg same day.
19—Left Harrisburg at 1 P.M. Arrived at Baltimore at 6 P.M.
20—Left Baltimore at 4 o’clock A.M. Arrived at Capitol at Washington at 6 A.M. Made arrangements in the company. Bought pipe, tobacco, towels, etc.

The U.S. Capitol Building During the Civil War. Stitcher and the First Defenders were initially quartered here upon arrival in Washington.

21—Sunday. On guard from Saturday evening, 7:30 o’clock until Sunday evening at 8 o’clock. Read a chapter in the Bible to comrades in the evening. A certain attack on the Capitol last night; all prepared; squads barricading the inlets and windows with flour, which was seized at Georgetown; 6000 barrels.
22—On guard for 7 hours’ shift.
23—Had a dress parade in the park. Trouble about our cooking arrangements. Moved quarters.
24—More troops arrived from New York, a regiment of 1000. Numbered the muskets today. On 24 hours’ shift guard at upper door. Flour seized by the U.S. Government, amounting to 7000 barrels, making it in all 13,000 barrels, with rice, coffee, and sugar. Visited John Pass at hospital.
25—Paid a visit to patent office and post office. Park parade; cheers given for our company. Gave Massachusetts regiment a serenade with the comb band. Longed to see friends at home. Package of letters arrived; none for me. Brown’s letter contained a few words from home.
26—Had dress parade in the park for three hours. Downtown and bought wearing apparel. Rhode Island and Massachusetts troops arrived; 1600. All well to-day. Seen President Lincoln and lady in Park. New York regiment sworn in.
27—In park, 1600 Pennsylvania troops arrived. Received shoes, blankets, etc.
28—Sunday. Chapter read out of Bible by Captain Wren. Prayer by Frank Myers. President Lincoln visited all the volunteers. Shook hands with him and Secretary Seward. Visited Long Bridge on guard from 7 o’clock last evening. Twenty-four hours’ shift. Preaching in the Senate chamber. Wrote letter home.
29—Parade in park three and a half hours. Squad went downtown to exchange shoes. Another Massachusetts regiment arrived. Report of an attack on the 5th of May.
30—Drill in park. Orders at 1 o’clock to proceed to Fort Washington; in half an hour all prepared for the march and on our way; 1.30 o’clock arrived at Navy Yard; boarded the steamer Philadelphia seized by the Government; passed Alexandria, Palmetto flag floating over the city; the dock was commanded by rebels with two brass six-pounders; prepared for an attack with 32-pound shells on steamer; arrived at Fort Washington 6.30 o’clock; packed in a small house with Logan Guards.

Fort Washington along the Potomac River, courtesy of The Marker Hunter.


1—Captain Wren resigned to run for Colonel. Trees all cut down. Mounted guns on water battery. Held an election, of which I was appointed inspector. Wren received 113 voted; opposite, 8.
2—Prepared for quarters in water battery. Put in floors and table. Steamer Kill Van Kull brought to by shot from the fort. Rhode Island troops on board. Moved quarters to water battery. On guard on Fort Heights from 8 P.M. till 8 A.M. Guard house in rifle battery. Quite cold. Very uncomfortable.
3—Great dissatisfaction among the men. Altered the sleeping bunks; made an upper tier. Rain to-day. Received a letter from Brother H.; one enclosed from wife and family; first one; much pleased to hear from home; all well. Meeting held by members about impositions. James Wren went to Washington.
4—Rain all day; remained inside.
5—Sunday. Inspection by Major Haskins at 9 o’clock. Bath in the river. Washed underwear, etc.; fresh shad for dinner.
6—Rain all day. On guard 24 hours. Appointed orderly sergeant for commanding officer of the day; 91 guards on duty to-day and to-night.
7—On guard at 8.30 o’clock. Received canteens and haversacks. Seized a vessel of corn.
8—Received 6 large guns, 24-pounders; lot of grape and canister shot, balls, etc. Provisions for 3 months. Twenty head of cattle engaged in hauling up cannon and mounting same.
9—Received five 8 and 10-inch colombiads for shell. Lot bombs, ammunition. Fresh beef for dinner. Radishes and pies for supper. Carried boards for officers’ quarters. On guard at rifle battery.
10—Rain. Unwell. Colonel H.L. Cake, Captain McDonald, and Messrs. Baber, Mattson, Geo. Patterson, Jas. H. Campbell and others visited here to-day. Got revolver.
11—Hauled up 32-pounders on foot; finished at 2 o’clock. Cleaned up for inspection. Steamer Jas. Guy seized.
12—Sunday. Inspection at 9 o’clock. Army rules read at 10. Received Government uniforms; distributed them. Clothes vermin discovered in camp. Troops passed for Washington.
13—Received 2 barrels eggs and barrel butter of Morris. One barrel eggs of Nichols & Beck. On picket guard. Battle with cattle. Rain.
14—Wrote a letter to family. Cleaned musket. Nothing new to-day.
15—On the main guard 24 hours. Potatoes for supper.
16—Came off guard. Wren’s resignation accepted. Haywood and Huntzinger paid us a visit. All well at home.
17—On police duty.
18—On fatigue duty. L.C. Thompson, W. Patterson and Mr. Garrisgues paid us a visit. Unloaded a steamer with provisions.
19—Sunday. Wrote to wife and father. Inspection at 9 o’clock. On picket guard. Report of Washington’s bones being removed to Kentucky.
20—Rain all day. Packed box with clothes to send home. Living on luxuries, ham, dried beef, pickles, sweitzer cheese, etc.
21—On fatigue duty. Commenced Hardee’s drill. Fired bomb shell up the river from fort. Dragged trees for south side of parapet walls for barricading.
22—Wash day. On picket guard.
23—Came off picket guard. Cleaned my gun.
24—Went on main guard. Appointed orderly sergeant under Captain Perkins. Alexandria taken by the Zouaves. Col. Ellsworth killed. Heavy cannonading through the night. Harper’s Ferry and Arlington Heights taken possession of.
25—Came off main guard. Thirty-five rebel pickets captured near Alexandria. Captain of Pawnee court-martialed from giving false signals.
26—Inspection at 8.30 o’clock. Wrote two letters and received one. All well at home. Weather very warm.
27—On rifle battery guard. On police duty.
28—On fatigue. Shad fishing ended. Fired 11 guns for death of sergeant. Flag at half-mast at fort. Received letter from wife.
29—On long guard. Appointed orderly for officer of the day. D.A. Smith received letter from Brother H. Families well cared for at home.
30—Came off guard. Luxuries arrived for members. Game of ball.
31—Monthly inspection of all the troops in fort. Steamboat loaded with ladies from Alexandria for Piscatawa. Rumored engagement at Alexandria in a few days. Nine ladies arrived here to-day. A ball held in our old quarters by all the officers in the fort with the ladies.

Interior of Fort Washington, courtesy of Civil War Trust.