Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Soldiers of the 48th: Elias Britton, Company A, 48th PA

Elias and Israel Britton--whether brothers or cousins, I am not quite certain--volunteered their services to the Union during the summer of 1861, and in mid-September were mustered into service as privates, in Company A, 48th Pennsylvania Infantry. Israel hailed from Tamaqua and listed his occupation as farmer; Elias, the older of the two at age 25, was a miller from Auburn. He stood 5'6" in height, with a dark complexion, dark eyes, and dark hair.

The Brittons served throughout the four years of the conflict. Both fell wounded at 2nd Bull Run on August 29, 1862, and in early 1864, both would reenlist, offering to serve another three years, or until the war was decided. It appears Elias fell ill near war's end, and was absent when the regiment mustered out of service on July 17, 1865. The records indicate that Israel deserted on March 15, 1865. Both, however, are listed as "Veterans" in the regimental muster rolls, having served nobly in the ranks of Company A and even shedding some of their blood in combat.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Help Restore The 50th Pennsylvania Monument At Antietam!

The 50th PA Monument at Antietam

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Lizzy Bianchi is a student at Honesdale High School in northeastern Pennsylvania with a great interest in the American Civil War. Last summer, while touring the Antietam Battlefield, Lizzy told her guide, Bill Sagle, that she would love to do something to help preserve the battlefield for her senior project. Bill directed her question to me, and I had just the project for her. Only a few days prior to Lizzy's visit, my colleague Brian Baracz showed me photographs of the unveiling/dedication of the 50th Pennsylvania Monument, featuring a bronze, 7'4" statue of Colonel Benjamin Christ who organized and first led the regiment and who, at Antietam, commanded the First Brigade in Orlando Willcox's Second Division, Ninth Army Corps. The photographs revealed that when first unveiled, there was a hilt (handle) on Colonel Christ's sword. That hilt is no longer there.

But Lizzy is now determined to replace it.

I suggested the idea to her and she hit the ground running. The 50th Pennsylvania was formed in the summer of 1861 with volunteers from several Pennsylvania counties. Two companies--A & C--came from Schuylkill County, as did Colonel Christ, a native of Minersville. Since other volunteers came from Lizzy's home area, she feels more of a special attachment to the regiment. . .and to this endeavor.

I placed Lizzy in touch with artist and Civil War historian Michael Kraus who last year did such excellent, excellent work in sculpting the replacement sword for the 48th Pennsylvania monument, and Mike has agreed to work on this project as well.

We are very fortunate to have someone like Lizzy undertake a project like this, especially in someone so young and so passionate about the study and preservation of history.

Reward her efforts and help her achieve her goal by donating today. Any amount, no matter how large or small, will help. Mike Kraus has estimated a total cost for this project of $3,000. Lizzy has another year to make this project a reality and I encourage all of you to show her how much her efforts are appreciated by donating today.

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To donate, send a check or money order to Lizzy Bianchi and in the subject line, write "50th Pennsylvania Monument." Send to:

Lizzy Bianchi

50th Pennsylvania Monument Restoration

32 Middle Creek Road

Lake Ariel, PA 18436

This Photograph Shows the Missing Hilt from the sheathed sword of Colonel Benjamin Christ. Let's return it!