I first came across his name nearly twenty years ago. . . .
Yes, this part of Nagle's story I knew well; all the dates, the regiments, the orders of battle, and so on. So I went to Pottsville that day to see if I could find out more about this man--his family, perhaps, his home life. . . who he was as a person.
Knowing that Nagle had served in the Mexican-American War three years earlier, in 1847, as the commander of a company of Pennsylvania volunteers during General Winfield Scott's campaign from Vera Cruz to Mexico City, I naturally assumed that Nagle had essentially adopted this young child and returned with him to Pottsville where he raised him as one of the family. Naturally, though, I wanted to find out for certain. . .and this led me on a many years' long journey to discover more about this Mexican-born boy named Emerguildo.
|1850 Census Records for James Nagle and Family|
(Joseph Kaercher, also residing in the home, was the younger brother of Elizabeth)
Nagle's first command in the Civil War was the 6th Pennsylvania Infantry, a three-month regiment, which, from April to late July 1861 was assigned to General George Thomas's Brigade in General Robert Patterson's army in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley.
And there, in the ranks of the Llewellyn Rifles, which became Company G, 6th Pennsylvania, I saw it. . .not Emerguildo Marquiz, but an entry instead for an "M. Emrigeuldo." This had to be the same guy, I thought. Convinced now that he had served in the Civil War my next step was to contact the National Archives in Washington and request copies of his service records. Several weeks later, and hopeful that I had included enough possible variations of spellings for his name, a copy of Emerguildo's file arrived at my door. The records did much more than simply confirm that he did, indeed, serve as a private in the 6th Pennsylvania, for along with his service files for the 6th were those for when he served as a bugler in the 3rd Pennsylvania Cavalry. That was the first I discovered that Emerguildo had also served in the cavalry, and as a company bugler no less. Also in his service records was a letter written by James Nagle--I recognized his handwriting immediately. The letter was dated December 22, 1862, and by then Nagle was a a Brigadier General. "I have the honor to make application to have Emerguildo Marquis, Bugler in Captain White's Company 3rd PA Cavalry, detailed as bugler and orderly, for these Hd. Qrs.," the letter began. "He is a Mexican Boy that I brought along from Mexico. He was with me in the three months service, after that he enlisted in the Cavalry, and he is now desirous of joining me in some capacity, and I only have three mounted orderlies, and need a bugler at Head Quarters to sound the General Calls."
Nagle's request was granted and Emerguildo became a member of General Nagle's staff. I was struck by the fact that Emerguildo was a bugler. For me, this was most interesting, for the Nagle family was very much musically-inclined. In his younger days, James Nagle was a fifer; his brother Daniel was the drummer of the militia company James had organized and led off to Mexico, and his brothers Levi and Abraham were both musicians who would serve in the regimental band of the 48th Pennsylvania! Music must then have been an important part of the Nagle family upbringing and household.
I was thrilled with what I had discovered and especially that Emerguildo, whom Nagle had "brought along from Mexico" had served on the general's staff! I was still hoping to find out more, however, but for a long while the trail on Emerguildo went cold.
And it remained cold for some time.
|Civil War Service "Index Card" for Emerguildo "Marqueese," 3rd PA Cavalry|
(Courtesy of Pennsylvania State Archives)
There inscribed upon the stone and underneath years of dirt and grass was the name "Emerguildo Marquis."
I had to sit down for a moment to process all of this. . .
As I then learned, Emerguildo passed away in 1880 at the much-too-young age of 42. He was buried along with the rest of the Nagle family, another testimonial to the fact that he was, indeed, considered a member of the family.
Of his Civil War service, Emerguildo was justly proud. In July 1862, while encamped at Harrison's Landing with the 3rd PA Cavalry, Emerguildo was shocked to read of his own death in an issue of Pottsville's Mining Record newspaper, and was infuriated, it seems, that the article had referred to him as a "servant" of company commander, Captain J. Claude White. He was determined to set the record straight in both respects, by writing to the editors of the Record's rival newspaper, the Miners' Journal:
"Harrison's Landing, Va, July 22d, 1862,
Editors Miners' Journal: I wish to state, that having read a copy of the Mining Record this evening, I was greatly surprised at seeing the statement of my death, and that I am a servant to Captain White. Both these statements are utterly false. I did not enlist to be a servant, except to the country of my adoption. I wish also to state, that servants generally do not go so close to the mouth of cannon as to incur the risk of being killed by balls from rebel guns. I would state, also, that the gallant Colonel Nagle never brought me to this country to be a slave, sooner than be which, I would go home again to my native country, and assist my brave countrymen to drive the French invaders from the soil.
The truth is, that Daniel Wehry, of Donaldson, a private in our Company, was killed by a solid shot, and that the Captain's horse was killed in the same shot.
alias The Young Mexican Bugler, of Co. L, 3d Penna. Cavalry"
The pictures below show me and my family helping to set the stones at the graves of the Nagle family in the Presbyterian Cemetery. including Emerquildo's.
The "Before" Picture. . .
(See the one at bottom right, buried in the ground?)