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Title: Eleven days in the militia during the war of the rebellion - A journal of the 'Emergency' campaign of 1862
Author: Militiaman, A
Language: English
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    OF 1862.




    Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1883, by
    in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.


Twenty years have passed away since a band of hastily-gathered
minute-men left their homes to defend the soil of Pennsylvania from
the first threatened invasion of the State by the rebel army under
General R.E. Lee. Viewed through the lapse of this long period,
crowded as it has been with so many momentous events in the life of
the nation, the incidents of that brief and comparatively unimportant
campaign begin, nevertheless, from their increasing remoteness, to
take upon themselves a degree of historic interest. In respect to both
their significance and their adventure, they greatly exceed the
occurrences which attended the march of the celebrated Advance Light
Brigade to the defence of Philadelphia in the war of 1812-14, in which
latter body of citizen soldiery the county of Berks had the honor to
be liberally represented.

With many of the participants in the movements of September, 1862,
that minor undertaking comprises the sum total of their personal
experience of military service during the entire ordeal of our
country's conflict. To them, therefore, the memories of that period of
excitement and alarm are invested with a peculiar interest--a
sentiment which must to a degree continue to be shared by their
descendants. In the belief that a narration of its details may serve
to rekindle in the breasts of his surviving companions something of
the enthusiasm which they originally inspired, the writer has been
encouraged, after the lapse of nearly a generation, to undertake the
pleasing and congenial task.

Fidelity to fact is at the least claimed for the present performance,
which, devoid as it is of literary pretensions, may nevertheless be
deemed not unworthy of an humble place among the contributions to the
history of a stirring epoch in the annals of our good old Commonwealth
at the trying period of the nation's struggle. The basis of the
narrative is a personal journal of the service to which it refers,
kept at the time it transpired, the entries in which were dictated by
the feelings and impressions of the moment. These impressions, it is
to be remembered, were those of a simple civilian--one who felt little
interest in the details of military service apart from the cause in
which it is undertaken. Yet the relation may, from this very fact,
commend itself the more to the friendly regard of his comrades, most
of whom were at that period equally inexperienced in the proper
discipline of the soldier. On the other hand, should it attract the
notice of the veteran, it will doubtless serve to amuse him by
comparison with his own experience amidst the greater perils of
"grim-visaged war," which he is even yet so pardonably fond of

From what has been already advanced, it will be unnecessary to place
any special emphasis upon the disclaimer which it nevertheless remains
to make, that any possible object of applause is sought to be
associated with the expedition which it is purposed to record. Very
distinctly is the impression made at the time in the mind of the
writer, preserved to the present, that in promptly proceeding to the
scene of danger, the Pennsylvania militia were confronted with a more
urgent incentive than that which animated the legions of brave men who
had already gone forth to face the enemy on the distant battle-fields
of the South. Our homes were threatened--the horrors of desolating war
seemed likely to be brought to our very doors. The instinct of
self-preservation effectually appealed to even the most unpatriotic
hearts. No other honorable alternative was left but to go out to meet
the hostile invader. Alarms often repeated, by night and by day,
suggested the imminence of the danger. Others, with a more deliberate
devotion to their country's cause, had volunteered for long periods of
service. To fail to rally for the protection of our own firesides,
with all their consecrated associations, would have been unworthy of
the very lowest requirements of patriotism. The most abiding sentiment
of those who were called to no severer military duty than the militia
campaign of 1862, or that of the following year, must always be a
heartfelt appreciation of, and gratitude for, the services of the
brave veterans of the War of the Rebellion, to whose heroic deeds we
are indebted for the preservation of our liberties, and the blessings
of a reunited country.

But, justice to the minute-men of 1862 requires it to be said that,
although in the light of subsequent events, the achievements of their
brief campaign seem to sink into such comparative insignificance--so
marked indeed that the very narration of them appears to savor more of
humor than of valor--there were among their number multitudes who were
animated by as warm a patriotism as that which burned in the breasts
of their gallant comrades then already at the front--who were as ready
as they to lay down their lives in defence of the dearest interests of
freemen, and who, had the occasion presented itself, would have done
equal honor to their country's service. It is not to be forgotten,
moreover, that at the crisis when they marched to the rescue of the
State, it could not be foreseen what was to be the issue of their
mission, or how great the sacrifice which they might be called upon to
make. It was cause for lasting gratification with them that their very
presence upon the borders at the juncture when they appeared, and in
the numbers in which they came, greatly contributed to encourage their
brethren who were then passing through the heat and fire of the
conflict, as well as to deter the progress of the invading foe. Raw
and undisciplined as they undoubtedly were, who can now say that their
prompt rendezvous at the centre of military operations did not
signally aid the successful efforts of the army to turn backward the
march of the enemy after the terrific shock which he received on the
memorable field of Antietam?


  READING, September, 1882.


After the reverses to our arms at the disastrous battles of the Second
Bull Run and Centreville, in the latter part of August, 1862, and the
retrograde movements of the Union forces in Virginia in consequence,
the purpose of the enemy to follow up his advantage by endeavoring to
take the Capital, invade the Middle States, and thus strike terror
into the hearts of the people of the North, became immediately
apparent. In the early part of September, war meetings were being held
in Pennsylvania to raise the quota of the State in lieu of the draft
then impending, in pursuance of the requisition of the President of
the United States for three hundred thousand men. The Reserves had
been called away to succor the hard-pressed army of McClellan, and the
borders were left wholly unprotected at the inviting season of
harvest. As a measure of precaution against the impending danger,
Governor Curtin on the 4th of September issued a proclamation
recommending the immediate formation of volunteer companies
throughout the State, in conformity with existing militia laws, for
home defence, and suggesting the closing of all places of business at
3 o'clock P.M. daily, in order to afford due opportunity for drill and
preparation. On the next day, Mayor David McKnight of Reading, who was
acting in that capacity in the place of Mayor Joel B. Wanner, then in
the field as Major of the 128th Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers,
also issued a manifesto, in pursuance of the spirit of the Governor's
proclamation, requiring the assemblage of the citizens at certain
places designated within their respective wards, for the organization
of companies, and also the holding of daily drills from 4 to 6 P.M.

On the 5th, the rebel army under General Lee, comprising a force
estimated at eighty thousand infantry, eight thousand cavalry, and one
hundred and fifty pieces of artillery, crossed the Potomac at or near
the Point of Rocks, and entered Frederick. Among its division
commanders were Magruder, Walker, Anderson, A.P. Hill, Stuart,
Longstreet, Ewell, and Stonewall Jackson. With the occupation of
Maryland, matters reached an alarming crisis, and the imminent danger
to Pennsylvania became at once evident. The boldness and celerity of
the enemy's movements suggested the necessity for prompt action on the
part of the State authorities. On the 10th of September, the
Governor, acting under the direction of the President of the United
States, issued another proclamation, as Commander-in-Chief of the
militia, designated as General Order No. 35, calling on all the
able-bodied men of the State to organize for its defence, and be ready
to march to Harrisburg at an hour's notice, subject to his order. The
companies were directed to be filled in accordance with the army
standards of the United States, and as it was stated that the call
might be sudden, the officers and men were required to provide
themselves with the best arms they could procure, with at least sixty
rounds of suitable ammunition, good stout clothing, uniform or
otherwise; boots, blankets, and haversacks. The order further
stipulated that the organizations would be held in service for such
time only as the pressing emergency for the State defence might

On the morning of the 11th, the rebel cavalry under Stuart entered
Hagerstown, the southern terminus of the Cumberland Valley Railroad,
six miles from the Pennsylvania line, the main body being about
two-and-a-half miles behind, at Funkstown. The army of McClellan had
in the meantime advanced to Poolesville. As soon as this intelligence
reached Harrisburg, the Governor at 4 o'clock on the afternoon of that
day issued General Order No. 36, calling into immediate service fifty
thousand of the freemen of Pennsylvania, under the terms of the
proclamation of the previous day, to repel the rebel invasion.

Immediately after the publication of the proclamation of Wednesday,
September 10th, the work of forming militia companies in Reading was
begun in earnest, the efforts that had been previously made in that
direction not having been attended with much practical result. In the
evening, the court-house bell was rung, and the building was rapidly
filled. Mayor McKnight presided over the meeting. Dispatches were read
indicating the approach of the enemy to the borders, and resolutions
were adopted to organize companies forthwith in each of the wards.
Many went directly from the meeting to the different places of
rendezvous, and enrolled themselves for the State defence. There was
not at the time a single full military company in Reading, all the
troops enlisted for stated terms of service having already gone to the
front. The night was one of much activity and excitement. Drilling was
done in Penn Square to the inspiring accompaniment of fife and drum,
which gave the town a decidedly warlike appearance. This exercise was
continued daily and nightly until the militia had marched, and at no
period during the entire war did the military enthusiasm of the people
reach a greater height.

In the instruction of the troops, the manual of arms had to be
omitted, for there were no guns. Officers had been hastily selected,
and the commands in most cases given to experienced soldiers, whose
services were in sudden and great demand. The fidelity of the men was
accepted without any suggestion of the test of an oath. The companies
recruited rapidly, and were not long in filling up to the standard.
Their evolutions, which were conducted to a large extent in the open
square, under the cover of darkness, were at times edifying to
witness. As the battalions marched with sturdy tread up and down on
either side of the central market-houses, collisions would now and
then derange the symmetry of the forces. Frequent resort to unmilitary
language on the part of the commanders was necessary to bring up the
laggard platoons, and movements were habitually executed for which no
precedent could have been found in either Scott or Hardee. But it was
patriotism and not tactics that was uppermost in the minds of all, and
trifling imperfections of military discipline were, for the moment at
least, sunk out of sight in the sense of common danger.

Arms of all kinds were in urgent demand. Rifles and shot-guns, single
and double-barreled, old and new; pistols of all designs, long and
short, ancient and modern, together with some other unclassified
implements of war, were brought out from their hiding-places, hastily
cleaned and put in working order. Some of the men, when equipped for
the march, were walking armories of miscellaneous weapons. The
hardware stores were invaded in search of powder, shot, and ball. A
gum blanket, with which in most cases an army blanket, or in default
thereof, a pair of ordinary bed blankets, were rolled up; a haversack
of canvas or oil-cloth, hastily put together at the saddler's, a tin
cup, knife and fork and spoon, made up the rest of the equipment.

But it was the composition of the forces which lent to them their
chief dignity and formed their most notable feature. There was no
volunteering by proxy. No one at all able to contemplate military
service thought of stopping to suggest the duty of his neighbor. Each
felt the personal application of the call, and even to doubt one's
fitness for duty was to expose himself to suspicion. All claims of
business, public or private responsibilities, or professional or
official duty had to yield to the necessities of the hour. Every
interest was alike threatened, and no balancing of individual excuses
could for a moment be tolerated. The women nobly seconded the appeal
to arms, and assisted in the work of preparation. Personal and social
distinctions were levelled, and in response to roll-call there
appeared the lawyer, the physician, the preacher, the magistrate, the
banker, the merchant, the manufacturer, and the railway official in
his multifarious forms, side by side with the humbler civilian--all
animated with patriotic zeal in the common cause.

Mayor McKnight, who subsequently himself joined a company named in his
honor and commanded by Captain Nathan M. Eisenhower, on the 11th sent
William M. Baird, Esq., to Harrisburg to keep the home authorities
informed as to the arrangements for the calling out and reception of
the Reading militia. On the evening of the 12th, Mr. Baird telegraphed
that the companies should hold themselves in readiness to march, and a
little later communicated an order from headquarters to Captain
Franklin S. Bickley, who was in charge of the first company organized,
and the only one then ready, for his command to leave for Harrisburg
the next morning by the first train.

This company had its rendezvous in the second story of the building at
the southwest corner of Fifth and Washington streets. Its roll
originally contained 94 names, but the number of men who actually
marched was but 64. Sergeant William H. Strickland was left behind to
recruit the company up to the standard, and afterwards brought a few
additional men to Chambersburg. The commanding officers were all of
them men of some experience in military affairs, and proved themselves
worthy of their positions. Captain Bickley had been a commissioned
officer in the Pennsylvania Reserves; First Lieutenant Lewis H.
Wunder was a veteran of the Mexican War; and Second Lieutenant Charles
H. Richards, though never in actual service, had had a long connection
with the militia before the war. In the ranks of the company were a
few old soldiers, who were generally to be recognized by the coolness
of their bearing.

At this point it will be appropriate to give the names of the seven
companies which were raised in Reading, or its immediate vicinity, and
left in response to the Governor's call, with the dates of marching
and their regimental assignments. Several other companies were in
course of organization in the city and county, but the emergency had
passed before they were ready to respond to the call:--

Fifth Ward Guards, Captain F.S. Bickley, 70 men, Company G, 2d
Regiment; September 13.

Nicolls Guards, Captain Charles H. Hunter, 104 men, Company E, 11th
Regiment; September 15.

McKnight Guards, Captain Nathan M. Eisenhower, 95 men, Company I, 11th
Regiment; September 15.

Liberty Fire Zouaves, Captain William Geiger, 70 men, Company G, 20th
Regiment; September 17.

M'Lean Guards, Captain Samuel Harner, 45 men, Company H, 20th
Regiment; September 17.

Halleck Infantry, Captain Frederick S. Boas, 92 men, Company I, 20th
Regiment; September 17.

Berks County Cavalry, Captain Samuel L. Young, 67 men, Independent;
September 17.

At a meeting of Captain Bickley's Company, held on the evening of the
12th, the marching order was read, and it was directed that the
company meet at the armory at 10 o'clock the next morning in readiness
to leave. Its subsequent movements during the campaign are detailed in
the journal which follows, and to which what has already preceded is
but a necessary preliminary.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Saturday, September 13._ According to orders, the company met at the
rendezvous at 10 o'clock A.M. equipped for the march. The morning had
been busily occupied in getting ready for the departure. The
leave-taking with our friends had not been unmingled with feelings of
solemnity, in view of the possibility that we might never see them
again. The day was fine, and a large crowd of people congregated in
the streets to see us off. On Penn Square, in front of the Provost
Marshal's office, at the old Bell mansion, the pavement was blocked,
as it had been for several days past, with applicants for exemption
from the draft. The medical examinations were then in progress. We
marched to the lower depot, headed by a band, and accompanied by the
crowd. The company itself was wholly unprovided with music of any
sort. Left by the regular morning passenger train for Harrisburg. In
another car there was also a militia company from Pottsville,
commanded by Captain David A. Smith, which had left home the same
morning. All the men were in good spirits. Some amusement was afforded
by a comparison of our accoutrements. The majority of the company were
unarmed, and the only insignia of a regular military organization were
the swords and sashes of the officers. The news by the morning papers
still continued exciting. The army was said to be preparing to engage
the rebels in Maryland, as no time was to be lost in checking their

The trip was without incident. Arriving at Harrisburg at 1-½ P.M., we
were formed and marched to the State Capitol grounds. A scene of great
activity was here presented. The people seemed everywhere to be
flocking to arms. The Governor and the Adjutant-General were
personally superintending the organization of the militia. Secretary
Slifer and Colonel A.K. McClure were also actively engaged in the same
work. We were much relieved to find that we were to be furnished with
arms and equipments by the State, as our force was far from effective
in its present shape. At the State Arsenal, on the Capitol grounds, we
were supplied with Springfield muskets, knapsacks, haversacks, and
canteens. Delivered up our old guns to be returned home. The muskets
and bayonets, on first introduction, were handled with some curiosity.
As there were no scabbards provided for the latter, the bayonets had
to be carried fixed to the pieces. Of ammunition there was none on
hand at present, but it was stated that a supply would be sent after
us. Nothing was said about swearing us into service. The day was
likely to be consumed in regimental organization, and it was probable
we should not get off before the morrow. Some of our men had expected
to meet the rebels before night. Fortunately for us, we still had some
eighty miles the advantage of them.

The first charge was upon our bags of provisions. My haversack had
been bountifully stocked by my good landlady at home, Mrs. B., whose
liberality as a provider and kindness of heart will always be held in
grateful remembrance by her guests. The foresight of the Governor in
mentioning in his proclamation the subject of rations, was generally
commended, as little or nothing eatable seemed to be obtainable in
this town since its occupation as a militia camp.

Our company was assigned quarters on the east side of the Capitol
grounds, upon the lawn in the rear of the public buildings. Passed
the afternoon in watching the arrival of several additional companies,
strolling around the Park, and looking through the Capitol buildings.
Several of us climbed the stairway to the dome. Another charge on the
haversacks about 5 P.M. Began to wonder where or how we were to pass
the night. Our efficient Quartermaster, L.M.; at length solved the
problem. He procured a lot of shelter tents, which were distributed,
and the work of setting them up commenced. A little straw was brought
from somewhere and put in for a bottom. Took a stroll through the town
in the evening with Messrs. G., E., S., and others, visiting the
railroad depots, which were just then scenes of particular activity.
Stopped on the way at a lager beer saloon, which powerfully recalled
home associations. Returned to the grounds and answered to roll-call
about 10 P.M. Crawled into a tent with Dr. B. and J.R.K. A regiment or
two was encamped around us. No military rules were as yet promulgated,
and it was very evident that none were to be observed that night.
Chaos reigned supreme. Singing, speech-making, and practical jokes of
all kinds filled in the hours usually devoted to sleep, while the
arrival of fresh companies, from time to time, appeared to stimulate
the orgies as the night advanced. Slept a couple of hours, and until 2
A.M., when the general discomforts of the situation moved me to seek
more desirable quarters. Reconnoitred the outskirts of the camp, and
found a large covered coach just outside the grounds, which I got
into, and having wrapped myself in my blanket, slept tolerably for
several hours. The night was quite cool, and these new accommodations
proved comfortable only by comparison. Got out at daylight, washed my
face at a pump, answered to roll-call, and then consulted my bag of
provisions. This first night's experience in "camp" suggests how few
and simple are the wants of man in a military state.

_Sunday, September 14._ Went down town with Dr. B. to look after
something to replenish our depleted commissary stores. The Doctor was
acquainted with a family named Feger, in Walnut Street, near the
river, whose son was a student of medicine, and suggested a call. We
accordingly visited them, and were kindly provided with a good meal
and a quantity of cigars. The young student conducted us to a bakery,
where we laid in a supply of crackers. Returned to camp. Our company
had been attached to the Second Regiment of Militia, as Company "G."
The Colonel was John L. Wright, of Columbia. There were ten companies,
mostly full, from Columbia, West Chester, Reading, Pottsville, and
Lancaster City and County. The First Regiment, commanded by Colonel
Henry McCormick, and containing companies from Harrisburg,
Philadelphia, and Chester and Lebanon counties, had already been sent
off down the Cumberland Valley Railroad to Chambersburg. At 11 o'clock
we received marching orders for the same place, and about 1-½ P.M. the
regiment proceeded out to near Camp Curtin and got aboard a train of
freight cars, which had been provided with seats for the
transportation of troops. A long delay, with the explanation of which
we were not furnished, ensued; but about 3 the train started. A halt
of an hour or more was made in town. A tremendous and enthusiastic
crowd was out to see us off. Moved over the Long Bridge and stopped
another half hour west of the Susquehanna. Chambersburg, our
destination, was fifty-two miles distant. Passed successively through
Mechanicsburg, Carlisle, and Shippensburg, at each of which places
short stops were made. Were struck with the great natural beauty of
the Cumberland Valley region. Crowds of people came out to the
stations to meet us, and black and white, old and young, all joined in
the heartiest demonstrations of welcome. Were also greeted from the
houses and roadsides all along the line by people waving their
handkerchiefs and swinging their hats. At Mechanicsburg a whole girls'
school was out to see us. This was a specially engaging sight to some
of our number, who thought that that village would be a good place to
camp. At Carlisle I met Mr. R.S., whom I knew. The _elite_ of the town
were at the station, and S. pointed out to me the leading beauties of
the place--I mean the ladies. Soldiers of a day, we already began, in
the midst of these inspiring scenes, to feel like real veterans.
Between stops the men beguiled the time singing, jesting, smoking,
etc., and every one was in the best possible humor. Private T.H.,
among the rest, favored the company with a curious song in
Pennsylvania Dutch called "Babbel Maul," which performance his
delighted auditors compelled him frequently to repeat. It was
generally agreed that the most desirable way of marching was by
railroad. Dusk deepened into night, and at about 9 o'clock
Chambersburg was reached. Proceeded a mile or two below the town, when
the train halted in a wood brightly illuminated with camp-fires, and
resonant with the cheers of soldiers. Disembarked and went into camp.
Rigged the tents, built fires, mounted the large cooking kettles with
which we had been furnished at Harrisburg, boiled coffee and got our
supper--"grub" is the military term for it. No news of any account
from Maryland. My two comrades of the night before and myself
constructed a sort of crib with fence rails put up between adjoining
trees, and, after a smoke, laid ourselves up in it to sleep. The
arrangement worked well, and we slept comfortably in this rustic
bedstead until 5 A.M.

_Monday, September 15._ After roll-call wrote letters home, and
carried some water for the cook. The latter, W.P.D., is a character in
his way, and deserves mention. Under a rough exterior he carries a
kindly heart. In his particular sphere, the importance of which we all
recognize, he is somewhat of an autocrat. In the distribution of the
eatables he is governed by the strictest principles of equity, and
shows no favoritism. He is very often justly ruffled when his
functions are usurped, or undue dictation is attempted on the part of
those bearing higher official authority. He is specially incensed at
times when stratagems are employed by the men to steal the sugar, over
which latter article he finds it necessary to maintain a vigilant
guard. We are now down to regular army fare, our bill consisting of
rations of bread, meat, coffee, and that well-known item of camp
necessaries called "hard tack," which is a host in itself, being made
to go a great way by reason of the degree of mastication which it
requires. There can be no complaint as to the strength of the coffee,
since there is no milk to dilute it, but the color of the sugar might
afford ground of exception on the part of the over-fastidious. Soups
of rice, meat-bones, and occasionally poultry, when there happen to
be any hen-roosts in close proximity, make a substantial dinner.
Soldiers' appetites are uniformly good, and little defects in the
system of cookery are not ordinarily closely criticised. Tobacco, in
all its forms, seems indispensable, by reason of the moral courage
with which it is supposed to inspire alike the soldier and the
civilian. This article is laid in by the men whenever and as often as
occasion presents. In our great country it has all sections for its
own. It is certain that the war is going to give an immense permanent
stimulus to the consumption of this standard narcotic. Alcoholic
beverages also are stored away in flasks against cases of emergency,
which, in military affairs, as is well known, are of constant

During the morning we were gratified with the first sight of the
enemy's paraphernalia, consisting of a train of captured baggage
wagons, taken from Longstreet, and which were being driven in the
direction of Harrisburg, whither, it is said, some hundred or more of
prisoners from the same corps are being conducted. With a view of the
latter we were not rewarded. The curiosity of the men to see a live
rebel--in a _captured_ condition--is very great. The wagons were
guided by contra bands, who did not, however, look as if they belonged
to the numerous class called "intelligent," who figure so largely as
news-bearers in the army dispatches. The train, as well as the
prisoners, was under the escort of the Anderson Cavalry, which was
doing scout duty between the lines. A slight change in the position of
our quarters was ordered during the day, and tents were struck about 4
P.M. and the company marched about two miles further to the south,
halting in a large stubble field west of the railroad, in a position
which had been dignified by the title of "Camp McClure." Had an attack
of my old adversary, the sick-headache, and was soon forced to
surrender. Was very kindly waited upon by several of the men,
especially P.E. and his brother D., who is a candidate at home for
District Attorney, but not on that account any the less unselfish in
his friendly offices on the present occasion. The former made me some
tea from pennyroyal, gathered upon the ground, which shortly operated
as an emetic. On a bed of blankets and straw, arranged by sympathetic
hands, with my knapsack for a pillow, and the open vault of heaven for
a canopy, I soon became, as is usual with sufferers from this severe
complaint, utterly indifferent to surroundings. A good night's rest
brought a happy relief.

_Tuesday, September 16._ Part of the morning was devoted to foraging
at the neighboring farmhouses, but little or nothing could be
procured, the ground having already been pretty well covered by
advance parties. Apples, however, were abundant, as there were many
fine orchards in this vicinity. Was detailed to attend Dr. S., the
Company Surgeon, who was sick, and had taken refuge in an adjoining
wood, into which our quarters were presently moved. Here, under the
direction of the Quartermaster, a sort of wigwam was constructed,
built of fence-rails and cornstalks, and floored with straw. It was
long enough to accommodate the entire company, and formed a very tight
and really comfortable tenement. The Conococheague Creek ran within a
few hundred yards of the camp, and the men had several good baths in
it. Regiments were continually arriving from the railroad, and the
shrieks of the steam-whistles, the blasts of bugles, clatter of drums,
and the cheering of the troops enlivened the day. Among the accessions
were the Blue Reserves, of Philadelphia, a uniformed organization,
which made a handsome appearance. Before night there were said to be
ten thousand men on the ground. A large force of militia was evidently
intended to be concentrated at this point. Met a number of
acquaintances among the new arrivals. Had several squad and company
drills, and expected, from the arrangements we observed in progress,
to remain some time in this situation. While out for exercise we could
hear the noise of distant artillery proceeding from the direction of
Sharpsburg and Harper's Ferry. The anxiety increased to hear
something from the army. Occasionally a newspaper, a day or two out of
date, was brought in from the railroad, and its contents eagerly
devoured. It was said that Hagerstown had been abandoned by the
rebels, and that telegraph and railroad communication had been
re-established with that point. Reports circulated, which were
afterwards verified, that fighting had commenced between the corps of
Generals Hooker and Reno and the rebels, and that General Reno had
been killed. When the camp-fires were lighted, after nightfall, the
woods resounded with martial music, song, and cheers, and the scene
was a highly animating and inspiring one. Such sights are seldom
witnessed, and are not to be soon forgotten. Before turning into our
hut, seated myself on a bank a little distance apart from the rest, in
company with my friend K., and we took a quiet smoke and talked of
home, whither our thoughts continually turned. Enjoyed the best
night's rest of the campaign, owing to the comfort of our quarters.

_Wednesday, September 17._ Drilled in the morning in the adjoining
fields, and while thus engaged observed a renewal of the reports of
artillery towards the south, heard on the day previous, and with still
greater distinctness. These proceeded, as we afterwards learned, from
the battle-field of Antietam, some thirty miles off. A dull gruff
belch, at irregular intervals, accompanied by a sense of concussion,
told the story of the distant conflict. This inspired strange and
solemn feelings. Human lives were being offered up as a sacrifice upon
the altar of our country, and thousands of homes would sit in dread
suspense until it should be known upon whom the fatal blows had
fallen. The result, too, was of great concern to us, who were mere
auxiliaries in reserve against an untoward crisis. The evolutions now
assumed a significance they had not heretofore possessed. Their object
seemed no longer to be skill merely, but preparation. The zeal for
duty was quickened, and it was the idea of responsibility which was
uppermost in the minds of all. Additional regiments meanwhile arrived,
among others two of the Gray Reserves and Home Guards of Philadelphia,
which left Harrisburg yesterday. With drilling, guard mounting, and
the usual routine of camp duties, the day wore slowly away. Another
picturesque scene at night. After roll-call crawled again into our
comfortable domicil of cornstalks, with every reason to expect another
good night's sleep. This idea, however, was a grievous delusion, as
the sequel will show.

_Thursday, September 18._ About 11 o'clock last night the beating of
the ominous long roll aroused us from our peaceful slumbers, and the
word quickly passed that we had received marching orders for
Hagerstown, and were to be ready to leave at 12. The accoutrements
having been collected by the light of the fires, the regiment marched
to the railroad, a mile off, where it was expected a train would be in
waiting for us. Alas! we here received our first practical lesson of
the great uncertainty of military movements, and the mechanical nature
of the duties of the soldier, who must obey orders, simply, without
inquiring for reasons. In the quality of civilians, which we could not
altogether consent to drop, our sense of individual importance was
frequently infringed upon in our new capacity. Each in his turn felt
disposed to divide with his superiors the responsibility of the
command. After waiting several hours in the crisp cool air of the
autumn night, without any train appearing, we lost all patience and
lay down on our blankets for temporary repose. As the dews of heaven
gently distilled upon our unprotected forms, the memory of the
comfortable quarters we had just left did not add to the feelings of
reconciliation to our present miserable situation. Sundry imprecations
were vented upon the unknown authority in charge of the department of
transportation. Many went to sleep, from which they would be
occasionally roused by the rapid passing of trains, but our own
looked-for conveyance did not, nevertheless, arrive. Morning broke at
length and breakfast was improvised by the cooks.

We waited hour after hour for our train, but in vain. Wrote letters
home beside the railroad track, on the ends of the sills. Various
reports from the army were in circulation, respecting the result of
the battle, and the movements of the enemy, subsequently found to be
unreliable. After dinner had a battalion drill, and when all
expectation of the train had been given up, between 3 and 4 o'clock it
suddenly appeared. Cheers greeted its arrival. It consisted, like the
one in which we had come down, of house cars adapted for the present
purpose, and we boarded it just in time to escape a shower which began
falling at this moment. Were off, at length, and after a short halt at
Greencastle, where I laid in some provisions, arrived about 6 o'clock
at Hagerstown, which we found occupied by a considerable militia force
that had been pushed forward within the past two days. Were surprised
to find the companies of Captains Hunter and Eisenhower, from Reading,
already there, as they had started from home after we had. Were
informed by them that they had left Harrisburg on Tuesday night, and
arrived at Hagerstown on Wednesday morning. They had been attached to
the 11th Regiment, to the command of which Charles A. Knoderer, a
talented civil engineer of Reading, who went as a private of Captain
Eisenhower's company, had been promoted. The regiment was encamped a
short distance below town on the Williamsport pike. Heard more
definite intelligence of the result of the great battle fought
yesterday, which is claimed as a decided Union victory. Were informed
of the death of Captain William H. Andrews, of the 128th Regiment, who
fell in the battle, and also of its commander, Colonel Croasdale.
Captain Andrews's body had already arrived in Hagerstown. Several
other members of Reading companies had been killed.

Our company was separated from the regiment and marched in the dusk of
the evening into a narrow lane not far from the railroad depot, where
we were told we were to pass the night. The ground was wet from the
rain which had fallen, and a slight drizzle continuing, a most gloomy
and uncomfortable aspect was imparted to the surroundings. The
prospect for rest was extremely unpromising. There was nothing to lie
upon except our gum blankets, and no better shelter than what could be
improvised by stretching the tents--with which we were now temporarily
provided--from the top of a fence to the ground. There appeared to be
some confusion as to the arrangements for quarters, and we could not
understand why a better situation had not been selected for the
night's bivouac. After supper K. and myself went through the town to
buy some lanterns and other things for the quartermaster. We were
conducted by an old negro whom we picked up by the way, and obtained
what we were in quest of, as well as a couple of bottles of good
whiskey, procured at a grocery store, notwithstanding the fact that
the town was under martial law, and the sale of liquor to soldiers had
been prohibited.

After having made a pretty thorough exploration of the place, we
returned to quarters, where we found a sharp discussion going on as to
the propriety of the Governor's sending us across the State line, the
authority for which some of the men were disposed to question. The
objection evidently proceeded from those who did not like our present
proximity to the seat of war. The debate ended, however, in a tacit
concurrence in the opinion of the majority that it was all right.
Passed a miserable night in this uncomfortable situation. Slept but
little, and caught a severe cold, from the effects of which I suffered
for several weeks.

_Friday, September 19._ Orders came about eight o'clock to go into
camp at a place about a mile below town, on the Williamsport pike, and
in the course of a couple of hours the scattered regiment had been
collected and transferred to the point indicated. The spot was known
as the old Washington County Agricultural Fair Ground, and but a few
days previously had been occupied as a rebel camp. Its principal
attraction was a large and fine spring of pure water. The 11th was in
the same vicinity. Before the company moved from the lane, I had been
detailed, with a squad, to go to a certain farm-house, about two miles
out of town, for the purpose of impressing a team for the conveyance
of the regimental luggage. Went to the place designated, but found
that the farmer's wagons were already in service--at least he so
informed us. Lieutenant William P. Brinton, of Company H, and myself
then proceeded half a mile further upon the same errand, and found a
man plowing in a field. Told him that we wanted his team, and he
complied without protest. I rode one of the horses to his house, and
during this time heard some pretty heavy artillery discharges in the
direction of the Potomac, or rather to the eastward, apparently about
six or eight miles off. This was occasioned, as it was afterwards
developed, by the escape of the main body of the rebel army across the
river, below Williamsport, under a fire from detachments of
McClellan's forces. After we had been kindly treated to a good lunch
by the farmer, the team was conducted off in the charge of the
lieutenant, while I took the nearest course to the farm-house first
visited, to bring back some men who had been left there. Finding that
they had already gone, I walked into Hagerstown, where I had some
difficulty in ascertaining the whereabouts of our regiment, the
marching orders having been executed during my absence. Took the
opportunity to reconnoitre through the town for the purpose of laying
in some provisions. The great frequency with which that occupation is
noted in this narrative need excite no undue wonder, since, as we were
nearly always eating, our private supplies were in a continually
deplenished state. Hagerstown is an antiquated looking place, and is,
at the present time, the seat of unusual activity, owing to its
proximity to the centre of military operations. The population was
said to be about equally divided in its political sympathies. It had
been held alternately by both sides, so that everybody had had in turn
an opportunity of "giving aid and comfort to the enemy." At the
present it was transformed, for the time being, into a vast hospital,
many of its public buildings being occupied for this purpose. Governor
Curtin was here looking after the welfare of the Pennsylvania troops.
By the Williamsport pike, a number of our wounded soldiers were still
being brought in from the battle-field, a distance of ten miles. The
sight of these sufferers was touching. Some were in ambulances, while
others lay in the bottoms of ordinary farm wagons, with little or no
shelter from the hot sun. Their wounds had been dressed, and the
heroic courage which they manifested was something inspiring to
witness. Many bodies of the dead had been sent in for transportation.
In a wheelwright shop to which my attention was attracted, I saw the
lifeless forms of two officers in uniform--a major and a
lieutenant--awaiting boxing. The faces were ghastly, and I turned from
them with a feeling of pain as I thought of the hearts that even now,
perhaps, were being torn with grief in the distant homes. These sights
were realities, not pictures, and gave me a more vivid idea of the
horrors of war than the most graphic pen descriptions I had ever read.
Alas! I thought, to what extent is this slaughter to go on, and when
will the sacrifice for patriotism's sake be complete?

Came up with the camp at length, and found the men engaged in clearing
the ground and pitching the tents, which work was continued until
dinner time. Toward the middle of the afternoon, great interest began
to centre upon the road, occasioned by the frequent and furious
galloping up and down of cavalry pickets and aids, and the report
spread that a considerable body of rebels was advancing up the pike in
the direction of Hagerstown. The long roll was beat, and the command
to fall in was given. We were now supplied with sixty rounds of
ammunition per man--the first that we had received--and loaded our
guns, which looked like business. In default of the usual appliances
for that purpose, the cartridges were deposited in our overcoat
pockets. Thus ballasted, we were marched down the road about a mile
and a-half, and halted at a point where detached lines of battle were
being formed. Our regiment was deployed in two ranks to the left of
the great road, in a ploughed field, on rising ground, and was in the
front line. The Gray and Blue Reserves of Philadelphia, supported by a
battery, constituted a portion of the right wing on the other side of
the road, and the Maryland Brigade, a uniformed body of three years'
men, five thousand strong, commanded by General Kenley, were posted on
our extreme left. A regiment of skirmishers were in a wood a little in
advance of the brigade. Some twelve or fifteen thousand men were thus
concentrated in several lines, and the whole force was so disposed as
to afford a converging fire upon the road. Major-General John F.
Reynolds, who we learned was in command, had his headquarters on a
hill, to the right of the road, where the colors were planted, and at
which point aids were observed to be constantly reporting.

Things now began to wear a serious appearance. A number of farmers
were noticed removing their household goods from our front, towards
Hagerstown, by the road. They were evidently alarmed, and expected a
battle. It was also remarked that portions of the fences along the
pike had been torn down, and the rails piled up at different points in
the road, by way of obstructions against the advance of an opposing
force. We stood at a rest in the line, with guns half-cocked and
bayonets fixed, momentarily awaiting the appearance of the foe. An
incident occurred at this juncture which, though trifling, drew the
attention of the entire force for the time being. The report of a
musket was heard in the woods where the skirmishers were, followed by
a loud shriek and audible groans. It was at once surmised that one of
the militiamen had been accidentally shot. Presently, a crowd was
observed conducting a man up the road toward the town, and it was then
explained that this person was subject to attacks of mania-a-potu, and
that the excitement of the moment had made him crazy. The occurrence
could not but be suggestive of a similar catastrophe to the reason of
some others of the force, who were just then exposed to the like

Our Colonel next rode along in front of the regiment, observing to us
that we must not mind if we found a little hail coming over in our
direction soon. The preparations were now complete, and the decisive
moment seemed to be rapidly approaching. But--tamely enough to
relate--hours were passed in the same situation without any further
developments whatever. Meanwhile the beautiful autumnal afternoon
wore gradually away, and the sun went down behind the Cumberland
Mountains, throwing a flood of golden light over the really
picturesque landscape. Virgil's charming line involuntarily crossed my

        "Sol ruit interea, et montes umbrantur opaci."

The singular beauty of the scene, and the absorbing interest of the
situation, with its profound and alternating emotions of hope and
apprehension, painted a picture upon the memory which time can never
obliterate. Dusk thickened into night, and we remained in a standing
posture until nine o'clock, when we were permitted to rest our pieces
upon the ground and stealthily eat our rations. Some neighboring
grain-stacks were invaded, and a few sheaves brought, which we unbound
and strewed along the clods. Upon these we were at length allowed to
lie down to rest--not to sleep--still grasping our cocked pieces, and
ready for an instant alarm. About one o'clock the report was
circulated, which proved to be the fact, that the forces of McClellan
had driven the enemy across the Potomac into Virginia; but it was
stated that some detached bodies of the latter had been cut off, and
that the services of the militia were desired in order to capture
them. The proposition was discussed--a debate being admissible under
the peculiar circumstances, since it will be remembered we were not
sworn into service--and it was resolved that we would go as far as the
Potomac. Before we could move, however, the order was countermanded,
and the summons was now suspected to be a stratagem to test our
mettle. But contemporaneous events justify the conclusion that it was
otherwise, and that no ruse was designed to be attempted in this
affair, at the expense of the gallantry of Pennsylvania's home

_Saturday, September 20._ At daylight we were allowed to break ranks
and stack our arms. No very definite information could be obtained
during the morning as to the probable developments of the day, but, so
far as appearances indicated, the situation of affairs was unchanged.

While in our present position I cannot restrain a feeling of
admiration for the earnestness of many of the members of our
organization. Among them are some of Reading's most considerable
citizens, men who occupy important stations, and carry weighty
responsibilities. Strange figures, indeed, they make here, in far-off
Maryland, resting upon their arms, and keeping watch for the invading
foe. Could their loved ones see them at this moment, what moral heroes
would they appear in their eyes! I could not help observing how
strikingly the predominant characteristics of men are developed in
critical emergencies. In our mutual concern for the common safety, it
is in the strongest characters that we feel our chief reliance is to
be placed. Those who have the fairest reputations at stake, display
the greatest degree of firmness, and _vice versa_. This criterion, it
is evident, will hold good when the severest test shall be applied.
H.V.R., a member of the Bar, cares little for the details of military
discipline, but is a model of fidelity to the idea of duty, as is also
his brother J., who is a layman. Dr. M., a bank officer, is
punctuality itself, probably from long force of habit, and shrinks
from no service, even the humblest. His former connection with
military companies makes him a highly intelligent soldier. Mr. G.,
also a lawyer--I waive the military titles--moves cautiously,
deliberates and debates, but perseveres. As a gigantic shooting
excursion he is probably best reconciled to the present expedition,
and since we have now secured our ammunition, is doubtless anxious to
sight the game. L.B., a merchant, is a model civilian, and a man of
recognized high character. He has left home with a purpose, which he
will stand to, come what may. D.E., the candidate for office to whom I
have before referred, was never born to be a willing subject of rules
in any sphere of life, and makes an erratic soldier. He has become
tired of the slow progress we have been making toward the
battle-field, which, in a spectacular sense, he is impatient to look
upon. J.W.B., a light-hearted old time captain of a troop of horse,
is true game; and the same may be said of our Quartermaster, L.M., who
keeps the command in good humor by the jokes which he is constantly
bandying with the Captain. J.K.S., printer, is remarkable for his
intelligence as to the object of those military manoeuvres which the
rest of us regard as inexplicable. J.P. is a sturdy fellow, of clear
grit, who would be a good neighbor in a perilous moment. B.O. is a
serious man, distinguished for the quiet regularity of his bearing and
steadiness of his movements. Not so Dr. B., a waggish apothecary,
whose skill as a forager I have all along had occasion to mark, and
who seems, when an advance is made, to be at all points of the camp at
the same time. J.H.F., an ex-country justice of the peace, enjoys the
distinction of being the only man in the company in regimentals,
having donned a uniform made for him some years ago, when he was
orderly sergeant of a company which belonged to the Kutztown
battalion. His avoirdupois has greatly increased since the garments
were made, and his harness is so tight that he finds marching very
uncomfortable. He stands upright a large part of the time from force
of circumstances, and sits down with caution. Our orderly, J.G.S., a
harum-scarum young attorney, is a singular mixture of discipline and
drollery. Lieutenant R. is an exceedingly modest man, who is not
without knowledge and merit as an officer. Lieutenant W. is an old
soldier, of quick eye and firm bearing. The utmost reliance can be
placed in his intelligence and courage. Private K., bank teller,
before mentioned, and myself, though separated in the ranks by reason
of a difference in inches, have taken a liking to each other, and have
formed a solemn league of mutual assistance when matters come to the
worst. As he is armed with a pistol and a dirk, in addition to his
musket, I feel that the advantage of the covenant is largely on my

At 4 P.M. artillery firing was renewed in our front, and an hour or so
later the long roll was again beat all along the line, and the command
to fall in was given. A forward movement down the road had been
ordered. The intelligence had been brought in that a body of the
rebels had recrossed the river at Williamsport, and the subsequent
official dispatches explained that this force was a detachment of
Lee's cavalry under Stuart, with a regiment of infantry and some
pieces of artillery, whose evident design was a raid upon Hagerstown,
where a large quantity of military stores had been received for
McClellan's army. General Couch's division had been sent up to drive
him back, and it was the exchange of compliments between the two which
we now heard, though of this explanation we were for the time being

In the march down the road, the cavalry took the advance, and were
followed by the Maryland Brigade. The militia then closed in, and the
successive lines gradually dissolved into a single column. The
musicians were sent to the rear. After proceeding half a mile or so,
the column was halted, and came to a rest in the road, in which
position it remained for an hour or more. By this time it was dusk,
and the artillery discharges in the front had become really
formidable. The firing was principally from the rebel guns. Signal
rockets now and then illuminated the sky, and a brilliant panorama was
presented to the view, the complexion of which was decidedly warlike.
Aids galloped up and down the column at a rattling pace, and things
rapidly assumed an air of confusion. I draw a veil over the scenes
presented at this juncture among a portion of the reserves of General
Reynolds. It would take a better soldier than myself to tell what
would have been the result of a serious collision at this moment, to
the body of this force, whose chief misfortune was that it was
entirely undisciplined. The plan agreed on was to receive the
advancing enemy with the bayonet, in case a fire should be found
ineffectual to check his progress. Many of our comrades made leagues
with each other, offensive and defensive, and examples of coolness
and determination inspired confidence in the main body of the men,
who, I am satisfied, would have followed orders and done their duty.

The firing presently ceased, and from some mounted officers the
intelligence was communicated that General Couch's division was now
immediately upon our front, and that our pickets were in
correspondence with his. At about eight o'clock we were ordered to
quarters in a stubble-field alongside the road, having been previously
cautioned by the Colonel not to build large fires, which injunction,
it is unnecessary to state, was faithfully obeyed. The roll was called
by the orderly, and the guards posted for the night. Did guard duty
from eight to ten, and from three to five. During the night, as the
sequel showed, the enemy, finding their design anticipated, and
perceiving the preparations on all sides to intercept them of so
thorough a character, abandoned their project on Hagerstown, and,
under the cover of darkness, quietly recrossed the Potomac, and
escaped safely into Virginia--horse, foot, and dragoons! Thus
virtually ended the militia campaign in Maryland.

_Sunday, September 21._ Moved our camp into a very desirable location
in the adjoining woods recently occupied by our skirmishers. As it
was now generally understood that all immediate danger was at an end,
signs of the relaxation of military discipline began to appear, and we
returned to the easy habits which had characterized our band of
civilian soldiery before it arrived in the vicinity of the late scene
of conflict between the hostile armies. The tents were leisurely put
up, and, the strain of the past two days being taken off, we prepared
to spend a pleasant day of rest in the cool shade of the woods. Some
of the members of an adjoining regiment began a promiscuous firing of
their pieces, which it was said came very nearly drawing down the fire
of General Couch's guns upon our peaceful camp, it being supposed for
the time being that some straggling bands of the enemy might still be
lurking in the neighborhood. The chaplain of the regiment held
religious services, while some of the men stretched themselves under
the trees, and others made haste to write letters home, giving
accounts of the perilous scenes through which they had passed. These
missives, as it turned out, they had the gratification of delivering
in person. The Quartermaster, with his accustomed forethought, had
made a requisition before daylight on a neighboring hen-roost, and
preparations for serving dinner had already been begun, when, at
eleven o'clock, marching orders for Greencastle, Pa., arrived. This
was an agreeable surprise, as it suggested a homeward journey. The
authorities evidently regarded the emergency for which we had been
called out as at an end, and since this fact was assumed, a longer
sojourn in Maryland appeared undesirable.

We now packed up our traps and moved up to our former camping ground
at the Agricultural Park, near Hagerstown, where the interrupted
dinner of rice soup and chicken was most thoroughly appreciated. At
two P.M. the regiment started off in light marching order, the baggage
wagons following. We now took leave of the 11th, a portion of whom had
been making themselves useful that morning in the town in unloading
the military stores that had been sent here by rail for the army. As
we passed through the streets, we put on our best appearance, the men
struck up a song, and we were cheeringly greeted by the population.
Reaching the open country, we marched at random. The afternoon was
warm and the roads exceedingly dusty. About dusk, the line between
Maryland and Pennsylvania was crossed, and three hearty cheers were
given for the Keystone State. Stopped half an hour in the little
village called Middleburg, or "State Line," at which point the
Anderson Cavalry passed us on their way to Carlisle, raising a
suffocating dust. At dark the march was resumed, and having proceeded
a short distance, we were ordered to discharge our muskets, which had
been loaded for the rebels. This made a continuous blaze of light
along the whole line. Some of the men charged and fired again, to keep
up the sport, but the Colonel put a stop to this. The road grew
rougher as we advanced, and many of our comrades now and again
stumbled and fell in the darkness. After having marched twelve miles,
and arrived within some three miles of Greencastle, we were halted
about half-past eight o'clock, and went into camp in the woods. Sleep
came without courting. I had never before felt its influence so
insinuating, so benumbing, so irresistible!

_Monday, September 22._ The teams being now dismissed, each man
shouldered his own luggage, and the march was resumed at eight
o'clock. At Greencastle we found an encampment designated as "Camp
M'Cormick," containing several thousand militia, which had not
proceeded further south than this point, having been among the later
organizations. With these was the 20th Regiment, containing the
companies of Captains Boas, Geiger, and Harner, from Reading, with
whom we exchanged friendly greetings as we passed. About a mile above
Greencastle we were halted in a wood, and after considerable
manoeuvring, the import of which we could not understand, and, being
very tired, could not appreciate, we stacked arms and unslung
knapsacks. Here we were rejoined by several of our men who had been
down the day before to visit the battle-field, having been fortunate
enough to secure passes from the military authorities for that
purpose. They gave terrible descriptions of the scenes which they had
witnessed, and exhibited a number of relics which they had brought
away. It was understood that the parley at this juncture was with
reference to the arrangements for transportation, a subject which, as
usual, appeared to be involved in much intricacy. The period of our
stay in this situation was therefore uncertain, and after dinner had
been served, the remainder of the day was given up to relaxation and
amusement. Under the latter head came in performances of
blanket-tossing and elephant parades--tricks which most of us had
never seen before, but which we learned were well known among old
soldiers. The Sancho Panza of this occasion was a small boy, picked up
by the Lancaster Company, and I dare say that, from the energy and
perseverance with which the sport was conducted, the unfortunate lad
got more of it than he bargained for. This company had among their
number a comical genius named Gable, irreverently dubbed the
"Chaplain," whose sallies afforded a never-ending source of amusement
to his comrades, as well as to some of the field and staff officers,
who frequently formed a portion of his admiring auditory. Most of the
Chaplain's wit on this, as on other occasions, was of a character
that would have far removed it from the test of refined criticism.
Mirth and song filled in the waning hours of the day, and, all
restraints being removed, the night was given up to general hilarity.

_Tuesday, September 23._ Were aroused at 2 A.M. by the receipt of
orders to proceed to the railroad, half a mile away, for
transportation. Again we were the victims of an unfortunate bungle in
the railway arrangements. The train which had been intended for our
accommodation was appropriated by another regiment, whose triumphant
departure up the valley we had the satisfaction of witnessing. Several
other trains passed, and at daylight we were still in _statu quo_,
worn out with fatigue, and vexed with disappointment. The entire day
was passed in the same situation, and to add to our discomfiture, the
rations had given out and the neighborhood was unpromising for forage
of any kind. Was assigned for guard duty the ensuing night from ten to
twelve, when lo! at about eleven, after the long expected event had
ceased to be anticipated, it came to pass suddenly. The screech of a
steam-whistle was heard alongside of us, which announced that our
train was at last on hand. After the usual preparatory bustle, we were
safely loaded up, and were presently whizzing off at a good speed
toward Chambersburg. The dim light of the lanterns tied to the rods
at the top of the cars, threw a gloomy air over the sleeping freight
which they contained. At one o'clock a halt of an hour was made at
Chambersburg, and by daylight Shippensburg was reached.

_Wednesday, September 24._ At Carlisle another stop of half an hour.
The morning was clear and bright, and the men in the most cheerful
spirits. We arrived at Harrisburg at eleven o'clock, and were marched
at once to the Capitol grounds, where we turned over our arms and
accoutrements at the Arsenal. In company with K., I went to the United
States Hotel, where we got a good dinner. I am inclined to think the
landlord did not clear much on the meal which we laid in on that
occasion. At 1.45 P.M. the company took the regular afternoon
passenger train for Reading, our Pottsville friends being again with
us. Reached home at 4.15, and found a concourse of citizens assembled
at the depot with a band of music to receive us. After a short street
parade, by way of exhibition, I presume, of the State's gallant
defenders, we filed into our old mustering place, at Fifth and
Washington Streets, where, with loud and hearty cheers for everybody
concerned, we were dismissed, and thus our brief but memorable militia
campaign of eleven days peacefully ended.

The company of Captain Bickley, which had been the first to leave
Reading, was also the first to reach home. On the day it arrived, a
proclamation was issued by Governor Curtin, discharging the militia,
with his grateful acknowledgments in the name of the State, and
commending their bravery in passing the borders, although not required
to do so by the terms of the call, holding Hagerstown against an
advancing foe, and resisting the threatened movement of the rebels
upon Williamsport until the United States troops arrived and relieved
them. This timely and heroic action, the Governor said, saved the
State from the tread of the invading enemy. He recommended that the
militia organizations be preserved and perfected--a suggestion which
was not generally followed.

The only sad feature of the campaign was the dreadful accident which
befel the company of Captain Boas, from Reading, of the 20th Regiment,
on the Cumberland Valley Railroad, near Harrisburg, at an early hour
on the morning of Friday, the 26th of September. The train on which
they were returning collided with one going in the opposite direction,
and four members of the company were killed and some thirty injured.

General McClellan thanked Governor Curtin for the timely aid of the
State militia, and the moral support thus rendered to the army.
Governor Bradford, of Maryland, made a similar acknowledgment. Nearly
fifty thousand Pennsylvania militia responded to the original call,
about one-half of whom were in actual service on the border. The
following year they were compensated by the State, the Legislature
having made an appropriation for that purpose, allowing fifteen days'
pay to each man, at the rate prescribed by Act of Congress for the
payment of the regulars and volunteers in the United States service.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Eleven days in the militia during the war of the rebellion - A journal of the 'Emergency' campaign of 1862" ***

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