Company E was organized in Etna, Pa., at a meeting held on August 1, 1861. Andrew G. Williams was elected Captain and R. Howard Millar, First Lieutenant. The company was composed of about sixty-eight men, who went into camp in a field in Etna, in the center of which stood a building known as Kiel's Band Hall, which was used as barracks for the men.
Quite a number of the company had been members of a Home Guard Company which was then in full organization and of which John A. Danks was the First Lieutenant.
After the company had been in this camp a few days, Colonel Hays visited the company and urged the officers to march to Camp Wilkins and become a part of the regiment he was then recruiting. The company, not having their full complement of men, were fearful that they might be disbanded or assigned to other companies in the regiment, and refused to go into Camp Wilkins to be mustered until a sufficient number had been recruited to assure them the continuance of their own organization.
Colonel Hays continued his visits almost every other day for about two weeks when, after the urgent solicitation of Captain Williams and Lieutenant Miller, John A. Danks was persuaded to accept the position of Captain of the company, and Captain Williams and Lieutenant Millar took their positions among the ranks of the enlisted men.
The company, during the time they were encamped in this field were drilled and under military discipline, and were most royally cared for by the citizens of Etna and surrounding country, who furnished them with all kinds of eatables and provisions of the best quality and in most lavish abundance. After Captain Danks had assumed command of the company, arrangements were at once made to enter Camp Wilkins, and the first afternoon the company was in that camp negotiations were entered into with John M'Clellan, who was then in camp with some eighteen or twenty men from the farming districts of Indiana and West Deer Townships, whereby he and his men were to become a part of the company under command of Captain Danks, and a permanent organization was then effected by the election of:The company was mustered into the service of the United States by then Lieutenant, afterward Captain W. B. Hays of the Sixth United States Cavalry, and was thereafter known as Company E, Sixty-third Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers.
- John A. Danks, Captain
- John M'Clellan, First Lieutenant
- Wm. J. M'Elroy, who had just returned from the three months' service, as Second Lieutenant
The company left Pittsburgh on the afternoon of September 8, 1861, and its subsequent history is the glorious history and record of the old Sixty-third.
A year later, on September 29, 1862, Captain Danks was promoted to Major, and Lieutenant was promoted to Captain to replace him. At the same time, Second Sergeant R. Howard Millar was promoted to First Lieutenant, and Third Sergeant Andrew G. Williams was promoted to Second Lieutenant.
Source: Gilbert Adams Hays, Captain. Under the Red Patch: Story of the Sixty-third Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-1864. Published by the 63d Pennsylvania Volunteer Regiment Association. Pittsburg: Market Review Publishing Company, 1908.
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