The Civil War
The Civil War
The difficulties between the North and the South which brought about the Civil War are too well remembered to need more than a passing notice here. The immediate cause of the war was the secession of the Southern States from the Union which closely followed the election of Abraham Lincoln to the presidency in 1860. At the bottom of the long contest was the question of African slavery, which had been bubbling up and bursting forth at the surface for more than thirty years. The Southern States erroneously regarded the election of Lincoln as a warning to them that their power in Congress and in the Union was at an end. They regarded him as a man of weak mind, who would be a mere tool in the hands of Northern Abolitionists, and whose administration would therefore be notably cruel and unjust to them. They thought also that the prime object of the administration would be the abolition of slavery in the Southern States. They were wrong in every particular, as has been shown by later events. There is no doubt now but that the prime object of his official life was to save the Union, either with or without slavery. In reality, but few rulers in the world's history have surpassed him in ruling with an iron hand when heroic ruling was necessary, and none have equaled him in leniency, forbearance and charity, when the exercise of such qualities would not injure the cause most dear to him, viz.: the preservation of the Union. Nor is there any doubt now, even in the minds of the southern people, but that, had they remained in the Union as loyal States, Lincoln would have died a martyr to their cause rather than have an injustice done them. They unjustly condemned him without a trial. In this they erred most grievously, and suffered most bitterly from it in the end.
The first administrative duty of President Lincoln was, therefore, to call for volunteers to defend the rightful authority of the government against those who sought to destroy it. In answer to his call for troops, from every northern state came the same enthusiastic response. Political differences which, but a few months before, had apparently widely divided the North in a most bitter contest, were nor forgotten in a common effort to sustain the government as represented by the administration of President Lincoln. Such an uprising of a people had never before been witnessed. Soldiers came from every walk and calling of life. From the office, the counting-house, the factory, the work bench and from the green fields they came, asking only to be led where duty called and danger answered.
The little country state capital of Harrisburg suddenly became a military depot of stupendous proportions, a camp-ground for soldiers from all parts of the state. As the troops arrived they were organized, drilled and sent to the front, each regiment being designated by a number which marked the order of its organization.
The day following the President's call for troops, our county was ablaze with excitement. In less than a week thereafter, the Eleventh Regiment was formed. Companies I and K under Captain Richard Coulter and Captain W. B. Coulter, respectively, were raised in Westmoreland county. On the election of officers, Captain Jarrett was made colonel, and Captain Richard Coulter lieutenant-colonel. William D. Earnest was elected major. The Eleventh Regiment was mustered into service on April 26, 1861. The enlistment was for three months, it doubtless being supposed that by that time the war would be ended. It was moved almost at once to the front along the enemy's line on the Potomac river, and there did noble duty in keeping back the advancing line of the Confederate army. In connection with the First Minnesota Regiment they found one of the first battles of the war, viz.: the battle of Falling Waters, and came off the field with victory. While stationed at Martinsburg, South of Falling Waters, the conduct of the regiment so won the respect of the better citizens that the ladies of the town presented it with a beautiful flag.
At the close of its term of enlistment it was returned to Harrisburg to recruit, for the organization had been continued by Secretary of War Simon Cameron. Largely through the personal influence of Colonel Richard Coulter it was recruited and mustered into service for three yeas. Then came a dispute as to the number it should take. If it had received a new number it would have been known as the Fifty-first Regiment, and this the officers refused to accept, for thus the identity of the Eleven Regiment and the honor of early enlistment would have been lost. The dispute was finally carried to Governor Curtin, and the order made by him in settlement of the controversy was no less complimentary to the regiment than it was mandatory in its terms. It is as follows, and is dated at Harrisburg, October 26, 1861:
"The regiment of Pennsylvania volunteers commanded by Col. Coulter will continue to be known as the Eleventh Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers. It is just to the officers and men that the regiment should have future opportunities of displaying the courage and gallantry of Falling Waters, which is now a part of the military history of the State, under their original designation."
On November 20, 1861, the Governor presented the regiment with its stand of colors as provided by the state, and side by side with the flag presented by the Martinsburg ladies, it was carried till the close of the war. On November 27, the regiment left Harrisburg for Baltimore and reported to General John A. Dix. The first duty of the regiment was to guard railroads and other property in the use of the government near Annapolis, Maryland. It remained in that vicinity till April 18, 1862, when it was moved into a more active section, viz.: to Manassas Gap railroad. During the summer of 1862 it was under General Pope, participating in the battles of Cedar Mountain, Rappahannock Station, Thoroughfare Gap, Second Bull Run, Chantilly, South Mountain and Antietam. It bore the most prominent and dangerous part in the battle of the Rappahannock Station, and at Thoroughfare Gap, in connection with a part of General Rickett's division, held the Gap against Hill's entire corps, and in all probability thus prevented Pope's army from being cut to pieces. It was afterwards with the Army of the Potomac, and did its share at least in the battles of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Mine Run, Wilderness, Spotsylvania, North Anna, Tolopotomy, Cold Harbor, Bethesda Church, Norfolk Railroad, Petersburg, Weldon Railroad, the raid to Hickford, Dabney's Mills, Hatcher's Run, Boydtown Plan Road, Gravelly Run, Five Forks and Appomattox.
On January 1, 1864, its second enlistment having expired, it re-enlisted as a veteran regiment, and proceeded to Pennsylvania in February to recruit its wasted forces. The great name it had earned by this time, its almost national reputation as a regiment of fighters, made it a special honor to belong to it. Resultant from this circumstance it was very rapidly filled up by new soldiers, many of whom had seen service in other regiments, and was again sent to the front.
In November, 1861, when it first left Harrisburg, it had nine companies with about 700 men, and another company joined it in August, 1862. Counting all who were from the beginning to the end of the war borne upon its rolls, its members aggregate 1890, showing that about 1150 were added as recruits. It was finally discharged July 6, 1865, and had at that time only 332 men, showing that about 1650 men were killed, lost in battle, discharged, etc. It was, at the close of the war, the oldest regiment in the service from Pennsylvania and was the only one whose organization and number were kept up and continued. There were also the Eleventh Reserves and the Eleventh Cavalry from Pennsylvania. So this regiment was always distinguished from the others by being called the "Old Eleventh." Nothing can speak more favorably nor more eloquently of the bravery and gallantry of this regiment than the figures above given and the list of battles in which it participated.
Col. Coulter, since widely known as General Coulter, won a reputation in both the Northern and Southern armies for bravery and coolness. His three most distinguishing characteristics in the army, were his utter disregard of personal danger, his good judgment in the management of his men under all circumstances, and his energy in executing any purpose or order he undertook. These qualities made him a commander worthy in every way of the historic "Old Eleventh." He was a man of vigorous constitution, strong enough to withstand the shock of three severe wounds. The first he received at Fredericksburg, the second at Gettysburg, and the third at Spotsylvania. General Coulter was born in Greensburg, and spent his entire civil life as a citizen of Westmoreland county. His first military service was, as we have seen, as a private in the Mexican War. In his earlier years he was a practicing attorney, but did not resume this business after the close of the Civil War. At the present writing he is one of the leading business men and financiers in Western Pennsylvania, being engaged in banking and the coal business.
When the usual state flag was presented to this regiment by Governor Curtin on November 20, 1861, it was put in the hands of Charles H. Foulke, of Company A, who carried it till August 11, 1862, when at Cedar Mountain he was wounded in the foot. It was then carried by Robert H. Knox, of Company C, who carried it at Rappahannock Station, Thoroughfare Gap, and at Second Bull Run, where he lost his right leg, and the flag passed on the field to Samuel S. Bierer, of Company C, who was wounded that same day. It was then carried by Absalom Schall, of Company C, who was also wounded, but, with its former bearer, Samuel S. Bierer, carried it to Centerville. Daniel Matthews carried it September 1, at Chantilly, later at South Mountain, and at Antietam, where he was wounded, and it was taken by William Welty, of Company C, who was killed a few minutes after it was put into his hands. It was then given to Frederick Welty, of Company C, who, being wounded, left it on the field, all the men near it having been either killed or wounded. It was then carried by Lieutenant Edward H. Gay, of Company E, who being twice wounded passed it to Henry Bitner, of Company E, who carried it till the close of the action. At the battle of Fredericksburg, December 12-113, 1862, it was carried by John V. Kuhns, of Company C, until he fell with three severe wounds, losing his left leg. It was then carried by Cyrus W. Chambers, of Company C, who was killed, and it was taken by John W. Thomas of Company C, who was also wounded. It was brought off the field by Captain Benjamin F. Haines, of Company B. John H. McKalip, of Company C, took charge of it next, and carried it at Chancellorsville and the first day at Gettysburg, where he was severely wounded in a charge against a North Carolina brigade. The flag fell among some bushes, and was found by Michael Kepler, of Company D, who carried it during the remainder of the Gettysburg battle, and at Mine Run, in December, 1863, Kepler being sick, it was given to J. J. Lehman of Company D, in April, 1864, who carried it in the battle of the Wilderness and at Spotsylvania, was wounded, and William Matthews, of Company C, carried it the remainder of the day, and at North Anna, Cold Harbor, Bethesda Church, in front of Petersburg, at Weldon Railroad, and in the Hickford raid in December, 1864. He also carried it at Hatcher's Run, Dabney's Mills, the Quaker Road, White Oak Ridge, Five Forks, and at Appomattox Court House, and till May 28, 1865, when he was honorably discharged. John C. Scheurman, of Company A, then carried it till the regiment as mustered out of service, July 7, 1865. It was delivered to the state authorities July 4, 1866.
Captain Edward H. Gay was one of the bravest and most dashing young men of the regiment. He was a man of great athletic qualities and used his strength to a noble purpose. Born in Donegal, October 19, 1842, he came to Greensburg in 1858 to learn the printer's trade, and on its completion at once enlisted in the company organized by Captain Richard Coulter. This enlistment being for only three months, in November, 1861, he enlisted in Captain John B. Keenan's company, raised at and near Youngstown. In less than a year he was promoted by gradual steps to a captaincy, though not yet twenty-one years old. In three years' service he was wounded three times-at Antietam twice, and at Gettysburg, and was in thirteen severe battles. He came home on a short furlough early in 1864, and was engaged in Greensburg as a recruiting officer, when he was stricken with smallpox, from which he died March 12, 1864. The day following, he was buried in St. Clair cemetery with all the honors of war.
This regiment was organized at Harrisburg, at Camp Curtin, from companies collected from all parts of the state. John W. Johnston, of Westmoreland county, was made its colonel. He, it will be remembered, had been captain of the Greensburg company in the Mexican War. The regiment was organized April 30, 1861, and served till August 7th. It served under General Patterson, near Martinsburg, Charleston and at Bunker Hill. When its term of three months' service had expired, nearly all of its members entered the service of other Pennsylvania regiments. Captain Johnston had taken a company from near Youngstown, whose members, for the most part, entered the Eleventh Regiment upon its reorganization under Colonel Richard Coulter. After that they shared in the most of the military glories and hardships of the "Old Eleventh"
In the early days of June, 1861, Colonel John W. Geary, who ha won his spurs in Mexico, and was a native of Westmoreland county, was commissioned by the President to raise a regiment of Pennsylvania volunteers for three years' service. He established his headquarters at Philadelphia, and on June 28 had a regiment ready, which was mustered in as the Twenty-eighth Regiment. The whole regiment had been uniformed and quipped thoroughly at his own expense. It was in the battles of Bolivar, Port Royal, Second Bull Run, Cedar Mountain, Antietam, Gettysburg, Chancellorsville, Lookout Mountain, Peach Tree Creek, and in Sherman's ever-memorable March to the Sea. In these battles it achieved a name for bravery which was, we believe, equal to that of any regiment in the entire army. One of its captains, E. R. Geary, a son of the colonel of the regiment, captain of Knapp's battery, which was attached to the regiment, was shot in the forehead by a rifle ball while training a gun on the enemy. Its major was Robert Warden, who died at Winchester, Virginia, June 30, 1862. It served three years, and then re-enlisted as a veteran organization and was finally mustered out July 18, 1865, near Alexandria, Virginia.
FORTIETH REGIMENT (ELEVENTH RESERVES.)
Governor Andrew G. Curtin, elected in October, 1860, was very enthusiastic in supporting the administration during the war. By his energy a number of regiments were enlisted, the purpose of which was primarily to defend the southern border of Pennsylvania. When they were first organized the general government was not particularly in need of them, and their work was confined to Pennsylvania. Later, the extremities of the northern cause called them into the field, and the southern border was left unprotected. They were called the Pennsylvania Reserves.
Companies H and I, the Eleventh Reserve Regiment, were raised in Westmoreland county. Most of them had offered their services in the three-months enlistment, but, the quota of Pennsylvania being full, they were not accepted. They kept up the organization, and when the call for the Reserve Corps was issued they assembled at once at Camp Wright, near Pittsburgh. Their regiment was mustered into service July 1, 1861, at Washington City, served till July 14, 1864, and was mustered out at Pittsburgh. Many of its veterans were then transferred to the One Hundred and Nineteenth Regiment. It was noted for its bravery, and made a splendid record in the battles of Mechanicsburg, Gaines' Mill, Charles City Cross Roads, Malvern Hill, Second Bull Run, South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, Williamsport, Bristoe Station, Rappahannock Station, New Hope Church, Mine Run, Wilderness, North Anna, Bethesda Church and at many smaller engagements. It was assigned to the Second Brigade, commanded by General Meade, of the Reserve Corps, and Major General George A. McCall. It was thus associated with the Third, Fourth, Seventh and Thirteenth (the "Buck-tail") Reserve Regiments, which with it composed the Second Brigade.
The colonel of this regiment was one Thomas F. Gallagher, who ranked from July 2, 1861. He was one of the ablest soldiers Westmoreland county has yet produced. He was born near Pleasant Unity, in this county, January 17, 1822. In his early life he engaged in the mercantile business and remained in it till his death. Prior to the breaking out of the Civil War he had served many years as an officer in Pennsylvania militia, holding the positions of lieutenant, captain, major, colonel and brigadier-general. Therefore, when the war came in 1861, he had had considerable experience in military matters. On the organization of the Eleventh Pennsylvania Reserve Regiment he was elected colonel, and was mustered into the service July 2, 1861, at Camp Wright, near Pittsburgh. While in this capacity his regiment participated in battles of Dranesville, Chickahominy, Mechanicsville, Gaines' Mill, Bull Run and South Mountain. At the battle of Gaines' Mill he and his entire regiment except one company was captured, and taken to Libby Prison, where he was confined nine weeks and then exchanged. General McCall, in making a report of the battle and this capture says:
"The Eleventh Regiment, commanded by Col. Gallagher, were surrounded by the enemy, and in the heat of the action he was completely enveloped in the smoke of battle. The continued firing after the rest of the line had retreated. Notwithstanding his perilous position he kept up a galling fire on the advancing foe. The situation of this brave regiment which had so nobly maintained their ground after all had retreated, was now hopeless; their retreat was entirely cut off by the increasing force of the enemy who were still advancing, and they were compelled to surrender."
After being released from Libby Prison he returned to the army, and was promoted to the rank of brigadier-general, and given command of the Third Brigade. At the battle of South Mountain, September 14, 1862, he was wounded severely. Being thus disabled for further active service at that time, he resigned his command, on December 12, 1862, and returned to his home and family in Westmoreland county. In 1863, when emergency regiments were called into the field by Governor Curtin to protect the southern and southwestern border of the state from invasions by the enemy, he was made colonel of the Fifty-fourth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, and was engaged in that part of the army which looked after and intercepted the raid made by the famous rebel General John Morgan, who was overtaken and captured by his regiment. This episode closed his military career during the Civil War. On the reorganization of the militia of Pennsylvania he was commissioned a major-general, which rank he held for many years. He was twice elected a member of the Pennsylvania legislature, serving in that capacity in 1867 and 1868, Otherwise he neither sought nor obtained political preferment. All of his life he was attached to the Presbyterian Church. In 1883 he died from a disease which he contracted in Libby Prison, and was buried in New Alexandria. A genealogical sketch of the Gallagher family will be found in another volume of this work.
FORTY-THIRD REGIMENT-THREE YEARS.
Neither this regiment nor any of its companies were raised in Westmoreland county, but its lieutenant-colonel, George C. Anderson, was for several years connected with it. He was promoted from second lieutenant to first lieutenant September 17, 1862; to major, September 20, 1864; and to lieutenant-colonel, November 10, 1864, and mustered out with the regiment.
Rev. Obadiah H. Miller, of our county, was appointed chaplain of the Forty-first regiment, Twelfth Reserves, on June 18, 1862, and resigned June 9, 1863.
FOURTH CAVALRY, SIXTY-FOURTH REGIMENT
Companies C and D of this regiment were raised in Indiana and Westmoreland counties. Governor Curtain presented their flag to them on September 20, 1861. The regiment served its term of three years, and re-enlisted as a veteran organization. It was mustered out of service July 1, 1865, at Lynchburg, Virginia. It took part in the Peninsular campaign, and was in the engagements at Gaines' Mill, Charles City Cross Roads, Hedgesville, Antietam, Markham Station, Kelly's Ford, Middleburg, Gettysburg, Upperville, Shepperdstown, Trevilian Station, Tods Tavern, Sulphur Springs, Deep Bottom, St. Mary's Church, Reams Station, Stony Creek Station, Boydtown Roads, Wyatts Farm and Belleheld.
Its colonel was George H. Covode, one of the most gallant young men Westmoreland sent forth. He was born at Covodesville, August 19, 1835, being the oldest son of Hon. John Covode, for many years a member of Congress from this district, and who se character and attainments are given elsewhere in this work. From his youth he was noted for his athletic proportions, being tall and well built and peculiarly fitted for the hardships of a military life. He was educated in Ligonier Academy and at Elders Ridge, then under the supervision of Dr. Donaldson. After he left school he was engaged in the mercantile business for some years, but not with great success. In 1858 he was married to Annie Earl, of Somerset county, who lived but a few months. In 1861, when the dark clouds of the Civil War were gathering, he was married to Miss Bettie St. Clair Robb, a granddaughter of Major General Arthur St. Clair. With the assistance of Dr. George S. Kemble, of Ligonier, Company D of the Fourth Pennsylvania Cavalry was raised in Ligonier Valley, and the young merchant entered it as a private. The company was called the "Covode Cavalry," a name they were not allowed to retain when mustered into the service. At the election of officers Covode was chosen first lieutenant. The company was soon transferred to Camp Campbell, near the Soldiers' Home, in Washington. Dr. Kemble was promoted and Lieutenant Covode was made captain of the company. On March 12, 1862, Captain Covode was promoted to major, after which the company, with its regiment, moved rapidly to the front. They were in the battle of Malvern Hill, and Major Covode received flattering recommendations from Generals McClellan and Porter. They then marched to Yorktown, and later took part in the second battle of Bull Run.
After reaching Maryland the Fourth Cavalry was under General McClellan. After marching to Frederick City it was assigned to General Averill's brigade. During the fall of 1862 the regiment was encamped on the north bank of the Potomac, near Hancock, Maryland, this being the only quiet season in his military life. At Kelly's Ford, General Averill gained over General Fitzhugh Lee the first cavalry victory of the war, and the Fourth under Major Covode was the only regiment of Hooker's command which participated. From that on they were subjected to almost constant skirmishes. They won a splendid name at Kelly's Ford, and after that were always called on when a close combat was at hand.
On his promotion his company presented Major Covode with a brace of silver-mounted pistols, one of which he lost in a charge in 1863, while the other is yet in possession of the Covode family.
The regiment participated in the battles of Antietam, the Seven Days battles, Chancellorsville, Fredericksburg, and many others. When Lee's army invaded Pennsylvania, the Fourth did noble service on the bloody field of Gettysburg.
On one occasion, at Falls Church, Major Covode and a few troops were entirely surrounded by the enemy, but, dashing against them, he used his sword so skillfully that he opened a way for his men to follow, and all escaped. His strength made him a power in a hand-to-hand contest of this kind, but in addition to that he was a man who was almost without personal fear. In camp life he was jovial, and was always unusually good natured. When a paper could be procured he invariably gathered around him a group of soldiers and read aloud to them. On December 8, 1863, he was promoted to lieutenant-colonel, and on May 28, 1864, was made colonel. His death occurred on June 24, 1863, while in command of a brigade. He was always nearsighted, and mistaking some Confederate skirmishers for his own troops, he rode towards them and was shot in the arm and through the stomach by a volley which came when he had discovered his mistake and was turning to ride away. In the retreat his body was left within the enemy's lines. He died a few hours after being shot. This was in General Sheridan's retreating raid across the country between the Chickahominy and the James rivers. His body was afterwards recovered through the exertions of General Gregg, and brought to Westmoreland for interment in the old family burial ground of West Fairfield, near his old home. On a quiet elevated knoll overlooking three valleys which wind in either direction to the mountains beyond, he rests within the same community through which he wandered and played in childhood. Colonel Covode left a widow and one child, Sarah Hay, who is now the wife of Mr. Charles D. Davis, of Wishington City. His widowed died in 1876.
EIGHTY-FOURTH REGIMENT (THREE YEARS SERVICE.)
This was organized at Harrisburg in 1861 and 1862. The enlistment was for three years, at the close of which most of its abler soldiers were transferred to the Fifty-seventh Regiment and mustered out of service with it, July 29, 1863. It was in the battles of Winchester, Port Royal, Port Republic, Second Bull Run, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Kelly's Ford, Mine Run, Wilderness Spotsylvania, North Anna, Tolopotomy, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, Strawberry Plains, Deep Bottom and Poplar Spring Church.
Company C of this regiment was the only one from Westmoreland county. It was raised by J. J. Wirsing and William Logan, in the townships of Donegal, Cook and Ligonier. In the summer of 1862 these young men rode through the country and secured about forty enlistments in Cook and Donegal townships. Logan was older than Wirsing, and was made captain, while Archibald Douglass was made first and J. J. Wirsing second lieutenant. Before the company and served a year Lieutenant Wirsing was made its chief commanding officer.
They marched from Donegal to Ligonier, pausing on the way to "camp" at a religious camp meeting them being held near Stahlstown. At Ligonier they were entertained right royally by the citizens for several days while they were adding to their forces, and were drilled in the public square by Captain O'Harra. The Ligonier people then took them to Latrobe in wagons, and they were soon on their way to Harrisburg. But the army was not needing soldiers then and the Governor could not receive them. They called themselves the "Foster Guards," named after Hon. Henry D. Foster, of Greensburg. He was a personal friend of Secretary of War Cameron, and in that way Foster had them mustered into the service as Company C of the Eighty-fourth Regiment. They were in the battle of Fredericksburg, at Chancellorsville, the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and with the regiment participated in all the battles up to and including the surrender of General Lee at Appomattox.
The captain of the company, J. J. Wirsing, was wounded seven times, and at the battle of Poplar Spring Church, October 2, 1864, he was so severely wounded that, being left on the field for dead, he was taken prisoner and confined some time in Libby Prison. Not being able, because of these wounds, to perform further military service, he was paroled and discharged as a prisoner of war from the hospital at Annapolis, Maryland, on January 3, 1865.
The Civil War came at a time when there were but a few militia organizations in the country. The few that existed formed the basis of regiments that were soon hurried to the front. The southern army were successful in the early part of the war, and this emboldened them to venture into the northern states. The southern border of Pennsylvania was a wealthy agricultural region, was entirely unprotected, and therefore a very inviting field for an invading army. The Reserve Corps had, as we have seen, been called away to assist McClellan. But Pennsylvania had a most excellent war governor, Andrew G. Curtin, who was the weak condition of our southern boundary and at once called out our militia. This was on the 10th of September, 1862. He recommended the immediate formation of companies throughout the state, and that they should be drilled and instructed in the art of arms. He also recommended that after three o'clock each day business houses should be closed, so that those thus engaged should have more opportunity to prepare themselves for home defense. In many sections this as done. Men enrolled themselves, selected officers, and purchased such arms as they could obtain. There were four companies raise din Westmoreland at this time under the Governor's suggestions. On September 10th the southern army was in Maryland, and an invasion of Pennsylvania seemed very probable. The Governor called for fifty thousand of these militia to assemble at Harrisburg. They marched at once, and many reached Hagerstown, Chambersburg and Harrisburg, where they were put under the command of General John F. Reynolds. But, fortunately, the southern army was defeated at Antietam, after which they were driven across the Potomac in great confusion, so the militia were allowed to return home, but not without realizing that they had done their duty. General McClellan wrote Governor Curtin as follows: "Fortunately, circumstances rendered it impossible for the enemy to reach Pennsylvania, but the moral support rendered my army by your action was none the less mighty. The manner in which the people of Pennsylvania responded to your call and hastened to the defense of their frontier no doubt exercised a great influence upon the enemy."
In the four companies raised in Westmoreland county were many who had seen service in earlier campaigns. They were raised in a few days.
Another attempted raid on Pennsylvania was made by the southern army, this time under General Lee, in the spring of 1863. This was after his victory over the Union forces at Fredericksburg. There was scarcely any army here to oppose him, and, being several days in advance of the Union army, his expedition was practically without opposition. The general government called for troops from the states nearest, and the call included fifty thousand from Pennsylvania. Our state had become disheartened by the reverses our army had suffered. They were furthermore willing to protect Pennsylvania, but feared the call from the government meant that they should not be allowed to remain here when the invading army was repelled. Little was accomplished till after the battle of Gettysburg. Then the Governor gave them his order that they should not be called on to go out of the state, nor be detained beyond the emergency which called them into the field. He also allowed them to enlist for either six months or during the emergency. There was some reason for this backwardness in enlisting. Our able-bodied men were already largely at the front, and those who were here were badly needed at home, even when there was no invading army to dispel. Our county furnished two cavalry and seven infantry companies for this exigency. The infantry companies were in the Fifty-fourth, Fifty-seven and Fifty-eighth regiments. The Fifty-fourth and Fifty-seventh were commanded by General F. H. Brooks, and were stationed near Pittsburgh. The rebel cavalry leader, General John H. Morgan, was then raiding Indiana and Ohio. The Fifty-fourth and Fifty-seventh were sent down the Ohio to apprehend him. It is to the credit of these troops that, though not required to do so, they went out of the state willingly when the success of the expedition and its speedy termination seemed to require it. Many of the Westmoreland troops had seen considerable service in the earlier part of the war. Others introduced into the army in this way enlisted regularly afterward, and went to the front.
Source: Pages 426-436, History of Westmoreland County, Volume 1, Pennsylvania by John N. Boucher, New York, the Lewis Publishing Company, 1906.
Transcribed August 2000 by Priscilla Davis Webb for the Westmoreland County History Project
Contributed by Priscilla Davis Webb for use by the Westmoreland County Genealogy Project (http://www.pa-roots.com/westmoreland/)
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