Monday, January 20, 2020

85th Pennsylvania Original Company Nicknames & Commissioned Officers

         
                                                     
    
                                                     COLOR KEY 
                                                     Killed in Action
                                                           Died from disease
                                                        Captured, later released
                                                      Resigned for health reasons
                                                     Completed 3-year enlistment
                                                  Transferred to a different regiment

[Company A] “Union Guards” (Washington County)
Captain Harvey J. Vankirk (medically discharged, 1862)
1st Lieutenant William W. Kerr (captured at 2nd Deep Bottom, 1864)
2nd Lieutenant John Rowley (medically discharged, 1862)

[Company B] “Ellsworth Cadets” (Washington County)
Captain Morgan W. Zollars (medically discharged, 1862)
1st Lieutenant Robert P. Hughes (promoted to lieutenant colonel, 199th PA, 1864)
2nd Lieutenant George H. Hooker (wounded twice in shoulder & foot; completed 3 yrs)


[Company C] “Redstone Blues” (Fayette County)
Captain John C. Wilkinson (medically discharged, 1863)
1st Lieutenant Isaac R. Beazell (transferred to 168th PA)
2nd Lieutenant Jefferson. G. Vangilder (transferred to 22nd Ringgold Cavalry)

[Company D] “Lafayette Guards” (Greene/Washington Counties)
Captain William H. Horn (medically discharged for shoulder wound, 1862)
1st Lieutenant Rolla O. Phillips (promoted to captain, 1862: served 3 years)
2nd Lieutenant John E. Michener (captured Whitemarsh Island, GA, 1864; exchanged)

[Company E] “Washington Guards” (Washington County)
Captain Henry A. Purviance (killed on Morris Island, 1863, from friendly fire)
1st Lieutenant Lewis Watkins (died from wounds at 2nd Deep Bottom, 1864)
2nd Lieutenant Richard W. Dawson (died from wounds at Fort Fisher, NC, 1865)

[Company F] “Tenmile Grays” (Greene County)
Captain John Morris (discharged after facial wound, 1862)
1st Lieutenant Edward Campbell (promoted to colonel, 1864; completed 3 years)
2nd Lieutenant John Remley (medically discharged, 1863)

[Company G] “Monongahela Guards” (Fayette/Greene Counties)
Captain Isaac M. Abraham (promoted to major, 1863; completed 3 years)
1st Lieutenant John A. Gordon (transferred to Ambulance Corps, 1862)
2nd Lieutenant John M. Crawford (medically discharged, 1864)

[Company H] “Independent Blues” (Somerset County)
 Captain James B. Tredwell (medically discharged for chronic diarrhea, 1862)
1st Lieutenant James Hamilton (killed at Seven Pines, 1862)
2nd Lieutenant Milton Black (died from typhoid fever, 1862)

[Company I] “Howell Fencibles” (Fayette County)
Captain John R. Weltner (medically discharged for lung disease, 1862)
1st Lieutenant E. H. Oliphant (died from typhoid fever, 1862)
2nd Lieutenant Houston Devan (died from typhoid fever, 1862)

[Company K] “Mountain Rifles” (Fayette County)
Captain Hagan Z. Ludington (resigned 1863, died 1865/disease contracted during war)
1st Lieutenant Reason Smurr (medically discharged, 1862; later joined 77th PA)
2nd Lieutenant Stephen K. Brown (medically discharged, 1862, due to typhoid fever)

Monday, January 13, 2020

Disgruntlement on Folly Island


                            
              The following letter was written from Folly Island, South Carolina in the spring of 1863 by a member of the 85th Pennsylvania. The regiment spent a year in the area around Charleston Harbor in a fruitless Union attempt to re-capture Fort Sumter and subdue the city of Charleston. His anonymous letter, signed only as "A High Private,"  reflects dissatisfaction with the treatment of the men and the lack of support from their officers. With the direction of the war shifting from restoration of the Union to also freeing slaves, the writer, like many Unionists, balks at the concept of fighting the war for the benefit of enslaved blacks.
       
Map of Charleston Harbor
Charleston is to the top middle of the map; Folly Island is circled     LOC
    The soldier is from Company D, which was composed of men from Washington County and Greene County. My two ancestors (John and Stephen Clendaniel) were members of this company. But neither one penned this letter. My family has a few of their Civil War letters and they did not have the level of education to write the following. The author remains a mystery. 
     The article appeared originally in the Washington (PA) Examiner (exact date unknown) and was reprinted in The Democratic Watchman from Bellefonte, PA in the center of the state. Both of these newspapers supported positions of the Democrat Party. The date of publication in the Watchman was June 12, 1863. 
     The letter is italicized below. My comments are interspersed throughout the letter in red.



                              “Soldier Sentiment – A Very Interesting Soldier Letter”


Camp Peck
Folly Island, South Carolina
May 20, 1863

     Perhaps a line from the 85th Pennsylvania Regiment might interest you, especially as nearly half our number hail from Washington county. The 85th Pennsylvania consisted of ten companies. Companies A and B, as well as large parts of Companies D and E hailed from Washington County. I would put the percentage from Washington County at around 35-40%, more than the other three counties from which the men came (Fayette, Greene, Somerset).  We have now put in here for four months in this department. The regiment left New Bern, North Carolina in January and landed on the coast of South Carolina for a year-long siege. We came and took possession of this inhospitable island on the 5th of April, preparatory to making an advance on Charleston. They crossed an inlet from Cole Island and landed on Folly Island with no opposition, as the Confederates withdrew just before Union forces arrived. But since the naval attack on Fort Sumpter on the 7th [of April] ult., there has been little said in regard to capturing the city. This failed Union naval attack, consisting mostly of ironclads, was bombarded by Confederate shore batteries, as well guns from Fort Sumter, and withdrew. The Union naval blockade of Charleston was still intact, but Charleston didn't fall until February of 1865 when Sherman's Army caused the Confederate army to abandon the city. The most we hear is from the New York papers. They frequently speak of things which should have happened even in our own camps – things that none of us ever heard of before. Apparently "Fake News" existed during the Civil War.
     About five thousand troops are left here, and the Island is well fortified. Union forces first fortified the
Union camp on Folly Island  LOC
southern end of the island. We have been building forts and breastworks ever since we came.
When Union General Quincy Gillmore arrived in June to take command of the Department of the South, he was puzzled as to why the southern end of Folly Island was fortified instead of the northern end closer to Morris Island. He asked if Union forces planned to swing the island around in order to attack Fort Wagner, Fort Sumter and Charleston.. He soon began fortifying the northern end of Folly Island as a platform to eventually invade Morris Island. We are in view of Sumpter and a portion of the city, and the rebel camps on James Island can be seen, but not reached without a heavy force from all appearances. The rebel pickets come up to within talking distance of us every night, but keep their distance through the day.  Soldiers from the two sides soon began trading with each other (newspapers, coffee, tobacco, sugar, etc.) when the officers were not around. Sometimes they even swam together. The weather is extremely warm – equal to the month of August in Pennsylvania. We get provisions plenty, such as the army rations. All does well enough, except the hard tacks we would willing exchange for bread of some other kind. "Hardtacks" were rather tasteless biscuits made of flour and water. They were rock-hard (until softened in water or coffee) but remained edible for months, even years. The paymaster has visited us twice since we came south, though his presence the
Payday
A Soldier in the Civil War, 1886
last time failed to render satisfaction as on former occasions. Our lost clothing had to be paid for. I shall not attempt to give the causes from which our clothing was lost, as it has already been published; but during our campaign last summer and fall all who were not in hospital lost their suits of clothing and had to draw others on requisition. The run up our clothing bill far above our allowance. The government allows us forty-two dollars a year for clothing and our bills overrun our allowance from twenty to fifth dollars to each man.
The 85th PA first left their supplies behind at Seven Pines when they were overrun by Confederates. Their next set of supplies were on a transport that sank while they were on their way to South Carolina. While in North Carolina during December, 1862, the were mocked by Union troops stationed there for the ragged appearance of their often ill-fitting replacement uniforms.
     Our officers admit that they had attended in [illegible] time this money could have been saved us. Yes, had they devoted the time they spent in drafting their resolutions March last, to our affairs, our money would not have been extracted from us. The implementation of the Emancipation Proclamation at the beginning of 1863 caused controversy in the North, as many supported the war to preserve the Union, not for the freedom of slaves. The 85th PA made national news for holding meetings in support of Lincoln’s policies and administration, with some holdouts, such as the writer of this letter. Had they [our officers] devoted the time they spent in drafting their resolutions in March last to our affairs, our money would not have been extracted from us. I see in the papers from the North many patriotic letters and most of resolutions adopted they the officers of the different regiments in this department. Their main object seems to be to denounce the whole Democratic party in general – threatening every loyal heart with the rope and bayonet who mentions conciliation and peace. Western Pennsylvania was strong Democrat Party territory. But unlike the Copperheads who favored a peace settlement to stop the fighting, most Democrats in the regiment wanted to continue the war until victory. They say the soldiers don’t want peace but are eager to fight. Allow me to say this eagerness rests wholly among those who live better than they ever did at home we are willing to fight to the bitter end for the Constitution and the old flag, but we have thus far seen the fruitless efforts to overwhelm the millions arrayed in battle. Still the encrimsoned waters of this civil war is not subsiding. Now the truth of the matter is there is not a man amongst us but would rejoice at the end of this struggle and an honorable peace. A peace satisfactory to the whole American nation is the ardent desire of every soldier in this army. Please say to those noble peace men of our country that the soldiers of the 85th will vote for any man who will bring it about.

                                                                        Truly yours, 
                                                                        A HIGH PRIVATE
                                                                        Co. D   85th P.V.

New York Times
March 21, 1863
      Interestingly, the writer kept his identity secret. Soon afterwards, Lieutenant John E. Michener of Company D sent a pro-war letter to a Republican Party newspaper in Washington (PA) signed by every man in Company D. This implies that the writer of the above letter also signed the pro-war Michener letter. This suggests that the author of the pro-peace letter was either pressured into signing Michener's pro-war resolution, he had changed his mind (unlikely), or decided to join the majority while keeping his pro-peace sentiments to himself.

     
Shore of Folly Island
The Union blockading fleet is to the right.   LOC

      The 85th Pennsylvania was soon to observe the bravery of the 54th Massachusetts who led an assault on Fort Wagner (Morris Island) with heavy losses. My book, "Such Hard and Severe Service: The 85th Pennsylvania in the Civil War," published by Monongahela Books, has several first-person accounts  of how this event changed the minds of many white troops about the bravery and discipline of black troops.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Captain Ross Rush Sanner

Captain Ross R. Sanner
Company H, 85th Pennsylvania Infantry

U.S. Army Education and Center
              Last week's post was about soldier and industrialist Norman Bruce Ream of Company H of the 85th Pennsylvania. That post mentions that Ream was saved from captivity and possibly death by his cousin, Lt. Ross R. Sanner. Ream was wounded during an assault upon Confederate forces on Whitemarsh Island, Georgia in 1864 and Sanner, also a member of Company H, assisted him back to the Union assault boats at the southwestern part of the island.

Whitemarsh Island (showing defenses) near Savannah, Georgia
LOC

        This week's post will focus on Sanner. Like Ream, Sanner taught school prior to the war as a teenager. Unlike Ream, Sanner continued his career as an educator following the war. In fact, his remarkable career as a principal and instructor spanned about 60 years. He began teaching as a teenager and  "Professor" Sanner was still teaching school at the age of 76.
    A news article five decades after the Civil War contrasted the postwar careers of the two cousins."[Ream] recovered from his wounds and became one of the greatest and richest money magnates of the United States, while Capt. Sanner elected to follow the humble though nonetheless honorable vocation of a pedagogue and in worldly goods and chattels is accounted a poor man in his old age, though rich in honor and respect shown him by the many pupils who have been under his guidance. The multi-millionaire, Norman B. Ream, remained his steadfast friends until his death, but did not remember him in his will...The writer (editor of the Republican) [William S. Livengood] had the privilege of being one of his primary pupils in 1868 and among the readers of the Republican are many who received their first instruction from this grand old pedagogue and who have ever since held him in grateful memory and high esteem." [Meyersdale Republican, February 17, 1916]
        Sanner enlisted into Company H as a 19-year old sergeant. On August 23, 1863, while stationed on Morris Island near Charleston, South Carolina, Sanner was shot in the neck by a Confederate sharpshooter. He recovered, rejoined his company and six months later saved Ream's life on Whitemarsh Island.

Sharpshooters near Fort Wagner on Morris Island, SC

         Four months after that, Sanner was wounded for the second time at Ware Bottom Church during the Bermuda Hundred Campaign and was sent to Chesapeake Hospital at Fortress Monroe. [Ream, his cousin, had also been wounded at Ware Bottom Church one day earlier]. Sanner returned to his regiment on the last day of July six weeks later, but was subsequently granted a medical discharge in September of 1864 after nearly three years of service.



Arrival of Wounded Soldiers at Fort Monroe
Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper

        Sanner returned home to Somerset County but was plagued by paralysis in his arm and stiffness in his neck. He was nonetheless able to resume his teaching career, beginning in Grantsville, Maryland, just 17 miles from his birthplace.

.
        Among the various places at which he taught school were the Maryland cities of Cumberland, Frostburg, Oakland, Grantsville, Selbysport and Friendsville, as well as the Pennsylvania towns of Uniontown, Somerset and Confluence. For four years he was an instructor at the soldiers' orphan school in Jumonville, PA. He was still teaching until three weeks prior to his death.
        Sanner died in  1918. At his funeral, Dr. Walter S. Mountain, a life-long friend and fellow veteran of Company H, delivered the eulogy. Mountain said, "Capt. R.R. Sanner and I were schoolboys together and in the same company during the Civil War, hence I know something of his bravery and how well he did his duty as a soldiers...Our first fight was at Williamsburg, Va, and the captain [Sanner] was not found in the rear. He showed the same bravery at Yorktown, Fair Oaks and Malvern Hill. The next battle was at Newbern, NC, [Goldsboro Expedition] where Capt. Jackson was hiding behind a bank along a stream for fear he might be shot, and for which he was dismissed from the service for cowardice, and Capt. Sanner showed his bravery by staying on the bank where he was exposed and won his captaincy...[On Morris island]..the captain exposed his head above the ramparts and a confederate caught him in the neck with a bullet, and he was sent to the hospital. He was offered his discharge, but he said, 'No I am going back to my company to help lick the enemy.' A Confederate [at Ware Bottom Church] caught him in the arm and maimed him till the job was completed." [Meyeresdale (PA) Republican, April 11, 1918]
        Sanner is buried at Confluence, Somerset County in the Methodist Cemetery.
Sanner, age 74
Meyersdale Republican, 2-17-16


Monday, December 30, 2019

Lieutenant Norman Bruce Ream

 
Norman Bruce Ream
From Dickey's History of the 85th Pennsylvania Infantry
       Undoubtedly, in the decades following the Civil War, the two most prominent former members of the 85th Pennsylvania were Robert P. Hughes and Norman B. Ream. Hughes, who stayed in the army and rose to the rank of general,  was featured in an earlier post on this site. The current post will focus on the remarkable war and postwar careers of Ream.
       Ream was 17 years old when he enlisted into Company H in 1861 from Harnedsville, Somerset County. Prior to enlisting, he worked as a teacher and photographer. While serving as a young sergeant, Ream rallied his troops during an assault on Kinston, North Carolina in December of 1862, earning a promotion to lieutenant. The 19-year old Ream may have been the youngest private-to-first-lieutenant promotion in the Union army during the war.
       Ream was severely wounded by a bullet through his thigh during an assault on Whitemarsh Island near Savannah, GA in February of 1864. Ream's avoided capture when he was dragged to safety by his cousin, Lt. Ross Sanner of Company H.


Ross Sanner, Company H
U.S. Army Education and Heritage Center
          Ream returned to the regiment and was wounded in the right leg in the Battle of Ware Bottom Church during the Bermuda Hundred Campaign south of Richmond, VA in June of 1864. Due to his wounds, he received a discharge on the last day of August, 1864.
     [At the bottom of this page is a 1914 article in which Ream discusses a horrific night on Morris Island, near Charleston, South Carolina, 50 years earlier when his company was devastated by a single shell during trench operations].
      Following the war, Ream began a remarkable career in business that enabled him to become one of the leading industrialists in the nation, sometimes mentioned in the same class of mega-business leaders  as J.P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie and George Pullman.  Ream first moved to Illinois and began an mercantile business. He soon relocated to Iowa and operated a grain and livestock business. By 1875, he continued in the livestock business in Chicago and became a member of the city's Board of Trade. His career in business skyrocketed in the next few decades.
      One of his largest ventures was to help form the National Biscuit Company (Nabisco). He was also involved in the Pullman Railroad Company, U.S. Steel, and the B&O Railroad.
      One newspaper article credited him with the concept of the modern skyscraper.  He was apparently riding on a train over a steel bridge on his way to Denver for a vacation. The article continued, "Sitting there alone he figured it out thus: Here is this heavy train supported over a raging river by
Ream in 1912
       LOC
this structure laid on its side. Stood on end the structure would be the safest kind of construction for a building. The idea was so refreshing he mulled it over all the way to Denver and the first thing he did on arrival there was to write to a leading architect of Chicago, directing him to draw plans for such a building and he prepared to discuss them on his return.

        “‘The Rookery’ was the result, and the result of the Rookery has made a profound change in the architecture of the great cities of the world." Even with Mr. Ream’s backing, trouble was encountered getting people to occupy the higher floors. The first eight floors rented quickly but for weeks nobody would venture above that. Mr. Ream took offices on the top floor and everybody wanting to see him was compelled to go to the top of the building. Finally the nervousness wore off and –well, there’s the Woolworth building."
        Ream made a publicized (in western Pennsylvania) visit to a reunion of the 85th PA in 1909 in Uniontown. It was the first time he had attended a regimental reunion since 1875 at Brownsville, Fayette County. He arrived on a private train car of the B & O Railroad. He spent several days in the area, and was feted at a dinner in Confluence, not far from his hometown of Harnedsville. While there, he discovered  that the town was raising funds to build a new church. Ream pledged money towards the entire construction effort of  the church, some $25,000.    
         Soon thereafter, he organized a meeting of several prominent veterans of his former regiment for the writing and publication of an extensive history of the unit. After a meeting as his Connecticut mansion, historian Luther S. Dickey was hired to write the book. This official history of the 85th Pennsylvania was published in 1915, with Ream providing a free copy to every living veteran.
        Ream did not live to see the regiment's  history in print. He died several months before it was published. One of the pallbearers for his funeral was Robert Lincoln, son of the president. Ream was buried in the Woodlawn Cemetery in New York City. He was reported as one of the 25 wealthiest men in the country at the time of his death, having amassed a fortune of around 50 million dollars. 
        This Missouri news article shortly after his death related this story about his first venture into business: In Harnedsville, Pa., where Norman B. Ream was born and where he passed his boyhood, a neighbor of the Ream family had a flock of ducks. One of the ducks had ventured too far from the water, had become entangled in a crack in the floor of the corn crib and had broken his leg. Under ordinary circumstances, this would have meant that the duck was started on the way to the dinner table, but Norman Ream, eight years old, bargained with the owner for the duck, bought the injured fowl with the pennies he had saved, splintered the broken leg, fattened the fowl, and sold him at a profit.” [Springfield Republican, February 21, 1915, p.8]
          A recent biography of Ream was published in 2012 by Paul Ryscavage. It is entitled, "Norman B. Ream: Forgotten Master of Markets."
    Several web pages offer more information  and pictures on the life of Norman Bruce Ream. They can be found here and here.


Kansas City Journal
October 20, 1898


Pittsburgh Post Gazette
August 3, 1914
Ream describes a terrifying night on Morris Island, SC



Monday, December 23, 2019

Civil War "Doughboys"


Library of Congress
       Most people associate the term "doughboys" is with American soldiers in the First World War. However, there are indications that the term was used in America as a reference to soldiers at least as far back as the Mexican War (1846-48).
     This link provides excellent information for the term as well as various references to "doughboys" in the 19th century.
      In late 1918, in the final month of World War I, James E. Sayers of Waynesburg, a veteran of the 85th Pennsylvania regiment,  wrote the following letter to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Sayers was 73 years old at the time and was a prominent attorney in Greene County, PA. 
      Sayers had enlisted into the 85th Pennsylvania as an 18-year old and was with the regiment through the end of the war at Appomattox Court House. [The author used Sayers' diary as a source in his book about the regiment called, "Such Hard and Severe Service: The 85th Pennsylvania in the Civil War," published by Monongahela Books] 
       In his letter, Sayers notes that the term "doughboys" was used during the Civil War and explains the origin of the term.

Pittsburgh Post Gazette
October 23, 1918



                       Sayers' reference to the soil "kneaded into mud ('dough') by the infantry" undoubtedly was a reference to the "Mud March" in late January of 1863. This followed Burnside's disastrous loss at Fredericksburg, Virginia the previous month, [NOTE: The 85th Pennsylvania did not take part in the Battle of Fredericksburg. They were in North Carolina on the Goldsboro Expedition trying to created a diversion for the attack on Fredericksburg.] Burnside planned a winter offensive towards Richmond. But a heavy rainstorm quickly turned Burnside's planned river crossing of men and wagons into a muddy quagmire. The offensive was abandoned. 

Harper's Weekly
December 13, 1864

James E. Sayers
Greene Connections


    The following article from 1865, which appeared in a Philadelphia newspaper near the close of the war, confirms Sayers' version of "doughboys."


Philadelphia Inquirer
April 3, 1865

.     The article below from 1863 during the Civil War uses the term in the same way it was used in World War I as a reference to all infantrymen.

Buffalo Courier
May 23, 1863

 
           In any event, Sayers' premise is confirmed by the Civil War era newspapers that the term '"doughboys," although not used as extensively as it was later used in the First World War, was used to refer to soldiers during the Civil War more than 50 years earlier.

Monday, December 16, 2019

SW Pennsylvania Invasion Threats Part 7 Gettysburg


The Pittsburgh Gazette
June 12, 1863


In mid-June, coinciding with Morgan's Raid, Robert E. Lee’s Army of the Potomac began to enter central Pennsylvania as a prelude to the Battle of Gettysburg. Communities throughout the lower part of the commonwealth from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia were warned by Governor Andrew Gregg Curtin to prepare for aggressive action on the part of Lee’s army. It was thought that the state capital at Harrisburg was to be a target. In Greene County, the Waynesburg Messenger preached, “No time is to be lost, if you would save the capital of our proud old Commonwealth from the despoiling invader and our fields from devastation.” [117] 
   The Messenger noted that one hundred volunteer militiamen from Greene County were on their way to Pittsburgh under the command of a Waynesburg resident, Lieutenant Levi R. McFann, who had just completed a nine-month enlistment in the 123rd PA. McFann’s volunteers would serve under Major General William T. H. "Bully" Brooks in the newly created Department of the Monongahela. This command was organized to protect western Pennsylvania from Pittsburgh to Johnstown in Cambria County, as well as parts of West Virginia and Ohio. [118]
Wheeling Daily Ingelligencer
         June 18, 1863


General Outline of the Department of the Mononghela
            Western Pennsylvnania, parts of Ohio and (West) Virginia
    LOC

Uniontown had the unlikely benefit of infantry protection from the 27th New Jersey. The nine-month enlistments of these men had expired on June 3 while they were in Louisville, Kentucky. On their way back home to New Jersey, they learned that Lee’s troops had entered central Pennsylvania and that their rail trip back home might be blocked.  Twenty-one year old Colonel George Mindil polled his troops and they collectively agreed to extend their military service while in southwestern Pennsylvania for this emergency. The 27th New Jersey was briefly ordered to guard Uniontown before being shipped to the state capital at Harrisburg.  [119]

         The Army of the Monongahela saw little action in Ohio and West Virginia during the time of the Gettysburg Campaign. Following his defeat at Gettysburg, Lee crossed the Potomac River back into Virginia, and Pennsylvania was not threatened again for the remaining two years of the war.



Monday, December 9, 2019

SW Pennsylvania Invasion Threats Part 6 John Hunt Morgan

           
John Hunt Morgan
LOC
                  Once the Confederate invasion threat from Confederate General William "Grumble" Jones subsided in May of 1863, the attention of Greene County and Washington County soon turned from the south to the west and to another prominent Confederate raider, John Hunt Morgan. Reports were that Morgan and his band of 2,500 rebels intended to attack Pittsburgh by marauding their way from Kentucky through Indiana, Ohio and West Virginia. From there, they had only to travel through the Pennsylvania counties of Greene and/or Washington in order to threaten Pittsburgh.




Joseph Markle
History of the County of
Westmoreland, PA
  p.653


FOOTNOTE: The town of West Newton in nearby Westmoreland County, east of Pittsburgh, responded to the Morgan’s threat by forming a company led by Joseph Markle. The 86-year old Markle was born during the Revolutionary War, had served in the War of 1812 and was a former general of the Pennsylvania militia. When Markle was 17 years old in 1794, Major General Daniel Morgan used the Markle family farm as a stopover as he led his wing on the Federal army against the Whiskey Rebellion. [Robert Van Atta, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, April 9, 2000] 






               Morgan’s raid began in June of 1863 in Tennessee and moved in a northern direction. From southern Indiana, Morgan’s Raiders headed due east until they reached Buffington Island, West Virginia. From here, Morgan took a northerly path once more and passed through Steubenville, Ohio. He was captured in late July near West Point in Columbiana County, Ohio, not far from Beaver County, Pennsylvania and just 60 miles northeast of Pittsburgh. 
       
Route of Morgan's Raid
Scott Mingus for Wikipedia
           Morgan began his raid upon the orders of General Braxton Bragg in Kentucky to create a diversion for Robert E. Lee's Army of the Potomac as Lee was marching towards central Pennsylvania and the epic confrontation at Gettysburg. Morgan was under orders from Bragg not to cross the Ohio River into northern territory, an order that Morgan ultimately ignored.

           On his 1000-mile trek, Morgan captured and paroled 6000 Union soldiers, destroyed 34 bridges, disrupted railroad traffic and generally put fear into the populace of several states, including Pennsylvania. Although Morgan never entered Pennsylvania, it was thought that the foundries, factories and federal arsenal in Pittsburgh might be a target.
         

Frank Leslie's Illustrated, 8-8-1863
Looting in Indiana by Morgan's Raiders


              In June, prior to Morgan’s capture, a small meeting of civic leaders was held at the Washington, Pennsylvania courthouse to prepare a defense of the city. Included in the four-man committee were two former officers of the 85th PA, Lieutenant Colonel Norton McGiffin and Harvey Vankirk. Like Vankirk, McGiffin had been medically discharged from the 85th PA in 1862. [Earle R. Forest, History of Washington County, Forest, 1926, p.1029] 

           A warning came from political leader James S. Jennings on June 17 for Greene and Fayette Counties to assemble local militias to meet this potential threat. “An invasion of this State by a large rebel force would be a great public calamity. It would be especially unfortunate for the farmers, who would be robbed of their stocks and produce, or paid in worthless Confederate shin-plaster [paper money]. I incline to the opinion that the Rebels will strike at Pittsburgh. The Cannon Foundries here, the Arsenal, and other establishments render this an important point just now, and it should be held at any expense or sacrifice.” [Waynesburg Messenger, June 17, 1863, p.3] 
             
John Hunt Morgan raid on Washington, Ohio
Harper's Weekly, August 15, 1863

             Local patrols began riding through both Greene and Washington counties. On one evening, some mounted men from Washington County rode into in Greene County. Fearful that they had spotted a Confederate raiding party, they burst through Waynesburg in the style of Paul Revere warning the townspeople that Morgan was on his way. The Confederate raiding party turned out to be simply a Greene County scouting party headed home from their mission to Waynesburg. [Forest, History of Washington County, 1026]



Pittsburgh Daily Post
7-28-1863
      



Coupled with the Confederate defeat at Gettysburg, PA in early July, the capture of Morgan's men and his imprisonment in Pittsburgh led one newspaper in that city to boast in the article at left: