Sunday, September 8, 2019

"When You Want Something Go For It"

White House during the Civil War
National Archives

      The Republicanof Clinton, Missouri on May 4, 1911. It describes how Captain Hagan Z. Ludington  of Company K, 85th Pennsylvania, obtained much needed blankets for the men of his regiment during their four-month stay in Washington, DC beginning in November of 1861.
The newspaper article below is from

      Such Hard and Severe Service." That earlier article, involving a meeting between Captain Ludington and President Lincoln, was first recorded by Private Robert Roddy of Company H. Roddy’s brother, Edward Roddy, owned the Genius of Liberty newspaper in Uniontown, PA. Robert Roddy’s story appeared in his brother’s newspaper within a few weeks of the event.
This version of the story is corroborated by a similar account that appears in my book, "

       The article below, on the other hand, was written 50 years later. Despite the gap of half a century, they are remarkably similar. Although the 1911 article is signed only with "One of the Boys," it was undoubtedly written by John Nicholson Pierce, the first chaplain of the regiment. Pierce lived in Clinton, MO at the time this article was penned.

        Pierce’s story adds credibility to Roddy's account of Ludington's actions that day. Furthermore, the Civil War was a time when one could simply walk into the White House and ask for an appointment to see the president. This was done mostly by people seeking jobs in the federal government.

        Pierce served as chaplain of the 85th PA for about one year. A graduate of Meadville (PA) College, Pierce was a Methodist minister in Waynesburg, PA when the war broke out. Following his war experience, he was assigned to churches in Missouri in 1865. He died at age 91 in 1926 and is buried in Clinton.

        Captain Ludington, the subject of the story, was part of a prominent family that included Revolutionary War heroes Henry Ludington and Sybil Ludington. Prior to organizing Company K, the “Mountain Rifles,” Ludington lived in Nebraska. He owned a company that sponsored wagon trains to California during the Gold Rush. This is surely where he developed his skills in the supply business.

           Ludington was soon admitted to a Washington, DC hospital in May of 1862, just before his regiment departed from the nation's capital for the Peninsula Campaign. He resigned from the regiment the next year and died at home at age 36 in May of 1865.  Ludington is buried in the Oak Grove Cemetery in Uniontown.

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