Pennsylvania's Emergency Men

Pennsylvania's Emergency Men

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Meet a Militiaman: Charles E. Amidon

Corporal Charles E. Amidon was 17 years old when he enlisted with Co. A, 34th Pennsylvania Emergency Militia, on June 29, 1863.  Born in New Loudon, CT, Amidon, according to his discharge paper, stood at 5'5", had a light complexion, light hair, grey eyes, and was employed as a clerk.

Raised by Captain Jacob Smith in Mauch Chunk, PA (today known as Jim Thorpe), Amidon's company was soon moved to Camp Heister, in Reading, where it was organized into the 34th with other emergency companies.  In Harrisburg, Adjutant General A. S. Russell received word that the 34th Pennsylvania was officially organized and awaiting orders on July 5th, two days after the fighting at Gettysburg had ended.  However, where one crisis had ended, another loomed on the horizon.

Roughly a week after the Battle of Gettysburg, draft riots broke out in New York City.  Fearing the same kind of outbreak of violence and destruction, the 34th Pennsylvania Emergency Militia was forwarded directly to Philadelphia, in the hopes of keeping the peace.  Tensions were high, but due to the presence of the 34th, as well as the 46th and 59th Pennsylvania Emergency Militias, and the diplomacy efforts of the 34th's Colonel Charles Albright, peace and order were maintained.  In fact, the 34th's stay in Philadelphia was seemingly so successful, that on July 23rd, the citizens of Philadelphia presented the 34th with a "splendid regimental flag".

On August 10, 1863, Charles Amidon was officially discharged from state service.

Sometime during his stay in Reading, PA, Cpl. Amidon had his image taken by local photographer S. B. Howard, once again offering us the opportunity to come face to face with one of Pennsylvania's Emergency Men.  
Note: the insignias on Amidon's forage cap are his company letter and regimental numerals.
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Pennsylvania State Archives
(to "meet" other militiamen, click here)

Bates, Samuel P. History of Pennsylvania volunteers, 1861-5 : prepared in compliance with acts of the legislature. Harrisburg: B. Singerly, State Printer, 1869.

Civil War Muster Roll and Related Records, 1861-1866, 34th Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteer Militia, Records Group (RG) 19, Series# 19.11, Carton 129, Pennsylvania State Archives, Harrisburg, PA. 
Discharge of Charles E. Amidon (and photograph), Military Manuscripts Collection, Manuscript Group (MG) 7, Item# 110, Pennsylvania State Archives, Harrisburg, PA.

Letter to Adjutant GeneralCivil War Muster Roll, 34th Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteer Militia, Records Group (RG) 19, Series# 19.11, Carton 129, Pennsylvania State Archives, Harrisburg, PA.

Sauers, Richard A. Advance the Colors!: Pennsylvania Civil War Battle Flags, vol. 2. Lebanon, PA: Sowers Printing Co., 1991.

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