Pennsylvania's Emergency Men

Pennsylvania's Emergency Men

Friday, September 14, 2012

September 14, 1862: Byers' Independent Cavalry Co.

Over the coming days, I will be heavily involved in the events at Antietam National Battlefield, which will commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the battle.  Over the same period of time, I plan to have a series of blog posts (sometimes several a day) highlighting the memories and movements of the Pennsylvania Emergency Militia, during what is also the 150th Anniversary of their role in the Maryland Campaign.  These posts will almost entirely be made up of day by day accounts from some of the Militimen themselves.  Hopefully by reading these accounts, your perception and understanding of the Maryland Campaign will be broadened just a little bit.  While the actions of the two armies that fought the bloody Battle of Antietam are important, it is also equally important to remember that the entire nation was on edge, and nowhere is this more plain to see than in the story of Pennsylvania and the Emergency Militia.

Charles Rawn - courtesy of the Historical Society of Dauphin County

We start things off with the daily diary of Charles Coatesworth Pinckney Rawn.  You can read more about Rawn in one of my first "Meet A Militiaman" posts here.  Rawn was a Sgt. in the Byers' Independent Cavalry Co., which was raised largely from men of Harrisburg.  The added mobility of being on horseback, and Rawn's social standing offered him a quite different experience during the "emergency" than most of the average infantry Emergency Militiamen.

150 years ago today...
Up at 5 to 5 1/2 A.M.  Looked after our horses - got some breakfast at 6 to 7 and mounted.  I formed the company at 6 3/4 and at 7 A.M., we were on the march to Chambersburg.  We reached Shippensburg about the middle of the day.  The streets were crowded, and the people hailed our arrival with manifestations of great pleasure and satisfaction.  Our horses were quartered chiefly alone at the hotels, but the people insisted upon distributing the members of the company among themselves to dine 1 or 2 or 3 here and there among them as seemed suitabl.  Frank Meaham and myself were pressed to the home of one E. J. McCune, a youngish man, merchant, with a pleasant young wife and their child, living very comfortably, who gave us an excellent dinner and indeed in som respects rather extra.  I wrote whilst dinner was getting ready to my wife, giving her an account of our progress thus far.  At about 2 P.M. we were again in our saddles, and after a short return of thanks by [Capt.] Byers, on behalf of the company, to the citizens for their kind and polite treatment we left for Chambersburg where we arrived, eleven miles from Shippensburg and fifty from home, at 5 P.M., and stopped at Mr. Riley's Western Hotel, where we got our horses comfortably stabled, got a comfortable supper and distributed ourselves for sleeping to various quarters.  I went just across the way from the hotel to one Guiselman, where I was put into a well furnished chamber with a superior spring bed.  Went to bed about 9 1/2 to 10 P.M.

"The Militia Journal of Charles Rawn, September 9 to 23, 1862". ed. by Darin Smith. available from; Internet.

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