Pennsylvania's Emergency Men

Pennsylvania's Emergency Men

Saturday, September 15, 2012

September 15, 1862: 2nd PA Emergency Militia (J. Witmer)

After returning home from his adventure with the Emergency Militia, John Witmer, of Co. H 2nd PA Emergency Militia, wrote an extensive letter to his grandfather telling him all about what he had seen and done.

150 years ago today...

I started for Harrisburg on Monday Sept. 15th expecting to find someone to go with but found that Uncle George had gone on towards Chambersburg with his Regiment, and that there was no intelligence to be had of Fred, so I concluded to go on myself, and join the Christianna [Lancaster County] Company. I had just got a pass from the Chief of the transportation department to carry me to Chambersburg, when I stumbled very luckily upon Mr. [William] Briton 2nd Lieut. of the Christianna Company, who procured for me a musket, knapsack, canteen & haversack, so I transferred all my goods into my knapsack and about six o’clock in the evening, we got aboard of the [train] cars and were off for Chambersburg.  There was very little to be seen during the ride down the valley as it got dark almost directly after we started. Nothing of interest occurred while we got from the cars about twelve o’clock at night (there it became interesting) in an old orchard about two miles below Chambersburg, we rolled ourselves up in our blankets and lay under a tree (there were about 20 of us recruits for the Company) and posted guards. I went on guard about 2 o’clock and stayed till daylight.

Witmer, John S. to Grandfather, September 29, 1862. Pennsylvania State Archives, Manuscript Group 7, Military Manuscripts Collection.

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