Pennsylvania's Emergency Men

Pennsylvania's Emergency Men

Sunday, September 16, 2012

September 16, 1862: 2nd PA Emergency Militia (L. Richards)

Read the previous day here.
Part of the morning was devoted to foraging at the neighboring farmhouses, but little or nothing could be procured, the ground having already been pretty well covered by advance parties.  Apples, however, were abundant, as there were many fine orchards in this vicinity.

Here, under the direction of the Quartermaster, a sort of wigwam was constructed, built of fence-rails and cornstalks, and floored with straw.  It was long enough to accommodate the entire company, and formed a very tight and really comfortable tenement.  The Conococheague Creek ran within a few hundred yards of the camp, and the men had several good baths in it.  Regiments were continually arriving from the railroads, and the shrieks of the steam-whistles, the blasts of bugles, clatter of drums, and the cheering of the trrops enlivened the day.  Among the accessions were the Blue Reserves, of Philadelphia, a uniformed organization, which made a handsome appearance.  Before night there were said to be ten thousand men on the ground.  A large force of militia was evidently intended to be concentrated at this point.  Met a number of acquaintances among the new arrivals.  Had several squad and company drills, and expected, from the arrangements we observed in progress, to remain some time in this situation.  While out for excercise we could hear the noise of distant artillery proceeding from the direction of Sharpsburg and Harper's Ferry.  The anxiety increased to hear something from the army.  Occasionally a newspaper, a day or two out of date, was brought in from the railroad, and its contents eagerly devoured.  It was said that Hagerstown had been abandoned by the rebels, and that telegraph and railroad communication had been re-established with that point.  Reports circulated, which were afterwards verified, that fighting had commenced between the corps f Generals Hooker and Reno had been killed.  When the camp-fires were lighted, after nightfall, the woods resounded with martial music, song, and cheers, and the scene was a highly animating and inspiring one.  Such sights are seldom witnessed, and are not to be soon forgotten.  Before turning into our hut, seated myself on a bank a little distance apart from the rest, in company with my friend K., and we took a quiet smoke and talked of home, whither our thoughts continually turned.  Enjoyed the best night's rest of the campaign, owing to the comfort of our quarters.

- Louis Richards

No comments: