Pennsylvania's Emergency Men

Pennsylvania's Emergency Men

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

September 18, 1862: 2nd PA Emergency Militia (L. Richards)

Read the previous day here.

We waited hour after hour for our train, but in vain.  Wrote letters home beside the railroad tracks, on the ends of the sills.  Various reports from the army were in circulation, respecting the result of the battle, and the movements of the enemy, subsequently found to be unreliable.  After dinner had a battalion drill, and when all expectation of the train had been given up, between 3 and 4 o'clock it suddenly appeared.  Cheers greeted its arrival.  It consisted, like the one in which we had come down, of [freight] cars adapted for the present purpose, and we boarded it just in time to escape a shower which began falling at this moment.  ...arrived about 6 o'clock at Hagerstown, which we found occupied by a considerable militia force that had been pushed forward with the past two days.  Were surprised to find the companies of Captains Hunter and Eisenhower, from Reading, already there, as they had started from home after we had.  Were informed by them that they had left Harrisburg on Tuesday night, and arrived at Hagerstown on Wednesday morning.  They had been attached to the 11th Regiment, to the command of which Charles A. Knoderer, a talented civil engineer of Reading, who went as a private of Captain Eisenhower's company, had been promoted. The regiment was encamped...below town on the Williamsport pike.  Heard more definite intelligence of the result of the great battle fought yesterday, which is claimed as a decided Union victory.  Were informed of the death of Captain William H. Andrews, of the 128th Regiment, who fell in the battle, and also of its commander, Colonel Croasdale.  Captain Andrews's body had already arrived in Hagerstown.  Several other members of the Reading companies had been killed. coincidence

Our company was separated from the regiment and marched in the dusk of the evening into a narrow lane not far from the railroad depot, where we were told we were to pass the night.  The ground was was wet from the rain which had fallen, and a slight drizzle continuing, a most gloomy and uncomfortable aspect was imparted to the surroundings.  There was nothing to lie upon except our gum [rubber] blankets, and no better shelter than what could be improvised by stretching the tents - which we were now temporarily provided - from the top of a fence to the ground.  After supper...went through the town to buy some lanterns and other things for the quartermaster.  We were conducted by an old negro whom we picked up by the way, and obtained what we were in quest of, as well as a couple of bottles of good whiskey, procured at a grocery store, notwithstanding the fact that the town was under martial law, and the sale of liquor to soldiers had been prohibited.

After having made a pretty thorough exploration of the place, we returned to quarters, where we found a sharp discussion going on as to the propriety of the Governor's sending us across the State line, the authority for which some of the men were disposed to question.  The objection evidently proceeded from those who did not like our present proximity to the seat of war. The debate ended, however, in a tacit concurrence in the opinion of the majority that it was all right.  Passed a miserable night in this uncomfortable situation.  Slept but little, and caught a severe cold, from the effects of which I suffered for several weeks.

- Louis Richards

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