(1837 - 1924)
Home State: Pennsylvania
Branch of Service: Infantry
He had a basic education in Connecticut, and went to Scranton, PA as a young man. He studied the law there and was admitted to the Luzerne County Bar on 16 May 1860. He was commissioned First Lieutenant and Adjutant at the organization of the 132nd Pennsylvania Infantry, and mustered on 22 August 1862.
On the Campaign
He was with his Regiment on the Campaign, and described his experience on the morning of 17 September:
About eight o'clock we were formed into line of battle and moved forward through a grove of trees [the East Woods], but before actually coming under musketry fire of the enemy we were moved back again, and swung around nearly a mile to the left to the base of a circular knoll to the left of the Roulette farm-house and the road which leads up to the Sharpsburg pike, near the Dunkard church. The famous "sunken road" a road which had been cut through the other side of this knoll extended from the Roulette Lane directly in front of our line towards Sharpsburg. I had ridden by the side of Colonel Oakford, except when on duty, up and down the column, and as the line was formed by the colonel and ordered forward, we dismounted and sent our horses to the rear by a servant. I was immediately sent by the colonel to the left of the line to assist in getting that into position. A rail fence separated us from the top of the knoll. Bullets were whizzing and singing by our ears, but so far hitting none where I was.
Over the fence and up the knoll in an excellent line we went ... Reaching the top of the knoll we were met by a terrific volley from the rebels in the sunken road down the other side, not more than one hundred yards away, and also from another rebel line in a corn-field just beyond. Some of our men were killed and wounded by this volley. We were ordered to lie down just under the top of the hill and crawl forward and fire over, each man crawling back, reloading his piece in this prone position and again crawling forward and firing. These tactics undoubtedly saved us many lives, for the fire of the two lines in front of us was terrific. The air was full of whizzing, singing, buzzing bullets. Once down on the ground under cover of the hill, it required very strong resolution to get up where these missiles of death were flying so thickly, yet that was the duty of us officers, especially us of the field and staff. My duty kept me constantly moving up and down that whole line.
On my way back to the right of the line, where I had left Colonel Oakford, I met Lieutenant-Colonel Wilcox, who told me the terrible news that Colonel Oakford was killed. Of the details of his death, I had no time then to inquire. We were then in the very maelstrom of the battle. Men were falling every moment. The horrible noise of the battle was incessant and almost deafening. Except that my mind was so absorbed in my duties, I do not know how I could have endured the strain ...
The rest of the War
He was appointed Major of the Regiment to date from 24 January 1863. He was appointed Lieutenant Colonel of the 25th United States Colored Troops, then organizing in Philadelphia, and mustered on 24 January 1864. He was promoted to Colonel following Colonel Scrogs' resignation (6 July 1864). He mustered out with the Regiment on 6 December 1865.
After the War
He was an attorney and ran a china and glass store in Scranton, PA and was something of a historian. In 1877 he helped establish a militia unit in Scranton, later serving as Colonel of the 13th Regiment, Pennsylvania National Guard which was formed from it. In 1879 he went into the real estate business. He served in various public offices in Scranton, including those of director of public safety and, from 1906, of City Treasurer. By then he was also President of the Security Building and Loan Association.
In addition to his history of the 132nd Regiment, he wrote History of Scranton and Its People in two volumes (1908, 1914) and History, 13th Regiment, National Guard of Pennsylvania and 109th Inf., 108th M.G.Bn., U.S.A.E.F., and 109th Pennsylvania National Guard, 1877-1923 (1924).
References & notes
His service from Bates1. His picture, from a photograph, the quote above, and other details from his own history.2 More life information from a bio sketch in the Lackawanna County Historical Society Bulletin of January-February 1973 (Vol. 7, No. 1), by Henry H. Null III. His gravesite is on Findagrave.
04/18/1837; Waterbury, CT
10/09/1924; Scranton, PA; burial in Dunmore Cemetery, Dunmore, PA
1 Bates, Samuel Penniman, History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-65, Harrisburg: State of Pennsylvania, 1868-1871, various [AotW citation 16594]
2 Hitchcock, Frederick Lyman, War from the Inside : the Story of the 132nd Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry ... 1862-1863, Philadelphia: J.D. Lippincott Company, 1904, opposite pg. 166; pp. 59-60 [AotW citation 16595]