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H.G. Keiser

H.G. Keiser

Federal (USV)


Henry George Keiser

(1840 - 1933)

Home State: Pennsylvania

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 96th Pennsylvania Infantry

Before Antietam

A 20 year old printer and apprentice in a newspaper office, he enlisted in Company F, 10th Pennsylvania Infantry for 3-months service on 26 April 1861, and was appointed 4th Sergeant. He mustered out 31 July. On 23 September 1861 he again enlisted, at Lykens, in Company G, 96th Pennsylvania Infantry. He was promoted to Corporal the same date. The muster roll described him as 5' 3" tall with black eyes, dark hair and a dark complexion.

On the Campaign

In his diary, Henry wrote:

Sunday, September 14, 1862.
This morning our regiment was sent out as skirmishers. We advanced slowly until in the afternoon about two o'clock we arrived at Burketsville [sic], Maryland, and near the foot of South Mountain where we halted, the Rebels meanwhile shelling us from their positions on the mountain. About three this afternoon we were ordered to join our division which we did immediately. We then marched up through a ravine, and out of sight of the Rebels, until we were opposite Crampton's Pass when we were ordered to charge, our regiment on the extreme right our troops on the left charging at the same time. The Rebels were in a line at the foot of the mountain behind a stone fence, and when we were within a short distance of them, they gave us a deadly volley, and a great many of our poor boys fell, but the survivors pushed on and routed the Rebels, and drove them up and over the mountain but darkness prevented us from following them farther than on top of the mountain. We came down to the road in the pass and halted for the night. Major Martin of our regiment was killed. The following of our company (G) were wounded: John Kaercher, in thigh or hip; Ben Weaver, Joel Bird, Joshua Workman, John Grimm, John Strausser, Israel Strausser, Abe Straussser, Lewis Fretz, and M. D. Ferry [sic] were all slightly wounded. Thomas Haines was seriously wounded in the body. U. D. Ferree had just joined us from the hospital this morning.

Monday, September 15, 1862.
Traveled over the battlefield. It is an awful sight. The Rebels were lying thick around the pass and in our front where we were engaged. Wrote a letter to father. Poor Thomas Harris [Haines] died this morning from the effects of his wounds.

The rest of the War

He reenlisted on 15 February 1864 and was promoted to Sergeant on 11 May 1864. He transferred to Company G, 95th Pennsylvania Infantry on 18 October 1864, was appointed First Sergeant on 15 May 1865, and mustered out with his Company on 17 July 1865.

After the War

He was employed as supply clerk for the local coal company for at least 30 years. He was a school director in Wiconisco and Lykens for 10 years, and assesor in Lykens for 16.

References & notes

Basic information from Bates1 and his Pennsylvania Civil War Veterans' card. Quotes above from his Diary were transcribed online by Jake Wynn. His photograph from one owned by a descendent, brought to light by Dr. Norman Gasbarro, and posted online by Jake Wynn. His gravesite is on Findagrave, source also of an obituary.


10/26/1840; Gratz, PA


03/15/1933; Lykens, PA; burial in Odd Fellows Cemetery, Lykens, PA


1   Bates, Samuel Penniman, History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-65, Harrisburg: State of Pennsylvania, 1868-1871, 96th Infantry  [AotW citation 15387]