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W.J. Reichard

W.J. Reichard

Federal (USV)


William Jonathan Reichard

(1842 - 1911)

Home State: Pennsylvania

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 128th Pennsylvania Infantry

Before Antietam

From Allentown, son of a shoemaker, he mustered into service in Company G, 128th Pennsylvania Infantry for 3 months on 12 August 1862 at age 20.

On the Campaign

He was with his Company in action at Antietam.

[We] had been marched the night before at 11 o'clock, about 4 miles to the field and stayed until daylight when we formed and marched forward. I cannot describe it to you the way the balls and shells whistled around us, but we drove them back. I never knew that such a continual roar of Musketry and Artillery could be fired off. If one has never been in a battle he can never rightly imagine how it is.

The rest of the War

In a letter home on 19 September he added:

I tell you the balls and shell fell thick and fast. Our Col. fell in the beginning of the fight. We were ordered out and did not get together before next morning. The rebels have retreated. I was in one battle and expect to get soon in more but hope by the grace of God Almighty to get through safe again if his will. We have very scant living since leaving Frederick, had 16 crackers and some bacon to last 4 days. We also eat apples and corn which we picked up along the way. We drew some rations yesterday to last 2 days, 14 crackers a piece ...
He was in action again at Chancellorsville, VA in May, and mustered out at the end of his term on 19 May 1863. He briefly served as Sergeant in Company K of the 41st Regiment, Pennsylvania Emergency Militia of 1863 - organized for home defense during the Gettysburg Campaign. They mustered in on 1 July and were discharged on 4 August 1863.

After the War

He lived in Allentown, PA and was a shoemaker, like his father.

References & notes

Basic service from Bates1. The quotes above from two of his 140 wartime letters home, all now at the Lehigh County Historical Society; Antietam letters partially extracted by Adam Clark in the Allentown Morning Call of 16 May 2013. His gravesite is on Findagrave. His picture from a full-length portrait photograph in Mahlon H. Hellerich's Allentown, 1762-1987: a 225-year history (1987). Thanks to Andy Cardinal for the pointer to Reichard and that picture.


08/06/1842; Allentown, PA


03/24/1911; Allentown, PA; burial in Fairview Cemetery, Allentown, PA


1   Bates, Samuel Penniman, History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-65, Harrisburg: State of Pennsylvania, 1868-1871, Vol. 4, pg. 179; Vol. 5, pp. 1268-1271  [AotW citation 21810]