Civil War Heritage of Emmitsburg

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"The next morning all the privates were paroled, but the commissioned officers were held on account of Pope's order "to forage off the enemy" and Lieuts. Milling Gallagher and myself were held, and it was well for five or six of our men were wounded, one fatally." Captain Albert Hunter, Cole's Cavalry, Company C


Photograph of Captain Albert Hunter (left) and Daniel Link (Right)

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 In Their Own Words; A Cavalry Soldier's Life in 1861

"In the summer of 1861, the raising of regiments and companies was going on and we were watching and looking for the best organization to join. About August 1st. the Ex-Governor of Maryland procured permission from the government to recruit a Brigade of three regiments of infantry and a Battalion of Cavalry for service along the Potomac for the protection along the borders of Maryland and Pennsylvania. Consequently Old Captain John Horner recruited a company of Cavalry from Adams County and from the vicinity of Emmitsburg in Maryland. Thinking this would be a nice and easy organization to belong to and we would never get very far from home, Captain Horner soon had his company ready to be mustered in. The scene of parting from parents and sisters comes vividly before my eyes today. It was a trying moment. Everybody had some little gift for us that we might possibly need for comfort. I remember one article called a "Housewife" filled with pins, needles, buttons, etc. With many kisses and "God Bless You" we left Gettysburg in several large farm wagons for Emmitsburg. The last lady I remember kissing was Mrs. Soleme Welty, mother of Mrs. Dr. McKnight. We stayed at Emmitsburg a while and with the additional recruits from that town we started for Frederick where, the next day, we were examined by doctor to see if we were all right physically and after that we were sworn I to the United States Military Service and we were full fledged soldiers.

We went into camp in the old fair grounds which enclosed the old Military Barracks which are still standing, but used now as a hospital. We did not have our uniforms yet or tents, but we slept very comfortably in the horse stalls around the fair grounds. All we had to do for a long time was drill and do some guard duty. We had not drawn our horses yet but were very anxious to get them. Finally there was a detail made out of a certain number of men from each company to go to Washington for our horses. We were to that we would go to Washington fey rail and draw our horses, saddles and bridles and ride on our horses back, but instead of going on the train we had to walk more than fifty miles from Frederick to Washington. That was an experience I will never forget. We were so worn out when we got to Washington that many of us could not stand on our feet. After resting a day or so and going through the great Capitol building, which was a Wonderful sight to boys who were never more than ten miles away from home, we were finally marched out to the corral where there were thousands of horses and mules, some running loose and some tied with rope halters." William McIlhenny, Cole's Cavalry Company C

"After being in camp of instruction at Frederick, Md., until about the middle of December, 1861, we were put on duty. I enlisted with the understanding that I was to be 2nd Bugler. Max J. Coble, a very fine musician, and a particular friend of mine, was to be 1st Bugler. I had never seen a Bugle, and did not know any more about blowing the calls on one than I did of making bean soup, and did not care whether I got the position or not. I always loved the pomp and funs of soldiery, and where I got to camp it would have taken a young regiment to have driven me away. I never thought of the hardships, vicissitudes, destruction, suffering and death, all of which are present during war, and doubly increased in all civil wars.

I was extremely fond of the Drill. All of us were green in that line, I had taken lessons in Gettysburg from other soldiers there. We created a sensation, as it was new and rather fantastic; movements quick and many difficult. Our lady visitors were delighted with maneuvers, and I had as many interested spectators as the Dress parades, but this was not cavalry drill.

I spent my leisure time in reading the tactics on cavalry drill; I soon mastered the initial maneuvers, and although it was not a part of my duty, I would drill a squad of the new recruits, after regular drill, in cavalry on foot. (We did not have horses yet).

By the 1st of November we had all our arms, swords, revolvers and carbines, and at the same time our horses and horse equipment came, I tell you it was a lot of stuff to take car of - 25 to 30 thousand dollars worth. We were in the saddle every day and made good use of our time, and I must acknowledge that I devoted much more time to studying the drill book than the bugle calls, and often was in consultation with the officers, who, I feel honored in saying, accepted my instructions.

During our stay at the old U.S. Government Barrack at Frederick we had plenty of fun, along with our drilling. Military tactics was not the only tactics practiced there. The many lovely maidens of the city and vicinity did not pay us daily visits entirely for naught. I can recall a number of marriages that can easily be traced to these daily visits, also many acquaintances that ripened into very kind and good friends. I made one myself that lasted all through the war, and so far as I know. although the lady is married is as friendly now as then, "but every rose has its thorn".

Our 1st Lieut. John Motter Annan was accidentally shot through the head and killed, by his best friend, J. Wallace Morring of Emmitsburg. A private of Company "B" from Clearspring, shot his nephew dead while instructing him in guard duty. In less than sixty days the Uncle's hair was white as snow caused by grief.

Our brigade was allowed to select their own commissioned officers by ballot. After the death of Lieutenant John M. Annan, an election was held in our company to fill the vacancy. My having been successful in giving instructions in drill, made me a prominent candidate, even before Lieutenant John M. Annan was buried. I felt grieved and compelled by friends to wait. To tell it all, I only wanted to be a soldier, office had no allurements for me, and perhaps I would have refused positively to stand, but a majority of our company insisted that I must, and the other candidates, eight in number combined and one or two of them misrepresented me." Captain Albert Hunter, Cole's Cavalry, Company C

"Frederick, Maryland, Dec.10 [1861] There are three Brigades encamped within three miles of this city viz: Gen. Abercrombie's east; Gen Hamilton's south east, (and Perkins Battery nearby) Gen William's Brigade west, at the edge of the mountains. All the camps are abundantly supplied with pure mountain water. The First Regiment of the Home Brigade moved their tents last week, and are now encamped two miles north of the Barracks on the farm of Mr. Worman. There are between 12 and 13 thousand men in and around the city.

Heavy cannonading was heard here today in the direction of Harper's Ferry. We are getting quite expert at our drill horses are being trained quite rapidly. In a few weeks we expect to get our new uniforms from the Government. No doubt Uncle Sam intends giving us a "Christmas Gift". We have no swords yet, but will get them in a few days. Business in the city is very brisk. The glorious old Flag is flying from all public buildings and also from many private residences. Gen Banks has been ill for a few days, but he is considered better." Corporal Joseph H.C. Wills

"Camp Conocheague, Dec.23, [1861] We are now within sight of the Rebel pickets, one mile west of Williamsport, Md., which,, by the way is a town of considerable importance at this time, on the Potomac. The citizens were thrown into the wildest excitement on Tuesday morning in consequence of a report that the rebels had made their appearance, in large numbers, at Dam No. 5. and Falling Waters intending to cross and plunder the town. The Union troops are prepared for an attack, which is hourly expected, at Dam No.5 or Falling Waters.

A detailed guard of 32 men, 16 of the Keystone Rangers and 16 of the Cole Rangers, commanded by Captain COLE, and Lieuts MORRISON and VERNON, went on a reconnoitering expedition on Friday to Dam No.5, and while there observed a party of rebels felling trees. A round was fired at them by our party, when they (the rebels) scattered in all directions. On Thursday, Perkins1 Battery was engaged in shelling Honeywood Mill, across the river, but the shells took no effect, the distance being too great.

In the evening a party of five men from the Battery went across and fired the mills, capturing a large number of picks, spades, blankets and fire arms. On Friday a young man from one of the infantry companies, bravely volunteered to go across the river, and fire a large brick house where the Rebels have had their headquarters. There was a large quantity of shells secreted in the house, the explosion of which was terrifically grand.

Our camp is in a pleasant situation, at the edge of a pine woods, one mile from the Potomac, on the Greencastle road. We have good quarters for our horses having built barracks of saplings, thatched with straw and pine branches. Some of the boys have very tasty huts, built of logs, plastered with mud. We are now in a battalion

The boys all, without an exception, express a willingness to go into "Dixie" You may rest assured that the "Keystone Rangers" will give a good account of themselves when they meet the Rebel hordes. There is a number of our men carrying dispatches to and from the different camps We enjoy excellent health, and all are in fine spirits hoping soon to meet the enemy, and give them a warm reception." Private Clayton, Cole's Cavalry, Company C

"Our folks from Gettysburg, Emmitsburg, and Taneytown gave us a large box of good things for a Christmas dinner, and oh how good it was. Some of the boys were away on patrol duty and we felt a share for them. When that night a rascal of our company, but from New York, stole the good things. We summarily discharged him. The Corporal of the guard took him a mile from camp and told him his life would not be worth a cant if he ever appeared at the Old Mill, I need not to say we never saw him again. Our next camp was at Hagerstown, where we had a splendid time until spring. We had the Fair Ground, and all the conveniences we could ask for, besides a jolly good time in the old barn." Captain Albert Hunter, Cole's Cavalry, Company C