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In July, 1869, the regiment had a very successful encampment at Cape May, N. J., from the 16th to 23d, and was honored by a visit from General U. S. Grant, then President of the United States. The encampment was called Camp Upton, * in honor of Brevet Major-General E. Upton, U.S.A., and who, in reply to an invitation from' Colonel Latta to attend the same, paid the regiment a very highly deserved compliment in these words:
"My Dear Colonel:—I regret exceedingly that your letter of July 7, apprising me of the proposed encampment of your regiment at Cape May and your purpose to name your camp after
your command, assisted by your zealous and efficient officers, the regiment will place itself in the front rank of the militia of the United States.
"Your commencement has been most auspicious. Your regiment has been reviewed by his Excellency, the President, and received such marks of his distinguished approbation as to make it conspicuous before the country. This position you must hold. The Gray Reserves constitute the First Regiment of Infantry of Pennsylvania; you and your officers should be content with nothing less than making it the first in drill and discipline not only in your State, but, if possible, in the country. I shall ever take a deep interest in your regiment, and if you but continue to display the high soldierly qualities which distinguished you in the field, its success will be assured."
On December ist, 1869, the designation of the regiment as the First was authoritatively settled by the decision of the Adjutant General's office to that effect.
On the 25th day of November, 1872, the regi ment left the city to participate in the parade of Evacuation Day, in New York City, and became the guest of the Seventh Regiment, N.G.S.N.Y., returning home on the 26th, on which day the Colonel commanding issued the following:
"The Colonel commanding congratulates the command upon the great success that attended the excursion to New York on the 25th inst.
"Its results surpassed and exceeded all that has been hitherto done; the press, the people, and the soldiery of both our own and our sister city unite in universal encomiums on the drill, discipline, marching, and excellent military and gentlemanly deportment of the entire regiment. The ovation on Broadway, the enthusiastic reception at the Stock Exchange, the review at the City Hall Park, almost faultless in its execution, have added new and brighter laurels to your history, and will ever be pleasing reminiscences to all the participants.
"Thisexpedition, it is believed, has done much to improve the tone of public sentiment towards the encouragement of the National Guard service, and to you it should be but a further incentive to strive by continued application and strict attention and obedience to all orders and instructions to earn a municipal, State, and national reputation that shall stamp this regiment as the peer of all its fellows in all that serves to make the true American soldier."
On the 2Oth of January, 1873, the regiment proceeded to Harrisburg to participate in the inaugural ceremonies of Governor-elect MajorGeneral John F. Hartranft on the following day.
Colonel James W. Latta having been appointed by his Excellency, Governor Hartranft, AdjutantGeneral of the State, with the rank of Major-General, Lieutenant-Colonel R. Dale Benson was, on the fourth day of June, 1873, elected Colonel of the regiment, J. Ross Clark Lieutenant-Colonel, and Charles K. Ide Major.
During March, 1874, some trouble arose among the railroad hands employed at Susquehanna Depot, with every indication of becoming a serious matter, when the First Regiment was again ordered to active duty. The official report of the Colonel commanding gives a full detail of the regiment's movements and operations in that direction:
"Sir :—I have the honor to report, in conformity to instructions from the Major-General commanding Qth Division, N.G.P., that in accordance with the following telegraphic order from His Excellency, the Governor and Cotnmander-in-Chief. received at 11.50 P.m. on the 28th of March, viz.,—
"'Col. R. Dale Benson, \st Regiment Iitf., Philadelphia,
"' Have your command in readiness to move to Susquehanna Depot not later than noon to-morrow. Have telegraphed General Prevost.
"' (Signed) John F. Hartranft.'
immediate measures were taken to place my command in marching order. At 8.20 A.m. on the 29th of March I received Special Orders No.— from Headquarters ist Division, N.G.P., direct.. ing me to proceed at n o'clock A.m., via Pennsylvania Central Railroad, to Susquehanna Station, on the Philadelphia and Erie Railroad, and to provide my command with three days' rations and ten rounds ammunition per man. It being Sunday, and the notice being but two and a half hours before the hour designated to move, and being compelled to send three miles for the ammunition as ordered, it was utterly impracticable to supply the men with proper rations; subsistence was, however, furnished by the regimental Quartermaster for immediate necessity, though inadequate. A staff officer was dispatched to the magazine as ordered,and I reported my command at 10.40 A.m. to the Assistant Adjutant -General of the division as prepared to move.
"Just previous to the hour fixed to move 11^ ceived verbal instructions from Major-Genera Prevost countermanding Special Orders No.— above referred to, and directing me to hold my command in readiness to move at three hours' notice. In compliance with instructions from rm Excellency, the Governor, I then directed that the command should be placed under arms <w< three hours, the rolls of the several companies called, and report of each made to my HcAdquwters, which instructions were literally carried W
I immediately telegraphed to Superintendent of Ixhigh and Susquehanna Division Central Railroad of New Jersey, at Mauch Chunk, for motive power, and communicated with his Excellency, the Governor, in compliance with his telegraphic instructions.
"A locomotive having arrived, we left Bethlehem at 12.25 A-M-> March 30th, and were joined at Mauch Chunk by Brigadier-General John D. Bertolette, of the Governor's staff, who, reporting at each point to his chief of our progress en route, obviated the necessity of my communicating the same information as ordered by the Governor in his telegraphic instructions. Every effort was made to push forward to the designated point,
mand to Major-General Osborne for duty at 12.10 P.m., and requested that his Excellency, the Governor, might be advised of our arrival.
"Quarters were assigned the regiment in the machine shop of the Erie Railway, which it occupied until relieved from duty.
"The regular and daily routine of garrison duty was immediately ordered, interior guards posted, etc., and the stricest military discipline enforced, and I take pleasure in stating, that at the several regular roll calls each day commandants of companies reported every man present or properly accounted for.
"By verbal instructions from your Headquarters, my command was relieved from duty at 2.30