« AnteriorContinuar »
and for a moment disorganizing my regiment, though there was ample space on both my flanks, still being in column of fours. Lieutenant-Colonel Clark and myself endeavored to drive them from our ranks, threatening to run them through with our swords. The right company and skirmish line hearing-my order to halt, quickly did so; a drummer, beating the long roll, greatly assisted; the battalion was halted, formed to the left, to allow the other troops in full retreat to pass, when the Major-General commanding division in person ordered me to take my battalion to the rear of the division, stating it was a military necessity. I requested permission to march my battalion as my judgment dictated, which was granted. I then formed my right wing in column of fours on one sidewalk, and left wing on the other, leaving the Gatling battery in centre of avenue, between the two wings, and followed the division; my object being by that formation the men could see what was occurring in their rear, and I should be enabled to enfilade the streets or buildings on either side; my battalion was not attacked after taking the rear. One officer and several men were missing, but have since reported, and will be ordered before a Board of Inquiry, except in cases where exhaustion or sickness has been fully established. Crossing the Sharpsburg bridge, the command proceeded to grounds of the Allegheny County Poor House, about ten miles, over which entire distance my command assisted in hauling the Gatling guns, owing to which fact the details constantly being compelled to relieve each other, and the necessity that the men should obtain food that they could purchase or obtain from the houses en route, the march being an exceedingly trying one and fatiguing, regular halts were not made and the column was not kept closed up.
"Reached Allegheny County Poor House late in the afternoon; toward night coffee and bread were issued, the first ration since 1.30 P.m. on the day previous; encamped for night; took cars at
Claremont Station early following morning; proceeded to Blairsville Junction, and were joined there by detachments of 127 officers and men. Encamped there, performing regular camp duty until July 27th; embarked on cars that evening and proceeded to Pittsburgh; encamped on grounds of West Penn Hospital, remaining until August rst. Broke camp at midnight, and proceeded to en
Camp At Blairsville Junction.
trance to grounds of West Penn Hospital, and awaited transportation until daylight; proceeded to Harrisburg and returned to Sunbury; there taking the Lackawanna and Bloomsburg Railroad, proceeded to Scranton; during the night I was ordered to detail two companies to form an advance and march in front of train; Company E, Captain Muldoon, and Company D, Capt. Wiedersheim, were detailed for that duty, and they marched about eight miles, between Nanticoke and Plymouth, in that position, taking five or six prisoners."
special mention for gallantry. 454 officers and men of this regiment were actually on duty, not including those who failed to reach the regiment by loss of transportation, and who started from Philadelphia and failed to join from various causes."
The affair at Pittsburgh was systematically misrepresented by the press of that locality, which with but a few honorable exceptions was in sympathy with the rioters. Since then, however, in the lapse of time, the light of truth has broken through the angry clouds of passion which then obscured it.
It is now acknowledged history, vouched by the highest authorities, that when the mob had been cleared from the track, dispersed from the space intervening between the front rank of the First and the railroad shops, and sent flying, dismayed, terrified, and completely routed, up the hill, the troops then held them at their mercy and under perfect control, and for an hour and more afterward.
It was at this juncture that the deadline was established and maintained which firmly held them under control, and for the time enabled trains to run to and fro along the tracks unimpeded and unmolested.
"Now is the opportunity," the LieutenantColonel was overheard to remark to the captain of Company F, "to complete this victory, I'm afraid it will be lost. If the Colonel only had his own way noiv, we'd finish this work in doublequick time;" and it remains the opinion of many veterans of more than one campaign, that had the First not been ordered by a superior to retire, but simply allowed to retain that control which it had so gallantly and effectually won, there would not have been a dollar's worth of property destroyed on that fatal Sabbath day. When, however, it had reluctantly retired to the Round House, the spirit of the mob revived, and gathering courage the mob commenced to reform.
Planting the piece of artillery captured from the armory of Knapp's Pittsburgh Battery so as to bear upon the Round House, and posting sharpshooters under the cover of adjacent lumber-yards, they further bent their devilish energies to the destruction of the troops, by sending loaded cars, deluged with blazing oil, down the track upon them. These were fortunately blocked in their fiery course, and a locomotive, with throttle out,
under a heavy head of steam, which came crashing onward with terrible impetus, was also providentially overturned before it reached them, or it would have wrought an awful work of agony and death.
Some faint idea may be formed of the spirit of the boys while in this perilous position, from the fact that two companies were formed to charge (under a mistaken order) the furious mob in their front, and in the face of its fire to capture the gun. This desperate undertaking would undoubtedly have been performed, had not the Colonel, on learning of and perceiving the recklessness of such a course, asked, "Are you doing this, Captain, on your own responsibility?" "No, sir; I'm doing it under orders," he replied; and of course an investigation ensued, which showed that no such order had been issued.
And when we further probe the conduct of these men, we find that all this time they were suffering for the want of food.
Truly, the noble endurance, the unflinching courage, and daring gallantry displayed by this body of men throughout this terrible ordeal, not only reflect honor upon the city of their homes, but conspicuously casts upon the record of the First the crowning glory of its long career.
The Veteran Corps of the regiment testified its hearty appreciation of the noble conduct of its sons in the following language:
"'Resolved, That the Board of Officers of the Veteran .Corps, First Regiment Infantry, N.G. P., ever proud of its connection with the active command, and prouder still of the recent exhibition of superb courage and soldierly fortitude as displayed at Pittsburgh and elsewhere,by that active command whose name is a part of our own, sends to Colonel R. Dale Benson, his brother officers, and the enlisted men of the First Infantry, the warmest words of admiration, endorsement, and approval that language can express.
"' Resolved, That this Board of Officers takes the greatest pleasure in offering its congratulations that the casualities in action were comparatively so slight, when the ordeal was so terrible and the danger so great.
"'Resolved, That the Board of Officers would feel highly complimented if Colonel Benson would cause these resolutions to be read to the various companies of his command, to give evidence that the Veteran Corps, through its official Board, desires to give formal expression of its obligation, in return for the valued services that have just been rendered the commonwealth.
At Blairsville the boys happily secured the wherewithal to fill the inner man, and time to rest and "fight their battle over again." From thence, on the 27th, they returned to Pittsburgh, and remained until the first of August, when they took the cars for home.
After their long absence from the city and their various business callings, no little anticipation was felt and indulged in, in singing, with its refrain,— "We'll all be home in the morning, We'll all be home in the morning, We'll all be home in the morning, In the morning bright and gay."
It was anything but gay, as many will remember, when the train backed out the wrong way of the Harrisburg depot, and with Scranton as the objective point. Nor did those who had distributed their little delicacies around on the early prospect of better things at home look very gayly on the gratified ■ recipients who devoured them with commendable gusto.
Detained but a short time at Scranton, they at last, on August 4th, were en route for home, after playing the principal part in suppressing a communistic riot which, in its dimensions and significance, was immeasurably more dangerous to our whole business and social structure than were the whisky riots of a hundred years ago, which took General Washington and 15,000 troops to quell.
From December, 1877, until September, 1878, the First Regiment was without field officers, but was ably commanded by Captain James Muldoon, of Company E, whose thorough knowledge of the duties of a soldier enabled him to maintain the regiment up to the standard in drill and discipline. The following resolution, offered by Colonel R. Dale Benson at the regular meeting of the Veteran Corps, October, 1878, and unanimously adopted, pays the Captain a well-deserved compliment.
"Resolved, That in the service rendered the First Regiment Infantry by Comrade James Muldoon during the year that he was called to its temporary command, amid the embarrassment incident to the year, in the National Guard service of the State, this corps recognizes the soldierly ability and qualifications exhibited by Comrade Muldoon, and desires to place upon record its recognition of that service to the active com
mand, and congratulate him upon the successful issue of his temporary administration."
At an election held September 26th, 1878, Captain Theodore E. Wiedersheim was elected Colonel and Captain W. H. Gilpin Lieutenant-Colonel.
On September 24th, 1878, the Adjutant-General of the State issued Circular No. 1, directing the officers and men of the National Guard of Pennsylvania to equip themselves in the uniform prescribed for them by the State authorities. In conformity therewith the regiment was duly equipped and made theif first parade in the regulation uniform at the annual muster and ins|>ection, on November 7th, 1878.
On the 20th of January, 1879, the regiment visited Harrisburg, and participated in the ceremonies attending the inauguration of General Henry M. Hoyt as Governor of the Commonwealth.
On December nth, 1879, the Artillery Corps, Washington Grays, the source from which the First Regiment originated, was united with the regiment by command of Governor Hoyt, as in Special Orders No. 38:
"I. G Company of the First Regiment Infantry is hereby transferred to and consolidated with B Company of that regiment.
"II. A and D companies, Third RegimentJ Infantry (Artillery Corps, Washington Grays), are hereby consolidated and transferred to and will be known, as consolidated, as G Company, First Regiment Infantry.
"III. Captain Eugene Z. Kienzle is assigned to the command of G Company, of the First Regiment, and Second-Lieutenant Gustavus K. Morehead is transferred to it as its Second Lieutenant.
"IV. The enlisted men rendered supernumerary by these consolidations will be furnished with proper discharges by the company commanders of the companies to which they are assigned, subject to the approval of the commanding officer of the First Regiment of Infantry."
Thus, after an honorable service of more than a half century in the militia and National Guard of the State, it was consolidated with the organization it originally created, and became a part of the First Regiment as Company G.
On the 16th of December, 1879, the regiment paraded in the reception of General U. S. Grant, ex-President of the United States; the number of men in the regimental line being greater on this occasion than the command had paraded tor a period of nearly sixteen years, and the appearance and soldierly bearing never better; number of officers and men on parade being 670.
The regiment has paraded on each anniversary Obits organization, viz., April 19th, for numbers of years past, and has also attended divine service yearly to listen to a discourse from the Chaplain of the regiment.
The following is the present roster of its field, staff, and line officers:
Colonel, Theodore E. Wiedersheim; Lieutenant-Colonel, Washington H. Gilpin; Major, Wendell P. Bowman; Adjutant, H. Harrison Groff; Quartermaster, L. C. Tappey, Jr.; Commissary, Henry L. Elder; Paymaster, William H. Taber; Surgeon, Alonzo L. Leach, M D.; Assistant Surgeon; J. Wilks O'Neill, M.D.; Assistant Surgeon, W. W. Valzah, M.D.; Chaplain, Rev. Robert A. Edwards; Sergeant-Major, Henry Avery, Jr; Quartermaster-Sergeant, J. Dallett Roberts; Commissary-Sergeant, Frank Davis; Hospital Steward, Charles Ouram; Drum-Major, W. T. Baker.
Company A—Captain, Charles A. Rose; 1st Lieutenant, George A. Deacon; 2d Lieutenant, J. F. Smith.
Company B—Captain, J. Lewis Good; 1st Lieutenant, William Ewing; 2d Lieutenant, Louis K. Opdyke.
Company C—Captain, William S. Poulterer;
1st Lieutenant, ■ ;2d Lieutenant,
Pearson S. Conard.
Company D—Captain, Harry O. Hastings; 1st Lieutenant, G. W. Thomas; 2d Lieutenant, Harry C. Roberts.
Company E—Captain, JamesMuldoon; 1st Lieutenant, William H. Dole; 2d Lieutenant, James A. Filley.
Company F—Captain, Thomas E. Huffington; 1st Lieutenant, Frederick P. Koons; 2d Lieutenant, A. L. Beck.
Company G—Captain, Eugene Z. Kienzle; 1st Lieutenant, Gustavus K. Morehead; 2d Lieutenant, A. L. Williams.
Company H—Captain, ;1st
Lieutenant, Clarence T. Kensil; 2d Lieutenant, J. L. Smith, Jr.
Company I—Captain, George K. Snyder, Jr.;
1st Lieutenant, ;2d Lieutenant,
Frederick William Weightman.
Lieutenant, J. Campbell Gilmore; 2d Lieutenant, Edward S. Barnes.
In all these twenty years since the First Regiment was organized, it has contributed both men and means to the utmost through our prolonged civil war, and also aided largely in suppressing some six or seven revolutionary riots, and restoring order to as many localities. During this period it has ever felt the practical and pressing need of an armory in a building of its own.
If this commonwealth which it has served so faithfully is not ungrateful, as republics are said to be, or at all events, if this great city, to which it is not only an ornament and a pride, but an ever-ready reserve for any emergency, is not, it will certainly not be long before the First has an armory which will, at least, compare in point of comfort, usefulness, and elegance, if not in proportions, with the palatial quarters of the Seventh, of New York.
In a recently published history of the First, this pressing need and the action taken to provide for the same are thus set forth:
"The want of suitable armory accommodations has been sadly felt by the command for many years; the ten companies being quartered in four different buildings, at inconvenient distances from each other, and the matter of bringing the entire organization under the same roof has been considerably agitated and discussed by the members and its many friends, as well as by officers of large corporations, merchants, manufacturers, and all citizens, in fact, who are interested in the preservation of law and order, for every prudent man must acknowledge 'that an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.' A regimental armory was the subject of discussion among the officers for a long time, but no definite action actually taken until October 23, 1878, when Colonel Wiedersheim called a special meeting of the Board of Officers of the First Regiment, at which there was present, by invitation, the trustees of the Regimental Fund, the trustees of the State Fund (money returned by State of Pennsylvania, being the amount advanced by the citizens of Philadelphia for equipping the Twentieth Regiment, and tiy direction of suscribers to the same placed to the credit of the First Regiment Armory Fund), and members of the Veteran Corps. After the chairman had stated the object of the meeting to