Morton L. (Morton Luther) Montgomery.

Historical and biographical annals of Berks County, Pennsylvania, embracing a concise history of the county and a genealogical and biographical record of representative families, comp. by Morton L. Montgomery .. online

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Online LibraryMorton L. (Morton Luther) MontgomeryHistorical and biographical annals of Berks County, Pennsylvania, embracing a concise history of the county and a genealogical and biographical record of representative families, comp. by Morton L. Montgomery .. → online text (page 37 of 227)
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ring and outpost duty. Late on the evening of Jan.
29, 1863, General Corcoran (who commanded a di-
vision under General Peck) moved with his column
toward the Blackwater, and at Deserted Farm,
seven miles out, encountered a strong force of the
enemy, under Gen. Roger A. Pryor. Corcoran im-
mediately made an attack, and a fierce night en-
gagement ensued. The fighting was principally
with artillery and the 167th Regiment was fearfully
exposed to the enemy's fire. At the opening of the
battle, Colonel Knoderer ordered his men to lie
down, and fortunately few were injured; but the
horses of the officers, with the exception of that of
the adjutant, were all killed, and the Colonel him-
self received a mortal wound. The enemy was
finally driven back and the command returned again
to camp. Lieutenant-Colonel Davis succeeded to
the command of the regiment, and was subsequently
commissioned colonel. It participated in the des-
ultory operations which were kept up tmtil the be-
ginning of April, when the right wing of the Rebel
army under General Longstreet, numbering some
forty thousand men, advanced upon the place and
attacked it, but failed to carry it. He then laid siege
to it, and constructed elaborate works for its re-
duction. For nearly a month, these operations were
vigorously pushed; and for many days the bom-
bardment of the fortifications was almost inces-
sant; but so skillfully had they been planned, and
so well constructed, that General Peck, with a force
of only about a third of the number of the invading
army, successfully repelled every attack, and finally
compelled Longstreet to raise the siege. The 167th
Regiment was actively employed in the defense
throughout the siege, and rendered efficient service.
Toward the close of June, and during the time of
Lee's invasion of. Pennsylvania, the regiment
formed part of the command which was sent to
demonstrate in the direction of Richmond, and up-
on its return was ordered to join the army of the
Potomac, then in pursuit of Lee's army in Mary-
land. It formed a junction on the 15th of July, the
day after the escape of the enemy across the Po-
tomac, and was assigned to the 1st Brigade, 1st
Division of the Ist Corps. With that corps, it par-
ticipated in the pursuit of Lee beyond the Rappa-
hannock, when, its term of service being about to
expire, it was relieved at the front, and ordered to
Heading, where, on Aug. 13, 1863, it was mustered

179th Regiment. — This regiment included two
companies, I and K, from the county of Berks.
It was organized in companies at periods ranging
from the 23d of October to the 6th of December,
1863, at Philadelphia and Plarrisburg; and on the
8th of December a regimental organization was ef-
fected. Soon after its organization, it proceeded to
Fortress Monroe and thence to Yorktown, where
it formed part of the garrison at the fort, and was
encamped within its walls. It did little else than
garrison duty • until the last of July, when it was
called out to join in the movement made by General
Dix up the Peninsula. During the march to White
House and thence to Baltimore Cross Roads, the
regiment was prompt and ready, and always well
in hand. In the return march the 179th Regiment
crowned its reputation as a first-class organization
by being always promptly in its place, whilst other
regiments were scattered for miles along the road.

Upon its return to camp, it was ascertained that
Lee had invaded Pennsylvania, and though its
term of service was about to expire, by the unan-
imous vote of the men by companies, their further
services were "tendered to Governor Curtin as long
as he should need them for the defense of the State.
This offer was accepted; but by the time the regi-
ment had reached Washington, en route to the front,
the Rebel army had retreated to Virginia. It was
accordingly ordered to Harrisburg, where it was
mustered out of service on July 37th.

The triumph of the Rebel army at Fredericks-
burg in December, 1863, and its success at Chan-
cellorsville in May, 1863, emboldened its leader to
again plan an invasion of the North. It becoming
daily more evident that the enemy intended to cross
the Potomac in force, the President on June 15th
called for one hundred thousand men from Penn-
sylvania, Ohio, Maryland and West Virgiiiia, to
serve for a period of six months, unless sooner dis-
charged; and of this number Pennsylvania was to
furnish fifty thousand. Governor Curtin then is-
sued a proclamation, calling upon all men capable
of bearing arms to enroll themselves in military
organizations and encourage all others to afford as-
sistance toward protecting the State. In pursuance
of this call, many troops were raised throughout
the State. The citizens of Berks county responded
promptly and raised sixteen companies of men; ten
of which were formed into one regiment called the
4§d ; two of the 48th ; three o.f the 53d ; and one of
the 31st. They were mustered into service in July
and moved to the front, but so rapid were the move-
ments of the armies, and the decisive battle of
Gettysburg was fought so soon after the call for
the militia, that the men had scarcely arrived in
camp before the danger was over. The Rebel army
made its escape on the 13th and 14th of July, and
then the campaign was at end. But the militia was,
however, held for some time after this, having
been employed on various duty.



With the close of this raid, the Rebel invasion of
1863 ended. Further service was no longer re-
quired of the militia, and during the months of
August and September the majority of the men
were mustered out. With few exceptions, they were
not brought into mortal conflict, but they, never-
theless, rendered most important service. They
came forward at a moment when there was press-
ing need, and their presence gave great moral sup-
port to the Union army.

The 31st Regiment was organized at Harrisburg
on June 30, 1863, with Capt. David A. Griffith, of
Reading, as lieutenant-colonel, and mustered out
on August 8th.

The 42d Regiment was organized at Reading on
July 6th, with Dr. Charles H. Hunter, of Reading,
as colonel ; John E. Arthur, of Reading, as lieuten-
ant-colonel; Bentley H. Smith, of Joanna, as major;
and Frank R. Schmucker, Esq., of Reading, as ad-
jutant; and mustered out on Aug. ll-12th, at

In the 48th, Frederick R. Fritz, of Reading, was
lieutenant-colonel, and William W. Diehl, of Read-
ing, major. It was organized at Reading on July
6th, and mustered out on Aug. 26th.

In the 53d, Israel C. Becker was adjutant, and
Jeremiah D. Bitting, quartermaster, both of Read-
ing. It was organized at Reading on July 13th,
and mustered out on Aug. 20th.

Enlisted in this service was the Independent Bat-
tery commanded by Capt. William C. Ermentrout.
It was organized at Reading on July 3d, and mus-
tered out Aug. 26th.


Four companies from Berks county were in the
one hundred days' service, having been enlisted in
July, 1864:

194th Regiment. — This regiment was recruited
in ten counties of the State, Company I having been
from Berks county. It was organized at Camp Cur-
tin on July 22, 1864, with Richards McMichael, of
Reading, as lieutenant-colonel. On the day of its
organization, it moved to Baltimore. About the 1st
of September, it moved to Camp Carroll, a mile
southwest of the city, on the line of the Baltimore
and Ohio railroad. Company I and five other com-
panies of the regiment were stationed at various
points in the city for provost duty. At the expira-
tion of its term, it proceeded to Flarrisburg, where,
on the 6th of November, it was mustered out.

195th Regiment. — This regiment was principally
recruited in Lancaster county in July, 1864, to serve
for a period of one hundred days. It included two
companies, A and B, from Berks county. It was
organized at Camp Curtin on the 24th of July.
Oliver C. James, of Reading, of Company B, was
elected major, and Dr. Harrison T. Witman, of
Reading, as assistant surgeon. On the day of its
organization it proceeded to Baltimore, thence to
^lonocacy Junction, where for a period of two
months, it was engaged in guarding the bridge

which spanned the creek, and the lines of railway.
On the 1st of October it proceeded to Berkeley
county, W. Va., and was posted along the line of
the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, with headquarters
at North Mountain station, where it remained till
the expiration of its term of service. Three hun-
dred of the men re-enlisted to serve for one year
and they were consolidated in three companies.
They remained on duty under the command of
Capt. Henry D. Markley, of Company A. Subse-
quently seven other companies were recruited, and
they together were reorganized as the 195th Reg-
iment with Captain Markley as major. It per-
formed guard duty at Kabletown, Berryville, and
Staunton. At the latter place, the three veteran
companies were mustered out in the middle of
June, 1865.

196th Regiment. — This regiment was recruited
under the auspices of the Union League at Phil-
adelphia, to serve for one hundred days, and it
was known as the 5th Union League Regiment.
It included Company I, of Berks county. It was
organized at Camp Cadwalader, Philadelphia, on
July 20, 1864, and a week later proceeded to Camp
Bradford, near Baltimore. About the middle of
August, it was ordered to Chicago, 111., where it
performed guard duty at Camp Douglas, a large
number of prisoners of war having been confined
there. Early in November, it returned to Phil-
adelphia, and was thence ordered to duty at Fort
Delaware. It was mustered out at Philadelphia
on Nov. 17, 1864.

Six volunteer companies from Berks county
were in the service for one year from September,
1864, to August, 1865.

83d Regiment. — After the battle of Hatcher's
Run on Feb. 6, 1865, this regiment went into camp
at Hampton station, and while there four full com-
panies were assigned to it, including Company I,
recruited at Harrisburg for a service of one year.
There were a number of men from Reading in
this company. The concluding efforts of the great
strife were started on March 29th, and in quick suc-
cession this regiment was engaged in the battles of
Jones' Farm, White Oak Road, Gravelly Run, Five
Forks, Sutherland Station, JefTersonville, and Ap-
pomattox Court-House. It was mustered out of
service on June 28th at Washington and thence it
proceeded to Harrisburg, where'it was finally dis-
banded on July 4th.

192d Regiment.— In July, 1864, a regiment was
recruited in Philadelphia, for a service of one hun-
dred days, and mustered in as the 192d. It was
mustered out of service in November following.
One of the companies re-enlisted for one year, and
in February, 1865, nine new companies united with
it, which were mustered in as a second regiment of
the same number. One of the nine companies was
Company F, recruited at Reading. The regiment
was organized at Harper's Ferry, and when the



spring campaign opened, it moved up the valley to
Staunton and Lexington. It was retained in the
department and engaged in various duties till Aug.
24th, when it was mustered out of service at Har-
per's Ferry.

195th Regiment. — Three companies of the
195th Regiment in the one hundred days' service
were re-enlisted in the one year's service, which in-
cluded Company A, commanded 'by Capt. Henry
D. Markley. It was classified with other companies
which became the 195th Regiment. Captain Mark-
ley became the major; and Dr. H. T. Witman, the
assistant surgeon. It was organized on the field in
February, 1865, at Martinsburg, Va., and Com-
pany A was mustered out at Summit Point, Va.,
on June 21, 1865.

On April 1, 1865, the regiment was sent to guard
the fords of the Shenandoah river; and on the 22d
it was ordered to Berryville.

198th Regiment. — This regiment was recruited
at Philadelphia during the summer of 1864, under
the auspices of the Union League, to enter service
for one year, and included Companies D and G
from Berks county. It was organized Sept. 9th,
and September 19th following it proceeded to join
the Army of the Potomac in front of Petersburg.
Upon its arrival it was assigned to the 1st Brigade,
1st Division of the 5th Corps. It participated in
the battles of Peeble's Farm, Hatcher's Run, and
White Oak Swamp. At the last named Capt.
Isaac Schroeder was mortally wounded. It was
mustered out at Arlington Heights June 3, 1865.

205th Regiment. — Companies B, E and H of
this regiment were recruited in Berks county. They
rendezvoused at Camp Curtin, where, on Sept. 2,
1864, field officers were selected, including William
F. Walter, captain of Company E, as lieutenant-
colonel, who had served in the 104th Regiment. On
the 5th, the regiment left Harrisburg, proceeded
to Washington, crossed the Potomac, and went in-
to camp at Fort Corcoran. Afterward it was en-
gaged in picketing from the left of the army line
to the James, and in building forts and earthworks
for the defense of City Point. On Oct. 9th, it was
ordered to the Army of the James. With the ex-
ception of occasional marches in support of aggres-
sive movements, the regiment remained in camp,
near Fort Prescott on the Army Line railroad dur-
ing the winter, where it was engaged in drill and
fatigue duty. On March 25,. 1865, it participated in
the retaking of Fort Steadman, and afterward in
the siege of Petersburg. It was mustered out of
service at Seminary Hill on June 2, 1865.

213th Regiment. — This regiment was recruited
at Philadelphia, and in Berks, Chestef and Juniata
counties, with the assistance of the Union League.
It was organized on March 2, 1865, and two days
afterward transferred to AnnapoHs, Md., to guard
Camp Parole. Part of the regiment was sent to
Frederick, Md., for duty on the line of the B.
& O. railroad. In April, it was concentrated at
Washington, and -posted along the northern de-

fenses, where it continued until Nov. 18th, when it
was mustered out of service. Company D was re-
cruited in Berks county.

About 225 men from the county were enlisted in

other companies but not enough of them in any

company to be classified in the foregoing hst.
5th U. S. Artillery. — Battery H included

seven men from Marion township, Berks county.
19th U. S. Infantry. — Company G, commanded

by Capt. Edmund L. Smith, of Reading, included

seven men from Berks county.


A number of associations have been organized
since the close of the Civil war by the survivors
or their sons :

Grand Army Posts. — McLean Post, No. i6, G.
A. R., was organized at Reading and chartered Dec.
12, 1866, having been named after Lieut. -Col. Jo-
seph A. McLean, of the 88th Regiment. It has
maintained a successful organization since then.
It has collected an extensive library of military lit-

Keim Post, No. 76, G\ A. R., was chartered Feb.
22, 1878, also at Reading. It has also maintained
its organization since, with separate quarters. It
was named after Gen. William H. Keim.

Meade Camp, No. 16, Sons of Veterans, was
instituted Oct. 30, 1881, being a branch of the Sons
of Veterans at Philadelphia, and designed to keep
active the memory of the sacrifice of their fathers
in the Civil war.

Loyal Ladies' League, No. 6, was instituted April
17, 1884, at Reading. Only mothers, wives, daugh-
ters and. sisters of honorably discharged soldiers
and sailors of the Civil war are admitted to mem-
bership. It is an auxiliary to the Grand Army of
the Republic.

McLean Womans Relief Corps, No. 10, was
instituted Oct. 1, 1884, as an auxiliary to Post No.
16, G. A. R. It has held a number of fairs and
camp-fires for the benefit of the Post and thereby
contributed much pecuniary aid.

Ex-Prisoners of War. — Certain enlisted men in
the Civil war fromi Berks county, who were pris-
oners of war, also formed an association for mu-
tual aid and social intercourse on July 10, 1884,
and they too have maintained an active organization
since then.

The war of the United States with Spain grew
ouf of the oppression of the people of Cuba by the
Spanish government, which extended through a
long period of time, and the repeated efforts of the
people toward establishing a republican form of
government elicited the earnest sympathy of our
republic. The conduct of our own government was
always reserved and guarded, but when our battle-
ship "Maine" was blown up in the harbor of Havana



■on Feb. 15, 1898, causing the loss of 266 sailors,
the feeling- of our people, incited by the metropoli-
tan newspapers, became so intense agaiflst Spain
.that it culminated in a proposed declaration of war
in Congress on March 29th, and in the recognition
of the independence of Cuba on April 19th. Two
days after this recognition, our IMinister to Spain
was unceremoniously dismissed from Madrid ; four
days afterward President JNIcKinley called for 12-5,-
000 volunteers ; and six days afterward, a formal
declaration of war was passed by Congress. When
this signal was given, the military operations be-

■ came immediately very active and determined, and
-within a week more the great naval battle in Manila

harbor had taken place, with unprecedented success
to the American fleet of battleships under the com-
mand of Admiral Dewey, and the total destruction

• of the Spanish fleet.

While these events were transpiring, the patriotic

■ spirit at Reading was aroused, and the "Reading
Artillerists," under the command of Capt. Samuel
Willits, responded to the President's call, and pro-
ceeded to Mt. Gretna, where it was mustered into

, service on May 9th, with the 4th Regiment of Penn-

■ sylvania Volunteers. The regiment was transferred
to Chickamauga Park, in Georgia, arriving there
on May IGth ; and after having been quartered at
several other places, it finally reached Guanica, in
Porto Rico, on Aug. 2d, and thence it proceeded
to Arroyo, the hills near by 'being shelled by the
American troops while the disembarkment, of the
men took place. The regiment participated in the
movements which led up to the battle and the
capture of Guayama without becoming actuall)^

• engaged ; and shortly afterward it constituted
part of the 1st Battalion ' and wagon-train
which marched toward Guayama to support
the advancing army. The enemy was endeavoring
to execute a flank movement when the regi-

- ment was ordered to occupy a commanding position
and while engaged in this important work the news
of the ''Peace Protocol'' was circulated, which
caused further operations to cease. Then the regi-
ment was directed to withdraw to a point on the
Ponce Road, near the town, and there it remained
on outpost duty until August 28th, when it marched
about fifty miles to the city of Ponce, and thence
to the Port de Playa. It then took passage on the
transport "City of Chester" for New York City,
where it arrived on Sept. Gth, and was then fur-
loughed for sixty days. It was mustered o'lt of
service on Nov. Ifith. The company reached Read-
ing on Sept. 7'th, at 4 a. m., and many persons were
at the railroad station to extend a cordial welcome
to the men. A public reception was tendered to
the company in the form of a large parade in four
divisions, with one thousand men in line, and a
banquet in Rajah Temple, on \\'ednesday evening,
Sept. IGth. Penn street was crowded with manV
thousand enthusiastic people who witnessed the

John C. Hintz, the First Lieutenant of Company
A, died June 26th, in Leiter Hospital, in Chicka-
mauga Park, while the company was lying there
awaiting orders to march and his remains were
forwarded to Reading and buried with an impos-
ing ceremony.

Company G, of the 9th Regiment, Pennsylvania
Volunteer Infantry, recruited at Reading, was also
enlisted in the service. This regiment was mustered
in at Mt. Gretna on May 11, 1898, and encamped
at Chickamauga Park, on May 20th. On May 25th,
the President issued a second call for seventy-five
thousand men, and four additional companies were
added to the regiment, one of these being Company
G, commanded by Capt. Henry D. Green, of Read-

On August 20th, the regiment as a part of the 3d
Division, 1st Army Corps, was ordered to Lexing-
ton, Ky., and on the 2oth it was encamped at Camp
Hamilton, about five miles from Lexington. It re-
mained at that place until Sept. 18th, when it was
ordered to Wilkes-Barre, Pa. There it was given an
enthusiastic reception and then furloughed for
thirty days. It arrived at Reading on Sept. 20th,
and on the evening of the 22d, a public reception
was extended to it similar to that extended to Com-
pany A, but the parade could not be made on ac-
count of a severe rain.

Both companies participated in the "Peace Jub-
ilee" at Philadelphia on Oct. 27, 1898.

Company E of Hamburg, of the same regiment,
was mustered in on May 10, 1898, at Mt. Gretna,
and participated in the same services as Company
A; and it was mustered out of service on Nov.
10, 1898. It was also in the Peace Jubilee at Phil-
adelphia. It was commanded by Capt. William

The Convention of 1776, in framing the first Con-
stitution of Pennsylvania, made provision for the
establishment of a military system^ and in pursu-
ance of this provision, the General Assembly es-
tablished the necessary regulations. The county of
Berks, under the direction of the designated officer
(called a "lieutenant," with the assistance of "sub-
lieutenants"), was enabled to supply promptly and
successfully all the orders made by the government
for troops during the progress of the Revolution.

Previous to this system, the military affairs were
governed by "Articles of Association." The men
who associated together for purposes of defense
were commonly known as "Associators," and those
who acted in opposition either openlv, or secretly,
were called "Non-Associators."

Returns for 1775.— The following officers had
been chosen for the several battalions of the Asso-
ciators of Berks county for the year 1775-76, the
company rosters having been publ'ished in that con-
nection :



ist Battalion — Central Section

Lieut-Col., Henry Haller. Major, Gabriel Hiester.

2d Battalion — Southern Section

Lieut.-Col., -Mark Bird. Major, John Jones.

3d Battalion — Central Section

Lieut-Col., Nicholas Lotz. Major, John Old.

4th Battalion — Northern Section

Lieut.-CoL, Balser Geehr. Major, Michael Lindemuth.

5th Battalion — Western Section

Lieut.-Col., John Patton. Major, John Thornburgh.

6th Battalion — Eastern Section
Lieut.-Col., Daniel Hunter. Major, Conrad Leffler.

7th Battalion — Northeastern Section
Lieut.-Col., Sebastian Levan. Major, Samuel Ely.

Returns for 1776. — Seven battalions were
organized in the county, as appeared by the
delegates sent to the election at Lancaster on July
4, 1776, for two brigadier-generals. The meeting
comprised the officers and privates of fifty-three
battalions of Associators. A full ratio of men was
sent by the militia of Berks county. The following
delegates represented the county at that meeting :

1st Battalion: Officers — Major, Gabriel Hiester; Lieu-
tenant, Philip Cremer; privates, John Hartman, Peter

2d Battalion: Officers — Colonel, Mark Bird; Major,
John Jones; privates, David Morgan, Benjamin Tolbert.

Sd Battalion: Officers — Lieutenant-Colonel, Nicholas
Lotz; Captain, George Riehm; privates, Henry Spohn,
Matthias Wenrich.

4th Battalion: Officers — Major, Michael Lindemut;
Captain, George May; private, Michael Moser.

5th Battalion: Officers — Colonel, John Patton ; Lieu-
tenant-Colonel, John Rice; privates, Jacob Seltzer, Chris-
tian Winter.

6th Battalion: Officers — Major, Conrad Leffler; Lieu-
tenant, John Miller; privates, John Hill, Henry Lark.

/th Battalion: Officers — Colonel, Sebastian Levan ; Ad-
jutant, Samuel Ely; privates, Pbilip Wisters, Casper

Returns for 1777. — Col. Jacob Morgan and
his sub-lieutenants met at Reading, on April 25,
1777, for the purpose of receiving returns of the
inhabitants of Berks county between the ages of
eighteen and fifty-three years. The number then
returned was about four thousand. These were
arranged in six districts, and meetings were or-
dered to 'be held on the 5th and 6th of May follow-

Online LibraryMorton L. (Morton Luther) MontgomeryHistorical and biographical annals of Berks County, Pennsylvania, embracing a concise history of the county and a genealogical and biographical record of representative families, comp. by Morton L. Montgomery .. → online text (page 37 of 227)