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Eleven days in the militia during the war of the rebellion A journal of the 'Emergency' campaign of 1862   By:

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Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1883, by THE COLLINS PRINTING HOUSE, in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.


Twenty years have passed away since a band of hastily gathered minute men left their homes to defend the soil of Pennsylvania from the first threatened invasion of the State by the rebel army under General R.E. Lee. Viewed through the lapse of this long period, crowded as it has been with so many momentous events in the life of the nation, the incidents of that brief and comparatively unimportant campaign begin, nevertheless, from their increasing remoteness, to take upon themselves a degree of historic interest. In respect to both their significance and their adventure, they greatly exceed the occurrences which attended the march of the celebrated Advance Light Brigade to the defence of Philadelphia in the war of 1812 14, in which latter body of citizen soldiery the county of Berks had the honor to be liberally represented.

With many of the participants in the movements of September, 1862, that minor undertaking comprises the sum total of their personal experience of military service during the entire ordeal of our country's conflict. To them, therefore, the memories of that period of excitement and alarm are invested with a peculiar interest a sentiment which must to a degree continue to be shared by their descendants. In the belief that a narration of its details may serve to rekindle in the breasts of his surviving companions something of the enthusiasm which they originally inspired, the writer has been encouraged, after the lapse of nearly a generation, to undertake the pleasing and congenial task.

Fidelity to fact is at the least claimed for the present performance, which, devoid as it is of literary pretensions, may nevertheless be deemed not unworthy of an humble place among the contributions to the history of a stirring epoch in the annals of our good old Commonwealth at the trying period of the nation's struggle. The basis of the narrative is a personal journal of the service to which it refers, kept at the time it transpired, the entries in which were dictated by the feelings and impressions of the moment. These impressions, it is to be remembered, were those of a simple civilian one who felt little interest in the details of military service apart from the cause in which it is undertaken. Yet the relation may, from this very fact, commend itself the more to the friendly regard of his comrades, most of whom were at that period equally inexperienced in the proper discipline of the soldier. On the other hand, should it attract the notice of the veteran, it will doubtless serve to amuse him by comparison with his own experience amidst the greater perils of "grim visaged war," which he is even yet so pardonably fond of recounting.

From what has been already advanced, it will be unnecessary to place any special emphasis upon the disclaimer which it nevertheless remains to make, that any possible object of applause is sought to be associated with the expedition which it is purposed to record. Very distinctly is the impression made at the time in the mind of the writer, preserved to the present, that in promptly proceeding to the scene of danger, the Pennsylvania militia were confronted with a more urgent incentive than that which animated the legions of brave men who had already gone forth to face the enemy on the distant battle fields of the South. Our homes were threatened the horrors of desolating war seemed likely to be brought to our very doors. The instinct of self preservation effectually appealed to even the most unpatriotic hearts. No other honorable alternative was left but to go out to meet the hostile invader... Continue reading book >>

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