The border troubles kept alive the military spirit of the pioneers until the angry disputes with England about the impressment of our sailors brought us into conflict with that power a second time. Then followed the Black Hawk war, the Florida war, the Mexican war, and more recently the most deplorable of all, the civil war. In all these conflicts the people of Montour County did not falter, they did their duty, they bore a fair and chivalrous part in them all. A number of military companies was organized at different periods and at an early day.
In 1814, when the British fleet lay off the coast threatening Baltimore, Gov. SNYDER ordered the militia of Northumberland, Luzerne and Columbia Counties too rendezvous at Danville. About 1,000 men were soon collected, all under the command of Maj. POST, of Luzerne County. He appointed Joseph MAUS quartermaster. This young army was stationed in Danville about two weeks, when 500 of them were ordered to Northumberland County. When they were ready to go to Baltimore and were expecting orders to do so every hour the good news came that the British had been defeated and had sailed with their fleet. The battle ground was thus transferred to New Orleans and "Johnny came marching home."
The Danville Militia. - This is the first company of which there is any record, and that is unsatisfactory. We only know that at the close of the last war with England it was flourishing and well organized. It then numbered 100 members rank and file and was commanded by Capt. Samuel YORKS, who had seen active service as lieutenant in the "Danville Blues." Thomas W. BELL was one of the subordinate officers of the company. Others are forgotten, a century having almost obliterated the recollection of those early citizen-soldiers.
The Danville Blues - This was a rifle company commanded by Capt. Isaac BLUE. The names of its members can only be recalled in part. The imperfection of the roll is a source of regret, as it would be a great satisfaction to all, and especially to their descendants, to know the names of those who so freely responded.
The following is a portion of the roll:
Isaac BLUE, captain
Herbert W. BEST
David PETRIKIN, surgeon
Samuel YORKS, lieutenant
This company was in active service on the frontier in 1813, and was stationed at Black Rock, where it suffered severely from the malignant fever, then known as the Black Rock fever. Some of the members died with the fever notwithstanding the skillful efforts of Dr. PETRIKIN in their behalf. One of the victims of the epidemic was Alexander CAMPBELL.
The Light Horse was a company of light dragoons commanded by Capt. CLARKE of Derry. This company of cavalry was a great favorite of the people in its palmy days. Many of the most enterprising young men of the county, who were the cavaliers of that day, were members of the "Light Horse." Well armed and equipped, their spirited and showy horses, their fine military dress and thorough drill, led by their gallant captain, was Trumpeter SANDERS in his gay, scarlet uniform in the van, sounding his clarion notes to the great delight of juvenility, they made the day of parade one of the great gala days, ranking with Christmas and the Fourth of July. And right fortunate were the boys who were permitted to go to Washingtonville to witness the regimental parades in that ancient village.
The organization of the "Light Horse" dated back to 1810, and although not mustered into service during the war that followed, they had promptly volunteered, and were highly indignant when the Government refused to accept their services.
The members of this brilliant cavalry company have all passed away. Many of them attained a great age. The last survivor of the gallant chivalry who so gloriously rode their war horses through the streets of Danville has long since departed. He was almost ninety years of age when he gave the following particulars as his recollection of the roster:
Columbia Guards - This company was organized in 1817, and was long the pride of the county. It embraced many of the enterprising and patriotic young men of the community. The muster roll at the organization of the company or very soon thereafter, has been preserved, and is as follows:
Charles CLARK, captain
William De PEW
Charles M. FRAZER
The Columbia Guards, together with the Northumberland Artillerists, Capt. PRIESTLY, the Warrior Run Infantry and others, constituted the Northumberland and Columbia battalion of volunteers commanded by Maj. R. Coleman HALL. In the summer of 1823 there was a battalion parade in Danville, on the then open ground between Bloom and Center Streets. Dr. W. H. MAGILL, then a young man, was surgeon of the battalion. The parade is said to have been the grandest military display ever witnessed in Danville.
James CARSON, captain
William G. HURLEY
Amos E. KITCHEN
Daniel W. MONTGOMERY
Andrew Y. MOORE
William S. MAUS
George POTTER, captain
John M. THIEL
The Columbia Guards were first commanded by Capt. POTTER, and subsequently by Capts. CARSON, COLT, BEST, WILSON and FRICK, until 1846, stretching over a period of about 30 years. In that year the first call was made upon the citizens soldiery since the organization of the company. Prompted by a patriotic desire to serve their country in the Mexican war, their services were offered and accepted, and the Columbia Guards, under the command of Capt. WILSON, numbering ninety-four, rank and file, were mustered into the service of the United States on the 28th of December, 1846. Brown fell at Matamoras, like a hero in battle, and the banks of the Rio Grande had drunk the blood of a Ringgold, and they hastened to the defense of the "starry banner," many, alas! to return no more.
The first engagement of the Guards was at the storming of Vera Cruz, and there, at the opening of their brilliant campaign, the lamented Capt. WILSON died on the 10th of April, 1847. Capt. WILSON was a model officer. His remains were brought home and buried with due honors among his family and kindred. From Vera Cruz, the company, under the command of Dr. C. H. FRICK, proceeded in the victorious march of Gen. Scott toward the city of Mexico. In the battle of Cerro Gordo they took a prominent part, and lost one of their number, John SMITH, who was killed by a musket ball in storming the heights. At the bloody battle of Chapultepec they lost two more of their comrades--William DIETRICH and John SNYDER.
On approaching the capital of the enemy, the defense of San Angelos with all the military stores--a post of distinguishing honor and vast responsibility and of peculiar danger--was committed to the Columbia Guards, and on the 13th of September, 1847, they were among the first of Gen. SCOTT's triumphant march into the city of the Aztecs and the halls of the Montezumas.
After an absence of nearly two years, when Mexico was conquered, they returned to Danville on the 28th of July, 1849.
A little time developed the fact that most of those who returned had contracted the diseases of an uncongenial climate, and one by one they have passed away. Jesse G. CLARKE, Ad. RAY and their lamented commander, the noble-hearted Dr. Clarence H. FRICK, followed on that returnless march to the music of the tolling bells, beyond the reach of war's alarms.
A remnant only survive, but the, too, are treading the down-hill of life, and they, too, ere long will rally to the last "reveille," and form into line with the platoon already advanced beyond the river. When the company returned it was reorganized; captain, George W. FORREST.
After Capt. FORREST removed to Lewisburg, Oscar EPHLIN was chosen captain. Under his command they entered the Union Army, where the brave recruits who filled the places of the veterans had a taste of actual service. After serving their time they were honorably discharged and disbanded as a company. The elder members in Mexico, and the younger in the war for the Union, have made for themselves a record that is alike honorable to themselves and to the county.
The flag of the Old Guards, riddled and torn in the Mexican campaign, is still displayed on public occasions, and always calls forth the warmest feelings of patriotism and local pride, as its tattered fragments proclaim the heroism of the brave men who followed it through the battle and the storm. On one occasion it caught the eye and was instantly recognized by Gov. GEARY, while addressing a mass meeting; and none will ever forget his glowing tribute to the "Old Guards," which the sight of their well known flag inspired.
The following is the roll as mustered into the United States service for the Mexican war:
John S. WILSON
Clarence H. FRICK, First lieutenant
Edward E. LaCLERC, Second lieutenant
William BRINDLE, Second lieutenant
George S. KLINE, First sergeant
James D. SLATER, Second sergeant
Robert CLARK, Third sergeant
Charles EVANS, Fourth sergeant
John ADAMS, First corporal
James OLIVER, Second corporal John SMITH, Third corporal
Arthur GEARHART, Fourth corporal
Thomas CLARK, Drummer
Jesse G. CLARK, Fifer
Charles W. ADAMS Samuel HUNTINGDON Norman B. MACK Alvin M. ALLEN Adam HEISLER William McDONALD Jacob APP Henry HERNCASTLE Casper OATENWELDER George W. ARMSTRONG Oliver HELME Daniel POORMAN Frederick BRANDT William S. KERTZ Peter S. REED Samuel BURNS William KING Philip RAKE Elam B. BONHAM Jerome KONKLE James A. STEWART William BANGHART Charles LYTLE Peter M. SPACE John BIRKENBINE Ira LOWNSBERRY Jonathan R. SANDERS Samuel D. BAKER Robert LYON Oliver C. STEVENS Francis BOWER John A. LOWERY Daniel SNYDER Francis R. BEST Benjamin LAFORM Edward SELER William BRUNNER Benjamin J. MARTIN Peter SEIGFRIED William H. BIRCHFIELD Jasper MUSSELMAN John C. SNYDER Randolph BALL Edward McGONNELL John N. SCOFIELD Peter BROBST George MILLER William SWARTZ Abram B. CARLEY William MOSER Joseph H. STRATTON Michael CORRIGAN Archibald MOONEY William H. SWANEY William DIETERECH Mahlon K. MANLY John A. SARVEY William ERLE John G. MALLON Benjamin TRUMBLETON Daniel S. FOLLMER Alexander McDONALD Adam WRAY Charles W. FORTNER Daniel MARTIAL William WHITE Robert H. FORSTER Richard H. McKEAN George WAGNER Sewell GIBBS Charles MOYNTHAN Jacob WILLET Edward GROVE Robert McALMONT Jerome WALKER George GARNER Hugh McFADDEN George WINGAR Thomas GRAHAM James McCLELLAND Peter W. YARNELL Shepherd W. GIRTON
In the war with Mexico the guards were Company C, in the Second Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers, commanded by Col. afterward Gov. John W. GEARY.
Montour Rifles - This company was organized in Danville on the 13th of July, 1855, under the command of Capt. J. J. ZUBER. August FOGEL was first lieutenant and Mr. ROSENSTEIN was second lieutenant. In 1859 Capt. ZUBER was promoted to a majorship, and some adverse influences caused the dissolution of the company. Most of its members entered the United States service; the greater portion enlisted in Company E, Sixth Regiment Reserves. The company was commanded by M. K. MANLY. John HORN was one of the lieutenants of Company E.
The First in War - The first military company that left Danville for the war was recruited and commanded by Capt. William M. McCLURE--100 men. They enlisted for three months and honorably served their time. They were in the battle of Falling Waters and had one member killed, whose name was Amos ZUPPINGER, one of the first soldiers killed in battle. Capt. McCLURE afterward commanded Company F, in the One Hundred and Twelfth Artillery, and for brave conduct was subsequently promoted to the position of colonel of the regiment.
The Baldy Guards - This company was organized in Danville and mustered into the service of the United States on the 25th of September, 1861, under the command of Capt. Joseph F. RAMSEY. The best elements of young and vigorous manhood in Danville were embodied in this company, nor did it disappoint the ardent hopes of the friends it left behind. The company was named for P. BALDY, Sr., an old citizen of Danville. They were attached to the Ninety-third Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers, and were designated as Company H of that regiment. Their first battle was on the Peninsula, at Williamsburg, and they subsequently were in all the sieges and battles of the Army of the Potomac until the closing scene at Appomatox. On the resignation of Capt. RAMSEY in 1862, Charles W. ECKMAN became captain of the Baldy Guards on the 21st of October, that year.
On the promotion of Capt. ECKMAN, Joseph H. JOHNSON was made captain, and served in command of the Baldy Guards to the close of the war.
The officers of the company, when mustered into the service September 25, 1861, were Joseph F. RAMSEY, captain; Leffred H. KASE and Charles W. ECKMAN, lieutenants; James AULD, quartermaster.
Second Artillery - Company F, One Hundred and Twelfth Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers, or Second Pennsylvania Artillery, was organized in Danville by Capt. William M. McCLURE. A large portion of its members was of Danville and vicinity. This regiment served with much distinction and did much hard service during the war.
Danville Fencibles - This company was organized in Danville in 1862, under command of Capt. Joseph E. SHREEVE. This company was in the bloody battle of Antietam and there it lost seven in killed, namely; J. M. HASSANPLUG, D. VAN RONK, Jacob LONG, Daniel KLASE, Samuel HILNER, Hiram HUMMEL and John GIBSON. Eighteen were wounded. Among the latter were James FOSTER, John LEIGHOW, George LOVETT, Charles FLICK and D. R. SHUTT. The company was attached to the One Hundred and Thirty-second Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers. Officers - Joseph E. SHREEVE, captain; George W. VANGILDER, first lieutenant; Charles N. NORRIS, second lieutenant. After the battle of Antietam Capt. SHREEVE was promoted to major of the One Hundred and Thirty-second Regiment, and Charles N. NORRIS was made captain of the company.
Company E, Sixth Pennsylvania Reserves, was organized in Danville under command of Capt. M. K. MANLY, one of the survivors of the Mexican campaign. Charles RICHARDS and John HORN were the lieutenants. RICHARDS subsequently became captain of the company. Among the privates in this company were William KEINER, who lost a leg; Nicholas FRAZER, killed at Harrison's Landing; Jacob MILLER, lost a foot; Earnest ADERHOLD, lost a leg.
When the rebels invaded the North there was an "emergency" call for troops, when every county and township in Pennsylvania quickly responded.
The Thirteenth Pennsylvania Volunteer Militia was speedily recruited, and advanced to the front to meet the invading foe. Montour County furnished two companies for this regiment as follows:
Company A, with the following named officers: Captain, John A. WINNER; first lieutenant, W. A. M. GRIER; second lieutenant, John C. PERRIN; first sergeant, John G. HAMMER; second sergeant, Simon LYON; third sergeant, Elias KNERR; fourth sergeant, T. C. HULLIHEN; fifth sergeant, William R. PURSELL; first corporal, Robert ADAMS, Jr.; second corporal, William T. RAMSEY; third corporal, John W. THATCHER; fourth corporal, Benj. W. VASTINE, fifth corporal, Geo. IRWIN; sixth corporal, Samuel EARP; seventh corporal, John WERKHEISER; eighth corporal, Samuel HAMAN; quartermaster-sergeant, Reuben RIEHL.
Company K, with following named officers: Captain, William YOUNG; first lieutenant, Alfred MELON; second lieutenant, Alfred B. PATTON; first sergeant, M. B. MUNSON; second sergeant, A. Jerome HARDER; third sergeant, Geo. W. RAMSEY; fourth sergeant, Alexander HOFNER; first corporal, Alfred YERRICK; second corporal, Hugh P. LIPHART; third corporal, Lewis BYERLY; fourth corporal, William MILLER.
The expedition went as far as Hagerstown, and were in the service two weeks when they returned to Danville and were mustered out.
Company F, National Guards, was organized in Danville in 1878; was first commanded by Capt. P. E. MAUS, and was mustered as Company F of the Twelfth Regiment, National Guard of Pennsylvania. Capt. MAUS resigned in 1880, and J. SWEISFORT was elected captain of the company.
HISTORY OF COLUMBIA COUNTY