109th Pennsylvania  
Lawrence County, Pennsylvania




109th Pennsylvania



Transcribed from Civil War era newspaper articles from the New Castle Courant. Spellings (or misspellings of names) left as originally printed in the article.

109th Pennsylvania

From Capt. Young's Company

The Company under command of Capt. John Young, of this place was in the battle of Culpepper Court House, and behaved admirably. They belong to the 109th Pennsylvania, which was especially complimented for their bravery and coolness in the fight. We have been permitted to copy the following extracts from a private letter, written by the Captain:

"General Bank's army fought the armies of the rebel Generals, Jackson and Ewel, four to one, from about three in the afternoon until dark, and held our own ground. I had two of my men killed, and six that I know of wounded. One of the killed is Robert Montgomery, from the Coal Banks, and the other is a young man named Cochran, from Philadelphia. Wm. S. Emery, of Croton, is wounded in the thigh; he is doing very well. Albert Williams, an apprentice of Samuel Dunn, is wounded in the head. I am afraid he will die. The other wounded are from Philadelphia. There are several missing who I fear are taken prisoner. - The rest of the New Castle boys are all safe. I saw Mrs. Crawford's brothers, after the battle, they are both wounded - Wesley in the thigh, the other, I believe is also wounded in the thigh. They are doing very well. All the wounded are to be sent to Washington and other places. I think our Regiment will be sent back to Washington City to recruit."

Capt. Young is a well drilled officer, and a brave soldier. He will not ask his men to go where he would refuse to go himself, and while he is a strict disciplinarian, he will be careful to look well to the comfort of those under his command. He is a captain of whom Lawrence county may well be proud, and has men of the same style under him.

CLIFEBURNE GENERAL HOSPITAL,

WASHINGTON, D. C. Oct. 24th 1862

DEAR DURBAN: - Permit me if you please through the valuable columns of you paper, to say a few words to the people of "little Lawrence" in general. - Having been confined for some time to the narrow limits of a hospital, I will try and give you a slight illustration of the way in which they are conducted, as I have been changed from one to another until I think I have a pretty good chance of knowing something about them and the many different forms in which they exist. First is the regimental hospital; it consists of a wall tent capable of containing 20 patients, and some two or three ambulances which are constructed for the purpose of conveying the sick while on a march. As a general thing these ambulances are very comfortable conveyances although some of them are worse than one of those large coal wagons so frequently used in the streets of New Castle, especially those built on two wheels, for I d think they would kill a person in from two or three weeks, let him enter one in good health, let alone a man prostrate with the camp fever, an almost incurable disease, or at least very few who get well who are attacked with it, in the army, when the sick call is beaten which is generally at 8 o'clock in the morning, many may be seen wending their way toward the hospital, or ambulances if on the march, where the Doctor is to be found. It makes no difference how many different kinds of diseases are presented to him he will use but two kinds of medicine known by the soldiers as Quinine and blue pills, if a man complains of having the cholrea morbus he will get blue pills if Rheumatism, Quinine, if fever and ague Quinine, if fever, pills, and so on throughout all the diseases which our soldier is subject to, or this has been the programme in our Regiment. It seems strange that so many men with M. D. attached to their names are allowed to remain in our army, to be in charge of sick men, who are incapable of taking care of a blind horse, say nothing of a man severely wounded. Also we have some noble Physicians in the service and a short visit to their hospitals will soon satisfy a person of the difference existing between army Doctors. By the bad management of some of these M. D.'s many are compelled to walk and carry heavy burdens who should be taken in the ambulances; some have been known to die on the roadside and many are left behind on marches to either meet with a friend who will help him or fall into the hands of the enemy through the negligence in the medical department of the Regiment; this I am sure none can doubt after seeing so much in print upon this subject throughout all our journals. My first experience in a Hospital was in the town of Culpepper Va, immediately after the terrible battle of slaughter, or as it is sometimes known, ceder moutain all the public buildings were filled wounded, and as fast as trains on the Manassas gap R. R., could be run from Alexandria they were conveyed to Alexandria and this city it was a horrible sight to witness the amputations performed in some of these hospitals, legs and arms were handled and thrown aside as a butcher would beef shanks; a great many died here of their wounds and many of them will soon be able to return to their respective regiments. I was an inmate of the general Hospital at Frederick city, Md for two weeks and I was almost overjoyed when I heard we were to be removed and sent to some other hospital, not because we were ill treated by our doctors, but for the simple reason that there was 490 sick rebels in the same Barracks with us 25 federal soldiers. This barracks, or in some hospitals called wards, was under the supervision of a doctor belonging the Rebel army. When the rebels were forced to leave this city they at first intended to burn the government property but finally concluded to fill this place with their sick, for well do they know their sick fare much better in our hands than they do in their own, if their army is wanting in anything I am sure it is medical stores. This Doctor I spoke of before was left to attend these sick men, the other department of the hospital being full of our own sick and wounded, we were compelled to go into this barracks under the charge of a rebel, the understanding was that he would act to us the same as his own men, but I am confident that he never intended to do so, for it was very seldom that he would ask us any questions concerning our welfare, or see whether or not we had anything to eat, if any person was seen coming toward the ward with eatables he was sure to meet them, and see that his own men got all, several times he proscribed for us but we never got the medicine. This looked very queer to us being in our own hospital and in one of our loyal States. From here we moved to the Episcopal Church in the same city to make room for wounded Rebels who were being brought in from the battlefield. We were here nearly two days before they made any arrangement for us to obtain rations, consequently we have had nothing to eat or some three days but what was brought, to us by the kind ladies of this place; their kindness will never be forgotten by our boys, and should the city ever fall into the hands of the traitors again I think our troops will cause them to leave it in a very short time, for they know they have many strong friends in this place, more than they was aware of, and my opinion is there are more, and a great many more Union men in the State of Maryland this day, than there was before the Confederate army passed through. There is no doubt that Jeff Davis & Co., are satisfied about "My Maryland" the subject of their most popular song, or it was before they crossed the Potomac. What prisoners and sick I saw were the most miserable looking human beings that ever the sun shone upon - nearly clothless, as they were, with nothing to eat but what they could beg and steal, for it was impossible to keep their supply trains along with them as their movements were so very rapid, after leaving the Rebel Capitol. The most of them were without shoes, and they complained of their feet being very sore, which I have no doubt was true. I was informed by one of the citizens that a great number of their cavalry passed through the city barefooted with the spurs attached to their naked heel, this would present a comical appearance for a soldier. I dare say all the sick I conversed with in the Hospital were very tired of the war, and would be contented to live in peace under the folds of the "Star Spangled Banner" and the glorious Constitution our fore-fathers framed. Their disease was the effects of heavy marching, exposure, and starvation. Their sufferings seemed to be that of people in the last stage of consumption, and many of them died every day and as a general thing their bodies were taken away by some of the sympathizing Rebels of the place and vicinity, of which I must say, were few and scattered. But upon this subject I must not dwell, or my epistle will become too lengthy

In a few days orders came to move all that were able to travel to the Hospitals at Washington city. On the train in which I came, were twelve hundred and fifty sick and wounded. We were distributed among the many hospitals of this place, and have no reason to complain of our medical treatment, for it is as good, and much better than some of us could get if we were at home, for here we have a good Physician with us all the time, and there we could not have it so. Of course a great many die where there are so many sick and often I see the hearse, containing a coffin, followed by a Corporal and four file of men, passing by, I am caused to repeat with a slight variation, the "Paupers Drive,"

"Rattle his bones over the stones,

He's only a soldier whom nobody owns."

One thing more I will speak of before I close, and that is in regard to the many things sent to us by the "Ladies of the Union Soldier's Aid Society," what becomes of it? I am sure I have never seen anything here contributed by them, and certainly there is something for every one here, for their societies are scattered all over the country, every town and village in the Loyal States is a head quarters for one of the Societies. I understand there is a great amount of contributions from Pennsylvania in the city, but of what good is that to us; we can not go and get them as it is two miles from here to the city. I think there are some persons employed to distribute these among the sick and wounded, but they are like many of our Quarter Masters, living upon the top of the heap themselves, and not caring for the welfare of others. They should bear in mind that a soldier has some interest in the welfare of his body as well as his soul, and cannot live upon tracts and religious papers which are so freely distributed among the Hospitals. But of this subject and Cliffburn Hospitals, more anon.

A Brave Soldier Gone.

It is our painful duty to announce that Sergeant Lewis E. Young, of company D, (Capt. McGettigan,) 109th regiment Pa. Vol. Was killed in the battle at Pine Mountain Georgia, on Wednesday the 15th ult. He was one of the first to volunteer in the defence of his country when the rebellion broke out, and had reenlisted for a second campaign, but has now been stricken down by the hand of the enemy. Mr. Young was brave and patriotic, and it is to be regretted that he was not spared to see the war closed. He was about 22 years of age, leaves a wife and one child with other relations to mourn his death.


Submitted by Tami McConahy



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