Transcribed from Civil War era newspaper articles from the New Castle Courant. Spellings (or misspellings of names) left as originally printed in the article.
55th Regiment - Militia of 1863
July 17th, 1863.
DEAR DURBAN: - The second regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteer Militia left Pittsburgh for this point on Saturday night last, about 11 o'clock, and arrived at Bridgeport, opposite Wheeling, shortly after daybreak, Sunday morning. We lay here on an island, which we had to cross, until about three o'clock, P. M., when we embarked on the steamer Eagle, and daybreak next morning found us moored at the Parkersburg wharf, in the mouth of the little Kanawa. We shortly disembarked and moved out to camp about a mile from the wharf and just on the outskirts of town. The camp is located in a fine grove and in a very pleasant situation. The health of the boys is very good, their being but little sickness. - Capt. Christy has been unwell for some days, but is getting better.
To-morrow morning at six o'clock, four companies of the regiment, viz: Co E, Captain Christy, Co I, Captain Vincent, Co F, Capt. Johnston, (Mercer county.) and Co. A, commanded by your humble correspondent, leave this camp to go to Clarksburg, about eighty-five miles up the Little Kanawha to do the same kind of duty which we are doing here, viz: lying in camp and eating hard tack and pork, washing them down with black coffee. We drill every day, in addition to the above named exercises, and the boys are improving very fast. This detachment we understand, will not be required to remain there any great length of time. It goes under command of Lieut. Colonel Samuel Graham.
The regiment, so far as I can learn, are very well satisfied with their trip to Western Virginia and their experience since coming here. Parkersburg is a pleasant town, of considerable importance, situated immediately above the junction of the Kanawha with the Ohio river. I have noticed this peculiarity about the place, that more than one half of the various places in the town are either hotels, taverns or drinking saloons. They are of all grades, from the tastefully fitted salon in a first class hotel to the lowest, meanest doggery. Fortunately, however, their keepers are forbidden to sell liquors to the ranks and file of the soldiers except under certain restrictions. An officer can get drunk as often as he pleases though.
The organization of our regiment is as follows: Colonel r. B. McComb, Lieut. Col., Samuel Graham; Major, N. R. Hays; Adjutant, Thomas McBride, C. M., Samuel Miller, Editor of Mercer Dispatch; Sergeant Major, J. A. Euwer; Commissary Sergeant, John McMichael; Quartermaster Sergeant, J. B. White.
When the regiment was organized it was unanimously agreed by the line officers of the regiment to be organized, that of the field and staff officers Lawrence county should furnish the Colonel and Adjutant, while Mercer county should be allowed the remaining three. The non-commissioned staff were appointed by the Colonel without reference
To majority of companies.
When we consider that the Mercer county companies with whom we organized amounted to seven while we had but three, it will be seen that the division of officers was very fair. The companies are organized as follows: Co. A, Capt. Morehead, Lawrence county, company B, Captain Fruit, Mercer county; company C, Cap. M'Mienael, Mercer County; Co. D, Captain Coulter, Mercer county; Co. E, Captain Christy, Lawrence county; compay F, Captain Johnston, Mercer county; company H, Captain Stinson, Mercer county; company I, Captain Vincent, Lawrence county; company K, Capt. Jeffries, Mercer county.
Company g, commanded by Capt. W. W. Risher, of West Middlesex, Mercer county, utterly refused to come along with us down here. We now have vague rumors of their having to give up their arms and uniforms and return home. As to the truth of these reports, I cannot decide. But I must close. More anon.
P. S. Since I finished the above, an hour ago, the report has come, officially, that the rebel guerilla Morgan is coming towards this point. Preparations are making to meet him, and if he comes here, he is expected by to-morrow evening at latest. We may not leaver here now, to go to Clarkesburgh.
Submitted by Tami McConahy