Back Home in Selinsgrove
Chapter 73 (June 9, 1865 – June 12, 1865)
When the car reached the station I was again ordered off. But I said no, this car goes up to the stock yard, which was quite near Camp Curtin. He said all right and sent a shifting engine and took the car to the stock yard. A soldier’s word at that time meant something. Soon after we had landed I saw a few of the boys of the company, who came after water. I told them to tell the Captain to come and get his baggage. Soon a detail came and all went to camp. The Captain complimented me on being a first class shyster. The latter part Friday, June 9, was spent in camp.
Saturday, June 10, we remained in camp, awaiting our time to be paid off and get our “buzzard” as the boys called the discharge. How changed things were on our return to this camp, where we had been sworn into Uncle Sam’s service just two years and nine months before. Then the camp was filled with soldiers, now a very few were here. When any arrived, they were soon paid off and sent home. As to Company G, many of our number, too, were missing. While we were glad and happy yet sorrow was mingled with our happiness on account of the missing ones. Late this evening we were paid off and given our discharges.
Sunday, June 11, stores being open all day we purchased citizens clothes. Hardly a soldier but paid out from $50 to $75 for a suit. Of course, this included the “fixins.” Lumbard and the writer packed their clothes in the writer’s trunk, and on Monday, June 12 had them checked to Selinsgrove Junction.
Monday, June 12. We left Harrisburg by train and arrived at Selinsgrove Junction late in the afternoon. We came across the river in a flat or boats. As we rounded the Island we saw a great crowd of men, women and children upon the bank of the west side of the river, cheering and anxiously awaiting our coming. Hardly had the flat struck shore before the loved ones surrounded us, shook hands and kissed those for whom they waited so long to return. Strange to say yet true the first lady to kiss the writer became his wife in 1868.
The company was formed and marched over to Market street, Prof. J. H. Feehrer’s band leading off. The town was beautifully decorated. Owing to the recent floods, we crossed Penn’s Creek on trestle works, the bridge having been swept away. We marched up Market street to the Lutheran cemetery, where Captain Davis was buried. Dr. Samuel Domer, a brother-in-law of the captain, made an address at the grave. We returned to W. F. Eckbert’s on the southeast corner of Pine and Market streets, where Mrs. Eckbert, who was a sister of Captain Davis, had prepared an elegant supper for Company G. This was the last supper before our final separation. After supper the relatives of the boys of the company from different parts of the county were in waiting to take home their dear ones who had escaped shot and shell.
The writer gave each member of the company goodbye, until at last he stood alone, leaning against a post. Then the sad thought of home and mother came to my mind and if I ever missed my two dear brothers, who sacrificed their lives for their country, and mother and home it was then. I don’t think I ever spent a sadder short time in all my life than while standing at that post. But in the midst of my thoughts a hand beckoned me into the center of the street. I went out and met James E. Lloyd, who three years later became my brother-in-law. He said to me: “Schroyer, where are you going to make your home?” I said: “I do not know, my folks are all gone and I am left alone.” He replied that if satisfactory to me he would give me a home. I told him I would cheerfully accept his offer and thanked him kindly for the same. He said, “Do you have any clothing?” I said: “Yes, Lumbard and I have a trunk full somewhere and I think it is on the river bank, where we carried it when we landed.” I sent a boy after it, and he soon returned with the trunk. I took the trunk to Mr. Lloyd’s and unpacked the same in the yard, for fear that a few army bugs might have been mustered out with me, but I am glad to say we found none.
The kindness of these dear friends to me, a homeless soldier, has always been a tender memory and will continue sacred as long as reason endures. “I was a stranger, and they took me in.” Their home and its comforts was my home; their friendship, so willingly given, was later more strongly cemented by closer family relations as that of brother-in-law, grew and ripened during the years that these dear friends were spared. The entrance into this home marked the end of my soldier life and the assuming of my duties as a civilian.
A Few Words In Conclusion
TO MY COMRADES: Fifty years have now passed since my young companions, now my old comrades, enlisted for the most memorable war of all time. To their heroism and fidelity, on the march, in the prison pen, on many a hard fought and bloody field I want to testify. Their service was well performed and their laurels were manfully won. That comradeship which was cemented by nearly three years of constant service thru a horrid war still endures today, and to them I say, all honor to you, brave boys of youth, and all love to you, comrades of my later life.
TO MY READERS: In an humble way I have penned this history of Company G, 147th Regiment, P. V. I., and I trust it has afforded my readers an opportunity in a small way, to get something of the experiences of a soldier’s life. If the articles shall have attained such purpose, the writer has achieved all that he purposed to do, and he lays down his pen with satisfaction.