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Gettysburg the Day After

Chapter 21 (July 4, 1863)

J. A. Lumbard, if my memory serves me correctly, was the only member of the company detailed for skirmish duty during the battle. This certainly is always an unpleasant as well as a very dangerous duty to perform. After the repulse of the Confederates several of their battle flags were left upon the field directly in our front. Jere Moyer started to procure the one nearest to the company but the Colonel ordered him back. Jere was never satisfied that he was not allowed to get it. Some time after this a member of the Fifth Ohio regiment went out and brought it in.

Some little distance on our left in front of the Seventh Ohio regiment of our brigade about 200 Confederates were coming in for the purpose of surrendering as prisoners, bearing flags or truce such as handkerchiefs, pieces of shelter tents, and whatever they were able to get. Assistant Adjt. General James M. Leigh, of General Ewell’s staff, saw them, and riding among them, wanted them to return, when a company of the Fifth Ohio boys fired a volley at him, killing him and his horse instantly. The Confederates then came into our line and were made prisoners.

After the battle was over it was found that General Leigh’s body was pierced with six bullets, and his horse was riddled with balls. It was also said that $85 in gold and a gold watch were taken from his pockets by some one of the Ohio boys. On the first day of July as we were marching up the Baltimore Pike towards the battle field we passed a lady, who was carrying a child and a little girl was running along side of her holding on to her mama’s dress. All three were crying bitterly. The mother said the rebels had chased her and her children out of her home, but she hoped we would whip them and drive them off.

Rebel General Archer’s Brigade, including Archer with 800 men were captured in the first day’s fight. They were brought back as prisoners. One among them had been wounded in the leg, but he was still a rampant Southern fire eater and said that the South would in the end conquer the North. Some of the boys of Company G had the pleasure of talking with him and found this Southerner to be M. M. Miller, from South Carolina, who, just before the war, was a student at Missionary Institute at Selinsgrove, but left the Institution and joined the rebel army. We never heard from him since.

J. A. Lumbard and the writer walked out over the battle field on July 4th, where the dead were lying around by the hundreds. Seeing a rebel lying on his back with a blanket over his face Lumbard, of course, thinking him dead gave him a kick and said, “This fellow fell nice.” To our great surprise the man threw the blanket off his face and said, “Please don’t hurt me, I am badly wounded.” and we walked away without even asking him whether we could do anything for him, or even so much as to offer him a drink of cold water. This has always been one of the saddest regrets of my life. We might excuse our actions by the fact that the feeling ran so high between the North and the South; that they were our enemies and ready to kill us at any opportunity; that we were mere boys only 20 years of age and knew but little of the ways of the world; but even granting the above excuses were true, yet how unkind and inhuman our treatment of this man.

On July 4th we had a great thunderstorm and very heavy rain. After the storm Samuel Jarrett made a fire to dry his clothes and shelter tent, when Henry Schreffler, of the company, came to this fire to boil a cup of coffee, and began stirring and scattering the fire. Jarrett said, “Ich will net hovva dos du my fire furdarbst, ich will my glater un my stzelt drickala, grick un noscht mit un hocka drau and habe di coffee ivver os fire. Ich du nix on der soch hut der Schreffler gasaut. Well mere wella sana, un we bulfer is dis omale op gonga, de cougla sin no de bame rum gafloga un de rin opgashloga ovver des hut nix ous gamocht. Grossa worta sin au rum gaflooga. Der Sammy hut der Schreffler om holtz firicked un gasaut by goonney ‘des wor um Sammy si sprech wort’ sell nem ich net au un hut der Schreffler wetter um daum gabacked un ene amole ains he sheesa wella we der Kankee Garmon si cop ous sime stzelt gapaked un hut gagrisha ‘Go in Santy Anna.’ Des hut der Sammy locha mocha, un graute hen se era druvel gasettled un de union un de konstitution warra witter safe.” [“I do not want that you spoil my fire, I want to dry my clothing and my tent, get a fork with a hook on it and hold the coffee over the fire. I will do nothing of the sort, Schreffler said. Well, we want to see, and like powder, this went off, the bullets then flew up the trees and knocked off the branches, but this made no difference. Large words then flew around. Sammy grabbed Schreffler at the throat and said, `By golly’, this was Sammy saying `I will not take this’, and backed Schreffler against the tree and wanted to shoot him, when Kankee Garmon angrily threw his cap out of his tent, and yelled `Go in Santy Anna’ (go to hell). This made Sammy laugh, and right then, they settled their troubles and the union and the constitution were again safe.”]

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