Civil War Blog

A project of PA Historian

Events of the World: October 1864

Posted By on October 31, 2014

October 1. The Australian Post, a weekly newspaper, published its first issue. It would go on to become the most popular publication in Australia as a weekly picture magzine, with its circulation peaking in the 1960s. It published until 2002.

October 5. A  cyclone kills 70,iln1864000 in Calcutta. In 1866 a report on the cyclone was published and is available in pdf format.






October 19. The St. Albans Raid was the northernmost land action of the American Civil War. It was a controversial raid from Canada by Confederate soldiers meant to rob banks in retaliation for the Union Army burning Southern cities and to force the Union Army to divert troops to defend their northern border. It took place in St. Albans, Vermont, which is not that far from Montreal, Canada. Montreal had a sizable community of Confederate supporters and ex-patriot southerners.



October 30: Helena, MT founded.  The California gold rush had attracted many migrants and many ended up trveling through Montana. Speculators were helena-historiclooking in many places for new places to mine gold. One such group of prospectors was called the “Four Georgians” even though only one was from Georgia.  On July 14, 1864, they discovery of gold  in a gulch off the Prickly Pear valley led to the founding of the city here. Its main street is named Last Chance Gulch and lies close to the winding path of the original gulch. The original camp was named “Last Chance” by the Four Georgians. By fall, the population had grown to over 200, and some considered the name “Last Chance” as too crass. On October 30, 1864, a group of at least seven self-appointed men met to name the town, authorize the layout of the streets, and elect commissioners. The first suggestion was “Tomah,” a word the committee thought had connections to the local Indian people. Other nominations included Pumpkinville and Squashtown (as the meeting was held the day before Halloween).


October 31. Anxious to have support of the Republican-dominated Nevada Territory for President Abraham Lincoln’s reelection, the U.S. Congress quickly admits Nevada as the 36th state in the Union. In 1864, Nevada had only 40,000 inhabitants, considerably short of the 60,000 normally required for statehood.

Wendall Miller – Laborer of Hubley Township

Posted By on October 30, 2014


A Civil War grave marker found in the St. Paul’s (Artz) Church Cemetery, Sacramento, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, for Wandal Miller, who served in the 107th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company G, presented somewhat of a challenge to research due to his common surname.  Wandal, who was more commonly found as Wendall Miller (or as he was located in the war records as Vintal Miller), in 1850 was a 14 year-old in the household of widower John Miller, a 45-year old farmer of Porter Township, Schuylkill County, along with the following siblings:  Sarah Jane Miller (born about 1832); Hannah Miller (born about 1834); Peter Miller (born about 1835); Elizabeth Miller (born about 1839); Joseph Miller (born about 1841); and John Miller (born about 1843.

In the 1860 Census, Wendall Miller is found as a laborer living in the household of the Frederick Schwalm (1796-1872), a farmer in Hubley Township, Schuylkill County.  Also living in this household was a Henrietta Dieter (or Dietrich), s servant, age 21, who within a year married Frederick and with him produced three children who were born during the Civil War.  Frederick Schwalm had at least two sons of military age, who when the Civil War began, joined the army:  Samuel Schwalm (1827-1903) and Frederick Stein Schwalm (1831-1902).

Likewise, the young Wendall Miller began service in the army on 8 February 1862.


According to an index card found at the Pennsylvania Archives, a Vintal Miller enrolled in the 107th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company G, at Schuylkill County, on 8 January 1862, and one month later was mustered into service in Harrisburg as a Private.  His occupation was given as farmer and his age was given as 26, although he was more likely 24.  What is confusing on the index card is the date of discharge, 22 February 1862, which appears to be in error from other readily available sources.


According the Pension Index Card available through Fold3 (shown above), Wendall Miller applied for a pension on 30 September 1879 claiming dates of service as 8 January 1862 through 19 December 1862 (about 11 months), a pension which he received and collected through his death.  There is no record that a widow applied.  The 1879 date suggests, but does not prove, that there were war injuries that prompted this earlier-than-1890 application.  The “S.C.D.” notation on the index card from the Pennsylvania Archives, is an indication that a “Surgeon’s Certificate of Disability” was involved.


Click on document to enlarge.

Turning to a third available source, the Veterans’ Census of 1890, it is seen that Wendall claimed at that time that his time of service was 11 months, but he reported the year incorrectly as 1861.


Click on document to enlarge.

Looking at the bottom section of this same source, Wendall Miller gave his Civil War-related disability as “S— wounds-left shoulder” [this could be "Sabre cut"?].  His post office address in 1890 was given in the first column, “Artz, Schuylkill County.”

The final available record was found at Steve Maczuga‘s web site, Pennsylvanians in the Civil War.    Steve states that Vintal Miller was mustered in on 8 February 1862, and was discharged on 22 December 1862 for wounds received at Catlett’s Stataion, Virginia, on 24 August 1862.

After Wendall Miller returned from his Civil War service, he married a woman named Elizabeth, perhaps Elizabeth Williams (1837-?), and settled in Hubley Township, Schuylkill County.  He and Elizabeth had at least six children:  Charles Miller (born about 1866); Marie E. Williams (born about 1868 and died about 1869); William D. Miller (born about 1870 and died about 1873); Catherine “Kate” Miller (born about 1872); John Ellsworth Miller (born about 1875 and died about 1946); and Lydia Miller (born about 1877).  Some of this information can be confirmed through the census returns for the family from 1870 through 1900, some can be confirmed through cemetery records, and some is suggested through family trees found on Ancestry.com.  In all the regular census returns where an occupation is given, Wendall is a laborer.

By 1900, the widower Wendall Miller had moved in with his daughter Kate who had married Charles Lubold and was living in Upper Mahantongo Township, Schuylkill County.  Charles Lubold, at that time gave his occupation as farm servant.

It is believed from the cemetery records that Wendall Miller died on 5 December 1903, but this has not been confirmed elsewhere.  The grave marker, which does not have birth and death dates, appears to be a “government issue” but no application form has been located in the “Headstones” database available through Ancestry.com.  A church record might be available for his death and funeral, but was not seen at the time of the writing of this blog post. And, no obituary has be seen. Likewise, the date of birth for Wendall of 18 March 1836 also needs confirmation, as does his suspected place of birth of Reinerton, Schuylkill County.

One of the major difficulties in researching Lykens Valler area Civil War veterans with the Miller surname has been that thus far, more than 70 such persons have been identified, with very little confirmed connectivity between and among them.  Several dozen of those identified have the given name of John – and when a confirmed Civil War veteran, such as Wendall Miller is researched, invariably, a John Miller is found among his siblings.  There are at least a dozen major, separate families in the Lykens Valley area with the Miller surname, among them the founder of Millersburg.  Some with the Miller name were immigrants from Germany just before they enlisted for the Civil War.  Some were descendants of pioneer families of the Lykens Valley area.  Some have variations in the spelling of Miller (such as Mueller or Muller) and some have variations in the given name (such as Wendall and Vintal).

Another difficulty is the number of errors found in the records – such as the discharge date for Wendall Miller noted above.

This will all take time to sort out, but with each veteran researched, more knowledge is obtained and a fairly accurate picture begins to emerge of the Miller family in the Civil War.

As with all research done through this blog, reader comments are invited.  Either add to this post or send by e-mail.


The Funeral of George Armstrong of Wiconisco

Posted By on October 29, 2014


On 30 October 1880, the Harrisburg Patriot ran the following story:

The funeral of Mr. George Armstrong, late of Wiconisco, on Sunday morning was a very large one.  Deceased served faithfully in the Ninth Pennsylvania Cavalry during the late war, and was interred with military honors.  He died rather suddenly of an abscess on the lungs, aged thirty-seven years.  He leaves a wife and six small children.  His sudden and premature death will be deeply lamented by his many friends in the upper end.

As stated in the funeral story, George Armstrong served in the 9th Pennsylvania Cavalry.  From his Pennsylvania Veterans’ File Card (below) available from the Pennsylvania Archives, the following was discovered about him and his service:


George Armstrong enrolled in Company B of the 9th Pennsylvania Cavalry at Harrisburg on 25 January 1864 and was mustered into service as a Private on the same day.  At the time, he was 19 years old, was a miner by occupation,  had been born in Shamokin, Northumberland County, and was a resident of Dauphin County.  His physical description included a height of 5 foot 5 inches, dark hair, dark complexion, and black eyes.  His 1864 date of enrollment indicated that he was a replacement soldier for those who chose not to re-enlist in the cavalry after their initial term of service ended.  It can be assumed that Armstrong was with the regiment in its final campaigns, including Sherman’s march to the sea.  He received an honorable discharge on 18 July 1865.

There is no mention of George Armstrong in Yankee Cavalrymen, the history of the regiment that was written by John W. Rowell, based on the Diary of William Thomas of Lykens.

George Armstrong‘s parent’s names have not yet been ascertained.

Following the Civil War, George Armstrong probably married around 1867 to Amanda S.(maiden name unknown), and by 1870 was living in Tremont, Schuylkill County, where he was working as a miner. He had one two year old child, Lillie Armstrong, living in his household.

In 1880, he and his family were living in Wiconisco, and was still working as a coal miner.  There were six children in the household:  Lilly Armstrong, born about 1868; George Armstrong Jr., born about 1872; Jennie Armstrong, born about 1873; Abbie Armstrong, born about 1874; John Armstrong, born about 1876; and Annie Armstrong, born about 1879.  As stated in the funeral notice (above), the wife and six small children all survived him when he died in October 1880.


As is shown by the above Pension Index Card, available from Ancestry.com, George Armstrong never applied for a pension, probably because he was fortunate enough not to have been seriously injured in the war.  The widow, Amanda A. Armstrong, waited until 5 July 1888 to apply, and did receive benefits, presumably for her minor children as well.  The pension application file at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., should contain a wealth of information about this family, including the maiden name of Amanda, where and when the marriage took place, and the exact birth dates of the children.  This file, nor information from it, was not consulted for this blog post.


George Armstrong (1844-1880) and Amanda S. Armstrong (1847-1930) are buried in Calvary Cemetery, Wiconisco, Dauphin County.


For his service in the Civil War, George Armstrong is recognized on the Lykens G.A.R. Monument as a veteran who was not a member of the Heilner Post.


The news clipping is from the on-line resources of the Free Library of Philadelphia.


Monuments at Gettysburg – 49th Pennsylvania Infantry

Posted By on October 28, 2014


The 49th Pennsylvania Infantry Monument at Gettysburg is located south of the town of Gettysburg on Howe Road.  It was dedicated as part of the group of monuments paid for by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1889.  The view of the monument (above) is from a Philadelphia Inquirer article of 11 September 1889 on the festivities for the monument dedications.  For a picture,  see Steven Recker’s Virtual Gettysburg Web Site which has more information about the monument and the 49th Pennsylvania Infantry.

A full description of the monument, its GPS coordinates, a photograph, and some of the history of the 49th Pennsylvania Infantry can be found on the Stone Sentinels Web Site.


Although the 49th Pennsylvania Infantry dedicated its monument in 1889, the Philadelphia Inquirer article of 11 September 1889 did not mention anything about any ceremonies that involved the regiment.

The 49th Lost Not a Man.

The 49th, dropping the Pipe Creek Plan, hastened from Westminster to Gettysburg, arriving at daylight on the 2nd, and immediately went to the support of the Fifth Corps.  Russell’s Brigade was posted on the left of the line, the 49th on the right and front, with its right resting on the Taneytown Road.  Ar 3 P.M. the division was ordered to the support of the Fifth Corps and formed on the right of Round Top, but the enemy had now been repulsed and driven back at all points and the battle was at an end.  The regiment suffered no loss, though under heavy artillery fire during the afternoon of the 3rd.  In the pursuit on the night of the 7th the men of the 49th, faint with fasting, crossed Cotocton Mountain over a by-road through unspeakable darkness and torrents of rain.  Many staggered by the way, and at the top the column halted for them to catch up.  At Middletown the regiment drew rations and shoes and got a full night’s rest.  After the surrender of Lee the regiment, facing toward Johnston, marched 100 miles in four days and four hours.  Returning to Hall’s Hill, Washington, the regiment camped for two weeks, and was there mustered out of service.



Thomas M. Hulings (1835-1864)

Thomas M. Hulings was born on 7 February 1835 and was from Lewistown, Mifflin County, Pennsylvania.  He commanded the 49th Pennsylvania Infantry at Gettysburg.  Major Hulings began his service with the regiment on 24 October 1861 at Camp Griffin, Virginia, and before Gettysburg he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, the rank he held at the time of the battle.  Unfortunately, on 10 May 1864 he was killed in action at Spottsylvania Court House, Virginia.

Lieutenant Colonel Hulings is buried at Green Mount Cemetery, Baltimore, Maryland.  More information about him can be found at his Findagrave Memorial.


Around the base of the Pennsylvania Memorial at Gettysburg are a series of plaques which, by regiment and company, note the names of every soldier who was present at the Battle of Gettysburg.  The plaque for the 49th Pennsylvania Infantry is pictured below.  By clicking on the plaque it should enlarge so the names can be more clearly read.  If a name does not appear, it could be that the soldier did serve in the 49th Pennsylvania Infantry, but was not part of the regiment during its days in Gettysburg.  There could also be errors on the plaque.



The news clipping and article are from the on-line resources of the Free Library of Philadelphia.

Philip Harman – Died in Field Hospital in Alabama, 1863

Posted By on October 27, 2014


Philip Harman, who enrolled in the 9th Pennsylvania Cavalry at Berrysburg, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, on 16 September 1861, and was mustered into service at Harrisburg, 7 October 1861, as a Private in Company B, was a 21 year old farmer whose residence was Dauphin County.  His physical description included a height of 6 feet 1 inch, dark hair, fair complexion and hazel eyes.  At an unknown date, he was promoted to Teamster.  On the 17 September 1863, he died of pneumonia at the General Field Hospital in Stevenson, Alabama.  The primary information on his military record came from the Pennsylvania Veterans’ File Card (above) from the Pennsylvania Archives.  The date and cause of his death came from a register of deaths of volunteers (shown below), a record available at Ancestry.com.


Click on document to enlarge

Nothing is mentioned about the service of Philip Harman in the book Yankee Cavalrymen, by John W. Rowell.  However, there is a map of the territory traveled by the 9th Pennsylvania Cavalry in that book, pages 16-17.  Stevenson is located in the northeast corner of Alabama and is now considered to be part of the combined statistical area of Alabama, Tennessee, and Georgia.  The railroads serving this area during the Civil War were the M & C, or Memphis and Charleston Railroad, and the Nashville Chattanooga Railroad.  The station serving both railroads was built shortly before the Civil War but was demolished either during the war or at its end.  Today, the Stevenson Railroad Depot Museum displays items related to the railroads and the Civil War events that took place in the area.  At Stevenson, the Union Army established a hospital and refugee camp.  It was there at the field hospital that Philip Harman died.  For more information on historic Stevenson, Alabama, see the Wikipedia article.

Philip Harman‘s name was first located as a Civil War veteran from the Lykens Valley area in A Comprehensive History of the Town of Gratz Pennsylvania, page 789.  While this reference correctly states that he died in Alabama in 1863, the file folder on him at the Gratz Historical Society incorrectly contains the pension application papers of a Philip Harman from Lancaster County, who did not die in the war.  That book clearly identifies Philip Harman as someone “known from this [Gratz] area.”  He is not included anywhere else in the book – even under variations in spelling of the surname, e.g., Harmon or Herman.  Note:  The other Philip Harman, which the Gratz Historical Society has confused with the one who died at Stevenson, served in the 73rd Pennsylvania Infantry, Company E, and was from Lancaster County, with no known connection to Dauphin County.

At this time, no Pension Index Card has been located for the Philip Harman who died at Stevenson in 1863.  The only conclusion that can be drawn from this is that no one applied for benefits based on his service – no widow, no minor children, and no parent.

While there are many persons with the surname Harman who were living in the Lykens Valley area during the Civil War, a connection has not yet been made between this Philip Harman and any others of that name.


On the Lykens G.A.R. Monument is the name Philip Harman (above), with “two stars” indicating that he was killed during the Civil War.  It is believed that this is the same person who the records state died of pneumonia at Stevenson, Alabama.  Why he would be named as “killed” when there was a separate designation of “three stars” died of disease, is not known.

Attempts to locate the burial place of Philip Harman have thus far been unsuccessful.

Hopefully, readers with knowledge of this family and specifically of this Philip Harman who died in 1863, should comment on this post or send the information by e-mail.