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Henry Keiser: After Gettysburg

Posted By on July 4, 2013

For the Army of the Potomac, Gettysburg didn’t mean the end of campaigning in the summer of ’63. Henry Keiser and the rest of the 96th PA waited on the battlefield until Lee’s army left the area. Then the long pursuit began which required tough marching in the infamously muddy conditions from Gettysburg. Here is some of what Keiser experienced in the days following the battle.

Saturday, July 4, 1863.  OK has been cloudy ever since we were on the march.  Rained little last night.  All is great along the line this morning.  I picked up a tent and green blanket while going over to the battlefield.  The Rebs are over a mile from here.  At ten o’clock a.m. —–.  Post was made in fence and then returned to our old position.  It was though the Rebs were learning, but it was a mistake.  First Sergeant F. N. Henden [Douden?] 

 

Sunday, July 5, 1863.  It rained all night.  This morning at daylight we were routed up, the rain still falling.  The Rebs had gone.  We followed slowly, feeling our way carefully as we went.  It rained all forenoon and was very muddy.  Every barn we passed was converted into a rebel hospital and had the red flag floating over it while we were halting near one (a large barn full of wounded Rebs I ran over to see how it looked, it was sickening to look at.  The barn floor and every place in the barn where a person could be layed was filled with wounded Rebels, and outside the barn on the South Side, I seen a pile of hands, feet, legs, and arms at least two feet high.  At five o’clock this evening, we came up to enemies rear guard.  We advanced in line of battle or regiment on the extreme right, expecting to capture part of their wagon train, but night coming on they escaped.  Encamped for the night near Fairfield.  A great number of prisoners were picked up by the way today.

 

Monday, July 6, 1863.  It rained a little last night.  Harry Romberger rejoined the company this morning, having been in the rear since the 2nd inst.  The Rebels kept possession of Serrie [?] “Sap” until toward evening.  At six o’clock p.m. followed up, passing through Fairfield, and after marching near three miles, we halted until 11:30 p.m. when we again started off.  Saul Stabe who had been in the hospital, rejoined the company this evening.

 

Tuesday, July 7, 1863.  We had a very hard march last night, being 2 very muddy through Neuman’s Cut.  At three o’clock a.m. we re-crossed into Maryland and passé through Emmetsburg which was partly burned down.  At daylight this morning we halted a short distance from the town, but at ten a.m. we resumed our march passing through Mechanics and Thumps in Furnace [?].  It rained most all forenoon.  After dark we commenced to ascend the {Catoctin}Mountains but my feet being wet.  My shoes full of mud.  A steep mountain before us, and a very dark night with not much of a road.  I stopped back for the night and went into camp. 


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