THE PITTSTON GAZETTE
August 19, 1912
RECORD OF BATTERY M IN THE WAR OF THE REBELLION
The following sketch of the career of Schooley’s Battery, officially known as Battery M, Second Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery, in the Civil War, prepared by one of the members, Evan J. Evans, was read by him at the reunion of the organization held in this city today, in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the members being mustered into the service of the United States.
Battery M, Second Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery, 112th Pennsylvania Volunteers, was recruited by Capt. David Schooley, July and August 1862. It was known then as Schooley’s Independent Battery. It was composed of men and boys from Pittston Borough, Pittston Township, Wilkes-Barre, Scranton and Carbondale, also of boys from Susquehanna and Wayne Counties. The greatest number were from Pittston. There were only ten married men in the Battery; the rest were young men from 16 to 24 years of age. Monday evening, the ladies of Pittston and vicinity gave us a banquet of cake, coffee and ice cream, and also presented us with a silk flag which was carried through the war but not very often unfurled, a government flag having been substituted for general use. We have our silk flag with us now, boxed up in a neat wooden with a glass front, so that it may be seen by the boys and others.
Tuesday morning, Aug. 12th, 1862, the boys assembled in front of the Eagle Hotel and were drawn up in line. Speeches were made by several of our townsmen. One in particular comes to memory which was made by William Tompkins, an old gray-haired man, father of Alvah Tompkins and grandfather of our townsman, William S. Tompkins. He said in his remarks: “If you young men can’t whip those damn rebels, we old men will come down there and clean them out.”
We then marched up to the L. & B. Junction, followed by a host of men and women, old and young. After bidding our friends and relatives good bye we boarded a train of freight cars, some inside and some on top, for Camp Curtin, Harrisburg, Pa., reaching there the sometime in the afternoon. We marched into the barracks to get something to eat and found smoked bacon and hardtack on a long table, together with something else that did not agree with our stomachs. We about-faced and marched out and told our Captain that if that was the way Uncle Sam was going to feed us we were going home.
We then marched down to the City of Harrisburg, where two of our townsmen who came down with us, David Morgan and Ralph Lacoe, went with the Captain to see Governor Curtin, who gave orders for us to encamp in the Capital grounds and buildings until we could be better taken care of.
Sunday morning, August 18th, we were ordered to camp and we were given new tents and camp utensils, also some clean rations that were not contaminated with creepers, so I can well remember our first pork and beans meal. Monday, Aug. 19th, which we are commemorating as the 50th anniversary of our enrollment, we were examined bodily and sworn into the United States Army for three years, if not sooner discharged. (Some of the boys used to say, “Or sooner shot.”) The next day we elected our officers as follows:
Captain – David Schooley.
First Lieutenant – U. S. Cook
Second Lieutenant – A. P. Barber
Second Junior Lieutenant – William Gee
Sergeant – N. R. Miller
Orderly – Benjamin F. Everett
Quartermasters – W. M. Thompson, L. H. Wint, Benj. F. Emigh, C. S. Page
Corporals – E. R. Ford, William Davis, William Richardson, W. H. Wetherbee, W. H. Davis, Ed R. White, James B. Furnace, Richard Lewis.
Artificers – William Stroh and Matthias Frantz Musicians – Benjamin Smiley and James B. Frick Wagoner – John W. Watson
All of the officers, commissioned and non-commissioned, are now dead, except Third Sergeant L. H. Wint and Fifth Sergeant C. S. Page.
We did guard duty at the camp and then left for Philadelphia and Fort Delaware. Arriving at Philadelphia we received our first installment of the Government bounty $25 and having something to eat at the barracks, we boarded at transport for Fort Delaware, arriving there about midnight.
While at Fort Delaware, we did guard duty, guarding prisoners and doing fatigue duty. We remained at Fort Delaware until Nov. 24th, 1862, when we transferred to the defenses of Washington, DC. We were then transferred from Schooley’s Battery to Battery M, Second Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery, 112th Pennsylvania Volunteers. This regiment guarded a chain of forts between Maryland and Washington, DC. Battery M was stationed at Fort Lincoln, where we did all kinds of duty, from using pick and shovel to guard and picket duty.
We remained at Fort Lincoln until March, 1864, when we were transferred across the historic Potomac to take charge of Forts Ethan Allen and Marcy. We partly knew what that meant, as General Grant had called for all troops that could be spared from the defenses of Washington to be sent to the front, and we knew our time would soon come. Sometime in May 1864, we took steamer in Washington and went down the Potomac into Chesapeake Bay, then to the mouth of the Rappahannock, then up the river to Port Royal. May 28th, 1864, we started on that remarkable march from Port Royal to Cold Harbor. We were now a part of the eighteenth Army Corps, Army of the James. While there our Regiment became engaged and lost heavily.
July 12th, 1864, Grant was evacuating Cold Harbor and our Regiment was put on the firing line to relieve a whole Brigade. We remained there until about midnight, when we got out into the clearing without making any noise and made a forced march of 23 miles to White House Landing, double-quicking a good part of the way. We reached there a little after daybreak, and embarked for City Point. On June 18th, we marched up to Petersburg and charged the defenses. We remained in the trenches in front of Petersburg until sometime in September, doing picket duty. While there several of our boys were wounded, and when the Crater was blown up, we were in the third line to charge. The Crater went up in good style, but the charge was a failure.
Sometime in July, our Captain, David Schooley, was taken prisoner while laying out a new picket line, and was held prisoner until the end of the war. In September, we moved to Bermuda Front, where we did picket duty and commenced to build winter quarters. On Sept. 29th, we had marching orders, and about daybreak we crossed the James River and attacked the Rebel pickets, driving them in. Then a line of battle was formed and we charged and captured Fort Harrison and a long line of breastworks, taking about 500 prisoners. Battery M sustained a loss of one killed and several wounded.
Then a charge was made on Fort Burnham, the 112th losing heavily. Major Anderson was killed and Major Sadler taken prisoner. Several Captains and Lieutenants were killed, wounded or taken prisoners. Together with three hundred or four hundred of the boys. We were on the move from daybreak until it was too dark to see each other. The Rebels, on the 30th, charged Fort Harrison and failed. We captured several hundred prisoners and remained on Chapin’s Farm, as the place was called, until Dec. 24th, 1864, when we re-crossed the James, one year men taking our place.
After re-crossing the James, the 112th did picket duty at Bermuda Front, and Battery M was assigned to headquarters duty for General Farrar. We remained at Bermuda Front until the fall of Petersburg, March 31st and April 1st, 1865. After the fall of Petersburg, Battery M became headquarters guard for General Hartsuff, the rest of the Regiment doing provost duty in the city. Battery M remained headquarters guards until June 30th, 1865, when we were discharged, arriving at Harrisburg June (July?) 23, were we received the remainder of our Government bounty, which was $75, also several months’ pay and our discharge papers.
We took the train next day for Pittston, arriving at L. & B. Junction in the afternoon of July 24th, after having served three long years, as it seemed, in Uncle Sam’s service, and seeing the end of a terrible war.