Mustering Out

The following excerpt from H. N. Minnigh’s “History of Company K. 1st (Inft,) Penn’a Reserves” (iBooks) will set the stage for this portion of Danner’s diary.

“Hurrah! For home. This was the glad greeting, on the morning of June 1st, when the order was issued for our return northward.

We accordingly bade farewell to the Army of the Potomac, and to the comrades of the company who had veteranized, who were now assigned to the 190th Penn’a Veteran Volunteers, to serve their unexpired term of service.

On the 2nd of June, we reached White house landing, and went aboard the transport George Weems at 10 a. m. on the 3rd, and at 12 m. with three hearty cheers, started northward, and landed at Washington, D. C. on the 4th, at 4 o’clock p. m.

On Sunday 5th at 11:30 a. m. we left the National Capitol, and on the 6th arrived at Harrisburg, Pa. the Capitol of our native State.

We were the recipients of a Royal welcome when we disembarked at Harrisburg, but the joyous greeting can only be measured by the deep sorrow of many who received not back their loved ones.

Three years before we as a Division of State troops, had gone forth fully 15.000 strong, and now we were merely a hand-full, then, full of life and buoyancy, now, war-worn and battle-scarred veterans.

We proceeded to Philadelphia, and were finally mustered out of the service, on the 13th of June 1864.

Company K. as a body returned to our native town (Gettysburg,) where a Banquet welcome, had been prepared for us, but owing to the fact that it was deferred untill evening, only a few remained to partake of the bounteous banquet, preferring the more humble spread that awaited them, in the homes where loved ones surrounded the board.

Of the 110 who had gone forth, three years before, only 24 now returned.

Some sleep peacefully in the unmarked graves of the south-land; no tender hand wreaths flowers over these unknown graves, but the gentle zephyrs chant requiems continually, and around them the wild flowers bloom more beautiful and fragrant, because the soil was enriched by their blood. Others after a manly struggle for life, yielded to disability from wounds and disease.

We cherish the memory of our fallen comrades, and as one by one we are summoned to join the great majority, we hope to meet them again, and to stand side by side, in nobler array, with the brave and true and tried who were our comrades here, and who so well performed their work on the battle-fields of this life.

And when the trumpet shall be heard, not calling to fields of conflict, but to rewards for deeds well done, may we all be found sharing the victory won by Him, “who died that we might live.”

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1st June [1864] — Wednesday. Was mustered out of the United States service this morning on the battlefield. Then marched to Pamunky River. Our division guarded eight hundred and thirty prisoners to the White House Landing. Felix Wise was among the prisonrs. Him and I had a long conversation together. We marched about twenty-five miles today. A great number of the prisoners was sun struck on the road.

2nd [June, 1864] — Thursday. Marched to the Landing today and passed through a small town called Lanesville 2 miles from the Landing. [Jim] Rouzer and I had some of the old corn cakes baked for dinner and some fresh pork. Crossed over the river and put up tents. Then drawed three days rations.

3rd [June, 1864] — Friday. Marched on board the transports this …

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…morning and sailed down the river on the steamboat called George Dean [actually Greoge Weems].

4th [June, 1864] — Saturday. We sailed over the bay last night and entered the mouth of the Potomac [River] this morning at daylight. Today in Washington at three o’clock, then marched to the Soldier’s Retreat and took supper. Stacked arms in barracks No. 4 and remained all night.

5th [June, 1864] — Sunday. Was detailed this morning to help with the baggage on the cars. Left Washington today at 9 o’clock and arrived in Baltimore by 1 o’clock. Changed cars in Baltimore this evening and run to York after night. Arrived at York at 1 o’clock tonight and laid over till daylight. Saw John Kelley in Baltimore today. He looks well and is in good health.

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6th [June, 1864], — Monday. Arrived in Harrisburg about noon. All the bells in the city was ringing as we entered the city. We took dinner, then paraded the streets, then to the Capitol where the mayor of the city made a speech. Governor Curtin, Col. Fisher, and Col. Roberts. We then marched to Camp Curtin and put up tents.

7th [June, 1864] — Took the cars this morning and went to Philadelphia. Arrived in the city at noon. The bells all over the city was ringing and about two hundred shots of cannon was fired while we marched to Cooper Shop [Volunteer] Refreshment Saloon ¹ and got a grand supper.

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8th [June, 1864] — Walked about the city today.

9th [June, 1864] — Visited this D. Givin residence this evening but he was not at home. I left my card and returned later in the evening and found him. Played a tune on his banjo before we left.

10th [June, 1864] — We turned in our guns this morning and stacked then in Otsego Street opposite the saloon.

13th [June, 1864] — Signed the pay rolls, then marched up to Gerard Street and was mustered out of service. We then got our discharge papers and returned to the saloon.

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Cooper Shop Refreshment Saloon in Philadelphia
Cooper Shop Refreshment Saloon in Philadelphia

¹ “In Philadelphia, the volunteer refreshment saloons provided some of the most important service. Northern newspapers praised the city’s saloons which served as safe havens where “the dusty soldier [could] wash off his travel stains.” William M. Cooper, a merchant, was the first to decide that his storefront on Otsego Street should aid Union troops passing through his city. The Cooper Shop Volunteer Refreshment Saloon opened on May 26, 1861. Cooper became the committee’s president and served in this position until the war’s end. The Cooper Shop soon entered into a friendly rivalry with the larger Union Saloon, which opened the same week, but the dramatic individual efforts of the Cooper Shop leaders gave it a special place in the hearts of Philadelphia’s residents. All of these war time establishments proved important as places of rest where soldiers obtained food, drink, places to wash, and even medical care. The saloons helped forge a collective war effort.” [Brenna McKelvey]


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