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A letter from Capt. Levi Huber of Co. B, 96th Pa., to Col. P. A. Filbert, former commander of the 96th Pa.

Col P. A. Filbert

My Dear Old Friend,

To day I had the gratification to receive your friendly note through your brother William. I had almost abandoned the belief, so long entertained, that any Mutual friendship really continued to exist between us, but I am led to attribute our tardiness in corresponding, to procrastination on both sides. Passing over the unpleasant reminiscences of the past I will endeavor to answer your inquiries, as best I can. So far as the Regiment is concerned, we are getting along about as usual, with an occasional jarring, and shall undoubtedly continue so to the expiration of our term of service; with the exception however, that some of discordant elements, have become detached and selected other and different affinities, whether brought about by by force of circumstances or through true and genuine Congeniality, your subscriber does not undertake to decide, Suffice it to state that time and circumstances, bring about very strange combinations.

Myself and two Lieutenants are working together as harmoniously as could be expected, although there is not much love lost between the two Lieutenants. The men of Co B. are all very well, except Corp Snyder who has a slight cold. Geo Nagle having had the Diarrhea and Rheumatism, was sent to Douglas U. S. Hospital at Washington, Charles Williams wounded at Fredericksburg May 3, and Corp Jones wounded at Rappahannock Station Nov 7. are also in General Hospitals Jeremiah Sterner has been discharged on account of wounds received May 3d. Christian Siebert and August Wolf have been transferred to the Invalid Corps. We have forty men equipped and present for duty, being still the largest Company except Co. H.

Last Tuesday our Brigade now commanded by Col. Upton (Genl Bartlet commanding the 1st Div. 5th Corps ). Changed camps,from the Plantation of Hon. John Minor Botts on the south side of Aestham River, to a large belt of timberland on the Plantation of a Mr. Major, on the north side of the River. We have only one Field Officer (Lessig ) who holds a Colonels Commission, but cannot be mustered as such, as our Regiment is lacking the minimum number and is not entitled to a Colonel, He therefore commands the Regiment with the rank of Liet Col. He has been absent, as a witness in the Acker trial before the U. S. District Court at Philadelphia, since Nov. 17th ult. and the Regiment is temporarily Commanded by Capt James Russel. Our Staff (Commissioned) consists of Dr Bland Surgeon --- Dr Light (of Lebanon) Asst Surgeon --- Quartermaster Schweers, and Lieut Hannum, Acting Adjutant --- Noncommissioned Staff E J Phillips, Sergt Major --- Gab Shollenberger, Quartermaster Sergt and old Dampman, Com. Sergt. Doctors Shomo and Eagle have both been discharged.

My health continues --- as it has been for several months past --- remarkably good --- In August I had a relapse of my Sciatica, but I have now completely recovered from that disease. William is quite well, and his deportment for obedience to orders, has been very good since his return. Please remember me to your parents, brothers &c and accept my best wishes for your health, comfort and happiness.

Your Friend,

Levi Huber

Haas has been away from the Regiment since the middle of July last. When he with others went to Philadelphia for Conscripts --- what he is kept there for I do not know --- as he certainly will not get any conscripts --- . Charges are pending against Capt James Russell and Lieut Oberreuder, Capt Harlan of Co A. & Lieut Brennen of Co. F.--- for "Drunkenness, Conduct, unbecoming Officers and Gentlemen" --- and "Conduct prejudicial to good order & military discipline" The first two are what --- in Civil Courts --- would be called "cross actions," the 4th is brought by Sergeant of Co F. & the 3rd by Capt James Russel --- I shall be pleased to hear from You soon.

L . H .


Envelope addressed:
Col. P. A. Filbert Pine Grove Schuylkill County Penna.
Postmarked WASHINGTON D.C.


From Pvt. Francis Boland of Co. K, 96th Pa., to a friend.

Camp New Baltimore, Va.

Sept. 2, 1863

My Dear Friend:

I am to inform you that I am in good health and hope that you Catherine and the children enjoy the same. I have not written you these last few months past owing to our severe summer campaign. I was then at the Rappahannock. We lost a number by picket firing. We were ordered to march to Pennsylvania. We did so by forced marches over two hundred miles a foot. The weather was very hot. Several dropped down on the road by fatigue and sunstroke.

I stood it out pretty fair. Although I use to wet my clothes seven times a day with sweat. The roads were dusty. It was often hot. We had to bear it all. We had to be in the open air exposed to rain and dew all this last summer. Nobody took blankets or anything else along. They carried nothing except guns and equipment & haversacks with rations. We often had to march 25 to 30 miles a day. At last we got to Gettysburg, Pa. 82 miles from Minersville measured on my pocket map. The Battle was going on fiercely since 8 o'clock the previous day. The whole Union army was retreating before the Rebels and the Union left all the artillery to the enemy. We had nothing to eat but had immediately to form into line of battle and advance against the whole Rebel army. Our Corps the 6th went in shouting and firing. We [Boland must be referring to the other regiments in the corps. The 96th did not recapture any artillery] retook the guns and drove the advancing rebels a mile. The Rebels were surprised that we could come up so soon.

Next day at 1 o'clock being the 3rd of the Battle also being July 3rd 1863 a terrible cannonading ensued every gun being brought into play. It continued 3 hours. The Rebel army advanced four times to break our lines and were driven back with great slaughter. I was in the Center under hot fires. Shells fell in every direction and in immense numbers. One small ball took away a piece of pork I was eating out of my hand. Another struck almost my left knee. I was not hurt.

At night I visited the battlefield. It was an awful scene. The Union lost 12 thousand in killed and wounded. The Rebels 20 thousand. I saw nearly the whole of these 32 thousand dead & wounded. After a day or so the Rebels fell back carrying away with them immense booty (including) horses, cattle, sheep, store goods, far across the Potomac.

We followed them upon by zigzag marches through the state of Maryland. We hemmed them in at Williamsport, Md. General Meade made a great error in not giving them battle. They got over nearly all safe into Va. We recrossed and marched after them a hundred miles but could not overtake them since they got to Gordonsville. We needed rest very much. Capt. Budd [Richard Budd, Capt. Co. K, discharged on surgeon's certificate Aug. 31, 1863] is gone home this week. You might see him about Sunday next in Minersville. Let mother know that I am well. Remember me to all my friends & neighbors. Heard that you got no money on allotment since May last. It is now all stopped. It was the fault of the deserters.

...I might try and pay off the debt immediately after the 30th of October next. Let me know was the house rented and how they stand. Also about this year's taxes. Also all other particular news. Nor more at present.

But I remain your friend,
Francis Boland

P.S. We are getting some of the deserters back also some of the conscripts.


A letter from Pvt. Daniel Faust of Co. H, 96th Pa., to his mother describing the Battle of Cedar Creek on October 19, 1864.

Camp near Middleton, Va.

October 21, 1864

Dear Mother,

I received your kind and most welcome letter yesterday, and was very glad to hear that you are well. We have again had a great fight with the Rebs. On the morning of the 19th inst. The enemy surprised the 8th and 19th Corps. About daybreak they broke through the picket line and before our men got into line, the enemy was in their camp shooting and bayoneting them in their tents and then the corps, above mentioned, started on the skedaddle. Our corps [the Sixth] being formed on our right flank (where the enemy didn't attack) and immediately marched to the center where the two other corps were on the skedaddle, and checked the enemy while we were getting the train out of danger. We had to be in a great hurry or get our or we would been all captured. They had us flanked on both flanks and also come on a full jump in front. Bullets were whizzing over our Headquarters from three different directions when we was obliged to leave a few articles. Such a skedaddle I never seen since I am in the army. Our men retreated about three miles then our General Sheridan come up. He had been absent when this row commenced. He soon changed the thing. He about faced our lines and drove the Rebels beyond where they attacked us and captured forty-nine pieces of artillery and all their ambulances and wagon trains, and a large number of prisoners. We are now encamped on the same ground where we had been camped before the fight. The fields are covered with graves of our and the enemy's men. And dead horses literally cover the ground in several different places. Our brigade commander got wounded and also our A.A.G. We lost very heavy in both men and officers in our brigade. Charles Kolb of our company is killed and David Landback is supposed wounded, he is among the missing. [Landback died of his wounds]. I am well at present and hope this will find you all the same. Dear Mother, I hope you will remember me in your prayers and I will do the same in return for you. So no more at present I remain your affectionate Son Daniel Faust, to Rebecca and Sarah Faust.


An order dated February 15, 1864 from Regimental Headquarters detailing the instruction of the 96th's officers in Guard and Picket Duty.

Hd. Qrs. 96th Penna. Vols.
February 15, 1864

Regimental Order
Special Order No. 467

I. - In compliance with General Orders No. 4, from Hd. Qrs. 2d Brigade, 1st Division, 6th Corps of February 13, 1864, instruction will be given to the officers of this Regiment in Guard and Picket Duty. The two Senior Officers will act as instructors.
Recitations will commence this evening, and continue daily (Sundays excepted) till further orders. The lessons will be taken from Army Regulations as follows:

1st Lesson - - - - from Paragraph 375 to 398
2d " " 399 " 431
3d " " 562 " 592
4th " " 593 " 613
5th " " 616 " 642
6th " " 643 " 663

The lessons will be reviewed after they have all been recited. Particular attention is called to the order from Corps Head Quarters regulating Picket Duty.

II. Until further orders -

Reveille will be beaten at 6:15 A.M.
Breakfast " 7: "
Sick Call " 7:30 "
Police Call " 8: "


Guard Mounting at 8:30 A.M.
Dinner " 12: M.
Tattoo " 8:30 P.M.
Taps " 9:30 "


By command of
Lieut. Col. W.H. Lessig
J.T. Hannum
Act. Adj't.


A letter written by Capt. John T. Boyle of Co. D, 96th Pa. to Lt. Col. P. A. Filbert - in diary format documenting the movements of General Burnside's Army from January 16th to 25th, 1863. Image of the letter's first page.


In Camp Near White Oak Church, Va.

Dear Col.,


I'll tell you, for it might be of interest to you, what has transpired hereabouts during the last few days. 16th: Regt. under [Lieut. Col. William H.] Lessig proceeded to lower Belle Plain Landing on fatigue. Arrived there about 2, stacked arms, and two Co's, A & F went on duty, corderoying roads and fixing landing. Being tentless I past the night in Lessig's tent, almost froze. 17th: we had 50 men on fatigue. Officers laying around loose, several away from companies. [Major Levi] Huber, [Capt. Jacob W.] Haas, [1st Lieut. John] Daugherty, and Lessig, together with [1st Lieut. John S.] Oberrender & self past a pleasant evening about a fire, songs, jokes & witicisms. Huber, Haas, Oberrender & self selp in Haas' tent. 18th: Regt. lying about all day doing nothing. Lessig & I strolled down to the river seeing the sights. Afternoon the old crowd amused themselves eating coconut candy made by Capts. Lessig, Haas & [Capt. John T.] Boyle & in the evening by making apple punch concocted by Lessig. 19th: Regt. finished what it had left undone yesterday and the officers called on and spent the morning with Maj. Wetherill of the 81st. [Boyle was mistaken as to the regiment of Wetherill. He was actually in the 82nd Pa. Inf.]. What a delightful time we had. In the afternoon we were recd. by Lieut. Col. Duffy. 20th: Got marching orders about six & were off about 12. Prior to our departure Lessig fell the Regt. in and read Burnside's address. He also made a speech, it was as follows: "I hope that we will have no straggling here," for want of more to say he stopped. After a heavy march we camped, wet to the skin, in the woods beyond Falmouth. Rain fell during the night in torrents. Haas & I dog tented it. 21st: at 8 took up line of march through mud and rain. 18 horses to an artillery magazine & unable to budge it. 10 horses to each Napoleon & Parrot. Stuck high! Camped in woods near river. Pontoons unable to get up. Whole army stuck in the mud. Dr. [Surgeon Daniel W.] Bland & I dog tented together for the night & nearly all the next day owing to the continual rain. 23rd: In camp until towards evening when we marched about 2 miles and encamped in woods behind Hexhimers [?] Battery. 24th: The teams being unable to move the pontoons and wagons, our whole division was put to work. The 96th did wonders and called forth the unqualified approbation of Gen. [Joseph J.] Bartlett and the rest of the troops. 25th: After a tremendous march of about 12 miles through the toughest mud I ever saw, we reentered our old camp much to the joy of all. This is the part taken by us in the late grand movement. During the time we were absent, Lessig put Capt. Daugherty under arrest for using disrespectful language. Prior to our departure he put Lieuts. [John K.] Fernsler & [James] Casey under arrest, the former for leaving his Co. at Belle Plain Landing and returning to camp without leave, the latter for drunkenness & non-officer like conduct. The two last were deserving of the punishment which amounted to nothing he returning them their swords prior to our taking up the march. He threatened to put [1st Lieut. John T.] Hannum under arest but did not, Hannum refusing to do that which it was not his duty to do. Lately whiskey has ruled the roost. On the march Lessig pulled a pistol on Brown of Co. A, threatening to blow his brains out because Harlan being drunk ordered him to do what the man could not well do, move faster through the mud. Today Gen. [Henry W.] Slocum visited us. The whole Brigade drawn up in line to recv. him. Great cheering, much enthusiasm. Afterwards us officers called on him at Bartlett's quarters. He was much affected and shed tears profusely. I like him. He has a soul. I suppose that he will again be at our head, [Gen. William B.] Franklin being deposed. I am sorry to say that the morale of the army is at a low ebb. The men are discouraged & I am afraid not to be relied on in an emergency. We lost several men by desertion during the last march. They say they will not cross the river. [Colonel Henry L.] Cake is not yet back...[the letter contains more content, but it is not transcribed here].

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