October 9, 2011

On to Pittsburg

Location: N Queen St, Lancaster, PA, USA
From What a Boy Saw in the Army
Between October 5 and 8, 1861, special trains filled with Col. Hambright's volunteers departed Lancaster to cheers and good wishes of many citizens of Lancaster.  Although some companies briefly rendezvoused at Harrisburg, the regiment's destination was Pittsburgh.  A post tomorrow will feature a letter by one of the soldiers of Company E recounting the scenes in Lancaster and their journey.

The journey was largely without incident.  The Express's editors, who generally supported Temperance causes, lamented in an article entitled, "Disgraceful," that a few hotel keepers in Lancaster threw open their doors to the volunteers and offered complimentary liquor.  Speaking of the saloon owners, the Express wrote: 
If they were prompted to this step under the belief that they were doing the soldier a service they made a deplorable mistake.  When about to leave home an friends for the uncertainties of the battle field, we know that there are many feeling revolving in the heart of the soldier; and the fiery cup, when proffered in supposed friendship, its contents are swallowed down thoughtlessly.  No greater wrong could be done the soldier than to place the poisoned chalice to his lips on the eve of his departure from home.  (10/7/1862)

Capt. William G. Kendrick of Company A, the "Jackson Rifles,"--Col. Hambright's most trusted company and the first to leave Lancaster--had a similar experience.  His first letter home to his wife, written from "Camp Hambright" in Harrisburg on October 6, began:
My Soldier Life has now begun.  A terrible day I had of it yesterday.  Nearly the whole company was about half drunk or stupid, which gave me a delightful day of it.  I fear we will not soon meet again.  We are about to strike our tents now for Pittsburg.  (Kendrick Letters)
Here are newspaper accounts related to the regiment's departure from October 5, 7, and 8, 1861 in the Daily Evening Express: (alternate link)

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