October 12, 2011

'Onward! Upward!': Pvt. F.J. Bender's Journey to Pittsburgh

Location: 2-4 E Main St, Mt Joy, PA 17552, USA
Camp Slifer, Chambersburg (Harper's Weekly, June 29, 1861)

Even though this blog focuses on the 79th Pennsylvania, it takes me relatively little time to post soldiers' letters here.  So, I plan to post letters from other Lancaster County soldiers who campaigned with the 79th Pennsylvania in Kentucky and Tennessee.  For 1861 and 1862, this basically means a few letters from Cos. C and K, 77th Pennsylvania, which coincidentally each had intended at some point in the recruiting process to be part of the 79th Pennsylvania.  Don't expect much in the way of annotation due to my time constraints, but I think the letters stand pretty well on their own.

The majority of these non-79th PA letters were written by a soldier named Flavius J. Bender of Co. C, 77th Pennsylvania.  As he records in this letter, Bender belonged to a cadre of fourteen enlistees (including younger brother Ezra) from Mount Joy who joined the company which otherwise was recruited from Huntingdon County.  Bender was a devoted member of the Church of God (Winebrenner), and was one of many correspondents who wrote to the denominational newspaper published by E. H. Thomas in Lancaster during the Civil War.  Thanks to Gaye Denlinger, of Conestoga, PA, for making her bound volumes of a complete run 1861-1864 of the newspaper available to me.

The following letter was published in the November 7, 1861, Church Advocate: (alternate link)


  1. Flavius Bender was the nephew of my ggg-grandparents Jacob and Mary (Maria) Mayer (Moyer)Bender of Mt. Joy PA. She lived 1805-1863 and he lived from 1800 to 1881. They are both buried in Harrisburg in the Harrisburg Cemetery. I have photos of both of them and of most of their 11 children. If anyone has a photo of Flavius Bender or his brother Ezra who also served with the 77PV Infantry who died of disease during the war I would very much appreciate hearing from you. Col. Jack Bender,III USAF Retired, Halstead, Kansas

    1. Thank you for commenting! Did any of the children of Jacob and Mary Bender fight in the Civil War? Also, have you procured copies of all 20 or so letters that F. J. Bender wrote for the Church Advocate? If not, I can help you get them for your family's records.

    2. Sorry,
      Vince, I just now saw your response of October 18, 2012. I had not been back to this site.
      I do have the letters and yes Jacob and Mary had 3 sons that served in the Civil War. Harry aka Henry Bender served with the 194th PA Infantry. Daniel served with the 12th Indiana Cav. and Jacob served with the 127th PA Infantry. I got the letters from Bowling Green University. Thanks for offer to provide me the letters.
      Jack Bender