December 20, 2011

Here Comes the Cavalry, Part I: The Anderson Troop

Location: Louisville, KY, USA
Shortly after beginning this blog, I decided that I was going to try to post not just soldiers' letters from the Lancaster County Regiment, but also letters from other Lancasterians in the Western Theater.  So, besides the 79th Pennsylvania, this primarily means we'll see a good number of letters from the 77th Pennsylvania and the 9th Pennsylvania Cavalry.  However, we'll also get to visit seemingly every random corner of the Western Theater, thanks to various soldiers who wrote back to the Lancaster Daily Evening Express and Daily Inquirer.  This includes
  1. J. H. Sypher, an officer in an Ohio battery that was seemingly everywhere--especially early in the war--including sometimes with the 79th Pennsylvania.
  2. A. J. Sypher, a gunboat officer.
  3. J. R. Sypher, a gentleman journalist from the Daily Evening Express
  4. Francis Kilburn, who was transferred from the 5th Pennsylvania Reserves to gunboat service.
  5. D. P. Rosenmiller, a Navy officer.
  6. G. W. Jack, a Marine on board the steamer J. P. Jackson.
  7. A couple Lancasterians who had moved to Iowa and fought with regiments there.
  8. John McClure, of the 45th Pennsylvania, which made a somewhat odd tour with the Union Army's Ninth Corps to the Western Theater in 1863. 
  9. A Lancaster officer (perhaps Capt. Bowman Bell) with the 15th U.S. Infantry at Shiloh.
  10. Several more...
"Buell's Body-Guard" in Louisville (Harper's Weekly 1/11/1862)
Today's letter comes from a company of hand-selected cavalrymen named the "Anderson Troop," which was supposed to be an elite group of men raised all over Pennsylvania, many of whom were connected to the Pennsylvania Railroad.  They formed with the intent of offering their services as the personal bodyguard of hero of Fort Sumter Robert Anderson while he was the commander of the Department of the Cumberland.  However, once Anderson resigned command on account of ill health, subsequent army commanders retained the "Anderson Troop" for headquarters work.  Presumably, this meant acting as couriers and escorts.  They arrived in Kentucky in early December 1861, and went to work for Army of the Ohio commander Don Carlos Buell. 

Lancaster County contributed two men to the Anderson Troop, Christian Musselman and John Archibald McLenegan--two Strasburg Academy schoolmates who grew up in that part of Lancaster County.  Presumably, either one of them wrote the letter below.  Both had successful industrial careers after the war, and you can read their biographies: Christian Musselman (bio), John Archibald McLenegan (bio).  One of their social connections was Corp. Henry Witmer Miller of Company I, 79th Pennsylvania, whose letters are housed at Penn State's Paterno Library, and Miller mentions meeting up with them once or twice in his letters [12/14/1861].

The following letters is from the December 28, 1861, Daily Evening Express: (alternate link)

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