April 11, 2012

Lancaster at Shiloh: Pvt. F. J. Bender

Location: Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee 38376, USA
"Battle of Shiloh" Lithograph by Prang & Co. (Source: Library of Congress)

77th Pa. Monument at Shiloh
(from regimental history)
Besides a few stray men and officers with Lancaster connections, Lancaster County's only real representation at Shiloh was one full company and two partial companies in the 77th Pennsylvania.  As part of McCook's division, they participated in the counterattack around the middle of the Union line and helped salvage the battle for the Union cause.  As the only Pennsylvania regiment at Shiloh, the regiment's veterans--led by John Obreiter of Lancaster--erected a monument there after the war, and published a book, The Seventy-Seventh Pennsylvania at Shiloh, about the regiment and the monument.

The first Lancasterian of the 77th Pennsylvania to write home publicly about the battle was Pvt. F. J. Bender of Company C.  As one of 14 men from the town of Mount Joy to join Company C, Bender wrote regularly to the Church Advocate, a religious newspaper published in Lancaster by the Church of God.  His letter of April 10, 1862, describes the experience of battle from the vantage point of a rational, literate, articulate Civil War soldier.      

From the May 8, 1862, Church Advocate: (alternate link)

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