The Limits of Patriotism: Early Mobilization in the Mountains
The Limits of Patriotism: Early Mobilization in the Mountains
Abstract and Keywords
In July 1862, during the second summer of the war, a lone recruiting officer made his way to the scattered settlements of northern Jefferson County in search of fresh soldiers. The situation was a marked contrast to the previous year, when recruiting had been brisk. Standard narratives of the war's opening months emphasize an intense outburst of patriotism. These portrayals are based on contemporary accounts and the selective memory of local commemorations. After the attack on Fort Sumter, voices of doubt were lost in the reporting of exuberant public celebration. The War Department requested volunteers to serve arduous three-year terms. The period of sacrifice lengthened considerably. It is impossible to estimate the amount of discouraging mail from home or its effectiveness.
In July 1862, during the second summer of the war, a lone recruiting officer made his way to the scattered settlements of northern Jefferson County in search of fresh soldiers. The situation was a marked contrast to the previous year, when recruiting had been brisk. Though not hopeless, the war dragged on without a sign of immediate Union victory, sapping northern morale. His urgent patriotic enlistment appeals met with a chilly response. The Brookville paper reported that in one community his speeches “failed to arouse the patriotism of the young men, until a number of young ladies, ashamed to witness the tardy response of the former …stepped forward and signified their willingness to enlist, if the gentlemen were afraid to go, and put their names on the enlistment papers.” Despite this emasculating peer pressure, only six young men volunteered. The editor of the Brookville Republican used this as an object lesson. “We wonder what plan could be get to work to induce enlistments in Brookville, where there are enough young men to form half a company, and who have no reason why they should not at once respond.”1 What did it mean that at least fifty of the town's young men were not in the army a year after the conflict had begun? In mid-1862, a number of newspaper editors and public leaders of the region bemoaned the sorry state of patriotism. After traveling along the West Branch through Lock Haven, Jersey Shore, and Williamsport, one observer remarked, “the apathy of the people seems somewhat strange when we compare it with the intense excitement which prevailed in every community during the war fever of last spring and summer.”2 How do we characterize such a visible “war fever” if it dissipated so quickly?
Standard narratives of the war's opening months emphasize an intense out-burst of patriotism. These portrayals are based on contemporary accounts and the selective memory of local commemorations. After the attack on Fort Sumter, voices of doubt were lost in the reporting of exuberant public celebration. Induced by military pageantry and emotion-stirring speeches, men volunteered by the score in defense of the Union. Years after the last guns fell silent, local histories memorialized community sacrifice in a clichéd narrative of collective patriotism. Many of these accounts reached the melodramatic heights of one such example. “When, in 1861, the iron lips of Moultrie's guns spelled upon our sky in letters red as blood, ‘civil war,’ the sons of Clearfield, breathing a (p.45) spirit of patriotism as pure as the atmosphere of the hills around them, rushed to the Nation's capital to uphold the honor of the flag, and preserve intact the republic.”3 In the postwar period, communities collected donations and placed monuments in towns throughout the North to honor those who had served and died. Their commemorations reflected a view of the communal past as they wanted it to be remembered. Muted in this public celebration were the stories of violent opposition, of the murder of military officials, and of communities bitterly divided over their support of the war.
This sacred and formulaic text obscured the profound ambivalence felt by many Pennsylvanians during this period of enthusiasm. Beneath an exterior marked by military pageantry and visible patriotism lurked the potential for hesitancy, doubt, and despair over the meaning and cost of war. Despite the thousands of enlistments during the first year, the historical record suggests that there was not a universal rush to the colors. As members of a democratic society, Americans have always reacted ambivalently to conflict and war, and the Civil War was no exception. In the lumber region of Pennsylvania, the rage militaire touched off by the onset of war encouraged some young men to join the cause. While patriotic motivations drew them into the armies, others remained aloof or cautious. Patriotic ardor evaporated quickly as expectations for an easy victory disappeared and the public cost of war mounted.
From the war's outset in April 1861 through early March 1862, more than 130,000 Pennsylvanians left their homes as soldiers. These initial volunteers made up more than a third of the 344,408 enlistments from the state—the second highest number of soldiers sent to the Union army. The volunteers of 1861 and 1862 were in many ways the most crucial northern soldiers of the war. Soldiers forced into the army by later drafts and bounties lacked the ideological conviction and martial fortitude of their predecessors. Early recruits did more fighting and their letters and diaries suggest a strong sense of duty and republican principles.4 Nevertheless, nearly two-thirds of Pennsylvania's wartime volunteers hesitated to join the ranks in the first enlistment drives. According to the 1860 census, the state held over 555,000 men of military age yet only one in four volunteered during the first year.5 More importantly, throughout the war nearly 40 percent of the state's military age population chose not to serve. Low enlistment levels were particularly acute in the counties of the lumber region, which contributed some of the lowest proportions of citizen-soldiers in Pennsylvania.6
Why did so many men remain aloof in the opening months of the war? No simple answer adequately addresses the motivations of such a large and disparate group. When considering whether to enlist, Pennsylvanians weighed a (p.46) complex spectrum of social, economic, and political factors that varied by location. Conflict created an economic depression that made many urban wageworkers temporarily unemployed. In the predominantly rural mountains, however, farm labor was needed to plant and harvest crops during the summer and fall. Mountain farmers also had practical concerns for the welfare of home folks when breadwinners joined the army. Many editorials encouraged farmers to plant extra food, urging it as a patriotic alternative to military service. The ranks of initial volunteers swelled for a time with skilled tradesmen but fewer farmers. Despite Lincoln's appeal for volunteers in a war to preserve the Union, political views gave many Democrats pause. The editorials of Democratic newspapers blamed alleged Republican abolitionism for causing the war and expressed serious misgivings about coercing southern states back into the fold. In votes by Pennsylvania soldiers in 1861, Republicans outnumbered their political opponents nearly four to one, suggesting a serious political imbalance in the army.7
Volunteer enthusiasm was also sapped by more mundane causes. Military authorities placated the democratic heritage of citizen-soldiers by allowing them to elect their lower ranking officers. The passion for command fostered competition and rumors of mistreatment. Magnifying these imagined concerns for a soldier's welfare were very really shortcomings caused by an ineffective mobilization system. State and federal authorities were unable to adequately feed, clothe, and equip such a rapid and large-scale volunteer force. Reports of hungry and ill-clothed soldiers dampened eagerness on the home front. The impact of other forces cannot be measured, including the shock of Union defeat at Bull Run. These ambivalent responses at the war's beginning illuminate more pronounced rifts in public opinion that developed over time. The tremendous war effort only intensified the economic, political, and social pressures on residents of the lumber region. Voices that remained silent in the early months of war were raised in opposition by the summer of 1862.
In Pennsylvania's Appalachia, the sound of martial pageantry reverberated among the scattered settlements. The editor of the Smethport paper described the mood of the town's several hundred citizens. “The usual quiet of our village has been somewhat broken, and for two weeks we have been surrounded by the excitement incident to the recruiting and mustering [of] military companies into the country's service.”8 In a pattern repeated throughout the region, enthusiastic Union meetings raised seventy recruits from five surrounding townships of McKean County. These first soldiers from the county swore their loyalty oath, ate a hearty breakfast, and suffered one final round of speeches before departing eagerly for the “seat of war.” “You are of a people who love (p.47) the pursuits of peaceful and quiet life. Why have you now donned the habiliments of war, and prepared yourselves to make your fellow countrymen bite the dust? The flag of our country has been assailed.”9 The 120 men of the Washington Cadets left Clearfield with full stomachs, carrying their hand-sewn flag and Bibles given by the local bible society.10 Similar poignant scenes played out in other counties of the region. Public meals, handmade flags, ceremonial speeches, and token reminders of home reflected the intimate bonds between soldiers and their community. National affairs impelled their service but soldiers ultimately represented their neighborhoods, marching, fighting, and dying surrounded by the folks from home.
Newspaper accounts of war fever highlighted the most visible patriotism, obscuring the doubt and hesitancy that lay beneath. These early reports accentuated the experience of town dwellers, whose responses occurred under the watchful gaze of urban journalists. Events from the countryside filtered into newspapers as secondhand retellings of the rural response. In Pennsylvania's towns, more than in the countryside, citizens could be seen putting aside their regular lives in a frenzy of militarism. Regardless of location, public military pageantry seemed to read from the same script. The national colors blossomed in abundance from buildings and public spaces. Local notables ascended festooned stages to deliver fiery patriotic speeches. Young men took on the garments and accoutrement of soldiers and filled the air with the sounds of marching and military music. Ladies did not blush in their support but played prominent roles in the theater of patriotism. They sewed uniforms, blankets and flags, cooked meals for departing soldiers, and took active part in public ceremonies where they represented virtue and feminine ideals. Though innocent of war's harsh reality, many citizens responded enthusiastically with a conspicuous patriotism.
In an odd way, the beginning of the Civil War was cathartic of sectional tensions that had been building for years. While sober minded citizens composed jeremiads predicting death and destruction, others felt a constructive release from the anxiety of the secession crisis. When Confederate forces opened fire on Fort Sumter in April 1861, months of apprehension gave way to an outpouring of patriotic enthusiasm. With the Confederate banner flying atop Sumter, Union President Abraham Lincoln sent out the urgent call for 75,000 militiamen to suppress the rebellion. In cities throughout the North, citizens staged clamorous Union meetings in an orgy of filial piety to the nation.
For the many who did not embrace military service, the causes varied. An organizational chaos in the system of mobilization discouraged untold numbers. Many expressed universal concerns about the welfare of soldiers in arms (p.48) while other factors were more acute in the lumber region. Residents there were affected more by the distance from state training camps, the sparseness of settlement, and rural isolation. These geographic conditions magnified the distinctions between the community and outsiders.
The flood of Pennsylvania volunteers taxed state resources to the breaking point, raising alarm over the treatment of soldiers. The Republican paper of Clearfield lamented the shoddy condition of state uniforms and equipment. “It appears that much dissatisfaction exists at the miserable way in which the Pennsylvania troops have been supplied with clothing and food under the State authorities. … In truth, it is said that the Pennsylvania troops are the most miserably clad, of all volunteers called into the service.”11 Despite the best intentions of government leaders, lumber region newspapers were justly concerned about the shortcomings of money, material, and experience. State officials hurriedly established initial rendezvous points for incoming soldiers at Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia. The War Department set Pennsylvania's quota at less than fifteen thousand, but nearly twenty-one thousand volunteers responded in the first ten days. Feeding, clothing, and housing this huge mass of untrained soldiers was a nightmare of administration and shortages of food, uniforms, and blankets prompted outrage throughout the state.12 The mood in camp became despondent, particularly for those men wondering whether the governor would accept their service under the current quota. Some soldiers deserted their initial companies to join more promising outfits or to return home. An anonymous member of the Washington Cadets reported to the Clearfield papers that several men of the company had deserted their camp of instruction in early June. The stalwart remnant shook it off, asserting, “Fortunately those who left us were the least worthy members of the company, and we are well rid of them.”13
Infrequency of pay added to the misery of the state's three-month volunteers, sparking a near riot at the capital in late July. Having received no wages, thousands of three-month volunteers arrived penniless in Harrisburg at the expiration of their enlistment term. The War Department quickly mustered them out of service without first paying their wages. Among the disgruntled were several companies from the lumber region, including two companies of Brookville Rifles in the Eighth Regiment and a company from Clearfield in the Fourteenth. Denied the means of returning home and lacking food and shelter, the men slept anywhere they could find space and waited for federal paymasters to arrive. Days passed before the first troops started receiving money and the process went slowly. The weather was uncharacteristically hot and many soldiers resorted to stealing to eat. On July 27, a crowd of soldiers gathered at Market Square and set fire to an effigy labeled “paymaster” strung up on a (p.49) lamppost. They intended to seize weapons from the armory before a regiment from Camp Curtin arrived to quell the disturbance.14 Curtin wired Secretary of War Simon Cameron frantically: “The paymasters are threatened with violence, and the people in the town much alarmed. … Something must be done. We have not force to protect the town and property here.”15 Tensions subsided as the men began receiving back pay. One Democratic editor considered the incident disastrous to public patriotism. “This failure on the part of the government to pay and dismiss the three months volunteers will seriously affect the prompt reenlistment of the men.”16
For potential lumber region recruits, poor transportation and the great distance to training camps magnified anxiety over treatment of soldiers. As one commentator remarked, “Much fear exists in the minds of the recruits of falling into the hands of persons who are unable to provide for them.”17 Rumors circulated that the government mistreated soldiers at the large camps. Articles reported that schemers and sharps preyed upon the uncertainties of these men, inducing or tricking many to desert their units and join other companies. Communities were concerned for the physical welfare of their loved ones and eagerly read soldier letters describing conditions in camp. Entering into a regiment of strangers seemed perilous and isolating. In an effort to exert more control over these recruitment shortcomings, community leaders from throughout the state wrote to government authorities requesting that training camps be placed nearby. Joshua Howell of Uniontown, Fayette County, argued, “If you only had your camp fixed soon at Uniontown … I have no doubt we could get enough men in this county to make three companies.”18
The sparseness of mountain settlement discouraged enlistment because it increased the disagreeable likelihood of joining a company of strangers. In the thinly populated lumber region, small neighborhoods often lacked enough men to fill an entire company of one hundred. Though drawn by patriotic motives to volunteer, many men hesitated to join up with outsiders. When a recruiter visited St. Mary's in August 1861, he reported “all sorts of obstacles and opposition.” He was exasperated to find “most of the young men in the county formed into small companies, just large enough to keep them from going—and it seems that no offer or arrangement could induce the officers to come to such terms as would effect a union and send one full company.” Two men swore an oath that they had been bribed $5 each “if they would not go to the rendezvous” after enlistment. Faults in the system caused a native of Clarion County to grieve: “The result must and will be disheartening and dispiriting to the patriotic uprising of our hardy population, for all future military purposes.” The situation in the lumber region was even worse than the one described by (p.50) an Armstrong County man: “Every hamlet and neighborhood contains [a company] of 20 to 30 men who will not join an unaccepted company because they naturally prefer their own.”19
Rural isolation also prevented scores of mountain residents from being accepted for service in three-month regiments. In the first ten days of mobilization hysteria, hastily formed companies raced to rendezvous points hoping to claim the honor of being the first to respond. Newspapers paid homage to the eager young men who flocked to the colors, and postwar histories memorialized them as the state's “First Defenders.”20 Yet of the 260 companies of three-month soldiers from Pennsylvania, only eight originated in the lumber region, and these entirely from the southern tier counties of Jefferson, Clearfield, Clinton, and Lycoming.21 None of the staunchly Republican northern tier counties had a single company accepted in the initial call for troops. This outcome did not reflect a lack of enthusiasm among the citizens of those counties. In actuality, untold numbers of men along the northern border found it easier to enter into New York State to enlist there.22
Proximity to the central rendezvous points at Harrisburg, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh played a key role in the initial rush to enlist. State authorities accepted soldiers as quickly as they arrived, and communities along the state's railroad network had a clear advantage. Counties astride the Pennsylvania Railroad, as well as those on the branch lines into the northeastern coalfields, had a higher proportion of men accepted in the initial quota of three-month volunteers. In 1861, the lumber region was the most inaccessible portion of the state, touched only peripherally by outside railroad connections. Although news of Sumter and Lincoln's call for troops traveled quickly through the mountains, rural distance delayed volunteers from reaching muster-in points.
Ultimately, it was easier for urban areas and counties with denser populations to coordinate volunteers, creating a bias in enlistments. After leaders filled the initial state quota, volunteer companies from throughout Pennsylvania continued to arrive at camps of instruction. Curtin implored the legislature to enlist these additional soldiers at state expense as defenders of the Commonwealth. In mid-May, the state assembly authorized the formation of the Pennsylvania Reserve Corps, composed of thirteen infantry regiments, as well as one of artillery and one of cavalry. When the federal government later requested additional troops to serve three-year terms, Curtin proudly offered the Pennsylvania Reserves. Although soldiers of the Reserve Corps came from throughout the state, small counties such as Forest, Sullivan, Potter, and Fulton were not represented and lagged behind in contribution.23
The state militia system was in shambles and ill prepared to fill the state quota effectively. Before the incident at Charleston, Curtin had urged the state (p.51) legislature to revitalize the militia. He argued that during its long peacetime tenure it had “become wholly inefficient.” Shortcomings in men and service-able equipment plagued its chaotic administration. He implored legislators to update state weaponry, create a military bureau, and revise militia laws in preparation for the impending national emergency.24 In quick response, state authorities fashioned an ad hoc system of mobilization, solving some problems but creating others.
In the spectrum of factors limiting mobilization, imperfect administration hindered volunteerism. State and federal government ineptitude likely dampened early war enthusiasm. A historian of Pennsylvania mobilization asserted that men were plentiful and war sentiment high, thus “it must be concluded that the Federal government let the enthusiasm of the northern states wither away.”25 It is doubtful, however, that officials caught in the emergencies of war could have remedied the faults in the system. Direct control by the federal government was both unprecedented and unfeasible. Curtin faced the challenge of placating the entire population of the state. Citizens from every corner beleaguered his office with requests for military commissions or access to the state's paltry military equipment. Many complained of unfairness and appealed to his sense of equanimity while a number of Republican colleagues asked frankly for special consideration.
Civil War historians have praised the political engagement of northern volunteers while overlooking the problematic consequences. To the dismay of professional Union officers, the North's citizen-soldiers never abandoned their democratic traditions to embrace military discipline. These men were not able to disengage soldiering from politics, and volunteering was a clear political statement in support of the war. On the one hand, it is well argued that deeply held political ideologies about republican government motivated men to enlist and sustained them through the conflict.26 But as others have noted, the decision to avoid enlistment or to desert the armed forces could also be a political action rooted in deep-seated ideology.27 Choices of service not only reflected a soldier's view toward the cause but also about its leadership and administration. Citizens held ideals of leadership and demonstrated their concerns for good officers by vigorously defending their right to elect them. At the beginning of the war, military authorities accommodated democratic tradition by allowing the men to elect their own leaders.28 Military discipline was alien to these democratic-minded citizens and tensions arose when their traditions of civic autonomy clashed with military order.29 In a thought-provoking essay, David Donald mused that the Confederacy “Died of Democracy.” He wrote: “The real weakness of the Confederacy was that the Southern people insisted upon retaining their democratic liberties in wartime.”30 While many have taken issue (p.52) with his statement, scholars have not stressed enough that a heritage of democracy challenged the northern war effort as well. The election of officers influenced decisions to enlist and created an unsavory competition for rank with negative ramifications.
The War Department sparked dissatisfaction when they proposed guidelines for elected officers. On May 3, Lincoln issued a proclamation calling for more than 42,000 three-year volunteers, marking the inception of the first three-year troops. In a circular letter to northern governors dated May 22, Secretary Cameron reminded them of their right to appoint all regimental officers but counseled “the necessity of an absolute adherence in your appointments to the following suggestions.” In an effort to promote “sound health,” lieutenants could not be older than twenty-two and captains could not be older than thirty years old. He further required that all regimental field officers, namely majors, lieutenant colonels, and colonels be West Point educated “or known to possess military knowledge and experience.” The War Department guidelines interfered with the tradition of electing officers. Those older than the prescribed age asked: “Are we to understand from said order that companies raised are not to have the privilege of electing their own officers. … It may make a vast difference with the result of our efforts if we are not to have the privilege of indicating our own officers to take the command.”31
Soldiers considered the election of officers as a sacred extension of their democratic society and felt justified to leave the service when denied that right. In late June, two companies from Pittsburgh deserted their camp of instruction after their chosen officers were passed over. The companies had gone to New York State to enlist and complained of the poor care they received. “Our troubles began on the Pennsylvania Road, when Captain B. failed to furnish us with the provisions as he had promised. On arriving at the Camp, we were fed on bread and drugged coffee. We received no clothing. The climax was topped by our officers being superceded, whereupon we resolved to leave the Camp, when the General drew his pistols, put on a treble guard, and threatened to shoot the man that would offer to go, without first refunding his passage money.”32
The tradition of electing officers created intense competition for soldiers, adding an unsavory layer to the process of volunteerism. Recruiters were motivated men for whom patriotism and personal ambition served complementary roles. A man who could gather others to the cause might be rewarded with a captaincy or better. The wise potential leader used paternalism to cement bonds with his men. Officers with financial means sometimes spent their own money to feed and clothe their soldiers until accepted into service. On arrival in Harrisburg, the Raftsmen's Guard of Warren County praised the generosity of their Captain Roy Stone, the son of a successful lumberman. After Stone arranged a (p.53) breakfast of hot coffee, sandwiches and cakes, a private wrote back to the Warren newspaper, “Long may he wave; and may his shadow never grow less.”33 The Washington Cadets paid tribute to their leader in a letter to the hometown newspapers. “All that we have yet received has been through the kindness of our Captain and the citizens of your town.”34
Predictably, the frenzy for leadership also created opportunities for corruption and deceit. For a brief period, competition was intensified when both state and federal officials authorized recruiters to raise troops in Pennsylvania simultaneously. On July 25, Congress called for 500,000 three-year volunteers, counting among them 75,000 more Pennsylvanians. Simon Cameron, the federal secretary of war from Pennsylvania, authorized regular army officers to commence recruiting directly into federal service. These federally recruited units were designated “independent regiments,” autonomous of state control. Cameron's federal recruiters enticed volunteers with guarantees of acceptance and all the necessary equipment and arms. They counseled listeners that soldiers waiting in the state camps lacked proper food, clothing, and equipment and lived in unhealthy quarters. By August, Cameron-appointed regiments outnumbered Pennsylvania regiments two to one.
Alarmed by the state of recruiting, Curtin implored President Lincoln to intercede. Recent acts of the state legislature made it unlawful for volunteers to leave the state without the governor's consent. Curtin reported that in the twenty-six days since the Congressional call Pennsylvania had not raised one complete regiment, only fragmented companies. He complained that federal mustering officers were refusing to muster in anything less than a complete regiment, making the independent regiments more attractive. The War Department's authorization of at least fifty-eight individuals resulted in “nothing but continued embarrassment and confusion.”35 Cameron defended his actions on the belief that “the State had already enrolled the number of men which the Governor had been called upon to furnish.” Simmering beneath the surface of this exchange was a long-standing political rivalry between the two. Both men were leaders of Republican factions within the state and the tension between them reflected their opposing ambitions. Cameron conceded on this occasion and resolved the issue by a special order from the War Department, placing all independent recruiters under authority of the Pennsylvania governor. State authorities were instructed to confirm the existing War Department commissions after the men had filed their muster rolls with Pennsylvania officials. Cameron did not designate any more Pennsylvania officers but would not remove those he had already authorized.36
State leaders received numerous complaints illustrating the deceit employed by some army recruiters. Officers commissioned by the War Department were (p.54) guaranteed their rank, denying enlisted men the right to elect their captain. An officer from Perry County wrote that the practice “is intended to [break] down the military spirit if it should go on [and] for this reason the men say they want something to say in reference to who shall command them.” Enterprising men scoured the state in search of recruits, sometimes employing underhanded tactics, such as lying about the men's chances of being accepted or by disparaging state handling of troops. Some did not consider it unethical to entice men to leave a unit to join their own. A man from Wilkes Barre, Luzerne County, claimed that “there is too many officers or (would be's) in this county and it is difficult to keep the men from being stolen.” In Clarion County, a man told the governor that officers in independent regiments cheated him twice by stealing away his men. The recruiters had argued that “men going out under the patronage of the state administration were and would be so meanly fed, clothed and armed that they would be a disgrace in the army.”37 These reports likely dampened enlistment fervor in immeasurable ways.
Despite the intensity of war fever, many mountain folk thought deeply about the economic consequences of military service. Unmarried men without business prospects were prominent in the first wave of volunteers.38 For some men, masculine duties to family and country pulled them in opposing directions. Those who supported families imagined the results of their absence and often gave priority to the needs of loved ones. Men who felt obligated to serve their country sought other means to express their patriotism. In Clearfield, as in other parts of the state, married men could join unofficial home guard units as an alternative to serving at the front. Fearing the loss of agricultural labor, newspaper editorials also encouraged farmers to stay home and produce food as a vital act of patriotism. Still other men weighed military service in light of their immediate economic prospects. The opening of hostilities interrupted Pennsylvania's normal trade and manufacture for a time, and left many skilled workers and wage laborers without steady work. Facing a dim economy, these men enlisted in greater numbers than farmers and farm laborers, who were vital for summer planting and harvesting.
Communities of the lumber region were poorer, causing soldiers extra concern over the welfare of family and friends. The Republican newspaper of Clearfield carried a letter from several area soldiers detailing the plight of their loved ones. A number of the men were alarmed by rumors of uncharitable treatment. “We are all poor men,” wrote a local soldier, “and our families depended upon our labor for their support. We thought we could trust those who made these promises [to help our wives and children] … Since then, in every letter received, our wives complain of ill treatment. … When in need of anything, they say they are told to pay money or do without it.”39 Four soldiers from a (p.55) small community feared that their homes would be seized and sold to pay store debts. In their letter to the newspaper, they appealed to communal civic virtue against the store owner, who became a colonel in the army. “We had enlisted in the service of our country, and intended to pay all our just debts as soon as we could command the means. But without waiting to give us an opportunity of arranging them, he meanly sued us after we had been sworn into the service, and we suppose if he can get judgments against us in our absence, he will be mean enough to sell any little property we have left behind.”40 To overcome these financial concerns, one earnest man suggested that the government give him a lump sum of $1,000 to encourage volunteers on the spot at $10 apiece. He counseled the state: “We have plenty of men I say plenty of good reliable men but why have tha not gon becaus tha cant leave their famleys just as comfertable as tha wish.”41
At this early stage of the war, not everyone gauged patriotism solely by enlistment.42 Men with family obligations could show their love of country in alternate ways. The abundance of laborers who volunteered caused many northerners to worry about the upcoming harvest. Many farmers postponed enlistment and newspapers contributed to their hesitancy. Editors counseled agriculturalists to view growing food as an act of patriotism, in which everyone contributed their own effort to the war. Fearing that the loss of farm workers would cause a shortage of foodstuffs and subsequent high prices, the editor of the Brookville Republican urged his readers: “Let every man plant and sow every available acre of ground within his reach.” Such labor, he counseled, was both patriotic and profitable.43 The Democratic paper in Clearfield considered the hesitancy of farmers a widespread but temporary condition. “The country papers say that after harvest volunteers will flock to the various regiments now forming in all parts of the Northern States by thousands. At present most of the young men are engaged in gathering the crops.”44
The economic trauma of war affected urban wageworkers differently than farm laborers. With the eruption of secession, the uncertainty of national economic affairs created a temporary depression that hit wage earners hardest. Large numbers of coal miners, iron workers, and day laborers of all sorts were unemployed.45 In the lumber region, the market for rafts was ruined in the spring of 1861, leaving the hundreds of young men who normally piloted them without work. In early June, a correspondent from Blair County urged the governor to accept a company of these Clearfield rafters with sound reasoning. “Accepting of them, would save our agricultural districts, upon which I fear too large drafts have been already made. These men are out of employment, owing to the want of a market for lumber, because of the condition of the country.” The economic downturn affected urban workers most. Writing in (p.56) late May from Brownsville, Fayette County, a man argued, “It is quite a mistake, to take, or enlist men from the rural districts, while there are so many good Mechanics totally out of employment; for the farming interests are not suffering.”46
The occupations of early volunteers reveal a predominance of urban skilled wageworkers with uncertain economic prospects.47 Yet while even meager pay attracted unemployed wageworkers, laborers from rural areas were needed on the home front. In Pennsylvania, among the earliest recruits, farmers and farm laborers were under-represented while skilled and unskilled workers were more numerous.
Farmers and farm laborers made up nearly 43 percent of the northern male population, but accounted for only slightly more than seven percent of the enlisted men of this sample.48 Over time, farmers embraced the cause in a proportion roughly equal to their numbers but their initial hesitancy reflected at least three factors. May and June were critical months in the agricultural year requiring maximum labor. Units enlisted after the harvest showed a higher proportion of volunteer farmers. Poor communication and scattered settlement also made it more difficult to organize recruiting in the countryside. Unless they lived reasonably close to town, farmers often missed the patriotic parades, flag waving, and oratories that influenced town dwellers to join the army. Lastly, newspaper editorials made it plain that raising food was its own form of patriotism, made crucial by the large number of laboring volunteers.
In contrast to agriculturalists, wage laborers enlisted in large numbers. Unskilled workers joined at a rate more than three percent greater than their proportion of the population. The most striking category was skilled workers, who constituted a quarter of northern male workers but amounted to 60 percent of the Pennsylvania sample. Some of the earliest regiments accepted by the state included coal miners from the anthracite region of northeastern Pennsylvania. Among the ten most common occupations were miners, carpenters, blacksmiths, shoemakers, painters, lumbermen, tailors, clerks, printers, and puddlers.49 Imagining a short and glorious war, these primarily urban skilled workers contrasted enlistment favorably with their immediate bleak economic surroundings.
Because Pennsylvania bordered the slave states of Virginia and Maryland, men of the Keystone State could also fulfill patriotic duties by joining local militias known as home guards. While these units were more common in the southern border counties, they appeared as far north as Pittsburgh and the lumber region. Many northerners were convinced that the South had long been making military preparations and held well-trained legions of soldiers poised to strike northward.50 The independent home guards offered a solution to the (p.57) military safety of the Pennsylvania home front. Although these companies patterned themselves on those in federal service, the organization and equipment of guardsmen varied by location. Along the border, citizens might coordinate individual companies through committees of safety. Allegheny County created an impressive array of committees to administer soldier relief, military mobilization, and guardsmen. The Committee on Home Defense was a model of coordination. It solicited contributions from area businesses, banks, and residents, employed agents to procure arms and uniforms, maintained rolls of area companies, and petitioned the state for legislative and financial assistance. The smaller communities of the lumber region could not match the efficiency of Pittsburghers but attempted to mobilize and equip men for their own protection.
Evidence suggests that certain types of individuals were considered more properly suited to home guard companies than to active service. The cheaply maintained home guards allowed men to express patriotism while looking after their families and livelihoods. Community moral opinion did not discriminate at first against older men, men with families to support, or certain skilled workers who chose not to enlist. Men older than the military limit of forty-five yet still physically able, for instance, joined home guards. Pittsburgh newspapers reported home guard companies composed of firemen and foundry workers, and others whose occupations seemed more vital to civic maintenance or wartime production. Extremes of wealth or poverty were also factors of membership in home guards. Men of wealth often considered their service best measured in financial contributions and visible patriotism.51 Concerns for family were paramount among married men yet the tug of masculine duty urged them to serve. While the young men of Clearfield joined up for active soldiering in May 1861, married men formed the Rolins Infantry “intended for home service for the time being.”52 The widespread hesitancy of poorer men to enlist was evident in an article written by a Pittsburgh man in April.
Although Allegheny County has responded nobly to the call for Volunteers, yet there are many men who are placed in positions that it is impossible for them to unite with the troops who are now flocking to the support of our flag. These men are all married and have families and are poor and of course cannot leave them yet they do not wish to be idle. We are near the line of Virginia—There is the Allegheny Arsenal here and other government stores that need protection. And these men want to start a ‘Home Guard’ to be equipped and drill, so that if necessary they can repel any attempt at an invasion.53
(p.58) If newspaper statements are an indication, home guard service was not initially regarded as less patriotic than service in a field regiment. Newspapers reported occurrences that might have presented opportunity for criticism but did not. Home guard units often took prominent places in civic rituals honoring volunteer soldiers and escorting them to points of departure. When Pennsylvania's three-month men returned after their enlistments were up, home guards in formations of respect often met them at the train stations.
The mountains were home to large numbers of foreign born residents, among whom ethnic identity could also complicate the issue of patriotism. Recent immigrants were a greater part of the population in the lumber region than in the agricultural counties outside of the Appalachian Highlands. Outsiders often stereotyped ethnic communities, such as the Catholic Germans of St. Mary's, as clannish and self-absorbed. Many longer-settled northerners wondered if they would contribute their fair share in the fighting, and early reports were typically pessimistic. In truth, ethnic identity imperfectly predicted wartime responses. Records indicate that men of foreign birth, notably Germans and Irish, made up a sizeable portion of the Union army. Members of the German community at St. Mary's served as both officers and enlisted men in Pennsylvania regiments. Nevertheless, German names made up a small portion of the three companies attributed in whole or part to Elk County. The county's first company became part of the famed “bucktails,” but only a dozen of them were German. There were even fewer Germans in company F of the Fifty-eighth Regiment, raised in the fall of 1861. The only Elk County company that had more German names was in the 172d Regiment, a nine-month militia company drafted in August 1862.54 It was telling that nearly as many of the county's Germans appeared in a drafted unit as in all the three-year volunteer regiments combined.
Scholars of nationalism have explored how ethnic identity can be a powerful bond of commonality among a people, differentiating them from outsiders. National movements have been built on the power of ethnic solidarity, often in the face of oppression or alienation. From the founding of the American state, however, white male citizenship was not differentiated by ethnic background or religion but by adherence to forms and ideals of government.55 Sense of ethnic identity did not ensure a weak attachment to the American nation or opposition to the Union war effort. The number of volunteer companies composed, in large part, by men of Irish, German, and other descent, offer proof.
Nevertheless, some communities felt alienated from the Union cause for reasons of ethnic attachment or religion. Pennsylvania was well known for its population of conscientious objectors, including German pietists and Quakers, who (p.59) looked upon all warfare as morally wrong. Many German settlements had reinforcing social and cultural features that made them stand apart from other rural Pennsylvanians. They could be distinguished not only by ethnicity and religion but through persistence of German culture and language. Outsiders negatively stereotyped them as “the Dutch,” further reinforcing their sense of uniqueness. The peculiarities of Pennsylvania German settlements received critical attention during the Gettysburg campaign, when observers from both North and South described them as unwelcoming or aloof. As federal officials would discover during the war, the ethnic communities of the lumber region presented a challenge to mobilization. After the federal government took control of recruitment, citizens of St. Mary's were notorious for their opposition to the officer in charge.
This imperfect war fever dissipated quickly as the conflict entered its second year, revealing opposition that grew stronger over time. A number of contemporary observers lamented the decline of visible patriotism. Voices of protest arose as early as the fall elections of 1861, when some Democrats of the lumber region took bold steps to condemn the Lincoln administration and the war. With waning enthusiasm, like-minded community members had more freedom to express antiwar opinion. Community sentiment could alternately fuel or quench the fires of patriotism. In time, friends and family who opposed the war actively supported evasion of service or desertion from the army.
Such resistance was not a rejection of the American nation and its ideals, but a reflex of localism. Members of rural communities were accustomed to controlling their own social and civic affairs and resented the intrusion of outsiders.56 The scattered settlements of the lumber region were even more insulated from distant authorities and tended toward vigilantism in maintaining social order. Recent decades had proven to mountain residents that state officials were more interested in exploiting their region regardless of the cost to local people.57 Their localism and sense of economic marginalization reinforced wartime patterns of opposition.
Given traditions of rural localism, it is no wonder that some soldiers' families expressed dissent before the three-month enlistments had expired. Historians have often ignored how vulnerable family members exerted pressure upon some soldiers to avoid reenlistment or to desert the army altogether. In a letter to his brother in the army, one Pennsylvanian pleaded, “we are glad that your time is so near out that you can come home and pap says you must not minde what any one says. You must not [en]list any longer you must come home.” A wife sent a similarly plaintive letter to her husband. “I hear that your regiment has gon[e and reenlisted] for three years but hope you have not done the same. … Mother sens her love to you and says to come home as soon as your (p.60) time is up.” These were only a couple of more than one hundred letters intercepted by General George Cadwalader, on the grounds that they were demoralizing to his troops.58
As the cost of the war escalated, dissatisfied family members made more forceful appeals asking soldiers to desert the cause. After the initial wave of enlistments, the War Department requested volunteers to serve arduous three-year terms. The period of sacrifice lengthened considerably. It is impossible to estimate the amount of discouraging mail from home or its effectiveness. In the spring of 1863, gloomy letters from home were reaching epidemic proportions in some regiments. The morale of northerners had shifted dramatically because of battlefield losses and the policies of emancipation and conscription. While the army lay immobile in Virginia, the commander of a Pennsylvania regiment received an anonymous letter warning him to an alarming situation. Friends and families back home were helping soldiers to desert by supplying them with civilian clothes through the mail. He ordered subordinates to search the mails and in a single day they discovered two packages of civilian clothes accompanied by letters from relatives encouraging desertion. His superior officer wrote to the Corps commander, “The lieutenant-colonel of the One hundred and thirty-second Pennsylvania is of opinion that many men are assisted in this matter through the Government mails, and I deem it of such importance as to request a reference where the evil can be corrected.”59 In future, all parcels from home were required to show an invoice of their contents, with orders to intercept contraband clothing. While only representing a portion of one regiment, this incident was indicative of a larger narrative of war opposition. The collusion of family and friends against the war formed a crucial subtext that helped turn the lumber region into Pennsylvania's “deserter country.”
(1.) “Patriotic Young Ladies,” Brookville Republican, 20 July 1862.
(2.) Untitled, Democratic Watchman, 25 July 1862.
(3.) Lewis Cass Aldrich, ed., History of Clearfield County, Pennsylvania (Syracuse, N.Y.: D. Mason, 1887), 105–6.
(4.) James M. McPherson, For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997),8–9. Use of the French term rage militaire is taken from McPherson, For Cause and Comrades, 17.
(5.) According to the State Adjutant General's report of 1866, 344,408 soldiers were furnished by Pennsylvania over the course of the war. This figure is undoubtedly higher than the true number of enlisted men because it does not take into account reenlistment of three-month men into new three-year units. A convenient summary of enlistment statistics can be found in Richard A. Sauers, Advance the Colors! Pennsylvania Civil War Battleflags, vol.1 (Harrisburg: Capitol Preservation Committee, 1987),247. Census officials considered “military age” to be white males between the ages of 18 and 45. Although the number of men truly fit for military service would be a fraction of these figures, I cite them for reference purposes. Joseph C. G. Kennedy, comp., Population of the United States in 1860; Compiled from the Original Returns of the Eighth Census, Under the Direction of the Secretary of the Interior (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1864), xvii.
(6.) Figure A.19 indicates levels of enlistment (in companies of all types) throughout the state.
(7.) What the actual imbalance was is difficult to judge. The practice of soldier voting is murky for lack of evidence. The total number of votes cast by soldiers was only a fraction of the total number of men in arms, leaving one to wonder about the discrepancy. Summaries of the 1861 Pennsylvania soldier vote appear in Tribune Almanac and Political Register for 1863 (New York: Tribune Co., 1863),63. Under “Votes of Union Soldiers” the editors wrote: “The average proportion of Republican Unionists and Democrats, taking the States together, vary but slightly—the ratio of the whole is about four to one; and this is doubtless true of the entire force under arms.” The Pennsylvania soldier vote in 1861 was: 11,351 Republican; 3,173 Democrat.
(8.) Untitled, McKean Democrat, 2 May 1861.
(9.) “Departure of McKean County Troops,” McKean Democrat, 2 May 1861.
(10.) “For the Seat of War,” Clearfield Republican, 8 May 1861; untitled, Raftsman's Journal,1 May 1861.
(11.) “The Pennsylvania Troops,” Raftsman's Journal, 29 May 1861.
(12.) William J. Miller, The Training of an Army: Camp Curtin and the North's Civil War (Shippensburg, Pa.: White Mane Publishing, 1990),15–18. Miller's work expandsupon the poor conditions at Harrisburg in the early months of war.
(13.) “From Camp Curtin,” Clearfield Republican, 5 June 1861.
(14.) Correspondence to Simon Cameron, the secretary of war, blamed the officers of the Second Regiment who “urged them on to riot.” The regiment consisted primarily of men from south-central Pennsylvania but also included a company of men from Bellefonte. Records do not indicate whether the near riot involved men from other commands, but there were at least a half-dozen other regiments waiting in Harrisburg to receive pay. James D. Cameron to Simon Cameron, 27 July 1861, OR, ser. 3, vol. 1: 359. James D. Cameron, the son of the secretary of war, supervised the transportation of Union troops over the Northern Central Railroad.
(15.) Andrew G. Curtin to Simon Cameron, 27 July 1861, OR, ser. 3, vol. 1: 358. See also Miller, Training of an Army, 45–49.
(16.) “Three Months Volunteers,” Crawford Democrat, 6 August 1861. James D. Cameron concurred on July 24 in a letter to his father, “Harrisburg is filled with returned volunteers, complaining bitterly that they are not paid. This they give as their chief reason for not reenlisting.” James D. Cameron to Simon Cameron, 24 July 1861, OR, ser. 3, vol. 1: 348.
(17.) G. Blight Brown to Craig Biddle, 28 August 1861 in Pennsylvania State Archives, RG-19, Records of the Department of Military and Veterans' Affairs, Office of the Adjutant General, General Correspondence, box 9 (hereafter PSA, AG, GC).
(18.) Joshua B. Howell to A. S. Russell, 10 September 1861 in PSA, AG, GC, box 9.
(19.) “The West Branch Greys,” Raftsman's Journal, 21 August 1861; J. K. Maxwell to E. M. Biddle, 24 July 1861 in PSA, AG, GC, box 8; C. L. Lamberton to Andrew G. Curtin, 4 May 1861 in PSA, AG, GC, box 6.
(20.) For examples of this genre see, Granville Fernald, The Story of the First Defenders: District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts (Washington, D.C.: Clarence E. Davis,1892); James Wren, “The First Defenders. The Washington Artillery of Pottsville,” Philadelphia Weekly Press,21 July 1886; W. F. Mackay, “The First Defenders,” Philadelphia Weekly Press,28 April 1886.
(21.) Figure A.20 indicates the patterns of three-month enlistment throughout the state.
(22.) One author remarked, “The Northern Tier of Pennsylvania was populated by immigrants from New England and New York. North Potter County, the most populated section, was a New York settlement. The state boundary line merely defined a political division.” Richard E. Matthews, The 149th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Unit in the Civil War (Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co,1994),9. Ruthanne Heriot, “Discord inCivil War Volunteer Units—An Incident Explained,” The Western Pennsylvania Historical Magazine 63, no.4 (October 1980): 367–72 also documents cases of Pennsylvaniasoldiers traveling to New York State to enlist.
(23.) Figure A.21 indicates a broader origin among initial enlistments, after the wave of “First Defenders.”
(24.) Andrew G. Curtin to the Pennsylvania Assembly, 9 April 1861, George Edward Reed, ed., Pennsylvania Archives, ser. 4, vol. 8 (Harrisburg: State Printer, 1902), 364.
(25.) Edward G. Everett, “Pennsylvania Raises an Army, 1861,” The Western Pennsylvania Historical Magazine 39, no.2 (summer 1956): 85,92.
(26.) This thesis forms the basis of several influential works, notably James M. McPherson, For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997); Joseph Allan Frank, With Ballot and Bayonet: The Political Socialization of American Civil War Soldiers (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1998); and Reid Mitchell, Civil War Soldiers: Their Expectations and Their Experiences (New York: Viking, 1988).
(27.) The view that desertion can be viewed as politics has received some attention in articles and monographs. For one example in a southern context, see Katherine A. Giuffre, “First in Flight: Desertion as Politics in the North Carolina Confederate Army,” Social Science History 21, no.2(summer 1997):245–263.
(28.) For more on the tradition of electing officers, consult Bell Irvin Wiley, The Life of Billy Yank: The Common Soldier of the Union (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1952; reissued 1978), 24.
(29.) For comments on the influence of civic associations in the lives of soldiers, see Reid Mitchell, The Vacant Chair: The Northern Soldier Leaves Home (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), 23; Mitchell also addresses soldiers' lack of discipline in The Vacant Chair, 23–25 and also in his classic study Civil War Soldiers, 57–59.
(30.) David Donald, “Died of Democracy,” in David Donald, ed., Why the North Won the Civil War (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1960), 90.
(31.) Simon Cameron to Andrew G. Curtin, 22 May 1861, OR, ser. 3, vol. 1: 227–228; J. F. Ovenshire to Andrew G. Curtin, 27 May 1861 in PSA, AG, GC, box 6.
(32.) Emphasis added. Ruthanne Heriot, “Discord in Civil War Volunteer Units,” 370. Heriot's article documents the incident of these Pennsylvania soldiers deserting rendezvous camps in New York State because of negligent treatment. Twenty-seven men signed a letter to the Pittsburgh Post on 27 June 1861 stating their grievances. The point of officer elections is further illustrated in Mark H. Dunkelman, “‘A Just Right to Select Our Own Officers’: Reactions in a Union Regiment to Officers Commissioned from Outside Its Ranks,” Civil War History 44, no. 1 (March 1998): 24–34. Dunkelman evaluated the phenomenon in relation to the paternalism of officers rather than a heritage of democracy.
(33.) Mark Reinsberg, “Descent of the Raftsmen's Guard: A Roll Call,” The Western Pennsylvania Historical Magazine 53, no.1 (January 1970): 6.
(34.) “From Camp Curtin,” Clearfield Republican, 5 June 1861.
(35.) Andrew G. Curtin to Abraham Lincoln, 21 August 1861, OR, ser. 3, vol. 1: 441.
(36.) Simon Cameron to Andrew G. Curtin, 7 September 1861, OR, ser. 3, vol. 1: 491–492, 489.
(37.) J. R. Dunbar to E. M. Biddle, 1 May 1861 in PSA, AG, GC, box 6; J. R. Lynch to Craig Biddle, 27 August 1861 in PSA, AG, GC, box 9; Robert Thorne to Andrew G. Curtin, 3 September 1861 in PSA, AG, GC, box 9.
(38.) Martin Crawford observed this socioeconomic distinction between recruits from rural Virginia in 1861 and 1862. Ashe County's Civil War: Community and Society in the Appalachian South (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 2001), 90–94.
(39.) “Letter from Camp Johnson,” Raftman's Journal, 29 May 1861. The letter was dated 20 May 1861. A response to these charges was printed in the paper on June 5. The author, under the name “Guelich,” denied that soldier's families were mistreated and praised the work of the local relief committee to supply all needy families with flour, molasses and meat, among other things. “Letter from Smith's Mill,” Raftsman's Journal, 5 June 1861.
(40.) “To the Public,” Raftsman's Journal, 2 October 1861.
(41.) R. Chatham to Andrew G. Curtin, 26 August 1861 in PSA, AG, GC, box 9.
(42.) William A. Blair makes this point in his essay, “We Are Coming, Father Abraham-Eventually: The Problem of Northern Nationalism in the Pennsylvania Recruiting Drives of 1862,” in Joan E. Cashin, ed., The War Was You and Me: Civilians in the American Civil War (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002), 183–208.
(43.) “Farmers Attention,” Brookville Republican, 24 April 1861.
(44.) Clearfield Republican, 14 August 1861.
(45.) As an example, Bingham Duncan described the dire economic consequences of secession on the iron industry of Lawrence County. Duncan referred to it as a serious depression resulting in significant out-migration in 1860–61. Unemployed industrial workers were prominent among early volunteers. Bingham Duncan, “New Castle in 1860–61: A Community Response to a War Crisis,” Western Pennsylvania Historical Magazine 24, no.4 (December 1941): 251–260.
(46.) A. B. Clark to Andrew G. Curtin, 4 June 1861 in PSA, AG, GC, box 7; Henry J. Rigden to Andrew Porter, 21 May 1861 in PSA, AG, GC, box 6.
(47.) Historian Phillip Shaw Paludan implied that residents of the city and countryside responded in the same way to war, asserting that “the rural North echoed the patriotic enthusiasm that resounded after Sumter.” Phillip Shaw Paludan, “A People's Contest”: The Union and Civil War, 1861–1865 (New York: Harper & Row,1988), 156.
(49.) Puddlers were skilled iron workers who made wrought iron from molten “puddles.” See Figure A.22. It was not unusual that lumbermen appeared prominently in this sample of early enlistees. The occupation “lumberman” covered a spectrum of individuals including well-to-do lumber entrepreneurs, small land-owning farmers who engaged in rafting, and young unmarried men who did winter wage work in the forests. The majority of the lumbermen listed in muster rolls were the last category of young men. Newspapers along the major rivers reported the abysmal state of the lumber trade that spring. For men without family to consider, enlistment would have seemed an attractive option.
(50.) Michael C. C. Adams, Fighting for Defeat: Union Military Failure in the East, 1861–1865 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1992), 39–40.
(51.) Archibald Stewart, Esquire, of Indiana County found a unique way to contribute money and stimulate improvement of the Pittsburgh home guards. He gave funds to purchase a six-pound Dahlgren cannon to be used as a prize in drill contests. The “Champion Gun” was awarded to the best drilled company (Pittsburgh Post, 28 May 1861).
(52.) “Two New Companies Organized,” Clearfield Republican, 29 May 1861.
(53.) Alfred A. DeBain to Simon Cameron, 17 April 1861, Library of Congress, Simon Cameron papers, microfilm roll 7.
(54.) The complete rosters of all Pennsylvania regiments appear in Samuel P. Bates, History of Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861–5, 5 vols. (Harrisburg: B. Singerly, 1869–71). Company G, Forty-second Regiment was the only company raised solely in Elk County. County residents formed nearly half of Company E, 172d Regiment, and perhaps a third of Company F, Fifty-eighth Regiment. A few citizens from the county appear on the muster rolls of Company K, 111th Regiment and Company C, 211th Regiment.
(55.) As American historians have emphasized, the egalitarian model of white male citizenship did not initially apply to Native Americans, black people, or women. Even when citizenship was extended to black Americans, residents of the west coast were beginning a campaign that systematically excluded Chinese immigrants from the rights of citizenship. James M. McPherson summarized the distinctions between ethnic and civic nationalism in Is Blood Thicker Than Water? Crises of Nationalism in the Modern World (New York: Vintage Books, 1998), 30–37. McPherson overlooked the fact thatnational identity and ethnic identity are neither mutually exclusive nor inherently competitive.
(56.) Kenneth H. Wheeler described the importance of community sentiment supporting draft resistance in rural Ohio. “The Holmes County draft rebellion of 1863 … reflects an explicit ideology of localism that undergirded resistance to federal authority.” Kenneth H. Wheeler, “Local Autonomy and Civil War Draft Resistance: Holmes County, Ohio,” Civil War History 45, no. 2 (June 1999): 147.
(57.) In her Reflections on Political Identity, Anne Norton focused on the plight of “liminal” people within the nation. Though she referred specifically to “frontier” regions, her categorization fits well for residents of the Appalachian Mountains. She described that allegiance to the state is often weakest among those distant from the (p.196) sources of political and economic power. In Norton's essay, frontiersmen are the epitome of liminal Americans. She considered their individualism and contempt for authority a product of their distance “from institutions and relations that would integrate them firmly in structured economic, social, and political hierarchies.” The lumber region of Pennsylvania shared characteristics of frontier existence, but conforms to another category of social and economic liminality. Norton argued that a similar conflicting identity often occurs “among the inhabitants of regions poorly integrated into the political or economic structures of the nation.” This is largely because “their lack of a material infrastructure integrating them in structures of exchange with the rest of the nation reproduces itself in a less secure allegiance and a peculiar identity.” Under Norton's theory, economic and social marginalization contributed to Democratic opposition. In her Reflections on Political Identity, Anne Norton focused on the plight of “liminal” people within the nation. Though she referred specifically to “frontier” regions, her categorization fits well for residents of the Appalachian Mountains. She described that allegiance to the state is often weakest among those distant from the sources of political and economic power. In Norton's essay, frontiersmen are the epitome of liminal Americans. She considered their individualism and contempt for authority a product of their distance “from institutions and relations that would integrate them firmly in structured economic, social, and political hierarchies.” The lumber region of Pennsylvania shared characteristics of frontier existence, but conforms to another category of social and economic liminality. Norton argued that a similar conflicting identity often occurs “among the inhabitants of regions poorly integrated into the political or economic structures of the nation.” This is largely because “their lack of a material infrastructure integrating them in structures of exchange with the rest of the nation reproduces itself in a less secure allegiance and a peculiar identity.” Under Norton's theory, economic and social marginalization contributed to Democratic opposition. Anne Norton, Reflections on Political Identity (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1988), 53, 57, 64, 67.
(58.) Historian Edward G. Longacre considered them to be symptoms of eroding enthusiasm, which “did not survive their three-month enlistment.” These letters never reached their recipients and lay unopened until 1939 when they were discovered among the George Cadwalader papers at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Edward Longacre published a small sampling of them under a “Notes and Documents” piece entitled “ ‘Come home soon and don't delay’: Letters from the Home Front, July, 1861,” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 100, no.3 (July 1976): 395–406. In assessingtheir meaning, Longacre wrote, “they present a deeply disturbing picture of northern home front morale in dissolution at a period preceding the days when the hardships and discomforts of war were manifest on a national scale.” Longacre was no doubt trying to correct an historical oversight in which “little attention has been paid to a powerful psychological factor in their refusal to remain with the colors” (396–397). Cadwalader's troops were primarily from Lancaster, Franklin and Dauphin Counties.
(59.) The 132d Pennsylvania was a nine-month regiment raised in August 1862 from the counties of Bradford, Columbia, Carbon, Montour, Luzerne and Wyoming. By the spring of 1863, it had already been engaged at Antietam and Fredericksburg. William H. French to Charles H. Howard, 6 February 1863, OR, ser. 1, vol. 25, pt. 2: 72–73.