On the first Monday after President Lincoln's call for 75,000 troops for three months service, Thomas Gibson, Jr., began to recruit a company in the city of Pittsburgh, Pa.; but not succeeding in securing the full complement of men, the company was not accepted by the Governor. Recruiting was continued, and when the next call for troops came, they again tried to enter the service, but having only fifty men, the company was again refused. But amid the excitement, they determined to mount and equip themselves, and go as an independent organization. While arrangements were being made to that end, word was received from Wheeling, Va., that troops were wanted there, for the protection of the threatened border. The company unanimously decided to go to that city and enter the service there, proceeding by boat, and arriving in Camp Carlisle in May. Captain Gazzam, of Pittsburgh, was there with about the same number of men as Captain Gibson, and by an understanding between the two captains, the two companies were consolidated. On the 14th of June the company was mustered into the service, with the following officers: Captain, Thomas Gibson, Jr.; First Lieutenant, David Ecker; Second Lieutenant, D. D. Barclay.
They furnished themselves with a Zouave uniform, consisting of sky blue pants and red jacket, and were armed with Springfield muskets, and supplied with twenty rounds of ammunition. They were then ordered to Grafton. Several trains had been stopped by the bushwhackers on this route previously, and extra precautions were taken against an attack. Comrades May, Groves, Colmer, and one or two others, rode on the cow catcher under the headlight, so as to be able to see and not be seen, there to watch for the bushwhackers. It was a tiresome ride, and the men reached Grafton weary and hungry, where they received a breakfast of coffee and hard tack, and then proceeded by rail to Clarksburg. Here the company went into camp with companies C and E, and drilled and prepared for active duty. While here the company went out on a scout and captured several citizens, who were accused of bushwhacking and giving aid to the enemy.
One night one of the men of Company D, while out foraging, captured a good sized calf, and at once concluded to take his prisoner to camp. Arriving near the camp guard, the prisoner became sportive, and being the stronger calf of the two, started on a run for the camp, pulling his captor after him. The camp guard gave the usual challenge, but captor and captive had no time to answer questions, and kept right on. The guard fired his gun and the several companies promptly formed in line of battle. The men being suddenly awakened from a sound sleep, came tumbling out, some only partly clothed. Company C had not received their guns as yet, but like brave men, as they were, they brought into use such weapons as were most convenient, and they fell into line with axes, shovels, etc. A member of one of the companies, with an axe on his shoulder, approached his captain in a quavering voice and said: "Captain, if I should fall in this conflict, I wish you would write home to my mother." This became a byword in the company during its service. On the 5th of July, the three companies started with a supply train of ammunition, etc., for the troops under McClellan and Rosecranz, who were then facing the enemy entrenched at Rich Mountain. After a weary march through a drenching rain and the deep mud, they arrived at Rich Mountain on the evening of July 6th, the day of the battle, in which our troops were successful in dislodging the enemy. Though not in time to participate in the battle, the company felt proud of the honor of doing some little for their country. The companies encamped on the battle field for the night, and on the morning of the 7th resumed the march for Beverly. On the way down the mountain, the little command scattered along the train they were guarding, and passed within less than 100 yards of 600 armed confederates, who lay in ambush to attack the train, but were afraid to do it. The 600 afterward went in a flag of truce and surrendered. Arriving at Beverly, the company was assigned as company D of the regiment.
The following is the muster out roll, showing list of members and their record. The company was mustered into the U. S. service June 14, 1861, and mustered out June 16, 1864. All the members not otherwise marked, were mustered out with the company. The recruits and veterans were transferred to the Sixth West Virginia Cavalry, when the company was mustered out.
CAPTAIN THOMAS GIBSON, JR.
Thomas Gibson, Jr., was born in Allegheny county, Pa., the son of the late Colonel Thomas Gibson, surveyor of the port of Pittsburgh, under the Buchanan administration, and colonel of one of the Pennsylvania militia regiments. His mother's name was Totten, whose father was one of the pioneers in Pittsburgh of the foundry business. Both parents were Irish, and the son inherited the Irish courage and daring. Captain Gibson was a graduate of the Western University of Pennsylvania, at Pittsburgh, and was a gentleman of culture and ability.
John R. Frisbie was a native of Pittsburgh, Pa., his father being Amos Frisbie, and his mother Eleanor Johnston. His grandfather, John J. Frisbie, at one time lived in the "Old Block House" at the "Point," on the site afterwards occupied by old Fort Duquesne. Capt. Frisbie's parents died when he was a young man, and at an early age he was apprenticed to Messrs. Burke and Barnes, pioneer safe makers of Pittsburgh, and became an expert at his trade, and remained with the firm until about 1859, after which he was running on the river, learning to be a pilot, and was in New Orleans when the secession movement began. The boat started for Pittsburgh, and was thirty-one days in making the trip, owing to the frequent stops and detentions by the confederate authorities along the river. He enlisted in Captain Alex. Scott's company, known as the "Belmont Guards," which became Company F of the Second Virginia. He was appointed sergeant of the company, afterwards rose to be first sergeant, and on May 20, 1862, was promoted second lieutenant, and assigned to Company D. July 7, 1862, he was promoted to first lieutenany and May 1, 1864, was promoted captain of the company, vice Captain D. D. Barclay, who was promoted major of the regiment. Captain Frisbie served faithfully until mustered out June 16, 1864. The captain was a brave, cool and determined officer, and in the most dangerous and trying places, displayed a coolness not often equaled. At the battle of Waterloo Bridge, August 1862, he was detailed with a squad of volunteers, to set fire to the bridge, a feat which he and his men accomplished under a galling fire of artillery and musketry, and for which he was complimented on the field by General Robert H. Milroy. The captain returned to Pittsburgh at the close of his term of service.
Jacob Colmer was born April 1, 1842 at Duff's Mills, Franklin township, Allegheny county, Pa., his parents being natives of the state. His father, William Colmer, was born in Allegheny county, Pa., and his mother, Lavina Rosensteel, was born near Emsworth, in the same county, and both were descendants of the Pennsylvania Dutch. The son remained at home until he was 18 years of age, working at farming and in the blacksmith shop with his father. On the Monday evening following the call of President Lincoln for 75,000 three months men, Mr. Colmer placed his name as first on the roll of a company of volunteers being recruited by Thomas Gibson, Jr., at a place called Cross Roads, not far from Bakerstown, Allegheny county. After the company had been partly recruited, they went to Pittsburgh, but the quota from Pennsylvania was now filled, and the company was not accepted; but they still held their organization, and when the call came for three years men, they were again doomed to disappointment, so many troops being ahead of them. They then decided to equip themselves as an independent company, and while preparations were being made to this end, word was received that they were wanted at Wheeling, Va., to which place they went. Mr. Colmer was mustered into the service as sixth corporal, but on account of good conduct and attention to his duties, rose step by step until June 17, 1862, he was promoted first sergeant of the company, and held this position until September 29, 1862, when he was promoted to second lieutenant. On several occasions he acted as adjutant of the regiment, and had command of his company on the Salem Raid. On April 27, 1864, he was promoted to first lieutenant, and detailed to the position of adjutant, but declined the position, as he had become so attached to the members of his company that he did not wish to be taken away from them. He served his full term of enlistment and was mustered out with the company. Lieut. Colmer received what education he had by careful attention to studies in the four months per year schooling then in vogue in country districts, and in the summer of 1860, took a course of bookkeeping in Duff's College, Pittsburgh. He was married on December 22, 1868, to Miss Mary E. Scott, of Sharon, Mercer county, Pa., but a native of Allegheny county. The result of this marriage is a family of four bright children, the oldest, William H., now in his 21st year, Alice Scott 16, Lizzie Bell 14, and Charles Stevenson 4 years old. Since the war Lieut. Colmer has served in several responsible positions. For a long time he was clerk in the Pittsburgh pension office; for over 12 years bookkeeper for one large firm in Allegheny City, and is now agent for the Allegheny Insurance Company, of Pittsburgh. He is now serving his 18th year as permanent secretary of Twin City Lodge, No. 241, I. O. O. F., also as trustee of the same lodge during the last 18 years. He also served as secretary of Allegheny Lodge 223, A. F. and A. M., for six years after the close of the war. He now resides at Avalon, Pa., on the P. F. W. & C. Railway, six miles down the Ohio river from Pittsburgh. Lieut. Colmer served his country wel1 and faithfully. He was a brave and accomplished officer, respected as such by all the men of the regiment, and a gentleman held in the highest esteem by all his comrades. As a citizen there are none truer, and he is a worthy and honored son of the country he helped so ably to protect.
A. J. Chambers was born in Allegheny City in 1833, and learned the painting trade, but was engaged a number of years on Ohio river steamers. In April, 1861, he enlisted as corporal in company A in Pittsburgh. He served very creditably in the position, was promoted to sergeant, then to orderly sergeant, and finally, July 7, 1862, his bravery and merit was still further recognized by a promotion to 2nd lieutenant, and he was then transferred to company D of our regiment. After the war he opened up a paint shop in Allegheny and is still following the business. He represented his ward in Common and Select Councils for many years. He was married Aug. 25, 1853, to Miss Caroline A. Dougherty, and their union has been blessed by seven children.
JAMES M. ANDERSON.
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