This company was organized in Greenfield (now Coal Center) and California, Washington county, Pa., soon after the firing on Fort Sumter. The first Sunday after the news came that Sumter had been attacked, was one of intense excitement. Early in the morning the martial band was brought out, and ere long a crowd was gathered behind it and formed into a procession, which paraded through the two towns. A halt was called on the bank of the Monongahela river in Greenfield, and speeches were made of the most inflammatory character; and the nucleus of a military organization was formed. Other meetings were held, and on April 27, 1861, a company was fully enlisted, and it was named the "McKennan Infantry," in honor of Hon. William McKennan, of Washington, Pa. Notice was sent at once to the Governor of Pennsylvania, that the company had been enlisted and was at his call for duty, and the answer came that our state could not receive us, the quota of three months men not only being filled, but a large number of enlistments ahead. Application was made again and again for our acceptance, but all failed. At last the word came that loyal Virginia was stretching forth her hands, asking the loyal sons of Pennsylvania to come to her help, and we decided to enter the service of that state. The order came for the company to report at Wheeling on July 10. On the ninth the company left for the front, going in wagons to Washington, Pa., where, we stayed over night, and the next day went to Wheeling on the B. & O. railroad, arriving there at 10 a. m., repairing at once to Camp Carlisle. Here we were sworn into the United States service by Major Oakes, the company being officered as follows: Captain, L. E. Smith; first lieutenant, A. A. Devore; second lieutenant, N. W. Truxal.
The company remained in Camp Carlisle until July 22d, when we left "Wheeling on the B. & O. railroad, arriving at Grafton on the morning of the 23d, thence to Webster, pitching our tents on the side of the hill, our first camp in the tented field. Here we met a large number of the three months volunteers returning from their victorious campaigns in the front, who heartily cheered us as the "boatmen," because of our coming from the Monongahela river, and many of the men having at one time and another followed that occupation. The regiment often went by that name in the mountains; and partly on that account, early gained the reputation of being a hardy and sturdy force of men. We resumed our march on the 25th, and arrived at Beverly on the afternoon of the 27th, where we joined the other companies of our regiment, and were assigned as Company I.
The following is the muster out roll, showing the list of members and them record. The company was mustered into the U. S. service July 10, 1861, and was mustered out July 28, 1864. All the members not otherwise marked, were mustered out with the company. The recruits and veterans were transferred to the Sixth W. Va. cavalry, when the company was mustered out.
CAPTAIN LEWIS E. SMITH.
Lewis E. Smith, a prominent business man of Greenfield, was largely instrumental in enlisting the company, and was naturally looked upon as the proper person to command it. He was a Christian gentleman, observing not only the common moral duties that men owe to one another, but he as well aimed to gain that control of his mind and faculties, by which he could wield a power for good, in whatever position in life he might be placed. He was a grave, earnest man, and was respected by all that knew him. The captain served his country faithfully until failing health compelled him to resign his commission.
Dr. N. W. Truxal, of Greenfield, was chosen second lieutenant, the choice being heartily seconded by every member of the company. The Doctor was the very embodiment of good nature and fun, a man of marked ability, and had been for some time editor of the Monongahela Valley Spirit, of California, Pa., which ably supported the cause of the Union. He was for years an ardent Democrat, but abandoned that party directly after the Charleston and Baltimore conventions; and when the gathering storm began to darken the Southern sky, his stirring appeals to the people of his section to arm themselves for the impending danger, had the effect of sending into the field quite a number of three months volunteers. An address made by him December 27, 1860, will show the character of the man. He said: "The crisis is rapidly approaching. The people of the North are becoming more and more united in the determination to maintain the Union by vindicating the constitution and the laws. A few arch traitors are occasionally waked up in the north, but they deserve less countenance than the tories of the revolution. The moral leprosy which has infected with its virus every vein of our civil system, and which has so frequently threatened the dissolution of the government, is hurrying us on to a fearful crisis, and when the critical hour comes, if it is found that all the vitals of our body politic are corrupted and depraved beyond the power of recuperating, our once glorious Union is gone forever, and the stupendous galaxy of stars that have elicited the admiration of the world, will reel like drunken men, demoralized, distracted and debauched. But secession must not be tolerated. Revolution must be quelled by the strong arm of the government. Better, far better that a million of brave men perish in defence of the Union, than one state should be suffered to secede. No! No! 'The Union must and shall be preserved,' is the emphatic language of our platform. Millions of brave freemen, who inherit the blood and patriotism of their revolutionary sires, will rush to the field to sustain the Union."
James K. Billingsley was born January 23, 1836, in Granville, East Pike Run township, Washington county, Pa., and was educated at the California Seminary. He was a public school teacher for eight years. He enlisted as private soldier, was afterward promoted to first sergeant, then second lieutenant, to first lieutenant, and to captain March 5, 1863, and assigned to Company C. He was wounded at Cross Keys, but served until the regiment was mustered out. He was appointed U. S. storekeeper November, 1868, and served until 1875; was elected to the Penna. House of Representatives for the sessions of 1875-6-7-8 and 1881-7-9. Was Justice of the Peace in California from April 6, 1883 to August 16, 1883 and resigned; was appointed Postoffice Inspector August, 1883, and served to July 1, 1885; was re-appointed September 3, 1889, and resigned-January 31, 1890. He is now a resident of California, Pa.
James B. Montgomery was born near Brownsville, Fayette county, Pa., October 10, 1834. He learned the trade of millwright, which he followed for a while, and afterward engaged in merchandizing in 1860, and was appointed postmaster of Pike Run P. O. He was married June 7, 1858, to Miss Mary C. Reeves, daughter of Van Buren and Margaret Reeves. When the McKennan Infantry was organized, Mr. Montgomery became one of the members of the company, as a private. After the organization of the regiment, he acted Q. M. sergeant for about a year, and at his own request was relieved, that he might return to his company, as fifth sergeant. He was never off duty, while in the service, and was in all the engagements of his regiment, and always in the front. In the second battle of Bull Run, he acted as orderly sergeant, and was with the company in the terrific fire, when the enemy attacked them from the railroad cut. Fortunately for the company, it lay so close to the cut, that the fire of the enemy went over their heads, and the men thus escaped the heavy loss that must otherwise have occurred, and that befell some of the other companies. In the second day's battle he planted our flag on the edge of the cut in the road, and there it remained in the hot fire that followed. He did good service in this battle, which led to his appointment as second lieutenant of the company, a promotion he richly deserved. When the regiment was mounted, he gave many instances of his gallantry, on scouts and in battle, holding a specially important place on the Salem raid, being in the command of his company, in the advanced and most perilous positions. He was ordered to clear the ford at one place, and with his gallant company he performed the duty required, to the entire satisfaction of the general, but was left behind, and was not able to rejoin the brigade until Greenbrier river was reached. When the heroic scout, M. G. Markins, was shot at the Gum road, Lieut. Montgomery and his men went to rescue him from the enemy, and was the first company to reach the place. After the battle of Cloyd Mountain, Lieut. Montgomery was among the number that joined General Hunter at Staunton, and went with his army to the fight at Lynchburg. He had charge of the remnant of the regiment, acquitting himself with great credit. In a hard fight in front of Lynchburg, our forces lost several pieces of artillery, and General Averill ordered Lieut. Montgomery and his little command to charge the captors and retake the pieces. They did so and recovered all of the pieces but one. Upon his retirement from the army, the lieutenant again engaged in merchandizing, but lost all in the panic of 1873. Since then he has been fireman and engineer in the Atlas Paint and Color Works, Pittsburgh. Lieut. Montgomery was a brave soldier and a good officer, is a useful and honored citizen, and enjoys the respect and confidence of all the men of the old command, and is eminently worthy of both.
The subject of this sketch was born in Greenfield, November 17, 1842. His father, Frances Reader, was born in Warwickshire, England, in 1798, and with his parents, removed to Washington county, Pa., in 1802; his mother, Ellen Smith Reader, was the daughter of a farmer in Union township, same county, and was of Scotch descent. He worked at farming and carpentering, and acquired at the schools at his home and elsewhere, an academic education. He was one of the first to enlist in his company, and served over his full term of three years. He took part in all the campaigns that his company was in except Allegheny Mountain, Salem Raid and Cloyd Mountain and participated in Averill's advance on Lee's left flank in July, 1863, and New Market and Piedmont campaigns in May and June, 1864, that the company was not in. While at Woodville, Va., August, 1862, he was externally poisoned by some vines, and afterwards suffered severely from diarrhoea, his only sickness while in the service, from which he did not recover until the return to West Virginia in October, but kept with his company and on full duty. On July 1, 1863, he was detailed by special orders for duty at Gen. Averill's headquarters; in May, 1864, for duty at Gen. Sigel's headquarters, and afterward at Gen. David Hunter's, serving as orderly in the campaigns. After the victory at Piedmont, June, 1864, he was one of the first union soldiers to enter Staunton, and there had charge of paroling 500 wounded confederates. He was captured on this expedition, and made his escape, of which see account in a later chapter of this book, and was discharged of date with his company, so broken in health that further service was impossible. He taught school that winter, pursued a course of bookkeeping in Iron City College the next spring, and in July, 1865, accepted a position in the Internal Revenue service, 24th collection district of Pennsylvania, where he served at different periods for over 10 years, and was Chief Deputy Collector nearly 8 years.
December 24, 1867, he was united in marriage to Miss Mame F. Darling, of New Brighton, Pa., to whom two sons have been born, Frank E., and Willard S. Reader. He attended Mount Union College, Ohio, in 1867; and in the spring of 1868, entered the North Missouri Conference of the M. E. Church, as preacher in charge of a circuit of nine appointments, but his voice so completely failed, that he was compelled to retire after one year's service. May 22, 1874, with Major David Critchlow, 100th Pennsylvania Regiment, he established the Beaver Valley News, at New Brighton, Pa.; on January 1, 1877, he bought the Major's interest in the paper, and on February 4, 1883, began the publication of the Daily News, in which business he has continued ever since. He was secretary of the Republican county committee for several years; while in that office prepared and presented to the legislature the first law enacted in the state for the government of Republican primary elections; was alternate to the Chicago convention that nominated Blaine in 1884; served in council and school board of his borough, and has held other positions of trust at the hands of his neighbors. He has been a member of the M. E. Church for 25 years, being an active worker in the church for over 23 years of the time, and for over 15 years has been superintendent of the Sunday school in New Brighton, now comprising more than 550 members. It is a work in which he takes special delight, and gives to it his best energies, ability and time.
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