Rare Civil War Soldiers’ Poll-Book – Election of 1864



Captain Henry S. Harte and Company F, 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers

Rare Civil War Soldiers’ Poll-Book – Election of 1864 - During the election of 1864, 19 Union states, including Pennsylvania, allowed soldiers in the field to cast their votes by absentee ballot. In Pennsylvania, absentee elections were conducted on October 11, 1864 (as denoted in this poll book, being the second Tuesday in October) and election officials recorded the votes of various companies of soldiers in poll-books. This poll-book for the election held on October 11, 1864, notes the votes cast by members of Company F, 47th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, Utilizing these poll-books, Union soldiers, from Pennsylvania, cast absentee ballots, in 1864. By lowering the voting age from 21 to 18 and relaxing property ownership requirements, parties sought to attract more voters during the Civil War and Reconstruction and in periods of high immigration.

This poll-book represents that of Company F of the 47th Pa. Volunteer Infantry, with voting “held at camp, in the field near Middletown, Virginia”. It is representative of soldiers from Lehigh Country; it lists the names of the “electors” participating in this election. The offices listed as being the objects of this election and the soldiers’ voting tallies were: U.S. House of Representatives – Congressman from the State of Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania State Senator and State House of Representatives member, County Coroner, County Commissioner, Director of the Poor, County Treasurer and County Auditor.

The book is in overall fine condition. On the cover, is boldly titled “POLL BOOK October Elections Companies”; on the back cover, which is separated into three segments along old fold lines, is a period label reading “Lehigh”. The front and back covers are firmly bound together, and all of the component pages are in fine, readily legible condition. These original poll-books are rarely encountered outside of historical societies and university collections. The book measures as follows: 16.5″ x 12.25″.

47th PA Regiment Organization, Service & Battles

Recruited primarily at community gathering places in their respective home towns, the soldiers who served with the 47th Pennsylvania were enrolled at county seats or other large population centers. The youngest was a 13-year-old drummer boy, the oldest a 65-year-old, financially successful farmer who would, at the age of 68, attempt to re-enlist after being seriously wounded in battle while protecting the American flag. Roughly 70 percent were from the Lehigh Valley – the cities of Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton and surrounding communities in Lehigh and Northampton counties.

  • Organized at Harrisburg August and September, 1861.
  • Moved to Washington, D.C., September 20-21.
  • Attached to 3rd Brigade, W. F. Smith’s Division, Army Potomac, to January, 1862.
  • District of Key West, Fla., to June, 1862.
  • District of Beaufort, S.C., Dept. South, to November, 1862.
  • District of Key West, Fla., 10th Corps, Dept. of the South, November, 1862, and Dept. of the Gulf to February, 1864.
  • 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 19th Army Corps, Dept. of the Gulf, to July, 1864,
  • And Army of the Shenandoah, Middle Military Division, to February, 1865.
  • 2nd Brigade, Provisional Division, Army Shenandoah, to April, 1865.
  • 2nd Brigade, Dwight’s Division, 22nd Corps, Dept. of Washington, to May, 1865.
  • 3rd Brigade, Dwight’s Division, District of Savannah, Ga., Dept. South, to July, 1865.
  • 1st Sub-District, South Carolina, Dept. South Carolina, to December, 1865.
    Service & Battles – 1862
  • Duty in the Defences of Washington, D.C., till January, 1862.
  • Moved to Key West, Fla., via Annapolis, Md.,
  • And on Steamer “Orienta!” January 22-February 4.
  • Duty at Fort Taylor, Key West, Fla., till June 18.
  • Moved to Hilton Head, S. C, June 18-22,
  • Thence to Beaufort, S.C., July 2,
  • And duty there till October.
  • Expedition to Florida September 30-October 13.
  • St. John’s Bluff October 3.
  • Capture of Jacksonville October 5 (Cos. “E” and “K”).
  • Expedition from Jacksonville to Lake Beresford and capture of Steamer “Gov. Milton” near Hawkinsville October 6 (Cos. “E” and “K”).
  • Expedition to Pocotaligo, S.C., October 21-23.
  • Frampton’s Plantation and Pocotaligo Bridge October 22.
  • Ordered to Key West, Fla., November 15.
    Service & Battles – 1863 – 1964
  • Garrison Fort Taylor (Cos. “A,” “B,” “C,” “E,” “G” and “I”) and Fort Jefferson (Cos. “D,” “F,” “H” and “K”) till February, 1864.
  • Moved to New Orleans, La., February 25.
  • (Regiment reenlisted October, 1863, to February, 1864.)
  • At Algiers, La., February 28.
  • Banks’ Red River Campaign March 10-May 22.
  • Advance from Franklin to Alexandria March 14-26.
  • Battle of Sabine Cross Roads April 8.
  • Pleasant Hill April 9.
  • Monett’s Ferry, Cane River Crossing, April 23.
  • Fatigue duty at Alexandria constructing dam across Red River April 30-May 10.
  • Retreat to Morganza May 13-20.
  • Mansura May 16.
  • At Morganza till June 20.
  • At New Orleans till July 5.
  • Moved to Washington, D.C., July 5-12.
  • Sheridan’s Shenandoah Valley Campaign August to November.
  • Battle of Opequan, Winchester, September 19.
  • Fisher’s Hill September 22.
  • Battle of Cedar Creek October 19.
  • At Camp Russell, near Winchester, till December 20,
    Service & Battles – 1865
  • And at Camp Fairview, Charlestown,
  • And on outpost duty in West Virginia till April, 1865.
  • Moved to Washington. D.C., April 19-21.
  • Grand Review May 23-24.
  • Moved to Savannah, Ga., May 31-June 4,
  • And to Charleston, S.C., June 17.
  • Duty at Charleston and other points in South Carolina till December.
  • Mustered out December 25, 1865.
    Regimental Losses
  • Regiment lost during service 5 Officers and 112 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 3 Officers and 170 Enlisted men by disease. Total 290.