U.S. M1795 .69 cal. Musket Left by the 26th Pa. Emergency Inf. at Mummasburg, June 23, 1863
U.S. M1795 .69 cal. Musket Left by the 26th Pa. Emergency Inf. at Mummasburg, June 23, 1863 - This musket has a clear “CP” (Commonwealth of Pennsylvania) stamping engraved in the lock plate, as well as the name of the contractor “Evans” – The musket was once part of the Kent Masterson Brown* collection. According to the accompanying provenance, this weapon was issued to a soldier apparently with the initials “TBD” (carved in the stock); this short-term soldier was a member of the 26th Pennsylvania Emergency Volunteers. On the opposite side of the butt stock is carved the letter “F” and what appears to be a Masonic compass symbol. This unit was mustered into service in June of 1863, in response to Gen. Lee’s invasion of the North. According to the provenance, this musket was left, then recovered at Mummasburg, near Gettysburg. The musket, originally a flintlock, was converted to percussion in the mid-1800s and issued to the 26th Pa. Emergency Infantry, a short-term unit, mustered when Gen. R.E. Lee invaded Pennsylvania, just prior to the Battle of Gettysburg. The gun, originally in a three barrel band configuration, was shortened to a two band length. Overall, the gun is in decent shape, with an old repaired stock wrist crack; the metal is smooth, and in its original bright finish, which is not pitted. Near the breech plug, is clearly visible the government stamping of “VP”. The original breech plug screw securing the barrel to the stock, is missing. Further research would most likely be able to establish the original owner of this gun. The gun measures as follows: Overall barrel length – 47.25″; Barrel length – 32.5″.
Enumerated below is a general overview of the M1797 Musket produced by Owen Evans.
* Born in Lexington, Kentucky on February 5, 1949, Kent Masterson Brown is a 1971 graduate of Centre College of Kentucky; he received his juris doctor degree from Washington & Lee University School of Law in Lexington, Virginia in 1974. Mr. Brown was the creator and first editor of the national magazine, The Civil War, and the originator of its Civil War seminars. He is the author of Cushing of Gettysburg: The Story of a Union Artillery Commander, Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1993. It was a History Book Club selection and a recipient of the Award of Merit from the Wisconsin Historical Society. Mr. Brown delivered the Keynote Speech on Lt. Cushing at the 151st Anniversary of the Gettysburg Address in the Soldiers National Cemetery at Gettysburg on November 19, 2014. Mr. Brown published The Civil War in Kentucky: Battle for the Bluegrass State, Mason City: Savas, 2000. He reissued and re-illustrated A.D. Kirwan’s Johnny Green of the Orphan Brigade through the University Press of Kentucky in 2002; it was the recipient of the Basil W. Duke Award as the best reprint of the year. Mr. Brown’s recent book, Retreat from Gettysburg: Lee, Logistics and the Pennsylvania Campaign, was released in April of 2005 by the University of North Carolina Press and received rave reviews. He is presently writing another major study on the Gettysburg campaign entitled, General George Gordon Meade and the Gettysburg Campaign, for the University of North Carolina Press to be published in 2018.
The 26th Pa. Emergency Infantry was mustered in at Harrisburg where men enrolled in the militia, most of the men probably came from Dauphin County and Perry County. Rosters for the Militia are found in: Bates, Samuel P. History of Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-5, Index: Prepared in Compliance with Acts of the Legislature. Wilmington, N.C.: Broadfoot Pub. Co, 1993.
Monument to the 26th Emergency Militia
The monument to the 26th Pennsylvania Emergency Militia Infantry is on the west side of Gettysburg at the intersection of Chambersburg Street, West Street and Springs Avenue. (39°49’51.5″N 77°14’13.1″W; A tablet showing where the regiment met Early’s Confederates is three miles west of town on the north side of US 30. (39°51’11.6″N 77°17’08.6″W;
The 26th Pennsylvania Emergency Militia Infantry was organized at Harrisburg on June 22nd in response to Lee’s invasion of the north. It was commanded by Colonel William S. Jennings. Jennings was a factory owner and personal friend of Pennsylvania’s Governor Curtin, who had served as an officer in the 25th Pennsylvania Infantry in the early days of the war and commanded the nine-months 127th Pennsylvania Infantry, during which time he was wounded in the foot at Fredericksburg.
The regiment consisted of 750 hastily trained farmboys, college students and middle aged shopkeepers sprinkled with a handful of veterans. One company was from Adams County, including a group from Gettysburg.
The clashes of the untrained militiamen with Jubal Early’s veteran rebel cavalry and infantry west and north of Gettysburg turned out as badly as could be expected. Several Pennsylvanians were shot and more than a hundred rounded up as prisoners. The latter were paroled after a stern lecture from Early himself, who told them, “You boys ought to be home with your mothers and not out in the fields where it is dangerous and you might get hurt.” The survivors of the regiment pulled back to defend Harrisburg, but they were spared further conflict when the rebels withdrew to Gettysburg. The 26th Militia were mustered out on July 31.
The 26th Pennsylvania Emergency Militia came into existence during the opening stages of the Gettysburg Campaign. As Gen. Robert E. Lee’s army moved north, the War Department created two new military departments to deal with the Confederate offensive. The Department of the Monongahela, based out of Pittsburgh, and under the command of Maj. Gen. William T. H. “Bully” Brooks*, formerly of the 6th Corps. The second department created was the Department of the Susquehanna, based out of Harrisburg, and under the command of Maj. Gen. Darius Couch. Like Brooks, Couch had recently vacated his position with Army of Potomac. Couch served as both the head of 2nd Corps and as Joseph Hooker’s second-in-command at Chancellorsville.
The 26th Pennsylvania Emergency Militia (not to be confused with the 26th Pennsylvania Infantry that served in Joseph Carr’s brigade of 3rd Corps), was one of eight infantry militia units that was created by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to serve for “…six months, or ‘for the emergency.’” On June 18, 1863 the unit mustered into service 743 officers and men, under Colonel William W. Jennings. Like Brooks and Couch, Jennings had recently served with the Army of the Potomac. Jennings was the colonel of the 127th Pennsylvania Infantry-a nine month regiment, which fought at the battles of First and Second Fredericksburg.
Jennings took his green soldiers to Gettysburg, where, he was reinforced by 45 men of Bell’s Adams County Cavalry Company, a makeshift cavalry commanded by 23 year old Adams County native Robert Bell.
By mid-June Wild rumors spread like wildfire across the state of vast hordes of Confederates moving across the Alleghenies to Pittsburgh, other reports had Lee on the outskirts of Philadelphia. The reality of the situation was that Jennings and Bell were about to run into the lead elements of Richard Ewell’s Confederate corps.
On June 26th Jennings makeshift command was ordered on a fool’s errand by Maj. Granville Haller. Haller had been assigned the defense of the Gettysburg.
The mixed command setup an encampment on the eastern bank of Marsh Creek, with forty of Jennings best men deployed as pickets on the west side of the creek. By midafternoon Jubal Early’s Confederate division approached the picket post. In the vanguard of the advance was Lt. Col. Elijah V. White’s 35th Virginia Battalion of cavalry, followed by John Gordon’s all Georgia brigade. Jennings spotted the Confederate column moving in from the west. Knowing that his untested soldiers stood little chance against Lee’s veterans, the 24 year old colonel ordered his picket line to hold as long as possible, while the rest of his command beat feet to the rear.
The Virginia cavalry were on the pickets like fleas on a dog, easily scattering the militia men. Jennings led the bulk of his command to the northeast across wet and muddy fields. He hoped to get back to Harrisburg, and by heading northwest, he would be able to utilize the rail line that ran east from the town. This was easier said than done. The 17th Virginia Cavalry tracked down Jennings men and engaged them north of the town at the Witmer Farm. A short-lived battle ensued, with Jennings again, yielding the field. What was left of his unit arrived in Harrisburg two days later.
Captain Bell and the bulk of his horsemen rode along the Chambersburg Pike back into Gettysburg, White’s cavalryman hot on their heels.
The short lived shooting and running match on June 26th garnered two monuments for the 26th Pennsylvania Emergency Militia. The first of the two is easy to find. While driving west along Route 30 out of Gettysburg you will come across a monument of a soldier striding west, mounted atop a large boulder at the intersection of the Chambersburg Pike and Spring Street. This monument, dedicated September 1, 1892, is passed by thousands of tourists each year that travel Route 30 to and from the battlefield.
The second monument to the regiment lies along Route 30, 3.6 miles from the town square. Traveling west from Gettysburg the small monument is on the right hand side of the road. Dedicated in 1912, this monument is difficult to find because it sits in front of a salvage yard today, with no parking, not to mention rolling by at 50-60 MPH makes it hard to pick out the monument. (Please keep in mind this monument is on private property.)
* “Bully” Brooks was promoted to major general in June of 1863. The promotion to major general was only temporary, as it was later rejected. The man made many enemies while with the Army of the Potomac. Some blame his demotion on the fact that he was one of the ring leaders that helped to oust Ambrose Burnside from army command. Others blame it on his failure to dislodge the Confederate forces during the battle of Salem Church on May 3, 1863. During the battle Brooks was quoted as saying, “Twenty Five years in the army Mr. Wheeler, and ruined at last.”