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The Civil War in Pennsylvania

Signals, September 2013

Please note that, due to unforeseen circumstances, the program by Peter Gilmore scheduled for Wednesday, September 25, 2013, at The Presbyterian Church, has been cancelled. We will try to reschedule at a later date. Instead, we offer the following: Tuesday, September 24, 2013, at 7:30 p.m.

Old Sewickley Post Office

A project of “Pennsylvania Civil War 150” and a winner of a 2013 Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History, the book The Civil War in Pennsylvania: A Photographic History was written by Michael G. Kraus, David M. Neville and Kenneth C. Turner and published by the Senator John Heinz History Center. It includes more than 400 illustrations drawn from numerous sources. Works by Matthew B. Brady, Timothy Sullivan and Frederick Gutekunst, notable 19th centery photographers, are also represented, as well as illustrations of period uniforms, engravings, medals and badges, musical instruments, swords and rifles.

The book is a broad-reaching compilation of images and topics, ranging from the Pennsylvania’s military hospitals to its civic and military leaders, women, race relations, the pacifist movement, the state’s industrial might, railroads and transportation routes, soldiers and battles (including a focus on the Gettysburg Campaign), and post-war veterans’ organizations. The photographs include rare, unpublished carte-de-visite images of common soldiers as well as the leading generals and political leaders of the day.

Michael G. Kraus is a graduate of Edinboro University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Fine Art. For nearly 20 years, he has worked as a sculptor, combining his artistic talent with a passion for history. His focus is military history, particularly that of the American Civil War, and he is recognized not only as an authority on historical artifacts, but also as a long time re-enactor. He has served as an on-location historical consultant for several film companies and worked on and appeared in the movies “Gettysburg” and “Cold Mountain.” Currently, Mr. Kraus is the Curator of Collections at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial and Museum in Pittsburgh. Kenneth C. Turner is a writer and researcher for a number of Civil War-related magazines and projects, including the Time-Life “Civil War” series. He has amassed one of the largest privately held collections of images and memorabilia related to the Civil War in Pennsylvania.


The Formation of the Leet Guards

You’ve probably heard of the Sewickley Rifles, but not many know about the Leet Guards. The following is loosely transcribed from hand-written minutes that were in the collection of Capt. Frederick Way, Jr., and were donated to the Historical Society by Way’s daughter and son-in-law, Bee and Woody Rutter.

In Pittsburgh on the 4th of July, 1861, a parade of the Home Guard Companies, under the command of Major General John Wilkins, was held for the purpose of inspection and review. The Leet Guards fielded 38 men.

Tuesday, April 30, 1861 An adjourned meeting of the Leet Guards was held at the house of Michael Marlatt, seven o’clock P.M., Mr. John K. Wilson in the chair. The secretary of the last meeting being absent, John Way Jr. was appointed secretary pro tem.

Committee on “Form of Organization,” reported by R. P. Nevin Esq., presented Articles of Association & a copy of “Rules of the Home Guard Committee of Allegheny County.” Report accepted.

Committee appointed to procure additional names to the Home Guard about forming in Sewickley Township, reported by Robt. Stephenson Esq., stated that thirteen names had been obtained.

The Articles of Association being read by the secretary, on motion they were adopted. On motion it was resolved that blanks in the articles of organization be filled as follows: that the name of this association is the “Leet Guards; that the number of finance committee be three; & that the uniform be citizen’s dress.

The members of the meeting then proceeded to sign the Articles, after which the following civil officers were elected:

On motion of T. L. Shields Esq., it was Resolved that the Executive Committee be instructed to procure as many subscribers as possible to the Articles of Association, that they be further instructed to have a paper prepared constituting the military organization contemplated in said Articles, and procure signatures to the same.

On motion of Wm. P. Jones Esq., it was Resolved that the Executive Committee proceed to enroll those present who may be willing to engage in military service. The chairman having called the vote, twenty-five persons expressed themselves willing to be enrolled for military service in the Leet Guards, viz.

The meeting was adjourned to meet at the same place, next Thursday evening, seven o’clock.

Sewickley Township, May 3, 1861 An adjourned meeting of the “Leet Guards” held at the house of Michael Marlatt. The Vice President took the chair & John Irwin Jr. was appointed secretary pro tem.

The minutes of the last meeting were read, & after correction approved.

The committee on Finance reported twenty-two additional names which were read to the meeting, and after reading the Articles of Organization, the President invited those present who had not already signed them, to do so. The number of names on the Military roll after the signing of the Articles was fifty-seven. On the announcement of this fact by the President, & attention being called to the Rules of the Committee of Safety, it was on motion resolved to proceed to the Election of Military Officers.

Mr. W. F. Fundenburg & Robt. P. Nevin Esq being nominated for the office of Captain, the vote by ballot was for Mr. Nevin twenty four, for Mr. Fundenburg five. Mr. Nevin being declared elected captain, arose & in an eloquent & graceful manner thanked the Leet Guards for the honor thus conferred, pledging himself to do his duty faithfully, ready to lead his gallant company forward to meet the Southern rebels whenever they attempt to descend the river hills.

Several nominations being made for lieutenants, an arrangement was entered into by which each voter should on one ticket vote for three persons for lieutenants, the one standing highest on the list to be first lieutenant, the next highest, second, & the next, third lieutenant. The vote stood thus:

Thomas Waggoner, twenty-nine

John C. Wilson, twenty-six

John Irwin Jr., twenty-one

Samuel [Lanier?], eight Morris Brown, five

Milo P. Scott, three

Samuel Logan, three

The President announced the vote, declaring:

Thomas Waggoner elected first

Lieutenant John C. Wilson, second John Irwin Jr., third

After receiving a hearty expression of thanks from Squire Waggoner, the meeting adjourned.

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