Schuylkill County’s Civil War veterans signed resolutions supporting American entrance into World War I – April 1917

In April 1917, the United States threw itself into the Great War.

World War I Cover Pottsville Republican - April 1917
The April 6, 1917 evening edition of the Pottsville Republican

Millions were being mobilized in the largest military action since the American Civil War, more than a half century earlier. This action stirred the patriotism of Schuylkill County’s remaining Civil War veterans. Many of these graying old men had been among the first to march to Washington to protect the nation’s capital from secessionist rebels in April 1861.

The 96th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry
The 96th Pennsylvania at Camp Northumberland in early 1862. Most of these soldiers came from Schuylkill County. (NARA)

In the days after the United States declared war on Germany, the veterans of ’61 gathered in the Schuylkill County seat to pledge their continued loyalty to their country and their support for the American war effort.

A few of the signatories are particularly notable. For one, this was a biracial group of signatories. William Tarr was an African American Civil War veteran living in Pottsville. He served in Company, 21st United States Colored Infantry Regiment during the Civil War. 

We highlighted another veteran on this list previously on the blog. Charles Kershner signed these resolutions as a veteran of the 48th Pennsylvania. A decade later, a Pottsville Republican reporter documented his war-time experiences as a teenage soldier. 

Charles Kershner Photograph Small
Charles Kershner in the 1920s – Pottsville Republican

Still others were the notable “First Defenders” who raced off to Washington after Fort Sumter. 

From the Pottsville Republican, April 16, 1917:

At a meeting held at the City Armory, Pottsville, April 14th, 1917, the following resolutions were adopted and signed by soldiers of the Civil War:

Resolved, That we, the undersigned, late soldiers of the Civil War, approve and endorse the action of President Woodrow Wilson, and the Congress of the United States, in defending the rights of the American people on the high seas. We all want peace and we are willing to fight for it.

Resolved, That we approve of the call for troops and the efforts of our Government to bring the war between the United States and the German Imperial Government to a hasty and successful termination.

Resolved, That it is an honor to respond to a call of our country and to that honor the young men of this country are eligible. Remember American never loses sight of the defenders of the nation.

Resolved, That we offer our services now, as willingly as we did in 1861, to our State and Government in any capacity or service to which they see fit to assign us.

Col. Daniel Nagle, 1st Pa. Regt., Mexican War; 6th, 79th, 48th, and 173rd Pa., Regts., Civil War
Robert A. Reid, Co. G, 48th Pa. Regt., Civil War
Daniel Dunne, Co. G, 48th Pa. Regt., Civil War
John Smith, Co. C, 15th Pa. Regt., Civil War
Alvin Day, Co. K, 48th Pa., Civil War
William Tarr, Co. I, [21st] U.S.C.T., Civil War
Emanuel Templin, A, 96th Pa.
Killian Schaffer, C, 15th U.S.A.
George W. Feltz, C, 96th Pa.
Bernard Lynch, H, 20nd Pa.
Henry C. Pointer, K, 67th Pa.
Christian Staehle, H, 21st Pa.; A, 114th Pa.
Benj. Jenkins, H, 23rd Pa.
Josiah E. Wildermuth, H, 48th Pa.
Thomas Williams, C, 96th Pa.
Andrew Galligan, G, 48th Pa.
Albert Sands, I, 7th Pa. Cavalry
George W. Christian, H, 48th Pa.
Franklin Simons, K, 48th Pa.
H.H. Spayd, C, 149th Pa.
George F. Morgan, K, 48th Pa.
Isaac Jones, D, 19th Pa.
Eli Yeager, Durall’s Battery, Pa.
Thomas Knowles
James Wentzville, H, 48th Pa.
Samuel W. Ruch, H, 48th Pa.
George F. Abbott, C, 130th Ohio
August Knecht, B, 27th Pa.
George Farne, G, 48th Pa.
Thomas Broderick, F, 48th Pa.
J.C. Bittle, B, 27th Pa.
John H. Williams, 45th Pa.
Albert Bordy, H, 6th U.S. Cavalry
Frank H. Moyer, 2nd D.C.
Charles W. Barker, 13th Pa.
John E. Bichler, A, 75th Pa.
James Harrison, G, 7th Pa.
Rubeun Jones, B, 27th Pa.
Charles P. Potts, First Defender
Charles A. Kershner, B, 48th Pa.
John W. Becker, G, 48th Pa.
Geo. W. Blank, 133rd Pa. Vol. Inf.


Featured Image: Headline from the Pottsville Republican, April 16, 1917.


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