REUNION BOOKLET FOR THE 21st PENNSYLVANIA CAVALRY, 20th REUNION, HARRISBURG, 1909, FROM THE FAMILY OF GEORGE W. MOWERS, COMPANY D

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Item Code: B6283D

This paper-bound pamphlet has pages numbered 421-440 in sequence from earlier reunion booklets and chronicles the twentieth reunion in 1909 at Harrisburg and contains a roster of survivors. Good condition, paper covers. It contains correspondence and business matters of the association, three photos of its Gettyburg monuments (one of the state’s and two of the Association’s) and a photo the veterans at the latter’s dedication, which shows George W. Mowers with two of his children in the front row of the group. The state would not permit the names of regimental commanders on the state-funded monument so the survivors funded their own monument as well. This was erected near the site of G.W. Sandoe’s death on June 26, 1863, a member of Bell’s Adams County Cavalry, which had just mustered into service, though the regiment as a whole had not.

The following history of the regiment is partly taken from “The Union Army.”

The 21st PA cavalry was originally recruited starting in June 1863 in response to the call for militia to serve for six months in response to Lee’s impending move north in the Gettysburg campaign. Companies were mustered in from June 23 to August 10, some of the early recruits in what would come to be Co. B seeing action against Confederate troops while scouting at Gettysburg, and one of them (G.W. Sandoe) being killed there on June 26. The regiment trained at Chambersburg until August and then was divided for service, the two main contingents being posted at Harpers Ferry and at Pottsville and Scranton. In February 1864 they reunited at Chambersburg for discharge of the men serving six months and it was reconstituted as regiment with new enlistments for three years’ service.

 

The regiment was dismounted and equipped as infantry soon after arriving in Washington in May, and was assigned to the 5th Army Corps. It suffered losses at Cold Harbor, Petersburg, Jerusalem Plank Road, the Mine Explosion, Weldon Railroad, Peebles Farm and Poplar Springs Church. It was finally mounted again in October and assigned to Gregg’s Cavalry Division, seeing action at Boydton Plank Road, Hatcher’s Run, Dinwiddie Courthouse, Five Forks, Amelia Springs, Sailor’s Creek and Farmville. One company had been assigned to duty in Pennsylvania and another at army headquarters. Almost half the men had lost their horses in service during the final campaign and they were apparently transferred to infantry duty in the final assault at Petersburg, leaving the regiment understrength but stiil at the front. At Amelia Springs it was reported to have lost 98 men out of 234 engaged in less than an hour’s fighting, and was again in action at Sailor's creek and Farmville.  It was sharply engaged on the Lynchburg road, when the news of Lee's  surrender was received.  It then moved with the cavalry corps to the support of Gen. Sherman but returned to Petersburg on the news of Johnston's surrender.  It then served by detachments on provost guard duty in Virginia until the middle of  June, when it was concentrated at Lynchburg and mustered out on  July 8, 1865.  During its ten months of active service, 4 officers were killed or died of wounds, 1 died of disease, 14 were  wounded, and 4 captured.  Of the enlisted men, 147 were killed  or died of wounds and disease, and 253 were wounded.

This comes from the papers of George W. Mowers, preserved by his family and recently acquired by us. George Mowers and his brother Samuel alternated in their army service. Samuel signed up for nine-month’s service the 126th Pennsylvania Infantry and was discharged in May, little more than month before George enrolled in the 21st Pennsylvania Cavalry. When George mustered out from that unit after it finished its six-month tour of duty, Samuel signed into it for three-year’s service. At the end of the war, however, they were in close proximity. George enlisted in the 87th PA and served four months, February through June 1865. Both units saw fighting at Petersburg and the pursuit of Lee. After the war the brothers were both members of the 21st Pennsylvania Cavalry Association.  [sr]

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