Free at Last, Thank God
In case you haven’t heard yet, Cath was dismissed by her neurosurgeon May 2nd, and just last Thursday the 12th she was released from the care of Locust Grove rehab. She has done very well the last week and a half. There is still a concern for a spinal fluid sac that is behind her right ear and that remains to be our main prayer concern. These words are the most effective means I have to express my deepest appreciation for those who have held us up for so long. The entire staff was very courteous. This is not to say that the visit was without incident. There is almost always something that can be misunderstood and those things must be hashed out in the proper manner. Don’t be afraid to question any of your care as it is your life that is in the balance. Be polite, but expect the same in return. Making suggestions is not wrong on your part. Follow through with some research on your own. Know your condition to the smallest details. The more you know the better care you should receive. Be part of the care plan.
As with Geisinger Medical Center; Locust Grove had it’s outstanding people that you realize an affection toward. Cath really clicked with Bonnie and Liz in the rehab wing. Physical Therapist Mary and Beth both made my job easier for Cath’s return home. And although she’ll miss them, it’s certainly better to be at home. There is no place like home.
Logan Guard 1858
During the Spring of 1858, June 10th to be precise, The Lewistown area, including the Juniata Valley was in tune with the temperature of the country. Tempers had been brewing for years and the pot was about to blow it’s lid. A notice was filed with the Lewistown Gazette saying, VOLUNTEERS, A meeting of the proposed infantry company was held Monday evening June 7th in Lewistown, when they organized temporarily by electing the following officers. This meeting, hereby named by election; John B. Selheimer as Captain and Henry Zerbe as 1st Lieutenant of the newly founded Logan Guard.
On August 7th, thirty six more enlisted as privates and other ranking men. Over the course of the next three years, these men honed the skills of drilling within a local militia. Once the militia was organized it gave strict attention to military discipline. This quote was found reported on August 12th. “The Logan Guards paraded on Saturday for inspection, and afterward were initiated into some of the mysteries of a soldier’s life by a regular drilling through the streets of Lewistown. Their uniforms, which are in accordance with the new army regulations, look well, although they appear rather warm for sultry weather. As they are now ready for the wars, we have no doubt the ranks will receive a considerable accession.” Accession meaning; an increase, or an addition. This meaning was because the newly formed guard was an asset with the impending conflict just around the corner. This proved very true for the men as they continued to train over the next couple years.
At the beginning of 1861, the Pennsylvania Militia comprised of 476 uniformed and armed volunteer companies. The 14th Division, commanded by Major General James Crawford consisted of five brigades. First Brigade from Juniata County, four companies. Second Brigade from Mifflin County, four companies. Third Brigade from Centre County, 12 companies. Fourth Brigade from Huntingdon County six companies and Fifth Brigade from Clearfield County with three companies.
With the election of Abraham Lincoln, tensions increased. On his way to Washington the Lewistown Gazette reports. The Logan Guard participated in a reception held for President-elect Lincoln, by Governor Curtin on February 22nd. Many companies of militia were in attendance, including counties who bordered the railroad. President Lincoln said these words. “While I have been proud to see the finest military array, I think, that I have ever seen; allow me to say in regard to those men that they give hope of what may be done when war is inevitable. But, at the same time, allow me to express the hope that in the shedding of blood their services may never be needed, especially in the shedding of fraternal blood. It shall be my endeavor to preserve the peace of this country so far as it can possibly be done, consistently with the maintenance of the institution of the country. With my consent, or without my great displeasure, this country shall never witness the shedding of one drop of blood in fraternal strife.”
Come ahead to April 12th 1861. The first shots have been fired at Fort Sumter. President Lincoln calls for 75,000 men. On April 16th Governor Andrew Curtin now in Harrisburg, instructs Eli Slifer, Secretary of the Commonwealth to telegraph the Lewistown station asking for immediate help to guard the United States Capital in Washington. The telegraph says, “If your company numbers seventy-five men, rank and file come tonight. Stop. If not, increase number if possible and be ready to come when telegraphed for. Stop. Answer.”
An immediate recruiting station was set up and 92 men answered the call. They rallied and marched off toward the Lewistown Railroad Station. Only to wait for nearly three hours for the always late train to arrive. Once aboard the train they traveled the next two days. It was during this trip that first blood was actually drawn. The citizen of Maryland, being a border state and had sympathies going both ways was the most dangerous portion of the journey. The Logan Guard had heard and with his experience, Captain Selheimer ordered his men to half cock their rifles and place a cap over the nipple. This left the impression that the weapons were loaded. The Baltimore rioters held their rocks and stones till they were passed. When the rioters observed the next company didn’t do this they opened up with their deadly projectiles. They citizens of Baltimore drew first blood by stoning the new recruits, even killing a couple. When the first soldiers finally rolled into Washington on the 18th , they were the first to arrive. These five companies became known as the “First Defenders.” Their combined strength was 475 men.
As the days continued other companies would also arrive in defence of our nation’s capital. However the attack wouldn’t come. Both sides weren’t ready for a full scale attack. The three month enlistment would end with many of the guard and the other companies reenlisting in the defence of the capital.
For your information; At the base of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in the square of Lewistown, there is a small stone. It only says, “Lincoln Stone.” It was placed there when the monument was erected in 1890. It was given by the Lincoln family in honor of Mr. Lincoln who felt so strongly about his “First Defenders.” The “First Defenders” also received the Commonwealth “Medal of Honor” for their service.
Our Historical Societies from Mifflin and Juniata Counties are full of information. It is there for you to exam and cherish. This wealth of heritage should be used…
P.S. Feel encouraged to visit our camp on the Juniata County Court House lawn this weekend. I understand that a few local political officials will be arrested and held for ransom.
Donald E. Husler Jr. 968 Airport Drive, Mifflintown, PA. 17059-8414
(h) 436-8678 © 979-8678