Civil War, 100th Pennsylvania Volunteer Archive, Primarily Related to the Bender Family
Lot of 41 Civil War and post-war letters and several miscellaneous documents connected to the Bender Family of Lawrence County, PA. Ca 1861-1874, with the bulk coming from the Civil War-period. Accompanied by a CDV of Ephraim Bender (J. Taylors Photographic Studio) nursing his wound from the Second Battle of Bull Run.
The letters in this collection were authored by several different individuals: Ephraim Bender (17); William Gordon (1); Gordon McKinley (1); Henry Rhodes (1), Henry G. Rhodes (1); Benjamin Vance (1); Levi Lewis (4): plus 15 letters between various Bender family members and friends.
Ephraim Bender was one of five children born to David and Mary Bender in Pennsylvania. He mustered into Company K of the 100th Pennsylvania Infantry on August 31, 1861, as a Sergeant. On August 29, 1862, he was wounded in the left foot at the Second Battle of Bull Run/Manassas, which eventually led to the end of his military service. He was discharged in March 1863. Bender died in 1886 and is buried in Weathersfield, OH.
The 100th Pennsylvania Infantry, which was known as the Round Head regiment, was recruited in the southwestern part of the state in August 1861 for a three-year term. The regiment fought at Port Royal, Beaufort, Charleston, Secessionville, Fredericksburg, Bull Run, Chantilly and South Mountain. It went on to the Western Theater to participate in the Vicksburg Campaign. It was reorganized in 1864 and went on to fight at the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, North Anna, Cold Harbor and the Siege of Petersburg. The regiment was mustered out at Washington on July 24, 1865.
Ephraim wrote several letters before being wounded, describing battle in detail. Spelling and grammar may not have been his strong suit but the descriptions are none-the-less vivid. Of the battle of Port Royal, he writes…the gun Botes fired five hours rite along it was a fast firing as ever was…they stood it mity well but they had to run and leav every thing behind them. They had one of the best Bateries in the South if you had seen it you would say that it could not be taken Thare was twenty Cannon in the Battery and some of them was big ones…the Stemer Wabash with sixty fore guns run up and give them a few rounds and made them leav …thare was plenty of Dead people laying around …we cant tel how many they lost for they Beried them as fast as they could…
Regarding a tragedy at Newport News he writes, …I must tell you that Thare was some of our regiment Got Drounded they ware the ons that was left Behind when we left Newport news they ware sick when we left and ware sent after the regiment Coming up the Potomac river there was A Steam Boat run in to the one that our Boys war in and Sunk it...Some twelve of them was lost.
Also interesting are several letters from Aunt Elizabeth to Bender family members. She seems to be a lady of strong opinions and feels free to share them. Her passionate anti-war sentiments come to the fore as she writes, I think I will go to California or some place whear it wont be Copperhead or traitor and I don’t care what they call me. How do you like the copper heads. I suppose you will vote for little Mac…if you don’t I will call you a traitor…I want to [k]now where all the boys of Bat B is…are they all dead or have they gone back to Grant to be slaughtered…
Overall, the letters provide an interesting look into lives and sentiments of everyday citizens in southern Pennsylvania and the complexities of the culture and politics of the era.
All letters are signed and dated. Paper size varies as well as number of pages. Condition varies but most are good to very good.