Union Soldiers and the Northern Home Front: Wartime Experiences, Postwar Adjustments

By Paul A. Cimbala; Randall M. Miller | Go to book overview

3
"If They Would Know What I
Know It Would Be Pretty Hard to
Raise One Company in York":
Recruiting, the Draft, and
Society's Response in York
County, Pennsylvania, 1861–1865

Mark A. Snell

ON AUGUST 24, 1861, four months after Fort Sumter fell and one month after the Union Army met defeat at Manassas, fifteen-yearold Charles E. Gotwalt walked into a recruiting office on the corner of Market and Newberry Streets in York, Pennsylvania, and enlisted in Company A, 87th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. By the time he was discharged on February 2, 1865, Gotwalt had fought in some of the bloodiest battles of the war, including the Wilderness, Spotsylvania Court House, and Cold Harbor. The 87th had just arrived at Petersburg, Virginia, in early June 1864, when Private Gotwalt was captured for the second time in three years. He survived the horrors of Andersonville, was liberated, and returned home. After more than three years of marching, fighting, and incarceration, Gotwalt was once again a civilian—and he had just celebrated his nineteenth birthday.1

1 "Adventures of a Private in the Civil War,"compiled by William A. Gotwalt.
Typescript of an oral history in the collection of the Historical Society of York
County, York, Pennsylvania. For charts, tables, and statistical methodology used in
this essay, see my "A Northern Community Goes to War: Recruiting, the Draft,
and Social Response in York County, Pennsylvania, 1861–65" (M.A. thesis, Rutgers
University, 1987).

-69-

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Union Soldiers and the Northern Home Front: Wartime Experiences, Postwar Adjustments
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The North''s Civil War Series ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction xi
  • 1- Filling the Ranks 1
  • 1- "We Are All in This War" 3
  • 2- "Volunteer While You May" 30
  • 3- "If They Would Know What I Know It Would Be Pretty Hard to Raise One Company in York" 69
  • 2- Northerners and Their Men in Arms 117
  • 4- "Tell Me What the Sensations Are" 119
  • 5- "Listen Ladies One and All" 143
  • 6- Soldiering on the Home Front 182
  • 7- Saving Jack 219
  • 8- In the Lord''s Army 263
  • 9- Carrying the Home Front to War 293
  • 3- From War to Peace 325
  • 10- "Surely They Remember Me" 327
  • 11- "Honorable Scars" 361
  • 12- The Impact of the Civil War on Nineteenth-Century Marriages 395
  • 13- A Different Civil War 417
  • 14- "I Would Rather Shake Hands with the Blackest Nigger in the Land" 442
  • 15- "For Every Man Who Wore the Blue" 463
  • Afterword 483
  • Contributors 489
  • Index 493
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