A Brief History of the Ninth Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry

By Patrick McSherry



The band of the 9th Pennsylvania National Guard. The 9th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry was formed around this unit. The picture belonged to David L Jones (cornet player in third row, center of picture with mustach) who was born in July of 1877 in Glamorgan Co., Wales. Imigrated to the US with his family in 1882 and lived in Wilkes Barre, Pa. Picture was given to his son Watkin P. Jones and then to grandson Robert N Herschelman.

General:

The Ninth Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry was created around the Ninth Regiment of the National Guard of Pennsylvania. The unit did not see action, but spent its time at Camp Thomas (Chickamauga, Georgia), and Camp Hamilton (Lexington, Kentucky).
 

Unit History:

The Ninth Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry was created around eight companies of the Ninth Regiment, National Guard of Pennsylvania from Luzerne County. As the companies left Wilke-Barre, it is estimated that 50,000 people came out to see them off. The unit reported for training at Camp Hastings, Mount Gretna, Lebanon County, on April 28, 1898. The unit was mustered into the federal service on May 11,1898. At the time of muster in, the unit consisted of 41 officers and 623 enlisted men.

Less than a week after being mustered in, the Ninth Pennsylvania was on the move. It was ordered south, to the former Civil War battlefield of Chickamauga, Georgia, where Camp Thomas was being created. The unit arrived three days later and set up acmp near Lytle Hill. The Ninth Pennsylvania was part of the Third Brigade, Third Division of the First Army Corps.

On May 25, President McKinley issued a call for 75,000 additional troops, and the companies of the regiment were expanded to include 106 men each. In addition, several companies were added to the regiment - Companies G, K, L, and M. In the final configuration, the companies of the Ninth Pennsylvania were from the following areas:

Company A - Luzerne County
Company B - Luzerne County
Company C - Luzerne County
Company D - Luzerne County
Company E - Luzerne County
Company F - Luzerne County
Company G - Berks County (Capt. Henry D. Green)
Company H - Luzerne County
Company I - Luzerne County
Company K - Northampton County (Capt. Henry Adams)
Company L - Carbon County (Capt. Robert s Mercur)
Company M -Bradford County (Capt. Frank N. Moore)

Unfortunately, the conditions at Camp Thomas steadily worsened, as the camp became more and more crowded and growing into a city of 30,000 men. Sanitation was poor, and disease spread rapidly. As the spring changed into summer it became clear that some changes had to be made as the men in the camp were losing the battle against disease. On August 5, 1898, the location of the camp was changed, but the change was but temporary since, on August 20, orders were received for the unit to relocate much farther - to Camp Hamilton at Lexington, Kentucky. The unit departed the unhealthy Camp Thomas on Agust 25, and arrived at Camp Hamilton two days later. A special train was sent by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, with the governor himself aboard, to remove Pennsylvanians too sick to travel to Lexington by other means. The war's fighting had already ended with an armistice between the United States and Spain on August 13, 1898

On September 8, the regiment was ordered to Wilkes-Barre to be mustered out. The Ninth Pennsylvania arrived to an enthusiastic welcome, and a supper at the National Guard armory on September 19. The unit was given thirty days furlough, but was back to participate in the Peace Jubilee celebration held at Philadelphia on September 27. The unit was finally mustered out the federal service on October 29, 1898. At the time of muster out, the unit consisted of 46 officers and 1,224 enlisted men.

During its term of servce, three officers and twenty-four enlisted men died of disease. Six additional enlisted men were discharged on disability. The unit is unusual in that it had no one desert during its term of service.



Bibliography:

(As a service to our readers, clicking on title in red will take you to that book on Amazon.com)

Herschelman, Robert N. (Photo of band included above).

Sauers, Richard A., Pennsylvania in the Spanish-American War. (Harrisburg: Pennsylvania Capitol Preservation Committee, 1998) 6, 92.

Statistical Exhibit of Strength of Volunteer Forces Called into Service During the War with Spain; with Losses from
All Causes. (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1899).

Stewart, Thomas J., Adj. Gen., Record of the Pennsylvania Volunteers. (Harrisburg: William Stanley Ray, 1901) 376-377.


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