The Life and Civil War Memoirs of Edward A. Straub

Transcribed and Donated by John Sharp

"Below is a transcript of part of The Life and Civil War Memoirs of Edward A. Straub. Straub’s Memoir was published in 1909 by J.H. Yewdale, Milwaukee Wisconsin.  

Edward Adlum Straub (14 July 1845-06 October 1918) was born in Muncy Pennsylvania the second surviving son of Henry Hahn Straub (11 March 1818- 29 February 1897) and Elizabeth Hahn Straub (28 June 1814 – 14 July 1879).

This portion of his memoir gives his account growing up in Muncy Twp and what it like to live there as boy in the years prior to the Civil War. He discusses what Muncy education and politics also and what eventually led him and some of his friends to join Union cause in 1864 where he served in the 7th Pennsylvania Cavalry, Company B   His other siblings were an older brother ,Peter Wilson Straub (22 March 1843 – 23 April 1918) , younger brother, John Adlum Straub 12 February 1855- 24 February 1907) and his sister Ellen Adlum Straub ( 29 October 1847 – 24 September 1907)

After the Civil War, Edward Straub, moved with his parents to Carroll County Illinois where he worked as a farmer, teacher and salesman. Straub had a life long fascination with genealogy and often set down data regarding births, deaths and marriages from family bibles and accounts he was given by family members and their relations.

Diana Gale Matthiesen has done considerable research on the Straub family and her web page gives some of the essential information that was unavailable to Edward http://dgmweb.net/genealogy/FGS/Stra/StraubDanielS-ElizabethHahn.shtml

Genealogy.com has the other sections of Edward Straub's Memoir which deal with his time in Carroll County Illinois after the war and his family in the West USA at http://genealogytrails.com/ill/carroll/carrollstraub.html"

John Sharp

The Life and Civil War Memoirs of Edward A. Straub

Tradition informs us that the ancestors of the Straub family emigrated from Saxony, Germany, over 200 years ago. My grandfather, the late Daniel Straub, had seven sons, and five daughters, whose names were respectively; Charles (the eldest), Samuel, Daniel, John, Henry, Jacob, George, Phoebe, Sophia, Betsy, Katie and Sarah. Betsy married Jacob Willow, Kathy married John Krepps, Sarah married Jacob Woomer, Phoebe married John Snyder and Sophia married David Forry. Two sons are known to be living, George Straub of Chadwick, Carroll County, Illinois, and Dr. John Straub of Wilmington Delaware.

According to our father's account of our grandfather, the late Daniel Straub was born in Bucks County, Pennsylvania , and was a direct descendent of the large and influential who were first represented in America over two hundred years ago. He married Miss Elizabeth Hahn, and they became the parents of fifteen children, eleven of whom seven sons and five daughters, lived to mature years. The mother preceded her husband to the silent land, and Daniel Straub departed this life in 1865, age eighty-seven years.

My grandfather the late Edward Adlum gives us authority to state, that his ancestors were of Irish descend, and immigrated to United States many years ago from Ireland many years ago.

The opinion prevails that the ancestors of the Adlum family first settled at Little York, York County, Pennsylvania in which city mother's father was born and reared in the year 1775. His brothers were Richard, the sailor, who was lost at sea, Thomas, Joseph and Major John Adlum, who was an officer in Washington's army during the Revolution. Grandpa told us that when he was a young boy, living at York City, Pennsylvania, he there saw General Washington with the American Army.

My father the late Henry Hahn Straub was born in Union Township, Union County, Pennsylvania, on March 11th 1818, where he received a careful home training and a common school education. He was a tiller of the soil and also learned the blacksmith's trade during his younger years in Juniata County, Pennsylvania and later worked at his trade in Lycoming County. He (father) was conceded to be one of the best practical blacksmith's in Lycoming County. Father was married to Miss Elizabeth Adlum, at Muncy PA., March 4th 1841, on the day of inauguration of William H. Harrison as President of the United States. The young couple settled in Muncy, PA, where my father followed his trade of blacksmithing for a period of seven years. He then removed three miles north to Pennsdale, rented a shop and successfully carried on his trade.


Henry Hahn Straub.

My mother, Mrs. Elizabeth Adlum Straub was born about two and half miles north of Muncy , Lycoming County , PA., January 28th 1814. Her father the late Edward Adlum Straub was reared in Little York, York County, PA., and inherited a handsome property.

When mother grew into womanhood she received a careful domestic training in the rudiments of practical housekeeping from her mother Rebecca Adum. My mother was a good cook and she often made us a number one short-cake. One of (mothers) particular callings in the culinary art was drop dumplings. Before she was of age she became an excellent baker and occasionally she made us a batch of short cake, and in the language of the old lady , " Say, Mister , well now if they weren't fine, made with fresh butter -milk and soda."

From tradition and information given us by our father, I was born in the city of Muncy, PA., July 14, 1845.


Mrs. Elizabeth Adlum Straub

My eldest brother, P.W. (Peter Wilson Straub) Straub, was born at that place. My sister Ellen A. Straub (Eleanor "Ellen" Adlum Straub) was born in Muncy, October 29, 1847. My youngest brother, John A. Straub, (John Adlum Straub) was born at Pennsdale, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania February 12, 1855.

After father removed to Pennsville, he joined a cavalry troop called the Muncy Dragoons, of which company he was elected Orderly Sergeant. He first belonged to the Democratic Party, but eventually he said the party left him, therefore he joined the other party, and became a staunch Republican, and in principles of that party has reared his three sons who are all earnest supporters.

We think the first Republican paper ( father) subscribed for was the Muncy Luminary, which saturated his boy with the principles of Republicanism, and ( they) have of course voted that ticket ever since they became of age. George L.I. Painter, who was at one time Captain of the Muncy Cornet Band, was the editor of the Luminary. The Luminary is now under the management and owed by his son, Thomas B. Painter, under whose control the paper has become one of the breeziest and newsiest organs in Pennsylvania.


John Adlum Straub, Edward Adlum Straub and Peter Wilson Straub taken after the Civil War circa 1870.

When my father and mother moved three miles north of Muncy to Pennsdale , I was about three years of age. Father rented a house and shop and immediately engaged in his trade practical blacksmithing. He was one of the best horse-shoers in Lycoming County, a good practical workman and soon succeeded in working up an extensive business. In the course of time he was obliged to hire Charles Straub jr. a nephew, to assist him in his chosen trade blacksmithing.

When we were six years of age, we were sent to the Friends Public School, which was located about one-half mile east of Pennsville at the southwest corner of of a beautiful belt of woods containing about thirty acres which belt of timber and the property was owned by the venerable Charles Ellis of Philadelphia.

Miss Jane Edwards, who taught the school, was our first teacher. The lady was a very good and practical instructor, and was a pious and devoted member of the Friends Church at Pennsville. Aunt Jane was of course very particular and painstaking to drill the young people in the rudiments of a common school education. We were all required to read passages from the New Testament before commencing our daily studies.

Pennsville was at that time a small village numbering about one hundred people. It contained a cooper shop, one wagon and repair shop, one school, one cabinet shop , two general stores, one hotel, one tannery, a post office which was called Wolf Run , probably deriving its name from a small creek about two miles south of the village named Wolf Run which emptied into Muncy Creek three miles southwest of town. The Muncy Creek railroad was surveyed through the village from Halls Station on the Pennsylvania Canal to Longmont Sullivan County. The post-office was located in Pennsville, Mr. Neece being appointed Postmaster.

We were required with my brother Wilson and sister Ellen to attend the Friends School during the summer and winter terms for perhaps five or six years. If we remember correctly we did not commence all the common branches until we were ten or twelve years of age. We seem to be the recipient of a natural talent for writing, reading and geography, in which latter branches we held our own with all the girls and boys in the school, and were frequently at the head of the class.

Subsequently old Mother Time wended her way, and we were taken from the Friend's School and sent to the Pennsville Common School where we continued to the outbreak of the great Civil War.

Ellen Adlum Straub (sister of Edward) and her husband Alfred Whitacre( 1840-1932).  Taken 12/27/1877 at the time of their marriage. Ellen and Alfred were cousins and close neighbors in Muncy Twp. The two also attended the Pennsdale Friends school together (Alfred, briefly taught at the Friends School, prior to enlisting in the Civil War ) that Edward Straub describes in his memoir.

After we were about ten years of age our father put into our hands a good sharp ax and we were told to keep plenty of good stove wood ahead , and were sent frequently to Mr. Neece's general store for groceries. We soon arrived at the age of twelve years at which our mind was capable of manly improvement, and we were duty bound to make good use of our time and assist our father in the blacksmith shop. New buggies, wagon, sleighs and bob sleds began to pile up in the shop. The owners of these were liable to drop in any minute to see if they were ironed off and ready to ship home. One day, Mr. Samuel Rodgers came into the shop and inquired weather his new wagon was ironed off and finished up. Mr. Mowbry told Dad he had better skip the shop for a few minutes as Mr. Rodgers was after his wagon. He soon entered the shop and Mr. Mowbry told him Straub was not at home - he went to Muncy. In a short item we began to take an interest in hunting and fishing.

Throughout the Muncy valley, fishing and hunting were conceded to be very good. Artley's Run, Wolf Run, Muncy Creek, the Pennsylvania Canal and west branch of the Susquehanna River were all stocked with a variety of different kinds of fish, big catfish and eels were in abundance. One day the thought struck us that we would take a fishing trip down Artley's Run. We started off about noon or after dinner. At the south end of Adlum's woods was the crossing of an old wagon road and about ten rods to the south was good fishing whole and deep water. We cast our hook and line into the hole and about half an hour something gave us an awful pull the other way. Soon we saw coming out of the water a big eel twisting and squirming, but we landed him the first one we ever caught.

Spelling schools, revivals and singing schools seem to be creating much interest with the younger folks in both town and country. Whole sled loads with four horse teams came from ten to fifteen miles to attend the spelling schools and protracted meetings. Of course the meetings were highly interesting and productive of much good. Pennsville contained a few skillful vocal singers but was without a drum corps or martial band, and we conceived the idea that it would be good to organize a martial band in the village. Accordingly we purchased a good fife and learned to play it in a short time. Pierson Ort one of the best looking men in the village, brought a good snare drum and in a comparatively short time he became a good drummer. Mr. Ort has been for the past ten years the leading drummer of the Kingston, Illinois Cornet Band.

About the middle of April 1862, we were taken sick at Pennsville, we were attended by the late Dr. William M. Rankin, who was conceded to be one of the best and most skillful physicians in Lycoming County, under whose careful treatment we began to mend and recover rapidly, in the course of a few days we were feeling somewhat better.

A terrible battle had been fought between the Confederacy and the Union Armies at Pittsburg Landing (Shiloh) Tennessee. We soon called for the New York Tribune, which was conceded to be the leading and most reliable paper in the country for correct war news, and from that time on we began to manifest an intense interest in the great civil war from start to finish. Sometime during April 1862 , we removed from Pennsdale onto a farm about one mile south of Pennsdale onto a farm owned by Uncle John D. Adlum, about one mile south of Pennsville, which my brother Wilson and father during the war.

As soon as we began to recover from our sickness and get stronger, we sprung around and made ourselves useful assisting my brother on the farm, occasionally taking fishing to Wolf Run and the Pennsylvania Canal,

A droving firm was organized in the county, composed of James Eckroyd of Muncy Township, Solomon Moyer and William Albright, of Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. Mr. Eckroyd's business was to buy up cattle in the state of New York, and Mr. Albright with the assistance of an experienced drover and a good shepherd dog , were employed to drive , deliver and sell the stock out in the counties of Berks and Schuylkill Pennsylvania. One day in the falloff the year 1863, Albright's drove came along on the Muncy Road and Mr. Albright needed another man to help drive the cattle to the lower counties. Mr. Albright said , " Mr. Straub we are in need of another man to help us ship this drove of cattle to the lower counties." "All right" I said; "I am with you." The drove consisted of 147 head, one good shepherd dog, Charles G. Ort and one of the firm, William Albright. Accordingly, about 8 o'clock A. M, we pulled away from Mr. Eckroyd's farm were the drove was pastured and the rested for the night. About 10 o' clock we passed through the city of Muncy , turned the drove onto the main Danville road , and we proceeded to our journey , bound for Jerseytown , Columbia County.

We reached the latter village about sundown, drove the stock into the pasture field for the night, put up the best hotel in town, about 7 o'clock in the morning we started with our cattle for Fruitstown Columbia County. We were at Bloomsburg, passed through Cattawissa, Ashland, Schulylkill, Haven , Orwigsburg and Pottsville, the present county town of Schulykill PA.

Mr, Albright disposed a big portion of the stock in Schhulykill, Haven and Pottsville. Our last day's drive was then shipped into Berks County, and soon sold out. Charles Ort and I returned home to Muncy via the Philadelphia and Reading Rail Road.

During our trips through the counties of Lycoming, Columbia and Schuylkill, we traversed some beautiful country.

The War

On the 17th of February 1864, we went to Pennsville where we met Aaron H. Malaby, Pierson Baker and Benjamin F. Warner, who informed me they intended to enlist for a year. They told me I had better go with them; I said "All right I 'am with you." The next morning we all started for Williamsport, and after our arrival there we went to City Hotel where we met Lieutenant Heber S. Essington of Company B, Seventh Pennsylvania Cavalry. Lieutenant Essington was assigned to Williamsport for recruiting up his company and regiment. We all informed him that we had intended to enlist in the artillery service but he advised us to join his company and regiment. After an hour and a half pleasant chat, we told him to enroll our names for his company and regiment. (When we enlisted for the war we had intended to return again before going to the front and bid our parents goodbye, but we suddenly formed the idea that we had better remain away, as it would be harder to part from them a second time. Before our departure from Williamsport for Camp Curtin my father and brother came to Williamsport to see us off and bid the party who were going to leave Friday evening goodbye.)

The next morning we were closely examined by a skilled army surgeon and we all passed the examination and no objections to our being enlisted were known to exist. On Friday February 19th, we were all sworn in the military service of the U.S. Army.


Edward Adlum Straub. The image was taken in 1864  - 7th PA cavalry troopers uniform.

In the evening we boarded a regular train (about one dozen men) for Camp Curtin, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The next morning (February 20th) we were all halted at Sunberry, PA. The boys all seemed to be in excellent spirits. We were all left to ourselves now, Lieutenant Essington having left our train at Milton, Northumberland County. We were told in the morning that a few of our company, I think Sergeant George C. Devers and Lieutenant Charles T. Trego, and others were home on furlough from the front. Well in the language of Uncle Joe Cannon, "boys are boys". We recollect well the boys had a good appetite about 9 o'clock A.M. for oyster's one dish after another disappeared in short order. The boys seemed to be flush with loose change and doubtless they reflected that no oysters and refreshments would be served at the front.

Well under the influence of cigars and good oyster soup, time passed swiftly away up to 12 o'clock noon. If we recollect, Lieutenant Essington arrived shortly after noon and we all ordered to the Philadelphia and Erie Station for shipment to Camp Curtin near Harrisburg. We all Arrived at Camp Curtin about 4 0'clock P.M. sent to the barracks and put under guard over Sunday, until Monday morning when we were marched into the city and transferred to another barracks. About 3 or 4 o'clock P.M. we were all ordered aboard a regular train (February 22nd) for shipment to Carlisle Barracks, over the Cumberland Valley railroad. After our arrival at the Government Barracks, were assigned camp quarters until further orders. We were all at the barracks near Carlisle for about seven weeks. The officers kept no track of us except to provide us with good substantial board and new uniforms. One day during the during the latter part of March a young soldier from Muncy consulted the officers and prevailed on them to send us off to our regiments. Accordingly the head officers took down all our names and began to make active preparations for our shipment to our respective regiments. Finally the entire command at the Barracks were ordered to fall into ranks, every man's name and regiment called and assigned to different squads for immediate shipment to their respective regiments. A number of squads were sent to the Army of the Potomac, and all recruits for the 7th Cavalry and the 9th Pennsylvania Cavalry were soon ready to be forwarded to the General W. T. Sherman's army, then in camp near Columbia Tennessee.

About the first of April we were all sent back to Harrisburg to be shipped all over the Pennsylvania railroad for Louisville, Kentucky. Those recruits whose regiments were in the Army of the Potomac were sent into Virginia. In a short time we were ordered on board a special train for Pittsburg, thence to Canton and Bellefontaine, Ohio, to Indianapolis Indiana. We remained at the latter beautiful city until about 8 o'clock in the evening, when we boarded an extra train for Jeffersonville, Indiana and Louisville. On our arrival at Indianapolis, I began to get lame and felt symptoms of inflammatory rheumatism. I was so helpless I had to be helped by our comrades on the steamer at Jeffersonsonville for transfer to Louisville. When we crossed over the Ohio River to Louisville we were directed to barracks Number One on Main Street. Here I was laid up for a few days nearly prostrated with rheumatism. Comrades Warner and Baker insisted that they had better take me to one of the army physicians on Main Street and they thought I should be sent to a hospital. Of course the doctor knew immediately what ailed us and ordered an ambulance to convert me to the Clay General Hospital located on the south side of the city. Here we were treated and cured of rheumatism, but I was a very sick boy for sometime bed rest and prostrated. One poor comrade lay near me who told me he had been down with rheumatism for three months. He was from Washington County Pennsylvania. I wrote a letter for him to his relatives in Pennsylvania.

In the course of time when I was able to walk again we were put in our uniforms and sent to Louisville and Nashville depot to be sent to our regiment which at that time was laying in camp near Columbia Tennessee. As I was unfit for active duty for sometime, during convalescence I was sent with other comrades to the Zollicoffer barracks near Nashville. Here we remained a couple of weeks again and then transferred to Camp Smith about two miles down the Cumberland River southeast of Nashville. Here my parotid glands began to be very painful and soon informed me that I had contacted the mumps . Ere long we ordered into the line again and sent to our regiment, which was in Sherman's army near Columbia Tennessee. On account of sickness and my weakened condition Comrade Baker and our Captain William C. Garrett, advised me that I had better remain together with the other recruits in Camp at Columbia.

General Sherman's army soon began making active preparation for the great Atlanta campaign. A big military review was pending which the veterans trained eyes soon convinced them always proceeded a desperate military campaign.

In the course of a few weeks I was selected with a number of picked me, to be assigned with a mounted detachment near Columbia Tennessee. Our chief work was to scout the country in middle Tennessee, surprise, dispel and capture all the guerillas we could find. We were armed with the celebrated Spenser carbines and breechloaders with which one of our men was equal to nine men of the enemy armed with Springfield muskets. The guerillas were privileged characters acting independently of the Confederated armies, plundering and robbing the country. We were frequently routed out of bed at midnight, and marched from twenty to twenty five miles after a gang in order to capture them before daylight.

Some time during September ( 1864) Forrest's cavalry, composing about 500 of his command suddenly appeared about tow miles north of Nashville turn pike road. The object doubtless was to attack our mounted detachment at Columbia, smash, crush, and capture our entire command. The day before our fight with them, they had captured our pickets and sent one of them (James Hoover of Company H.) back to our camp, barefooted and bareheaded. After comrade Hoover returned to camp stripped of uniform except shirt and pants he told us where we would find Forrest's raiders. Our Commander William C. Garrett immediately made a detail of about fifty mounted men. We started from camp soon after dinner. Forrest men were found about two miles from the north. When we approached one half mile from them we were ordered by our commander to charge them and when within twenty-rods to give them a volley of Spencer Specific for Confederate rash. We charged up a hill about half a mile long and before we reached the top the enemy poured into us a volley from their old Springfield muskets, but their old Minnie balls hit no man. Onward we went (railway time), over the hill and soon captured a few prisoners. Forrest's men soon broke and stampeded over the fence and into the woods. We continued the charge for about two miles but most of the enemy made good their escape.

In the course of a month or more a charge was made on the village of Williamsport Tennessee, and the command captured a young lieutenant of Forrest Cavalry, who informed us that he was in the encounter with our command near Columbia , he said they were scared and thought we out numbered them about two to one. After the charge we returned with our prisoners to Columbia.

Our mounted detachment remained in camp near Columbia until November 1864.

During the middle of November, 1864, we were ordered to break camp at Columbia, Tennessee, and march direct to Nashville, at which city we were turned our horses over to the Government and went into camp to await further orders. . We were then ordered to board a steamer for Louisville, Kentucky, via the Cumberland and Ohio Rivers. On our arrival at Louisville, we were marched about two miles south of the city and went into camp to await further orders. At Louisville, we were supplied with new guns, new uniforms, and new horses. We were required to do camp guard duty and keep our camp cleaned up and appear on inspection occasionally. Our band was required to keep up our spirits with patriotic music, and make their horses familiar with the drums.

The Division was in the saddle and on the move again at 7 A.M., on the 29th, and marching two miles beyond Bardstown to the camp of the Third Ohio, which had remained at that place, went into camp for the night. The day was very cold and many officers and men preferred to march on foot leading their horses. Just before going into camp, when near Bardstown, Dr, J.L. Shirk, 7th Pennsylvania surgeon of Minty's brigade and Captain Robert C. Mc Cormick , of Company G. 7th PA and Brigade Inspector , obtained permission of Colonel Minty to go a mile to the left and call on Mrs. William B. Grigsby who had been kind in caring for the officers and men of the 7th PA while sick during their first march through Kentucky in the winter of 61-62. The two officers rode on accompanied by a single orderly. In about an hour , the orderly rode up as we were going to camp and reported that Mc Cormick and Shirk were killed , they had been attacked while in the home by guerillas . A squad of the 3rd Ohio was immediately sent out to catch the murderers. It appears that Shirk and McCormick dismounted and entered the house, leaving their horses under the care of the orderly. After a short conversation while sitting in the parlor and the young daughter of Mrs. Grigsby was playing the piano, Magruder (Henry C. Magruder 1843-1865), Davis and Summerland with about fifteen guerillas surrounded and entered the house through the doors and the windows immediately commenced firing on them. Doctor Shirk told them while they firing that he was a surgeon and McCormck offered to surrender and asked for quarter. It was also said that the young lady, then a child of about fourteen years of age rushed between the brute Magruder,, and one of the officers declaring that he should not be killed.

To be continued.......

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