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Thursday
Nov112010

Civil Relations

For Veterans Day, I decided to post something about my great-great grandfather, Zachary T. Moyer, a Civil War veteran. He was attached to the Pennsylvania 48th Regiment, probably best known for digging the mine at the Battle of the Crater during the Siege of Petersburg in 1864. That battle was re-created in 2003 movie Cold Mountain.

Along with being involved in a large number of bloody and important battles, he was at Appomattox Court House around the time of the Confederate surrender in 1865. After the war, he re-enlisted for a tour of duty fighting Indians in the Western Territories and then settled down in Kingston, Pa. to raise his family while working for the Pennsylvania Railroad Zachary's son William is my father's grandfather.

The following article was originally published in the Wilkes-Barre Times-Leader in 1930, when Zachary was 83 years old. I have other documents that contradict some of the dates in this dry and sometimes confusing article, but for the most part, I think it is correct.

Aged War Veteran In Northern Army Saw Many Battles


Retired Conductor of Pennsylvania Railroad Recalls Stirring Days Following Lincoln's Call to Arms

(This is the seventh in a series of exclusive Times-Leader articles devoted to the surviving veterans of the Civil War.)


Three score and six years have passed since Zachary T. Moyer of 33 South Atherton avenue, Kingston, then a lad of only sixteen, heard Lincoln's call to arms and joined the Union Army to take part in the greatest civil war that history records. Now in his eighty-third year Sergeant Moyer is one of the comparative few that yet remain of the boys in blue whose valor preserved the Union.

Mr. Moyer served two enlistments in the war, the fist of sixteen months and during his second enlistment was promoted to sergeant. Following the war he secured employment with the Pennsylvania Railroad and followed railroading for forty years and the the time of his retirement in 1913 was a passenger conductor between Wilkes-Barre and Pottsville. Although well advanced in years, he is still hale and hearty. With the estimable wife, who is still living they celebrated their golden wedding anniversary ten years ago.

Enlisted in 1864

Mr. Moyers [sic] enlisted from Schuylkill county, Pa., on the 29th day of February, 1864, to serve three years or during the war, and was mustered in the United States service at Pottsville, March 2, 1864, as private of Captain Peter Fisher's Company "D", 48th Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, Colonel Joshua K. Sigfried commanding.

This regiment was recruited in the mining regions of Schuylvill [sic] county, and leaving the State September 24, 1861, it proceeded to Fortress Monroe, Va., where it encamped until November 11, when in sailed for Hatteras Island, N.C. It served in Burnside's Department and in April, 1862, was assigned to the First Brigade, Second Division, the Army Coprps, during its service taking part in engagements at Newbern, N.C., Manassas, or Second Bull Run, and Chantilly, Va.; South Mountain and Antietam, Md; Fredericksburg and Campbell's Station, Va. Knoxville and BLue Springs, Tenn.; Wilderness, Spottsylvania, North Ann, Bethesda Church, Cold Harbor, Siege of Petersburg, Mine Explosion, Six Mile House, Weldon Farm, Poplar Spring Church or Boydton Road, Fort Stedman, Fort Mahone and Fall of Petersburg, Va.

Before the surrender of General Lee at Appomattox, April 9, 1865, the regiment was detailed to guard the trains at Farmville, Va., where it was relieved to take charge of the prisoners captured by Sheridan, among whom were the Confederate Generals Ewell and Fitz Hugh Lee. The captive were marched to Appomattox Court House, whence, the Confederate Army having surrendered, it returned to Farmville, remaining at the front until the surrender of Johnson, when it proceded to Alexandria, where it was mustered out.

The war having ended, Mr. Moyer received an honorable discharge at Alexandria, Va., July 17, 1865.

Fight Indians

He reenlisted at Reading, December 6, 1865, to serve three years and was mustered in service as a private. Soon afterward he was promoted to Sergeant of Captain D.D. Vanvalvah's Company "D," 30th Regiment United States Infantry. With these commands he was chiefly engaged on guard and garrison duties in the Western states and territories, having a number of encounters with bands of hostile Indians.

Mr. Moyer was with his respective commands at all times during his enlistments, participating in all engagements from the battle of Wilderness until the close of the war, rendering faithful and meritorious service for which he was promoted to the rank of corporal, June 16, 1865.

He received his final honorable discharge at Fort Sanders, Wyoming Territory, December 6, 1869, his term of enlistment having expired.

Returning to his native State, Mr. Moyer was married July 1, 1870, to Sarah A. Kreigbaum, at Sunbury, from which union were born three children: William L, Zachary T., and Susan G., of whom one survives, William L. Moyers, of 284 Barney street, Wilkes-Barre. There are thirteen grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren living. A sister, Mrs. Emma Hinckley resides at Harrisburg.

He is a member of Conyhgham Post, No. 97, Department of Pennsylvania, Grand Army of the Republic, in which he served as senior vice commander. His wife is an active and honored member of Relief Corps, No. 37, Auxiliary to the G.A.R.


UPDATE: I've written a second post dealing with Zachary's time in the West.