History's Headlines: "The South's last stand"

History's Headlines: The South's last stand

WFMZ - by Frank Whalen (CWRT Board Member)
Feb 04, 2019

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Getting a monument built to honor Lehigh County veterans of the Civil War wasn’t easy. Wrangling over who was going to pay for it- the county or Allentown- was a sticking point for most of the last half of the 19th century. Then there was where it was to be placed, and would it disrupt trolley traffic.

When that was finally settled there was one last question: what day should it be unveiled and dedicated? The Fourth of July or Decoration Day- aka Memorial Day- were batted around as possibilities. Officialdom wanted the summer when chances were best for good weather. But all that was before the veterans were heard from. When they spoke, their message was clear. October 19th was to be the day of the dedication or they would not participate.

There was some grumbling from city hall about this but nobody at the time was really surprised. It was on October 19th 1864 that the 47th Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers, in which the largest number of Allentown and Lehigh County men had served, participated in the battle of Cedar Creek under General Philip Sheridan, an Irish American cavalry officer born of immigrant parents in Albany, New York who grew up in Somerset, Ohio, and dealt the South a blow from which it never recovered. It was also the day on which most of the local veterans celebrated their annual reunions. So October 19th it was to be.

Hindsight, which is always 20/20, makes it seem that by the fall of 1864 most people must have known that a Union victory was assured. But although the South was battered and bruised, no one, from General Grant to the lowliest private in the Army of the Potomac, was willing to make that assumption.

It was true things were looking good. Sherman had taken Atlanta and was getting ready for his march to the sea. The Confederate Army was not the fighting force it had been. And Sheridan had racked up a string of victories in the Shenandoah Valley. He was also a vigorous believer in the policy of doing what he could to make the Valley into a place that was left with nothing to supply Lee’s Army by burning crops, barns, mills and factories. From September 26 to October 8 they participated in intense raids that locals still recall today as “the Burning” or “Red October.”

The Confederate troops in the Valley were under the command of Gen. Jubal Early. He had been beaten by Sheridan at Third Winchester (also known as the battle of Opequon) and Fisher’s Hill. But as a skilled soldier with veteran troops he knew how to lead them. Their uniforms may have been rags and they had no boots, but they knew how to take orders.

For the men in the 47th regiment, being with Sheridan must have offered some satisfaction. Although they had seen more than their share of fighting it had been away from the “real” war in Virginia to take Richmond. It is quite possible some of the Union soldiers were unhappy with Sheridan’s policy of burning out the farms because they found if cruel. But whatever their feelings, they were proud of the role they would play. But there was a price.

“At least 65 members of the 47th died as a result of the regiments involvement in the battle of Cedar Creek,” writes Lewis Schmidt in his history of the regiment, “and the total casualties probably exceeded 174.”

On October 18th Sheridan was spending the night at Winchester on his way back from a Washington conference with Secretary of War Stanton. Major General Horatio G. Wright was in temporary command of Sheridan’s forces, known as the Army of the Shenandoah. While Sheridan slept Early was on the move. Just before 8 p.m. his troops moved, in single file on what later was called a “pig path.” They had no artillery. By 3:30 am they were in position. Their movement was masked by a heavy fog. “We got in sight of the enemy lines at half past 3 o clock and precisely at five o’ clock…moved in,” wrote Early.

The Union troops were caught totally by surprise. Many of them saw the rebels first like a gray ghost emerging from the fog. Some were caught literally with their pants down. Perhaps with the horrors of a Rebel prison camp in their heads they began to flee. But others had officers who were aware enough to organize their men and fight back. Among them were the 47th who found themselves temporarily under the command of Col. Thomas of the 8th Vermont. “They had been thrown into the breach during the morning rout,” writes Schmidt, “of the Federals to give the Union Army time to reform.”

Schmidt laments the fact that apparently the only member of the 47th to write about Cedar Creek was a recruit from Sunbury, journalist Henry Wharton. “Wharton’s account would seem to indicate he may not have even present while the 47th was attempting to stem the Confederate onslaught at the beginning of the battle,” Schmidt writes.

The best that exists is the official account put out by the state in the regiment’s history following the war.

Here is what it says in part:

“When the Army of West Virginia under General Crook was surprised and driven from its works, the Second Brigade with the 47th on its right was thrown into the breach to stop the retreat. The 47th’s line was formed while vast bodies of men were rushing past it. And a heavy fog reduced the visibility to fifty yards. The 47th was scarcely in position when the rebels under the cover were upon them. The right of the regiment was thrown back until it was almost forced into a semi-circle. The brigade only 1500 strong was fighting (Confederate General) Gordon’s entire division and was forced to retire in comparative good order exposed to raking fire. It continually reformed and made a stand where possible and finally checked the rebel advance.”

It was at that moment that General Sheridan arrived. Hearing gunfire in Winchester, he had mounted his big horse Rienzi (named after a skirmish in Rienzi, Mississippi, not Richard Wagner’s opera of the same name) and headed south. It was his ride that he made to Cedar Creek that helped rally the troops and turned the retreat into a victory.

Everyone who was there claimed to have personally seen Sheridan ride past them, many more than was possible. But the event was dramatic enough to capture the imagination of his troops and later the entire north. Poets gushed words on paper that made Sheridan a figure of legend. Some even attributed Lincoln’s re-election to it. Telling the troops they would be back in their morning campground by nightfall he rallied them.  “I am happy to say,” Sheridan would later write, ” that hundreds of the men, when of reflection found they had not done themselves justice, came back with cheers… still none behaved more gallantly or exhibited greater courage than those who returned from the rear determined to reoccupy their last camp.”

While Sheridan was undoubtedly a large factor, the Union had a powerful force working for them one that had nothing to do with military tactics. For what really caused the Confederates to stop their advance was the cornucopia of Union largess spread out before them: uniforms, boots and coffee in profusion that these ragged half naked men had not seen for months or even years. Writing to Lee, Early complained bitterly that “even commissioned officers” could not resist them. This was the secret weapon that turned what might have been a major Union defeat into a Confederate debacle.

Several months later the Civil War ended.

Sheridan went on to take a command fighting Native Americans in the West. Here the hero of Cedar Creek was said to have uttered the words, “the only good Indian is a dead Indian.” He claimed he never said them. Others said he had.

Sheridan was also one of the strongest supporters of the creation of Yellowstone National Park, lobbying Congress using all his war hero status to keep out railroads and other developers. He also contributed military relief efforts following the Chicago Fire in 1871.

Sheridan married a bride of 22 at the age of 44. After fathering  children, he suffered two heart attacks. Sheridan died at age 57 in 1888. When asked why she never re-married his young widow replied, “I would rather be the widow of Phil Sheridan than the wife of any man living.”

In the Lehigh Valley the veterans of the 47th continued to hold reunions on October 19th till they were no more.

Fantastic Field Trip to the National Civil War Museum

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Our CWRT made a field trip to the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg on Saturday January 26. Spearheaded by Claire Kukielka and Barry Arnold, we met at the museum when it opened at 10:00am and received a brief orientation from CEO Wayne Motts and Educator Dane DiFibo.

For the next ninety minutes, we were treated to a behind-the-scenes tour of archival material. First seen were some of the museum’s vast collection of Civil War era documents. Examples of items seen were: promotion certificates signed by President Lincoln, telegraphed requests for information from field staff, orders prohibiting the sale of liquor in Gettysburg on June 30, 1865, photos of young soldiers and sailors, envelopes from soldiers on the lines bearing postage stamps from both the union and confederacy, and many more.

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We then traveled downstairs, and after donning white cotton gloves, we entered the extensive collections area, where the sign on the door reads, “Center of the Universe.” What a fantastic and eclectic collection of Civil War memorabilia. Among the treasures were: a pistol owned by George Custer, a spoon from US Grant, a top hat owned by Joshua Chamberlain. a diary with a bullet embedded in it, ceremonial swords, field desks, boot strap pulls, a bloody Bible, a general’s uniforms, and more and more.

(The museum requested that pictures of items not on public display not be posted to the web, and so if you’d like to see them, join us before the February round table dinner for a slide show of all the days pictures.)

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Following this tour, we ate our lunches together, and then spent the remaining time before a 2:00pm lecture, walking through the public exhibits at the museum, reading histories, looking at artifacts and watching numerous videos. The museum is a gem and does a fine job explaining the causes, battles, and aftermath of the war.

At 2:00pm we were treated to a lively public presentation from Jeff Wert about his newest Civil War book (#10) entitled, “Civil War Barrons… The Tycoons, Entrepreneurs, Inventors, and Visionaries Who Forged Victory and Shaped a Nation.”

Following the lecture, we headed home more enlightened and edified than when we arrived.

The photos below are of the museum and its public collections. As stated above, we were requested not to share on social media the pictures from our “behind-the-scenes” tour.

From the Brigade Commander ~ February 2019

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          The phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” never rang truer than it did at our January meeting. Much thanks to Chris Heisey for his informative and entertaining presentation. Our country’s battlefields came alive through his wonderful photographs. We were pleased to send a $50.00 donation to the American Battlefield Trust in his name. Battlefield trekking lessons learned from Chris; stay off the railroad tracks at Thoroughfare Gap and beware of sinkholes at Ball’s Bluff. If you don’t know what that means then shame on you for missing a great meeting.

     At the January meeting I mentioned that we had a complete 28 volume set of the Time Life Civil War Encyclopedia that we wished to donate to a school, library or other facility where they would be appreciated and utilized. I am happy to report that thanks to Tony Major, Legend of Allentown Senior Living has taken the set for placement in its library. Thanks also to Marie Maly and Bob McHugh for investigating possible homes for the set.

      I know we have a few slackers out there who have not as yet re-enlisted for this Campaign. Please see Jeff Gates at the February meeting or suffer the consequences! Seriously, we need and appreciate your continuing support!

     We have partnered with the Southern Lehigh Public Library in the past supporting their Civil War programs. On Monday, April 15 at 7PM Alisa Dupuy will present a first-person impression of Clara Barton. More information will be forthcoming, but please save the date as this will be an excellent program. www.solehipl.org

     You should all be aware that the site of our Gettysburg conservation work on April 27th will be at the John Slyder Farm. No excuses for missing this important work day. There is something for everyone, painting, fencing, brush cutting or just standing around critiquing the work done by others. We’ll have fun, learn about that portion of the battlefield and help preserve and conserve our nation’s historic land! A sign-up sheet will be at the February meeting.

     Preservation efforts come by all sort of ways and means. The Civil War Memorial in downtown Allentown at 7th and Hamilton has been bathed in garish multi colored lights. While appropriate to draw attention to this memorial by lights, purple and pink seem rather more festive than respectful. Check out our website for Frank Whelan’s letter to city fathers asking for some respect for those who served so long ago. Well done Frank! www.cwrt easternpa.org

     Claire and Barry worked long and hard to set up the field trip to Harrisburg’s wonderful Civil War Museum. Those who went on this trip on January 26th were able to view some of the treasures behind the scenes thanks to Wayne Motts. Please let Claire and Barry know how much you appreciate their hard work and dedication on behalf of our organization.

     Please join us on February 5th when Dr. Cheryl Renee Gooch will present, “Hinsonville’s Heroes” Last August Kay, Kim and I attended the Civil War Round Table Congress in Harrisburg where we met Dr. Gooch. You are in for a real treat! You won’t want to miss this program! See you on the 5th!

                             Ed Root   sartilly@hotmail.com   610-417-6673

January 26th Field Trip To National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg ~ Final Plans

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Final Update:

Our itinerary for the January 26th field trip to the National Civil War Museum is now set: 

  • Meet at the Holiday Inn in Fogelsville, PA on January 26, 2019 at 8:10 a.m.

  • Leave no later than 8:15 am Saturday morning.

  • Arrive and enter museum at 10:00 am

  • Private tour- 10:00 am – 11:30 am.

  • 11:30-1:00 Tour of other public areas and eat bag lunch.

  • Speaker- 1:00-2:00 with Jeff Wert, historian and author.

  • 2:00-3:00- last minute look at exhibits.

  • 3:00- Depart to return to Holiday inn, Fogelsville, PA

  • Everyone please remember to bring a bag lunch and beverage.

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SECOND FIELD TRIP...JAN. 26, 2019

Barry Arnold and Claire Kukielka

Our second field trip is scheduled for January 26, 2019. We are going to the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg. We will arrive at 10:00 a.m. and have a private tour of places that folks are not normally admitted. After that, we can look at some of the normal exhibits.

We will take a short break for lunch and then attend a lecture by Jeffrey D. Wert who will be speaking on the Civil War and will address his new book, on the business of war.

Cost of admission is $25.00 and we must have a minimum of 12 folks to attend.

Please e-mail Barry Arnold (bjasparks@rcn.com) or Claire Kukielka(clkuk@ptd.net) to confirm your plans to attend. We would love to have you join us.

Please note we would like to collect the money in advance if at all possible.

From the Brigade Commander ~ January 2019

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From the Brigade Commander

In the midst of battles and of discussions of strategy and tactics it is sometimes easy to overlook the home front. Thanks to Rich Rosenthal we were enlightened about some of the ladies who took on large and many times grave responsibilities to hold everything together.

We welcomed new members Shelby Edwards and James Whitney at the December meeting. They joined us for the Antietam field trip with Dennis Frye in October and I’m pleased that they are now members. Please check the Brigade News section of our website and see the article written by Frank Whelan about their home and the Antietam connection with the man who once lived there!

At the December meeting I mentioned that we had a complete 28 volume set of the Time Life Civil War Encyclopedia that we wished to donate to a school, library or other facility where they would be appreciated and utilized. Thanks to Neil and Kathy Coddington, we found a home for the set at the Northampton County Historical & Genealogical Society’s Sigal Museum. Neil and Kathy are both long time volunteers there so it’s a wonderful fit.

Check out the museum website at www.sigalmuseum.org

You should all be aware that the site of our Gettysburg conservation work on April 27th will be at the John Slyder Farm. No excuses for missing this important work day. There is something for everyone, painting, fencing, brush cutting or just standing around critiquing the work done by others. We’ll have fun, learn about that portion of the battlefield and help preserve and conserve our nation’s historic land! Details to follow as we get closer to April.

Thanks to everyone who responded to our monthly contest on a word definition from Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary. Remember, the first person who finds the word and definition in our website and emails me receives 3 free book raffle tickets at our meeting. Actually, since we’ve been running this contest before the September gathering exactly no one has responded with the correct answer. As a matter of fact, only ONE person responded period and that person who shall remain nameless failed! It’s not hard folks, humor me, and check out our website for the Ambrose Bierce mystery word definition of the month. Send an email to me with the word AND attend the January meeting. I’m counting on you!!!

Dues are overdue! Send your $25.00 check (It’s ok to send more if you’re so inclined!) to our PO Box 333, Allentown, PA 18105. See Paymaster Jeff Gates at the December meeting. A hearty thank you to those who responded to our Annual Appeal. Your generosity will go a long way in bringing wonderful programs to the Lehigh Valley while helping to maintain our meeting and dinner costs as low as possible.

Our next CWRT Board Director’s meeting will be held on January 22nd at the Southern Lehigh Public Library, 3200 Preston Lane, Center Valley, PA at 6:30 PM. All members in good standing are welcome!

Please join us on the SECOND TUESDAY OF THE MONTH on January 8th when Chris Heisey will present, “Photographing Our Civil War Battlefields” See you on the 8th!

Ed Root
sartilly@hotmail.com
610-417-6673

2019 Postage Rate Increase

Remember when a stamp was 4 cents?

Remember when a stamp was 4 cents?

2019 Postage Rate Increase

Reminder to all CWRT members - postage goes up again in 2019. Dues remain the same. Your donations to the annual appeal and allowing us to send items via email, instaed of USPS help!

Thanks!

  • The First Class Mail Letter (1 oz.) rate for postage purchased at the Post Office will increase by five cents to $0.55 from $0.50.

  • Each additional ounce for a First Class Mail letter will cost $0.15 (a decrease from $0.21).

  • “Metered Mail” rates for First Class Mail Letters (1 oz.), which includes online postage providers and postage meters, will increase three cents to $0.50 from $0.47. Each additional ounce will cost $0.15.

  • The five cent “Metered Mail” rate discount for a First Class Mail letter (1 oz.) compared to the Post Office rate represents a savings of 9%.

  • First Class Mail Flats/Large Envelopes (1 oz.) rates will not increase and will remain at $1.00. Each additional ounce will cost $0.15.

History's Headlines: This old house finds a new life {with CWRT new members}

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An article featuring the home built by a Civil War Veteran and now used by new members of the CWRT for their business.

Posted on WFMZ.com Feb 19, 2018
Written by CWRT Board Member Frank Whalen

“Have you heard about the exciting things happening in Allentown?” These are the words that Shelby Edwards and James Whitney, a young couple, recall hearing from a friend, words that began their journey to the Lehigh Valley from Seattle.

Deciding they needed to put their business littledrill LLC (“a photography studio that combines conventional design photography and styling for brands and business”) closer to New York, the two artists/entrepreneurs began looking around. Knowing that the costs of living and operating a business in Manhattan and the general New York/New Jersey metropolitan area were out of their price range, but wanting to live in an urban environment, they were first attracted to urban pioneering opportunities in Detroit.

“We had pretty much made up our minds about moving there,” says Edwards, who is the owner and creative director of littledrill LLC, and had been a top stylist manager for Nordstrom in Seattle, “when a friend told us about Allentown.” Not only was it affordable for them but the Lehigh Valley was close enough to New York for them to get in and out of. Both she and Whitney, who is a professional photographer, were excited and acted. Since last year they have purchased a house and a business space in downtown Allentown. As part of what Professor Richard Florida christened “the creative class” that has been reviving American cities, the couple would be considered cutting edge.

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But there is another aspect of 1122 Hamilton, one that Edwards and Whitney were not aware of when they brought the property. They have since discovered that the building was built in 1872 by carpenter and wood worker artist Abraham Babp as a home for his family. Although the space has been much changed since Babp’s day, Edwards and Whitney sense a link with the building’s history. “Knowing that a creative person, a wood worker/artist like Babp made his home here adds a whole wonderful dimension to the space for us,” says Whitney. “It is almost as if we in are a part of a continuity with the city’s artists and artisans of the past.”

On October 24, 1929 the New York Stock Exchange collapsed in a frenzy of stock-selling, heralding the arrival of the Great Depression. All of which held no interest for 92-year-old Abraham Babp of 1122 Hamilton Street. Lying in bed in his home, he was dying. For two weeks Babp, who had enjoyed good health for many years, could feel old age and his aliments catching up with him. But almost to the end his mind remained clear. Finally, at 9 o’ clock on the evening of October 25th, 1929, with his unmarried daughter Anna nearby, Babp joined in death his wife Sarah, who had died 15 years before. He was buried next to her in Fairview Cemetery.

By standards of any era Babp had lived a good, long life. And from his birth on June 17, 1837 to Charles and Lydia Shug Babp in Forks Township near Easton, he had seen changes in technology that included the railroad, the telephone and the light bulb. His obituary notes that he particularly observed and commented on the changes of transportation from wagon, to horse drawn street car, to electric trolley car and finally to automobile that passed outside his Hamilton Street front door.

Sometime in his youth Babp left Northampton County for Allentown. Here he went to work for Charles Hanzelman’s organ factory (his obituary misspelled it Heintzleman, apparently confusing it with a prominent Allentown family) to learn the trade of organ maker. The factory was located on Walnut St. near 9th.  The term factory in the context of pre-Civil War Lehigh Valley should not be taken to mean mass production. Like many things in the 19th century, organ making was still largely a skilled trade. Babp should be seen as more of a skilled organ maker then a factory worker.

The biggest thing that happened in Babp’s long life was the Civil War. Although there are no known photos of Babp, he may be in one of those collective photos of graying, bewhiskered veterans that were taken in the early 20th century at Center Square. On September 17, 1861 he joined the 51st Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment. He signed up in Northampton County and was a part of Company B, which was largely made up of Northampton County volunteers. The regiment formed up in Harrisburg on November 16, 1861 for three years enlistment. At that time nobody assumed that the war was going to take long. The 24-year-old Babp saw his first action on February 8, 1862 in the battle of Roanoke Island. This was followed by the battle of New Bern, North Carolina.

In July the 51st Pa. was ordered north to Virginia. They saw plenty of action serving at the Second Battle of Bull Run along with the battles of Chantilly and South Mountain. And this put them on September 17, 1862, exactly a year after Babp’s enlistment, in line for the battle of Antietam (Lee’s invasion into Maryland) as part of the Army of the Potomac.

One of the most important moments of this confused, bloody mess christened with the name of a battle occurred at a stone bridge. Then called Rohrbach Bridge, it was used by farmers to take their produce to market. Today it is known as Burnside’s Bridge after the bumbling Union General Ambrose Burnside who had been given the task of capturing it. His commander was the imperious, ambitious General George McClellan, aka the Little Napoleon. McClellan despised Lincoln, who he went out of his way to snub. He knew he would make a better president than that hayseed with his corn-fed jokes and ran against him for the White House in 1864. He lost.

Burnside’s opposite number was Confederate Brigadier General Robert Toombs. Toombs was convinced that by rights he should be the President of the Confederacy. After a brief, tumultuous time as the Secretary of State, he resigned to join the army.

Historians still debate whether Burnside or McClellan was most responsible for sending the flower of the Union Army charging against entrenched Confederate sharpshooters. But send them they did, turning the Antietam Creek red. After three hours of this futile combat the 51st Pennsylvania and the 51st New York were called in to take up the task.

Both regiments were led by Brigadier General Edward Ferrero, a dapper former dancing master from New York who gave a rousing speech.

Finally, the 51st Pa. in the person of Corporal Lewis Patterson spoke up. Described by historian Stephen Sears as a “fractious head case outfit,” they had been denied their whiskey ration for some infraction.  “If we take the bridge, sir, can we have our whiskey?” shouted Patterson. Without missing a beat Ferrero shouted back, “Yes, by God!” The words were greeted with a cheer.

The Rebels were low on ammunition and had been fighting for three hours. Yet they still were able to keep up a heavy fire. Members of the bridge assault started to drop. Finally, the two regiments joined and, Sears writes, “in a solid column under two regimental flags side by side,” they carried the bridge. Standing next to the bridge, Col. John F. Hartranft, of the 51st Pa and later to be Pennsylvania’s governor was shouting himself hoarse. “Come on boys, for I can’t halloo anymore.” When his voice finally gave out Hartranft vigorously waved his hat.

A few days after. when one of “the bloodier contests of that bloody day was over,” the dancing master kept his promise and 51st Pa. got its reward, a full keg of it. They had suffered 21 dead and 84 wounded.

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Where Private Abraham Babp was in all this is unknown. But one thing is fairly certain, he was not with his comrades when they faced the Rebels again at Fredericksburg in December, 1862 when Burnside was defeated by Lee. It was probably in early October, 1862 when they were camped at Pleasant Valley, Maryland that Babp left them. Babp became ill from with what the newspaper called “unsanitary camp conditions,” i.e., dysentery, which took the lives of more men North and South than bullets and also that of little Willie Lincoln, President Lincoln’s son.

Babp was taken to Harewood military hospital in Washington, to recover. It was here that he discovered his wood working skills. “He showed adeptness at wood carving by whittling from roots dainty napkin rings that are really works of art,” noted his obituary. “Three of these completed in November and December of 1862, encircled with blossoms and twigs, are all part of the main piece of wood. Carved on the edge are his name and regiment with which he served, the name of the hospital and the date when completed. Rings, emblematic of his regiment were also carved by him from bone and wood.”

Babp was discharged from the 51st Pa. on April 17, 1863. He returned to Allentown and took up his work as an organ builder, only now using his skills as a woodworker to decorate them as well.  He also installed organs in churches. In 1878/79 Babp began to list himself in the city directory as a carpenter instead of organ maker. Charles Hanzelman closed the organ factory in 1881 and died the following year.

For the next 40 years Babp built many homes in Allentown.  He did so working in cooperation with other artesian builders. By the early 20th century he was listed in the city directory as a yeoman, someone who lived off his investments in local property, many of which he probably built than rented out.

Sometime after returning from the war Babp married Sarah R. Kramer. In 1872 he built his home at 1222 where he raised two daughters. His wife died around 1915.  He lived on in his home with daughter Anna (his other daughter married and moved to New York) until his death. Anna Babp lived there until her death in the 1940s. Shortly thereafter it was converted to offices.

Shelby Edwards and James Whitney honor and respect Abraham Babp’s life and memory and his spirit. “We feel in a way he is welcoming us to Allentown.”

Annual Appeal for the CWRT of Eastern PA

Annual Appeal for the CWRT of Eastern PA

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Dear members and supporters of the Civil War Round Table of Eastern PA, Inc,

On this link, please find a letter of appeal for your support of our organization. As you all are most likely aware, the cost of "doing business" of any organization or business always seems to rise, not fall as time passes. This is true for our CWRT as well. Venue costs go up as food and staff costs increase; speaker costs rise as we do provide accommodations as needed as well as provide travel reimbursement. Our goal is always to support historic preservation and educational initiatives with whatever money we retain over expenses. None of our Officers and Board members receive payment other than occasional reimbursement for out of pocket expenses. Most of them donate more than time and energy and do it freely and passionately.

It is not or intent or desire to increase our dues or dinner costs as we wish to encourage membership and we wish to keep our dinner cost affordable. We feel strongly that our members and friends receive excellent value for both items. 

We do need your help however. We realize that all of us receive pleas, especially at this time of the year, and we also realize that there are more good causes than any of us as individuals can possibly support.

This plea is definitely a soft sell as we do not wish any of you to feel that there is  pressure to make any sort of a donation at this time. It is strictly up to each of you to decide if this is something you wish to do and have the resources to do.

Any and all donations will be greatly appreciated. Donations may be tax-deductible as the CWRT is a 501(C)3  -non-profit corporation.

Sincerely,

Edwin Root and the Officers and Directors of the CWRT of Eastern PA, Inc

Link to Appeal Letter and Donation Form

From the Brigade Commander ~ December 2018

From the Brigade Commander

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     If any of you missed our November meeting you missed an excellent evening with Gordon Rhea. He is one of the preeminent historians and authors of our day. His series of offerings on the Overland Campaign of 1864 are wonderful. Some folks are great writers but not polished speakers. Gordon tops the list on both accounts. If you don’t have his most recent book, On to Petersburg: Grant and Lee, June 4-15 1864 run out and treat yourself for the Holiday Season. Gordon’s analysis of Grant and Lee was both entertaining and informative. Special thanks to those members who assisted financially in bringing Mr Rhea to the Lehigh Valley.  

     We have a number of items that have been donated over time that do not quite meet our book raffle guide lines so some will be available at very reasonable prices at the Sign In table. With the holidays fast approaching there are some wonderful gift choices! 

     At recent meeting we have encouraged those who can’t attend the dinner portion of our gathering to move forward from the “walk in” section of the room to better hear and see the speaker. Once the meal is over we’ll announce when it’s appropriate to move your chair or find an empty spot at one of the tables. The choice is yours so sit wherever you are comfortable. We want all attendees to get the best experience from each program.

     I announced at the November meeting that the site of our Gettysburg conservation work on April 27th will be at the John Slyder Farm. See information concerning this fun and important event further on in this newsletter.                                                                                                  

     Our Tri-fold Meeting and Speakers information sheets are a wonderful way to spread the word about our meetings and Programs. Please help us grow by doing your part to get our message out into the community!!! 

     Bill Frankenfield has graciously donated 4 general admission tickets to the National Museum of the Civil War Medicine sites. These include the National Museum of Civil War Medicine in Frederick, MD, the Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office Museum in Washington, DC and the Pry House Hospital Museum on Antietam National Battlefield. Your Board of Directors will be working on the best way to determine how this gift should be utilized.

     Thanks to everyone who responded to our monthly contest on a word definition from Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary. Remember, the first person who finds the word and definition in our website and emails me receives 3 free book raffle tickets at our December meeting.

     Dues are overdue! Send your $25.00 check (It’s ok to send more if you’re so inclined!) to our PO Box 333, Allentown, PA 18105. See Paymaster Jeff Gates at the December meeting.

     Please join us on December 4th when Rich Rosenthal will present, “Civil War Women of Compassion, Courage and Grit.” See you then!

                             Ed Root   sartilly@hotmail.com   610-417-6673