Back to All Events

"Schuylkill County's Coal Heavers: The 96th Pennsylvania Volunteers"presented by David A Ward

96th PA Volunteers.jpg

"Schuylkill County's Coal Heavers: The 96th Pennsylvania Volunteers" presented by David A Ward

Originally commanded by Col. Henry L. Cake, formerly of the National Light Infantry, the 96th Penna Vols served for three years in the 2nd Brigade, 1st Div of the 6th Corps in the Army of the Potomac. Principally War Democrats the regiment fought with determination at Gaines' Mill, Crampton's Gap, Salem Church and at Spotsylvania on May 10 and again on May 12, 1864.  The regiment lost 6 officers and 126 enlisted -- killed or mortally wounded -- in its three years of service.

The talk will highlight the regiment's military engagements, offer a few quotes regarding their views on the direction of the war and reactions to Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. Other topics too such as their observations regarding the chaos of combat and death and dying will also be afforded coverage.  In addition, I'll use quotes from the soldiers to describe the generals they served under -- Slocum, Bartlett, Franklin, Brooks, Sedgwick and Upton.


David Ward Bio: Born Pottsville, Pennsylvania 1957. Graduated from Franklin & Marshall College 1980 with BA in history. Graduated 1988 from Southern Connecticut State University with master’s degree in history and library science. Professional librarian at New Academy, Livingston, New Jersey, 1984-1987. Assistant Library Director at The Hotchkiss School, Lakeville, Connecticut 1987-2018.

Founded Connecticut Civil War Round Table in spring 1989. Served as program chairman from 1989-1995. Hosted New England Civil War Conference June 1990-1992. Owner and operator of the popular battlefield tour company Civil War Tours 2000-2015. 

Published works:

The 96th Pennsylvania Volunteers in the Civil War. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland Publishing, 2018.

“Sedgwick’s Foot Cavalry: The March of the Sixth Corps to Gettysburg,” no. 22 (January 2000), Gettysburg Magazine.

“Of Battlefields and Bitter Feuds: A History of the 96th Pennsylvania Volunteers,” Civil War Regiments vol. 3, no. 3 (1993).

Historical consultant: Lincoln directed by Steven Spielberg 2012.

Book Reviews Civil War News, Blue & Gray Magazine.