George Bartles

 

Henry Bartle, a private in Co. K, 126th PA Volunteer Infantry, was the subject of the Soldier’s Story on November 13, 2013. His oldest brother was George W., who was born about 1839. George also enlisted in Co. K, along with his brother, but was the “wagoner” for Greencastle’s Co. K.

 

Henry Bartle Sr. married Eve Remley, with whom he had three children – George, John, and Henry Jr. When Eve died, Henry remarried Harriet, whose maiden name is unknown. During the 1850 U.S. Census, the Bartle family was living in Greencastle. Henry, a miller, owned property valued at $200. All three boys were living with them, including Henry and Harriet’s first child, a daughter, Malinda, who was one year old.

 

Within the next ten years, the Bartle family moved from Greencastle to Montgomery Township. Montgomery Township was established, in 1781, from the southern part of Peters Township, south of today’s PA Route 16. In 1860, Montgomery’s eastern border followed the Conococheague Creek. George was not living in the household of his father on the 1860 U.S. Census. Henry Sr, John (18) and Henry Jr. (17) were all millers. As Henry Sr. did not owned real estate, he and his sons evidently worked for a miller in the area. Henry’s father George (75) was living in the household; he was also a miller and may have still been working as the census taker did not note that he was retired. Harriet and Henry had three more children since the 1850 census was recorded – Martin (8), Anna (3), and Susan (seven months). The family’s post office was in Upton. I have not yet been able to find the 1860 census page on which George was enumerated. It could be due to the census takers’ various ways of spelling Bartle – Bartel, Bartell, Brattel, and Bartle.

 

Both George and Henry enlisted in the 126th on August 7, 1862. Henry was a private and George was given the duty and rank of wagoner. Company I was the only company in the 126th which did not have a designated wagoner. Doing a cursory scan of random Pennsylvania regiments and companies, I have not found too many companies with designated wagoners listed in online records. Perhaps it was because wagoners were chosen from the enlisted men after muster-in.

 

That being said, the role of a wagoner was very important to his company and/or regiment. Each of the wagons carried all the army supplies. The wagoner’s duties included, not just driving and maintenance of the wagon, but also feeding and caring for the mules. As with semi-trailers, today, the wagon had to be properly loaded, to prevent shifting of the load, which might cause the wagon to overturn. The wagoner was responsible for the contents of the load, which might include food, medicines, clothing, tents, tools, weapons, and ammunition. The wagon might also include whatever the regiment’s Quartermaster required to do his duty of keeping the inventory of the regiment’s supplies. In the book “1865 Customs of Service for Non-commissioned Officers and Soldiers” by August Kautz, he wrote the following, "Each company of volunteers is allowed one wagoner, who is mustered as such, with the pay of...fourteen dollars, and the clothing and rations of a soldier. Wagoners are enlisted as soldiers, and selected afterwards, and may, therefore, at any time be returned to the ranks. The wagoner was originally intended to take charge of the company wagon, and formerly one was allowed to each company. In the present war, however, transportation has been materially reduced, and the wagon train placed exclusively under the direction of the regimental quartermaster, and thus the wagoner has ceased to be under the control of the company commander."

 

During the Civil War draft registration of June 1863 in Franklin County, George was living in Montgomery Township. His occupation was “miller,” just like his grandfather, George Bartel, and his father Henry Sr. George was single. It is very odd that his service in the 126th was not noted in the registration book.

 

A year later, George was drafted. He enlisted on September 16, 1864, in Co. M, 17th PA Cavalry, also known as the 162nd PA Regiment. Without access to the muster rolls, it is not known whether George and the other new recruits, of the 17th PA Cavalry, arrived in Winchester, VA in time to take part in the Battle of Opequan, Winchester on September 19, 1864 or not. This is the battle which “tipped the scales” in Sheridan’s favor in offensive strength. In fact, if the new members of the 17th arrived in time to participate in this battle, George would have been on the frontline of the offensive, because 17th PA Cavalry led the charge. “The fighting was very severe. General Sheridan says in his report, “I attacked the forces of General Early over the Berryville Pike, at the crossing of the Opequan Creek, and after a most desperate engagement, which lasted from early in the morning until five o’clock in the evening, completely defeating him, driving him through Winchester and capturing about two thousand five hundred prisoners, five pieces of artillery, nine battle flags, and most of their wounded.”

 

The 17th was then sent to Winchester where it guarded against attacks by Confederate guerrillas and also made sure the lines of communication were kept open with the “base of supplies.” Again, it is unknown if George was part of the detachment, but in mid-October, a detachment of the 17th, under the command of Major Spera, was sent to Martinsburg. Spear and his detachment escorted Gen. Sheridan on the “ride” to the Battle of Cedar Creek, made famous by Thomas Buchanan Read in his poem, “Sheridan’s Ride.” Sheridan’s decisive defeat of Jubal Early’s forces in this battle helped Lincoln win his second nomination as President in November of 1864.

 

The 17th wintered in Winchester, where its duties included scouting, picket duty, and keeping the bands of Confederate guerillas in check. The 2nd Brigade, of which the 17th was a part, was ordered to Lovettsville, VA, on December 31, 1864, to protect the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, the citizens of Lovettsville, and the Union’s interests in that area. From this time forward, until April 9, 1865 at the Appomattox Courthouse, the men of the 17th played a vital role in Sheridan’s continuous offense against the retreating Confederate forces. George was present to witness Lee’s surrender at Appomattox. He, as a member of the 17th, rode to Washington City, where 17th PA Cavalry encamped until it was mustered out. On May 23, 1865, George paraded in the Grand Review by Lincoln, of the Union Army. George was mustered out with his regiment on June 16, 1865. The regimental loss from the time of its organization in November 1862 until muster out was: six officers and 98 men killed and mortally wounded; 128 enlisted men died by disease for a total of 232 men. Gen. Devin, in his farewell to the 17th said, “In regiments from your State none has a brighter record, none has more freely shed its blood on every battlefield from Gettysburg to Appomattox. Your gallant deeds will be ever fresh in the memory of your comrades of the Iron Brigade and the First Division. Soldiers, Farewell!”

 

After George’s final discharge from the Civil War, he headed home a second time to Franklin County, PA. Five years after his discharge, George, 31, was living in Antrim Township. He was still working as a miller and he owned real estate, which was valued at $500. George had also gotten married. His wife’s name was Mary and they had two children, William, who was three, and Anna, who was 11 months old, was born in July 1869. George’s step-mother Harriet, 48, was living in his household. In the next dwelling and household, that was recorded on page 71 of the Antrim Township census, lived Samuel Bartle, a farmer, and his family. Samuel Bartle, 39, was living in Montgomery Township 10 to 20 years prior, when the Henry Bartle Sr. family was, also, living in Montgomery Township. Perhaps George and Samuel were cousins, since they were not too far apart in age. Henry, George’s younger brother, was also living in Antrim Township in 1870; his family is recorded on page 35 of the Antrim census. Henry was now working on a farm, perhaps as a share cropper.

 

The last U.S. Census that I’ve found for George and/or Mary was recorded in 1880. He, still working as a miller, and Mary had five more children, all daughters – maternal (identical) twins Francis and Katie, who were eight; Clara, six; and another set of maternal twins Maud and Edith, three. Their daughter, Mary was 10 years old but her older brother William, the only boy, was not on the 1880 census.

 

On the same census page was another miller, Hiram Young. Eli Fuss and his son James were makers of grain cradles. James Can was a blacksmith and the remainder, of the men, was laborers

 

The last government record which I found, for George, was a pension application, which was applied for by Mary E. his wife on February - , 189-. Unfortunately, the resolution is so poor, that areas are not legible. A daughter, Blanche, also applied, as a minor, on July 12, 1890. Perhaps, George died in January or February of 1890 and Mary applied shortly after his death. Blanche, as a minor, may have been another daughter born after the 1880 census. There is no record of George listed on the Greencastle or Antrim Township, 1890 Special Veterans Schedule, which is a good indication that he may have died earlier in 1890.

 

The Veteran’s burial card says he is buried in the “Antrim” graveyard in Antrim Township. Further research defined the graveyard as the old Dunkard, German Baptist graveyard, across the road from the old school, in Brown’s Mill/Kauffman's Station. George is buried in Section A, Lot 18. The gravestone, in its present condition, does not give any clues to his date of death. Hopefully, after cleaning, more information will be uncovered. If one looks carefully, the “shadow” of a badge or shield can be seen, which encompasses his name, G. W. Bartle, Co. K, 126th PA INF.

 

I could not find Mary, George’s wife, on the 1900 census. Because their only son William may have died at a very young age and the rest of their children were girls, who may have gotten married, it makes it very difficult to find a widow, under these circumstances. Mary does not seem to be buried alongside George.

 

 

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