Thursday, April 14, 2011

Jacob Pensinger, Jr. - Civil War Vet

Listed in the Biographical Annals of Franklin County, Pennsylvania is one Jacob Pensinger, Sr. The photograph shown here is of Jacob, Jr., his son, who served, along with two of his brothers, George and David, in the Civil War. They were all born and raised on a farm near Greencastle, Pa.

Jacob Pensinger Jr. was born in the year 1813. He enlisted in the Union Army sometime in 1862. He was 49 years old when he volunteered. It is speculated among the family that his having 15 children may have had something to do with his enlisting at such an advanced age. It's possible that the relative peace and tranquility of war may have been preferable to the noise level in his own home!

According to the Annals , he enlisted in Company D of the 126th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. This would be the first of the 2 enlistments he made during the war. He served with the 126th at both the Battle of Fredericksburg and at the Battle of Chancellorsville.

At the conclusion of that period, he re-enlisted with the 21st Pennsylvania Cavalry, fighting with that regiment at the Battles of Cold Harbor, and eventually at Appomattox, where Grant took Lee's surrender in April of 1865. He mustered out shortly afterward in Lynchburg, Virginia, returning home to Franklin County.

My wife, Sue's family has a rich and diverse history, having first arrived in America back in the early 1700's aboard the ship Patience, landing in Philadelphia. There is also a wealth of information about them on line. Here is a letter from a Captain Davidson, written to Jacob, Jr., concerning the mortal wounding of a mutual friend, Sgt. Rupley, in the fighting near Chancellorsville. There is also a postscript which informs Jacob of his brother David's good fortune in escaping from the battle unhurt;

Camp near Falmouth, Va.
May 7th. 1863.

Mr. Jacob Pensinger

Dear Sir:-Having arrived in camp late last evening, I take this the first opportunity to inform you of the death of Sergt Simon W. Rupley of my Company. He was severely wounded in the action near Chancellersville about 11 o'clock A. M. on the third of May and died on the evening of that day in the hospital of our division.

In him we have lost one of the best soldiers in the company, and Greencastle certainly one of its best citizens. I have received from the surgeon in charge of the hospital what notions he had in his pockets when he died, Viz-1 pocket book containing $7.65, 1 knife, comb, testament and etc. He was buried in a coffin near the hospital.

You please communicate these facts to his wife and oblige.

Yours respectfully,

Capt. A. R. Davison, Co. K.

P. S. - Your brother David escaped unhurt. Lieutenant Rowe is severely wounded though not dangerously, George Missavy died of his wounds. John Rebinsoa, Wm. F. Rupert, Scott K. Snively, Iac Winger and John Beamisdefer were all slightly wounded.

In Co. B, Johnathan Bowman is missing I don't know who are wounded.
Wm. H. Snively of Co. K. is also missing and I suppose taken prisoner, at least we have not heard from him since the action.

I will take the articles from Sergt. Rupley home with me when I come home which will be between 15th and 20th of month.


Living around the area of Gettysburg, Pa. during the Civil War, this family was witness to, and a part of, our national heritage. The sacrifices on both sides were great, and the issues involved enormous. So large, in fact, that some of these same issues continue to divide us today.

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