Ringgold Light Artillery
Reading, Berks County

Recruited at Reading
Mustered on April 18, 1861, at Harrisburg

James M'Knight-Captain Fleck, Henry Muhlenberg, Charles P.
Henry Nagle-First Lieutenant Frees, Adam M'Knight, Joseph H.
William Graeff-Second Lieutenant Frees, John, Jr. Miller, William M.
George W. Durell-First Sergeant Fox, Harrison Mock, William P.
Daniel Kreisler-Second Sergeant Frantz, Christian C. Mast, James L.
Henry Rush-Third Sergeant Faust, Adam M'Ilvaine, Howard
Jeremiah Seiders-Fourth Sergeant Fix, William W. M'Lenegan, John H.
Levi J. Homan-First Corporal Fox, James A. Neihart, Henry
F. W. Folkman-Second Corporal Gehry, Addison Pearson, Edward P., Jr.
Jacob Womert-Third Corporal Gebhart, Charles W. Pileger, James
Horatio Leader-Fourth Corporal Geiger, Henry Peck, Frederick
John A. Hook-Musician Gries, Lemuel Phillippi, Frederick H.
George B. Eckert-Musician Gentzler, James H. Ritter, Ferdinand S.
Ash, Solomon D.                 Hamilton, Samuel Rush, Henry
Anthony, James M. Huyett, Amos Rapp, William, Jr.
Ammon, Anthony Hill, Nathaniel B. Rambo, Francis
Ansart, Charles B. Helms, Andrew S. Rambo, Isaiah
Berger, Augustus Haberacker, William Rhoades, George B.
Bickley, George S. Hessler, Jacob J. Sherman, Jackson
Burkhert, Reuben R. Housel, Franklin Shaeffer, Franklin
Bouse, Harrison G. Kennedy, John L. Smith, Edward L.
Bowers, William W. Knabb, George W. Smeck, Franklin
Bechtel, Aaron Koch, John D. Silvis, George W.
Bitting, Charles A. Leeds, Jacob Scull, Edward
Coleman, Henry Lutz, Harrison Spangler, Charles A.
Christ, William F. Lantz, Peter A. Shearer, Jonathan
Drenkel, Amos Levan, Daniel J. Smith, William H.
Dickinson, Daniel M. Leaf, George D. Shirey, Albert H.
Ebling, Edward G. Levan, Aaron H. Sauerbier, William
Ermroutent, Benjamin F. Leoser, Christopher Seyfert, Albert H.
Eisenbeis, Henry E.                 Lauman, George S. Witman, Daniel
Eben, William C. Leeds, Isaac S. Whiteside, Henry
Evans, Samuel Levan, Charles Yohn, Daniel S.
Eltz, Robert Maltzberger, Daniel Yohn, John L.
Yeager, Frederick M.

THE RINGGOLD LIGHT ARTILLERY.

By Frederick M. Yeager, of Reading, Penna.

Organized and commanded by Captain James McKnight from August, 1850. until June 14. 1861, when he was appointed to a captaincy in the Fifth United States Artillery. President Lincoln issued his proclamation for seventy-five thousand men April 15, 1861. On that morning the Ringgold Light Artillery were drilling with full ranks and equipped on their parade ground a short distance from the city, when telegraphic news reached the corps on parade of the proclamation of the President.  The following dispatch was forthwith sent to Governor Curtin and appears in the record of dispatches in the office of the Adjutant General at Harrisburg:

Reading, Pa., April 15, 1861.

Governor A. G. Curtin.

The Ringgold Light Artillery are parading this morning with their guns for practice; have ninety men on parade, every one of them expecting to be ordered on duty for the U. S. service before they leave their guns.

H. A. LANTZ.

The Deputy Secretary of the Commonwealth, as appears by the first dispatch recorded on the day as sent, answered:

Harrisburg, April 15, 1861.

H. A. Lantz, Reading.

Dispatch received. Will answer more fully as soon as possible.

S. B. THOMAS,
Deputy Secretary.

 

This dispatch was followed by another from the Secretary of the Commonwealth.

Harrisburg, April 15, 1861.
 

Captain James McKnight.

Bring your command to Harrisburg by first train. If any of the men need equipments, they will be provided by the general Government. Lose no time.

By order of the Governor,

ELI SLIFER.
 

This dispatch was received by Captain James McKnight at 11.20 A. M. April 16, 1861. By first train after its receipt the Ringgold Light Artillery, 105 men, took passage, fully uniformed, armed and equipped, for Harrisburg and reached there at 8 o'clock P. M. At once they reported for duty to the Secretary of State (the Governor being absent at Washington, D. C), who by telegraph reported the Ringgold Light Artillery at Harrisburg, Pa., awaiting orders, to the Secretary of War at Washington. The Secretary of War telegraphed in answer: "Push forward the company by first train."

This telegram conveying orders to march was transmitted by the Secretary of Commonwealth to Captain McKnight. Orders in obedience thereto were then issued to the command to take the train for Washington at 3 o'clock A. M., April 17, 1861. If these orders had not been countermanded the Ringgold Light Artillery would undoubtedly have reached Washington in advance of all troops. At midnight, however, the order to march was countermanded in the following counter order:

Harrisburg, April i6, 1861.

Captain James McKnight.

You will please delay your march to Washington until ordered by the Governor.

Respectfully yours,

ELI SLIFER.

The following is an extract from the Pennsylvania Daily Telegraph of April 17, 1861, an evening paper published at Harrisburg:

"Last night about 8 o'clock the Ringgold Artillery, Captain James McKnight, numbering 105 men, arrived. They took up quarters at Herr's Hotel. They are a fine body of men and are fully prepared and determined to do their whole duty in the present crisis. Our citizens welcomed them with cheers."

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Reference: The First Defenders, BY HEBER S. THOMPSON, PRESIDENT OF THE FIRST DEFENDERS' ASSOCIATION 1910