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  • In his own words, from the diary of Martin H. Hager - the journey north to join the battle that turned the tide of the war. Martin is the company's 15 year old drummer, having been doing this for close to two years at this point. He joined the Union army on August 1st, 1861, age 13.

    After having marched from Falmouth Station, near Fredericksburg, up to Manassas, across the fields where both Battles of Bull Run had taken place, and camped at Bristow for a few days (a total of 58.5 miles marching), with reports of heavy firing on the right (presumably hearing the sounds from the Battle of Winchester, another rout for the Rebels), Company K of the 61st Pennsylvania Regiment of Volunteers begins making its move north, which will cover 152 miles over 6 days, culminating in joining the Union forces already in their second day of the epic 3 day Battle of Gettysburg. Following will be Martin's daily diary entries throughout this march, during the battle itself, and for several days after the battle's conclusion, as his Brigade is in the lead, chasing the Rebel forces back down to Virginia, and off Yankee soil, for the last time. I have included the miles for each leg of the journey north:
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  • Thu, 25th June (1863) - fine day. fixed up a nice tent. rained at 4 p.m. Marched at 5 p.m. Marched till 12 midnight. Camped at Centreville. (13.5 miles)

    Fri, 26th - rained all night and kept drizzling all day. Marched at 6 a.m. passed Herndon Station. Camped at Dranesville. (18 miles)

    Sat, 27th - marched at 3 a.m. fine day. marched to Edwards ferry. crossed the Potomac River into Md. Camped 2 miles from river. (21.5 miles)

    Sun, 28th - fine day. marched at 3 a.m. passed through Poolsville, Barnsville, over the Blue Ridge Mountain, around Sugar Loaf Mountain. Passed through Krystation, encamped four miles other side. (20 miles)

    Mon, 29th - marched at 3 a.m. drizzling rain all day. passed the B & O Railroad at Monrovia, passed through Newmarket, Ridgeville, recrossed the railroad at Mount Airy and camped at Sarne Creek. Plenty of cherries. Living fat. (25 miles)

    Tue, 30th - marched at 4 a.m. Drizzling all day. Passed through Jewsburgh, Spring Mill, Westminster, and camped 2 miles from Manchester. Where mustered for May & June. (25 miles)

    Wed, 1st July - fine day. Am on orderly. Heavy firing all day in direction of Pa. marched at 9 p.m.

    Thur, 2nd - Marched about 5 miles, all last night, then marched all day. Passed Silver Run, crossed into Penn. Passed Littletown and got near Gettysburgh at 2 p.m. Formed a line and went in. Regiment engaged. (29 miles - total marched since the 25th - 152 miles)
  • Fri 3rd - Heavy fighting late last night and early this morn. Our Regiment is on the extreme right. All quiet at 11 a.m. Awful cannonading from 1 till 2 (this would be the artillery barrage that preceded the famous Pickett's Charge). Terrible fighting the rest of the day (Pickett's Charge). Our Regiment not in - only skirmishing - 2 men lost. Gave Rebs a good thrashing.

    Sat. 4th - I was at the hospital all day yesterday (serving as an orderly). This morn it was broken so I went to the Regiment. Company went as picket at 7 p.m. Rained all day. Spend the 4th very bad by getting soaking wet.

    Sun. 5th - fine day. Company came in at 4 a.m., marched at 7 a.m. Marched over battlefield. WHAT A SICKENING SIGHT! Our Regiment now deployed as flanking skirmishers firing in front. Campt at the foot of the mountain.

    Mon 6th - Regiment was in last night. Marched at 6 a.m. Drizzled some today. Marched in line of battle. Passed through Fairfield. Stayed in line (of battle) all day. 1 mile from Fairfield, skirmishing all day. Rebs retreated at 5 p.m. Our Brigade (Neill's Brigade) advanced to the top of the Mountain.

    Tues 7th - Fine day. Marched at 7 a.m. Our Brigade and Brigade of cavalry follwed the Rebs. The rest of the Army went by a flank move. We passed Montrey, Waterloo and Waynesboro. Encamped a mile from Waynesboro. Rebs destroyed everything here!

    Wed 8th - Rained very hard all night. Stopped this morning. Fine afternoon. We have fine times in Waynesboro.
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    And now, begins my own journey in my Great Grandfather's footsteps, 151 1/2 years later, answering the call of my own distant drummer. Let the journey begin.
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