My father died in 1990 and in the process of going through his belongings I discovered an old wooden weather-beaten trunk in the attic that aroused my curiosity. Considering the layers of dust covering the lid, it appeared that it had not been opened in many years. The lid seemed to creak and strain with the weight of the ages as I lifted the heavy oak. A neatly-folded Union Civil War uniform, complete with cap, stared up at me from the lost past. Although obviously worn, great care had been taken in its preservation. I gingerly lifted up the jacket and immediately noticed the three sergeant stripes on the upper arm. I knew then who had worn it.
My great-grandfather, Sergeant Charles Powers, had served two tours of duty during the Civil War and in 1861-62 had been stationed in Washington with the thousands of other troops guarding the city from what many thought was an imminent invasion from the South. During that period of 1861-62 he was at various times assigned to guarding the White House, Capitol and Arsenal.
Sgt. Powers lived till 1918 and my father, born in 1908, used to travel with his parents from Harrisburg to Lancaster to visit his grandfather where he would sit on the old gentleman’s knee and be regaled with stories of Civil War Washington and the Lincolns. My father than passed these stories down to me.
About Donald Motier
See more books from this Author
Published April 23, 2009
Biographies & Memoirs, History.