Out-line Field History of the Sixty-second
The text of the outline history found here is a transcription of a hand-written document presented to me in 2002 by Mimi Reed, whose ancestor was Colonel Jacob Bowman Sweitzer. There is a good bit of mystery about the document. The author is unknown. In the narrative the author usually refers to the regiment in the third person, but often uses "we" instead. Ms. Reed builds a strong case that Corporal Harrison H. Snyder of Company M wrote the outline history. Snyder's obituary indicated in addition to being a lawyer and owner of an insurance business, he was a "ready writer" who was a frequent newspaper correspondent. He is known to have written a lengthy biography of Lieutenant Stephen Collins Potts, a 1st Lieutenant of Company M, who died at Fredricksburg and after whom the Altoona GAR was named.
The version of the outline history that has survived was hand-copied from the original by Annie Bowman Sweitzer Duncan, Ms. Reed's great grandmother. Whether the original manuscript was hand-written, privately printed, or published is unknown. The document begins with a note "Compliments of A. D. Barr, Charlestown W. Va. Oct. 1. 1903," and Albert D. Barr had been a printer in Hollidaysburg before moving to Charleston, WV, where he establshed an insurance business and became active in public affairs. Barr's connection to the regiment was indirect. Before the war the Barr family and Potts family were next door neighbors in Gaysport, now part of Hollidaysburg, and Albert and Stephen were only five years apart in age. The Barrs, Potts, and Snyders were all members of the same Presbyterian church. I think Mimi Reed's idea is right that after H.H. Snyder wrote that Regimental History, Barr acquired it, perhaps from Snyder's widow. It is possible that he privately printed some copies and highly probable that Barr lent or presented a copy to Annie Sweitzer Duncan, with the salutation, "With my compliments.”
The "Out-line Field History" is both wonderful and very frustrating. There are details about the 62d not seen elsewhere, but there are great omissions of detail. For example, the author provides a description of the regiment's original uniforms, but includes no detail or description of the "French uniforms" that the regiment won for making "the best progress and present[ing] the finest appearance" among all the regiments in Porter's Division of the Army of the Potomac. He describes battles with no little more information than that the officers led gallantly and the men fought bravely.
The copy of the "Out-line Field History" presented to me is incomplete. The account is cut off mid-sentence, but my guess is that less than a page of text is missing, since the title indicated that the outline history ended on the 1st day of August 1863, and the story of the pursuit of Lee after Gettysburg is being told on the last page I have.
I have tried to transcribe the document as exactly as I could, but I have made guesses in some places where the handwriting was not clear, so there may be errors due to my misinterpretation. The author is very literate and has few misspellings other than geographical names. Where I have found mistakes and either corrected them or let them stand, I have indicated my editorial effort.
Thanks once again to Mimi Reed for sending me the document and updating the the story of the document with additional information.
Pages 1-10 Pages 11-20 Pages 21-30 Pages 31-40 Pages 41-50
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This page authored and maintained by John R. Henderson (jhenderson @
icyousee.org), Lodi, NY.
Last modified: 24 January 2018