Memoirs of Gettysburg
Simon Hubler, 1st Sgt., 143rd PA Vol. Inf., Co. I

         First Sergeant Simon Hubler Company I, 143rd Regiment, was 
mustered into service September 20, 1862, promoted from Corporal to 
Sergeant Jan. 2, 1865, to 1st Sergeant Apr 15, 1865, commissioned 2d 
Lieutenant, June 1, 1865, mustered out with company June 12, 1865.1
         We were lying at White Oak Church, south of Falmouth, 
Virginia, when we received orders to march.
         We did not know where we were going, but our course took us 
to Bealton Station, thence along the Orange & Alexandria Railroad in 
a northerly direction, and presently we arrived at Berlin's Ford, 
near Harpers Ferry, where we crossed the Potomac river.
         We crossed the Potomac about June 27th. After crossing the 
river we proceeded to Middletown, Maryland. We arrived at this place 
on Sunday.
         Guards were thrown out, as was the custom, and it happened 
that the women and girls who were coming from Sunday School, which 
was held in one of the churches of the town, were compelled to pass 
by Charley Wilson, one of the guards. Wilson told them they could not 
pass. They became very much alarmed and began to cry, whereupon 
Wilson told them they could pass if they gave him a kiss. This each 
one did, and were allowed to pass by the guards.
         At this place two young women came among the soldiers and 
announced that if any of the soldiers had any letters that they 
desired to be sent that they should give the letters to them and they 
would be stamped and mailed. They gathered a large supply of letters, 
nearly all of which were unstamped, and so far as it is known every 
letter was mailed to its destination.
         On the following day (Monday) we began our march again, and 
arrived at Emmitsburg on June 30, 1863. There we went into camp. 
During the forenoon of the next day we heard the booming of the 
cannon in the distance. We did not know what it meant nor where it 
         During the morning I left my regiment for a little while and 
went out foraging. When I returned, the regiment, and in fact, the 
entire brigade had disappeared. I found my gun and blanket where I 
had placed them, and immediately picked them up and hurried on in the 
direction which the brigade had taken.
         It seems that a courier had come during my absence with 
"hurry" orders, and the boys were on their way toward Gettysburg. It 
seems that we had camped at Emmitsburg over night on June 30th, and 
it was on July 1st when the regiment received its "hurry" orders, and 
we heard the booming of the cannon.
         About noon on July 1st we were coming into Gettysburg on the 
Emmitsburg Road when suddenly we were directed to strike to the left 
of the town across the fields.
         By this time there was a lively fight on over beyond the town 
near the Theological Seminary between Buford's Calvary and the 
Confederate forces, the same being composed of Hill's corps. We 
hurried on in the direction of the fighting and went into position. 
Before arriving at the place where we went into position we were 
ordered to unsling our knapsacks. This we did, piling them in a heap, 
and left a guard to take care of them. We saw nothing further of 
these knapsacks until after the battle when we discovered that they 
had been filled with sand by the Rebels and had been used by them as 
a breastwork.
         We went into position near MacPherson's Barn, our right 
resting near the barn and our left extending toward Reynold's Grove. 
Immediately in front of us were the 149th and 150th Pennsylvania 
Volunteers, and we were not allowed to fire for fear of injuring our 
own troops, although the mini-balls were falling among us with 
uncomfortable frequency.
         While we were standing in line near the barn a bullet struck 
Jacob Yale above the eye, and he dropped at my feet, striking against 
my leg. This was the first man killed out of Company "I" 143d 
Pennsylvania Volunteers. When he dropped the orderly directed the 
line to close up, and this the men did with serious faces. He was the 
first of many to fall on that fateful day.
         Presently orders came to move by the right flank, and we were 
hurried toward the Chambersburg Pike.
         At a farm house which stood near the barn there was a deep 
well from which the water was taken by means of a well sweep. The 
boys were making rather good use of this well, when an officer cut 
the rope allowing the bucket to fall to the bottom. His purpose was 
evidently to prevent the men from indulging too freely in the cold 
water in their overheated condition.
         It was at this farm house where John Shafer of my Company ran 
into the cellar and brought out a large crock of sour milk. He took 
it into the wagon shed near by and he and his fellow soldiers 
proceeded to dip their hands into the milk and to drink it in  that 
         While we were consuming the milk a shell passed through the 
roof of the shed, whereupon John Shafer remarked that "We had better 
hurry up because the d--n fools have our range, and might hurt 
         After leaving the shed and passing through the barn yard a 
shell struck among the straw and manure, its progress through the 
muck being apparent for a considerable distance. One of the soldiers 
seeing it shouted, "See the d--n thing go." After leaving the 
barnyard we hurried on and joined the balance of the regiment in the 
Chambersburg Pike, where they had taken position. It was now about 
three o'clock in the afternoon.
         Presently we were ordered to fire. We saw no enemy, except 
men at a very great distance. However, I fired with the rest, 
according to orders, and proceeded to put the powder from two 
cartridges into my gun, and rammed a ball down on the double charge. 
I then raised the sight to 900 yards and fired at some rebels whom I 
saw away off on the hill, probably a mile distant.
         After I had fired this shot I saw the enemy much nearer at 
hand. They were coming out of the railroad cut and were charging our 
position. We fired into their ranks and drove them back.
         They repeated the charge and we drove them back into the cut 
a second time. They then charged the third time, and we succeeded in 
driving them back again.
         About the time the third charge was made, Josiah Wolf of my 
company said, "Corporal, I have two charges in my gun and I'm afraid 
to shoot them out." I said, "All right, give it to me." I took the 
gun and fired it. The recoil was terrific. I handed the piece to Wolf 
and told him that if he got more than one charge in again that he 
would have to fire it himself. I am of the opinion that he had five 
or six charges in, instead of two.
         Soon the order came to fall back. This we did in somewhat 
broken order. As we fell back toward the town of Gettysburg, from the 
Chambersburg Pike, the Rebels followed.
         It was in the field between the Chambersburg Pike and 
Gettysburg where Crippen our color bearer fell, defying the enemy. 
When the colors went down we were directed to charge back to meet the 
Rebels, who were charging for the colors.
         They gave back before our charge and we seized the colors and 
continued our retreat until we reached the Lutheran Theological 
Seminary. As we were passing this point the captain of a battery 
stationed there shouted, "My G-d boys, save my guns."
         We placed ourselves between and around the guns and directed 
a fire of musketry into the advancing Confederate line.
         The artillery men worked heroically. One of the guns grew so 
hot that one man would hold a piece of leather over the vent while 
another would ram home the charge. As soon as he would remove his 
thumb from the vent the charge would be exploded.
         It was here, although I did not see it, that a Rebel came up 
to one of the guns of this battery, which I afterwards ascertained to 
be the Second Maine Battery, laid his hand on a gun and said, "This 
gun is mine."
         The artillery man replied, "D--n you, take it then," pulled 
the lanyard and blew the Rebel into pieces.
         Between the efforts of the battery and our own efforts, the 
charge of the Rebels upon the battery was repulsed, and we continued 
our retreat.
         Near the entrance to the town of Gettysburg our regiment 
became pretty well broken up, and I presently found myself alone.
         I hurried on toward town and passed a number of soldiers 
sheltered behind a huge heap of oyster shells. The bullets were going 
into these shells with a zipping sound, and I remarked to the men who 
were sheltering themselves there that they had better be careful or 
they would be captured. That was the last time I saw them, so I do 
not know whether they were captured or not.
         I struck off to the right and presently found myself on the 
Baltimore Pike in the midst of the town of Gettysburg.
         Before reaching the Baltimore Pike, however, I passed through 
one or two smaller streets, and while passing down one of these 
streets a party of Rebels came down a side street and saw me and a 
man belonging to the 6th Wisconsin, and a third boy whom I cannot 
place, hurrying along together.
         When we saw [the Rebels] we started to run, whereupon they 
shouted, "Halt, you Yankee sons of b------." We did not halt and they 
immediately fired.
         One of the balls cut through my hair just above my left ear, 
and struck the man from the 6th Wisconsin, a big, tall, man, in the 
back of the head. It cracked like a pistol shot.
         He fell sprawling in the street. I looked down and saw his 
brains oozing out, and then stepped over him and hurried along.
         The next instant another ball struck my cartridge box, cut 
leather of the short cap of the box nearly through lengthwise. I 
thought to myself, "I have been shot in the hip," but I could still 
run and proceeded to do so.
         Let be understood that I was fired upon by the Rebels as we 
crossed the intersection of the side street with the street on which 
we were running.
         A little further down I saw a man come out between two houses 
with a cup of water. On seeing this I hurried back between the houses 
to get a drink for myself.
         When I got behind the house I saw a Rebel standing behind the 
garden fence taking aim at one of our men. I thought, "If only I had 
a load in my gun you wouldn't shoot our boys."
         However, as I glanced a little to the right of the man who 
was taking aim I saw a second Rebel ramming home a charge in his gun, 
and looking at me with a most ferocious look. I did not stop for a 
drink of water, but hurriedly ran out the same way I had come in, 
into the street.
         Then I started right up the street, and had only gone a short 
distance when a charge of canister came crashing along the street. 
Some of the charge evidently struck some wounded who were in a 
passing ambulance because I heard them scream.
         I hurried along the Baltimore Pike fast as I could, and was 
passing a barn in the outskirts of the town when I heard someone 
shout, "Oh, Hubler!" The shout came from the interior of the barn.
         I turned and entered one of the doors and found Sidney 
Telley, of my company, lying in one of the cow stalls severely 
wounded in the arm. I took him out of the cow stall and helped him 
into another part of the barn where I cleaned him up to some extent, 
then took my large red silk handkerchief and bound up his wounded 
arm. It seems that the bullet had entered near the left wrist and 
lodged near the left elbow.
         When I entered the barn Telley shouted, "I dreamed last night 
that they shot me in the right arm, and here today the sons of b----s 
have shot me in the left arm!"
         I found a comfortable place for him to lie down, gave him one 
half of the water in my canteen to drink, and left the balance of the 
water beside him.
         Then, leaving Telley, I went over to where a new recruit from 
New York State, belonging to a New York battery, had thrown his 
knapsack, and proceeded to go through the knapsack. The New Yorker 
was evidently skulking in another portion of the barn, and did not 
see what was happening to his knapsack. I found a quantity of writing 
paper, some tobacco and some other trinkets.
         I took some of the writing paper and all of the tobacco, 
leaving the other things in the knapsack, with the exception of an 
artillery jacket, which I appropriated. I removed the red stripes 
from the jacket and slipped it on over my blouse. There were a few 
other soldiers on the lower floor of the barn, so I took the writing 
paper and tobacco up to the next floor and hid the articles in the 
         I stayed with Telley in the barn all night and in the morning 
12 men belonging to the 55th Ohio entered the barn for the purpose of 
sharp-shooting. The mini-balls were striking the barn at frequent 
intervals. The first thing these fellows did was to find and take my 
writing paper and tobacco, which I had hid, and then they proceeded 
to open fire on the enemy.
         During the night twelve pound cannon were frequently sending 
shells from our lines in the direction of the enemy. Every time a 12 
pounder was fired Telley would shout, 'My G-d, that's a big one. Do 
you think they'll shell the barn?' I assured him they would not.
         Along about eight or nine o'clock in the morning I looked out 
of an aperture between the beam of the barn and the wall supporting 
the barn, and saw two Confederates running along the post and rail 
fence about 250 yards distant. I took deliberate aim at one of the 
men who was running, and fired. The man at whom I aimed fell forward 
on his face, while the other one hurried away as fast as he could 
run. I do not know whether I killed this man or not, because there 
were others shooting at the same time.
         These incidents happened on the morning of July 2, 1863.
         The Lieutenant in command of the detail of 12 men from the 
55th Ohio wanted someone to take a note up to his commanding office, 
who was located with the regiment behind a stone wall about 350 yards 
distant from the barn where we were sheltered. The men who were under 
the Lieutenant hesitated about taking the note, and I volunteered to 
take it.
         I took the note and ran in a zig-zag fashion toward the wall 
where the 55th Ohio regiment was stationed. When I reached the wall I 
walked along in front of it for some distance, when someone shouted, 
'Say you Pennsylvanian, you had better jump over here or you'll get 
         During my run the bullets had sung uncomfortably near, so I 
hastily followed the advice which was given me and jumped over behind 
the wall. I inquired where the commander of the regiment was, 
whereupon a major spoke up and said, 'Here I am.'
         I thereupon handed him the note. Evidently the note contained 
a request for more men because the major immediately detailed a squad 
of 12 more men, and inquired of me how they would find their way to 
the proper place.
         I told him that I was going to the barn because I had a 
wounded comrade there. I told the detail to follow me and sprang over 
the wall, and running in a zig-zag fashion we all safely reached the 
         I told Telley when I returned that he should get ready to go 
with me as I was going to take him up to our lines and find a 
surgeon. I took Telley by the arm and led him out to the end of the 
         There I said to him, 'Telley, if you ever run in your life, I 
want you to run now.' He said he would run. I took him by the hand 
and we started out in the open. He ran a short distance, but I was 
compelled to frequently pull him along. He was weak from loss of 
blood and had but little run in him.
         We stopped behind a wagon shed and took our breath. I told 
Telley that if he didn't run better from that place on that I would 
drop him, and they would shoot him to pieces. He said, 'By G-d, I'll 
run,' and this time he did run.
         I took him up to the wall and took him over the wall where 
the 55th Ohio was stationed.
         Then I took him on until I found some surgeons operating, and 
said, 'Here is a man who needs your attention.' I watched them remove 
the bullet from Telley's arm and after it was taken out I hurried 
away to join my regiment again.
         I found my regiment lying behind the cemetery.
         I removed my artillery jacket and the boys called my 
attention to the fact that there were three bullet holes in my blouse.
         A little after noon General Doubleday shouted in his deep, 
heavy voice, 'Fall in guards, fall in.' We formed into line 
immediately and started on the double quick toward the left center 
where the Rebels had captured a battery.
         With the assistance of some troops that came in from the left 
we recaptured this battery, and drove the Rebels back across the 
         I did not see the hand to hand fight, but was told that some 
of the Union troops clubbed their muskets over the heads of the 
Confederates in the fight.
         After we had recaptured the battery we took position directly 
in front of it, which position we maintained the rest of the day, the 
following night and during the third day.
         I distinctly heard the noise of terrific fighting out toward 
the center, where the right at the Peach Orchard was taking place.
         During the night of the 2d I heard someone cry for water out 
in front of our position. The boys told me I'd get plugged, but I 
took the risk and proceeded with a canteen of water out in front of 
the line in the direction of the cry.
         Presently I came across the object of my search, and found 
him to be a Confederate soldier mortally wounded. I gave him all the 
water that I had in my canteen.
         He asked who I was, and I told him I belonged to the 
Pennsylvania Bucktail Brigade, whereupon he remarked that even though 
I was a Yank I had a good heart.
         The next morning our skirmishers found him dead.
         During the night there was intermittent firing, but the real 
music did not begin until early in the morning when a roar from the 
extreme right told us of the fight the 12th Corps were making to 
regain their trenches on Culp's Hill, which had been occupied by the 
Confederates in their absence the evening previous.
         We occupied a part of the morning in raising a slight 
protection of sand, earth and rails against the bullets of the enemy. 
There was very little fighting, and comparatively little excitement 
until about one o'clock in the afternoon. We heard the firing of the 
skirmishers from time to time, but little if any cannonading.
The following part was dictated October 17, 1912.
         Suddenly a cannon roared over on our left and then another 
boom sounded from the right. Immediately all the Confederate 
batteries in our front opened fire and the famous cannonade of the 
third days fight had begun. Our batteries answered the fire of the 
Rebels and the noise was terrific.
         After the cannonade had continued for some time I happened to 
look toward the left, over back of Round Top, where I saw some troops 
coming. I remarked, "Boys, here come reinforcements."
         Someone said, 'They are coming too fast for reinforcements.' 
Presently they got a little nearer and we discovered that it was our 
reserve artillery coming to take position.
         Just at our rear there was a 12 pound brass battery which had 
been silenced by the fire of the Confederates. One gun had been 
knocked down and two caissons had been blown up. The reserve 
artillery came on and a ten pound steel battery swung into the 
position which the silenced battery had occupied. They immediately 
opened fire on the Rebel battery which had taken position within 1500 
yards of our lines.
         This battery was probably the nearest of the enemy's 
batteries, and up to this time had been doing effective work for 
them. In less than 20 minutes after the steel battery had taken 
position and opened fire, the opposing Confederate battery had been 
         The artillery fire from our batteries slackened until only 
here and there a gun boomed defiance to the enemy.
         I was looking toward the lines of the enemy when I suddenly 
saw a line of Confederates advance over a rise in the ground. I said, 
'Hello, boys, here comes a charge.' The Confederates came on as 
though on dress parade, directly toward our position.
         Our artillery had opened fire, and men were dropping fast out 
of the Confederate lines. When they came within about 600 yards we 
directed two or three volleys of musketry into them and almost at the 
same time they filed obliquely toward the left and soon struck our 
lines to the right of our position.
         The din was awful. We could see the fighting only 
indistinctly because of obstructions in the way, and because of 
obstructions in the way, and because of the powder smoke.
         We soon saw small bodies of Confederates retreating, and then 
larger masses which hurried back, broken and disorganized.
         During the bombardment, preceding the charge, a man crawled 
up and stated that a shell had struck a man in Company D of our 
Regiment, taking off his head just above the ears, and scattering his 
brain over seven other soldiers. A man by the name of Stair in my 
Company looked up and asked if it killed him. The boys roared with 
laughter and called him a d----d fool for asking such a foolish 
         Picket's charge was over about four o'clock in the afternoon 
and during the remaining hours of daylight the firing was desultory.
         We maintained the position we had occupied during the day, 
during the night of July 3 sleeping on our arms. We remained where we 
were until the following afternoon when orders came to fall in.
         We started toward South Mountain after Lee who was retreating 
toward Virginia. We did not catch Lee, however, and he escaped across 
the Potomac and back into Virginia, where we were destined to fight 
with him again in the Wilderness, at Weldon Railroad and at 
Petersburg and other places.
         First Sergeant Simon Hubler Company I, 143rd Regiment, was 
mustered into service September 20, 1862, promoted from Corporal to 
Sergeant Jan. 2, 1865, to 1st Sergeant Apr 15, 1865, commissioned 2d 
Lieutenant, June 1, 1865, mustered out with company June 12, 1865.(1)
         This manuscript was written Aug. 5, 1912, when Simon Hubler, 
M.D. was 68 years old. At that time Dr. Hubler lived in Dunmore, 
[Scranton] Pa. and his only child Harry was a lawyer in the same 
town. Marcia Wilson, ggrandaughter of Simon Hubler, granddaughter of 
Harry Hubler, found this typed manuscript in a photograph album 
belonging to the late Louise Gibson Heffernan, a foster daughter 
[actually a niece] of Harry Hubler who had worked as secretary in his 
Scranton Pa law office in the 1940's and 50's).
         This narrative was originally published in the New York Times 
on June 29, 1913, in a column by Robert L. Brake. My great 
grandfather, Dr. Simon Hubler, had died two months previously in 
Scranton on April 24, 1913. He was 69 years old. He was survived by 
his wife, Julia Bird Hubler, his only child, Attorney Harry Clark 
Hubler, his two grandchildren, Katharine Margaret Hubler(2) and 
Richard Gibson Hubler.(3)
         I used to have two pocket watches belonging to my great 
grandfather Simon Hubler, one gold and one silver. My mother asked me 
to give them to her, saying she was afraid I would sell them. Shortly 
before she died, my mother sold the pocket watches, along with Simon 
Hubler's Civil War Hat and fix bayonet, to an antique dealer.
         I used (4) to have a post war reunion medal that belonged to 
my great grandfather. The medal was round, copper and attached to 
striped ribbons hanging from a copper bar. One side of the medal 
showed a Civil War soldier holding a flag and shaking his fist. The 
other side said, "Stood like a band of iron amidst the surging masses 
of the enemy. Doubleday."
An article in the History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers by Samuel P. 
Bates5 describes the role of the 143rd Regiment in the Battle of 
         A month later the corps started on the Gettysburg campaign, 
and was the first to reach the field of action. It had bivouacked on 
the night of the 30th at a point on Marsh Creek, about four miles 
from the town of Gettysburg. On the morning of the 1st of July it 
moved forward and soon the sound of artillery was heard, the cavalry 
under Buford engaging the enemy's advance.
         At a little before noon the brigade went into position upon a 
ridge beyond that on which the Theological Seminary stands, under a 
heavy fire, the One Hundred and Forty-third forming on the line of 
railroad. Early in the action General Reynolds was killed, and 
Colonels Stone and Wister were wounded.
         The command of the brigade then devolved on Colonel Dana, 
that of the regiment on Lieutenant Colonel Musser. A terrific fire of 
infantry and artillery was brought to bear on the position, but it 
was manfully held, though the dead and wounded on every hand told at 
what a fearful cost.
         Repeated charges were made with ever fresh troops, but each 
was repulsed with fearful slaughter. Finally the enemy succeeded in 
flanking the position, and the line was pressed back a short 
distance, but made a stand in a field a little back from the first 
railroad cut.
         Later in the afternoon the brigade was forced to retire to a 
position near the Seminary. When this movement became necessary-- the 
Union force being vastly outnumbered, and the command for it had been 
given-- the color bearer of the regiment and many of the men could 
with difficulty be made to face to the rear, seeming determined to 
die rather than yield the ground. In executing this movement the 
color bearer, Benjamin H. Crippen, Sergeant company E, was among the 
last to move and was killed in the act, still clinging to his 
         This incident is thus recorded by an English officer, who was 
at the time with the enemy, in an article in Blackwood's Magazine .6 
"General Hill," he says, " soon came up...Said he had two of his 
divisions engaged, and had driven the enemy four miles into his 
present position, capturing a great many prisoners, some cannon, and 
some colors. He said, however, that the Yankees had fought with a 
determination unusual to them. He pointed out a railway cutting in 
which they had made a good stand; also a field in the centre of which 
he had seen a man plant the regimental colors, round which the enemy 
had fought for some time with much obstinacy, and when at last it was 
obliged to retreat, the color bearer retired last of all, turning 
round every now and then to shake his fist at the advancing rebels. 
General Hill said he felt quite sorry  when he had seen this gallant 
Yankee  meet his doom."
         The flag was rescued and brought safely off. When all hope of 
longer holding the position was gone, the brigade fell back through 
the town and took position on Cemetery Hill, where the shattered 
ranks of the two corps which had been engaged were re-formed.
         On the morning of the 2nd, artillery and picket firing opened 
early, but was light on the immediate front occupied by the brigade. 
In the afternoon a heavy attack was made upon the left of the line 
where Sickles' Corps stood, and the brigade was ordered over to its 
support. The movement was executed under a heavy fire of shells, from 
which some loss was sustained, and a position taken on the left 
centre in open ground, where it rested for the night and threw up 
works, the ground being lowest of any part of the whole line.
         At four o'clock on the morning of the 3rd, a heavy artillery 
fire was opened which extended along the right of the line, and at 
one P.M., the enemy opened with all his guns enveloping the whole 
Union front, the shells and solid shot ploughing the fields in every 
direction.  Later in the afternoon the enemy made his last grand 
infantry charge upon the left centre, the strength of which fell a 
little to right of the position where the regiment lay.
         This charge, though made in great force, and pressed with 
singular obstinacy, was completely repulsed, and the enemy fell back 
not again to renew the battle. The regiment entered this engagement 
with 465 men, rank and file. Of these, the killed and missing in 
action, supposed to be killed, was 47, and the wounded and prisoners 
were 205, an aggregate loss of 252, more than half of its entire 
strength. Lieutenants Charles W. Betzenberger, and Lee D. Groover, 
were among the killed, and Lyman R. Nicholson mortally wounded.
                                 İMarcia Sandmeyer Wilson 1994
                                 259 Leonia Ave.,Leonia, N.J. 07605
1 History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers by Samuel P. Bates (p. 513.)
2 Katharine Hubler, my mother, was born 1907 in Dunmore, Pa., and 
died of cancer at age 83.
3 Richard Hubler, my uncle, was born August 20, 1912 in Dunmore, and 
died of Parkinson's disease October 21, 1981 in Ojai, California.
4 It was stolen, I strongly suspect, from my New York City apartment 
about 1970 by a cleaning lady.
5 Page 488.
6 Blackwood's Magazine. September, 1863, Am. Ed., p. 377.