From Mifflinburg Telegraph Weekly Newspaper
Trail of History for Week of June 7, 2012
Jun 8, 2012 - 10:26:29 AM
Dr. Christ was born in Lewisburg, Pa. in 1830. Mrs. Blanche Baughman in 1963 read some diaries that were at Bucknell archives and it tells of the experiences of the son of Levi Christ. The boy told of his experiences in school. He mentioned that Buffalo Valley was known by that name because of the buffalo that were at Weikert long ago. The historical families were Harris, Brady, Maclay, Priestly and Gilmore.
Dr. Theodore Christ studied medicine and established a practice in Lewisburg, Pa. At the first call to arms in 1861, he enlisted on April 15th. He was made assistant surgeon of the 4th Regt. Pa. Vol. Inf. and he assisted in raising the company, and was made its captain. This was not entirely a local regiment, and saw service for the three-month period of enlistment through Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Alexandria, and then to the battle of Bull Run. He came back to Lewisburg in July 1861, and remained here for two months. Among 208 applicants, in an examination at Harrisburg, he received one of the thirteen positions as assistant surgeon, and on Oct. 12, 1861, he was made assistant surgeon of the 45th P.V. Dr. Christ’s group marched to Otter Island, probably in South Carolina. Though the doctor was assistant surgeon, yet he filled the position of medical director on the Island, and had his hands full, as small-pox broke out on the island, several among his men and the blacks living on the island. (It should be remembered that General George Washington had advocated the immunization of troops long before). In one day, Dr. Christ immunized 97 blacks.
In July 1862, the regiment returned to Fort Monroe, when it encamped. Aug. 4, 1862 it was assigned to the First Brigade, First Division, Ninth Army Corps. It was afterward attached to the First Brigade, Second Division, of the same Corps.
Aug. 4, 1862 Dr. Christ was made surgeon. In the fall of the same year he was made brigade surgeon. The regiment moved south, first by water., On Sept. 14th it fought at South Mountain, and had 129 men killed and wounded and at Antietam 30 were killed and injured. Dec. 13, 14, 15th they were in battle at Fredericksburg.
June 4th an order came to reinforce General Grant at Vicksburg, Mississippi. They moved by rail and water. Vicksburg was captured by General Grant July 4th. Our regiment chased General Joe Johnson’s forces to Jackson, Mississippi, where engagements from the 10th to the 17th ended in Johnson’s retreat. Our regiment went to the old camp near Vicksburg, suffering from heat and lack of water.
The regiment went north, was recruited and fitted for hard and active service. It went through Cumberland Gap and captured Rebel General Frazer with 2500 men and officers, guns and supplies.
October 8th they battled at Blue Springs, Tennessee and repulsed the Southerners so hurriedly that they left their dead and wounded on the field.
They were near Knoxville, Tennessee when, on January 1, 1864, 425 men of the 45th Regiment, Pa. Volunteers re-enlisted for “three” years, or during the period of the war. It was mid-winter, and rations were short, so they marched, pilfering on the way. An example of heroic endurance and patriotic devotion to the flag was manifested in the conduct of the men on the march. With only a quart of meal and five pounds of fresh meat per man, and no certainty of obtaining more on the road, barefooted and poorly clad, it required a patriotism as earnest, and a purpose as fixed to patiently endure the privations and hardships of the march, as to achieve victory in the face of the enemy. At one time during the engagement with Longstreet, the Doctor was glad to get any sort of food, and often ate corn roasted on the cob, from which they made their coffee; it was also their bread for days at a time. At the end of this term of service in 1863, he was re-mustered as a veteran for three years, or during the war, and came home on a thirty day furlough before resuming duty. Probably before this, or on January 16, 1864, the regiment made the perilous march through Cumberland Gap, and received rations and shoes on the 21st. Then Feb. 8th at Harrisburg came the veterans’ furlough. It was the first regiment to re-enlist and reported as such to Governor A.G. Curtin. “This Veteran Regiment, with many new recruits, proceeded on the 19th of March to Annapolis, Maryland, the place of rendezvous for the veterans of the 9th Army Corps. It was assigned to the First Brigade, Second Division, and passed on the 25th on March in review before President Lincoln.”
On May 5th, after marching through dense woods and almost impenetrable thickets, and bivouacking at night in the line of battle of the Wilderness. At one a.m. on the 6th the men were aroused, and the Battle of the Wilderness opened at daybreak. At nightfall of this furious fighting day, the regiment had lost 145 men killed and wounded. It proceeded to Chancellorsville, Spottsylvania Court House, PO River, North Anna, and Cold Harbor. In these three days, the 1st, 2d, and 3rd of June, its loss was 163 killed and wounded of the 300 who were engaged in battle.
The 45th Regiment participated in all the movements of the army until it reached the James River on the evening of the 14th. Crossing on the following morning, it moved on to the front at Petersburg, Virginia, arriving there on the 16th at two p.m., it formed a line of battle; then fighting began and lasted a number of days; the loss of the regiment was small—three killed and 18 wounded. On the 25th, the 48th Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, assisted at times by the 45th, began the work of excavation under the Rebel fort in Vicksburg in front of the 45th’s Regiment, and the explosion took place on the morning of the 30th of June. It was a grand success, and the Doctor witnesses it in front of the fort. Here his regiment lost 28 men killed and wounded.
Thus it went on, battle after battle, until the final surrender April 19, 1865.
During the last year of his service, Dr. Christ was medical director on the staff of Major-General Robert B. Potter and was Surgeon-in- Chief of the Second Division 9th A.C.
Dr. Christ began his practice in May of 1865 at Chester, Pennsylvania. He became very prominent in Chester. He married Dec. 6, 1871, Sarah Irvin Thompson, who was born July 4, 1839 in Center Co. Pa., daughter of Moses Thompson of the Mifflinburg, Center County area. She died Feb. 20,1887 and is buried in the family plot at Lemont, Pa.
The purpose of this article was to give details of what a local person did during the Civil War.
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