Monday, April 7, 2008

Life of Enos, Part 10

In May 1861, Enos Christman helped organize Company K of the Fourth Regiment, Pennsylvania Reserve Volunteer Corps, and was elected second lieutenant. He would not come marching home for two years.

In that time, Enos fought in the battles in front of Richmond known as Seven Days, the Second Bull Run, South Mountain and Fredericksburg. He also survived the bloodiest day in U.S. military history - Antietam. He would learn much later that on that day he fought in the same vicinity as his two brothers, William and Jefferson, none of whom was injured. He was promoted to captain, and then to major, and then President Lincoln sent him home to West Chester in May 1863 to serve as provost marshal of the Seventh District until the end of the war.

It seemed that West Chester had a gravitational pull that Enos could not escape, although he kept trying. At war's end, Enos and Ellen took their six children to Somerset County, Md., to try their hand at farming. It was a hard life, made more difficult by drought.

William, Enos' oldest son, recalled in an article in The Reporter in 1908 that he attended school only occasionally, when he was not needed for work on the farm. He spent many an hour riding a horse while his father followed with the plow, working corn, and hauling and chopping cordwood.

Four years later, the Christmans gave up and surrendered to the pull of home, where Enos once again took up the printing trade at The American Republic. The children kept coming and by 1872 numbered eight. It seemed that they were destined to live out their lives in West Chester, until in November a letter arrived from Enos' old partner in Washington, Pa., William Moore. It was a letter that would have a profound effect on the Christman family and would alter the course of local history.

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