Monday, October 09, 2006
Pvt. James L. Clader
46th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment
Little is known of James Clader's early life prior to his enlistment: He enlisted, at age eighteen, in the Union Army. He was assigned to Company C' of the 46th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment, also known as the 46th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. Company C' was raised in Northampton County and was made up primarily of young men from Catasauqua. Initially, it was thought that the war would last less than ninety days but the war had been raging for six months when James enrolled and it is likely that Northampton County was the nearest place where a company was being raised at the time.
James' father, Ephraim, enlisted before James. Ephraim enrolled as a member of Company B' of the 47th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment which was organized in Harrisburg in August of 1861, this was several months before his son, James, enlisted. Ephraim was 38 years of age when the Civil War broke out and at his age and as a father, would not have been required to serve, at least not until much later in the war, if at all. Can you imagine Catharine's life in Allentown with both a husband and her first born serving in the Union Army? She must have been a very brave woman and of strong stock.
The 46th Infantry Regiment, to which James Clader belonged, was organized on October 31, 1861 at Harrisburg. Assigned to the 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 2nd Corps, Army of Virginia, the unit was on outpost duty on the upper Potomac till February 1862. The unit occupied Winchester, Virginia in March 1862 and engaged in a skirmish at Keazletown Cross Roads on April 26th.
The 46th was engaged in operations, in May and June of 1862, in the Shenandoah Valley. Prior to the major battle at Sharpsburg, Maryland on September 17, 1862, the unit was engaged in the Battle of Winchester (May 25), Battle of Cedar Mountain (August 9), and was assigned to guard trains at Manassas Junction (Battle of Bull Run - August 1862).
On September 16, Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan confronted Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia at Sharpsburg, Maryland. At dawn September 17, Hooker’s corps mounted a powerful assault on Lee’s left flank that began the single bloodiest day in American military history. Attacks and counterattacks swept across Miller’s cornfield and fighting swirled around the Dunker Church. Union assaults against the Sunken Road eventually pierced the Confederate center, but the Federal advantage was not followed up. Late in the day, Burnside’s corps finally got into action, crossing the stone bridge over Antietam Creek and rolling up the Confederate right. At a crucial moment, A.P. Hill’s division arrived from Harpers Ferry and counterattacked, driving back Burnside and saving the day. Although outnumbered two-to-one, Lee committed his entire force, while McClellan sent in less than three-quarters of his army, enabling Lee to fight the Federals to a standstill. During the night, both armies consolidated their lines. In spite of crippling casualties, Lee continued to skirmish with McClellan throughout the 18th, while removing his wounded south of the river. McClellan did not renew the assaults. After dark, Lee ordered the battered Army of Northern Virginia to withdraw across the Potomac into the Shenandoah Valley.
The 46th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment was a part of General Banks Corps which, at Antietam, was commanded by General Mansfield. The 46th was led by Lt. Col. Selfridge. General Mansfield's troops were positioned across Antietam Creek, supporting Hooker on the extreme right line in back of the Miller's corn field. This was the site of some of the heaviest fighting in the day-long battle. Although initially held in reserve, at some point the 46th was engaged in the pitched battle and faced a heavy force of Confederate troops as they fought back and forth across the open corn field. The 46th lost 6 men killed and 3 severly wounded; among the dead was Pvt. James L. Clader of Company C'.
James L. Clader's body was returned home and he lies in a grave in the family plot in the Union and West End Cemetery.
But Jimmy Clader's story doesn't end there:
By Bob Doerr
On a cool spring Saturday afternoon as I walked through the Union and West End Cemetery at 10th and Chew Streets in Allentown I was reading the tombstones of some of the 700 or so Union Soldiers of the Civil War buried there. As a Civil War reenactor in Co. C 46th Pa Vol. Infantry I was most interested in finding someone from that unit.
After being there about 1 hour I was approached by a gentlemen by the name of Don Hagenauer. He asked if I were looking for anyone in particular. I replied "no, only someone from the 46th. He then called his wife Janet who was sitting in their truck and asked if she had anyone from that unit in her records. (Both Don and Janet are members of the cemetery association board and Janet is the cemetery historian). She replied "no" but if I were to give her my name and address she would check her records at home and get back to me. Lo and behold she had infomation on a Pvt. James L. Cladder, Co. C of the 46th. At the young age of 19 years, about i year and 1 month from the date of enlistment James was killed at the Battle of Antietam in Sharpsburg, Maryland on September 17, 1862. The day of this battle would go down as the bloodiest day of the Civil War with over 26,000 men killed or wounded.
This information that I received from Don and Janet was the bond that started a fine friendship. After checking veterans graves registration records for Lehigh County Janet also found that there was a record of a headstone on James Clader's grave but no stone of any kind was visible on the Clader family plot. Janet later probed the family plot with a long screwdriver but found nothing. Working as a team, we fabricated a 5 foot probe and on our next visit to the cemetery we used that probe on a rough grid pattern and within a few short minutes we located a tombstone about 6 to 8 inches below the surface. Thinking this was the tombstone of James , with great excitement we unearthed the tombstone of James' mother, Katharine. Although the stone had been broken off near the bottom, the engraving was rather clear. Katharine was born Oct. 11, 1821 and died June 16, 1869. Next to Katharine's stone we again probed the area and found another stone the same 6 to 8 inches below the surface. The engraving on the second stone is very hard to read but the name Clader is clear. We believe it is a child's stone as it is much smaller and has a sleeping lamb engraved on the top. The next stone we found was that of James. All the engravings are very clear. James Lewis Clader, son of Ephraim & Katharine Clader, Born July 24, 1843. Member of Co. C 46th Reg P.V.I. Fell at Antietam Sept 17, 1862; age 19 years 1 month and 23 days. This stone was also broken near the base.
Since the discovery and unearthing of the stones, Don and I have remounted James' stone on the original base and used metal supports to hold it in place. The child's stone has been set upright. Katharine's stone had to have a new base made and a metal frame fabricated to suppot it. All this work was done by Don and me under the watchful eye of Janet (supervisor & cemetery historian). Janet later found that James' father, Ephraim served in the Civil War in the 47th P.V.I. He is buried in Columbus, Ohio. A military bronze plaque has since been ordered and is now installed on James' grave.
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