Thursday, December 14, 2006
John A. Romig
Every soldier that served in the Civil War, even if only for a short time, had his personal and unique story to tell about his experiences. Even those that ran away from the needs of the nation, the deserters; they had their stories as well.
Most any able bodied man could find a way to evade the call to serve by payment of money or by subterfuge. And in doing so, could reap the benefits of an inflated economy without suffering personal discomfort or fear of being found by any authorities while in hiding. Lehigh County had its share of deserters and evaders.
The most notorius deserter from Lehigh County was one John A. Romig, a member of the 54th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment. His escapades were written about in the Allentown Democrat every time he was seen or captured. John was apprehended in the county on at least five different occasions; taken to the county jail and then to Harrisgburg only to break out and return home again.
With unbelievable effrontery, the infamous deserter requested a pension after the war on the basis of his service in the Allen Infantry and the fact that he was a "First Defebnder". He did not receive the pension, but it would appear that his former duty with the Allen Infantry may have saved him from severe punishment during the war. Men with lesser offenses were hung or shot for desertion.
Allentown Democrat - ESCAPE
Phillip Storch, arrested last week as a deserter from Capt. Newhard's Company has, like John A. Romig, since re-escaped from the guard house at Camp Curtin. Romig will be shot upon re-arrest, so says the Adjutant Gerneral.
Allentown Democrat - RE-ARRESSTED
John Romig, who was arrested in this place some weeks since as a deserter from Capt. Newhard's Company, 54th Pennsylvania regiment and subsequently made his escape from the guard house at Camp Curtin, was re-arrested at his residence here on Wednesday night last and kept in irons in our county jail up to Tuesday when he was again taken to Harrisburg where he is to await his time for trial by Court Martial. This last was his fourth repetition of the offense.
Allentown Democrat - ARREST AND ESCAPE
John Romig of this place, a segar maker by trade, and originally a member of Capt. E. R. Newhard's Company, 54th regiment, but a deserter from service for the fifth time, was arrested in this place on Thursday by order of Adj. Hangen, and committed to jail to await transportation to Harrisburg. Same evening as he was being taken out of jail for conveyance to the depot, in charge of a person appointed to take him to Harrisburg, he managed as he was about getting into the coach to dart out of the grasp of his custodian and make his escape. John had better keep away from here if he wants to avoid several years government servitude at the rip-rap or Tortugas.
Allentown Democrat - INCREASED REWARD
The reward for arresting deserters from the army heretofore $5, has been increased by order of the Secretary of War, to $10.
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