Henry J. Hornbeck – A Highly Esteemed Citizen

Henry Jacob Hornbeck, c. 1874Born in Allentown, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania on 19 September 1843, Henry Jacob Hornbeck was a son of the Honorable John W. Hornbeck, an Allentonian and U.S. Congressman who represented the Lehigh-Berks district in 1848 and 1849 before his tenure was cut short by his untimely death. Maria (Martin) Hornbeck, Congressman Hornbeck’s widow and Henry J. Hornbeck’s mother, was also a respected public servant, fulfilling the duties of Postmistress for the Borough of Allentown from 1849 to 1862.

At the dawn of the Civil War, Henry Jacob Hornbeck resided in Allentown with his widowed mother, older brother Molton E. Hornbeck (1842-1905), and younger siblings Mary and John Hornbeck, who were born sometime around 1846 and 1848, respectively. Also residing with the family at this time was Henry Hornbeck’s widowed maternal grandmother, Jane Martin.

Following in his parents’ footsteps, Henry J. Hornbeck obtained early work as a post office employee, but ultimately settled on a career in accounting.

Civil War Military Service

On 4 September 1862, Henry J. Hornbeck’s older brother, Molton Hornbeck, enrolled for Civil War military service, mustering in as a Hospital Steward with the 128th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry at Washington, D.C. He continued to serve until 19 May 1863, and then returned home to Pennsylvania, where he pursued formal healthcare training at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Following his 1865 graduation, he was licensed to practice medicine by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and began providing allopathic care for his patients.

Exactly two weeks after his brother enlisted for Civil War service in 1862, Henry Hornbeck also joined the army. After enrolling at Catasauqua, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania on 18 September, he officially mustered in for duty the same day at Camp Curtin in Harrisburg, Dauphin County as a Private with Company G of the 47th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. Military records at the time described him as an 18-year-old resident of Lehigh County whose occupation was “Gentleman.”

He entered service with his regiment just as its members were about to experience intense combat for the first time. Initially stationed at Fort Taylor in Key West, Florida, the soldiers of the 47th had been ordered to Hilton Head, South Carolina from mid-June to July in 1862. Housed in the Department of the South’s Beaufort District, they frequently performed hazardous picket duties north of their camp.

Illustration of the Union Navy's base of operations, Mayport Mills, circa 1862 (public domain).

Illustration of the Union Navy’s base of operations, Mayport Mills, circa 1862 (public domain).

Beginning 30 September 1862, Private Henry Hornbeck and his fellow 47th Pennsylvanians headed out on an expedition to Florida, where they participated with other Union regiments in the capture of Saint John’s Bluff from 1 to 3 October. Led by Brigadier-General Brannan, the 1,500-plus strong Union force landed at Mayport Mills and Mount Pleasant Creek, where they disembarked from Union gunboat-guarded troop carriers, and began making their way inland along the Saint John’s River.

J.H. Schell's 1862 illustration showing the earthen works which surrounded the Confederate battery atop Saint John's Bluff along the Saint John's River in Florida (public domain).

J.H. Schell’s 1862 illustration showing the earthen works surrounding the Confederate battery overlooking the Saint John’s River in Florida (public domain).

Taking point, the 47th led their fellow 3rd Brigade members through 25 miles of dense, pine forested swamps populated with deadly snakes and alligators. By the time the expedition ended, the brigade had forced the Confederate Army to abandon its artillery battery atop Saint John’s Bluff, and had paved the way for the Union to occupy the town of Jacksonville, Florida.

Companies E and K from the 47th Pennsylvania also participated in the capture of the Gov. Milton, a Confederate steamer docked near Hawkinsville which had aided the Rebel cause by moving troops and supplies along various waterways.

Pocotaligo Depot, Charleston & Savannah Railroad, South Carolina as sketched by Theodore R. Davis for Harper’s Weekly, 25 February 1865 edition (public domain).

Pocotaligo Depot, Charleston & Savannah Railroad, South Carolina as sketched by Theodore R. Davis for Harper’s Weekly, 25 February 1865 edition (public domain).

From 21-23 October, under the brigade and regimental commands of Colonel Tilghman H. Good and Lieutenant Colonel George W. Alexander, the 47th engaged Confederate forces in and around Pocotaligo, South Carolina. Landing at Mackey’s Point, the men of the 47th Pennsylvania were placed on point – a high risk assignment indicating the confidence Union Army leaders had in the regiment.

Harried by snipers en route to the Pocotaligo Bridge, they met resistance from an entrenched, heavily fortified Confederate battery which opened fire on the Union troops as they entered an open cotton field. Those headed toward higher ground at the Frampton Plantation fared no better as they encountered artillery and infantry fire from the surrounding forests.

Union Army map of the Pocotaligo-Coosawhatchie Expedition, 21-23 October 1862 (public domain).

Pocotaligo-Coosawhatchie Expedition, 21-23 October 1862 (public domain).

The Union soldiers grappled with the Confederates where they found them, pursuing the Rebels for four miles as they retreated to the bridge. There, the 47th relieved the 7th Connecticut. But the enemy was just too well armed. After two hours of intense fighting in an attempt to take the ravine and bridge, depleted ammunition forced the 47th to withdraw to Mackey’s Point.

Losses for the 47th were significant. Two officers and 18 enlisted men died. Captain Charles Mickley, the commanding officer of G Company – one of those killed in action – was shot in the head. Another two officers and 114 enlisted were wounded in action, several of whom survived only for a day or a few weeks.

Other seriously wounded members of the 47th were ultimately discharged on Surgeons’ Certificates of Disability and sent home to Pennsylvania when deemed well enough to travel.

The challenging environment of the Charleston & Savannah Railroad was illustrated by Harper's Weekly in 1865.

The challenging environment of the Charleston & Savannah Railroad was illustrated by Harper’s Weekly in 1865.

A 1987 article by Frank Whelan for Allentown’s Morning Call newspapers illuminates what happened to Private Henry Hornbeck and his fellow gallant 47th Pennsylvanians that day:

It was a venture designed to cut a railroad linking Charleston and Savannah, Ga. But poor planning by the overall Union commander, a Gen. Ormsby MacKnight Mitchel, seemed to doom it to failure from the start. The officers in charge of the brigades expected to meet 10,000 armed Southern troops when they landed.

Yet the men of the 47th knew none of this. Like any men before a battle, they got ready for it in various ways. Young Capt. Charles Mickley of G Company picked up a pen to write a Lehigh Valley friend the night before the assault….

‘Today at one o’clock our Reg. will embark on the Steamer Ben Deford to go on an Expedition which our Reg is to take part in. But where we are agoing to, we are as yet kept in the dark about….’

The next morning Capt. Mickley and his men in the 47th were no longer in the dark. Outside of a farm called Frampton Plantation, near Pocotaligo, he found himself face to face with hot Rebel fire. As shell and canister and grapeshot raked the line, the bold Mickley charged forward into what commanding officer Tilghman Good called ‘a perfect matting of vines and brush … almost impossible to get through.’ Less than 24 hours after he penned his letter home, Charles Mickley was lying dead on the first battlefield of his life. His new home would be Union Cemetery.

In his report on the engagement, made from headquarters at Beaufort, South Carolina on 24 October 1862, Colonel Tilghman H. Good recounted still more details of the 10th Army’s ill-fated engagement:

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the Forty-seventh Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers in the action of October 22:

Eight companies, comprising 480 men, embarked on the steamship Ben De Ford, and two companies, of 120 men, on the Marblehead, at 2 p.m. October 21. With this force I arrived at Mackays Landing before daylight the following morning. At daylight I was ordered to disembark my regiment and move forward across the first causeway and take a position, and there await the arrival of the other forces. The two companies of my regiment on board of the Marblehead had not yet arrived, consequently I had but eight companies of my regiment with me at this juncture.

At 12 m. I was ordered to take the advance with four companies, one of the Forty-seventh and one of the Fifty-fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers, and two of the Sixth Connecticut, and to deploy two of them as skirmishers and move forward. After moving forward about 2 miles I discerned some 30 or 40 of the enemys [sic] cavalry ahead, but they fled as we advanced. About 2 miles farther on I discovered two pieces of artillery and some cavalry, occupying a position about three-quarters of a mile ahead in the road. I immediately called for a regiment, but seeing that the position was not a strong one I made a charge with the skirmishing line. The enemy, after firing a few rounds of shell, fled. I followed up as rapidly as possible to within about 1 mile of Frampton Creek. In front of this stream is a strip of woods about 500 yards wide, and in front of the woods a marsh of about 200 yards, with a small stream running through it parallel with the woods. A causeway also extends across the swamp, to the right of which the swamp is impassable. Here the enemy opened a terrible fire of shell from the rear, of the woods. I again called for a regiment, and my regiment came forward very promptly. I immediately deployed in line of battle and charged forward to the woods, three companies on the right and the other five on the left of the road. I moved forward in quick-time, and when within about 500 yards of the woods the enemy opened a galling fire of infantry from it. I ordered double-quick and raised a cheer, and with a grand yell the officers and men moved forward in splendid order and glorious determination, driving the enemy from this position.

On reaching the woods I halted and reorganized my line. The three companies on the right of the road (in consequence of not being able to get through the marsh) did not reach the woods, and were moved by Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander by the flank on the causeway. During this time a terrible fire of grape and canister was opened by the enemy through the woods, hence I did not wait for the three companies, but immediately charged with the five at hand directly through the woods; but in consequence of the denseness of the woods, which was a perfect matting of vines and brush, it was almost impossible to get through, but by dint of untiring assiduity the men worked their way through nobly. At this point I was called out of the woods by Lieutenant Bacon, aide-de-camp, who gave the order, ‘The general wants you to charge through the woods.’ I replied that I was then charging, and that the men were working their way through as fast as possible. Just then I saw the two companies of my regiment which embarked on the Marblehead coming up to one of the companies that was unable to get through the swamp on the right. I went out to meet them, hastening them forward, with a view of re-enforcing the five already engaged on the left of the road in the woods; but the latter having worked their way successfully through and driven the enemy from his position, I moved the two companies up the road through the woods until I came up with the advance. The two companies on the right side of the road, under Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander had also worked their way up through the woods and opened fire on the retreating enemy. At this point I halted and reorganized my regiment, by forming close column by companies. I then detailed Lieutenant Minnich, of Company B, and Lieutenant Breneman, of Company H, with a squad of men, to collect the killed and wounded. They promptly and faithfully attended to this important duty, deserving much praise for the efficiency and coolness they displayed during the fight and in the discharge of this humane and worthy trust.

The casualties in this engagement were 96. Captain Junker of Company K; Captain Mickley, of Company I [sic], and Lieutenant Geety, of Company H, fell mortally wounded while gallantly leading their respective companies on.

I cannot speak too highly of the conduct of both officers and men. They all performed deeds of valor, and rushed forward to duty and danger with a spirit and energy worthy of veterans…

As Good continued, he made clear that despite men falling around them, the 47th continued to fight on:

The rear forces coming up passed my regiment and pursued the enemy. When I had my regiment again placed in order, and hearing the boom of cannon, I immediately followed up, and, upon reaching the scene of action, I was ordered to deploy my regiment on the right side of the wood, move forward along the edge of it, and relieve the Seventh Connecticut Regiment. This I promptly obeyed. The position here occupied by the enemy was on the opposite side of the Pocotaligo Creek, with a marsh on either side of it, and about 800 yards distant from the opposite wood, where the enemy had thrown up rifle pits all along its edge.

On my arrival the enemy had ceased firing; but after the lapse of a few minutes they commenced to cheer and hurrah for the Twenty-sixth South Carolina. We distinctly saw this regiment come up in double-quick and the men rapidly jumping into the pits. We immediately opened fire upon them with terrible effect, and saw their men thinning by scores. In return they opened a galling fire upon us. I ordered the men under cover and to keep up the fire. During this time our forces commenced to retire. I kept my position until all our forces were on the march, and then gave one volley and retired by flank in the road at double-quick about 1,000 yards in the rear of the Seventh Connecticut. This regiment was formed about 1,000 yards in the rear of my former position. We jointly formed the rear guard of our forces and alternately retired in the above manner.

My casualties here amounted to 15 men.

We arrived at Frampton (our first battle ground) at 8 p.m. Here my regiment was relieved from further rear-guard duty by the Fourth New Hampshire Regiment. This gave me the desired opportunity to carry my dead and wounded from the field and convey them back to the landing. I arrived at the above place at 3 o’clock the following morning.

While Good was penning his reports to his superiors, his subordinates in the 47th Pennsylvania were settling back in at Hilton Head, where they had returned on 23 October. There, men from the 47th were given the honor of serving as the funeral guard for and firing the salute over the grave of General Ormsby Mitchel, commander of the U.S. Army’s 10th Corps and Department of the South who had succumbed to yellow fever on 30 October. The Mountains of Mitchel, a region of Mars’ South Pole discovered by Mitchel in 1846 while working as a University of Cincinnati astronomer, and Mitchelville, the first Freedmen’s town created after the Civil War, were both later named for him.

As the men of the 47th Pennsylvania recovered from their mental and physical wounds and mourned their dead, the seasons changed. In December, Henry Hornbeck chronicled his activities and those of his comrades in a series of diary entries:

Sunday Dec. 14. … Very busy all morning writing out orders, relieving all extra duty men of the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers. Received an order to draw my pay for the time engaged in the office. Wrote letters to sister & others of our departure for Florida, then went to camp and prepared for leaving in the morning. After supper, Quartermaster Heebner, Tom Leisenring and myself went to the ‘Stevens House’ where we were treated by the Quartermaster & different officers. Tom & myself then went back to Camp. The boys had a large bonfire made, and a good deal of fun is going on, being the last night in Beaufort, S.C….

Monday Dec. 15th. … After breakfast, packed up duds, and proceeded to the wharf. Drew my extra duty pay, at Capt. Cornell’s office, Post Quartermaster, then got aboard the steamer Cosmopolitan. The whole regiment embarked at about 12 o’clock. We did not get ready to start until 2 o’clock, having a large amount of baggage to be laden. The band played a beautiful piece as we left the wharf, along which were scattered the 55th Pennsylvania, 6th Connecticut, 8th Maine to see us off & who gave us three hearty cheers, which were as heartily responded to by us. The sail from Beaufort to Hilton Head was fine, the scenery being so beautiful. Stopped a short time at Hilton head, and took aboard the wounded of our Regiment. General Brannan also came on board for a few minutes. We then started. We seem to be unfortunate in traveling by sea, as our trip was very stormy, and we were in great danger all along. We were three days on the water. We kept rather close to shore, along the Florida Coast, and arrived at Key West, Fla. on Thursday morning at 11 o’clock. This is a fine place being very warm at noon. We immediately after landing went into the restaurants and regaled ourselves. Cool drinks are to be had in every shop, and every kind of fruit in abundance, especially cocoa nuts, the place is full of cocoa nut trees, lemon trees &c which bear the fruit abundantly. In the afternoon Frank Good, P. Bernd, E. Crader & myself went to the beach to search for sea shells which are very plenty but, the tide being high, we did not procure any of beauty. The Regiment is entirely divided, Four Companies D. H. K. & F. are sent to Fort Jefferson, Tortugas Island to garrison said Fort. Two Companies, C. & I, are in Fort Taylor, at this place, and Companies. B. & E. are in the old barracks, & Companies A. & G. are in the new barracks, in which latter, I also am. We have very fine quarters, & am much better pleased than at Beaufort S.C…. I was detailed as a clerk in the Quartermasters Office on the 20th. Kept pretty busy, as Lt. Gibbs, Quartermaster is relieved and turns over the stores to F. G. Heebner, his successor.

Wednesday Dec. 25th Christmas. No work at the office today. Went to the wharf and witnessed the departure of the 90th New York State Volunteers for Beaufort, which Regiment we relieved. John Lawall, Frank Good & few others, then, took a walk about Key West…. Saw also in the Allentown Democrat of 10th inst. that Uncle, Capt. E. R. Newhard was paroled, and was home on furlough. Very glad to hear that. Our Christmas dinner, was a ‘Pot Pie,” which was very good, and is considered something extra in camp. After dinner, Peter Bernd & myself went out to the beach, and collected a lot of curiosities in the shape of sea shells. Found some very fine ones. After supper Frank Good, P. Bernd, Wm. Steckel & myself went to Catholic church. it was a grand sight the Church being decorated with spruce and with cocoanut leaves, and a great number of lights burning. After Church went to barracks and retired. The day here is celebrated like the 4th of July north, firing squibs &c. This is a great week for the Negroes, they having dances and enjoying themselves all day long. This afternoon out, on the beach the Black ‘Gemmari’ & ladies, had dancing until dark, to be again resumed to-morrow. How different this Christmas from last year when all was Joy at home. Mary & myself for the sake of a Joyful surprise, placed upon the plate (before Breakfast) of Dear Mother, a Christmas Gift, and how pleased she was for that present, which was entirely unexpected. Now, alas, she is no more, never more are we to see her in this world. No one who has not lost a dearly beloved Mother, can feel that loss or have the least idea of what the loss of his or her dearest friend on earth is, until he or she experiences what we have. Standing at the death bed of a dying parent, and to feel as we felt, alone in this wide world…. Retrospection is often times pleasing and also horrifying. I wish you a ‘Merry Christmas.

Dec 26. Friday. … Today we had a turtle soup, which was very good. Turtle are plenty here, & are found about the Islands of immense size. Witnessed a ‘Spanish Fandango’ this evening, Also a dance by Blacks, then went to camp, where we also had music and a dance. Retired at 10 o’clock.

Dec. 27. Saturday. … Mess near the office with the clerks & employees in this office, having two blacks to do our cooking. We have very good meals. This evening the band serenaded the different companies. Went to Methodist Church where the Free Masons met, and heard an address on Free Masonry, by Capt. J. Gobin of our Regiment. Very good lecture. After meeting was over went to the house with Luther Mennig, and we were serenaded by some members of Companies B. and E. very good music. Remained at the house all night. I lodge in camp but mess in town.

Dec. 28. Sunday. After breakfast went to camp, and had a good wash. Went to town after dinner, with Wm. Weiss. We purchased some oranges at the wharf, after which we went to the house (our mess house) and I procured a cocoa nut from a tree, which are very plenty here. After regaling ourselves on cocoa nut, I went to our quarters & Billy to his. Read the remainder of the afternoon. After supper D. Wannermacher, W. Weiss & myself went to the Episcopal Church. The church is finely decorated at present….

Dec. 31. Wednesday. Rose as usual, busy all day, settling up accounts, and busy also on account of the many vessels in port. Weather warm & fine. The Regiment was today mustered for pay. At 9 o’clock, the band serenaded us at the barracks. We also had a ‘string band’, composed of Blacks, playing all evening. At 12 o’clock, a party consisting of Wm. Hertz, James Knerr, George Henry, Henry Reiss, Will Steckel, Julius Lascon, James Geidner, Henry Getter & myself, visited the captains & lieutenants of our Company & Company A. being together in the new barracks at the Lighthouse, and wish them a Happy New Year and fired a salute. We were all called in and got something to drink. We then went out towards the beach … didn’t get to bed until about 3 o’clock…

* Note: To read more of Henry J. Hornbeck’s 1862 diary entries penned during his time spent with the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers in Key West, Florida, see: Henry Hornbeck’s Diary Excerpts, 47th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers (1862-1863).

1863

Woodcut depicting the harsh climate at Fort Taylor in Key West, Florida during the Civil War. (Public domain, U.S. Library of Congress.)

Woodcut depicting the harsh climate at Fort Taylor in Key West, Florida during the Civil War. (Public domain, U.S. Library of Congress.)

Following the death of Captain Mickley during the Battle of Pocotaligo, South Carolina in October 1862, 1st Lieutenant John Goebel stepped in to fill G Company’s leadership void. On 2 January 1863, that command change was formalized when 1st Lieutenant Goebel re-enlisted at Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas, Florida, and was promoted to the rank of Captain and commanding officer of the 47th Pennsylvania’s G Company.

Having been ordered back to Key West on 15 November of 1862, much of 1863 for the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers was spent guarding federal installations in Florida as part of the 10th Corps, Department of the South. As with earlier assignments, disease was a constant companion and foe.

The time spent at Fort Taylor in Key West by Captain Goebel and the men of Company G and at Fort Jefferson for those 47th Pennsylvanians ordered to duty there was notable also for the men’s commitment to preserving the Union. Many who could have returned home, heads held high after all they had experienced, decided instead to re-enlist in order to finish the fight.

Interestingly, the longer the 47th remained in Key West, the more involved they became with its local residents. On 28 March 1863, Henry J. Hornbeck described in his diary how he had joined with fellow Union troops and citizens to battle a serious fire:

At Key West, about 1 o’clock tonight was roused up by a cry of Fire, a house, and barn burnt down in the heart of the city, I assisted as much as possible in quelling the flames, subsided by 4 o’clock, it is almost a miracle that the whole City did not burn down, having no Engine in this place, and all the water was passed in buckets, had it not been for the Soldiers and Sailors everything would have been destroyed, went to bed again at 4 o’clock.

In mid-June, he provided more details regarding his life as a working soldier:

Tuesday June 16th. Today commencing to take Stock Account of Subs Stores. Wrote the Sworn Statement of Capt. Wilson of Nonpareil in reference to the running into & disabling the Quartermasters schooner Nonpareil by the steamer Che Kiang. Wrote a letter of information as to amount of damages sustained and amount paid by Quartermaster’s Department for repairing said schooner….

Wednesday June 17th …. Chas. Martin Company B deserted last night. Busy at Commissary Papers….

Thursday June 18th. Busy all morning at Commissary Accounts. Solomon Diehl Company B died this morning in General Hospital of chronic diarrhea. Attended his funeral at 5 p.m. at U.S. Barracks, Band & Companies B & D as escort. Genl. Woodbury also attended funeral. Ship Constellation arrived today, with coal. She is a fine vessel. After supper took a walk about town, visited Miss Allen’s procured ice cream. Weather very hot and mosquitoes very annoying.

Friday June 19th. Busy at papers in the morning. A mail arrived from North in a gunboat…. Reported that Vicksburg has been taken, hope it may prove true…. Weather hot and oppressing…

Sunday June 21st. After dressing we mustered into service, one of the Blacks who arrived from New Orleans, into Quartermasters Department read the Army Regulations to him, and put a Military suit on him … making him swear by the dictionary &c. Remained at office all day, reading. Today being Luther Mennig’s birthday, he procured a couple of bottles of port, and we drank to his health. After supper took a ride with Wm. Weiss using Maj. Gansler’s [sic] carriage, After which returned to office. Retired at 10 p.m. Weather very hot….

Monday June 22nd. Busy at Commissary Papers. Steamer Matanzas arrived in port from New Orleans, but leaves for the North in an hour. Packed up Commissary Papers & sent them aboard…. Steamer Exact arrived from New Orleans, having prisoners for this place & Tortugas. She returns to New Orleans this evening. After supper Lawall, Mennig, Weiss & Myself attended the funeral of a Navy Officer who died yesterday, belonging to the gunboat Hendrick Hudson. Our Band & Sailors as Escort, also a turn-out by the Masons, the funeral rites of which are very interesting…. before returning Mennig, Watson, Whiting & Myself went in swimming off the dock. Water warm. After which retired.

Tuesday June 23rd. …. News very bad, the Rebels made another raid into our State, going into Chambersburg, great excitement. Main portion of the Rebel Army reported to be at Martinsburg. things look bad….

Thursday June 25th. … Order issued from Headquarters that all extra & daily duty men, that can be spared, are to be returned to their companies, & Contrabands to take their places, We remain, two clerks being allowed in Commissary Department, Mennig & myself. Before retiring went in bathing.

Friday June 26th. …. Chas. Martin Company B who deserted June 17th returned again. Not having gone far, the boat being stove to pieces in which he left, and he was found on one of the adjacent Keys, by a woodman, almost starved to death, and anxious to return to Key West. He is in the Guard House…. String Band of Company B out serenading tonight. Accompanied them to several places, then returned to office….

Sunday June 28th. One of the Contrabands from La. we started to day as cook for our mess. Ablutions in Commissary Store house…. Received a letter from Sister Mary announcing the death of Dear Grandmother who died on the 18th inst. to be buried on Monday June 22nd. As a mail leaves almost immediately for the North, I hastily answered her letter, acknowledging receipt of the sad news, also wrote consolatory letter to Bro. John, Such is life. Remained in office all day. After supper Watson & myself visited Mrs. Garvin’s, after which went to Church. After Church took a bath. Retired at 11 p.m. Very warm, no air, hardly any sleep all night. Two splendid prizes brought into harbor this afternoon, two Rebel steamers laden with cotton &c, Captured by the Sloop of War Lackawanna off Mobile.

Tuesday June 30th. Reading most all day…. Mustered for pay today.

Wednesday July 1st. …. Today procured Henry Kramer Company B as cook for our mess….

Friday July 3rd. …. Could not sleep tonight on account of the heat, sitting up greater portion of the night.

Saturday July 4th. Independence Day. … Rose at 4 a.m. went with Ginkinger to Slaughter House, procured rations of fresh beef for our mess. Mennig & Myself went to fish market, purchased two fish. Took a cup of coffee at café opposite Provost Marshals Office. After breakfast Whiting & myself played a game of billiards, then witnessed the parade of 47th p.v. 5 Companies with Band & Col. & Staff. Review by the Genl. At Headquarters. Dispersed at 11 a.m. Weather extremely hot. Provost Guard quarters finely decorated. Flags hoisted at great many places. Firing squibs & c, salute by Fort Taylor & Gunboats in harbor, as usual on such occasions. Remained in office all day. After supper Ginkinger & myself visited Capt. Bell, then went with Serg’t. Mink to procure ice cream at a Colored Woman’s establishment, after which returned to office. Many of boys, as usual upon such occasions, being today pretty well curried. Today the San Jacinto relieved the Magnolia as Flag Ship for this port….

Sunday July 5th. …. Steam transport Thomas A. Scott arrived from New York very early this morning, bound for New Orleans, having Ordnance Stores aboard, put in here for coal. She brings papers dating to 27th but no mail. News very bad. Lee’s army still in Pennsylvania making bad havoc. Before retiring went in bathing. Retired at 11 p.m. Cool tonight….

Tuesday July 7th. …. Our Cook Henry Kramer of Company B ordered back to his company by Capt. Rhoads, another burst of shoulder strap authority. After supper Weiss & myself played billiards. Retired at 10 p.m. after taking a good sea bath, off the wharf. Weather sultry & mosquitoes again at work.

Wednesday July 8th. Busy all morning at Commissary Papers also Regimental accounts. Navy transport Union left for the North at 1 p.m. taking a mail. Steam tug Reaney left for Havana….

Thursday July 9th. Busy today, moving the office next door to Provost Marshal’s office, fine place. Tug Reaney returned from Havana having a mail…. News very bad from Pa. Rebels about to attack Harrisburg. The Militia confident of holding the place. Bridges &c burnt on the Susquehanna…. Pilot Boat brought in a paper up to July 3 reports 9000 Rebels to be Captured between Carlisle & Chambersburg. Genl. Hooker relieved from Command of Army of Potomac and Genl. Meade his successor, general satisfaction by this change….

Friday July 10th. Busy all Morning assisting in issuing rations, and fixing up new office. Busy in the afternoon at accounts….

In December 1863, Henry Hornbeck noted that another serious fire had occurred:

The town had some excitement in December as a spark from a railway locomotive set the mess hall on fire, burning it to the ground; and nature retaliated with a violent storm, which caused heavy damage, putting the railroad out of service.

With the arrival of Christmas in 1863, Hornbeck:

… rose at 3 a.m. & proceeded to Slaughter House, had two Cattle & two Sheep cut up and served to the troops. Conveyed Fresh Meat to a number of citizens this morning, being Gen’l Woodburys [sic] gift, then had breakfast. Went to Fort Stables, had the horse fed, visited Mrs. Abbot in Fort Taylor, also Mrs. Heebner, from both of whom we rec’d Christmas Cakes & a drink, which were excellent…. We took dinner at Capt. Bells at 2 p.m. which was a splendid affair. A fine turkey served up, and finished up our dinner with excellent Mince pie, after the dinner we again took a ride about the Island, took the horse to Fort Stables and returned to office. At 5 p.m. a party of Masqueraders (or what we term in our State Fantasticals) paraded the street headed with music, a very comical party. Took a walk tonight, Churches finely decorated. Retired early at ½ past 8 p.m. Weather beautiful….

* Note: To read more of Henry J. Hornbeck’s 1863 diary entries penned during his time spent with the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers in Key West, Florida, see: Henry Hornbeck’s Diary Excerpts, 47th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers (1862-1863).

1864

The opening months of 1864 brought new responsibilities for several members of the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers and the year itself proved to be an important one for the entire regiment. Of note, the 47th became the only Pennsylvania regiment to serve in the Red River Campaign of Union General Nathaniel Banks during the Spring and before losing its greatest number of men in a single day of combat that Fall.

During the opening months of the year, officers and enlisted men from the 47th Pennsylvania continued to re-enlist, including Henry J. Hornbeck who re-upped for another three-year tour of duty. He re-mustered at Fort Taylor in Key West, Florida on 22 February 1864.

Red River Campaign

Steaming into history as they headed for New Orleans via the Charles Thomas, the 47th Pennsylvanians arrived at Algiers, Louisiana on 28 February. Following a rail trip to Brashear City and another steamer ride to Franklin via the Bayou Teche, the 47th joined the 2nd Brigade, 1st Division of the Department of the Gulf’s 19th Army Corps.

From 14-26 March, the 47th passed through New Iberia, Vermillionville, Opelousas, and Washington while en route to Alexandria and Natchitoches, Louisiana. Often short on food and water, the regiment encamped briefly at Pleasant Hill the night of 7 April before continuing on the next day, marching until mid-afternoon.

Map of the Mansfield-Sabine Cross Roads Area, DeSoto Parish, Louisiana, April 1864. (Source: General Nathaniel Banks’ official report on the Red River Campaign; public domain.)

Mansfield-Sabine Cross Roads Area, DeSoto Parish, Louisiana, April 1864. (Source: General Nathaniel Banks’ official Red River Campaign report; public domain.)

Rushed into battle ahead of other regiments in the 2nd Division, 60 members of the 47th were cut down on 8 April during the volley of fire unleashed during the Battle of Sabine Cross Roads (also known as the Battle of Mansfield). Exhausted, those who were uninjured collapsed beside the gravely wounded. The fighting waned only when darkness fell. After midnight, the surviving Union troops finally withdrew to Pleasant Hill.

The next day, the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers were ordered into a critically important defensive position at the far right of the Union lines, their right flank spreading up onto a high bluff. By 3 p.m., after enduring a midday charge by the troops of Confederate General Richard Taylor (a plantation owner and son of Zachary Taylor, former President of the United States), the brutal fighting still showed no signs of ending. Suddenly, just as the 47th was shifting to the left side of the massed Union forces, the men of the 47th Pennsylvania were forced to bolster the 165th New York’s buckling lines by blocking another Confederate assault.

Casualties were once again severe. Lieutenant Colonel George W. Alexander was nearly killed, and the regiment’s two color-bearers, both from Company C, were also wounded while preventing the American flag from falling into enemy hands. A number of 47th Pennsylvanians also subsequently died from their wounds or the diseases they had contracted during the arduous campaign. Others deemed too damaged to continue their service were ultimately discharged on Surgeons’ Certificates of Disability.

At least 17 soldiers from the 47th Pennsylvanians were also taken captive by Confederate forces. Marched 125 miles to Camp Ford, a Confederate Army prison camp near Tyler, Texas, they were held there as prisoners of war until released during prisoner exchanges in July or later months. At least two men from the 47th Pennsylvania never made it out of that prison alive; another died months later while being treated at a Confederate prison hospital in Shreveport, Louisiana.

On 15 April 1864, Henry J. Hornbeck was promoted to the rank of Quartermaster Sergeant, 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers, and transferred from service with Company G to the central regimental command staff.

Following what some historians have called a rout by Confederates at Pleasant Hill and others have labeled a technical victory for the Union or a draw for both sides, the 47th fell back to Grand Ecore, where the men resupplied and regrouped until 22 April. Retreating further to Alexandria, they and their fellow Union soldiers then scored a clear victory against the Confederates at Cane Hill.

Known as "Bailey's Dam" for the Union officer who ordered its construction, Lt. Col. Joseph Bailey, this timber dam built by the Union Army on the Red River in Alexandria, Louisiana in May 1864 was designed to facilitate passage of Union gunboats to and from the Mississippi River. Photo: Public domain.

Christened “Bailey’s Dam” for the Union officer who ordered its construction, Lt. Col. Joseph Bailey, this timber dam built by the Union Army on the Red River in Alexandria, Louisiana in May 1864 facilitated passage of Union gunboats. Photo: Public domain.

On 23 April, the 47th and their fellow brigade members crossed the Cane River via Monett’s Ferry and, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Bailey, helped to build a dam from 30 April through 10 May, enabling federal gunboats to easily traverse the Red River’s rapids.

Beginning 13 May, the 47th moved to Morganza, and then to New Orleans on 20 June. As they did during their tour through the Carolinas and Florida, the men of the 47th battled the elements and disease as well as the Confederate Army. Private Josiah Stocker died at the University General Hospital in New Orleans on 17 May 1864. Private Joseph Smith passed on in the barracks hospital on 2 September. Privates John C. Helfric and T.J. Helm died 5 August and 21 September, respectively, and now rest in marked graves at Chalmette National Cemetery in St. Bernard Parish.

Removed from command amid the controversy over the Union Army’s successes and failures during the Red River Expedition, Union General Nathaniel P. Banks was placed on leave by President Abraham Lincoln. Banks subsequently spent much of his time in Washington, D.C. as a Reconstruction advocate for Louisiana.

Sheridan’s 1864 Shenandoah Valley Campaign

Battered but not out following their time in Bayou country, the men of the 47th were still able – and willing – to fight. On the 4th of July 1864, they received new orders, directing them to return to the East Coast, which they did – but in two stages.

Companies A, C, D, E, F, H, and I sailed aboard the McClellan on 7 July, and arrived on the East Coast just in time to have a memorable encounter with President Abraham Lincoln before being ordered to join Major-General David Hunter’s forces at Snicker’s Gap, Virginia in mid-July 1864. There, they again assisted in defending Washington, D.C. while also helping to drive Rebel troops from Maryland.

Meanwhile, the men from Companies B, G and K remained behind in Louisiana. Under the command of F Company Captain Henry S. Harte, they awaited and finally received transport aboard the Blackstone, arrived on the East Coast on 28 July, and reconnected with the bulk of their regiment at Monocacy, Virginia on 2 August 1864.

Attached to the Middle Military Division, Army of the Shenandoah beginning in August, that month and the opening days of September saw the departure of several 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers who had served honorably, including a number of officers and enlisted men from Company G who mustered out at Berryville, Virginia on 18 September 1864 upon expiration of their respective three-years term of service.

Battles of Opequan and Fisher’s Hill, September 1864

Together with other regiments under the command of Union General Philip H. (“Little Phil”) Sheridan and Brigadier-General William H. Emory, commander of the 19th Corps, the members of Company G and their fellow 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers helped to inflict heavy casualties on Lieutenant General Jubal Early’s Confederate forces at Opequan (also spelled as “Opequon” and referred to as “Third Winchester”). The battle is still considered by many historians to be one of the most important during Sheridan’s 1864 campaign; the Union’s victory here helped to ensure the reelection of President Abraham Lincoln.

Image of the victory of Philip Sheridan’s Union army over Jubal Early’s Confederate forces. Kurz & Allison, circa 1893. Public domain, courtesy of the Library of Congress: LC-DIG-pga-01855 (digital file from original print) LC-USZC4-1753 (color film copy transparency).

Victory of Philip Sheridan’s Union army over Jubal Early’s Confederate forces. Kurz & Allison, circa 1893. Public domain, U.S. Library of Congress.

The 47th Pennsylvania’s march toward destiny at Opequan began at 2 a.m. on 19 September 1864 as the regiment left camp and joined up with others in the Union’s 19th Corps. After advancing slowly from Berryville toward Winchester, the 19th Corps became bogged down for several hours by the massive movement of Union troops and supply wagons, enabling Early’s men to dig in. After finally reaching and fording the Opequan Creek, Sheridan’s men came face to face with the Confederate Army commanded by Early. The fighting, which began in earnest at noon, was long and brutal. The Union’s left flank (6th Corps) took a beating from Confederate artillery stationed on high ground.

Meanwhile, the 47th Pennsylvania and the 19th Corps were directed by General William Emory to attack and pursue Major General John B. Gordon’s Confederate forces. Some success was achieved, but casualties mounted as another Confederate artillery group opened fire on Union troops trying to cross a clearing. When a nearly fatal gap began to open between the 6th and 19th Corps, Sheridan sent in units led by Brigadier-Generals Emory Upton and David A. Russell. Russell, hit twice – once in the chest, was mortally wounded. The 47th Pennsylvania opened its lines long enough to enable the Union cavalry under William Woods Averell and the foot soldiers of General George Crook to charge the Confederates’ left flank.

The 19th Corps, with the 47th in the thick of the fighting, then began pushing the Confederates back. Early’s “grays” retreated in the face of the valor displayed by Sheridan’s “blue jackets.” Leaving 2,500 wounded behind, the Rebels retreated to Fisher’s Hill (21-22 September), eight miles south of Winchester, and then to Waynesboro, following a successful early morning flanking attack by Sheridan’s Union men which outnumbered Early’s three to one.

Afterward, the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers were sent out on skirmishing parties before making camp at Cedar Creek. Moving forward, they and other members of the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers would continue to distinguish themselves in battle, but they would do so without two of their most respected commanders: Colonel Tilghman Good and Good’s second in command, Lieutenant Colonel George Alexander, who mustered out 23-24 September upon expiration of their respective terms of service. Fortunately, they were replaced by others equally admired both for temperament and their front line experience: John Peter Shindel Gobin, Charles W. Abbott and Levi Stuber.

On 18 October 1864, G Company’s Captain John Goebel was commissioned, but not mustered, as a Major. The next day, he answered his last bugle call.

Battle of Cedar Creek, 19 October 1864

It was during the Fall of 1864 that General Philip Sheridan began the first of the Union’s true “scorched earth” campaigns, starving the enemy into submission by destroying Virginia’s crops and farming infrastructure. Viewed through today’s lens of history as inhumane, the strategy claimed many innocents – civilians whose lives were cut short by their inability to find food. This same strategy, however, almost certainly contributed to the further turning of the war’s tide in the Union’s favor during the Battle of Cedar Creek on 19 October 1864. Successful throughout most of their engagement with Union forces at Cedar Creek, Early’s Confederate troops began peeling off in ever growing numbers to forage for food, thus enabling the 47th Pennsylvania and others under Sheridan’s command to rally.

From a military standpoint, it was another impressive, but heartrending day. During the morning of 19 October, Early launched a surprise attack directly on Sheridan’s Cedar Creek-encamped forces. Early’s men were able to capture Union weapons while freeing a number of Confederates who had been taken prisoner during previous battles – all while pushing seven Union divisions back. According to Bates:

When the Army of West Virginia, under Crook, was surprised and driven from its works, the Second Brigade, with the Forty-seventh on the right, was thrown into the breach to arrest the retreat…. Scarcely was it in position before the enemy came suddenly upon it, under the cover of fog. The right of the regiment was thrown back until it was almost a semi-circle. The brigade, only fifteen hundred strong, was contending against Gordon’s entire division, and was forced to retire, but, in comparative good order, exposed, as it was, to raking fire. Repeatedly forming, as it was pushed back, and making a stand at every available point, it finally succeeded in checking the enemy’s onset, when General Sheridan suddenly appeared upon the field, who ‘met his crest-fallen, shattered battalions, without a word of reproach, but joyously swinging his cap, shouted to the stragglers, as he rode rapidly past them – “Face the other way, boys! We are going back to our camp! We are going to lick them out of their boots!’”

The Union’s counterattack punched Early’s forces into submission, and the men of the 47th were commended for their heroism by General Stephen Thomas who, in 1892, was awarded the Medal of Honor for his own “distinguished conduct in a desperate hand-to-hand encounter, in which the advance of the enemy was checked” that day. Bates described the 47th’s actions:

When the final grand charge was made, the regiment moved at nearly right angles with the rebel front. The brigade charged gallantly, and the entire line, making a left wheel, came down on his flank, while engaging the Sixth Corps, when he went “whirling up the valley” in confusion. In the pursuit to Fisher’s Hill, the regiment led, and upon its arrival was placed on the skirmish line, where it remained until twelve o’clock noon of the following day. The army was attacked at early dawn…no respite was given to take food until the pursuit was ended.

Once again, the casualties for the 47th were high. Regimental Chaplain William Rodrock suffered a near miss as a bullet pierced his cap, but Sergeant William Pyers, the C Company man who had so gallantly rescued the flag at Pleasant Hill, was cut down and later buried on the battlefield. Privates John Becher and Julius Lasker were among those from Company G who were also killed in action.

Captain John Goebel, who had suffered a grievous gunshot wound, died three weeks later, on 5 November 1864, of wound-related complications while receiving care at the Union Army’s post hospital at Winchester, Virginia. Captain Goebel’s body, like that of his predecessor Captain Mickley, was brought home to the Lehigh Valley; he was also laid to rest at the Union-West End Cemetery in Allentown.

Following these major engagements, the 47th was ordered to Camp Russell near Winchester from November through most of December. Rested and somewhat healed, the 47th was then ordered to outpost and railroad guarding duties at Camp Fairview in Charlestown, West Virginia. Five days before Christmas, they marched through a driving snowstorm to reach their new home.

1865 – 1866

On New Year’s Day 1865 at Stevenson, Virginia, 1st Sergeant Thomas Leisenring, one of the men who had stepped in to fill the void when the second G Company captain fell in battle, was promoted to the rank of Captain. Sergeant William H. Steckel was promoted to the rank of 1st Lieutenant.

Matthew Brady's photograph of spectators massing for the Grand Review of the Armies, 23-24 May 1865, at the side of the crepe-draped U.S. Capitol, flag at half mast following the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. (Library of Congress: Public domain.)

Matthew Brady’s photograph of spectators massing for the Grand Review of the Armies, 23-24 May 1865, at the side of the crepe-draped U.S. Capitol, flag at half mast following the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. (Library of Congress: Public domain.)

Assigned first to the Provisional Division of the 2nd Brigade of the Army of the Shenandoah in February, the men of the 47th moved, via Winchester and Kernstown, back to Washington, D.C. By 19 April 1864, the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers were responsible for helping to defend the nation’s capital – this time following the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. Encamped near Fort Stevens, they were resupplied and received new uniforms.

Letters home and later newspaper interviews with survivors of the 47th Pennsylvania indicate that at least one 47th Pennsylvania Volunteer was given the high honor of guarding President Lincoln’s funeral train while others guarded the Lincoln assassination conspirators during the early days of their imprisonment and trial.

As part of Dwight’s Division of the 2nd Brigade of the Department of Washington’s 22nd Corps, the 47th Pennsylvania also participated in the Union’s Grand Review on 23-24 May 1864.

Departures from the regiment also continued during this phase as terms of service expired and soldiers were discharged via Surgeons’ Certificates of Disability. Others, including Quartermaster Sergeant Henry J. Hornbeck, were honorably discharged on 1 June 1865 per General Order No. 53 from Headquarters of the U.S. Army’s Middle Military Division.

Return to Civilian Life

Following his honorable discharge from the military, Henry J. Hornbeck returned home to the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania. There, he married Leanna Diehl. Born on 7 March 1851 in Northampton County, Pennsylvania, she was a daughter of Quakertown natives, Samuel Diehl and Elizabeth (Doll) Diehl.

He supported his new bride on the wages of a bookkeeper, a trade he had honed while serving with the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers. One of his first employers was the Roberts Iron Company, which later became the Allentown Rolling Mills Company. A Jeffersonian Democrat who was active in the local political scene, Henry J. Hornbeck also served as Auditor for the Borough of Allentown in 1874. Appointed Deputy Prothonotary by the publicly elected Prothonotary, Captain H. C. Wagner, he served his community in that capacity from 1878-1881.

Federal census records show that, by June of 1880, Henry and Leanna Hornbeck had relocated to Catasauqua in Lehigh County. They resided there with their infant daughter, Bessie D. Hornbeck, who was born on 28 October 1879.

Then, sometime in 1881, Henry Hornbeck began working for James Wheeler Fuller, Jr., one of his former superior officers during his tenure with the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers, at McKee, Fuller & Co. in Ferndale, Lehigh County. (Henry Hornbeck continued to work for the company for nearly two decades. At the time of his death in 1898, he was the firm’s Chief Bookkeeper.)

On 6 August 1881, Henry and Leanna Hornbeck welcomed son, Henry Jacob Hornbeck, Jr. to the world. They nicknamed him “Harry.”

* Note: The 1900 federal census indicates that Leanna Hornbeck gave birth to a third child, but this child did not survive.

On 28 June 1893, The Allentown Democrat reported that Henry and Leanna Hornbeck’s daughter, Bessie, graduated from the Allentown College for Women (now Cedar Crest College). Commencement was held on Friday, 23 June at 9 a.m., and was filled with impressive oratories and vocal and piano performances. Among the students singled out for recognition, Bessie Hornbeck was awarded the College’s gold medal “for the greatest progress in drawing and painting.”

Three years later, in 1896 according to the 8 February 1911 edition of The Allentown Leader, the Hornbeck’s son, Harry, began an apprenticeship as a clerk with the Lehigh Valley Trust & Safe Deposit Co. (Like his father before him, Harry Hornbeck remained loyal to his first employer, and steadily worked his way up through increasingly responsible positions of authority. Awarded oversight of roughly two-and-a-half million dollars as head of the firm’s trust department, he was serving as the firm’s Vice President at the time of his death.)

Illness, Death and Interment

In his later years, the aging former Quartermaster Sergeant Henry J. Hornbeck developed and suffered increasingly from diabetes. On 4 January 1897, he filed for his Civil War Pension as the condition began to disable him. Finally, on 30 September 1898, the old scribe and soldier succumbed to diabetes-related complications at his Linden Street home in Allentown. Multiple local newspapers reported his passing on and after the days of his death, including The Allentown Democrat which published the following tribute in its 5 October edition:

DEATH OF A HIGHLY ESTEEMED CITIZEN. – After an illness extending over several years Henry J. Hornbeck died on Friday morning last at his home, No. 509 Linden street. His ailment was diabetes. He spent two months at a sanitarium at Wernersville, without, however, getting the desired relief. The disease was a wasting one, and Mr. Hornbeck became greatly emaciated and weakened.

Deceased was aged 55 years and 11 days. He was born in Allentown and lived here all his life. His home was for many years at 509 Linden street. His parents were Hon. John W. and Maria (Martin) Hornbeck. His paternal grandfather was Dr. Jacob Hornbeck, of Sussex county, N.J. His maternal grandfather was Dr. Jacob Martin, son of Dr. Charles Frederick Martin, the pioneer of the Martin family in Allentown. His father was a lawyer and represented Lehigh and Berks counties in Congress in 1848 and 1849 as a Whig.

Mr. Hornbeck was an excellent business man, a skilled accountant and a proficient bookkeeper. In his earlier years he was engaged as a bookkeeper with different firms, and late in the ‘70s he assisted in making the indices in the County Commissioner’s office. When Capt. H. C. Wagner was elected Prothonotary in 1879 he made Mr. Hornbeck his Deputy. After a year’s service, Mr. Hornbeck retired, and became bookkeeper with McKee, Fuller & Co., remaining in their employ until his death. Mr. Hornbeck was a faithful, steady, reliable employee. As a citizen he was exemplary, and was accordingly held in high esteem. He was prominently mentioned for the coming Democratic nomination for Mayor.

Deceased had an honorable war record from September 16, 1862, to June 1, 1865, and was promoted from Sergeant of Company G, Forty-seventh Regiment, to Quartermaster Sergeant, April 15, 1864. Mr. Hornbeck was married to Leanna, daughter of Samuel Diehl, who survives with two children, Bessie and Harry. One brother survives. He is Dr. M. E. Hornbeck, of Catasauqua.

The Rev. Dr. S. A. Repass, the pastor at St. John’s English Evangelical Lutheran Church in Allentown and a respected writer-editor of Lutheran Synod publications, officiated at funeral services which were held at the Hornbeck family home at 2:00 p.m. on 4 October 1898. Members of the Grand Army of the Republic and Union Veteran League paid their respects, as did many prominent members of communities across the Lehigh Valley.

Henry J. Hornbeck was then laid to rest at the Union-West End Cemetery in Allentown.

Life Goes On for the Grieving Hornbecks

Just over two weeks later, on 19 October 1898, The Allentown Democrat reported that Henry J. Hornbeck’s will of 20 May 1895 had completed probate, and had named Henry Hornbeck’s widow as executrix and sole beneficiary of the Hornbeck estate. Upon closer review of this will, readers will observe that Henry J. Hornbeck stipulated that his “body be decently interred in the Union Cemetery in the City of Allentown, according to the rites and Ceremonies of the Lutheran Church,” and that his “funeral be conducted in a manner befitting [his] Estate and condition in life.”

On 9 March 1899, The Allentown Leader reported that Henry Hornbeck’s widow, Leanna, brought suit “against the Keystone Mutual Benefit Association to recover $1000 on a policy issued August 17, 1883, on the life of her husband, Henry J. Hornbeck, who died on September 30 last.”

As a new century dawned, Leanna Hornbeck continued to reside in Allentown with her children, Bessie and Harry, who helped to support the family on the wages of a bank clerk. Also residing there at this time was Leanna Hornbeck’s brother, traveling salesman Tilghman Diehl (1847-1913).

In 1906, the Hornbeck’s daughter, Bessie, married Robert G. Bear and move away to the Chicago area. In 1907, the Hornbeck’s son, Harry, wed Florence Bittner. Together, they welcomed to the Hornbeck household son Henry Louis Hornbeck (1908-1988).

According to the 23 September 1909 edition of The Allentown Democrat, Leanna Hornbeck relocated to the Chicago area in 1909. Residing with her daughter, Bessie Bear (1879-1969), she helped to care for Bessie’s two young children, Henry C. Bear (born in 1907) and Eleanor H. Bear (born in 1908). Before the next decade ended, Bessie would give birth to four more children: Elizabeth L. (born in 1911), Robert G. (born in 1914), Letitia A. (born in 1916), and Anna M. (born in 1918).

In 1909, Leanna Hornbeck returned to Allentown, and made her home with son Harry Hornbeck (1881-1948). Two years later, The Allentown Leader announced, via its 8 February 1911 edition, that Harry Hornbeck had been promoted to the position of Assistant Secretary with the Lehigh Valley Trust & Safe Deposit Co.

* Note: This same article went on to recall the Civil War military duty performed by Harry Hornbeck’s father, Henry J. Hornbeck, as a Quartermaster Sergeant with the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers, as well as Henry Hornbeck’s post-war civil service tenure as “a very efficient deputy prothonotary” and his accounting career with McKee, Fuller & Co.

Meanwhile, Harry and Florence Hornbeck welcomed the arrival of three daughters: Ruth (1912-1989; married surname: Roehrig), Miriam (1915-1996; married surname: McFadden), and Marjorie (1918-2006; married surname: Bogert).

Following a 1913 trip to Italy, Leanna (Diehl) Hornbeck returned home again to Allentown, and went on to live a long, full life. By 1930, she was once again residing with her daughter, Bessie at the Bear family home in Evanston, Cook County, Illinois. She passed away there on 17 August 1934.

After her remains were returned to Allentown, Leanne (Diehl) Hornbeck was laid to rest beside her husband at the Union-West End Cemetery on 25 August 1934.

To read more of Henry J. Hornbeck’s diary entries penned during his time spent with the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers in Key West, Florida from 1862-1863, see: Henry Hornbeck’s Diary Excerpts, 47th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers (1862-Early 1864).

 

Sources:

1. Bates, Samuel P. History of Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-5. Harrisburg: 1869.

2. Civil War Muster Rolls, in Records of the Department of Military and Veterans’ Affairs (Record Group 19, Series 19.11). Harrisburg: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.

3. Henry J. Hornbeck and Morton E. Hornbeck, in Civil War Veterans’ Card File. Harrisburg: Pennsylvania State Archives.

4. Death of a Highly Esteemed Citizen, in The Allentown Democrat. Allentown: 5 October 1898.

5. Death of Henry J. Hornbeck: Succumbed to Diabetes To-Day After a Long Illness, in The Allentown Leader. Allentown: 30 September 1898.

6. Henry J. Hornbeck, in Do You Remember, in The Allentown Democrat. Allentown: 20 June 1911.

7. Henry J. Hornbeck, in Lehigh County Probate Records. Allentown: Office of the Register of Wills, Lehigh County, 1898.

8. History of the Key West Fire Department, in Fire Department, on the City of Key West, Florida’s website. Key West: Retrieved 9 January 2016.

9. Leanna D. Hornbeck, in Illinois Deaths and Stillbirths, 1916–1947. Salt Lake City: FamilySearch, 1934.

10. Leanna D. Hornbeck, in Passenger and Crew Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York (Microfilm Publication T715), in Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Washington, D.C.: U.S. National Archives, 25 September 1913.

11. Leanna D. Hornbeck, in U.S. Passport Applications (No. 5492 on Roll No. 184). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Citizenship and U.S. National Archives, 10 May 1913.

12. Mr. Hornbeck’s Funeral, in The Allentown Democrat. Allentown: 1 October 1898.

13. Molton E. Hornbeck (death notice), in Directory of Deceased American Physicians, in Journal of the American Medical Association. Chicago: American Medical Association, 1905.

14. Notice of Mrs. Henry Hornbeck’s Return from Chicago, in The Allentown Democrat. Allentown: 23 September 1909.

15. Pennsylvania Veterans’ Burial Index Cards. Harrisburg: Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.

16. Promoted for Efficiency: New Assistant Secretary of L.V. Trust & Safe Deposit Co., in The Allentown Leader. Allentown: 8 February 1911.

17. Schmidt. A Civil War History of the 47th Regiment of Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers. Allentown: Self-published, 1986.

18. Schmidt, Lewis. Florida Keys and Fevers: The Civil War in Florida: A Military History. Allentown: Self-published, 1992.

19. Suit for Life Insurance, in The Allentown Leader. Allentown: 9 March 1899.

20. U.S. Census. Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania and Illinois: 1860, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930.

21. Will of Henry J. Hornbeck, in The Allentown Democrat. Allentown: 19 October 1898.

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