Lantzy, Philip (1840-1862)
Scope:
Between 23 July, 1861, when he joined Company A of the Eleventh Pennsylvania Reserves, and his death at Antietam on 17 September, 1862, Pvt. Philip Andrew Lantzy frequently wrote home about his experiences in the Union army. The letters B 28 have survived in his own hand, along with an inscribed illustrated card of Union generals document life in a unit which saw hard service. Of 2,144 Union regiments, the Eleventh Reserves would suffer the eighth-highest number of men killed.

The young Cambria County native wrote of experiences which, he noted at several points, he would never have dreamed of had he stayed at home farming Aon the mountain. He described early reviews attended by Army of the Potomac commander George McClellan, Pennsylvania Gov. Andrew Curtin, and President Abraham Lincoln. He wrote of the December, 1861 foraging expedition to Gunnell's Farm an action which provoked the subsequent Battle of Dranesville and the June, 1862 fight at Gaines' Mill at which his unit was surrounded and captured almost intact.

Portions of his letters detailed activity on the Potomac, Rappahannock and Chickahominy fronts, including artillery duels and the presence of Prof. Thaddeus Lowe's observation balloons. Others introduced disenchanted rebels met during picket-line truces, and related the camp gossip and rumors of his day. He wrote of domestic affairs, of the farmland he hoped to acquire back home and the young colt he hoped to buy. He frequently implores his family to "pleas[e] write soon." The letters also reveal a young man (he was 21 when he died) trusting in his Catholic faith. Yet they also show him grow increasingly pessimistic of a quick end to the war, or victory itself, and ever more conscious of the likelihood of death on the battlefield.

Notable Figures
1. Lantzy, Philip, 1840-1862
2. Gibbs, Joseph, 1965-
Associated Subjects
1. Military History Subject Guide
2. United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865