I have lost my left eye, the base of the nose has been taken out. My jaw has been splintered besides some other bones about the brain being cracked. I am very thankful that I got through so safely, as my life was despared [sic] of at first.
– 1st Lieutenant William Wallace Geety, Company H, 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers in a letter to his wife, 19 November 1862
William Wallace Geety (1831-1887) was one of those rare men in history who was truly worthy of being labeled a warrior. An average American transformed by circumstance into a leader of men struggling to preserve their nation’s Union, he spent more than half a century battling his way back from the devastating head wounds he sustained in combat during the U.S. Civil War. In the process, he became a beloved family patriarch to his wife and children and a respected civic leader in and beyond his community in the great Keystone State of Pennsylvania.
The great-grandson of American Revolutionary War Patriot Michael Heisley (c. 1750-1831) of the 2nd Battalion, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania Militia, he was also a grandson of George and Catherine (Heisley) Geety. At the time of his birth on 4 December 1831, his parents, Maryland native William Geety (1800-1864) and Pennsylvania native Catherine (Gillespy or Gillespie) Geety (1809-1864), were residents of Harrisburg, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania.
After relocating briefly to Middletown during his early years, William Wallace Geety and his family then returned to Harrisburg, where they continued to make their home. By the age of eight, he had begun preparing for a military life. Sent off to boarding school to study with Jacob Eyster, William W. Geety’s course of instruction included military drills.
The 1840 U.S. Census confirms that William W. Geety resided with his parents, three brothers and three or more sisters in Harrisburg’s North Ward. In 1843, when he was just twelve years old, he was employed in the book publishing trade under Francis Wyeth, but by 1847, had become a sixteen-year-old pharmacy student of Martin Lutz.
By 1850, the Geety clan was domiciled in Harrisburg’s West Ward, where family patriarch William Geety was employed as a tailor. Residing in the household at this time with Geety family heads William and Catherine were eight children: Ann E. (aged 19), William W. Geety (a clerk who was aged 17), George W. (aged 15), Frederick H. (aged 13), Sylvester (aged 11), James G. (aged 8), Agnes G. (aged 7), and Mary E. (aged 5 months). Also residing at the Geety family home was William W. Geety’s maternal aunt, Elizabeth Gillespy (alternate spelling Gillespie).
After completing his pharmacy studies with Martin Lutz, William W. Geety was able to secure a position as a teacher in the local schools in order to support himself while he continued to pursue further studies – this time as a dental student of Dr. Stough.
On 24 February 1857, he also became a family man as he wed Henrietta Thompson (1837-1918). Sometime around 1858, they welcomed son William H. Geety to the world. Meanwhile, Geety continued his teaching career, employed as an educator in the Coxetown schools.
Before the decade was over, however, he had begun putting his healthcare studies to practical use. As a 28-year-old, he was gainfully employed in the field of dental surgery in Harrisburg, Susquehanna Township, Dauphin County in early July 1860, and also resided in the city with his 28-year-old wife, Henrietta, and their two children, Agnes (born in November 1859), and William H. Geety (aged 2).
The Geety family’s sense of tranquility would soon be challenged, however, as America descended into a long national nightmare.
Civil War Military Service
Following the fall of Fort Sumter to Confederate forces in mid-April 1861, William Wallace Geety became one of the Keystone State’s early responders to President Abraham Lincoln’s call for 75,000 volunteer troops to help defend Washington, D.C. Enlisting and mustering in from Harrisburg as a 29-year-old private with the 1st Regiment, Pennsylvania Infantry’s Company E (also known as the “Cameron Guards”), Geety was one of the men who served under that unit’s commanding officer, Captain Jacob M. Eyster, a former sheriff of Harrisburg (1858) and a native of Gettysburg whose father was General Jacob Eyster. (General Eyster had commanded men from Adams and York counties during the War of 1812.)
According to Cooper H. Wingert, in his book Harrisburg and the Civil War, the Cameron Guards were “a prewar Harrisburg militia unit dating back to the Mexican-American War,” which had paraded “through the city as it attempted to entice the men of Harrisburg to enlist and fill up its ranks.” In Private William Geety’s case, however, the desire to enlist was more likely kindled by Captain Eyster, who had been Geety’s childhood boarding school instructor.
Transported away from Harrisburg to Cockeysville, Maryland via the Northern Central Railroad, Private William W. Geety and his fellow 1st Pennsylvania Volunteers initially spent time at Camp Scott near York, Pennsylvania before being ordered to railroad guard duties along the rail lines between Pennsylvania and Druid Park in Baltimore, Maryland from 14-25 May.
From there, the 1st Pennsylvanians were assigned to Catonsville (25 May) and Franklintown (29 May) before being ordered back across the border with their regiment and stationed at Chambersburg (3 June). There, they were attached to the 2nd Brigade (under Wyncoop), 2nd Division (under Keim) in General Robert Patterson’s Army. Ordered on to Hagerstown, Maryland on 18 June and then to Funkstown, Goose Creek and Edward’s Ferry, the regiment remained in that vicinity until 22 June, when it was ordered to Frederick, Maryland.
Assigned with other Union regiments to occupy the town of Martinsburg, Virginia from 8-21 July (following the Battle of Falling Waters earlier that month), the 1st Pennsylvania Volunteers were ordered to Harpers Ferry on 21 July. Following the completion of their Three Months’ Service, Private Geety and his fellow 1st Pennsylvanians honorably mustered out on 23 July 1861.
Meanwhile, William W. Geety’s brother Frederick H. Geety was also completing his own Three Months’ Service, having mustered in at Harrisburg as a Private with Company I of the 2nd Pennsylvania Volunteers.
Realizing the war was far from over, William W. Geety then personally helped recruit additional men to the Union’s cause before re-enrolling for military service at Camp Curtin in Harrisburg on 7 August 1861. Commissioned as a 1st Lieutenant there on 19 September 1861, he was placed in charge of the enlisted men assigned to Company H of the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, a new regiment founded by Tilghman H. Good. The second in command of William W. Geety’s old regiment – the 1st Pennsylvania Volunteers – Good would later go on to become a three-time mayor of the City of Allentown.
Military records at the time described William Wallace Geety as being a 29-year-old dentist from Harrisburg who was 5’ 6-½” tall with brown hair, hazel eyes and a light complexion. He was second in Company H leadership authority only to that unit’s commanding officer, Captain James H. Kacy, a 44-year-old merchant and resident of Elliottsburg, Pennsylvania who had served as a railroad postal clerk for the United States government in the mid-1850s during the administration of President Franklin Pierce. Company H was the final company to be mustered in to the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers, and was one of two companies in the 47th with members who had enrolled almost exclusively from Perry County (the other being Company D).
* Note: William W. Geety’s younger brother, Frederick H. Geety, had also opted to re-enlist. Mustering in as a Sergeant with Company I of the 7th Pennsylvania Cavalry on 6 September 1861 at Camp Curtin, Frederick would be wounded in the left shoulder slightly more than a year later during a skirmish with the enemy at Nolinsville Pike, Tennessee on 11 December 1862. Promoted to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant on 1 March 1863, he was then commissioned (but not mustered) as Captain of the 7th Pennsylvania Cavalry’s K Company on 15 November 1864 before being honorably discharged on 12 January 1865.
Following a brief light infantry training period, 1st Lieutenant William W. Geety and his fellow members of the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers’ H Company were sent by train with the 47th Pennsylvania to Washington, D.C., where they were stationed at “Camp Kalorama” on Kalorama Heights near Georgetown, about two miles from the White House, beginning 21 September. On 22 September, C Company Musician Henry D. Wharton penned the following update for his hometown newspaper, the Sunbury American:
After a tedious ride we have, at last, safely arrived at the City of ‘magnificent distances.’ We left Harrisburg on Friday last at 1 o’clock A.M. and reached this camp yesterday (Saturday) at 4 P.M., as tired and worn out a sett [sic] of mortals as can possibly exist. On arriving at Washington we were marched to the ‘Soldiers Retreat,’ a building purposely erected for the benefit of the soldier, where every comfort is extended to him and the wants of the ‘inner man’ supplied.
After partaking of refreshments we were ordered into line and marched, about three miles, to this camp. So tired were the men, that on marching out, some gave out, and had to leave the ranks, but J. Boulton Young, our ‘little Zouave,’ stood it bravely, and acted like a veteran. So small a drummer is scarcely seen in the army, and on the march through Washington he was twice the recipient of three cheers.
We were reviewed by Gen. McClellan yesterday [21 September 1861] without our knowing it. All along the march we noticed a considerable number of officers, both mounted and on foot; the horse of one of the officers was so beautiful that he was noticed by the whole regiment, in fact, so wrapt [sic] up were they in the horse, the rider wasn’t noticed, and the boys were considerably mortified this morning on dis-covering they had missed the sight of, and the neglect of not saluting the soldier next in command to Gen. Scott.
Col. Good, who has command of our regiment, is an excellent man and a splendid soldier. He is a man of very few words, and is continually attending to his duties and the wants of the Regiment…. Our Regiment will now be put to hard work; such as drilling and the usual business of camp life, and the boys expect and hope an occasional ‘pop’ at the enemy.
Then, on 24 September, the soldiers of Company H, 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers became part of the federal service when the regiment officially mustered in to the U.S. Army. Three days later, the 47th Pennsylvania was assigned to Brigadier-General Isaac Stevens’ 3rd Brigade, which also included the 33rd, 49th and 79th New York regiments. By that afternoon, the 47th Pennsylvania was on the move again. Ordered onward by Brigadier-General Silas Casey, the Mississippi rifle-armed 47th Pennsylvania infantrymen marched behind their regimental band until reaching Camp Lyon, Maryland on the Potomac River’s eastern shore. At 5 p.m., they joined the 46th Pennsylvania in moving double-quick (165 steps per minute using 33-inch steps) across the “Chain Bridge” marked on federal maps, and continued on for roughly another mile before being ordered to make camp.
The next morning, they broke camp and moved again. Marching toward Falls Church, Virginia, they arrived at Camp Advance around dusk. There, about two miles from the bridge they had crossed a day earlier, they re-pitched their tents in a deep ravine near a new federal fort under construction (Fort Ethan Allen). They had completed a roughly eight-mile trek, were situated fairly close to General W. F. Smith’s headquarters, and were now part of the massive Army of the Potomac. Under Smith’s leadership, their regiment and brigade would help to defend the nation’s capital from the time of their September arrival through late January when the men of the 47th Pennsylvania would be shipped south.
Once again, Company C Musician Henry Wharton recapped the regiment’s activities, noting, via his 29 September letter home to the Sunbury American, that the 47th had changed camps three times in three days:
On Friday last we left Camp Kalorama, and the same night encamped about one mile from the Chain Bridge on the opposite side of the Potomac from Washington. The next morning, Saturday, we were ordered to this Camp [Camp Advance near Fort Ethan Allen, Virginia], one and a half miles from the one we occupied the night previous. I should have mentioned that we halted on a high hill (on our march here) at the Chain Bridge, called Camp Lyon, but were immediately ordered on this side of the river. On the route from Kalorama we were for two hours exposed to the hardest rain I ever experienced. Whew, it was a whopper; but the fellows stood it well – not a murmur – and they waited in their wet clothes until nine o’clock at night for their supper. Our Camp adjoins that of the N.Y. 79th (Highlanders.)….
We had not been in this Camp more than six hours before our boys were supplied with twenty rounds of ball and cartridge, and ordered to march and meet the enemy; they were out all night and got back to Camp at nine o’clock this morning, without having a fight. They are now in their tents taking a snooze preparatory to another march this morning…. I don’t know how long the boys will be gone, but the orders are to cook two days’ rations and take it with them in their haversacks….
There was a nice little affair came off at Lavensville [sic], a few miles from here on Wednesday last; our troops surprised a party of rebels (much larger than our own.) killing ten, took a Major prisoner, and captured a large number of horses, sheep and cattle, besides a large quantity of corn and potatoes, and about ninety six tons of hay. A very nice day’s work. The boys are well, in fact, there is no sickness of any consequence at all in our Regiment….
Historian Lewis Schmidt provided more details regarding this “little affair” in his 1986 book about the regiment:
At 10 PM the regiment moved out for Manassas Gap and a position between Lewinsville and Falls Church, retracing their steps as far as the Leesburg Turnpike, about 2 miles from the Chain Bridge. The 47th marched until 3 AM, when they sat down beside the road and waited until daylight. At the break of day, the left wing of the regiment took up the line of march again for an additional five miles, where they were stationed as pickets; and the right wing returned to camp. Lt. Geety and a detail of six men from Company H, with the left wing, were stationed at the entrance of a by-road that led from the Manassas to Richmond Turnpike. All was quiet until about midnight, when lights were seen on the road a half mile away. About an hour later they heard enemy cavalry coming down the road towards them, who stopped about 300 yards away but did not attack. It was dark and foggy and visibility was reduced to about 50 yards, so that the Lieutenant had to stay with the men to see that they held their post.
The right wing of Companies A, C, D, F and I returned to base and were required to establish a new camp near their old camp in Fairfax County, Virginia, about 2 miles from Falls Church and 10 miles from Washington. The new camp was appropriately titled ‘Camp Big Chestnut’ for the large Chestnut tree that stood at the end of Company D’s street, and for the abundant large chestnuts as big as grape shots which abounded in the area, along with dense thickets of pine…. It would appear that Camp Advance, Fort Ethan Allen, and Camp Big Chestnut (whose name would shortly be changed to Camp Griffin), were all located in the same general area of Fairfax County, Virginia. It was Wednesday morning [9 October 1861] when the right wing established the new camp, and during the process they were ordered out to the relief of some of the advanced pickets, and compelled to submit to the usual ‘aqueous outpourings of the weather clerk.’
…. On Thursday morning [10 October 1861], Maj. Gausler arrived at the outposts and ordered Lt. Geety to reconnoiter the enemy positions. The Lieutenant took two men and advanced along the road, but the patrol did not see any Rebels until they were one fourth mile from their lines, when they spotted the enemy pickets. Lt. Geety returned to his former post, and at 10 AM he was relieved and took his detail back to camp, where they arrived at 3 PM very tired, wet, and sleepy. Company G did not get back to camp from its picket duty until 1 AM. Col. Good reported that the work associated with being out on advanced picket duty was very difficult, and that the enemy pickets at times were too close to his camp, which gave his troops constant unrest. The tents which had been taken down at their former camp did not arrive at the new location until 10 that night. They were immediately pitched during constant alarms from the enemy pickets, and just in time, for it soon started to rain. Lt. Geety slept in a puddle all night, but was so tired he never woke up until morning. The Colonel ordered the men to sleep with their arms in case they had to be called out during the night to drive back the Rebel pickets, except for ‘four tents’ of men who would remain to break up the camp if the rest of the regiment should be driven back.
On Friday, 11 October, the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers marched in the Grand Review at Bailey’s Cross Roads. That day, per Schmidt:
Some of the men spent all day Friday drying clothing and fixing up the camp, while the remainder of the regiment had been ordered on picket 4 miles from camp, where they remained until Saturday morning. An extremely difficult assignment, since both nights were spent in a torrential rain and the men were in wet clothes until the unit returned to camp on Saturday. As miserable as they were, the men were anxious to return to the area where they had been on picket, to replenish the heavy load in their haversacks which they brought back with them.
About 10 AM Saturday morning, October 12, the men in camp were called to arms when the Rebels attacked their pickets, but the enemy was driven off and the remainder of the regiment returned to camp. Later in the afternoon, Lt. Geety took a detail of 65 men out of camp and helped make a military road. That night the men were ordered to sleep with arms and cartridge boxes, and while they were asleep the Captains visited the tents and aroused them, to avoid any great excitement. They were told to have their coffee immediately, since their presence was required some miles out in the country. Ammunition was issued, the regiment took its position in line, and the brigade moved out about 4 or 5 miles. Pvt. Mike Delaney wrote, ‘We marched double quick through a cornfield, considerably mollified by a heavy night’s rain, and powerfully overrun with creeping vines …. when finally the men came out of the fields, and filed left and right of the road into a long line of skirmishers.’
Also according to Schmidt, a picket of the 47th shot “a rebel spy during the night.”
Around this same time, C Company Captain John Peter Shindel Gobin reported via a mid-October letter home that companies D, A, C, F and I (the 47th Pennsylvania’s right wing) had been assigned picket duty after the 47th’s left wing companies (B, G, K, E, and H) had been forced to return to camp by Confederate troops:
I was ordered to take my company to Stewart’s [sic] house, drive the Rebels from it, and hold it at all hazards. It was about 3 o’clock in the morning, so waiting until it was just getting day, I marched 80 men up; but the Rebels had left after driving Capt. Kacy’s company [H] into the woods. I took possession of it, and stationed my men, and there we were for 24 hours with our hands on our rifles, and without closing an eye. I took ten men, and went out scouting within half a mile of the Rebels, but could not get a prisoner, and we did not dare fire on them first. Do not think I was rash, I merely obeyed orders, and had ten men with me who could whip a hundred; Brosius, Piers, Harp and McEwen [all of Company C] were among the number. Every man in the company wanted to go. The Rebels did not attack us, and if they had they would have met with a warm reception, as I had my men posted in such a manner that I could have whipped a regiment. My men were all ready and anxious for a ‘fight.’
Captain Gobin was referring to Brigadier-General James Ewell Brown (“J.E.B.”) Stuart, commanding officer of the Confederate Army of the Potomac (later known as the Army of Northern Virginia), under whose authority the 4th Virginia Cavalry (“Black Horse Cavalry”) fell. Stuart’s Fairfax County, Virginia home had been commandeered by the Union Army and used by the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers and other Union regiments as a base of operations. Among the Civil War-related papers of H Company’s 1st Lieutenant William Geety at the U.S. Army Military History Institute, are a photograph and other items taken from Stuart’s Union-occupied home.
In his own letter of 13 October, Henry Wharton also described their duties and their new home:
The location of our camp is fine and the scenery would be splendid if the view was not obstructed by heavy thickets of pine and innumerable chesnut [sic] trees. The country around us is excellent for the Rebel scouts to display their bravery; that is, to lurk in the dense woods and pick off one of our unsuspecting pickets. Last night, however, they (the Rebels) calculated wide of their mark; some of the New York 33d boys were out on picket; some fourteen or fifteen shots were exchanged, when our side succeeded in bringing to the dust, (or rather mud,) an officer and two privates of the enemy’s mounted pickets. The officer was shot by a Lieutenant in Company H [?], of the 33d.
Our own boys have seen hard service since we have been on the ‘sacred soil.’ One day and night on picket, next day working on entrenchments at the Fort, (Ethan Allen.) another on guard, next on march and so on continually, but the hardest was on picket from last Thursday morning ‘till Saturday morning – all the time four miles from camp, and both of the nights the rain poured in torrents, so much so that their clothes were completely saturated with the rain. They stood it nobly – not one complaining; but from the size of their haversacks on their return, it is no wonder that they were satisfied and are so eager to go again tomorrow. I heard one of them say ‘there was such nice cabbage, sweet and Irish potatoes, turnips, &c., out where their duty called them, and then there was a likelihood of a Rebel sheep or young porker advancing over our lines and then he could take them as ‘contraband’ and have them for his own use.’ When they were out they saw about a dozen of the Rebel cavalry and would have had a bout with them, had it not been for…unlucky circumstance – one of the men caught the hammer of his rifle in the strap of his knapsack and caused his gun to fire; the Rebels heard the report and scampered in quick time….
On Friday, 22 October, the 47th engaged in a morning Divisional Review, described by Schmidt as massing “about 10,000 infantry, 1000 cavalry, and twenty pieces of artillery all in one big open field.” Later that same month, the men from Companies B, G and H were roused at 3 a.m., assembled a day’s worth of rations, marched four miles from camp, and took over picket duties from the 49th New York. Per Schmidt:
Company B was stationed in the vicinity of a Mrs. Jackson’s house, with Capt. Kacy’s Company H on guard around the house. The men of Company B had erected a hut made of fence rails gathered around an oak tree, in front of which was the house and property, including a persimmon tree whose fruit supplied them with a snack. Behind the house was the woods were the Rebels had been fired on last Wednesday morning while they were chopping wood there.
Writing home to his wife in late October, 1st Lieutenant William W. Geety expressed his hope that he would be permitted to return to Pennsylvania on a brief leave to handle family business related to the death of his father-in-law. Meanwhile, Capt. Kacy was quickly building his bureaucratic resume, issuing one order after another, including one which divided H Company into four squads, by tent grouping, each under the leadership of a sergeant:
whose duty it shall be to see that the arms and accoutrements are kept in good order. That the men keep their tents clean, that they are clean in their person, and that they wash their hands and faces and comb their hair every day. That the men keep order in their quarters and report all damage to arms, want or waste of ammunition, and all disorderly conduct.
Kacy then delineated meal times (breakfast: 6 a.m., dinner: noon, supper: 6 p.m.) and duty schedules (7 a.m., 1 p.m., 7 p.m.) and, in early November, directed that:
while in camp, no permits or washing will be given on any other days than Monday, Wednesday, or Friday. All washing must be done in the forenoon. No permits or leaves of absence from company will be given on any days but Monday and Friday. Sutler tickets will be given only in the morning between the hours of 7 and 9.
The same month, the 47th Pennsylvanians engaged in a brief, but uneventful skirmish with enemy troops near Falls Church. Around this same time, according to Schmidt, “Lt. Geety reported that a shell from one of the Union Batteries burst near him, the bottom falling only six feet away.”
Writing home on 17 November, Company C’s Henry Wharton described life at Camp Griffin:
This morning our brigade was out for inspection; arms, accoutrements [sic], clothing, knapsacks, etc, all were out through a thorough examination, and if I must say it myself, our company stood best, A No. 1, for cleanliness. We have a new commander to our Brigade, Brigadier General Brannen [sic], of the U.S. Army, and if looks are any criterion, I think he is a strict disciplinarian and one who will be as able to get his men out of danger as he is willing to lead them to battle….
The boys have plenty of work to do, such as piquet [sic] duty, standing guard, wood-chopping, police duty and day drill; but then they have the most substantial food; our rations consist of fresh beef (three times a week) pickled pork, pickled beef, smoked pork, fresh bread, daily, which is baked by our own bakers, the Quartermaster having procured portable ovens for that purpose, potatoes, split peas, beans, occasionally molasses and plenty of good coffee, so you see Uncle Sam supplies us plentifully….
A few nights ago our Company was out on piquet [sic]; it was a terrible night, raining very hard the whole night, and what made it worse, the boys had to stand well to their work and dare not leave to look for shelter. Some of them consider they are well paid for their exposure, as they captured two ancient muskets belonging to Secessia. One of them is of English manufacture, and the other has the Virginia militia mark on it. They are both in a dilapidated condition, but the boys hold them in high estimation as they are trophies from the enemy, and besides they were taken from the house of Mrs. Stewart, sister to the rebel Jackson who assassinated the lamented Ellsworth at Alexandria. The honorable lady, Mrs. Stewart, is now a prisoner at Washington and her house is the headquarters of the command of the piquets [sic]….
Since the success of the secret expedition, we have all kinds of rumors in camp. One is that our Brigade will be sent to the relief of Gen. Sherman, in South Carolina. The boys all desire it and the news in the ‘Press’ is correct, that a large force is to be sent there, I think their wish will be gratified….
On 21 November, the 47th participated in another morning divisional review, followed by brigade and division drills. According to Schmidt, “each man was supplied with ten blank cartridges.” Afterward, “Gen. Smith requested Gen. Brannan to inform Col. Good that the 47th was the best regiment in the whole division.” As a reward – and in preparation for bigger things to come, Brigadier-General John Milton Brannan obtained brand new Springfield rifles for every member of the 47th Pennsylvania.
As Winter arrived and deepened, Privates Robert Fry and William Dorman were discharged, respectively, on Surgeons’ Certificates of Disability on 16 December and New Year’s Eve. Captain Kacy of H Company was also granted leave, and spent a brief period of time with his family at home in Perry County over the holidays before returning for duty in early January.
Next ordered to move from their Virginia encampment back to Maryland, the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers left Camp Griffin at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, 22 January 1862. Marching through deep mud with their equipment for three miles in order to reach the railroad station at Falls Church, they were transported by rail to Alexandria before sailing the Potomac via the Steamship City of Richmond. After their arrival at the Washington Arsenal, they were reequipped, and then marched off for dinner and rest at the Soldiers’ Retreat in Washington, D.C.
The next afternoon, the 47th Pennsylvanians hopped rail cars on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, and headed for Annapolis, Maryland. Arriving around 10 p.m., they were assigned quarters in barracks at the Naval Academy. From Friday through Monday (24-27 January 1862), they loaded their equipment and other supplies onto the steamship Oriental. Ferried to the big steamship by smaller steamers with the officers boarding last on 27 January 1862, 1st Lieutenant William Geety and his fellow 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers steamed away aboard the Oriental at 4 p.m. Per the directive of Brigadier-General Brannan, they were headed for Florida which, despite its secession from the Union, remained strategically important to the Union due to the presence of Forts Taylor and Jefferson in Key West and the Dry Tortugas.
Several days later, in early February 1862, the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers arrived in Key West, where they were assigned to barracks and tents on the city’s east side. In addition to heavy artillery training, daily drills and garrison duties, members of the regiment felled trees, built new roads and strengthened the installation’s fortifications.
The regimental chaplain, Rev. William D. C. Rodrock described their quarters as “large and commodious two story buildings forming three sides of a quadrangle, the opening toward the sea,” with officers housed in six of the structures near the parade ground and a portion of the enlisted men housed in another two buildings, as well as in tents. Additionally, according to Schmidt:
There was a slave camp about one mile from the military camps, where 150 Blacks were engaged in manufacturing salt; it was reported that 50,000 bushels of salt were made on the island each year by solar evaporation…. The manufacture of salt was terminated later in 1862, and was not restarted until 1864, to prevent any salt from the facility finding its way into the Confederacy….
Another building of note on the island of Key West during the war was the ‘slave barracoons’, used to house Blacks taken from captured slavery vessels, and described as being a long low building about 300 feet by 30 feet. Lt. Geety reported that there were 1500 slaves there at one time, and 400 died in four months [sic] time.
Meanwhile, Captain Kacy continued to refine H Company operations, noting:
Sgt. R.S. Gardner will have under his command tents #1 and 2 and will be held personally responsible for the clean up of the men in person, clothing, arms, accoutrements, and quarters. Sgt. James Hahn will have under him tents #3 and 4 and be held responsible the same as #1 and 2. Sgt. Lynch will have under his control tents #5 and 6 and will be likewise held responsible. The Sgts. Gardner, Hahn and Lynch will have the men of the company on the parade ground at 5:30 AM and when one of them is on guard, the other two will attend to this drill duty and divide the squad between their respective commands.
Regular housekeeping was deemed important not just to prevent the spread of disease, but to discourage the presence of unwelcome visitors like the large centipede encountered by 1st Lieutenant William Geety, which “was over six inches long” and had a “bite [that] was certain death.”
During the weekend of Friday, 14 February, the 47th Pennsylvanians introduced their presence to Key West residents as the regiment paraded through the streets of the city. That Sunday, a number of the men attended to their spiritual needs by participating in services at local churches.
In early April 1862, 1st Lieutenant William Geety assumed responsibilities as Adjutant for the 47th Pennsylvania’s regimental command while Washington H. R. Hangen recuperated at the officers’ hospital from one of the illnesses plaguing multiple members of the regiment. After roughly a month of these added duties, Geety then also fell ill. Writing home to his wife after admitting himself to the hospital on Sunday, 18 May, he noted that he was “jaundiced and yellow but not in bed.” Diagnosed with Bilious Fever, he successfully recuperated, and was released from the hospital on 9 June 1862 – just in time for the regiment’s relocation to South Carolina. Initially encamped at Hilton Head beginning in mid-June, the 47th Pennsylvanians were ultimately housed in the Department of the South’s Beaufort District through July.
Picket duties north of the 3rd Brigade’s camp were rotated among the regiments present, putting soldiers at increased risk from sniper fire. According to historian Samuel P. Bates, the men of the 47th “received the highest commendation from Generals Hunter and Brannan” for their “attention to duty, discipline and soldierly bearing” during this phase of service.
The Capture of Saint John’s Bluff, Florida and Battle of Pocotaligo, South Carolina (October 1862)
Sent on a return expedition to Florida as September 1862 waned, 1st Lieutenant William W. Geety and the men of Company H saw their first truly intense moments of service when H Company participated with the 47th Pennsylvania and other Union regiments in the capture of Saint John’s Bluff from 1 to 3 October.
Commanded by Brigadier-General John M. Brannan, the 47th Pennsylvanians disembarked with a 1,500-plus Union force at Mayport Mills and Mount Pleasant Creek from troop carriers guarded by Union gunboats. Taking point, the 47th Pennsylvanians then led the 3rd Brigade through 25 miles of dense, pine forested swamps populated with deadly snakes and alligators. By the time the expedition ended, the Union brigade had forced the Confederate Army to abandon its artillery battery atop Saint John’s Bluff, and had paved the way for the Union Army to occupy the town of Jacksonville, Florida.
Per an account penned later by 1st Lieutenant William Geety, “16 pieces of artillery were left ready loaded, primed, with the lanyards hooked to the primers ready to pull.” Geety and the 47th Pennsylvania had just broken up the camp of the Louisiana Tigers, who had been guarding the rear of the Confederate fort:
They ran leaving all their camp and garrison equipage and their suppers on the fire which our men ate … The rebels had 1500 men, six pieces of light artillery besides the nine pieces at the fort and an impregnable position. The rebels were not uniformed and have rice, corn, and fresh meat; coffee and flour only allowed those in the hospital; salt they had little or none of, it being worth $1 per quart; sugar they had plenty of.
As the Union expedition progressed, Companies E and K from the 47th Pennsylvania helped capture the Gov. Milton, a Confederate steamer engaged in equipping the bluff and surrounding Rebel troop placements with men and supplies, and also participated in the capture of Jacksonville, Florida. Among the officers accompanying the detachment from the 47th on this latter mission was 1st Lieutenant William Geety.
On 5 and 15 October 1862, respectively, the 47th Pennsylvanians further expanded their horizons when a black teen and several young to middle-aged black men left the hardship they had known as enslaved men in Beaufort, South Carolina to become members of the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers:
- Just 16 years old at the time of his enlistment, Abraham Jassum joined the 47th Pennsylvania from a recruiting depot on 5 October 1862. Military records indicate that he mustered in as “negro undercook” with Company F at Beaufort, South Carolina. Military records described him as being 5’6″ tall with black hair, black eyes and a black complexion, and stated that his occupation prior to enlistment was “Cook.” Records also indicate that he continued to serve with F Company until he mustered out at Charleston, South Carolina on 4 October 1865 when his three-year term of enlistment expired.
- Also signing up as an Under Cook that day at the Beaufort recruiting depot was 33-year-old Bristor Gethers. Although his muster roll entry and entry in the Civil War Veterans’ Card File in the Pennsylvania State Archives listed him as “Presto Gettes,” his U.S. Civil War Pension Index listing spelled his name as “Bristor Gethers” and his wife’s name as “Rachel Gethers.” This index also includes the aliases of “Presto Garris”, and “Bristor Geddes.” He was described on military records as being 5’5″ tall with black hair, black eyes and a black complexion, and as having been employed as a fireman. He mustered in as “Negro under cook” with Company F on 5 October 1862, and mustered out at Charleston, South Carolina on 4 October 1865 upon expiration of his three-year term of service. Federal records indicate that he and his wife applied for his Civil War Pension from South Carolina in their later years.
- Also assigned to Company F and assigned kitchen duties upon his enrollment with the 47th Pennsylvania on 15 October 1862 was 22-year-old Edward Jassum. Records indicate that he was officially mustered into military service at the rank of Under Cook with the 47th Pennsylvania at Morganza, Louisiana on 22 June 1864, and then transferred to Company H on 11 October 1864. Like Abraham Jassum, Edward Jassum continued to serve with the 47th Pennsylvania until being honorably discharged on 14 October 1865 upon expiration of his three-year term of service.
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 were placed on point once again, but this time, they were less fortunate.
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, including 1st Lieutenant William W. Geety, fared no better as they encountered artillery and infantry fire from the surrounding forests.
According to Schmidt, Geety was in charge of his unit that day because H Company’s commanding officer, Captain James Kacy, was in the hospital recuperating from an illness. As the day unfolded, the 47th Pennsylvanians and other Union soldiers grappled with the Confederates where they found them at and beyond Frampton, pursuing the Rebels for four miles as they retreated to the bridge. There, the 47th relieved the 7th Connecticut but, 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, including Privates Peter Deitrick, J. T. Robinson, Henry Stambaugh, and Jefferson Waggoner. All four fell during the fighting which raged near Frampton Plantation.
Another two officers and 114 enlisted from the 47th were wounded, including H Company’s 1st and 2nd Lieutenants, William Geety and William Gardner, 1st Sergeant George Reynolds, Corporals Daniel Reeder and P. W. Stockslager, and Privates Samuel Huggins, Comley Idall, Cyrus Johnson, and R. R. Kingsborough.
On 29 October 1861, The New York Times conveyed dire news via a lengthy list of casualties for the 47th Pennsylvania: “Wounded — First Lieut. W.W. Geety – mortally.”
Geety’s survival was nothing short of miraculous and became the subject of multiple newspaper reports and medical journal articles. According to the Commemorative Biographical Encyclopedia of Dauphin County, he was wounded in action when “grape shot struck him between the eyes and passing to the left destroyed the eye, shattered the bones of the face, injuring the nerves and lodged near the carotid artery. While lying upon the field he was for a while given up for dead.”
The Union Army surgeons who treated him throughout his convalescence provided even more telling and precise accounts, documenting that William W. Geety had been struck between the eyes by a ½-inch-diameter iron ball propelled by a cannon shrapnel shell which had exploded on impact in front of him while he was commanding his men on the field. As the shrapnel peppered the air around him, the ball traveled upward through his head before striking the back of his skull, where it then reversed course, traveled down toward his left jaw and neck, and lodged behind the carotid artery. In the process, his left eye was destroyed along with nerve sensation on his left neck and face, which was also disfigured. When battlefield surgeons realized that one of the major fragments was located perilously close to his carotid artery and could not be removed without killing their patient, they opted to leave that piece of shrapnel in place, stabilized Geety, and continued to care for him until he could safely be moved to one of the Union’s larger and better equipped hospitals for more advanced treatment.
On 19 November 1864, finally well enough to pen a letter home to his wife and children, Geety wrote:
I have lost my left eye, the base of the nose has been taken out. My jaw has been splintered besides some other bones about the brain being cracked. I am very thankful that I got through so safely, as my life was despared [sic] of at first.
In later accounts, he recalled that the grapeshot had struck him near the bottom of his nose, and “after knocking a piece out of my skull, turned and lodged in my throat against the carotid artery from whence I had it cut, at the same time part of the casing of the shell struck me in the face, making a longitudinal cut across my left eye, breaking the lower jaw, and staving in the upper jaw bone on the right side of the face. The socket for the lower jaw to work is broken off, so that every time I open my mouth the jaw flies out of joint.”
As the smoke of the battle cleared, Brigadier-General Brannan sent commendations to his superiors for the men “who rendered themselves especially worthy of notice by their bravery and praiseworthy conduct” at Pocotaligo, including Lieutenant Colonel George W. Alexander, Adjutant Washington H. R. Hangen, C Company Captain John Peter Shindel Gobin, and Captains Charles Mickley and George Junker of Companies G and K who had been killed in action.
Also commended for his valor that day was 1st Lieutenant William W. Geety. Although his wounds had been so grievous that they had prompted several of his superiors to incorrectly report him as mortally wounded or deceased, Geety was ambulatory just a month after the battle, noting in a late November letter to his wife that, while he remained assigned to the Officers’ Hospital at Beaufort, he was able to walk around the city. “It is not safe for me to sleep in a tent yet and I want to get home for a glass eye in my head.”
1863 – 1864
By early 1863, 1st Lieutenant William W. Geety was back in Harrisburg, Pa. where, according to Schmidt, he “relieved Hiram A. Weed of the 52nd Pennsylvania Volunteers in his duties as acting quartermaster at Camp Curtin.” He also performed recruiting duties for the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers.
Medical records created by the physicians who were engaged in his follow-up care in Harrisburg provided a much more detailed accounting not just of what had happened that terrible day in October 1862, but of how valiantly Geety fought to overcome his injuries.
We had the pleasure yesterday of conversing with Lieutenant William Geety, a citizen of this place, who belongs to the forty-seventh Pennsylvania regiment … and was wounded in the battle of Pocotaligo, South Carolina, on the 22d of October last. His case is the most extraordinary we have ever seen.
While standing on the field that day, giving orders to his men, a shrapnell [sic] shell from the enemy’s batteries struck, and threw casing and balls in every direction. One of these balls, a cast iron one, fully half an inch in diameter, struck him fairly between the eyes, entered his head in an upward direction, struck the base of the skull and then glanced down behind the left jaw, lodging at last in the left side of his neck, close behind the carotid artery. There it remained ever since, as its extraction was deemed a hazardous operation by the various surgeons who examined it, in consequence of its dangerous proximity to that artery.
As its long lodgment there had become annoying and unsightly, the patient determined to risk its extraction, and on Friday last the operation was successfully performed by Dr. J. P. Wilson, hospital surgeon at Camp Curtin.
Lieut. G. informs us that he knew nothing of his injury at the time he received the wound – in other words, ‘didn’t know what hurt him’ – and that he lay partially insensible for three days. When he at length ‘became aware of himself,’ he found that his left eye had been entirely destroyed and his face badly torn by a portion of the shell-casing, and that the nerves of sensation on the left side of his face and neck had been destroyed. To this fact he attributes his recovery, as no man with nerves could have endured the suffering which would otherwise have ensued.
One of the strange effects of his wounds is the partial destruction of the sense of taste, which was so interfered with as to render him unable to distinguish with accuracy between different flavors.
After recounting for its readership 1st Lieutenant Geety’s injury in battle and subsequent treatment, the Harrisburg Union & Patriot newspaper added the following update:
Lieutenant Geety is now at home in this city on recruiting service. His wounds have all healed, thanks to a healthy habit of body; and, although never more vigorous than the average of men, he in now in the enjoyment of better health than when he went into the service. He must be a wonder to himself as well as to others, for he has stood on the extremest [sic] verge of the dark river and felt the splashing of its floods.
Meanwhile, his 47th Pennsylvania comrades continued to soldier on. Stationed initially on garrison duty at Fort Taylor in Key West after the Battle of Pocotaligo in 1862, the regiment was divided during 1863. Slightly less than half of the men were ordered to garrison Fort Jefferson in the remote Dry Tortugas region off the coast of Florida while the bulk of the regiment remained at Fort Taylor. By the end of February 1864, the 47th Pennsylvanians were set to make history, becoming part of the only Pennsylvania regiment to fight in the Union’s Red River Campaign across Louisiana from May to March. Shipped back East in July of that same year, they then engaged in the Battle of Cool Spring in mid-July 1864 at Snicker’s Gap, Virginia and in the tide-turning 1864 Shenandoah Valley Campaign waged by legendary Union Major-General Philip H. Sheridan, fighting with particular valor in the Battles of Opequan, Fisher’s Hill and Cedar Creek.
Staffing changes were, of course, common during this phase of duty as the three-year service terms of 47th Pennsylvanians began to expire. Among those honorably mustering out on 18 September 1864 from Berryville, Virginia were H Company men who had been led by 1st Lieutenant William W. Geety during the Battle of Pocotaligo.
Geety also mustered out at Berryville on 18 September 1864 upon expiration of his own three-year term of service; however, in his case, this was done so that he could be commissioned as a captain the following day. Although records also indicate that he was not ever officially mustered at this rank, he was permitted to remain on duty with the regiment after being released from the hospital and shipped home, where he was assigned quartermaster and recruiting duties on behalf of the 47th Pennsylvania.
The actual date of his honorable discharge from the regiment remains unclear. Listed as 18 September 1864 on several records (which overlooks data from other records indicating that he was commissioned, but not mustered as a captain the next day), other records offer no end date. Researchers are currently seeking clarification regarding his service record, and will post revised data when available.
Return to Civilian Life
Within a few short years of his return home to Pennsylvania, William W. Geety experienced a succession of personal tragedies. In 1864, he lost his father and mother when they passed away within a month of each other in Dauphin County on 4 October and 3 November, respectively. His older sister, Annie, then passed away on 6 February 1865.
A pall had also settled over his city and nation following the shocking April 1865 assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. The surviving members of the Geety family were most likely in attendance when the late President’s funeral train arrived at the Harrisburg Railroad Station on 22 April. A staunch Republican, Geety had supported Lincoln’s efforts to eradicate slavery, reportedly having penned the following words in an autograph album associated with the 1860s Civil War Troop Transport and Hospital Steamer Nelly Baker:
The reconstruction of the American Union is the desire of every patriot but it can never be accomplished … until Slavery shall be entirely eradicated from our social system.
By early July of 1870, William W. Geety had moved with his wife, Henrietta, and their children William H. (aged 12), Agnes (aged 11), and Julia (aged 6) to Enterline, Middle Paxton Township, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, where he supported the family as a farmer. The Commemorative Biographical Encyclopedia of Dauphin County notes that he and his family had “removed to Clark’s Valley” at one point, “but failing health compelled him to relinquish a small farm he had purchased, and in 1879 he settled in Dauphin until his death.”
A member of the Republican County Committee for Dauphin County, he was elected as its president in 1878. In addition, he remained active throughout his life with the Grand Army of the Republic’s Post No. 58 in Harrisburg.
By early June of 1880, he was once again described on the federal census as a dentist. Residing in the Borough of Dauphin in Dauphin County with his wife, Henrietta, he was also helped in supporting his family by 22-year-old son William H. Geety, who was employed at that time as a bridge carpenter. Also residing in the Geety family home were daughter Julia (aged 15) and son Wallace G. Geety (aged 7).
Through it all, however, he struggled with health-related concerns related both to his severe battle wounds and to the difficult conditions under which he served throughout his tenure with the 47th Pennsylvania. According to Schmidt:
After the war, many members of the regiment referred to the weather during the fall of 1861 as the cause of their numerous ills later in life. Their exposure to the cold and rain at this time would be the basis for a great many pension claims. Lt. William Geety of Company H was one officer in particular who died from chronic lung problems at the age of 55 years, and who spent much of his civilian life negotiating his pension with the Federal Government. He had even obtained affidavits from fellow regimental members stating that he had a very bad cough while in camp at this time, had rubbed some kind of ointment on his chest, and had sought treatment from the Regimental Surgeon. All reference to the lung problems should not have been necessary, since he was severely wounded in the face at Pocotaligo, South Carolina in 1862, and lost his left eye as a result.
The 31 May 1886 edition of the Harrisburg Telegraph also documented Geety’s failing health, noting that while the community had made every effort to make that year’s Decoration Day ceremonies the most impressive to date and inviting even more veterans than had previously been involved, Geety had been unable to participate:
The route led by the home of Capt. W. W. Geety, a well known [sic] member of the veteran association who is prostrated on account of wounds and sickness contracted while in the service, and who, when able, always took an active part in decorating the graves of his fallen comrades.
Death and Interment
The sun of life for William W. Geety finally set in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania on 19 January 1887. He was laid to rest with full military honors at the Harrisburg Cemetery, where his father and sister had previously been interred. The Harrisburg Telegraph reported on his funeral in its 22 January edition as follows:
VETERAN’S FUNERAL. The Late Captain Geety Buried by Veterans This Afternoon. At 11:30 the remains of the late Captain W. W. Geety, of Dauphin, were brought to Harrisburg in care of a delegation of the Volunteer Association of that town, under command of Captain J. C. Steckley. The pall bearers were Comrades Noah Rhodes, P. W. Kline, Thos. Milliken and J. F. Brown. Rev. Mr. Bixler, of the Evangelical church, conducted the service. When the body arrived here a delegation of Post 58, G. A. R., took charge of the funeral under command of Lieut. Reed. The pallbearers from the depot were H. S. Watson, Thomas White, Charles Beaver and George E. Reed. A firing squad, comprising Comrades Jones, Neely, Wheeler and Heas [sp?], assisted in the ceremony at the cemetery. The Volunteer Association, of Dauphin, desires to return its thanks to Post 58 for the part it took in the last sad rites over the remains of Captain Geety.
But it was his obituary, which ran several days earlier in the 20 January Harrisburg Telegraph, that offered the greatest insights into the man Geety had become:
He was full of military spirit, which began as ‘Junior Cadet’ and continued almost as long as his breath, for even during the last few days of his illness, while conscious, he related with great clearness events of his soldier life, was anxious to hear read when he could no longer see articles of the war and when delirious was giving commands to his men. He was a member of the Veteran Association, of this place, and of Post 58, G.A.R., of Harrisburg, a staunch Republican, and for some years a member of the county committee. The funeral will take place on Saturday morning at 10 o’clock. The body will be met at Second and North streets, Harrisburg, by members of the Post, who will conduct the ceremonies at the grave in Harrisburg cemetery. Deceased was noted for his generosity, lending a helping hand where it was needed and left the world without an enemy.
His widow, Henrietta A. (Thompson) Geety, lived slightly more than three decades longer, passing away on 3 July 1918 according to her Civil War Widow’s Pension records. Their son, William H. Geety, wed Mary F. Geety (1857-1938), became a pharmacist, and was elected Grand Sentinel of the Grand Council of Royal and Select Masters of the Freemasons, State of New York. He passed away at 1214 West 123rd Street in Manhattan, New York on 29 November 1923, and was then interred at the Fairview Cemetery on Staten Island, New York on 3 December 1923.
1. A Soldier’s Death (obituary of Captain W. W. Geety). Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Harrisburg Telegraph, 20 January 1887.
2. Bates, Samuel P. History of Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-5, Vol. I. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: B. Singerly, State Printer, 1869.
3. Civil War Muster Rolls, in Records of the Department of Military and Veterans’ Affairs (Record Group 19, Series 19.11). Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.
4. Claims for Widow and Minor Pensions, in U.S. Civil War Widows’ Pension Files. Washington, D.C.: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, 1867.
5. Commemorative Biographical Encyclopedia of Dauphin County, Containing Sketches of Representative Citizens, and Many of the Early Scotch-Irish and German Settlers. Chambersburg, Pennsylvania: J. M. Runk & Company, 1896.
6. Decoration Day in Dauphin. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Harrisburg Telegraph, 31 May 1886.
7. Eggert, Gerald G. The Impact of the Fugitive Slave Law on Harrisburg: A Case Study, in The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 109, No. 4, pp. 537-569. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 1985.
8. Extraordinary Case (account of the injury and treatment of William Wallace Geety). Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Patriot & Union, 12 June 1863.
9. Geety, William H., William W. Geety, Henrietta Thompson, and Mary F. Geety, in New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949 (database and FHL microfilm 2,031,370). Salt Lake City, Utah and Manhattan, New York: FamilySearch via Manhattan Death Records, New York Municipal Archives, 1923.
10. Geety, William W., in Civil War Veterans’ Card File, 1861-1866. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State Archives.
11. Geety, William Wallace, Michael Heisley, Agnes Gurney Geety, et. al. (lineage from William W. Geety’s Revolutionary War ancestors through his own Geety children and other related threads) in Surnames: Geedy (forum). Provo, Utah: Genealogy.com, posted online 22 August 2001, etc.
12. Geety, William W. (obituary). Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: The Evening News, 21 January 1987.
13. Large Republican Meeting at Dauphin. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Harrisburg Telegraph, 31 October 1878.
14. Lieut. Frederick H. Geety (mention of war wound), in Report of Col. Edward M. McCook, Second Indiana Cavalry, Commanding Brigade from Headquarters, First Cavalry Brigade, Camp Rosecrans, 13 December 1862. Nashville, Tennessee: Tennessee Historical Commission.
15. List of Casualties: Forty-Seventh Pennsylvania Volunteers – Col. T. H. Good. New York, New York: The New York Times, 29 October 1862.
16. Reconstruction and anti-slavery quote by W. W. Geety, in Autograph Book of the Steamer Nelly Baker. Petersburg, Virginia: Perry Adams Antiques, text retrieved online November 2016.
17. Schmidt, Lewis. A Civil War History of the 47th Regiment of Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers. Allentown, Pennsylvania: Self-published, 1986.
18. U.S. Census (1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1890) and U.S. Veterans’ Schedule (1890). Washington, D.C.: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.
19. Veteran’s Funeral. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Harrisburg Telegraph, 22 January 1887.
20. William W. Geety Papers, in Harrisburg Civil War Roundtable Collection. Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Military History Institute, U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center.
21. Wingert, Cooper H. Harrisburg in the Civil War: Defending the Keystone of the Union. Charleston, South Carolina: The History Press, 2013.