Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Captain Lorenzo L. Greenawalt, 127th, Penn. Infantry.

In August of 1862, a group of men came to Lebanon, Pennsylvania, looking for men to form companies for the State Volunteer Army and stopped at the Tannery of Lorenzo L. Greenawalt, after listening he agreed to go to the meeting that was to be held at the court house thaat evening.  That evening Greenawalt and about 132 men signed their names.  On August 8, 1862, Greenawalt alone with the other men took the train to Harrissburg, Pennsylvania, after reaching Harrisurg they were sent to the court house were they signed their names, after a few days the men were form into companies.  On August 13, 1862, Greenawalt was elected Captain of Company E., 127th, Pennsylvania Infantry.

Now I'm not going to sit here and give you the history of 127th., nor Company E., as this information can be found on the inernet, instead I well tell of the man that lead this company with bravely and with honor.  I was unable to find were he was born or died, but with a little hard research one could find out.  This information is not much of importance to me, although it may be to others.  What I want to talk about is his character and deeds.  The average age of the company was twenty and below.  The men thought of  Greenawalt as a father figure and he treated them as sons, scolding them when it was warranted, trying to turn his boys into men.

Greenawalt was always looking after his boys trying to keep them out of harms way as much as war would allow.  One case in point was as they neard the town of Frederichsburg the fighting had been fearce, it had so fearce that a women who's house faced the battle field said as the evening came to a close the field was blue in color from all the dead Union soldiers, and when morning came the field was white the reb's had striped the soldiers clean.  When Greenawalt near the outskirts Fredericksburg his company was ordered to the field.  But Greenawalt had been looking over the land and saw the reb's lines were two deep and their placements of artillery was dead on.  Greenawalt know it would be suieidal to send his boys to the field, so he refuse too do so.  Captain Greenawalt marched his men up to General Howard's Headquarters, and boldly told the General that he did not want his men slaughiered; and after he told his story, General Howard said; "Why don't are artilley silence them?"

Captain Greenawalt was himself wounded at Fredericksburg, on December 13, 1862, it happen at Marie's Hill, Colonel Jennings was just getting ready to give the order to charge, when Greenawalt seem to feel a shell coming right towards him.  He "ducked" and it passed over his head, the wind of it nearly blowing his cap off.  The shell burst just in back of him, and an iron canister shot from it and struck him in the center of the back, of the fleshy part of the right thigh.  It had been a shrapnell shell, usually loaded with about seventy stell balls.  He did not think he was hit, although the ball had gone nearly through the leg to the front, and through the muscles.  He was taken to the hosptail where the Assisant Surgeon said he should wait for the Surgeon to take out the ball, but Greenawalt wanted immediate action.  The assisant said if Greenawalt would take the responsibility,  he would remove the ball; Greenawalt said; 'Go ahead."

Now the rest of the story is as long as what has been written so far so I will give the short of it.

Needless to say the Assisant wasn't good at his job,  the assisant made a two inch long and one inch deep cut in his thigh.  But the assisant couldn't get at it, so he mad the cut deeper it took three trys befor the ball was removed.  Later the ball was given to Greenawalt who would carry the ball with him the rest of his life.

A few days later he was taken to a hosptail in Washington, but by now the wound had gangrene the doctors wanted to remove the leg but he said he won't make it as he was to weak from the loss of blood.
Greenawalt felt good for the most part but for his wound, which was now black from the top of his knee to his ribs.  Greenawalt had written his mother who said she would come.  Greenawalt had friends come by to see him off and on.  One day two soldiers friends came by and after he told his story and they saw his condition, one friend a New York soldier brought two revolvers and threatened to shot any one who touch him till his mother came. 

There was little the doctors could do for him, they made a long cut in his thigh and exposed the museles and let the wound drain.  By the time his mother came the wound showed signs of healing and a few days later his mother took him back to Lebanon to recover.  Greenawalt after a few months he was feeling much better although he was on crutches and still weak.  Then on April 9, 1863, he was given orders to report back to his regiment.  Greenawalt took a train to Harrisburg to report.  He was still on crutehes and weak when he reported to the provost marshal, who after seeing his condition give Greenawalt a immediate discharged.
Captain Greenaawalt would come back to Harrisburg to met his boys of company E., after their company was discharge, his only regret was he wasn't there at their discharge. 

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