Monday, January 28, 2013

Among Friends Jan 2013

Just under the deadline.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Krise Brothers and the Battle of Gaines’ Mill

In the heat of battle, heroes emerge, sometimes from the most unlikely of sources.
~ Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson

Historyof Pennsylvania Volunteers: 1861-1865 v2, part 2 by Samuel Bates
Cambria County was and is a rural farming area in western Pennsylvania where my paternal grandmother’s family comes from. Her grand-uncles Daniel and Henry Krise were coopers on a local farm before the War Between the States.  Young and idealistic the brother’s joined the Union Army weeks after the firing on Fort Sumter in April of 1861. As members of the Pennsylvania Reserves Infantry they went to Virginia to fight in the Peninsular Campaign.

The Peninsular Campaign was led by Gen. George McClellan its purpose; to capture the Confederate capitol of Richmond. The largest of the Seven Day Battles, Gaines’ Mill was one of the most vicious of the war and the only obvious victory by the Confederates during the peninsula campaign. The battle began midday on June 27, 1862. At the start of the battle General Stonewall Jackson was to bring his men to back up General Lee in the battle. When Jackson didn’t arrive on time the confederates were forced to delay their assault. The tide of battle turned when General Jackson’s troops arrived. Disjointed, disorganized, and companies crushed, the battle became a desperate struggle for the Union forces. By sunset the battle raged so fierce the smoke enveloped the Colonel Gallagher’s Pennsylvania 11th Reserves and Colonel Simpson’s New Jersey 4th obliterating their view of the Union pullback until they were surrounded by the Confederates. From the report of General McCall “The situation of these two brave regiments , which so nobly maintained their ground after all had retired, was now hopeless; their retreat was entirely cut off by the increasing force of the enemy, who were still advancing, and they were forced to surrender.”  Over 600 soldiers in the Pennsylvania 11th Reserves captured among them were the Krise brother’s Henry and Daniel.

The non-commissioned soldiers captured during the Peninsular Campaign including those at Gaines Mill were sent to Belle Isle at the end of June. Like the notorious Andersonville prison, conditions were deplorable. By mid-July Belle Isle held over 10,000 prisoners of war, the prison was only meant to hold 3,000. Prisoners including Henry and Daniel were filthy, covered in vermin and starved. Gratefully for their incarceration was brief. Henry & Daniel were amongst the first wave of prisoners exchanged in August of 1862. Both continued the fight for the preservation of the Union. Daniel re-enlisted joining and died during the war in 1864. He is buried in Alexandria Cemetery. Henry was shot in the face at South Mountain and discharged. It’s believed Henry died of his wounds at home in 1867.   

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Roxbury Library Desperately Needs Help

Our Roxbury Twp Free Public Library plays a vital role in the community. It is the center where people can gather, where they can use a computer or where they can borrow a book or DVD to learn new skills and be entertained.  Sandy and its aftermath made this very clear when over 18,000 residents came to the Library to access the internet, re-charge their batteries and pass the time until power was restored to the town.

Computer Center during Sandy
Sandy has past and most of us in Roxbury have gotten back to our daily lives. The Library however is experiencing a storm of its own. The state mandated MINIMUM portion of the Library’s budget has been released with a $68,000 reduction from 2012 numbers.  Most people know that the vast majority of library funding is raised through local taxes, but you may not know that the State mandated annual minimum appropriation for the operation of our Free Public Library is equal to 1/3 of a mill on every dollar of assessable property within the municipality.  Due to the downturn in the economy, the mandated funding that the Trustees rely on for daily operation of the library has been decreasing each year for the past several years.  The minimum funding for 2013 is $1,096,213. In total, the 2013 proposed funding is $241,000 less than it was in 2008. The dramatic decreases in funding have necessitated difficult budget cuts; reducing hours, limiting book purchases and forcing technology to surpass its “End of Life” usefulness. Many needed projects and improvements have been set aside or scrapped altogether.  

The time has come for the residents to ask the Town Council to once again step up and support the Library beyond the state minimum. In years past the Council routinely added to the Library budget to create a Library that was looked up to in the county.  The past few years the Council has chosen not to continue that assistance. The result of the decreased funding; reduced hours, staff reduced by 1/3, program funding eliminated, and materials purchase (books, CDs and e-books) at a paltry 3% of the budget. We will need additional municipal funding to begin to restore our Library to the premier facility it once was. Please help the library by contacting your councilman and ask him or her to consider adding to the 1/3 mill for the library. Contact info for the council can be found at .

Friends of the Roxbury Twp Public Library
The Friends are dedicated to preserving the library and its programs, an effort that has become increasingly important with the continued budget cuts to library funding. For more information on the Friends of Roxbury Twp Public Library visit