Jacob Moyer

Badge of the 9th Corps

Flag of the 48th Pennsylvania

Record Banner of the 48th Pennsylvania

Pvt. Jacob W. Moyer (1841-1921)

Jacob W. Moyer, great-great-grandfather of Past Camp Commander Thomas L. Grund, Jr., was born in New York State on March 4, 1841. Documents in Jacob's Civil War pension file state that he was indentured at the age of 8 or 10 from the Poor House in Northampton County, PA, to the family of Jonah K. Riegle and Polly Ann Riegle. When he was 18 he worked as a cook, and then became an apprentice to George Horning, a shoemaker from South Easton, PA. After spending a few years with Mr. Horning and learning his trade, Jacob decided to serve in the Civil War.

In early 1864 the 48th Pennsylvania Infantry came home to Schuylkill County on veteran furlough for a month. During this time, the captains of the 10 companies began recruiting drives in various parts of the county to refill their vacant ranks. Jacob enlisted in Company A, 48th Pennsylvania Infantry on February 17, 1864, at Philadelphia, PA, and mustered in as a Private the next day in Philadelphia. During Jacob's service in 1864 and 1865, the 48th PA was in 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 9th Army Corps.

Jacob's first battle was The Wilderness on May 6, 1864. The 9th Corps was deployed in support of Major General Winfield S. Hancock's 2nd Corps in the southern part of the battlefield near the Brock Road. On May 7 the regiment remained on the front lines and skirmished with the Confederates. After the Wilderness, the 48th was heavily engaged at Spotsylvania Court House in the early morning hours of May 12, 1864. The regiment took over 200 Confederate prisoners in a swamp that morning. Following the fight on May 12, Jacob was hospitalized for a month with severe rheumatism in both shoulders.

Jacob rejoined the unit early in the Siege of Petersburg on June 25, 1864. That same day the 48th Pennsylvania began digging the famous Petersburg Mine that started the Battle of the Crater. The 48th had a large number of coal miners in its ranks, and its commander, Lieutenant Colonel Henry Pleasants, had been a mining engineer before the war. The 48th constructed the mine in the shape of a "Y" with two lateral galleries running under a Confederate fort known as Elliott's Salient. On July 27, 1864, the galleries were charged with 4 tons of gunpowder and on July 30, 1864, the mine was fired. At 4:44 AM the mine detonated with an earthquake and a red mushroom cloud, leaving behind a crater 200 feet long, 50 feet wide, and 20 feet deep. Elliott's Salient was wiped out, with the loss of about 300 men from the 18th and 22nd South Carolina Infantry Regiments and Captain Pegram's Virginia artillery battery. Unfortunately, the mine was the only thing that went right for the Union that day, and in the attacks that followed the Union lost thousands of casualties for no gain. But the Petersburg Mine went down in history as an engineering marvel and one of the 48th Pennsylvania's greatest achievements. The Mine is also the centerpiece of the regiment's post-war record banner.

After the Crater, Jacob and the 48th Pennsylvania fought in other battles around Petersburg including the Battle of the Weldon Railroad on August 19-20, 1864, the Battle of Peeble's Farm (Poplar Springs Church) on September 30, 1864, and the Battle of Boydton Plank Road on October 27, 1864. From November 27, 1864 to March 9, 1865 the 48th defended Fort Sedgwick, the most dangerous installation in the Union siege line. It was commonly referred to as "Fort Hell" by Union troops.

The Petersburg siege line was finally breached on April 2, 1865. On that day the 48th participated in the capture of Fort Mahone, which was located opposite Fort Sedgwick and known as "Fort Damnation." The Confederates abandoned Petersburg on the night of April 2, and the next day the 9th Corps occupied the city. Soon after, other troops were detailed to guard the city and the 9th Corps joined the pursuit of Lee's Army to Appomattox from April 3 to April 9, 1865. Along the way, 9th Corps units, including the 48th, were detailed to guard Confederate prisoners taken during Lee's Retreat. The 9th Corps was in Farmville, about 20 miles from Appomattox, when Lee surrendered.

Jacob and the 48th Pennsylvania remained in service until July 17, 1865, when the regiment mustered out of service at Alexandria, VA.


Jacob married Ellemanda Miller, daughter of David Miller and Elizabeth (Simon) Miller, on May 26, 1867. The marriage was performed by Reverend William R. Hofford at Zion Reformed Church in Allentown, PA. Ellemanda was born on March 22, 1847 in Allen Township, PA. The marriage produced 7 children:

  • Lillie C. (Moyer) Feist
  • George H. Moyer
  • Oscar L. Moyer
  • Mary E. (Moyer) Brickel
  • Harry J. Moyer
  • Matilda (Tillie) L. (Moyer) Weiss
  • Raymond J. Moyer.

Jacob died of pneumonia at 10:40 am on January 5, 1921 in Bethlehem, PA. His funeral was held at 2:00 pm on January 8, 1921. Ellemanda died of chronic myocarditis at 4:20 am on October 8, 1935 in Bethlehem, PA. Her funeral was held on October 11, 1935. Both are buried in Bethlehem Memorial Park Cemetery, Bethlehem, PA.