Emergency Troops of 1863.
Early in the summer of 1863, rumors were constantly afloat
concerning a threatened invasion of border states by the
Confederates and in June two new departments were established
by the war department -- the Department of the' Monongahela and
the Department of the Susquehanna -- in order that the state
might be protected from any such movement of the enemy.
Volunteers were called for by Gov. Curtin to serve "During: the
pleasure of the president or the continuance of the war."
Slow to believe that their homes were really endangered, the
greatly reduced number of men available for military service
hesitated to respond. On June 12, the governor published the
notice that the troops requested would be mustered into the
service of the United States for six months, or during the
existing emergency, as they should themselves elect.
In a short time eight regiments were mustered in for the
"emergency" and became the 20th, 26th, 27th, 28th, 28th, 30th,
31st and 33rd emergency regiments. Other companies and
organizations volunteered their services and need for them was
The Confederates had occupied Chambersburg and Gettysburg and
when it was discovered that the main body of their forces had
actually crossed the Potomac, another proclamation was issued
by Gov. Curtin on June 26, calling for 60,000 men at once to be
mustered into the state service for a term of 90 days and to be
discharged as soon as the danger was over.
To this urgent message twenty-eight regiments responded and
were organized in the two departments previously mentioned, at
Huntingdon, Reading, Philadelphia and Harrisburg. A force
under Gen. Knipe approached Chambersburg, but found it in the
hands of the enemy and was obliged to retire gradually before
the advance of Johnson's division of Ewell's corps.
The Confederates reached Oyster Point, but were withdrawn to
Gettysburg on account of the advance of the Army of the Potomac
and within a few days was fought the battle of Gettysburg.
A portion of the militia joined the Army of the Potomac in
Maryland after the battle, but were soon afterward returned to
The emergency regiments were mustered out soon after the battle
of Gettysburg, the regiments of militia a little later, various
duties within the state requiring their services for a short
Some were employed at Gettysburg, some at Philadelphia in
preserving order, and at other points they rendered valuable
Source: The Union Army, vol. 1, p. 498