Captain and Acting Major, U. S. V.
Captain Co. A, 1862-63, Acting Major, 1863
Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry,
1st Brigade, 1st Division, 11th Corps.
Army of the Potomac.
(Christian, scholar and patriot
A Genealogical, Biographical and Historical Memoir
ETHAN ALLEN WEAVER, C.E., M.Sc.
Member of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania ;
Moravian Historical Society ; Pennsylvania-German
Society ; Society of Sons of the Revolution; Society
of American Wars; Society of the Army of the
Potomac (Second Class) ; Etc., Etc.
The Boys of Company A, 1 5 3d Pennsylvania Volunteers
Living and Departed
Three Hundred Copies
Privately Printed and Issued by
July 1. 1911
CHRISTIAN. SCHOLAR AND PATRIOT
OWEN RICE (5th), the subject of this memoir, was on his
paternal side descended from ancient Welsh ancestry.
Sir Elider Dhu, of the time of Richard the First (11 57-1 199),
was the direct ancestor of the Rice family of Killymaenftwyd,
County Carmarthen, Wales. Lord Rhys (Rice) built part of
the castle of Dinevor and from this castle called his men to
meet the Normans. He called this castle his own, when he
confounded the Normans in their council and compelled them
to yield him the title of Lord of South Wales. From Dinevor,
Gruflfyd ap Rhys went forth to slay the three thousand Flemings
and French. Later came Sir Rice ap Thomas, who joined his
forces of three thousand men, comprising the flower and
chivalry of South Wales, with those of the Earl of Richmond,
and won the Battle of Bosworth (1485) in which Richard
the Third was slain and which terminated the "War of the
Roses." He was knighted on the field of battle, and the
splendid estate which belonged to the princes of South Wales
was bestowed upon him. Besides these honors he was made
Lieutenant of Wales and the Lord of Narberth.
His great-great-grandfather, the immigrant ancestor, REV.
OWEN RICE (1st) of Haverford West, Wales, came to America
with the "First Sea Congregation" of Moravians and landed
in Philadelphia June, 1742. He was an itinerant English
preacher in Philadelphia (1742), Bethlehem, Pa. (1744),
in the Swedish settlements on the Delaware River in New
Jersey (1746), Bethlehem (1747), was ordained in 1748, and was
the first settled Moravian pastor in New York City (1750-54).
During intervals he combined the practice of medicine and
surgery as assistant to the regular physician with his labor
in the gospel, having acquired considerable experience and
skill in this resj^ect. He returned to England in 1754, and was
pastor at Kingswood, Leominster, Tytherton, England ;
Gracefield, Ireland; Plymouth and Gomcrsal, P^ngland, where
he died in 1785, his remains being removed to Fulneck, England,
in 1787. He was an eloquent, impressive and popular preacher
and pastor. He was twice married; first, in London, 1739, to
Elizabeth ; born in London, England, January
29, 1717; died at Wiltshire, England, 1756. In this marriage
were born his children Elizabeth and OWEN, 2nd. He married,
second, in 1757, Esther O'Neil, who died at Fulneck, June 23,
1797, without issue.
OWEN RICE (2nd), his great-grandfather, was born in New
York City, 1751, and died at Bethlehem, 1820. He was from
1784 to 1790 in charge of the inn and subsequently of the
store for the congregation at Nazareth, Pa., and afterwards
of the congregation store at Bethlehem; where he proved
himself faithful and efficient. He married, in 1781, Elizabeth
Eyerly of Nazareth, born 1760, died 1820. They had five
sons, Joseph, OWEN (3rd), Jacob, John and William.
OWEN RICE (3rd), his grandfather, was born at Nazareth
in 1787 and died at Bethlehem in 1856. His boyhood was
spent in the old diacony store at Bethlehem, succeeding his
father in the management of it. He subsequently engaged
in business for himself, but met with financial reverses in the
panic of 1842. He was prominent in congregational and edu-
cational affairs. In 1818 he was a deputy to the General
Synod which met at Herrnhut, Germany, and in 1836 was
elected the first President of the Bethlehem Public School
District. He married, first, in 1811, Maria Rosina Vierling,
born 1791, a teacher in the Moravian Seminary for Young
Ladies at Bethlehem and a daughter of Dr. Vierling of Salem,
N. C. She died in 1817 and had issue three sons, EDWARD,
the only one who survived, a son, name unknown, and Owen
(4th), who died two days after his mother; second, in 1819,
Ann Carohne Schropp, in Bethlehem, born 1793, a teacher in
the Moravian Seminary for Young Ladies. She died at
Catasauqua in 1853 without issue.
DR. EDWARD RICE, his father, who was considered the
most learned man of his time in the Moravian Church in the
United States, was born in Bethlehem in ISl.'i. He was
educated at Nazareth Hall, which he entered in 1X25, and
took the classical and theological courses in the Theological
Seminary, 1S27-29. Taking up the study of medicine, he
completed the course at the University of Pennsylvania in
1834, with distinction, and practiced as a physician at Lititz,
Pa., for a short time prior to 18.'^7. Further theological study
led to his ordination as a deacon in the Protestant Episcopal
Church, but after a short service in that denomination he
returned to the Moravian Church and was appointed a professor
in the TheologicalvSeminary, ISI^O to 1S49, and died in the latter
Equipped with profound learning, warm piety and unselfish
devotion, he was a man of exemplary character, one of the most
amiable of men, free from pride and ostentation, yet dignified
and commanding general respect. Called into consultation by
physicians who held his medical skill in high regard, with re-
spect to certain cases of smallpox in Catasauqua, he answered
the call without hesitation, and while fearlessly and unsel-
fishly ministering to his patients contracted the dread disease,
to which he fell a victim in a few days, at the early age of 36
years. The inscription on his tombstone at Bethlehem bears
witness to his erudition and ])ersonal worth: " Liticranim
lumen, tcrrarum tcncbris abumbratum, nobis cripuit ct in qhriani
suam reccptiim salvmnjecit Dominus. "
He married, on August 7, 1833, Juliana Augusta Eberman,
born August 23, 181 5, a daughter of Rev. William Ebcrman and
his wife Caroline Elizabeth (maiden name Lembke), and who
before her marriage and during a part of her widowhood was
a teacher in Linden Hall Seminary, Lititz. In 1872 she re-
moved with her two daughters to Osborne, Kansas, where she
died September 19, 1873, aged 58 years. There were born in
this marriage three children — Caroline, who married Francis
R. Grugcr, OWEN (5th) and Louisa, who married A. W.
Fritchey, all now deceased.
OWEN RICE of the fifth generation bearing that name was
born at Lititz, October G, 183(), a son of Dr. Edward and Juli-
ana Augusta Eberman Rice. In 1849 he entered Nazareth Hall
as a pupil with a view to preparing for the ministry. In 1852
he entered the Theological Seminary, then in charge of Rev.
Edward Rondthaler, located at Nazareth in the" Sisters' House,"
now known as the "Castle." In 1855, when it was determined
that a college in connection with the Theological Seminary
should be established, the Rev. Edmund de Schweinitz, then
pastor of the Moravian Church, Philadelphia, was asked to
take charge of it, but not feeling at liberty to immediately give
up his work in Philadelphia, the theological class, consisting of
four members, removed to Philadelphia, taking up their resi-
dence at the parsonage, where three of them completed their
studies in July, 1850. These were Henry T. Bachman, after-
wards a bishop in the Moravian Church; Owen Rice (5th) and
Albert L. Oerter, pastor, professor and editor of Church publi-
cations, and who alone survives.
Samuel A. Huebner died in 185() just before completing the
I\Ir. Rice graduated with honors from both institutions,
whereupon he returned to Nazareth Hall as a teacher, where
he remained until the close of 1863, except for the time he was
in military service. In 18G2, when military drill was intro-
duced at the Hall, he was chosen commandant of the corps of
In all of these duties he displayed marked intelligence and
the ability to impart knowledge. He was popular with the
pupils, and though a strict disciplinarian was far from being a
In the summer of 1862, when after repeated defeats of the
Union Army around Richmond and on the Peninsula, and the
war clouds were lowering, a Northern invasion was threatened
and a draft was imminent in order to meet the call of the Presi-
dent for fifty thousand men from Pennsylvania for nine months'
services, a vigorous movement was begun throughout old
Northampton County, Pa., to fill its quota of three hundred
men by volunteer enlistments, which resulted in the recruiting
of a full regiment wholly within the limits of the county. Meet-
ings were held in towns, villages and at country crossroads,
where the drum-beat brought together the old and young from
the school-houses, workshops, farms, stores and offices, and the
"Spirit of '76" was revived in the patriotic addresses delivered
by distinguished speakers from home and abroad.
On July 28, 1862, a stirring meeting was held at Nazareth,
and among resolutions adopted were the following :
Resolved, By the people of the County of Northampton in Convention
assembled, that we declare our unalterable attachment to the glorious
Constitution framed and adopted by our fathers and of the Union of
the States which it established; that we look to it as the safeguard of our
liberties and the chief source of our prosperity and happiness as a people;
that united by its bonds this community of States have successfully
resisted and bid defiance to foes without, and that now, assailed by foes
within, the brethren of our household, we will, looking to the God of our
fathers for our iielp in time of trouble, solemnly devote all we have in
this world, if need be, to the preservation and perpetuation of an unchanged
Constitution and an unbroken Union.
Resolved, That Northampton County, having at the beginning and
through the continuance of this war manifested to the country and the
world by the presence of her gallant sons in large numbers in the armies
of the Republic that she would not be wanting in her duty, will not falter
now, but will respond heartily and promptly to the call made by the
Resolved, That we have heard with feelings of admiration and pride of
the gallant conduct of the sons of old Northampton upon the various
battlefields in defence of the flag; and that they may be assured that
throughout this fearful conflict thousands of anxious hearts at home will
watch with deep solicitude the progress of the struggle and be filled with
thanksgiving and joy when the strong arms and stout hearts of them-
selves and their comrades in arms shall win for us a final triumph.
Provision was at once made for the collection by subscription
and otherwise of moneys for the payment of bounties and the
support of the families of those who should enter the service,
and these calls were liberally responded to.
Enlistments were at once begun; the quota of Nazareth
Borough was thirty-four men, but almost immediately fifty
had placed their names on the enlistment roll, which was supple-
mented by further additions, so that the Nazareth company
finally consisted of one hundred and two men, of whom thirty-
three are now living, and the regiment, which was designated as
the lo3rd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, of nine hundred
The recruits from Nazareth and vicinity perfected their organ-
ization in the engine-house of the Vigilant Fire Company on
North Main vStreet by selecting Owen Rice as their captain and
Benjamin F. Shaum and John L. Miller, who was supplanted
by J. Clyde Millar, as lieutenants. Captain Rice with char-
acteristic magnanimity waived the right to select his non-
commissioned otTicers in favor of the men of his company, who
accordingly elected them. The men composing Captain Rice's
company, designated as Co. A, ranged in age from 15 to 45,
as follows: one of 15 years, eleven of 18, five of 19, seven of 20,
thirteen of 21, ten of 22, seven of 23, seven of 24, two of 25,
three of 20, five of 27, seven of 28, two of 29, one of 30, two of 3 1 ,
two of 32, two of 33, one of 34, two of 35, two of 38, one of 39,
one of 41, two of 43, three of 44, one of 45, and two unknown —
an average age of about 20 years. The men of Company A
were above the average in physical and mental development.
They w'ere for the most part men who had enjoyed vigorous
physical exercise and had reaped the benefits of the public
school system and the superb advantages which the Moravian
schools afforded. Captain Rice's lieutenants were brave and
capable officers, Clyde Millar combining with these qualities
a popularity and high order of intelligence, as is evidenced in
his magnificent address at the dedication in 1889 of the regi-
mental monument on Barlow's Knoll on the battlefield of the
first day of Gettysburg.
Upon the organization of the company, daily drills were
held by Captain Rice in the public square at Nazareth from
September 8th to September 22nd, and it was from the outset
the best drilled company in the regiment. On September
22nd, the company departed for Easton, Pa., and there joined
the other companies of the regiment, departing thence on
September 25th for Harrisburg, Pa., where they were mustered
into service, October 7-1 1 , 1862. Before his departure, Captain
Rice was presented with a revolver by the corps of cadets of
In the various marches and in camp life, Captain Rice gave
his first thought to the comfort and welfare of his men. The
battle of Chancellorsville, Va., May 1-3, 1863, was the great
strategic battle of the Civil War and \Vas the last of a long
series of Confederate victories — in point of fact, it was the high
tide of their success. It was the fortune, or rather the mis-
fortune, of the 153rd Regiment to occupy as part of the 1st
Brigade, 1st Division, 1 1th Corps of the Army of the Potomac
a conspicuous position, in that it occupied the exlrciue right
of Hooker's line of battle and where it received the full force
of "Stonewall' ' Jackson's attack in his historic ilank movement
which proved so disastrous to the Union Army in the defeat
it sustained and to the Confederate Army in its loss of Jackson,
who was mortally wounded near the line of the 11th Corps,
his wounding at the time being attributed to a member of the
iri3rd Regiment, but which, it is now accepted, was done by
his own men through a misunderstanding. Captain Rice in
this engagement performed distmguishcd services.
fust before beginning the march from the winter camp at
Potomac Creek Bridge near Brooke Station, nine miles north
of Fredericksburg, Va., to the battlefield of Chancellorsville,
Major Frueauff was detailed to the staff of Gen. Nathaniel
C. McLean and afterwards of Gen. Charles Devens, respectively
commanding the division, as acting assistant inspector-
general, and Captain Rice was appointed acting major, which
position he held until after the battle, when Frueauff rejoined
the regiment and in the absence of the colonel and lieutenant-
colonel commanded it. After the formation of the line of
battle a party of skirmishers selected from the various regiments
of the brigade was placed in command of Captain Rice for
the purpose of feeling the enemy, which was reported to be
advancing. Early in the afternoon of INIay 2nd the pickets
of the enemy were encountered and the advance of a large
force was no longer in doubt, whereupon Captain Rice sent the
On skinnisli lino on Culpeper l^oad. 2.4.") P. M.
Col. L. Von Gilsa,
Comd'g 1st Brig., 1st Div., 1 Itli Army Corps.
A large body of the enemy anias.sinjz; in my front. For Ciod's sake
make disposition.s to receive him.
.\ct. Major 153rd P. V.
This message was promptly delivered by Colonel von Gilsa
to the corps connnander, and at the same time Captain Rice
received orders from von Gilsa to maintain his position to
extremity, but not to sacriiice his men, and engage the advance
vigorotisly in retreat. Scarcely had the skirmishers reached
their commands (about 5 P. M.) when the enemy opened
fire upon the right of the line, pushing forward with all its
might. The men of the 158rd met the onslaught like tried
veterans, retreating only after firing several volleys which
Confederate prisoners reported to have fearfully mowed down
the ranks of the advancing 1st Virginia Brigade. The casualties
of Company A in this engagement were quite considerable;
Privates Daniel and Stocker were killed or burned to death
in the woods, which were set afire by exploding shells ; Captain
Rice was desperately wounded in the left arm by a fragment
of shell; Lieutenant Shaum, Sergeants Wm. M. Shultz and
W. Henry Weaver, Corporals Banner, Wunderly, Gross and
Nauman and Privates Etschman, Frankenfield, L. F. Gold,
Herman, A. Johnson, Martin, Senseman, C. Smith and Werkhei-
ser were captured and taken to Libby Prison. Captain Rice
was taken to the field hospital, where he positively forbade
the amputation of his arm, and as soon as possible was removed
to Washington, D. C, and thence to his home. He was in-
capacitated for further military service, and to the end of his
life suffered indirectly from his wound. The wounding of
Captain Rice, the capture of Lieutenant Shaum, and the
absence on detached duty of Lieutenant J. Clyde Millar left the
command of the company with First Sergeant Wm. R. Kiefer,
who rallied the scattered men of the company as soon as it
was possible to do so.
On October 7, 1885, Captain Rice read a paper before the
Ohio Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion
of the U. S., entitled "Afield with the Eleventh Army Corps
at Chancellors ville." In this address he defends the conduct
of the 11th Corps against the charges made that it was com-
posed of a disafTected foreign element, and shows conclusively
that only a little more than one-third was German or foreign
lineage, and these for the most part had become denationalized,
and who "at Gettysburg with its threefold baptism of fire,
and on every field from Lookout Mountain to the sea, wrote
the courage of their convictions in answer to the aspersions
of vaporing zealots, and overwhelmed with unfaltering devotion
those cavillers who demanded of them the impossible at Chan-
cellors ville." He furthermore graphically describes the march
of the regiment from winter quarters to Kelly's I'^^rd on the
Rappahannock; its crossing there, and that of the Rapidan
at Germanna Ford; the march to the battlefield of Chancellors-
ville, and the events which followed to the close of the campaign
and the return of the regiment to its former winter quarters
at Potomac Creek.
This valuable contribution to the history of our Civil War
reflects to an eminent degree the ripe scholarship, knowledge
of military affairs and the descriptive powers of its author.
The serious disability of Captain Rice prevented his par-
ticipating in the battle of Gettysburg, but his papers disclose
the fact that he made a thorough study of that campaign, and
as is also evidenced in the correspondence which he had after
the war with commanding general officers who took part in it.
Lieutenant Shaum, having been exchanged, returned to the
regiment two days before the battle and assumed command
of the company until wounded in the knee, when the command
fell to Lieutenant J. Clyde Millar.
At Gettysburg, as in the battle of Chancellorsville, the 153rd
Regiment occupied conspicuous positions, and the important
part which it took in both campaigns is recorded in the history
of our great Civil War.
At Gettysburg, on the first day, the regiment engaged the
well-trained forces of General Early in the commands of
Generals Gordon and Hays, and it was here General Barlow,
commanding the division to which the regiment was attached,
was seriously wounded, at the time thought mortally so, but
survived to recent times to meet General Gordon and talk
ovter the events of that day. In the first day's engagement
occurred practically all of the casualties to the company. Re-
treating through the town, the company took position with the
regiment behind a low stone wall at the foot of East Cemetery
Hill, where on the evening of July 2nd occurred one of the most
sanguinary hand-to-hand conflicts of the Civil War; here
the regiment met and assisted in repulsing the famous "Loui-
siana Tigers," which up to this time had been a distinguished
fighting organization of the Confederacy, but which after this
day was never again heard of as an organization.
The casualties of the company in this engagement were:
Killed: Privates Buss, W. Gold, J. Johnson and C. H. Miller;
Wounded: Lieutenant Shaum and Privates Beer, Koenig, Neu-
meyer, E. Ritter, J. Ritter, A. Ruth, W. H. Ruth, Schwab,
J. F. Smith, Straub and Transue; Captured: Sergeant Kiefer,
Corporal V. Heller, Privates W. H. Heller, Hoch, Kist, A.
Ruth, Werner and Wohlbach. The efficiency of the company
at no time during its enlistment reached the full number of
102 men by reason of transfers, deaths from disease and other
causes, so that the total casualties, as follows, for the year were
in excess of one-half of the men actually engaged.
Chancellors- ^, ,,„,,„ t^,„,.
Killed or died from mortal wounds 3 4 7
Wounded .. 4 12 16
Captvued 16 8 24
Died of disease. .. . 3
Total casualties ., 23 24 50
Those who died from disease were Corporal T. Edward
Frey, and Privates J. Kinkinger and SchafTer.
Captain Rice was mustered out wdth the regiment July 24,
18()3, and returned to Nazareth with the remnant of his com-
pany after ten months of severe service, during which time it
was conspicuously engaged in two of the greatest campaigns
of the war, both of which are considered types of military cam-
paigns and are studied as such by military students both in
this country and abroad.
The return of the remnant of Company A to the old town
of Nazareth was an event of mixed joy and sorrow to that
community. The reception badge worn upon this occasion
reflects this feeling in the following lines which it bore in
addition to the red crescent and names and dates of the two
engagements in which it participated:
"We hail the heroes' safe return
To home and friends again,
And mourn with tears of sympathy
The gallant patriots slain."
The writer recalls vividly the anxious moments of expecta-
tion of the return of his father, who was a sergeant in the com-
pany; the long line of vehicles which brought the veterans
from Kaston; iheir welcome' as they alighted at Main and
Prospect Streets; their march through the town; the l)oiiniirul
collation prepared for them on tables erected on the green in
front of the new Moravian church, and finally the dispersing
to their respective homes. The scenes in the homes to which
there was no homecoming of loved ones, their absence having
been made i>ermanent through the fortunes of war, cannot
Captain Rice at once resumed his duties at Nazareth Hall,
in which he continued until the close of that year. In October,
1863, he was elected a Deputy to the Pennsylvania State
House of Representatives, and was a member of that bodv
during the sessions of 18G4-(i5. He served on a number of
important committees, notably those on Library, Railroads,
Education and New Counties and County Seats.
On July 20, IStio, Captain Rice addressed a letter to the Major-
General of the U. S. Army asking for information as to how to
proceed in order to exchange his pension certificate for a cap-
tain's commission in the Veteran Reserve Corps, in which he
stated that in the Chancellorsville campaign, he was severely
wounded in the left arm, which sympathetically affected his
whole frame and for the time incapacitated him for active ser-
.vice, and being thus disabled he had sent a substitute for three
years into the service. In endorsement of this application,
Colonel Glanz, who commanded the lo3rd Regiment, wrote:
Capt. Owen Rice has always been a faithful and brave officer and was
much respected for his gentlemanly deportment by officers and by his
regiment. He was a man of fine military talents and a strict disciplinarian.
To this Governor Curtin added the following:
Penna. Executive Mansion,
Harrlsburg, Pa., Aug. 4, 1S65.
I have the honor to request that favorable consideration be given the
application of Owen Rice of Northampton Co. in this vState, late Capt.
in the 153rd Regt. P. V., who .seeks an appointment as Captain in the
Veteran Reserve Corps. Capt. Rice was badly womided at Chancellorsville
and is an intelligent, reliable gentleman whose appointment would secure
to the Corps a valuable officer.
I am, General, very Respty.,
Vr. Oht. Svt.,
Brig. Genl. .J. B. Fry, A (1 (TRTIN.
Pro. Mar. Genl. V. S., Govr. Pa.
Washington, I). C.
This was concurred in by Pyli Slifer, Secretary of the Common-
wealth, and A. L. Russell, Adjt. Genl. Penna.
In response to this request, Thos. M. Vincent, Asst. Adj. Genl.
U. S. A. forwarded a circular of information from the War
Department, dated March 17, 1865, giving the information
desired. In the absence of information, it is safe to assume
that his physical condition by reason of his wound disqualified
In 180.3 Captain Rice remov^ed to Lancaster, Pa., where he
engaged with his brother-in-law, Francis R. Gruger, in the drug
business. This, however, proving uncongenial to him, the trend
of his mind being toward technical pursuits, he about 18(39 re-
moved to the West, first for some time engaging in the pro-
fession of civil engineer at Pittsburg, and afterwards with the
Grand Rapids & Indiana Railroad Company in Indiana. Whilst
on the surveys of this railroad he married at Rome City, Ind.,
May 4, 1871, a most estimable lady, Mrs. Eleanore Mendham,
a widow with five children, to all of whom he became very
much attached, proving himself a devoted husband and loving
father, which feeling of devotion and love w^as reciprocated by
them for him.
In 1873 he was appointed General Freight and Ticket Agent
of the Cincinnati, Wabash & Michigan Railway Company,
which position he occupied for fourteen years, the first five years
of which he was located at Wabash, Ind., when his office was
removed to Elkhart, Ind. During this time he became inter-
ested in the formation of an interstate commerce law, and pre-
sided at a meeting held in vSt. Louis, the first held tt) promul-
gate the establishment of such a law. In 1887 he removed to
Chicago to accept a position with another railroad, but was
almost immediately seized with paralysis. On January 24,
1890, his wife died, and his condition becoming more critical;
his stepchildren took him to their old home at Rome City, Ind.,
where after a lingering illness, during which he was affection-
ately cared for by his stepdaughter. Miss Sallie Mendham Rice,
he died April 28, 1892, in the 56th year of his age. His remains
lie at rest in the cemetery at Rome City.
In his social relations. Captain Rice was a member of the
Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, Com-
mandery of the State of Ohio, the vSociety of the Army of the
Potomac, the Grand Army of the Repubhc, a warrant member
and the first secretary of Rome City Lodge, Free and Accepted
Masons, and warden of St. John's Protestant Episcopal Church
of Elkhart, Ind.
The rector of the parish in which Captain Rice was the senior
warden paid the following tribute to his memory:
Major Rice was distinguished by traits of character which in all ages
have commanded the respect and admiration of men. He was loyal to a
cause, to a duty, to a creed, to a friend. He was incapable of a falsehood
and hardly comprehended deceit in others. He brought to the discharge
of every duty a brave and loyal spirit, a cultured and refined intellect,
a pure and devout soul — his maimers eminently were siiaviterin modo,
fortiter in re.
He was distinguiished for his well-breil courtesy anil generosity. He
kept up his interest in learning and literature, through the busiest por-
tions of his life, and a conversation with him upon almost any of the
leading topics of the day was a rare treat to a .serious and thoughtful
man. As profes.sor, soldier, patriot, legislator, student, busine.ss man,
churchman, father, friend, he was always distinguished by fidelity, earnest-
ness and devotion. Tho.se who never knew him will not miss him, those
who mourn him can never fill his place.
Captain Rice always maintained an afTectionate regard for
his old friends at Nazareth and an interest in the welfare of
his boys of Company A, as is evidenced in the following letter
written to Mr. Granville Henry of "Boulton " :
Elkh.\rt, In'd., March 0, 1S8.5.
Very Dear Friend:
Your most welcome favor forwarded me to-day, and subject to the
inces.sant interruptions incident to Rail practice. I detail a few moments
for reply. Recently when reviewing your photo, a sort of anticipation of
a possible letter overcame me.
Of myself, as you desire, I can best .summarize by saying that for seven-
teen years I have been employed in various departments of Western
Rail practice, as Engineer, Auditor, and during the last ten. on this line, in
charge of the Foreign traffic relations, my thoughts gravitating between
seaboard and .seaboard, my telegrams and letters covering one-quarter
of the continent, and my person traversing a large part of the West. A
most contentious occupation truly — one in which both physical and
mental exhaustion is the constant penalty of continuance, and one which
leaves me little time for study or social amenities and little for enjoyment
with my family.
Residing here, I often have need to go to Chicago — not for recreation,
but to patch up the enlenir mrdial with one or the other of the thirteen
Trunk Lines which we cross. Like the man trying to pay court to thirteen
girls at once, I am often made to feel
" Happy with either
Were t'other dear charmer away."
The semi-abandon of the Middle West, after the rough u.sage of the
war and politic.s, have not aged me very perceptibly, and of all employ-
ments I prefer "The .strong, champagny-brandy-punchy feeling" of rail-
It pays moderatelj^ well, with almo.st indefinite free transportation,
but its requirements leave little for future use.
Outside of business I cultivate only my Wardenship of St. John's Epis-
copal Church, and my Companionship in the Loyal Legion (the modern
Cincinnati) and an occasional trip across the Lakes, thro' Colorado or
some other Lotus land.
Please say to J. Meyers, to give his attorney my address and on receipt
of his papers I will make proper affidavit.
Kindly write me any or all matters within call, regarding Nazareth.
Are all of my boys of Co. A. reasonably prosperous?
With very cordial regards to all at Boulton,
In haste, but faithfully,
The high regard in which Captain Rice was held by the officers
and men of the regiment and his company is shown by the
following extracts and letters from several of the few who are
Dr. A. Stout, assistant surgeon of the regiment, says:
He was a good captain, a good engineer, a good scholar and a mighty
From his first lieutenant:
T.\RKio, Mo., April 2.5, 1911.
Mr. E. A. Weaver, Philadelphia, Penna.
De.\r .Sir: — In reply to your recent favor concerning Capt. Owen
Rice I will say that my personal acquaintance with him dates from the
first recruiting, which was sometime in July, 1862, when he was after-
wards chosen Captain of the Company and I the First Lieutenant.
As a man and officer, he was one of the finest and was admired and
looked up to by those, not only in his own Company, but by the whole
Regiment and even the Brigade.
He and I were never thrown together much because he was nearly
always on Staff or detached duty and I had charge of the Company.
I have always thought that the battle of Chancellorsville would have
resulted differently if attention had been paid to some of the advice
offered by him concerning the battle.
While he was on outpost duty he saw the enemy approaching and
reported the fact, but no attention was paid to his reports.
In the battle of Chancellorsville he was wounded, and 1 was taken
prisoner and sent to Libby prison, where I remained until jiaroled and
exchanged two days before the battle of Gettysburg.
In (hat battle I was severely wounded and never saw C'apt. Rice again
until he called on me after the nuistering out at Harrisburg.
The above is the best of my remembrance of ('apt. Rice.
It has been a long time ago and very difficult to recall.
Trusting it may be of service to you, I am,
B. F. SH.'M'M.
Sergeant William M. Shultz:
In regard to Captain Rice I always found him to be a perfect gentleman
in all that constitutes the nauie, an apt scholar, a strict disciplinarian,
thoroughly posted in military tactics and a brave soldier. He abhorred
everything that was vile in speech or action.
From a private of Company A:
My early recollections of Capt. Rice are of the kindliest nat\ire. I
knew him very well as a young man, and think he was not only a brainy
and highly intellectual man, but also a good citizen and brave soldier.
The only thing I had against him was his being a Democrat, and well
remember how hard he tried to explain to me the iniquity of a tariff
system. But he was a loyal Democrat, which is more than can be said
of many others of that period. As a .soldier he was brave, quick, lenient
to his men, and therefore popular and well liked, never loud or overbearing.
He was certainly a more than ordinarily gifted man.
Robert H. Wilson, the fifteen-year-old drummer-boy of
Company A, over whotn Captain Rice exercised a parental
care, writes as follows:
200 E.\ST 16th Street,
Los Angeles, Cal., June 11, 1911.
Mr. E. A. Weaver, Germantown , Pa.
De.^r Sir:— Yours of the 2d inst. received yesterday A. M., having
been delayed in delivery, on account of no street number. You ask for
my personal recollections of the late Captain Owen Rice, to add to the
biographical sketch. I shall be happy to contribute a word of praise in
behalf of my most estimable, brave, and courageous Captain and friend-
yes friend; he watched over me during those stormy days of the rebellion
as a father would over his son, and we lived together in the little tent
house furnisheil by I'ncle Sam. 1 always bunked with him when we were
in camp. .\s young as I was — a mere stripling — I often thought that
a star or two would be more fitting than the four bars he wore. He was
a man above reproach, always tender and thoughtful for others and
loved by all with whom he came in contact.
After he was wounded at Chancellorsville and lay in the hospital, he
used to send for me to read to him. I would read until I thought he was
asleep, then I would take a sneak. Well, I haven't gotten over being
sorry yet for being so disrespectful to this worthy man. When he would
awaken, he immediately sent for me to come back, and read some more.
Oh, well, I was only a boy, and didn't know any better.
I remember well your good father, Sergeant Weaver, and he was in
my estimation another fine man and brave soldier.
I shall endeavor to communicate with my comrades, Ricksecker and
Millar, in the near future. It is a thin blue line now, all that is left of that
vast Army of the Potomac.
I am enjoying perfect health, and am just as young as I used to be;
do a full day's work, every day in the week. Next Thursday, June 15th,
1 will celebrate my Ooth birthday, and feel as tho I were only forty.
I shall be greatly pleased with a copy of the reprint of which you spoke.
Trusting my feeble efforts to contribute to the sketch will be worthy
a place in same, and may not reach you too late, I remain,
R. H. WILSON.
An estimate of Captain Rice's personal qualities as pupil
and teacher can best be made from the following letters from
several who were thus associated with him at Nazareth Hall
and in the Theological Seminary.
One of Captain Rice's instructors at Nazareth Hall in writing
of him says:
He was very studious — a young man of more than usual ability, and,
as his father before him, very thorough in everything he undertook,
despising everything superficial; a painstaking, hard-working student—
probably the most efficient in his class at Nazareth Hall. As an instructor
in Nazareth Hall he displayed these same traits — thoroughness — not
afraid of hard work — doing his utmost to "go to the bottom" and not
merely skim along the surface; and this he endeavored to impress upon his
pupils. He was a good linguist and an excellent mathematician; in short,
a very able man. He was generally reserved, caring little for society,
but prizing men of intelligence as his friends. For some time he had been
drill master of the Nazareth Hall Cadets, and succeeded in advancing
this part of the educational work of the School. W^hen the country needed
men at the beginning of the Civil War, he was one of the first to offer
his services, and succeeded in raising a company of volunteers from this
town (Nazareth) and neighborhood; very few of these men remain —
but all held him in high esteem, greatly superior as he was to many others
who became officers in the army. His men appeared to honor and love him.
One of his associate teachers writes :
My relations witli him were limited to one yoar, lS.')C)-'>7. wlien we were
teachers together in Nazareth Hall. He was a man of brilliant intellectual
attainments, well read in and enthusiastic for classical and the best modern
literature, and. po.sses,sed of a delicate artistic taste, his works of both
pencil and brush were excellent and much admirefl; to which I wovdd
add a ready knack at caricature.
It is from personal experience that I tell you of ("a|)t. Rice's love of
good literature, for 1 have a jileasant remembrance of our sitting together
in the beautiful woods adjacent to the school, or at night in a vacant
school room, taking turns at reading aloud our favorite authors. I nuist
say, also, that I found in Owen Hice always a kind friend and a good
From the last surviving graduate of his class in the Theo-
logical Seminary :
He was a bright and ready scholar, engaging easily in the various tasks
of the curriculum of tho.se days, and standing high in his recitations, espe-
cially in mathematics, deometry and algebra, trigonometry and sur-
veying he mastered without difficulty, standing at the head of his class,
often successfully demonstrating some difficult problem, while his class-
mates looked on with admiration at the facility with which he did the
work. Thus he was well qualified for the task — which at the request of
the town officials of Nazareth he undertook later, while he was a teacher
at the Hall — of grading the streets of Nazareth, which until then had
remained in their pristine condition. The writer can still .see him starting
out or returning across the campu.s — in tho.se days called the .square — in
front of the Hall, with his leveling instrument on his shoulder.
The writer does not remember that Owen had any special musical talent,
or performed on any instrument, but he had decided artistic ability, as
evidenced by some little sketches and ornamental lettering done while he
was a boy at the Hall and still in the writer's po.s.session, and still more
by the proficiency which he aciiuired in painting with water-colors and in
Altliough con.scientious in the performance of liis scholastic duties, he
was a boy of an active and cheerfid di.sposition, and popular among his
schoolmates, with whom he never, to the writer's recollection, had any of
those physical encounters that sometimes mar the peace of academic
scenes. In both the classical and theological departments of the Theo-
logical Seminary he continued to approve himself a stvidious and interested
scholar, successfully wiiming and holditig the affection and esteem of
classmates and profe.s.sors, attending faithfully to his duties and at the
same time availing himself of all proper opportunities for mental and
physical recreation. The onlj' .serious illness the writer remembers him
to have suffereil from was an attack of iiiHanunatory rheumatism which
detained him awhile at Nazareth when the theological class was moved
to Philadelphia, but did not prevent him from replying in a jocular vein
to a letter llic wiilcr hail sent him.
As a teacher, loo, at Nazareth Hall from 1856 to 1862 he was successful
in winning the respect and attachment of the boys in his charge, and in
interesting them in theirstiidies. Without resorting to any drastic methods
for the enforcement of the necessary discipline, he seemed to have no
difficulty in maintaining it. To memorize or copy a few columns of the
dictionary was enough to subdue those who required treatment. There
seemed to be a mutual understanding between teacher and scholars that
the only thing to do was to do the right thing, and thus avoid all unneces-
sary friction. In ISGl or '62 when the scholars at the Hall were organized
in a uniformed company, and military drill introduced — although the
military .system was not as fully developed as it now is — Mr. Rice was
the teacher who was .specially interested and active in this new departure,
and in introducing the cadets to the mysteries and niameuvres of the
It was therefore not strange that when the bombardment of Fort Sum-
ter sent a thrill through all hearts, Mr. Rice should be fired with the
patriotic impulse to rai.se a company of volunteers who .should hasten to
join the ranks of the Union army. In the town-square at Nazareth he
made an impassioned appeal to the citizens to enlist for the pre.servation
of the Union, and succeeded in raising a company which was incorporated
with the 153rd Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers.
My personal recollections of Captain Rice are those of a
boy of eight to twelve years of age, when I frequently saw him
whilst visiting my grandparents on the "Hall Square," in
whose hotisehold he was well and favorably known. I often
saw him engaged in reading and study, or in drilling his corps
of Nazareth Hall cadets.
Captain Rice spent the Sunday preceding the departure of
Company A for the front in my home, which visit I distinctly
remember. His regard for my father is evidenced in the cor-
dial inscription on his photograph which he gave him, and also
in a letter which I quote as follows:
Elkhart, Ind., July 10, 1885.
E. A. Weaver, Esq., Phila.
Dear Sir: — Your 7th inst. has reached me amidst manifold duties. A
very true respect for your father will command compliance with your
wishes at greater convenience.
As Acting Major of the 153rd Pa. it fell to me to "lead in" the attack,
on the right, at Chancellorsville. When Dachrodt retired wounded and
Glanz had been captured, the command devolved on me. Hence I have
been designated by our Commandery of the Loyal Legion to prepare a
historical paper on Chancellorsville. The unique part filled by the 153rd —
fighting Jackson, single handed — will not be forgotten.
Late Acting Major la3rd P. V.
On July 4, IcSSG, whilst a remnant of the regiment was dedi-
cating its tablet at the foot of East Cemetery Hill, Gettys-
burg, Sergeants Shultz and Weaver, who together had enlisted
and were prisoners in "Libby, " visited the battlefield of Chan-
cellorsville, in company with myself, and stood on the very spot
where the regiment was lined in battle twenty-three years
before, and upon this occasion these comrades and admirers
of Captain Rice wrote him postal cards which were mailed to
him from the historic Spottsylvania Court House, in the yard
of which they had spent their first night as prisoners after their
capture on the morning of May 3, 1863.
Captain Rice and Sergeant Weaver were mustered out of
life's service within a year of each other, 1892-93, and "passed
over the river to rest in the shade of the trees."
" The muffled drum's sad roll has beat
The soldier's last tattoo;
No more on life's parade shall meet
That brave and fallen few.
On Fame's eternal camping ground,
Their silent tents are spread.
And glory guards, with solenm round,
The bivouac of the dead.
" Rest on, eml)ahned and sainted dead,
Dear as tlie blood ye gave;
No impious footsteps here .shall tread
The herbage of your grave;
Nor shall your glory be forgot
While fame her reconl keeps,
Or honor points the hallowed spot
Where valor proudly sleeps."
Whilst Captain Owen Rice Camp, Sons of Veterans, preserves
in its name the memory of this gallant soldier, it would be
eminently fitting for the friends of Captain Rice, fellow-citizens
of Nazareth, the survivors of his company and the descendants
of those of his comrades who have passed over the "Great
Divide" to erect in the coming year, the semi-centennial of his
departure for the war, at Nazareth Hall (his Alma Mater which
he so dearly loved), in its chapel where he so often worshiped,
a mural tablet in brass or marble to commemorate his distin-
guished services and testify to his Christian character, scholarly
attainments and patriotic devotion.
The fi)llo\ving lines were wiiiteii liy Caj)Uiin Owen Rice, and
are contained in a manuscript note-book now in possession of
Inscribed [o tlic ].YAd Peniui. Vols.:
Ilo, coniriide of the Wiir-spent field, tlefeiidcr of the rif^ht,
What cheer is thine, since laid we down the panoply of night,
Which bore the flag on honored fields — the flag our fathers bore —
And bade us hold 'gainst Treason's wrath puissant as of yore?
Pledge once again the merry cup to days of Auld Lang .Syne,
Tlie comradeship of camp and watch, and scars of strife divine!
Ah, how the bugles wake to-night the memories of the time
When "fall in" woke the startled land to ecstasy sublime!
Ah, how the bells of Memory's chimes ring out this holy night.
What griefs were ours, what manly tears, what surfeit of delight!
The bivouac's cheer, the vigil stern, the sentry's wild alarm,
The forest's glare, when opened up their throats our men at arms,
The swelling Hush of Victory's tide, the thrill of battle won,
The silence of the sad retreat, the sobbing miiuite-gun.
.\long Potomac's bristling shores, 'midst Rappahannock's shades.
By Shenandoah's sunny fields and Pennsylvania's glades:
Pledge high to those who stemmed the tide, bore down the traitor's spite,
In silence pledge the bravest hearts, who sleep in death to-night,
The sleep which you and I, old friend, sought with them 'neath the skies
Which blessed us thro' the fight, but bade their conquering .spirits ri.se
To wear the wreath of glory, win the Father's proud acclaim.
And peoples voice in sadness their thank.s — a deathle.ss name.
-Ml, well we mind the .Vutumn days, grown bent in age and sere.
In '62 when throiigh the land rang out, "The foe is near! "
JUL i>a 1911
LIBRf^RY OF CONGRESS
001 019 926 8 m