Robert Litzinger, Co. A, 11th Pennsylvania Reserves

I recently finished Three Years in the “Bloody Eleventh”: The Campaigns of a Pennsylvania Reserves Regiment”. It was a very nice read for anyone who hasn’t read it yet; it was hard to put down. This Regimental History is filled with very interesting details about the regiment, but more so, about the men who composed the regiment. And now I find myself eager to learn more about those men. Particularly among those was a gentleman by the name of Robert Litzinger. Robert was born to Charles and Catherine (Mullen) Litzinger on November 28, 1830, in Edensburg, Pennsylvania. By 1861 he and his wife Mary, were raising four children together. In June of that year, Robert, who was a veteran of the Mexican War, was 30 years old and working as a printer and clerk when he enrolled himself in a militia company known as the Cambria Guards. He would be elected captain of the the Guards, which organization would eventually be assigned Company A of the 11th Regiment of the Pennsylvania Reserves.

Along with numerous other companies in that area of the state, Captain Litzinger, and his Cambria Guards were ordered to Camp Wright, a camp of instruction where they would learn the soldiering trade. Previous to leaving Ebensburg, Robert and his First Lieutenant, Andrew Lewis, had already commenced in drilling the company before being ordered to camp.

On July 5, Captain Litzinger returned home to Edensburg for recruiting purposes before heading off to Harrisburg. On November 1 of the same year he would be promoted to major of the regiment.

Unfortunately, early 1862 was not very friendly to the major. In February Robert fell ill to what the regimental surgeon James DeBenneville would call “pleaurisy and nephritic irritation.” He would stay in quarters for the majority of that month. With his health not improving, he was granted a twenty day medical leave and he returned home. Still his health did not improve, and he was granted extended medical leave. Realizing he was still unable to mend himself, he finally wrote to Colonel Gallagher (regimental commander) late in March and tendered his resignation which was eventually accepted by General Meade, the brigade commander. Although this would end his time with the Pennsylvania Reserves, he was not yet finished in giving his all to the army, the Commonwealth, or his country.

During the Maryland Campaign in September of 1862, Governor Curtin was requesting for men to serve in the state militia, to which Robert would once again volunteer – despite his illness still giving him trouble. He was commissioned Colonel of the 4th Pennsylvania Militia. Nearly a year later during the Gettysburg Campaign he would raise an independent infantry battalion consisting of 400 men. And lastly on September 15, 1864 he would rejoin the Army of the Potomac after he was commissioned as captain of Company C, 209th Pennsylvania.

After the war he moved to Johnstown, Pa, where he pasted on April 28, 1898. He is buried in Grandview Cemetery in Johnstown.

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