Remembering Safe Harbor’s Private William Campbell Civil War veteran

On this Memorial Day weekend, it seems fitting to remember Private William Campbell. Campbell is a Civil War veteran buried in the cemetery of the former St. Mary’s Catholic Church at Safe Harbor.

Private William Campbell
Private William Campbell

Campbell answered freedom’s call by joining the Union Army. He served in the 11th Regiment of the Pennsylvania Infantry. The 11th was organized at Harrisburg and in Westmoreland County in August 1861. Later the 11th moved to Maryland and then Washington D.C. coming under the command of James Wadsworth.

Major General James Wadsworth
Major General James Wadsworth

Eventually, Edward Ord commanded the 11th. Ord was instrumental in forcing the surrender of Confederates towards the end of the Civil War.

Major General Edward Ord
Major General Edward Ord

The 11th saw service at Bull Run on August 30, 1862; Antietam September 16-17, 1862; Battle of Fredericksburg December 12-15, 1862; Battle of Gettysburg July 1-3, 1863; and finally Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865.

It was here that General Robert E. Lee determined to make one last attempt to escape the closing Union pincers and reach his supplies at Lynchburg. At dawn, the Confederates advanced, initially gaining ground against Sheridan’s cavalry. The arrival of Union infantry, however, stopped the advance in its tracks. Lee now surrounded on three sides had no choice but to surrender.

The 11th was mustered out on July 1, 1865.

The Regiment saw 12 Officers and 224 Enlisted men killed or mortally wounded during service, and another four Officers and 177 Enlisted men killed by disease.

St. Mary's Cemetery in Safe Habor
St. Mary’s Cemetery in Safe Habor

If you are interested in paying your respects at Private Campbell grave, you can find him and others at the St. Mary’s Catholic Church cemetery. Here are the approximate GPS coordinates.

Safe Harbor Walking Tour

If you are looking to learn more about the area surrounding the historic village of Safe Harbor as well as visit the graveyard, try the Safe Harbor Self-Guided Walking Tour. The location of the cemetery is a featured stop.


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