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The 9 miles between Mount Jackson and Enon Valley will be renamed Battery B Memorial Highway, honoring Civil War veterans who traveled the road when they went to war. April 1 at the Little Beaver Township Building, 2176 Route 551, Enon Valley. Foster said members of the Battery B Civil War re enactors unit, most of whom live in central Pennsylvania, also plan to attend.

In addition to the designation as Battery B Memorial Highway, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation issued seven highway signs to be placed along the route. One will be displayed at the Little Beaver municipal building at the dedication.

The Memorial Highway follows Route 108 west out of Mount Jackson and 551 south into Enon Valley. This is the route marched by the original members of the Mount Jackson Guards on June 6, 1861.

The 38 men, recruited from North Beaver Township by Capt. Henry T. Danforth, formed up at the Mount Jackson Methodist Episcopal Church and marched, walked and hitched a ride on a passing farmer’s horse drawn wagon to the Pennsylvania Railroad station in Enon Valley. The train took the soldiers to Camp Wright near Pittsburgh. From there they entered the war.

The unit was later designated Battery B of the First Pennsylvania Volunteer Light Artillery, 14th Pennsylvania Reserves, 43rd regiment. It was called Battery B or Cooper’s Battery for Capt. James H. Cooper who led the unit following the death of Danforth near Richmond in 1862.

Mount Jackson’s Battery B Monument, erected in 1912, marks the place where the men formed in front of the church which once stood on the knoll overlooking modern day Route 108. The church burned down. A cemetery now is in its place.

Prior to the Civil War, the road was a stage coach road.

“Enon was quite a hub back then,” said Foster, adding, “Enon had a railroad station. New Castle and Mahoningtown didn’t get one until after the Civil War.”

The April 1 dedication will not be the first shindig for the highway, Foster said. On Sept. 26, 1925, Enon Valley citizens celebrated when the final section of what is now Route 551 was paved. The concrete highway, then part of State Highway Route 265, connected the southern part of the county with the railhead at Enon and with New Castle.

According to research by Foster and historical society members Karen and Julie Pietsch, the event was attended by an estimated 1,500 people. Speechmakers called the new hard surface road “a convenience of the day constructed to last many years.” Even then, the article said, it was hoped the highway from Mount Jackson to Enon Valley would be named “Battery B Highway.”

“It didn’t happen then, but we changed that,” Foster said. “We worked with State Sen. Elder Vogel and County Commissioner Dan Vogler to get this done.”

“We went to Sen. Vogel and asked ‘How do we do it?’ Sen. Vogel put in a good word. We filled out necessary forms and now we have our historic road. We were surprised at how easy it was.”

Governor Tom Wolf on June 17, 2016, signed into law Senate Bill 1153, introduced by Vogel, designating the section of State Routes 108 and 551 in Lawrence County from the intersection of State Route 108 and Old Hickory Road at the Battery B Monument to State Route 551 ending at the railroad tracks of the Pennsylvania Railroad in Enon Valley as the “Battery B Memorial Highway.”

“I am pleased that the Governor signed into law this measure that honors the local residents who helped play an important role during the American Civil War,” Vogel said. “I also thank the Enon Valley Community Historical Society for bringing this issue and gallant history of Battery B to my attention.”

Foster added that photos as well as a 1925 newspaper account of the automobile parade on Sept. 26, 1925, were discovered in the research. The parade over the improved road drew almost 100 vehicles. One of the photos, Foster said, contained 2 year old George Martin of Little Beaver Township peeking out of his father’s Dodge Touring Car, one of the vehicles in the parade.

“George died at the age of 92 on Jan. 27, 2016 the day we sent in the proposal,” she said.

Prizes awarded at the event, Foster learned, recognized the prettiest girl driver, the heaviest man, the oldest car and best decorated vehicle, among others.

Of note, Foster found, the oldest couple was Mr. and Mrs. Abram Rhodes of Mahoningtown.

Rhodes, 87, said at the time it was his first visit to Enon since 1861 when he, as a young man and a member of Battery B, went there to board the train for the battlefields of the Civil War.

“He said in the 64 years since he was there last, he found many things he remembered, like the old Alcorn House, also called the St. Lawrence Hotel in 1861, was still standing.”

Battery B served throughout the war, participating in 27 engagements including Chancellorsville, Antietam and Gettysburg where the men of the unit held five positions during the three day battle on July 1, 2, and 3, 1863. Battery B was the only light artillery unit to have participated in all three days of fighting.

Three monuments and a marker on the Gettysburg National Military Park battlefield recognize the valor of the men of the unit. Three of its members are buried in Gettysburg cemeteries.

Battery B also is recognized as the unit that sustained the highest number of battle related deaths of all federal light artillery batteries.
black adidas tracksuit bottoms Highway section dedicated to Civil War

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