On February 26, 1864, 17-year-old John Lauffer joined Company F, 11th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. According to Private Lauffer's muster papers from the National Archives, he was a farmer from Westmoreland County, 5'7", with hazel eyes, brown hair, and dark complexion. The papers go on to state that he was "taken prisoner by the enemy on August 19, 1864 at Weldon Railroad," near Petersburg Virginia, and spent about nine months as a POW in several Southern prison camps. He was released from the notorious Andersonville Prison on May 2, 1865, and was mustered out of the service in Annapolis, Maryland, on June 8, 1865. Documents signed by a Saltsburgh, Pennsylvania, physician on May 6,1865, indicate that Private Lauffer was suffering from a severe case of typhoid fever but was well enough to travel.

In the years after the War, John Lauffer traveled around the country lecturing on his wartime experiences. The handbill advertising his appearances read as follows:

Private J Lauffer,
formerly of the 11th Penn'a. Veteran Volunteers,
will deliver his
on the pleasures and hardships of camp life,
on the battlefield and in the different prisons.
From the days of the Revolution to the close of
the Civil War, largely illustrated by the fine
paintings, maps and pictures of Libby, Belle
Island, Salsbury, and Andersonville.

Teachers, scholars, and students should attend
this lecture. They will learn more history than
they would in months of book study. He will
relate many mirthful anecdotes of soldiers' life,
the entire performance being strictly moral,
chaste, and instructive to both ladies and
gentlemen. In connection with the Lecture,
Private Lauffer and son will sing army songs,
accompanied by fine instrumental music.

Many thanks to Jeff Lauffer, Private Lauffer's great grandson, for sharing this poem.

"In Dixie's Sunny Land"

This page is http://civilwarpoetry.org/authors/lauffer.html
Last modified 16-April-2001