Records of D Company, 1st Infantry Regiment of the Pennsylvania National Guard

Collection 1356

(1.5 Linear feet ; 6 volumes)

Summary Information

Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania. National Guard. Infantry Regiment, 1st. Company D
Records of D Company, 1st Infantry Regiment of the Pennsylvania National Guard
Date [inclusive]
1.5 Linear feet ; 6 volumes
Finding aid prepared by Phillip Foglia.
This collection of material on the activities of D Company, 1st Infantry Regiment of the Pennsylvania National Guard, was put together by Edward S. Sayres. It consists of six volumes that contain letters, notices of musters, clippings, and other records on the Philadelphia militia regiment that took part in suppressing the labor troubles at Hazelton in 1875 and at Pittsburgh in 1877, and which saw service as the 109th Regiment during World War I.

Preferred citation

Cite as: [Indicate cited item or series here], Records of D Company, 1st Infantry Regiment of the Pennsylvania National Guard (Collection 1356), Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

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Background note

D Company was first formed in 1861 in response to the federal government’s need for soldiers to fight in the Civil War. D Company was originally organized under the Grey Reserves regiment, which became mustered in 1862 as the 119th Pennsylvania Volunteers (P.V.). The 119th joined the Army of the Potomac and was involved in the Battles of Antietam, Gettysburg, and the surrender at Appomattox Courthouse. After the war it was mustered out of service, to be reinstated officially as the 1st Regiment of the 1st Division of the Pennsylvania Militia.

The 1st Regiment then served by quelling labor unrest throughout the state, most prominently at Hazelton in 1875 and Pittsburgh in 1877. Combat was seen during the Pittsburgh Strikes, with the 1st Regiment attacking the strikers and the strikers responding in kind. The next prominent deployment of the 1st Regiment was World War I, where it was reorganized into 109th US infantry and deployed to France. While there, the 109th took part in the 2nd Battle of the Marne, where it suffered over 50% casualties. After World War I, the 109th was demobilized back into the Pennsylvania National Guard. The 109th Infantry Regiment still exists today, as part of the 28th Infantry Division.

Edward Stalker Sayres was born in Philadelphia on July 30, 1850. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1873. He also joined the 1st Regiment of the Pennsylvania National Guard in 1874, serving at Hazelton and Pittsburgh. He married his first wife, Caroline Linda Jennings Lewis, in 1881. She died the next year giving birth to Sayers only child, his daughter Linda Lewis Sayres. He would remarry in 1887, to Mary Victoria Lewis, with whom he would stay until his death.

Sayres was very active civically, having been a member of many local clubs and associations, a few of which he even helped establish. He was a member of D Company’s Veterans Corps, and would go on to become an officer in it, first the paymaster and then later the junior vice-commander. He was also secretary for the board of managers for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, a council member and trustee for the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and was a founding member and president of the Merion Cricket Club. Sayres passed away on April 27, 1923.

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Scope and content note

The records of D Company, 1st Infantry Regiment of the National Guard of Pennsylvania are divided into six volumes, and stretch from 1861 to 1930. The volumes themselves cover different time periods; Volume 1: 1861-1880, Volume 2: 1880-1899, Volume 3: 1899-1910, Volume 4: 1910- 1916, Volume 5: 1916-1919, and Volume 6: 1919-1930. The volumes include documents that the author, Edward Stalker Sayres, had collected and maintained throughout his life. These include letters, notices of musters, newspaper clippings, photographs, invitations to social events, and books on the history of the regiment.

Volume 1 catalogs the formation of D Company at the onset of the Civil War, the deployment of the regiment to Hazelton and later Pittsburgh to suppress strikes, and the formation of the Veterans Corps for the unit. Volume 2 mostly details the peacetime actions of the Veterans Corps, with a mention of the 1st Regiment’s deployment against the Homestead Strikes. Volume 3 continues the focus on the Veteran Corps events. Volume 4 likewise documents the Veteran Corps, but it also goes into detail for the 50th anniversary celebration of D Company’s formation. Volume 5 catalogs the 1st Regiment's preparations for World War I, and then documents its actions during the conflict itself. The Veterans Corps is also active during this time period, welcoming new members and grieving for those lost. Volume 6 transitions back to Veterans Corps events, including memorial services for those lost during the war, and it ends with the sickness and death of the author, Edward Stalker Sayres.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

 Historical Society of Pennsylvania ; 2022.

1300 Locust Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19107

Access restrictions

The collection is open for research.


Gift of the Estate of Edward S. Sayres, 1931.

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Controlled Access Headings


  • Labor disputes--Pennsylvania--Hazelton
  • Labor disputes--Pennsylvania--Pittsburgh --Scrapbooks
  • United States Army - PA Infantry Regiment, 1st (1861-1864)
  • United States Army infantry regiment, 109th
  • Veterans

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Collection Inventory


Volume 1 (1861-1880) 

Selected inventory

Constitution and By-laws for D Company; page 1

Battle seen around Gettysburg during said famous battle. Re-designated as 1st regiment of 1st division of Pennsylvania militia in 1869; page 4

Edward S. Sayres admitted to regiment in 1874; page 5

Post cards of orders for the regiment, mostly for drills; page 7

Newspaper clippings of the strike and conflagration at Hazelton in 1875. 1st regiment arrives on April 7. Martial law declared the next day. D Company was ordered to garrison the town of Eckley; pages 9-12

Photo of several members of D Company, including Edward Sayres; page 13

Letter to “Ned” (presumably Edward Sayres) discussing their deployment to Hazelton; page 15

Newspaper clippings of the 1st Regiment returning home from Hazelton, on April 27th 1875; pages 22-23

Clippings reporting the formation of a Veterans Corps, November 1875; page 30

Promotion of Edward Sayres to Corporal, April 1877; page 53

Photographs of Edward Sayres and others; page 55

Speech by Sayres recounting his service at Hazleton and Pittsburgh; page 65

Booklet of newspaper clippings on the riots of 1877 in Pittsburgh; page 67

Excerpts from Sayres’ diary from 1877; page 69

Photographs of Sayres and others; page 71

Letters to “Ned” discussing the situation in Pittsburgh; page 73

Photograph of Sayres and others from D Company; page 75

Promotion of Edward Sayres to Corporal (again?), November 1878; page 89

Promotion of Edward Sayres to First Lieutenant, May 1879; page 103

Record of service for the 1st Regiment up to 1877; page 105


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Volume 2 (1880-1899) 

Selected inventory

Book on the history of the 1st Regiment up to 1880; page 3

Sayres resigns and is discharged, March, 1880; page 5

Article in Potter’s American Monthly on the history of the 1st Regiment up to 1880; page 11

D Company performs a forced march in the rain, dudes amongst them; page 22

Booklet of the “Old Guard” of D Company, Sayres included; page 25

List of members of the Veterans Corps; page 40

Book written for the 30th anniversary of the 1st Regiment’s formation; page 47

Booklet with list of members and autographs of members of D Company; page 57

Photographs of members of the 1st regiment at Mount Gretna, during the Homestead Strike; pages 59-61

Newspaper article on the history of D Company; page 91

Book for 37th anniversary of the formation of 1st Regiment, including list of members; page 95


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Volume 3 (1899-1910) 

Selected inventory

43rd anniversary booklet with member list; page 23

Newspaper article on the 1st Regiment and its history; page 45

47th anniversary booklet, with Easter bunny; page 49

Newspaper clippings with portraits of 1st Regiment officers; page 71


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Volume 4 (1910-1916) 

Selected inventory

Newspaper clipping telling of President Taft coming to Philadelphia for 1st Regiment’s 50th anniversary; page 7

Newspaper clipping telling of statue in honor of 1st Regiment (The spirit of ’61) to be unveiled at 50th anniversary; pages 7-8

50th anniversary book with member list and songs; page 15

Photograph of the 50th anniversary dinner; page 16

Photograph of Veterans Corp parading through Philadelphia, for 52nd anniversary, 1913; page 49

Photographs of Veterans Corp and Edward Sayres marching for 52nd anniversary; pages 55-57

Photograph of Veterans Corp marching, April 18, 1914; page 72

Photographs of Edward Sayres in uniform; pages 75-77

Photograph of Sayres in uniform; page 93


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Volume 5 (1916-1919) 

Selected inventory

Notice of military training camps in New York opening, 1916; page 3

56th anniversary book, including record of the 1st Regiment’s 1916 deployment to the Mexican border; page 31

Newspaper clipping telling of the 1st Regiment in training at Fort Niagara; page 37

Letter asking the Veterans Corps to send a monthly package of cigarettes to D Company during their deployment; page 39

Letter asking the Veterans Corps to be a special escort for the ambassador from France, during the celebration of the anniversary of Lafayette’s birth; page 40

Newspaper clippings telling of the French ambassador’s visit to Philadelphia for Lafayette Day; pages 42-45

Newspaper articles talking of the consolidation of the 1st Regiment into the 109th US Infantry, and its service in France at the Battle of the Marne; pages 58-59

Newspaper article on the 109th returning home, and members of the old 1st Regiment parading with the Veterans Corps; page 66

Newspaper articles and clippings detailing the career of the 109th during World War I. Numerous battles, including the Battle of the Marne, are discussed, and there are clippings breaking down the casualties suffered by company, names and addresses of those dead and wounded are provided; pages 67-98.


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Volume 6 (1919-1930) 

Selected inventory

General Orders from the Veterans Corps announcing a memorial service for the 109th’s dead of World War I; page 2

Book of the history of the 109th up to 1919, includes complete list of dead and wounded from World War I; page 9

Newspaper clippings of the 1st Regiment during its 60th anniversary celebration; page 32

Photograph of 60th anniversary dinner; page 38-39

Booklet detailing the fighting that took place at the Marne salient in WWI, with a plan to rebuild a village destroyed in the fighting; page 51

Newspaper article and pictures of the 1st Regiment’s 61st anniversary; pages 74-75

Letters expressing sympathies for Edward Sayres’s illness, April 1923; pages 78-79

Death of Edward Sayres, April 27, 1923; page 81

Newspaper article on the Pittsburgh strike of 1877, marking the 50 year anniversary; page 87

Letter to Mrs. Sayres remarking on the collection of documents Mr. Sayres had collected, written 1930; page 89

Letter acknowledging receipt of certain items from the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, written 1930; page 91


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