Reuben Herbine

Date of Birth


Date of Death


Letters Authored


Letters Received


Reuben Herbine was born 185 years ago.


Reuben Herbine mustered into the Pennsylvania Battery D Light Artillery 24 September 1861 as a private. Before his active service ended in desertion, he would see action at the battles of Second Bull Run, Antietam, and Fredericksburg. Tragedy would seem to follow him after the war as well, when his young wife died at the age of 29, leaving him with three small children. The cause of the wife’s death was listed in the Berk’s County, Pennsylvania death records as, “Insanity.”

LETTER (27 MAY 1862)
After spending the winter in Washington, the battery moved to Fredericksburg in mid-April of 1862 which is where the 27 May 1862 letter originates. Reuben writes of his being sick and of camp life and that he wishes they could stay in Fredericksburg.

The battery was engaged at Kelly’s Ford (21 August 1862), Bristoe Station (27 August 1862), at Bull Run (28-30 August 1862), and Chantilly (1 September 1862). The second letter is a graphic description of the carnage left in the aftermath of the Second Bull Run. In this letter, Reuben writes, “I do not hope to God that I must see such a slauter (slaughter) again.” Unfortunately for Reuben, in less than two weeks, his guns would be active again at Antietam, and before years end, he would return to the city of Fredericksburg to participate in that battle as well. According to Civil War records, Reuben deserted 28 March 1863, returned 1 May 1865, and mustered out 13 June 1865.

Reuben Herbine is listed in the 1850 Census as living in Exeter, Berks County, Pennsylvania with his parents, Samuel Herbine, 44, and Hannah Herbine, 42. Samuel’s occupation is noted as “farmer.” Besides Reuben, 12, there are five other Herbine children enumerated: Charles, 18, Eliza, 15, Mary Ann, 10, William, 7, and Samuel, 5. Two laborers are enumerated as well: Ephram Quinter, 18, and Margaret Kinara, 25.

Reuben is listed in the 1870 Census as living in Reading, Pennsylvania with Justine, 22 and Emma, 1. Reuben’s occupation is listed as “forgeman.”

In the 1880 Census, Reuben is enumerated with Harry Herbine, 9, and John Herbine 2. Justine and the baby Emma are not present. Death records from Berks County, Pennsylvania indicate that Justine Herbine died in Reading, Berks County, Pennsylvania 17 September 1879. The cause of death stated was, “Insanity.”

Research shows that a Samuel Herbine died in Reading, Pennsylvania 14 Mar 1874. Hannah, Reuben's mother, is enumerated in the 1880 Census as living in Exeter, Berks County, Pennsylvania, but Samuel has disappeared so it is likely that this was Reuben's father.