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  • Carved and Painted by William H. Merkel 16th PA Cavalry

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    Carved and Painted by William H. Merkel 16th PA Cavalry - Inventory Number: IDE 255

    Wonderfully Executed Civil War Painting, constructed in the form of a Union smooth side canteen, this meticulously painted scene depicts a sentry enrobed in a Union greatcoat near a campfire.

    Merkel had a fascinating history – He rode dispatch for General Phil Sheridan and was handpicked by Sheridan to track down John S. Mosby! And personally, witnessed the death of his brother at Gettysburg and the Surrender of Robert E. Lee.

    Handwritten on back:

    “Carved by William H. Merkle from 61 to 65 in Co. B 16th Cavalry Penn. Graduate of Girard College Phila”

    County Veteran, who saw Lee Surrender, Dies at 94

    William H. Merkel. 94-year-old. Veteran of the Civil and the Spanish American Wars. Died in the Naval Hospital. Philadelphia, after having been ill since last November. His home was at 315 Avon Road, Bywood.

    Mr. Merkel, who had been staying at the home of a son. Harry F., at Mount Airy during his illness before being removed to the hospital a few days ago. was the last member of William L. Curtie Post No. 18, G.A.R. Philadelphia, and the last surviving member of Encampment No. 20, a G.A.R. affiliate. He was also the last local surviving member of the Union Veterans' Legion, composed of those who had served more than one three-rear enlistment. He was a member of General Thomas L. Rosser Camp No. 3, United Spanish War Veterans, and an honorary member of Major M. A. Gherst Camp, sons of Union Vet-crans, Darby, and Post No. 214, American Legion, Upper Darby.

    Enlisting in Company B. 16th Pennsylvania Cavalry at Harrisburg on September 15, 1862, Mr. Merkel served throughout the Civil War and was among the few persons to actually witness Lee's surrender to Grant at Appomattox. He was on guard duty at one of the windows as the southern general yielded.

    Famed in the army as a sharp-shooter, Mr. Merkel’s most meritorious deed during the war was the single-handed capture of an enemy's sniper's nest during the battle of Gettysburg.  He had three brothers who served in the war, and one of them was killed in action only a few feet from him at Gettysburg. Mr. Merkel carried his body from the field.

    Mr. Merkel was mustered out at Richmond, Va., on August 11, 1865, A graduate of Girard College, he had studied medicine and obtained his degree but was never practiced. He was a florist in Philadelphia and West Chester for many years.

    He had been a resident of Upper Darby for the past 20 years and was widely known In Delaware county. He served during the Spanish-American War in an advisory capacity.

    Besides his son, Harry, he Is survived by two other sons, Edward, of Narberth, and William, in, of Kansas City, Mo., and four daughters, all of Upper Darby: Mrs. Emma Ruple, Mrs. Florence Tate, Mrs. Lillian Doherty and Mrs. Anne Sutton. Seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren also survive. He will be buried with full military honors in Fernwood cemetery tomorrow, following services at 1:30 p. m. at 3925 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia. Units of the G. A. R., Sons of Veterans, Spanish War Veterans and American Legion will participate.

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    Inventory Number: IDE 255