Prior to the Mexican War, a volunteer unit of militia called the "Old State Fencibles
of Lancaster" was formed. The Unit was first called to action in 1844 to aid local Phila.
Officials in suppressing a riot in the city. The Lancaster unit disbanded shortly thereafter.
In 1854, then President Pierce called attention to the strong British presence in Central
America. This was a ploy to divert attention away from the issue of slavery in the states,
and re-direct public focus on England's opposition to the states desire to build a canal in
the region. The public was preparing for possible military conflict with England and by the
end of 1855 the militia known as "The Fencibles" was formed. The leader of the crack corps
"Lancaster Fencibles" was a Mexican War vetran named "John Duchmann. In 1857 the Fencibles
escorted the newly elected President Buchanan from Lancaster to Washington D.C. and
participated in the inaugural parade that followed. Due to acclaimed notoriety, active
participation in the years that followed consisted of many parades in central and
southeast Pennsylvania and escorting area politicians with an accompanying band.
On September 19th 1860, the Fencibles received a shipment of arms from the US government. The firearms were to be used soon after the April 1861 attack on Fort Sumter. On April 16th the Lancaster Fencibles offered their services to the cause and two days later celebrated formation of the Regiment in Center Square with a flag raising. The Soldiers and Muscians left for Harrisburg on the 24th from the Lancaster train station, where they were to be "De-trained". The Fencibles were assigned to protect Northern Central Railroad bridges. They included Gunpowder Bridge near Cockeysville, Md. The following week they were directed to the State Lunatic Asylum near Catonsville Maryland, where they joined up with the Fencibles Band. The next move was in early June 1861 to Camp Cameron, near Chambersburg Pa. After a short stay, they moved on to Williamsport, Funkstown, Boonsboro, Middletown and finally later that June, Camp Yohe near Fredrick Maryland. It was here where the Fencibles saw their first "Action". During late June and early July, several wagons with food stores, destined for the south were captured. The next week the regiment was moved to Martinsburg Virginia, where they waited for transportation to Harrisburg Pa via Harpers Ferry. The Fencibles were mustered out in late July 1861 and returned home July 27th to a large crowd of Lancaster residents.