Captain J.E. Kratzer was a member of the original Bucktail regiment that held the extreme left in the famous charge of the Pennsylvania Reserves in Gettysburg down Little Round Top.
They saved the day for the Union Army and turned the tide of battle during that conflict.
Captain J.E. Kratzer was at the time a first lieutenant. He was wounded in the arm while dueling with a Confederate soldier.
His courage and heroism in the Battle of Gettysburg and other engagements contributed to the Union victory.
The captain used to tell how a “Jonny Reb” took a shot at him near Devil’s Den in Gettysburg. The partially spent bullet was deflected by the button on the captain’s coat. It is said that he was also a prisoner in Andersonville with his brother.
Captain Kritzer also talked about one of the most heart-wrenching sights he came across while battling the Civil War.
He walked upon a tent where he heard someone inside praying. He quietly lifted the flap and saw both a Union and Confederate soldier.
Both men had been shot in the face and blinded. The Union man was praying for death. His adversary was trying to comfort him by saying that perhaps he had not yet finished God’s work.
After the war, Kratzer went west to prospect for gold and silver. He became the second white man to cross the Bitteroot on snowshoes in the dead of winter.
He returned to Curwensville to spend the rest of his life and became the last surviving member of Company K. He died at the age of 99 years in 1932 and is buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in Curwensville.