6th Artillery/
212th Regiment
Pennsylvania Volunteers

 

The number of troops recruited for the Fifth Artillery, Two Hundred and Fourth of the line, being largely in excess of the standard for a single regiment, it was determined to organize a Sixth for similar duty. The men composing the latter, were principally from the counties of Allegheny, Butler, Westmoreland, Fayette, Washington, and Lawrence, and were organized at Camp Reynolds, near Pittsburg, on the 15th of September, 1864, with the following field officers:

  • Charles Barnes, Colonel;
  • Joseph B. Copeland, Lieutenant Colonel;
  • Robert H. Long, Major
  • Joseph R. Kemp, Major
  • Frank H. White, Major

Two days after its organization, it moved for Washington, and upon its arrival, was assigned to the Second Brigade of DeRussy's Division, which was garrisoning the defenses of the Capital. On the 29th, the regiment was detached from the division, and ordered to duty in guarding the portion of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, lying between Alexandria and Manassas, the several companies being stationed at intervals along the line, with headquarters at Fairfax Court House. Over this road, supplies for Sheridan's army were transported, and the regiment was charged with keeping open the part intrusted to it. It was in enemy's country, and infested by roving bands, military or civil upon occasion, and to guard against surprise, and to be at all points superior to an attacking force, required incessant watchfulness and skill in the disposition and handling of the guards. Colonel Barnes was an experienced infantry officer, having served in the Ninth Reserve, and nearly all of both officers and men had been previously in the army. The discipline which had thus been acquired, now served a most important purpose; for it was only by the strictest attention to duty, and the exercise of sound discretion, that the wily and watchful enemy could be kept at bay. To go outside the lines, was almost certain death. On one occasion, three soldiers who had chanced thus to go, were fired upon by parties in ambush, and wounded, when, rushing up from their covert, the inhuman wretches stood, with pistols in hand, over the bodies of the victims weltering in their blood, and fired into their breasts until they were quite dead.

About the middle of November Sheridan having, in the meantime, cleared the Shenandoah Valley of the foe, this line of railway was abandoned, and the regiment was ordered back to the defenses of Washington, being posted at Forts Marcy, Ward, Craig, Reno, Albany, Lyon, and others. Previous to this time, it had been armed and drilled as infantry. It was now instructed in heavy artillery service. Captain Gustavus L. Braun, who had served as an officer in the Second Artillery regiment, was appointed drill master, and under the strict discipline enforced by its Colonel, it soon became proficient likewise in this arm of the service. During the winter, and until a period was put to the war by the victorious armies of Grant and Sherman, it remained on duty in the forts covering the Capital.

On the 13th of June, 1865, it was mustered out of service at Fort Ethan Allen, and returning to Camp Reynolds, was, on the 17th, finally disbanded. Subsequently, Colonel Barnes,'" for meritorious conduct during the entire war," was brevetted a Brigadier General.

Source:

Bates, Samuel P. History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-65, Harrisburg, 1868-1871.

Organization

Organized at Pittsburg, Pa., September 15, 1864.
Moved to Washington, D.C., September 17.
Attached to 2nd Brigade, DeRussy's Division, 22nd Corps, to December, 1864.
1st Brigade, DeRussy's Division, 22nd Corps, to June, 1865.

Service

Guard Orange & Alexandria Railroad between Alexandria and Manassas, Va.,
September 29-November 17, 1864.
Garrison Forts Marcy, Ward, Craig, Aeno, Albany and Lyon.
Defences of Washington, south of the Potomac, till June, 1865.
Mustered out June 13, 1865.

Losses

Lost during service:
2 Enlisted men killed and 44 by disease.
Total 46.
Source:

Dyer, Frederick H. A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion Compiled and Arranged from Official Records of the Federal and Confederate Armies, Reports of he Adjutant Generals of the Several States, the Army Registers, and Other Reliable Documents and Sources.Des Moines, Iowa: The Dyer Publishing Company, 1908

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