Independent Battery E
Knap's Battery
Pennsylvania Volunteers

Recruited in Pittsburg


In July, 1861, Joseph M. Knap, at that time serving as First Lieutenant of Company L, of the Twenty-eighth Regiment, Colonel John W. Geary, stationed at Point of Rocks, received authority to recruite a battery to serve with this regiment, which was near the proportions of a brigade, having eighteen full companies. He immediately proceeded to Pittsburg for recruits, and upon his arrival there, found a company which had been raised by Charles A. Atwell, and James D. M'Gill, intended for service in the Sixty-third Regiment, but which was offered to Captain Knap for his battery. It was promptly accepted, and at once proceeded to join the Twenty-eighth. Its ranks, however, were not full, and Colonel Geary applied for, and received permission of the War Department, to transfer surplus men of his command to the battery, in sufficient numbers to give it a maximum strength. It was then formally organized at Camp DeKorponay, Maryland, with the following officers:
  • Joseph M. Knap, Captain
  • Charles A. Atwell, First Lieutenant
  • Clement Tingley, Jr., First Lieutenant
  • Edward R. Geary, Second Lieutenant
  • James D. M'Gill, Second Lieutenant
It was immediately after sent to Washington, where, under the direction of General Hunt, in command of the artillery, it was fully armed and equipped, as a six-gun battery. It remained in camp on East Capitol Hill, until the 24th of November, when it returned to Colonel Geary's command. During the winter of 1861-2, the battery remained in the neighborhood of Point of Rocks and Harper's Ferry, taking part in the occasional skirmishing which occurred.

Upon the evacuation of Manassas, in March, 1862, the battery advanced with Geary's Brigade, to the line of the Manassas Gap Railroad, and was posted, four guns under Captain Knap, near Salem, and the remaining two, under Lieutenant Atwell, at Front Royal. When Stonewall Jackson made his rapid advance down the Valley, against the forces of Banks, he struck the advance post at Front Royal, commanded by Colonel Kenly, of the First Maryland, on the 23 of May. Kenly made a gallant resistance, and the section under Atwell did excellent service. But this small detachment, consisting of less than five hundred men, could not long withstand the combined forces of Jackson and Ewell, estimated at twenty-two thousand of all arms, and the order was given to retire towards Winchester. The enemy's cavalry followed closely, and at every available point, sorely harassed the retiring column. Some of the cannoneers fell out by the way from exhaustion, and were captured. The horses, too, driven to the utmost of their strength, began to fail, and it became evident that the guns must be given up, as the enemy was pushing his pursuit with untiring energy. Finally,just before-reaching Winchester, when they could be taken no further, the order was given to spike and abandon them. They were, however, recovered, when Jackson, in turn, found it necessary to hasten his retreat to escape the Union forces closing in on his flanks and rear.

Nothing more serious than marchings and counter-marchings were required of the battery, until the opening of the battle at Cedar Mountain, on the 9th of August. Early in the battle, it was posted on an eminence, with the memorable corn-field, the scene of the greatest slaughter, in its front, where it was a prominent mark for the enemy's guns. It had no sooner got into position, than the enemy opened, and concentrated upon it the fire of his heaviest guns, planted along the breast of Slaughter Mountain. For a time his missiles passed harmless; but he soon got the range, and the gunners were swept away before his merciless fire. Its ammunition was finally exhausted, and it was withdrawn. One man belonging to the battery was killed, and a colored servant, who was in the act of carrying ammunition from the chest to the gun. Lieutenant Geary was among the wounded.

The battery was also engaged in the minor skirmishes of Pope's retreat towards Centreville, and at the close of the campaign retired to Washington.

In the battle of Antietam, on the 17th of September, it was engaged, and lost one killed, and a number severely wounded. After the battle, it was encamped at Sandy Hook and Harper's Ferry until the advance upon Fredericksburg, by General Burnside, whence it set out with the Twelfth Corps, to which it was attached, but owing to the horrible condition of the roads, did not reach the field in time to participate in the battle.

During the winter, and until the advance of the army under General Hooker upon Chancellorsville, the battery remained in park at Acquia Creek. On the 1st, 2d, and 3d days of May, during which the battle of Chancellorsville was fought, it was engaged, serving for the first two days with the Twelfth Corps, and on the third, with the First. It had one man killed, and a number slightly wounded; among the latter, Lieutenant Atwell. Captain Knap had his horse shot under him, and himself narrowly escaped death.

On the 18th of May, Captain Knap resigned to accept a partnership in, and the general superintendency of the Fort Pitt Foundry, at Pittsburg, where immense numbers of heavy guns and mortars were being cast for the use of the Navy, and for coast fortifications, a position in which he served his country with great ability and fidelity, the ordnance cast under his supervision being remarkable for their excellence. Lieutenant Atwell was promoted to succeed him, and Orderly Sergeant, Thomas S. Sloan, was commissioned Second Lieutenant.

In the battle of Gettysburg, two guns under Lieutenant Geary, were posted on the extreme right of the Twelfth Corps. The remaining four were with the Second Corps on the first day, but were with the Twelfth during the remainder of the battle. The pursuit of the enemy in his flight from this field, had been carried as far as Culpepper Court House, when, on the 28th of September, the Eleventh and Twelfth corps were ordered to join the Army of the Cumberland, then shut up in Chattanooga. The battery immediately moved to Washington, where it was relieved of all superfluous baggage, and extra horses and ammunition, and proceeded at once by rail to Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and after a brief halt, to Bridgeport, Alabama.

On the 28th of October, with General Geary's column, it commenced moving towards Chattanooga, and arrived at nine o'clock on the evening of the 29th, at Wauhatchie Junetion, where it went into park. At a little after midnight, Geary's command, which consisted of only a part of his division, was attacked by a powerful rebel force. Precautions had been taken by General Geary, as was always his custom, to guard against surprise, and when the rebel forces, in well ordered lines advanced to the onset, they found a foe not unprepared to receive them. The battle raged for a time with fearful earnestness, and the battery was a special target for the rebel infantry fire. The slaughter on both sides was fearful. Finally, finding that no advantage was being gained, and that his ranks were being decimated, the rebel leader gave up the contest, and fled, leaving his dead and wounded on the field. The battery suffered severe loss.

Captain Atwell was mortally wounded, and Lieutenant Geary, son of the General, was killed. The loss in non-commissioned officers and privates was also severe. More than half the horses were killed.

A month later, the battle of Lookout Mountain, and Mission Ridge occurred, in which the battery participated, pursuing the discomfitted enemy to Ringgold, and engaging him with good effect. Returning to Wauhatchie, it went into camp with the rest of Geary's Division, where it remained during the winter.

Early in January, 1864, a majority of the men re-enlisted for a second term, and were given a veteran furlough. Upon their return, they brought with them a number of recruits, giving to its ranks the maximum strength. After the fall of Captain Atwell, Lieutenant M'Gill succeeded to the command of the battery.

Before moving on the spring campaign, the Eleventh and Twelfth corps were consolidated, forming the Twentieth Corps, to the command of which General Hooker was assigned. In the campaign extending from Chattanooga to Atlanta, commencing on the first of May, and terminating with the fall of the latter place on the 1st of September, the battery bore a prominent part, being attached to Geary's Division, and with that division constantly at the post of duty, and frequently called to fierce fighting.

At the battle of Peach Tree Creek, on the 20th of July, Captain M'Gill was severely wounded, and soon after resigned, the command devolving on Lieutenant James A. Dunlevy. Two men were killed and a number of others were severely wounded.

Shortly afterwards, Lieutenant Dunlevy resigned, on account of failing health, and subsequently died of disease contracted in the service, whereupon Lieutenant Sloan was promoted to Captain, who held this position until the close of the service. In the March to the Sea, and the subsequent march northward through the Carolinas, the battery accompanied the corps, sustaining only inconsiderable losses until it reached Raleigh, North Carolina, where it halted, and remained until after the surrender of the rebel armies.

From Raleigh, it proceeded to Washington, where the ordnance and stores were turned over to the Government, and where it went into camp. Early in June, it was ordered to Pittsburg, and on the 14th was mustered out of service.


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


Organized at Point of Rocks, Md., from a Company formed for 63rd Pennsylvania and
surplus men of the 28th Pennsylvania Infantry September, 1861.
Attached to W. F. Smith's Division, Army of the Potomac, to November, 1861.
Banks' Division, Army of the Potomac, to March, 1862.
Geary's Separate Brigade, Banks' 5th Army Corps, to April, 1862.
Geary's Separate Brigade, Dept. of the Shenandoah, to May, 1862.
Geary's Separate Brigade, Dept. of the Rappahannock, to June, 1862.
Artillery, 2nd Corps, Army of Virginia, to September, 1862.
Artillery, 2nd Division, 12th Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, to May, 1863.
Artillery Brigade, 12th Army Corps, to December, 1863.
Artillery, 2nd Division, 12th Corps, Army of the Cumberland, to April, 1864.
Artillery, 2nd Division, 20th Army Corps, to July, 1864.
Artillery Brigade, 20th Army Corps, to June, 1865.


Camp at East Capital Hill, Defences of Washington, till November 24, 1861.
Moved to Point of Rocks November 24.
Duty there and near Harper's Ferry till February 28, 1862.
Action at Point of Rocks December 19.
Occupation of Loudon Heights February 28.
Operations on line of Manassas Gap Railroad March 1-April 14.
Capture of Lovettsville March 1.
March to Wheetland and Leesburg March 7-8.
Capture of Leesburg March 8.
Advance to Snickersville March 12.
Upperville March 14.
Ashby's Gap March 15.
Middleburg March 27.
Operations about Middleburg and White Plains March 27-28.
Salem April 1.
Thoroughfare Gap April 2.
Piedmont April 14.
Guarding Railroad at Salem till May 23.
Front Royal May 23.
Retreat to Manassas May 24-25.
Guard Railroad and operations in the Valley till August.
Reconnoissance to Orange and Culpeper Court House July 12-17.
Battle of Cedar Mountain August 9.
Pope's Campaign in Northern Virginia August 16-September 2.
Rappahannock Bridge August 21. Sulphur Springs August 23-25.
Maryland Campaign September 2-23.
Battle of Antietam September 16-17.
Moved to Harper's Ferry September 19-23.
Duty at Sandy Hook till December.
Reconnoissance to Rippon November 9.
Reconnoissance to Winchester December 2-6.
Berryville December 2.
Winchester December 4.
March to Fairfax Station December 9-17, and duty there till January 20, 1863.
"Mud March" January 20-24.
At Aquia Creek till April 27.
Chancellorsville Campaign April 27-May 6.
Battle of Chancellorsville May 1-5.
Gettysburg (Pa.) Campaign June 11-July 24.
Battle of Gettysburg July 1-3.
Movement to Bridgeport, Ala., September 24-October 3.
Wauhatchie, Tenn., October 28-29.
Battles of Chattanooga November 23-25; Lookout Mountain November 23-24;
Mission Ridge November 25; Ringgold Gap, Taylor's Ridge, November 27.
Reenlisted January, 1864, and on furlough January and February.
Expedition down Tennessee River to Triana April 12-16.
Atlanta (Ga.) Campaign May to September.
Demonstration on Rocky Faced Ridge May 8-11.
Dug Gap or Mill Springs May 8.
Battle of Resaca May 14-15.
Near Cassville May 19.
New Hope Church May 25.
Operations on line of Pumpkin Vine Creek and battles about Dallas, New Hope Church and
Allatoona Hills May 26-June 5.
Operations about Marietta and against Kenesaw Mountain June 10-July 2.
Pine Mountain June 11-14.
Gilgal or Golgotha Church June 15.
Lost Mountain June 15-17.
Muddy Creek June 17.
Noyes Creek June 19.
Kolb's Farm June 22.
Assault on Kenesaw June 27.
Ruff's Station or Smyrna Camp Ground July 4.
Chattahoochie River July 5-17.
Peach Tree Creek July 19-20.
Siege of Atlanta July 22-August 25.
Operations at Chattahoochie River Bridge August 26-September 2.
Occupation of Atlanta September 2-November 15.
Near Atlanta November 9.
March to the sea November 15-December 10.
Siege of Savannah December 10-21.
Campaign of the Carolinas January to April, 1865.
Averysboro, N. C., March 16.
Battle of Bentonville March 19-21.
Occupation of Goldsboro March 24.
Advance on Raleigh April 9-13.
Neuse River April 10.
Occupation of Raleigh April 14.
Bennett's' House April 26.
Surrender of Johnston and his army.
March to Washington, D.C., via Richmond. Va., April 29-May 20.
Grand Review May 24.
Mustered out at Pittsburg June 14, 1865.


Battery lost during service:
2 Officers and 12 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and
11 Enlisted men by disease.

Total 25.

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







U. S. C. T.

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