16th Cavalry Regiment
The troops comprising this regiment were recruited in the city of Philadelphia, and in the counties of Venango, Erie, Juniata, Franklin, Washington, Fayette, Centre, Wyoming, Susquehanna, Bradford, Tioga, Columbia, Delaware, Northumberland, Union, Mifflin, Perry, and Dauphin, representing, as will be thus seen, nearly every section of this broad Commonwealth. They rendezvoused at Camp Simmons, near Harrisburg, and subsequently at Camp M'Clellan, where an organization was effected, on the 18th of November, 1862, with the following field officers: John Irvin Gregg, Colonel; Lorenzo D. Rodgers, of Venango county, Lieutenant Colonel; William A. West, of Fayette county, William H. Fry, of Philadelphia, and John Stroup, of Mifflin County, Majors. Colonel Gregg had served in the Second Pennsylvania Regiment, in the Mexican war, and afterwards in the Eleventh United States Infantry, where he rose to the rank of Captain, and subsequently in the State Militia. Soon after the breaking out of the rebellion, he was elected colonel of the Fifth Regiment of the Reserve Corps, but accepted instead, a commission as captain in the Sixth United States Cavalry, from which position, after having passed through the campaigns of the Peninsula, and of Maryland, he was selected to command this regiment.
On the 23d, the regiment was mounted and equipped, and on the 30th7proceeded to Camp Casey, near Bladensburg, Maryland, five miles from Washington. On the 3d of January, 1863, it broke camp and proceeded to the front, joining the main army near Falmouth, and was assigned to Averell's Brigade. It went into camp near the Potomac Creek Railroad Bridge, and was engaged during the winter in picket and guard duty on the right flank of the army, the line extending from the right of the infantry up the left bank of the Rappahannock, and thence towards the rear. This line was nearly eight miles from camp, and the duty was severe. On the 25th of February, it lost two men killed and a number of prisoners, by a raid upon the picket, line, made by the cavalry brigade of Fitz Hugh Lee. Familiar with every road and by-path, Lee's troopers crossed the river, and stealthily gaining the rear of the Union pickets, proceeded, in the garb of Union soldiers, to relieve, them, and lead them away captive. Its first battle was at Kelly's Ford, on, the 17th of March. It here occupied the extreme right of the line, and when the attack was made, seeing the enemy move to turn its flank, Gregg dismounted his men, and screening them by buildings in his front, awaited the rebel advance. A well-directed volley soon sent him out of carbine range, when Gregg boldly advanced his line three hundred yards, to the cover of a stone wall. A charge by thirty men, gallantly led by Major Fry, scattered a squadron of the enemy posted in a wood in front. At night the regiment returned to camp, having suffered only slight loss.
On the 13th of April, the regiment left winter quarters, to enter upon the spring campaign. Proceeding to Bealton Station with the division, it marched and countermarched, within a circle of fifteen miles, for the space of two weeks, all the time threatening the enemy with immediate attack. The object of these demonstrations having been attained, it moved on the 28th towards Kelly's Ford, where it arrived on the following day, and found the Eleventh and Twelfth corps crossing, on their way to Chancellorsville. The division crossed in the afternoon of the 29th, and moving out towards Brandy Station, attacked the enemy's cavalry, desultory skirmishing being kept up until nightfall. On the following morning, it was discovered that the enemy had fled, and the command moved on by Culpepper, to the railroad crossing of the Rapidan, where skirmishing commenced; but the Sixteenth, being upon the picket line, did not participate. On the 2d, the division moved down the left bank to Ely's Ford, arriving at evening, and just as the camp fires had been lit the enemy attacked from the opposite shore, pouring in a rapid fire, guided by the blazing fagots. For a moment there was confusion in the camp of the brigade, the horses breaking from their fastenings, and running wildly about. The fire was returned, and soon heavy volleys were poured in, routing the enemy, and insuring quiet for the night. The Sixteenth had one man killed. On the following day, the division crossed and joined the army under General Hooker, and three days after, returned to its old camp.
On the 25th of May, the cavalry broke camp and moved upon the Upper Rappahannock. At Brandy Station a, severe battle was fought, between the cavalry of the two armies, but the Sixteenth having just previous turned in its saddles for exchange, and not having received a fresh supply, was not actively engaged, but was charged with the care of the trains. At Warrenton Junction, on the 11th of June, the Sixteenth was assigned to the Second Brigade, Second Division, Colonel J. Irvin Gregg commanding the brigade, General D. M'M. Gregg, the division, and General Pleasanton the entire cavalry corps. It was here associated with the First Maine, Tenth New York, and Fourth Pennsylvania regiments. A month previous, Lieutenant Colonel Rodgers had resigned, and now Captain John K. Robison was commissioned to succeed him, by whom the regiment was led in the Gettysburg campaign. The march northward commenced on the 13th. At Aldie, the enemy was encountered and- pushed back. On the 18th the regiment took the advance and from ten in the morning until half-past three in the afternoon, it was warmly engaged. It was then relieved by the Fourth, its ammunition having been exhausted On the following morning the engagement was renewed, the enemy contesting the ground with great obstinacy, taking shelter behind stonewalls, and keeping up a hot fire. The Sixteenth was led to the charge dismounted, and gallantly drove the enemy from his well-protected positions. It lost in the engagement, one killed, and ten wounded, Captain Adam J. Snyder being among the latter. The 20th was Sunday, and quiet prevailed. Early on the following morning, the Union cavalry began to push forward and drove the enemy, after a severe engagement, through Upperville and Ashby's Gap, into the Blue Ridge.
In the battle of Gettysburg, Gregg's Brigade was in position on the extreme right of the Union army, and during the day and evening of the 2d, was partially engaged, and during, the whole of the 3d, guarded the approaches to that wing. The loss at Gettysburg was two killed and a few wounded. On the 5th,the cavalry was put in motion in pursuit of the retreating enemy, capturing some prisoners as it pressed his rear guard. On the 15th of July, the division moved from Boonsboro to Harper's Ferry, and on the 17th to Shepherdstown, for the purpose of discovering the movements of the rebel army. During the night the drums of his infantry columns were distinctly heard, apparently on the road leading to Martinsburg'. At noon of the 18th, the enemy's cavalry attacked, and drove in the pickets of the brigade, advancing rapidly in force. He was promptly met, and until night put an end to the contest, the fighting raged without intermission. Charge after charge was made in the face of a most withering fire. The rebel artillery fire was at first concentrated on the right, then upon the left, and finally upon the right centre, where the Sixteenth stood. For eight hours, three regiments, the First Maine, Fourth, and Sixteenth Pennsylvania, bore the brunt of the battle, charging in the most gallant manner. Night finally put an end to the carnage, and finding that the enemy was present in superior force, the command was withdrawn under cover of darkness. The loss in the Sixteenth was six killed, fifteen wounded, and three missing. Captain John Fisher was among the wounded.
After the army had crossed the Potomac, the cavalry marched along the eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge, and crossing the tributaries of the Rappahannock, went into camp near Amissville. On the 12th of September, the division crossed Hazel River, and came in on the enemy's left, Buford, and Kilpatrick engaging him in front. When the army commenced its retreat on Centreville, the division moved to the front to cover the movement. At two P. M. on the 12th of October, the enemy came up with a part of the Second Brigade, and commenced a furious attack, near the crossing of the Rappahannock. Gallantly did the Fourth and Thirteenth Pennsylvania regiments, led by Colonel Gregg in person, contest the ground, and hold at bay, until nightfall, many times their number. The Sixteenth supported a battery on the opposite banks and did not suffer. On the 13th, the division marched to Auburn. At daylight on the following morning, the enemy attacked, and during the entire day the regiment was at intervals engaged, early in the day at Auburn, later at Catlett's, and in the evening at Bristoe Station, on the left of Warren's infantry. Lieutenant Colonel Robison was wounded, and the regiment sustained in addition, a loss of one killed, seven wounded, and three missing. The division was complimented for its gallantry on this retreat by General Meade, in an order issued after reaching Centreville. The advance was soon after sounded, and the army was again brought to the Rappahannock. The regiment had by this time become much reduced, and some time was given to re-fit and recuperate. After a month's delay, the columns were again put in motion toward Mine Run, the division crossing the Rapidan at Ely's Ford, and on the 27th of November, met the enemy on the Fredericksburg Plank Road. The brigade was in advance and received the first shock. It was, however, relieved by the Fifth Corps, just at the moment that the Sixteenths, with, drawn sabres, was advancing to the attack. On the 29th, it was again engaged near, Parker's Store. In the progress of the battle, a battery was in danger of falling into the hands of the enemy. At the critical moment a squadron, led by Captain Rush, made a most gallant charge, saving the guns, and routing the enemy. A brave officer, Captain Ira B. Alexander, was killed in this charge. The regiment lost two killed, eleven wounded, and three missing.
On the 2d of December, the regiment re-crossed the Rapidan, and went into camp near Bealton Station, the campaign having been abandoned. On the 21st, the brigade, under command of Colonel Smith, of the First Maine, proceeded to Luray, in the Shenandoah Valley, where factories and rebel stores were destroyed, and on the 24th, commenced the return march, reaching camp on the 31st. On the 1st of January, 1864, the division, under Colonel Taylor, of the First Pennsylvania, was led upon a raid to Front Royal. The march was attended with great hardship and suffering, ice-bound streams, and rocky mountain roads, frozen and slippery, rendering the way almost impassable. It returned by way of Manassas, and on the 16tI, went into winter quarters at Turkey Run, below Warrenton. Near the close of February, a detail from this regiment, under Captain A. J. Snyder, accompanied Kilpatrick in his raid upon Richmond, in which Colonel Ulrich Dahlgren was killed, participating in the hardships and hard fighting which were encountered.
In the initial movement of the spring campaign, the brigade followed the Second Corps, and at a point about three miles beyond Chancellorsville, a body of the enemy was met, which, after a brief skirmish, in which the Sixteenth was the principal participant on the Union side, precipitately retreated. On the afternoon of the 6th of May, and again on the afternoon of the 7th, the division was hotly engaged, the Sixteenth, dismounted, holding a line of hastily constructed breast-works, a large brook just in front. At ten A. M., of the 8th,the brigade charged and forced the enemy's line, eight companies of the Sixteenth, mounted, and with drawn sabres. Captain Joshua M. Carey was among the wounded in this engagement. On the 9th, the cavalry under Sheridan moved to the left, around the right flank of Lee's army, striking his main line of supply at Beaver Dam Station, effecting the destruction of immense quantities of stores, and releasing a large number of Union prisoners, on their way to Richmond. During the night the enemy came up, and at daybreak opened briskly with cavalry and artillery. The Union artillery answered, and with heavy skirmishing on flanks and rear, the column moved on towards Hanover, crossing the South Anna at dusk, and halting for the night at Hanover Church. The brigade had the rear on the 11th, and before the columns were all fairly in motion, the enemy charged with great impetuosity. The First Maine, and Tenth New York, were driven in; but at this juncture, the artillery, loaded to the muzzle with grape and canister, was brought to bear upon the impatient foe, which soon convinced him that the Union cavalry was awake, and ready to receive him. Heavy skirmishing continued throughout the entire day, and until long after nightfall, the enemy hovering in clouds upon the rear. It was in this day's fighting that the famous rebel cavalry leader, General J. E. B. Stuart, was killed. At daybreak of the 12th, the column entered the outer works of Richmond, turning from the pike soon after crossing the Chickahominy, on a road parallel with, and between the inner line and the river. A mile and a half out on this road, the river bends to the right, the road crossing it. On the further bank the enemy lay intrenched, to the right and left of the bridge, which at this time had been destroyed. The whole column was soon engaged, and in a critical situation. The force in front, that rushing out from Richmond, and that following from Lee's army, were pressing it on three sides, the enemy's shells coming from front, right flank, and rear. Sheridan, with Custer, directed the fight upon the front, Wilson, and Torbert upon the flank, and Gregg upon the rear. In a charge delivered by the Eighth, supported by the Sixteenth, a gun was captured, and the head of the enemy's column was successfully held in check. Towards noon, Custer forced a crossing, and the command escaped the clutches of the foe. Sheridan soon after returned, re-joining the main army on the 25th.
On the following morning, the divisions of Gregg and Merritt moved down the Pamunky, and crossing, had a heavy engagement at Hawes' Shop, in the afternoon of the 28th, in which the Sixteenth sustained a loss of four killed and twenty wounded, Lieutenant Colonel Robison, Captain A. F. Swan, and Lieutenant S. A. Roberts, being among the latter. Early in June, the division accompanied Sheridan in his expedition towards Lynchburg, and was engaged at Trevilian Station, the Sixteenth sustaining a loss of three killed and thirteen wounded, Lieutenant Daniel C. Swank being of the latter. Sheridan, unable to force his way to Lynchburg, returned to White House, whence, with his own, and a train of eight hundred wagons belonging to the main army, he marched on the 25th for the James River. The enemy, beholding the tempting prize, made desperate efforts to break through the Union lines and capture them. Gregg's Division moved upon the right flank, covering them from the direction of Richmond. At St. Mary's Church, the enemy attacked with headlong impetuosity, and overpowering force. Gregg made a gallant fight, and called for reinforcements; but his messengers were captured, his extremities being thus revealed, and no aid came. He disputed every inch of ground with a stubbornness rarely paralleled, and succeeded in beating backthe enemy, at a heavy cost, until the trains were safe. A less resolute resistance would inevitably have resulted in disaster. In this engagement the Sixteenth did gallant service, repelling repeated charges, and preventing dismounted men from being captured. On the 1st of July, the division was sent to the relief of General Wilson, who was hemmed in between the enemy's infantry and his cavalry, on the Weldon Railroad; but before it arrived, Wilson had effected his escape, and it returned and went into camp at Light House Point, on the James. From the moment the regiment crossed the Rapidan until the present, it had been almost constantly on the move, frequently meeting the enemy in deadly conflict, and was greatly reduced, many of the men being dismounted, their horses falling out by the way, and large numbers disabled by fatigue and exposure.
Towards the close of July, the division, with a large column of infantry, crossed the James, and made a strong demonstration in the direction of Richmond, the Sixteenth charging, mounted, near Malvern Hill, sustaining a loss of three killed, and six severely wounded, Lieutenant Lockwood Caughey mortally. It returned on the 30th, to await the result of the Mine explosion, in favor of which the demonstration across the James had been made. Early in August, Sheridan, with the First and Third divisions of the cavalry, went to the Shenandoah Valley, leaving General Gregg in command of the cavalry before Petersburg. About the middle of the month, the division again crossed the James. On the 16th, the brigade, which was now composed of the Second, Fourth, Eighth, and Sixteenth Pennsylvania regiments and Miles' brigade of infantry, moved up the Charles City -Road towards Richmond, and met the enemy at Deep Run, posted behind earth-works. The brigade charged, the Sixteenth moving upon the main road, the only regiment mounted, the infantry upon the right of the road, and the rest of the brigade dismounted on the left, and drove the enemy.' "It was here,"' says a member of the Sixteenth," that the Confederate General Chambliss was killed. He came riding with two others down a by-road, that led into the one on which we were moving. The advance guard consisted of eight men of company E. Five of them fired, as the general, who, discovering his mistake, was on the point of wheeling; but too late, and he fell to the left of the road, pierced but by a single ball. I was by his side in a moment, but he was dead. His stars told his rank." The command pushed on to White's Tavern, only a few miles out of Richmond, where the enemy, who had been reinforced, compelled it to fall back to the run. The regiment had less than two hundred engaged, and lost seven men killed, and two officers, and twenty-two men wounded. General J. Irvin Gregg was here wounded. Upon its return, the cavalry was sent with the infantry for the possession and destruction of the Weldon Railroad. On the23d, the Sixteenth and Second regiments were sent towards Dinwiddie Court House, and a mile out met the enemy, and became quickly engaged. The rest of the division came to their support, and an engagement followed, which for three days was kept up with varying success, the Sixteenth losing on the 23d, six wounded; on the 24th, one killed, and one wounded; and on the 25th, three killed and one wounded. After the battle, the regiment fell back, and encamped at Hancock's Station. On the 15th of September, the Sixteenth and Second were sent out to reconnoitre in front of the Fifth Corps lines. Advancing beyond Poplar Spring Church, they skirmished with the enemy, developed his strength and position, and returned without loss. On the following morning, the whole division was sent in pursuit of the enemy's cavalry, under Hampton, who had captured and driven off the herd of beef cattle belonging to the army of the Potomac. The enemy was found and engaged, but the beef was beyond recovery. In the action at the Boydton Plank Road, on the 27th of October, the Sixteenth was heavily engaged. It fought dismounted, holding a position on the left of, and overlapping the infantry line. It sustained a loss of three killed, and twenty-eight wounded. Captain Isaac H. Ressler was among the wounded. The brigade made a dash on Stony Creek Station, on the 1st of December, capturing a fort, with three guns and a number of prisoners. The Sixteenth charged dismounted, being thus enabled to pass over the works, and had the honor of taking possession of the guns. On the 7th the cavalry, with the Fifth Corps, started for a more complete destruction of the Weldon Railroad. The enemy was driven to Bellefield, near the North Carolina border, and the road completely destroyed. The regiment returned to camp from this raid on the 12th, having suffered no loss.
It now went into winter quarters, near Hancock's Station, where it was engaged in the usual routine of camp, drill, and picket duty, and with the exception of the loss of three men killed, while out collecting forage, camp life was little varied. On the 6th of February, 1865, the cavalry moved around the right of the enemy, and came in upon his rear at Dinwiddie Court House. From this point, the Sixteenth was sent to reconnoitre the position of the enemy, and penetrated to his camps, taking some prisoners, and returning without loss. The entire cavalry force then returned and re-joined the infantry at Hatcher's Run, where it became heavily engaged. The Sixteenth, in the opening of the battle, charged dismounted, and until nightfall was warmly engaged. The loss was two killed, and thirteen wounded. Captain Henry H. Wilson, and Lieutenants George W. Brooks and Russell R. Pealer were wounded. As the army began to unloose for its last campaign, the cavalry was put in motion, and on the 31st of March, had a severe engagement at Dinwiddie Court House, the Sixteenth losing four killed, and fourteen wounded, Captain Frederick W. Heslop being among the latter. At Five Forks, on the2d of April, the regiment was again brought into conflict, losing one killed and six wounded. The campaign was now prosecuted with desperate earnestness, the marching and fighting being almost incessant. On the 5th, at Amelia Springs, and on the 6th, at Sailor's Creek, the Sixteenth was closely engaged, losing one killed, and seventeen wounded, Captain Henry H. Oliphant and Lieutenant William H. Everhart being among the latter. At Farmville, on the 7th, Lieutenant Colonel Robison, who had led the regiment in nearly all its movements after the promotion of Colonel Gregg, was wounded while leading a sabre charge, as was, likewise, Lieutenant Norman J. Ball. To the last, this gallant brigade was at the post of duty, and when on the 9tb, the white flag was displayed in token of surrender; it was in position to compel the surrender of large numbers of the enemy, in fair conflict. After the surrender, the command returned to Petersburg, but was soon after led to the North Carolina border, to the support of Sherman. Hostilities having ceased, soon after, it again returned to Petersburg, and thence the brigade was sent to Lynchburg, where it was employed in preserving order, and taking charge of property of the rebel government. This duty finished, it proceeded, early in August, to Richmond, where, on the 7th, it was mustered out of service. Until about the middle of October, 1864, this regiment was armed with Sharp's carbine, and from that time forward with the Spencer repeater.Source: Bates, Samuel P. History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-65, Harrisburg, 1868-1871.
Organized at Harrisburg September to November, 1862.
Left State for Washington, D.C., November 23, 1862.
Attached to Defences of Washington to January, 1863.
Averill's Cavalry Brigade, Army of the Potomac, to February, 1863.
2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, Cavalry Corps, Army Potomac, to June, 1863.
3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, Cavalry Corps, Army Potomac, to August, 1863.
2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, Cavalry Corps, Army Potomac, to May, 1865.
Dept. of Virginia to August, 1865.
At Camp Casey, near Bladensburg, Md., till January 3, 1863.
Moved to Falmouth, Va., January 3, and duty on line of the Rappahannock till April, 1863.
Operations at Rappahannock Bridge and Grove Church February 5-7.
Hartwood Church February 25. Kelly's Ford March 17.
Operations about Bealeton Station April 13-27.
Elk Run April 13.
Chancellorsville Campaign April 26-May 8.
Stoneman's Raid April 29-May 8.
Kelly's Ford April 29.
Ely's Ford May 2.
Brandy Station, Stevensburg and Beverly Ford June 9.
Aldie June 17.
Near Middleburg June 18. Middleburg June 19.
Battle of Gettysburg, Pa., July 1-3.
Steven's Furnace July 5. Shepherdstown, W. Va., July 14-16.
Little Washington August 27.
Advance to the Rapidan September 13-17.
Culpeper C. H. September 13.
Crooked Run September 18.
Bristoe Campaign October 9-22.
Warrenton or White Sulphur Springs October 12-13.
Auburn and Bristoe October 14.
St. Stephen's Church October 14.
Catlett's Station October 14.
Mine Run Campaign November 26-December 2.
New Hope Church November 27.
Parker's Store November 29.
Expedition to Luray December 21-23.
Amissville, Gaines Cross Roads and Sperryville December 22.
Kilpatrick's Raid on Richmond February 28-March 4, 1864.
Beaver Dam Station February 29.
Fortifications of Richmond March 1.
Rapidan Campaign May-June.
Todd's Tavern, Wilderness, May 5-8.
Sheridan's Raid to James River May 9-24.
North Anna River May 9-10.
Ground Squirrel Church and Yellow Tavern May 11.
Brook Church, Fortifications of Richmond, May 12.
Milford Station May 21.
Line of the Pamunkey May 26-28.
Haw's Shop May 28.
Totopotomoy May 28-31.
Cold Harbor May 31-June 1.
Sumner's Upper Bridge June 2.
Sheridan's Trevillian Raid June 7-24.
Trevillian Station June 11-12.
White House or St. Peter's Church June 21.
Black Creek or Tunstall Station June 21.
St. Mary's Church June 24.
Siege operations against Petersburg and Richmond July, 1864, to April, 1865.
Warwick Swamp July 12, 1864.
Demonstration on north side of the James at Deep Bottom July 27-29.
Deep Bottom July 28-29.
Malvern Hill July 28.
Warwick Swamp July 30.
Demonstration on north side of James River at Deep Bottom August 13-20.
Gravel Hill August 14.
Strawberry Plains, Deep Bottom, August 14-18.
Charles City Cross Roads August 16
Dinwiddie Road, near Ream's Station, August 23.
Ream's Station August 25.
Reconnoissance to Poplar Springs Church September 13.
Reconnoissance toward Dinwiddie C. H. September 15.
Poplar Springs Church September 29-October 2.
Arthur's Swamp September 30-October 1.
Boydton Plank Road, Hatcher's Run, October 27-28.
Reconnoissance to Stony Creek November 7.
Near Lee's Mills November 16 (Detachment).
Stony Creek Station December 1.
Hicksford Raid December 7-12.
Bellefield December 8.
Disputantia Station January 9, 1865.
Dabney's Mills, Hatcher's Run, February 5-7.
Appomattox Campaign March 28-April 9.
Dinwiddie C. H. March 30-31.
Five Forks April 1.
Paine's Cross Roads and Amelia Springs April 5.
Sailor's Creek April 6. Farmville April 7.
Appomattox C. H. April 9.
Surrender of Lee and his army.
Expedition to Danville April 23-29.
Moved to Lynchburg, Va., and duty there and in the Dept. of Virginia till August.
Mustered out August 11, 1865.
Regiment lost during service
5 Officers and 100 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and
3 Officers and 194 Enlisted men by disease.
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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