Sources, Des Moines, Iowa: The Dyer Publishing Company, 1908On the 21st of August, 1861, W. W. I. Davis, a citizen of Doylestown, Bucks county, who had been a soldier in the Mexican war, and served as Captain in the Twenty-fifth Regiment, three months' service, received authority to recruit a regiment of infantry, and a six gun battery. Recruiting was immediately commenced, and a camp of rendezvous and instruction established near Doylestown. To hasten the work, public meetings were held, at one of which, at Addisville, six thousand persons were estimated to have been present, and addresses were made by William D. Kelly, Lewis C. Cassiday, Esq., Rev. Jacob Bellville, and George Lear, Esq.
On the 6th of September the first company was mustered into service, and in the first week in November the regiment was reported for duty with eleven hundred and thirty-five officers and men. With the exception of one company, nearly the entire regiment was recruited in Bucks county. The following were the field officers:On the 21st of October, a silk flag, a present from patriotic ladies of Doylestown, and the State colors, were presented to the regiment, in the presence of a great concourse of citizens, by Governor Curtin. At the conclusion of the ceremony the Rev. Dr. Andrews presented, in behalf of the Bucks County Bible Society, to each officer and man a copy of the New Testament. Citizens freely contributed such articles as were necessary to the health and comfort of the men, among which was a well assorted field library, for the purchase of which Bishop Stevens contributed twenty-five dollars.
- W. W. H. Davis, Colonel
- John W. Neilds, Lieutenant Colonel
- John M. Gries, Major
On the 6th of November the regiment was ordered to Washington, and soon after its arrival went into camp just back of Georgetown. It was here assigned to a provisional brigade, which was commanded by Colonel Davis. In December, the small-pox and typhoid fever broke out in camp, but owing to the strict sanitary measures enforced neither disease proved very virulent.
Early in the winter, the regiment was placed in comfortable board barracks, built under the superintendence of Lieutenant Carver, and called Carver Barracks. They were subsequently taken for a hospital for the government, and were known as the Carver General Hospital.
On the 18th of February, upon a call for ten men from each regiment for service upon gun-boats on the western rivers, that number was selected from a much larger number who volunteered. These men never returned to the command. Three of them were killed by the explosion of the boilers of the Mound City, while in action1 on the White River, and one other died of disease.
On the 1st of March, the One Hundred and Fourth, Tidbal's Battery, and a company of Rushes Lancers, all under command of Colonel Davis, were detailed as escort at the funeral of General Lander, which took place from the residence of Judge Chase. The weather during the winter was unfavorable to drill, but there was occasional target practice, and two or three times a week the officers recited in tactics, the field officers holding weekly meetings to recite, discuss, and explain movements of the line. As soon as the weather would permit brigade drill was commenced, and practiced regularly twice a day.
On the 29th of March, in obedience to orders the brigade broke camp, and embarking upon transports moved to Fortress Monroe. For several days it was encamped in a peach orchard near the ruins of the little village of Hampton. In the siege of Yorktown which soon opened, Keyes' Corps occupied the left of the line facing Lee's Mills, and Casey's Division, to which Davis' Brigade belonged, the centre of the corps. The regiment was at first encamped in an old tobacco field near Yorktown Four Corners, but subsequently removed to a grove of small pines on a dry sandy ridge. Fatigue and picket duty was very severe, a corduroy road to Cheeseman's Landing, needed for transportation of supplies, proving a work of great labor. In these duties the regiment was actively employed, bearing its full share of the burdens.
On the 23d of April, Colonel Davis was relieved of the command of the brigade2 by General Henry M. Naglee. On the 28th a reconnaissance was made by the brigade towards Lee's Mills, which showed that the enemy was still in force in front. A skirmisher of the Eleventh Maine was mortally wounded.
When the siege works were completed, the heavy guns mounted, and all things nearly in readiness to open, the enemy, during the night of the 3d of May, quietly withdrew and retired up the Peninsula. As it was uncertain what direction he had taken, Colonel Davis, with his own regiment, two pieces of artillery, and a squadron of regular cavalry, was ordered to make a reconnaissance towards Grove's Wharf, on the James.
No traces of the enemy were found, and returning, Colonel Davis joined in the movement of the army up the Williamsburg Road. At the Yorktown Road, the troops of Heintzelman and Sumner blocked the way, and he was not permitted to advance. Late in the day he joined the division near Cheesecake Church, where it had gone into bivouac, being prevented from advancing further by the interposition of General Heintzelman.
At noon on Monday word was brought that Hooker was hotly engaged, and in need of support. The brigade was immediately ordered forward, but before reaching the field, was met by a staff officer and ordered to return and hasten to the support of Hancock on the right. By some mistake the One Hundred and Fourth made a fatiguing march out of its way, and did not reach the position designed to be occupied until too late to be engaged. By toilsome marches the brigade finally reached the neighborhood of the Chickahominy on the 19th of June. On the evening of that day, Colonel Davis with his own, and detachments of the Eleventh Maine, and Fifty-second Pennsylvania, was ordered to make a reconnaissance to Bottom's Bridge. The enemy was found occupying the opposite bank, and as Davis advanced fired the bridge. A spirited skirmish ensued in which artillery was freely used, and the sharp-shooters had opportunity to test their skill. The enemy's strength and position being developed, the command returned to camp, with the loss of one wounded.
Again on the 21st, the regiment moved down with the corps near to the head of the bridge, and was about, going into bivouac for the night, when Colonel Davis was ordered to march with his regiment immediately to the bridge. He was there met by General Keyes, who ordered him to cross and place his men on picket. Moving over in single file upon the stringers, the command was led about a mile up the Richmond Road, Company B was thrown forward as pickets, and the rest divided and posted so as to command and enfilade the road where it debouched into the bottom. There was no alarm during the night, and in the morning it returned to camp.
A permanent crossing having been effected, on the night of the 23d, General M'Clellan telegraphed orders for a reconnaissance towards Seven Pines. Naglee's Brigade was selected for this duty. The One Hundred and Fourth led the advance. Just beyond Savage Station the enemy was found in force, partly concealed in timber. The One Hundred and Fourth was formed on the left of the road, the Fifty-second Pennsylvania on the right, and skirmishers thrown forward. The skirmishers of the former regiment under Major Gries, companies A and F, rapidly advanced to clear the grain field, and some farm buildings in front, of rebel sharp-shooters. The crack of the rifles soon told that they were engaged, and the receding sound that they were driving the enemy. The artillery opened and the firing became spirited. At half past four the Union batteries were advanced, the enemy falling back, and Naglee was preparing to follow up his advantage, when he received orders to stay the pursuit lest it should bring on a general engagement. The loss in the regiment was one killed and four wounded.
Corporal Thompson, of Company D, was hit by a rifle ball and mortally wounded. Stepping out of the ranks he leaned his rifle against a tree, and said to his comrades,' Boys, I am done for, but you stand up to it." After suffering for eighteen months he died in hospital at Newbern, North Carolina.
On the 26th the reconnaissance towards Richmond was continued, the One Hundred and Fourth, with Davis' Riflemen of the Fifty-second, leading. The pickets were advanced to within five miles of the city, the regiment being stationed at the Fair Oaks Farm House. On the morning of the 29th it was moved over to the Nine Mile Road, a quarter of a mile further to the right, and Casey's entire division was brought up to Fair Oaks, Couch's Division occupying Casey's old ground at Seven Pines. As soon as Casey was in line he commenced fortifying on either side of the Williamsburg Road, and the troops were kept hard at work strengthening the position, down to the moment that they were attacked. General Naglee, with a strong detail, was engaged in building a bridge across the Chickahominy, opposite the place where General Sumner lay, at the time called Grapevine Bridge, subsequently known as Woodbury Bridge. Kearny's Division was stretched along the Richmond and York River Railroad, from the station back to the bridge across the river. Hooker's Division was posted on the edge of White Oak Swamp to watch the crossing.
At eleven o'clock on the morning of the 31st, the enemy in four grand divisions, commanded by Generals Hill, Huger, Longstreet, and Smith, all under the immediate command of General Johnston, having gained his position, fired three shells as a signal for the battle to begin, and an hour later he commenced driving in the Union pickets. Upon the first indication of a real attack, the One Hundred and Fourth was hurried to the support of Spratt's Battery, and was posted about a hundred yards in front of, and to the right of it, an unfortunate position, the battery being prevented from firing except in the direction directly in front, and the regiment being exposed to a concentrated fire. A volley from four hundred rifles, delivered upon the enemy in the woods in front, within easy range, marked the opening of the battle by the infantry, which soon became general along the entire line. A movement of the enemy upon the right, where the line of the regiment rested on the wood, being observed, Companies A and B were pushed forward in that direction to meet and prevent it. The enemy soon came out into an open field bearing a white flag with a black square in the centre. This was at first mistaken for a flag of truce, but the fire, which for an instant slackened, was renewed, and he soon after unfurled his new national flag, a white cross with stars on a blue field.
For an hour and a half the regiment had been under fire, and had heroically maintained its ground; but the enemy in increasing numbers now began to press upon front and flank, and it was apparent that unless help soon came it must be abandoned. Seeing that the battery must be lost if he yielded, Colonel Davis ordered a charge, hoping thereby to check the hot rebel advance. With a wild yell the men sprang forward at the word of command, and advanced a hundred yards over ground covered with low bushes. A worm fence which had not been observed was passed, and on reaching the cleared ground, a line was formed and a rapid and telling fire opened. This bold movement had the desired effect. The enemy, not knowing what force might be moving in support, was staggered and checked. The regiment was now fighting alone, in advance of the main line of battle, and it was evident that unless aid soon came it would be swallowed up by the forces of the enemy swarming around it. Lieutenant Ashenfelter was sent to General Casey for supports, which were promised. But none came, and finally, after having been over three hours in action, it was forced back by the overpowering numbers of the foe pushing forward. Both flags had been carried across the fence and planted in the ground upon the line. As the men went back one of these was left standing. Major Gries, and Sergeants Myers and Purcell sprang forward to rescue it, when the Major received his mortal wound; but the flag was saved and both brought off in safety.
Company F was on picket when the battle opened, and when it became necessary for it to fall back, joined the Fifty-sixth New York, with which it did efficient service. Company E was also on picket between the Nine Mile Road and the railroad. In the progress of the fight it was flanked and completely cut off by a rebel brigade. Lieutenant Crowell and fifty-three men were captured. After retiring, the portion of the regiment remaining, was re-formed in the neighborhood of its camp, where the Twenty-third Pennsylvania was found in position, and with that regiment fought on until the close of the day. Near sundown the regiment, one hundred and fifty strong, arrived at the rifle-pits near the field hospital, a mile in rear of where the battle begun. The fighting was now over, and it was sent to the front to occupy a rifle-pit for the night. Its loss was ten officers and one hundred and sixty-six men killed and wounded, and sixty-one captured, an aggregate of two hundred and thirty-seven. Lieutenant E. Sayres M'Dowell was killed, and Colonel Davis, Major Gries, Captains Corcoran and Swaytzllandle, Lieutenant Ashenfelter, and Quartermaster Hendrie were wounded, Major Gries mortally. Chap!ain Gries remained upon the field, and was zealous in his attentions to the wounded, The fighting on the following morning was slight, and did not reach the position occupied by the One Hundred and Fourth.
On the 4th of June the entire division was ordered back to the neighborhood of Bottom's Bridge, where the troops were immediately set to work repairing the bridge and throwing up earthworks for the protection of the river crossing. While here, Lieutenant Colonel Nields, who had been absent on account of disability from sun stroke. returned and assumed command, relieving Captain Rogers. On the 17th of June, immediately after the raid of Stuart in rear of the army, in which that bold rider reached Tunstall's Station, the regiment crossed the river and was posted near Dispatch Station, one company being kept constantly on guard.
On the 27th was fought the battle of Gaines' Mill, a few miles above, the company on picket being able to hear distinctly the rattle of musketry. Towards evening the stragglers from the field began to arrive, and by dark the roads were crowded. With the assistance of a picket detachment of the Eighth Cavalry, the stragglers were halted, and on the following morning to the number of fifteen hundred, were conducted to Savage Station. and turned over to the commanding officer.
On the afternoon of the 27th, the regiment was employed in loading stores upon a tram, which was sent to Savage Station, and on the following morning, crossed at Bottom's Bridge. The retreat of the army to the James had now commenced. It was necessary that the crossings of the Chlckahominy should be held until the trains and the heavy columns of the army could get well on their way. The enemy was now in heavy force upon the left bank, clamorous to get over. For the defence of the lower bridges, Naglee's Brigade, with Millers, Brady's, and Morgan's batteries, was selected. Temporary defensive works were hastily constructed. Companies C and I were stationed in a rifle-pit covering the bridge, and the remaining companies of the regiment in reserve as a support to Morgan's Battery.
Early on the 28th the enemy approached, his infantry maneuvering as if to force a crossing, and his artillery opening from a point within less than a thousand yards. His guns were, however, soon silenced by our batteries, and his infantry driven back to the timber in the rear. On the 29th large bodies of the enemy made their appearance, but were kept at bay by the admirable dispositions made to receive them. In the meantime having forced and repaired the upper bridges, he had crossed, and was giving battle at Allen's Farm and Savage Station.
Finally at seven o'clock in the afternoon of the 29th, a train loaded with powder and fixed ammunition was fired and run at full speed towards the river, the bridge across which having previously been destroyed. As it went over the embankment it exploded with a fearful crash, and the brigade was quickly withdrawn. The One Hundred and Fourth was ordered to bring up the rear.
At White Oak Creek crossing the brigade was again drawn up to dispute the passage, and was attached to General Smith's Division of Franklin's Corps. Scarcely had the engineers destroyed the bridge, when the enemy arrived and posting powerful batteries in a commanding position on the left bank, opened a heavy cannonade which was answered as warmly, and the duel was kept up with effect until dark. Soon after nightfall Franklin silently withdrew, leaving Naglee's Brigade and two pieces of artillery, which were ordered to follow at ten o'clock. A part of the brigade, consisting of the One Hundred and Fourth, Fifty-second, and a part of the One Hundredth New York, not receiving the order, were left at the swamp, and until two o'clock on the following morning kept up a slow fire from the battery. It was then discovered that the command had been left by mistake, and, under the lead of Colonel Van Wyck, of the Fifty-sixth New York. the column moved off to Malvern Hill. Here Keyes' Corps occupied the right of the line, which curved back and rested on the river. It was in reserve during the engagement, and was not called into action.
From Malvern Hill the army retired to Harrison's Landing, the One Hundred and Fourth arriving on the morning of the third. The first morning report after reaching the Landing showed twenty officers, and four hundred and thirty-three men present. On the 31st of July Colonel Davis, though not entirely recovered from his wounds received at Fair Oaks, re-joined the regiment, and resumed command. Lieutenant Colonel Neilds had resigned a few days before on account of disability. Adjutant Thompson D. Hart was promoted to succeed him, and Captain Rogers to be Major.
When M'Clellan's army was ordered to evacuate the Peninsula, Peck's Division of Keyes' Corps, was detached and ordered to remain. Naglee s Brigade, now under command of General Emory, was left at Yorktown. Colonel Davis with his own, the One Hundredth New York, and Mink's Battery of four three-inch rifled guns was sent to occupy Gloucester Point. The fort at this place, which had been built by the enemy, was a regular pentagon, and very large, being a mile around by the exterior slope. It occupied nearly the site of the old revolutionary works erected by the British in 1781. The troops were immediately put to work repairing it, and for three months were kept busily employed. With the exception of an occasional reconnaissance, little of importance occurred to disturb the quiet and comfort of the camp. Fish and oysters were abundant, the quarters were pleasantly located, and the climate salubrious.
On the 26th of September, the prisoners captured at Fair Oaks, forty-seven in number, returned to the regiment, and a month later sixteen recruits were received. In an encounter, at a little past midnight of the 16th of November, with the enemy's cavalry near Hook's Store, by Lieutenant Markley with seven men, scouts from a party of two companies dispatched to intercept him, one of the party was killed and three were wounded. The enemy then charged upon and captured the remaining three men, and rode off in the direction of Richmond. Hook's Store was ordered to be burned, and mills in the neighborhood of the disaster were taken possession of for the use of the government. Presuming that the command would occupy this camp during the winter, wood was cut and brought inside the fort, and quarters built in the most substantial manner. But in this hope it was disappointed.
On the 28th of December the brigade, now numbering four thousand three hundred and thirty-eight officers and men, sailed from Fortress Monroe with sealed orders, which on being opened off the cape, showed its destination to be Beaufort, North Carolina. After a brief stay here, during which General Naglee was placed in command of a division of the Eighteenth Corps, and Colonel Davis of the brigade, the corps was transferred to Hilton Head, South Carolina, designed to act, in conjunction with the forces already there, against Charleston.
Before leaving Beaufort Harbor, a, battalion of sharp-shooters was organized from the brigade, two officers, twelve sergeants and corporals, and fifty privates being detailed from each regiment. Captain Groff and Lieutenant Hibbs were detailed from the One Hundred and Fourth. As the naval force was not in readiness to commence operations against the city when the troops arrived, they were placed in camp on Saint Helena Island.
On the 5th of April, 1863, three divisions of infantry were embarked for a co-operative movement against Charleston, and moved up to Edisto Island; but before Heckman's Division, to which the One Hundred and Fourth belonged, had debarked, the attack by the fleet was at an end, and the land forces returned for the most part to their previous encampments, Davis' Brigade being sent to Beaufort. The camp of the regiment was here delightfully located, and, with the exception of occasional detachments sent out upon the neighboring islands to intercept straggling parties of the enemy, and to guard against their incursions, the command was not actively employed.
Upon the expiration of the term of service of the militia regiments in the division, two companies of the One Hundred and Fourth, C and H, under Captain W. W. Marple, were ordered to duty in battery Taylor, and company B, under Captain Kephart, in battery Brayton, in place of the departing troops.
On the 12th of June General Gilmore arrived at Hilton Head, and assumed command of the department, relieving General Hunter. He at once visited Folly Island, contiguous to Morris Island, on which troops had been retained since the first attack on Charleston, and determined to operate against Sumter from powerful batteries to be erected on these islands. Work was commenced on the north end of Folly Island on the 15th of June, and by the 3d of July the fortifications were completed. At three o'clock on the morning of the 6th, the One Hundred and Fourth, and Fifty-second, with ten days' rations, moved in light marching order by transport to Folly Island, where the land forces were concentrating.
The main attack, which had been fixed for the 10th, was to be made upon Morris Island, from the batteries which had been constructed on Folly Island, and which had been kept masked from the enemy. For a diversion in favor of this attack, a detachment Was sent to James Island to demonstrate upon the approaches to Charleston by way of Secessionville. This force, of which Davis' Brigade formed part, was placed under command of General Alfred H. Terry.
On the afternoon of the 9th, Davis moved up and at dark commenced debarkation. When all were ashore the command was formed and moved forward, the One Hundred and Fourth in advance, the object being to seize and hold the bridge at the head of the causeway, which was the only avenue by which the interior of the island could be reached. The bridge was possessed without opposition, but in posting his pickets, Captain Groff aroused a rebel party who fired a volley upon the bridge, on which were General Terry, Colonel Davis, and Major Rogers, which was replied to, but the fire soon subsided without assault. When it was light enough to discern objects, the command advanced. Soon the sound of the heavy guns of Gilmore, in the attack on Morris Island, were heard, and before night it was announced that he had been successful and was in possession of the southern part of the island, the demonstration of Terry having answered well its purpose, causing the enemy to divide his forces, and to believe that the latter was the main attack.
To clear James Island of the Union forces, which required him to keep his own forces divided, the enemy came out on the morning of the 16th in heavy columns, with the design of cutting off and capturing Terry's command. Approaching unperceived upon the left of the line, he opened with his batteries upon the gun-boat Pawnee in the hope of crippling her and holding the way of retreat. At the same time he attacked with spirit the pickets of the Union right. The Pawnee was aground, and for nearly an hour was at the mercy of the enemy, but fortunately was not injured.
In the meantime the troops were hastily formed, Stevenson's Brigade and the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts in front, Davis with the Second South Carolina in the second line, and opened fire. Finally the Pawnee was enabled to swing around and deliver her broadsides, and fortunately during the night the John Adams had come up a creek on the Union right, and at the critical moment poured in rapid rounds from her thirty-pounder Parrott. The enemy was repulsed, and retreated rapidly up the island leaving some of his dead and wounded on the field. But the department had no men to lose in operations of doubtful utility or success, and it was decided to withdraw from James Island. With much fatigue this was accomplished, and the division returned to Folly Island where Davis' Brigade was left, Stevenson's and Montgomery's being transferred on the following day to Morris Island.
By the withdrawal of troops for the assault on Fort Wagner, which was made on the 18th, Colonel Davis was left, with about two thousand troops, in command on Folly Island. The failure to take Wagner by assault rendered a siege necessary, and the work was immediately begun. The troops on Folly Island, in addition to guarding the approaches, furnished fire-wood for the troops in the trenches, and supplied the engineers with all the timber necessary to construct batteries, magazines, stockades, and for other purposes.
On the 3d of August the first detail was made from the brigade for duty in the trenches, which consisted of four hundred and seventy-five men under a field officer, and from that time forward, while the siege lasted, heavy details for duty in the trenches, and for guard and fatigue duty, were finished in addition to the large amount of labor performed on Folly Island."On the evening of the 22d of August" says Colonel Davis in his history of the regiment, " I was ordered with my whole brigade to Morris Island, with two days' cooked rations, for a tour of that length in the trenches. * * * The troops went upon duty just at dark. Entering the trenches at the first parallel, they passed along them by the flank to the extreme front, where the engineers were at work, men being sent into all the intermediate parallels and batteries as they went up. In some places the trenches were deep enough to afford protection when walking upright, while in other parts they had to stoop to get cover. Up to the second parallel there were splinter proofs to protect the men from the fragments of bursting shells, but above that there was only the usual trench. Every few minutes a shell from James Island or Wagner, or the ball of a sharp-shooter, came in close proximity, when there would be an involuntary seeking of cover. The officers and men lay in their trenches and slight splinter-proofs for twenty-four hours, when they were relieved by a new detail."On the 29th of August the entire brigade was transferred to Morris Island. On the 31st, a Lieutenant and forty men of the 104th Regiment, were required for fatigue duty with the engineers on the advance trenches. Lieutenant Laughlin led the detail from the One Hundred and Fourth, which was composed of volunteers from: Companies A and C, and, of these, one was killed and six wounded.
On the following day the regiment was required to take the place of one of the three chosen regiments to occupy the advance trenches. During the tour of duty it had one killed and five wounded. Details were furnished from the One Hundred and Fourth for duty in the boat infantry, which was employed in patrolling the creeks and rivers, and the waters adjacent to the islands now occupied by the Union troops. The enemy employed similar troops, and between them were frequent collisions.
Details were also made to man and take charge of Requa batteries, used in connection with the boat infantry. These batteries consisted of twenty-five rifle gun barrels mounted on a pintle in the stern of the boat, provided with metallic cartridges, and so arranged that they could all be discharged by a single cap. The whole could thus be discharged twelve times a minute, and were effective at close range.
The fifth and last parallel had finally been completed, and preparations were made for another assault upon Fort Wagner. The troops selected for this duty were Stevenson's and Davis' Brigades, and the Ninety-seventh Pennsylvania and Third New Hampshire regiments, in all about three thousand men, the two latter regiments to form a storming party. Remembering the fate of those who had made the previous assault, the men went about the preparations for it with the full consciousness that their return alive was involved in much doubt. They wrote letters to their friends at home; they left valuables with their comrades with instructions for their disposition, and nerved themselves to meet the worst heroically. At the appointed hour they entered the works and made their way to the front; but as they passed facing the rumor spread that the fort had been evacuated. A volunteer sent out to verify the report, soon returned declaring the enemy's works abandoned, and three thousand heavy hearts beat light again.
No sooner was Morris Island in possession of the Union forces, than the work was commenced of putting it in a complete state of defence. The One Hundred and Fourth participated in this arduous and dangerous work. Portions of Companies D and F were at the front on the night of the 21st of September, and while there, off duty, and asleep in the bomb-proof at battery Gregg, a shell from James Island entered and burst among them. Seven men were wounded, two mortally.
On the 17th of November the batteries for heavy guns were so far completed that five were opened upon the city of Charleston. From this time forward during the winter and spring, the firing was continued with tolerable regularity.
On the 2d of December a detachment of thirty-five drafted men was received into the regiment. Of the original members of the command one hundred and ten re-enlisted for a second term of three years. On the 16th of January, 1864, two hundred and eighty-nine more recruits were received.
From January 17th, to April 20th, Colonel Davis was in command of all the troops on Morris Island, Lieutenant Colonel Hart holding command of the brigade, and Captains Harvey and Corcoran of the regiment. About the middle of April the Tenth Corps was ordered to Fortress Monroe, to reinforce the Army of the James, and on the 26th Colonel Davis was placed in command of the Middle District of South Carolina, extending along the coast from Saint Helena Sound to the mouth of the Savannah River. The One Hundred and Fourth and Fifty-second of his brigade were left with him. The regiment remained on duty here, the companies at times widely scattered, until near the close of June, when General Foster received instructions to attack Charleston with all his disposable force. This movement was ordered for the double purpose of diverting the attention of the enemy from Sherman, who was marching on Atlanta, and to prevent the sending of reinforcements to Lee at Richmond. The attack was to be made by four separate columns.
The One Hundred and Fourth embarked on the morning of the 1st of July and ran up to North Edisto, where it landed and moved with the column of General Iatch, which consisted of Saxton's and Davis' brigades. While on the march Surgeon Robinson mistook his way, and becoming separated from the command, fell into the hands of the enemy. On the morning of the 6th, while out upon the front reconnoitering, Colonel Davis was wounded by the fragment of a shell, losing the fingers of his right hand.
At four o'clock on the morning of the 9th, the enemy attacked with great determination and drove in the pickets. He rushed on towards the bridge with reckless impetuosity. When within one hundred yards the artillery, which he had not discovered, opened with grape and canister with terrible effect. His advance was checked, but immediately deploying in the wood on either side of the road, commenced a general attack. The action lasted two hours, when he retired repulsed at all points. The loss in the regiment in the operations upon the island was one officer, Lieutenant Philip Burke killed, and two officers and nine men wounded. Lieutenant Burke was on duty on the picket line, and being observed on account of his activity in rallying his men, a rebel sharp-shooter mounted a bank opposite and taking deliberate aim shot him through the head. That night the island was evacuated, and the forces were all recalled, the attempt to capture Charleston resulting, as all previous ones had, in failure. The regiment now returned to its old camp at Hilton Head, where it was engaged in garrison and fatigue duty.
Towards the close of July it was ordered to Florida, and was posted for guard along the line of railroad from Jacksonville to Baldwin, where it remained about a month, when with other regiments it was sent north. It landed at Alexandria, Virginia, and was assigned to duty in the fortifications on the south side of the Potomac, where it remained until its term of enlistment expired.
Preparatory to the muster out, the veterans and recruits were organized in a battalion of five companies under command of Lieutenant Colonel Hart. The rest of the regiment left Washington on the 23d of September and arrived at Philadelphia on the 25th, where it was quartered at the Volunteer Refreshment Saloon. On the 27th the city authorities gave it a formal reception, when it paraded on the principal streets, and on the 30th it was mustered out of service.
The battalion under Colonel Hart, moved from Washington to Harper's Ferry, whence, with the brigade of Colonel Heine, it was dispatched to escort a train of six hundred wagons to Sheridan's Army at Harrisonburg. As the army fell back towards Winchester, Heine's Brigade guarded the pass through the mountains near Front Royal. It was subsequently detached and placed in charge of a train destined for Martinsburg. While at the latter place loading the train, occurred the battle of Cedar Mountain, the roar of the artillery being distinctly heard. A detachment which had come up after the train had left, in number about equal to a company, participated in the battle under Captain Kephart, having five wounded.
About the first of November a brigade, of which Hart's Battalion formed part, was ordered to Philadelphia, where it remained until after the general election. It then returned to Winchester, where, soon after its arrival Lieutenant Colonel Hart was mustered out, his term having expired, and Captain Kephart, who was afterwards promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, took command.
On the 22d of November, Heine's Brigade was ordered to join the Army of the Potomac, and was stationed on its arrival on the Bermuda front on the centre of the line between the Appomattox and the James. Here it remained during the winter, and participated in the dangers and hardships incident to the siege. Early in the spring of 1865, five new companies were added, bringing the battalion up to the full strength of a regiment, of which Lieutenant Colonel Kephart was commissioned Colonel, Captain J. M'Donald Laughlin, Lieutenant Colonel, and Captain T. B.. Scarborough, Major.
In the assault upon the works in front of Petersburg, on the 3d and 4th of April, the regiment participated, and upon the rout of the rebel army, followed in pursuit as far as Chesterfield Station. From this point it returned to Petersburg, where it remained on duty until the 20th of April, when it was ordered to Fortress Monroe, and, after a halt of four days, to Norfolk. Here it was attached to the command of General Gordon, and was engaged in guarding the forts and harbor-prison, and in provost duty in the town. Subsequently Colonel Kephart, with a part of his regiment, was ordered to duty at Portsmouth, where on the 25th of August it was finally mustered out.
During the last year of its service, by a system of economy in the management of the bakery of the regiment. there had accumulated a fund of nearly two thousand dollars. Before leaving Washington, in September, 1864, to return home and receive their discharge, by a vote of the enlisted men, to whom the fund belonged, and by the consent of the Secretary of War, a council of administration, of whom Colonel Davis was at the head, was authorized to appropriate sixteen hundred dollars of this fund for the erection of a monument to the memory of those who had fallen. This monument3 has since been erected in the public square at Doylestown, and was dedicated with appropriate ceremonies on the 30th of May, 1868, on which occasion Major General William H. Emory delivered a commemorative address.
1A history of the One Hundred and Fourth Regiment, by Colonel W. W. H. Davis. is printed by James B. Rogers, from which, by permission of the author, most of the facts embraced in this record are drawn.
2 Organization of the First Brigade, General Naglee; Third Division, General Casey; Fourth Corps, General Keyes: One Hundred and Fourth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel W. W. H. Davis; Fifty-second Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel John C. Dodge, Jr.; Fifty-sixth Regiment New York Volunteers, Colonel Charles H. Van Wyck; Eleventh Regiment Maine Volunteers, Colonel John C. Caldwell; One Hundredth Regiment New York Volunteers, Colonel James M. Brown
3 "The design is chaste and beautiful, with sufficient ornamentation to make it attractive. The proportions are as nearly as may be to those of Cleopatra's Needle. Its height is thirty four feet from the ground. The base is nine feet square at the surface, and six feet at the height of three feet. The first block above the base is Maine Granite, six feet square and two feet thick. and weighs twelve thousand pounds. All above this is American White marble. The shaft is nineteen feet long, in one block. The inscription is brief. On the obverse of the die is a large bronze shield with raised figures in gilt, 104. On the reverse is the date, 1867. On the west front, Their good swords rust, And their steeds are dust, But their souls are with the saints, we trust. On the east front is the following inscription: To the memory of the officers and men of the 104th Pennsylvania Regiment who fell in the late war. On the shaft is cut the names of battles in which the regiment participated, running around it from top to bottom, like a wreath, beginning with Yorktown and ending with Richmond, Virginia. ŚNewspaper.Source: Bates, Samuel P. History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-65, Harrisburg, 1868-1871.
Organization:Organized at Doylestown September 20 to October 16, 1861.
Left State for Washington, D.C., November 6, 1861.
Attached to Casey's Division to March, 1862.
1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 4th Army Corps, Army Potomac, to June. 1862.
1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 4th Army Corps, to December, 1862.
Naglee's Brigade, Dept. of North Carolina, to January, 1863.
2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, 18th Army Corps, Dept. of North Carolina, to February, 1863.
2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 18th Army Corps, Dept. of the South, to April, 1863.
District of Beaufort, S.C., 10th Army Corps, to July, 1863.
2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 10th Army Corps, Dept. South, July, 1863.
Davis' Brigade, Folly Island, S.C., 10th Corps, to August, 1863.
5th Brigade, Morris Island, S.C., 10th Corps, to November, 1863.
2nd Brigade, Morris Island, S.C., 10th Corps, to April, 1864.
District of Hilton Head, S.C., Dept. South, to June, 1864.
Morris Island, Northern District, Dept. South, to July, 1864.
District of Florida, Dept. South, to August, 1864.
Defences of Washington, 22nd Corps, South of the Potomac, to September, 1864.
Train Guard, Army Shenandoah, Middle Military Division, to November, 1864.
1st Brigade, Defences Bermuda Hundred, Va., Dept. Virginia and North Carolina, to April, 1865.
Norfolk and Portsmouth, Va., Dept. Virginia, to August, 1865
Service:Duty in the Defences of Washington till March, 1862.
Advance on Manassas, Va., March 10-15.
Moved to the Peninsula March 28.
Siege of Yorktown April 5-May 4.
Battle of Williamsburg May 5.
Operations about Bottom's Bridge May 20-23.
Reconnaissance to Seven Pines May 24-27.
Skirmishes at Seven Pines, Savage Station and Chickahominy May 24.
Battle of Fair Oaks or Seven Pines May 31-June 1.
Seven days before Richmond June 25-July 1.
Bottom's Bridge June 28-29.
White Oak Swamp June 30.
Malvern Hill July 1.
At Harrison's Landing till August 15.
Moved to Yorktown August 16-23, and duty there till December 28.
Gloucester Point November 16.
Expedition to Matthews County December 11-15.
Moved to Morehead City, N. C., December 28-January 1, 1863,
thence to Port Royal Harbor, S.C., January 28-31.
Moved to St. Helena Island, S.C., February 10, and duty there till April 4.
Expedition against Charleston, S. C, April 4-12.
Duty at Beaufort, S.C., till July.
Expedition to James Island, S.C., July 9-16.
Battle of Secessionville. James Island, July 16.
Moved to Folly and Morris Island, S.C., July 16-18.
Assault on Fort Wagner, Morris Island, July 18.
Siege of Fort Wagner July 18-September 7, and operations against
Fort Sumter and Charleston from Morris and Folly Islands till June, 1864.
Reconnaissance to Dafuskie Island May 11, 1864.
Expedition to John's Island July 2-10.
Operations against Battery Pringle July 4-9.
Boudren's Causeway, James Island, July 9.
At Hilton Head, S. C., till July and in Florida till August.
Ordered to Washington, D.C., and duty in the Defences south of the Potomac to September.
Moved to Harper's Ferry, W. Va., and
duty escorting trains to Sheridan's army till November.
Moved to Bermuda Hundred, Va., November 22.
Siege operations against Petersburg and Richmond December, 1864. to April, 1865.
Fall of Petersburg April 2.
Duty there till April 20.
Moved to Norfolk, Va., April 20-24, and duty there till August.
Mustered out August 25, 1865.
Losses:Regiment lost during service:
2 Officers and 68 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and
115 Enlisted men by disease.
Total 185.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
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