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 servedas Captain in the Twenty-fifth Regiment, three months' service, receivedauthority to recruit a regiment of infantry, and a six gun battery. Recruiting was immediately commenced, and a camp of rendezvous and instructionestablished near Doylestown. To hasten the work, public meetings were held,at one of which, at Addisville, six thousand persons were estimated to havebeen 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 inNovember the regiment was reported for duty with eleven hundred and thirty-five officers and men. With the exception of one company, nearly the entireregiment was recruited in Bucks county. The following were the field officers:On the 21st of October, a silk flag, a present from patrioticladies of Doylestown, and the State colors, were presented to the regiment,in the presence of a great concourse of citizens, by Governor Curtin. At theconclusion of the ceremony the Rev. Dr. Andrews presented, in behalf of theBucks County Bible Society, to each officer and man a copy of the New Testament. Citizens freely contributed such articles as were necessary to thehealth 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, andsoon after its arrival went into camp just back of Georgetown. It was hereassigned to a provisional brigade, which was commanded by Colonel Davis.In December, the small-pox and typhoid fever broke out in camp, but owingto 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, andwere known as the Carver General Hospital.
On the 18th of February, upona call for ten men from each regiment for service upon gun-boats on thewestern rivers, that number was selected from a much larger number whovolunteered. These men never returned to the command. Three of themwere killed by the explosion of the boilers of the Mound City, while in action1on the White River, and one other died of disease.
On the 1st of March, theOne Hundred and Fourth, Tidbal's Battery, and a company of Rushes Lancers, all under command of Colonel Davis, were detailed as escort at thefuneral of General Lander, which took place from the residence of JudgeChase. The weather during the winter was unfavorable to drill, but therewas 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 permitbrigade drill was commenced, and practiced regularly twice a day.
On the 29th of March, in obedience to orders the brigade broke camp, andembarking upon transports moved to Fortress Monroe. For several days itwas encamped in a peach orchard near the ruins of the little village of Hampton. In the siege of Yorktown which soon opened, Keyes' Corps occupiedthe 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 subsequentlyremoved to a grove of small pines on a dry sandy ridge. Fatigue and picketduty was very severe, a corduroy road to Cheeseman's Landing, needed fortransportation of supplies, proving a work of great labor. In these duties theregiment was actively employed, bearing its full share of the burdens.
Onthe 23d of April, Colonel Davis was relieved of the command of the brigade2by General Henry M. Naglee. On the 28th a reconnaissance was made by thebrigade towards Lee's Mills, which showed that the enemy was still in forcein front. A skirmisher of the Eleventh Maine was mortally wounded.
Whenthe siege works were completed, the heavy guns mounted, and all thingsnearly 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 hisown regiment, two pieces of artillery, and a squadron of regular cavalry, wasordered to make a reconnaissance towards Grove's Wharf, on the James.
Notraces of the enemy were found, and returning, Colonel Davis joined in themovement 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 CheesecakeChurch, where it had gone into bivouac, being prevented from advancing further by the interposition of General Heintzelman.
At noon on Monday wordwas brought that Hooker was hotly engaged, and in need of support. Thebrigade was immediately ordered forward, but before reaching the field, wasmet 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 afatiguing march out of its way, and did not reach the position designed to beoccupied until too late to be engaged.By toilsome marches the brigade finally reached the neighborhood of theChickahominy on the 19th of June. On the evening of that day, Colonel Davis with his own, and detachments of the Eleventh Maine, and Fifty-secondPennsylvania, was ordered to make a reconnaissance to Bottom's Bridge.The enemy was found occupying the opposite bank, and as Davis advancedfired 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 strengthand position being developed, the command returned to camp, with the loss ofone wounded.
Again on the 21st, the regiment moved down with the corpsnear 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 tothe bridge. He was there met by General Keyes, who ordered him to crossand 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 wasthrown forward as pickets, and the rest divided and posted so as to commandand enfilade the road where it debouched into the bottom. There was no alarmduring 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 telegraphedorders for a reconnaissance towards Seven Pines. Naglee's Brigade was selected for this duty. The One Hundred and Fourth led the advance. Justbeyond 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, theFifty-second Pennsylvania on the right, and skirmishers thrown forward.The skirmishers of the former regiment under Major Gries, companies A andF, 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 tofollow up his advantage, when he received orders to stay the pursuit lest itshould bring on a general engagement. The loss in the regiment was onekilled and four wounded.
Corporal Thompson, of Company D, was hit by arifle ball and mortally wounded. Stepping out of the ranks he leaned hisrifle against a tree, and said to his comrades,' Boys, I am done for, but youstand up to it." After suffering for eighteen months he died in hospital atNewbern, North Carolina.
On the 26th the reconnaissance towards Richmond was continued, the OneHundred and Fourth, with Davis' Riflemen of the Fifty-second, leading. Thepickets 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 movedover to the Nine Mile Road, a quarter of a mile further to the right, andCasey'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 linehe commenced fortifying on either side of the Williamsburg Road, and thetroops were kept hard at work strengthening the position, down to the momentthat they were attacked. General Naglee, with a strong detail, was engagedin building a bridge across the Chickahominy, opposite the place where General Sumner lay, at the time called Grapevine Bridge, subsequently known asWoodbury Bridge. Kearny's Division was stretched along the Richmondand 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 watchthe 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 underthe immediate command of General Johnston, having gained his position, firedthree shells as a signal for the battle to begin, and an hour later he commenceddriving in the Union pickets. Upon the first indication of a real attack, theOne Hundred and Fourth was hurried to the support of Spratt's Battery, andwas 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 infront, within easy range, marked the opening of the battle by the infantry,which soon became general along the entire line. A movement of the enemyupon the right, where the line of the regiment rested on the wood, beingobserved, Companies A and B were pushed forward in that direction to meetand prevent it. The enemy soon came out into an open field bearing a whiteflag with a black square in the centre. This was at first mistaken for a flagof truce, but the fire, which for an instant slackened, was renewed, and hesoon 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 heroicallymaintained its ground; but the enemy in increasing numbers now began topress upon front and flank, and it was apparent that unless help soon came itmust 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 wormfence which had not been observed was passed, and on reaching the clearedground, a line was formed and a rapid and telling fire opened. This boldmovement had the desired effect. The enemy, not knowing what force mightbe moving in support, was staggered and checked. The regiment was nowfighting alone, in advance of the main line of battle, and it was evident thatunless aid soon came it would be swallowed up by the forces of the enemyswarming around it. Lieutenant Ashenfelter was sent to General Casey forsupports, which were promised. But none came, and finally, after havingbeen 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 fenceand planted in the ground upon the line. As the men went back one of thesewas left standing. Major Gries, and Sergeants Myers and Purcell sprang forward to rescue it, when the Major received his mortal wound; but the flag wassaved and both brought off in safety.
Company F was on picket when thebattle opened, and when it became necessary for it to fall back, joined theFifty-sixth New York, with which it did efficient service. Company E wasalso on picket between the Nine Mile Road and the railroad. In the progressof the fight it was flanked and completely cut off by a rebel brigade. Lieutenant Crowell and fifty-three men were captured. After retiring, the portionof the regiment remaining, was re-formed in the neighborhood of its camp,where the Twenty-third Pennsylvania was found in position, and with thatregiment 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, amile in rear of where the battle begun. The fighting was now over, and itwas 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-onecaptured, an aggregate of two hundred and thirty-seven. Lieutenant E. SayresM'Dowell was killed, and Colonel Davis, Major Gries, Captains Corcoran andSwaytzllandle, Lieutenant Ashenfelter, and Quartermaster Hendrie werewounded, Major Gries mortally. Chap!ain Gries remained upon the field, andwas zealous in his attentions to the wounded,The fighting on the following morning was slight, and did not reach the position occupied by the OneHundred and Fourth.
On the 4th of June the entire division was ordered back to the neighborhood of Bottom's Bridge, wherethe troops were immediately set to work repairing the bridge and throwing upearthworks for the protection of the river crossing. While here, LieutenantColonel Nields, who had been absent on account of disability from sun stroke.returned and assumed command, relieving Captain Rogers. On the 17th ofJune, immediately after the raid of Stuart in rear of the army, in which thatbold rider reached Tunstall's Station, the regiment crossed the river and wasposted 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. Towardsevening the stragglers from the field began to arrive, and by dark the roadswere crowded. With the assistance of a picket detachment of the EighthCavalry, the stragglers were halted, and on the following morning to the number of fifteen hundred, were conducted to Savage Station. and turned over tothe commanding officer.
On the afternoon of the 27th, the regiment was employed in loading stores upon a tram, which was sent to Savage Station, andon 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 trainsand the heavy columns of the army could get well on their way. The enemywas 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 thebridge,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 pointwithin less than a thousand yards. His guns were, however, soon silencedby our batteries, and his infantry driven back to the timber in the rear. Onthe 29th large bodies of the enemy made their appearance, but were kept atbay by the admirable dispositions made to receive them. In the meantimehaving forced and repaired the upper bridges, he had crossed, and was givingbattle at Allen's Farm and Savage Station.
Finally at seven o'clock in theafternoon of the 29th, a train loaded with powder and fixed ammunition wasfired and run at full speed towards the river, the bridge across which havingpreviously been destroyed. As it went over the embankment it explodedwith a fearful crash, and the brigade was quickly withdrawn. The OneHundred and Fourth was ordered to bring up the rear.
At White Oak Creek crossing the brigade was again drawn up to disputethe passage, and was attached to General Smith's Division of Franklin's Corps.Scarcely had the engineers destroyed the bridge, when the enemy arrivedand posting powerful batteries in a commanding position on the left bank, opened a heavy cannonade which was answered aswarmly, and the duel waskept up with effect until dark. Soon after nightfall Franklin silently withdrew, leaving Naglee's Brigade and two pieces of artillery, which were orderedto 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 thefollowing 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 curvedback and rested on the river. It was in reserve during the engagement, andwas not called into action.
From Malvern Hill the army retired to Harrison's Landing, the One Hundred and Fourth arriving on the morning of thethird.The first morning report after reaching the Landing showed twenty officers,and four hundred and thirty-three men present. On the 31st of July ColonelDavis, though not entirely recovered from his wounds received at Fair Oaks,re-joined the regiment, and resumed command. Lieutenant Colonel Neildshad resigned a few days before on account of disability. Adjutant ThompsonD. 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. ColonelDavis with his own, the One Hundredth New York, and Mink's Battery of fourthree-inch rifled guns was sent to occupy Gloucester Point. The fort at thisplace, which had been built by the enemy, was a regular pentagon, and verylarge, being a mile around by the exterior slope. It occupied nearly thesite of the old revolutionary works erected by the British in 1781. Thetroops were immediately put to work repairing it, and for three monthswere kept busily employed. With the exception of an occasional reconnaissance, little of importance occurred todisturb the quiet and comfort of thecamp. Fish and oysters were abundant, the quarters were pleasantly located, and the climate salubrious.
On the 26th of September, the prisonerscaptured at Fair Oaks, forty-seven in number, returned to the regiment, anda month later sixteen recruits were received. In an encounter, at a littlepast midnight of the 16th of November, with the enemy's cavalry near Hook'sStore, by Lieutenant Markley with seven men, scouts from a party of twocompanies dispatched to intercept him, one of the party was killed and threewere wounded. The enemy then charged upon and captured the remainingthree men, and rode off in the direction of Richmond. Hook's Store was ordered to be burned, and mills in the neighborhood of thedisaster were takenpossession of for the use of the government. Presuming that the commandwould occupy this camp during the winter, wood was cut and brought insidethe 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 officersand 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 commandof a division of the Eighteenth Corps, and Colonel Davis of the brigade, thecorps was transferred to Hilton Head, South Carolina, designed to act, in conjunction with the forces already there, against Charleston.
Before leavingBeaufort Harbor, a, battalion of sharp-shooters was organized from the brigade,two officers, twelve sergeants and corporals, and fifty privates being detailedfrom each regiment. Captain Groff and Lieutenant Hibbs were detailed fromthe 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 incamp on Saint Helena Island.
On the 5th of April, 1863, three divisions of infantry were embarked for a co-operative movement against Charleston, andmoved up to Edisto Island; but before Heckman's Division, to which the OneHundred and Fourth belonged, had debarked, the attack by the fleet was at anend, and the land forces returned for the most part to their previous encampments, Davis' Brigade being sent to Beaufort. The camp of the regiment washere delightfully located, and, with the exception of occasional detachments sentout 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 andH, 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 assumedcommand of the department, relieving General Hunter. He at once visitedFolly Island, contiguous to Morris Island, on which troops had been retainedsince 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 3dof July the fortifications were completed. At three o'clock on the morning ofthe 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 landforces were concentrating.
The main attack, which had been fixed for the10th, was to be made upon Morris Island, from the batteries which had beenconstructed 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 Islandto demonstrate upon the approaches to Charleston by way of Secessionville.This force, of which Davis' Brigade formed part, was placed under commandof General Alfred H. Terry.
On the afternoon of the 9th, Davis movedup 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 couldbe reached. The bridge was possessed without opposition, but in posting hispickets, Captain Groff aroused a rebel party who fired a volley upon thebridge, on which were General Terry, Colonel Davis, and Major Rogers, whichwas replied to, but the fire soon subsided without assault. When it was lightenough to discern objects, the command advanced. Soon the sound of theheavy guns of Gilmore, in the attack on Morris Island, were heard, and beforenight it was announced that he had been successful and was in possession ofthe southern part of the island, the demonstration of Terry having answeredwell its purpose, causing the enemy to divide his forces, and to believe thatthe latter was the main attack.
To clear James Island of the Union forces, which required him to keephis own forces divided, the enemy came out on the morning of the 16th inheavy 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 theway of retreat. At the same time he attacked with spirit the pickets of theUnion right. The Pawnee was aground, and for nearly an hour was at themercy of the enemy, but fortunately was not injured.
In the meantime thetroops 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 deliverher broadsides, and fortunately during the night the John Adams had come upa creek on the Union right, and at the critical moment poured in rapid roundsfrom her thirty-pounder Parrott. The enemy was repulsed, and retreatedrapidly 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 utilityor success, and it was decided to withdraw from James Island. With muchfatigue this was accomplished, and the division returned to Folly Island whereDavis' Brigade was left, Stevenson's and Montgomery's being transferredon the following day to Morris Island.
By the withdrawal of troops for theassault on Fort Wagner, which was made on the 18th, Colonel Davis wasleft, with about two thousand troops, in command on Folly Island. The failureto take Wagner by assault rendered a siege necessary, and the work was immediatelybegun. The troops on Folly Island, in addition to guarding theapproaches, furnished fire-wood for the troops in the trenches, and suppliedthe engineers with all the timber necessary to construct batteries, magazines,stockades, and for other purposes.
On the 3d of August the first detail wasmade from the brigade for duty in the trenches, which consisted of four hundred and seventy-five men under a field officer, and from that timeforward,while the siege lasted, heavy details for duty in the trenches, and for guardand fatigue duty, were finished in addition to the large amount of laborperformed on Folly Island."On the evening of the 22d of August" says Colonel Davis in his historyof 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 trenchesat 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 intermediateparallels and batteries as they went up. In some places the trenches weredeep enough to afford protection when walking upright, while in other partsthey had to stoop to get cover. Up to the second parallel there were splinterproofs to protect the men from the fragments of bursting shells, but above thatthere 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, whenthere would be an involuntary seeking of cover. The officers and men layin their trenches and slight splinter-proofs for twenty-four hours, when theywere relieved by a new detail."On the 29th of August the entire brigadewas transferred to Morris Island. On the 31st, a Lieutenant and forty men of the104th Regiment,were required for fatigue duty with the engineers on the advance trenches.Lieutenant Laughlin led the detail from the One Hundred and Fourth, whichwas composed of volunteers from: Companies A and C, and, of these, one waskilled and six wounded.
On the following day the regiment was required totake the place of one of the three chosen regiments to occupy the advancetrenches. During the tour of duty it had one killed and five wounded.Details were furnished from the One Hundred and Fourth for duty in theboat infantry, which was employed in patrolling the creeks and rivers, andthe waters adjacent to the islands now occupied by the Union troops. Theenemy employed similar troops, and between them were frequent collisions.
Details were also made to man and take charge of Requa batteries, used inconnection with the boat infantry. These batteries consisted of twenty-fiverifle gun barrels mounted on a pintle in the stern of the boat, provided with metalliccartridges, and so arranged that they could all be discharged by asingle cap. The whole could thus be discharged twelve times a minute, andwere effective at close range.
The fifth and last parallel had finally been completed, and preparationswere made for another assault upon Fort Wagner. The troops selected forthis duty were Stevenson's and Davis' Brigades, and the Ninety-seventh Pennsylvania and Third New Hampshireregiments, in all about three thousandmen, the two latter regiments to form a storming party. Remembering thefate of those who had made the previous assault, the men went about thepreparations for it with the full consciousness that their return alive was involved in much doubt. They wrote letters to their friends at home; they leftvaluables with their comrades with instructions for their disposition, andnerved themselves to meet the worst heroically. At the appointed hour theyentered the works and made their way to the front; but as they passed facingthe rumor spread that the fort had been evacuated. A volunteer sent out toverify the report, soon returned declaring the enemy's works abandoned, andthree thousand heavy hearts beat light again.
No sooner was Morris Island in possession of the Union forces, than thework was commenced of putting it in a complete state of defence. The OneHundred and Fourth participated in this arduous and dangerous work. Portions ofCompanies D and F were at the front on the night of the 21st of September, and whilethere, off duty, and asleep in the bomb-proof at batteryGregg, a shell from James Island entered and burst among them. Seven menwere wounded, two mortally.
On the 17th of November the batteries for heavyguns 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 continuedwith tolerable regularity.
On the 2d of December a detachment of thirty-fivedrafted men was received into the regiment. Of the original members of thecommand 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 recruitswere received.
From January 17th, to April 20th, Colonel Davis was in command of all the troops on Morris Island, Lieutenant Colonel Hart holdingcommand 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 wasplaced in command of the Middle District of South Carolina, extending alongthe coast from Saint Helena Sound to the mouth of the Savannah River. TheOne 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 orderedfor the double purpose of diverting the attention of the enemy from Sherman,who was marching on Atlanta, and to prevent the sending of reinforcementsto 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 Julyand ran up to North Edisto, where it landed and moved with the column ofGeneral Iatch, which consisted of Saxton's and Davis' brigades. While onthe march Surgeon Robinson mistook his way, and becoming separated fromthe 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 thefragment of a shell, losing the fingers of his right hand.
At four o'clock onthe morning of the 9th, the enemy attacked with great determination anddrove 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 advancewas checked, but immediately deploying in the wood on either side of the road,commenced a general attack. The action lasted two hours, when he retiredrepulsed at all points. The loss in the regiment in the operations uponthe island was one officer, Lieutenant Philip Burke killed, and two officersand 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 rebelsharp-shooter mounted a bank opposite and taking deliberate aim shot himthrough the head. That night the island was evacuated, and the forces wereall recalled, the attempt to capture Charleston resulting, as all previous oneshad, in failure.The regiment now returned to its old camp at Hilton Head, where it wasengaged 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 fromJacksonville to Baldwin, where it remained about a month, when with otherregiments 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 itremained until its term of enlistment expired.
Preparatory to the muster out,the veterans and recruits were organized in a battalion of five companiesunder command of Lieutenant Colonel Hart. The rest of the regiment leftWashington on the 23d of September and arrived at Philadelphia on the 25th,where it was quartered at the Volunteer Refreshment Saloon. On the 27ththe 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'sFerry, whence, with the brigade of Colonel Heine, it was dispatched to escorta train of six hundred wagons to Sheridan's Army at Harrisonburg. As thearmy fell back towards Winchester, Heine's Brigade guarded the pass throughthe mountains near Front Royal. It was subsequently detached and placed incharge of a train destined for Martinsburg. While at the latter place loadingthe train, occurred the battle of Cedar Mountain, the roar of the artillerybeing distinctly heard. A detachment which had come up after the trainhad left, in number about equal to a company, participated in the battle under Captain Kephart, having five wounded.
About the first of Novembera 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 musteredout, 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 Armyof the Potomac, and was stationed on its arrival on the Bermuda front on thecentre of the line between the Appomattox and the James. Here it remainedduring the winter, and participated in the dangers and hardships incident tothe 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 LieutenantColonel Kephart was commissioned Colonel, Captain J. M'Donald Laughlin,Lieutenant Colonel, and Captain T. B.. Scarborough, Major.
In the assault uponthe works in front of Petersburg, on the 3d and 4th of April, the regimentparticipated, and upon the rout of the rebel army, followed in pursuit as faras Chesterfield Station. From this point it returned to Petersburg, where itremained on duty until the 20th of April, when it was ordered to FortressMonroe, and, after a halt of four days, to Norfolk. Here it was attached tothe command of General Gordon, and was engaged in guarding the forts andharbor-prison, and in provost duty in the town. Subsequently Colonel Kephart, with a part of his regiment, was ordered to duty at Portsmouth, whereon the 25th of August it was finally mustered out.
During the last year ofits service, by a system of economy in the management of the bakery of theregiment. there had accumulated a fund of nearly two thousand dollars. Before leaving Washington, in September, 1864, to return home and receive theirdischarge, by a vote of the enlisted men, to whom the fund belonged, and bythe consent of the Secretary of War, a council of administration, of whom Colonel Davis was at the head, was authorized to appropriate sixteen hundreddollars of this fund for the erection of a monument to the memory of thosewho had fallen. This monument3 has since been erected in the public squareat Doylestown, and was dedicated with appropriate ceremonies on the 30th ofMay, 1868, on which occasion Major General William H. Emory delivered acommemorative address.
1A history of the One Hundred and Fourth Regiment, by Colonel W. W. H. Davis. isprinted 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; FourthCorps, General Keyes: One Hundred and Fourth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, ColonelW. W. H. Davis; Fifty-second Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel John C. Dodge,Jr.; Fifty-sixth Regiment New York Volunteers, Colonel Charles H. Van Wyck; EleventhRegiment Maine Volunteers, Colonel John C. Caldwell; One Hundredth Regiment New YorkVolunteers, 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 isthirty four feet from the ground. The base is nine feet square at the surface, and six feet at theheight of three feet. The first block above the base is Maine Granite, six feet square and twofeet 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 thedie 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 thelate war.On the shaft is cut the names of battles in which the regiment participated, running aroundit 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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