This regiment was organized, with the exception of company K, between the 14th of August and the 31st of October, 1861, in the city of Philadelphia. Company K was transferred to it from the Sixty-seventh Regiment on the 28th of February, 1862. A large proportion of officers and men had served in the Twenty-second Regiment, and previously in the Philadelphia Light Guard, a, militia organization of many years standing. The following were the field officers:Soon after moving to the front it was ordered to duty near Poolesville, Maryland, where it became part of a brigade1 commanded by Colonel E. D. Baker, of the Seventy-first Regiment. While in this position drill and instruction were carefully attended to, and guard and picket duty performed.
- Turner G. Morehead, Colonel
- William L. Curry, Lieutenant Colonel
- John H. Stover, of Centre county, Major
The battle of Ball's Bluff was fought on the 21st of October, in which Colonel Baker was killed, and his regiment terribly decimated. Early in the day the One Hundred and Sixth was marched to the support of the troops engaged; but for lack of means of transportation was unable to cross, the men compelled to stand upon the opposite shore, and listen with impatience to the sound of battle where their comrades were rapidly falling, without the ability to render them any assistance.
During the succeeding winter it lay with the brigade near Poolesville engaged in drill, and guard and picket duty. General William W. Burns succeeded Colonel Baker in command of the brigade, and on the 24th of February, the whole force broke camp and moved to Harper's Ferry. Two companies were left in command of Major Stover to garrison the place, while the army moved on towards Winchester. When arrived at Berryville the brigade turned back to Harper's Ferry, where it was joined by the detachment, and moving by rail to Washington, proceeded thence by transport to Fortress Monroe.
The regiment participated in the siege of Yorktown, being principally engaged upon picket duty and in the trenches. Upon the evacuation of Yorktown, it moved forward and while the fight at Williamsburg was in progress stood ten hours in line of battle, in a drenching rain, eager to go forward and join in the contest, the sound of which could be distinctly heard, but in vain awaited the order to advance.
On Wednesday, May 7th, the troops embarked upon transports and moved up to West Point, whence, after two days' delay, they marched to Brick House Landing. The movement up the Peninsula towards Richmond now commenced. The weather was unusually warm, and much difficulty was experienced in obtaining suitable water for the troops to drink. At almost any point water could be obtained by digging from three to five feet; but this was only surface water, and its evil effects soon began to be apparent. Fevers prevailed, and the sick list throughout the army became very large. The regiment suffered severely from this cause.
Battle of Fair OaksThe battle of Fair Oaks opened on the 31st of May. Sumner's Corps was resting at the time on the left bank of the Chickahominy; but as soon as the noise of the battle was borne to the ears of that intrepid leader, he put his columns in motion for the bridge, and when the order came for him to move, he was already on his way. With great difficulty could the artillery be got across, the river being swollen by recent rains. Kirby's Battery, by the most persistent efforts, was taken through the swamps, and finally brought into position where it dealt death and destruction upon the hitherto triumphant foe. Gorman's Brigade, and the Seventy-first and One Hundred and Sixth Pennsylvania, were posted for its support, and with great gallantry and steadiness held the ground against the most determined efforts of the enemy to capture the guns."Prisoners captured during the fight assert that Jeff. Davis was in the rear urging his myrmidons forward; and Magruder who was with him swore a fearful oath, 'That's my old battery, and I'm going to have it, alluding to Kirby's, which he, Magruder, formerly commanded'." 2On Sunday, June 9th, while advancing the picket line, the command was attacked by a superior force of the enemy, and for the moment was compelled to retire. In this encounter Captain Martin Frost, while gallantly leading at the head of his company, was killed. On the following day Lieutenant Colonel Curry, while visiting the picket post at early dawn, was taken prisoner, the pickets having fallen back during the night without his knowledge. He was taken to Richmond and thence sent via Petersburg to Salisbury, where, in company with General Michael Corcoran and Colbnel John K. Murphy, he experienced harsh treatment; but at the end of three months was exchanged.
"On Saturday, the 28th of June," says an officer of the regiment, "we received orders to strike tents as soon as darkness should hide our encampment from the view of the enemy. Our wing of the army had not participated in the disastrous battles of the preceding days. An order was read announcing victory on the day before. Our troops were buoyant in spirit, thinking we were breaking camp to move forward on the enemy. By eight o'clock the wagons were loaded and sent to the rear. The men, with knapsacks packed and haversacks well filled, were ordered to stack arms and rest in line. An hour passed-two hours-and yet no orders to march. At length at a little after dawn orders came-but to move to the rear."At Peach Orchard dispositions were made to meet the enemy, as though expected to pursue. The One Hundred and Sixth supported Kirby's Battery, but the enemy declining to attack directly, made some show of fight, while he moved his principal force past the front with the design of coming in upon the right flank. Divining this purpose, Sumner moved his force at double-quick to Savage Station and was ready for the onset The enemy approached on the Williamsburg Road and formed his line in the dense forest on either side. Major Stover was ordered to advance with two companies of the One Hundred and Sixth, and two of the Seventy-second, to the edge of the woods, and uncover the rebel front. Moving at double-quick, Stover soon struck the timber and drew the fire of the skirmishers, driving them back to the main line.
In the meantime, General Burns, forming his line with the Seventy-second on his right, the One Hundred and Sixth in centre, and the First Minnesota on the left, stretching fromt the forest and railroad to the Williamsburg Road, pushed forward upon the heels of the skirmishers, taking position at a fence at the edge of the woods, which he stubbornly held, though exposed to a severe fire of musketry and artillery, and gallantly repulsed most desperate charges of the enemy.
The action opened at five o'clock P. I., and lasted for two hours and a half, the enemy charging with desperation, and the right of the One Iundred and Sixth and the left of the Seventy-second at one time engaging in a desperate hand to hand struggle. At length the First Brigade, charging over the line of the Second, cleared the woods of the enemy, and the battle ended. "I found General Burns," says an eye witness of the fight, " stretched under a lofty pine, and his warriors were slumbering around him painfully. His eyes were hollow and bloodshot, his handsome features pale and thin, his beard and his clothing were clotted with blood, his face was bandaged, concealing a ragged and painful wound in his nether jaw. Grasping my hand, he said, 'My friend many of my poor fellows lie in those forests. It is terrible to leave them there. Blakeney is wounded, M'Gonigle is gone, and many will see us no more. We are hungry and exhausted, and the enemy-the forest is fill of people-are thundering at our heels. It is an awful affliction. We will fight them, feeble as we are-but with what hope!'"3
Picket lines were immediately established and the brigade held its position, the rest of the corps moving on across White Oak Swamp, the brigade bringing up the rear.
In the battle of Charles City Cross Roads, on the following day, the One Hundred and Sixth was ordered to the support of the Sixty-ninth, but just as it was moving, General Hooker in person ordered it to the extreme left, where during the entire engagement it acted with the Excelsior Brigade, and whatever of credit is due to that brigade on that sanguinary field is equally due to this regiment. The ground was held until the commands of Sumner and Kearny had retired over the Quaker Road, and until after daylight, when Hooker followed them.
In the battle of Malvern Hill, on the 1st of July, the brigade was principally employed in supporting batteries, and in moving to menaced parts of the field to insure the integrity of the lines. After the return of the army from the Peninsula, General Howard was assigned to the command of the brigade.
Battle of AntietamOn its arrival at Alexandria it was marched to the battle-field of Bull Run, but did not arrive in season to participate in the decisive part of the engagement. A reconnoissance was made by this brigade, which was followed by the retreat of the army to Centreville. In the Maryland campaign General Sumner, who was in command of the corps, arrived on the south bank of the Antietam Creek on the 16th of September, on the opposite side of which the enemy was in a well chosen position in readiness to give battle.
Soon after sunrise on the following morning, he crossed the stream and moved up to the support of Hooker who was now hotly engaged. In the advance, the regiment held a position on the right of the Sixty-ninth, and pushed steadily forward until its course was arrested at the crest, where the enemy was intrenched, and where he was at the moment receiving heavy reinforcements. Soon afterwards the troops upon the left gave way, and the brigade was forced to fall back. Major Stover, who was in command, rallied the regiment at a fence skirting a narrow meadow near the Dunker Church, and by a well directed fire succeeded in checking the enemy.
At this fence, in less than ten minutes time, one-third of the entire regiment was stricken down, and at the conclusion of the engagement the dead lay in line as they had stood in the fight. Captain Timothy Clark and Lieutenant William Bryan were among the killed.
Battle of FredericksburgIn the battle of Fredericksburg the division crossed the river soon after the laying of the pontoons, on the 11th of December, and two streets of the city were soon cleared. In the main battle which was fought on the 13th, the regiment was formed for a charge, with the Sixty-ninth on its right and the One Hundred and Twenty-seventh Pennsylvania on its left, and advanced under a terrific fire of artillery, to a position within about seventy-five yards of the enemy's works. From mid-day until night-fall, under a ceaseless fire from two lines of battle, it stood with a coolness and determination rarely paralleled, and though losing heavily, held the ground until darkness closed in upon the combatants, and the sound of battle died away.
Retiring after the battle to its former camp, it remained, with unimportant exceptions, until near the close of April. At the opening of the Chancellorsville campaign the brigade was taken to Banks' Ford, where it was employed in driving out the enemy and protecting the engineers while laying a pontoon bridge. It was afterwards engaged in guarding the reserve artillery. On Sunday, the 3d of May, the regiment crossed the river and advanced to the assistance of Sedgwick, in command of the Sixth Corps, who was struggling against overwhelming odds at Salem Church. Returning to the bridge, entrenchments were thrown up, and the position held until Sedgwick's Corps had crossed, when it returned again to camp.
Battle of GettysburgIn the battle of Gettysburg, which opened on the 1st of July, the One Hundred and Sixth bore a conspicuous part, arriving with the corps upon the field at a little after midnight of the 1st, and taking position on the extreme left of the brigade, behind the low stone wall on the right centre of the line, in front of, and to the left of General Meade's headquarters. The fighting commenced on the afternoon of the 2d, on the extreme left, where Sickles stood, but soon swept around until it enveloped the whole left wing of the army.
Fighting in the open field without defensive works, Sickles' men, though contesting the ground with a valor unsurpassed, were forced back, and line after line was crushed. While the conflict was thus raging on the left, the brigade was lying upon the ground in rear of the crest of the little hill which overlooked the field; but as the wave of battle rolled on towards the right, recognizing the danger to which the left wing was exposed, and seeing that there was a gap in the line to the left, General Webb, in command of the brigade, ordered it to march by the left flank, then by the right, and as it reached the crest, behold the enemy not sixty yards in front, marching on, elated by success, as to assured victory! "Fire! charge bayonets!! rang out from the voice of the commander. A crash as from a single piece was the response, and in the twinkling of an eye bayonets were fixed, and with a cheer that betokened the determination which fired each breast, the line went forward striking the enemy upon his extreme left flank, and hurling him back in dismay.
The One Hundred and Sixth and two companies of the Second New York, pursued the retreating foe as far as the Emmettsburg Road." Our regiment," says Lieutenant Colonel Curry, who was in command, and who was afterwards killed at Spottsylvania, in a letter to a friend, written on the field, "opened fire and charged so determinedly along with others, that we drove the enemy to their original lines, and would have spiked a six gun battery had we not been ordered back. The carnage was terrible, the ground being covered with the dead and wounded. It was in this charge that Adjutant Pleis fell, being struck in the thigh by a piece of shell. I have fully made up for my capture, (in June, 1862,) as the regiment took a Colonel, two Majors, a number of Captains and Lieutenants, and at least two hundred privates prisoners. We had more swords than we could use. I have one in place of the one taken from me at Richmond, and also a silver mounted pistol."The regiment returned to its place in the line, but was scarcely in position when it was ordered to the extreme right, where the Twelfth Corps was engaged. It did not arrive, however, until the fighting at that point had subsided, and soon after it was ordered to Cemetery Hill, to the support of the Eleventh Corps, where it went into position at ten P. M., on the right of the Baltimore Pike, near Ricketts' Battery, where it remained under the terrific cannonade of the following day, and until the close of the battle. It was among the first regiments to enter the town on the following day, and after advancing as skirmishers and reconnoitring, General Ames in command, finding the enemy still in force on the ridge beyond the town, returned again to its position on Cemetery Hill. Lieutenant William H. Smith was among the killed and Adjutant Pleis among the mortally wounded.
n In the campaign which followed in the valley of Virginia, the regiment shared with the brigade in the long marches and ceaseless vigilance required by the constant and sharp manceuvring of the enemy for an advantage, and in the action at Robertson's Tavern was actively engaged. After enduring great suffering from cold in attaining the position at Mine Run, and in fortifying the purposed line of battle, it withdrew with the army when offensive operations were abandoned, and went into winter-quarters near Stoneboro.
During the winter a portion of the regiment re-enlisted. On the 4th of April, 1864, Colonel Morehead resigned, and Major Stover was promoted to Colonel of the One Hundred and Eighty-fourth Pennsylvania; whereupon Captain John J. Sperry, of company A, was commissioned Major.
1864 The Wilderness CampaignOn the 3d of May the regiment broke camp, and after a severe march crossed the Rapidan, and arrived on the 5th on the Wilderness battle-ground. The fighting for three days in the tangled wiles of that ever memorable field was for the most part at close quarters, and very severe. From the Wilderness the regiment marched towards Spottsylvania Court House, but before reaching it encountered the enemy, and the contest was renewed. On the afternoon of the 11th the brigade withdrew from the breast-works in front of the Court House, and marched with the corps to the left of the line, where, at dawn of the 12th, Hancock led his columns upon the enemy's works. Delivered in strong force and at an unexpected hour, the charge was successful, the works being taken with numerous captives and guns.
The One Hundred and Sixth in this encounter suffered severely. Lieutenant Colonel Curry, in command, was mortally wounded, and Lieutenants Charles S. Schwartz and Joshua A. Gage were among the killed.
The regiment was held upon the front line, where constant skirmishing was kept up until the 18th, when another attempt was made to rout the enemy which proved unsuccessful. Again moving by the left fla,k, the corps encountered the enemy at the North Anna and again at Cold Harbor. In the engagement at the latter place, the brigade was ordered to charge and drive out the enemy from his intrenchments. The attempt was gallantly made, the line advancing boldly up the open ground in front of his fortifications under a terrific fire. The works were too strong to be carried, and dropping upon the ground the men remained in their advanced position until night, when they threw up a breast-work which they held. In this charge Lieutenant S. R. Townsend was among the killed.
Crossing the James River on the 14th, the regiment participated in the action before Petersburg, and a week later in a movement upon the Jerusalem Plank Road, in both of which it sustained considerable loss.
On the 27th of July the veterans and recruits were organized into a battalion of three companies, which was united for field service to the Sixty-ninth Pennsylvania. The remainder of the regiment was mustered out of service at the expiration of its term, at Philadelphia, on the 10th of September, 1864. The battalion remaining in the field participated in the actions at Ream's Station and Boydton Plank Road, and in the spring campaign which closed the rebellion. It was mustered out of service on the 30th of June, 1865.
1Organization of Philadelphia Brigade, Colonel E. D. Baker, Division commanded by Brigadier General Charles P. Stone, Army of General Banks: Seventy-first (California) Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel E. D. Baker; Seventy-second (Fire Zouaves) Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel De Witt C. Baxter; Sixty-ninth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel Joshua T. Owen; One Hundred and Sixth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel Turner G. Morehead.
2Moore's Rebellion Record, Vol. V, page 91, Does.
3Moore's Rebellion Record, Vol. V, page 245, Does.
Bates, Samuel P. History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-65, Harrisburg, 1868-1871.
Organization: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
Organized at Philadelphia August 14 to October 31, 1861.
Moved to Washington, D.C., November.
Attached to Baker's Brigade, Stone's (Sedgwick's) Division,
Army of the Potomac, to March, 1862.
2nd Brigade, 2nd Division. 2nd Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, to June, 1864.
3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, 2nd Army Corps, to June, 1865.
Service:Duty on Upper Potomac till March, 1862.
Moved to Virginia Peninsula March 24-April 1.
Siege of Yorktown April 5-May 4.
Moved to West Point May 7.
At Tyler's Farm till May 31.
Battle of Fair Oaks or Seven Pines, May 31-June 1.
Skirmish at Fair Oaks June 8.
Seven days before Richmond June 25-July 1.
Peach Orchard and Savage Station June 29.
Charles City Cross Roads and Glendale June 30.
Malvern Hill July 1.
At Harrison Landing till August 16.
Movement to Newport News, thence to Alexandria August 16-28,
and to Centreville August 28-30.
Cover Pope's retreat August 31-September 1, Chantilly September 1 (Reserve).
Maryland Campaign September 6-22.
Battle of Antietam September 16-17.
Moved to Harper's Ferry, W. Va.. September 22, and duty there till October 30.
Movement to Falmouth, Va., October 30-November 20.
Battle of Fredericksburg, Va., December 12-15.
Burnside's 2nd Campaign, "Mud March," January 20-24, 1863.
At Falmouth till April. Hartwood Church February 25.
Chancellorsville Campaign April 27-May 6.
Operations at Franklin's Crossing April 29-May 2.
Maryes Heights, Fredericksburg, May 3.
Salem Heights May 3-4.
Banks Ford May 4.
Gettysburg (Pa.) Campaign June 11-July 24.
Haymarket June 21 and 25.
Battle of Gettysburg July 1-3.
Pursuit of Lee July 5-24.
Advance from the Rappahannock to the Rapidan September 13-15.
Bristoe Campaign October 9-22.
Advance to line of the Rappahannock November 7-8
Mine Run Campaign November 26-December 2.
Payne's Farm November 27.
Demonstration on the Rapidan February 6-7, 1864.
Rapidan Campaign. May 4-June 12.
Battles of the Wilderness May 5-7.
Laurel Hill May 8. Spottsylvania May 8-12.
Po River May 10.
Spottsylvania Court House May 12-21.
Assault on the Salient May 12.
North Anna River May 23-26.
On line of the Pamunkey May 26-28.
Totopotomoy May 28-31.
Cold Harbor June 1-12.
Before Petersburg June 16-18.
Siege of Petersburg June 16, 1864, to April 2, 1865.
Jerusalem Plank Road June 22-23, 1864.
Demonstration on north side of the James at Deep Bottom July 27-29.
Deep Bottom July 27-28.
Mine Explosion, Petersburg, July 30.
Demonstration on north side of the James at Deep Bottom August 18-20.
Strawberry Plains, Deep Bottom, August 14-18.
Ream's Station August 25.
Boydton Plank Road, Hatcher's Run, October 27-28.
Dabney's Mills, Hatcher's Run, February 5-7, 1865.
Watkins' House, Petersburg, March 25.
Appomattox Campaign March 28-April 9.
Vaughan Road, near Hatcher's Run, March 29.
Crow's House March 31.
Fall of Petersburg April 2.
Sailor's Creek April 6.
High Bridge and Farmville April 7.
Appomattox Court House April 9.
Surrender of Lee and his army.
At Burkesville May 2.
March to Washington May 2-12.
Grand Review May 23.
Mustered out June 30, 1865.
Losses:Regiment lost during service:
9 Officers and 95 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and
1 Officer and 92 Enlisted men by disease.
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