Zouaves D' Afrique
© Alice J. Gayley, all rights reservedOn the 17th of August, 1861, a company recruited in the city of Philadelphia, known as the Zouaves D' Afrique, under the direction of Charles H. T. Collis, who had served in the Eighteenth Regiment for the Three Months' Campaign, was mustered into the United States Service. It had been raised at the instance of Major General Banks, who succeeded General Patterson in command of the forces on the upper Potomac, and was intended for his bodyguard. It was composed of a fine body of men, most of whom had seen service in European armies, or in militia companies of the city.
The officers wereImmediately after being mustered, it was ordered to Fort Delaware for garrison duty, and to prepare for active duty in the field. The uniform was that of the French Zouave D' Afrique, the material for which was purchased from the French Government.
- Charles H. T. Collis, Captain
- S. A. Barthoulot, First Lieutenant
- George Heimach, Second Lieutenant
After spending a month in drill and exercise at the Fort, it was ordered to report to General Banks, and visited Philadelphia on the way, where, on the 24th of September, a public exhibition of its drill was given at the Academy of Music, and was enthusiastically received, its fine military bearing being warmly praised.
On the following day, the company proceeded by rail to Frederick, Maryland, and thence marched to Darnestown, a distance of thirty-four miles in thirteen hours.
At a review of Banks' Division, on the 1st of October, it was assigned the right of the line, and was publicly complimented for its soldierly bearing by General Banks.
In the action at Ball's Bluff on the 21st, the company moved to Edwards' Ferry, to the support of General Stone, but was not called into action. On the 26th, it was sent to Muddy Branch, and on the 2d of December went into winter-quarters at Frederick.
On the 22d of February, it crossed the Potomac with Banks' Army, and marched with it to Winchester, where, on the 21st, it was assigned to Abercombie's Brigade. At the opening of April, it marched with the brigade to Warrenton Junction, and a few days later returned independently, and joined General Geary's command, at Rectortown, remaining with it until the middle of May, and then re-joining General Banks at Strasburg.
On the night of May 24th, Banks' outposts, at Front Royal, were attacked by Jackson's Corps, and driven in upon his main body at Strasburg. Captain Collis was sent to reconnoiter the enemy's position, and found him moving on the road to Winchester, to the Union left and rear. Upon this information, Banks, knowing the enemy's strength to be greatly superior to his own, ordered a retreat to Winchester.
The Zouaves were left to cover the rear, with orders to burn the bridge over Goose Creek, to the South of Middletown. They remained at the bridge until the whole of the Union army had passed, when, hearing the sound of battle in the direction of Winchester, and judging that Jackson's forces had passed the stream below, they moved rapidly towards Middletown, which was found to be occupied by the enemy in force. They were discovered as they approached, and a column of the enemy was at once sent out to attack and capture them; but taking shelter behind a stone wall, they opened a destructive fire. Feeble in numbers, the stand could be only temporary, and they were compelled to fallback, retiring to Strasburg, crossing the very bridge in making their escape which they had been ordered to destroy.
At the latter point, they were joined by a squadron of cavalry and a section of artillery, and again presented a bold front; but were ultimately driven, and directed their course towards Hancock, taking with them a train of over thirty wagons laden with quartermaster's stores. It was afterwards ascertained that this small company of but seventy-six muskets, had been engaging an entire brigade, and while its loss was but one wounded and one prisoner, the enemy had suffered severely in killed and wounded.
On arriving at the headquarters of General Banks, Captain Collis was complimented for the gallantry displayed by his command, and he was at once directed to recruit men for an entire Zouave Regiment. The company, now under command of Captain Barthoulot, who succeeded Captain Collis, remained with the army of Banks, and took part in the battle of Cedar Mountain, on the 9th of August, sustaining a loss of two killed and eleven wounded. Towards the close of the month, it was engaged in the battles of Bull Run, and Chantilly, and two weeks later in the battle of Antietam.
Returning to Philadelphia, Colonel Collis at once opened recruiting stations, and in the space of five weeks, the ranks of the nine new companies were full. On the 31st of August, these companies, eight hundred strong, proceeded to Washington, where the regiment was organized by the selection of the following field officers:The staff and line officers were largely taken from the original company.
- Charles H. T. Collis, Colonel
- Frederick F. Canada, Lieutenant Colonel
- Joseph S. Chandler, Major
Soon after its organization, it was ordered to duty at Fort Slocum, in the defences north of the Capital, and shortly afterwards, moved to join the army, then resting in Maryland. Upon its arrival at Poolesville, the order to march was countermanded, and it returned to Fort Slocum.
Two weeks later it was ordered to Arlington Heights, where, upon its arrival, it was assigned to Robinson's Brigade, 1 of Birney's, formerly Kearny's Division.
At the beginning of October, the division moved to Poolesville, where it joined Stoneman's Corps. With the army it crossed the Potomac, and moved in light marching order to Warrenton, crossing the right flank of the army, and from thence to Falmouth, where the corps was re-organized.
On the 13th of December, Franklin having crossed the Rappahannock below Fredericksburg with his own grand division, and a part of that of Hooker, attacked the enemy with a single division, the Pennsylvania Reserves, but finding it too weak to hold the ground, which it had gallantly won, ordered up Gibbon's, and Doubleday's divisions, and finally Birney's.
The division had moved from its camp on the 12th, up to the river bank opposite Franklin's Crossing, but it was not until the afternoon of the 13th, that the order for the division to cross, was given. Moving at quick step over the pontoons, it hastened forward to the support of the hard-pressed troops, and came at once under a raking fire of artillery.
The One Hundred and Fourteenth, with the Sixty-third Pennsylvania, was hurried to the defence of Randolph's and Livingston's batteries, and reached them just in time to save them from falling into the hands of the enemy. Holding the front line, these regiments suffered severely, the ground being hotly contested until dark. All night long the air was rent with the groans of the dying.
On the following morning, the enemy opened heavily with his artillery, but towards noon his fire slackened, and in the afternoon a truce was declared for the burial of the dead and the removal of the wounded. It remained upon the field until the night of the 15th, when it retired to its old camp across the river. The loss of the regiment in this engagement was twelve killed, seventeen wounded, and seventeen 2 captured. The Zouaves were highly commended for their gallantry in this engagement.
In Burnside's second campaign, which opened on the 20th of January, 1863, the Zouaves were selected to man the pontoons, and lay the bridge across the Rappahannock in face of the enemy in force on the opposite bank. The movement of the army was, however, interrupted with storms and impassable roads, and returning, the regiment went into camp near Potomac Creek.
On the 27th of April, the Chancellorsville Campaign opened, the corps breaking camp and moving for a diversion to Franklin's Crossing, below Fredericksburg; but on the afternoon of the 30th, marched up to United States Ford, and crossing, arrived at Chancellorsville in the afternoon. The brigade was immediately formed near the Chancellor House, and at five o'clock was warmly attacked, but held its ground until withdrawn. The regiment moved early on the morning of the 2d, to the centre of the line, and with the division made a demonstration upon heavy forces of the enemy moving in the direction of Gordonsville, past the front of the Union lines, subsequently, ascertained to be Jackson's Corps. At evening it returned, and lay in support of batteries during the night.
Early on the morning of the 3d, the enemy commenced a furious attack, and the One Hundred and Fourteenth, with the One Hundred and Fifth on its left, was brought into position near the Brick Mansion, in rear of the batteries. For nearly two hours the ground was contested with a valor unequalled, this small brigade boldly charging the overwhelming masses of the enemy in the woods in its front, and for some time holding the position. But at length, outflanked and likely to be cut off, it was forced back to the entrenchments. At the close of the battle, the regiment retired to its old camp near Falmouth. Its loss in this battle was one hundred and seventy-three in killed and wounded. Major Joseph S. Chandler, Captain Frank Elliot, and Lieutenant George M. Cullen, were among the killed. Of twenty-seven officers who entered the engagement, twenty-four were either killed or wounded.
In the battle of Gettysburg, where the regiment next met the enemy, the corps arrived upon the field late in the evening of the 1st, after long and wearisome marches, and went into position early on the morning of the 2d, on the slight ridge along which the Emmettsburg Pike runs, with its left resting near Round Top. The brigade, now commanded by General Graham, was posted at the angle formed by this disposition, and in the most trying and exposed part of the field.
The One Hundred and Fourteenth held the center of the brigade line, resting upon the Emmettsburg Pike, just opposite Joseph Sherfy's House. The Sixty-third was deployed a short distance in front as skirmishers, and opened fire at nine in the morning, the rebel skirmishers crawling up stealthily through the tall grass and grain in their front, until they had a strong line formed under cover of a fence. At a little past the middle of the afternoon, the enemy opened with his artillery, concentrating his fire upon the part of the field where the brigade stood. This was followed by an infantry attack, which, opening on his extreme right, swept around until the whole front of the corps was enveloped. Standing on elevated ground, with open fields on all sides, the steady fire of the men, as the enemy's infantry pushed forward, was delivered with excellent effect. But having massed his forces and broken through upon the Union right, he soon reached the brigade in his fiery onset, and coming upon its left flank, compelled it to retire.
In this retrograde movement, a number of the regiment fell into the enemy's hands, among them Lieutenant Colonel Cavada, in command. He was succeeded by Major Bowen, who moved his men into position upon the new line connecting Cemetery Hill with Little Round Top, where it remained until the close of the battle.
In the fall and winter campaign of the army, after its return into Virginia, the regiment, still in command of Major Bowen, Colonel Collis having succeeded Graham in command of the brigade, participated in the engagements at Wapping Heights, Kelly's Ford, Auburn, and Rappahannock Station, and at its close, went into winter-quarters in the vicinity of Brandy Station.
After General Grant had assumed command of all the armies, and upon the occasion of his joining the Army of the Potomac, General Meade selected the One Hundred and Fourteenth, in recognition of its "discipline and soldierly bearing," for special guard duty at his own headquarters, Colonel Collis still remaining in command of his brigade in Birney's Division. Other commands were subsequently added, and finally an independent brigade was organized, consisting of six regiments of infantry and one of cavalry for duty at the headquarters of the General-in-chief, to the command of which, upon the opening of the spring campaign of 1864, Colonel Collis was transferred.
Upon the bloody fields which marked the course of the contending armies from the Rapidan to the James, this brigade shared in the hardships and perils of the way, being often sent in the heat of battle to parts of the line hard pressed and likely to be overborne, and by its rapidity of movement and gallantry in attack, often turning the tide of disaster, and saving the fortunes of the day. It was frequently employed on reconnoissances with the cavalry, duty always fatiguing and onerous.
At Guinea Station, the rebel cavalry under Fitz Hugh Lee, attacked the headquarters of the General-in-chief, but were repulsed with considerable loss, the One Hundred and Fourteenth charging in the most gallant manner. For its conduct in this engagement, it was complimented in orders by both General Meade and Grant, under whose eyes they fought.
After its arrival before Petersburg, the regiment remained at headquarters until the 15th of March, 1865, being, in the meantime, frequently sent into the trenches, and upon picket, when it was ordered to City Point, where it was employed in arduous post and picket duty.
Upon the opening of the final campaign, it was ordered to the front, escorting on its way up large detachments of convalescents and recruits. In the attack upon the defences of Petersburg, on the 2d of April, the regiment was put upon the front line, and stormed and carried a portion of his intrenchments, opposite Fort Hell, after repeated failures by other troops. The loss in this attack was very heavy. Captain Andrew J. Cunningham, and Lieutenant Edward T. Marion, were among the killed, and Major Henry M. Eddy mortally wounded.
On the following morning, it had the satisfaction of unfurling the first United States Flag upon the Court House of Petersburg. Immediately after this engagement, Colonel Collis, who had previously been made a Brevet Brigadier General, was, in recognition of his gallantry here, brevetted a Major General.
After the action at Sailor's Creek, the brigade was charged with escorting to City Point the prisoners there taken, embracing Generals Ewell, Custis Lee, Kershaw, Corse, and about five hundred other officers of all grades, and six thousand enlisted men. After the surrender of the rebel army at Appomattox Court House, the regiment was assigned to the First Brigade, Second Division, Fifth Corps, and with the greater part of the army, marched from Burkes' Junction via Petersburg, Richmond, and Fredericksburg, to Arlington Heights, opposite Washington, where on the 29th of May it was mustered out of service.
1 Organization of the First Brigade, General RI bin cn, First Division, General Birney, Third Corps, General Stoneman, subsequently Sickles. Twentieth Regiment Indiana Volunteers, Colonel John Van Valkenburg; Sixty-third Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel John A. Danks; Sixty-eighth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel Andrew H. Tippin; One Hundred and Fourteenth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel Charles H. T. Collis; One Hundred and Forty-first Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel Henry J. Madill.The Twentieth Indiana was, not long after, transferred to another brigade, and the Fifty-seventh, and One Hundred and Fifth Pennsylvania, were subsequently added to it.
2 The circumstances of the capture of these seventeen men," says Colonel Bowen, " were as follows: These men were the members of the band who had gallantly accompanied the regiment when ordered across the river, and when it became engaged, had rendered valuable assistance to the wounded and to the surgeons in charge. On the night of the 15th, when our army re-crossed the river, they were not made aware of what was passing, and when they awoke on the morning of the 16th, found, to their utter amazement, the troops all gone, the pontoons removed, and they in the hands of the enemy. Their instruments, which were their own private property, were taken from them, and they were sent to Libby Prison. After their exchange, they returned to the regiment with a full set of superior instruments, presented to them by their friends at home, as an acknowledgment of their gallantry, and the good services they had rendered. The band remained with the regiment until the close of the war, and by the sweet music it rendered, enlivened many a review and parade, cheered and refreshed the spirits of tired men on many a long march, and did much to incite and preserve the high tone and discipline which characterized this regiment."
Source: Bates, Samuel P. History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-65, Harrisburg, 1868-1871.
Organization:Organized at Philadelphia August, 1862.
Left State for Washington, D.C., August 31, 1862.
Duty at Fort Slocum, Defences of Washington, September, 1862.
Attached to 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 3rd Army Corps, to March, 1864.
Provost Guard, Headquarters Army of the Potomac, to March, 1865.
Collins' Independent Brigade, 9th Army Corps, to April, 1865.
1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 5th Army Corps, to May, 1865.
March up the Potomac to Leesburg, thence to Falmouth, Va., October II-November 19, 1862,
Battle of Fredericksburg, Va., December 12-15.
Burnside's 2nd Campaign, "Mud March," January 20-24, 1863.
At Falmouth till April.
Chancellorsville Campaign April 27-May 6.
Battle of Chancellorsville May 1-5.
Gettysburg (Pa.) Campaign June 11-July 24.
Battle of Gettysburg July 1-3.
Pursuit of Lee July 5-24.
Wapping Heights, Va., July 23.
Duty on line of the Rappahannock till October.
Bristoe Campaign October 9-22.
Auburn October 13.
Auburn and Bristoe October 14.
Advance to line of the Rappahannock November 7-8.
Kelly's Ford November 7.
Mine Run Campaign November 26-December 2. Payne's Farm November 27.
Demonstration on the Rapidan February 6-7, 1864.
At Brandy Station till May, 1864.
Assigned to duty as Provost Guard at Headquarters Army of the Potomac April 18.
Rapidan Campaign May 4-June 12.
Battles of the Wilderness May 5-7.
Spottsylvania Court House May 8-21.
Guinea Station May 21.
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 operations against Petersburg and Richmond June 16, 1864, to April 2, 1865.
Garrison and Provost duty at City Point, Va., June 18, 1864, to March 28, 1865.
Assault on and fall of Petersburg April 2.
Occupation of Petersburg April 3.
Moved to Washington, D.C., May 1-12.
Grand Review May 23.
Mustered out May 29, 1865.
Losses:Regiment lost during service:
7 Officers and 66 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and
1 Officer and 37 Enlisted men by disease.
Source: Dyer, Frederick H. A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion Compiled and Arranged from Official Records of the Federal and Confederate Armies, Reports of he Adjutant Generals of the Several States, the Army Registers, and Other Reliable Documents and Sources.Des Moines, Iowa: The Dyer Publishing Company, 1908
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