In the mouth of July, 1862, Emlen Franklin, of the city of Lancaster, who had served as Captain in the First Regiment, received authority from Governor Curtin to recruit a regiment for nine months' service. Establishing a camp a mile and a half east of Lancaster, recruiting was actively prosecuted, and with remarkable rapidity fourteen companies were organized, and assembled at the rendezvous.
On the 12th of August, ten of these were organized in a regiment, designated the One Hundred and Twenty-second, with the following field officers:The regiment was almost exclusively from Lancaster county, and with the exception of a few of the officers, its members had little knowledge of military duty. Company drill was promptly commenced, but before it had been carried very far, the regiment was ordered to Washington, the disasters of Pope's campaign rendering it necessary that all available forces should be gathered about the Capital. Upon its arrival, on the 16th of August, it was reported to General Casey, then in command of the defences of the city. After a few days' delay, it moved to Fairfax Court House, where it was assigned to General Piatt's Brigade, which subsequently became the Third brigade1 of the Third Division, Third Corps. While in front of Washington, it was moved from point to point, occupying successively Fort Richardson, a position at Cloud Mills, at a point opposite Georgetown, and at Fairfax Seminary, spending little time at any one place.
- Emlen Franklin, Colonel
- Edward M'Govern, Lieutenant Colonel
- Thaddeus Stevens, Jr., Major
Upon the return of the army into Virginia from the campaign in Maryland, the brigade joined it, and subsequently went into camp near Falmouth. On the 11th of December, Burnside, now in command of the army, put his columns in motion for an attack on the enemy holding the heights above Fredericksburg. Having forced a crossing of the river, he attacked on the 13th. Unsuccessful in his first assaults, he ordered Hooker, who had held a part of his corps in reserve, to advance towards evening to the relief of his thinned lines. One of Hooker's divisions was thrown in, and suffered severely. But the One Hundred and Twenty-second, occupying a position ou the extreme right of the line, was not involved, and hence suffered no loss in the battle. On the night of the 15th it re-crossed the river, and returned again to camp. In Burnside's second attempt to move, the regiment marched, endured the peltings of the storm as did the rest of the army, and when the project was abandoned, on account of the depth of the mud, returned again to camp.
The regiment moved with the corps under General Sickles, on the 28th of April, on the Chancellorsville campaign, and proceeding to a point below Fredericksburg, opposite Franklin's crossing of the Rappahannock in the Fredericksburg campaign, halted and remained until the morning of the 30th, when it moved rapidly up to United States Ford, and crossing, re-joined the main body under Hooker, near Chancellorsville. On the 1st of May, Sickles occupied a position upon the right centre of the line of battle, holding Whipple's Division in reserve, his front line throwing up a breast-work.
On the evening of the 2d, Stonewall Jackson, who had succeeded in bringing his command across the front of the entire Union army, from left to right, massed it and charged with his characteristic impetuosity. The Eleventh Corps, which held the right, was broken and driven in. The tide of disaster swept on towards the centre; but when it reached Sickles, it was fortunately checked, Jackson was mortally wounded, and the rebel columns were stayed. During the night, Sickles re-formed his lines, bringing up the division of Whipple, and by a bold night attack pushed back the enemy and regained a part of the lost breast-works, posting his artillery so as to sweep the open ground about the Chancellor House.
At early dawn the battle opened in Sickles' front, with terrible earnestness, the rebels seeming determined to break through, and by unwonted daring to avenge the fall of their leader.
"In the annals of this war, " says an eye witness. "there has been no greater manifestation of desperation than that shown by the rebels this Sunday morning. They came through the woods in solid mass, receiving in their faces the terrible hail storm which burst like the fury of a tornado from Berry's and Birney's lines, from Whipple's and Williams', which were at once advanced to the front. The batteries-the forty pieces of artillery under Best-hurled in the grape and canister. The advancing column was cut up and gashed as if pierced, seamed, and ploughed by invincible lightning. Companies and regiments melted away, yet still they came. Berry and Birney advanced to meet them. They were terrible shocks. The living waves rolled against each other as you have seen the billows on a stormy sea. The enemy, as if maddened by the obstinacy of these handfuls of men, rushed up to the muzzles of the cannon, only to be swept back, leaving long lines of dead where the grape swept through. * * But Sickles could not hold out against the tremendous odds. Gradually he was driven in."2
A new line was taken in rear of the first, more contracted and more easily defensible, which was fortified, and against this the fury of the storm spent itself. The loss of the regiment in this desperate encounter, was one hundred and thirty-five in killed and wounded. General Whipple received a mortal wound, and died on the field. His remains were forwarded to Washington, and thither the regiment was ordered to proceed to act as escort at his funeral. At the conclusion of these sad rites, its term of service having now expired, it was ordered to Harrisburg, where, onl the 15th and 16th days of May, it was mustered out of service.
1 Organization of the Third Brigade, General Don Piatt, Third Division, General A. V. Whipple, Third Corps, General Stoneman, subsequently General Sickles, Eighty-sixth Regiment New York Volunteers, Colonel Benjamin P. Bailey; One Hundred and Twenty-fourth Regiment New York Volunteers, Colonel A. Van Horn Ellis; One Hundred and Twenty-second Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel Eimlen Franklin.
2 Moore's Rebellion Record, Vol. VI, page 595-6, Does.Source: Bates, Samuel P. History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-65, Harrisburg, 1868-1871.
Organized at Harrisburg August 12, 1862.
Moved to Washington, D.C., August 15-16.
Attached to Casey's Command, Defences of Washington, to September, 1862.
Piatt's 1st Brigade, Whipple's 3rd Division, 3rd Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, to May, 1863.
Duty in the Defences of Washington at Fort Richardson, Cloud's Mills, near Georgetown, and at Fairfax Court House till October. Moved to Point of Rocks, Md., thence to Pleasant Valley October 11-19. Movement toward Warrenton, Va., October 24-November 16. Reconnoissance to and skirmish at Manassas Gap November 5-6. Movement to Falmouth November 18-24.
Battle of Fredericksburg December 12-15. Burnside's 2nd Campaign, "Mud March," January 20-24, 1863. Duty near Falmouth till April 27. Chancellorsville Campaign April 27-May 6. Battle of Chancellorsville May 1-5. Moved to Washington and escort to General Whipple's funeral May 8. Mustered out May 16, 1863.
Regiment lost during service 16 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 1 Officer and 42 Enlisted men by disease. Total 59.
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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