© Alice J. Gayley, all rights reservedThis regiment was from the north central part of the State, and was composed of an unusually fine body of men. Recruiting was conducted as followings:The companies rendezvoused at Camp Curtin, where they were mustered into service from the 11th to the 18th of August, 1862. On the 15th the following field officers were appointed:
- Company A was recruited in Montour county, principally from the employees of the Danville Iron Works
- Company B was recruited in Wyoming County
- Companies C and D were recruited in Bradford County
- Companies E and H were recruited in Columbia County
- Companies F and G were recruited in Carbon County, and
- Companies I and K were recruited in LuzerneCountyColonel Oakford had served as Colonel of the Fifteenth Regiment in the three months' service. On the 19th the regiment moved for the front, and passing through Washington, encamped near Fort Corcoran, on the Virginia shore of the Potomac, opposite the Capital. Instruction and drill were immediately, commenced, and practiced under the inspiriting music of the guns at Bull Run and Chantilly.
- Richard A.. Oakford, of Luzerne county, Colonel
- Vincent M. Wilcox, of Luzerne county, Lieutenant Colonel
- Charles Albright, of Carbon county, Major
On the evening of the 2d of September, the regiment moved to Rockville, Maryland, a march of twenty-two miles, which it performed in seven hours. It was here assigned to Kimball's Brigade, of French's Division, of Sumner's Corps, composed of the Fourteenth Indiana, Eighth Ohio, Seventh Virginia, and One Hundred and Thirty-second Pennsylvania.
Battle of AntietamOn the 13th of September, the regiment made a forced march of thirty-three miles, reaching the battle-field of South Mountain just as the fighting for the day closed. It participated in the pursuit of the enemy across Antietam Creek and sustained a severe though harmless shell fire, on the afternoon of the 16th. At nine o'clock on the following morning, the regiment met the enemy at close quarters. The position of the brigade was an exposed one, on the centre of the line of battle, and especially trying to new troops for the first time under fire. For four hours the regiment maintained its position without wavering, when, with ammunition exhausted and ranks shattered, it was relieved by the Irish Brigade, and retired in good order."Every man of my command," says Colonel Kimball, in his official report, "behaved in the most exemplary manner, and as men who had determined to save their country or die. * * * A glance at the position held by the rebels, tells how terrible was the punishment inflicted on them. The corn-fields on the front are strewn with their dead and wounded, and in the ditch first occupied by them, the bodies are so, numerous that they seem to have fallen dead in line of battle."1The loss of the regiment was thirty killed, one hundred and fourteen wounded, and eight missing. Colonel Oakford and Lieutenant Anson C. Cranmer, were among the killed.
After the battle, the Second Corps moved to Harper's Ferry, and the regiment was encamped on Bolivar Heights. Lieutenant Colonel Wilcox was promoted to Colonel, Major Albright to Lieutenant Colonel, and Captain Joseph E. Shreve to Major. During the month of October, it participated in a reconnoissance to Leesburg, and another to Charlestown. On the 31st it joined in a general movement of the army towards the Rappahannock, and arrived at Falmouth, opposite Fredericksburg, on the 6th of November. On the following day it was detached from the brigade, and ordered to duty at Belle Plain Landing.
Battle of FredericksburgA month later it returned to Falmouth, and commenced preparations for the battle of Fredericksburg. It was assigned to the Third Brigade, Third Division, of the Second Corps. In the charge on Marye's Heights, on the afternoon of the 13th, led by Lieutenant Colonel Albright, the regiment occupied a position in the second line with veteran troops, and showed a heroism in the assault unexcelled by the bravest. Sickness and casualties had reduced the command to three hundred and forty effective men, and of this number it lost one hundred and fifty. Five men and two commissioned officers, Lieutenants Charles M'Dougal and Henry H. Hoagland, were stricken down whilst bearing the colors. The latter was killed while in the act of receiving the flag from the hands of its dying bearer, and waving it on to the conflict.
An incident which occurred in this battle, well illustrates the valor and determination which fired the hearts of the citizen soldiery in this war. John ??listler, a private of company F, had his arm blown off at the elbow by a cannon ball, as the regiment entered the fight. With his arm bandaged, he still kept the field, and as the shattered ranks came back from the bloody assault, he rushed up to the Colonel, saying, "We shall whip them yet." As the regiment was returning to town, the color-bearer, who bad been severely wounded, weak from the loss of blood, but still clinging to his flag, entered a hospital, where he soon after became insensible, and subsequently died. For the moment, the flag in the midst of the darkness, was not missed, though it was known that the colors were with the command on entering the town. They were found (and carried away by the officers of another regiment). A court of inquiry was afterwards held upon the circumstances of its loss, the result of which is shown by the following extract from an order issued by General Howard, in command of the corps. "The last color-bearer, badly wounded, left his.regiment after dark, and in the town entered a church used as a hospital, taking his colors with him. He was carried away from this place, and the colors left behind. The very fidelity of the color-bearer, holding to his colors as long as he was conscious, was the occasion of their loss to the regiment. Not only no fault should be found with this regiment, but it should receive unqualified commendation."
In an order issued by General French, after reciting the circumstances as given above, and commending its gallantry in the most unqualified terms, he adds:"As the commander of the division, and knowing the character of the One Hundred and Thirty-second Pennsylvania Volunteers, which has fought under my eye in two of the bloodiest engagements of the war, and which has the highest' encomiums from its brigade commander, General Kimball, who knows what brave men are, I have deemed it my duty to make this record, to go with whatever may have transpired in reference to this subject during my short absence."After the return of the regiment from this battle, to near the close of April, 1883, it was encamped near the banks of the Rappahannock, at Falmouth, and performed only the ordinary duties of camp and picket.
In January, Colonel Wilcox was honorably discharged, and Lieutenant Colonel Albright promoted to succeed him, Major Shreve to Lieutenant Colonel, and Adjutant Frederick L. Hitchcock to Major. When the movement to Chancellorsville commenced, the term of service of a portion of the men had expired; but when the order to march was received, they buckled on their armour, and without a murmur turned their faces towards the battle-field. Soon after its arrival near Chancellorsville, the One Hundred and Thirty-second was led to the support of the first line, but was withdrawn without coming to a determined engagement, and with the division was held in reserve during the 1st and 2d of May.
Battle of ChancellorsvilleOn the morning of the 3d it was moved rapidly to the front, where, on the previous evening disaster had visited the Union lines. On entering the woods north-west of the Chancellor House, and between that point and the Fredericksburg Plank Road, it received a severe fire from the enemy in his well chosen position, which was briskly returned, and a charge delivered with the bayonet, in which a number of prisoners were taken. In the new line of works, the regiment occupied an advanced position, and held it until the close of the battle, when the division was withdrawn and the retreat commenced. The loss of the regiment in this engagement was about, fifty killed and wounded.
On the 14th of May, its term of service having fully expired, it was relieved from duty and returned to Harrisburg, where, on the 24th, it was mustered out. In his farewell order, General French expressed the hope that after a brief sojourn at home, the brave men of this regiment, who had passed unscathed through the thickest of the fight in three pitched battles, would again rally around the flag which they had so nobly defended. In this hope he was not disappointed. Two-thirds of the command re-entered the service, and remained until the close of the war. Colonel Albright led out the Two Hundred and Second Regiment, in which were many of his old officers and men, and was subsequently brevetted Brigadier General.
1Moore's Rebellion Record, Vol. V, page 459
Source: Bates, Samuel P. History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-65, Harrisburg, 1868-1871.
Organization:Organized at Harrisburg August, 1862.
Moved to Washington, D.C., August 19, and duty there till September 2.
Ordered to Rockville, Md., September 2.
Attached to 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 2nd Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, to November, 1862.
2nd Brigade, 3rd Division, 2nd Army Corps, to May, 1863.
Service:Maryland Campaign September 6-22, 1862.
Battle of Antietam, Md., September 16-17.
Moved to Harper's Ferry, W. Va., September 22, and duty there till October 30.
Reconnoissance to Leesburg October 1-2.
Advance up Loudoun Valley and movement to Falmouth, Va., October 30-November 17.
Battle of Fredericksburg December 12-15.
Duty at Falmouth till April 27.
Chancellorsville Campaign April 27-May 6.
Battle of Chancellorsville May 1-5.
Mustered out May 24, 1863.
Losses:Regiment lost during service:
3 Officers and 70 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and
40 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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