Recruiting for the 140th took place as follows:
These companies rendezvoused at Camp Curtin, where, on the 8th of September, 1862, a regimental organization was effected, with the following field officers:
- Company A was recruited in Greene county
- Company B was recruited in Mercer county
- Company C was recruited in Washington county
- Company D was recruited in Washington county
- Company E was recruited in Washington county
- Company F was recruited in Beaver county
- Company G was recruited in Washington county
- Company H was recruited in Beaver county
- Company I was recruited in Beaver county
- Company K was recruited in Washington county
On the following day marching orders were received, and at four A. M., on the morning of the 10th, the regiment moved for Parkton, Maryland, twenty-nine miles from Baltimore, on the line of the North Central Railway. Underthe orders of General Wool, the Commander of the Department, it was posted along the line of the road to keep open communication with the front, and during the time of Lee's campaign north of the Potomac, which shortly followed, ceaseless vigilance was required to prevent attacks from straggling bands of the enemy sent out to execute his dire purposes. After the defeat of Lee at Antietam, and his return into Virginia, much attention was given to drill and instruction.
- Richard P. Roberts, of Beaver county, Colonel
- John Fraser, of Washington county, Lieutenant Colonel
- Thomas B. Rodgers, of Mercer county, Major
About the middle of December the regiment was ordered to the front, and proceeded by Washington to Acquia Creek, arriving just after the return of the army from the disastrous battle of Fredericksburg. It was assigned tothe Third Brigade, First Division, of the Second Corps, commanded by General Zook, and went into camp in the neighborhood of Falmouth.
On the evening of January the 18th, 1863, the regiment was supplied with new Springfield rifles, in place of the Vincennes1 muskets, with which it had originally been armed. During the winter it was engaged in drill and picket duty along the river, enlivened by occasional reviews.
ChancellorsvilleOn the morning of the 28th of April, it moved on the Chancellorsville campaign, and crossing the Rappahannock at United States Ford, arrived at the Chancellor House on the 1st of May. At noon heavy firing being heard in front, the brigade moved forward, and forming in line of battle, with the Sixty-sixth New York on its left, and skirmishers thrown out, it advanced to the brow of a hill on the old turnpike leading to Fredericksburrg. A heavy fire of artillery was here opened upon the skirmishers. The brigade was soon after ordered to retire, and fell back, before an enemy advancing in stroug line of battle, to the Chancellor House, where it was posted in support of a battery. The enemy having been cheeked and driven back by the artillery, the brigade was moved to a wood on the left of the Chancellor House, where it was formed under a heavy fire of the enemy's artillery, and remained until three on the following morning, when it returned to its former position in front of the Chancellor House, At daylight it was ordered to the left and took position in the woods in the first line of battle. At evening the regiment was sent out upon the picket line, reporting to Colonel Miles, in command of the picket line of the division, and dlarincg the night threw up temporary intrenchments. At daybreak on the morning of the 3d, the enemy opened a brisk fire along the whole line on front and flank."The firing" says Colonel Morris, "was maintained for upwards of four hours, during which the enemy made repeated and determined assaults upon our lines, and was each time gallantly repulsed by our men with severeloss. At nine o'clock A. M. all his efforts to break our lines with infantry alone having proved futile, the enemy opened upon them with a terrific fire of artillery, but with no better results, every volley from the enemy's musketry,and every discharge from his cannon, seeming to give renewed energy to our brave men, and to increase their determination to maintain their position at all hazards, and against any assault the enemy might be capable of makingagainst them. There was no wasting of ammunition here; every man fired with the utmost coolness and deliberation, taking careful and steady aim at his object, as if firing at a target for a prize; not a man flinched under theterrible fire to which he was now subjected; every one of them felt that the high and enviable reputation of the gallant old Third Brigade was in his special keeping, and was determined that it should not be tarnished by any actof his."Swinton, in his Army of the Potomac, says,"Hancock's front, especially, was assailed with great impetuosity, but the attacking column was heldin check in the most intrepid manner by Hancock's skirmish line, under Colonel Miles."During the morning of the 3d, while the One Hundred and Fortieth was supporting the Fifth Maine Battery, the White House, near by, whichwas being used as a hospital, took fire. A part of company F, under command of Captain Thomas Henry, was ordered to rescue the inmates from the devouring flames. Thirty-three wounded men, and three women who had taken refuge in the cellar, were brought forth from the burning wreck, which was utterly destroyed. The regiment was finally ordered to retire to the new line of works, and took up a position with the brigade in the breast-works to the left of White House. Here, during the remaining three clays of the battle, it remained, subjected to occasional artillery fire of the enemy, and on the morning of the 6th, re-crossed the river and returned to its old camp near Falmouth. Lieutenant Joseph W. M Ewen was among the killed in this engagement.
Little worthy of note occurred, until the corps started, now under command of General Hancock, in pursuit of Lee as he moved northward. At Thorougfare Gap a collision occurred, but the fighting did not become general, and thecorps crossed the Potomac on the 24th of June.
GettysburgOn the 1st ot July, the First and Eleventh corps met the enemy at Gettysburg, and fierce fighting ensued.
The Second Corps arrived on the field on the morning of the 2d, and tookposition on the left centre, stretching away from the heights above theCemetery, towards Round Top. After noon, Sickles, who occupied the extremeleft, was fiercely attacked and driven. Portions of the Fifth Corps were sentto his relief, but shared a like fate.
Finally, Hancock sent Caldwell's Division,of his own corps, to check the enemy's mad advance, and repair the threateneddisaster. Moving rapidly across the little wooded knoll to the right and frontof Round Top, he first sent the brigades of Cross and Kelly to penetrate thewheat-field and the wood beyond, where the fiercest fighting had been.Colonel Cross was killed, and his command was terribly torn as it advanced upon the fatal wheat-field, on three sides of which the enemy in heavynumbers was concealed.
And now, as a forlorn hope, the brigades of Zookand Brooke were sent forward. Zook was killed while leading his troops into.the fight, and before he had hardly got into action. The command of his brigade then fell upon Colonel Roberts, of the One Hundred and Fortieth. Gallantlydid these two small brigades push forward over that devoted ground, in theface of a severe fire. The enemy was swept back from the cover of the woods,and the rocky ridge beyond the wheat-field, a position of great natural strength,was gallantly carried. But this advantage, gained at a fearful cost, was of noavail. The angle in Sickles' line at the Peach Orchard, the weak point inSickles' formation, had been hopelessly broken, and through this opening theenemy swarmed, and turned the right of Caldwell's position, compelling himto withdraw. He rested at night on the low ground on the left centre of theline, where he remained during the heavy cannonade of the succeeding day;and until the close of the battle.
Colonel Roberts, Captain David Acheson,and Lieutenant Alexander A. Wilson, were among the killed. The loss in killedand wounded, was two hundred and sixty-three, more than half of its effectivestrength."In the regiment," says Captain Acheson, in the account above quoted, "Quartermaster Sergeant Smith had received a commission, but notbeing mustered, need not have gone in. He thought his duty was there, wentin, and was killed. Lieutenant Purman was wounded, losing a leg, and gavea rebel his watch for lifting him into the shade. Lieutenant Vance lost hishand by a shell. Lieutenant Stokes lost his arm at the shoulder. LieutenantsCook, Paxton, and the Major were captured. Captain Campbell was wounded,and as he fell a rebel seized his sword. He lay still and told the Johnny heneeded it. The rebels were driven back, and he got away. Captains M'Callister and M'Cullough, and Adjutant Shallenberger were wounded."After the return of the army into Virginia, changes were made in the organization of the division, whereby the One Hundred and Fortieth became a part of the First Brigade, in which it was associated with the Sixty-first New York, the Eighty-first Pennsylvania, and subsequently the Twenty-sixth Michigan, and the One Hundred and Eighty-Third Pennsylvania, the command of which Colonel Nelson A. Miles, of the Sixty-first, who had displayed unusual gallantry in holding the skirmish line at Chancellorsville, was assigned.
Upon the fall of Colonel Roberts, Lieutenant Colonel Fraser was promoted toColonel, Major Rodgers to Lieutenant Colonel, and Captain Thomas Henry,to Major. In the advance of the army to the Rapidan, and retrograde to Centreville, and subsequent advance to Mine Run, where the campaign ended without coming to a decisive battle, the regiment shared the fortunes of the corps,participating in the action at Bristoe Station, on the 14th of October, and inthe skirmishing in front of the enemy's intrenched position at Mine Run, sustaining some loss in wounded. It returned with the army across the Raptdan,and was soon after comfortably settled in winter-quarters.
The Wilderness CampaignOn the 22d of April, 1864, the corps was reviewed by General Grant, andat the opening of May, the troops stood in readiness for another trial of theirstrength. At a little before midnight of the 3d, the regiment took up the lineof march for Ely's Ford, where it crossed the Rapidan, and by noon of the5th was busy building breast-works on the Brock Road, the enemy in full forcein front. The battle opened and raged furiously along the line, the regimentbecoming hotly engaged and losing heavily. Until midnight it stood upon theline of battle, in readiness to repel an attack, when, a picket line having beenestablished, it retired for rest. At three on the morning of the 6th, it wasagain aroused and took position, the brigade holding the extreme left of theline. The men were set to work strengthening the breast-works, and soon hadsubstantial protection. The battle raged during the day on the right, but withthe exception of a few artillery shots, the regiment was unmolested. All dayof the 7th it lay in the works awaiting an attack, but none came. On the following morning the regiment joined in a general movement of the army, andcame up with the enemy at Corbin's Bridge, where it had a brisk skirmish.
On the 9th it crossed the Po River, and at dusk was placed upon the picketline, where the rebel pickets were encountered. At daylight skirmishingopened, and was kept up until three in the afternoon, when the noise beganto deepen, and grew to the roar of battle. Finally, the line was withdrawnto near the Po, where a line of works was thrown up, which was subjected toa severe artillery fire, by which considerable loss was sustained. To this time,the loss in the Wilderness battles in killed, wounded, and missing, was aboutseventy-five.
SpottsylvaniaAt nine o'clock on the evening of the 11th, the regiment was aroused, andwith the corps moved off towards the left."At two A. M., of the 12th," saysCaptain Acheson, "we began passing troops, massed for battle. The picketline was so close that the shots seemed beside us, and so heavy was the airthat a musket seemed a cannon-shot. At half-past three we formed in battlearray, with the First Division in front, followed by the Second, Third, andFourth, respectively. With the first streaks of day we advanced, going,moderately for a hundred yards, then starting at a double-quick, with a cheer.A close pine thicket was encountered that broke the ranks, but each onerushed forward on his own account. The rebel picket line delivered a weakvolley and fled. I noticed one or two of our own pickets behind covers, whowere as much surprised at oure approach as the Johnnies. On, on rushed themass of blue coats, clambering over felled trees, rushing through underbrush,leaping over obstructions, all half bent, to escape the balls hissing over us. Day-break had come, and the works were just before us. We pushed on,the impediments were such that the worst had to be avoided, and the troopsgot into paths, as it were. I found myself on one of these paths, and verynear the head of the column. The rebels had a line of works with logs, alongthe top, so that a crack was left to put their guns through and fire. I sawthe column to the left gain the works, and one fellow raise his musket, and plunge his bayonet through a rebel who was backward aboutl surrendering,The Johnnies all along our front began holding up their hats, in token of submission. We looked to the right, and saw a grand sight. That part of theline had farther to go, and had not reached the works yet. They were movingon with a rush, struggling through briers, springing over dead comrades,crowding through gaps in the abattis, until at last, with decimated ranks,they climbed the works and captured the foe. Some rebel officers wanted tolay back on their dignity, and deliver their swords only to officers of equalrank. It was a poor time for dignity though, and some of the soldiers persuaded them so, like a flash of lightning. The fighting was severe. Theatmosphere was heavy, and the smoke hung just where it left the guns. Wewere on the extreme left of the line. I thought some balls were coming fromthe right, and suspected our own men were firing into us. A fellow just infront of me was ramming his gun, when a ball knocked two fingers off, andspattered the blood in my face. Got the men started to the right, and thenwe moved to the front again. We came to two batteries, twelve gurins, parked.We had just got past them, when our line began falling back. They had metanother line of works too strong for them. The corps took refuge behind theline captured. * * Our brigade moved towards the left, and took itsposition on a little knoll, in a wood of small pine trees. The balls from therebel skirmishers were flying thick. M'Callister, Grove, Ray, and I, weretalking about the casualties of the day. I was facing the rebel line, and notfifty yards from their skirmishers. Having eaten nothing since supper, I tookout my sugar poke to get a lump. As I loosed the string, a ball passed between Grove and M'Calister. I felt myself twisted half way around, and bentdouble. I was jarred and blinded by the shock, and called Ray. He ledme back until I recovered my sight. I was the fourth in the family who wasshot in the cheek."The surprise of the rebel lines was complete. The weather favored the daring movement. A heavy mist hung low over all the hostile lines. But when the first had been carried, and the troops, elated by their success, were rushing on to the second, the enemy rallied, and hurrying reinforcements to the menaced point, and fighting desperately, were able to hold their own. The captures of men and material were very great, including two generalofficers. On the following day, the rebel leader made repeated attacks on theUnion line, to wrest from the Second Corps his lost ground, but without success.
On the 18th, Hancock again moved upon the rebel works at the pointof his previous triumph, but without avail, the enemy being strongly intrenched,and shielded by dense abattis. The loss of the regiment in these two engagements in front of Spottsylvania, was very heavy, amounting in killed, wounded,and missing, to over a hundred.
On the night of the 20th, the Second Corps quietly withdrew from thefront, and commenced a grand flank movement followed by the rest of thearmy towards Richmond. On the 23d the corps crossed the North Anna,and took position on the left of the line, the enemy in front, strongly posted.Finding that he could not attack, but at a great disadvantage, Grant re-tracedhis steps, and moved on towards Cold Harbor.
At Totopotomy Creek theenemy was found strongly intrenched and dispositions were made to force himfrom his position. Hancock, who occupied the centre, succeeded in carryingthe enemy's advanced line, but found his main position too strong to be overcome. In this engagement the One Hundred and Fortieth sustained some loss,Captain John F. M'Cullough being among the killed.
Cold HarborArriving at Cold Harbor,or rather the old battle-ground of Gaines' Mill, the enemy was found occupying the identical ground which M'Clellan had held in that memorable battle,the Union force approaching as had the enemy then. As soon as the armywas in position, a general attack was ordered along the whole line. Hancockoccupied the extreme left, stretching out towards the Chickahominy. The division to which the One Hundred and Fortieth belonged, commanded by General Barlow, was formed in two lines, and promptly advanced to the attack. The enemy was driven, and a part of his works captured; but rallying, he recovered his lost ground, inflicting a severe blow in return. A position was, however, held close up to the enemy's works, and securely fortified. The One Hundred and Fortieth suffered severely here, its aggregate loss since leaving Spottsylvania being about seventy.
PetersburgAbout the middle of June the army crossed the James, and approachedthe city of Petersburg. On the afternoon of the 16th, a general attack wasmade on the enemyis lines, before which he recoiled, withdrawing to his intrenched line on Cemetery Hill. On the following day, the attack was renewed by the Second Corps, and some ground gained, but no decisive advantage. On this day, Lieutenant Andrew M. Purdy, while in charge of the skirmish line, was killed. Captains Samuel Campbell, and Charles L. Linton,were among the wounded. Failing to capture the place by direct assault.,works for a gradual approach were commenced.
On the 21st, the Second andSixth corps were sent to the left, as far as the Jerusalem Plank Road, wherea position was taken and fortified. Butt the enemy, in heavy force, comingupon a fatal break between the lines of these corps, crushed through, andcaused much confusion to Barlow's Division, by which it sustained considerableloss. A line was finally established, against which the enemy in vain beat.Until near the close of July, the command was kept busy in fortifying.
Onthe 26th, a movement was inaugurated to the north side of the James, for ademonstration in favor of the attack to be made upon the springing of theMine. Crossing the Appomattox and the James, it moved out to a positionoccupied by the Nineteenth Corps. Skirmishing opened at day-break of the28th, and the brigade charged the enemy's works, capturing prisoners andfour Parrott guns. On the 30th, the corps returned to the Petersburg front;but the attack upon the explosion of the Mine resulting disastrously, it againcrossed the James, and on the evening of the 14th of August, reached Deep Bottom. On the morning of the 15th, the rebel works were carried by Birney's Division, and captures made, the line approaching within a few miles of Richmond.
On the 20th, the corps returned to its place in fiont of Petersbturg. but on thefollowing morning moved to the support of troops operating upon the WeldonRailroad, and at Ream's Station was attacked by a superior force of theenemy, but succeeded, by desperate fighting, in re-gaining a portion of hislost ground. Captain James M. Pipes was severely wounded, losing an arm.
In the subsequnt operations of the corps during the fall and winter theregiment bore a part, being hotly engaged in front of Petersburg on the 9thof September; in the general movement of the 27th of October; suffering muchfrom inclemency of the weather in the expedition to Hatcher's Run from the8th to 10th of December; and in that to Dabney's Mills from the 5th to 7th ofFebruary, 1865. Apart from these, it remained undisturbed in winter-quarters,until the opening of the spring campaign, on the 25th of March.
On thatday the Second Corps made an advance upon the rebel lines at Hatcher's Run,and a portion of his works, designed to cover the South Side Railroad, was,carried. In this assault Captain John F. Wilson was mortally wounded. Forfour days the fighting was continued on this part of the line, the corps makingdaily some substantial advance, Miles' Division executing a brilliant moveat Sutherland's Station, on the 2d of April, whereby extensive captures ofmen and materials were made.
The corps was again engaged on the 6th, atSailor's Creek, and on the 7th, at Farmville, fought its last battle. In thisengagement an assaulting column led by General Miles was bloodily repulsed,Captain Samuel S. Kerr and Lieutenant William J. Cunningham were killed.Night put an end to the contest, and under cover of the darkness the enemywithdrew. Two days later Lee surrendered. Hostile operations were soonafter concluded, and returning to the neighborhood of Washington, the regiment, on the 31st of May, was mustered out of service.
1Captain Alexander W. Acheson, in his account of the One Hundred and Fortieth, published in the Beaver Padictal, gives the following amusing account of these arms: "The old Vincennes muskets, with their heavy, clanking scabbards, were disposed of, much to our gratification. They were made of poor material, a poor pattern, and only fit to be joked at by those possessed of better. Wherever our regiment went some one was sure to say, 'There goes the walking artillery.' 'Do you shoot solid shot or shell out of those pieces?', 'Where did you get your cavalry sabres?' 'Look at the twe!ve-pounders!' 'What's the range of them field-pieces,' or some other expression ridiculing the 'big guns' The boys detested the old shooting-irons, and gladly gave them up for new ones."
Source: Bates, Samuel P. History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-65, Harrisburg, 1868-1871.
Organized at Pittsburg and Harrisburg and mustered in September 8, 1862.
Ordered to Parktown, Md., September 9, and duty guarding Northern Central Railroad till December.
Attached to 8th Corps, Middle Department, to December, 1862.
3rd Brigade, 1st Division, 2nd Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, to September, 1863.
1st Brigade, 1st Division, 2nd Army Corps, to May, 1865.
Service:Ordered to Join Army of the Potomac in the field, and reached Aquia Creek December 15, 1862.
Losses:Regiment lost during service:
10 Officers and 188 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and
1 Officer and 127 Enlisted men by disease.
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
Direct questions or comments to email@example.com
© Alice J. Gayley, all rights reserved
Web Space provided by