In the Chancellorsville campaign which opened on the 28th of April, the brigade, which was composed of the Fifty-seventh, Sixty-third, Sixty-eighth,
One Hundred and Fifth, One Hundred and Fourteenth, and One Hundred and.
Forty-first Pennsylvania regiments, was commanded by General Charles K.
Graham. On the 1st of May, the corps, now under General Sickles, arrived
upon the field and took position near the Chancellor House. During the after
noon the enemy attacked the Twelfth Corps, and Graham's Brigade was ordered to its support. As the brigade approached the enemy's position he opened upon it with his artillery, killing one and wounding three in the regiment. Major Spaulding received a slight wound, and Lieutenant Colonel Watkins had his horse killed just as he had put his foot in the stirrup to mount.
Early on the morning of May 2d, the corps moved to the front, the brigade
holding the extreme right of the line, and joining the left of the Twelfth Corps.
In the afternoon Birney's and Whipple's divisions advanced, driving back the
enemy's skirmishers and taking some prisoners. Just before dark a terrible
musketry fire opened to the right and rear of the advancing divisions. Jackson had unexpectedly attacked the Eleventh Corps, rolling it up like a scroll,
and crushing it wherever it offered a feeble resistance. These two divisions
were in a critical position; but they marched quietly back under cover of the
darkness, brushing past the enemy without discovery. The regiment was
finally halted in an open field, and was detailed for picket duty.
in a letter, gives the following account of the night's experience:
Seven companies of this regiment were recruited in Bradford county, two in Susquehanna, and one in Wayne. They rendezvoused at Camp Curtin, where on the 29th of August, a regimental organization was effected, with the following officers:
The material of the regiment was good
but was without military experience. The command moved immediately after
its organization for Washington, arriving on the 30th, the distant booming of
cannon on the field of Bull Run being distinctly heard at the Capital. For
two days it was kept marching and counter-marching among the defenses of'
Washington, being held in readiness to repel an attack of the enemy which
seemed to be hourly anticipated.
The days were intensely hot and the nights
cool, and for more than a week after its arrival the regiment was without
tents. Rations likewise were scarce and irregularly delivered. Privation
and exposure soon told fearfully upon the health of the men, nearly three hundred being carried to the hospital, and five hundred reported unfit for duty.
About the middle of September the regiment was assigned to the First Brigade,.
General Robinson commanding, Birney's (formerly Kearny's) Division of the
Third Corps. Until after the conclusion of the campaign in Maryland, the
division remained in the defenses of Washington, during which time the regiment made rapid progress in drill and discipline.
Upon the occasion of the
rebel raid under Stuart to Chambersburg, in the rear of the Union army, on
the 10th of October, the regiment was ordered to White's Ford, on the Potomac, to intercept him, but arrived too late, his rear guard disappearing over
the opposite hills as it approached. After this the brigade encamped near
Poolesville, where it remained engaged in picket duty until the movement of
the army to Warrenton, in which it joined.
When Burnside assumed command of the Union forces, it advanced with him towards Fredericksburg, arriving at Falmouth on the 25th of November, where it was ordered to build permanent winter-quarters. During the early part of the day, on the 13th of
December, Birney's Division was held in reserve near the head of Franklin's
pontoon bridge, at the lower crossing of the Rappahannock. At two in the
afternoon, after the fierce fighting by the Pennsylvania Reserves was nearly
over, it was ordered to cross and hasten forward to their relief. When the
advance of the enemy had been checked, the One Hundred and Forty-first,
with other regiments of the brigade, was posted in support of Randolph's Battery. Its losses were slight, being one killed and four wounded.
On the evening of the 14th, it occupied the front line with the Fifty-seventh Pennsylvania,
where it continued until the evening of the 15th, having in the meantime been
engaged, under flag of truce, in burying the dead, and bearing off the wounded
from the field where they had lain exposed to the wintry blasts, their wounds
undressed, since the morning of the 13th, suffering intensely from the cold.
During the night of the 15th it re-crossed the river and re-occupied its former
On the 20th of February, 1863, Burnside entered on his second campaign.
Robinson's Brigade was charged with laying the pontoons for the crossing of
the river. On the morning of that day the regiment moved by a circuitous
route to a point within a mile of the river, where, in a grove of young pines,
it was to pass the night, the pontoons not having yet come up. Rain soon
began to fall, and the frosts to yield to moisture and warmth. By midnight
the pontoons began to arrive, but by morning the mud was so deep as to preclude all possibility of crossing, and after floundering for a few days in the
mud the army again settled into winter-quarters.
- Henry J. Madill, Colonel
- Guy H. Watkins, Lieutenant
- Colonel; Israel P. Spaulding, Major
" We picketed on low ground between the two armies, which were within musket range
of each other. Suddenly the air was rent with cheers as Ward's Brigade
charged down the Gordonsville Plank-road, driving the enemy from a portion
of his line. The crash of musketry and the screech of flying shot and shells
made the night hideous. We were between two fires. Shells with their burning fuses streamed in every direction over our heads. Occasionally one would
burst in its fiery course, and the sharp whiz and thud of the pieces as they
struck the ground in our midst, reminded us of our mortality, and gave us a
foretaste of the struggle to begin with the dawn of the morrow."
of the 3d, while the brigade was in column of regiments, the enemy advanced
firing. The brigade was unprepared for the shock, and retired in some confusion. It was, however, rapidly re-formed in rear of the Chancellor House, and delivered a counter-charge upon the enemy, who had followed up sharply,
and was now crossing an open field towards a wood, where he was met, and
where a fierce, almost hand to hand fight ensued. The fighting on the part of
the regiment was here most heroic, and resulted in driving the enemy from
its front and holding him in check until nearly surrounded, when it retired in
good order, repeatedly rallying and pouring destructive volleys into the faces
of the closely pursuing foe. The entire Third Corps fought with great persistency and courage, and suffered severely. It repelled the most determined assaults, and slowly retired behind a second line from which the enemy was repulsed with great slaughter. This line was held until the 6th, when the whole
army re-crossed the river and the regiment returned to its former camp. Of
the four hundred and nineteen officers and men with which it entered the battle, two hundred and thirty-four were either killed or wounded, the loss being
principally sustained in the desperate charge on the morning of the 3d. Captains Abram J. Swart and James L. Mumford, and Lieutenant Logan 0. Tyler
were among the killed. Lieutenant Colonel Watkins was severely wounded
and fell into the enemy's-hands. Captain Tyler, and Lieutenants Ball, Atkinson, and Hurst were among the wounded. For its discipline and bravery exhibited on the memorable 3d of May, the regiment was warmly complimented
by both Generals Birney and Graham.
On the 11th of June, the regiment started on the Gettysburg campaign.
At Frederick, Maryland, the troops were greeted by a vast concourse of citizens, who welcomed them with cheers, and the waving of flags. One old man,
with flowing white hair, was conspicuous waving his hat, and shouting,' I
know you!"' You are Sickles' men." The enthusiasm of the old man was
greeted with joyous cheers from the troops, as the corps moved rapidly past.
On the 1st of July the corps reached Emmettsburg, from which place it was
summoned to Gettysburg, where the First Corps was already engaged. It
arrived upon the field soon after dark. The men were not allowed to light
fires, and consequently were obliged to forego their much coveted hot coffee,
after their long and fatiguing march. At dawn the regiment was aroused, and
the brigade was formed in line of battle, in column of, regiments doubled on
the centre. The Sixty-third was deployed, and moved to the front, where it
soon commenced skirmishing. The rest of the brigade maintained its position
until after noon, when it moved out to take position on the Emmettsburg
Pike, to the right of the Peach Orchard.
Just as the brigade was deploying,
the enemy opened with artillery, raking this portion of the field with a converging fire. The One Hundred and Forty-first was temporarily detached
from the main line of the brigade, which faced to the west, and was placed in
support of batteries occupying the Peach Orchard, and facing south. The
angle formed in Sickles' line, at this point, was the most exposed part of the
whole field, and as the enemy was preparing to make his grand assault of the
day, to break and crush the Union lines, he concentrated upon it a most terrific
artillery fire. Fortunately, the regiment occupied a cut in the road leading
out to Round Top, and was, in a measure, shielded from this fire, or it would
have been completely annihilated. For two hours it held this exposed position,.
while shot and shell screamed and whistled about it. At length, the enemy's
infantry charged in heavy force along his whole line. Already had his lines
reached the fence which skirted the Orchard on the south, counting on the
easy capture of the Union guns, when the regiment, which had lain concealed
from view, leaped the wall and dashed forward upon the foe. Bewildered by
its sudden appearance, and firm front, his forces gave ground, and the regiment held its advanced position until the guns could be dragged by hand to a
place of safety, the horses having all been killed.
By this time the whole
division had become engaged, and the guns being out of the way, the regiment moved to the right and front, in order to join the brigade line, and soon connected with the One Hundred and Fifth. The enemy's attack was now renewed with overwhelming force, and the Union lines were forced to give way.
Though fearfully torn, the regiment preserved a bold front, and again and
again rallied and turned upon the foe, and when met by troops of the Fifth
Corps sent to its relief, was still defiant. Its loss in this day's fight was very
severe, probably greater in proportion to the number engaged than almost any
other regiment in the army. At morning roll-call, one hundred and ninety-eight men answered; of this number, one hundred and thirty-six were either
killed or wounded, a loss of nearly seventy per cent.
It was here, "the Peach Orchard," says Captain Horton, "while fearlessly
exposing himself, that we lost the brave Major Spaulding, beloved by the whole
regiment." "Captains Tyler, Clark, and Mercur, and Lieutenant Browne" says
Colonel Madill, "were all wounded. They behaved with great gallantry, exposing themselves wherever duty called. Captain Horton, though severely
stunned by the concussion of a shell, remained on the field, and I am greatly
indebted to him for his services, as he was the only Captain left with the regiment. During the 3d, it was held in reserve, though suffering some loss by
the fierce artillery fire which preceded the last grand charge of the enemy."
The regiment participated in the fall campaign, and was engaged at
Kelly's Ford, Locust Grove, and Mine Run, losing a number of men in the
latter engagement, Lieutenant James Vanaulken being among the killed. It
finally went into winter-quarters near Brandy Station.
During the winter, a
large number of the sick and wounded returned to duty. Captain Casper W.
Tyler was promoted to Major. Lieutenant Colonel Watkins, being still
disabled by his wounds received at Chancellorsville, was appointed by the
President a Paymaster in the army, and his appointment was promptly confirmed by the Senate; but he declined the honor, preferring to remain with his
men at the front, and as will be seen, laid down his life on the field of battle.
During the winter, the ranks of the regiment were strengthened by the, transfer
of men from the One Hundred and Fifth, Ninety-ninth, and One Hundred and
Tenth Pennsylvania regiments.
The Overland Campaign
On the 3d of May the regiment entered on the spring campaign, as part
of the Fourth Division of the Second Corps, the Third Corps having been broken
up, and its men assigned to other corps. At six o'clock on the morning of the
4th, it crossed the Rapidan, and at three in the afternoon, reached the:
old Chancellorsville battle-ground. where it went into position and rested for
the night, the men visiting, in the meantime, the graves of their former
comrades. On the morning of the 5th, it moved to Todd's Tavern, where a slight skirmish, occurred with the enemy's cavalry. At four o'clock in the
afternoon, it was hastily counter-marched along the Brock Road, to its intersection with the Plank Road, where it formed in line of battle, and immediately engaged the enemy, now struggling to get possession of these roads.
The battle raged until night-fall, but the advance of' the enemy was checked.
At daylight the regiment advanced with the brigade, in turn charging the
enemy, and carrying a line of breast-works which had been thrown up during
the previous night. In this charge the regiment took about fifty prisoners,
and the colors of the Thirteenth North Carolina Regiment. The Union line
was finally forced back to the Brock Road. Here the enemy made a fierce
attack, but was finally repulsed with great slaughter.
At the Po River the enemy was again encountered, and the struggle, more desperate than ever,
On the 12th, the Second Corps carried a part of the enemy's
works stretching out to the Ny River, and made large captures of men and
material. The enemy made desperate efforts to re-gain his lost ground, but
was bloodily repulsed. In front of the position occupied by the One Hundred
and Forty-first, stood the large tree which was entirely cut off by bullets, the
trunk of which is preserved at Washington, as a memorial of the war. Around
this the enemy were slain by hundreds. The losses in the regiment from the 5th
to the 18th, were nine killed, ninety-eight wounded, and twenty-nine missing.
At the North Anna, on the afternoon of the 23d of May, the regiment was
deployed as skirmishers in front of a redan on the north bank of the river,
and charged close up to the works. Just before dark, the entire brigade
charged, and captured the rifle-pits on either flank of the redan, the colors of
the One Hundred and Forty-first being the first planted on the hostile works.
At Cold Harbor the fighting was renewed, and was prosecuted at close
quarters, the hostile lines being separated by only a short interval.
Despairing of reaching Richmond by the direct road, Grant again moved on towards
the left, and on the 14th the regiment crossed the James, and with the corps
pushed up towards Petersburg. In the general movement upon the enemy's
works on the 18th the regiment participated, and in the midst of the charge,
while leading his men, Lieutenant Colonel Watkins was killed. He was characterized by his brother officers as among "the bravest of the brave." Lieutenant Jones, serving on the brigade staff, was wounded in the breast. His
life was singularly preserved by a small memorandum book, which he carried
in his breast pocket. A minie ball was found completely buried in the book.
There were, besides, nine men wounded.
Major Tyler now took command of the regiment, and was soon after promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, and Captain Joseph H. Horton to Major. On
the 1st of July, the regiment numbered but one hundred and seventy, and of
the thirty-nine original officers, only seven were left. "The old division,"
wrote an officer, "is now principally in heaven, and in hospitals."
On the 26th of July, the corps re-crossed the James, and made a demonstration at
Deep Bottom, returning on the 30th, in time to participate in any advantage
which should be gained from the springing of the Mine.
On the 14th of
August, the division was detached from the corps, and again moved to the
support of the Tenth Corps in its advance towards Richmond, wherein it sustained some loss. Vigorous operations upon the Weldon Railroad were commenced early in October, by the corps, which were repeated towards the close
of the month, and again early in December, in all of which the regiment bore
manfully its part of hardship and severe fighting.
During the winter, it was posted at the front, near Fort Hell, and was engaged in fatigue and guard duty.
On the 29th of February, 1865, Lieutenant Colonel Tyler was honorably
discharged, and Major Horton was promoted to succeed him, Captain Charles
Mercur being promoted to Major. On the 27th of March the spring campaign
opened, and with the division, the regiment was led to action, driving the enemy's
skirmishers to his main works.
On the 6th of April it was again at the fore front, and in the fiercely contested battle of Sailor's Creek, won new laurels
by its gallantry. On the 9th the rebel army surrendered, the One Hundred
and Forty-first being in line across its way, ready, if need be, again to strike.
At night it retired to Clover Hill, where it rested until the 11th, when it commenced the march for Washington, and upon its arrival, went into camp.
On the 28th of May, the recruits, whose term of service had not expired, were
transferred to the Fifty-seventh Regiment, and the remainder of the One Hundred and Forty-first was mustered out of service.
Source: Bates, Samuel P. History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-65, Harrisburg, 1868-1871.
Organized at Harrisburg August 29, 1862, and moved to Washington.
Duty in the Defences of that city till October.
Attached to 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 3rd Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, to March, 1864.
1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 2nd Army Corps, to July, 1864. 2nd Brigade, 3rd Division, 2nd Army Corps, to May, 1865.
March up the Potomac to Leesburg, thence to Falmouth, Va., October 11-November 19. Battle of Fredericksburg, Va., December 12-15.
Burnside's 2nd Campaign, "Mud March," January 20-24, 1863.
Duty 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 and the Rapidan till October.
Bristoe Campaign October 9-22.
Auburn October 13.
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.
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.
Harris Farm May 19.
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 north of James at Deep Bottom July 27-29.
Deep Bottom July 27-28.
Mine Explosion, Petersburg, July 30 (Reserve).
Demonstration north of the James at Deep Bottom August 13-20.
Strawberry Plains, Deep Bottom, August 14-18.
Ream's Station August 25.
Poplar Springs Church September 29-October 2.
Boydton Plank Road, Hatcher's Run, October 27-28.
Expedition to Weldon Railroad December 7-12.
Dabney's Mills, Hatcher's Run, February 5-7, 1865.
Watkins' House March 25.
Appomattox Campaign March 28-April 9.
Crow's House March 31.
Fall of Petersburg April 2.
Sailor's Creek April 6.
High Bridge April 7.
Appomattox Court House April 9.
Surrender of Lee and his army.
March to Washington, D.C., May 2-12.
Grand Review May 23.
Mustered out May 28, 1865.
Regiment lost during service:
6 Officers and 161 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and
3 Officers and 76 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
© Alice J. Gayley, all rights reserved
Web Space provided by