© Alice J. Gayley, all rights reservedThe troops comprising this regiment, rendezvoused at Camp Curtin duringthe month of August, 1862, where they were mustered into service asthey arrived, and on the 1st of September effected a regimental organization,by the choice of the following field officers:The companies of the regiment were recruited as follows:
- Robert P. Cummins, of Somerset county, Colonel
- Alfred B. Calmonat, of Venango county, Lieutenant Colonel
- John Bradley, of Luzerne county, MajorOn the day following its organization, it was ordered to Washington, and upon its arrival, was employed upon the construction of Fort Massachusetts, afterwards Fort Stevens, and in digging rifle-pits and cutting down the forestin its front. After completing this work, upon which it was engaged until past the middle of the month, it moved to Frederick, Maryland, where it was engaged in guarding the town, erecting hospital tents, and in caring for thewounded, fromn the bloody fields of South Mountain and Antietam.
- Company A, from Mercer County
- Company B, from Westmoreland County
- Company C, from Somerset County
- Company D, from Somerset County
- Company E, from Union County
- Company F, from Somerset County
- Company G, from Monroe County
- Company H, from Fayette County
- Company I, from Venango County
- Company K from Luzerne County
Early in October, the regiment was ordered to report to General Meade, in command of the Pennsylvania Reserves, which then formed the Third Division of the First Corps, and was by him assigned to the Second Brigade,commanded by Colonel Albert L. Magilton, in which it was associated with the Third, Fourth, Seventh, and Eighth regiments. Colonel Magilton was an experienced officer, and was assiduous in his attention to the drill and discipline of the regiment.
Battle of FredericksburgWith the division it moved to Warrenton, where a change occurred in thecommanding general of the army, and in conformity with the new plan ofcampaign, marched to Brooks' Station, on the Acquia Creek Railroad. Onthe 9th of December, the division joined in the general movement of thearmy, to cross the Rappahannock and offer battle. The reserves formed partof Franklin's Grand Division, and at noon of the 12th, crossed on the pontoonbridge which had been previously laid, taking up a position for the night alongthe river bank.
Early on the following morning, and while the fog hung heavyover all the valley, the division crossed the ravine, which cuts the plain nearlyparallel with the river, and was formed in battle line. Colonel Cummins hadbeen in hospital at Washington, but learning that a battle was imminent,though not yet recovered from a severe sickness, proceeded to the front, andarrived upon the field just as the Lieutenant Colonel was addressing to themen a few words of advice and encouragement, before, going into battle, andexpressing his regret at the absence of their leader.
The regiment was atfirst formed in rear of the division, but was soon afterwards deployed on theleft of it, in support of a battery. As the mist cleared away, the actionopened with artillery along the whole line. Away to the left, the enemy hadseveral batteries most advantageously posted, which completely enfiladed theUnion lines, to which could be offered but feeble resistance.
General Reynolds,who commanded the corps, and who was near Colonel Cunmmins, remarked tohim that his regiment was too much exposed. At that instant one of theenemy's caissons on the heights exploded, and a charge of the whole line wasimmediately ordered. With a shout the regiment went forward, until threecompanies forming its left had crossed the railroad, when it was met by aterrific and most galling fire from the enemy's rifle-pits, at the edge of thewoods in front. The space between was clear, and the first line of the Unioncolumn, which here consisted of but a few skirmishers, was driven back, whenthe regiment opened a rapid fire.
The brigade commander, supposing he hada line in front, sent orders to cease firing. This was a moment of great peril.Exposed to a destructive fire, from which the rest of the brigade was shielded,it could only await destruction, without the privilege of returning it, and withno prospect of gaining an advantage; but with a nerve which veterans mightenvy, it heroically maintained its position until ordered to retire. Out of fivehundred and fifty men who stood in well ordered ranks in the morning, twohundred and fifty, in one brief hour, were stricken down. Colonel Cummins,had his horse shot under him:, and Major Bradley was terribly mangled, receiving a mortal hurt.
After this disastrous charge, the division fell back to the position West ofthe ravine, which it had occupied on the previous day, where it remained, until,with the army, it re-crossed the river on the night of the 15th, and two daysthereafter, went into winter-quarters near Belle Plain Landing. With the exception of the Mud March, in January, 1863, in the hardships of which, withthe entire army, it participated, it was undisturbed, and few changes occurreduntil the middle of February, when General Hooker took command of thearmy, and a complete re-organization was made. The reserves, having suffered greatly by incessant activity, and by battle, were withdrawn to the defenses of Washington, and fresh troops were substituted.
By these changes,the One Hundred and Forty-second became associated with the One Hundredand Thirty-fifth, One Hundred and Fifty-first, and the One Hundred andTwenty-first Pennsylvania regiments, which constituted the First Brigade ofthe Third Division. It was temporarily commanded by Colonel Porter, of theOne Hundred and Thirty-fifth, but eventually by General Thomas A. Rowley.
Battle of ChancellorsvilleTowards the close of April, after months of severe weather, the springcampaign opened. On the 27th the regiment moved from camp, and proceededwith the corps to a point on the Rappahannock opposite Franklin's lowerbridge, near the mouth of the little stream which turns Pollock's Mill. Thismovement was made for a diversion in favor of Hooker, who, with three corps.of his army, had moved above, and crossing the Rappahannock and Rapidan,had advanced to Chancellorsville, though the corps was kept under orders tocross and attack the enemy, and was held near the river bank, under a heavy,artillery fire from the enemy on the opposing heights.
On the morning of the 2d of May, under orders from Hooker, the corps withdrew, and marched to,join the main army. The enemy plied his guns with. renewed, zeal as he saw the columns put in motion, and Colonel Cummins had his horse shot under him while at the head of his regiment, and while in the act of giving the orderto march.
All day long the march was continued, and at night, just as thetroops were preparing to bivouac, having crossed the river at United StatesFord, orders came for the corps to move immediately to the front, a great disaster having befallen the army that evening, in the rout of the Eleventh Corps. Foot-sore and weary, the men sprang to arms, and were led onthrough the dense underbrush of the Wilderness-the heavy booming of cannon,and the faint rattle of small arms, telling that the deadly struggle was stillraging-to a position on the right of the line. Heavy breast-works werethrown up, and every preparation was made to hold the ground. But theheavy fighting did not reach that part of the line, and three days thereafter,with the rest of the army, the corps re-crossed the river and returned to itsold camping ground.Here it remained until the march commenced which ended at Gettysburg.
Battle of GettysburgSoon after the assignment of General Meade to the command of the army,General Reynolds was directed to take command of the right wtng, composedof the First and Eleventh corps, General Doubleday succeeding to the command of the First Corps, General Rowley to that of the Third Division, andColonel Biddle, of the One Hundred and Twenty-first, of the First Brigade.
Upon the arrival of the brigade upon the field, it was formed in line in theopen ground, to the left of the wood where General Reynolds fell, and soonbecame the target of the enemy's batteries in front and right flank. Itsposition was frequently shifted to avoid the fire, but it stubbornly held itsground. Finally, just previous to the general advance of the enemy alongthe whole front, from beyond the Millersburg Road on his right, to the AlmsHouse on his left, a part of the brigade was ordered to the support of GeneralStone's Brigade, which had been hard pressed by infantry. But at that moment the enemy.was descried advancing in double lines, from a wood threequarters of a mile to the left and front of the ground where the brigade wasposted, and it was immediately wheeled into position to meet it, the One Hundred and Forty-second holding the right of the line, until joined,'a few minuteslater, by the One Hundred and Fifty-first, which was moved up by order ofGeneral Rowley, to fill a gap existing between this and the Iron Brigade, further to the right.
For some time the brigade maintained its position againsta vastly superior force. The enemy not only poured in a rapid fire in front,but moved a body of his troops along the road to the left, and completelyflanked the position. With ranks terribly thinned, the brigade could hold itsground no longer, and the left of the line began to crumble. The One Hundred and Forty-second fell back slowly. The One Hundred and Fifty-first, onits right, held its ground a few minutes longer.
Colonel Biddle, seizing a standof colors, gallantly rode forward, and the line instinctively about wheeled andfollowed him. The horse of Colonel Biddle was shot. Colonel Cummins fellmortally wounded. His horse had been killed a few minutes previously.Near him fell the Acting Adjutant, Lieutenant Tucker.
The regiment againfell back slowly towards the Seminary. Here it joined a mass of men fromvarious brigades and divisions, in some confusion, who were holding and con:tinned to hold the position until the batteries had been withdrawn, and lntilthe enemy, moving along the road south of the Seminary; had completelyflanked the position.. As the troops retired through the town; they were subjected to a severe fire from a flanking column, which was sheltered by fences and buildings.
On reaching the Cemetery, whither it had been ordered, the remnantof the regiment was collected, and less than a hundred were in rank. Aboutforty, who had become separated from the rest in the retreat, re-joinedthem before morning. The appearance of General Sickles, riding into the inclosure where the men were resting, with his staff and corps ensign, was hailedwith cheers, as the first assurance that the remainder of the army was not faroff. In reply to a question, the General said pleasantly that his boys werethere, and were anxious for a fight.
In the action of the 2d, the regiment wasnot involved, but was held in reserve just back of the Cemetery, on the Taneytown Road. On the morning of the 3d, together with the One Hundred and Twenty-first, it was moved to the left, half a mile, and posted on the right ofStoners Brigade, mid-way between the Cemetery and Round Top. In theterrible artillery duel, which opened at a little after noon, it was exposed, in openground, to the full effect of the deadly missiles. Almost the entire field wasin full view from the position it occupied. The rebel fire was unusually accurate. Caisson after caisson on the Union side was exploded, and guns weredisabled. But new caissons were speedily brought up, and fresh batterieswere hurried forward to take the places of those lost, preserving an unbrokenfront. The grand charge of the infantry which followed, struck with its mainforce to the right of the line where the regiment stood, and it consequentlysuffered little loss,and easly held its position.
Captain Charles H. Flagg, servingon the staff of General Rowley, was killed, near the close of the day, one ofthe last officers of the Union army who laid down his life on the Gettysburgfield. The loss to the regiment in the entire battle, was fifteen killed, one hundred and twenty-six wounded, and eighty-four missing and prisoners; anaggregate of two hundred and twenty-five. Colonel Cummins, Captain Flagg, and Lieutenants Andrew Gregg Tucker, and Edward Hurst, were ofthe killed, and Captains Adam Grimm, Charles P. Evans, William Hasson, andJ. M. Dushane, and Lieutenants Frank M. Powell, J. Robert Walter, Samuel S.Swank, Cyrus P. Heffley, Charles E. Huston, and Jeremiah Hoffman, and William L. Wilson, Acting Adjutant General of the brigade, were of the wounded.
After the battle, the two armies moved southward, and by the close ofJuly, were facing each other on the opposite banks of the Rappahannock.Here, nearly two months of fine summer weather were spent in comparativeinactivity. Two months more of maneuvering and hard marchiing followed,ending in the abandonment of the campaign at Mine Run, without fighting ageneral battle, and in the retirement of the army to winter-quarters aroundCulpepper.
About Christmas, the One Hundred and Forty-second, and theOne Hundred and Twenty-first were consolidated with Stone's Brigade, composed of the One Hundred and Forty-third, One Hundred and Forty-ninth,and One Hundred and Fiftieth, which subsequently, upon the breaking up ofthe First Corps, became part of the Fifth Corps.
Early in April, 1864, Lieutenant Colonel M'Calmont was detailed on special duty, and in September following, was commissioned Colonel of the Two Hundred and Eighth, when heresigned his commission in this regiment. Major Horatio N. Warren, who hadsucceeded Major Bradley, from this time forward had command, and in September following was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, and finally to Colonel.
Battle of the WildernessOn the morning of the 4th of May, the regiment moved from camp on the.Wilderness Campaign. At noon of the 5th, while making its way toilsomelythrough the mazes of the Wilderness, it came suddenly upon the enemy,lying in wait, and a fierce struggle commenced. The nature of the groundprecluded the use of artillery, and the two opposing lines came to closequarters. The losses in the regiment were heavy, but the ground was successfuilly held until near the close of the day, when it was forced to retire. Lieutenant George H. Collins was among the killed, in this fierce encounter.
On themorning of the 6th, the brigade having been transferred temporarily to the Second Corps, it advanced with it to a most sanguinary conflict, wherein the enemywas driven, and in turn drove the Union forces. Finally, the enemy made adetermined onslaught upon a portion of the works along the GordonsvilleRoad, and succeeded in planting his colors upon them. The brigade was atthat time in reserve, but seeing the peril to which the line was exposed by thissudden break, the order to advance to the rescue was given. Instantly responding, this gallant brigade dashed forward, and soon recovered the captured works, sending the enemy flying in confusion.
On the 7th, the regiment was led with the brigade to the rear, where it rested until evening,when it marched, and arrived on the following morning on the enemy's front,at Laurel Hill, relieving a portion of the Fifth Corps. Breast-works werethrown up, and with varying success, but without material advantage, theground was held until the 13th, when the command moved on to a positionin front of Spottsylvania Court House, where it remained for a week, throwing up breast-works in the meantime, and being subjected to a heavy artilleryfire.
On the 21st it again moved on, and at North Anna, Bethesda Church,and Tolopotomy Creek, was at the fore front, and by its gallantry, won fromGeneral Cutler a most flattering recognition.
On the 6th of June the brigade arrived at Cold Harbor, where it was transferred to the First Division, General Chamberlain commanding. At the swamps of the Chickahominy it was again set to digging, and here the brigade remained nearly a week, at the end of which the march was again takenup, and on the 14th arrived at the James River, crossing on the 16th. Advancing towards Petersburg, the old enemy was found in position, and on the 18th the division charged, driving in his skirmishers, and suffering severelyin front of his main works, but holding the ground and fortifying it.
Weldon RailroadOn the 21st the division again advanced, under a heavy fire, and took position close up to the enemy's works, which was also fortified, and here the brigade remained until the middle of August, in the meantime being employedupon the construction of Fort Hell, one of the strongest and most exposed onthe Union line. On the 18th the regiment joined in the raid upon the WeldonRailroad, and by its energy and enterprise soon gained a reputation unexcelledfor ability in making destruction complete. It afterwards took up a positionwith the brigade, where it was attacked, and severe fighting ensued, in whichthe enemy was routed, after a most sanguinary contest. It was engaged infortifying and erecting works on this ground, until the 30th of September,when it marched to Peeble's Farm, where the brigade was posted upon aneminence, which it proceeded to fortify; but where, in consequence of theenemy flanking the position, it was roughly handled, and from which it wasfinally driven.
Early in December, the Fifth Corps made a second raid uponthe Weldon Railroad, completely destroying it for a distance of twenty miles,and burning station houses and stores by the way. In this the regiment participated, and upon its return went into winter-quarters. With the exception of a sharp action on the 6th of February, 1865, at Dabney's Mills, in whichthe regiment saffered considerable loss, it remained in quarters until the opening of the spring campaign.
On the 30th of March it moved from camp, and pushing along the Quaker Road, crossed the Boydton Plank Road, driving the enemy back into his main line of works. On the 1st of April, at FiveForks, the Fifth Corps again came upon the enemy, and severe fighting ensued,in which the regiment sufbered heavily, Colonel Warren and Major Elderbeing severely wounded. The enemy was routed, and many prisoners andguns graced the train of the victors. The whole rebel army was soon in fullretreat, and after eight days of rapid marching, and desperate fighting, failingto escape the clutches of the Union forces, General Lee surrendered. Afterthe surrender, the brigade was pllaced in charge of rebel property, which itescorted to Burkesville Station. After a halt of two weeks here, it proceededto Petersburg, and thence through Richmond to the neighborhood of Washington, where, on the 29th of May, it was mustered out of service.
Source: Bates, Samuel P. History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-65, Harrisburg, 1868-1871.
Organization:Organized at Harrisburg September 1, 1862.
Left State for Washington, D.C., September 2, and duty there till September 19.
Moved to Frederick, Md., September 19.
Attached to 2nd Brigade, 3rd Division, 1st Army Corps,
Army of the Potomac, to February, 1863.
1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 1st Corps, to March, 1864
3rd Brigade, 4th Division, 5th Army Corps, to June, 1864
1st Brigade, 1st Division, 5th Army Corps, to September, 1864
3rd Brigade, 3rd Division, 5th Army Corps, to May, 1865
Service:Duty at Frederick, Md., till October 30, 1862.
Movement to Falmouth, Va., October 30-November 19.
Battle of Fredericksburg, Va., December 12-15.
Burnside's 2nd Campaign, "Mud March," January 20-24, 1863.
Duty at Belle Plains till April.
Chancellorsville Campaign April 27-May 6.
Operations at Pollock's Mill Creek April 29-May 2.
Battle of Chancellorsville May 2-5.
Gettysburg (Pa.) Campaign June 11-July 24.
Battle of Gettysburg July 1-3.
Pursuit of Lee July 5-24.
Duty on line of the Rappahannock till October.
Bristoe Campaign October 9-22.
Advance to line of the Rappahannock November 7-8.
Mine Run Campaign November 26-December 2.
Demonstration on the Rapidan February 6-7, 1864.
Duty near Culpeper till May.
Rapidan Campaign May 4-June 12.
Battles of the Wilderness May 5-7; Laurel Hill May 8;
Spottsylvania May 8-12; Spottsylvania Court House May 12-21.
Assault on the Salient May 12.
North Anna River May 23-26.
Jericho Ford May 25.
On line of the Pamunkey May 26-28.
Totopotomoy May 28-31.
Cold Harbor June 1-12.
Bethesda Church June 1-3.
Before Petersburg June 16-18.
Siege of Petersburg June 16, 1864, to April 2, 1865.
Mine Explosion, Petersburg, July 30, 1864.
Weldon Railroad August 18-21.
Poplar Springs Church, Peeble's Farm, September 29-October 2.
Boydton Plank Road, Hatcher's Run, October 27-28.
Warren's Expedition to Weldon Railroad December 7-12.
Dabney's Mills, Hatcher's Run, February 5-7, 1865.
Appomattox Campaign March 28-April 9.
Lewis Farm, near Gravelly Run, March 29.
White Oak Road March 31.
Five Forks April 1.
Appomattox Court House April 9.
Surrender of Lee and his army.
Escort captured stores to Burkesville Station.
March to Washington, D.C., May 1-12.
Grand Review May 23.
Mustered out May 29, 1865.
Losses:Regiment lost during service:
7 Officers and 148 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and
72 Enlisted men by disease.
Total 227.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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