On July 7th, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln called for 300,000 volunteers to strengthen the fighting force of the Union Army.1 In response, Andrew G. Curtin, Governor, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, issued commissions to recruit to Dr. George A. Fairlamb, Robert McFarlane, Robert M. Forster, William H. Bible, FrankStevenson, James F. Weaver, Martin Dolan, all of Centre County. When the regiment was formed at Camp Curtin, the seven companies raised by these men in Centre were joined with three companies from Clarion, Jefferson, and Indiana Counties to form these companies of the 148th regiment of the Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry:
- Company A- Recruited by Captain Robert H. Forster primarily in Rebersburg in Centre County.
- Company B- Recruited by Captain James F. Weaver in Centre County.
- Company C -The Color Company of the 148th Pennsylvania was recruited by Captain Robert McKay in Centre County.
- Company D -Recruited by Captain Andrew Musser in Centre County.
- Company E -Recruited by James H. Benford in Indiana County and by by Captain Charles Stewart in Jefferson County. Company E also included volunteers from Armstrong County.
- Company F -Recruited in Centre County by Captain Martin Dolan, William P. Wilson, and James Duncan. Volunteers were recruited in Huntington County by George W. Steffy, and in Cameron and Elk Counties by D. C. Freeman.
- Company G -Recruited in Centre County by Captain Robert McFarlane.
- Company H -Recruited in Centre County by Captain George A. Fairlamb, MD.
- Company I -Recruited in Jefferson County by Captain Silas J. Marlin while on personal leave from the 105th Pennsylvania.
- Company K -Recruited primarily in Clarion County by Captain Thompson Core. Also included volunteers from Montgomery County.
Other counties represented in the 148th Pennsylvania included Blair, Juniata, Mifflin, and Perry.
The recruits were transported to Camp Curtin, outside of Harrisburg, and organized into the 148th Pennsylvania on September 8th.2 At the request of the line officers who recruited the seven companies in Centre County, James Addams Beaver, LT Colonel, 45th Pennsylvania Volunteers, was appointed Commander of the Regiment. An election was held to select the field and staff officers of the 148th Pennsylvania.
On September 9th, after the new recruits had been organized into a regiment and equipped with Vincennes .69 caliber rifles, the 148th Pennsylvania was shipped to Cockeysville, Maryland. Here, they guarded a 15-mile stretch of the Northern Central Railroad to protect communications between the Northern states and the nation's capital from enemy attack. Four companies, including Companies E, G, H, and I, were stationed at Gunpowder River Bridge under command of Major George A. Fairlamb.3
Company A, under the command of Captain Robert H. Forster, moved to Luthersville, Maryland, and Company B, commanded by Captain James F. Weaver, moved to Glencoe, Maryland. The remaining companies encamped at headquarters at Cockeysville under the command of Colonel Beaver.
During this period, Colonel Beaver, drawing on his training and experience gained from his prior service in the 45th Pennsylvania Volunteers, drilled the recruits daily and placed the regiment under the most rigid and uniform rules of discipline. In less than three months the recruits were turned into a "spit and polish" regiment with polished shoes and brass, well-packed knapsacks, and wore white gloves during review. Regimental drill and bayonet practice became part of the daily routine for the 148th Pennsylvania. Their motto became "Ready, Always Ready." Later, Colonel Beaver conducted classes for the newly-commissioned and non-commissioned officers.
On December 9, 1862, the Regiment reassembled and left Cockeysville traveling by rail to Baltimore, where they spent one night; and then on to Washington, DC, arriving at 4:00 a.m. on December 11th. Marching south in a drenching rain on December 16th, the 148th Pennsylvania boarded a steam boat at Liverpool Point, Maryland, and were taken down the Potomac ten miles to Aquia Creek, Virginia. They continued marching south to Falmouth, Virginia, the Headquarters of the Army of the Potomac, reaching it just two days after the Battle of Fredericksburg.
At Falmouth, the 148th Pennsylvania was assigned to the First Brigade (Major General John C. Caldwell, Commanding), First Division (Major General Winfield S. Hancock, Commanding), Second Corps (Major General Darius Couch, Commanding), Right Grand Division (General Edwin V. Sumner, Commanding), Army of the Potomac (Major General Ambrose Everett Burnside, Commanding).
The 148th Pennsylvania was attached to the First Brigade, Second Division, Second Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, to September 1863; to the Third Brigade, First Division, Second Army Corps, to March, 1864, and to the Fourth Brigade, First Division, Second Army Corps, to June 1865.5
The 148th Pennsylvania fought in all the battles and skirmishes in which the Army of the Potomac engaged from Chancellorsville and Gettysburg to Appomattox. The regiment was also present at the official surrender and stacking of arms by General Robert E. Lee's Confederate troops at Appomattox Court House on April 12, 1865, and participated in the Presidential Grand Review of the Army of the Potomac in Washington, DC, on May 22-23, 1865.
1. Beaver, James S. "Introduction to the Citizen's Story" in The Story of Our Regiment:
A History of the 148th Pennsylvania Volunteers, Des Moines, IA: The Kenyon Printing &
Manufacturing Company, 1904, pp. 29-30.
2. Muffly, J. W. "The Itinerary" in The Story of Our Regiment: A History of the 148th Pennsylvania Volunteers, Des Moines, IA: The Kenyon Printing & Manufacturing Company, 1904, p. 15.3. The Story of Company E" in The Story of Our Regiment: A History of the 148th Pennsylvania Volunteers, Des Moines, IA: The Kenyon Printing & Manufacturing Company, 1904, pp.656-669.
4. Gayley, Alice Jane. The 148th Pennsylvania Volunteers: The Story of Company I. Butler, PA: Mechling and Associates, August 1998.
5. Dyer, Frederick H. A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion, Vol. III, Dayton, OH: Morningside, 1959, p. 1065.
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