© Alice J. Gayley, all rights reservedIn response to a call of the President for troops to serve for three years, public meetings were held in various parts of Centre county, during the month of August, 1862, to promote enlistments, and before the close of the month, seven companies had been recruited and mustered into service. They rendezvoused at Camp Curtin, and from them, with two companies raised in Jefferson and Indiana counties, and one in Clarion, the organization of the One Hundred and Forty-eighth Regiment was effected on the 8th of September, with the following field officers:Colonel Beaver had served in a militia company under Captain Curtin, at this time Governor of the Commonwealth; as Lieutenant in the Second Regiment, for three months' service; and as Lieutenant Colonel of the Forty-fifth Regiment, which position he vacated to accept this, at the earnest solicitation of the line officers.
- James A. Beaver, Colonel
- Robert M'Farlane, Lieutenant Colonel
- George A. Fairlamb, Major
On the day following its organization, it was ordered to duty in guarding a section of the Northern Central Railway, companies F, D, I and K, with the regimental headquarters, being posted at Cockeysville, A at Lutherville, E, G and H, at Gunpowder Bridge, C at Phoenix, and B at Glencoe, covering a distance of twelve miles. On the 7th of December, on the eve of the battle of Fredericksburg, it was ordered to the front, and moving via Washington and Liverpool Point, arrived in the neighborhood of Falmouth on the 18th, the bafttle having, in the meantime, been fought and lost. It was here assigned to the First Brigade, First Division, of the Second Corps.
ChancellorsvilleOn the 27th of April, the regiment moved with the corps on the spring campaign, crossed the Rappahannock at United States Ford on the 30th, and at midnight reached the White House, a short distance west of Chancellorsville., On the morning of May 1st, it marched out a mile towards Fredericksburg, between the River Road and Old Turnpike, but soon after retired, and finally took position a half mile in front of Chancellorsville, upon the picket line, with skirmishers thrown out. This position the enemy shelled until late at night, and the men slept upon their arms.
Before dawn of the 2d, the regiment, with the exception of six companies left upon the picket line, fell back to a slight elevation in front of the Chancellor House, where breast-works, of logs, and earth were thrown up. At eight oclock on the morning of the 3d, the four companies, D, C, H and G, having in charge the colors, were ordered from the intrenchments, and at double-quick to a position in the woods in front of White House Hospital, tha line, being nearly parallel with the plank road. As it was advancing in line through the thick underbrush, it received a volley which was promptly answered, and the firing soon became general and rapid. Colonel Beaver was here severely wounded, and borne from the field. Until eleven o'clock, the line swayed backward and forward before the terrific storm of battle, but held, substantially, its original position, when it was relieved, and retired to a position along the opposite woods, where breastworks were erected. In the meantime, the six companies which had been left upon the picket line, on the ground occupied in the morning, gallantly held their position against overpowering odds, repelling repeated charges of the enemy's line of battle, and finally re joined the others in their new position.
The loss in the regiment was very severe, being twenty-five killed, and seven officers. and ninety-three enlisted men wounded. Lieutenants William H. Bible and Francis Stevenson were among the killed.
After the battle, the regiment returned to its camp near Falmouth, where it remained, with the exception of a slight change of location, until the opening of the Gettysburg Campaign. On the 14th of June, it moved with the corps via Thoroughfare Gap and Edwards' Ferry, to Uniontown, Maryland, arriving on the 30th.
GettysburgOn the following day the battle of Gettysburg opened, and the regiment moved towards the field, it having been determined to concentrate the army upon that point and deliver a general battle. The following extract from the official record book of the regiment, tells, in brief, the part borne by it in this great contest:"July 1st. Advanced about six teen miles in the direction of Gettysburg. A slight breast-work was erected in our front as we bivouacked, and the night passed quietly. July 2d. Marched to the battle-field and took position along the crest, on the left of Cemetery Hill, on the farm of Mr. Hummelbaugh. At four P. M., the First Brigade was ordered into action on the left, advancing through a wheat-field in front of Round Top Mountain. This field was quite surrounded by wood, in which nearly all of the six companies on the left were obliged to move. Firing commenced at close range, the enemy's line being drawn up in the edge of the wood in front, and extending right and left. The men displayed admirable coolness, and in general took deliberate aim before firing. At the expiration of one hour from the time firing commenced, the line was relieved, and fell back in good order, occupying the position held in the morning. During the night, a substantial work was erected. July 3d. A determined attack was made on our line by the enemy in the afternoon, and under cover of his artillery, the infantry advanced in masterly strength and order, but was triumphantly repulsed by the troops to our right, and the force of his blow was signally broken. The next day passed quietly, and at four P. M., of the 5th, the division marched out of the intrenchments and encamped at Two Taverns, about five miles distant. On the 6th, Major Fairlamb re-joined the regiment, from absence on account of sickness."The loss in the engagement was about fifty in killed and wounded.1 Captain Robert M. Forster was among the killed, and Lieutenant John A. Bayard, mortally wounded.
The pursuit of the rebel army was continued to the Potomac, and on the 16th, the enemy having made good his escape, the regiment crossed into Virginia. On the 19th, Colonel Beaver, who had been absent since the battle of Chancellorsville, on account of wounds, returned, and resumed command. After crossing the Rappahannock some skirmishing occurred with the enemy's cavalry.
Towards the close of September: the regiment was transferred from the First to the Third Brigade, the One Hundred and Fortieth being at the same time transferred from the Third to the First, the regiments in effect changing places.
In the retrograde movement of the Union army which commenced on the 13th of October, the Second Corps acted as rearguard, and was formed for the protection of the trains. On the morning of the 14th, the First Division was attacked by rebel artillery while halting for breakfast on an eminence near Auburn Mills, but it was soon silenced.
Bristoe CampaignOn reaching Bristoe Station, on the afternoon of the same day, a sudden and determined attack was made by the enemy on the left flank, which resulted in a short but sanguinary battle, in which he was handsomely repulsed. After reaching Centreville the movement of the two armies was reversed, and a second advance upon the Rapidan was commenced.
On the 29th of October, one hundred and twenty-five drafted men were added to the regiment, and ten days later one hundred and fifty-eight more, bringing it up to its original strength. The regiment participated in the advance upon Mine Run, but returned without coming to battle, and finally settled down, on the 7th of December, in permanent winter-quarters, a mile and a half from Stevensburg.
Lieutenant Colonel M'Farlane, who had been honorably discharged, was succeeded by Major Fairlamb, and Captain R. H. Forster was made Major. Before taking the field in the spring of 1864, one hundred and twenty more recruits were sent to it. Drill and parades were the principal duties required during the period of inactivity, and being comfortably quartered in a healthful and pleasant location, time passed agreeably.
The Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Po River, Spotsylvnia Court HouseAt eight o'clock on the evening of the 3d of May, the regiment moved from camp, and crossing the Rapidan at Ely's Ford, reached Chancellorsville at eleven of the 4th-the first (anniversary of the battle in which it had severely suffered. At an early hour on the following day the column was in motion, the One Hundred and Forty-eighth acting as skirmishers and flankers, and reached the battleground of the Wilderness towards the close of the day.
In the engagements of the two succeeding days it acted in the main as supports to other troops, having one killed on the night of the 7th. A flank movement of the army, which had commenced during the night, was continued during the following day, and on the 9th advanced on the Spottsylvania Road to the Po River, on the opposite side of which the enemy was found. The regiment was ordered to cross and take the heights beyond. Fording the stream the three right companies were deployed and advanced, with three companies as support, and the remaining four as battalion reserve. From a position on a hill a half a mile away, a rebel battery opened, and as the skirmish line approached, it threw canister with some effect; but the line moved steadily forward and the enemy was driven. The regiment sustained some loss, Captain Weaver being among the wounded, and private John F. Beyers losing an arm.
The battle which had opened on the morning of the 10th, was renewed later in the day along the right centre, and at three P. 31. a strong line of the enemy advanced from the woods in front of the position which the regiment occupied, and its line of skirmishers was drTiven in with serious loss. But as the enemy emerged upon the open ground the company of Captain Bayard gave him a withering volley. A moment later Colonel Beaver ordered the entire regiment to open, and the firing became general. The enemy soon afterwards moved by the right flank into a line of works which the brigade had vacated half an hour before, and from that position returned the fire with deadly effect. The battle lasted until nearly nightfall, when Colonel Beaver decided to withdraw his regiment, and re-joined his division. This battle, though unimportant in its results, was fiercely contested, the regiment losing two hundred officers and men, of whom twenty-one were kiiled and two died of their wounds. Captain Thompson Core and Lieutenant James B. Cook were among the killed.
Private Robert W. Ammerman, of company B, captured a rebel flag, for which he received the customary medal of honor awarded by the Secretary of War, but was severely wounded, losing a leg.
At ten on the evening of the 11th the regiment moved with the corps, and at three A. M., on the 12th, halted between the lines of the two armies, in readiness for a grand assault of the enemy's works. At dawn it was delivered in well formed lines, and in heavy force. The astonished rebels were hurled in confusion from their first line of works, and large captures of prisoners, small arms, and guns were made; but soon rallying, and reinforcements coming promptly to- their aid, the struggle for the second line was desperate. All day long the battle raged with unceasing violence. The One Hundred and Forty-eighth was at the fore-front and suffered severely, losing sixteen killed and two mortally wounded, Lieutenant John A. MGuire being among the latter. Lieutenant Colonel Fairlamb was severely wounded and captured while pressing bravely forward in advance of the line.
Private George W. Harris captured a rebel flag, in the advance of the morning, for which he also received a medal of honor.
Cold HarborUntil the close of the month manceuvring, marching, and fighting continued, the regiment sustaining some loss in killed and wounded almost daily, but without marked results. On the 3d of June it arrived in front of Cold Harbor, and with the division captured the enemy's front line. The charge was gallantly made, but having no support, and being attacked by a heavy force well posted in his second line, and by batteries from forts which enfiladed the position, the line was compelled to fall back a short distance, where it fell to fortifying and successfully held its ground against every attempt of the enemy to drive it out. Lieutenant Jacob S. Lander was instantly killed by a shell from one of the rebel forts. The division suffered severely. One of the brigade commanders was killed, and two wounded.
Colonel Beaver, accordingly, succeeded to the command of the Third Brigade, and Major Forster to that of the regiment. Failing to break the enemy's lines, the army again made a flank movement to the left, and crossing the Chickahominy and the James, came upon the enemy's works in front of Petersburg, on the morning of the 16th. An advance was at once ordered, but was, for some reason, delayed until evening. At six o'clock the line went gallantly to work, but was repulsed with grievous slaughter. Colonel Beaver was severely wounded.
Color Sergeant Wood, being far in advance when the retreat commenced, seeing that he could not escape capture, buried his flag in the sand, where it was found the next day, and brought off. Sergeant Cochrane had a narrow escape with the regimental colors, but brought them in safely an hour after the regiment had halted.
Jerusalem Plank RoadOn the 17th, the division again advanced, under a heavy fire, through the enemy's first line, and on the 18th, he abandoned his works and fell back to a new position. Major Forster, while acting as officer of the day, was severely wounded.
On the 21st; the Second Corps joined in a movement upon the Jerusalem Plank Road, and gained a position, where it established a fortified line. But the enemy, watchful for an advantage, discovered a break, and penetrating, struck heavily, causing much disorder in Barlow's Division. In this unfortunate affair, Colonel Fraser, who was in command of the Third Brigade, with a number of his men, was captured. Captain Jacob B. Edmonds was killed, Lieutenants Harper and Beirly were wounded, the latter mortally, and Captain John A. Bayard was taken prisoner.
On the 28th of July, the Second Corps engaged the enemy across the James, in the vicinity of Deep Bottom, gaining some advantage, and taking several guns. On the 14th of August, a portion of the corps again crossed the James, and was warmly engaged at Strawberry Plains. It returned on the 20th, but was immediately pushed out upon the Weldon Railroad.
Reams StationAt a little after noon, of the 25th, the regiment was hurried away to Ream's Station. Scarcely had it arrived, when the enemy emerged from the wood in front, and moved in excellent order upon the Union works, but receiving a deliberate and destructive fire, he fell back. The regiment was then deployed as skirmishers, and ordered to advance and ascertain the enemy's position. A few hundred yards in front he was found in two lines of battle, concealed in a thick wood, preparing to assault. The regiment retired, but had hardly gained its place in the works, when his charging column again emerged from the woods in heavy force. A deadly fire was opened upon him along the whole line, and he again turned back. An hour later, after having delivered a terrific artillery fire, which lasted for half an hour, a third time he advanced to the assault. He came on in double column closed in mass."' Troops never marched," says an eye witness, " with a firmer step or a more unwavering front. Great gaps were torn through their ranks, but they closed again and again, and continued to advance, notwithstanding their terrible loss, until they had finally gained the outer edge of the works. Here the struggle became desperate. Men engaged hand to hand, and the bayonet did its deadly work."Though manfully defended, the position had to be yielded before the overwhelming pressure which was brought to bear upon it, and the division fell back. The regiment's loss was very severe. Lieutenant David G. Ralston was among the killed. Colonel Beaver, who had been absent since the 16th of June, on account of wounds then received, and had returned and assumed command just in time to go into the battle, was severely wounded, losing a leg.
PetersburgUpon its return to its position before Petersburg the regiment was placed on duty at Fort Haskell, subsequently at Fort Steadman and Battery No. 10. By an order of the War Department it was directed that one regiment in each division should be armed with Spencer repeating rifles. General Hancock designated the One Hundred and Forty-eighth to receive them on the part of the First Division, and on the 6th of October the arms were delivered.
On the 27th of October, General Miles, who commanded the division, ordered a detachment of one hundred men from this regment, under Captain J. Z. Brown, to assault a portion of the enemy7s line in his front. flaving formed his men for the desperate work, just at dusk he dashed forward, thrust aside the dense abattis, drove in the opposing pickets, and scaled the ramparts, carrying a strong work, capturing four commissioned officers and more men than he had led to the encounter. The enemy rallying and turning his artillery upon it from, the other forts, finally compelled him to retire, occasioning considerable loss.* For his gallant conduct Captain Brown was highly commended and brevetted Major.
During the winter the regiment was engaged in garrisoning Forts Sampson, Gregg, and Cummings. Upon the opening of the spring campaign of 1865, the regiment moved with the brigade, on the 25th of March, and participated in the action at Hatcher's Run, and on the 31st at Adams' Farm.
Appomattox CampaignOn the 2d of April it moved five miles through the enemy's lines, and came upon the South Side Railroad at Sutherland's Station, the First Division in advance, where the rebel forces were found well posted and determined to make a stand, The Second, Brigade led, supported by the Fourth, and as it approached the enemy's well, chosen position he opened a terrific fire which checked its advance, killing and wounding large numbers.
Seeing the disaster, General Miles detached the One Hundred and Forty-eighth, and deploying as skirmishers, he ordered it to advance. With Captain Sutton in command of the right wing, and Captain Harper of the left, it moved resolutely forward, and by a skillfully executed manoeuvre, flanked the enemy's works and opened a well directed and murderous enfilading fire from the repeating rifles. Stunned by the suddenness and severity of the blow nearly an entire brigade threw down its arms and surrendered, Major Umer of the Fourth North Carolina surrendering his sword and pistol to Captain Harper.
On the following day General Miles issued an order commending the gallant conduct of the regiment, announcing the result of the charge to be seven hundred prisoners, two pieces of artillery, and two flags.
On the 3d the regiment was detailed to forage for the division and rendered efficient service. On the 7th, it participated in the battle at Farmville, and in the closing movements of the campaign. After the surrender it returned to the neighborhood of Alexandria, and on the 3d of June was mustered out of service.
1When the party was forced to retire, Private William H. Kellerman was cut off and was unable to regain the Union lines. Determined not to be captured he concealed himself il some low bushes, and the enemy advanced his videttes inclosing him and completely shuttirn him off from all hope of escape. For eight days he remained concealed, subsisting on rootand bark within his reach. The cold was so intense that his feet were badly frozen and his limbs were almost paralyzed; but still he would not surrender. On the evening of the eighth day the enemy was late in posting his videttes, and Kellerman, taking advantage of the growing darkness, succeeded in crawling and rolling himself outside of the rebel line, and was rescued. By careful nursing and medical treatment he was revived and restored. General Meade, admiring his fortitude, gave him a thirty days' furlough. Source: Bates, Samuel P. History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-65, Harrisburg, 1868-1871.
Organization:Organized at Camp Curtin, Harrisburg, September 8, 1862.
Moved to Cockeyville, Md., September 9-10, 1862,
and guard duty on Northern Central Railroad till December 9, 1862.
Unattached, Defences of Baltimore, 8th Corps, Middle Department.
Moved to Falmouth, Va., December 9-18, 1862.
Attached to 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 2nd Army Corps,
Army of the Potomac, to September, 1863.
3rd Brigade, 1st Division, 2nd Army Corps, to March, 1864.
4th Brigade, 1st Division, 2nd Army Corps, to June, 1865.
Service:Duty at Falmouth, Va., till April 27, 1863.
Chancellorsville Campaign April 27-May 6.
Battle of Chancellorsville May 1-5.
Gettysburg (Pa.) Campaign June 14-July 24.
Skirmish at Haymarket June 25.
Battle of Gettysburg, Pa., July 1-3.
Pursuit of Lee July 5-24.
Wapping Heights, Va., July 23.
Expedition to Port Conway August 31-September 4.
Richardson's Ford September 1.
Duty on Orange & Alexandria Railroad and the Rappahannock till October.
Advance from the Rappahannock to the Rapidan September 13-17.
Bristoe Campaign October 9-22.
South side of the Rappahannock October 12.
Auburn and Bristoe October 14.
Advance to line of the Rappahannock November 7-8.
Kelly's Ford November 7.
Mine Run Campaign November 26-December 2.
Demonstration on the Rapidan February 6-7, 1864.
Morton's Ford February 6-7.
Duty near Stevensburg till May.
Rapidan Campaign May 4-June 12.
Battles of the Wilderness May 5-7;
Spottsylvania May 8-12;
Po River May 9-10;
Spottsylvania Court House May 12-21.
Assault on the Salient May 12.
Milford Station May 20.
Reconnoissance by Regiment across North Anna River May 22.
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 21-23, 1864.
Demonstration on north side of the 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, Weldon Railroad, August 25.
Assault on Davidson's Confederate Battery October 27.
Front of Forts Morton and Sedgwick October 29.
Reconnoissance to Hatcher's Run December 9-10.
Dabney's Mills, Hatcher's Run, February 5-7, 1865.
Watkins' House March 25.
Appomattox Campaign March 28-April 9.
Gravelly Run March 29.
Boydton Road or Hatcher's Run March 30-31.
Crow's House, White Oak Road, March 31.
Sutherland Station April 2. Sailor's Creek April 6.
High Bridge, Farmville, 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 near Alexandria June 1, 1865.
Losses:Regiment lost during service;
12 Officers and 198 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and
4 Officers and 183 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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