This regiment was mainly from the counties of Bradford, Juniata, Lycoming, Somerset, and Tioga, and was organized at Camp Curtin, about the middle of November, 1862, with the following field officers:Colonel Bierer had served as Captain in the Eleventh Reserve Regiment, and had been appointed commandant of Camp Curtin, with rank of Colonel, on the 28th of October.
- Everard Bierer, of Fayette county, Colonel
- Theophilus Humphrey, of Bradford county, Lieutenant Colonel
- Robert C. Cox, of Tioga county, Major
On the 27th of November, the regiment left camp and proceeded by rail to Washington, thence by water to Norfolk, and thence by rail to Suffolk, Virginia. It was here assigned to Spinola's Brigade, of Ferry's Division, General Dix being in command of the Department. A school for instruction of officers was at once established, and the command subjected to thorough drill.
On the 28th of December, it broke camp at Suffolk, and marched to Ballard's Landing, on the Chowan River, and thence proceeded by transport to Newbern, North Carolina, arriving on the 1st of January, 1863. Spinola's Brigade, at this time, consisted of the One Hundred and Fifty-eighth, One Hundred and Sixty-eighth, One Hundred and Seventy-first, and One Hundred and Seventy-fifth Pennsylvania regiments, and was known as the Keystone Brigade. It formed part of the Third Division, General Prince, Eighteenth Corps, General Foster. It here went into winter-quarters, and was engaged in fatigue and garrison duty.
Early in March, General Prince's Division, with the Third New York Cavalry, made a reconnoissance into Jones and Onslow counties, encountering a few roving parties of the enemy, and taking some prisoners, and returned to camp on the 10th. About the middle of March, the enemy, under General D. H. Hill, appeared in front of Newbern, but was easily repulsed. He then moved off to Washington, on the Tar River, which he closely invested. Its defense was directed by General Foster in person, who had proceeded thither for that purpose; but being vastly out-numbered, the little garrison could with difficulty hold its works.
General Prince at once headed a force for the relief of the place, which proceeded by transports, accompanied by gunboats. At Rodman's and Hill's points, some distance below Washington, the enemy had erected strong works, and mounted guns which commanded the navigation of the Pamlico River. On approaching these works, preparations were made to run through, but it was considered unsafe to do so, and the purpose was abandoned.
Two regiments were then ordered to land, and carry the Hill's Point Battery by storm, the One Hundred and Seventy-first being one. But before the blow was delivered, they were withdrawn. Prince then returned with his force to Newbern, and Spinola was sent out with a force to make his way across the country, and break the enemy's lines in rear.
On the 9th of April he arrived at Blount's Creek, where he found the bridge destroyed, the water dammed so as to flood an impassable swamp, and the enemy in position with artillery to dispute the passage. The troops were moved up on the right of the road, and the artillery at once opened on both sides. For some time the infantry was exposed to a heavy fire, but fortunately the enemy's shots were aimed too high, and passed harmless overhead. Deeming it imprudent to attempt to carry the position by direct attack, Spinola withdrew.
In the meantime, a gun-boat had succeeded in passing the batteries on the Pamlico River, and on this, Foster, on the 14th, ran down and returned to Newbern. He now concentrated his forces, and heading them in person, marched towards Washington; but on approaching, found that the enemy had raised the siege, and was in full retreat.
On the 23d, Spinola's Brigade was sent up the Pamlico River, to Washington, where it was posted for the defense of the place.
On the 29th of May, General Spinola was relieved of the command of the brigade, and was succeeded by Colonel Bierer. Towards the close of June, the brigade was ordered to Fortress Monroe, and upon its arrival there, was sent, with the exception of the One Hundred and Seventy-fifth, to White House, on the Pamunky River, to join in a demonstration towards Richmond, ordered by General Dix, for a diversion in favor of the army at Gettysburg.
Remaining in that vicinity until the 7th of July, it returned and proceeded to Harper's Ferry, arriving on the 9th. The rebel army was now in full retreat, and Meade following closely in pursuit. On the 11th, the regiment marched to Boonesboro, and thence to a position in a pass of the South Mountain, where it remained until after the enemy had escaped into Virginia, and the hope, fondly cherished, of crushing him in another decisive battle, had perished. It then proceeded to Frederick, and on the 3d of August, was ordered to Harrisburg, where, from the 6th to the 8th, it was mustered out of service.
1The troops recruited for the One Hundred and Seventieth, failed to effect a regimental organization, and were, consequently, assigned to other commands.
Source: Bates, Samuel P. History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-65, Harrisburg, 1868-1871.
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
Organization:Organized at Harrisburg October and November, 1862.
Moved to Washington, D.C., November 27; thence to Suffolk, Va.
Attached to Spinola's Brigade, Division at Suffolk, Va.,
7th Corps, Dept. of Virginia, to January, 1863.
1st Brigade, 5th Division, 18th Corps, Dept. of North Carolina, to May, 1863.
District of the Pamlico, Dept. of North Carolina, to June, 1863.
Spinola's Brigade, 7th Corps, Dept. of Virginia, to July, 1863.
Harper's Ferry, W. Va., July, 1863.
Service:Duty at Suffolk, Va, till December 28.
Moved to New Berne, N. C, December 28-January 1, 1863,
and duty there till April, 1863.
Expedition from New Berne to Trenton, Pollocksville,
Young's Cross Roads and Swansborough March 6-10.
Expedition to relief of Little Washington April 7-10.
Blount's Creek April 9.
Expedition to Swift Creek Village April 13-21.
Duty at Little Washington till June.
Ordered to Fortress Monroe, Va.
Dix's Peninsula Campaign July 1-7.
Moved to Washington, D. C, thence to Harper's Ferry, W. Va., July 7-9;
thence to Boonsboro, Md., and reported to General Meade July 11.
Pursuit of Lee July 11-24.
Ordered to Harrisburg, Pa., August 3.
Mustered out August 8, 1863.
Losses:Regiment lost 38 by disease during service.
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