© Alice J. Gayley, all rights reservedEarly in June of 1861, John W, Geary obtained permission from President Lincoln to raise, in Pennsylvania, a regiment of volmteers to serve for three yeurs; He accrmdingly estabished a camp at Oxford Park, in Philadelphia, and on the 28th of that month the Twenty-eighth Regiment, which was uniformed and equipped at his own expense, was being mustered into the service of the United States.
The regiment, when completed, consisted of fifteen companies, numbering fifteen hundred and fifty-one officers and men broight together from various sections of the State:The following field and staff offcers were elected:
- Companies A and N having been organized in Luzerne County;
- Company B, in Westmoreland County;
- Companies C., I, K, M and P, at Philadelphia in Philadelphia County;
- Companies E, and D in Carbon County;
- Company F, in Cambria and Allegheny Counties;
- Companies G, H and I, in Allegheny County; and
- Company O, in Huntingdon County
- John Geary, Colonel
- Gabriel De Korponay, Lieutenant Colonel
- Hector Tyndale, Maor;
- John Flynn, Adjutant
- Benjamin F. Lee, Quartermaster
- H. Earnest Goodman, Surgeon
- Samuel Logan, Assistant Surgeon
- Charles W. Reifsley Chaplain
From surplus recruits a battery was formed and attached to the regiment, which was known as.Knap's Battery of the Twenty-eighth Penasylvania Volunteers. Mr. Charles Knap, of Pittsburg, presented this company with four steel guns, which were subsequently exchanged by the government for six ten-pounder Parrotts. Also connected with the regiment was Beck's celebrated Philadelphia Brass Band.
The uniform was of gray cloth, manufactured in the vicimity of Oxford Park, and furnished to the several companies as they were mustered in. This sbsequently gave place to the blue regulation uniform.
The arms were the Enfield rifle with the formidable sword bayonet. These were obtained of a firm in Philadelphia, who fortunately had them for sale, else the regiment would have been armed with the ordinary musket, altered from the flint to percussion lock, many of which were in possession of the government.
Second Bull RunWhilst Colonel Geary was actively engaged in forming, equipping and drilling his regiment, events were transpiring which demanded prompt and energetic action on the part of the Government relative to raising additional Troops and hastening them to the field. On the 21st of July the disastrous Battle of Bull Run was fought; and the panic which seized upon and disorganized a great portion of the army, spread its terrifying influence through all parts of the Northern States, and had the effect to arouse the heads of the national departments to a realizing sense of the danger with which the country was threatened. Re-enforcements were consequently ordered forward to join, as rapidly as possible, the defeated army at the front; and hence, in obedience to orders from General Scott, the Colonel, on the 27th, moved with ten companies of his command —leaving the other five, which were not yet in readiness for the field, in charge of Major Hector Tyndale, with orders to follow as soon as possible-and proceeded directly, by way of Baltimore, to Harper's Ferry, reaching there on the evening of the following day. Here he reported to Major General Banks, to whose command the regiment had been assigned, and was attached to the brigade commanded by Colonel Thomas, now a Major General of the United States army.
The regiment encamped at Sandy Hook, opposite Harpers Ferry, until the night of August 13th, when it marched to Point of Rocks, a distance of sixteen miles, arriving at ten o'clock on the following morning, the roads being bad and the night dark and stormy. The duty here assigned, it was to guard the frontier from Nolan's ferry to the Antietam aqueduct, embracing numerous mountain gaps and roads, the Chesapeake and Ohio canal, the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, the Potomac river and its opposite banks, and the many islands with which it is studded, together with a number of ferries and fords. The telegraph and post offices, being in the hands of suspected persons were also taken in charge. To perform this duty, picket posts were established at every four hundred yards along a line of over twenty-five miles. The utmost vigilance was strictly enjoined and enforced. Scouting and reconnoitering parties of guerrillas and rebel cavalry prowled among the hills in the rear and on the opposite side of the river, who daily fired upon the pickets. Slight skirmishes were of constant occurrence. Rebel sympathizers, emissaries and spies existed among the residents, and a systematized plan of signaling was carried on between them and the Confederate troops; whilst, under various pretences, passes were obtained from officers at Washington City, by women as well as men, by means of which communication was kept up between the two shores of the Potomac, with the rebel troops and their sympathizing friends. All this required special watchfulness, and the whole system, with those engaged in it, was soon discovered and communication entirely broken up.
Many arrests were made and the prisoners forwarded, with detailed accounts of their offenses, to the headquarters of the army. During this time large forces of the enemy were quartered in Loudon county, Virginia, and distributed at various points in the neighborhood. who made frequent threatening demonstrations. On September 15th, a body of these troops attacked the pickets above Harper's Ferry, Pitcher's Mills, where a spirited engagement took place, lasting two hours, in which the rebels were routed, after a loss, acknowledged by them, of eighteen killed, seventy-three wounded, and several prisoners. Two unmounted iron twelve-pounder cannon and two small brass mortars, with other effects, were captured.
On September 24th, about five hundred rebels attacked Point of Rocks from the Virginia side, where another animated fight of two hours occurred, in which artillery and small arms were used. The enemy was driven with loss in killed and wounded, and the houses in which he took shelter were destroyed. A few days afterwards he was also driven, with some loss, from a fortified position opposite Berlin. A similar affair took place at Knoxville on the 2d of October.
Early in October secret organizations, regularly officered and prepared with arms and equipments, for rebellious purposes, were discovered in Frederick and adjoining counties in Maryland. The names of the parties were obtained and their premises searched. Their arms and accoutrements were found hidden in barns and outhouses, and buried in the ground, at some distance from the homes of their owners. Two hundred sabres, four hundred, pistols and full, cavalry equipments for at least two hundred men, and about fourteen, hundred muskets were captured.
A detachment, of the command having been ordered to seize a quantity of wheat intended for the rebel army at a mill near Harpers Ferry, in Virginia. Colonel Geary crossed the Potomac with three companies and a piece of artillery to assist in removing it, and to protect the operations. This labor, though pushed forward with great activity, occupied several days. It being completed, the Colonel had. determined to re-cross the river on the 16th, at seven o'clock in the morning his pickets stationed on Bolivar Heights, west of Harper's Ferry, were driven into the town of Bolivar by the, enemy who approached from the west in three columns, consisting; of one: regiment of infantry, one of cavalry, and three pieces of artillery, commanded by General Ashby. His advanced guard of cavalry charged gallantly towards the upper part of the town,, and his infantry and artillery took position on the heights--from which the pickets had been driven. At the same time General Evans, with four regiments of infantry and four pieces; of artillery appeared on London Heights.
Sharp-shooters were stationed at eligible points to annoy our troops, at the, crossing of the Potomac, near the railroad bridge at Harper's Ferry. Having detached a portion of' his command to defend the fords on the Shenandoah, the Colonel remained with about five hundred men with whom he resisted the enemy's charge. A second and third were, made, each increasing in impetuosity, during which,, in addition to artillery, the rebels were supported by their infantry on Bolivar Heights. They were each time repulsed. Under this concentrated fie the troops held their position until eleven o'clock, when, having brought up a rifled cannon, companies A and G pushed forward, turned the enemy's, left flank, and gained a portion of the heights. A few well directed shots from, this gun at the same time silenced two of their pieces, and soon after they were in full retreat towards Charlestown. The standard of the regiment was then planted on Bolivar Heights. The victory over Ashby was complete. The rebels stated their loss to be one hundred and fifty killed and wounded. Eleven prisoners, one thirty-five-pounder Columbiad, a wagon used for a caisson, with a large quantity of ammunition, and twenty-one thousand bushels of wheat were taken, besides which, one of their small guns. was disabled. Three companies of the Third Wisconsin, and two companies of the Thirteenth Massachusetts Volunteers, acted under Colonel Geary's command in this battle, and were at the time complimented by him for their gallantry.
After disposing of Ashby, attention was turned to General Evans, on Loudon Heights. His sharp-shooters were soon driven from the east bank of the Shenandoah by the expert marksmen of the Twenty-eighth, and two of his guns were disabled, by a fire from the artillery. A number of his men were killed an wounded, and finding that nothing could be accomplished, lie returned to Leesburg. This was the first victory after the Bull Run disaster, Before quitting the field the Colonel forwarded a dispatch to the Secretary of War, saying:"I write upon the butt of a cannon captured from the enemy to inform you that we have gained a complete victory over the combined forces of Ashby and Evans;"to which the Secretary facetiously replied, that it was,"far more desirable to receive dispatches from the butts than from the muzzles of the cannon of the enemy."For this achievement the command received the thanks of the President, the Secretary of War, and the commander of the corps. General Banks wrote:" You and your regiment receive commendations from all quarters."On October 21st, under orders from Major General Banks, Colonel Geary reported at Edwards' Ferry with one thousand men, to participate in the battle of Ball's Bluff, and on the 23d returned to the camp at Point of Rocks. The Maryland Legislature being in session at Frederick, and about to pass an ordinance of secession, a column of four thousand of the enemy attempted, on the 30th, to cross the Potomac for the purpose of sustaining them in the rebellious act; but were met at Nolan's ferry by the troops of Colonel Geary's command and driven back, thus effecting a vastly important event in the history of the war. Under date of October 21st, in a letter to Colonel Geary, Governor Andrew G. Curtin, of Pennsylvania, says:"The standard for your regiment is ready, and if I can leave Harrisburg, I will come and present it in person, as it would afford me much pleasure to express to you and the brave men you command, my gratification and pride in all you have done since you left Pennsylvania."Pressing official business prevented the Governor from carrying out the intention expressed in this letter; but in the month of March following, he dispatched a messenger with the standard, who' delivered it to the Regimental Quartermaster, Captain B. F. Lee, at Harper's Ferry, by whom it was conveyed to Upperville, Virginia, and presented to the regiment, then stationed at that point.
On the 31st a committee, consisting of Messrs. Jas. B. Nicholson, Samuel B. Hilt and Gilbert S. Parker, presented the regiment with an elegant suite of colors, State and National, the gift of a number of citizens of Philadelphia. The ceremonies attending the presentation were exceedingly interesting and impressive. The regiment was formed in hollow square. Mr. Nicholson made an eloquent and patriotic speech, to which Colonel Geary responded with much feeling and loyal enthusiasm. In the course of his remarks he assured the donors that he regarded the colors as a sacred trust, for whose preservation he would answer through every trial; that his command would protect them with their lives, and though they might be tattered and torn, would return them to be deposited among the archives of the State. Beck's Philadelphia Brass Band performed several national and soul-stirring airs, and Chaplain Heisley closed the imposing ceremonies with a fervent prayer.
On November 10th an attack was made upon the pickets at Berlin, which was successfully resisted, the enemy suffering materially. On December 19th shells were thrown from the Virginia side into the camp at Point of Rocks, when a section of Knap's Battery opened fire upon the rebels, who were in possession of four guns, with such effect as to scatter them and to cause considerable loss. An action occurred at Harper's Ferry during the latter part of this month, which lasted two hours. The enemy was defeated and a large portion of the town was burned. During the months of January and February, 1862, many prisoners were sent to the Provost Marshal. These were chiefly civilians, captured as spies, or caught in the act of communicating intelligence to the enemy. On January 31st, a rebel flag, seized at Point of Rocks, was forwarded as a present from the regiment to the State of Pennsylvania.
In pursuance of orders for the army to cross the Potomac, Colonel Geary concentrated his command at Sandy Hook on the 24th of February. In endeavoring to stretch a rope over the river, a boat was upset by a sudden storm of wind, and six men of company P were drowned. The command crossed on the two following days on large flatboats and drove the enemy from Bolivar Heights.
On the 28th, the regiment and battery, with four companies of the First Michigan Cavalry, crossed the Shenandoah by a rope ferry, and, at the point of the bayonet, took possession of London Heights. Leaving five companies with Lieutenant Colonel De Korponay, to garrison the heights, Colonel Geary, with the main body, pushed forward, and on the morning of March 1st reached Lovettsville. The enemy stationed there, after a sharp skirmish, fled with great precipitation. Nineteen of his cavalry were captured, with horses and arms, and a large quantity of other property. Doing the three succeeding days General A. P. Hill, with a force of four thousand men and thirteen pieces of artillery, was held in check. On the 3d Lieutenant Colonel De Korponay, with his detachment, being relieved at London Heights, re-joined the command.
Information being received on the 7th of March that a force of fifteen hundred rebel infantry, artillery and cavalry, were at Waterford, determined upon destroying that town and Wheatland, and also the railroad, Colonel Geary immediately put his cavalry and artillery in motion, leaving instructions for the infantry to follow, and entered Wheatland in time to frustrate these incendiary designs. The rebels stationed at Wheatland fled to Waterford, creating such a panic that the troops quartered there instantly decamped and hastened to join General Hill, at Leesburg. At eleven o'clock at night Colonel Geary followed in pursuit to Waterford, and after resting three hours, pushed forward for Leesburg. Having an exaggerated idea of the strength of the advancing forces, General Hill, after burning his barracks and much valuable property, hastily evacuated the town and fled towards Middleburg, and at about sunrise on the morning of the 8th, Hill's retreating forces still in sight, Colonel Geary's command, after a forced march of sixteen miles over muddy roads, entered Leesburg without opposition, planting the Union flag upon Forts Johnson, Beauregard and Evans, and taking possession of all the public buildings.
Ninety prisoners, seventy horses and a train of wagons containing officers' baggage and sutlers' stores were captured. The line of the enemy's retreat was marked with devastations hastily committed. Bridges were destroyed and mills, fences, granaries, barns, stacks of grain and hay, and the buildings upon the fair grounds were burned.
In regard to this movement, General Banks, on the 9th, telegraphed to Colonel Geary, saying:-"I congratulate you on the occupation of Leesburg. It indicates the overthrow of the left wing of the rebel army on the Potomac, and will give joy to the country."And on the 11th he closed a congratulatory letter with the remark:"I am greatly gratified with your occupation of the town so promptly."Leaving a garrison to guard the town, the main body of the command moved forward on the morning of the 12th, sixteen miles to Snickersville, having a spirited skirmish on the way. After reconnoitering the mountains and country in this vicinity, it proceeded to Upperville on the 14th, driving off Ashby's and the Sixth Virginia Cavalry, killing one officer and capturing twenty prisoners and a number of horses and equipments. The order preserved by the troops, their respect for persons and property, and their general praiseworthy deportment so commended them to the citizens, that a lively Union sentiment sprang up in all these villages and towns. Many came forward and took the oath of allegiance and desired the protection of the Union forces.
A force of rebel cavalry was driven, on the 15th, from Ashby's Gap, to hold which and Snicker's Gap, was of essential importance to the troops operating against Winchester in the valley westward. At the same time a flank movement was made towards Thoroughfare Gap, and the enemy, fearing an attack, burned an immense quantity of bacon there, and five thousand barrels of flour at Gainesville. The regiment was actively engaged for several successive days, and by the 20th it had taken possession of Rectortown, Piedmont, Markham, Linden and Front Royal, after much skirmishing, and taking many prisoners. Deeming Leesburg to be safe without a garrison, Lieutenant Colonel De Korponay, who had been left there with three companies, was ordered to join the main command, which he did at Snickersville on the morning of the 25th, Colonel Geary having reached that point the day previous on his return from Aldie, where he had proceeded in obedience to an order of the 21st from Division Head-quarters. At noon of the 25th the line of march was resumed and the command reached Philemont, and encamped at sunset. On the morning of the 26th it proceeded to Middleburg, where it encountered and repulsed about three hundred of the enemy's cavalry, with a reserve of infantry, who had approached from the direction of Upperville. They retreated in great disorder to the mountains. An engagement also took place at Salem with rebel cavalry and infantry, who were driven with much loss in killed and wounded, and thirty prisoners. The command lost three killed, ten wounded and nine prisoners. Remaining here a day and a half, in consequence of the existence of violent secession feeling, for the purpose of adopting means for the preserVation of order, it left on the morning of the 29th, and reached White Plains, on the Manassas railroad, at two o'clock in the afternoon, driving the rebel cavalry towards Warrenton.
At White Plains, on the 1st of April, the command was menaced by several thousand rebel cavalry, who were approaching from the direction of Flint Hill. The position being difficult to defend, the camp was moved to Thoroughfare Gap, about five miles distant, where the enemy was unwilling to risk an attack. The next day Colonel Geary resumed the offensive. On the 3d, he moved ten miles to Greenwich, and on the 4th reached Catlett's station, on the road to Warrenton Junction. The country was reconnoitred for a considerable distance, and parties of rebel cavalry were encountered and defeated. Proceeding toward Warrenton at sunrise on the 6th, he encamped about noon nearthetown. During the morning's march about eight hundred rebel cavalry were driven from Warrenton across the Rappahannock, who burned thebridge at Waterloo to escape pursuit. Formal possession was taken of the town on the same day, where the flag of the Forty-sixth Virginia Regiment was captured.
On the morning of the 7th the line of march was resumed, but the progress was arrested by a severe snow storm, which continued four days with unabated violence, compelling the command to remain encamped during that time about five miles from Warrenton, after which it proceeded, agreeably to orders, to White Plains, reaching its former position there on the 11th. On the 14th it encamped in the vicinity of Rectortown. On that day, in a skirmish near Piedmont, with rebel cavalry, two of the advance guard of the regiment were killed.
Upon its return to White Plains the command proceeded to examine the lines of the Manassas railroad and to make needed repairs; also to re-construct the telegraph lines and re-build sundry bridges that had been burned or otherwise destroyed. Detachments were placed upon the railrovd from Salem to Linden, a distance of more than thirty miles, to guard the workmen employed in making repairs. The labor was extremely arduous. Bridges of considerable length were to be re-built much of the requisite timber being cut in the neighborhood. The road is tortuous, winding along a broken country among deep ravines and wooded hills. The mountains are well adapted for the concealment of guerrillas and rebel cavalry with which they were infested, and always on the alert to destroy the work as it progressed, and annoy the operatives and their guards. A severe storm, which lasted from the 18th to the 22d, also contributed to retard the operations. The streams were greatly swollen, and bridges that had been re-built over Goose Creek, Bull Run and other places, were again swept away. Means of communication were very limited, supplies difficult to obtain, and to a great extent the troops were compelled to forage on an impoverished country. Still the workmen persevered with unremitting toil, and by the 1st of May the telegraph lines were in operation and the railroad in working order. It is here worthy of remark, that notwithstanding the extraordinary services required of this command, so acknowledged by the Commanding General, comparatively little sickness occurred. and the labors of the efficient Surgeons, than whom none could have been more attentive to their duties, were by no means onerous. This was not only attributable to the rigid physical examination of the men before their admission into the several companies comprising the regiment, but also to the order and cleanliness of their camps and persons, and other sanitary measures adopted and observed after the regiment was organized.
On April 25th Colonel Geary received from the War Department the commission of Brigadier General of Volunteers. Gratifying as was this well merited promotion to the Colonel and the officers and men of the Twenty-eighth, it was not more so than the fact, that by his and their earnest entreaty the regiment, of which he was so justly proud, was permitted to remain attached to his command; and so intimately inter-woven and blended together were their subsequent operations, that it is impossible to give a comprehensive account of the doings of the regiment independent of those of the brigades and divisions to which it was attached. A history of the one becomes necessarily a part and parcel of the others.
Colonel Geary was succeeded in command of the Twenty-eighth by Lieutenant Colonel De Korponay, whose promotion to the rank of Colonel bears date of April 25th, and who remained in command until the 30th of September following, when he was honorably discharged the service.1
Major Tyndale was promoted to the Lieutenant Colonelcy, who was succeeded by Ario Pardee, Jr., as Major of the regiment.
Upon his taking leave as commanding officer, the regiment complimented their late Colonel with an elegant and costly sword, sash, epaulettes, and a full and splendid set of horse equipments. The ceremonies on the occasion of the presentation were unusually interesting and impressive. A congratulatory letter from Major General Banks was read, in which he says:-" I congratulate you on your late promotion, and regret only that your brigade is not to join us again. Our connection has been long, and to me most pleasant, and I shall be glad at all times to acknowledge the efficiency, alacrity and unsurpassed energy and ability with which you and your command have discharged all your duties."
At the time of his promotion the line of railroad being guarded by General Geary extended to Manassas, making a distance in all of fifty-two miles. His head-quarters were one mile and a half from Rectortown, the troops occupying Front Royal, Shenandoah, Happy Creek. Linden, Markham, Piedmont, Rectortown, Salem, White Plains, Thoroughfare Gap, Manassas, and intermediate points. For their protection all available means were employed in the erection of block-houses, abattis and other necessary defences.
On the 15th of May, company O was ordered to Linden. A detachment of Seventeen men guarding the company wagon, reached there before the main body, which was on a train. They were attacked by rebel cavalry, who came, upon them suddenly from different directions. The men resisted bravely but after a stout defence, were overpowered, one being killed and fourteen taken prisoners, three of whom were wounded. The balance of the company coming up the rebels fled under their fire with loss.
On the 17th of May the command was re-attached to the division of General Banks, in telegraphing which fact he expressed his " very great gratification." About this time the enemy was actively engaged in making preparations to capture the commands of Generals Banks and Geary. His troops were gathered in overwhelming force at Swift Run Gap, and moving down the valley by way of Luray, made a fierce attack at Front Royal, in which engagement a section of Knap's Battery took a conspicuous part. Rebel scouting parties were constantly seen along the entire line, and skirmishes between these and the pickets and scouts, at various points, were of daily occurrence. On the 24th overwhelming forces of the enemy, approaching from the north, south and west, the command was ordered to fall back to Manassas, whence, on the 28th, it advanced to Ashby's and other gaps in the Blue Ridge, to assist in expelling Jackson from the upper valley, and preventing his return through the gaps.
Position was resumed on the Manassas Gap railroad on the 5th of June. The transportation and railroad property west of Rectortown, having all been removed east by order of General M'Dowell, and General Geary having, On the 23d, received orders to report with his whole command, to General Banks, at Middletown, the detachments were directed to join him at Snickersville; from which point they moved at one o'clock, P.M., on the 26th, fording the Shenandoah at Snicker's ferry, and passing through Winchester on the 27th, reached Middletown at four o'clock on the afternoon of the 29th. Here orders were received on the 30th to march at daylight on the following morning, July 1st, with the whole command to a suitable position opposite Passage Creek near Buck's ford, which order was promptly executed, the distance marched being four miles. By order of General Banks the post at Buck's ford was broken up on the morning of July 6th, at five o'clock, and the command of General Geary proceeded to report to Brigadier General A. S. Williams, at his camp beyond Front Royal, reaching there at three o'clock, P. M, marching thirteen miles, the weather being extremely warm. At 11 o'clock, A. M., of the 7th it proceeded eight miles further through a heavy storm of hail and rain. Starting again at six o'clock on the morning of the 8th, it marched ten miles, passing through Flint Hill and encamping at Gaines' Cross Roads. The weather was so warm that three men died of sun-stroke. Remained in camp all day of the 9th. At 3 o'clock, A. M., of the 10th an attack was threatened by the enemy, when the 28th was formed in line of battle in which position it remained for several hours. On this day an order was issued by General Williams to the effect that"the Twenty-eighth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers and Knap's Battery, together with such other troops as might thereafter be added to General Geary's command, would henceforth be known and designated as the Second Brigade of the First Division Second Corps."The brigade left Gaines' Cross Roads on the morning of the 11th and marched ten miles, passing through Amissville and Blackwell, and encamping one mile beyond Hedgeman river. On the 12th it proceeded five miles farther and encamped near Warrenton. At this date General Pope took command of the Army of Virginia, embracing the commands of Generals Banks, Fremont and Sigel, and issued stringent orders relative to the conduct and movements of the corps. The officers were restricted to the smallest possible amount of baggage, and the Sibley tents gave place to simple shelter tents.
The line of march was resumed on the 16th, and the corps, passing Blackwell, reached Little Washington the same day, a distance of twenty-three miles, marching through a storm of rain, and wading several heavily swollen creeks, Here it encamped on the side of the Blue Ridge, and in the adjacent fields, where it remained till the close of the month with daily company, battalion and brigade drill. On the 28th the troops of the command were reviewed by General Banks, the review occupying five hours. Five thousand men and fifty pieces of artillery were in line. On this occasion the Twenty-eighth Regiment made so fine an appearance as to attract the special attention of the reviewing General, and receive from him the most flattering commendation.
On the 1st of August the entire corps participated in appropriate ceremonies on the occasion of the death of ex-President Van Buren, and on the 3d was reviewed by Major General Pope. On the 6th the Second Brigade struck camp at Little Washington and moved towards Culpepper Court House, arriving there on the evening of the 8th, the brigade consisting of the Twenty-eighth Regiment, Knap's Battery, the Fifth, Seventh, Twenty-ninth and Sixty-sixth Ohio Infantry, and one company of the First Virginia Cavalry, numbering in all about two thousand one hundred effective men. It was here changed by order of General Banks, commanding Second Corps, to the First Brigade of the Second Division, under command of General Augur.
On the 9th of August it marched for Orange Court House, the heat being so intense that several deaths occurred from sun-stroke. When four miles from Culpepper, the Twenty-eighth, Lieutenant Colonel Tyndale commanding, was detached and ordered to re-take and hold at all hazards, the signal station on Thoroughfare mountain, from which the signal officers had been driven. This order was successfully executed, and the signal station re-established, at that time a matter of vast importance. The remainder of the brigade under General Geary proceeded a few miles further, where the advance troops had taken position in line of battle near and beyond Cedar creek. They were immediately put in line and did good service in the fierce struggle that ensued.
Knap's Battery gained fresh laurels for the splendid manner in which its guns were handled. In this battle General Geary was slightly wounded in the left foot and severely in the left arm, but remained on the field until nine o'clock in the evening, when he was compelled to retire from exhaustion produced by pain and loss of blood. The battle ranged furiously from two o'clock, P. M., until midnight, and was partially visible to t he main body of the Twenty-eighth, who saw the bursting shells and heard the rattle of musketry and roar of cannon, without being permitted to take part in the strife. A number of their men, however, who were on guard duty with ammunition and other trains, rushed to the field and shared the glory of the fight. Two of these were killed and two wounded. Knap's Battery lost seven wounded and one killed.
At seven o'clock, P. M., on the 10th, the regiment re-joined the brigade, which, in consequence of the wounds of General Geary unfitting him for service, was then commanded by Colonel Candy of the Sixty-sixth Ohio Volunteers. Colonel De Korponay was in command of the regiment.
On the 13th, six companies, under command of Major Pardee, were dispatched to the Rappahannock bridge to guard its approaches. Here they remained until the 19th, when, after Generals Pope and Banks, with their commands, had crossed the bridge, they rejoined their brigade and passed the river early in the evening. During the remainder of the month the regiment was constantly in motion and was engaged in frequent skirmishes, some of them of considerable importance, in all of which it supported Knap's Battery. On the 30th it reached Bristoe Station and was the only regiment there.
The enemy being reported as advancing, orders were given on the morning of the 31st to destroy the trains of cars at that place, which were promptly executed by the speedy destruction by fire and otherwise, of five first-class engines and one hundred and forty-eight cars, containing a large amount of government property. At noon it marched towards Bull Run and reached the bridge at six o'clock, P. M., having been attacked several times on the march by rebel cavalry.
On September 1st, eleven non-commissioned officers and two privates were detailed, by order of Major General Banks, to go on a scouting expedition in the direction of Leesburg, to ascertain the movements of the enemy. These men were carefully selected, as the expedition was one of great responsibility and danger. During the march they were several times pursued by parties of the enemy's cavalry, and near Chantilly were fired upon. Having accomplished their object they proceeded to the Potomac, and crossed upon a raft which they hastily constructed, when, meeting a canal boat, they started upon it for Washington City, where they arrived on the 7th, taking with them sixteen rebel prisoners whom they had captured on their expedition. One of the party, a private, was captured by the enemy. So admirably was this difficult duty performed, that the men were complimented by Brigadier General A. S. Williams in the following General Order:"The General commanding takes great pleasure in commending the conduct of Sergeant Bonsali and twelve men of the Twenty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers, who being detailed on important special duty beyond the lines of the army, discharged that duty promptly and faithfully, and, on their return, captured nineteen armed confederates, sixteen of whom they brought safely to camp. This act is deemed worthy of special commendation as an example to their comrades."
AntietamAt four o'clock, A.M., September 2d, the regiment left Bull Run bridge, and commenced a long and toilsome march on the Antietam campaign, arriving at Antietam creek and crossing at eleven o'clock on the night of the 16th, The men were so overcome with fatigue and loss of sleep that they stacked arms and threw themselves down upon the plowed fields to seek the repose they so greatly needed. During this tedious march of about one hundred and twenty-five miles, in the hottest season of the year, they passed through Centreville, Alexandria, Long Bridge, Georgetown, Tenallytown, Rockville Middlebrook, Damascus, Ijamsville, Frederick and Boonsboro. They also crossed the Catoctin and South mountains, and waded the Monocacy and other streams.
At daylight on the morning of the 17th the battle of Antietam began, and scarcely had the wearied troops time to partake of a hastily prepared meal, when they were ordered forward to take part in one of the fiercest conflicts of the war. The regiment got into position under a murderous fire of grape and canister just as the exultant enemy, having driven back the main army, was rapidly advancing in large force, when Lieutenant Colonel Tyndale, in charge of the brigade, Major Pardee commanding the regiment, charged with fixed bayonets and checked his advance, and the Twenty-eighth, instantly pouring in a destructive fire caused. him to waver and fall back. The fight continued until late in the afternoon, the regiment being under fire about eight hours. It captured two guns and five flags. Its loss in killed and wounded was two hundred and sixty-six. Among the latter was Lieutenant Colonel Tyndale, who was struck on the head with a Minnie-ball. The wound was considered mortal but he subsequently recovered.
On the 18th the enemy, under a flag of truce, retreated across the Potomac, and the division moved a short distance to the right of Antietam.
On the 19th of September the Second Division again moved in advance, and on the 23d the Twenty-eighth Regiment, being the first to cross the river at Harper's Ferry, took position on London Heights, which the division held while the main body of the army encamped in Pleasant Valley, north of the Potomac.
On the 25th, General Geary, who had been absent, on leave, in consequence of the wounds received at Cedar Mountain, returned with his arm still in bandage, and was enthusiastically received by his command. He at once took charge of his brigade, and being senior officer present, under orders from General Sumner, he assumed command of the Second Division, Twelfth Army Corps.
On October 21st, under orders from General M'Clellan, the division made a reconnaissance in the direction of Leesburg, and encountered and defeated rebel cavalry near Wheatland, capturing a large number of prisoners and horses with cavalry equipments. In this, the Twenty-eighth bore a conspicuous part, and upon its result the movement of General M'Clellan to the south of the Potomac was determined.
On the 28th, companies L, M, N, 0 and P, with another company that had been temporarily attached, were withdrawn from the regiment to form the One Hundred and Forty-seventh Pennsylvania Volunteers, of which Major Pardee was promoted to the Colonelcy.
General Mansfield, commanding the Second Corps, was killed at the battle of Antietam, and the corps, its number being subsequently changed to the Twelfth. was placed under command of Major General Slocum, General Geary taking command of the Second Division, his old brigade being placed in charge of Colonel Ruger, to which was attached the Twenty-eighth. General McClellan having advanced with the army, the Twelfth Corps was left to garrison Harper's Ferry, the Second Division encamping on Bolivar Heights. Frequent reconnaissances were made by it in advance in which heavy skirmishing occurred.
December 2d a reconnaissance was made to Winchester, where the rebel General Jones, with superior numbers, after five engagements continuing through three successive days, was defeated, and on the 5th the place was captured with one hundred and twenty-nine prisoners. On the 7th, the division returned to Bolivar Heights, having been absent five days and traveled sixty-five miles. The Twenty-eighth accompanied this expedition. Two days later the Twelfth Corps was relieved at Harper's Ferry and ordered to join the army of General Burnside, to participate in the battle of Fredericksburg. The corps was afterwards ordered to Fairfax Station, the Twenty-eighth Regiment, with its brigade, being left to garrison Dumfries.
On the 17th of December, this brigade was attacked by Stuart's cavalry, twelve thousand strong, and eight pieces of artillery. After a desperate struggle the rebels withdrew, intending to renew the attack, but General Geary, attracted by the firing upon this portion of his command, hastened at night to its relief with the rest of his division, and encountered them at Occoquan, while marching to attack his camp, routing them and inflicting serious loss.
In January, 1863, the division moved to Aquia, and remained there until the latter part of April, principally engaged in fortifying the place, slashing the timber around it, and reconnoitering the surrounding country. Leaving there on the 27th of April, it made the famous forced march by way of Stafford Court House, to Kelly's Ferry, on the Rappahannock, and Germania ford on the Rapidan, to Chancellorsville, during which the Twenty-eighth distinguished itself in skirmishing with and defeating the rebel cavalry upon the right flank, in the latter part of the movement.
ChancellorsvilleMay 1st, General Hooker gave battle to General Lee, at Chancellorsville, and the bloody three days' fight at that place ensued. In these terrific actions the Twenty-eighth Regiment took a prominent part and added new laurels to\ those already earned on other sanguinary fields. When the command was ordered to fall back it remained with its division and did not quit the field until two hours after the other troops had retired. Its loss during these three days was over one hundred killed and wounded, out of three hundred engaged, it being one-fifth of the entire loss of the brigade. Among the killed was Major L. F. Chapman, who was then in command of the regiment, and who was one of the most heroic and efficient officers in the army. After the promotion of Colonel Geary, Major Chapman took great interest in keeping up the character the regiment had acquired for its admirable drill and discipline, and to his untiring exertions in this regard is owing much of its subsequent fame.
First Lieutenant William C. Shields fell in this engagement and several other officers were wounded. The division captured five battle-flags. Its loss was one thousand two hundred and nine men killed, wounded and missing.
At the battle of Chancellorsville the men of the Twenty-eighth Regiment performed a Herculean task in the construction of their temporary breast-works. They were without spades, shovels or axes; but with an energy which signalized them during the war, they applied themselves to the arduous task with the only tools they could command, consisting of bayonets, tin cups and plates. With these alone their fortifications were constructed. Another incident occurred illustrative of their indomitable courage and heroic ardor. During the first day's fight they were designated to lead a charge against a column of the advancing enemy who poured in upon them a perfect tornado of balls, dealing frightful destruction along their ranks. They were under a new commander who had never led them in the fight. As they faced the fearful volcano of death, they, for the first time, halted and wavered. General Geary then commanding the division, witnessed their indecision, when he suddenly sprang from his horse, and brandishing his sword, leaped the breast-works, crying aloud,"Men of the Twenty-eighth, follow your old commander. "His appearance and words operated like an electric shock. A tremendous shout ran along the line, and simultaneously the men dashed forward with such impetuosity as to instantly stop the progress of and soon repulsed the enemy.
At dawn on the morning of May 5th the army re-crossed the Rappahannock at United States ford, below its junction with the Rapidan, and the regiment marched with its division to its former position and duties at Acquia. On June 3d, Colonel DeKorponay having resigned, Captain Thomas J. Ah, of company H, was commissioned Colonel of the regiment; and on the 5th the Enfield rifles with sword bayonets, with which it started from Philadelphia, were exchanged for Springfield muskets. The camp at Acquia was broken up on the 13th of June, and the division marched through Stafford Court House, Dumfries, Drainesville, Leesburg, Poolesville, Point of Rocks, Petersville, Knoxville, Frederick and Littletown, reaching Gettysburg in time to participate in and share the glorious achievements of July 1st 2d and 3d.
GettysburgIn these brilliant engagements the Twenty-eighth again distinguished itself for its bravery and intrepidity. In consequence of heavy breast-works thrown up by order of General Geary, its loss was only twenty-five in killed, wounded and missing. Two hundred prisoners and four thousand small arms were captured by the Second Division. The regiment, on the 4th, assisted to bury the enemy's dead, (twelve hundred of whom lay in front of General Geary's lines) and gathered up five hundred of his muskets before its own works.
The Twenty-eighth left the breast-works at Gettysburg on July 5th, and marched to Littletown in pursuit of the retreating enemy; thence on the 8th marched thirty miles to Jefferson, on the 9th to Rohersville, 10th to Hagerstown, and 11th to Fair Play. Many of the men were barefooted and suffered considerably during this march of more than seventy-five miles.
On the 13th the rebels crossed the Potomac, and on the 18th, the march being continued, the division encamped near Sandy Hook, where the regiment was provided with shoes and clothing. From this time the Twenty-eighth moved with its division southward across the Potomac, along the Blue Mountains, in pursuit of the retreating forces of General Lee, and marched thirty-five miles in one day to be present at an engagement with Lee's troops at Manassas Gap. Afterwards it proceeded, by way of Catlet's station, to the Rappahannock at Kelly's ferry, and was engaged in guarding the line of that river, near Ellis' ford, during the month of August.
In September there was a general forward movement of the army to the Rapidan, where the rebels were again met. The regiment remained at Raccoon ford, daily skirmishing mntil the Eleventh and Twelfth Corps were detailed from the Army of the Potomac, and ordered, under command of General Hooker, to join the Army of the Cumberland, to aid in repairing the fearful disaster to our army at the battle of Chickamauga. The regiment took cars at Bealeton station and proceeded via Washington and the Baltimore and Ohio railroad to the Ohio river at Bell Air, thence through Columbus, Indianapolis, Loaisville and Nashville, to Murfreesboro, where it was engaged in a fight with the rebel cavalry under General Wheeler, in which he was repulsed with heavy loss, and the railhoad to Bridgeport was saved from destruction. It remained two weeks guarding the road from Murfreesboro to Tullahoma. The Second Division of the Twelfth Corps, being selected by General Hooker for his advance movements towards Chattanooga, was relieved from guard duty by the First Division, and proceeded to the front at Bridgeport, Alabama. On the arrival of the Twenty-eighth, October 27th, (it having been detained by obstructions thrown by rebels upon the track,) General Geary, with the advance, had crossed the Tennessee river, and was one day's march ahead.
On October 28th, the regiment made a forced march of twenty-eight miles and reached Wauhatchie on the morning of the 29th, after the battle at that place had been fought and won by a portion of the Second Division not numbering over fifteen hundred men, against a division of Longstreet's Corps, at least six thousand strong. After desparate fighting against such frightful odds for nearly four hours, the enemy was repulsed and fled in confusion, leaving his dead and many wounded on the field. One hundred and twenty-five prisoners were taken. This was a highly important victory, as upon it depended the subsistence of the Union army then at Chattanooga.
Among the casualties none were more lamented or cast a deeper gloom over the triumphant forces, than the death of a brave young officer, a youth of eighteen years, of brightest promise and universally beloved, Captain E. R. Geary, of Knap's Battery, and son of the General, who fell, whilst sighting his gun, pierced by a rifle-ball through his forehead.
After the battle Generals Grant, Hooker, Thomas, Howard, and other distinguished officers, rode upon the field to personally congratulate General Geary and his command for this unsurpassed achievement, and subsequently General Slocum wrote:"I wish you and your command to know that I feel deeply grateful for their gallant conduct, and for the new laurels they have brought to our corps."
Lookout MountainTo secure the advantages gained, it was necessary to fortify, cover and corduroy the road from Kelly's ford to Brown's ferry, on the Tennessee. The Twenty-eighth, in conjunction with detachments of other regiments, labored industriously at this work under a bombardment of the enemy's artillery on Lookout Mountain.
On the 19th of November Colonel Ahl, who had been on detached duty for some time at Division Head-quarters, returned and took command of the regiment, which on the 24th, joined the division at Lookout creek, near Wauhatchie, and with it crossed the creek about three miles above the point of Lookout Mountain. On the 24th, the Second Division having been selected to storm the rebel stronghold on the mountain, a line of battle was formed and the troops moved gallantly forward to the assault, which, after a terrible struggle, was entirely successful. Besides heavy loss in killed and wounded on the part of the enemy, one thousand nine hundred and forty prisoners were captured, together with nine battle flags, two pieces of artillery, forty thousand rations, two thousand stand of small arms and camp and garrison equipage sufficient for two divisions. Among his killed was General J. H. Lane. This was the famous "Battle above the Clouds." Firing was kept up all night, during which the enemy fled from the mountain, and when, on the following morning, the smoke, mist and clouds arose above its summit, and it was gilded by the rays of the rising sun, the stars and stripes with the beautiful and well known flag of the White Star Division, were seen floating in the breeze from the beetling cliff of Point Lookout, by the Union forces at Chattanooga, they simultaneously sent up loud and repeated shouts that reverberated over the hlills and through the valleys for miles around. General Hooker hastened to compliment the troops for their gallant and glorious work.
November 25th, the battle of Missionary Ridge was fought, the enemy defeated, and a large number of prisoners and three battle flags were captured by the Second Division. On the 26th the enemy was pursued through Chickamauga and Pea Vine valleys, losing many prisoners, with cannon and wagons; and on the 27th was again defeated at the battle of Ringgold, where the division captured three battle flags.
In this latter conflict the regiment lost seven killed and twenty-seven wounded. Among the latter was First Lieutenant Peter Kahlor, of company F, a brave and gallant soldier, who had served in the Mexican war, and whose body bore mails of wounds received in several previous battles. He died soon after the fight, mourned by all his comrades. In his official report of these recent engagements, General Hooker says:"It has never been my fortune to serve with more zealous and devoted troops."On the 29th, General Grant, declaring that he wished to see the troops that fought the battle of Lookout Mountain, reviewed General Geary's Division in Wauhatchie valley, where it remained several days. He was accompianied by the members of his staff, and all the Generals of the combined armies of the Cumberland and Tennessee. No troops could have been more highly complimented than were those of the Second Division on this occasion.
The campaign ended, the division went into winter quarters at Bridgeport. In December the Twenty-eighth, with many other regiments, re-enlisted for three more years, and soon aftertook their departure, on veteran furlough, for their distant homes. Upon the expiration of this time the command again concentrated at Bridgeport, whence it proceeded on that long and toilsome march and unparalleled career of military brilliancy which terminated only with the overthrow of the rebel army and annihilation of the Southern Confederacy.
On the 18th of March, 1864, Colonel Ahl resigned and was mustered out of the service, and on the following day Lieutenant Colonel John Flynn was commissioned Colonel.
In April the Twenty-eighth formed part of an excursion down the Tennessee river in the steamboat Chickamauga, of which General Geary took charge in person, his force consisting of eight hundred men, with eight pieces of artillery. The rebels were met at Guntersville, where a contest took place, during which the town was partially burned and finally captured, the enemy retreating in confusion. The next day superior numbers were encountered and defeated near Triano, and after destroying forty-seven scows with which the rebel troops purposed to cross the river, the expedition returned to camp with but few and trifling casualties.
Atlanta CampaignOn the 4th of May the division marched twenty-two miles, the weather hot and sultry, through Whiteside and Lookout valleys and over Lookout Mountain, encamping in Lookout valley. On the 5th the march was resumed and continued to the 8th, when it reached Mill Creek and Snake Creek gaps at the foot of the Chattoogata ridge. Here the skirmishers came upon the rebel cavalry pickets, and drove them from the mountain crest by the Dalton road.
The enemy was in sight in large force and strongly fortified on Chattoogata, otherwise known as Rocky Face Mountain. He was immediately attacked and the battle that ensued resulted in the capture of Snake Creek gap, a formidable mountain barrier through which the entire Union army passed. He was again encountered on the 15th, strongly fortified on the Dalton road, near Resaca, and after a hard day's fight, was defeated, though his numbers and advantages were vastly superior. Four pieces of artillery were captured by the division.
On the 16th it pressed vigorously forward towards Atlanta, marching daily until the 25th, when Pumpkin Vine creek was reached just in time to extinguish the burning timbers of the bridtge which the enemy had fired. The bridge was immediately repaired, and the Twenty-eighth, being deployed as skirmishers, pushed forward on the double quick and entountered the enemy in strong force, who was driven, after a hard fight, from his position which was immediately occupied by the triumphant troops. On the same day an action commenced at New Hope Church, which continued for seven consecutive days, when the enemy was completely routed with heavy loss. During all this time the troops were under fire night and day, without an hour's relief. The contending lines were in close proximity, which fact, together with the uneven nature of the ground, demanded incessant watchfulness, no opportunity being afforded for proper shelter, rest or subsistence.
On the 14th of June the division, still advancing participated in the fiercely contested battles of Pine Knob, Pine Hill and Lost Mountain, at the commencement of which the rebel General Polk was killed by a shell from one of the guns of Knap's Battery. Constant skirmishes occurred through the following day, and on the 16th the battle of Muddy Creek was fought, on the 19th that of Noses Creek, 22d Kolb's Farm, 27th Kenesaw Mountain, July 3d, Marietta, all of which resulted in defeat and loss to the enemy.
In the interim skirmishes and slight battles occurred until the close of the month. In all these engagements the Twenty-eighth Regiment bore a distinguished part. Still pursuing, our troops passed over a succession of works, elaborate and strong. consisting of breast-works., bastions, rifle-pits, abattis and palisades, from which the enemy was driven, and on the 5th of July, came in sight of Atlanta, to the speedy possession of which the troops looked forward with confidence.
Peach Tree CreekOn the 19th of July preparations were quietly and quickly made at Peach Tree Creek, to surprise the enemy and drive him from a prominent hill on the opposite side, which he held in force, being well protected with rifle-pits and breast-works. The creek was bridged and crossed by the Second Division, which threw up an extended Tete-de-Pont and rested for the nights The day following, the furious battle of Peach Tree Creek occurred, commencing with a ferce charge upon the front of the division, continuing with unusual violence for several hours, and ending with the enemy's defeat.
In this brilliant engagement another brave young officer fell —-Captain Thomas H. Elliott, Adjutant General on the staff of General Geary. He entered the service in the Twenty-eighth Regiment as First Lieutenant of company H, and was promoted for meritorious conduct. He was a young man of fine literary attainments, a great favorite with his fellow soldiers, fearless and courageous even to a fault.
In his official report of this battle General Geary says:"The appearance of the enemy as they charged upon our font across the cleared field was m-agnificent. Rarely has such a sight been presented in battle. Pouring out from the woods they advanced in immense gray masses, (not lines,) with flags and banners, many of them new and beautiful, while the General and Staff officers were in plain view, with drawn sabres flashing in the light galloping here and there as they urged their troops on to the charge. The rebel troops also seemed to rush forward with more than customary nerve and heartiness to the attack. This grand charge was Hood's inaugural, and his army came upon us that day full of high hope, confident that the small force in their front could not withstand them, but their ardor and confidence were soon shaken."From this period until the 25th of August, when an engagement at Paces ferry resulted in another victory, and from that day to their victorious entry into Atlanta, the troops lay before that town, strengenthing their defences, extending and advancing their pickets, receiving and returning the fire of the enemy's artillery, and punishing him severely in numerous battles and skirmishes.
On September 2d, completely exhausted and thoroughly beaten and disheartened the enemy sullenly evacuated Atlanta, and the conquering forces took possession, marching joyfully in, with colors flying, to the inspiriting strains of patriotic music, the White Star Division having the advance.
A brilliant summary of the "hundred days' fight" of this eventful campaign is given in the following extract from General Geary's official report:" Thus gloriously ended the campaign, unequalled for brilliant victories, over seemingly insurmountable difficulties, and unsurpassed in history; a campaign which will stand forever a monument of the valor, endurance and patriotism of the American soldier; four months of hard, constant labor, under the hot sun of a southern summer, scarce a day of which was passed out of the sound of the crash of musketry and roar of artillery; two hundred miles travelled through a country, in every mile of which nature and art seemed leagued for defence -- mountains, rivers, lines of works -- a campaign in which every march was a fight, in which battles followed in such rapid succession, and were so intimately connected by an unremitting series of skirmishes, that it may properly be regarded as one grand battle, which crowned with grander victory, attests the skill and patience of the hero who matured its plans and directed their execution."From the date of its occupation until the 15th of November, the regiment remained at Atlanta, performing guard and fatigue duty, assisting to make reconnoissances, and taking part in foraging expeditions, the latter, not only feeding the garrison of Atlanta, but demonstrating the important fact that an army could move and subsist upon the resources of the country. On the 14th of November the troops under General Iverson, supposing Atlanta to have been evacuated, made an attack upon the Union lines, near the Whitehall road, (where the Twenty-eighth was stationed,) and was repulsed with severe loss in killed and wounded and some prisoners.
Sherman's March to the SeaNovember 15th, the camp was broken up and Sherman's famous "March to the Sea" commenced. This bold undertaking was of such stupendous magnitude, and encircled with so many and such tremendous obstacles, as to astonish the entire country and to strike terror into the heart of the confederacy. Many regarded it as an act of madness, whilst few dared contemplate its successful termination. Unincumbered with any superfluity of tents, baggage or provision trains, the brave and well-tried army marched day after day, scarcely halting for needed rest and nutriment, through sunshine and storm, heat and cold, over hills, streams, swamps and morasses, bivouacking at night along the roads, and subsisting man and beast from the lands over which they passed, laying waste plantations of notorious rebel leaders and destroying immense depots of provisions intended for Lee's army, cotton, grain, cotton gins and mills and other rebel property, together with numerous bridges and many miles of railroad. Guerrilla bands and detachments of rebel cavalry that hovered about, were attacked and if not driven off, either captured or killed. The troops pushed forward with the utmost alacrity, enjoying the march as a grand triumphant passage through an enemy's country, rather than a severe and toilsome journey, full of privations, dangers and disasters. Onward they pressed regardless of labor, and in defiance of every obstacle, imtil, on the 10th of December, they approached the outer works of the enemy at Savannah, and encamped at a distance of three miles from the city, which was at once besieged.
During the succeeding ten days the time was chiefly occupied in throwing up breast-works and erecting fortifications, the troops being under fire from the enemy's batteries and a number of gun boats stationed in the river. Shot and shell were poured in upon them from sixty-four and thirty-pounder siege guns and many pieces of light artillery. Still the work progressed steadily, the men laboring earnestly and with cheerfulness.
On the night of the 20th, General Geary discovered that the enemy was evacuating Savannah, and at one o'clock in the morning of the 21st, he pushed forward to intercept the retiring forces and take possession of the town. Just outside of the city limits, he was met at two o'clock, by the Mayor and a delegation of the Board of Aldermen, bearing a flag of truce, who formally surrendered to him the place, presenting him with the following document:General Geary accordingly entered the city with his command, and just as the sun first gilded the morning clouds, the national colors, side by side with the White Star standard, were unfurled from the dome of the Exchange, and over the United States Custom House. The part assigned the Twenty-eighth, was the capture and occupancy of Fort Jackson. In the afternoon, other troops began to enter the town. Immense piles of cotton and other property, as well as several gun-boats in the river, had been set on fire by the retreating rebels, to the extinguishment of which the troops early and industriously applied themselves. Millions of dollars worth of property and seven vessels were saved to the Government, by their persevering exertions, pursued whilst under continued fire from the rebel gun-boat, Savannah, which was subsequently driven ashore and blown up. In consideration of the services of his division on this occasion, General Geary was appointed Military Governor of Savannah.
SAVANNAHTo General John W. GEARY
December 21, 1864.
U. S. Military Forces near Savannah:
The city of Savannah is being evacuated by the Confederate military and is now entirely defenceless. As Chief Magistrate of the city, I respectfully request your protection of the lives and private property of the citizens, and of our women and children.
Trusting that this appeal to your generosity and humanity may favorably influence your action,
I have the honor to be your obedient servant,
R. D. ARNOLD,
Mayor of Savannah.t
Being relieved by General Grover's division, General Geary, on the 19th of January, 1865, received orders to join, with his command, the other divisions of Sherman's army, which had crossed the Savannah river and advanced to Perrysburg; but in consequence of a severe storm which overflowed the country, and rendered the roads impassable, he was detained in Savannah until the 27th, when, leaving the city at eight o'clock in the morning, by the Augusta turn pike, be started upon the "war path through the Carolinas."
Innumerable obstacles, both natural and artificial, were hourly encountered and overcome. Streams and swamps were waded or bridged, and niles of indescribably bad roads corduroyed, before the troops could pass, whilst at every available point they were annoyed by the desulatory firing and obstructions thrown in the way by squads of the enraged and now desperate enemy. Frequent skirmishes occurred. Severe ones took place at the crossings of the North and South Edisto, and at Congaree and Black rivers, at all of which places the Twenty-eighth Regiment as among the first to cross.
At North Edisto, Colonel Flynn and several of his men were wounded, General Geary in his official report says:"This campaign, although in its general features of the same nature as that from Atlanta to Savannah, was one of much greater labor and tested most thoroughly the power of endurance and elasticity of spirits among American soldiers. The distance marched was much farther, through regions presenting greater natural obstacles, and where a vindictive enemy might naturally be expected in force, sufficient to, harass our troops and interfere frequently with our trains. The season was one of unusual inclemency, during which the roads were in the worst condition. Yet my command marched from Savannah to Goldsboro, without very serious opposition and without a single attack uponthetrai.nsunder my charge. The spirit of my troops throughout was confident and buoyant, expressive of that implicit trust in the Commander-in-chief and belief in themselves, which are always the presages of military success. It was their common experience to march at dawn or earlier, eorduroy miles of road, exposed to drenching rains, or standing waist deep often in swamps, lifting wagons out of mire and quicksand, where mules could not obtain a foot-holda; and when the day's work was through, encamp late at night, only to repeat the process with the next day. Through this all they evinced a determination and cheerfulness which has added greatly to my former high appreciation of the same qualities shown by them upon so many battlefields of the past four years."Upon reaching Raleigh, negotiations were entered into between Generals Sherman and Johnson, which resulted, on the 26th of April, in the surrender of the latter with his army, General Lee had already surrendered to General Grant, and soon after, Generals Kirby Smith and Dick Taylor laid down their arms, and the rebellion was crushed. Peace soon followed, and the troops of the Twentieth Corps to which General Geary's division was then attached, were marched to Washington by way of Richmond, and disbanded.
During the four years' service of the Twenty-eighth Regiment, its casualties were about equal to the number of its original muster and, although in its organized condition it served in twelve different States of the Union, and was engaged in as many skirmishes and battles as any regiment in the United States army, it never lost a single wagon or ambulance or any other description of property, by allowing it to fall into the hands of the enemy. The officers were frequently changed in consequence of deaths, resignations and promotions, the regiment having had four Colonels, four Lieutenant Colonels and nine Majors. It also produced one Major General and three Brigadiers; viz: —Hector Tyndale, Ario Pardee, Jr, and John Flynn.
The members of the regiment who remained at the end of the war were mustered out of the service on the 18th of July, 1865, and were heartily welcomed home, their privations, sufferings, labors and gallant services having endeared them in the warmest affections of the highly gratified and truly grateful loyal people of the country. Their soiled, torn and tattered flags, carried triumphantly through so many bloody battle-fields, attesting the unfailing courage of the men who bore them, have received a hallowed place in the archives of the Commonwealth, whilst the brave and noble soldiers who fought beneath and around them, have returned to the peaceful pursuits of life and the enjoyment of the multiform blessings their struggles and triumphs have secured to their country and the world.
1 In taking command Colonel De Korponay addressed the regiment as follows:
"SOLDIERS OF THE TWENTY-EIGHTH: Having, by Divine Providence, assumed the command of such noble material, composed of the finest men of the army, I promise you sincerely that I will endeavor t- do ample justice to the position which is entrusted to my hand-. May God Almighty guide and strengthen me in all my undertakings in which I may have to lead you, and may He never leave me to falter in guiding you to assured victory. "I-Having had a noble example before me in my predecessor, our beloved Brigadier General, and having been carefully trained under him, I hope that I will meet your cordial support at al times, whether in peaceful or warlike associations."
Source: Bates, Samuel P. History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-65, Harrisburg, 1868-1871.
Organization:Organized at Philadelphia and mustered in June 28, 1861.
Moved to Baltimore, Md., and Harper's Ferry, W. Va., July 27.
Attached to Geo. H. Thomas' Brigade, Dept. of the Shenandoah, to August, 1861.
1st Brigade, Banks' Division, Dept. of the Shenandoah, to October, 1861.
Geary's Independent Brigade, Banks' Division, Army of the Potomac, to March, 1862.
1st Brigade, 1st Division, Banks' 5th Army Corps, to April, 1862.
Geary's Independent Brigade, Dept. of the Shenandoah, to June, 1862.
2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 2nd Corps, Army of Virginia, to August, 1862.
1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 2nd Corps, Army of Virginia, to September, 1862.
1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 12th Army Corps, Army of the Potomac,
to October, 1863, and Army of the Cumberland, to April, 1864.
1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 20th Army Corps, Army of the Cumberland, to June, 1865.
3rd Brigade, Bartlett's Division, 22nd Corps, Dept. of Washington, to July, 1865.
Service:Duty at Sandy Hook, opposite Harper's Ferry, till August 13, 1861.
Moved to Point of Rocks, Md., and guard frontier from Nolan's Ferry to Antietam Aqueduct.
Pritchard's Mills, Va., September 15 (Cos, "B," "D," "I").
Point of Rocks September 24.
Knoxville October 2.
Bolivar Heights October 16 (Cos. "A," "D," "F," "G").
Nolan's Ferry October 30.
Berlin November 10.
Point of Rocks December 19.
Crossed Potomac February 24-25.
Operations in Loudoun County, Va., February 25-May 6.
Occupation of Bolivar Heights February 26.
Lovettsville March 1. Wheatland March 7.
Occupation of Leesburg March 8.
Upperville March 14. Ashby's Gap March 15.
Capture of Rectortown, Piedmont, Markham, Linden and Front Royal March 15-20.
Operations about Middleburg and White Plains March 27-28.
Thoroughfare Gap April 2.
Warrenton April 6.
Near Piedmont April 14. Linden May 15 (Co. "O").
Reconnoissance from Front Royal to Browntown May 24.
Guard railroad from White Plains to Manassas till May 24,
and railroad and gaps of the Blue Ridge till June 23.
Joined Banks at Middletown June 29.
Reconnoissance to Thoroughfare Mountain August 9.
Pope's Campaign in Northern Virginia August 16-September 2.
White Sulphur Springs August 24.
Bull Run August 30.
Maryland Campaign September 6-24.
Battle of Antietam September 16-17.
Duty at Bolivar Heights till December.
Reconnoissance to Lovettsville October 21.
Reconnoissance to Rippon, W. Va., November 9.
Reconnoissance to Winchester December 2-6.
Moved to Fredericksburg, Va., December 10-14.
At Stafford Court House till April 27, 1863.
"Mud March" January 20-24, 1863.
Chancellorsville Campaign April 27-May 6.
Old Wilderness Tavern April 30.
Battle of Chancellorsville May 1-5.
Gettysburg (Pa.) Campaign June 11-July 24.
Battle of Gettysburg, Pa., July 1-3.
Fair Play, Md., July 13.
Duty on line of the Rapidan till September.
Movement to Bridgeport, Ala., September 24-October 3.
Reopening Tennessee River October 26-29.
Companies "L," "M," "N" and "O" transferred to 147th Pennsylvania October 28.
Battle of Wauhatchie, Tenn., October 28-29.
Chattanooga-Ringgold Campaign November 23-27.
Battles of Lookout Mountain November 23-24; Mission Ridge November 25;
Ringgold Gap, Taylor's Ridge November 27.
Guard duty on Nashville & Chattahooga Railroad till April, 1864.
Regiment reenlisted December 24, 1863.
Veterans on furlough January and February, 1864.
Expedition down the Tennessee River to Triana April 12-16.
Atlanta (Ga.) Campaign May 1-September 8.
Demonstration on Rocky Faced Ridge and Dalton May 5-13.
Dug Gap, or Mill Springs, May 8.
Battle of Resaca May 14-15.
Near Cassville May 19.
Advance on Dallas May 22-25.
New Hope Church May 25.
Operations on line of Pumpkin Vine Creek and
battles about Dallas, New Hope Church
and Allatoona Hills, May 25-June 5.
Operations about Marietta and against Kenesaw Mountain June 10-July 2.
Pine Hill June 11-14.
Lost Mountain June 15-17.
Gilgal, or Golgotha Church, June 15.
Muddy Creek June 17.
Noyes Creek June 19. Kolb's Farm June 22.
Assault on Kenesaw June 27.
Ruff's Station or Smyrna Camp Ground July 4.
Chattahoochie River July 5-17.
Peach Tree Creek July 19-20.
Siege of Atlanta July 22-August 25.
Operations at Chattahoochie River Bridge August 26-September 2.
Occupation of Atlanta September 2-November 15.
Whitehall Road, near Atlanta, November 9.
March to the sea November 15-December 10.
Siege of Savannah December 10-21.
Campaign of the Carolinas January to April, 1865.
North Edisto, S. C., February 12-13.
Red Bank Creek February 15.
Congaree Creek February 15.
Averysboro, N. C., March 16.
Battle of Bentonville March 19-21.
Occupation of Goldsbore March 24.
Advance on Raleigh April 9-13.
Occupation of Raleigh April 14.
Bennett's House April 26.
Surrender of Johnston and his army.
March to Washington, D.C., via Richmond, Va., April 29-May 20.
Grand Review May 24.
Duty in the Dept. of Washington till July.
Mustered out July 18, 1865.
Losses:Regiment lost during service
6 Officers and 151 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and
3 Officers and 124 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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