© Alice J. Gayley, all rights reservedUnder the call of the President of the 3d of May, 1861, for forty additional regiments, authority was given to John K. Murphy, by the Secretary of War, to raise and organize a regiment for three years' service. The order to recruit was given on the 15th of May, and the work was commenced and vigorously prosecuted at the building then standing on the site of the present post office in the city of Philadelphia. On the 29th of June, Major C. F. Ruff, of the regular army, received authority to muster the regiment into the service of the United States, and commenced July 1st, mustering' the companies as fast as filled and fully organized, the last being mustered July 29th.
The regiment was recruited, uniformed and rationed, previous to its muster, by the labor and at the expense of the officers, without any assistance from the government. The uniforms, including caps, were of gray. It was at first known as the Jackson Regiment, but upon its organization was designated the Twenty-ninth of the line, and the following gentlemen were commissioned field officers:On the 16th of July the regiment went into camp at Hestonville near the city, where it was equipped and received military instruction. On the 3d of August, it broke camp and proceeded to Harper's Ferry, where it was attached to the command of General Banks, and was at first assigned to the Third Brigade,1 General Hamilton commanding, subsequently Colonel Gordon. It encamped in Pleasant Valley, where by careful instruction and drill, it was brought to a high state of discipline, and during the autumn and winter performed a great amount of marching between Darnstown, Dam No. 4, Ball's Bluff, and Frederick. Near the latter place it went into winter quarters, at Camp Carmel, on the 25th of February, 1862.
- John K. Murphy, Colonel
- Charles A. Parham, Lieutenant Colonel
- Michael Scott, Major
But winter quarters in modern warfare means a shelter for one night or longer, according to circumstances. In this instance it meant the short period, for one night. On the 26th, breaking camp and crossing the Potomac on a pontoon bridge, at Harper's Ferry, it proceeded with the brigade to Winchester, where it arrived on the 12th of March, driving out Jackson and taking possession of the place.
1862On the 1st of April, Banks' army advanced, pushing the enemy up the valley, until it arrived at Edenburgh, where both the railroad and turnpike bridges were found destroyed. A skirmishing party was sent across the creek to dislodge a body of the enemy, so posted as to be very annoying to the troops as they approached the stream. In the skirmish which ensued, the Twenty-ninth lost two killed, James Martin, of company G, and Gottlieb Spear, of company I, the first casualties in Aetion.
As the command advanced in pursuit of Jackson on the 19th, the Twenty-ninth, with the brigade, made a detour to the right, to flank the enemy who had taken position on Road's Hill. But discovering the movement in season he sought safety in flight.
Marching to Harrisonburg, the army remained about two weeks, when it returned to Strasburg and commenced fortifying. Companies B and G of the Twenty-ninth, together with the First Maryland Regiment, under Colonel Kenly, had been detached and stationed at Front Royal. Jackson, having been re-inforced by Ewell and Edward Johnson, had attacked and worsted the advance divisions of Fremont's command under Milroy and Schenck, at M'Dowell, and, by a rapid march masked by his cavalry, approached Front Royal unexpectedly, quickly overpowered Kenly, after a brave resistance, scattering and capturing a large part of his command, and appeared upon the flank of Banks, threatening his communication with a force of twenty thousand men.
WinchesterAt midnight of the 23d, Banks having been apprised of the defeat of Kenly, commenced a retreat in the direction of Winchester, with the enemy in full pursuit, flushed with success on every hand. At three o'clock on the morning of the 24th, the Twenty-ninth reached Middletown, and turning to the right on the road to Front Royal, met the fugitives of Kenly's command about five miles out, who reported the enemy advancing in great force. Falling back to Middletown, it again joined the retreating column. An attack on the head of the train, threw it into confusion, causing considerable delay and the loss of some wagons; these were destroyed to keep them from falling into the hands of the enemy, who hovered on the right flank, keeping the column constantly engaged. The Twenty-ninth reached the hill near Winchester at seven P. M., the men lying on their arms during the night.
At day-break on the 25th, the pickets reported the enemy advancing in force. The Second Brigade, under Colonel Gordon, occupied the ground on the right of the Strasburg road. A large body of the enemy having moved off to turn its right flank, the Twenty-ninth Pennsylvania and the Twenty-seventh Indiana, Colonel Colgrove, were ordered to change position from the left to the right of the line, to meet and check them. The flanking party consisted of the Louisiana Brigade, headed by the Tigers, and commanded by General Dick Taylor.
As they came into the open field they were received with a destructive fire of musketry which checked their advance for a few minutes; but soon rallying, they deployed regiments to turn the flank of our weak line, which was at length compelled to retire. On reaching the rising ground it was found that the rest of the- line had been forced back. Moving towards the town a stand was made behind a stone wall by the Colonel, together with what men remained, but they were soon surrounded and compelled to surrender. The remainder of the regiment, under Major Scott, withdrew with the brigade.
This engagement held the enemy in check five hours, giving time for the train of nearly five hundred wagons to get well on the way towards the Potomac. The enemy made a vigorous pursuit, but the troops moving in three parallel columns, with an efficient rear guard for each, arrived at the river at nightfall and crossed in safety.
Colonel Murphy, and others of the Twenty-ninth who were taken prisoners, were sent to the rear, and on their way had a full view of the rebel forces as they rushed on, whooping and shouting, in pursuit of the national troops. Major Wheat, in whose charge the prisoners were placed, took Colonel Murphy and Captain Rickards of company I, to the Taylor House in Winchester, for breakfast, where he introduced them to Generals Ashby and Stonewall Jackson. Jackson appeared quiet and taciturn; but Ashby was choleric and gave vent to much bitter feeling against the North, saying that he would never be satisfied until he had them THERE! at the same time stamping his foot upon the floor with great emphasis, illustrating in his person the sentiment which inspired the rebellion, and which has been so aptly expressed by Horace:
"-ira, quse procudit enses Et miseras inimicat urbes." 2The prisoners from Front Royal were brought in during the day. Of the Twenty-ninth, there were, including those of the two companies captured at that place, seven officers and one hundred and forty-eight non-commissioned officers and privates. The men were organized into squads for drawing rations, and were placed under the charge of Sergeant Brown, of company F.
On the 30th the prisoners arrived at Harrisonburg, having marched seventy-six miles and received but four crackers per man during the four days march. Here the officers were paroled to report at Staunton on the 6th. At Waynesboro' the dead body of Ashby, killed at the battle of Cross Keys, was brought in. Here also, Colonel Kane of the Bucktails, wounded in the same battle, was added to the company of captive officers.
The Twenty-ninth, under command of Major Scott, remained with General Banks, and upon, the incorporation of his army with that of Fremont and M'Dowell, it moved from Winchester to the valley of the Rappahannock, and was present at the battle of Cedar Mountain, though not actively engaged, and suffered no losses. Early in September the regiment was on duty at Williamsport, Maryland, and on the approach of the enemy in the Antietam campaign, fell back to Hagerstown, and from thence to Chambersburg.
On the 12th of September, Colonel Murphy, and the other officers who had been prisoners of war with him, rejoined the regiment and advanced under orders from Colonel Wright, an aid to Governor Curtin, to Greencastle. Two days later the returned officers were notified by Governor Curtin, that they were not exchanged, but only paroled, and ordered to report at Camp Parole, near Annapolis. On the 17th of September, at the battle of Antietam, the Twenty-ninth was on provost and rear guard duty, and not actively engaged. After the battle it was stationed at Boonsboro, Maryland, in charge of the hospital and property collected from the battle-field.
October 22d, Colonel Murphy and other paroled officers, having been regularly exchanged, returned to the command.
Greatly crippled by its losses, the scattered fragments were now gathered up and put once more in a condition of efficiency. On the 31st of October it marched to Hagerstown, where it was detailed for provost and guard duty. On the 10th of December it struck tents and moving via Boonsboro' and Pleasant Valley, crossed the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers on pontoon bridges, and joined the brigade near Leesburg.
Colonel Murphy, being the senior officer, assumed command of the brigade. The battle of Fredericksburg was fought on the same day.
Marching via Gum Springs to Fairfax station, tents and all extra baggage were turned in, and all who were unable to walk were sent to Alexandria in cars. On the 28th the corps marched in pursuit of the enemy's cavalry, which retreated rapidly, and crossed the Occoquan at Wolf's ford, eluding pursuit.
1863On the 19th of January, 1863, the regiment was ordered to march with the brigade, with all possible dispatch, towards Fredericksburg, as Burnside was concentrating his forces for a second advance. The weather was clear and cold, the ground frozen, the marching good, except that the artillery and heavy loaded wagons occasionally cut through the frost and sank in the mud.
Crossing the Occoquan, it marched via Dumfries to the Quintico, now swollen by the incessant rains and filled with floating ice, which was, in conesquence, passed with great difficulty, and reached Stafford Court House on the 25th. The mud had by this time so deepened that the roads were impassable, and the prospect that all further forward movements would be suspended was clear.
On the 3d of February the troops were ordered to build tents and put their camping ground in proper condition for winter quarters. On the same day Wm. Rickards, Jr., Captain of company I, was commissioned Lieutenant Colonel, to date from October 4th, and, in the absence of Colonel Murphy, at once assumed command. The camp was enlarged and improved, and details of men were kept daily at work to put it in good condition for-health and comfort. On the 19th Captain Zulich was appointed to bring in from Camps Convalescent and Distribution all men tit for duty belonging to the corps.
During the months of February and March little activity prevailed in the army other than that of organizing, drilling and perfecting the discipline of the troops. In the camp of the Twenty-ninth great improvement was exhibited in the appearance and condition of the men, who manifested a pride in preserving a soldierly bearing, and in presenting to the eye of the inspector faultless arms and equipments. On the 19th of March the division was reviewed by General Hooker, now in command of the army, who met the commanders of regiments at the head-quarters of General Slocum, and was personally introduced. He spoke of the necessity of using all possible means for crushing the rebellion, and expressed a confidence in the efficiency of his troops, and a hope that the next movement of the Army of the Potomac would be a successful one.
On the 21st of March an order was received transferring the Twenty-ninth to the Second Brigade,3 Second Division of the Twelfth Corps. On the 10th of April this corps was reviewed by President Lincoln, accompanied by Generals Hooker and Slocum. The corps was drawn up in two lines of battalions by divisions closed in mass. The President rode up and down, when the lines were broken into columns and passed in review. Previous to the movement General Slocum called the field officers together and explained the manner in which the battalions would change direction by a flank to form column, and, fearing that all might not understand the explanation without a visible representation, called for a regiment to volunteer to illustrate it. The Twenty-ninth was offered and immediately put in motion, executing the manoeuvre to the entire satisfaction of the General, and illustrating at the same time the efficiency in drill to which it had attained.
ChancellorsvilleThe necessary preparations were made, and on the 26th of April, orders were received to march on the Chancellorsville campaign. With three days' rations in haversacks and five in knapsacks, baggage reduced to the lowest limit, sixty rounds of ammunition in cartridge boxes and eighty per man in wagons, and of the four hundred and eighty-seven present for duty, leaving twenty sick in hospital, the march commenced. Passing through Stafford Court House and Hartwood, and crossing the Rappahannock at Kelly's ford, and the Rapidan at Germania Mills, the regiment reached Chancellorsville on the evening of the 30th. This route was pursued by Howard's Eleventh, Slocum's Twelfth, and Meade's Fifth Corps; Couch's Second Corps crossing at Banks' and United States fords, shielded by the advancing column on the right bank.
At nine A. M. the regiment, with the brigade, marched on the right of the Fredericksburg road, and soon met the enemy, who had a battery posted which opened heavily. Remaining in position about an hour, the brigade was ordered back to its former camp, which it immediately commenced to fortify. Intrenching tools could not be procured, and most of the work was done with bayonets and tin plates. At three P. M. the regiment was again ordered forward on the Fredericksburg road to take a battery posted in an annoying position. Arriving within charging distance, it was deemed inexpedient to make the attempt, and the regiment was ordered back with a loss of three men killed and five wounded.
The pressure of the enemy under Jackson on the right of the Union line, at about five P. M., became so heavy that it was forced to give way, leaving the flank of the Twelfth Corps exposed. Geary's Division was immediately wheeled into position to check the enemy, swarming forth almost in the rear of General Hooker's Head-quarters. The firing was very heavy, and continued till eleven P. M., the men laying on their arms all night. On Sunday, May 3d, the battle opened early, and at seven A. M.the enemy had turned our right flank, and commenced a cross-fire which was very severe.
The position being untenable, the division was ordered to retire by the United States ford road, and take up a new position; but it was vigorously shelled, losing many while carrying the wounded from the hospitals which had been set on fire by the enemy's shells. At ten P. M. the regiment was ordered into position on a hill commanding the road, which was immediately intrenched. On the following morning the enemy attacked on the right, but was repulsed. Rations and ammunition (on account of the nature of the ground) had to be distributed on pack mules.
At daybreak on the 6th, the Twenty-ninth crossed the river and marched to Potomac Creek, Hooker having decided to withdraw, leaving the dead on the field and the wounded unable to be moved, in the hands of the enemy. The loss in the engagement was six killed and thirteen wounded.
An examination was made of the ground at Acquia creek by Colonel Cobham, in command of the brigade, to determine the dispositions to be made in case of attack. It was decided that Fort No. I should be occupied by the Twenty-ninth and that the One Hundred and Ninth and One Hundred and Eleventh Pennsylvania should take position in the rifle-pits.
Colonel Murphy, who had been absent sick for more than two months, now resigned on account of disease contracted while a prisoner of war, and the regiment was notified of the fact May 8th. The time of the One Hundred and Twenty-fourth and One Hundred and Twenty-fifth Pennsylvania Regiments of nine months' men having expired on the 11th of May, they left the brigade.
On the 4th of June, the regiment being stationed at Acquia creek, a beautiful flag prepared by ladies of Philadelphia, was presented, on their behalf, by H. M. Dichert, Esq., of that city, and was received for the regiment by General Geary.
Gettysburg CampaignOn the 11th of June, the regiment stripped to light marching order and commenced to move on the Gettysburg campaign. Passing through Stafford, Dumfries and Fairfax, it arrived at Leesburg on the 17th, and taking possession of a rebel fortification, was employed in extending and strengthening it. At dawn of the 26th it moved to the Potomac and crossed at Edwards' ferry. The river is here four hundred and forty yards in width, and was spanned by two bridges of sixty-six boats each.
Lee's main body, under Longstreet and Hill, had crossed on the 24th and 25th and had pushed on in the path of Ewell, who moved a week earlier and was now at Carlisle and York. Hooker crossed with his army on the 25th and 26th, but one day later than Lee, designing to concentrate his main body at Frederick, while the Twelfth Corps with the division of General French, then at Harper's Ferry, was to strike at the rebel communications at Williamsport.
With the 28th came the change of commanders, and a change of plans in so far as to abandon the movement to Williamsport, and to follow up the advancing rebel column by a line bearing further to the right. Moving on the 29th through Frederick and Braceville, the Twelfth Corps arrived on the 30th at Littletown, where the cavalry had a skirmish with a marauding.party of the enemy, in which a few prisoners were taken.
On the 1st of July, General Geary's Division pushed on in advance of the rest of the corps, and at about two miles from the battle-ground, Kane's Brigade was detached and posted to prevent the enemy from turning the right flank of the army, while the remaining brigades hastened to the front and took position on the extreme left of the line, on and about Round Top.
On the morning of the 2d, the Twenty-ninth with Kane's Brigade moved to the right and took position in a wood to the right of the Baltimore pike, on Culp's Hill, where breast-works were thrown up across the head of a ravine which spreads to a large plateau on Bock creek, covered with a heavy growth of timber. At seven o'clock P. M., the brigade was ordered by General Geary to move rapidly to the left, to reinforce the Third Corps.
Fording the creek in the face of the enemy's shells, by which Sergeant Major Charles Latford was killed, and proceeding rapidly about two miles in the direction of Round Top, the column was halted and ordered to return to the breast-works just vacated, the enemy in front of the Third Corps having been repulsed and the line made secure by fresh troops. The incidents of the return are best told in the words of Colonel Rickards' report;"We returned by the pike (Baltimore) and were about to enter the wood in which our breast-works were, when we were fired on, receiving a heavy volley from behind a stone-wall at twenty-five paces distance, killing Lieutenant Harvey and three men, and wounding ten. Believing that we had been mistaken for the enemy by the Third Brigade of our own division, which had been left to hold a part of the line, I ordered my men not to fire, and gathering up our dead and wounded, I moved to the rear about one hundred paes, when I returned again to the wall and called to those behind it, telling them who I was, but was answered by another volley, I now received orders to join the brigade on the pike, and we moved to the woods on the left of our trenches, when we found that the enemy had occupied them in our absence, had advanced half a mile beyond our works, and were now confronting us.As soon as the position of the enemy was ascertained, a line of battle was formed at right angles with the original breast-works, and the men laid on their arms, the enemy keeping up occasional firing during the night, by which one man, a private of company K, was severely wounded.
A party of skirmishers under Captain Johnson of company B, was immediatly sent out by order of General Kane. The Captain and five of his men were captured."
"At three A. M., of the 3d," says Colonel Rickards, "observing objects moving about the enemy's position, I went to the centre of the brigade and met Colonel Cobham; while consalting we received a fire from the enemy, which extended across our front, fortunately doing no harm, but knocking the eagle from my right shoulder, and showing them to be in force. The fire was returned with spirit, but soon died away and all was again quiet"The Twenty-ninth occupied a part of the line which extended through a hollow, and was somewhat protected by a ledge of rocks. At half past three A. M., the contest opened, the enemy firing from behind rocks and trees. The action soon became general and raged with unabated fury, the troops being relieved as their ammunition was exhausted, and, when replenished, again returning to the line. The Twenty-ninth was relieved for this purpose, and was absent forty-five minutes, the men taking from sixty to eighty rounds each.
At half past ten A. M., the enemy advanced to the charge, led by Stewart's Brigade moving at battalion front. It was a trying moment for the Twenty-ninth, but the men stood manfully to their ground, firing with great rapidity and doing fearful execution. The rebel line came steadily on, though their ranks were perceptibly thinned, until within ten paces, when their column began to waver, and soon after fled in confusion, leaving their dead and wounded in frightful numbers on the field. Preparations were soon made to follow up this advantage, and General Geary's Division charged over the ground lately held by the enemy, routing and driving them out and regaining the original breast-works.
The fight still continued, the enemy taking refuge behind rocks and trees in front of the intrenchments, and keeping up a rapid fire. The Twenty-ninth, having exhausted its last supply of ammunition, was relieved by the First Maryland, Colonel Maulsby, and moved out to replenish it, being heavily shelled while passing through an open field and losing one man wounded.
At half past two the regiment returned to the trenches, where the men were much annoyed by sharp-shooters. At nine P. M., the enemy made another attack, which was promptly repulsed, and the firing ceased with the exception of an occasional shot. Precautions were taken to guard against surprise, and the men rested in the trenches upon their arms. Much speculation was indulged in by the officers during the night respecting the events of the coming day, many believing that the fighting would be more sanguinary than on any previous one.
With the dawn of July 4th came hope that the struggle was over, for silence continued to prevail. General Kane ordered Colonel Rickards to send out a party of skirmishers to ascertain if the enemy was still in front. Company E was accordingly detached for the purpose, and proceeded to examine the woods, where the enemy had been posted; but he had stealthily departed, leaving the ground strewn with his dead and wounded. Five hundred rebel dead were found and buried in front of General Geary's Division alone.
The Twenty-ninth lost during the three days in which it was engaged, fifteen killed, forty-five wounded and fourteen missing.4
Following up the retreat of the rebel army the regiment arrived at Littletown on the 6th and Walkersville on the 8th. At Frederick, the brigade turned on the road leading to Middletown, and at a point about two miles out crossed the fields to the Harper's Ferry road, passing on the way a spy hanging on a locust tree. In the neighborhood of Bakersville some of the enemy's pickets were encountered, and the rebels were reported in force at Downsville. Arriving within two miles of that place, a line of battle was formed, the Second Corps on the right of the Twelfth, and breast-works were thrown up.
On the 11th, the troops were again formed in line of battle, the Second Brigade being posted on the extreme left. On the 14th, the Second Division was ordered to support the First in the neighborhood of St. James College, and moved on up the bill expecting to receive the enemy's fire; but reconnoissances soon developed the fact that the rebel army had escaped across the river and was now in full retreat up the Shenandoah valley. Passing Maryland Heights and Pleasant Valley, where the Twenty-ninth had its firstcamp on taking the field, it crossed the Potomnac on pontoons at Harper's Ferry, and the Shenandoah on a wire bridge, and passing around London Heights halted at Hill's Lookout.
On the 20th of July the division moved by forced marches via Snickersville and Markham to Manassas Gap for the purpose of cutting off portions of the retreating army. A;spiritedartillery duel occurred with the enemy's rear guard, but the main column.had already passed and was hastening on towards Gordonsville. The brigade was immediately ordered back to take another road by which to still overtake the foe, and marched twenty-five miles on the 24th; proceeding on the following day through Rectortown and White Plains, it arrived at the entrance of Thoroughfare Gap. A detail was here made of two non-commissioned officers and four-privates to bring in conscripts. Proceeding through the gap, the command moved hastily to Catlett's Station, and from thence to Kelly's ford, on the Rappahannock.
During the month of August, the first three days of which were remarkable for extreme heat, and during which the men suffered much, the regiment was kept actively engaged guarding the fords of the river. On the 16th of September the regiment marched at 4 o'clock A. M., and crossed at Kelly's ford. The weather was excessively hot and the ambulances were filled with the sick and exhausted men. The Twenty-ninth formed the rear guard of the division, and bivouacked at night on high ground about four miles east of Culpepper Court House. The cavalry was already at Raccoon Ford on the Rapidan, engaging the enemy, the bursting of shells breaking the darkness with their lurid light.
On the 21st General Slocum visited the camp of the Twenty-ninth, and expressed his satisfaction with the condition in which he found it; he soon after issued a special order complimenting the regiment for its excellent discipline and the soldierly bearing of the men.
HEADQUARTERS, SECOND BRIGADE, SECOND DIVISION, TWELFTH ARMY CORPS,
Near Littletown, July 6, 1863.
Officers and Soldiers of the Second Brigade:
The hard fighting seems over. If there is to be more of it soon I will be with you. If not, farewell, and may God bless and reward you for your noble conduct, but for which, neither I, nor any of the thousands of this army would have home, country, pride or honor to return to. If you should not see me again in the brigade I hope you will remember long and affectionately your friend and commanler,
THOMAS L. KANE,
Brigadier General of Volunteers.
Detached to TennesseeOn the 23d of September, the Eleventh and Twelfth Corps were detached from the Army of the Potomac, and ordered, under General Hooker, to Middle Tennessee, to re-inforce Rosencrans, lately worsted at Chickamauga. On the 26th the regiment marched to Brandy Station, whence it proceeded by rail to Washington, and immediately moved by the Baltimore and Ohio railroad to Bell Air, where it crossed the Ohio river, and proceeded through Columbus, Indianapolis, Louisville and Nashville to Murfreesboro arriving on the 5th of October. Here the regiment reported to General Ward, commanding the post, who directed Colonel Rickards to take charge of the troops of the Twelfth Corps then arrived. These consisted of the Twenty-ninth and One Hundred and Ninth Pennsylvania, Fifth Ohio and Seventy-eighth and One Hundred and Forty-ninth New York.
On the day previous the rebels had burnt a bridge on the railroad two miles below the town, capturing the guard, consisting of forty men, but were deterred from making a further advance by the timely arrival of the Twelfth Corps troops. On the 9th, the command marched to Christiana, arriving in the evening of the same day, and on the following morning, leaving the One Hundred and Eleventh, the Twenty-ninth and One Hundred and Ninth proceeded to Fostersville, a village on the Nashville and Chattanooga railroad, thirteen miles south of Murfreesboro' which they were ordered to fortify. The place is not easy of defence, the hills around overlooking the town, near enough for long rifle range, and very convenient for shells. Wheeler's rebel cavalry, four thousand strong, had passed through the place but a few days previous.
On the 14th, General Geary and Colonel Cobham commanding the brigade, were in consultation with Colonel Rickards respecting the location and form of the fort. A pentagonal work, the sides thirty yards long and seven and a half feet high, with a ditch to correspond, was agreed upon. Five houses which had been damaged by the enemy had to be removed to make room for it. The ground was hard and obstructed by large stones, which very much impeded the work. The men labored with a hearty good will. To hasten its completion a requisition for negro labor and for ox and mule teams was made upon the proprietors of neighboring estates, which were promptly furnished. When three sides of the fort were finished and the whole in prospect of speedy completion, the command was ordered to move by rail to Stephenson, Alabama, much to the disappointment of the men, who had cherished a pride in having, when finished, a piece of work to be pointed to with satisfaction.
The Twenty-ninth left in two detachments, the first under command of Lieutenant Colonel Zulick. At Wartrace the trains halted, to let an express train pass, bearing General Grant to the front. After considerable delay in ascending the mountain, from the slipping of wheels and want of motive power, the trains passed the tunnel three and one-fourth miles long and were nearly down the long grade on the other side, when they were met by Colonel Innes, superintendent of military railways, who ordered the engineers to back, the trains to the summit again to let four freight trains pass. Without taking advantage of the back ride, the Twenty-ninth alighted and marched down to the foot of the mountain.
At Stephenson, Alabama, a little muddy village of a score of habitations, the Twenty-ninth reported to General Hooker and encamped near corps head-quarters. On the 26th the regiment marched to Bridgeport, where General Geary and his brigade commanders had already arrived. Drawing three days' rations and sixty rounds of ammunition the regiment crossed the Tennessee river on pontoons, and proceeded to Shellmound, where is located the celebrated Nick Jack cave, from which the rebels procured large quantities of saltpetre for the manufacture of gunpowder.
Lieutenant Colonel Zulick was here detailed to superintend the working party laying a pontoon bridge, and constructing a road leading to it. The line of march from Shellmound lay through mountain passes, and along the bank of the Tennessee river, the rocky bluffs rising like a wall, to a height varying from ten to three hundred feet for many miles. Passing along, beneath the shadow of Lookout Mountain, the command5 halted at Wauhatchie Junction.
The Twenty-ninth was immediately ordered on picket duty. General Geary had designated Wauhatchie Junction as an important point, and three companies, E, B and K, under command of Captain Rickards, were posted there with orders to throw up rifle-pits; two companies, I and H, under Captain Stork, were sent out three miles on the Kelly's ferry road; two companies, A and F, under Lieutenant Coursault, were posted to cover the ground between the camp and Lookout creek; two companies, C and G, were pushed out a half mile on the Brown's ferry road, and company D was ordered to the left, between Stork and Rickards, completing a continuous line around the camp.
General Geary, ever on the alert, had ordered this faithful picketing of his camp, knowing that his single division was isolated from the rest of the corps, but believing the enemy not to be nearer than Lookout Mountain; this impression was confirmed by the testimony of citizens.
The man most relied on for the correctness of this report was a Mr. Bouden, a magistrate living at the junction of the rail and the Kelly's ferry road. Colonel Rickards, after posting his regiment, went to the house of this man, under the pretense of getting bread baked, but for the purpose of ascertaining more definitely the exact location of the enemy; and while in casual conversation with a woman, learned that Longstreet's men had been on that ground the day before. Bouden was immediately taken in custody and brought to the tent of General Geary, who soon drew out the important information that there was a bridge over the creek, and that Longstreet's men were at that moment lying just beyond it not more than a mile and a quarter from his camp.
Precautions were immediately taken to prevent a surprise. Colonel Rickards was dispatched as officer of the day for this purpose, found the road leading to the bridge, and posted his men on it three-fourths of a mile from camp, with instructions to be especially watchful. He ordered Captain Millison, in charge of the reserve, to hold them in readiness to deploy as skirmishers on the least alarm.
Proceeding on his rounds, he had visited the post at the junction, and was returning, when a rapid firing was heard which seemed to be in the direction of the bridge, where the enemy lay. Riding forward, he soon ascertained that the firing, which soon ceased, was beyond his pickets. Returning to head-quarters to report, he found the command under arms and in line. All soon becoming quiet, after a half hour, the men were sent to their quarters. They were scarcely in, when firing again commenced and now in earnest; for the rebels, having watched from the secure heights of Lookout Mountain the movements of General Geary, thought to surprise and crush him by a night attack, and were now advancing in strong force without skirmishers. Colonel Rickards rode quickly to the out-post, and met his men falling back, but in good order, contesting the ground with great firmness and excellent effect, giving time for the main column to get into position.
Battle of WauhatchieThe One Hundred and Thirty-seventh New York was formed on the extreme left One Hundred and Eleventh Pennsylvania on the right, One Hundred and Ninth Pennsylvania in the centre, and the One Hundred and Forty-ninth New York on the railroad bank at right angles with the right of the One Hundred and Ninth. The two companies, C and G of the Twenty-ninth, which had been driven in from the bridge, were posted to support the battery, and when the enemy made a strong demonstration on the right, were moved to the railroad bank. The attack was made with rebel impetuosity, and the men were falling rapidly, especially in the battery; the loss in horses was also very great, thirtyfive being killed out of forty-eight. The sixty rounds of ammunition with which the men started was nearly exhausted, when the enemy made a fresh demonstration on the right, and gained possession of the railroad bank, from which they delivered a galling fire, all efforts to dislodge them proving fruitless.
At this juncture a piece of the artillery was taken outside the railroad bank, at a crossing in the rear, which enfiladed the portion occupied by the enemy. In the absence of horses to move it, companies C and G of the Twenty-ninth grasped the prolongs and soon had it posted, when a few well directed shots sent the ene-my from the sheltered position to which he had clung with such desperate pertinacity. This had a depressing effect upon him, for his fire soon slackened, and the White Stars remained masters of the field.6
Companies A and F, under Lieutenant Coursault, held the wood on the right of the railroad, and prevented the enemy from gaining the rear, behaving with much discretion and bravery. The enemy had already turned our left flank and captured the wagon train. But this instead of a disaster was accounted again; for the enemy fell to plundering and was slaughtered in great numbers by the artillery which was immediately turned upon him. Lieutenant Colonel Zulick of the Twenty-ninth, coming up soon after with a small force which he had collected, re-captured it and brought it to the rear.
From the fact that the Twenty-ninth Regiment was distributed around the camp on the picket line, the loss was comparatively light, and was principally in the two companies, C and G, picketing the road on which the enemy advanced. The loss was one killed, five wounded and one missing.
The conduct of this handful of men, struggling in the darkness, in tangled wilds, on unknown ground, against a powerful, veteran division of Longstreet's army, familiar with every foot of ground and rejoicing in a knowledge of the weakness of its foe, was most heroic. The personal bravery and skill of the commander was everywhere manifest, and his presence felt in every part of the line. Often amidst the darkness was his voice heard ordering up fresh troops, which never came; but at every order the men cheered the voice of their General most lustily, the deception producing the same effect upon the imaginations of foe as though the solid columns were actually moving forward and taking their places in the shattered lines.
The battery, posted on a little knoll in the midst of the camp, did signal service, and was the special object of the enemy's fire, the rebel officers being repeatedly heard ordering their men to concentrate their fire upon it."The men and officers of Knap's Battery," says Colonel Rickards, "acted nobly. Lieutenant Geary, son of our General, was killed at my side, shot through the brain at the instant he commenced fire after aiming his gun. His was a serious loss to the service; Captain Atwell was badly wounded in the hip and spine; most of the sergeants were killed or wounded. The infantry had sixty rounds of ammunition and none in the train. When this was expended the killed and wounded were searched for a supply."The attack was made by General Bratton of Longstreet's Corps, who on the evening previous, in company with Generals Polk, Longstreet, Breckenridge, Hood, Cheatham and Cleburne, from a lofty station on Lookout Mountain, had watched the progress of Geary's troops, and had planned a surprise which it was confidently anticipated would annihilate it. None but White Stars were engaged who proved themselves equal in this firey ordeal to thrice their number of the enemy's best troops. The first firing of the pickets commenced at half past eleven P. M., and the struggle ended at half past two A. M. The firing ceased and the command immediately commenced fortifying their position.7 General Howard and staff soon after rode in, and at five o'clock Heclers Brigade of Howard's Corps arrived. General Hooker came at nine, expressing much surprise at the evidences of the hard fighting. The rebel killed left on the field were one hundred and fifty-seven, and one hundred and thirty-five prisoners were taken, most of whom were wounded. Estimating the rebel wounded according to the usual ratio of killed to wounded, and their total loss could not have fallen much short of one thousand. The rebel forces engaged numbered five thousand strong, while the Union strength was only fourteen hundred and sixty-three, or little exceeding thirteen hundred muskets, a number not much above the loss of the enemy.
On the afternoon of the 29th, the regiment was relieved and marched to Wauhatchie Junction, being vigorously shelled on the way by the rebels on Lookout Mountain, but without effect except in the wounding of two mules. The shelling was continued until the 31st, when the brigade was ordered to take position and fortify a hill at the foot of Raccoon Mountain, on the right of the Kelly's ferry road facing Lookout.
Lookout Mountain was still well fortified and firmly held by the enemy. Its summit was only accessible for a distance of twenty miles up the valley, by two or three trails admitting the passage of but one man at a time, and these were securly held. Its palisaded crest and steep, rugged, rocky and deeply furrowed slopes seemed of themselves to present insurmountable obstacles to the advance of an assaulting column; to these were added almost interminable, well-planned and well-constructed defenses. But a demonstration was to be made upon it.
On the 24th of November, the Twenty-ninth Reghnent was ordered to report at division head-quarters, without knapsacks and with one day's rations, for the purpose of joining in the assault. The Second Division marched to Wauhatchie Junction at five in the morning, where the troops, to form the party, were drawn up between the railroad and the creek, the Second Brigade, composed of the Twenty-ninth and One hundred and Eleventh Pennsylvania, (the One Hundred and Ninth being left to guard the camp,) on the right, the Third Brigade in the centre and the First Brigade on the left. The pioneers and a detail from the Twenty-ninth built a bridge across the creek, and the movement commenced at seven and a half o'clock A. M.
The column advanced up the side of the mountain until the Twenty-ninth reached the wall of rocks which surmounts the slope, when it fronted and advanced in line of battle extending from the crest to the flat near Lookout creek; Whitaker's Brigade of the Fourth Corps followed as a second supporting line, at a distance of three or four hundred yards.8
The side of the mountain is cut in deep ravines impeded by huge rocks; but the march was conducted in excellent order, the men scrambling over the obstructions and keeping their places in the line with an unabated ardor. Colonel Rickards deployed companies C and E, Captains Millison and Sorber, as skirmishers, and soon met the skirmishers of the enemy, who became very troublesome, firing from their coverts behind rocks and hedges. After advancing about a mile, the reserve of the enemy's first line was met and the firing became continuous. At this point, leading on his men with determined bravery, Captain Millison was wounded in the arm and side, and was carried from the field. The enemy now appeared on the right of the line firing through a gorge, and soon after a large body passed down a slope leading to the flank.
The Twenty-ninth was immediately ordered to change front to rear on left company, which was executed with skill and steadiness, the enemy meeting, a fall front when he expected to fall upon our unprotected rear. Their first volley was fortunately too high, when, finding a force unterrified and ready to receive them, they threw down their arms and held up their hands in token of surrender. The line was ordered to withhold its fire, when two hundred and seventy, including many officers, were sent to the rear. The left wing, changing front forward, and the right moving by the left flank, parallel to the crest of the mountain, the regiment again advanced. The enemy, secreted in the gorges and behind rocks, now began to surrender in squads of from five to fifty. The captures becoming so numerous as to require too many men to send sufficient guards with them, they were sent back to General Whitaker's command for safe transfer to the rear.
The line continued to advance9 with surprising steadiness, and soon came in sight of the enemy's breast-works. The trees had been cut down with the expectation that they would form an insurmountable obstacle to further progress to an advancing column; but in the zeal and impetuousity of the troops, the obstruction was scarcely noticed, crawling beneath or clambering over as best they could, and clinging close to the White Star line. The ravine in the side of the mountain, which, from the opposite side of Lookout creek seemed an insignificant indentation, proved to be from fifty to one hundred feet, with precipitous sides.
While the Third Brigade was attacking the enemy in the breast-works, the Second, which was far above them, pushed on to the point of the mountain where-in the turn which it made it had the shortest line and arrived first, the colors of the Twenty-ninth being planted on the highest attainable point of the mountain, and from which the enemy was completely outflanked. They had thought their position unapproachable, and were holding in fancied security their stronghold in the clouds, when the White Star Division broke in to their rear, compelling the abandonment of their works and securing the virtual capture of the mountain.
The Second Brigade halted here, but skirmishers were sent out, who, with those of the Third Brigade, captured two pieces of artillery which the enemy had posted on the hill east of the point. The Second Brigade was ordered to move on around the mountain, but found the hill too steep to move in line. Searching in vain for some pass by which to reach the heights above, it was met by a body of the enemy's skirmishers who were driven back and several captured. Advancing nearly half a mile, a heavy line of the enemy was discovered and dispositions were immediately made to attack upon the flank, while another line advancing from below, attacked in front; but heavy clouds settling down aroundthe mountainso dense as to shut out the light of the midday, rendered it impossible to distinguish friend from foe.10
Though much annoyed by sharp-shooters from the opposite side and from the summit of the mountain, the command was ordered to cease firing and to fortify wherever space could be found for one stone to lay upon another. The friendly clouds so shielded the men that only one was hit. The Twenty-ninth remained in this position until nine o'clock, P. MV, when it was relieved, and moving to the slope of the mountain the men sat down to their first meal for the day. The loss was three killed and six wounded. The enemy evacuated his works which had now become untenable, and fled during the night.
On the following morning a ladder was discovered which the enemy had used in climbing to the summit. Several parties from different regiments were dispatched, by direction of General Geary, to ascend, who carried a flag with them and unfurled it upon the topmost height. As it floated out upon the pure air of the mid-heavens, a cheer was sent up from the troops encamped below, awakening the echoes along all the hills. a fitting climax to the BATTLE ABOVE THEE CLOUDS.11
On the morning of the 25th the brigade advanced diagonally across the Chattanooga valley to Rossville pass. The enemy was posted on Missionary Ridge, with artillery, resisting the advance of Thomas and Sherman. Moving north along the foot of the ridge, the brigade foriaed in line and advanced up the mountain till it had reached a point in the rear of the rebels, when, finding themselves surrounded they began to throw down their arms and surrender.12
An entire brigade was here captured and its vacated quarters were occupied by the victorious column. On the following morning the command returned to the Rossville pass, moving through, crossed Chicamauga creek at dark, attacking the rear of the enemy. At nine P. M., a heavy picket force of the enemy was met and captured with three brass pieces and several caissons.
Remaining in line of battle during the night, at early dawn the pursuit was resumed. The roads were very heavy, and several caissons of Furguson's rebel battery, broken down and left by the way, were picked up. Heavy firing was heard in the direction of Ringgold, and the infantry was hurried forward, the artillery being detained for the building of the bridge across the Chickamauga.
RinggoldAt the pass through Taylor's ridge, near Ringgold, the enemy had made a stand, and was strongly posted in the gap in the form of the sides of an acute angle, and on the hills overlooking the town. The troops of the Fourth Corps were already engaged and had suffered severely. The First Brigade was ordered up the hill to the support of the regiments that had been driven back, but the enemy soon flanked their position and delivered a destructive fire, killing Colonel Creighton, Lieutenant Colonel Crane and many other officers and men.
The Second Brigade was then ordered by General Hooker to position in a small chaparral in front of, and to the right of the railroad depot, with instructions to lie down, not to fire till the enemy came within short range, and to hold the position to the last extremity. The Twenty-ninth Iowa, occupying the right of the line, having lost its Colonel and being hard pressed, gave way, exposing the right flank; but at this juncture the Third Brigade came up, and following close, the artillery, which was soon brought into position, ended the fight by a few well directed shells The attack had been made with infantry alone, as the bridge across Chicamauga creek could not be completed in time to bring up the artillery. The enemy made this stand for the purpose of gaining time for his trains to escape.
On the 29th Colonel Rickards was ordered to proceed with his own regiment, Knap's Battery, and a train of twelve wagons to Chattanooga. A detail had been sent to take the severely wounded, by cars found standing upon the road, to Chickamauga station. Having proceeded several miles over bad roads, an order was received to return with the battery, arriving again at Ringgold at dark after a hard and fruitless day's march The regiment was quartered in the court house, the offices being occupied by the officers. By order of General Hooker, the engines of a mill in the vicinity of Ringgold were taken down and sent to Chattanooga, the work being performed by details from the Twenty-ninth. From Ringgold Geary's Division returned around the foot of Lookout Mountain to its old camp in Lookout valley, having been absent eleven days, fighting and marching over difficult roads, the men without blankets, and many without shoes.
The proposition of the government for veteran volunteers was published early in December, and measures were immediately taken by the officers of the Twenty-ninth to have it mustered as a veteran organization. On the 9th of December it was drawn up in line to receive the agents of the State of Pennsylvania, Dr. King, Surgeon General, Dr. Kennedy and Mr. Francis, sent by Governor Curtin, to look after the welfare of her soldiers. Eloquent speeches were made by each of them, which were responded to in behalf of the soldiers by General Geary.
On the following day two hundred and ninety members of the regiment re-enlisted and were mustered for a second term as veterans, a number considerably in excess of that required to secure the continuance of the organization. The prompt action of the men secured to them the honor of forming the first veteran regiment in the service of the United States. On the 12th, the division was drawn up in line to give the regiment a parting salute, when the General expressed his high appreciation of its past services, and his regrets at parting with it, but commended their determination to become veterans.
On the 13th of December the regiment moved by rail from Bridgeport, Alabama, and arrived in Philadelphia on the 27th. A committee of citizens met the train at White Hall, and upon its arrival in the city a salute was fired, and the military were out in large numbers for its escort to the National Guards Hall, where it was received in an address of welcome delivered by J. Price Wetherell, Esq. The streets were hung with evergreens and in many places where the procession was to pass, arches were erected and wreaths inclosing patriotic mottoes were suspended from prominent points, showing that the services of the soldiers had not failed of appreciation. After partaking of a fine collation at the Cooper Shop Refreshment Saloon, the men dispersed. The members of the regiment who had not been in the service three years and who had been left in the field, arrived on the 31st, having agreed to re-enlist after being two years in the service, and were given the same furloughs as veterans. During the veteran furlough the organization received many attentions from the people of Philadelphia. Bountiful entertainments were prepared for them on several occasions, and amidst the feasts and rejoicings of those days, alas! too short, they forgot their hard marches and their supperless nights.
1864Recruiting stations were opened in Philadelphia, and on the 29th of February the regiment rendezvoused at Chester, where recruits were sent as fast as procured. On the 31st of March the regiment, consisting of twenty-one officers and five hundred and eighty-eight men, moved by rail to Louisville, Kentucky, and thence to Sherman's army, preparing to move on Atlanta and destined to attract the attention of the civilized world by the brilliancy of its achievements. The first sound that greeted the ears of the men on emerging from the cars, was the booming of cannon in the direction of Talahoma.
ResacaOn the 2d of April the command drew three thousand rounds of ammunition and eight days' rations. The holidays were over and earnest work was to begin. On the 9th of April the command reached Bridgeport, Alabama, and reported to General Geary. It was assigned with the One Hundred and Eleventh Pennsylvania, to the Third Brigade, Second Division, Twentieth Corps, composed of the Eleventh and Twelfth Corps consolidated, and commanded by General Hooker.
Taking up the line of March on the 4th of May, over the old ground through Lookout Valley and across Lookout Mountain where the national banner was triumphantly planted a few weeks before, amidst a storm of battle rarely equalled, it encountered the enemy in force at Buzzard's Roost. At Rocky Face Ridge the regiment joined the division, where our troops had engaged the enemy with heavy loss.
On the 9th the division was placed in line and breast-works erected, the Twenty-ninth being thrown forward as skirmishers. Heavy firing was at this time heard on the left of the line towards Tunnel Hill. Marching and fortifying by the way, and almost daily engaging the enemy, Geary's Division reached a point on the Dalton and Resaca road on the 14th, and was formed in line of battle. The Twenty-ninth took position on the extreme left of the army, and built strong breast-works facing north and east. On the following day it moved to the right of the Fourth Corps, and was pushed forward to a hill in front of a strong breast-work of the enemy, where he had made a decided stand.
General Geary ordered these works to be charged. Colonel Rickards pushed forward with the Twenty-ninth for this purpose and was met with a most deadly fire, killing and wounding over sixty of his men. Finding it impossible to carry the works, the men were ordered to lie down and pick off the enemy as they showed themselves above their fortifications. But it was impossible to gain cover, and after a short time they were directed to fall back. This they did crawling on their hands and knees. At four P. M. the enemy assumed the offensive, Stephenson's Division charging on our front, but were handsomely repulsed. Soon after Colonel Ireland, then in command of the brigade, was wounded by a fragment of a shell, and Colonel Rickards, of the Twentyninth succeeded him. The breast-works were strengthened and the undergrowth in front cleared. Heavy firing continued for some time on the right, but at length died away. Hooker's Corps had taken four guns and some prisoners and compelled the enemy to abandon Resaca.
The enemy continued to fall back behind fortified positions, and was steadily turned out of them by the manoeuvres of Sherman, until he reached a point in the rear of Pumpkin Vine creek, which he stubbornly contested. Geary's Division of Hooker's Corps was the first to cross, reaching the burning bridge just in time to save it from entire destruction and causing it to be quickly repaired. The Twenty-ninth, with the brigade, was ordered to advance at six P. M., on the 25th of May, upon the enemy's lines, and relieve the Fifth Ohio, which had been briskly engaged. The enemy's breast-works were within musket range, but it was dark and the men could only fire by the flash of his guns.
The Twenty-ninth had two men killed and thirteen wounded.
On the following morning the regiment rejoined the brigade, which had failed to get into position on the previous evening, and moved to the right where it was engaged in fortifying. On the 27th, Sherman ordered all the batteries of the Fourth, Twentieth and Twenty-third Corps to open at seven in the morning, and continue their fire until nine.
In the meantime General Thomas was ordered to wheel to the right and take the heights commanding the Marietta road, the Twenty-third Corps to support the Fourth, General M'Pherson joining the division of General Jeff. C. Davis, to connect with Hooker, while the latter was to assault and gain such paints in his immediate front as he should deem advisable. The part of the line which he occupied being opposite the enemy's strongest works, it was not deemed prudent to assault, but to hold firmly his position. The skirmishers of the Twenty-ninth alone expended ten thousand rounds of ammunition.
On the 28th, the regiment was relieved from the front by the One Hundred and Eleventh, having been four days under fire, and moved thirty paces to the rear, where it was engaged in constructing breastworks to resist the shots which came thick and fast from the enemy's line. Several attacks were made during the day by his skirmishers, but were in every case repulsed.
On the 1st of June the division was relieved by the Fifteenth Corps, and moved to the left, having been eight days under fire, losing daily, the strain and excitement telling heavily upon the men. At noon of the 2d it was ordered to move across the Acworth road, through thick woods, and take position in line where a battle was raging with great violence. While moving a terrific thunder storm prevailed, attended with a deluging rain. In the midst of the storm the Twenty-third Corps charged the enemy and drove him from his breast-works, occupying a hill which commanded a ravine in front. The position of the Twenty-ninth was here on the extreme left of the line. The enemy finding himself out-flanked, fell back from his strong works at New Hope Church to others between Pine Hill and Lost Mountain, and again awaited the onward march of the national army.
On the 13th of June the Twenty-ninth came into position in front of Pine Hill, where breast-works were thrown up and pickets posted. At noon of the 14th, the works having been completed, the batteries were brought into position, and soon silenced and drove away the enemy's guns on the hill. Knap's Battery, now commanded by Captain MI'Gill, did excellent service. General Sherman was present in the works watching the effect of the shells on the enemy, who, as the batteries opened, scattered in a manner which did great credit to their capacity for locomotion.
Kennesaw MountainOn the night of the 15th, the enemy evacuated Pine Hill, but immediately took a strong position to the right, on Kenesaw Mountain. The brigade was moved to a field on the right and front of Pine Knob, where it was formed in two lines and moved forward, driving the enemy's skirmishers. While charging the rebel lines in this position, Colonel Rickards received a severe wound from an enemy's sharp-shooter, supposed at the time to be mortal, and was borne from the field. The command of the Twenty-ninth then devolved on Major Millison, in the absence of Lieutenant Colonel Zulick. Upon his return the latter assumed command, and subsequently upon the discharge of Colonel Rickards on account of his wounds, he was commissioned Colonel; Major George E. Johnson was promoted to be Lieutenant Colonel, and Captain Robert P. Dechert, of company C, to be Major.
The position at Kenesaw proved to be one of great strength, the enemy repelling every assault with great slaughter; but another flank movement by General M'Phersons command brought him out of it in a single night. The Twenty-ninth lost two killed and a number wounded in the operations in front of Kenesaw.
On the 22d of July, Sherman's army arrived in front of Atlanta. His left wing was heavily attacked by Hood, who had now succeeded Johnson in command of the rebel army, but was repulsed with fearful loss. By skillful manceuvering and hard fighting Sherman succeeded in so reducing the rebel force as to cause it to flee before him, and on the morning of September 1st, his triumphant columns entered the city of Atlanta, the prize for which during a hundred days he had marched and fought. In the battles before Atlanta the Twenty-ninth had three killed.
The heavy fighting was now ended. On the 11th of November, commenced the memorable march to the sea. It is unnecessary to detail the part which the Twenty-ninth had in this great movement-the long, wearisome marches, the frequent skirmishes, the hardships endured in crossing swamps and numerous and rapid streams, and the constant watching to prevent surprise from an enemy ever vigilant, and smarting under the shame of being trampled beneath the feet of that triumphant army which he had rebelled against and defied.
On the 20th of December, the army arrived at Savannah, which, after a feeble resistance, was captured. Turning to the north, it pursued its triumphant course to Goldsboro, North Carolina, where it arrived on the 20th of March, 1865. Here the weary columns were allowed rest, and were supplied with clothing, of which nearly all were in the most urgent need.
On the 17th of July, the regiment was mustered out of service, near Alexandria, Virginia.
At a time when the success of the National cause seemed dubious, and the ranks of its army were being rapidly depleted by expiration of term of service of large numbers of its forces, upon the urgent plea of the government for a renewal of their terms of service, the Twenty-ninth, first in the United States service, enrolled itself as a Veteran Volunteer regiment. During the four years and one month it was in the field, it had a total membership of two thousand five hundred and seventeen, of which number seven hundred and seventy-eight were discharged at the expiration of their term of service, and one hundred and forty-seven were killed or died of wounds received in action.
1Organization of the Third Brigade, Colonel George H. Gordon, First Division, Brigadier General A. S. Williams, Army of Major General N. P. Banks. Second Regiment MassachusettsVolunteers, Lieutenant ColonelAndrews; Third Regiment Wisconsin Volunteers, Colonel Ruger; Twenty-seventh Regiment Indiana Volunteers, Colonel Colgrove; Twenty-ninth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel Murphy.
2Hatred, which forges swords and sets at variance unhappy states.
3 Organization of Second Brigade, Brigadier General Thomas L. Kane, Second Division, Major General John W. Geary, Twelfth Army Corps, Major General Slocum. Twenty-ninth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, Liautenant Colonel William Rickards, Jr.; One Hundred and Ninth Regiment Pennsylvania Colonel Steinrook; One Hundred and Eleventh Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel George A. Cobham; One Hundred and Twenty-fourth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel Hawley; One Hundred and Twenty-fifth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel Higgins.
4General Thomas L. Kane, who led the brigade in this battle, having been disabled by wounds and sickness, had been absent since the battle of Chancellorsville, and only re-joined it on the evening of the 1st of July. He was obliged again to leave at the conclusion of the battle, and issued the following order, full of feeling and pathos.
5Twenty-ninth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, three hundred and eighty-three men, Colonel William Rickards, Jr.; One Hundred and Ninth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, one hundred and twenty-five men, Lieutenant Colonel Lewis W. Ralston; One Hundred and Eleventh Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers, three hundred and seventy-five men, Major Thos. M. Walker; Seventy-eighth Regiment N. York Volunteers, one hundred and fifty men; One Hundred and Thirty-seventh Regiment New York Volunteers, two hundred men; One Hundred and Second Regiment New York Volunteers, Lieutenant Colonel James C. Lane; One Hundred and Forty-ninth Regiment New York Volunteers, three hundred and eighty men, Lieutenant Colonel Charles B. Randall; Sixtieth Regiment New York Volunteers, Major Abel Godard.
6Geary, meanwhile, had been fighting for three hours, without assistance, and, although at one time almost enveloped on three sides, finally succeeded in completely repelling the assault in his front. The moon shone fitfully into the valley, and the commands could often distinguish each other only by the flashes of their firearms. The strange echoes of the cannon among the hills, and the muttering of musketry from every quarter, alarmed the teamsters of Geary's wagon train, who deserted their mules, and in the darkness and noise, the animals became more frightened than their drivers; they soon broke loose, and with their tackle dangling and rattling about their heels, rushed in a body directly towards the enemy. This augmented the confusion of the rebels, who supposed it to be an attack of cavalry, and their rout was rendered inglorious by the assistance of a pack of mules.-Military History of Grant, Badeau, pages 449 and 450.
7The rebel authorities were greatly chagrined at this achievement, and their newspapers were full of lamentations. Mr. Jefferson Davis had visited Lookout Mountain only a week before, and feasted his eyes with the sight of ths national army, shut up among the hills, like an animal ready for slaughter; and now, at a single stroke the prey had been snatched from his grasp. The door for relief was opened, and from a besieged and isolated army, the force in Chattanooga had suddenly become the assailant. It was Bragg who was now on the defensive.-Military History of Grant, Badeau, page 451.
The army felt as if it had been miraculously relieved. Its spirit revived at once, the depression of Chickamauga was shaken off, and the unshackled giant stood erect.-Military History of Grant, Badeau, page 452.
EXTRACT FROM MAJOR GENERAL HOOKER'S REPORT
HEAD-QUARTERS, ELEVENTH AND TWELFTH CORPS,
ARMY OF THE CUMBERLAND,
LOOKOUT VALLEY, TENNESSEE,
November 6, 1863."During these operations, a heavy musketry fire, with occasional discharges of artillery, continued to reach us from Geary. It was evident that a formidable adversary had gathered around him, and that he was battering him with all his might. For almost three hours, without assistance he repelled the repeated attacks of vastly superior numbers, and in the end drove them ingloriously from the field. At one time they had enveloped him on three sides, under circumstances that would have dismayed any officer except one endowed with an iron will and the most exalted courage. Such is the character of General Geary. With this ended the fight. We had repelled every attack, carried every point assaulted, thrown the enemy headlong over the river, and more than all, secured our new communications for the time being, per adventure. * * * The force opposed to us consisted of two of Longstreet's Divisions, and corresponded in number to our corps. From the prisoners we learn that they had watched the column as it descended the valley, and confidently counted on its annihilation. X X
Moore's Rebellion Becord, Fol. 7, Does., p. 584.JOSEPH HOOKER,
Major General commanding.
EXTRACT FROM MAJOR GENERAL THOMAS' REPORT
HEAD-QUARTERS, DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND,
October 30, 1863.
The repulse by Geary's Division of greatly superior numbers, who attempted to surpise him, will rank among the most distinguished feats of arms of this war.8Geary's Division supported by Whitaker's Brigade of Cruft's Division, was ordered to proceed up the valley, cross the creek near Wauhatchie, and then march down, sweeping the rebels from the right bank of the stream.-Military History of Grant, Badeau, page 488.
Moore's Rebellion ecord, Vol. 7, Does., p. 588.GEORGE H. THOMAS,
Major General commanding.
9Simultaneously with these operations, the troops of Geary were pushing up the mountain; his right passed directly under the muzzles of the enemy's guns on the summit, climbing over ledges and boulders, up hill and down, dislodging the enemy wherever he attempted to make a stand. -Military History of Grant, Badeau, page 499.
10 At two o'clock operations were arrested by darkness. The clouds which had moved over and enveloped the summit, and favored the movements of Hooker, had been gradually settling, lower and lower, and from the moment that the peak of the mountain was rounded, it was only from the rattle of musketry and the flashes of fire through the clouds, or the occasional glimpses of lines or standards, as the fog rose or fell, that those in the valley could trace the progress of the battle. At four, Hooker informed his immediate superior that his line was impregnable, and commanded the enemy's defenses with an enfilading fire. Lookout Mountain was carried, -Miliary History of Grant, Badeau, page 500.
EXTRACT FROM GENERAL HOOKER'S OFFICIAL REPORT
* * * During the night the enemy had quietly abandoned the mountain, leaving behind twenty thousand rations, the camp and garrison equipage of three brigades, and other material, * *
Moore's Rebellion Record, Vol. 8, Does, 213.JOSEPH HOOKER,
Major General commanding.
EXTRACT FROM GENERAL THOMAS' OFFICIAL REPORT.
* * * By four o'clock on the morning of the 24th, General Hooker reported his troops in position and ready to advance. Finding Lookout creek so much swollen as to be impassable, he sent Geary's Division, supported by Cruft's two brigades to cross the creek at Wauhatchie and work down on the right bank, while he.employed the remainder of his force in constructing temporary bridges across the creek on the mai road. The enemy being attracted by the force on the road until his column was directly on their left and threatened their rear. Hooker's movements were facilitated by the heavy -mist which overhung the mountain, enabling Geary to get into position without attracting attention. Finding himself vigorously pushed by a strong column on his left and rear, the enemy began -to fall back with rapidity; but his resistance was obstinate, and the entire point of the mountain was not carried until about two P. M., when General Hooker reported by telegraph that he had carried the mountain as far as the road from Chattanooga valley to White House. Soon after his main column coming up, his line was extended to the foot of the mountain, near the mouth of Chattanooga creek. * * * Continuous and heavy skirmishing was kept up in Hqoker's front until'ten at night, after which there was an unusual quietness along our whole front, * *12But such was the impetuosity of Hooker's advance that their front line was routed before an opportunity was allowed even to prepare a determined resistance. The bulk of the rebel left now sought refuge behind a second line, and thence was driven out, till the flight became almost a running one - Military History of Grant, Badeau, page 513.
Instructions were sent to General Hooker to be ready to advance, on the morning of the 25th, from his position on the point of Lookout Mountain to the Summertown road, and endeavor to intercept the enemy's retreat, if he had not already withdrawn, which he was to ascertain by pushing a reconnoissance to the top of Lookout Mountain. The reconnoissance was made as directed and was ascertained that the enemyhad evacuated during the night. * * *
Moore's Rebellion Record, Vol. 8, Does., p. 208.GEORGE H. THOMAS,
Major General commanding.
Source: Bates, Samuel P. History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-65, Harrisburg, 1868-1871.
Organized at Philadelphia July 1, 1861.
Left State for Harper's Ferry, W. Va., August 3.
Attached to Gordon's Brigade, Dept. of the Susquehanna, August, 1861.
3rd Brigade. Banks' Division, Army of the Potomac, to March, 1862.
3rd Brigade, 1st Division, Banks' 5th Corps, and Dept. of the Shenandoah to June, 1862.
3rd Brigade, 1st Division, 2nd Corps, Army of Virginia, to September, 1862.
3rd Brigade, 1st Division, 12th Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, to March, 1863.
2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, 12th Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, to October, 1863,
and Army of the Cumberland to April, 1864.
3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, 20th Army Corps, Army of the Cumberland, to June, 1865.
Bartlett's Division, 22nd Army Corps, Dept. of Washington, to July, 1865.
Duty at Harper's Ferry and on Upper Potomac till February, 1862.
Operations about Dams 4 and 5 December 17-20, 1861.
Advance on Winchester March 1-12.
Occupation of Winchester March 12.
Pursuit of Jackson up the Shenandoah Valley March 24-April 27.
Woodstock April 1.
Edenburg April 1-2.
Stony Creek April 2.
Operations in Shenandoah Valley May 15-June 17.
Front Royal May 23 (Cos. "B" and "G").
Buckton Station May 23.
Middletown and Newtown May 24.
Retreat to Williamsport May 24-26.
Battle of Winchester May 25.
At Williamsport till June 10.
Moved to Front Royal June 10-18; thence to Warrenton and Little Washington July 11-18.
Pope's Campaign in Northern Virginia August 6-September 2.
Battle of Cedar Mountain August 9 (Reserve).
Guarding trains during Bull Run Battles.
Maryland Campaign September 6-24.
Battle of Antietam, Md., September 16-17 (Provost and Rear Guard).
Chambersburg, Pa., October 11.
Duty at Maryland Heights till December.
March to Fredericksburg, Va., December 10-16.
Fairfax Station December 12.
At Stafford Court House till April, 1863.
"Mud March" January 20-24, 1863.
Chancellorsville Campaign April 27-May 6.
Battle of Chancellorsville May 1-5.
Gettysburg (Pa.) Campaign June 11-July 24.
Battle of Gettysburg, Pa., July 1-3.
Pursuit of Lee July 5-24.
Duty on line of the Rappahannock till September.
Movement to Bridgeport, Ala., September 24-October 3.
Reopening Tennessee River October 26-29.
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.
Reenlisted December 10, 1863.
Guard duty on Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad till April, 1864.
Atlanta (Ga.) Campaign May 1-September 8.
Demonstration on Rocky Faced Ridge and Dalton May 8-13.
Battle of Resaca May 14-15.
Near Cassville May 19.
New Hope Church May 25.
Operations on line of Pumpkin Vine Creek and battles about Dallas,
New Hope Church and Allatoona Hills May 26-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 Mountain 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.
Expedition to Tuckum's Cross Roads October 26-29.
Near Atlanta November 9.
March to the sea November 15-December 10.
Near Davidsboro November 28.
Siege of Savannah December 10-21.
Campaign of the Carolinas January to April, 1865.
Battle of Bentonville, N. C., March 19-21.
Occupation of Goldsboro 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 Dept. of Washington, D.C., till July.
Mustered out July 11, 1865.
Losses:Regiment lost during service
3 Officers and 99 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and
1 Officer and 84 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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