The Sixty-First Regiment was originally recruited at Pittsburg, and wasorganized at Camp Copeland in August, 1861. Oliver H. Rippey, who hadserved as a private in the Mexican war, and as Lieutenant Colonel of the SeventhRegiment in the three months' service, was commissioned Colonel, and FrankP. Robinson, Lieutenant Colonel.
The pressing demand of the government fortroops, at this period, caused it to be ordered to the field with ranks only partially filled, and it proceeded to Washington, about six hundred strong, in lessthan a month from the time that recruiting commenced. It was first stationedat Camp Advance, south of the Potomac, and assisted in building Fort Lyon.During the succeeding winter it was consolidated into six companies, the original organizations having never been recruited to the minimum strength, no opportunity having been given. Soon after taking the field, Lieutenant ColonelRobinson resigned.
In February, 1862, it was ordered to report to General Buell, whose division was encamped near Bladensburg. Here, four companies under Major Spear, were transferred from Colonel Birney's Regiment, the Twenty-third, which had fifteen companies, to the Sixty-first, raising it to the full maximum strength. Major George C. Spear, of Philadelphia, was then commissioned Lieutenant Colonel, and George F. Smith, of Chester county, Major. The service here was comparatively light; drill and camp duties were regularly performed, the discipline was good, and the officers spent two hours daily in the study and discussion of tactics. The regiment was assigned toGraham's Brigade.1
On the 10th of March, the Sixty-first, fully officered, armed, and equipped,the men in excellent spirits and eager to meet the enemy, broke camp andmarched towards Manassas. But the foe, having abandoned his fortifications,had fled upon the approach of the Union Army, and the regiment returned toits old camp. Two weeks later it again broke camp and proceeded by transport to Fortress Monroe, arriving on the 30th. Sharing in the toils of the march to Yorktown, in common with the army, the regiment encamped before that place in the neighborhood of Warwick Creek, on the left of the line ofinvestment. Upon the evacuation of the town, the pickets of the Sixty-firstwere the first to enter the deserted works in their front.
Pushing immediatelyforward, Couch's Division was ordered to Williamsburg, and after a wearymarch, through deep mud and a drenching rain, it arrived, on the evening ofthe 5th of May, upon the battle-field, but too late to have much part in the action. The advance up the Peninsula was soon after resumed, the only reliefto its monotony being an occasional reconnoissance. One was made to Bottom'sBridge, over the Chickahominy, in which companies A, Captain Jacob Creps,and H, Captain Robert L. Orr, crossed to the right bank, the first troops over,and another in the direction of White Oak Swamp; but in each failed to meetthe enemy. Finally, on the evening of the 30th. the regiment reached SevenPines, and was immediately ordered to the right two miles, to Fair OaksStation, where skirmishers were thrown out, who soon found the enemy, andcompanies G, Captain Crosby, and H, Captain Orr, were established upon thepicket line.
Battle of Fair Oaks, Seven PinesOn the morning of the 31st the rain poured down in torrents untilabout half past nine, when it ceased, and the enemy attacked. The battle ragedfiercely for nearly two hours on the left of the advance line, when, out-flankedand over-powered by the weight of numbers, it gave way, and the enemy struckCouch's Division holding the second line."No field officer," says GeneralAbercrombie, then in command of the brigade, "of the Sixty-first Pennsylvania is left to make out the report of that regiment. At twelve o'clock M, Ireceived notice to warn the men to fall in at a moment's notice. * *The position of the Thirty-first (Eighty-second) Pennsylvania, Colonel Williams,was near the railroad, upon the road leading from the station to Richmond;that of the Sixty-first, Colonel Rippey, near the railroad leading from the depotto the Chickahominy. The duty assigned to these two regiments was to guardthe crossing at the depot. I received orders at one o'clock to take positionwith the First Chasseurs, the Thirty-first, (Eighty-second,) and the Sixty-firstPennsylvania, and Brady's Battery of the First Pennsylvania Artillery, nearthe camp of the Thirty-first, to prevent the enemy from turning our right flank.Shortly afterwards the Sixty-first was placed in position near the Twenty-third,then already engaged. * * * The dead of the enemy on the portion of the battle-field occupied by the First Long Island, the Twenty-third andSixty-first Pennsylvania, are the proofs I have of the gallantry displayed bythese regiments. The Sixty-first Pennsylvania mourn the loss of all their fieldofficers, the Colonel killed, the Lieutenant Colonel and Major wounded andmissing."The loss fell heavilyupon the Sixty-first. Eleven officers and two hundred and sixty-nine enlistedmenwere either killed, wounded, or missing. Colonel Rippey, Captain Gerard,and Lieutenants Moylan, Scott, Pollock, and Rhodes were among the killed,and Lieutenant Colonel Spear and Major Smith were wounded and takenprisoners.
"At a little past two o'clock," says General Keyes in his official report, "I ordered Neill's Twenty-third, and Rippey's Sixty-first Pennsylvaniaregiments to move to the support of Casey's right. Neill attacked the enemytwice with great gallantry. In the first attack the enemy were driven back.In the second attack, and under the immediate command of General Couch,these two regiments assailed a vastly superior force of the enemy, and foughtwith extraordinary bravery; though compelled at last to retire, they broughtin thirty-five prisoners. Both regiments were badly cut up, Colonel Rippey ofthe Sixty-first and his Adjutant were killed; the Lieutenant Colonel and Majorwere wounded and are missing. The casualities in the Sixty-first amount to twohundred and sixty-three, and are heavier than in any other regiment in Couch'sDivision. * * * The Sixty-first withdrew in detachments, some ofwhich came again into action near my headquarters."2
Without a field officer, the remnant of the regiment, in command of CaptainRobert L. Orr, fought in the second position until it was too dark to see theenemy. On the following day, the fighting was resumed by Sumner's Corpsand the ground which had been lost was regained. The regiment remainedin camp, near the old battle ground, engaged in picket duty, participating inoccasional skirmishes, until the night of June 28th, when it was ordered to theextreme right of the line, which had been attacked and beaten back to theChickahominy, but arrived too late to be of much avail.
At three o'clock A.M.,of June 29th, it was ordered to start on the retreat from the Chickahominy tothe James, the special duty assigned to the division being to open and to holdthe roads leading to Charles City, which was accomplished after much fatigue,but with little loss. The pickets of the regiment were attacked at CharlesCity Cross Roads, by a force of cavalry, but which had seen no field service,and was quickly put to flight.
Resuming the march, it reached the JamesRiver on the morning of the 30th of June. After two hours rest, it againmoved inland, and participated in the action at Turkey Bend, preliminary tothe sanguinary battle of Malvern Hill. The loss in the regiment here was butslight.
On the morning of July 1st, upon the opening of the final struggle ofthe campaign, it was again called into action, and during the entire day anduntil after dark it was hotly engaged; but, owing to its sheltered position,suffered comparatively small loss, being but two officers and thirty-two men.Captain Dawson and Lieutenant Rhodes were among the wounded.
Taking up the line of march at one P. M. of the 2d, in the midst of a driving rain, it reached Harrison's Landing on the following morning in a state ofcomplete exhaustion. In the afternoon a ration of whisky was issued-a rationwhich will doubtless be long remembered by the men, who, from prostration,were in need of stimulants.
Malvern HillOn the morning of July 4th the army began toassume an organized form, and the Sixty-first was moved into position, near tothe James River facing Malvern Hill, and ordered to build breast-works. Thepioneers soon had the wilderness cleared, and in twenty-four hours a substantial work, of sufficient strength to withstand the action of artillery, was completed. With the exception of a reconnoissance to the old battle ground atMalvern Hill, the regiment remained in camp at this place until the 16th ofAugust, when orders were received to march, which were well understood tomean evacuate. The heavy material and the knapsacks of the men had previously been shipped by transports, and, leaving without regret the scene ofthis severe but unfortunate campaign, the regiment proceeded through CharlesCity and Williamsburg to Yorktown. The division was here for some timeengaged in levelling the old besieging works of the previous April.
Rumorsof Lee's northward march were now rife, and soon the division was ordered tomove by transports to Alexandria where, upon its arrival, it received ordersfrom General M'Clellan"to debark immediately and march to Centreville,where further orders would be given."
At daylight of September 2d, the regiment marched to Chantilly, where the enemy under Jackson was reported to be in force, but arrived on the field too late to be engaged, and there, for the first time, got definite intelligence of the discomfiture of the Union Army at Bull Run, and of the death of Generals Kearney and Stevens in the severe battle of the previous evening.
A retrograde movement was immediatelycommenced, and the division, acting as rear guard to a part of the army, wasformed for battle three times in as many miles; but the sole purpose of theenemy seemed to be to delay, and not to engage the column. Crossing theChain Bridge the regiment moved on the Maryland campaign, and was postedalong the line of the Potomac for picket duty. Here it remained until themorning of the 17th, when it joined the division, reaching the battle-field ofAntietam on the evening of that day. Skirmishing at once opened, which wascontinued at intervals until the 20th, resulting in some loss, when it receivedorders to march with the division to Williamsport, where the enemy's cavalrywas met and quickly put to flight.
On the 23d the regiment went into camp at Downsville, where it remained,with the exception of a short interval, in which it made an expedition up thePotomac to Hancock, until the 31st of October. In the meantime the Sixtyfirst, with the division, was assigned to the Sixth Corps, to which it remainedattached until the close of its term of service, and during the period in whichthat corps won a reputation for valor unsurpassed by any in the army. Crossing the Potomac with the corps, it moved down the valley of Virginia to theneighborhood of Warrenton, remaining in the vicinity until the opening of theFredericksburg campaign under Burnside. It was in the left Grand Division,under Franklin, in that ill-starred battle; but fortunately was only lightly engaged and suffered little loss. Upon the abandonment of the struggle it returned to camp on the left bank of the Rappahannock, where it remained, withthe exception of a short interval while out upon the "Mud March," until there-organization of the army under General Hooker.
On the 3d of February, 1863, the Sixty-first was chosen, together with fourother regiments, the Thirty-first and Forty-third New York, Sixth Maine, FifthWisconsin, and Harn's Light Battery, Third New York, to form the LightDivision of the Sixth Corps, organized for special service, and designed to actin emergencies with great celerity. It was posted at Belle Plain until April28th, when it broke camp and marched to the Rappahannock, near Fredericksburg, the duty being assigned to the Sixth Corps of making a co-operativemovement upon the rebel strongholds above the city, while Hooker, with themain body of the army, was moving upon Chancellorsville. A successful lodgment was formed on the south side of the stream, and the corps, under command of General Sedgwick, passed over. Preparations were made for carryingMarye's Heights by storm.
At eleven o'clock on the morning of May 3d, thetroops moved to the assault, the Light Division in advance, the Sixty-firstleading the right column. The ground was open, over which it must advanceto reach the enemy's entrenched position, and was raked by his guns; butwithout faltering, it moved forward, and, though men were swept from theranks at every step, his strong works were carried and possessed. ColonelSpear, while bravely leading in the assault, was killed. The loss in killed andwounded in this brief struggle was three officers and seventy-four men.
Pushing forward in pursuit of the flying enemy, he was encountered inheavy force at Salem Heights, and a short but bloody struggle ensued. Overborne by weight of numbers, who had turned back from Hooker's front, thecorps was forced to retire, and re-crossed the river at Banks' Ford. The LightDivision, which had performed signal service in this campaign, and had beengreatly crippled in the desperate fighting in which it had been engaged, wasnow broken up, and the regiments composing it were distributed among otherorganizations.
The Sixty-first was assigned to the Third Brigade, BrigadierGeneral Thomas H. Neill, Second Division, General Howe, Sixth Corps. Uponthe fall of Colonel Spear, the command devolved on Major Dawson, in theabsence of Lieutenant Colonel Smith, on account of sickness. The latter wassubsequently promoted to Colonel to date from May 4th; Major Dawson waspromoted to Lieutenant Colonel, and Captain John W. Crosby, of company G,to Major.
Gettysburg CampaignEarly in June it was discovered that the enemy's columns were in motion,but his plans were as yet undeveloped. On the 5th and 6th the regimentparticipated in a reconnoissance across the Rappahannock, to discover the significance of his activity. The usual routine of camp and picket duty, withoccasional skirmishes, continued until the 13th of June, when it broke campand moved with the corps towards Pennsylvania, Lee having faced his columnsin that direction, and being now on the march. After a series of exhaustingmarches, for the most part performed beneath a burning sun, it reached Manchester, Maryland, on the 1st of July, where, at evening, tidings were received of the opening of the battle of Gettysburg, and orders to move with allpossible dispatch to the field.
The corps was immediately put in motion.After a most wearisome march of upwards of thirty miles, it arrived in themidst of the desperate fighting of the second day, and the tired and footsoretroops were hurried into action. The corps was broken, and detachments distributed to parts of the field, where the lines were most sorely pressed, Neill'sBrigade being sent to the Twelfth Corps, and posted on the right of theinc. The Sixty-first was but slightly engaged, principally in skirmishing, andsustained only slight losses. After the battle the brigade was ordered topursue one of Lee's columns, which was retreating through Fairfield Gap, andto push and harass its rear. This duty was performed with vigor until itreached Waynesboro', where the troops, completely exhausted by the previousfive days of marching and fighting, went into camp and were suffered to restfor twenty-four hours. Following up the enemy's retiring columns, he wasat length found entrenched upon the banks of the Potomac, and in a positionso favorable for defense that it was deemed imprudent to attack.
Re-crossing the Potomac with the army, it moved forward until it reacheda permanent camp, about the middle of July, at White Sulphur Springs. Afterbeing engaged in the usual camp and picket duty here for a month, the regiment moved on the 16th of September to Culpepper, and thence on the 5th ofOctober to the Rapidan, the division acting as a corps of observation.
Themovement of the enemy north, and his crossing of the river having been discovered and his purposes divined, the division was ordered to move rapidlynorthward, commencing the march in the midst of a furious storm, and withouta halt making twenty-nine miles in fifteen hours. At Rappahannock Station,the troops were drawn up in line in expectation of an attack; but the enemydeclining battle, the columns again moved on towards Washington. The regiment reached the neighborhood of Fairfax Court House on the 15th of October,whence after a few days rest, it again marched through Gainesville, New Baltimore, to Warrenton, where it went into camp.
On the 7th of November itparticipated in the brilliant action at Rappahannock Station, but suffered littleloss. Crossing the river soon after, it proceeded to Brandy Station, wherewinter quarters were established. Here the strength of the regiment was considerably increased by the return of the men from hospitals, and the assignment of new recruits.
On the 16th of April, 1864, Lieutenant Colonel Dawsonwas honorably discharged, and Major Crosby was promoted to succeed him,Captain Robert L. Orr, of company H, being subsequently commissioned Major.
The WildernessOn the night of the 4th of May, the regiment, five hundred strong, crossedthe Rapidan, and at noon of the 5th met and engaged the enemy in the densethickets and underwood of the Wilderness. In the face of a hot fire of musketry, it advanced, driving him back for half a mile. At dusk the enemyattacked in heavy force with the design of turning the right of the line, andstruggled hard to push the regiment from its position, but failed of his purpose, and was successfully repulsed. The loss in this first day in the Wilderness, was twelve killed and thirty wounded. Lieutenant Colonel Crosby wasof the latter.
At daybreak on the morning of the 6th, the battle was renewed and the regiment was hotly engaged, suffering severely, Captain Robinson, Lieutenant Brownand fifteen enlisted men being killed, and Lieutenants Dawson, Hager, Stewartand Koerner, and forty men wounded. Late at night the enemy again attackedwith considerable show of strength, but was easily repulsed with slight loss tothe regiment.
During the following day the men were engaged in diggingrifle pits and at night marched by the left towards Spottsylvania. On the nightof the 8th, whilst advancing through a wood to gain its position in the newline, company A, Lieutenant Price, and company I, Captain Greene, holdingthe right of the regiment, encountered a body of the enemy, who were attempting, under cover of darkness, to gain its rear by a gap which had been leftbetween it, and the troops upon its right, and a hand to hand engagement ensued, in which the enemy was repulsed, losing two officers and six men capturedwith several killed and wounded. The loss in the regiment was one killed,several wounded, and Lieutenant Caldwell captured. The latter was re-captured at Beaver Dam Station, by the cavalry under Sheridan, and soon afterreturned to his command.
During the following day the men hugged closelytheir rifle-pits under a heavy artillery fire. Five enlisted men of company Dwere killed, and one wounded, by the explosion of a single shell. On the 10ththe regiment moved to the front, and from eleven A. M. until six P. M. wasengaged in skirmishing, when, with the First and Second Brigades, it chargedupon the enemy's works, capturing a battery and a line of rifle-pits; but supports failing to come up in time, it was obliged to retire, losing the advantagegained. The loss in the Sixty-first was eight killed, wounded and missing.Lieutenant Lippincott was among the wounded.
Remaining in rifle-pits untilthe morning of the 12th, the regiment, with the exception of three companies,which had been sent out upon the picket line, moved to the left, near Spottsylvania, to the position captured from the enemy at early dawn, by the SecondCorps. During the day he made repeated assaults to recover his lost works,pressing with desperate valor to possess the part known as "the angle," butwas handsomely repulsed in all his efforts. In repelling a single one of theseassaults, the Sixty-first lost ninety in killed and wounded, and during the entireday one hundred and forty. Colonel Smith, Captains Taylor and Donnelly,and Lieutenants Clausen, Dean, Parsons and Ryan were numbered among thewounded.
Until the night of the 17th, the regiment was constantly employedin digging rifle-pits and moving gradually to the left, when it was ordered tomarch back to the position fought over on the 12th, and at daylight of the following day, charged across the very ground which had then been so stubbornlycontested, moving under a heavy artillery fire. Meeting with little successhere, the regiment was ordered to the extreme left of the army, where for several days it was engaged in picketing and throwing up rifle-pits. In the successive movements of the army by the left, carrying it across the North Anna,the Pamunkey, and the Chickahominy, the regiment actively participated, beinguninterruptedly employed in digging, picketing, marching, and skirmishing,and almost daily sustaining some loss.
From the crossing of the Rapidan onthe 4th of May, when the Wilderness campaign opened, until the regimenthalted near Fort Powhattan on the James, where it closed, the loss in killed,wounded, and missing was about thirty officers, and four hundred enlisted men.
PetersburgOn the 16th of June, the regiment crossed the James, and marched to theneighborhood of Petersburg, where it was immediately employed in the operationsof the army for carrying the defences of the city by assault. These failing, theslow operations of the siege were commenced, and the regular fatigue and picketduty succeeded.
On the 29th the brigade marched to Ream's Station, on theWeldon Railroad, to open a line of retreat for the Cavalry Divisions undercommand of Generals Wilson and Kautz, who, having made a raid on theSouth Side Railroad, in attempting to regain the Union lines, were interceptedby a heavy force of the enemy. On the following day, the cavalry havingescaped by making a detour, the regiment returned to its former position andwas engaged in destroying the railroad, picketing, and constructing earthworks.
Defence of WashingtonOn the 9th of July, the regiment broke camp at the front, and marched toCity Point, whence it proceeded, by transports, to Washington, the SixthCorps now under command of General Wright, having been ordered to thedefence of the capital, menaced by the enemy. Arriving at three o'clock P.M. of the 11th, it marched through the city, encamping near Fort Massachusetts, and on the following day, met the enemy in front of Fort Stevens, wherea sharp and sanguinary battle was fought, resulting in his complete discomfiture and rout. Lieutenant and acting Adjutant Laughlin, and six men werekilled, and Lieutenant Colonel Crosby and twenty-five men wounded. The lossfell heavily upon the brigade, every regimental officer being either killed orseverely wounded.
The pursuit was immediately commenced, the line of marchleading through Poolesville and across the Potomac at Conrad's Ferry, throughLeesburg and Snicker's Gap to the Shenandoah River. On the 20th it crossedand continued the pursuit, but failing to overtake the enemy, Wright fell backto Washington, and the regiment encamped near Fort Gaines. The enemyagain showing a, bold front, and returning towards Maryland, the corps retraced its steps and from this period until the 18th of August, the regimentwas kept constantly engaged marching and countermarching through Marylandand the Shenandoah Valley, when it finally encamped near Charlestown.
Threedays later the brigade, together with the Second Brigade, was attacked byRhode's Division of Ewell's Corps, and in the engagement which ensued theforce was obliged to yield, the Sixty-first losing Captain Redenback and sixmen killed, Lieutenant Price mortally, and Captain Glenn, Lieutenant Caldwell and fifteen men wounded. On the night of the 22d the regiment movedback to Halltown, and a week later took up its old position near Charlestown.
On the 3d of September, the original term of service of the regiment havingexpired, leaving the veterans and new recruits in camp at Berryville, themen whose term was now completed under command of Colonel Smith, proceeded to Philadelphia where they were mustered out of service.
In compliance with an order issued from the headquarters of the army, the men remaining in the field were consolidated into five companies, known as the Battalionof the Sixty-first Regiment, and placed under command of the senior captain,Charles S. Greene, Major Orr being on staff duty. On the 27th Colonel Smithwas re-appointed and returned to service.
Shenandoah Valley CampaignAt two o'clock A. M. of the 19th of September, the army of the Shenandoah, now under command of General Sheridan, moved in the direction of Winchester, with the purpose of giving battle, and at daylight met the enemy at the Berryville Crossing of the Opequan. The contest was maintained until midday with unabated fury, when Sheridan, who, having his men well in hand,and inspired with his own fiery zeal, ordered a general advance, and the enemywas swept from the field. In this engagement known as the battle of the Opequan, or Sheridan's battle of Winchester, the battalion suffered severely. Itwent into the fight with three officers and one hundred and twenty-five men,and of this number lost twenty-two killed and wounded. Among the latterwas Captain Greene, who received a shot in the right eye causing also a fracture of the jaw.
The battalion joined in the pursuit of the fleeing enemy, and on the 22d,the division to which it belonged, now under command of General Getty, carried the famous position at Fisher's Hill, the Sixty-first sustaining considerableloss in the assault. The pursuit was continued to Mount Crawford, which wasreached on the 29th. After various movements up and down the valley, whichcontinued until the 14th of October, the division finally encamped at CedarCreek, and here, before light on the morning of the 19th, General Early, whohad brought his army into position under cover of darkness, and a dense fogwhich completely masked his movements, suddenly attacked the Union troopsupon either flank, at a moment when they were reposing unsuspicious of danger, and their leader "twenty miles away." In the tumultuous action whichensued, in which the army was driven, and in its turn routed and almost annihilated its adversary, the battalion, now numbering but about one hundredmen, lost in killed the only two remaining officers, Captains D. J. Taylor andJohn Barrett, and fourteen men killed and wounded. For its gallantry in thisengagement, it was highly complimented by the commanding general.
Afterthe battle, the division to which it was attached, was pushed forward considerably in advance of the main body, and was posted near the town of Strasburg.While here, one hundred and eighty drafted men were assigned to the command, who were organized in two new companies, raising the number to seven,and officered by the veteran sergeants. Many of the wounded returned to theranks, bringing its effective strength to about three hundred and fifty men.
Remaining in camp at this point until the 8th of November, it moved down thevalley to the neighborhood of Kernstown, where it encamped and continueduntil the 3d of December. In pursuance of orders, it broke camp on that day,and proceeded to re-join its old companions of the army of the Potomac, in frontof Petersburg, and was assigned a place in the besieging lines on the SquirrelLevel Road, which it continued to hold during the remainder of the siege.
On the 2d of March, 1865, two new companies, fully armed, equipped, andofficered were sent to the battalion from Harrisburg, increasing the number tonine, and restoring it again to the proportions of a regiment. In the Januarypreceding, a beautiful flag3 had been presented to the battalion by citizens of Philadelphia,.
On the morning of the 25th of March, the enemy under General Gordonmade a sudden attack upon, and succeeded in breaking through the lines ofthe Ninth Corps. General Grant immediately ordered an advance along theentire lines, and the Second Division of the Sixth Corps, to which the Sixtyfirst belonged, attacked and carried the outer lines of the enemy's fortificationsin its front. The loss in this assault was eighteen killed and wounded.
Onthe night of April 1st, the regiment was ordered to be in readiness to againassault at daylight. At four o'clock, the word was given for the advance, andthe Sixty-first in the front brigade, moved with intrepidity against the frowningworks, which for many months it had faced, and vainly sought to carry. Thestruggle was short but severe, and the enemy was driven in confusion from hisintrenchments. Pursuit was immediately given, and the regiment during theday captured two rebel colors, a wagon train, fifty-two men, sixteen horses,and three brass twelve-pounders with caissons. Colonel Crosby, who had lostan arm from the effects of the wound received at Fort Stevens, near Washington, was killed, and Lieutenant Colonel Orr wounded.
On the morning of the3d, it moved with the army in pursuit of Lee, whose rear guard, Longstreet'sCorps, was brought to bay at Sailor's Creek, where the Sixty-first fired its lastshot at the enemy, who surrendered three days thereafter, April 9th, at Appomattox Court House.
After the surrender the regiment returned with a considerable portion of thearmy to Burkesville Junction, where, on the 17th, it was honored by being chosento escort the captured flags of the division to army headquarters.
GeneralJohnston, in command of a rebel army in North Carolina, still held out. Grantaccordingly put his columns in motion to assure its capture should it continuein hostile attitude. In four days the regiment marched one hundred and sixteen miles, reaching Danville on the 27th, where it was detailed for provostduty.
After remaining here until the 21st of May, Johnston having in the meantime laid down his arms and surrendered to Sherman, it moved by rail to Richmond. Marching through the rebel capital on the 24th, it crossed the Pamunkeyon the 25th, passed Fredericksburg and Marye's Heights on the 29th, FairfaxJune 1st, arriving at Ball's Cross Roads, near Washington, on the 2d. On the8th the corps was re-viewed in the National Capital, which for four years had been menaced, and which, by its opportune arrival, it had preserved in its direstextremity.
On the 28th of June the regiment under command of the followingfield officers Colonel Robert L. Orr, Lieutenant Colonel Charles S. Greene, and Major Oliver A. Parsons, was mustered out of service, and ordered to Pittsburg for payment. Upon its arrival there it was publicly received by the Mayor and citizens, and entertained at a grand banquet. Two days thereafter the organization which had been maintained for four years, at length "its warfare over," ceased to exist.
1Organization of the First Brigade, Brigadier General L. P. Graham, First Division, Brigadier General Don Carlos Buell, Fourth Corps, Major General E. D. Keyes. Sixty-fifth Regiment New York Volunteers, (First Chasseurs,) Colonel John Cochrane; Twenty-third Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel David B. Birney; Sixty-seventh Regiment New York Volunteers, (First Long Island,) Colonel Julius W. Adams; Eighty-second Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel David H. Williams; Sixty-first Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colnel Oliver H. Rippey.
2Moore's Rebellion Record, Vol. V, Docs. page, 77.
3The regiment received its first colors, an offering from citizens of Pittsburg, before proceeding to the field in 1861. At the battle of Fair Oaks, May 31, 1862, this flag was torn to shreds by the enemy's fire, and was sent, with the body of Colonel Rippey to Pittsburg, his former home.
The second flag was presented on behalf of the State, and was carried in all the rough service of the regiment until September, 1864, when having become much torn and mutilated, it was sent to Harrisburg, and immediately received from the Governor, a new one to supply its place. This, together with the one presented to the battalion as noted above, was carried until the close of the war. A cotemporary newspaper, notices the latter as follows:"A number of citizens have had manufactured a magnificent flag for presentation to the new battalion. It is made of heavy silk; one side contains an elaborate painting of the coat of arms of Pennsylvania, and the reverse a beautiful representation of an American Eagle. The flag contains the following inscription,Source: Bates, Samuel P. History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-65, Harrisburg, 1868-1871."PRESENTED BY THE CITIZENS OF PHIILADELPHIEIA TO THE SIXTY-FIRST REGIMENT PENNSYLVANIA VOLUNTEERS FOR GALLANT CONDUCT THROUGHOUT THE WAR."The names of the principal battles in which the regiment took an active part, are inscribed on the flag. Among which are Marye's Heights, Fair Oaks, Washington, D. C., Malvern Hill, Winchester, Antietam, Cedar Creek, and Wilderness. This flag is safe from dishonor in the hands of the Sixty-first."
Organization:Organized at Pittsburg September 7, 1861.
Ordered to Washington, D.C.
Attached to Jameson's Brigade, Heintzelman's Division, Army Potomac, to February, 1862.
Graham's Brigade, Couch's Division, Army Potomac, to March, 1862.
2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 4th Army Corps, Army Potomac, to July, 1862.
3rd Brigade, 1st Division, 4th Army Corps, to September, 1862.
2nd Brigade, 3rd Division, 6th Army Corps, to October, 1862.
1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 6th Army Corps, to February, 1863.
Light Brigade, 6th Army Corps, to May, 1863.
3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, 6th Army Corps, Army Potomac, to July, 1864.
Army of the Shenandoah to December, 1864, and Army Potomac to June, 1865.
Service:Duty in the Defences of Washington, D. C., till March, 1862.
Reconnoissance to Pohick Church and Occoquan River November 12, 1861.
Advance on Manassas, Va., March 10-15, 1862.
Reconnoissance to Gainesville March 20.
Moved to the Peninsula, Va., March 26.
Siege of Yorktown April 5-May 4.
Battle of Williamsburg May 5.
Operations about Bottom's Bridge May 20-23.
Battle of Fair Oaks, Seven Pines, May 31-June 1.
Seven days before Richmond June 25-July 1.
Seven Pines June 27.
White Oak Swamp and Charles City Cross Roads June 30.
Malvern Hill July 1.
At Harrison's Landing till August 16.
Reconnoissance to Malvern Hill August 5-7.
Movement to Alexandria, thence to Chantilly August 16-30.
Chantilly September 1.
Maryland Campaign September 6-24.
Battle of Antietam, Md., September 16-17.
Williamsport September 19-20.
Duty in Maryland and on the Potomac till November.
Movement to Falmouth, Va., November 1-19.
Battle of Fredericksburg December 12-15.
Burnside's 2nd Campaign, "Mud March," January 20-24, 1863.
At Falmouth till April.
Chancellorsville Campaign April 27-May 6.
Operations at Franklin's Crossing April 29-May 2.
Maryes Heights, Fredericksburg, May 3.
Salem Heights May 3-4.
Banks' Ford May 4.
Operations about Deep Run Ravine June 6-13.
Battle Of Gettysburg, Pa., July 2-4.
South Mountain, Md., July 6.
Duty on line of the Rappahannock and Rapidan till October.
Bristoe Campaign October 9-22.
Advance to line of the Rappahannock November 7-8.
Rappahannock Station November 7.
Mine Run Campaign November 26-December 2.
At Brandy Station till April, 1864. Rapidan Campaign May 4-June 12.
Battles of the Wilderness May 5-7; Parker's Store May 5;
Spottsylvania May 8-12; Spottsylvania C. H. May 12-21.
Assault on the Salient May 12.
North Anna River May 23-26.
Line of the Pamunkey May 26-28.
Totopotomoy May 28-31.
Cold Harbor June 1-12.
Before Petersburg June 17-19.
Siege of Petersburg till July 9.
Jerusalem Plank Road June 22-23.
Moved to Washington, D.C., July 9-11.
Repulse of Early's attack on Fort Stevens and
the Northern Defences of Washington July 11-12.
Pursuit of Early to Snicker's Gap July 14-19.
Sheridan's Shenandoah Valley Campaign August to December.
Charlestown August 21.
Gilbert's Ford, Opequan Creek, September 13.
Battle of Opequan, Winchester, September 19.
Fisher's Hill September 22.
Battle of Cedar Creek October 19.
Duty in the Shenandoah Valley till December.
Ordered to Petersburg, Va., December 1.
Siege of Petersburg December, 1864, to April, 1865.
Fort Fisher, Petersburg, March 25, 1865.
Appomattox Campaign March 28-April 9.
Assault on and fall of Petersburg April 2.
Pursuit of Lee April 3-9.
Appomattox C. H. April 9.
Surrender of Lee and his army.
March to Danville April 23-29, and duty there till May 23.
Moved to Richmond, Va., thence to Washington, D.C.
Corps Review June 8.
Mustered out June 28, 1865.
Losses:Regiment lost during service:
19 Officers and 218 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and
1 Officer and 100 Enlisted men by disease.
Total 338.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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