The Twenty-fourth Regiment for three months' service, recruited and commanded by Colonel Joshua T. Owen, was mustered out at the expiration of its term on the 10th of August, 1861, having served under General Patterson on the Upper Potomac, and in the Shenandoah Valley. On the day of its muster-out, the President having issued his call for troops for three years, Colonel Owen established a camp of rendezvous near his own residence at Chestnut Hill, Twenty-second ward, Philadelphia, and commenced recruiting another regiment. The men came for the most part from the city, though a few were from Schuylkill county, were mostly of Irish origin, robust and of hardy habits, and emulous of courage as is the characteristic of their race.
The companies were mustered into the service of the United States on the 19th of August, by Colonel E. D. Baker, and the regiment was organized by the choice of the following field officers:The men were, shortly after, armed and equipped, and drill and discipline was at once commenced. On the 17th of September the regiment was summoned to Washington, by telegram from the Secretary of War. It broke camp and moved promptly. Upon its arrival at the capital it was ordered across the Potomac, and the men were immediately put to work in constructing Fort Ethan Allen. This fort, together with the Alexandria Causeway, connecting all the forts on the south side of the Potomac, was chiefly the work of their hands. While thus engaged but little attention could be given to the instruction of officers in tactics, or to drill and discipline of the men.
- Joshua T. Owen, of Philadelphia, Colonel;
- Dennis O'Kane, of Philadelphia, Lieutenant Colonel
- John Devereux, of Philadelphia, Major
Late in the evening of the 29th the regiment was ordered to Munson's Hill. The belief prevailed that the enemy was here in close proximity, and the men received strict orders to make no noise, not even to speak aloud. When near the hill the column was halted and ordered to a front. While in this position an alarm was raised in the rear, and the men, supposing that the enemy was about to attack, unable to distinguish any object from the intense darkness, commenced firing. Soon some Union cavalry came dashing forward under a like delusion, and the firing o n all sides was indiscriminate. By the order of Lieutenant Colonel O'Kane, who, in the absence of Colonel Owen, was in command, the firing was stopped, when it was discovered that no enemy was near, and that the parties to the combat, in addition to the Sixty-ninth, were the Seventy-first Infantry, and the Fifth Cavalry. In the Sixty-ninth one man was killed and three wounded.
Early in October the regiment in pursuance of orders re-crossed the Potomac, and moved to Camp Observation, near Poolesville, Maryland. Here a systematic course of instruction was commenced under the immediate super vision of Colonel Owen, by which the command was soon brought to a high degree of efficiency, and discipline. It was assigned to a brigades commanded by Colonel E. D. Baker, which constituted a part of the force under Major General Banks. Brigade and regimental drill were daily practiced under Colonel Baker, who succeeded in infusing into officers and men his own indomitable energy. A spirit of rivalry in attaining perfection in drill was created among the several regiments, which resulted in making the Philadelphia Brigade, by which designation it was ever known, conspicuous for good soldierly qualities.
On the 20th of October orders were received from General Stone, division commander, to be ready to march at daylight on the following morning. The order to move was not given until two in the afternoon, when it proceeded to Conrad's Ferry, crossed the canal, and marched to a point opposite Harrison's Island, and Balls Bluff. On its arrival it was ordered by Colonel Baker, who had already crossed and was hotly engaged, to follow the Forty-second New York over the river to his support. A single flat boat carrying about fifteen men to the island, and another carrying twenty-five from the island to the Virginia shore, were all the means of transportation at hand. Before all of the Forty-second had crossed Colonel Baker was killed, his forces driven back to the river bank, and further movements of the Sixty-ninth were countermanded.
Soon after the death of Colonel Baker, General W. W. Burns was assigned to the command of the brigade, and General Sedgwick superceded General Stone. Two companies of Zouaves, raising the number to twelve, had been attached to the regiment while in Virginia, which acted as flanking companies. They had been acting as independent commands, and were known as the Baker Guards.
On the 22d of February, the brigade broke camp, and moved by Harper's Ferry to Berryville, Virginia, in support of the column under General Banks. Here the regiment was presented with a green flag, the gift of citizens of Philadelphia.
The Peninsula CampaignThe advance of Banks' command having occupied Winchester without opposition, Burns' Brigade was ordered back to Harper's Ferry, where it remained until the 24th of March. It then proceeded by transport to the Peninsula, and for a month was put to hard service in the trenches in front of Yorktown. Night and day the labor on the siege works was pushed forward, the entire regiment at times being out in support of the details at work upon the front. The pickets were constantly annoyed by the enemy's sharp-shooters, and its camps were frequently shelled by his guns.
On the 3d of May the rebels withdrew from their fortifications and retreated up the Peninsula. The regiment then moved to the west of Yorktown near the James River. The loss in the operations of the siege was one killed and two wounded. One man was killed by a torpedo which the enemy had planted in the way.
In the organization of the army which had been effected, the brigade was designated the Second1, of the Second Division, General Sedgwick, Second Corps, General Sumner.
Battle of Fair Oaks, Seven PinesOn the 7th of May the regiment moved by transport up the York River to West Point, and thence marched to Tyler's Farm, where it remained in camp until the 31st, the day of the opening of the battle of Fair Oaks. At two o'clock in the afternoon, the brigade moved at double quick across the Chickahominy to the support of Casey, who had been heavily engaged and driven back, and formed line on the right of the First Brigade; but no enemy appearing in front, it moved by the flank, and soon forced him to fall back and develop his position. The fire of the brigade battery proved very annoying to the enemy. Massing his forces he charged to capture it; but a counter charge delivered by the Sixty-ninth, by order of General Sumner, soon put him to fight, by which General Pettigrew, and a considerable number of his command were captured. The ground was sharply contested until nightfall, and the battle was renewed on the following morning; but the fighting was principally on the left, near Seven Pines. The loss was one officer and two enlisted men wounded.
The line was advanced to a position a little beyond Fair Oaks Station, which was held and securely fortified. Here it remained for a month with the enemy in front, the skirmishers and sharp-shooters keeping up an almost constant fusilade, the batteries frequently joining in full chorus. The loss during the month was three men killed and ten wounded.
On the morning after the battle of Gaines' Mill, which occurred on the 28th of June, the army commenced the memorable change of base, from the Chickahominy to the James. Remaining in its breast-works until all had passed, Sumner's Corps slowly withdrew in the face of the enemy. At Peach Orchard fighting commenced with the head of his column; but leaving a skirmish line to attract attention, he moved by the flank with the intention of falling upon the command while stretched out upon the march. This manceuvre was frustrated by the prompt action of the rear guard, and at Savage Station preparations were made to receive him. At three o'clock in the afternoon he opened with his artillery. The Sixty-ninth went into position on the right of the Vermont Brigade, and advanced till his infantry was uncovered, when it was hotly engaged.
He was soon driven, and to meet his forces that were advancing on our batteries near the railroad, the regiment was moved hastily to their support. Here he opened upon the line with his artillery, sending shrapnell and canister at a fearful rate. He was finally forced to retire, and at sundown Sumner had undisputed possession of the field. The loss was two killed, six wounded, and nine taken prisoners.
During the night the corps moved on to White Oak Swamp, where it rested until morning, and then resumed the march to Charles City Cross Roads. The way was impeded by the trains and the progress was slow. After passing the junction of the Charles City with the Quaker Road, the brigade halted and was resting by the wayside. It was already past two o'clock in the afternoon, when suddenly a terrific artillery fire was opened by the enemy on the Pennsylvania Reserve Corps holding the New Market Road, followed by a continuous discharge of infantry, accompanied by the well-known rebel yell. The enemy had approached under cover of a curtain of timber, and, unheralded, was making a furious assault. At full speed General Sumner rode towards the spot where the regiment was resting, and ordered Colonel Owen to lead forward his men at double quick. As they moved over the open field, ploughed by shot and shell, General Hooker came on to meet them, crying out, with his usual enthusiasm in battle, to General Sumner as he approached,"'MCall holds them as in a vice, yet he must give way soon unless assisted. I am strong enough to the left of this road. If you will hold this open ground I don't care how soon they come."The regiment was immediately brought up and posted across the field in a slight depression of the ground, with a battery a little in the rear. Turning to Colonel Owen, General Hooker said, with an expression of utmost determination,
"I have brought you," said Sumner, " the Sixty-ninth. Put it where you please; for this is your fight, Hooker."" Hold this position and keep the enemy in check at all hazards."As was predicted the left of M'Call was forced to yield, and the wounded and stragglers began to pour back to the rear. On pressed the enemy in pursuit. To give his men assurance Colonel Owen had ordered them to kneel. Soon the rebel line emerged from the woods within fifty yards, when it was brought to a halt by a volley from the well poised muskets of the Sixty-ninth. But now the enemy swarmed out from the woods in masses, and began to extend his line on either flank of the regiment. It was a critical moment. The order to fix bayonets and charge was given, and springing to their feet the men rushed on in the most daring and impetuous manner, driving the enemy in utter rout, pursuing him beyond his original ground, and holding it undisturbed until midnight, and until withdrawn. General Hooker complimented Colonel Owen on the field for having made this " the first successful bayonet charge of the war." The loss was seven killed, twenty-two wounded, and five taken prisoners.2
Malvern HillAt midnight the regiment withdrew, and retired to Malvern Hill. Early on the morning of the 1st of July, it was moved about six hundred yards from the crest down the slope of the hill, and was posted in rear and in support of a battery. At nine A. M. the rebel batteries opened a hot and well directed fire. At eleven the regiment was moved to the left of the line, where the division was massed by brigades. At three in the afternoon the brigade was moved rapidly to the centre, but was there met by General Sumner, and ordered back to its position on the left, where it remained until eleven when it commenced the march to Harrison's Landing. On the 2d of August the division was ordered out on a reconnoissance, and moving up by a circuitous route, approached Malvern Hill by the Quaker Road, with a design of cutting off and capturing a body of the enemy encamped there. But before it arrived he had made his escape.
Upon the evacuation of the Peninsula by the army, the regiment moved to Alexandria by transport, and thence to Centreville, occupying during the 30th the works in front of the town. Here General Howard was assigned to the command of the brigade. In the engagement at Chantilly the regiment was disposed in support of batteries which had been posted in a thick underwood commanding the road and the open fields on which the enemy was advancing. Fire was reserved until he had come within close range, when it was opened with terrible effect, sending him back in confusion. The loss in the Sixty-ninth was one killed and two wounded.
Battle of AntietamFrom Chantilly the regiment passed through Maryland to South Mountain, and after the discomfiture of the enemy, moved on in pursuit to the neighborhood of Keedysville. Resting here until the army had all come up, the division moved forward to the Antietam Creek, where during the 16th the artillery was engaged in shelling the enemy on the opposite bank, to which he replied. At six o'clock on the morning of the 17th the division forded the stream, and advanced to the support of the troops already hotly engaged, the First Brigade in advance, the Second following, the One Hundred and Sixth Pennsylvania on the right, and the Seventy-second on the left of the Sixty-ninth. The lines continued to move forward for nearly a mile, when the enemy made a determined stand, and the division was pushed forward to the front. The enemy was again driven a quarter of a mile further back; but at a rise of ground south of a narrow belt of woods, having received re-inforcements, and being under cover of his intrenchments, he made another and successful stand.
The Second Brigade was now ordered to the front, but while passing a corn field and before reaching the wood, the troops on its left gave way, the enemy following and his artillery pouring in a destructive fire." We still kept on," says Adjutant M'Dermott, "until within a few paces of the advanced line. The fire from his batteries was here so destructive that we were ordered to lie down. This fire was kept up on us for nearly half an hour, when General Sumner, accompanied by a single aid, came up in our front, waving his hand for us to fall back. It being impossible to hear what he was trying to say, the men rose to their feet, and fixed bayonets, thinking that he wanted them to charge the batteries on our left front, and it was not until this brave old man got in front of our colors, when he took off his hat and waived it for us to get baCk, that his order was understood. But it was now too late, as the enemy was pouring down upon us from the rear, delivering a terrible fire of musketry. The fire was coming from our rear, left, and front, and we were obliged to retire to the right."The regiment was now moved to the extreme right of the lines, where it was placed in support of batteries, and remained until nightfall. The loss in the Sixty-ninth was three officers and eighteen men killed, three officers and fifty-four men wounded, and one officer and nine men taken prisoners. Captain Francis V. Bierwirth, and Lieutenants Joseph M'Hugh, and James Dunn, were among the killed.
After assisting in burying the dead, the enemy having withdrawn, the regiiment moved across the Potomac and was stationed at Bolivar Heights. On the 30th of October it marched to Snicker's Gap, where in a skirmish it lost one wounded and one taken prisoner. By the middle of November it reached Falmouth, opposite Fredericksburg, where it went into camp. While here Colonel Owen was made Brigadier General, and assigned to the command of the brigade, Lieutenant Colonel O'Kane was promoted to Colonel, Major Devereux to Lieutenant Colonel, and Captain Martin Tschudy to Major.
Battle of FredericksburgOn the afternoon of the 11th of December, the pontoons having been laid across the Rappahannock, the brigade marched across, and forming in line moved forward a half mile. The enemy posted in the houses, kept up a desultory fire, but were finally driven out. During the following day the regiment was moved to different parts of the city which was subjected to vigorous shelling from the enemy.
On the morning of the 13th it moved out through the eastern part of the city by the telegraph road, and formed line of battle, the right of the Sixty-ninth resting on the road, and the left connecting with the One Hundred and Sixth. The enemy was strongly posted on the heights in front; in well constructed lines of breast-works, and behind stone walls. The First Division had already made an assault but was forced to retire. The Second was ordered forward to renew it. General Owen taking position in advance of the line, and in front of the Sixty-ninth, led on his brigade within seventy-five yards of the enemy's works. The moment it began to move, infantry and artillery from all the heights, was opened upon it. To advance further would only entail useless slaughter. The order was accordingly given to lie down and hold the position. The only protection was a slight pale fence. Two companies were ordered to advance up the road to a small house, in which they were disposed so as to pick off the enemy's gunners. They became so troublesome to him, that he soon concentrated his heavy guns upon the house, reducing it to an utter wreck, and compelling its abandonment. Firing was kept up during the entire day. Towards midnight the brigade was relieved and returned to the town. On the 14th the regiment was drawn up on the main street near the centre of the city, where it remained until noon, when it was moved to the west end of the city, and during the following night was withdrawn, and recrossed the river. The loss was nineteen men killed, five officers and twentyseven wounded, and two taken prisoners.
When the Chancellorsville campaign opened the regiment was employed with the division in covering the operations of the engineers while laying a bridge at Bank's Ford. Crossing the river when the bridge was completed, it advanced, driving the enemy's skirmishers, but was withdrawn to the river, and on the following day was employed in throwing up breast works, to cover the bridge and to keep open a way of retreat for General Sedgwick's command. After the safe withdrawal of the latter, it returned to its old camp.
Battle of GettysburgWith the exception of slight encounters at Thoroughfare Gap on the 20th, and at Haymarket on the 25th of June, the regiment did not again meet the enemy until it reached the battlefield of Gettysburg. On the morning of the 1st of July, the first day of the battle, it commenced the march from Uniontown, near the northern border of Maryland, where it had rested the previous night, and at dusk arrived on the field. At three o'clock on the morning of the 2d the brigade moved out to Cemetery Ridge, about midway between the Emmittsburg and Taneytown roads, and formed line of battle on the declivity, facing westward, with a slight stone wall in front, the Seventy-first on the right, the Fifty-ninth New York of the First Brigade on the left, the remainder of the brigade in rear under cover of the hill. In the rear of the Sixty-ninth, on the summit of the ridge, was posted Cushing's Battery of the Fourth United States.
During the forenoon there was only skirmishing in front, with some artillery firing. At two P. M. General Sickles advanced on the left, but was driven back beyond his first position. The enemy following up his advantage, advanced upon the position held by the Sixty-ninth, attacking with great fury. The Third Rhode Island Battery of Napoleon guns had been posted in front of the regiment, and as the enemy approached, poured in a heavy fire of canister, inflicting great slaughter. The battery was, however, compelled to yield before the enemy's advancing columns, and retired leaving one gun, of which the horses had been killed, being unable to take it away.
Reserving its fire until the enemy was within twenty yards, the regiment rose and poured in a deadly volley, which checked his advance. He soon rallied, and renewed his efforts to capture the piece in front, but was repulsed in every attempt with great slaughter, and was finally compelled to retire. The struggle here lasted nearly two hours. On the 3d skirmishing, with occasional artillery firing, was kept up through the entire morning. At about eleven o'clock all firing ceased and a death-like stillness prevailed. It was the stillness that precedes and presages the tornado; for at a little after noon a gun in front heralded the opening of an unparalleled fire of artillery. It was chiefly directed upon the left centre, where the brigade lay, and for two hours with unceasing fury the storm of shot and shell raged. The slight fence in front afforded little protection; for, being composed of small stones loosely thrown together, they were hurled with violence in all directions when struck by the powerful missiles of the guns.
As the fire of artillery ceased, a powerful body of infantry, three lines deep, carrying their pieces at a trail arms, and marching with the regularity of troops on parade, issued from the woods on the ridge opposite, and advanced across the open plain in front. The artillery in rear of the regiment, of which there were many pieces, poured in rapid rounds over the heads of the men; the infantry reserved their fire until he had approached within point blank range, when with a loud cheer they delivered a volley which checked and threw his front line into confusion. It was but for a moment, for rallying he again rushed forward.
Two of Cushing's guns had been brought close up to the wall, within the line of the regiment, and were worked with terrible effect, by the men of the Sixty-ninth and of the Seventy-first, the gunners having all been killed or wounded.
But the shock of the enemy's onset was fearful, and the troops upon the right of the regiment were at length forced back, which uncovered its flank, and the order was given for two companies to swing back to the crest of the ridge for its protection. The enemy taking advantage of this opening, crossed the wall, and rushed on after, up to the little cluster of trees in the rear; but meeting so hot a fire, he returned to the wall and throwing himself upon the ground, gave token of surrender. But no power of the enemy could move the centre and left of the regiment, which clung to its position with unflinching tenacity, keeping up a deadly and unremitted fire, the men at times clubbing their muskets to beat back the foe, who seemed determined to cross the wall.3
Broken and dispirited, many of their leaders fallen, the enemy at length gave up the contest, few of all that host, who had marched so defiantly forth, returning unscathed.. General Kemper fell in front of the regiment, and General Armistead just at its right. Many prisoners and battle-flags were taken. The loss in the regiment was very severe. It entered the engagement with two hundred and fifty-eight officers and men. Of these, six officers and thirty-six men were killed, seven officers and seventy-six men wounded, and two officers and sixteen men taken prisoners, an aggregate of one hundred and forty-three.
Colonel O'Kane, and Lieutenant Colonel Tschudy, brave men, who had served upon every battle-field where the regiment had stood, while at the head of their men cheering them on and applauding their determination to depend their native soil, were killed. Captains Michael Duffy and George C. Thompson, and Lieutenant Charles F. Kelly, equally brave and daring, were also among the killed. Lieutenant Colonel Tschudy had been wounded in the fight of the second day, but unwilling to leave the field, he resolutely kept the fore front, with his men, until, with his face to the foe, he was stricken down in death. Major Duffy who assumed command upon the fall of the Colonel and Lieutenant Colonel, which occurred early in the fight, was severely wounded while changing front at the critical moment in the battle, but stood by his men and directed the fight until the victory was won.
From Gettysburg the regiment, under command of Captain Davis, joining in pursuit of the rebel army, marched to a point on the Hagerstown and Sharpsburg Pike, where it came upon the enemy's lines, and was for two days employed in throwing up breast-works and in skirmishing.
After the escape of Lee into Virginia, it moved with the army, and during the campaign which ensued, was employed at Banks' Ford early in September in guard and scout duty; in provost duty at Culpepper; in reconnoitring at Somerville Ford, on the Rapidan; in reducing fortifications upon the Rappahannock, near Rappahannock Station; in guarding the wagon train on the retreat to Centreville, in which it was frequently attacked by irregular parties coming in upon its flank; in the rifle-pits at Bull Run on the occasion of Meade's second advance, where the artillery was warmly engaged; at Robertson's Tavern in the preliminary operations to the movement upon Mine Run, losing one killed and six wounded; and finally at Mine Run with the brigade, where it was held in readiness to lead the storming party in the grand assault upon the enemy's works, but was relieved without coming to action on the abandonment of offensive operations.
Winter-quarters were established at Stevensburg, and on the 14th of March, 1864, a sufficient number having re-enlisted to secure the continuance of the organization, they were given a veteran furlough, and returned to Philadelphia. While here the green flag which had been carried with the national colors in all its campaigns, was deposited in Independence Hall and a new one was presented by its friends. Upon the resignation of Major Duffy on account of wounds, Captain Davis was promoted to succeed him, and took command of the regiment. General Webb now held command of the brigade, General Gibbon of the division, and General Hancock of the corps.
The Wilderness CampaignOn the 3d of May the regiment moved on the spring campaign, and on the evening of the 5th became engaged in the thickets of the Wilderness, losing two men wounded. Before light on the following morning it again moved forward and drove the enemy, but receiving heavy re-inforcements he in turn gained ground, and having outflanked the corps on the left, pushed it back to the Ely's Ford Road, where his advance was arrested and on which breast-works were erected. The struggle now became desperate. The regiment was moved to the extrerme left, where was the heaviest fighting. The enemy made repeated efforts to turn this flank, but was forced to desist, sustaining unprecedented slaughter. The loss was four killed, eleven wounded, and four taken prisoners.
On the 8th the regiment was thrown across the Po and advanced to the Ta river. Here it was posted to defend the bridge across the stream; but with other troops was forced to retire. General Webb having been wounded, General Owen was placed in command of the brigade, and on the 9th moved up near to Spottsylvania Court House, where the regiment was employed in throwing up breast-works, under a hot fire from the enemy's skirmishers and sharpshooters. At eleven P. M. on the following day it moved out of the breastworks, and with the corps marched to the left of the lines and within a short distance of the enemy's fortifications. Resting until four in the morning, it moved quietly under cover of darkness, charged upon his works and captured them. A hand to hand encounter ensued for their possession; but he was forced to give way and was driven back to a second line of works, which were also captured and temporarily held. A large number of guns and prisoners were taken. Lieutenant M'Anally, of company D, captured a rebel stand of colors, having a hand to hand encounter with its bearer. The enemy made repeated attempts to re-capture his works, but was as often repulsed. The loss was six killed, twenty-nine wounded, and seven taken prisoners. Lieutenants Thomas Kelly and Josiah Jack were among the killed.
On the 18th the brigade was again engaged in connection with the Corcoran Legion in an attempt to drive the enemy from his second line of works, and was exposed to a severe infantry fire, but was unsuccessful, and retired with a loss fortunately of only four wounded. At the North Anna and in the subsequent operations of the corps until it reached the James, the regiment was constantly employed in marching, fighting, and intrenching.
At Cold Harbor, while advancing upon the enemy's works, it was particularly exposed to his fire. Not a tree, nor an obstruction of any kind afforded cover. Up the declivity it moved in the face of a murderous storm to within seventy-five yards of his intrenchments, where the men were ordered to drop upon the ground and hold the position. They were soon busy with their tin cups scooping up the earth, and in an incredibly short space of time, had enough thrown up to afford protection from the enemy's bullets. At night intrenching tools were supplied, and a substantial work was erected. The loss was twelve killed, and nineteen wounded. Lieutenant William Whildey was among the killed. The veterans and recruits of the Seventy-first were here added to its strength, bringing it up to nearly three hundred muskets.
PetersburgOn the 14th of June the regiment crossed the James River, and at midnight reached the lines in front of Petersburg. Here it was again brought under fire, and for several days was employed in advancing the lines and in intrenching. A week later it was withdrawn from the front and marched to the Jerusalem Plank Road. It was here held in concealment until dark when it moved up within one hundred yards of the enemy's works, and intrenched. In the morning the enemy opened a furious cannonade upon the new works, and in the afternoon threw his infantry under cover of a wood around to their rear. Mistaking this party for Union troops, its true character was not discovered until he opened fire. Unable to cope with the force closing in upon it, the brigade, was obliged to withdraw to the right. The loss was six killed, twenty-four wounded, and seventy-two taken prisoners.
On the 27th of July, the brigade was broken up, the Seventy-second being mustered out of service, and the One Hundred and Sixth reduced to a battalion and joined for field service to the Sixty-ninth. On the evening of this day it crossed the James River with the corps, and made a demonstration towards Richmond, returning on the 29th and arriving in rear of the Ninth Corps a few moments before the explosion of the mine, in time to support it if needed.
Two weeks later it returned to the north bank of the James, and after several days of severe duty moved back to the lines in front of Petersburg, and on the 23d to Ream's Station, on the Weldon Railroad, to the support of the cavalry. Three days later the enemy under A. P. Hill made a furious attack upon the Second Corps. Repeated assaults were repulsed; but he finally'carried the first line of works and turned some of the captured cannon upon the Second, using canister and shrapnell with fearful effect. An attempt was made to re-capture them, in which the Sixty-ninth participated, but was unsuccessful. The regiment was re-formed and again advanced, and this time with better results; for the enemy gave way, leaving one of the captured batteries, which during the night was brought in. The loss was five killed, twenty-one wounded, and ten taken prisoners. Colonel Davis was among the wounded. He was succeeded in command by Major Tinen.
Hatcher's RunOn the 25th of October it was again engaged at Hatcher's Run, near the point where the run crosses the Vaughan Road. Some advantages were gained, but the enemy was found to be well posted and in strong force. The loss was eleven, in killed, wounded, and missing. Again on the 5th of February, 1865, the Second and Fifth Corps, with Gregg's Cavalry, moved out to Hatcher's Run and extended their lines to Dabney's Mills. At four o'clock P. M. the Sixty-ninth became engaged and until dark maintained the conflict, losing two killed and two wounded, Lieutenant James M'Ginley being of the killed.
On the 25th of March the Second Corps under General Humphreys was sent to the left to reconnoitre. Crossing the Vaughan Road and Hattcher's Run. it advanced to Dabney's Mills, where it came upon the enemy. Smyth's Brigade, which embraced the Sixty-ninth, was selected to lead the assault, and succeeded in carrying, and possessing a portion of his works. The loss in the regiment was three killed and eleven wounded.
On the 29th the regiment moved finally on the spring campaign, and on the 3d of April it entered the city of Petersburg; on the following day it was at Jettersville, where it was employed in intrenching; on the 7th it reached High Bridge across the Appomattox, and fording the stream under a heavy fire of musketry and artillery, drove the enemy and captured a number of his pieces, General Smyth being mortally wounded while on the skirmish line; and on the morning of the 9th was halted on Clover Hills to await the result of an interview between Generals Grant and Lee, the skirmishers of the two hostile armies, in the interim, exchanging keepsakes. At three P. M. General Meade and Staff came riding along the lines announcing the news of the surrender, and were greeted with hearty rounds of applause.
After the surrender the regiment returned to Burkesville where it remained until the 2d of May, when it proceeded to Richmond and was reviewed by General Halle ck. It moved thence to Ball's Cross Roads, opposite Washington, where on the 1st of July it was mustered out of service.
1Organization of Philadelphia Brigade, Colonel E. D. Baker, Division commanded by Brigadier General Charles P. Stone, army of General Banks. Seventy-first (California) Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel E. D. Baker; Seventy-second (Fire Zouaves) Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel De Witt C. Baxter; Sixty-ninth Regiment Pensylvania Volunteers, Colonel Joshua T. Owen; One Hundred and Sixth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel Turner G. Morehead.
2 EXTRACT FROM GENEIRAL HOOKER'S OFFICIAL REPORT.-"About three o'clock the enemy commenced a vigorous attack on M'Call, and in such force that General Sumner voluntarily tendered me the services of a regiment which was posted in an open field on my extreme right, and under shelter from the enemy's artillery. This was the Sixty-ninth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, under Colonel Owen. * * * After great loss the enemy gave way and were instantly followed with great gallantry by Grover at the head of the First Massachusetts Regiment, while the Sixty-ninth Pennsylvania, heroically led by Owen, advanced in the open field on their flank, with almost reckless daring. * * As Colonel Owen has rendered me no report of the operations of his regiment I can only express my high appreciation of his services, and my acknowledgment to his Chief for having tendered me so gallant a regiment. "Moore's Rebellion Record, Vol. V, page 260, Does. 3At the moment when the battle was at its height, and the enemy had reached the wall, behind which the regiment lay, one of his men called out to James Donnelly, of company D, to surrender, levelling his musket in readiness to fire. "I surrender!" cried Donnelly, and suiting the action to the word, felled him to the earth with the barrel of his gun. Donnelly was at the time a youth of but eighteen. Corporal Bradley, of the same company, while attempting to beat back an infuriate rebel, had his skull crushed in by a single blow.
Source: Bates, Samuel P. History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-65, Harrisburg, 1868-1871.
Organization:Organized at Philadelphia August 18, 1861.
Left State for Washington, D.C., September 17.
Attached to Baker's Brigade, Stone's (Sedgwick's) Division, Army Potomac, to March, 1862.
2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, 2nd Army Corps, Army Potomac, to June, 1864.
3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, 2nd Army Corps, to June, 1865.
Service:Duty in the Defences of Washington, D. C., till October.
Affair at Vaderburg's House, Munson's Hill, September 29, 1861.
Moved to Poolesville, Md., and duty on the Upper Potomac till February, 1862.
At Harper's Ferry, W. Va.. till March 24.
Moved to the Virginia Peninsula March 24-April 1.
Siege of Yorktown April 5-May 4.
Moved to West Point May 7.
Duty at Tyler's Farm till May 31.
Battle of Fair Oaks, Seven Pines, May 31-June 1.
Duty at Fair Oaks till June 28.
Skirmish at Fair Oaks June 18.
Seven days before Richmond June 25-July 1.
Battles of Peach Orchard and Savage Station June 29.
Charles City Cross Roads and Glendale June 30.
Malvern Hill July 1.
At Harrison's Landing till August 16.
Movement to Newport News, thence to Alexandria August 16-28, and
to Centreville and Chantilly August 29-30.
Cover Pope's retreat August 31-September 1.
Chantilly September 1.
Maryland Campaign September 6-24.
Battle of Antietam September 16-17.
Moved to Harper's Ferry September 22, and duty there till October 30.
Movement to Falmouth, Va., October 30-November 20.
Battle of Fredericksburg, Va., December 12-15.
Burnside's 2nd Campaign, "Mud March," January 20-24, 1863.
At Falmouth till April. Hartwood Church February 25.
Chancellorsville Campaign April 27-May 6. Banks' Ford May 1 and 4.
Gettysburg (Pa.) Campaign June 13-July 24.
Battle of Gettysburg, Pa., July 2-4.
Pursuit of Lee July 5-24.
At Banks' Ford and Culpeper till October.
Advance from the Rappahannock to the Rapidan September 13-17.
Bristoe Campaign October 9-22.
Advance to line of the Rappahannock November 7-8.
Mine Run Campaign November 26-December 2.
Robertson's Tavern or Locust Grove November 27.
Duty on the Rapidan till May, 1864.
Demonstration on the Rapidan February 6-7.
Veterans on furlough March and April. Rapidan Campaign May 4-June 12.
Battles of the Wilderness May 5-7; Laurel Hill May 8; Spottsylvania May 8-12;
Po River May 10; 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 16-18.
Siege of Petersburg June 16, 1864, to April 2, 1865.
Jerusalem Plank Road June 22-23, 1864.
Demonstration north of the James at Deep Bottom July 27-29.
Mine Explosion, Petersburg, July 30 (Reserve).
Demonstration north of the James at Deep Bottom August 13-20.
Strawberry Plains, Deep Bottom, August 14-18.
Ream's Station August 25.
Boydton Plank Road, Hatcher's Run, October 27-28.
Dabney's Mills, Hatcher's Run, February 5-7, 1865.
Watkins' House March 25.
Appomattox Campaign March 28-April 9.
Vaughan Road near Hatcher's Run March 29.
Crow's House March 31.
Fall of Petersburg April 2.
Sailor's Creek April 6.
High Bridge and Farmville April 7.
Appomattox C. H. April 9.
Surrender of Lee and his army.
At Burkesville till May 2.
March to Washington, D.C., May 2-12.
Grand Review May 23.
At Ball's Cross Roads till July.
Mustered out July 1, 1865.
Losses:Regiment lost during service:
12 Officers and 166 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and
3 Officers and 107 Enlisted men by disease.
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
Direct questions or comments to email@example.com
© Alice J. Gayley, all rights reserved
Web Space provided by