82nd Regiment

Pennsylvania Volunteers

This regiment, originally, and until after the battle of Fair Oaks, where it suffered severely, was known as the Thirty-first, having been recruited under orders direct from the War Department. Nine of the companies were organized in Philadelphia, the remaining one, company B, in Pittsburg. Many of the men, and most of the officers, had served in the three months' service, and a considerable number in the armies of France and Great Britain, some of them bearing medals, the testimonials of gallant conduct. The camp of rendezvous was at Suffolk Park, but when four companies were assembled, they were ordered to Washington to meet a, threatened exigency, where the balance of the compa.nies joined them; and a regimental organization wa's effected by the choice of the following field officers:
  • David H. Williams, of Pittsburg, Colonel
  • Frank Vallee, of Philadelphia, Lieutenant Colonel
  • Jomh. M Wetherill, of Pottsville, Major
The regiment was originally armed with an inferior Belgian rifle for the flank, and smoothbore muskets for the remaining companies. Before active campagning opened, these were exchanged for the Enfield rifled mtskets.

Shortly after its organization it was assigned to the First Brigade,1 First Division, Fourth Corps, The division occupied a position, the left resting near the Potomac and enveloping the city of Washington, the brigade holding the extreme right of the line, and extending to the Bladensburg Road, the camp of the Eighty-Second being on Queen's Farm, in rear of the line of earth-works erected for the city's defence. Here, occupying a pleasant and healthy camp, the regiment was drilled in Hardee's system of infantry tactics, comprising company. battalion, brigade, and division movements, and grand guard and picket duty. Schools for the instruction of field officers were regularly held at brigade headquarters, under the supervision of General Graham, and instruction was given by these to the line officers.

Occasional detals were made in large numbers for fatigiue dulty upon the earth-works, and, when completed, guards from the regiment pertormed regular tours of duty upon them.

On this ground it remained for nearly six months. The health of the men was excellent, the sick list rarely exceeding two per cent.

Peninsula Campaign

On the 9th of March, 1862, the division broke camp, and with the grand army moved forward towards Manassas, where the enemy had wintered. After a few days' fruitless search, having found his works abandoned, the army returned and the division again occupied its old quarters. About two weeks later the regiment marched to Alexandria, and in company with the Sixty-seventh New York, embarked upon the steamer Daniel Webster for Fortress Monroe. Upon its arrival it occupied a position on the left of the Williamsburg Road, two miles in advance of the ruined town of Hampton.

Early in April, it moved out to the neighborhood of Lee's Mills, on the Warwick River, where the column was halted by the enemy's skirmishers, deployed on the western bank of the stream. Line of battle was formed, the left of the Eighty-second resting on the Warwick Biiver, and company B thrown forward as skirmishers. The line was thus advanced, and the enemy's skirmishers driven under cover of his works. Separated by the Warwick River, the two armies looked each other in the face for nearly a month, at the end of which the enemy retired.

The army now followed on to Williamsburg, where the advance had a severe battle, the Eighty-second not arriving in time to participate, and thence to the Chickahominy. On the 22d, the brigade, now temporarily in command of General Abercrombie, crossed the river and encamped a half mile in rear of Casey's Division, resting at Seven Pines. Here it was employed, with other troops, in constructing earth-works from Savage Station to White Oak Swamp.

General Casey being in need of reinforcements, the brigade was sent to his assistance on the 29th of May, the position of the Eighty-second being at Fair Oaks Station. While in this position, shortly after twelve o'clock on the 31st, the enemy attacked.

The men had scarcely finished dinner, when the firing on the skirmish line, which had been of common occurrence, seemed more severe than usual, and they hastened to put on their accoutrements and prepare for battle. The line was quickly formed, fronting the Nine Mile Road, the left of the regiment resting at Fair Oaks Station, the Sixty-first Pennsylvania on the right, and the Sixty-seventh New York on the left. The pressure being heavy on the left, the Eighty-second was sent to its support; but there being a lull in the firing for a time, it was relieved by the Sixty-first, and returned to the right, covering the same ground as before, but in advance of the Nine Mile Road.

The left of the regiment was here assailed by the enemy's skirmishers, and several men were wounded, but no serious attack was made upon it. The entire force upon the left, where Casey stood, having been swept away, it became necessary for General Couch, commanding the right wing, to fall back and take up a new position. The movement was executed in perfect order, and the new line of battle, a half mile further back, was formed along the road leading to the Grape Vine Bridge, facing south.

Soon the head of Sumner's Corps arrived, and the General in person, assumed command. He at once established the Eighty-Second in position, at right angles to that formerly occupied, the left resting on Grape Vine Bridge Road, in open ground immediately in the rear of a clump of woods. On the left of the road, connecting with the left of the Eighty-second, Kirby's Battery was posted, the Sixty-fifth New York connecting with it on the left. These dispositions had scarcely been made, when the enemy was discovered advancing from the direction of Fair Oaks Station in two columns, of division front. Kirby's guns immediately opened, but the enemy held his ground with much steadiness.

Meanwhile a third line, advancing through the wood in front of the Eighty-second, approached unperceived until within short range, when he opened a vigorous fire. It was instantly replied to, with telling effect, repelling him at every point. Again and again he returned to the onset, seemingly bent on the capture of Kirby's guns, and to this end of turning the right and driving back the Eighty-second; but with unexampled fortitude it held its ground, completely foiling him in every attempt.

The ground in the regiment's front, was thickly strewn with the enemy's killed and wounded, and many of the soldiers spent the short summer night in caring for the wounded of both parties instead of taking their much needed rest. On the following morning, the regiment charged through the woods in its front, and continued on to the position occupied on the previous day, but without meeting opposition. Fighting was early renewed on the left, but did not reach the position on the right which the regiment occupied. The loss was eight killed and twenty-four wounded, the enemy's infantry for the most part firing too high.

The regiment remained in this position, behind a, rude breast-work of logs, for more than a week, under command of General Sumner. At the end of that time, Couch's Division was sent to the left of Savage Station, and in rear of the front line. An impenetrable swamp, on which the left rested, made its occupation secure. The duty was consequently comparatively light. At nine o'clock on the evening of the 26th. the brigade was ordered under arms and led to the right, to a point opposite Gaines' Mill.

Just before daybreak on the 27th it was ordered to return, and marching past Savage Station and across White Oak Swamp, it rested at noon in the vicinity of Charles City Cross Roads. Here it remained, skirmishing with the enemy's cavalry, until nightfall of the 29th, when it resumed the march, arriving at the James at eleven o'clock on the morning of the 30th. The sound of cannon, heard at two in the afternoon, told that the enemy was approaching, and it was advanced about a mile and posted on Malvern Hill. Couch occupied the ground on the left of Porter's Corps, and the brigade, during the afternoon and following night, remained massed in this position.

On the morning of the 1st of July, the regiment was posted a quarter of a mile further to the right, behind a rail fence, where it was subjected to severe shelling, losing some men. About two o'clock it was ordered to advance in line, and moving across a ploughed field, under a heavy artillery fire, passed the Union batteries in front, and took position on the front line, with the Fifty-fifth New York on its right, and the Sixty-first Pennsylvania on the left, the line forming a right angle with that of the Fifty-fifth. The enemy kept up a steady fire from his position in front, and his skirmishers on the right flank. A company was sent forward as skirmishers, to a point lower down the hill. and when necessary to sustain them, the regiment fired over their heads. This position was held until nine o'clock, when the fire of the enemy slackened, and the command retiring took post in the rear. At midnight it joined in the retreat to Harrison's Landing, The regiment sustained severe loss in this engagement, Lieutenants James B. Grier and Mark H. Roberts being among the killed.

On the 5th of August, the regiment proceeded, with a portion of the army, on a reconnoissance to Malvern Hill. On the 7th, the infantry returned; but, by some error, four companies of the Eighty-second, under Major Wetherill, not receiving notice to retire, remained unsupported on the enemy's front. As soon as it was discovered that the Union forces had been withdrawn, Wetherill reported his situation to General Pleasanton, in command of the cavalry, a mile to the rear, who ordered an immediate retreat. This was executed in the face of the enemy's cavalry, but in such good order that he hesitated to attack, giving time for the destruction of the bridge across Turkey Island Creek. After a detention of several hours, by General Pleasanton, in anticipation of a general attack upon the outposts, these companies returned to camp. From Harrison's Landing the regiment marched to Yorktown, where, on the 27th, the right wing, aind the 28th the left wing, embarked for Alexandria.

Upon its arrival, the right wing was posted in advance of Fairfax Court House, where, on the morning of the 1st of September, the left wing rejoined it. During the battle of Chantilly, the regimenut was in line, but not actively engaged.

Maryland Campaign

Upon the opening of the Maryland campaign, General John Cochrane was assigned to the command of the brigade, and the One Hundred and Twenty-second New York was added to it.

Ont the evening of the 14th of September, the brigade arrived at Burkettsville, in the rear of the forces of Franklin's Corps, which had just before charged and carried Crampton's Pass of the South Mountain. On the 15th, the brigade took the advance, crossing the South Mountain into Pleasant Valley, the enemy being in position near the village of Brownsville. Remaining in front of M'Law's Division during the 15th and 16th, on the morning of the 17th Couch's Division marched to the Potomac, near Harper's Ferry, but immediately countermarched, and, at nine P. M., joined the army, the hard fighting being now over.

Early on the following morning, the brigade was rent forward to relieve regiments upon the front line, the position of the Eighty-second falling just in front of the Dunker Church, still held by the enemy. It was exposed during the day to an annoying fire of sharpshooters hidden in the tree tops, and. lost six men wounded, but no serious attack was made. During the night the enemy retreated, and on advancing in the morning, several prisoners and one piece of artillery were captured. On the 19th, the regiment joined in plursuit of the enemy, and marched to Sharpsburg; but on the following day returned, and crossing the field of Antietam, moved to near Williamsport, where it skirmished with the enemy's cavalry. Three days later the division went into a permanent camp near Downsville, where Couch's Division was attached to the Sixth Corps, with which it ever afterwards remained.

Battle of Fredericksburg

From Maryiand the regiment moved with the army, by easy marches, to the Rappahannock, a day's march beyond Stafford Court House, where it remained until the 11th of December. On that day it moved down two miles below Fredericksburg, where pontoon bridges had been laid. In the evening, a portion of the division, then under command of General John Newton, crossed the stream. and after a slight skirmish drove the enemy's outposts. On the morning of the 12th the remainder of the division crossed, the regiment was with the division in line during the day, a short distance in front of the bridges.

On the 13th, Meade's Division, which formed the advance of the attacking party, having been repulsed, the brigade was ordered to the left at ten A. M, to reinforce the shattered line, where it was exposed to a heavy fire during the en.tire day; but, being protected by a deep ditch, it suffered little loss. On the 14th, it resumed, its former position with the division; but on the 15th was again ordered to the front line. On the same night it fell back again, and at two A. M., of the 16th, re-crossed the river.

Remaining in camp until the 16th of January, 1863, the regiment was orlered to guard duty at Belle Plain Landing, but on the 20th, re-joined the brigade, then engaged in the abortive movement of General Burnside to again cross the Rappahannock.

Chancellorsville Campaign

The campaign of 1863 opened with the movement of the army, under Hooker, upon Chancellorsville, The brigade formed part of the Third Division, General Newton, Sixth Corps, General Sedgwick. On the 28th of April, the Eighty-second was ordered, with other troops, to bear pontoons to the river, two miles below Fredericksburg, with as little noise as possible, so as not to excite the attention of the enemy. A bridge was laid and a crossing effected on the following morning.

During the night of the 1st of May, Sedgwick moved up, and passing the enemy's outer lines, reached Fredericksburg on the morning of the 2d. Orders having been given to storm the works on Marvye's Heights, two columns were formed for the assault, the right composed of the Sixty-first and Eighty-second Pennsylvania, the Sixty-first in advance. A narrow causeway was to be passed, an impenetrable marsh on either side.

Moving by the flank, with a front to the enemy of four men, the column advanced under a murderous fire. The head of the assaulting party was soon broken, a large proportion fallen, among them Colonel Spear, of the Sixtyfirst, who was killed. Without faltering the column closed up and pressed on, carried the heights, the Eighty-second capturing the horses of one of the enemy's batteries. Advancing the same day to Salem Heights, the regiment joined in the severe engagement at that point, and when it became necessary to withdraw, in the face of an overpowering force, it was among the last to cross the river at Banks' Ford, on the morning of the 6th of May. Among the mortally wounded in the storming of the heights, was Captain John H. Delap.

Gettysburg Campaign

Encamped near the bank of the Rappahannock, within long range of the enemy's guns, where it was occasionally visited by the Whitworth missiles, it remained until the general movement of the two armies towards Pennsylvania commenced. Early in May, Colonel Williams and Lieutenant Colonel Vallee having previously resigned, Major Bassett was commissioned Colonel, and John M. Wetherill, Lieutenant Colonel.

On the 30th of June, the Sixth Corps, which formed the rear of the army, reached Manchester, Maryland, near the Pennsylvania border. Here it remained until the evening of the 1st of July, when it was ordered upon a forced march to Gettysburg.

The brigade, now under command of General Alexander Shaler, arrived upon the field on the afternoon of the 2d, and was ordered into position on the left of the line, near Little Round Top; but the fighting on that part of the field being nearly over, it was not engaged.

On the morning of the 3d, Shaler was ordered to the extreme right, to the support of Geary, who had been severely engaged since early dawn. It was here exposed to a severe artillery fire. After the lines had been reestablished, and the fighting was over upon this part of the field, the brigade was ordered to the left to meet a threatened attack, and was subsequently brought back to the centre, where it was held in reserve until the close of the battle.

With the Corps, the regiment followed up the retreating enemy, and on the 12th had a severe skirmish near Funkstown, where he had established his lines, in which it suffered a loss of eight wounded.

On the morning of the 14th, it was discovered that the enemy's works were abandoned, and upon advancing, the pickets of the Eighty-second picked up a number of stragglers. Upon the return of the army into Virginia, the regiment participated in the severe marching and counter-marching which ensued, and during the engagement at Rappahannock Station, on the 7th of November, with the Sixty-seventh New York, it acted as a support to a battery, posted on a commanding eminence, and was exposed to a severe cannonade.

Again, in the final movement of the campaign upon Mine Run, the brigade was attached to General Warren's command, and occupied a position on the left of the line. Here, while advancing to the crest of a hill in front of the enemy's works, it was subjected to a severe shelling, but without serious loss. Upon the abandonment of the campaign, it retired with the army across the Rappahannock, and went into winter quarters near Brandy Station. While here, about half of the regiment re-enlisted and departed on a veteran furlough.

Johnson's Island, Lake Erie

Rumors prevailing that an attempt was to be made to rescue the rebel officers confined on Johnsons Island, Lake Erie, opposite Sandusky, by organized bands from Canada, over the ice, now sufficiently thick to cross, it was deemed advisable to strengthen the guard, and Shaler's Brigade was ordered thither. The weather was cold during the journey, and some of the men had their feet frost bitten, but when once in camp, the duty was found to be light, and the time passed pleasantly.

Rapidan Campaign

On the 6th of May, the ice upon the Lake being broken, the regiment, in company with the Twenty-third, returned to Washington, and thence proceeded to Belle Plain Landing, where numerous prisoners were arriving, the fruits of the battles of the Wilderness and Spottsylvania. General Abercrombie in command at that post detained them to strengthen his guard, and to furnish escorts to companies of prisoners on their way to Point Lookout.

On the 19th, the Eighty-second was ordered to Fredericksburg, where it was detailed to guard a train to the front. A.t the North Anna it re-joined the balance of the brigade which had left the camp at Johnson's Island ten days earlier, and had suffered severely in the terrible battles through which the army had already passed.

Battle of Cold Harbor

With the exception of brisk skirmishing at Hawes' Shop, and at Hanover Court House, the regiment was not engaged until it reached Cold Harbor. Here three regiments of the brigade, the Fourth of Russell's Division, were formed in three lines, the Eighty-second in the second line, with the right resting on the road leading from Cold Harbor to New Cold Harbor, the Twenty-third in advance. At the word of command the lines went forward at double-quick, but soon encountered a withering fire from the enemy's well manned works, throwing the ranks into some confusion; but taking advantage of a slight depression, the men were rallied and maintained their position, at night throwing up a breastwork for protection. Directions were received to again charge the enemy's works at day-light, and obedient to orders, the Eighty-second at the appointed time moved forward; but the fire was too terrible to withstand, and after advancing about twenty paces, it sank upon the earth unable either to advance or retreat. Colonel Bassett being wounded left the field, and the command devolved on Lieutenant Colonel Wetherill. From a little thicket of bushes on the right, a rifle-pit was started, which was extended gradually during the day until it covered the whole front. Thus was the little that had been gained held.

On the morning of the 3d, the regiment was relieved from the front. In the two days in which it had been exposed to the enemy's fire--for it had been ordered to charge with pieces uncapped, and did not fire a shot in return, while making its perilous advance--it lost, in killed, wounded, and missing, one hundred and seventy-three officers and men, more than half its entire strength.

Among the killed were Lieutenant Creighton and acting Lieutenant Young. The brigade remained in position until the 12th, the regiments in turn performing their tour of duty in the several lines.


Crossing the James River on the 16th of June, the brigade was sent to the support of General Butler, but three days later re-joined the corps in front of Petersburg. On the 29th, the division was ordered to Ream's Station, to the assistance of the cavalry returning from a raid in rear of Richmond. The Eighty-second was sent out upon a road leading to Petersburg, for the protection of the flank, where it had a brisk skirmish with a squadron of the enemy's cavalry, driving it in upon his main line, beyond the Weldon Railroad.

Attack on Fort Stevens

On the 9th of July, the Sixth Corps was ordered to Washington, to meet the enemy, under Early, advancing through Maryland, and threatening the safety of the capital. At midday of the 11th it arrived, and, debarking, marched through the city, taking position in rear of Fort Stevens. On the following day the regiment advanced in front of the fort, skirmishing sharply with Early's advance. The enemy retreated, and was pursued across the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers, when Wright, unable to overtake him, returned to Washington. But the enemy faced about, and offered battle at Winchester, defeating the Union troops which had been left in the valley. The Sixth Corps, under Wright, and the Nineteen.th, under Emory, again advanced to Harper's Ferry, and crossing the Potomac, pursued Early as far as Strasburg. Returning again, the enemy following, a severe skirmish occurred near Charlestown, after which, the Union force retired to Halltown, but subsequently advanced to Berryville. While here, the original term having expired, the regiment was ordered to Philadelphia, where, on the 16th of September, it was mustered out of service.

The veterans and recruits who remained in the field were organized into a battalion of five companies, which were subsequently joined by the veterans of the Twenty-third, with the designation of the Eighty-second regiment, under command of Colonel Bassett. It participated in the brilliant campaign in the Shenandoah Valley, under General Sheridan, and when his triumphs were assured, returned with the corps to the trenches in front of Petersburg. Upon the opening of the spring campaign of 1865, it moved with the triumphant columns of Grant, and in the battle of Sailors' Creek, on the 6th of April, suffered considerable loss, Lieutenant William HI. Myers being among the killed. It was at the extreme front upon the occasion of the surrender of Lee, on the 9th of April, and was finally mustered out of service on the 13th of July, at Hall's Hill, Virginia,

1Organization of the First Brigade, Brigadier General Lawrence P. Graham, First Division, General Buell, subsequently General Couch, Fourth Corps, General 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. The Sixty-first Pennsylvania was added to the brigade late in the following winter, and remained with it about a year.

Source:  Bates, Samuel P. History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-65, Harrisburg, 1868-1871.


Organized at Philadelphia as 31st Regiment Volunteers August, 1861, and ordered to Washington, D.C.
Attached to Graham's Brigade, Buell's (Couch's) Division, Army Potomac, October, 1861, 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.
3rd Brigade, 3rd Division, 6th Army Corps, Army Potomac, to October, 1862.
1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 6th Army Corps, to January, 1864.
Johnson's Island, Sandusky, Ohio, to May, 1864.
4th Brigade, 1st Division, 6th Army Corps, Army Potomac, to July, 1864.
3rd Brigade, 1st Division, 6th Army Corps, Army Potomac, and Army Shenandoah, to July, 1865.


Duty in the Defences of Washington, D.C., till March, 1862.
Advance on Manassas, Va., March 10-15.
Moved to the Virginia Peninsula 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.
Savage Station June 29.
White Oak Swamp 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 September 16-17.
Williamsport September 19-20.
Duty in Maryland and along the Potomac till November 1.
Movement to Falmouth, Va., November 1-19.
Battle of Fredericksburg December 12-15.
Burnside's second Campaign.
"Mud March" January 20-24, 1863.
At Falmouth till April.
Chancellorsville Campaign April 27-May 6.
Operations about 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.
Gettysburg (Pa.) Campaign June 13-July 24.
Battle of Gettysburg July 2-4.
Pursuit of Lee July 5-24.
At and near Funkstown, Md., July 10-13.
At Warrenton and Culpeper 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.
Moved to Johnson's Island, Lake Erie, January 6, 1864, and duty there guarding prisoners till May 6.
Moved to Washington, D.C., thence Joined Army of the Potomac in the field.
Rapidan Campaign May 12-June 12.
Spottsylvania C. H. May 12-21.
Assault on the Salient May 12.
North Anna River May 23-26.
On line of the Pamunkey May 26-28.
Totopotomoy May 28-31.
Cold Harbor June 1-12.
Before Petersburg June 17-18.
Jerusalem Plank Road June 22-23.
Siege of Petersburg till July 9.
Moved to Washington, D.C., July 9-11.
Repulse of Early's attack on Washington July 11-12.
Snicker's Gap Expedition July 14-18.
Sheridan's Shenandoah Valley Campaign August to December.
(Old members mustered out September 16, 1864.)
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.
Dabney's Mills, Hatcher's Run, February 5-7, 1865.
Fort Fisher, Petersburg, March 25, 1865.
Appomattox Campaign March 28-April 9.
Assault on and fail of Petersburg April 2.
Pursuit of Lee April 3-9. Sailor's Creek April 6.
Appomattox C. H. April 9.
Surrender of Lee and his army.
At Farmville and Burkesville till April 23.
March to Danville April 23-27, and duty there till May 24.
Moved to Richmond, Va., thence to Washington, D.C., May 24-June 3.
Corps Review June 8.
Mustered out July 13, 1865.


Regiment lost during service 5 Officers and 106 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 67 Enlisted men by disease. Total 178.

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






U. S. C. T.

Direct questions or comments to pacivilwar@pa-roots.net

©  Alice J. Gayley, all rights reserved

Web Space provided by