The Eighty-fourth Regiment was recruited under the direction of William G. Murray, in the counties of Blair, Lycoming, Clearfield, Dauphin, Columbia, Cameron, and Westmoreland. The men rendezvoused at Camp Crossman, near Huntingdon, and subsequently at Camp Curtin. Recruiting commenced early in August, and towards the close of October an organization was effected by the choice of the following field officers:On the 31st of December, the regiment was ordered to Hancock, Maryland, arriving January 2d, 1862. Here it received arms, Belgian muskets, and crossing the Potomac, proceeded rapidly to Bath, where a portion of the Thirtyninth Illinois, with a section of artillery, Lieutenant Muhlenberg, was posted, confronting the enemy. Upon his arrival, Colonel Murray assumed command of the entire force, and at four o'clock on the morning of the 4th, advanced to the eminence beyond the town and deployed in line of battle. He soon learned that Stonewall Jackson, with a well appointed force of infantry, cavalry, and artillery, greatly superior to his own, was in his front. At eight o'clock, Jackson began to press upon him, driving in his skirmishers. By skillful manoeuvring, preserving a bold front, he kept the enemy at bay until near nightfall, when he fell back to Hancock, with the loss of but one man, drowned in crossing the stream.
- William G. Murray, Colonel
- Thomas C. MacDowell, Lieutenant Colonel
- Walter Barrett, Major
During the night, General Lander arrived and assumed command, and Jackson, who had approached and was shelling the town, sent Colonel Ashby, on the morning of the 5th, with a flag of truce, to demand its immediate surrender. Lander defiantly refused, and having been reinforced with Parrott guns, a spirited cannonade ensued, which was kept up during the entire day following. But this demonstration on the part of Jackson was to cover his movement upon Romney, and Lander, as soon as he discovered his antagonist's purpose, hastened away to secure its evacuation, which he did, bringing his forces into Cumberland.
The Eighty-fourth made a forced march to the latter place, arriving on the 12th. Jackson having been foiled in his expedition to Romney, by the rapid movement of Lander, returned to Winchester, and the Eighty-fourth was posted successively during the winter at the North Branch Bridge, at the South Branch Bridge, and at Paw Paw, points along the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.
WinchesterOn the 2d of March General Lander died, the command devolving on Colonel Kimball, and soon after the regiment moved on to Winchester. Here General Shields took command of the division, and about the middle of the month drove the enemy up the valley, four miles beyond Strasburg, skirmishing with his rear guard, who destroyed bridges and obstructed the way as he went. As Shields returned towards Winchester, Jackson reinforced, followed closely on his track, the Eighty-fourth marching on the 20th from its camp near Strasburg, without a halt, to Winchester.
At five P. M. on the 22d, it returned at double quick through the town, and moved to the support of the Union Cavalry, posted at the west end, which the enemy was engaged in shelling. Soon after the regiment arrived upon the ground General Shields was struck by a fragment of shell and disabled, the command again devolving on Colonel KimbalL The Eighty-fourth was ordered to fix bayonets in anticipation of a charge, but the enemy soon after retreated and was driven about two miles in the direction of Kernstown, where the regiment bivouacked for the night.
On the following morning it was engaged in laying out the ground for a camp, when the enemy at eleven A. M. attacked, and it was immediately ordered into line in support of artillery. Under cover of a wooded eminence on the right, the enemy advanced, and with infantry and artillery gained a foothold upon the flank behind rocks and a stone wall, where he seriously threatened the integrity of the Union line. This position the Eighty-fourth was ordered to charge. Forming upon the high ground near the Kernstown Road, it moved gallantly forward. through an open valley and up towards the wooded eminence, where were the guns; as it gained the crest, the rebel infantry rose up from behind rocks and the fence where they had been concealed, and poured upon it withering volleys. The fire was returned with good effect; but standing without shelter, and at close range, it was fearfully decimated.
Colonel Murray's horse was struck, when he dismounted and advanced on foot. A moment later, while at the head of his men, and leading them on for the capture of the guns, he was himself struck in the forehead by a minnie ball and instantly killed. At this juncture, being without a field officer, with two of its captains fallen, the regiment fell into some confusion, and a part of it fell back under the shelter of the crest. The remainder, led by Lieutenant George Zinn, taking shelter behind trees, kept up a steady fire. At this juncture the Fifth Ohio came up on the right, and with other troops, forced the enemy from his position. A general advance was ordered along the entire line, and the foe was driven in utter rout.
Three hundred prisoners, two guns, four caissons, and a thousand stand of small arms were taken. Out of two hundred and sixty, of the Eighty-fourth, who went into battle, twenty-three were killed, and sixty-seven wounded. Colonel Murray, Captain Patrick Gallagher, and Lieutenant Charles Reem, were killed.
After the battle the Eighty-fourth, under command of Major Barrett, was assigned to provost duty in the town of Berryville, where it remained until the 2d of May. It then joined in the general advance up the valley, and passing through Strasburg and Front Royal, proceeded to Fredericksburg. Scarcely had it reached its destination, when it was ordered back to Front Royal, where it arrived on the 30th.
On the following day a smart skirmish was had on the Winchester Road, after which the brigade, the Fourth of Shields' Division. commanded by Colonel Carroll, moved on towards Port Republic, arriving on the 8th of June." We charged," says an officer of the Eighty-fourth, " what we took to be a wagon-train, but soon found that it consisted of about thirty pieces of artillery with wagon covers, which gave us a warm reception. The next day, June 9th, the enemy came out in large numbers, and advanced to the attack. He came up in fine style, and fought hard to turn our right flank; but was repulsed with great loss. While we were following up our advantage, however, his forces out-flanked us on the left, and came in on our rear. We then faced about, and the Third Brigade of our division coming up, we had them between two fires, and they soon fled to the mountains. He had by this time re-formed his lines in front, and was coming down in such numbers as to make a resistance out of the question, and the General gave the order to fall back. Now commenced a running fight. He followed us for several miles, and kept his batteries at work in a manner that showed that he was familiar with the route. Hlis cavalry made repeated charges, but was repulsed by the steady fire of our infantry. We finally came upon the First and Second Brigades, drawn up in line, with General Shields in command, when the enemy gave over the pursuit and rapidly retired."From Port Republic the division marched to Alexandria, whence the First and Second Brigades proceeded to the Peninsula, and the Third and Fourth went into camp near the town. The campaign had been a severe one, the marches long and difficult, the men poorly clad, and much of the time subsisting on scanty rations.
On the 25th of June, Samuel M. Bowman of Columbia county, late a Major in the Fourth Illinois cavalry, who had seen service under Grant and Sherman, in the Western Army, was commissioned Colonel, Major Barrett was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, and Adjutant Thomas I. Craig, to Miajor. In July the regiment broke camp, and marched out to join Pope's Army. Carroll's Brigade was here attached to Ricketts' Division of M'Dowell's Corps.
Bull RunIn the battle of Cedar Mountain, which occurred on the 9th of August, the regiment was not under fire until after dark, when a few of the enemy's shots and shells reached its ranks. On the 14th, it joined in pursuit of the enemy, following him up to the Rapidan, occupying the line of the river until the 19th, when it retired to the Rappahannock. Here for a week the rebels were held at bay, the fighting being general along the entire line, for the most part with the artillery.
As soon as it was ascertained that the enemy had turned Pope's right flank, Ricketts' Division was sent to Thoroughfare Gap, to check the progress of Longstreet's Corps, on its way to join Jackson, already at Manassas Junction, in Pope's rear. In the engagement which ensued the regiment took little part. On the 29th it moved into position on the right flank of the army, near Groveton, and on the morning of the 30th was warmly engaged. It remained upon the field until after dark, and for several hours after the mass of the army had crossed Bull Run. It was finally charged by a force of the enemy, which approached under cover of darkness. Uncertain whether it was friend or foe advancing, Lieutenant Alban H. Nixon, volunteered to go out and ascertain his true character. He passed the outer pickets without discovery, and soon found himself in the very midst of General Pender's South Carolina troops, who were moving upon the flank of the brigade, and only waiting the signal, that its retreat was cut off, to move upon and capture it entire.
At the peril of his life, Nixonu shouted, "They are the enemy, boys," when a timely retreat was ordered, and the greater part of the brigade was snatched from the clutches of Pender's troops. Enraged at having their well laid plans thus suddenly frustrated, they threatened Nixon with instant death, and were only prevented from executing it by a fellow prisoner, who seized him by the arm, and exclaimed, 'You will not shoot an unarmed man!'" He was spared, and with other officers and men, found upon the skirmish line, was marched away to Richmond. When the regiment arrived within the defences of Washington, it had scarcely seventy men in its ranks fit for duty. In consequence of its severe losses, it was ordered to light duty at Arlington Heights, in the command of General Whipple, where it remained during the Antietam campaign.
In the meantime, through the exertions of patriotic citizens of Pennsylvania, some of whom accepted commissions, headed by Colonel Bowman, about four hundred recruits were added to its ranks, which, with the return of men from hospitals and from furlough, brought its numbers up to the full standard of a regiment.
FredericksburgAbout the middle of October it proceeded to re-join the army, near Berlin, and marched with it to the neighborhood of Fredericksburg. In the campaign which followed, it continued in General Whipple's Independent Division. On the second day of the battle of Fredericksburg, General Griffin called on General Whipple for Carroll's Brigade. It was promptly ordered forward, and moved up through the town, under an incessant shower of shot and shell. Taking temporary refuge in a cut of the Fredericksburg and Richmond Railroad, the officers dismounted. At the word of command, climbing the steep acclivity, at double-quick, the entire brigade rushed on and soon reached the front. Such was the spirit and daring of the movement, that two companies of the Eighty-fourth reached a point considerably in advance of the line of battle, whence they had to be re-called.
During the following night the enemy approached stealthily, under cover of darkness, with the expectation of surprising and forcing the part of the line where lay the Eighty-fourth and One Hundred and Tenth Pennsylvania, but was handsomely repulsed. At the close of the action the regiment retired with the army, and went into winterquarters. General Carroll, in his official report, says," Where all did so well it seems invidious to particularize; but I cannot forbear mentioning Colonel S. M. Bowman and Major Milton Opp, of the Eighty-fourth, and Lieutenant Colonel Crowther, of the One Hundred and Tenth, whose coolness, judgment, and unsparing bravery were conspicuous."Under General Hooker, the army was re-organized, and the Eighty-fourth and One Hundred and Tenth Pennsylvania, and Twelfth New Hampshire constituted the Second Brigade of the Third Division, Whipple's, of the Third Corps, and Colonel Bowman was assigned to its command. During the winter the principal duty consisted in guard and picket, in which the regiment shared, frequently meeting parties of the enemy, who made their appearance on the north bank of the river. By close scrutiny, Colonel Bowman discovered that permits, or what purported to be permits, from Union authorities were used by the enemy to come within our lines. These irregularities were reported and effectually broken up.
ChancellorsvilleThe part taken by the regiment in the Chancellorsville campaign is clearly shown by the following extract from Major Opp's official report:"After severe marches, occupying a period of five days from the 28th of April, we were brought in contact with the enemy on the afternoon of the 2d of May. In a reconnoissance made by two divisions of the Third Corps, to the left of Chancellorsville, and in the vicinity of an old furnace, the regiment was ordered to advance in line, with flanking companies thrown forward as skirmishers, to unmask the position of the enemy. Under the immediate supervision of Colonel Bowman, commanding the brigade, the object was successfully and handsomely attained, with the loss of only two men wounded. On the morning of the 3d, at daylight, we were judiciously and strongly posted to the left of the plank road, and to the left of Chancellorsville, as a reserve force. The attack of the enemy had continued but a short time, when one line to the front of us gave way. Colonel Bowman's orders to the Eighty-fourth and the One Hundred and Tenth, to advance and occupy the position just abandoned, were promptly and gallantly executed. The old lines were re-gained, and held for about an hour and until all the regiments on the right and left of the Eightyfourth had retired, leaving us in an isolated and exposed position. In the hope that reinforcements would arrive, I still held the men in place, maintaining a steady and effective fire to the front. It was discovered, however, that a large force of the enemy had succeeded, by making an extensive detour under cover of a dense wood, in gaining our rear, where he was supported by a vigorous enfilading fire from several guns, planted on an eminence to our front and left. It became obvious that to remain was equivalent to capture in a body, while to retreat was perilous in the extreme. The latter alternative was adopted. The retreat was executed in good order, but not without heavy losses and severe fighting. In numerous instances the men clubbed their muskets in hand-to-hand encounters. Parties who had been overpowered, seizing opportune moments, took up guns at hand, demanded and obtained the surrender of many of their captors. Lieutenant Farley of company F, who had been captured in the strife, headed a number of our men, and succeeded in extricating himself, and in capturing one, Captain, two Lieutenants, and twenty-five men. These, with five men captured before the retreat began, made an aggregate of thirty-three rebel prisoners taken by the regiment. Our own losses were necessarily heavy, from the peculiarity of the situation. Of three hundred and ninety-one officers and men engaged, two hundred and nineteen were killed, wounded and missing. Captain Jacob Peterman was among the killed, and Captain C. G. Jackson, Lieutenants William Hays, Albert Steinman, John R. Ross, George S. Good, and Assistant Surgeon John S. Waggoner severely wounded, most of whom fell into the enemy's hands."The regiment participated in the operations of the brigade, on the new line taken up on the morning of the 4th, but without further casualties. General Whipple was killed in this engagement and the losses of his division were so great that it was broken up and the regiments assigned to other commands. The Eighty-fourth became part of General Carr's Brigade of the Second Corps, and was separated from the One Hundred and Tenth, with which it had served from its entrance to duty. On the 11th of June Colonel Bowman was ordered to special duty, and never afterward re-joined the regiment. In December previous, Major Milton Opp had been promoted to. Lieutenant Colonel, and Captain George Zinn, to Major.
Gettysburg CampaignIn the Gettysburg campaign, the regiment, upon its arrival at Taneytown, Maryland, was detailed as guard to the corps train, and immediately proceeded with it to Westminster, where it was employed in forwarding supplies to the battle-field, a vitally important duty, but one devoid of heroic incident.
Upon the return of the army to Virginia, the regiment was engaged at Wapping Heights, on the 24th of July, in the neighborhood of Thoroughfare Gap on the 10th of October, at Freeman's Ford in a sharp skirmish on the 13th, at Bristoe Station on the 14th and again on the 19th, at Kelly's Ford on the 7th of November, at Jacob's Ford on November 27th, at Locust Grove on the 28th, and at Mine Run on the 30th, losing four men mortally wounded, five slightly wounded, five missing, and one officer, Lieutenant Good, captured. At the conclusion of the campaign the regiment returned to the neighborhood of Brandy Station, where it went into winter-quarters.
In January, 1864, a considerable number of the regiment re-enlisted, and were given a veteran furlough. On the 6th of February the enemy crossed the Rapidan in some force, and the Eighty-fourth moved with the column sent against him. He was driven back and one hundred of his men were taken prisoners.
The WildernessUpon the opening of the Wilderness campaign, the regiment moved with the corps by the Germania Ford, and while marching on south along the Fredericksburg Road, on the afternoon of the 5th of May, the enemy was discovered moving down in heavy force upon its flank. Line of battle was immediately formed and advanced to meet him, the fighting becoming general along the whole line, extending for miles. On the following day the fighting was very severe, and proved particularly disastrous to the Eighty-fourth, resulting in the loss of many brave men. Lieutenant Colonel Opp, while leading in a charge, received a wound through the right lung, which proved a mortal hurt. He was a brave man, and sincerely mourned by his men.
On the 7th the regiment moved on towards the left, and on the 8th near Spottsylvania Court House, company K had a brisk skirmish. At Pamunky River on the 10th, the regiment was again engaged driving the enemy across the stream. On the morning of the 12th it joined in the brilliant charge of Hancock's Corps, carrying elaborate lines of works, and making large captures of men and guns.
The following extract from a diary of Captain L. B. Sampson, will convey some idea of the arduous service of the regiment in this campaign:"May 14th skirmished-moved to the right-skirmished all thb afternoon; 16th lay in line all day; 17th fought on the picket line-drove the enemy into his works; 18th skirmished all day; 19th marched to Spottsylvania Court House; 20th lay in line of battle all day-received a good shelling; 21st marched to Guiney Station, thence to Bowling Green, thence to Milford Station on the Po River; 22d rested all day; 23d marchedto the North Anna-charged and carried the rebel works-company K volunteering to hold a bridge-a warm time they had of it; 24th crossed the river under a heavy fire; 25th and 26th rested; 27th marched to the Pamunky and crossed at Hanover City; 29th skirmished and built works; 30th lay in the works all day; 31st our brigade, Colonel Blaisdell commanding, fought the first battle of Pleasant Hill; June 1st our regiment had a sharp skirmish at Pleasant Hill-we lost a good many men for a small fight."In this latter engagement, Lieutenant Nixon, who had saved the regiment from capture at Bull Run by his timely signal, even at the peril of his life, was again severely wounded with the loss of his left arm.
PetersburgSuch was the general character of the service until the regiment reached the James on the 14th of June, when it crossed and was at once engaged in the operations of the siege of Petersburg. Advancing the lines, building fortifications, and defending the ground gained, interspersed with occasional assaults, filled up the measure of its duty until the 27th of July, when it re-crossed the James, and had part in the engagement at Deep Bottom.
Returning to the lines in front of Petersburg it was again engaged in the varied duties of the siege until the 14th of August, when it again moved to Deep Bottom, and in the sharp engagement which ensued, the enemy was driven out of his works at Charles City Cross Roads, and some prisoners taken. Returning again to Petersburg, it resumed its place upon the works.
On the 1st of October it moved by rail with the corps to Yellow House, and thence marched to the extreme left of the lines. The first line of the enemy's works was charged and carried. The second line was charged, but the column was repulsed. Lieutenant Colonel Zinn had command of the assaulting party, and while urging on his men, in the final charge, was severely wounded.
In October, the men whose terms of service had expired were mustered out and the veterans and recruits were organized in a battalion of four companies, which remained on duty until the 13th of January, 1865, when it was consolidated with the Fifty-seventh Pennsylvania, and thenceforward until the end of the war, formed part of that organization.
The battalion participated in the operations of the corps upon the Weldon Railroad on the 27th of October, and again on the 9th of December, in the latter destroying the road as far as Bellefield Station. Upon the consolidation of the battalion with the Fifty-seventh, Lieutenant Colonel Zinn became Colonel, George W. Perkins, Lieutenant Colonel, and Captain Samuel Bryan, Major. The Fifty-seventh was finally mustered out of service on the 29th of June, 1865.
Bates, Samuel P. History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-65, Harrisburg, 1868-1871.
Organized at Huntingdon and Camp Curtin August to October, 1861.
At Camp Curtin, Pa., till December 31, 1861.
Moved to Hancock, Md., December 31-January 2, 1862, thence to Bath.
Action at Bath January 4, and at Hancock January 5.
Attached to 1st Brigade, Lander's Division, Army Potomac, to March, 1862.
1st Brigade, Shield's 2nd Division, Banks' 5th Corps, to April, 1862.
1st Brigade, Shield's Division, Dept. of the Shenandoah, to May, 1862.
4th Brigade, Shield's Division, Dept. of the Rappahannock, to June, 1862.
4th Brigade, 2nd Division, 3rd Corps, Army of Virginia, to September, 1863.
2nd Brigade, 3rd Division, 3rd Army Corps, Army Potomac, to June, 1863.
1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 3rd Army Corps, to March, 1864.
2nd Brigade, 4th Division, 2nd Army Corps, to May, 1864.
4th Brigade, 3rd Division, 2nd Army Corps, to July, 1864.
2nd Brigade, 3rd Division, 2nd Army Corps, to January, 1865.
Service:Retreat to Cumberland, Md., January 10-12, 1862.
Duty guarding North and South Branch Bridges and at Paw Paw Tunnel till March, 1862.
Advance on Winchester, Va., March 5-15.
Battle of Winchester March 23.
Occupation of Mt. Jackson April 17.
Provost at Berryville till May 2.
March to Fredericksburg May 12-22, and return to Front Royal May 25-29.
Action near Front Royal May 31.
Port Republic June 8-9.
Moved to Alexandria June 29.
Duty there till July.
Battle of Cedar Mountain August 9.
Pope's Campaign in Northern Virginia August 16-September 2.
Fords of the Rappahannock August 20-24.
Thoroughfare Gap August 28.
Battles of Groveton August 29; Bull Run August 30; Chantilly September 1.
Duty at Arlington Heights, Defences of Washington, Whipple's Command, till October.
Moved to Pleasant Valley, Md., October 18, thence to Warrenton and Falmouth
October 24-November 19.
Battle of Fredericksburg, Va., December 12-15.
Burnside's 2nd Campaign, "Mud March," January 20-24, 1863.
At Falmouth, Va., till April.
Chancellorsville Campaign April 27-May 6.
Battle of Chancellorsville May 1-5.
Gettysburg (Pa.) Campaign June 11-July-24.
Guarding Corps' trains during battle of Gettysburg July 1-3.
Pursuit of Lee July 5-24.
Wapping Heights, Va., July 23.
Duty on line of the Rappahannock till October.
Bristoe Campaign October 9-22.
Advance to line of the Rappahannock November 7-8.
Kelly's Ford November 7.
Mine Run Campaign November 26-December 2.
Payne's Farm November 27.
Regiment reenlisted January, 1864.
Demonstration on the Rapidan February 6-7.
Duty near Brandy Station till May.
Rapidan Campaign May 4-June 12.
Battles of the Wilderness May 5-7; Spottsylvania May 8-12;
Spottsylvania C. H. May 12-21.
Assault on the Salient May 12.
Harris Farm May 19.
North Anna River May 23-26.
Line of the Pamunkey May 26-28.
Totopotomoy May 28-31.
Haw's Shop May 31.
Cold Harbor June 1-12.
Before Petersburg June 16-18.
Siege of Petersburg June 16, 1864, to January 6, 1865.
Weldon Railroad June 22-23, 1864.
Demonstration north of James River at Deep Bottom July 27-29.
Deep Bottom July 27-28.
Mine Explosion, Petersburg, July 30 (Reserve).
Demonstration north of the James at Deep Bottom August 13-20.
Strawberry Plains, Deep Bottom, August 14-18.
Peeble's Farm, Poplar Grove Church, September 29-October 2.
Boydton Plank Road, Hatcher's Run, October 27-28.
Consoildated with 57th Pennsylvania Infantry January 13, 1865.
Losses:Regiment lost during service:
6 Officers and 119 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and
1 Officer and 98 Enlisted men by disease.
Total 224.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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