95th Infantry Regiment
This command, originally known as the Pennsylvania Zouaves, then as the Forty-fifth, afterwards the Fifty-fourth, and finally as the Ninety-fifth, was organized at Philadelphia, in the month of August, 1861, under the direction of John M Gosline, a Captain in the Eighteenth Regiment for the three months' service, under authority granted by the War Department on the 27th of July. Many of both officers and men had served in the three months' campaign, and previously in the Washington Blues, an infantry corps of the State Militia. Between the 1st of August and the 12th of October ten full companies were recruited and officered, and with the exception of company B, which was from Burlington county, New Jersey, were from the city and county of Philadelphia. As fast as recruited, the men were mustered into the United States service, and sent to camp Gibson, at Hestonville, near Philadelphia., where clothing, arms, and accoutrements were issued, and drill was commenced. The following were the field officers: John M. Gosline, Colonel; Gustavus W. Town, Lieutenant Colonel; William B. Hubbs, Major.
On the 12th of October the regiment was ordered to Washington, where upon its arrival it reported to General Casey; and went into camp at Kendall Green. It remained here until the 29th, when it was ordered to join the brigade of General Howard at Bladensburg, and on the following day to report to General Franklin, in command at Alexandria. It was assigned to General Newton's Brigade, composed of the Eighteenth, Thirty-first, and Thirty-second New York regiments, and was immediately placed in camp of instruction near Fairfax Seminary. After a thorough course of drill and discipline during the winter months, it joined in the forward movement upon Manassas in March, and upon the discovery that the enemy had evacuated his works, returned again to camp. On the 6th of April it was ordered to join the forces of General M'Dowell; but upon reaching Bristoe Station, on the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, a severe snow storm set in, and after remaining three days, it again returned to camp under orders to join General M'Clellan on the Peninsula.
On the 17th of April the regiment moved by transports from Alexandria and, proceeded to Shipping Point, where it remained until after the evacuation of Yorktown. Re-embarking it proceeded up the river to West Point, arriving on the 6th of May, in time to take an active part in the demonstration at Brick House Point, on the 7th, upon the rebel rear-guard, then hastening up the Peninsula to the defence of Richmond, and sustained a loss of one officer wounded, eight enlisted men killed, and six wounded. From this point it marched daily, and after a short rest at Tunstall's Station, reached the Chickahominy, where it lay for some time, many of the men suffering from swamp fever, and other diseases incident to exposure to the miasma of the sluggish stream. The Corps of General Fitz John Porter was attacked on the 27th of June, by the major part of the rebel army, at Gaines' Mill and a terrible battle ensured. General Franklin's Division, to which the Ninety-fifth belonged was ordered across the Chickahominy to Porter's support, and arrived up on the field in time to check the rebel advance, holding the position , though opposed by overwhelming numbers, until nightfall, when it was ordered to return to its former camp. The loss in the Ninety-fifth was very heavy, Colonel Gosline, Major Hubbs, Lieutenant Donahue, and twenty enlisted men were killed, and Captain Edward Carroll, Lieutenant Hugh O. Roberts and sixty one enlisted men were wounded. The command of the regiment now devolved on Lieutenant Colonel Town, who was shortly after commissioned Colonel, Captain Elisha Hall, Lieutenant Colonel, and Captain David F. Foley, Major.
In the memorable change of base to the James, the regiment moved with the corps, skirmishing by the way, but with little additional loss, and arrived at Harrison's Landing on the 2d of July where opportunity for much needed rest was given, though it was frequently engaged in fatigue duty in fortifying and strengthening the position. Upon the evacuation of the place about the middle of August, the regiment was detailed for wagon guard, and marched to Newport News, whence it proceeded by transports to Alexandria. In the retreat of the army from Bull Run, at the close of the month, the regiment participated in covering the movement, and in holding the Centreville Heights until the evening of the following day, when it fell back to Chantilly, to reinforce the troops there engaged; but fortunately sustained only trifling loss and, at the conclusion of the battle returned to Camp Franklin, which it had occupied before departing for the Peninsula.
On the 6th of September the regiment, with the rest of the army, took up the line of march for Maryland. At Crampton's Gap, on the 14th of September, it was warmly engaged, charging the enemy, at the point of the bayonet up the steep and rugged mountain side. At the top, encountering fresh reserves of the enemy, the renowned Cobb Legion, led by General Cobb of Georgia, it renewed the attack with unflinching determination, and drove them from their strong position, capturing a piece of artillery, with limber, caisson and horses complete, large numbers of arms, and all their knapsacks which they had thrown off in their haste to enter the engagement. Upon the limber, attached tot he piece capture, was painted the following inscription "JENNY--Presented by the patriot ladies of Georgia to the State Artillery." In the battle of Antietam, on the 17th, the regiment was posted opposite the Dunker Church, doing efficient service in repelling repeated charges of the enemy, sustaining a loss of two men killed and twenty-two wounded.
From this time forward, until the end of October, it performed various marches, and was encamped at different points in Washington county, Maryland, being occasionally detailed for picket duty below Williamsport, along the Potomac. On the 2d of November, it re-crossed the river at Berlin, and proceeded to Stafford Court House, arriving on the 18th, where it remained engaged on picket and guard duty until December 4th, when it moved with the division to the neighborhood of White Oak Church, Virginia. General Burnside, now in command, was preparing for an active campaign, which culminated in the battle of Fredericksburg. On the 12th the regiment crossed the Rappahannock, some distance below the town, with Franklin's Grand Division, and took position in line of battle, in the rear of the skirmishers, which position was held, with slight casualties, until the night of the 15th, when all attempts to drive the enemy from his well chosen ground proving fruitless, the army was withdrawn, and the regiment returned to its former camp. On the 20th of January , 1863, Franklin's Grand Division marched eight miles up the left bank of the Rappahannock, the whole army in motion, with the intention of surprising and attacking the enemy; but on the same evening a violent rain storm set in, which rendered the roads impassible, and caused the enterprise to be abandoned, the regiment returning to its camp.
The ordinary routine of camp life and occasionally picket duty, engaged the regiment until the 25th of April, when it broke camp and marched to the banks of the Rappahannock, opposite to the place of Franklin's crossing of the previous December. Before day-break of the 29th the Ninety-fifth and One Hundred and Nineteenth Pennsylvania, forming the advance, embarked upon pontoons, which were in readiness, crossed the river, surprised the enemy's pickets, captured their rifle-pits, and drove them back, sustaining only slight loss, and taking a number of prisoners. Skirmishing was kept up until the 3d of May, when the heights above Fredericksburg having been carried by storm, the Sixth Corps advanced on the Gordonsville Plank Road, driving the enemy before it. The Ninety-fifth and One Hundred and Nineteenth, both under command of Colonel Town, having been selected from Russell's Brigade, advanced with other brigades of the division, and having driven the enemy some three miles, encountered, at Salem Heights, determined opposition, where the enemy had taken position in the woods, on either side of the road, prepared to dispute its further progress. General Hooker, who had been engaged with the major part of his army at Chancellorsville, having withdrawn at this time, left the enemy free to send heavy reinforcements, which could be plainly seen arriving upon the field. The fighting with the Union advance now became general and desperate, the enemy overlapping it on both wings, the whole force engaged consisting of but about ten regiments. It was of vital necessity that this advanced position should be held until the balance of the corps could have time to come up, and get into line of battle. Against a vastly superior body fighting with desperate energy to defeat the corps in detail, and destroy it, this small force, now under command of General Sedgwick in person, stood immovable, and though suffering unparalleled losses, held this ground until ordered to retire. Near the close of the struggle, and while in the advance, encouraging his men, Colonel Town fell, mortally wounded. Lieutenant Colonel Elisha Hall, Adjutant Eugene D.. Dunton, Captain Thomas D. G. Chapman, Lieutenant David Hailer, and eighteen enlisted men, were killed, Major Thomas J. Town, Captains Hugh O. Roberts and George Weest, and Lieutenants Frank Stewart, Samuel H. Town, William J. Gelston, Samuel Topham, and Samuel H. Jones, and one hundred and two enlisted men, were wounded, of whom upwards of thirty died, and thirty-seven were taken prisoners and missing, making an aggregate loss of one hundred and sixty-nine.
On the following day, the remnant of the regiment, under command of Captain Theodore H. M'Calla, re-crossed the river at Banks' Ford, and returned to its camp at White Oak Church. On the 6th of June, with the Brigade of General Bartlett, to which it had been transferred, it again crossed the Rappahannock and skirmished with the enemy until the 13th, when it returned and took up the line of March to Pennsylvania, crossing the Potomac on the 27th and encamping near Westminster, Maryland, on the 1st of July. At evening it started for Gettysburg, marching all night and arriving on the 2d. At four P.M. it went into action no the right of the road leading to the Emmittsburg Pike, and in the rear of the rocky eminence in front of, and to the right of Little Round Top, losing one killed and six wounded. On the 3d it lay under cover in line of battle, and on the 4th pushed forward on a reconnaissance of the enemy's position. On the 5th, the enemy having withdrawn, it moved in pursuit and came up with his rear guard, skirmishing and driving it. From the 6th until the 14th it was engaged in marching and skirmishing, when the enemy escaped across the Potomac, and the campaign closed.
On the 19th the regiment re-crossed the river and marched to Warrenton, where it remained in camp until the 31st, when, with the brigade, it returned to New Baltimore for picket duty. On the night of the 4th of September the headquarters of General Bartlett were attached by guerrillas. The alarm was given, and the brigade quickly turned out, repulsing the enemy. On the 15th it broke camp, and moved to the neighborhood of Culpepper, and for three weeks was engaged in picket duty. In the active campaign which now opened--the campaign of manoeuvres--the regiment participated with the corps, sustaining little loss, and on the 1st of December went into winter quarters at Hazel River. Near the close of the month two hundred and forty-five of the original members of the command re-enlisted for a second term.
On the 2d of May the regiment, with ranks strengthened by recruits, broke up winter-quarters and moved on the spring campaign, crossing the Rapidan on the 4th. The following extract from the diary of an officer will illustrate the part it bore: "Marched on the 5th at six A.M. and advancing in line of battle through the Wilderness, effected a junction with the Fifth Corps on its right, and encountered the enemy. Became immediately engaged, and drove him steadily back, the two right companies attaining a strong position in the advance, which they maintained during the day and until relieved. In the early part of the day Lieutenant Colonel Edward Carroll was killed, and the command devolved on Captain John G. C. Macfarlan, acting Major. In line of battle all night. On the 6th skirmishing in front of our position all day until about five P.M., when the enemy opened a vigorous attack on the right in front of the Third Division. The Ninety-fifth Pennsylvania and the One Hundred and Twenty-first New York were ordered to its support, and at night were detailed for picket duty. The Ninety-fifth was afterwards drawn in, and marched to take a new line, getting a brief rest until daylight. The morning of the 7th broke with heavy cannonading. In position all day, and at seven P.M., moved over on the Orange Plank Road, marching past Chancellorsville towards Spottsylvania, and engaged more or less until the 10th. In the evening the Corps charged the enemy's works. Shifting position and manoeuvring until the 12th. Charged the enemy at Spottsylvania Court House, on the morning of that day, and partially captured his works. Remaining under fire all day the command was withdrawn at night, and retired in support of a battery where it remained until eight P.M., when it moved on to the right, marching all night. On the 14th a sharp engagement took place at Bleak Hill, in which the brigade was overwhelmed by numbers, and forced to retreat. On the 21st the regiment joined in the march to the North Anna, and assisted in destroying the Gordonsville and Richmond Railroad. Re-cross the North Anna on the 25th, and from this time until the 10th of July, when the corps was ordered to Washington, the regiment took part in all the operations in which the Sixth Corps was engaged." The aggregate losses in this campaign were one commissioned officer and forty-two enlisted men killed, and five officers and one hundred and twenty-three enlisted men wounded, of whom died of their wounds.
The regiment arrived in Washington at the moment of direct necessity, and just in time to assist in the repulse of the enemy at Fort Stevens. From this time to the 22d of September it took part in all the movements of the Sixth Corps, then attached to the army of the Middle Military Department operating on the Potomac and the Shenandoah Valley, including the battle of Fisher's Hill, in which it sustained a loss of one man killed and five wounded. It afterwards moved up the valley to Harrisonburg, and encamped there until October 6th, when it proceeded to Middletown. On the 15th, the original term of service having expired, such of the officers and men as had not re-enlisted and whose term of service had expired, in pursuance of orders from Francis J. Randall, to Philadelphia, where they were mustered out of service. The veterans and recruits, numbering nine officers and three hundred and ninety-three men, were organized in a battalion of four companies, under command of Captain John Harper. By special order of the War Department, No. 352, of 1864, the battalion of the Ninety-Sixth Pennsylvania was transferred to that of the Ninety-fifth, and the consolidated force, numbering six hundred and three men, with the proper complement of officers, was designed the Ninety-fifth Regiment.
Early on the morning of the 19th of October, the regiment was aroused from its encampment at Cedar Creek, by furious cannonading and heavy musketry firing. Hurriedly forming, it moved on the double quick to the front, encountering numbers of the Eighth and Nineteenth corps, which had been surprised and driven from their encampments. Rapidly moving into position on the left of the Sixty-fifth New York, the regiment halted, and the men took shelter under a partially dismantled stone fence, by which they were in a measure protected from the enemy's fierce musketry fire. Orders were finally received from Colonel Hamblin, commanding the brigade, to fall back "by the right of battalions," which was done in good order. As it went back, in passing an eminence on which a Union battery was posted, in imminent danger of being captured, the commanding officer being in the act of giving the word to spike the guns, Captain Harper ordered a halt, and, rallying a portion of his men around the colors, attempted to defect it; but the enemy soon came on in overwhelming force, and the Captain was compelled to fall back under a most galling fire. Proceeding to the rear, it again halted, formed line, and hastily constructed breastworks of rails and stones, where it remained for a short time, but again fell back in good order, to a point near Newtown. Here a line was established and held, and finally, a charge was made, which swept the enemy back from point to point, until the entire ground, which had been lost in the morning, was re-gained, an the troops slept that night in their camps of the previous night. The loss in the engagement was nine killed, and fifty-seven wounded and missing, Captain Thomas Burns being among the killed.
By the victory at Cedar Creek the mastery in the valley was secured to the Union commander, and the regiment remained quietly in camp near Middletown until December 1st when the corps returned to the lines in front of Petersburg. It here went into camp relieving a portion of the Fifth Corps. It took part in occasional demonstrations upon the enemy's right, at Hatcher's Run, during the winter, but for the most part remained quietly in camp until the 25th of March, 1865, when active operations commenced. On the morning of April 2d the regiment joined in the general movement on the enemy's works, which resulted in the evacuation of Richmond and the flight of the rebel army, and in the subsequent pursuit, being actively engaged in the final battle of the corps at Sailor's Creek, where Captain James J. Carroll was killed, and until the final surrender at Appomattox Court House on the 9th. It afterwards accompanied the corps to Danville, in order to co-operate with General Sherman; but upon the surrender of Johnston, returned to Richmond without being called into action, and thence marched to Washington, where, on the 17th of July, it was mustered out of service. Proceeding to Philadelphia, under command of Colonel Harper, it was paid and finally discharged on the 24th.
Source: Bates, Samuel P. History of the Pennsylvania Regiments, p. 1861-1865.
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