© Alice J. Gayley, all rights reservedTHE Ninth regiment was formed from companies, assembled at Camp Curtin, from widely separated sections of the State. These companies were recruited by the men who afterwards became their officers, and arrived in camp from the 20th to the 23d of April, 1861. Without any previous concert of action, with a view to a regimental organization, ten companies were brought together, and the regiment was organized by the choice of the following officers:At the time of the choice of officers Colonel Longnecker was in New York city, but immediately on being informed of his election, hastened to Harrisburg, and joined his regiment. From the date of its organization, April 22d, to May 4th, it remained at Camp Curtin, during which time it received arms and accoutrements, and was subjected to daily drill.
- Henry C. Longnecker, of Allentown, Lehigh county, Colonel
- W. H. R. Hangen, of Allentown, Lehigh county, Lieutenant Colonel
- Charles Glantz, of Easton, Northampton county, Major
- Thomas S. Bell, of West Chester, was appointed Adjutant.
On the 4th of May, the regiment proceeded by rail to West Chester, arriving about nine o'clock in the evening, in the midst of a severe storm of snow and sleet. No provision had been made by the government for food or quarters for the troops; but they were cordially welcomed by the citizens, and provided with every thing necessary for their comfort; and so long as they remained in the vicinity of the town, they received frequent and substantial tokens of kindness.
The court house, and a commodious public school building, were thrown open for their reception. A healthy and beautiful location was selected for a camp, which was designated by Colonel Longnecker, the commandant, Camp Wayne, in honor of General Anthony Wayne, this being the immediate neighborhood of his revolutionary exploits. The regiment practiced company and battalion drill with great assiduity. A few days later, the Eleventh regiment, under command of Lieutenant Colonel Coulter, joined the Ninth, at Camp Wayne, where Colonel Longnecker had erected permanent quarters of lumber, the government not having furnished tents. It was some time before clothing was provided, and, when received, it proved to be of inferior quality.
The Ninth regiment moved by rail on the 26th of May, via Philadelphia, to Wilmington, Delaware. It was ascertained that bands of disloyal citizens were in camps of instruction, preparing to join the rebels, and this regiment was thrown into the State to encourage and strengthen the loyal sentiment, and to prevent the sending of troops to the rebel army. A camp was formed at Hare's Corners, at the intersection of the road leading from Wilmington to New Castle, and the great highway running parallel to the Delaware river, some three or four miles from New Castle. Remaining here until the 6th of June, the regiment was ordered to join General Patterson's command, at Chambersburg, to which place it proceeded by the Northern Central and Cumberland Valley roads. The Ninth was attached to the 4th Brigade, of the 1st Division, commanded by Colonel Dixon S. Miles, of the Regular army, who was subsequently killed at Harper's Ferry.1
On Thursday, the 13th of June, the Brigade moved from Chambersburg on the road to Greencastle, and encamped near the Rhode Island command of Governor Sprague, and the regiment of Colonel Burnside. Advancing to the Potomac, on Sunday, the 16th of June, Miles' Brigade crossed the river, the Ninth holding the right of the column, and encamped about three miles from the stream, on the road from Williamsport to Martinsburg. The ferry at Williamsport had been destroyed by the rebels, and the troops were obliged to wade, the water reaching to the arm pits of the smaller men of the command.
On the 17th of June, Colonel Miles, with his detachments of the Second, Third, and Eighth regiments of U. S. infantry, was ordered to Washington. He accordingly turned over the command of the balance of the Brigade to Colonel Longnecker, the ranking officer, and ordered him to return to Williamsport with the three volunteer regiments, and report in person to the commanding General of the Division, Major General Cadwalader.
Recrossing the river, the Brigade encamped near the ford, which it was commanded to hold. In this camp the regiment remained, drilling, performing picket duty, and experiencing the varied alarms incident to an inexperienced soldiery, until July 1st, when the whole army, in and about Williamsport, began to move across the river, in the direction of Martinsburg. The enemy under Jackson having been driven back in the engagement at Falling Waters, the Ninth encamped on the following night on a portion of the battle ground.
Advancing on the following day to Martinsburg, it went into camp, where it remained till the 15th of July, when the 4th Brigade moved out on the Winchester pike, to Bunker Hill. As early as the 8th of July, a general forward movement had been decided on by the commanding General, with the design of giving battle to the enemy concentrated at Winchester and Bunker Hill, and the order had been issued for the army to move in two columns, led by the Brigades of Thomas and Stone. But before the movement had commenced, General Patterson was induced to hold a conference with his principal officers, at which the opposition2 to an attack was so decided that the order for the advance was countermanded. The means of transporting supplies were inadequate, and the difficulty of guarding the line was increasing with every day's advance.
The tenacity with which the enemy held his position at Winchester, and fortified himself against all approaches from Bunker Hill, indicated a confidence in his ability to successfully hold it. In an entrenched camp, miles in extent, and well provided with artillery and cavalry, the rebel leader, with every advantage in his favor, was evidently willing to give battle. Subsequent experience has abundantly shown the hazard of attacking fortified positions with even superior forces. A communication,3 forwarded from the War Department three days later, showed that the intentions of the enemy were correctly interpreted by this Council of War.
On the 17th of July, Colonel Longnecker's Brigade moved from Bunker Hill towards Charlestown, and encamped that evening in the vicinity of the town. Remaining here until the 21st, it moved to Harper's Ferry, where it crossed the Potomac, fording the river near the ruins of the National armory, and encamped about a mile back on the Maryland side.
On the 22d of July the Ninth regiment, Colonel Longnecker, and the Thirteenth, Colonel Rowley, were ordered to march the same day for Hagerstown, and thence by rail to Harrisburg, the period of enlistment having expired. Arriving at Harrisburg on the 24th, the men were paid, and mustered out of service.
This regiment was well drilled, and under excellent discipline, and had opportunity offered, would doubtless have shown good soldierly qualities in battle. The health of the men throughout the term of service was good, no serious sickness prevailing, and the regiment suffered no loss by death or desertion.
1 Organization of 4th Brigade, Colonel Dixon S. Miles; 1st Division, Major General George Cadwalader. Detachments of 2d and 3d U. S. infantry, Major Sheppard, commanding; Ninth Pennsylvania volunteers, Colonel H. C. Longnecker, commanding; Thirteenth Pennsylvania volunteers, Colonel Thomas A Rowley, commanding; Sixteenth Pennsylvania volunteers, Colonel Thomas A. Zeigle, commanding.
2 MINUTES OF COUNCIL OF WAR, HELD JULY 9, 1861, AT MARTINSBURG, VIRGINIA.
— Captain Simpson, Topographical Engineers. The difficulty of our present position arises from the great facility the enemy has to concentrate troops at Winchester from Manassas Junction. By the railroad, twelve thousand men could be sent there in a day, and again sent back to Manassas. Our forces should combine with the forces at Washington. Captain Newton, Engineers. Our present positionis avery exposed one. General Johnston can keep us where we are as long as he pleases, and at any time make a demonstration on our rear. Our wholelineis a false one. Wehave no business here, except for the purpose of making a demonstration. He threatens us now. We should be in a position to threaten him. We should go to Charlestown, Harper's Ferry, Shepherdstown, and flank him. Colonel Stone. It is mainly a question for the staff. Our enemy has great facility of movement, and to extend our line would be accompanied with great danger. Johnston should be threatened from some other point. * * * General Negley, ditto to Captain Newton. Colonel George H. Thomas, approves of a flank movement to Charlestown. Colonel Abercrombie, the same. General Keim, the same. General Cadwalader, opposed to a forward movement. Conduct of the War, Vol. II, p 85.
Washington, July 11, 1861.
Major General PATTERSON,
The author of the following is known, and he believes it authentic:
WASHINGTON, July 9, 1861.Conduct of the War, Vol. II, p. 86.
The plan of operations of the Secession army in Virginia contemplates the reverse of the proceedings and movements announced in the "Express" of yesterday and Saturday. A schedule that has come to light, meditates a stand, and an engagement by Johnston, when he shall have drawn Patterson sufficiently far back from the river to render impossible his retreat across it on being vanquished, and an advance then, by Johnston and Wise conjointly upon M'Clellan, and, after the conquest of him, a march in this direction, to unite in one attack upon the Federal forces across the Potomac, with the army under Beauregard at Manassas Junction, and the wing of that army, the South Carolina regiments chiefly, now nine (9) miles from Alexandria. Success in each of these three several movements is anticipated, and thereby not only the possession of the Capital is thought to be assured, but an advance of the Federal troops upon Richmond prevented. * * * Real retreats, which have been anticipated, it will be seen, are, by this plan, altogether ignored. According to it, fighting and conquest are the orders.
E. D. TOWNSEND,
Assistant Adjutant General.
Source: Bates, Samuel P. History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-65, Harrisburg, 1868-1871.
Organization:Organized at Camp Curtin, Harrisburg, April 24, 1861.
Attached to 4th Brigade, 1st Division, Patterson's Army
Service:Moved to Camp Wayne, West Chester, May 4;
thence to Hare's Corners, Delaware, May 26, and
duty there till June 6.
Moved to Chambersburg, Pa., June 6. Duty at Chambersburg till June 13.
Advance to the Potomac June 13-16.
Near Williamsport till July 1.
Falling Waters July 2.
Occupation of Martinsburg July 3.
Advance to Bunker Hill July 15.
At Charlestown July 17-21, thence moved to Harrisburg via Hagerstown.
Mustered out July 29, 1861.
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
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