The percentage of killed in the soldiers of the Keystone State, as based upon the white troops, is greater than in the quota of any other Northern State. This high percentage of loss in battle was largely due to the fact that nearly all the Pennsylvania troops served in Virginia, where the territory was better contested and the war more prolonged. Then, again, the Pennsylvania regiments were second to none. The cavalry of the State were, as a whole, unsurpassed; they saw plenty of hard fighting, and their total losses in action exceed the cavalry losses of any other State.1
A peculiarity in the numerical designations of the Pennsylvania regiments was the consecutive numbering, irrespective of the arm of the service to which they belonged. The volunteer regiments, as fast as they were organized, were numbered as volunteers; but at the same time some of them were given other numbers, pertaining to their arm of the service. The infantry regiments bore numerical designations identical with their volunteer numbers; but the cavalry and artillery were numbered as such, their titles being synonymous with their numbers in the volunteer line. The cavalry and artillery were never known by their volunteer numbers; hence, the apparent vacancies and lack of consecutive numbers in the list of Pennsylvania regiments. This consecutive numbering-- including, as it did, all arms of the service-- had the effect of running the numbers of the last infantry regiments beyond those furnished by any other State, and creating an impression that Pennsylvania furnished more regiments than any other. No number was repeated in the Pennsylvania line, while in other States the numerical designations of the regiments were repeated by each arm of the service.
The regimental numbers apparently vacant, with their synonymous designations, were:
30th Penn. Volunteers 1st Penn. Reserves 31st Penn. Volunteers 2d Penn. Reserves 32d Penn. Volunteers 3d Penn. Reserves 33d Penn. Volunteers 4th Penn. Reserves 34th Penn. Volunteers 5th Penn. Reserves 35th Penn. Volunteers 6th Penn. Reserves 36th Penn. Volunteers 7th Penn. Reserves 37th Penn. Volunteers 8th Penn. Reserves 38th Penn. Volunteers 9th Penn. Reserves 39th Penn. Volunteers 10th Penn. Reserves 40th Penn. Volunteers 11th Penn. Reserves 41st Penn. Volunteers 12th Penn. Reserves 42d Penn. Volunteers 13th Penn. Reserves 43d Penn. Volunteers 1st Penn. Artillery 44th Penn. Volunteers 1st Penn. Cavalry 59th Penn. Volunteers 2d Penn. Cavalry 60th Penn. Volunteers 3d Penn. Cavalry 64th Penn. Volunteers 4th Penn. Cavalry 65th Penn. Volunteers 5th Penn. Cavalry 70th Penn. Volunteers 6th Penn. Cavalry 80th Penn. Volunteers 7th Penn. Cavalry 89th Penn. Volunteers 8th Penn. Cavalry 92d Penn. Volunteers 9th Penn. Cavalry 108th Penn. Volunteers 11th Penn. Cavalry 112th Penn. Volunteers 2d Penn. Artillery 113th Penn. Volunteers 12th Penn. Cavalry 117th Penn. Volunteers 13th Penn. Cavalry 152d Penn. Volunteers 3d Penn. Artillery 159th Penn. Volunteers 14th Penn. Cavalry 160th Penn. Volunteers 15th Penn. Cavalry 161st Penn. Volunteers 16th Penn. Cavalry 162d Penn. Volunteers 17th Penn. Cavalry 163d Penn. Volunteers 18th Penn. Cavalry 180th Penn. Volunteers 19th Penn. Cavalry 181st Penn. Volunteers 20th Penn. Cavalry 182d Penn. Volunteers 21st Penn. Cavalry 185th Penn. Volunteers 22d Penn. Cavalry 204th Penn. Volunteers 5th Penn. Artillery 212th Penn. Volunteers 6th Penn. Artillery
Vacant numbers were also caused by the failure of the following regiments to complete their organizations: the 10th Cavalry; 4th Artillery; 86th, 94th, 120th, 144th, 146th, 156th, 164th, 170th, and 189th Infantry. The 66th Regiment, after serving about seven months, was disbanded and transferred to the 73d and 99th Regiments.
The first twenty-five regiments of volunteers from this State served in 1861, at the commencement of the war, but were enlisted for three months only; these regiments are omitted in the above tabulation, except the 11th and 23d Regiments, which re�nlisted for three years and retained their original designation.
In addition to these twenty-five volunteer regiments of three-months men, Pennsylvania sent to the Army, in 1863, 34 regiments of militia for ninety days' service; also, about 5,000 more emergency-men in separate companies or battalions. Two of these companies served three years, and five of them nine months.
The deaths in the first twenty-five volunteer regiments, and in the thirty-four militia regiments, in 1863, and in the miscellaneous companies, and in all other commands omitted in the above tabulated list of Pennsylvania organizations,-- aggregated 112 from disease and 2 killed in action.
Five companies of Pennsylvania Militia were the first volunteer troops of the war that arrived at Washington, they having marched promptly to the defense of the National Capital at the first note of alarm. These companies were the Ringgold Light Artillery, of Reading; the Logan Guards, of Lewistown; the Washington Artillery and National Light Infantry, of Pottsville; and the Allen Rifles, of Allentown. They entered the city at 7 p. M., on the 18th of April.2 On the following day, the 26th Pennsylvania and the 6th Massachusetts arrived at Baltimore en-route for the Capital, and in the fight with the mob in the streets of that city the 26th Pennsylvania lost one man killed and several wounded.
The nine-months regiments from Pennsylvania furnished some noteworthy items to the casualty lists of the war. For instance:
125th Pennsylvania Antietam 145 130th Pennsylvania Antietam 178 131st Pennsylvania Fredericksburg 175 132d Pennsylvania Antietam 152 133d Pennsylvania Fredericksburg 184 134th Pennsylvania Fredericksburg 148 151st Pennsylvania Gettysburg 2333 203d Pennsylvania4 Fort Fisher 191
The greatest battle of the war was fought on the soil of Pennsylvania, and by a well-ordered fortune the first volley to greet the invading foe flashed from the rifles of a Pennsylvania regiment. To the 56th Pennsylvania Infantry, Colonel J. W. Hofman commanding, belongs the historic honor of firing the first volley on that field. The skirmishers of Buford's Cavalry were earlier on the field, but were only holding the ground until the infantry columns could arrive and open the battle. Cutler's brigade was the first infantry to arrive, and General Cutler states officially that the 56th was the first regiment of his brigade to open fire.5
1Some of the cavalry regiments of other states failed to receive their horses; they served dismounted, as infantry, and were cavalry only in name.
2History of the Penna. Volunteers by S. P. Bates.
3Not including 102 missing or captured.
4Enlisted for one year.
5History of the Penna. Volunteers by S. P. Bates.
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