History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers,


So long as differences arise among nations, which cannot be settled by peaceful conference, and appeals are made to the arbitrament of the sword, the only safety that remains to a government is in the courage of its soldiery. In the late sanguinary struggle, the national unity was preserved, and the perpetuity of democratic institutions secured, by the men who bore the musket, and who led in the deadly conflict. Argument and moral sentiment were at fault, diplomacy was powerless, and courage proved the only peacemaker.

In recognition of their services, and as a mark of the appreciation in which their valor is held, the Legislature of Pennsylvania autorized the preparation of a record of each of the military organizations in the field since 1861. By the act of May 4th, 1864, it was provided that there should be prepared "a military history of the organization of Pennsylvania volunteers and militia, who have been, or may be in the field."

By the act of April 17th, 1867, it is more explicitly set forth, "'that the military history of the Pennsylvania volunteers shall embrace an account of the organization, and services in the field, of each regiment, together with a roll giving the name, age, and residence of each officer and soldier, the date and term of enlistment, the promotions, the discharges, and casualties, and the places of burial of those who died in the service."

Though the first act bears date of May, 1864, nothing was done towards the execution of its provisions until June 1st, 1866. At that date, His Excellency, Governor CURTIN, appointed and commissioned me to commence the work. There was, at that time, no material in hand, except a partial file of muster rolls in the Adjutant General's Office, from which to compile the proposed history. Not even the post-office addresses of officers were known, who after the conclusion of the war had become widely scattered. Application was made to the War Office at Washington for access to the books and records of Pennsylvania regiments; but this, fiom first to last, was stubbornly refused, as were the applications from all the other States of the Union.

The only recourse, therefore, for the information necessary to prepare the required histories of regiments, was to the officers who commanded them; and as these were often changed during the war, the work of collecting it was thereby greatly multiplied. I immediately addressed myself to the task of soliciting reports, by circulars, and by an extensive correspondence, and for upwards of a year, without any aid, was employed seeking the necessary material. To one inexperienced in a work of this kind, little conception can be formed of the difficulties that were encountered. Often the ascertainment, or verification of a single fact, involved a long correspondence, and a laborious research.

On the 1st of July, 1867, I was commissioned by His Excellency, Governor GEARY1 to continue and complete the work in accordance with the further provisions of the act of the April previous, and three clerks were appointed to assist me. Up to this date nothing whatever had been done in the preparation of the regimental narratives for publication; but the reports had been so far collected as to warrant its commencement. In general the material furnished was very voluminous, and its mastery involved patient toil. In addition to the reports of regimental officers, the reports of battles and campaigns made by General officers, the evidence elicited by the Congressional Committee on the Conduct of the War, and numerous histories and serial records, have been consulted. In the composition of the work I have aimed to give a plain, faithful statement of facts, awarding to each organization full credit for whatever of importance it accomplished, according to the best information at my command, omitting trivial and unimportant details. No statement has been made that did not seem to rest upon authentic information, and where any serious doubt of the reliability of a fact has existed, it has been rejected.

The history of each organization, through its entire career, is given by itself. This method enables one better to understand the operations of an army in its entirety than any other. Indeed, the veritable history of a battle can only be well known by seeking it in detail. It must be sought as Mr. BATCHELDER has sought the information for his great map of the Battle-field of Gettysburg, by separate organizations, and which enables him to post each regiment, and show when and where it fought. "Men present in a battle," says THUCIDIDES, "are not able to see all that passeth: each single combatant can barely relate what happened about his own person."

But while the regiment is the unit of an army, and preserves its identity in battle, it also sustains intimate relations to the brigade, the division, the corps, and the army. While, therefore, the particular narrative has been confined, in the main, to the operations of the regiment, so much of the operations of the higher organizations has been given as to illustrate its relations with them, and to preserve the thread of the general narrative.

The rolls have been so prepared as to show the main items of the record of each individual soldier. This record has been collated from the muster-in rolls, special muster-in rolls, muster-out rolls, special muster-out rolls, provost marshal rolls, veteran rolls, special and general orders of the War Department, and regimental and company books.

In the collation of these papers great diligence has been exercised to secure accuracy; but the manner in which the rolls were kept by the various company officers was very unequal-the details upon many of them being full and complete, while upon others they were very meagre. These inequalities must, consequently, extend to the published records, as only partial remedies for the defects existed.

The date of death, place of burial, and number of grave, of those who fell or died while in rebel prisons, and are buried in the National Cemeteries, have also been incorporated. These facts have been carefully drawn from the burial records prepared and published by the National Government, under the direction of the Quartermaster General. This information will be found, in some particulars, to be incomplete, inasmuch as the government has been unable to obtain the records of some of the rebel prisons, and the graves of many soldiers were unmarked and unknown. A large reward has been offered by the National authorities for the burial record of the prison at Florence, South Carolina, one of the most horrible of its class, and in which many Pennsylvanians yielded up their lives; but, as yet, no trace of it has been discovered. The names of a large number of the dead, known to be Pennsylvanians, but the organization to which they belonged unknown, have been preserved, and will be published together in the concluding volume. The burial records of a few which have been ascertained since the printing has been completed, are given at the close of this volume.

Notwithstanding great care has been exercised to avoid them, it is possible that some errors may appear. If any are discovered, it is earnestly requested that information concerning them be promptly given, that they may be corrected in future issues. The records of a few men have been changed by orders of the War Department since the printing was done. These, together with a few errors discovered, are corrected in the "Errata."

The maps which accompany this volume have been drawn under my direction by Mr. L. R. BOGGS, compiled from the most authentic sources, in general from the official war maps, and have been lithographed especially for this work. Maps to illustrate other campaigns will follow, so that together they will cover the whole ground where Pennsylvania troops fought. For the purpose of ready reference, the year in which the events treated occurred, is given at the head of the page, and the particular dates are freely interwoven in the narrative. History is but an answer to three questions, when? where? and what? Indeed, geography and chronology, which have been declared to be the two eyes of history, are so intimately interwoven with it, that they have come to be regarded as a part of its substance, and no historical work is now considered complete that is not provided with maps, and a full system of dates.

I take great pleasure in acknowledging my indebtedness to Governor GEARY, under whose direction, by provision of law, the work has been prepared, and who, amidst the cares of the chief magistracy of this great Commonwealth, has found time to patiently and critically examine the sheets as they came from the press; to Doctor JOHN H. GIHON, the Governor's private secretary, who has read the proof sheets, and who, from his practical knowledge of Book-making, has given valuable advice in regard to its mechanical execution; to Mr. R. E. ASHELBY, chief clerk. who has had charge of the rolls, has read the proofs of them, and has assisted me in digesting the material for the regimental narratives; to Messrs. S. ROATH, L. R. BOGGS, F. H. CoUSE, and J. V. FENN, clerks, for their care and fidelity in copying the rolls; to the Adjutant General, for access to the records of his office; to Mr. J. R. SYPHER, for his History of the Reserve Corps, which has been freely consulted; to Messrs. E. M. WOODWARD, A. F. HILL, and W. P. LLOYD, for regimental histories; and to the officers who have promptly reported the operations of their commands, and have extended to me their countenance and sympathy, without which the execution of the work would have been impossible.

S. P. B.
October 13, 1868.







U. S. C. T.

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