The Fourteenth Pennsylvania Volunteer Cavalry
in the Civil War

Extracted from the Regimental History
by Rev. Wm. Slease, 1915

The Fourteenth Pennsylvania Volunteer Cavalry whose roster and history are briefly recorded in the following pages was recruited in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, by authority of Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary of War and Andrew G. Curtin, Governor of Pennsylvania, during September, October, and November 1862, by James Schoonmaker, a Lieutenant of the First Maryland Cavalry assisted by William Blakely, John M. Dailey, Shadrack Foley, Thomas Gibson and others, whose names appear in the pages of this history.

James M. Schoonmaker, a Pittsburgh boy eighteen years of age, enlisted as a private in Captain Patterson's Union Cavalry of Pittsburgh in May, 1861. He was elected a corporal before the company left Pittsburgh for the seat of the war. At Washington, D. C. the company was mounted, equipped, armed and order to Williamsport, Maryland, to guard the fords of the Potomac River there, and at Cherry Run, and later ordered to Hancock, Md. Here, Corporal Schoonmaker was promoted to Sergeant. In December the company was ordered to Baltimore, and consolidated with a number of other independent companies and organized into the First Maryland Regiment of Cavalry. In the organization Captain Patterson's Company became Company G, and Sergeant Schoonmaker was promoted to Sergeant Major of the regiment. The following spring the regiment was ordered to the Shenandoah Valley to report to Major-General Banks, who had been defeated by Stonewall Jackson at Winchester, Virginia, and driven across the Potomac River into Maryland. Later this regiment was ordered to the Luray Valley and assigned to General Pope's army. It was engaged in the battle of Cedar Mountain and for bravery in the battle Schoonmaker was commissioned Second Lieutenant of Company A.

In August 1862, Lieutenant Schoonmaker was order to Washington to report to Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary of War, who ordered him to report to Governor Curtin, who authorized him to proceed to Pittsburgh and organize an independent Battalion of Cavalry. In August he opened a recruiting office in Pittsburgh. Soon the quota for a battalion was secured and report to Governor Curtin. Then both the Governor and Secretary of War authorized him to recruit a full regiment of twelve companies. Recruiting continued through September and October so that in November enough boys and men had enlisted to form a full regiment of twelve companies. These were mobilized in camps Howe and Montgomery located on the sites of Memorial Hall, Schenley Hotel, and Carnegie Library. Governor Curtin authorized Lieutenant Schoonmaker to organize his men into a regiment to be known as the Fourteenth Pennsylvania Volunteer Cavalry. The Fourteenth Pa. Cavalry was mustered into the service of the United States November 23rd, 1862. Lieutenant James M. Schoonmaker was elected Lieutenant Colonel; Thomas Gibson was chosen Major of the First Battalion; Shadrack Foley, Major of the Second; and John M. Daily, Major of the Third Battalion.

Company A was recruited in Philadelphia by Major Henry Harrison who brought it to Camp Howe, Pittsburgh, and could have been elected captain, but being too advanced in age to stand the hardships of actual warfare he declined the honor. Joseph W. Hall was elected and Henry N., son of Major Harrison was chosen First Lieutenant.

Company B was recruited in Connellsvile and Fayette County by Zaddock Walker, Thomas R. Torrence, and John H. Byers, and organized by electing Zaddock Walker captain, Thomas R. Torrence, First Lieutenant, and John H. Byers, Second Lieutenant.

Company C was recruited in Pittsburgh and Allegheny cities. Peter D. Ranke was elected Captain, Thomas R. Kerr, First Lieutenant, and Leopold Gross, Second Lieutenant.

Company D was recruited in Pittsburgh by Robert D. Pollock and William H. Wakefield who were elected captain and first lieutenant respectively.

Company E was recruited in Fayette County by Ashbel F. DuncanWalker, who at the organization of the Company was elected Captain.

Company F was recruited in Uniontown by Sheriff Calvin Springer and James J. Jackson and later Captain and first lieutenant respectively.

Company G was recruited in Pittsburgh and Allegheny by Shadrack Foley and John Bird who were elected Major and Captain respectively.

Company H was organized in Washington County by John J. Shutterly who at organization of the company was elected Captain.

Company I was recruited in Warren and Erie by William W. Miles and George R. Wetmore. The former was elected Captain and the latter first lieutenant.

Company K was organized in Armstrong County by David K. Duff assisted by James L. Kelly and John W. McNutt who were elected Captain and first Lieutenant.

Company L was organized in Armstrong County by William B. Tibbles, R. S. Kiskaddin and Samuel D. Hazlett who were elected Captain and Lieutenants respectively.

Company M was recruited in Armstrong and Westmoreland Counties by W. E. E. Welty, Matthew Wilson, and Jacob Shoop who were elected respectively Captain, first, and second lieutenants.

The regiment was made up of boys or young men from several communities, yet a few of the officers were younger than the average age of the enlisted men. Our Colonel, J. M. Schoonmaker when elected Colonel, was only twenty years and four months old. In a little more than a year after taking his regiment into some of the actual warfare, January 1st, 1864, he was assigned the command of First Brigade of General W. W. Averill's Division, of the Army of the Shenandoah, and had the distinction of being one of the youngest regimental and brigade commanders in the Union Army. Not only was he one of the youngest colonels and brevet Brigadier Generals, but also one of the most reliable ones. As he had always met the expectation of his superiors at the head of a splendid regiment whose efficiency he had helped to make, so as he entered upon the leadership of a brigade consisting of his own regiment, the 14th Pa., the Eighth Ohio, the Third West Virginia, and the 22nd Pennsylvania he had an ambition to hold the esprit de corps of the brigade at the highest possible standard. He led this brigade of splendid officers and men gallantly, on the march, skirmish, battle and charge with such credit to himself and mean, making such record for the command that General Averill and Sheridan could always depend upon Schoonmaker's Brigade anywhere within human possibility.

Source:  Slease, William, Rev. Fourteenth Pennsylvania Volunteer Cavalry in the Civil War, 1815.







U. S. C. T.

©  2015 Alice J. Gayley, all rights reserved