19th Cavalry /180th Regiment

Pennsylvania Volunteers


On the 2d of June, 1863, an order was issued from the War Department to Alexander Cummings, a citizen of Philadelphia, to recruit a regiment of cavalry for three years' service. Recruiting was immediately commenced, and with the exception of companies L and M, which were from the counties of Huntingdon and Blair, recruits were principally obtained in Philadelphia. The regiment was organized at Camp Stanton, near Girard College, Philadelphia, with the following field officers:

  • Alexander Cummings, Colonel;
  • Joseph C. Hess, Lieutenant Colonel;
  • Amos J. Holahan, Major
  • Norman M. Finlay, Major
Most of the men, and all the officers, except one, had seen service.

On the 5th of November the First Battalion, under command of Major Holahan, started for Washington, and three days after, the balance of the regiment, under Lieutenant Colonel Hess, followed. Upon its arrival, it was reported to General Stoneman, and on the 13th, was ordered to proceed to Eastport, Mississippi, and join the army of General Sherman. While en route, its destination was changed to Columbus, Kentucky, where it arrived on the 3d of December, and joined the command of General A. J. Smith. Three days afterwards it moved to Union City, Tennessee, where it was assigned to the First Brigade of the cavalry division, commanded by General B. H. Grierson, and was associated with the Fourth Missouri, Second Illinois, Seventh Indiana, and Second New Jersey Cavalry regiments, commanded by Colonel George E. Waring. Soon after taking the field, Colonel Cummings was ordered to detached service, and the command of the regiment devolved on Lieutenant Colonel Hess.

On the 18th of January, 1864, the brigade was ordered to Colliersville, where a cavalry force was concentrating, under command of General W. S. Smith, intended to operate on the flank of General Sherman's army, about to move from Vicksburg, for the destruction of railroads centering at Jackson and Meridian, and the immense supplies of grain which had been accumulated along the line of the Mobile and Ohio Railroad. The march to Colliersville, on account of bad roads and swollen streams, was exceedingly tedious, so much so, that the brigade did not reach its destination until the 5th of February.

General Grierson, with two brigades, set out on the 10th, keeping to the west of the Mississippi Central Railroad, while Colonel Waring, who followed on the 11th, moved upon the east. On the 19th, a detail of one hundred picked men of the regiment, under Major Holahan, made a dash upon the town of Egypt, drove out the rebel guards, destroyed two bridges, a portion of the railroad track, and immense quantities of corn and supplies for the rebel army. The division continued the march along the line of railway, destroying depots of grain as it went, until the 20th, when the enemy, in force, was first met, and was driven, a running fight being kept up during the entire day. At evening he was pushed across the Tombigbee, and the command went into camp at West Point. It is estimated that three millions of bushels of corn, and three thousand bales of cotton, were destroyed on this march.

On the following day, a retrograde movement was commenced, and the enemy followed closely, harassing the rear of the column. At Joy Farm, on the afternoon of the 22d, the enemy charged with great impetuosity. The First Brigade was in line and ready to receive him, and as he came within range, poured in a withering fire, and delivered a counter-charge which swept him from the field, killing and wounding many, and scattering his forces. The march was then resumed, and continued with little further interruption, until the command reached Memphis. The loss in the Nineteenth, on this expedition, was fifteen in killed, wounded, and missing.

On the 6th of April the brigade, now much reduced by the absence of its members on veteran furlough, was sent to harass Forrest, moving for his Fort Pillow slaughter. Too weak to give battle, the brigade could only impede his progress. At Cypress Swamp, Lieutenant Colonel Hess, with his own, and a battalion of the Seventh Indiana, attacked the enemy, and from noon until nightfall, a succession of charges, and counter-charges, was kept up. At evening the command was withdrawn, the Nineteenth having sustained only small loss in killed and wounded. Captain James E. Wenrick was taken prisoner, and died while in captivity, at Columbia, South Carolina. The command returned to camp at Memphis, on the 10th.

Details from the regiment were almost daily sent out for scout and picket duty, in one of which, under command of Sergeant John Dunlap, a number of men were lost, in killed and missing, the Sergeant, himself; being among the latter. In the engagement at Bolivar, on the 2d of May, the rear-guard of Forrest was struck by a detachment of the First Brigade, under Colonel Karge, and driven across the Hatchie River, Forrest made good his escape, and the Union forces, which were under the command of General Sturgis, returned to Memphis.

Early in June, Sturgis again moved with all his forces against Forrest, and met him at Guntown. After a severe battle, Sturgis was driven back, sustaining great loss in men and material. The Nineteenth acted with the infantry in this engagement, and -did good service in repelling the attacks of the enemy, while on the retreat. It lost fifteen in killed, wounded, and missing, Lieutenant Murray being among the wounded.

On the 4th of July, a detachment of one hundred and fifty men, with similar, detachments from other regiments in the brigade, all under command of Colonel Karge, moved by water to Vicksburg, and thence marched in conjunction with the forces of General Slocum, for a diversion in favor of General A. J. Smith, then moving from Memphis. At the Big Black, Port Gibson, and Grand Gulf, the enemy was met, and spirited actions ensued, in which the detachment of the Nineteenth rendered good service, and afterwards returned with the command to Vicksburg.

Early in August, General Smith again led his forces against Forrest, and the cavalry had warm engagements at Coldwater, Hurricane Creek, and Oxford. Soon after its return to camp, a detachment of the brigade, in which the Nineteenth was included, under Colonel Karge, was sent to Little Rock, Arkansas, and thence via Cape Giradeau, to Independence, Missouri, being engaged in the general movement against General Sterling Price. While upon this expedition, the regiment participated in engagements at Marion, Greensboro, Pilot Knob, Osage, and the Big Blue River. In the latter engagement, the Nineteenth joined in a sabre charge, which contributed largely to the victory which was there achieved.

After a campaign signalized by great activity, the detachment returned to Memphis, arriving on the 20th of October. During the greater part of the month of November, the regiment operated with the cavalry upon the flank of General Hood's army, who was now moving northward towards Nashville. On the 20th, Lieutenant Maurice E. Fagan, with company F, met a superior force of the enemy at Noncona Creek, and after a desperate hand-to-hand conflict, in which the sabre was freely used, drove him, inflicting severe loss.

On the 26th of November, the regiment moved by transport from Mlemphis, to Nashville, Tennessee, for the reinforcement of General Thomas, who was now threatened by the near approach of Hood. It arrived on the 3d of December, and was assigned to the First Brigade, Seventh Division, in which it was associated with the Second and Fourth Tennessee, Eleventh and Twelfth Indiana, and the Fourteenth Ohio Battery, commanded by General J. H. Hammond.

On the 12th, the regiment crossed the river, and encamped in rear of the Union trenches on the Charlotte Pike. At four o'clock on the morning of the 15th, the cavalry took position on the right wing of Thomas' combined army, in position and ready to attack, and an hour later, dismounted and moved to the assault. The battle soon became general along the entire line. The enemy's left was broken and pressed back upon his centre, when the cavalry mounted and swept the rebel flank and rear, driving it in rout until night-fall.

Shortly after daylight on the following morning, the Nineteenth was led out upon a reconnoissance, and at a point mid way between the Hardin and Granny White pikes, struck a force of the enemy, and at once attacked his out-posts, killing and wounding a number, and taking some prisoners. Skirmishing was kept up for several hours, when, it having been ascertained that the enemy was advancing in force, General Nelson, who was in position on the Hardin Pike, a mile in rear, moved forward and opened the battle. At first the enemy was forced back, but upon gaining the line of hills to the east of the Graney White Pike, made a determined stand, repulsing repeated charges of the Union troops. At two P. M., a grand charge was made, to the music of "Rally round the Flag," played by all the bands, before which the enemy was finally driven. Still he clung to every favorable position, as he went back, and fought determinedly. The final charge, just at the close of the day, was made by the Seventh Division, led by General Knipe, which swept the enemy from his position. The regiment lost in this series of battles, two killed, and a number wounded.

The enemy was now in full retreat, and on the morning of the 17th, the cavalry started in pursuit. At a point a mile beyond Brentwood, on the Franklin Pike, his cavalry was found in line of battle across the road. The Nineteenth was ordered by General Knipe to charge with the sabre. Without waiting to form line, the command dashed forward in columns of fours, and scarcely had the rebels delivered a single volley, when it was upon them. Unable to withstand the impetuosity of the onset, the rebel line broke, and for two miles, and until it reached the infantry column at Hollow Tree Gap, it was closely pressed. Here the enemy's infantry and artillery was concealed from view, and before its position was known, the regiment was charging upon it.

Suddenly saluted by canister at short range, and by showers of ballets, and being unsupported, it was unable to stand, and fell back upon the rest of the brigade. As the brigade came up, the fight was renewed, and the enemy was routed. At Franklin he again showed a determined front. In the engagement which ensued, the Nineteenth charged upon him, in position behind a stone wall, but was repulsed; moving around upon the flank of his position, and supports coming up, he was driven to a second line. Here he was again attacked, and the battle raged until nine at night, when he was driven at all points. In this day's fighting, the regiment took three stands of colors, and three hundred and fifty prisoners. Its loss in killed, wounded, and missing, was about twenty-five. Major Holahan, Captains Frank Reeder, and N. M. Smith, and Acting Adjutant James Blackstone, were among the wounded.

The enemy made good his escape across Duck River, destroying the bridges after him, in consequence of which, the Union column was delayed until the pontoon train could be brought up. On the 23d, a crossing was effected, and the pursuit renewed. On the 25th the advance came up with his rear-guard at Anthony's Hill, from which he was driven after a spirited engagement, in which the Nineteenth re-captured some of its own men. At Sugar Creek he again made a stand, and was found in good position behind a line of works. The Nineteenth was held in reserve at the ford, while a part of the command crossed and attacked. The attack was repulsed, and the force was driven back across the stream, when the Nineteenth advanced to its relief.

For thirty minutes the regiment held its position, in face of vastly superior numbers, but was at length driven back, his forces crossing the stream above and below, and completely outflanking it. Finally, the Nineteenth was dismounted, and sent, together with Myers' Ohio Battery, to attack upon his rear, while the concentrated Union force moved upon his front, when he was routed and driven. The regiment lost during this engagement, twelve in killed and wounded. This virtually ended the campaign.

On the 4th of February, 1865, while in camp at Gravelly Springs, Alabama, the regiment, which had become greatly reduced in numbers, was consolidated into a battalion of six companies, and supernumerary officers were mustered out. On the 8th, the battalion embarked at Eastport, under command of Lieutenant Colonel Frank Reeder, for New Orleans, and after a brief detention at Cairo and at Vicksburg, arrived at its destination on the 9th of March. On the 20th, it moved to Baton Rouge, where, engaged in picket and scouting duty, it remained until near the middle of August. On the 13th of June, the battalion was further consolidated to four companies. On the 25th of July, it met and defeated a detachment of General Wirt Adams' command, at Clinton.

On the 12th of August, the battalion moved to Alexandria, Louisiana, where headquarters were established, and where company B remained. Company A was sent to Shreveport, C to Monroe, and D to Natchitoches. On the 15th of December, company A was sent to Marshall, Texas, and C to Jefferson, in the same State. In January, 1866, company A had a sharp fight with guerrillas, defeating them with heavy loss. The company lost five killed.

In March, companies B and D were ordered to New Orleans, where A and C joined them in April. Here they performed provost duty until the 14th of May, when they were mustered out of service.

Source:  Bates, Samuel P. History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-65, Harrisburg, 1868-1871.


Organized at Philadelphia June to October, 1863.
Moved to Washington, D.C., November 5 and 8, 1863, thence to Eastport, Miss.,
November 13 and joined Gen. A. J. Smith at Columbus, Ky., December 3.
Attached to District of Columbus, 6th Division, 16th Army Corps, Dept. Tennessee, December, 1863.
Waring's Cavalry Brigade, 16th Corps, to January, 1864.
1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, 16th Corps, to June, 1864.
1st Brigade, 2nd Cavalry Division, District of West Tennessee, to November, 1864.
1st Brigade, 7th Division, Cavalry Corps, Military Division, Mississippi, to February, 1865.
2nd Brigade, 7th Division, Cavalry Corps, Military Division Mississippi, to March, 1865.
Cavalry Brigade, District of Baton Rouge, La., Dept. Gulf, to August, 1865. Dept. Louisiana, to December, 1865.
Dept. of Texas to May, 1866.


Moved to Union City, Tenn., December 6, 1863.
Expedition from Union City to Trenton January 22-24, 1864.
Moved to Colliersville January 28-February 5.
Smith's Expedition from Colliersville to Okolona, Miss., February 11-26.
Egypt Station February 19.
West Point February 20. Ivy Farm, Okolona, February 22.
Tallahatchie River February 23.
Operations against Forest in West Tennessee March 16-April 14.
Cypress Creek and near Raleigh April 3.
Near Raleigh April 9.
Sturgis' Expedition from Memphis to Ripley, Miss., April 30-May 9.
Sturgis' Expedition to Guntown, Miss., June 1-13.
Corinth June 6. Ripley June 7.
Brice's or Tishamingo Creek near Guntown June 10.
Waldron Bridge June 11.
Davis' Mills June 12.
Expedition from Memphis to Grand Gulf, Miss., July 4-24.
Near Bolivar July 6.
Blackwater July 10.
Port Gibson July 14.
Grand Gulf July 16-17.
Smith's Expedition to Oxford, Miss., August 1-30.
Hurricane Creek August 9.
A detachment moved to Little Rock, Ark., and
on expedition against Price, Nonconah Creek, November 20 (Co. "F").
Moved to Nashville, Tenn., November 26-December 3.
Owen's Cross Roads December 1.
Battle of Nashville December 15-16.
Hollow Tree Gap, Franklin and West Harpeth River December 17.
King's Hill near Pulaski December 25. Sugar Creek December 26.
At Gravelly Springs, Ala., till February 8, 1865.
Moved to Vicksburg, Miss., thence to New Orleans, La.,
February 8-March 9, and to Baton Rouge, La., March 20.
Duty there till August 12.
Moved to Alexandria August 12.
(Consolidated to 6 Companies February 4, 1865, and to 4 Companies June 13.)
Company "A" duty at Shreveport till December 15,
then at Marshall, Texas, till April, 1866.
Company "B" at Alexandria till March, 1866.
Company "C" at Monroe till December 15, 1865,
then at Jefferson, Texas, till April, 1866.
Company "D" at Natchitoches till March, 1866.
Companies "A" and "C" to New Orleans April, 1866.
Companies "B" and "D" to New Orleans March, 1866.
Provost duty there till May.
Mustered out May 14, 1866.


Regiment lost during service:
15 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and
3 Officers and 109 Enlisted men by disease.

Total 124.

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







U. S. C. T.

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