13th Regiment

Pennsylvania Volunteers

The call of the Governor for troops was nowhere received with a more hearty, or immediate response, than in the city of Pittsburg. The Washington Infantry, a militia company, under the command of Captain Thomas A. Rowley, was rapidly recruited to more than two hundred members, all desirous of serving in a body. To satisfy this desire, on its arrival at Camp Curtin, it was organized in three companies, from which, with two other companies already in camp, a Battalion was formed, to be commanded by Captain Rowley as Major.

Other companies fiom Pittsburg and vicinity arriving soon after, sharing in the same local pride, were incorporated with the Battalion, and a regimental organization effected, by the choice of the following officers:

  • Thomas A. Rowley, of Pittsburg, Colonel
  • John N. Purviance of Butler, Lieutenant Colonel
  • W. S, Mellinger, of Monongahela City, Major
  • Joseph M. Kinkead, of Pittsburg, was appointed Adjutant
The regiment was mustered into the service of the United States on the 25th of April, by Captain Seneca G. Simmons, and on the following morning moved to Camp Scott, near the town of York. Only three of the officers, the Colonel, Adjutant, and one Captain-members of the First Pennsylvania regiment in the army of Occupation in Mexico-had had any previous military experience. But the alacrity with which every order was obeyed, and the ardent desire manifested by both officers and men to acquire a complete knowledge of their duties, rendered the instruction both easy and pleasant. The result of the six-weeks training at Camp Scott, though the weather during a considerable portion of the time was stormy, was most satisfactory.

On the 4th of June, the regiment moved to Chambersburg, and on the 11th to Camp Brady, south of the town, reporting to Colonel Dixon S. Miles, commanding the 4th Brigade,1 1st Division of Patterson's corps.

On the 14th, the column began to move, the Thirteenth reaching Greencastle the same night. This was the first actual march under arms and full equipments. On the following day it was continued to Camp Reily, near Williamsport.

On Sunday the 16th of June, the Thirteenth was assigned to the advance of the column, and passing through Williamsport about noon-just as the worshiping congregations were dismissed-forded the Potomac, and were the first volunteers from the North to reach Virginia on this line. Advancing a few miles, the division encamped in a position well selected for defence, which was designated Camp Hitchcock. Remaining until the 18th, the command was ordered back to the Maryland shore, all the regulars belonging to the corps, with the cavalry and artillery, having been ordered to Washington. On the return march, the Thirteenth was again assigned the post of honor, that of rear guard to the column. Returning to the neighborhood of Williamsport, it encamped in a position to command the principal ford. Details were furnished, chiefly from this regiment, for fatigue duty in constructing a permanent field work, or redan, for the use of Captain Doubleday's battery. hen completed, three siege guns of heavy calibre were placed in position, and their range tested by a shot from each, which, ricochetting on the hard turnpike on the opposite side of the river, caused sundry rebel horsemen, who were intently watching the operations, to beat a hasty retreat.

When Patterson's army again advanced on the 2d of July, the Thirteenth and the Eighth Pennsylvania regiments were detailed to garrison Williamsport, and to protect communications with the base of supply. Cut off, thus, from the position at the front which they coveted, the men were determined to show their prowess, if not in arms, with the pen. Procuring the use of the "Williamsport Ledger" office, they commenced the publication of the "Pennsylvania Thirteenth," devoted to the patriotic sentiment of the camp, and to the more elevated tone of wit and humor prevalent in the ranks. The first number was issued on the 4th of July, 1861, and was continued, at intervals, until after the battle of Antietam, in September, 1862, a portable printing-press and materials having been purchased, and moved with the regiment. The establishment was finally lost amidst the confusion on that hotly contested field. Early on the morning of July 4th, the regiment was ordered to escort the Rhode Island battery, belonging to Colonel Burnside's command, to Martinsburg. The pieces were moved with difficulty across the ford, but were safely reported to the commander early in the evening. Engaged in picket and fatigue duty, until the 16th, it moved to Bunker Hill, and occupied the camps just vacated by the rebels, taking possession of their forage and their camp fires, still alive.

On:the 17th, a forced march was made to Charlestown. Nearly the whole distance, over dusty roads, was performed at a "double quick." At a cross roads, called Smithfield, a halt was made, by order of General Patterson, a line of battle formed, the artillery placed in battery, and every thing put in readiness for action. This manceuvre was executed with the design of protecting the column against a sudden dash of the enemy's cavalry, which hung upon the flank and rear of the army in considerable force. The regiment remained in camp at Charlestown until the 21st, when it was ordered to Harper's Ferry. Starting without guides, and mistaking the way, it made a wide detour of some half dozen miles, and arriving at the Potomac late at night, was obliged to ford the river in the darkness, leaving some of the wagons in the middle of the stream until morning.

On the evening of the 22d, it again struck tents, and marched to Hagerstown, whence, on the 25th, it moved by the Cumberland Valley railroad to Harrisburg.

Here, for the first time since their organization, the men began to exhibit impatience. Their campaign had been a bloodless one. Demagogues endeavored to convince them that they were no longer under obligations-their term of enlistment having expired-to obey the orders of their officers. This state of affairs might have resulted disastrously, had not the previous good discipline created a feeling of confidence in their officers, and made their expressed wish, equivalent to an order.2 As soon as transportation could be furnished, the regiment moved to Pittsburgh where an ovation awaited it. On the 6th of August it was paid and mustered out of service.

Previous to this it had been determined to organize a new regiment for three years or the war, and within two weeks from the disbandment, Colonel Rowley with five companies departed for Washington, and before the end of the month had ten full companies in camp. Recruits still continued to arrive, until the organization embraced twelve hundred men. Reporting directly to the War office, the regiment was not recognized by the State authorities, nor its officers commissioned, until a large number of three years' regiments had been placed in the service. Hence it was numbered the One Hundred and Second, although it was among the first recruited.

1Organization of the 4th Brigade, Colonel Dixon S Miles, 1st Division, Major General Geo. Cadwalader. Detachments of Second and Third U. S. infantry, Major Sheppard; Ninth regiment Pennsylvania volunteers, Colonel Henry C. Longneeker; Thirteenth regiment Pennsylvania volunteers, Colonel Thomas. A. Rowley; Sixteenth regiment Pennsylvania volunteers, Colonel;Thomas A. Zeigle.

2 The Thirteenth regiment, when upon the point of taking the cars, homeward bound, were called on to repress a disturbance occurring near the Headquarters of the Division commander, at one of the principal hotels in Harrisburg, and arrived so promptly, in such good order, exhibiting such complete discipline, that further action was unnecessary.

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


Organized at Camp Curtin, Harrisburg, and mustered in April 25, 1861.
Moved to York, Pa., April 26, and duty there till June 4.
Moved to Chambersburg June 4.
Attached to 4th Brigade, 1st Division, Patterson's Army.


Moved to Greencastle June 14, thence advance on Williamsport June 15-16.
Goose Creek, Edward's Ferry, June 18.
At Williamsport till July 4.
Escort Rhode Island Battery to Martinsburg.
Moved to Bunker Hill July 16, and to Charlestown July 17.
To Harper's Ferry July 21.
Moved to Harrisburg, Pa., and mustered out August 6, 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






U. S. C. T.

Direct questions or comments to pacivilwar@pa-roots.net

©  Alice J. Gayley, all rights reserved

Web Space provided by