by R. B. Lyle, R. F. D. No. 1, Brookville
Source: The Jeffersonian Democrat, February 15th, 1906 issue
Transcribed by Shirley Pierce
The President's call of July 7, 1862, for three hundred thousand volunteers, met with a ready response in Center county. A movement was started at once to raise a Center county regiment, and it was so far successful as to make Center county dominant in the organization, and give that name to what was known universally as the 148th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers. Previous to that time the county had not been derelict in the duty of sending soldiers as it was well represented in the three months service, in the Pennsylvania Reserves, and in the three year regiments raised in 1861.
Immediately after the President's call efforts to raise the regiment began, and were prosecuted with enthusiasm and success. The movement was stimulated by an order issued from the war department on August 4, 1862, in which it was ordered as follows:
1. That a draft of 300,000 militia be immediately called into the service of the United States, to serve for nine months, unless sooner discharged. The Secretary of War will assign the quota to the states, and establish regulations for the draft.2. That if any state shall not by the 15th of August furnish its quota of the additional 300,000 volunteers authorized by law, the deficiency of volunteers will be made up by special draft from the militia.
The Secretary of War will establish regulations for this purpose.
In addition to the stimulus afforded volunteering by this order for a draft, it became apparent that an active campaign northward was contemplated by the Army of Northern Virginia. To be ready to meet such a movement on the part of General Lee, the organization of troops then under way was hurried forward, that they might be put in the field as soon as possible.
These conditions hastened the organization of the 148th Regiment, and prevented the realization in full of the purpose to raise an exclusive Center county regiment. The final result was seven companies from Center county, one from Clarion, one from Indiana, and one from Jefferson, although several of these companies had men from other counties that the one to which the company was accredited. Two of the Center county companies were made up of boys who were attending the academies at Boalsburg and Pine Grove, and as many of these were from outside of Center county, they were not exclusively Center county organizations, although credited as such in the regimental formation. Company E was made up of detachments from Armstrong, Indiana and Jefferson counties, but was always counted as an Indiana county company. Company F, although credited as from Center county, had men in it from Cameron, Elk and Huntingdon. Company I was almost wholly from Jefferson. Company K was mostly from Clarion county, but had some men from Montgomery county. A careful examination of the enlistments in the several companies showed that at least thirteen counties were represented in the regiment, to-wit: Armstrong, Blair, Cameron, Center, Clarion, Elk, Huntingdon, Indiana, Jefferson, Juniata, Mifflin, Montgomery and Perry.
As an act of justice to every individual patriot who served in any Union regiment taking part in the war of the rebellion, the history of every regiment should be written and copies placed in the various public libraries throughout the land. But besides, there are special reasons why our regiment, the 148th, should be on record.
Of the 2,047 regiments that served in the Union army, the 148th Penn'a Volunteers was one of three hundred fighting regiments listed in "Fox's Regimental Losses." It stands number thirty in the list of forty-five regiments that lost 200 men and upwards killed in battle, with the record of 210 men killed out of a total enrollment of 1,339. It stands (notwithstanding the fact that it went out a year later than many of the regiments contained therein) numbered fourteen in that splendid sifted list of twenty-three regiments which gave fifteen percent and upwards of their blood for the flag. They are here given as set out by Colonel Fox, with his introductory words as follows:
"The regiments in the following list can fairly claim the honor of having encountered the hardest fighting in the war. They may not have done the most effective fighting, but they evidently stood where the danger was thickest, and were the ones which faced the hottest musketry. They were all well known, reliable commands, and served with unblemished records." The percentage of loss is reached in this table by counting as killed all who died of wounds, and taking the maximum enrollment of each regiment:
2d Wisconsin 1,203 238 19.7 1st 1st Main Heavy Art. 2,202 423 19.2 2d 57th Massachusetts 1,052 201 19.1 9th 140th Pennsylvania 1,132 198 17.4 2d 26th Wisconsin 1,089 188 17.2 11th 7th Wisconsin 1,630 281 17.2 1st 69th New York 1.513 259 17.1 2d 11th Penna. Reserves 1,179 199 16.6 5th 142d Pennsylvania 935 155 16.5 1st 141st Pennsylvania 1,047 167 16.1 3d 19th Indiana 1,246 196 15.9 1st 121st New York 1,426 226 15.8 6th 7th Michigan 1,315 208 15.8 2d 148th Pennsylvania 1,339 210 15.6 2d 83d Pennsylvania 1,808 282 15.5 5th 22d Massachusetts 1,393 216 15.5 5th 36th Wisconsin 1,014 157 15.4 2d 27th Michigan 1,101 169 15.3 12th 5th Kentucky 1,020 157 15.3 4th 27th Michigan 1,485 225 15.1 9th 79th U. S. Colored 1,249 188 15 7th 17th Maine 1,871 207 15 3d 1st Minnesota 1,242 187 15 2d
It will be noticed that six of these twenty-three regiments, or more than one-fourth of them, were from Pennsylvania, and seven of them belonged to the Second Corps.The 148th was present in every battle of the Army of the Potomac from Chancellorsville to Appomattox, and was in the hottest of the fighting in all of them except the Wilderness. At Spottsylvania it lost 301 in killed, wounded and missing, the greatest loss of any infantry regiment on that field.
In the personnel of its officers and men; in their character for sobriety, morality, courage and patriotism; in their soldierly habits of order, obedience and personal cleanliness; in the perfection of regimental organization, drill and discipline; in its appearance on dress parade and review; in the order, regularity, and cleanliness of its camps; in its prompt and cheerful response to every call for duty; in its endurance on the tiresome march and the hardships of exposure and privation; and in the supreme test of battle, where its courage and dash, its daring and its staying qualities were proved on more than twenty bloody fields, the 148th Pennsylvania Volunteers had no superior.
In the matter of returns and reports its record was altogether exceptional. From the very first every officer was trained to forward promptly and fully every report required. The result was, that our officers on their discharge from service were able to settle their accounts with the government in a day, and to draw their final pay without an hour's delay. We do not say this to disparage any other regiment, or to dim their glory in the least. We all did only our duty as soldiers. We concede to every soldier the privilege of upholding his own regiment, and concede to all the privilege of thinking his was in the hottest of the battles.
The Colonel of the 148th was as brave an officer as there was in the Army of the Potomac, and we are glad he still survives, although minus a leg, lost at Reams Station, on August 25th, 1864. He was wounded four different times, the last time losing a leg, which caused him to be mustered out of service December 22d, 1864.
The old Second Corps had some of the best corps commanders in the army. Major General Edwin V. Sumner commanded it from March 13th till October 9th, 1862; Major General Couch from October 9th, 1862, till June 10th, 1863; Major General Hancock from June 10th, 1863, to November 24th, 1864; Major General Humphreys from November 25th, 1864, till June 28th, 1865. They were all fighting generals, and the record of the corps is good throughout its entire history. The First Division of this corps, in which the 148th served throughout its entire enlistment, had for its commanders such officers as Generals Caldwell, Miles, Brooks, Carroll, Barlow and others of the same type. Our Colonel, James A. Beaver, commanded it for a short time, and he measured up equally with those named. He was a fine commander, whether in charge of a regiment, brigade or division.
Company I, which went from Brookville, had the youngest enlisted soldier in the regiment, John M. Davis, who was only fourteen years of age when he entered the service. The larger number of the men in the 148th were yet in their teens when they enlisted. Manassas Kerr, of the same company, was the oldest man in the regiment. He was living one year ago at the age of one hundred and six years.
The following list embraces the names of all the survivors of Company I, 148th Pa. Volunteers, with the post office address of each one, as far as the same can be ascertained:
Joseph Arthurs, Strattanville, Pa.
Harrison Catts, Corsica, Pa.
Lewis Cobbs, Brookville, Pa.
Wallace Coon, Sigel, Pa.
John M. Davis, Brookville, Pa.
I. S. Davis, Brookville, Pa.
Calvin Dixon, DuBois, Pa.
Christopher Gearhart, Troutville, Pa.
I. J. Grenoble, Gettysburg, Pa.
Jacob Haugh, Brookville, Pa.
John M. Love, Callensburg, Pa.
R. B. Lyle, Brookville, Pa.
Lyman E. Mapes, Howe, Pa.
B. F. McGiffin, Topeka, Kansas
Nelson P. O'Connor, Hazen, Pa.
Samuel Ransom, Fisher, Pa.
Jacob B. Rumbaugh, Chicora, Pa.
J. W. Smith, Knoxdale, Pa.
Richard R. Snyder, Corsica, Pa.
Lewis R. Stahlman, Brookville, Pa.
Shelum Swineford, Brookville, Pa.
Johiel Vasbinder, Brookville, Pa.
Frank W. Clark, New Castle, Pa.
R. M. Wadding, Brookville, Pa.
Dr. J. E. Hall, Clatskanie, Oregon
John W. Demott, Brookville, Pa.
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