First Regiment
Pennsylvania Volunteers


On the 13th day of April, 1861, two days previous to the call of the President for troops, citizens of Northampton County called a public meeting at Easton, to consider the posture of affairs and to take measures for the support of the National Government. A great concourse gathered in the public square, composed of men, women and children, all filled with anxiety and fearful apprehension as they discussed the result of the popular outbreak. Eloquent speeches were made, which stirred the feelings of patriotism, and the call for volunteers was answered by the cheers of young and old. At this, and subsequent meetings, four volunteer companies were organized by Captains Yohe, Bell, Heckman, and )achradt. On the 15th of April, two days after the first meeting, and on the day of the President's call, the services of these companies were offered to, and accepted by the Governor. On the 18th, the volunteers left their homes and families, unarmed and without uniforms or equipments, and proceeded to Harrisburg.

On the 20th of April the First Pennsylvania regiment of volunteer militia for the service of the National Government was organized by the choice of the following officers:

  • Samuel Yohe, of Easton, from Captain of company C, Colonel;
  • Tilghman H. Good, of Allentown, Lieutenant Colonel;
  • Thomas W. Lynn, Major;
  • James Miltimore was designated, by Colonel Yohe, as Adjutant.
The regiment, thus organized, consisted of companies lettered, recruited, and mustered into service, as indicated at the head of the several company rolls. An excellent band of music, from Lancaster city, numbering sixteen pieces, under the leadership of Daniel Clemens, was also attached to the regiment.

Previous to the receipt of marching orders, the men were furnished with muskets and muslin haversacks, and provided with hard tack and bacon, and about twelve rounds of ball cartridge, which, for want of cartridge boxes, were carried in their pockets. On the night of the 20th of April, the regiment, under the command of Brigadier General George C. Wynkoop, left Harrisburg, and proceeded to a point near Cockeysville, on the Northern Central railroad. This movement was made with the design of protecting the bridges on this road, and eventually of opening communication with Washington, which, since the passage of the Massachusetts troops, had been broken. But, upon the representation of leading public men of Maryland, that a military occupation, and resort to violent measures, at this time, might precipitate a collision, and lead to the secession of the State, the authorities ordered* a retrograde movement, and on the following Monday evening, the command retired to Camp Scott, near the town of York.

After several days' delay, clothing and equipments, including cooking utensils, were received. The regiment remained here, drilling in anticipation of immediate service in the field, until the 14th of May, when it was detailed to guard the Northern Central railroad from the Pennsylvania line to Druid Park, near Baltimore.

On the 25th of May, having been relieved by the 12th Pennsylvania regiment, Colonel Campbell, it was ordered to move to Catonsville, Maryland, to guard the roads leading to Frederick city and Harper's Ferry. Tents and camp equipage were here supplied, which had hitherto been wanting, all efforts to obtain them having proved fruitless. On the 29th, it was ordered to advance about five miles to the village of Franklintown, where it was posted, and remained guarding the same avenues as before.

On the 3d of June, the regiment was ordered to Chambersburg, to join the forces there concentrating. It was placed in camp, remaining several days, engaged in drill and field discipline. It was assigned to the 2d Brigade,** 2d Division, of General Patterson's army. The Brigade was soon after ordered to Hagerstown, and advanced to, and encamped near the village of Funkstown. While at this place, upon one occasion the whole encampment was aroused at midnight, in anticipation of a movement of the enemy, and hurriedly marched to Williamsport, on the Potomac, which was reached at daybreak. Remaining until the following evening, no enemy being discovered, it was ordered to return to camp, reaching it about midnight. The regiment was here supplied with new uniforms. Previous to this time the men had suffered for the want of adequate clothing, though the destitution had been greatly relieved by a partial supply sent by kind friends at Easton. A few days later, on the 21st of June, orders were received from the commanding General, to prepare three days' cooked rations, and taking transportation and ten days' rations, to move with all possible dispatch, and occupy Frederick, Maryland. In obedience to this order the regiment struck tents the same evening, and on the 22d arrived at Frederick, and reported to Governor Hicks. The regiment remained here about two weeks, constantly improving in field exercises and military discipline. It was next ordered to Martinsburg, Virginia. Returning through Boonsboro it encamped the same night on Kennedy's farm, and on the following day arrived at Williamsport. Fording the Potomac, it advanced to Falling Waters. Next day, resuming the march, it arrived at Martinsburg, meeting the whole division commanded by General Patterson.

On the 8th of July, the following order was received:

Martinsburg, Va.

1st Pennsylvania Volunteers:


I am instructed by the commanding General to say that your regiment has been selected to garrison this important post, on account of the confidence reposed in the administrative qualities of the commander and the heretofore good conduct of the regiment, which give assurance of the safety of the depot, and that the inhabitants will be protected, and many now opposed to us made friends of, while the lukewarm will be strengthened in their feelings. I am sir, very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

(Signed) F. J. PORTER, A. A. G.

When, on the 14th of July, the division under General Patterson moved towards Bunker Hill, the 1st Regiment, in obedience to this order, remained at Martinsburg, which had now become the base of supply. Two days later, the regiment was ordered to Charlestown, where it again met and rejoined the division. Here, on the 17th of July, an order was received to have the men prepared with ten days' cooked rations in haversacks, and be ready to move without baggage. On this day it had been arranged that a battle should be fought by the army under M'Dowell, but was delayed till four days later.

The plan of campaign, as disclosed by the orders of the General-in-Chief, contemplated that the army under Patterson should keep in front of the enemy and prevent his advance into Maryland or Pennsylvania, and make demonstrations in favor of the army operating under M'Dowell in front of Washington, with a conditional purpose of striking the enemy a damaging blow, if a favorable opportunity offered. These demonstrations were continued till it was supposed that the contemplated battle before Washington had been fought. General Scott*** had given notice to General Patterson that the movement would commence on the 16th, again that it had been commenced on the 17th, and finally that the decisive battle would be fought on the 18th. On the 21st, the regiment was ordered to move to Harper's Ferry, from whence, on the 23d, it marched to Sandy Hook, and on the same evening took the train for Harrisburg, where the men were honorably discharged and mustered out of service.

During the time that the regiment was in service, it did not participate in any battles; but its timely arrival in the field accomplished much good by checking any rash movement on the part of Rebels in arms along our borders. The duties it was called upon to perform were faithfully done, and its good conduct, under all circumstances, was appreciated and acknowledged by its superior officers.

*This order was the result of a conference between Mayor Brown and three of his friends, of Baltimore, and the President and General Scott, wherein it was agreed, by the latter, that these troops should be withdrawn, and was issued accordingly.

**Organization of 2d Brigade, Brigadier General George C. Wynkoop, 2d Division, Major General W. H. Keim. 1st Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel Samuel Yohe; 2d Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel Frederick S. Stumbaugh; 3d Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel Francis P. Minier.

*** General PATTERSON to General SCOTT, July 9. X* * * "His (enemy's) design evidently is to draw this force on as far as possible from its base, and then to cut my line, or to attack with large reinforcements from Manassas. As I have already stated, I cannot advance far, and if I could, I think the movement very imprudent. When you make your attack, I expect to advance and offer battle. If the enemy retires, shall not pursue. I am very desirous to know when the General-in-Chief wishes me to approach Winchester. If the notice does not come in any other way, I wish you would indicate the day by telegraph, thus: ' Let me hear from you on__.'

"General SCOTT to General PATTERSON, July 12. * * *- "Let me hear from you on Tuesday, (July 16.) Write often when en route."

General SCOTT to General PATTERSON, July 17. * * * "M'Dowell's first day's work has driven the enemy beyond Fairfax Court House. The Junction will probably be carried to-morrow (July 18.)? [The battle of Bull Run was fought July 21.]
Source:  Bates, Samuel P. History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-65, Harrisburg, 1868-1871.


Organized at Harrisburg April 20, 1861.


Moved to Cockeysville on Northern Central Railroad April 20;
thence to Camp Scott, near York, Pa., and duty there till May 14.
Guard Northern Central Railroad, near Baltimore, May 14-25, and
Harper's Ferry Road May 25-June 3.
Moved to Catonsville, Md., May 25; to Franklintown May 29, and
to Chambersburg, Pa., June 3.
Expedition to Rockville, Md., June 10-July 7.
Attached to Wyocoop's 2nd Brigade, Keim's 2nd Division, Patterson's Army.
Duty at Hagerstown and Funkstown, Goose Creek, Edward's Ferry, June 18.
At Frederick June 22, and at Martinsburg, Va., July 8-21.
Moved to Harper's Ferry July 21.
Mustered out July 27, 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






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