24th Regiment
Pennsylvania Volunteers

Three-Month Unit

The Twenty-fourth regiment was principally recruited in Philadelphia,the nucleus of its organization being the Second Regiment, 2d Brigade,1st Division of Pennsylvania militia, existing under the act of 1858. Onecompany was recruited in Wilmington, Delaware, by Captain Thomas A. Smyth,afterwards Colonel of the Second Delaware regiment, promoted to Brevet-Major General of volunteers, and killed in the engagement at Appomattox Court House, the last battle of the war.

Recruiting commenced on the 23d of April, and was prosecuted with vigor by the company officers, in which they weregreatly aided by the indefatigable exertions of Major Dennis O'Kane. It wascompleted, and the men were mustered into the. service of the United Stateson the 7th of May, by Captain Thomas Neill, of the regular army. They wereprincipally of Irish birth or descent. The regiment was organized by the choiceof the following officers:

  • Joshua T. Owen, Colonel
  • Dennis Heenan, Lieutenant Colonel
  • Dennis O'Kane, Major.
With the exception of the latter, who had held the position of Major under the old militia organization, they werenew officers, John Devereux, Jr., was appointed Adjutant. The first camp of rendezvous was at Hestonville, near the city of Philadelphia, where the men were engaged in the various duties of the camp, and in squad and company drill. Subsequently, the command was removed to Suffolk Park, where instruction was continued. The regiment received frequent and substantial tokens of kindness from the citizens of Philadelphia, comprising liberal supplies of woollen stockings and underclothing, which contributed not a little to the health and comfort of the men in their subsequent exposures in a changeable climate, making their first campaign.

Early in June, the regiment broke camp at Suffolk Park, and moved to Chambersburg, where it was stationed a short distance from the town.On the 21st of June, it marched to Hagerstown, and from thence, on the following day, to Camp Porter, where it was assigned to the 5th Brigade1 of the2d Division. The counter-march of Cadwalader's Division, on the 17th of June,had the effect to draw the enemy in considerable force towards the Potomac.Colonel (Stonewall) Jackson, with a Brigade, occupied the valley, with reservesdistributed along all the approaches. Reinforcements from the army underBeauregard had been sent to Winchester with a well appointed train of artillery, for the purpose of holding the place,2 and making it secure against anyapproaches from the direction of the Potomac, north of the Shenandoah river.Consequently, when the army advanced, it almost immediately encounteredthe enemy's forces. The command under General Negley, of which the Twenty-fourth regiment was a part, formed the right wing of the advancing column, and moved by a road leading to Hedgeville, encountering the enemy's cavalryunder Ashby. Rejoining the main column at Hainesville, it moved to Martinsburg, and subsequently to Bunker Hill.While stationed at Bunker Hill, reconnoissances were made by all the waysleading to Winchester, which were found to be impeded by felled timber, andother obstructions. On the 17th of July, the column turned to the left, andmarched to Charlestown. The Twenty.fourth, after remaining a few days atthe latter place, moved to Harper's Ferry. The original term of service hadnow nearly expired, and preparations were made for a return home. But thecommanding General, finding that the rapid disbandment of his three monthe'regiments was likely to leave him without an adequate force to hold his position, made an earnest appeal to this regiment to remain in service until itsplace could be supplied by other troops. To this request it acceded, and volunteered to remain two weeks beyond the original period of enlistment. At theexpiration of this time, it was ordered to move by rail, via Baltimore, to Pila.delphia, where it arrived on the 9th of August, and was soon after musteredout of service.

1Organization of the 5th Brigade, Brigadier General James S. Negley, 2d Division, MajorGeneral William H. Keim. Fourteenth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel John W.Johnston; Fifteenth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel Richard A. Oakford; Twenty-fourth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel Joshua T. Owen.

2A gentleman of Berkeley county, of high respectability, serving under Johnston as an unwilling Virginia volunteer, subsequently gave the following statement, which was taken down by General Negley, and given to General Patterson:

"General Jackson retreated with his Brigade, consisting then of four regiments and four pieces of artillery (Captain Pendleton) to Big Spring, three and a half miles south of Martinsburg. General Johnston arrived at Darkesville the same night with about fourteen thousand men. He was then reinforced by one regiment and one battery (four guns) flying artillery. General Jackson retreated to that point. The army made a stand there for four days; they then retreated to Winchester. When we arrived there we found fortifications commenced by the militia. All the army then assisted, and in two days the city was fortified all around, within two miles of the suburbs, with intrenchments. Reinforcements commenced pouring in. Ten forty-two pounders were placed, masked, around the fortifications; also artificial thickets planted for riflemen. The force consisted of forty-two thousand, including four thousand militia." * * Conduct of tie War, Vol. II, p. 94-5.
Source:  Bates, Samuel P. History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-65, Harrisburg, 1868-1871.


Organized at Philadelphia and mustered in May 1, 1861.


Moved to Chambersburg, Pa., June 3.
Attached to Negley's 5th Brigade, Keim's 2nd Division, Patterson's Army.
Moved to Hagerstown, Md., June 16; thence to Williamsport June 18.
Occupation of Martinsburg July 3.
Advance on Bunker Hill July 15.
At Charlestown July 17.
Moved to Harper's Ferry; thence to Philadelphia and mustered out August 10, 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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