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of the 

Forty-Fifth Regiment 


Veteran Volunteer Infantry 


Edited and Arranged by 
ALLEN D. ALBERT, Private of Company D. 




Comrades ; 





Andrew G. Curtin 
The War Governor of Penna. 


This book reminds me of the manner in which we started on 
many an important march. Reveille at three in the morning, fall 
in at four, false starts and standing in line until weary and finally 
off at six-thirty or later. 

In the early seventies several beginnings were made to organize 
a movement to write a regimental history but beyond naming officers 
of the regimental association and historian and collecting a few 
dollars for expenses the attempts died an early death. 

The wife of the editor had been taught patriotism in school and 
at home and being resolved that her children should know of the 
Civil War and its battles, for years commemorated the anniversaries 
of those battles in which her husband had participated. On the 
forty-fifth anniversary of the Battle of the Wilderness she called 
together her husband and Comrades R. C. Cheeseman, N. A. Lucas 
and W. A. Roberts, and their wives, and, in response to an invitation 
to be present in spirit if not in person, Gen. James A. Beaver wrote 
a letter and appealed to the comrades in the city of Washington to 
take up the work of a regimental history. The meeting accepted 
the trust, organized the Washington Association of Survivors of 
the Forty-fifth Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, with Brevet Major 
R. C. Cheeseman as president, A. D. Albert secretary, and W. A. 
Roberts treasurer. The association worked so energetically and 
effectively that a regimental reunion was called to meet in Williams- 
port, Pa., on March 2d, 1910. Some sixty of the surviving com 
rades answered roll call, and encouraged by the speeches of General 
Beaver, General J. I. Curtin, Judge R. G. Richards and others, and 
inspirited by the reports of the officers of the Washington Associa 
tion, proceeded to elect the officers of that organization as the offi 
cers of the Regimental Association and appointed the Secretary the 
editor of the history. The necessary committees were also appointed, 
and the work progressed rapidly and favorably, handicapped, how 
ever, by the death of Major Cheeseman, March 25th, 1910. His 
successor was chosen in the person of First Sergeant John B. Emery, 
who put all of his business success and energy into the making of 
the history, with good results. 

The Editorial Committee met in Wellsboro, Pa., April 2oth, 
1911, examined manuscript, and owing to the quantity being greater 
than the proposed volume required, duplications and autobiographies 
were to a great degree eliminated. 

The joint committees met in Williamsport on April 25th, and 
made the necessary arrangements to launch the history. 

Special credit is due to Sergeant Eugene Beauge, who, besides 
contributing chapters of regimental history, not only furnished other 
necessary material for the history but also gave freely in time and 
labor as a member of the Editorial Committee. 

In concluding I desire to thank the Ladies of the Washington 
Association for their untiring devotion to our interests; 

Lieutenant Thomas J. Davies and Judge R. G. Richards of the 
Editorial Committee; 

First Sergeants W. H. Musser and W. H. Mitchell, Lieutenant 
E. E. Myers, Treasurer W. A. Roberts, Captains L. W. Lord and 
Charles T. Fryberger, Sergeant Sylvester Houghton and W. L. 
Hershey for their zeal and patience in working out the trying de 
tails of the rosters; and Lieutenant J. J. Rogers, Sergeants Josiah 
McManigal and Theophilus Lucas, and J. C. Roosa, W. H. Fry and 
others for valuable assistance. 

This book is intended as a history of the Forty-fifth Pennsyl 
vania Volunteer Infantry and not as a history of the Civil War. 


First Lieut. W. T. Fitzgerald 



We are fighting for our country, 
We re fighting for our trust, 
We are fighting for our native land 
Where sleeps our fathers dust; 
It shall not be dissevered 
Though it cost us bloody wars, 
For we never will give up that land, 
Where floats the Stripes and Stars. 


Hurrah ! Hurrah ! for equal rights, hurrah ! 
Hurrah ! Hurrah ! for our country s Flag, 
The grand old Stripes and Stars. 

We know our cause is holy, 

We know we re in the right, 

And twenty million freemen 

Stand ready for the fight; 

Our bride is fair Columbia, 

No stain her beauty mars ; 

O er her we ll raise that grand old Flag, 

The glorious Stripes and Stars. 


We do not want your cotton, 
We do not want your slaves, 
But sooner than divide this land 
We ll fill your Southern graves; 
With Lincoln for our leader 
We ll wear our battle scars, 
For we never will give up that Flag, 
The grand old Stripes and Stars. 


And when the war is over 
We ll each resume our home, 
And treat you then as brothers 
Wherever you may roam; 
We ll pledge the hand of friendship 
And think no more of wars, 
Dwelling in peace beneath that Flag, 
The grand old Stripes and Stars. 


Fort Drayton, S. C, January, 1862. 



Chapter I Our First Year 13-36 

1 The Organization 

2 In South Carolina 

James A. Beaver 

Chapter II The Right Wing in South Carolina 37- 46 

Eugene Beauge 

Chapter III The Maryland Campaign 47-50 

W. A. Roberts 

Chapter IV The Forty-Fifth at South Mountain 51-56 

Eugene Beauge 

Chapter V The Forty- Fifth in Kentucky and Mississippi 60- 81 

Eugene Beauge 

Chapter VI Recollections of Campaigning in East Tennessee.. 82- 97 
J. H. Buckley 

Chapter VII Itinerary of the East Tennessee Campaign 98-110 

Thomas J. Davies 

Chapter VIII Home on Veteran Furlough. 

Rendezvous at Annapolis. The Wilderness 111-120 

W. A. Roberts 

In the Wilderness. Singing Under Fire 120-122 

R. G. Richards 

Battle of the Wilderness 123-126 

Thomas J. Davies 

Chapter IX From the Wilderness to Petersburg 127-148 

Eugene Beauge 

Chapter X Battle of the Crater 149-159 

R. G. Richards 

Chapter XI Weldon Railroad and Pegram s Farm 160-175 

Eugene Beauge 

Chapter XII Closing Events 176-187 

Eugene Beauge 



The Band 193-195 

Jarid C. Irwin 

Personal Reminiscences of the War 195-200 

George W. Eminhizer 

Sketch of Company C 200-204 

James S. Mitchell 

Memoranda from the Diary of Captain John O. Campbell 204-213 

Mrs. J. M. Adair 

History of Company E 213-224 

W. H. Musser 

Formation of Company F 224-248 

L. W. Lord 

Letters of Lieutenant Samuel W. Haynes 248-262 

Mrs. Jane W. Haynes 

On Guard 262-263 

W. T. Fitzgerald 

Company G at Camp Curtin and Camp Casey 263-269 

Eugene Beauge 

Organization of Company H 269-271 

John C. Roosa 

Organization of Company I 

Sylvester Houghton 

Experience of an Orange Recruit 

E. E. Myers 

Lieutenant Colonel F. M. Hills 304-305 

Sylvester Houghton 

A Chaplain s Reminiscences 

F. A. Cast 

Medical History of Our Regiment 

James A. Myers 



Sketch of Surgeon Davison 322-323 

Horrors of Rebel Prisons 324-332 

James F. Deuel 

In Libbey and Salisbury Prisons . 332-335 

Alexander Duncan 

My Experience in Prison Life 336-351 

E. W. McElroy 

Life in Prison and Hospital 352-359 

J. B. Emery 

Escape from Rebel Prison 360-375 

R. G. Richards 

Capture of Flag of the Sixth Virginia Infantry 375-376 

Frank Hogan 

A Few Incidents of the Civil War 376-377 

Otis Smith 

Recollections of a Recruit 378-380 

W. J. Arthur 

Never Absent a Day 380-381 

John G. Heberling 

Two Boys Off for the War 381-384 

Ira Odell 

John J. Rogers 385-386 

My First Battle 386-387 

William H. Watrous 

Personal Reminiscences 387-389 

J. H. Strickler 

My Campaigns 

Maryland 47-50 

Virginia 389-392 

Kentucky 392-393 

Mississippi 393-398 

East Tennessee 398-409 

W. A. Roberts 

The Itinerary 410-418 

Eugene Beauge 

Our First Colonel. . 419- 



Field, Staff and Band 423-426 

Roland C. Cheeseman 

Company A 426-435 

Roland C. Cheeseman 

Company B 435-444 

M. S. Mullin and A. D. Albert 

Company C 445-454 

James A. Mitchell and Josiah McManigal 

Company D 454-464 

Charles T. Fryberger 

Company E 464-473 

W. H. Musser 

Company F 473-484 

L. W. Lord 

Company G 484-496 

Eugene Beauge 

Company H 497-505 

A. D. Albert 

Company 1 506-514 

Sylvester Houghton 

Company K 514-524 

W. A. Roberts 

Brevet Colonel Theodore Gregg 524-526 

W. T. Fitzgerald 

Brevet Major R. C. Cheeseman 526-527 

A. D. Albert 

Captain J. O. Campbell 

Mrs. J. M. Adair 

Lieutenant Levi R. Robb 

T. J. Davies 

General J. B. Gordon s Horse 

3Ute to the F 
C. W. Wood 

A Tribute to the Forty-Fifth 530 



Lieut. Col. James A. Beaver 

Our First Year 




That was a proud moment for Company H, Second Regiment 
Pennsylvania Volunteers, when, in response to the appeal of the 
commander of the army in which it served, every officer and man 
stepped to the front to signify their willingness to remain in the 
service after the expiration of their term of enlistment. 

The company to which I have referred made no conditions. It 
simply expressed its willingness, in the most prompt and hearty way, 
to remain under any conditions, if, in the judgment of the command 
ing general, it was thought desirable to do so. 

I was the first lieutenant of that company. Our captain, Dr. 
John B. Mitchell, a most excellent officer in every way, had a lame 
ankle, which prevented his exercising the company in regular com 
pany drill. He was usually in command in the battalion move 
ments understood them thoroughly, and was able to handle the 
company in an intelligent and capable way but the details of drill 
depended largely, upon me. I had great love for tactics, and took 
great pride in our company, so the extent of our company drills not 
only impressed the men with their number and variety, but made an 
impression generally as to the efficiency of the company and its 
superiority in drill, and, as a consequence, in discipline. 

This, I think, at least from the military point of view, led to sev 
eral proposals to me by gentlemen holding superior rank, to unite 
with them in organizing a regiment for three years service. Among 
those who made this proposition was Lieutenant Colonel Thomas 
Welsh, of our three months regiment. I agreed to join with him 
in raising a regiment for three years, of which he was to be the 
colonel and I the lieutenant colonel. Although perfectly ready, 
and indeed anxious, to remain in the service in the position which 
I then occupied, as long as our commanding general thought it nec 
essary or advisable, I confess that I w r as somewhat relieved when, 
as a consequence of the halting assent of some of the companies of 
our regiment, directions were given that it should take up its line 
of march for Harrisburg, in order to be mustered out. 

14 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

It is not only highly probable, but I think practically certain, 
that one of the chief causes of the approach of Colonel Welsh and 
others to me to join with them in raising a regiment for the war 
was the fact that I was from the same town as the Governor of 
Pennsylvania, and that I could probably help at least in securing 
authority to raise the regiment and ultimately be able, through the 
Governor, to influence companies to join it. 

At this time, however, the relations between the War Depart 
ment at Washington and the state administration at Harrisburg 
were not cordial, and anyone who was familiar with the strained 
personal relations which existed between the Secretary of War and 
the Governor of Pennsylvania will not be at a loss to understand 
this. The War Department had not only declined to accept the 
Pennsylvania Reserves, which had been organized under the author 
ity of the legislature and executive of Pennsylvania, but it was un 
derstood that no regiments would be accepted unless organized and 
recruited under direct authority from the War Department. 

In view of this condition of affairs, and of the further fact that 
I was personally acquainted with General Cameron, it was agreed 
between Colonel Welsh and myself that on our way to Harrisburg 
I should leave the regiment for a time and visit Washington, with 
a view of securing authority from General Cameron, then Secre 
tary of War, to recruit a regiment in Pennsylvania. Accordingly, 
as our route to Harrisburg led over the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad 
from Harpers Ferry to Baltimore, I left it at the latter place and 
visited Washington, with the above-mentioned object in view. 

At Baltimore, July 2ist, 1861, I wrote my mother: "We are 
here on our way home. The regiment will go to Harrisburg to 
day. I intend going over to Washington on business and will join 
the regiment at Harrisburg, to be mustered out. The company will 
expect me to go with it to Bellefonte. If I can avoid doing so I will 
stop at home before going there. We came by way of Harpers 
Ferry on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. The scene of ruin and 
ruthless devastation at Harpers Ferry beggars description. I could 
scarcely have believed in such Satanic passion in men, had I not 
seen the results." 

When I reached Washington the result of the battle of Bull Run 
was known there, and there was intense excitement, uncertainty, 
and gloom, and not a little trepidation. 

Our First Year 

One of the casulaties of the battle of Bull Run was the death 
of Col. James Cameron, of the Seventy-ninth New York regiment, 
known as "The Highlanders." He was the brother of the Secre 
tary of War. Not finding General Cameron at his office, and my 
relations with his family being such as warranted it, I called at his 
house, found him in the library, stretched upon a lounge, prostrated 
with grief over the death of his brother. Being ushered into his 
presence, and finding that my visit was not regarded as an intrusion, 
I was gradually led to unfold its object and, as a result, received 
authority, very cordially given, to recruit the regiment, of which I 
expected to be one of the field officers. The readiness with which 
this request was granted by the Secretary of War, and the friend 
liness manifested to me personally, were explained later when I 
went to ask a much greater favor on behalf of the Forty-fifth Regi 
ment, of which I shall speak in its proper place. 

On my return to Harrisburg, in an interview w r ith Governor 
Curtin, I received, in writing, dated July 22d, 1861, his promise to 
make me lieutenant colonel of the first regiment raised under State 
authority. I had a verbal promise also that Colonel Welsh should 
be its colonel. 

Armed with this double authority, I returned home after the 
muster-out of our three months company, and immediately ar 
ranged to recruit five companies in Centre County. The time was 
auspicious. Sentiment \vas intensely patriotic. It was not difficult 
to recruit men. More men had offered themselves for the Pennsyl 
vania Reserves than could be accepted. The three months men 
were discharged and many of them were anxious to return to the 
service. I arranged almost immediately for two companies in the 
immediate neighborhood of Bellefonte, one to be recruited by John 
I. Curtin, and the other by William Raphile. They commenced to 
recruit about the middle of August. Later, Austin Curtin recruited 
an additional company, and Henry Stevens and J. Oliver Campbell 
started a company early in September, to be recruited from the 
southwestern portion of the county, in the townships of Halfmoon, 
Ferguson, etc. 

Before completing my arrangements for the five companies, how 
ever, and while recruiting was going on rapidly in those already 
provided for, I was summoned by the Governor to go to Harrisburg, 
about the 5th of September, to assist Colonel Welsh in the man 
agement of Camp Curtin. On the Qth of September I was regu- 

1 6 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

lady installed in the discharge of my duties there, my special duties, 
as expressed at the time, being u to muster in the troops as they ar 
rived, to frank soldiers letters in the peculiar manner fixed by Con 
gress, and take command in the absence of Colonel Welsh." Later, 
as the troops multiplied and the office duties increased, Colonel 
Welsh confined himself more particularly to the duties of the office, 
and I had charge of all the outside arrangements of the camp, look 
ing after its policing, after the guard duty, the installing of new 
companies as they arrived, etc. \Vithin a day or two after my ar 
rival, I wrote : "We have over 5,000 men here now and more are 
constantly arriving. It is becoming rather unwieldy, and we will 
make an effort to despatch two or three regiments this week and 
thus reduce the number of men and give us more room." 

It was intended that Capt. J. Merrill Linn s Company, of Lew- 
isburg, of which my brother, Jacob Gilbert Beaver, was second lieu 
tenant, should be attached to our regiment ; but inasmuch as we were 
to be retained in Camp Curtin indefinitely, and companies were 
needed to fill up other regiments, this company was later assigned 
to the Fifty-first Regiment, commanded by Colonel John F. Hart- 
ran ft. This Avas true of several other companies which we had in 
tended to have mustered into our regiment. 

Colonel Welsh was summoned to the command of Camp Curtin 
so early after his discharge in the three months service that he had 
little time to personally superintend recruiting in Lancaster County, 
where his home was. He, however, brought one full company from 
his home town Columbia and another company not more than 
half filled from Maytown. The company recruited by Captain 
Raphile, was not full when it reached Camp Curtin, and a combi 
nation was formed, by which the Maytown squad in command of 
Captain Haines and that of Captain Raphile, from Bellefonte, should 
be united, Haines becoming the captain and Raphile the first lieu 
tenant. This afterwards became Company B of the Forty-fifth 

The company recruited by John I. Curtin, who had served in 
Company H, Second Regiment, was the first company, whose ranks 
were filled, and it became Company A. 

About the 25th of September a company recruited in Belleville, 
Mifflin County, where my mother resided, came into camp and ex 
pressed a desire to join our regiment. This, with the three com 
panies which I had provided for in Centre county, and Linn s com- 

Our First Year 17 

pany from Union County, made the five for which I felt personally 
responsible; and when I had this arrangement made I considered 
that my contract in regard to the raising of the regiment had been 
fully complied with. 

The union of Haines and Raphile s, however, and the trans 
fer of Linn s company from our regiment to the Fifty-first, left us 
still four companies short. Subsequently an arrangement was made 
by which a company composed of squads from Wayne and Tioga 
Counties, and three others recruited in Tioga and Potter Counties 
were united with those which had been in camp for a number of 
weeks, so as to complete the organization of the regiment and enable 
it to prepare to take the field. In order to effect this result, John 
M. Kilbourne, of Potter County, who was connected with these 
companies in some way, was agreed upon as the major of the regi 

The final organization of the regiment took place on the 2ist 
of October, 1861, which happened to be my twenty- fourth birthday. 
The organization, so far as the colonel and lieutenant colonel were 
concerned, had been fixed from the beginning; but on that day the 
regimental organization was completed, and stood as follows : 

Colonel, Thomas Welsh, of Columbia, Lancaster County ; Lieu 
tenant Colonel, James A. Beaver, of Bellefonte, Center County; 
Major, John M. Kilbourne, of Potter County; Adjutant, Theodore 
Gregg, of Center County (promoted from first lieutenant of Com 
pany A) ; Quartermaster, John McClure, of Columbia, Lancaster 
County; Surgeon, Dr. George L. Potter, of Bellefonte, Center 
County; Assistant Surgeon, Theodore S. Christ, of Lewisburg, 
Union County; Chaplain, William J. Gibson, D. D., of Center 

Noncommissioned staff: Sergeant Major, Harvey H. Benner, 
of Bellefonte, Center County; Quartermaster Sergeant, Amos Mul 
len, of Columbia, Lancaster County ; Commissary Sergeant, Jaco 
S. Roth, of Lancaster County; Hospital Steward, W. Godf 
Hunter; Principal Musician, George Dyer; Band Leader, Thor 
D. Grant, of Northumberland County. 

The companies composing the regiment were: Company 
Captain John I. Curtin, of Center County; Company B, Captain 
Henry A. Haines, of Lancaster County; Company C, Captaii 
Ham G. Bigelow, of Mifflin County; Company D, Captain Au< 
Curtin of Center County; Company E, Captain Henry Stevens, o 

1 8 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

Center County; Company F, Captain Charles E. Parker, of Wayne 
County; Company G, Captain Nelson Whitney, of Tioga County; 
Company H, Captain Edward G. Scheiffelin, of Tioga County; 
Company I, Captain Francis M. Hills, of Tioga County; Company 
K, Captain Ezekiel Y. Rambo, of Lancaster County. 

The band, which was then allowed in regimental organizations, 
was composed of men recruited in Sunbury, Northumberland 

The day following the organization Governor Curtin presented 
to the regiment what was know r n as the State Flag carried by Penn 
sylvania regiments, in addition to the colors issued by the United 
States Government. It was a United States Flag, with coat of arms 
of Pennsylvania in the field of blue, surrounded by the stars rep 
resenting the States of the Union. The presentation of this flag 
was quite a notable occasion and attracted a very large crowd, as 
well of citizens from Harrisburg as the thousands of soldiers in 

The regiment left Harrisburg at noon on the 22d of October, 
was transported by rail to Washington, where it arrived on the 
23d, and encamped a short distance from the Capitol on the Bladens- 
burg road. It was attached to what was known as "Casey s Pro 
visional Division," and was finally assigned to the brigade com 
manded by Gen. O. O. Howard, and went into camp with his 
brigade on Sunday, the 2/th of October, the ground occupied by 
its camp being a part of the battlefield of Bladensburg in the war 
of 1812. 

On the 2cl of November orders \vere received to prepare for an 
expedition, leaving our tents and camp equipage, and taking pro 
visions for six days, returning to our camp when the object of the 
expedition was attained. 

Persistent rumors of trouble in the election, which was to oc 
cur in the State of Maryland, on Tuesday, November 5th, had been 
circulated and seemed to be well founded. The object of our ex 
pedition, as we subsequently learned, was to march to Prince Fred 
erick County, in order to preserve peace at the polls. After prayers 
by the Chaplain, our march commenced Sunday, November 3d, 
1 86 1, about ten o clock in the morning. The Forty-fifth was in the 
advance, and I had the honor of leading, with Captain Rambo s 
Company. We marched fourteen miles that day. I have full notes 
of the march until our return to camp. Whether an attempt to 

Our First Year 19 

prevent an election had really been intended or not it is difficult now 
to say. The presence of the troops undoubtedly allayed any dispo 
sition and prevented any effort in that direction. Several arrests 
were made, however, including one ex-member of Congress, who 
was taken by the troops on their return to camp and turned over to 
the authorities at Washington. 

It was splendid practice for our men. Although we were sup 
posed to have had six days provisions, as required by orders, I 
find, at the close of the fifth day the significant remark in my diary : 
"Short of provisions." As a result of this, the entry for the next 
day, Friday, the 8th of November, reads: "Started at n p. m., 
yesterday for Washington for rations; rode all night; reached 
Washington about daylight this morning; had everything ready ex 
cept wagons before nine o clock ; waited for them till I p. m. : 
loaded and off before 3 p. m. ; met our regiment a little ways from 
Centreville, Company H having had nothing to eat during that 
day. Provisions got to camp as soon as the regiment reached there," 
etc., etc. 

Another little incident of camp life is also noted: "Cooked 
breakfast myself this morning; Isaac not to be found; a perfect suc 
cess ; off in good time, marching in fine style and reaching our old 
camp home by I p. m. Found nearly all left at home sick; some 
of them sick unto death." 

This last entry recalls the fact that the location for our camp 
could not have been worse. It was on low, swampy ground, had 
been camped upon previously, and was, as a consequence, full of 
disease and vermin. After our return to camp, on November 
nth, I was appointed field officer of the day and took occasion t 
embody in my report the following morning a vigorous kick 
the matter of our camp. My report, a copy of which I preserve* 
reads : 

"The camp of the Forty-fifth Regiment is almost entirely sur 
rounded by a swamp ; is upon ground formerly occupied by other 
troops, and is entirely unfitted for a camp. The large number 
sick in hospital and quarters, the general feeling of the men an 
the decided expression of opinion by brigade and regimental 
geons would argue in favor of a change to more commodious ai 
healthful grounds. The camp is filthy with vermin, and camp 1 
is alarmingly on the increase. Smallpox has, to a limited extent, 
and measles, to a large extent, taken hold of the men, and depression 

2O Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

of spirits and consequent neglect of duty is the result a result of 
all others to be lamented and dreaded among volunteer troops." 

This protest, together with others which were made in person 
to General Howard by Colonel Welsh, led to a final order to make 
a change, but not until disease had carried off a number of our men 
and had taken hold of many others. 

Before the orders for a change were issued, I made a visit to 
the Secretary of War, recalling our previous conversation, in which 
he had said to me very cordially that if at any time he could be of 
any service to me he wished I would call upon him. He then told 
me why he had made that remark: that my maternal grandfather 
had helped him financially when he was a contractor upon the Penn 
sylvania canal, and had always been his friend, and that he had 
never had an opportunity to return the kindness, and now he would 
be glad to do anything in his power to serve me. 

I requested, in view of the sickness in our regiment, and the 
consequent depression of the spirits of our men, that a decided 
change be given us, and suggested that if re-enforcements were 
needed, as the newspapers said was likely, for the expedition which 
had previously gone to the south and had captured the forts at the 
entrance to the harbor at Beaufort, S. C, that we be sent there. 
The Secretary said he would give the matter consideration and that, 
if re-enforcements were to be sent there, we should have the first 

Whilst we Avere in the very midst of arranging our new camp, 
after the order for removal had been given, the orders for embark 
ing at Baltimore for Fortress Monroe came. Whether Colonel 
Welsh remained behind for any purpose I am not able to say; but 
on the 2Oth of November, 1861, I made a provision return in Balti 
more for the regiment, signing it as Lieutenant Colonel command 
ing, of which I retained a duplicate, for one-third of a clay s rations 
for 860 men, making 287 rations in all. 

The strength of the command at that time, as taken from verbal 
reports of the officers at the Union Relief Stations, No. 119 and 
121, Camden Street, Baltimore, was: Co. A, 94; Co. B, 86: Co. C, 
84; Co. D, 87; Co. E, 93; Co. F, 75; Co. G," 85; Co. H, 84; Co. 
I, 87; Co. K, 87; Band, 19. 

There seems to have been no allowance for the noncommissioned 
staff, and there must have been some sick, for the provision return 
shows a requisition for but 860. 

Our First Year 2 i 

The next clay, November 2ist, I wrote to my mother: "Our 
regiment is just now embarking on the steamer Pocahontas for 
Fortress Monroe, there to await further orders. We expect to be 
part of new reenforcements for General Sherman at Beaufort, S. C. 
It was for that favor that I applied to General Cameron, and he 
generally does what he promises. We will be under the orders of 
the commandant of Fortress Monroe and may be sent somewhere 
else than to South Carolina. I will write you from Fortress Monroe 
particulars of our trip. We got our orders to march yesterday and 
were ready in two hours." 

The explanation of our being able to break camp and march in 
such a short time \vas that our new camp had not been pitched, and 
we were at the time in a transition state. 

The trip to Fortress Monroe was a pleasant one and my impres 
sion is we camped upon the main land some distance in the rear of 
the fort. 

The measles, which had been contracted in our old camp at 
Bladensburg, broke out with great violence here and the men of 
the regiment will doubtless remember the general demoralization 
w^hich ensued. The weather was not very inclement, however, and 
the change had clone us good. I am very sure we escaped what 
would have been a most disastrous epidemic if we had remained 
about Washington. 

This epidemic of measles at Fortress Monroe was recalled to my 
attention several years after in a very curious way. In the winter 
after my discharge from the army, late in 1864 or early in 1865, I 
entered the parlor of a private residence in Belief onte. What 
was known as the "Rochester knockings," supposed to be inspired 
by invisible spirits, was then not only the topic of conversation, but 
of experiment in many quarters. When I entered the parlor, a 
number of young ladies were surrounding a table. Before very long, 
apparently without any effort on their part, except the mere touch 
of their fingers, the table began to move. The inquiry was made in 
the usual way as to the person with whom the spirit, supposed to 
be present, washed to communicate and, after a number of others 
had been named, when my name was mentioned, it gave an affirma 
tive response. After many questions, an affirmative response was 
given to the question "Is it one of my old soldiers?" and, after 
numerous inquiries, very specific, it was said to be a member of one 
of the companies of the Forty-fifth Regiment from Tioga County, 

22 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

who had died with measles at Fortress Monroe. I do not remem 
ber distinctly whether the name was spelled out or not and if it 
was I do not think I ever verified it by a resort to the rolls of the 
regiment. When the message, which was being communicated to 
me, had reached the point "I leave my the table was violently 
agitated, and I suppose fortunately for me one of the legs broke 
off, and the communication was never finished. I began to get very 
much frightened, fearing that perhaps this old comrade was leaving 
his wife and children to my care. The breaking of the leg of the 
table, however, saved me, and I never knew whether he was agi 
tated upon that subject or not. 

You all remember our pleasant camp at Fortress Monroe and the 
improvement in the health of the regiment. We remained there 
about two weeks, and, when we left, with the exception of those 
who were left behind on account of sickness, there was a marked 
improvement in every respect. 

On the 5th of December, 1861, I wrote my mother: "We have 
orders to move this morning; destination Port Royal. Three com 
panies will go aboard the transport steamer Illinois, the balance 
of the regiment on board the steamboat Cosmopolitan. I will, in 
all probability, go with the three companies A, B and C on board 
the Illinois, on which will be embarked also the Seventy-sixth Penn 
sylvania Regiment (Colonel Powers.) 

"The paymaster visited us yesterday, leaving about $20,000 with 
the regiment. The greater part of it is being sent home, and very 
little disposition is evinced by the men to indulge in gambling and 

I quote the latter part of this extract from my letter with great 
pleasure. It was written at the time with both pleasure and pride ; 
and it may be said now as well as any time that the disposition of 
the men of our regiment to care for their families and to make 
good use of their money \vas characteristic of them. They were 
good, substantial citizens, for the most part, alive to the duty which 
they owed to their country, but not forgetful of what they owed to 
their families while serving their country. 

Take it all in all this little stop by the way at Fortress Monroe 
was of great use to the regiment in many ways. We had time and 
opportunity for good battalion drill, and the weather and climate 
were such that our men recovered in a remarkable degree from the 
measles and other ills which afflicted them at the time. 

Our First Year 


In South Carolina 

We sailed under a cloudless sky and over a waveless ocean for 
the entire trip, the captain of the Cosmopolitan telling me sub 
sequently that we might go to sea all our lives and never have such 
a voyage. Hatteras was passed during the night, but even that 
region, famed for its almost universal tempestuousness, was quiet 
and subdued. The voyage from Fortress Monroe to Port Royal was 
practically without incident. When the Illinois attempted to 
enter the harbor, however, on the loth of December, being at low- 
tide and the channel of insufficient depth, or because of the ignor 
ance of the pilot, we went aground on a sand bar, the ebb and flow 
of the tide causing a continual bumping of the boat upon the bar, 
which suggested anything but a pleasant ending of the experience. 
There was not much sleep that night. Serious apprehension was in 
all minds, and like the vicinity of a battleground prior to the en 
gagement, the surrounding waters were liberally dotted with play 
ing cards. However, when the tide reached its flood, by the help 
of a tug or other vessel \ve were released and entered the harbor. 
The same day the companies on the Illinois were transferred from 
it to the land by means of a steamer of light draft the Delaware 
the Illinois being unable to approach the shore. 

Before we landed, however, the regiment was ordered divided, 
and the destination of the several battalions of the regiment was 
fixed by General Sherman, in accordance with which Colonel Welsh 
and the headquarters of the regiment, with companies B, F, G, H 
and K, went, as designated by him, to Otter Island, a small sand 
island in St. Helena Sound and opposite the mouth of the North 
Edisto River; and Companies A, C, D, E and I were ordered to 
Bay Point to occupy Fort Seward, formerly Fort Beauregard, which 
commanded the north entrance to Port Royal Harbor, and which 
was nearly opposite Hilton Head Island, on which were the head 
quarters of the Expeditionary Corps commanded by General T. \Y . 
Sherman, in addition to the principal fortifications. 

Company C was posted at a small fortification about a mile 
from Fort Seward. The island had been a famous ocean resort for 

24 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

southern people. Instead, however, of the fine attractions and ac 
commodations of a northern summer resort, the accommodations 
for visitors were simply board shanties, as w y e would call them 
quite numerous, but lacking in pretensions to style or dignified 
proportions. In addition to the fortifications upon the island there 
were accommodations in these plain cottages for quite a colony of 
colored people, several hundred of whom had been gathered there 
for sustenance and protection. 

My attention was given to making the men comfortable, which 
was easily done, as the weather was delightful, and a camp was 
very easily pitched. In addition to the army rations, which were 
the usual ones, sweet potatoes and oranges were plentiful, and al 
though the latter were not of present-day quality, they helped to 
make some variety, and, with sweet potatoes at fifty cents a bushel, 
and native oysters to be had for the gathering, although of doubt 
ful quality (being at low tide exposed to the sun), the men were 
enabled to give variety to their ration and lived with more than 
usual comfort and satisfaction. The ocean beach was especially 
fine and was greatly enjoyed by us all. 

A few days after our arrival, December I4th, 1861, William 
Etian of Company A, died suddenly, probably from the excessive 
use of oysters which appeared above tide and were, therefore, un 
wholesome and really unfit for food. His sudden death and his 
burial, which occurred on the beach in the evening, made a pro 
found impression upon all. The chaplain was not with us at this 
time, but Etian s body was not committed to its final resting place 
without a word of prayer, and the funeral services, far from his 
home and friends and with the peculiar surroundings, were especial 
ly impressive. 

The life was, of course, all new to us. The mild w r eather, our 
ocean and bay fronts, the sandy soil, the mode of transportation 
by boat to the headquarters of the army across the bay, the pres 
ence of apparently numberless vessels of the navy and those of the 
merchant class for the transportation of quartermaster, commis 
sary and ordnance stores, with their brilliant lights at night, and 
the constant movement to and from the headquarters made the 
scene one of constant interest and excitement. 

After the division of the regiment, in order to provide for the 
proper care and comfort of the men, the regular staff officers of 
the regiment being with Colonel Welsh at the headquarters at Otter 

Our First Year 

Island, I was compelled, as the commander of the detachment at 
Fort Seward, to appoint a staff of my own. Dr. Christ, the as 
sistant surgeon, was assigned to me. Lieut. James P. Gregg, of 
Company D, was made acting quartermaster, and Lieut. George 
D. Smith, of Company I, was appointed acting adjutant. These 
several officers were most intelligent, efficient, and agreeable, and 
the relations between the commander of the detachment and his 
staff were always of a close and friendly character; indeed I have 
never known a more intelligent and efficient staff than I had dur 
ing our entire stay in South Carolina. 

Our mess at Fort Seward consisted of the commander of the 
detachment, the officers of Companies A and D and these staff offi 

Our Christmas dinner was a very remarkable achievement. I 
have, in the correspondence with my mother under date of 26th of 
December, 1861, a description of the dinner: "Our mess, consist 
ing of the officers of two companies, the surgeon, the adjutant, the 
quartermaster, and myself, were all home for dinner. We had 
vegetable soup made from desiccated vegetables, roast turkey, rice 
pudding, apple pies, sliced oranges sugared, with the usual amount 
of substantials. True our tablecloth was part of an old tent nicely 
washed, and our dinner service was tin ; yet I have never enjoyed a 
Christmas dinner more than I did that one." 

There was no limit to transportation in those days, and most 
of us, expecting to remain in the South, had brought our Saratoga 
trunks and citizen s clothing. In order to make things as home 
like as possible, we doffed the uniforms for the occasion, donned 
our citizen s clothes, and had a very homelike entertainment in all 

After dinner the receipt of a letter from Colonel Welsh made 
it necessary for me to cross the bay to Hilton Head. I changed my 
dress for my good uniform, had my boat s crew five contrabands- 
brought out, and was rowed to the other side, about three miles 
distant. Had a nice little chat with Gen. Sherman (T. W. not 
W. T.), who was in command, transacted my business at the adju 
tant s office, and was rowed back by not quite moonlight, but what 
was nearly as good, bright starlight. On the return, my boat s 
crew sang, their singing being a constant source of wonder and en 
joyment to us all. 

26 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

Our camp of contrabands had a nightly meeting, supposed to 
be religious, which consisted very largely of dancing in a circle, with 
their hands on each other s shoulders, and singing or shouting with 
growing feeling and excitement, until many of them would drop 
out exhausted or excited to the extent of becoming uncontrollable 
in feelings and physically rigid. 

At this post our men devoted themselves to practice upon the 
heavy guns of the fort, and some of them became quite expert in 
managing the artillery. We were allowed to use a certain amount 
of powder, and the discharge of the guns with blank cartridges, 
for a time gave both amusement and variety to the men. 

We had settled down to our new surroundings and position with 
considerable satisfaction, with the expectation of remaining for 
some time. After about three weeks an order for a change of camp, 
of surroundings, and of duties came to us from headquarters. In 
stead of being on the north side of the bay, opposite the headquar 
ters of the army, we were transferred to the western and southern 
sides of Hilton Head Island, with the view of picketing Skull Creek 
and Calibogue Sound. We relieved the Fifty-fifth Pennsylvania 
Regiment and three companies of the Seventh Connecticut, thus 
making our five companies do the work which had theretofore 
been performed by thirteen. Our line of pickets or outposts ex 
tended from Seabrook Landing on the north, which was an im 
portant point commanding not only the Sound, but the rivers enter 
ing into it, to Braddocks Point on the south, a distance of some 
fifteen miles, the latter being opposite Fort Pulaski, the Savannah 
River and Tybee Island, and facing the ocean eastwardly. Com 
pany A was posted at Seabrook, D at Pope s plantation, I at 
Stoney s, E at Spanish Wells, and C at Braddocks Point. These 
were the points where a landing was possible, the distances between 
being for the most part swampy and unsuitable for the landing of 
troops. Our headquarters were first established at Seabrook, but 
by direction of General Sherman we changed them to Graham s 
plantation, formerly known as "Honeyhorn," a point somewhat 
inland, but central, and more convenient to the headquarters of the 
army at Hilton Head. We had a very comfortable house for 
headquarters, with a flower garden, vegetable garden, and fields of 
sweet potatoes and corn around us, which had not been removed 
by the previous inhabitants, so that there was no danger of a lack 
of food. 

Our First Year 

Dr. Christ was a most excellent purveyor for our mess, and 
inasmuch as no one could enter the fort without a pass from our 
headquarters, he had the pick of all the marketing which went to 
the fort, and I doubt whether any mess in the army lived more 
comfortably, not to say luxuriously, or had greater variety than 
ours. I notice, in going over my correspondence, a reference to 
alligator steaks, the identity of which was not disclosed until we 
had partaken of our dinner. The Doctor had evolved from his 
own culinary instincts the manner in which they were to be cooked. 
The steaks were rolled in corn meal and fried, so that the meat, 
although somewhat coarse-grained, was sweet and pleasant tasted. 
The animal from which these steaks were taken was seven and a 
half feet long and was shot the day before we dined upon him. 
Some of the men at Braddocks Point became quite fond of young 
shark s tails, and became very expert in catching shark with hook 
and line. 

The duty in caring for the outposts of the army on the island 
was rather monotonous, the entire time which we occupied in this 
service nearly six months being devoid of special incident or 
adventure, except on two or three occasions. 

I recall one alarm which was brought by courier to our head 
quarters in the night, but after having my Secesh pony saddled 
and riding to the point at which it w r as supposed the enemy would 
attack us, they had evidently abandoned their intention, having put 
their boats up and no sign of an attack being visible or audible. 
On another occasion, however, we conducted a little expedition of 
our own, crossing the sound, or the creek which emptied into it, and 
destroying a house occupied by the enemy s outposts, known as the 
"White House," from the upper windows of which they were able 
to annoy us with their firing. We failed to capture the pickets, hav 
ing driven them off with some heavy siege artillery brought from 
the fort, but found their haversacks and canteens, and destroyed 
the house, so that thereafter we were spared that annoyance. We 
were much complimented from headquarters for the gallantry and 
skill with which this operation was conducted. Those of us who 
were in it were rather amused at the compliment, inasmuch as it 
was a very ordinary affair. Both the report and the compliment 
sounded well, however, inasmuch as very little was being done at 
the time in the department and this seemed to indicate that "some 
thing was doing." 

28 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

On January i6th, 1862, after an illness of several weeks, at 
one time considered somewhat serious, Colonel Welsh came down 
to Hilton Head on the steamboat Delaware to embark on the 
Atlantic for home. I visited him aboard the Atlantic previous 
to his sailing and went to Otter Island to take command of the 
post there on the 2ist of January, remaining there until the I7th 
of March, at which time I reached Hilton Head at 9 p. m., and 
walked to our headquarters at Graham s, which were reached at 
1 1 p. m. There being neither telephone nor telegraph service 
from Otter Island, it was impossible to notify headquarters, and 
therefore no transportation was furnished for a ride home in the 

I had a very busy time at Otter Island and a variety of ex 
periences. The Island had never been inhabited. I found there 
live companies of the Forty-fifth Pennsylvania Regiment, one com 
pany of the Third Rhode Island an artillery regiment having 
charge of the fort on the island, and a colony of about three hun 
dred colored people on land, and on the sound the sloop of war 
Dale, an old-fashioned wooden vessel of the navy, commanded 
by W. T. Truxton, a most gallant officer and genial gentleman, 
with whom and his officers we soon formed a most pleasant 
acquaintance, and with whom we cooperated in various ways in 
the most mutual helpfulness. 

Supposing that the pos-Kwould continue there for some time, I 
began at once to make improvements. Visiting Fenwick Island 
and other small islands, which were nearby, and which had been 
reconnoitered to some extent by the navy, I found some deserted 
plantations, and immediately began to transfer the buildings from 
that island to our headquarters, first knocking to pieces and trans 
porting in the shape of rafts a cotton house, which was re-erected. 
With windows and flooring from the quartermaster at Hilton 
Head, I made a very comfortable hospital, capable of accommo 
dating sixteen patients. We were so successful with this enter 
prise that we began and completed a store house for commissary s 
and quartermaster s supplies 50 x 26 feet, a guard house for the 
accommodation of our camp guards, and a separate room for pris 
oners. We also built a blacksmith shop, carpenter shop, a stable, 
and a wharf running out beyond low water, so that vessels of light 
draught could come to the wharf to land their supplies. The navy 

Our First Year 29 

people also built a comfortable stable for the Secesh ponies which 
they had captured and used daily. 

We also greatly improved the situation for the colored people, 
in recognition of which, before I left, I was honored by having a 
namesake called Col. Beaver Bailey. I had great satisfaction sub 
sequently in sending to the redoubtable youngster a complete out 
fit of infant clothing which my mother was kind enough to send 
me for the purpose. 

While at Otter Island a most distressing tragedy occurred, result 
ing in the death of Captain Rambo and Samuel A. Reighard, both of 
Company K. The circumstances under which this occurred were 
peculiar and are worthy of careful preservation. I described them 
at the time in a letter to my mother as follows: "Our flag is at 
half mast to-day and the camp full of sadness. The remains of 
Captain Rambo, of Company K, and one of his men have just 
left for Port Royal. Two days ago they started with us on an 
expedition, full of life and spirits. Twenty-four hours later their 
bodies were returned in the boat, their souls having gone to the 
God who gave them. As there will be many versions of the man 
ner in which they met their death, I will be somewhat minute in 
detailing the circumstances. I started on Wednesday morning with 
a detail of members from three companies, for the purpose of 
reconnoitering the banks of Mosquito Creek, one bank of which 
is occasionally occupied by rebel pickets. We passed through its 
entire length during the day, landed several times, but found 
no enemy. At night we stopped at the plantation of a Mr. Sea- 
brook. After consultation it was determined to endeavor to 
capture a rebel s picket post, which was stationed at the house of 
a Mr. Mattis, on the opposite side of the creek, about a mile 
below. I directed Captain Scheiffelin, of Company H, to go to the 
rear of the house with 25 men and station himself on the road 
leading to Willtown, in order to cut off the retreat of the rebels. 
Captain Rambo was to advance upon the house from the front at 
a signal from Scheiffelin, which was agreed upon. I went with 
Captain Rambo to make the attack. After landing from our boats, 
Captain Scheiffelin, with a guide, started about twenty minutes be 
fore we did. With another guide we started by a different road, 
having thrown out two athletic fellows in front, who were directed 
to overpower and secure the sentinel at the door of the house. 
Captain Scheiffelin unexpectedly met with a bridge on the way 

30 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

which had been stripped of its planks. In repairing it he was de 
tained some time. In the meantime I had stopped to instruct some 
sentinels, whom I had placed at a gateway to prevent any person 
passing. I came up with Captain Rambo s company just in time 
to see the flashes of a volley of musketry, and hear the bullets 
whistling by my head. His men became confused and disorgan 
ized. I rallied the company quickly and commenced giving the 
commands myself, when I heard from the other side of the ditch: 
Are you the Forty-fifth? I answered in the affirmative, but it 
was too late. Captain Rambo and Samuel A. Reighard were dead, 
both having been shot through the heart. Two other men were 
wounded very badly and five slightly. Captain Scheiffelin says he 
challenged the two men who were to go in advance of our squad, but 
receiving no answer, and seeing them turn back, supposed them 
to be rebels, and ordered his men to fire. He recognized my 
voice in rallying the men, and therefore made the inquiry as to 
our identity. I doubtless owe the preservation of my own life to a 
fall I received in crossing a ditch, which detained me. 

"Colonel Welsh has returned, looking much better than I ex- 
wounded very badly and five slightly. Captain Scheiffelin says he 
will not for some time to come. I am still commanding, but have 
the colonel to consult." 

On reaching our battalion headquarters, on Hilton Head Island, 
I found that Major Kilbourne, who had been in command during 
my absence, was quite sick. There being no immediate necessity 
for his remaining, he was granted forty days leave of absence, with 
authority to recruit for the regiment, and left on the 27th of March. 

On the roth of April, 1862, the bombardment of Fort Pulaski 
commenced, and on the following day it surrendered, with 386 
prisoners. Whether by reason of the surrender of the fort, or an 
inkling of the expedition which was then preparing for an attack 
upon Charleston, the rebels became very active on the mainland 
opposite our front. On the 2ist of April we had an alarm at Sea- 
brook which proved to be unfounded. Taking a few men and 
boat, I went to Pinckney Island, in order to reconnoiter the enemy s 
position and determine more definitely as to their intentions. We 
became lost on the island, however, and obtained no information, 
but were rather confused than helped in our estimate of what was 
intended. We kept up our activity in endeavoring to keep posted as 
to what the intentions of the enemy were. On the 6th of May I 

Our First Year 

visited Spring Island and shelled the rebel pickets on Colleton 
Neck, but accomplished nothing definite thereby. 

On the 7th of May an order came from General Benham, the 
commander of the post at Hilton Head, directing me to send Com 
pany A to Otter Island. The officers and men of the company did 
not wish to go, and I did not wish to lose them ; but the order be 
ing imperative, I had some correspondence with General Benham 
in regard to the matter, which seemed to make no impression upon 
him. Finally I suggested that as Company A had a member sick in 
the hospital with smallpox, it would probably be better to keep 
the company detached at Seabrook. General Benham \vas quite 
indignant at my not having suggested this at first, and finally con 
sented to allow me to send Company I in place of Company A to 
join the regiment at Otter Island. This occurred on Thursday, 
May 8th, and because of the loss of this company* from the com 
mand, Company B, of the Seventy-sixth Regiment Pennsylvania 
Volunteers, was sent to Seabrook, relieving Company A, which 
went to Stono Inlet, Company D going to Lower Pope plantation. 

Captain Austin Curtin arrived on the Qth of April after a leave 
of absence. Captain Bigelow, who also had leave, returned on the 
3d of May, and Lieutenant Tyson, of Company A, was granted forty 
days leave on the I4th of the month. 

On the 2ist of May, the headquarters of the regiment and 
companies there posted left Otter Island, going to North Edisto. 
This was preparatory to the advance on Charleston. 

On the 2d of June the expedition against Charleston sailed from 
Hilton Head. Our first news from the expedition against Charles 
ton was not "favorable. Indeed it seemed to have been poorly man 
aged from the start, and was finally abandoned after considerable 
loss to our troops in the battle on James Island. That portion of 
our regiment with Colonel Welsh united with the Seventy-sixth 
Regiment under his command and did creditable work. 

On the loth of June our pickets saw ten boats brought to the 
"White House." We visited Pinckney Island again and spent the 
night at Buckingham Ferry, in expectation of an attack, but none 
was made. The next day I went to the Fort at Hilton Head to 
get a gunboat to shell the "White House" on the mainlaind, in 
tending to go around by Seabrook and down the sound, so as to 
come in close contact with the post located there. I failed to get 
the gunboat, but got some guns, which were brought out to an ele- 

32 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

vated position opposite the "White House," which gave us good 
command of it. We shelled it, and under cover of the bombard 
ment crossed to the main land with a small force and burned the 
buildings, as heretofore referred to. 

On the 30th of June I mustered all of our own companies and 
two companies of the Eighth Maine, visiting each post and inspect 
ing the quarters as well as the companies. It was a strenuous day s 
work, the trip from Spanish Wells to Braddocks Point being 
made in a boat. The other posts were visited on horseback. The 
next day, July ist, I inspected another company of the Eighth 
Maine on Pinckney Island. 

Some time after Colonel Welsh s return from the north we 
both applied to headquarters for a consolidation of the regiment. 
This was denied, however, on the ground that we had done such 
good work on the outposts with such a small force, and had such 
intimate acquaintance with the outposts and general situation, that 
it was considered best to keep us there. After the failure of the 
expedition against Charleston we received orders to encamp at 
Elliott s Plantation, back from the outposts, and between them 
and the fort at Hilton Head. On the 9th of July we went into 
camp in a pine woods on the plantation. On the loth Companies 
B, F, G and H arrived, in the midst of a heavy rain which swamped 
part of our camping grounds. Company I joined us the next day, 
and on Sunday the regiment was all together. On the I3th we 
had a dress parade of the entire regiment, which was, in some 
respects, different from anything I had ever seen in the army. 
Expecting to remain in the South for some time, as we had assur 
ance that we would, our officers had equipped themselves with full 
dress uniforms, and on this occasion we appeared in the dress hat, 
epaulets, and the complete dress uniform of that day. 

In a few days we received orders to embark for Fortress Mon 
roe, owing to the fact that the regiments that had been designated 
for transfer had not returned from Charleston, the vessels were 
waiting for the troops, and it was thought advisable, as a matter 
of economy, not to keep them unemployed. Our regiment was 
called upon to go. The authorities were specially desirous of keep 
ing us in the Department of the South, as it was then called. The 
paymaster had visited us a few days before, and we were, of course, 
financially in good shape for the change. Indeed we were in good 
shape in every way, except those companies which had been in 

Our First Year 33 

the expedition against Charleston being somewhat exhausted. 
Those of us who had been on Hilton Head Island were in splendid 
condition. We had very few sick and had lost scarcely any of 
our number. I have a note in my diary, under date of Tuesday, 
June 1 7th: "Gus Wagner died at general hospital." 

Our smallpox patient recovered, having been brought down to 
our headquarters, where he could have the direct and constant at 
tention of the surgeon. We made a hospital out of a nice, comfort 
able room on the second story of a house previously used for storing 
corn and other grain. [Considering that there was no more risk 
in going to see him for me than for the doctor, I made it a habit 
to go with the doctor every day, observing the simple precaution 
of going just after mealtime and keeping a respectful distance, so 
as not to come in contact with the patient or his bed clothing. It 
made it a little more cheerful for him, and gave me some experi 
ence which I thought it was well to have.] 

Altogether our experience in South Carolina was interesting 
and instructive. Being so near the sea we did not suffer from 
the heat, there being a pleasant sea breeze most of the day. Al 
though satisfied for many reasons to leave, expecting, as we real 
ized later, that we would be placed in circumstances where we would 
see much more active service and be brought nearer to our friends, 
we were so rejoiced in having the regiment brought together, and 
our camp was assuming such a pleasant and satisfactory condition, 
that we would have been well satisfied to remain for some time, 
as was the intention of the authorities at headquarters. 

We embarked on board the United States mail steamer Arago 
and started about twelve o clock on Friday, July i8th, arriving off 
Fortress Monroe, at 10:30 p. m., Sunday, the 2Oth of July after 
a pleasant voyage. The next day we went to Newport News to 
report to General Burnside, disembarking and bivouacing for the 
night. The next day we went into a regular camp, putting up our 
tents in a satisfactory way in the midst of a large encampment 
composed of the troops who had been with General Burnside 
North Carolina, and others who had preceded us from South 

An incident of unusual interest to me was the fact that during 
our encampment at Newport News I had frequent delightful in 
terviews with my brother, who was a lieutenant in the Fifty-first 

34 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

Regiment, a privilege which I subsequently appreciated more than 
at the time, for it was the last time I had much intercourse with 
him, as he was killed at the Battle of Antietam at the crossing of 
the bridge, on the left of our line, when in command of his company. 

Our encampment at Newport News was one of quiet and hard 
work, in endeavoring to bring the regiment into shape. I was 
especially happy in having plenty of battalion drills, which was al 
ways a delight to me, and Colonel Welsh gave me the most of it 
to do, inasmuch as he was bringing up the business of the regiment 
and getting the reports and the office work in shape after our long 
separation. It was during this encampment that our surgeon, Dr. 
George L. Potter, resigned and left the regiment. Here also Major 
Kilbourne resigned. He had not completely recovered from his ill 
ness contracted in the South. The vacancy thus occasioned was 
immediately filled by the appointment of the senior captain, John 
Irvin Curtin, who subsequently, successively, and most acceptably 
filled all the highest positions in the regiment. 

Our stay in this camp was less than three weeks, arriving on 
the 2ist of July and leaving on the 4th of August. Our regiment 
was embarked upon the steamer Elm City, General Stevens and 
his staff being passengers upon the same vessel. While at New 
port News we got rid of our extra baggage, the amount of which 
was something wonderful for a regiment in active service, and 
came down to what we realized to be very different conditions from 
those which we had enjoyed in the matter of transportation, being 
the difference between steam and water transportation, and mules 
on land. Our trip, however, was a short one, as we expected, real 
izing, as we did, that we were to become a part of the Army of the 
Potomac, and that we were simply organizing what afterwards be 
came the Ninth Corps, under the command of General Burnside. 

We crossed Chesapeake Bay and ascended the Potomac River, 
arriving at the mouth of Acquia Creek on the morning of the 5th 
of August. Our regiment was ordered to guard the railroad from 
Acquia Creek to Potomac Creek. Colonel Welsh was placed in 
command of the post at Acquia Creek, retaining Companies I and 
K with him. The balance of the regiment went to Brookes Sta 
tion, some six miles out on the railroad, where we went into camp, 
remaining about a month. 

During that time, however, in order to avoid long marches in 
relieving the guards, especially at Potomac Creek bridge, Com- 

Colonel John I. Curtin 

Our First Year 35 

panics A and B, under the command of Major Curtin, were moved 
to that point and went into camp. While there encamped a very 
interesting ceremony occurred; it was the presentation of a sword 
to Major John Irvin Curtin by Company A. 

A brass plate upon the scabbard of the sword bore the follow 
ing ^inscription : 

" Presented by Company A, 45th Reg., P. V., 
to their former Captain, now 

Major John Irvin Curtin, 

as a mark of respect and esteem. 

Newport News, Va., July 3ist, 1862. " 

The sword was a beautiful specimen of skill and workmanship 
bronzed steel scabbard, silver hilt, and handsome gilt mountings. 

During this time there was great excitement because of the 
disastrous campaign under Pope. We were on the extreme left 
flank of the army, and in riding out one day I came upon pickets 
only a few miles from our camp which I at first took for the enemy, 
and was very much disconcerted for fear I might be taken pris 
oner. As a matter of fact, I was taking a ride with a young woman 
in whose loyalty I had not implicit confidence and rather blamed 
her, mentally, with having led me into a trap. However, I boldly 
rode forward and accosted the pickets as men of our army, and 
to my delight found that they were. To have turned about would 
have probably brought an uncomfortable volley after us, notwith 
standing the presence of a lady. 

Our men were scattered along the railroad from Acquia Creek 
to the bridge crossing the Rappahannock at Fredericksburg. In 
deed one of the diversions during our encampment at Brooks Sta 
tion was a visit to Fredericksburg. 

Pursuing our regular tour of guard duty in caring for the rail 
road from Acquia Creek to Fredericksburg, there came to me a 
proposition, first from citizens of Centre County, endorsed by Gov 
ernor Curtin, and subsequently by the captains of what was to be 
known as the "Centre County Regiment," (although it had not 
been filled entirely from the county), asking me to accept command 
of it. It was a flattering proposal. Orders forbidding officers to 
resign for the purpose of accepting higher rank in new regiments 
were in existence. I was much exercised by the situation which 
confronted me. Having been brought in practically immediate rela 
tions with General Burnside, by virtue of my command, I called 
upon him, and after stating all the circumstances, he thought it was 

36 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

my duty to accept the promotion and take command of this new 
regiment. Of course it required a considerable struggle to do so. 
My relations with the Forty-fifth and the direct command which 
I had had in connection with so many of its companies, had led 
me to very close and intimate friendships which I disliked to sever. 
At the same time, my acceptance of the offer gave opportunity for 
promotion for others, and this was not to be lightly disregarded. 
I finally sent to General Burnside my resignation and he quietly ac 
cepted it, observing that it was not necessary for him to report it 
through regular channels, inasmuch as he had an independent com 
mand and had not yet become actually identified officially \vith 
the Army of the Potomac. 

My resignation was presented and accepted September 4th, 
1862. I left the regiment the next day and, within four days, was 
in the field with the One Hundred and Forty-eighth Regiment, thus 
severing close, pleasant, arid intimate relations which had made my 
year of service with the Forty-fifth as pleasant as any other year 
of my life. 

The termination of my relations with the regiment did not 
terminate my interest in it, and I was always delighted to know 
of its successes, which were many, and of its uniformly gallant and 
heroic action throughout its entire term of service, covering the 
immense territory which it traversed, in the discharge of the duties 
which devolved upon it. Many of the friendships thus formed 
have remained as among the most pleasant and warmest of my life, 
and it w r as a great pleasure, and privilege as well, to be permitted 
to make the address at the dedication of the monument as a me 
morial of the services of Pennsylvania troops during the siege of 
Vicksburg and the battles connected with it, erected in the Vicks- 
burg National Military Park, March 24th, 1906, by the good old 
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. 

The study of the journeys and campaigns of the regiment, in 
preparation for this service, added to my appreciation of the work 
done and the gallantry of the officers and men who composed the 
regiment. I have no hesitation in saying, and am very glad to say, 
that if I achieved anything of success from the military point of 
view with my new regiment, which was numbered by the Governor 
the One Hundred and Forty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers, it 
was because of the experience I had gained with the Forty-fifth, 
which was the equal of the best in discipline, soldierly qualities, 
and service. 

Sergt. Eugene Beauge 
Company G 

The Right Wing in South Carolina 37 




Otter Island in St. Helena Sound on the coast of South Carolina, 
where Companies B, F, G, H and K, with Colonel Welsh in com 
mand, landed December nth, 1861, was a barren sandbar six or 
seven miles in circumference. No part of the island was cultivated, 
and except here and there a group of stunted palmetto trees and 
a few tufts of wild grass, nothing would grow there, any way. At 
one end of the island was a swamp with a lot of frogs and a few 
alligators in it. 

Quite an aggregation of negroes of all ages and both sexes were 
on the island when the regiment landed. They were fugitive slaves 
and gave us a characteristic, cordial welcome. "Sambo, where is 
your Master?" asked one of our officers. "Dunno, boss, to Charles 
ton, I reckon." "Are all the white people gone away from here?" 
"Spec day be, Lord A mighty y or to seed em run when the Lin- 
cum gunboats come; couldn t see deir coat tail f r the dust." "Ain t 
you afraid we Yankees will kill you?" "Golly, no! We s been 
spectin Massa Lincunrs sogers f r a good while. Now we is 
so glad you is come." 

Dancing, capering and singing as only darkies can, these simple 
folks gave every evidence of being glad to see the Yankees. 

The coast between Port Royal and Charleston seemed to be 
made up of islands and islets, around and through which wound in 
eccentric courses numerous rivers and creeks. 

These islands, however, were not all barren by any means. 
There is probably no better soil anywhere in South Carolina than on 
Fenwick, Lady s and Coosaw Islands. They were good places to 
go foraging. It didn t take us long to find that out. Crossing the 
water in row boats, details from the different companies would go 
to one or the other of these islands one day and come back the next 
with a load of plunder, such as beef, mutton, poultry, sweet pota 
toes, peanuts, milk, honey, canned fruit, dishes and other needful 
commodities. One day the boys found a case of long-necked bottles 

38 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

filled with rare sparkling wine. Negroes frequently went along to 
act as guides and make themselves useful generally. Once our fel 
lows tore down a house on Fenwick Island and brought back a lot 
of second hand lumber that came in handy to make floors, benches, 
tables, shelves, etc., in the tents. 

We did a lot of hard work on Otter Island. A wharf, com 
missary building, guard house and hospital were built from timber 
obtained on other islands with no other means of transportation 
than row boats. 

Fort Drayton, an earth work (or sand work rather), partially 
built by the enemy and blown up by the rebels when our gun 
boats appeared, had to be repaired and finished. This task cost us 
many days of hard work, shoveling and wheeling sand and driving 
piles. When completed the fort mounted five heavy guns and was 
surrounded by a solid palisade of piles driven deep into the sand 
with a pile-driver which, as we got tired pulling the rope raising 
it, seemed to weigh at least a ton. 

The wharf was built on a foundation of piles driven in the 
same way. If I remember right the timber for the piles was ob 
tained on Coosaw Island. And drilling with packed knapsacks on, 
in sand ankle deep, was very tedious to say the least. But the old 
colonel was inexorable; and we couldn t fool him either. 

At drill time Colonel Welsh would pace slowly up and down 
the beach, his hands behind him, apparently paying no attention 
to us. But nothing escaped his eagle eye. One day a soldier left 
his blanket, the heaviest part of his baggage, in his tent while out 
drilling. But the leanness of his knapsack betrayed him. "Captain, 
send that man back to his quarters, have him get his blanket and 
see that he drills an hour over-time," roared the colonel. 

Another, by substituting a pillow that inflated his knapsack 
very nicely, was more successful. Had the trick been discovered, 
however, he would have promenaded up and clown the beach with a 
load of sand instead of feathers. 

The climate of Otter Island was delightful in the winter time 
and a fresh breeze from the ocean purified the air and softened the 
intense heat that prevailed during the summer months in the in 
terior of the state. 

Water was obtained by sinking barrels into the sand,, sometimes 
two or three deep, and then it wasn t fit to drink except when boiled 
or made into coffee. 

The Right Wing in South Carolina 39 

Mosquitoes and gnats tormented us in cloudy weather, but our 
worst enemy was that little black rascal, the flea. Fleas worried 
us more or less all the time, but especially at night. It was no 
use trying to kill them. In ninety-nine cases out of a hundred when 
you hit a flea he isn t there ! We never got used to them. We 
could smoke away the gnats, smash a mosquito and scald the "gray- 
backs," but the ubiquitous, elusive flea he was too much for us. 

And I wonder how many of the boys remember the big turtle 
we got on Otter Island. He must have weighed three hundred 
pounds and it was no trick at all for him to carry two or three of 
us on his broad back. And what a lot of fine soup he made for 
us on the last analysis! 

The sloop of war "Dale" carrying twelve guns was anchored 
off Otter Island on our arrival there. Her crew were a lot of jolly, 
manly tars, and as the ship remained near us during our stay on 
the island the soldiers and sailors, isolated as they were from the 
rest of mankind, naturally cultivated each other s society, and the 
result was that the boys of the Forty-fifth and the Jack Tars on the 
"Dale" were the best of friends. 

On the 2ist of May, 1862, we left Otter Island on the steamer 
"Potomac," and were glad to get away. Life on the island had 
become dull and monotonous. We wanted more excitement. Like 
all green soldiers we ached for a fight. And Colonel Welsh had 
promised to march us through the streets of Charleston to the tune 
of Yankee Doodle by the middle of June or not later than the 
Fourth of July! The colonel was mistaken. It took the Union 
Army two years and nine months from that time to carry the Stars 
and Stripes to Charleston. 

Next day our battalion of six companies Company I having 
joined us from Bay Point landed on North Edisto Island, about 
thirty miles from Charleston. 

A considerable body of troops had rendezvoused at this place 
preparatory to an aggressive movement against Charleston. 

On the 28th Company G put out to sea again on the steamer 
"Honduras" and went back to Otter Island. But not to stay this 
time. We dismounted the five guns on Fort Drayton, buried them 
deep in the sand inside the fort and for aught we know they are 
there yet. Then, taking the stores and ammunition remaining on the 
island with us, we steamed back to Port Royal, and from there on the 

40 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

transport "May Flower" to Edisto again, where we arrived on the 
first day of June. 

Instead of going ashore, however, we stayed on the boat till 
about nine o clock that night and landed across the river on John s 
Island. From 12,000 to 15,000 Union troops were already in pos 

Monday morning, June 2d, we are not likely to forget : It was 
hot and sultry. By 9 a. m., our little army was in motion. A 
thick fog that had settled over the country during the night soon 
disappeared and the rays of a tropical sun had a fair chance at us. 
We had no water. Holes were dug in the sand from which we 
filled our canteens with a semi-liquid mixture that seemed but to 
increase our thirst. The broiling sun absorbed every bit of mois 
ture in our throats. Speaking for myself I can t begin to describe 
what I suffered from thirst that day. 

To encourage the men Colonel Welsh got off his horse and 
wading through the sand, kept alongside the soldiers and by pleas 
ant jesting remarks helped to make us forget the heat and our 
troubles. About noon or a little after, we came to a well on a 
large plantation. The water had to be drawn up by a rope and 
bucket, and you can imagine what a scramble there was! I man 
aged to get a cupful before they had drunk the well dry, which 
was done in short order! 

Marching a few miles further we camped for the night and the 
next day being rainy we did not move. Night came on and still 
it rained. We had no tents. The wind began to blow about nine 
o clock and kept on blowing harder and harder. We had to wind 
our blankets around us to keep them from blowing away. It rained 
hard all night and towards morning the air got chilly; and there, 
wrapped in single blankets with a cartridge box or a ridge in the 
cotton field for a pillow, we passed the night. 

Morning came and still it rained. But we had orders to move. 
The roads were a mixture of mud and water that, as we marched, 
filled our shoes and galled our feet wretchedly. At noon it still 
rained harder if anything than before. Our clothes were soaked 
through and the rations in our haversacks reduced to pulp. Noth 
ing was dry but our powder. The cartridge boxes were water 
proof. Towards night the rain, having lasted thirty-six hours, 
abated, and the sky was clear again. 

The Right Wing in South Carolina 41 

At the farther side of the island we came to a small town called 
Legreesville on Stono River. Here we halted and made ourselves 
comfortable in some vacant houses. 

About this time Colonel Welsh took command of a brigade, 
which included our regiment, and Captain H. A. Haines of Com 
pany B being the ranking officer present, took charge of the bat 
talion of the Forty-fifth. Two or three of our gunboats mean 
while were shelling James Island on the other side of the river, 
General Stevens with a brigade of infantry having effected a land 
ing and driven the Rebels into their fortifications at a small place 
called Secessionville, on the east side of the island and within 
three or four miles of Charleston. 

Our regiment crossed the Stono River to James Island, Monday 
evening, June Qth, on the steamer "Mattano." Having landed we 
marched about half a mile and camped in a field of beans that made 
pretty good bedding. The enemy seemed to know our location and 
pretty soon shells began to drop around us or explode over our 
heads. This was our first experience under fire, and I suspect that 
we did some lively dodging to avoid the shells. Colonel Welsh, 
walking leisurely up and down, didn t seem to mind it. "Sit still, 
boys; they won t hurt you; don t a man dodge till a shell hits his 
head!" he said to us, passing along to encourage- the next company. 
It seemed to me, though, that if we had any dodging to do we 
had better attend to it before one of those shrieking monsters came 
in contact with our craniums ! 

A detachment from Companies H and I was sent out on picket 
some distance towards Secessionville where the enemy was known 
to be intrenched. Next morning, June loth, reinforced by a com 
pany from another regiment, the pickets concealed themselves in 
a piece of woods near the road. The enemy soon located their po 
sition and shelled the woods, but besides making a deal of a racket 
and scattering limbs of trees and pieces of shells here and there, 
did no harm. 

Our gunboats in Stono River opened fire and a brisk cannonade 
was the result. The shells from the gunboats passed directly over 
our camp and apparently but a few feet above our heads, that is, 
it seemed that way to us, judging from the sound they made. 

About four o clock in the afternoon a Confederate force, ap 
parently a full regiment, made a fierce attack on our pickets, 
der ordinary conditions the Rebels ought to have gobbled or de- 

42 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

stroyed our little band of less than two hundred men, but they did 
no such thing. In the first place, with their Harpers Ferry muskets, 
which carried a large ball and three buckshots, and at close range 
were murderous weapons, our boys, keeping close to the ground, 
were more than a match for five times their own number march 
ing against them in line of battle. 

The boys worked their guns for all they were worth, loading 
and firing "at will" as fast as they could go through the motions; 
yet trying to make every shot count. "We fired about twenty-five 
rounds and completely routed them," one of the comrades said in 
describing the engagement. But they soon rallied and came back 
with reinforcements; three regiments this time, led by the Forty- 
seventh Georgia. 

The Rebel officers exposed themselves recklessly. "Come en, 
boys," one of their captains said, as he stepped in front of his men 
swinging his sword, "A Yankee bullet was never run for me!"- 
and then fell in a heap mortally wounded. Another captain used 
different tactics: "Here are your own men; don t fire on your 
own men," he was heard to say repeatedly as he advanced, leading 
his company through the thick brush that partially concealed their 
movements. But the trick didn t work that time. A well directed 
shot killed the Rebel officer and put an end to that sort of thing. 

But they kept on coming just the same. The ammunition was 
getting low; it was an anxious moment for our hard pressed, thin 
line. Fortunately, however, in the nick of time, the Seventy-sixth 
Pennsylvania Infantry and a couple of batteries of artillery Sher 
man s and the Third Rhode Island came to the rescue, and the 
result was no longer doubtful. Grape and canister from the artil 
lery and the fire of the infantry finished up the job, and the fight 
ing was over. The Rebels went back to their works at Secession- 
ville faster than they had come out, leaving many of their dead 
behind them. One hundred killed and wounded would be a con 
servative estimate of the enemy s loss. In fact nearly that number 
were found upon the field, including a colonel of infantry, killed. 

Our loss was 15 killed and wounded. The Forty-fifth lost one 
man killed; Thomas Jobe of Company H. That may seem like a 
big difference between the enemy s loss and our own. But being 
the aggressors the Confederates naturally suffered most, and we 
being drilled to load and fire lying down or keeping close to the 

The Right Wing in South Carolina 43 

ground saved us many lives not only on James Island but in many 
other skirmishes and battles during the war. 

When the first scattering shots of the engagement were heard, 
we, that is the other companies of our battalion not on the firing 
line, were getting ready for an early supper, each one brewing his 
own coffee in a tincup. I had my cup of steaming coffee in one 
hand and a hard tack in the other when the rattle of musketry and 
the hurry order, "fall in!" startled me and spoiled my supper. It 
was no time to eat or drink, so down went the coffee and hard tack. 
I suppose others did the same thing. As the firing increased to a 
regular fusillade, we dropped everything and jumped for our mus 
kets, stacked close by, and took our places in the ranks. 

Captain Haines in command of the battalion marched us at a 
double-quick towards the front. The firing ceased, however, be 
fore we reached the scene of the conflict, and .a messenger came 
galloping back to announce the victory. 

When our boys, having been relieved at the front by Com 
panies B and K, came in with their faces and hands dirty and be 
grimed with powder smoke, we had to cheer them, shake hands all 
around, and "make a fuss." They had reason to be proud of this, 
their first skirmish. They fought like veterans. Not a man 

Comrade Sylvester Houghton of Company I, one of the detail 
on the picket line, and to whom I am indebted for information as 
to what occurred at the front, says that about forty men from each 
of the two companies (H and I), were on the firing line. Lieu 
tenant E. G. Howard was in command of the Company H boys, 
while First Sergeant Samuel Haynes had charge of the detail from 
Company I, all under command of Captain F. M. Hills of Com 
pany I. 

The condensed account I have tried to give of this, our first 
set-to with the enemy, is mostly unwritten history, the affair being 
one of those minor engagements of the Civil War which the aver 
age historian passes lightly over, or maybe doesn t notice at all, 
yet in which, as likely as not, more heroism was displayed than in 
many of the big battles when the sound of the bugle and the drum, 
and the excitement of the conflict made it easy for men to be brave, 
and to die if need be! 

After this brush with the "Johnnies" it was deemed important 
to make our tenure of James Island more secure. So the men were 
set to digging rifle pits and building breast works. That sort of 

44 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

thing is hard work anyhow, let alone doing it under a tropical sun 
in the middle of June with the mercury among the hundreds. To 
make things still more uncomfortable, we had no water fit to drink, 
and mosquitoes big, lusty fellows pestered us all the time, espe 
cially at night while on picket. 

Many of the men were soon on the sick list, w r hich as we had 
a certain amount of work to do, made it all the harder for those 
not excused by the doctor. When in camp, "sick call" sounded 
every morning at eight o clock. "Come git yer quinine come git 
yer quinine!" The call sounded exactly like that to us because w r e 
knew what it meant. 

The medical staff was an important branch of the military serv 
ice. The surgeon of a regiment and his assistants, to a certain ex 
tent, had the health and w^ell being of a thousand men, more or 
less, in their keeping. Dr. George L. Potter was surgeon of the 
Forty-fifth during the first year of our service. We all remember 
Dr. Potter; light haired, ruddy faced, jovial Dr. Potter, as he sat 
on a camp stool in the door of his marquee, presiding over the 
destinies of the sick and near-sick, who in two ranks waited pa 
tiently for their medicine, and incidentally to be excused from duty 
perhaps. And of scarcely less importance was gentlemanly, 
genial Hospital Steward Whitside G. Hunter, sitting at a table 
just inside the tent ready to deal out the doctor s prescriptions, 
mostly quinine and castor oil. It was a rare ailment indeed that 
didn t call for quinine powders or liberal doses of castor oil, the 
latter to be taken on the spot. Some of us still hate the taste and 
smell of the blamed stuff both quinine and castor oil. 

The magic letters "Ex" placed by the doctor opposite a patient s 
name meant that he was excused from duty for that day. "L. D." 
meant light duty. Nothing at all after the name meant that the 
"candidate" must bear his share of the heat and burden of the day 
unless the captain interceded and let him off easy. 

Monday morning, June i6th, a considerable force of Union 
troops under General Benham made an unsuccessful attempt to 
storm the Confederate works at Secessionville. We were not in 
that. Our battalion had been on picket the night before and was 
held in reserve within plain hearing of the conflict, however, in 
which our comrades of the One Hundredth Pennsylvania (Round 
Heads), the Seventy-ninth New York (Highlanders) and the 
Eighth Michigan, were badly cut up. These regiments and splen- 

The Right lying in South Carolina 4; 

did regiments they were were in close touch with the Forty-fifth 
most of the time during 1 the war. 

From our advance posts on James Island, by climbing trees, we 
could see Fort Sumter and beyond that the steeples and prominent 
buildings of Charleston itself. Only a few miles to the city, but 
a mighty hard road to travel for men who wore the Blue in those 
days ! 

During the latter part of June our forces began to evacuate 
James Island. The Forty-fifth must have been rear guard, and 
the last troops to leave the place. Wednesday, July 2d, we got 
aboard the transport "Ben DeFord" and steamed back to Port 
Royal, where our six companies landed and went into camp. On 
the Qth of July we marched some two or three miles to pass in re 
view before General Williams. Our line of march was all the way 
through fine, loose sand three or four inches deep, which, as we 
plodded wearily along, arose in clouds and nearly smothered us; 
and although it was late in the afternoon after four o clock the 
heat was something fierce. 

Out of four hundred men in our six companies one hundred or 
more dropped out before the short march w T as over; genuine cases 
of heat prostration everyone. 

On the nth of June we made a happy change of location. March 
ing about five miles we went into camp on the southern bank of 
Broad River in a grove of thrifty young pines, which, if they did 
not change the atmosphere, at least kept the sun off from us. The 
place was called Elliott s Plantation. It was here that the left wing 
(so called) of the regiment, from which we had been separated since 
the December previous, joined us. You can imagine whether we 
had a happy reunion or not! 

Lieut. Colonel Beaver, I should have said, was with us part of 
the time on Otter Island while Welsh was absent on leave. Beaver 
was a fine officer and a courtly gentleman. It was like pulling teeth 
to have him leave us permanently, as he did, to take command of 
the One Hundred Forty-eighth, a couple of months later. 

July 1 7th orders came to load our baggage on the transport 
"Mayflower." We were about to move again and for once the 
seal of secrecy was broken. We were going North ! And nothing 
could have suited us better than to leave the far South at that time. 
The tropical climate, mild and delightful in winter, had grown 
torrid and sickly in midsummer, especially as we got away from 

46 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

the sea. And one gets tired of sand hills, salt water, alligators, 
mosquitoes and fleas that were so much in evidence down there. 
But where the shoe pinched the hardest was that for more than 
seven months very few of us, who spent most of our time on Otter 
and James Islands, had caught the first glimpse of a white woman ! 

To avoid the extreme heat of daylight our march of five miles 
to the landing at Port Royal was made between eight and eleven 
o clock that night. By noon next day we were on board the United 
States mail steamer "Arago." At thirty minutes past twelve 
o clock, July 1 8th, 1862, the whistle blew, our vessel weighed anchor, 
and amid cheers, the waving of flags, handkerchiefs and caps, and 
with martial music we bid good-bye to South Carolina! 

The "Arago" which before the war journeyed between the coast 
of France and New York, was a staunch, commodious vessel, and 
her commander, Captain Gadsden was a very pleasant gentleman. 
Soldiers on board ships, however, had a few luxuries of first class 
passengers. We were packed in almost like so many cattle. At 
night the floors of both decks, the tops of bales and boxes and every 
nook and corner were covered with sleeping men. 

Striking boldly out into the Atlantic we soon lost sight of land. 
The sea was rough part of the way and many of us had occasion 
to lean over the railing and "heave up Jonah." The second day as 
we rounded Cape Hatteras, the ocean was in especially bad humor, 
tossing our vessel this way and that, until locomotion on deck was 
difficult if not dangerous for us "land lubbers." 

On the whole, however, we enjoyed the journey and arrived at 
Fortress Monroe about noon, July 2Oth. Our destination proved 
to be Newport News at the mouth of James River, a few miles from 
Fortress Monroe. But that is another story. 

William A. Roberts 
Company K 

Edward Roberts 
Company F 



I enlisted August i)th, 1802, in Columbia, Pa., 
for "three years or during the war, and was 
assigned to Company K, Forty-fifth Regiment 
Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. The regiment 
was then stationed at Acquia Creek, Va., on the 
Potomac River. About August 1st, 1802, a re 
cruiting office was opened in Columbia by Cap 
tain Ilaines, Company K. of Maytown, Pa., and 
Lieutenant Charles Koch, Company K, of York, 
Pa., for the purpose of enlisting men for the 
above-named regiment. Quite a number of re 
cruits from Columbia and the surrounding towns 
enrolled their names to serve in Companies B 
and K. In a few days we were sent to Camp 
Curt in, Ilarrisburg. Pa., mustered into service, 
and then transported to Washington, D. C., in 
"Pullman" cattle cars, with improvised seats, 
and thence to Aci(iiiu Creek by boat, where we 
arrived in due time. The new men were daily 
put through the drill, by squads, in order to 
become proficient in the manual of arms, etc., 
to compete with the remainder of the regiment. 

A younger brother, Albert, aged fifteen years, 
enlisted in 1801, and served as drummer in Com 
pany K until the close of the war, having re- 
enlisted. When the regiment was granted thirty 
days veteran furlough in January, 1804, another 
brother i Edward) enlisted, at the age of four 
teen, and served as drummer in Company F, 
making three brothers in the regiment. He also 
served until the war ended. The brothers are 
all living at this writing. 

Albert Roberts, Co. K 

The Maryland Campaign 




On September 6th, 1862, the regiment left Acquia Creek, Va. 
After burning the provisions and stores that could not be removed, 
to prevent them from falling into the hands of the enemy, it em 
barked on a boat for Washington, arriving there the same day. A 
detail was made from the different companies to unload the boats 
during the night, so we got very little rest. Next morning (Sun 
day) we were ordered to move, marching about five miles and 
camping in the afternoon. Before starting orders were given to 
leave all surplus baggage with the quartermaster and retain only 
what was necessary for a forced march and an active campaign, 
consisting of half a shelter tent, blanket, canteen, haversack, car 
tridge box and musket. (When fully equipped our baggage 
weighed from 50 to 60 pounds to a man.) After a short rest the 
regiment was ordered to march and proceeded eight miles further 
and camped in an orchard where we remained until evening, when 
we took up the line of march to a regular camp and bivouacked for 
the night. Tuesday we marched to Brookville, Md., a distance of 
12 miles, where we arrived about four o clock in the afternoon. 
Owing to the rapid marching, we got away from the provision train 
and rations becoming short it became necessary to do some forag 
ing. The boys made raids on cornfields, orchards, potato patches, 
etc., but not having time to prepare the food properly the result 
was most disastrous. For instance, an ear of green corn with a 
sharp stick run through it, would be held over a quick fire, burned 
on the outside and raw within, with no seasoning, and eaten while 
on the march. One can imagine the effect of such food on an 
empty stomach. The weather was very warm, the roads dusty, 
and water scarce. Such was our first experience on the march from 
Washington, D. C, to Frederick, Md. 

By the time the regiment reached Frederick quite a number 
were unfit for duty and many went into the battle of South Moun 
tain in such a weak condition that they could scarcely march, but 
nevertheless stuck to their posts. The regiment reached Frederick 
on Saturday evening, September I3th. We were ordered to have 
everything in readiness to meet the enemy. Next day, while the 
church bells were ringing and several of the boys had passes to 

48 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

attend divine services, and were brushing up for the occasion, the 
"fall in" call was sounded, and instead of attending church were 
ordered into line. After proceeding about five miles we came within 
range of the artillery fire of the enemy, the shells exploding over 
us, and grape and canister came hurtling through the trees, in some 
instances almost destroying them. The regiment was under fire 
about five hours, during which time our artillery was not idle. The 
Ninth Corps was in the advance and reached Turner s Gap about 
four o clock. A and K, the two flanking companies of the Forty- 
fifth, were ordered on the skirmish line and soon opened fire on 
the enemy, who were stationed behind a stone fence, in return re 
ceiving their fire. Here we recruits received our baptism of fire, 
a little over a month from the time of our enlistment. Soon the 
engagement became general and the musketry fire on both sides 
was terrific. Our regiment charged and drove the enemy from 
behind the stone fence, capturing over a hundred prisoners. The 
prisoners said that our fire was so terrific that it was almost sure 
death for a man to put his head above the stone fence. Eight com 
panies of the regiment were armed with Harpers Ferry muskets 
and the two flanking companies, A and K, with Springfield rifles. 
The muskets had been altered from flint locks to percussion caps, 
and the cartridges contained a ball and three buckshot. Their fire 
was most deadly. The boys said they killed at both ends. In this 
engagement the regiment lost 27 men killed, and 107 wounded, 
some of them mortally. The total loss to our troops was about 
1,500 men, of whom over 300 were killed. Among the latter was 
the gallant General Reno. 

Night put an end to the strife. Next day we buried our dead. 
It was indeed a sad sight. Some comrades, including the writer, 
visited the lines where the Confederates stood the day before. The 
ground was strewn with their dead. Many of the poor fellows had 
been pierced with two or three bullets. It was a sickening sight 
to see them lying there just as they had fallen and my heart went 
out in sympathy for them and the dear ones they had left behind. 
We turned away with horror, thankful that we had been more for 
tunate than they in escaping the dangers of the battle. 

It was intended to renew the battle in the morning, but General 
Lee withdrew his forces under cover of the night, leaving his dead 
unburied. On the i6th the Confederate Army was well posted on 
the heights near Sharpsburg, on the western side of Antietam Creek, 
and on the clay following the battle of Antietam was fought, in 

The Maryland Campaign 


which our regiment took part. As we had stood the brunt of the 
battle at South Mountain, the Forty-fifth was held in reserve at 

While awaiting orders to advance, General Wilcox rode up 
and inquired: "What regiment is that?" Some one answered: 
"The Forty-fifth Pennsylvania." He replied : "Ah, I can rely on 
those boys; you will be held in reserve to-day, but if called upon I 
know that you will perform your duty as well as you did at South 
Mountain," or words to that effect. 

Shortly afterward the regiment was ordered to advance, cross 
ing the Burnside Bridge, where the Fifty-first Pennsylvania, com 
manded by Colonel Hartranft; the Fifty-first New York, com 
manded by Colonel Potter: the Twenty-first Massachusetts and 
Second Maryland regiments met with such dreadful slaughter a 
short time before. The Ninth New York regiment (Colonel 
Hawkins Zouaves) in full Zouave uniform, charged over the plowed 
field and received a terrific fire from the enemy s artillery, during 
which several of their men fell. After the charge we were ordered 
to halt in a ravine. While resting there a few moments a large 
shell exploded over our lines, a piece burying itself in the ground 
between my comrade on the right and myself. 

While halting in this ravine a soldier came running down to 
our lines and said there was a member of Company I, Forty-fifth, 
badly wounded and exposed to the enemy s fire, and asked for some 
one to volunteer to go to his assistance. The writer accompanied 
him to where he was lying and found him so badly wounded that 
he did not wish to be disturbed. He said: "Let me lie here: I am 
mortally wounded." His name was John Kirkpatrick. He was 
shot in the abdomen and died a few hours later in the field hos 
pital at Antietam. 

Our army had a decided advantage over the Confederates at 
Antietam, and had it been promptly followed up, no doubt a large 
portion would have been captured, as they were in a demoralized 
condition, with supplies and ammunition nearly exhausted. 

The Union losses in this battle in killed, wounded, and missing, 
were about 12,500. General McClellan estimated the rebel losses 
to be much greater. 

We slept on the battlefield. Next morning, the i8th, a portion 
of the Forty-fifth Regiment was detailed to relieve the pickets, the 
writer among the number. They were stationed along a fence on 
the edge of the cornfield, and as our squad advanced to relieve them 

50 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

received a volley of musketry from Confederate sharpshooters oc 
cupying a stone mill, just across the cornfield. Their bullets cut 
the grass all around us but never struck a man. [That old stone 
mill is still standing, and I had the pleasure of seeing it a few years 
ago while on a trip to the National Cemetery at Antietam. An 
illustration of the mill appears elsewhere in the history.] While 
on the picket line our sharpshooters kept up a constant fire over our 
heads and one of their bullets struck the ground a few feet in the 
rear and bounded over on my right leg, but did no injury. 

After Lee s army had been defeated and driven out of Mary 
land the Ninth Corps went into camp at Pleasant Valley, Md., 
where we had a much-needed rest after our hard campaign. The 
following extracts from a letter written home from Pleasant Val 
ley, under date of "Camp Israel," Saturday, October 25th, 1862, 
will no doubt be interesting to the reader: 

"We are now in camp and there is not much of importance to 
write. We passed through a hard campaign the past month and 
are taking a much-needed rest, although the regular routine of 
duty is gone through with daily, in the drill, guard mount, guard 
duty, dress parade, police duty, etc. Shortly after going into camp 
the baggage which had been left in Washington when we started 
for Frederick came to us, and the knapsacks had been robbed of 
their contents. Mine contained a new overcoat, blanket, pair of 
pantaloons, underwear, portfolio containing writing paper and 
postage stamps, together with little tokens of remembrance from 
the dear ones at home. What the boys said upon discovering their 
losses would not do to put in a Sunday school lesson, and they had 
good cause for so expressing themselves. There is always a lot 
of skulkers and robbers in the rear of the army who never intended 
to do anything but rob, and who never get into battle. Every soldier 
is allowed clothing to the amount of $42 per annum, and in case 
of loss, even though no fault of his, is obliged to draw a new 
outfit, and the amount deducted from his salary, which is $13.00 
a month in greenbacks, while gold is at a premium of $2.80 on the 
dollar. The Government also allows each man forty cents a day 
for rations, over half of the time we are situated so that we can 
not get the rations and consequently have to forage and sometimes 

pay double for what we purchase, provided we cannot confiscate it. 

* * * 

"Orders have just been received stating that the army will cross 
the Potomac into Virginia to-morrow, the 26th." 

The Forty-Fifth at South Mountain 




It was nine o clock Sunday morning September I4th, 1862. A 
thick fog which had settled over the Catoctin Valley during the 
night had disappeared; we had finished our breakfast of roasted 
corn, crackers and coffee ; the drum rolled and we fell in line ready 
to move. Considerable artillery firing had been going on since day 
break. The battle of South Mountain had begun. Our column 
was set in motion and we w^ere soon winding our way slowly up 
the hill. The sharp report of a cannon is heard on top of the hill, 
and a shell comes tearing down screeching through the air. Others 
followed in quick succession. The enemy on top of the mountain 
(part of Lee s army under D. H. Hill stationed there to keep Mc- 
Clellan in check while the Rebels under Stonewall Jackson were 
capturing Harpers Ferry), could discern all our movements and 
were making it as hot as they could for us. We pushed steadily 
on and presently took a by-path that diverged to the left from the 
turnpike, and continued on over the rough ground and wooded hill 
until we came to a clearing where the column formed line of battle 
near an old log house, the right of the line of the Forty-fifth rest 
ing on the road. It must have been then not far from eleven o clock. 
The Rebels were pelting us with grape and canister and it was only 
by lying down that we avoided serious punishment. Between us 
and the enemy was a cornfield on a side hill; then a piece of thin 
woods and, as we found out later on, an open space beyond the 

Having formed line of battle, orders were given to unsling 
knapsacks which were piled up and a man from each company de 
tailed to guard them. Thick and fast came the grape and canister 
with a swish down the road and diagonally into the field tearing 
up the turf all about us. Several pieces of artillery were advanced 
up the hill for the purpose, I suppose, of silencing the Rebel bat 
tery that was making all this fuss. Hardly had the guns unlim- 
bered, however, when a volley of musketry and a dose of grape and 
canister sent guns, gunners, caissons and horses pell mell back 
down the road. It looked for a few minutes as though a panic 

52 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

would ensue. But Colonel Welsh, who although in command of 
a brigade, was in the front line with his own regiment, by a few 
cool assuring words soon allayed whatever excitement might have 
prevailed among the men. Order \vas restored and the exciting 
incident passed off without serious trouble. 

For several hours during the forepart of the afternoon the con 
flict was continued by the artillery alone. Meanwhile reenforce- 
ments were coming up and our line was being formed for the as 
sault. At four o clock all had become ominously silent all along 
the line. Not a gun was heard. The two giants were taking breath 
for the final tussle. Surgeons with their knives, saws, probes and 
bandages had taken position close by for their bloody work. A 
mounted officer came dashing up and spoke a few hurried w r ords to 
Colonel Welsh and passed on to the left. Orders were communi 
cated to regimental commanders and then came the long expected 
order, "Attention, battalion ! Shoulder arms. Forward, guide center, 
March!" The whole line advanced. Companies A and K being 
thrown out as skirmishers; the line of battle swiftly and silently fol 
lowed them up through the cornfield. 

Major John I. Curtin, in command of the regiment, it seems 
intended going into the fight on horseback. His horse, however, 
a spirited animal, either through fear or pure cussedness, refused to 
jump the low stone wall over into the cornfield. The regiment was 
pressing steadily on, leaving the gallant major behind. That would 
never do. Dismounting he dropped the reins over the animal s 
neck and letting his steed go galloping riderless back to the rear 
Curtin hurried on after the Forty-fifth and soon caught up with it. 
Had the brute obeyed his master that day and carried him into that 
tempest of lead and iron the chances are that neither horse nor 
rider would have come out alive. 

It must have been some twenty rods through the cornfield. 
When about half way across scattering shots were heard from the 
front and minie balls began to zip through the air from that di 
rection. Our skirmishers had reached the timber and found the 
enemy. The firing gradually increased and our line pressed rapidly 
forward, the Rebel skirmishers slowly falling back, firing as they 
retreated. As our line emerged from the cornfield, climbing over a 
rail fence into the woods, the Johnnies were seen scaling the fence 
on the farther side of the timber. At this point a battery of the 
enemy located on a spur of the mountain to our right proceeded to 

The Forty-Fifth at South Mountain 

throw shells into the woods. These missiles made sad havoc among 
the tree-tops scattering limbs in all directions or plowing ugly fur 
rows in the ground in dangerous proximity to our line. Welsh and 
Curtin were both at the front and seemed as cool as if on parade. 
By their example and soothing words such as " Steady, boys, keep 
cool !" they did much to allay the nervousness of the men on the 
firing line. During this momentary halt some of the boys seeing a 
few Rebels climbing over the fence beyond the woods fired on 
them. Others followed suit until nearly the whole regiment had 
fired a volley. This, of course, was imprudent as it told the Rebel 
artillery just where our line was advancing through the woods. 
Our officers were yelling at the top of their voices, "Cease firing!" 
One of our boys who was an old hunter and a good shot (Andrew 

Bockus of Company G), muttered to himself, "Don t care a d n! 

I saw a Johnny!" It was from 15 to 20 rods through the woods, 
beyond which was a rail fence pretty well demolished by the Rebels 
climbing over it. 

Presently the order was given by Welsh and quickly repeated 
by Curtin, "Forward to the fence!" It didn t take long to get 
there. On reaching the edge of the clearing the enemy s line of 
battle was discovered in a lane between two stone fences something 
like 80 yards across an open field. The Rebels were kneeling be 
hind the wall nearest to our line, their own line running parallel 
or nearly so to ours. Only their gun barrels and the tops of their 
heads were visible. 

The rail fence, or what was left of it, afforded some protection, 
but the enemy behind their solid wall still had an immense advan 
tage. It was here that we sustained our heaviest loss. We found 
out afterwards, however, that the Rebels lost more men on that 
part of the line than we did, most of the Confederate dead or 
wounded being shot in the head, which was about the only part 
of their anatomy in sight above the stone wall. Meanwhile the 
enemy had a raking fire with their batteries on that part of the 
field. Trees and fence rails were shivered to pieces by shells and 
grape and canister coming from the front or at right oblique. All 
this time the battle was raging furiously along the two or three 
miles of the Union and Confederate lines. Reports of cannon, 
bursting shells and musketry blended together in one continuous, 
deafening roar. Clouds of white-blue smoke hung over the field 
like a thick fog, and the air was stifling with the smell of gun- 

54 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

powder. I suppose we noticed these things particularly that day 
because South Mountain was our first pitched battle and naturally 
made more of an impression on our minds that the bigger and 
more important battles we were in later on after we got used to 
that sort of thing. 

Between five and six o clock the One Hundredth Pennsylvania, 
or "Round Heads," as we called them, came to the support of the 
Forty-fifth on the firing line. But the enemy s fire had slackened 
by that time and presently ceased altogether in our front. The 
Johnnies were ready to quit. Many of them were shot down while 
climbing the stone wall in their rear trying to get away. Our line 
of battle advancing at once captured a lot of prisoners, about 150, 
Colonel Welsh says in his official report. It was then about six 
o clock. There was more or less firing in other parts of the line 
as late as nine o clock that night, but the battle in our front was 
over and as the sun went clown that Sunday evening the woods 
and rocks on the brow of the hill we had w r on echoed and re 
echoed with the cheers of the victors of South Mountain. 

A decided victory had been won over the veterans of Lee s 
army; but we paid dearly for it. 

The Forty-fifth lost 136 officers and men 21 killed and 115 
wounded, many of whom died shortly after. Lieutenant George 
P. Grove of Company A was mortally wounded and died six days 
later. Conspicuous among the killed from the writer s own county 
were Lieutenants George Dwight Smith and James M. Cole of 
Company I, both excellent soldiers. The fact that Colonel Welsh 
on assuming the duties of brigade commander, from among a score 
of officers selected Lieutenant Smith to fill the most important po 
sition on his staff that of his assistant adjutant general is suffi 
cient evidence of his abilities as a soldier. The writer may be par 
doned for referring to the death of three of his own Company, (G). 
Henry Fenton, a giant in strength and fearless as a lion, was shot 
through the heart ; George Brewster, good natured and portly, w r ith 
whom I chatted that morning, seated on his knapsack nibbling 
away at an ear of roasted corn, died bravely in the front rank of 
battle; Jacob Squires was shot through the head after the battle 
was practically over and died without a struggle. 

Next morning we buried our dead. In a trench a little above 
the old log house referred to, wrapped in their blankets we laid 
them tenderly away at the front of the hill they had helped to make 

The Forty -Fifth at South Mountain 55 

immortal! The enemy s dead were also left for us to bury. The 
poor fellows lay where they fell, singly or piled up one across the 
other. We were surprised to find so many of them, especially be 
tween the two stone walls where the ground in that narrow roadway 
or lane was literally covered with dead bodies. Some of the severe 
ly wounded had also been left behind for us to look after. 

Our Harpers Ferry muskets with a good sized ball and three 
buckshot, at short range, had done fearful execution. 

No member of the Forty-fifth need blush for having been at 
South Mountain. Every man did his duty. Burnside, and General 
Wilcox, our division commander, complimented Colonel Welsh 
very highly on the conduct of his old regiment at South Mountain. 

Colonel Welsh himself in his report of the battle says : "My 
officers and men were enthusiastic and brave. Where all are so 
meritorious it would be unjust to designate individuals. I will only 
add that the Forty-fifth Pennsylvania of my brigade and the Seven 
teenth Michigan of the first brigade sustained the brunt of the 
battle with a bravery and constancy seldom equalled in modern 

Even McClellan, \vho had no love for the Ninth Corps, in his 
book, "McClellan s Own Story," page 578, goes out of his way to 
mention favorably the Seventeenth Michigan and the Forty-fifth 
Pennsylvania in his report of the battle of South Mountain. The 
Seventeenth Michigan, the boys will remember, was a new regi 
ment that fought on our right and covered themselves with glory, 
the men exposing themselves recklessly. Their loss in killed and 
wounded that day was 132 only four less than the casualities in 
the Forty-fifth. There were three regiments in the Second Bri 
gade, the Forty-fifth and One Hundredth Pennsylvania and the 
Forty-sixth New York. Official reports show that the One Hun 
dredth Pennsylvania, or "Round Heads," lost 45 in killed and 
wounded, while the casualties of the Forty-sixth New York were 
only nine killed or wounded. Compare these figures with the casual 
ties of our regiment and it will readily appear that Colonel Welsh 
was not mistaken when he said that of the three regiments in his 
brigade the Forty-fifth Pennsylvania bore the brunt of the battle on 
that portion of the line. Even then we didn t get all the credit that 
belonged to us. 

The Correspondent of the New York Tribune, in one case at 
least in his report of the battle, inadvertantly or otherwise, substi- 

56 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

tuted the Forty-fifth New York for the Forty-fifth Pennsylvania, 
giving the New Yorkers credit that belonged to us. The story goes 
that Colonel Welsh met the reporter a couple of clays later and 
kicked him out of camp. We may well believe it, or that he gave 
the reckless quill-driver a tongue lashing that must have hurt worse 
than a kick. 

Captain E. G. Scheiffelin of Company H, was promoted to 
major of the regiment immediately after the battle. Second Lieu 
tenant R. G. Richards of Company G, who commanded the com 
pany at South Mountain was promoted to captain the same day. It 
was understood that both of the promotions were made for meritori 
ous conduct on the battlefield. However, Captain Scheiffelin re 
signed before his commission as major was delivered. 

The writer is indebted to General Curtin, Captain Chase of 
Company I, Lieutenant Davies of Company G, and several com 
rades of Companies G and I for valuable information and pointers 
about South Mountain, where we lost more men killed or mortally 
wounded than in any other battle we were in. Not excepting the 
Wilderness and Cold Harbor > where the Forty-fifth won additional 
renown as one of the "Three Hundred Fighting Regiments" in the 
Union Army. This list or roll of honor, according to Colonel Fox, 
in his book, "Regimental Losses," the best authority we have on 
military statistics, includes every regiment in the Union Army that 
lost more than 130 men, killed or mortally wounded. 

The aggregate loss of the Forty-fifth according to the same au 
thority was 227 killed or mortally wounded during the war. So 
we are not at the tail end of the list of the Fighting Three Hun 
dred by any means. 

On the contrary, in a preferred list of 45 regiments, which in 
cludes "every infantry regiment in the Union Army that lost over 
200 men, killed or mortally wounded in action during the war," 
the Forty-fifth Pennsylvania is number 18 from the top, and first 
on the list in the Ninth Corps. 

South Mountain, Md. 


Except as to the woods and timber this picture shows the local 
ity of the fiercely contested Battle of South Mountain just as it was 
on Sunday evening, September I4th, 1862. The stone walls on the 
right and left of the "Old Sharpsburg Road," and at the edge of 
the woods is where the Confederates made their stand, and in dis 
lodging them the Forty-fifth Pennsylvania had 28 men killed out 
right and 15 subsequently died of their wounds. 

The corner of the log house, known as the "Wise House," 
shows on the extreme left of the picture, and under the tree near 
the house was the well in which 68 Rebels were buried by Mr. Wise, 
who was paid a dollar apiece to bury the dead Confederates killed 
behind the stone walls. 

The picture was taken from the corner of the Reno statue. 

58 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 


This picture shows a portion of the "Pennsylvania Section" in 
which are buried the Pennsylvania soldiers, in number more than 
600, killed at South Mountain, September I4th, and at Antietam, 
September i/th, 1862, and of those wounded who died subsequently 
in the hospitals at Hagerstown, Frederick and Middletown. 

The third row from the outside flag on the left and the out 
side flag on the right, inclusive, are the remains of the soldiers of 
the Forty-fifth Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry who were killed 
at South Mountain, Sunday, September I4th, 1862. 

Beginning on the left with grave numbered 

3870 Amos Walton, Co. B 3883 Unknown 

3871 William Hunter, Co. D 3884 Unknown 

3872 Robert Kerr, Co. C 3885 Unknown 

3873 James Baird, Co. C 3886 Unknown 

3874 Thomas Parsons, Co. C 3887 Unknown 

3875 Frank Wagner, Co. B 3888 Henry Chambers, Co. K 

3876 Jacob Squires, Co. G 3889 Unknown 

3877 John N. Hotchkiss, Co. H 3890 George English, Co. I 

3878 James Hurd, Co. F 3891 Unknown 

3879 Henry Fenton, Co. G 3892 James McCann, Co. K 

3880 Unknown 3893 Jacob Keplar, Co. K 

3881 J. H. Glenn, Co. A 3894 James R. Tremain, Co. H 

3882 Jacob Campbell, Co. A 3895 Aaron Burr, Co. H 

The "Unknown" are those whose caps showed them of the 
"45th Pa.," but whose names and company were not indicated. 

In scattered graves in the Pennsylvania Section are : 

3585 Aaron Benson, Co. H 3936 George L. Bartlett, Co. G 

3725 Philip B. Spotts, Co. B 4032 David Lightner, Co. E 
3818 John D. Chronister, Co. E 4079 James Fields, Co. C 
3901 Hiram Wilcox, Co. G 4 J 39 Reuben Yarnell, Co. A 

3914 John Ulrich, Co. E 4 T 4O Lieut. W. P. Grove, Co. A 

4142 Noah C. Morton, Co. I 

National Cemetery, Sharpsburg, Maryland 59 

Taken from Tablet No. 64. Tablet facing west from orchard: 

U.-S. S. 

Welsh s Brigade, Wilcox s Division. 
Colonel Thomas Welsh, 45th Pennsylvania Infantry, 

Commanding Organization : 

8th Michigan Infantry, 46th New York Infantry, 

45th and looth Pennsylvania Infantry. 

September I7th, 1862. 

On the morning of the i7th, Welsh s Brigade was in reserve 
on the eastern slope of the ridge, on the left bank of the Antietam, 
nearly opposite the Burnside Bridge. About 2 P. M., after Sturges 
Division had carried the bridge, the Brigade crossed and follow 
ing the road to Sharpsburg, about 250 yards, formed line west of 
the road, gradually crossing to the east, until its right was near 
this point (1,000 yards from the bridge), its center in the ravine 
and at the stone mill and its left in the apple orchard beyond, when 
the attack of A. P. Hill on the left flank of the corps compelled it 
to withdraw to the banks of the Antietam, where it remained until 
the evening of the i8th. 

60 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 




Forty-seven years is a good while to remember. In trying to tell 
the story of our experience in Kentucky and Mississippi, as I saw 
and understood it from the ranks as a private of Company G, I 
shall depend mostly on my diary and some letters I sent from the 
front to the Wellsboro Agitator while the events referred to were 
fresh in my mind. 

To begin with a brief reference to our movements from the 
time we left the Army of the Potomac to go west will jog the com 
rades memories and may be interesting to their children and grand 
children who care enough about this to read it. 

Tuesday afternoon, February loth, 1863, we left our camp 
opposite Fredericksburg, Va., marched about three-quarters of a 
mile to Falmouth Station and took the cars from there to Acquia 
Creek. Here we got aboard the transport "John A. Warner," and 
early next morning started down the Potomac, and after an inter 
esting voyage by way of Hampton Roads, the Forty-fifth landed at 
Newport News about noon, February I3th. In the afternoon we 
marched about a mile and a half and pitched our tents on the banks 
of the James river, near the old camp ground, the same that we had 
occupied when the regiment came from South Carolina in July, 

Later on we built huts of split pine slabs log-house fashion. 
These 8x12 shanties with shelter tents for roofing made very com 
fortable quarters, easily the best we had enjoyed up to that time. 
Some pleasant memories are connected with our stay at Newport 
News, although they kept us hustling from morning till night. Our 
daily program being something like this: Reveille six o clock; 
police 6:30; breakfast 7:00; guard mounting 8:00; company drill 
8:30 to 9:30; battalion drill 10:30 to 11:30; dinner 12:00; com 
pany drill i :oo to 2:00; battalion drill 3:00 to 4:00; dress parade 
5 :oo ; tattoo 8 :3O ; taps 9 :oo. And, of course, it took considerable 
time to clean and polish up for inspection, which, in one sense, oc 
curred every clay on dress parade besides the regular inspection 
Sunday morning. 

Forty-Fifth in Kentucky and Mississippi 61 

It was at Newport News that we learned to go througfh the 
manual of arms to the tap of the drums. As I remember it now 
the drill was interesting but tiresome. At certain hours of the day 
nothing w^as heard but the tap, tap of the drum, frying pan, barrel 
or whatever was most convenient to make a noise. We had to keep 
our "thinkeries" wound up in order to remember the numbers. 
Some there were who couldn t remember, and I guess, every com 
pany had its "awkward squad." 

On Sunday, March 22d, we received marching orders, and with 
the exception (so my diary says), of Companies C and D, and a 
small detail from each of the other companies that were left back 
for special duty (and joined us later on), the regiment got aboard 
the steamer "Mary Washington." This was early in the evening. 
\Ve lay down on the deck after a while and slept soundly all night. 
About six o clock next morning we started and after a pleasant 
voyage of 16 hours through Hampton Roads and Chesapeake Bay, 
our boat anchored at Locust Point opposite Baltimore at ten o clock 
in the evening. 

Next day (the 24th), at i P. M., we took the cars on the Bal 
timore & Ohio Railroad and reached Harpers Ferry about four 
o clock next morning. Here we got a cup of steaming hot coffee 
that "just touched the spot." At six o clock we were under way 
again. The scenery along the road was interesting if not beautiful. 
The B. & O. in that locality ran through a rough country, a good 
deal of the way across gullies and streams and through mountains 
and hills. If there was a level farm along the road I didn t see it. 
I don t know how many tunnels we went through. One comrade 
said there were 20 or more ; I didn t count them. 

At 4 P. M., we stopped at Cumberland, a beautiful town in 
Maryland, and got some more hot coffee. Riding the balance of 
the day, all night and until 4 P. M. next day we came to Parkers- 
burg in West Virginia, on the Ohio river. Here we left the cars 
and took to water again, getting aboard the transport "Lacrosse." 

Friday morning, March 27th, found us steaming rapidly down 
the smooth waters of the Ohio. At ten o clock that night our boat 
tied up at Cincinnati. Next morning we crossed the river and 
landed on the other side at Covington, in Kentucky. 

After some delay the regiment got aboard the cars, and riding 
through what I thought was the richest farming country I had ever 
seen, we reached Paris in Bourbon County about 6 P. M. I know 

62 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

the first thing that arrested my attention was the striking contrast 
between the scenery down there and the wasted fields of Virginia 
that we had left behind. In Virginia, especially in the vicinity of 
Fredericksburg, where we had camped for several months, practi 
cally all the buildings, fences, timber and other land marks on the 
down-trodden fields had disappeared. Everything w r as desolation 
and ruin. Kentucky on the other hand reminded us of the well 
kept farms we had left in Pennsylvania, only the hills were not so 
high or the valleys so deep as in Tioga County, where I was 
brought up. 

Another thing that we noticed right away was that the people 
men, women and children were friendly to us. Kentucky like 
the other border states had suffered a good deal from the ravages 
of war. The farmers, especially, were in mortal dread of Morgan s 
guerrillas who had been up and down the state several times leaving 
a trail of pillage and destruction behind them." And when Bragg 
was driven out of the state in September, 1862, the wagon train 
loaded with plunder he took back with him, was 40 miles long, with 
1,500 horses and mules, 8,000 head of cattle and a big drove of 
hogs bringing up the rear. By the way, Kentucky was a great 
place for hogs in those days. It was nothing unusual to see 40 or 
50 running together like sheep in the same pasture, the property of 
an ordinary farmer. 

After all these depredations it is no wonder the farmers were 
worried and anxious about their property. But the Union Army 
was not there to plunder. The Ninth Corps to which w r e belonged 
was in Kentucky temporarily as an army of occupation. Our busi 
ness was to protect the people s property instead of stealing or de 
stroying it. They seemed to understand this. The citizens showed 
us every possible kindness inviting us to their homes, offering to 
care for our sick and extending other unique and unexpected cour 
tesies that were appreciated. 

Men, women and children were constant visitors to our camp, 
especially at the hour of dress parade when a crowd was always 
present to see us go through the manual of arms by the tap of the 
drum without a word being spoken. This they seemed to think 
was something great. And it was quite a trick and took a lot of 
drilling to learn to do it without a break. 

The couple of weeks we stayed in Paris seemed very short. 
The Forty-fifth camped on the fair grounds, the buildings being 

Forty-Fifth in Kentucky and Mississippi 63 

ideal quarters for us. Paris, Ky., was nothing great and had no 
special attraction that I remember, but if I may say it here, the 
name itself had a peculiar charm for me; I had heard my old father 
talk (in French) so much about that other Paris on the banks of 
the Seine in "La Belle France," as he called his native land. 

We left Paris on the loth of April. A couple of hours ride on 
the cars brought us to Nicholasville, where the railroad evidently 
got discouraged and stopped. Camping about three miles from 
the station that night a march of n miles next day brought us to 
Camp Dick Robinson. 

Located near the center of the state, Camp Dick Robinson was 
noted as being the first Union camp established in Kentucky, and 
was used as a rendezvous for our troops during the war. Colonel 
Welsh had been promoted to Brigadier General and was in com 
mand of "Camp Dick," while we were there. Colonel John I. Cur- 
tin (recently promoted from lieutenant colonel), commanded the 
regiment. This arrangement was entirely satisfactory to us. Welsh 
and Curtin were both fine officers. In some respects, however, they 
were entirely different. Colonel Welsh was a strict and severe 
disciplinarian if there ever was one, and frequently reprimanded the 
company officers under him for being too familiar with the men. 
His idea of discipline was that officers and men should keep their 
proper distance. The boys understood this and knew better than 
to try to be chummy with "Old Tom," as we called him when he 
wasn t around. 

Curtin was different. He enforced discipline all right. An 
officer who didn t do that would soon lose the respect of his men 
and play out. But when Curtin was off duty he laid aside his dig 
nity and was "one of the boys." In modern parlance he was "a 
good mixer." While we respected them both we were afraid of 
Welsh and loved Curtin. 

To show our appreciation and good will the officers and men 
of the regiment "chipped in" and presented Colonel Curtin with a 
fine horse while at Camp Dick Robinson. After dress parade was 
dismissed Wednesday afternoon, the 22d of April, the Colonel 
started for his tent as usual, but was called back on some pretext or 
other. The regiment in the meantime being formed in a hollow 
square with the officers in the center, the horse was brought in and 
in a few words presented to Colonel Curtin by Quartermaster 
McClure, "on behalf of the officers and men of the Forty-fifth." 

64 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

The affair, intended to be a surprise, had been so well managed 
that the Colonel knew nothing about it until the horse, saddled and 
bridled, was turned over to him. A speech of some kind, of course, 
was in order. But for once the gallant Colonel lost his nerve. He 
could think of nothing to say. To help him out the boys gave 
"three cheers for Colonel John I. Curtin." Mounting his new horse 
Curtin rode away with the hearty cheers of the whole regiment ring 
ing in his ears. And the incident, a very pleasant one for all con 
cerned, was over. 

The horse turned out to be a good one. Curtin rode him in 
all our subsequent marches in Kentucky, during the Mississippi 
campaign; in East Tennessee, and when Curtin commanded a bri 
gade in the summer of 1864 the same horse carried him through 
the battles of the Wilderness; Spottsylvania, Cold Harbor, and in 
the engagements before Petersburg until the battle of Poplar Spring 
Church, September 3Oth, where a good share of the regiment was 
captured. In this battle Curtin s horse was shot dead under him 
and he himself barely escaped being killed or captured as will 
appear in its proper place in the history. 

Colonel Curtin on horseback was a notable figure along the 
lines of the Ninth Corps during the siege of Petersburg. He was 
a graceful daring rider and how he used to make the dust (or mud) 
fly when out exercising his horse, which he frequently did while 
in camp. 

While at "Camp Dick" we had a good opportunity to look 
around and get acquainted with the country as well as the people. 
That was before they started raising tobacco to any extent. 
Corn and winter wheat seemed to be the main crops in Central 
Kentucky during the war; although rice, hemp and grapes were 
extensively cultivated. From the hemp was manufactured the 
famous Kentucky Jean that we used to hear so much about and 
which most of us old-timers have worn more or less. The farm 
work was done mostly by negroes. These black people were very 
respectful to the "Lincum Sogers," always taking off their hats 
when we met them. 

Our brigade left Camp Dick Robinson the last clay of April. 
My diary says we camped at Stanford that night and next day ar 
rived at a small place called Hustonville and the day after that, 
May 2d, we went on to Middleburg on Green River, having marched 
35 miles from "Camp Dick." The weather was pretty hot by that 

Forty-Fifth in Kentucky and, Mississippi 65 

time and that march was anything but a promenade. On the nth 
of May we marched back about eight miles to Hustonville, the 
Ninth Corps being scattered from there down to the Tennessee line, 
guarding the territory or engaged in various active operations. 

The boys will remember Hustonville as the place where the 
citizens to show their good will, got up a picnic for the Forty-fifth. 
May i Qth was the day fixed for the picnic. Rumors had been flying 
around that Morgan s guerrillas were prowling about that locality. 
Anyway, we got up before daylight that morning and after cooking 
rations and packing up as if a long march was expected the regi 
ment was divided in two parts and marched out a few miles on 
different roads. Forming line of battle in strong positions we 
waited long hours for something guerrillas maybe to -turn up. 
At eleven o clock we marched back to camp. It was a false alarm. 
Still, owing to the many rumors of the proximity of the enemy 
and in order not to disappoint the citizens who had taken so much 
pains to do us honor, part of the regiment remained in camp ready 
for an emergency, while most of the officers and some of the men 
went to the picnic in a small grove near by. One of the features 
of the program carried out was some lively "tripping of the light 
fantastic toe" on a platform built for that purpose, in which shoul- 
derstraps and crinoline (the women all wore hoops then), were 
much in evidence. In fact they were the "whole push." 

Among the ladies present who took an active part in the fes 
tivities were Mrs. Samuel Haynes and Mrs. Ephraim Jeffers, who 
were on a visit to their husbands, Lieutenants Haynes and Jeffers 
of Company G. 

Before adjourning arrangements were made for another picnic 
to be held on the 22d, more especially for the enlisted men. There 
was no hitch this time. A table w r as set long enough to accommo 
date the whole regiment. No, I am not going to tell you what we 
had to eat or how much. All I remember is that after everybody 
was satisfied there was enough left for an ordinary banquet. 

Most of the officers being on picket duty, having volunteered 
for that purpose, Sergeant-Major Harvey Benner was marshal of 
the day. Speeches were made by First Sergeant Hollahan of Com 
pany A and Sergeant Yarrington of Company D. And then Colonel 
Wolford of the First Kentucky Cavalry and General Fry enter 
tained us with some genuine Kentucky oratory. It was an inter 
esting coincidence, to say the least, that General Fry, General 

66 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

Welsh (who, of course, was present), and Colonel Wolford had 
served together in Mexico. Referring to this General Fry in his 
speech said, " General Welsh was a gallant private, a gallant cor 
poral and a gallant sergeant in the regiment to which I belonged." 

I have referred to the picnic somewhat in detail because it was 
a unique experience for us and one around which cluster pleasant 
memories of wartime. 

We had scarcely reached camp after the picnic when orders 
came to pack up. We left Hustonville about ten o clock next morn 
ing May 23d, and camped that night near a little place called Lib 
erty. Next day was Sunday and we rested. (Wonder why? It was 
so seldom that our generals paid any attention to the Sabbath.) 
Monday the regiment marched about fifteen miles and next day 
we reached Columbia, 43 miles from Hustonville. Friday, the 29th, 
we marched south to Jamestown through a drenching rain and over 
the worst roads we had seen since leaving Virginia. 

Jamestown is about four miles from the Cumberland River and 
during the war the country in that vicinity was little better than a 
wilderness. Tuesday morning, June 2d, the Rebels made a dash 
at our pickets and created quite a little excitement. Johnny Fenn 
got out his drum and beat the long roll. We fell in line ready for 
battle, but there was no need. It was probably a reconnoitering 
party sent out by Morgan to feel of us and see if there were any 
Yankees in that neck-of-the-woods. There were, and the John 
nies retired across the river. Casualties on our side so far as we 
know : Six men and ten horses captured and one commissioned 
officer badly frightened. A few weeks after that, however, while 
we were in Mississippi or on the way there, Morgan with 3,000 
men and six guns did cross the Cumberland river in that same local 
ity on his famous raid through Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio. Had 
we remained in Kentucky or pushed on into Tennessee as we ex 
pected to do, Morgan would probably have ran up against us and 
the chances are that his daring raid through three states during 
which he cut a wide swath of vandalism, brutality and murder, 
would have been delayed or maybe prevented. But we couldn t be 
in two places at once. 

On the 4th of June, two days after the skirmish at "Jimtown" 
our brigade, consisting of the Forty-fifth Pennsylvania, the Thirty- 
sixth Massachusetts, and the Seventeenth and Twenty-seventh 
Michigan, commanded by Colonel Bowman of the Thirty-sixth 

Forty-Fifth in Kentucky and Mississippi 

Massachusetts, left camp near Jamestown and marched back to Co 
lumbia. This retrograde movement puzzled us somewhat ; but we 
had been in the service long enough then to know that our business 
was to obey orders and ask no questions. 

Just the Ninth Corps luck. "A wandering corps," as Colonel 
Fox says, "whose dead lie buried in seven states." During the 
first three years of the war, the Ninth Corps seemed to be con 
sidered what we might call an "emergency corps" to be sent here 
and there wherever its services \vere needed most. And the Forty- 
fifth was in the same boat long before we joined the Ninth Corps. 
The regiment as we all knew made long journeys by land and 
water; our battles were fought on widely separated fields and in 
cluding the 98 poor fellows w r ho perished in Confederate prisons 
our dead were buried in ten different states of the Union. 

Our next stopping place after leaving Columbia w r as Lebanon, 
where we arrived June 6th. The weather by that time was very 
hot indeed and the dust on those Kentucky pikes, a species of lime 
stone, was something fierce. Anyway that 55 miles from James 
town to Lebanon came near "bushing" a lot of us. The boys will 
remember Lebanon from the circumstances that the paymaster 
came around to see us while there and gave us privates all of $26 
apiece, two months pay. Not much to brag about to be sure ; but 
these things go by comparison. The Confederate soldiers who 
worked for nothing all the time and boarded themselves (or fasted) 
part of the time, would have considered $13 a month a munificent 

What did we do with our money? Many of the boys sent it 
home to be salted down for a rainy day. Some of us spent it. 
Henry Starr, the regimental sutler, could tell you where a good 
share of the soldiers greenbacks went. With a fringe of whiskers 
around his rubicund face, Starr always reminded me somewhat of 
Horace Greeley. But they were different, these two; and, I sup 
pose, each was useful in his sphere. Greeley wrote brilliant edi 
torials for the Tribune, while Starr furnished us (for two prices), 
tobacco, writing material, butter, cheese, canned goods and other 
stuff that we thought we needed. Of course, we could have got 
along without most of these- things and saved our money as the 
Government was supposed to furnish all that was necessary.^ But 
as the French would say (with a shrug of the shoulders), "What 
would you?" Very few of us had a wife and babies to support in 

68 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

those days and a dollar didn t look so big to us then as it did later 
on, after the war. And the chances were that we shouldn t get out 
alive and need the money anyway. At any rate Starr got a good 
share of our greenbacks. 

Towards night after we got our money on June 7th the regi 
ment got aboard the cars at Lebanon (the end of the railroad, by 
the way), and rode through a beautiful country to Louisville. Here 
we crossed the Ohio river to Jeffersonville, Ind., and went from 
there by rail to Seymour where we changed cars and took the Ohio 
& Mississippi Railroad to Vincennes, still in Indiana, and after an 
all-day ride we reached Cairo, 111., June Qth. Our passage through 
Indiana and Illinois was a continuous ovation. Men, women and 
children cheered and waved flags and handkerchiefs as the cars 
laden with soldiers went by, and at every opportunity the people 
crowded around us, coming into the cars, even, to bid us welcome 
and bring good things to eat. I mention this because it was an 
unusual experience for us. 

Wednesday, June loth, we got aboard the transport "Sallie 
List," and by 3 P. M., were going down the Mississippi, the flag 
ship "Meteor," with Colonel Bowman and his regiment, the Thirty- 
sixth Massachusetts on board, leading our little flotilla. Early next 
morning we passed Island No. 10 of historic memory. Along in 
the evening, Thursday, June Qth, the "Sallie List" arrived off the 
city of Memphis and cast anchor, it being understood that we were 
to stop over one day while they cleaned the boat. 

As a matter of fact we went ashore next morning and stayed in 
Memphis five or six days, and had a good time, too. We camped 
on the public square, where peddlers with fruit, pies and other 
truck in the eating line came at all hours of the day. They seemed 
to be friendly all right, but I suspect that they cared more for our 
greenbacks than they did for us. 

While in the city we showed the citizens a few tricks in going 
through the manual of arms by the tap of the drum. One morn 
ing the following notice appeared in the Memphis Bulletin : "The 
Forty-fifth Pennsylvania yesterday engrossed our attention by some 
of its evolutions in the manual of arms. We have never seen to 
gether a more healthy and finer body of men. Colonel Curtin, its 
youthful but able commander, is in every way worthy of his posi 
tion. Success to the Keystone Boys !" We were always sure of 
an audience on dress parade while in Memphis. 

Forty-Fifth in Kentucky and Mississippi 69 

Early Wednesday morning, June I7th, we were again on board 
the "Sallie List" and going down the Mississippi. Rumors had 
come back to us that the other boats which had left Memphis sev 
eral days earlier had been fired upon by bushwackers concealed in 
the woods along the shore. But they didn t bother us any. The 
Mississippi was just as muddy and as crooked in those days as it is 
now. There were so many short crooks and turns that the joker 
of Company G said he expected every minute to see our own boat 
coming back to meet us ! 

Friday, June iQth, we arrived at Young s point in Mississippi 
and after a delightful three hours ride on the Yazoo river the 
regiment landed at Snyder s Bluff about 3 P. M. A tedious march 
of three or four miles under a scorching sun, over rough ground 
cut up with ridges and gullies, brought us to where the other regi 
ments of our brigade were camped, 1 1 miles in rear of Vicksburg. 

Our business there was to help protect Grant s rear while he 
besieged Vicksburg. That is, while Grant with a line of battle 15 
miles long w r as investing Vicksburg, we were part of another line 
under Sherman facing the other way facing Joe Johnston, who 
with a constantly increasing army was watching for a favorable 
opportunity to jump on Grant s back, so to speak, and if possible, 
break the bull-dog grip he had on Pemberton s army shut up in 

So they set us to digging trenches, building breastwork, felling 
trees, etc., to strengthen our position. That sort of thing nearly 
killed us, the climate of Mississippi being so much warmer than 
we had been accustomed to. Johnston didn t molest us, it is true, 
and we had no battles to fight during the siege, but if the boys 
had had their choice most of them would have dropped their axes, 
picks and shovels and shouldered a musket. Another thing that 
bothered us besides the extreme heat was the scarcity of water, and 
what we did get was miserable stuff. Oh, how we longed to fill 
our canteens from the "Old oaken bucket" up in Tioga County, or 
patronize the copious springs in "Old Kentucky!" 

But there was one redeeming feature about Mississippi. Forag 
ing was good down there. Berries and all kinds of fruit and later 
on green corn grew in abundance in that locality, and being in the 
enemy s country we made no bones in taking what we wanted. 

I was fortunate enough to get a pass one day to visit Grant s 
inner line of works, and spent several hours in the trenches at the 

70 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

extreme front. An elaborate system of rifle pits, ditches and cov 
ered ways made it possible to move the whole length of the line 
without much risk of being shot. Sand bags were put on the rifle 
pits far enough apart for musketry. Good sized logs on top the 
sand bags made a breastwork high enough to afford the men ample 
protection. I noticed some six-footers walking around unconcerned, 
so with my short five feet five (the same height as General Sheri 
dan, only, I suppose, he didn t know it,) I felt pretty safe. I bor 
rowed a gun from one of the boys in the rifle pits and fired some 
shots at what I thought were Rebel heads sticking up above the 
w r orks ; but maybe someplayful Johnnies w r ere holding their caps up 
on the end of ramrods to fool me. The chances are that I didn t 
hurt anybody. The fact is that our men were banging away all 
the time. 

Day and night cannonading and musketry could be heard all 
along the line during the siege, most of it coming from our side. 
The Confederates were more chary of their ammunition, having 
less of it to throw away. In some places the lines were so close to 
gether that clubs and hand grenades were thrown back and forth 
from one line to the other, so I was told, but they didn t amuse 
themselves that way while I was there. 

The usual din and racket continued until July 3rd when it 
seemed to slacken. Next morning, July 4th, 1863, a day to be long 
remembered in this country, firing ceased all along the line. 

Pretty soon news came that Vicksburg had surrendered. Did 
that mean that w r e were to have a rest and take it easy for a while? 
Not much. We had scarcely got done cheering over the victory 
when orders came to "pack up and get ready to move." 

Before the surrender of Vicksburg was formally accomplished 
an army of 50,000 under Sherman was marching against Johnston 
with orders to do him up if we could catch him. Grant s instruc 
tions to Sherman were not very explicit, but extremely compre 
hensive. "I want you to drive Johnston out in your own way and 
inflict on the enemy all the punishment you can. I will support you 
to the last man that can be spared," were the closing words of a 
letter Grant sent to Sherman on the Fourth of July, the day of the 

The two divisions of the Ninth Corps under General John G. 
Parke, which, of course, included the Forty-fifth, took a leading 
part in the expedition against Johnston. Referring to my diary I 

Forty-Fifth in Kentucky and Mississippi 71 

find that on Monday, July 6th, we came to the western bank of the 
Big Black River, a muddy stream five or six rods wide. Flowing 
from the banks, however, we found some springs of good clear 
water, the best we came across anywhere in the State. Needless 
to say that we drank all we could, filled our canteens and then drank 
some more of that water knowing it would be many a long hot day 
before we found any more like it. 

The Rebels, of course, had destroyed the bridges across the 
river and it took us long hours and hard work to build new ones. 
About two o clock next day we crossed the river and marched till 
nine or ten o clock that night, and would have gone farther if a 
terrific thunder storm hadn t struck us and made marching out of 
the question. A darker night we never saw. That is, it was dark 
as pitch between flashes of lurid lightning that fairly blinded us. 
But the rain which came down in torrents served one good purpose. 
It had been a hot, dusty march that afternoon. Our canteens were 
empty and we were dry. Soldiers are always dry when their can 
teens are empty. Some caught the water in their tin cups; other 
didn t wait to do that, they simply tilted their heads back, opened 
their mouths and let the rain do the rest. "What s a big mouth for 
anyway?" one of the boys said as the cooling drop trickled down 
his throat. The refreshment we got in that way was mild for the 
occasion to be sure, but better than most of the water we got down 

We filed off into a field (not far from Jeff Davis plantation near 
Bolton), stacked arms, skirmished around for some wood and soon 
had roaring fires going. The next thing was some red hot coffee 
that put new life into us. It s wonderful what a cup of coffee will 
do when a fellow is "all in" or all out as the case may be. Coffee 
for supper didn t keep us awake then as it does now. With no bet 
ter couch than our rain-soaked clothes and gum blankets, I doubt 
if many of us ever slept better than we did that night. It s no 
trouble to sleep anywhere if you can stand it, to get good and tired. 
We heard afterwards that several soldiers were killed by lightning 
during the storm. 

My diary slipped a cog for the next two days, but my impression 
is that the next day July 8th we were bothered by a wagon train 
and some other troops that seemed to have the right of way and 
crowded us out of the road and on the Qth we didn t get into camp 
until quite late. About four o clock Friday afternoon, July loth, 

72 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

our advance guard came in contact with the enemy a couple of 
miles from Jackson, the capital of Mississippi. General Welsh 
formed his division for battle. Our regiment and the Seventy- 
ninth New York (Highlanders), were deployed as skirmishers. In 
our front was one of those big corn fields for which that part of 
the state was noted, and beyond the corn field the Jackson & Grenada 
Railroad. Supported by the balance of the First Division of the 
Ninth Corps in line of battle the skirmishers advanced through the 
corn field. The railroad cut in our front was a source of anxiety 
to some of us. Would there be a line of battle or a skirmish line 
behind the embankment to mow us down as we advanced? Rail 
road cuts were frequently used for breastworks during the war. 
They make the best kind of ready-to-use rifle pits. General Sher 
man used to say that one great difference between himself and Grant 
was that Grant never worried over what the enemy was doing that 
he couldn t see. "But," said Sherman, "that s what scares me like 
hell !" If any of us were as badly scared as all that comes to we 
made no sign but kept our places on the skirmish line just the same. 
Scattering shots were fired at us by the Rebel skirmishers, but not 
enough to stop or even delay our advance. 

Some Johnnies who had been watching us from a piece of 
woods on a rise of ground beyond the railroad fired a few volleys and 
disappeared in the timber. One fellow on a white horse came out 
of the woods and circling around as if to show off fired a shot that 
landed not far from Colonel Curtin in the rear of the skirmish line. 
To our surprise and great relief the coast was clear on the railroad. 
Crossing the track the skirmish line went on up the slope towards 
the woods, where the enemy had disappeared, and finally halted 
near the State Lunatic Asylum about a mile and a half from Jack 
son. One of the inmates of the asylum came to his grated window 
and made a speech to us. I suppose the poor fellow called it a 
speech although we could make neither head nor tail to what he 
said. But he was a glib talker all right, and judging from the 
way he shook his long fingers at us, he must have been a retired 
politician ! 

Towards night we deployed as skirmishers again, advanced 
through the woods and caught up with the enemy about dark. Be 
tween nine and ten o clock both sides ceased firing and we lay on 
our arms till morning within 20 or 30 rods of the enemy s pickets, 
part of the men being allowed to sleep. 

Forty-Fifth in Kentucky and Mississippi 73 

Early the next morning we moved forward again and kept on 
advancing under a brisk fire until the enemy were driven into their 

The Confederates having chosen their own ground had an 
immense advantage over us. They were concealed behind rifle pits 
in the w T oods. Our line was in the open just as the enemy had 
planned it should be. I guess the boys all thought the next thing 
wpyld be to charge the rifle pits ; but no such orders came. To 
stand up and fight, exposed as \ve were to the short range fire of 
the Confederates in their rifle pits was little better than suicide 
and unnecessary. 

We had been drilled to load and fire lying down and could do 
about as well that way as any. So, instead of standing up as tar 
gets for the enemy we got as near the ground as we could. Of 
course, we felt the heat more in that way. Lying down, we got 
the full benefit of the midsummer tropical sun that kept getting 
hotter and hotter as the day advanced. It was a dandy place to be 
overcome with the heat and the wonder is that more of us didn t 
get sun struck" that day. I don t remember how long we were 
there, two or three hours probably, although it seemed longer than 

About eleven o clock the Thirty-sixth Massachusetts came to 
relieve us. Our ammunition was gone and we couldn t have stood 
it much longer in that blistering sun, anyway. 

We lost one commissioned officer and three enlisted men killed : 
Second Lieutenant Richard Humphrey and Sergeant Lewis F. Hill 
of Company F, and Comrades Francis Stratton of Company H 
and James Navle of Company I. The great wonder among other 
troops was that we had been so much exposed and suffered so little 
loss. Without doubt our tactics of lying down on the skirmish line 
saved many lives in the Forty -fifth that day. 

When the Thirty-sixth Massachusetts came to take our places, 
instead of keeping close to the ground as we were doing and as we 
repeatedly cautioned them to do, they were inclined to poke fun at 
us because we didn t "stand up and take our medicine." We knew 
well enough what would happen. These stalwart Massachusetts 
boys made splendid targets for the Johnnies all snug behind their 
rifle pits. We never knew how many of them were hit. I know 
that several were struck and severely wounded before we left the 

74 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

field. Anyhow, they learned an important lesson that day and that 
is, that exposing themselves unnecessarily was recklessness and not 

The Thirty-sixth Massachusetts was a splendid regiment. They 
were brigaded with us during practically their entire service, which 
began in the fall of 1862. A strong attachment existed between 
the officers and men of the Thirty-sixth Massachusetts and the 
Forty-fifth Pennsylvania. 

No attempt was made to storm the enemy s works or bring on 
a general engagement. Skirmish lines w r ith proper support did 
most of the fighting on our side as far as we could see. Which 
was a mighty good thing for us. Had an assault been made there 
would be a different story to tell and some of us probably wouldn t 
be here to tell it. 

A great deal of ammunition was wasted during the siege. The 
sound of artillery and musketry was heard day and night. Several 
solid shots from the enemy batteries passed through the insane 
asylum wounding some of the inmates and scaring the others almost 
to death. 

Referring to some notes made at the time I find that Sunday, 
July 1 2th, we were relieved from duty at the immediate front the 
Second Division of the Ninth Corps taking the place of the First to 
which we belonged. Sunday afternoon was comparatively quiet 
along the lines. Monday morning firing began early on both sides 
and continued all day. 

At i P. M., on Tuesday, the I4th, a heavy detail from our regi 
ment was sent to the front. We occupied some rifle pits, our busi 
ness being to engage the enemy s attention while Sherman maneu 
vered to surround the city or cut off Johnston s retreat if he 
stayed there long enough. 

Wednesday afternoon the Confederates sent in a flag of truce, 
asking for a cessation of hostilities while they buried their dead. 
Another truce was asked for and granted the next day. So our fir 
ing must have had some effect. 

On Thursday, the i6th, we were relieved from the firing line 
and took no further active part in the siege of Jackson. 

Friday morning all was strangely quiet along the line. Jack 
son had been evacuated during the night. The Second Division of 
the Ninth Corps were the first troops to occupy the town after the 

Forty-Fifth in Kentucky and Mississippi 75 

enemy left it. We took about 300 prisoners, some giving themselves 
up while others were "caught napping," about the houses and in the 
woods near by. 

Jackson was a beautiful town before the war, but like many 
other places in the South that had been occupied by the contending 
armies, much of the wealth and elegance of the capital of Mississippi 
had disappeared. The Confederates, of course, claim that we did 
all the mischief; but their own soldiers showed little respect for 
public or private property. The chances are that Johnston s army 
did their full share of the looting. 

A comrade and I got a pass to "do" the city for an hour or 
two after our troops had taken possession. The houses were prac 
tically all deserted except by here and there a faithful negro. Many 
of the dwellings had been ransacked and much property carried 
away or destroyed. Costly furniture was banged up and broken. 
In one house a beautiful piano had been ruined. Unfortunately 
there were soldiers in both armies mean enough to do that sort of 

I came near breaking the eighth commandment myself. Select 
ing a couple of books from a fine library I was foolish enough to 
think for a moment that I could take them with me ; but on second 
thought I knew better. We already had all the load we could 
stand under and march let alone carrying any plunder. So I didn t 
steal anything after all. Johnston s army had so much the start of 
us that it was no use trying to overtake it. 

Saturday and Sunday, July i8th and iQth, our brigade was 
busy destroying a stretch of the Mississippi Central Railroad in the 
vicinity of Toogaloo Station, 10 or 12 miles out of Jackson. Our 
orders, to tear up the track, burn the ties, bend the rails and de 
stroy the culverts, were carried out as effectually as the time at 
our disposal would permit. A good way to dispose of the ties and 
rails at the same time, after tearing up the track, was to pile up the 
ties, set them afire, then lay the rails crosswise on top ; the rails in 
this way, when red hot, bending and warping themselves out of 
shape while the ties went up in smoke. Another way was to take 
a rail, red hot in the middle, and bend it around a tree. But that 
was slow business and we didn t do much of it. In a couple of 
days we destroyed about ten miles of railroad north of Jackson, or 
put the road out of business, so the enemy couldn t use it again 
during the war. That sort of thing was tough soldiering and un- 

76 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

der a blistering July sun it all but killed us. No wonder some of 
the boys were knocked out by the extreme heat and over-exertion 
and never got over it. Another thing, we had to keep a sharp look 
out all the time and men enough under arms to guard against sur 
prise by the enemy s cavalry who were prowling around, watching 
for a chance to make it still hotter for the "cussed Yankees." 

Monday, July 25th, we left the vicinity of Jackson and took 
our back track towards Vicksburg, and a tedious, terrible march it 
was. The scorching weather was bad enough, but to cap the climax, 
our rations gave out. Some of the boys saved their rations as 
well as their money more carefully than others did. I remember 
very well of dividing my last sandwich of hard tack and raw pork 
with a comrade who seemed to need it more than I did. The last 
day of the march was the \vorst. I don t believe I ever felt hun 
grier in my life. I picked up a bone alongside the road a bone 
that a discriminating dog would have passed by with scorn and 
sucked it greedily, actually deceiving myself into the belief that I 
was getting a lot nourishment from it. And not a drop of water 
fit to drink did we get anywhere along that weary dusty march, 
that came near finishing a lot of us, until we again reached the 
neighborhood of the Big Black River, which seemed to be the only 
place in Mississippi where decent water was available for us any 
way. We were told afterward that the streams and ponds in the 
vicinity of our line of march had been poisoned with carcasses of 
dead animals which Johnston in his retreat had driven in and shot. 
If we filled our canteens with any of that water we didn t know it. 
Nobody could tell by the taste whether the water down there had 
been "doctored" or not. It was all such miserable stuff. 

On Thursday, July 23, we arrived at and occupied our old 
camp near Milldale, "tired, hungry and foot-sore," so my diary 
says. Our work in Mississippi was done. If we ever needed rest 
and a chance to recuperate it was then. Our officers seemed to un 
derstand this. Anyway, drilling and all unnecessary fatigue duties 
were dispensed with. And to partially counteract the effects of 
the climate and fever smitten locality, moderate rations of whiskey 
were issued to the men. The officers, I suppose, helped themselves. 
Some of the boys liked the taste of "commissary;" to others the 
clear stuff was worse than quinine. My tent mate (dead these 
many years, poor fellow), offered to swap his allowance of sugar 
for mine of whiskey. The result was that for several days my 

Forty-Fifth in Kentucky and Mississippi 

coffee had a double dose of sweetening and he seemed to enjoy his 
end of the deal quite as well as I did mine. Others did the same 
thing until the officers got on to it. Then we had to take our bit 
ters on the spot, the same as our castor oil and quinine. There was 
a good deal of sickness in camp. Several deaths occurred in the 
regiment during those last few days in Mississippi. David Hen- 
dershott of Company A, George H, Bockus, Company G, and 
John G. Seitz, Company K, were among the comrades who suc 
cumbed to disease, and were buried among the canebrakes of Camp 

It was some satisfaction to know that our services were appre 
ciated. General Grant, who as we all know never slopped over or 
"talked through his hat," gave us this parting salute : 

Headquarters Department of the Tennessee. 

. . ~ AT Vicksburg, Miss., July 3ist, 1863. 

Special Order, No. 207. 

In returning the Ninth Army Corps to its former command it 
is with pleasure that the general commanding acknowledges its 
valuable services in the campaign just closed. Arriving at Vicks- 
burg opportunely, taking position to hold at bay Johnston s army, 
then threatening the forces investing the city, it was ready and 
eager to assume the aggressive at any moment. After the fall of 
Vicksburg, it formed a part of the army which drove Johnston 
from his position near the Big Black River into his trenchments at 
Jackson, and after a siege of eight days compelled him to fly in 
disorder from the Mississippi Valley. The endurance, valor and 
general good conduct of the Ninth Corps are admired by all, and 
its valuable co-operation in achieving the final triumph of the cam 
paign is gratefully acknowledged by the Army of the Tennessee. 

Major General Parke will cause the different regiments and bat 
teries of his command to inscribe upon their banners and guidons 
"Vicksburg" and "Jackson." 

By order of Major General U. S. Grant. 

Acting Assistant Adjutant General. 

Wednesday, August 5th, our brigade now under Colonel Mor 
rison of the Seventy-ninth New York, (the brigade having been 
reorganized), got aboard the transport "Hiawatha," and after an 
interesting journey up the Mississippi, stopping again at Memphis 
to clean the boat, we arrived at Cairo about 5 P. M., August loth. 

78 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

I wonder how many of the boys remember our boat stopping 
somewhere below Memphis on the Arkansas side of the river to 
get a new supply of fuel. And how some of us got off the boat and 
"invaded" the State of Arkansas, while they were loading the 
wood. The incident was trivial and had no particular significance 
except that now we can tell the kids that we were in Arkansas during 
the Civil war as well as in Virginia, Maryland, South Carolina, 
Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee, to say nothing of our "travels" 
through portions of Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, and the District of 
Columbia, mostly on foot, in cattle cars or on transports with steam 
calliopes playing patriotic airs for our entertainment. 

At midnight, August roth, we left Cairo on the cars and 
reached Cincinnati at n P. M., of the I2th; marched through the 
city and crossed the Ohio River to Covington. And here we were 
in Old Kentucky again! On Monday, August I7th, we left Cov 
ington by rail and next day reached Camp Parke near Nicholas- 
ville. Here the paymaster came around to see us again with his 
trunk full of greenbacks. How nice they looked artistically piled 
up, each denomination by itself! 

About this time we began to feel the effects of campaigning 
among the bayous and poisonous swamps of Mississippi, that were 
more deadly to our soldiers than the enemy s bullets. Many of our 
regiment were taken sick with fever and ague. Some of them lin 
gered along and died during the fall ; others were disabled a long 

General Welsh himself was stricken with fever and died at 
Cincinnati, August i/jih, 1863, two days after our return from 
Mississippi. The death of Colonel Welsh (we always spoke of 
him as colonel although he wore the star of a brigadier general), 
was a painful shock to the Forty-fifth. We used to get out of pa 
tience with him, he was such a stickler for discipline and made us 
"walk the chalk line" many times when we thought it wasn t neces 
sary. But behind all this was a feeling of profound respect, and 
an abiding confidence in "The Old Colonel." His experience in the 
Mexican War and in the three months service of the Civil War 
was worth a good deal to us. It is no disparagement of the other 
officers to say that to Colonel Welsh more than to any one else is 
due the credit of making the Forty-fifth what it was one of the 
best drilled and best disciplined regiments in the service. 

Forty-Fifth in Kentucky and Mississippi 79 

It was said of Stephen A. Douglass that he could "thunder 
like the cataract or whisper with the breeze." The same might be 
said of Colonel Welsh with the breeze left out. One day on dress 
parade when the command, "Order Arms," was given my gun 
touched the ground a fraction of a second behind time. "Take 
care there, young man!" and I nearly jumped out of my shoes. 

Another time several of us were out in quest of adventure and 
incidentally "applejack" (yes, it was in Kentucky), when whom 
should we meet but Colonel Welsh. He knew we had no business 
no military business anyway in that direction. The colonel 
was a man of few words. "Young men, to camp, quick!" was all 
he said. And it was enough. We could almost feel his black eyes 
boring into us as we hustled back to our quarters. 

It was while commanding a brigade at South Mountain and 
Antietam that Colonel Welsh attracted the attention of General 
Burnside who promptly recommended him for promotion to briga 
dier general. Had he lived, \Velsh would undoubtedly have at 
tained a much higher command. General Welsh commanded the 
First Division of the Ninth Corps all through the Mississippi cam 
paign and was highly commended by his superiors for efficiency and 
good judgment. 

August 27th the regiment moved from Nicholasville to Crab 
Orchard in Lincoln County, about 30 miles from Camp Nelson on 
the direct road from that point to Cumberland Gap. 

On the loth of September the Forty-fifth started on its long 
tedious march over the Cumberland Mountains into East Tennes 
see. That is, most of the regiment started. A lot of us, including 
several commissioned officers were left back in hospital and con 
valescent camp knocked out by intermittent fever. Some of these 
joined the regiment later on, others started for Tennessee and were 
captured by the enemy. Others again are still in Crab Orchard 
filling probably unmarked graves, although we did put up rude 
boards with their names and company and regiment cut out with a 
jack-knife w^here we buried them. 

Altogether we were in Kentucky about three months, two 
months before and one month after the Mississippi campaign ; every 
thing considered we had a pretty good time. In the first place our 
duties were comparatively light; that is, we had no heavy fatigue 
work to do, such as building breastworks, digging trenches and 
that sort of thing; but we were busy just the same., -The usual 

8o Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

round of camp duties when not on the march gave us plenty of 
needful exercise and kept us down to "fighting weight" all the 
time. And between times when business was dull we wrote long 
letters and sent them home. A soldier s correspondence was an 
important factor in his life. The letters we got from home, if they 
were of the right sort, and most of them were especially those 
addressed in a neat feminine hand renewed our courage and made 
us better soldiers and more decent men. The mail came to us 
quite regularly when in camp. Bill Beaser of Company D was our 
mail boy. We all remember Billy Beaser. Billy had a mule and 
on certain days he would mount his long-eared pacer, hie himself 
away to brigade headquarters and come back after a while, his saddle 
bags fat with letters and newspapers from far away northern homes. 
And what a scramble there was for the mail ! 

Another thing that we like to think about is that we were among 
friends in Kentucky a novel experience for Union soldiers during 
the war of the rebellion. If the citizens in the vicinity of our 
camps ever went back on us and reported our movements to the 
enemy we didn t know it. Of course, we kept a sharp lookout for 
Morgan s guerrillas, (Morgan s Cavalry Brigade, they called 
themselves), who were prowling around and might swoop down 
on us any fine day or dark night when we weren t ready for com 
pany of that kind. As a matter of fact, most of our camps in 
Kentucky were in the direct path of Morgan s former raids. 

Morgan had spies out all the time and probably knew how many 
there were of us and what we were doing almost as well as we 
did. And that explains why there were no raids in Kentucky while 
the Ninth Corps was there. 

Another thing in favor of Kentucky was the climate. It was 
hot enough to be sure, but comparatively mild if we remember the 
sizzling heat of South Carolina and Mississippi. Our rations never 
failed us in Kentucky, but if we got tired of army fare and wanted 
something better, as most of us did occasionally if we could get it, 
the natives were glad to sell us a square meal of ham and eggs, 
corn bread and other good things. And last but not least, we had 
plenty of good water; a blessing that we appreciated more than 
ever before after drinking the rotten stuff they called water in 

Measured by the casualties we sustained and the blows we struck 
the enemy, our experience in Kentucky was of minor importance. 

Forty-Fifth in Kentucky and Mississippi 81 

But the regiment need not blush on that account. If we had a com 
paratively easy time for a little while in the Blue Grass State we 
made it up by strenuous campaigns in other fields during our three 
years and ten months service. 

History tells us that of two thousand or more regiments in the 
Union Army only seventeen lost more men, killed or mortally 
wounded in action, than the Forty-fifth Pennsylvania. 

82 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 



} BY J. H. BUCKLEY, Co. I. 

(Revised by Lieutenant Thos. J. Davies.) 

In the latter part of August, 1863, the first brigade of the first 
division, Ninth Corps, was encamped at Camp Nelson, near Nich- 
olasville, Ky. The Ninth Corps had just returned from its arduous 
campaign in Mississippi, with sorely depleted ranks, by reason of 
its service in that malarial district, under a semi-tropical sun, dur 
ing two of the hottest months in the year, June and July. The 
losses sustained in that campaign and the epidemic of sickness fol 
lowing reduced our numerical strength to one-half of what it was 
three months previously. On August 3ist the total number present 
fit for duty was 6,000 officers and men. First division numbered 
2,720 and the first brigade, consisting of the Thirty-sixth Massa 
chusetts, Eighth Michigan, Seventy-ninth New York and Forty-fifth 
Pennsylvania regiment numbered only 600. Lieutenant Colonel F. 
M. Hills was in command of the Forty -fifth. About the ist of Sep 
tember the corps was ordered to go to East Tennessee by way of 
Cumberland Gap, and we began the march on the loth. To me this 
was welcome news, for it opened up a new country which I had long 
wished to see. In this lively anticipation I was not alone. We had 
had a good time in Kentucky, but as you all know, that did not 
make us any the less anxious to move southward. 

Ten days rations of boiled pork, crackers, sugar and coffee, 
added to our other luggage, made a load that a mule need not be 
ashamed of. The result was that as the shadows lengthened each 
day the miles grew longer, our loads lighter and some of that ten 
days rations were sadly needed before we crossed the mountains 
into Tennesseee. We did not anticipate the utter poverty of the 
country through which we were to pass. Few people were to be 
seen, and soon after leaving Crab Orchard we entered the "cracker" 
region, among the knobs, of which I had read and heard so much. 
These knobs or small hillocks extend in a line westward across the 
State to the Ohio river. 

Corporal J. H. Buckley 
Co. I 

Campaigning in East Tennessee 83 

What few people I saw seemed to me to be a perfect produc 
tion of the country, which looked extremely poor to me in every 
respect. Even the few "razorbacks" we saw seemed ashamed of 
their existence and avoided our acquaintance. I do not remember 
of seeing a schoolhouse in that section and general appearances did 
not improve until we struck the valleys of East Tennessee. 

Bragg s army had a short time before retreated over the same 
road ; else it would have been hard to conclude for what purpose we 
were going in that direction. Any stray traveler whom we met was 
eagerly questioned, but very seldom with satisfaction on our part. 
I well remember asking a native as to the number of Rebel cavalry 
that had preceded us a few days before. He said : "There was 
quite a smart lot of them." Anxious to get some definite number, 
I asked again; and with a quizzical grin, as much as to say "You 
are hard to understand," he replied. "Oh! there was quite a long 
chance of them." He looked as though I might be satisfied, and I 
was that these simple people only knew how to express their ideas 
of numbers and distance by such indefinite expressions. 

We met many refugees from Tennessee fleeing from persecution 
and death. They were sad and dejected, and had but little to say 
and less to eat. Their progress was slow toward liberty as fast, 
though, as an old army mule could go, hitched to an old cart, con 
taining the family and all their worldly possessions. As we met 
large numbers of these people, we began to understand what it cost 
to be loyal to the Union in that country, and say what you may, to 
me it was one of the saddest sights of the war. 

We passed through Crab Orchard, Mount Vernon, London and 
Barboursville little clumps of dark, wood-colored houses, with not 
to exceed 500 inhabitants each. At the latter place I remember some 
of the boys got their canteens replenished with applejack, a peculiar 
kind of liquor made in that section of the country, and I believe it 
could be recommended as a pure article. 

The Cumberland River was easily forded here, after which our 
road was up grade toward the Gap, often leading through defiles 
little better than creek bottoms. The country became more rough, 
the hills higher and more densely timbered, and habitations scarcer. 
In fact, I ventured off the road only once to seek food, which al 
ready began to be scant. We had halted in the afternoon in a deep- 
wooded ravine. The narrow flats along were grassy and clean. It 
being quite early, I suggested to my chums a break for a farm 

84 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

house. We took up the nearest hollow and after a half mile travel 
came to a clearing. No life was discernible about the log build 
ings, so we boldly approached the house. One of the boys was 
warmly, though shyly, welcomed by the lady of the house, a mid 
dle-aged matron, a young daughter and two smaller children. Her 
husband and son were absent in the Union Army and being also 
Union soldiers, w gently hinted our ability to eat something if we 
had it. The frequent visits of both armies had bereft her of all 
visible means of support so far as we could see ; but she remarked 
that two or three chickens were left and if we would kill one she 
would prepare us a meal." It took some time to scare one up. No 
doubt they had ample cause to be shy and wary of strangers. Bound 
as we were upon a peaceful errand, we had left our guns in camp, 
but numbers and superior stratagem soon told the story. Some bis 
cuits were baked in a Dutch oven in the open fire-place, among the 
coals, and for color, taste and lightness were superior to any I ever 
tasted before or since. Oh, how delicious ! We ate and were filled, 
and when we gave her 25 cents apiece for our dinners she seemed 
overjoyed and told us she had used her last flour to prepare us that 
meal. We left this neat and kind lady with her love and devotion 
for her family, her country and her defenders, with sad hearts 
but full stomachs, and sincere hopes for the safe return of her hus 
band and son. 

Finally one day the Cumberland Range broke upon our view. 
The top of the mountain looked bare or nearly so, of a reddish 
cast and stood out clear cut against the blue sky. I got the im 
pression that it might have .been a high and picturesque mountain 
some time, but had been pounded down with an immense maul, or 
stunted in its growth. The rocks seemed worn smooth by the action 
of the elements. They looked calmly grand, but did not frown or 
seem to menace. 

About that time we passed a company of Indiana troops on duty. 
Their commanding officer drew them up at present arms as we 
passed, while he deliberately seated himself upon the ground at the 
head of his company to the great disgust of our boys who variously 
complimented them upon their discipline. 

We ascended to the gap by a broad well graded road. We 
found the mountain narrow on the top rising by great slopes two 
hundred and three hundred feet higher on either side. The moun 
tain was terraced by lines of rifle pits looking southward and just 

Campaigning in East Tennessee 

in the gap were some cannon in bomb proofs having frames of wood 
built over them and covered with earth to the depth of two or three 
feet. My attention was attracted by a pyramidal stone about four 
feet high, which some of the boys were climbing, so they could 
truthfully say they had stood in three states at the same time. Its 
sides were rilled with inscriptions showing that Virginia cornered 
there on the line between Kentucky and Tennessee. Virginia has 
here used one of the greatest powers known to science by wedging 
herself in between Kentucky and Tennessee, as if to crowd them 
off the mountain. For entertaining this preposterous notion the Old 
Dominion was compelled to contribute one more star to our nation s 
flag. As we halted a few miles out from the gap I noticed several 
boys going and coming from an old log house some 40 or 50 rods 
from the road. They reported a crazy woman as the sole inhabi 
tant. She appeared to me the dirtiest and most utterly wretched 
object I ever saw. Her tongue ran ceaselessly. Her wild look, 
long matted hair, bare arms and feet made her an undesirable ac 
quaintance, yet she had seen better days and I turned away with 
thoughts that I shall never forget, but which was brought forcibly 
to my mind by reading a short sketch of the late war in a recent 
number of the Philadelphia Press entitled, "A Stray Shot." It went 
on to say, as near as I can now recollect, that during the first of the 
war a fight took place near Cumberland Gap between Union and 
Confederate cavalry. A house nearby was occupied by a woman 
and two children, aged, respectively, four and six years. During 
the fight in the fields close by the children had wandered out along 
the fence attracted by the firing and shouting of the charging squad 
rons. As the Confederates withdrew the mother went in anxious 
search for her children. She had looked the field over without 
success. Darkness coming on she was wild with grief and fear. 
Observing a light she approached and found some Union soldiers 
looking for dead and wounded comrades. They gladly continued 
the search with her and soon the glad "Hello" was heard. "Here 
they are!" Sure enough there they lay cuddled close together by 
the fence in the tall grass and weeds fast asleep. One awoke but 
the other lay quiet and still and not until one of the soldiers held 
the lantern close did they discover a little hole in its temple where 
the stray ball had so quickly put it to sleep its mate unconscious 
of the true state of affairs. This sudden transition from joy to 
heartrending sorrow was too much for the mind of the mother to 
bear and she became at once a raving maniac. Can it be possible 

86 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

that that mother was the same we saw in that miserable hut just 
south of Cumberland Gap? It may be. 

Among other ranges of mountains that we crossed was Wild 
Cat Mountain, the scene of a former battle. This mountain I con 
sidered very appropriately named, for I do not remember having 
seen a place so poorly finished up as Wild Cat Mountain. In due 
course of time we reached Tazewell, the county seat of Claibourne 
County. This was the first county seat I ever saw without any 
buildings at all. The bare brick and stone chimneys and walls were 
all that remained of a once pretty mountain village. I do not re 
member of seeing one inhabitant. It was desolation personified. 
By whom the place was destroyed I never knew. The country, so 
far as I could see, was virtually depopulated, and I believe a crow 
would have needed extra rations to have crossed that country in 

The view from the top of Clinch Mountain was magnificent. 
Our view extended across three counties to the southeast, Grainger, 
Hamblen and Cocke, whose entire population in 1860 was just 
about that of Tioga County, Pa. 

The Smoky Mountains were just discernible in the dim dis 
tance. We looked down upon a vast forest, seemingly, which re 
minded me of the waves of the ocean. To the south the outlines of 
the mountains and lower ridges were lost to view in the smoky 
haze. The prospect looked forbidding indeed to hungry soldiers. 
Our descent was precarious but rapid. A shelving rock formed 
the road most of the way down. The wagons were kept upright by 
ropes, the men holding on and clambering along the mountain un 
the upper side. 

One of the beautiful and sequestered streams of East Tennes 
see is Powell River. As we crossed on the bridge I halted to look 
down into its even and pebbly bottom, its clear and sparkling waters. 
Its steep banks, heavily wooded, effectually excluded the rays of the 
sun. I involuntarily thought of my fish line and looked for the 
speckled beauties which I have no doubt were there. Clinch River, 
a larger stream of cold and pure water, was forded without mishap 
of a serious nature beyond a few duckings and a few lacerated feet 
on the sharp ledge of rocks which formed a kind of apron upon 
which we waded across. The first and only paw paws I ever saw 
we found upon its banks. The tree or bush reminded me of the 
sumac ; and the fruit looks and tastes like the banana. As we struck 

Campaigning in East Tennessee 87 

the valley of the Holston the country improved. We camped near 
Morristown on the railroad and a hungrier lot of fellows I had not 
yet seen. A neighboring grist mill was raided and the boys of the 
Forty-fifth at least have reason to remember our first supply of 
flour rations in Tennessee. It was not the fault of the cooks that 
our flannel cakes did not lay quiet upon our hungry stomachs for 
the ingenuity displayed in getting that flour into an edible shape 
was simply wonderful. Yet the lack of seasoning and shortening 
had something to do with it. We learned that the wheat had grown 
or sprouted and had soured, making what was denominated "sick 
flour," which as soon as swallowed began to raise and work like 
yeast. Thus our stomachs became yeast jugs and not a few ran 

Our march down the river to Knoxville was more endurable. 
I \vell remember being out one time until i A. M., hunting sheep 
by moonlight. The next day our haversacks had fattened up con 
siderably on fried mutton. 

The wide undulating flats, with their green grassy appearance, 
ornamented quite often by large brick dwellings, gave me a good 
impression of the country. The fine large springs, the adjacent 
and precipitous hills heavily wooded with chestnut and rock oak 
made it still more desirable. We passed Panther Springs, where a 
little old fashioned grist mill was run by its waters alone, also 
Strawberry Plains, the site of a female seminary. Thus we reach 
Knoxville, our objective point for the present and camped about 
one mile north of the town. 

Our march of 200 miles had rendered us anything but corpu 
lent, our cartridge box belts were taken up to the last hole, but with 
a liberal allowance of fresh bread, beef and pork we soon made a 
more presentable appearance and were actually spoiling for a fight. 
Our duties were light, money was plenty, foraging and sky-larking 
not a necessity, yet it was indulged in to quite an extent. With 
your permission I will relate one of my own narrow escapes, which 
were common to all old soldiers. I had with others a longing de 
sire to eat some of the "garden sass" of East Tennessee. This 
desire grew to a necessity made stronger every day as I noticed on 
my way to and from Knoxville a fine looking garden enclosed by 
a high tight board fence in the rear of a neat looking house. Se 
lecting a favorable night, myself and another brave and daring 
spirit, repaired in a quiet manner to the above locality. After a 

88 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

hurried consultation we determined to attack the enemy on the 
rear left flank. Your humble servant constituted the skirmish line 
while the heavier line of battle was brought up by accomplice. Peer 
ing over the top of the fence all seemed "quiet on the Potomac." 
Cautiously as possible I scaled the fence and was feeling about for 
vegetables, not forgetting to watch the back stoop, I had ventured 
within about 30 feet of the back porch when I heard a slight rus 
tling sound issue from there and presently a low growl as two large 
dogs moved to the front a lively imagination making them just 
discernible. I shot past my comrade hissing between my teeth 
"Dogs." I had suddenly changed my mind about caring for any 
garden truck that night. At a safe distance outside my comrade 
joined me, where we surveyed the field congratulating ourselves 
upon our miraculous escape and adding to our stock of experience 
some valuable lessons but no vegetables. 

Engagement at Blue Springs 

Finally, it was reported that a large force of Confederates under 
command of Major General Sam Jones were concentrating at or 
near Greenville, for an attack on Burnside. The menacing attitude 
of these forces soon cut short our stay in this pleasant camp ; for at 
three o clock on the morning of October 3d (just six days after 
our arrival), we received orders to be ready to march at 8 A. M., 
in light marching order, with five days rations and 40 rounds of 
ammunition. Promptly at the appointed hour we marched to the 
line of the East Tennessee & Virginia Railroad and after consid 
erable delay (unaccountable to us), we boarded a train of box and 
flat cars and were soon slowly moving up the line toward Bull s 
Gap, about 60 miles from Knoxville, where we arrived late in the 
afternoon, alighted and camped for the night with the other regi 
ments of our brigade. The next day, October 4th, the First Bri 
gade marched four miles beyond Bull s Gap and encamped in the 
fields near the roadside. Here we found some of the troops of the 
Twenty-third Corps, who had preceded us, two regiments of Gen 
eral Shackelford s cavalry, and a regiment of Tennessee infantry, 
who reported the enemy posted in a strong position at Blue Springs, 
about three miles from our camp, closely watched by their cavalry 
pickets. We remained here until the loth, evidently waiting for 
reinforcements, for the conditions savored strongly of a fight. On 
the morning of October loth we marched out of this camp with 

Campaigning in East Tennessee 

the weird music of Scotch bagpipes as an accompaniment, the Seven 
ty-ninth New York (Highlanders) being in the lead. We marched 
leisurely, vacating the road several times for squadrons of cavalry 
to pass to the rear, and once a battery of artillery passed to the 
front. It was nearing noon when the sound of artillery firing in 
front told us the engagement at Blue Springs was on. 

It was about this time that we were halted on the road to let 
General Burnside and staff pass to the front, and as usual, he had 
no use for a head covering while passing his old line troops of the 
first division; for we always gave him the glad welcome in no un 
certain tones. The sound of artillery firing increased and our pace 
was quickened. We soon passed through a strip of woodland 
through which the road ran, filed to the left a short distance from 
the road and halted, with the other regiments of the brigade near 
by. We were left in this position till about the middle of the after 
noon. Out on our front across the road (which bore away to the 
left here), and to the right and left, was open field, which extended 
to the base of a wooded ridge, distant about four or five hundred 
yards. Some of the troops of the Twenty-third Corps, principally 
cavalry and mounted infantry, with several batteries of artillery 
had been engaging the enemy nearly all day. The Rebels offered 
a stubborn resistance, holding them in check at all points. Finally, 
about 4 P. M., General Fererro was ordered to move up the First 
Division of the Ninth Corps and endeavor to drive out the enemy 
from the woods on his front and break the center of their line. 
Upon receipt of this order the Forty-fifth, led by Lieutenant Colonel 
Francis M. Hills, was immediately ordered forward into the wooded 
ridge, where we were deployed as skirmishers to cover the front of 
the First Brigade, relieving the dismounted cavalry on that part of 
the line, who withdrew silently from our front and passed through 
our line to the rear. We had not yet come in touch with the John 
nies and did not know just where they were, and we didn t care to 
have them know where we were, for we wanted our introduction 
to be sudden and short, knowing it would not be sweet or pleas 
ant, however warm it might be. Thus we lay there resting quietly 
(and perhaps thinking seriously) while waiting for the formation 
of our lines in rear, and the order to advance. This consumed con 
siderable time ; but the waiting suspense was changed suddenly into 
quick activity about five o clock, when the order in crisp, yet low 
distinct tones, passed rapidly along our line, "Attention ! Skirmish 
ers, Forward Guide Center, Quick March." Instantly our line 

90 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

pushed up swiftly through the wooded ridge and soon emerged 
near the summit into an open field. Still on the thin line swept 
up over the summit; and as we began to descend the more gentle 
slope beyond, we received a fierce hot fire from a strong line of 
the enemy posted at the edge of another big strip of woods, not 
much over a hundred yards distant. Our line halted and stood firm 
in the open, returning a deliberate fire at the partially concealed 
Rebels for a few r moments, when above the crack of our noisy 
Springfields there rang out this clear command "Forward !" which 
I believe came from our nervy cool-headed Lieutenant Colonel F. 
M. Hills, who was always found on the firing line directing his 
men when in action. The whole line promptly dashed forward on 
a run toward the enemy and before we had covered more than half 
the intervening space, the whole Rebel line on our front fled in con 
fusion through the woods, pursued by our line in unbroken front, 
after resuming again the quick time march to preserve our align 
ment, firing at intervals at the retreating Rebels \vhenever oppor 
tunity presented. We had thus broken their center and driven 
everything in on our front, to and beyond the batteries on their 
reserve line, which we unmasked just before dark. Tw r o of these 
batteries opened on us with a sharp fire of shell and canister after 
our line had been halted by orders from General Fererro. We 
were then within 250 yards of their guns. Notwithstanding this, 
we suffered no serious loss from their noisy cannonade ; our left 
being well protected by woods and our right, in the open, by a 
ravine. We remained in line in this position all night, with pick 
ets thrown out in front. Preparations were made to attack again 
at daylight, but when morning came we found the enemy had gone. 
The cavalry was sent in hot pursuit, with our First Brigade follow 
ing suit. We followed them to Rheatown, north of Greenville, 20 
miles from Blue Springs. On this march we saw much evidence 
of sharp maneuvering and running fights by the cavalry, cross 
fences thrown down, splintered and torn where stands were made, 
and those by the roadside bore the evidence of flying missiles de 
livered in running fights. This and the occasional sight of a dead 
cavalryman in blue or gray, told us plainly the stirring nature of 
the pursuit. The enemy continued its retreat to the borders of 
Virginia pretty well scattered and pursued by our cavalry. The 
Ninth Corps was ordered back to Knoxville. We marched back 
through Greenville to Henderson Station, where we got aboard 

Campaigning in East Tennessee 91 

cars and reached Knoxville, and our old camp, in the evening of 
November I4th. 

While here a little of the interesting history of Parson Brown- 
low, the fighting parson, came under my notice which I wish to 
relate. My chum, James E. Catlin, must have been preoccupied 
that day for I was alone and went into town on a new street in 
the western part of the town. As I approached Main street I saw 
a troop of cavalry, escorting a closed carriage, turn and come down 
the street toward me. I halted at the fence for them to pass, but 
as they came to a plain wood colored building a few rods from me 
they halted and an old man alighted. From a picture I had seen 
I recognized Parson Brownlow. His black servants greeted him 
warmly and he seemed glad to get home. I think the next day 
Captain Chase handed me a copy of the Knoxville Whig, wherein 
Brownlow informed the people of Knoxville that he had kept his 
promise, viz., that in just two years from the time of his banish 
ment he would return to Knoxville and again issue the "Knoxville 
Whig." Brownlow was a man of strong convictions, an ardent 
Union man and rather belligerent withal. The strongest and most 
fiery epithets were hurled with all his power at his cowardly politi 
cal enemies. Through the columns of the "Whig" no hell was deep 
enough or hot enough into which he would consign the enemies 
of his country, who threatened his life, arrested and confined him 
in his own house. Still he defied them. Kill him, they dare not, 
for his family would raise up to take his place. Finally he was 
forced to cross the Ohio making that pathetic promise which he 
so truthfully and almost miraculously fulfilled. 

Some time after our return from Blue Springs we left Knox 
ville and followed the railroad south to Lenoir Station, about 28 
miles from Knoxville. Here we were ordered to build huts for 
the winter. In one week we had completed our camp. Our huts 
were models of comfort. The rock oak of Tennessee could be 
split into boards or planks with which our officers quarters were 
erected, some of them being quite artistic in design. We had set 
tled clown to real comfortable camp life; in fact we, the common 
soldiers, expected to stay there during the winter. We did not 
know that General Longstreet was even then meditating the cap 
ture of Burnside s forces, thus interfering with our well laid plans 
for a quiet winter. The news of his advance reached us about i 
A. M., November I4th. It was very dark and a very wet and quiet 

92 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

rain was falling as the long roll sounded and the commands rang 
through our streets, "Pack, up, pack up." Our dog tents were 
wrung out and hurriedly packed and I think that within 30 minutes 
we were in line, ready to march. 

The Retreat from Lenoir 

The rain continued and we were ordered to stack arms, with 
tompions in guns, and await further orders. The rain increased 
and the forenoon passed. Finally at twelve o clock (noon), in a 
drenching rain storm we marched out from our snug winter camp 
headed for Loudon and the enemy, then crossing the Tennessee 
River at Huff s Ferry below, about eight miles distant. We reached 
Loudon about 3 P. M., and were placed in position to support 
White s troops of the Twenty-third Corps, who were engaged with 
the enemy. As night came on our brigade marched a short dis 
tance, deployed in line of battle and remained there all night, with 
orders not to sleep as the enemy was on our front. The rain con 
tinued to drizzle all night and for our comfort we had the choice 
of two alternatives, lie on the soaked ground or stand up in the rain. 
The lowering clouds, drizzling rain and impenetrable darkness that 
prevailed over all no doubt prevented the enemy from disturbing 
us, for they were present in greatly superior numbers on our front 
and right. Twas thus we uncomplainingly worried through that 
miserable night. 

At early dawn we began moving back to Lenoir s, preceded by 
our artillery, still raining in occasional gusty showers, just suffi 
cient to keep us comfortably cool, roads terribly cut up by the pas 
sage of our artillery, and the mud ankle deep, with no choice of 
footing. It was Sunday, but the conditions with us were not favor 
able for the expression of religious sentiments and if the contrary 
prevailed, I think it excusable in this instance. We reached Lenoir s 
about 3 P. M., and the first division under Fererro was placed in 
position on a ridge opposite our winter camp, facing west, with a 
line of skirmishers thrown out to cover all approaches from that 
direction. About 4 P. M., the enemy s skirmishers in strong force 
appeared in our front and attempted to push in our advance, but 
were soon checked by the fire of our skirmishers and a few shells 
from Roemer s battery. Soon after this some changes were made 
in the line of the First Brigade, which placed the Forty-fifth in a 
woods, on the left of a road that led over the ridge westward, and 

Campaigning in East Tennessee 93 

as night was closing in, the skirmish line on our brigade front, un 
der command of Lieutenant Ephraim Jeffers, of Company G, was 
drawn in closer to the main line. Under these conditions we en 
tered upon our second night of sleepless, watchful vigil, with low 
ering clouds overhead and the somber gloom of the woods and 
night enveloping us in impenetrable darkness. 

About 10:30 P. M., the enemy crept up in the darkness and at 
tempted to drive in our skirmishers, but were repulsed and quiet 
reigned during the remainder of the night. 

About five o clock on the morning of the :6th our division with 
drew quietly from the lines at Lenoir and began the march up the 
Lenoir road on the way to Knoxville, marching in the following 
order: The Second Brigade in advance, followed by the First 
(ours), with the Third Brigade, under Colonel Humphrey, cover 
ing the rear. General Hartranft s division with the artillery had 
gone on during the night, and by morning had covered the junc 
tion of the Lenoir and Kingston roads, thus securing our line of 
retreat and the protection of our wagon train that preceded us. 

The enemy followed us at once but showed no disposition to 
press us until within two miles of Campbell Station, when they be 
gan to press heavily on the rear but were held in check by Humph 
rey. When we had nearly reached the junction of the Lenoir and 
Kingston roads, Humphrey s brigade was placed hurriedly in posi 
tion across the Lenoir road, facing south, to hold in check the enemy 
still pressing our rear from that direction, while our brigade under 
Colonel Morrison connected on their right, facing west, and reach 
ing to the Kingston road, thus forming a right angle, covering the 
junction. In this position we became sharply engaged with the 
enemy for about 40 minutes, holding them in check to cover the 
retirement of one of Hartranft s brigades and a battery of artillery, 
coming in on the Kingston road, followed by McLaws division of 
Confederate infantry, which was then advancing in solid line of 
battle from the west, with no skirmishers preceding them. 

At the same time a part of Humphrey s brigade, with a volley 
and cheer, charged the enemy on their front, driving them back a 
short distance on the Lenoir road. This was the last stand made 
to cover the retirement of troops past the junction of roads men 
tioned and was very timely as well as successful. The two bri 
gades under orders were immediately retired in good order to the 
new line established beyond the creek at Campbell Station, where our 

94 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

brigade was placed in position on the right. The enemy consumed 
much time in their preparations for advance, but when they did 
advance, their lines soon overlapped ours on both flanks and we 
soon found it expedient to fall back to a still higher elevation over 
which the road ran, with a fine view in our front. There were no 
heavy engagements that night, but a steady skirmish was kept up 
and our lines fell back slowly. By 3 P. M. they advanced in two 
lines of battle a quarter of a mile in extent, I should judge. Our 
batteries played upon them with good effect but did not seriously 
impede them. The firing was brisk on the skirmish line all the 
time, but I don t remember of any heavy engagements that after 
noon. We also got some guns in position toward night that did 
some damage. How we longed for night. We knew it was our 
only chance. By dark we were hard pressed, for I could see their 
lines overlapping ours. They were well around our flanks. You 
may imagine one narrow muddy road jammed full with a retreat 
ing army, on a dark night. Thus, more dead than alive we reached 
Knoxville 5 A. M., the i/th, and lay down in our places for a little 
rest, but before long we were busy with pick and shovel. At the 
end of a week our works were completed. Skirmishing and the 
attempt of the enemy to advance and extend their lines were of 
daily occurrence and sometimes were very severe. Our outer for 
tifications were formidable; outside the line of rifle pits, tree tops 
trimmed of all small limbs and piled close together pointing out- 
ivard. On top of our pits were placed two logs with loop holes. In 
our rear were other lines of rifle pits and still back near the town 
our batteries on higher ground. Knoxville is situated on the west 
side of the Holston River and our lines encompassed it on the west. 
The Forty-fifth occupied the extreme left next to the river south of 
the town. Aside from a number of severe shellings, no fighting 
took place on our part of the line. Scarcity of rations was a great 
inconvenience. I bought bread of citizens. Toward the end of 
the siege we received shipments of fresh pork from the loyal people 
east of the river, which they rafted down the river under cover of 
darkness. I remember going out on picket several mornings with 
short rations of fried fresh pork with no salt as our entire rations 
for the day and night, glad to get that. Our facilities for foraging 
were few and extremely hazardous. One day a cow was allowed 
to innocently wander to our lines along the river bank. She never 
returned alive, but Company K had beef. So of a fine porker whose 
owner kept a vigilant eye upon him day and night. But one dark 

Campaigning in East Tennessee 95 

night, by some strategy I never knew about, that fine pig disap 
peared and was never seen again by its owner, although he lived 
only about 15 rods in the rear of our line and his hog pen joined 
his house. Some ludicrous things happened on the picket line as 
well as in camp, of which I will relate only one. Across the river 
and opposite the extreme left of our picket line is a rocky and pre 
cipitous hill. Our pickets had dug pits along the line a few rods 
apart sufficient to screen two or three men. The flat was quite level 
back from the river for perhaps about 60 rods. One day as our 
pickets were lounging about they were surprised to hear a rifle ball 
whiz close to them, and bury itself in the sand at their feet. They 
soon discovered the enemy well up on the mountain and firing down 
at them at an angle of about 45 degrees. The pits close by gave 
them no security so they cut loose for a more secure place. A num 
ber of rods out from the river the head man piled into a hole, and 
as they came up each one on top of his predecessor, the last man 
simply shielding those under him. Contrary to the general order 
of things it began to get interesting for the top man. His only 
refuge seemed to be a large tree some 20 rods to the westward and 
this he determined to reach, for the Rebel sharpshooters were get 
ting his range almost perfect. Bounding to his feet he buckled to 
it reaching the tree in safety. The Johnnies enjoyed it hugely, but 
the next day they had to retreat. Our batteries shelled them out. 
Our camp life was quiet. In fact we began to think that our chances 
were slim for getting out of Tennessee except via Richmond. This 
was freely talked of by our regiment and company officers, yet we 
had great confidence in General Burnside. Starvation or capture 
was actually staring us in the face. I was not surprised therefore 
to find that a vacancy existed in my internal commissary depart 
ment that nothing would fill better than a little parched corn. I 
made this discovery one dark evening and immediately repaired to 
the stables. I was in time, the crunching of corn was plainly heard. 
Avoiding the darky hostlers who were gathered about the fires in 
an adjoining room I carefully took one or two ears from each mule 
or horse by reaching through between the logs. Only once was I 
noticed as a mule jumped back at the sight of my arm. 

"What s de matter wid dat mule dah," exclaimed the old darkey; 
but as I kept quiet he again seated himself and I returned to quar 
ters to have a real treat which the boys enjoyed with me, and no 
questions asked. 

96 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

On the eve of November 28th we were ordered to be more vigi 
lant. Every man was in the pits; evidently something was going 
to happen. We looked for an assault on our lines somewhere. Dur 
ing that long and dreary night just before daybreak Sergeant Cat- 
lin drew my attention to a queer pattering sound that came up 
from across the river. It proved to be a heavy force of Rebel cavalry 
picketing their horses. (General John T. Morgan with two bri 
gades of cavalry, that afternoon, reported to General E. M. Law, 
who was in command of Rebel forces on the south side of the 
river.) It was daybreak. All was quiet in front when all at once 
the roar of small arms with an occasional cannon shot broke upon 
our ears from our right. \Ye knew the crisis had come and I for 
one was busy thinking of the possible consequences. Soon the 
firing ceased and the news ran along the line. The enemy had 
been repulsed at Fort Sanders. Instead of going up to see the 
field as many of the boys did I took a bee line for the city to get 
my boots repaired for I knew we would have some marching to 
do right away. Longstreet s army was soon after on its way 
North and our troops in pursuit. The effects of the battle I got 
from eye witnesses under flag of truce and its details from almost 
every one I saw. Fort Sanders as I remembered it was an earth 
work, 330x240 feet, perhaps, on the top mounting ten cannon. On 
three sides it was surrounded by a ditch about ten feet deep from 
the bottom of which to the top of the fort was 20 feet and very 
steep. Telegraph wire was firmly strung close to the edge of the 
ditch and about six inches high. (See Benjamin s report.) As the 
front line of the enemy reached the wire they pitched headlong into 
the ditch. They wavered but the oncoming lines forced more over. 
Longstreet had hurled seven or eight of his best regiments and be 
coming demoralized at first at seeing so many disappear and go 
down on the front line I understood it was w^ith great difficulty 
the Rebel officers could prevent an immediate rout. The fort 
swarmed with our men who with axes and bayonets fought back 
those who succeeded in getting near the top while others lighted 
and tossed hand grenades over into the struggling mass. The 
struggle was short. Every Rebel that got into that ditch was either 
killed or captured. Their loss was reported to be 800, about 200 
being killed and wounded. On my way back to the regiment I 
saw the prisoners in a stockade. I took them to be Tennesseeans 
for they were tall, fine looking men, many of them I understood 
were citizens of Knoxville and hence had a double motive for mak- 

Campaigning in East Tennessee 97 

ing the assault a success. We followed Longstreet some 50 miles 
north when he turned upon us and we retreated several miles with 
out battle. 

Some fighting took place farther to the right in our hearing, 
but we saw no more of him and fell back to Elaine s Crossroads, 
40 miles north of Knoxville and went into winter quarters with 
the country as our principal commissary. On January ist, 1864, 
nearly all of the Forty-fifth re-enlisted. Our foot gear and wear 
ing apparel was not commensurate with our needs at that time of 
the year. The ground had frozen to the depth of four inches and 
a snow had fallen. We left Tennessee with no vain regrets, for 
after I had thought about it for a spell I felt very well satisfied 
to go home and see my best girl awhile. Our homeward journey 
was without mishap. Some of the boys had supplied themselves 
with rawhide moccasins for the march. But before noon as the 
roads tha\ved out they lost all semblance to moccasins and had to 
be abandoned. As we reached Barboursville and encamped for the 
night nearly the whole regiment made it the occasion to celebrate 
our exit from Tennessee. However, we were all right the next 
morning. I noticed after we passed town a great number of new 
frying pans strapped to the boys knapsacks. Two or three miles 
out Colonel Curtin halted the regiment while the owner passed 
along and gathered in his pans. That was about the last chance 
the boys had. The sight of a dead mule had ceased to attract our 
attention and under the stimulus of seeing friends and home with 
the help of many a canteen of apple jack, we joyfully and merrily 
retraced our steps toward the land of schoolhouses, churches and 
a people who it seemed to me were imbued with a higher apprecia 
tion of the object and aims of life and above all else more loyal 
to the Stars and Stripes. 

98 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 




The following is a brief narrative itinerary of the Forty-fifth 
Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, embracing all the 
marches and important military movements and engagements of the 
regiment in the East Tennessee campaign from August 25th, 1863, 
to January i6th, 1864, and the return home on furlough after re- 
enlistment. Compiled by Lieutenant T. J. Davies from daily diaries, 
notes and letters written at the time. 

August 25th, 1863. The Forty-fifth Regiment was encamped 
near Nicholasville, Ky. Owing to casualties and sickness incident 
to the Mississippi campaign it numbered less than 200 men present 
for duty at that date. It was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel 
Francis M. Hills and was a part of the First Brigade, First Division, 
Ninth Corps, consisting of the Thirty-sixth Massachusetts, Eighth 
Michigan, Seventy-ninth New York and Forty-fifth Pennsylvania, 
under the command of Colonel David Morrison of the Seventy-ninth 
New York. The brigade numbered about 1,000, including officers, 
and in nearly all the subsequent movements and actions during this 
campaign it was directed and operated as a unit against the enemy. 

August 27th. Forty-fifth marched to Lancaster, Ky. 

August 28th. Marched to Crab Orchard, Ky., 33 miles from 
Nicholasville, and encamped there for 12 days, awaiting the assem 
bling of the remainder of the first division and the supply train. 
About 65 convalescent sick joined us here, also a few who returned 
from furloughs home. 

September loth. The regiment started on the march over the 
mountains for Knoxville, Tenn., carrying eight days rations, and 
40 rounds of ammunition per man, and all our personal effects on 
our backs. After marching three days over hilly, rocky, miserable 
roads, we encamped about three miles north of London, Ky., on 
the evening of the twelfth; the first stage of our journey, having 
marched 42 miles. 

September i3th. Remained in camp. Signed the pay rolls. 

Second Lieut. Thomas J. Davies 
Company G 

East Tennessee Campaign 99 

September I4th. Started at 5 A. M. After passing through 
London met 2,200 Rebel prisoners captured at Cumberland Gap, 
on their way north under guard. Roads in better condition. 
Marched 15 miles. 

September i5th. Started at 5 A. M. Marched to Barbours- 
ville, the county seat of Knox County, Ky., on the Cumberland 
River; distance, 15 miles. 

September i6th. Started at 5 A. M. Marched up the Cumber 
land River ten miles to Flat Lick and encamped. Received two 
months pay. Second stage of march, covering- 40 miles. 

September I7th. Remained here waiting for supply train to 
come up. Heavy rain storm came on. Rained all night. 

September i8th. Still in camp. Raining, soaking everything, 
except our cartridges and greenbacks. 

September I9th. Moved at 6 A. M. Marched 14 miles and 
camped. Evening cold and chilly. 

September 2oth. Marched at 6 A. M. Reached Cumberland 
Gap about noon. Encamped about one mile south of Gap. Dis 
tance, 14 miles. 

East Tennessee 

September 2ist. Started at 5:30 A. M. Reached Tazewell, 
Claibourne County, by noon. Crossed Powell River, then Clinch 
Mountain, over rocky, shelving roads; dangerous for the passage 
of wagons and artillery. Encamped within two miles of Clinch 
River. Marched 20 miles. Posted pickets; the first on this march. 

September 22d. Moved at 5 A. M. Forded Clinch River. 
Emerged from foothills into the Holston Valley, forded the Holston 
River; reached Morristown on the Virginia and East Tennessee 
Railroad at sundown ; marched 22 miles ; the third stage of march, 
covering 70 miles. 

September 23d. Resting in camp. 

September 24th. Broke camp at i P. M., enroute for Knox- 
ville. Marched beyond Panther Springs and camped by the road 
side at 8 P. M. Weather fair; roads dusty. 

September 25th. Marched at daylight. Stopped an hour at 
Strawberry Plains for dinner. Marched 20 miles. Encamped at 

ioo Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

September 26th. Moved at daylight. Reached the vicinity of 
Knoxville about 1 1 A. M. Encamped in woods one mile northeast 
of town and half mile from Holston River. Distance from Morris- 
town to Knoxville 40 miles. Total from Nicholasville, Ky., 225 

We remained in camp at Knoxville six days. The enemy were 
reported as concentrating in a threatening attitude at Blue Springs, 
near Greenville. 

October 3d. At 3 A. M., regiment aroused and ordered to be 
ready to move at 8 A. M., in light marching order with five days 
rations in haversacks and 40 rounds of ammunition per man. 
Promptly at 8 A. M., marched to line of railway, entrained, and 
were transported to Bull s Gap, about 60 miles northward. 

October 4th. Marched four miles farther toward Blue Springs 
and encamped with the other regiments of the brigade. Remained 
here five days. Our cavalry in touch with the enemy; some skirm 
ishing near Blue Springs. 

October loth. Marched to Blue Springs (about five miles). At 
5 P. M., the Forty-fifth Pennsylvania was deployed as skirmishers 
covering the front of the First Brigade and later moved forward 
into action, charged on Rebel center, broke their line, drove it back 
a third of a mile onto their reserves in support of their batteries, 
uncovering the latter just at the moment we were ordered to halt 
by orders from General Fererro. It was now getting dark. We 
remained in line where we were all night. The loss of the Forty- 
fifth Pennsylvania in this engagement in killed and wounded was 
22 ; none captured or missing. 

October nth (Sunday.) Found the enemy had retreated dur 
ing the night. We marched in pursuit to Rheatown, 20 miles from 
Blue Springs. 

October I2th. Remained at Rheatown. Our cavalry still fol 
lowing enemy toward Virginia line. 

October I3th. We are ordered back to Knoxville. Marched 
back through Greenville to Henderson Station, a distance of 16 
miles, and encamped. 

October I4th. Boarded cars for Knoxville. Reached our old 
camp near Knoxville in the evening and remained there during the 
next five days. 

East Tennessee Campaign 101 

October 2Oth (Tuesday.) Marched at 7 A. M., southward. 
At noon heard cannonading in the direction of London. Encamped 
at sundown. Marched 15 miles. 

October 2ist. Started at 6 A. M. Commenced to rain at ten 
o clock and continued all day. Camped (near Lenoir Station), at 
ii A. M., with orders to remain until next day. Marched ten miles. 

October 22d. Morning clear and warmer. Moved at 2 P. M. 
Crossed Holston river on pontoon bridge at London (on south bank) 
and encamped one mile beyond town at 5 P. M. Marched six 

October 23d. In camp. Rained all day and into the night. 

October 24th. Weather clear and colder. At 2 P. M. struck 
tents and formed line of battle, the enemy reported advancing from 
the south. Remained in line till dark, but no enemy came. 

October 25th (Sunday.) Cold and clear. All quiet in front. 
Had divine service in the afternoon. 

October 26th. This morning Rebel cavalry captured a part of 
our supply train inside of our picket lines. A large force of our 
cavalry went out in pursuit. 

October 27th. Heavy detail from the Forty-fifth Pennsylvania 
sent out to the front on picket duty. 

October 28th. Marched at 4 A. M. Recrossed the Holston 
River over the pontoon bridge. Halted two miles from the river 
and remained there five hours. Then marched back to Lenoir Sta 
tion. " Marched eight miles. 

October 29th. Morning cold and foggy. At 3 P. M. moved a 
mile from Lenoir Station and into a piece of woods, where we en 
camped for the night, and were ordered to build winter quarters 
there. This order embraced all the regiments in the First Brigade. 

October 3Oth. The camp was staked out in regulation form 
by the proper officers. It required a full week of hard work to 
complete our winter cabins and the officers quarters, and several 
more days to clean up our company streets and the regimental color 
line, where we line up on dress parade (but never did there.) We 
have drawn no clothing since August. This constant marching 
and hard work are hard on our uniforms. They are getting quite 
frowsy and frazzled and especially our footwear. The government 
brogans (shoes) that we get are good, but they are nearly worn 
out now. Our regular government rations has been reduced to 

IO2 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

about one-half what we used to get out in God s good country, but 
there is no grumbling. Men are healthy and feeling good, expect 
ing to enjoy our winter rest in good quarters. 

November Qth (Monday.) Weather very cold with light flur 
ries of snow and heavy frost at night. Men repairing cabins to 
make them warmer. 

November loth. Hard frost last night. Rebel cavalry ap 
peared along the south bank of the Holston River where our pickets 
are guarding all crossings and approaches about three miles from 
camp. Orders issued, "No fires allowed along the picket lines." 

November nth. Regiment ordered into line before daylight, 
expecting an attack from the enemy ; none came. Weather moder 
ating. Afternoon pleasant. 

November I2th. Detail from the regiment sent out to build 
approach for a bridge across Holston River. 

November I3th. All quiet along the lines. 

November I4th (Saturday.) Regiment fell into line at day 
light. Stacked arms; then ordered to break camp, pack up and be 
ready to move on a moment s notice. It soon began to rain. We 
moved out of this camp at noon in a drenching rain storm and 
marched to a point opposite Loudon, thence along the road lead 
ing to Huff s Ferry, where the Rebel forces under General Long- 
street were then crossing the Holston River. Were formed into line 
of battle about 7 P. M. (after dark), in close proximity to the enemy 
and ordered to keep perfectly quiet and not sleep. Marched nine 
miles. The rain continued all night. 

November I5th (Sunday.) Roads in terrible condition, mud 
ankle deep. At 5 A. M., withdrew quietly from in front of the 
enemy and marched leisurely back to Lenoir Station, arriving there 
about 4 P. M., and were immediately ordered into position, with 
the other regiments of the First Brigade, on a ridge west of the Sta 
tion, facing west. A detachment of 25 men from the Forty-fifth 
Pennsylvania, under command of Lieutenant Ephraim Jeffers of 
Company G, was thrown forward to picket the crossroad leading 
to Huff s Ferry, and were posted two miles in advance in a gap 
overlooking the valley beyond. They were attacked by the enemy 
in force, already formed and advancing toward our position cover 
ing Lenoir Station. Jeffers immediately deployed his pickets as 
skirmishers and fought their advance stubbornly, retiring slowly. 

East Tennessee Campaign 103 

holding his men well in hand. Soon after the firing commenced 
the Eighth Michigan Regiment were deployed as skirmishers and 
sent forward to support Jeffers in his brave fight. This small force 
with the assistance of Roemer s battery, near our battle line, which 
threw two or three shells into their ranks, checked their further ad 
vance, and held them till nightfall. The promptness and coolness 
displayed by Jeffers and his men in their determined fight against 
overwhelming numbers, delayed, and thus prevented, an attack on 
our position then only 500 yards in rear of t>ur skirmish line. Gen 
eral Longstreet while personally examining our position with his 
field glass, from a high hill opposite, had discovered Jeffers and his 
pickets in the gap and immediately ordered General Jenkins to ad 
vance on our position, expecting to surprise us; but Jeffers stub 
born fight, and night coming on, prevented, that day. (See Long- 
street s report, Rebellion Records, Series i, Vol. 31, Part i, Page 
457; a l so McLaws report, Page 481, and Col. David Morrison s, 
Page 355.) The enemy attacked our skirmish line again about mid 
night and were promptly repulsed. The night was very dark and 
damp, with drizzling rain. We were under arms again, this, the 
second night, without any sleep. Distance marched eight miles. 

November i6th. At 5 A. M., (just before daylight), with ac 
coutrements muffled, our line silently withdrew toward Lenoir Sta 
tion, our skirmish line remaining to cover our retirement and watch 
the enemy. They silently withdrew also, and joined us on the 
Lenoir road, where we found the Third Brigade of our division 
(first), under Colonel Humphrey, in position to cover the retreat to 
Campbell Station. The roads were in a frightful condition after so 
much rain and the passage of our artillery and wagons that had pre 
ceded us during the night and day previous. We marched rapidly 
closely followed by the enemy. We reached the junction of Lenoir 
and Kingston road by n A. M., with the enemy pressing so hard 
upon our rear guard, that we were compelled to take position to 
check them, which was done in the following order. Humphrey s 
Third Brigade deployed to the right and left across the Lenoir 
road, facing south; the First Brigade faced west, its right resting 
on Kingston road, and its left connecting on the right of the Third 
Brigade, with the Forty-fifth Pennsylvania deployed as skirmishers 
on its front; the whole forming an angle covering the Junction 
and all approach from south and west. In this position we were 
fiercely assailed along our entire front. A spirited engagement en- 

104 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

sued lasting about 30 minutes, near the close of which the Seven 
teenth and part of the Twentieth Michigan Regiments from the left 
of Humphrey s line, charged and drove the enemy back on the 
Lenoir road. This cleared our front also and gave them a decided 
check, under cover of which both brigades retired in good order 
to the new line established on the Campbell Station plain about a 
mile to the rear. Here the Forty-fifth was placed to support a 
battery. About 3 130 P. M., the battery was ordered to fall back 
to another position and the regiment followed and were later placed 
in support of Battery E, Second U. S. Artillery, on reserve line, 
where it remained till nearly dark when it began the night march 
back to Knoxville. During this day the writer, being deprived of 
more situable footwear, marched five miles and fought till near 
the close of this engagement in his stocking feet and then was 
fortunate enough to secure from the quartermaster sergeant of the 
regiment a new pair of shoes that he carried with him, for they 
were the last pair of extras on hand at the time and no more came 
for us in that campaign. Distance marched, ten miles. 

Siege of Knoxville 

November I7th (Tuesday.) Marched all night last night. 
Reached Knoxville at 5 A. M., completely tired out. During the 
past 72 hours we have been continually under arms marching and 
fighting, or in line of battle within range of the enemy s guns, with 
out a minute s sleep or undisturbed rest, in bad weather, over miser 
able roads, and in front of a largely superior force in numbers. 
But we have succeeded thus far in baffling Longstreet s army in 
our defensive retreat from London to this place. We are now on 
reserve line in position to support our batteries, and trying to catch 
a little sleep or rest, expecting to be attacked any moment. Marched 
14 miles last night. 

November i8th. At 12:30 A. M., regiment went on fatigue 
duty, worked hard building intrenchments until 6 P. M. Heavy 
fighting out in front all day. The cavalry under General Sanders is 
trying to hold the enemy while we are intrenching. 

November iQth. Before daylight regiment went out on picket 
line, relieving the Thirty-sixth Massachusetts. Picket line is in 
trenched; the right of our line engaged. During the night the 
cavalry retired from our front. The enemy is closing in around us. 

Major General A. E. Burnside 

East Tennessee Campaign 105 

November 2Oth. Regiment still on picket line. Raining in the 
afternoon and continued all night. 

November 2ist. Regiment relieved from picket line before 
daylight. Rain continued till noon. 

November 22d (Sunday.) We are allowed only half rations of 
bread and meat. No small rations. Regiment in trenches all day 
and night, expecting an assault on our lines. 

November 23d. Regiment changed position on line. Each 
regiment of First Brigade is assigned a portion of the works to 
fortify and defend at all hazards. The Forty-fifth has 600 yards 
to defend with about 200 men present for duty. The effective 
strength of First Brigade, November 2Oth, was 45 officers, 60 1 en 
listed men, total, 646, an average of 162 per regiment. The monthly 
report of Company G, Forty-fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers for No 
vember, dated November 3Oth, gives number present on duty t\vo 
officers and 14 enlisted men, total 16. In the afternoon the enemy 
was discovered massing troops on our front in rear of their picket 
line. Nothing came of it. 

November 24th. The Second Michigan Regiment made a sortie. 
Carried an advanced work of the enemy, but in turn was driven 
back with considerable loss. 

November 25th. To-day the enemy attacked our lines on the 
heights on the south side of river. The side of mountain next to 
river is steep and sparcely wooded. From our position we could see 
the skirmish line engaged, could see the moving lines and the puffs 
of smoke from their guns but could not hear the reports. It was a 
novel scene, a real moving war picture set on nature s canvas, minus 
the noise. This was undoubtedly clue to distance, atmospheric con 
ditions and the river that intervened. No artillery \vas used. Not 
a sound to be heard where we were that would indicate the fight 
that was on. The enemy was repulsed and driven back. 

November 26th. Weather cold. Heavy frosts. At 5 A. M., 
went out on picket with the detail from regiment. Slightly en 
gaged, only firing occasional shots. 

November 27th. Relieved from picket at 5 A. M. Rained at 
night. We are now subsisting on quarter rations of bread made 
from whole ground wheat unbolted (chop) and sometimes a little 
meat. But we manage to purloin some corn on the ear from the 
mules corral to help out our stomachs, when the guards are not 

io6 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

November 28th. Mist and fog. My messmate and I went into 
town to buy bread at a bakery we had heard of. Found a large 
crowd there on same errand. They would sell only one loaf to 
each man. We were required to pass in single file through a nar 
row railed-in passage by a window, where a pane of glass had been 
removed, pass in ten cents, receive our loaf and move on without 
stopping the line. By a simple ruse we got three loaves. For 
hungry men, they were a very orderly crowd. We were ordered 
to remain continually in the works ready at any moment to repel 
assault. About n P. M., the enemy drove in our pickets in front 
of Fort Sanders and the right of our line. Our pickets fell back 
to the works from the broken line. 

November 29th (Sunday.) At daylight the enemy in heavy 
columns assaulted Fort Sanders and were soon repulsed with heavy 
loss 587 killed and wounded ; captured, 226 prisoners, three battle 
flags and 500 stands of arms. Our loss, four killed, n wounded. 
Immediately after the repulse of the enemy s infantry at Fort Sand 
ers I was directed by Colonel Hills to take the detail of pickets 
from the Forty-fifth and establish a new picket line to cover the 
front of our works, which was done by deploying them as skirm 
ishers and moving forward into the woods near the old picket line. 
The morning was misty and difficult to see clearly any great dis 
tance. The enemy s batteries and ours all along the lines were 
engaged in a lively cannonade. A seething stream of hurtling shot 
and shell was screaming over our heads in a converging crossfire 
from east to west, while the flank fire of a Rebel battery on the 
heights south of the river is tearing down through the center of it, 
along our old abandoned picket line, with a crashing enfilade of 
bursting shells and nobody in it. It made a horribly terrifying 
racket, but whatever effect it had upon the lines on either side it 
did us no physical harm. One of the boys of Company G sat lean 
ing against the trunk of a tree coolly writing in his diary and the 
following words are a part of his entry: "The artillery duel is 
awful. The shells are passing over my head like bees, while I am 
writing this." The cannonade lasted about 35 minutes, then gradu 
ally ceased after the enemy s infantry had resumed their former 

November 3Oth. All quiet on the Holston. After dark in 
trenched our new picket line. 

December ist. Very cold. Rations to-day a little cornmeal. 

East Tennessee Campaign 107 

December 2<d. Building abattis. Rations very scant. 

December 3rd. All quiet. Very cold nights. Clothing poor. 

December 4th. Two companies from the regiment sent out in 
the afternoon to feel of the enemy. Found them watchful. 

December 5th. Enemy withdrew in the night going north. End 
of siege. Duration, 18 days. 

December 6th (Sunday.) Resting. The losses in the Forty- 
fifth during the retreat from Loudon and siege of Knoxville : 
Wounded, 12; captured or missing, n; total, 23. 

December 7th. Received marching orders at 6 A. M. Moved 
at 7 A. M., without rations, in light order, leaving knapsacks and 
tents. Marched 12 miles. A comrade and I caught a hog that was 
running at large, killed it, skinned and cut out one ham. The rest 
went quickly. 

December 8th. Started at noon. Marched seven miles and 
camped. Rained in the afternoon. Our advance in touch with 

December Qth. Marched at 8 A. M. Regiment rear guard of 
the Ninth Corps. Encamped at Rutledge after a 12 mile march. 
Rations scarce, but the men feeling good. 

December loth. Lying in camp waiting for rations. Long- 
street s army must be hungry, too. They have taken all the forage 
in sight. Inhabitants are mostly loyal Union men. I bought some 
cornmeal and sorghum syrup for my mess. 

December nth. Weather mild and pleasant. Drew a little 
flour, baked biscuits, ate them all at one meal. Our clothes are 
worn threadbare and ragged. Shoes ditto ; many without any. We 
have one serviceable pair of cavalry boots in our mess of four. 
General Burnside relieved. General John G. Foster in command. 

December I2th. Hungry and healthy. Men in fine spirits. We 
can live on one meal a day now, if there s enough of it. General 
Shackleford s cavalry covering our front, had a sharp fight with 
the enemy yesterday. 

December I3th (Sunday.) Had regimental inspection this 
morning and divine service afterward. Rations, faith and corn- 
meal. Ordered at midnight to be ready to march at daylight. It 
rained in the afternoon; night rough and stormy. 

December I4th. The enemy drove in our cavalry a short dis 
tance about dark. 

io8 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

December I5th. At 9 A. M., regiment deployed into line of 
battle. At 8 P. M., marched in retreat six miles, formed line again 
and remained till morning. 

December i6th. At 9 A. M., marched in retreat to Blaines 
Cross Roads, seven miles, and formed line of battle on a rough 
ploughed field. The lines off on our right engaged in the afternoon. 
Enemy checked. It rained all night. 

December I7th. Encamped in line of battle. Sharp skirmish 
ing on our right (on the river road), this morning. Received two 
months pay to-day. 

December iSth. War Department Order No. 191, about re- 
enlistments, read to the regiment. In line without shelter or proper 
clothing and weather turning cold. Tents and knapsacks still at 
Knoxville. No rations only as we forage and buy from loyal 

December I9th. Cold raw wind and freezing with flurries of 
snow. To-day government ration, three tablespoonfuls of flour and 
a little salt. 

December 2Oth (Sunday.) The enemy s cavalry are on our 
front, but are shy. Our dog tents and knapsacks arrived to-day. 
All quiet during next three days. No change. 

December 24th. Weather moderating. I went out with a 
foraging party. Secured three fat sheep and some cornmeal. 

December 25th (Christmas.) Company G is feasting to-day on 
fresh mutton and cornmeal pudding. Many of the boys in the 
regiment are without shoes, but they are a jolly lot, when not too 

December 26th. It began raining this morning and continued 
all day, making our line a very nasty place to stay in. Colonel John 
I. Curtin returned to the regiment to-day. 

December 27th (Sunday.) Rain continued all night. Morning 
dark and gloomy and still raining some. After being in line of 
battle 12 days we are now ordered to encamp in woods nearby. It 
rained very hard before we got our little tents up and continued 
all night again. Are now allowed half rations, such as the com 
missary can provide. 

December 28th. Weather moderating. Many of the men re- 

December 29th. Weather pleasant. 

East Tennessee Campaign 109 

December 3Oth. Sergeant David L. Bacon of Company G, and 
the writer went out foraging about five miles in the country, came to 
the Holston River at a ferry, borrowed the ferryman s (a darkey) 
rowboat, floated down stream three-quarters of a mile to a planta 
tion on the other side, hid our boat, bought two canteens of sorg 
hum molasses and a bushel of shelled corn of the old planter, age 
about 60, a good Union man. He gave us a good dinner. We 
backed our corn to the boat, floated down stream again nearly a 
mile to a mill, had it tolled and ground, told the miller to inform 
the darkey where his boat was, then lugged our forage across coun 
try to camp again by dark. We had to ford several creeks swollen 
by the recent rains nearly to our waists. This is only one instance 
of the difficulties we had to encounter in foraging for provisions. 

December 3ist. Regimental inspection and muster for pay. 
Weather rapidly growing cold again. 

On January i, 1864. Three-fourths of the surviving enlisted 
men of the Forty-fifth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry 
having re-enlisted in accordance with the conditions contained in 
General Order No. 191, issued by the U. S. W T ar Department, the 
regiment was mustered out of service and immediately mustered in 
again for three years, or during the war, and thereafter from this 
date the regiment is officially designated and known as the "Forty- 
fifth Regiment Pennsylvania, Veteran Volunteer Infantry." 

January i, 1864, was an exceedingly cold day for that latitude 
and the coldest in the recollection of the resident inhabitants up to 
that time; and for years afterwards was referred to by them, and 
is now, by all the surviving soldiers who served there that winter, 
as "the cold New Year s day." The intense cold continued for 
nearly five days, followed on the 6th by eight inches of snow. The 
ground was frozen hard to a depth of four inches. Our little duck 
tents pegged to the bare ground were no protection against the 
stinging cold that penetrated everywhere, and for many days in 
that camp on the bleak hillside we tramped to and fro between our 
little tents and a number of fires that were kept constantly replen 
ished and burning day and night, in order to preserve the normal 
warmth of body necessary for a comfortable existence. These con 
ditions continued with but slight variation in all the camps around 
us during the remainder of our stay there. 

Under the conditions of our re-enlistment we were to have an 
immediate furlough home for 30 days. With a vision of home, 

no Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

kindred and friends, with all that it meant to us then, continually 
looming up in our minds, we naturally became restless and eager 
to go. Colonel Curtin gave the regiment the choice of remaining 
until clothing and better rations arrived, or march as we were. We 
were heartily tired of the waiting program and voted unanimously 
to go at once, so on January i6th, with a scanty supply of cornmeal 
rations, we began our journey of 200 miles back over the moun 
tains to Camp Nelson, Ky., the concluding march of this memorable 
campaign. The roads were in a horribly bad condition. When we 
had passed through Cumberland Gap we encountered another snow 
storm that came on in the night and the next day, a blustery one, 
the regiment marched in single file, changing companies to the 
front often, and all following in the one path. We reached Camp 
Nelson on the 25th of January. Here we drew new uniforms and 
had a general clean up, in preparation for home. 

Thus endeth my story of the Forty-fifth Pennsylvania in East 
Tennessee told in the simple brief manner it was chronicled at the 
time, the details of which I do not feel competent to portray in 
suitable language and would not if I could, for it is not a pleasant 
story with the half yet untold. 

Home on Veteran Furlough 1 1 1 




About the ist of January, 1864, over 400 men of the Forty- 
fifth Regiment re-enlisted "for three years more or during the war," 
thus securing for themselves a veteran furlough of 30 days at home 
and preserving their regimental organization. Other regiments did 
likewise. Notwithstanding all the hardships and sufferings they had 
just passed through, nothing daunted, they signified their willing 
ness to re-enlist and fight three years more, if necessary, for the 
flag and the preservation of the Union. With a march of nearly 200 
miles before them, over rough, mountainous roads, with rivers to 
ford, in mid-winter, with scarcely rations enough to keep body and 
soul together, and what was still worse, many of them without 
shoes, they broke camp on January loth, 1864, and commenced the 
arduous march over the mountains via Cumberland Gap, arriving 
at Barboursville, Ky., January 2ist. Here they received their first 
full rations in over four months, and were also supplied with shoes 
and clothes. After a short rest the regiment left Barboursville and 
marched to Nicholasville, where it took the train for Covington 
and crossed over the Ohio River by ferry to Cincinnati. Here the 
regiment remained a few days, anxiously awaiting transportation 
east. This was the third time we were in Cincinnati while in the 
service, and we were treated very kindly by the citizens. On or 
about the 6th of February we left for Harrisburg. Upon arriving 
at Pittsburg we received a warm welcome and a bountiful repast was 
prepared by the citizens of the "Smoky City." After thanking 
them for their generous hospitality we boarded the train for Har 
risburg, where we arrived on February 8th and stacked arms. This 
being the capital of the State, and the place where we were organ 
ized as a regiment and mustered into the service at Camp Curtin, it 
was naturally expected that we would receive some consideration, 
and at least have a decent place of rendezvous for accommodation 
over night. But instead, we were quartered in a filthy old barracks 
and a "home guard" placed over us. Our officers soon gave the 
guards to understand that we were on veteran furlough, and that 

ii2 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

they had no right to hold us. Consequently the boys scattered out 
and went where they pleased. My tent-mate, George W. Lehman, 
and myself engaged quarters at the Hotter House on Market street. 
Next morning Companies B and K took the train for Columbia, 28 
miles distant, where they arrived in due time and were accorded a 
most hearty welcome by the citizens of Columbia and surrounding 
towns who were at the depot in large numbers to meet their boys. 
The other companies of the regiment also went to their respective 
homes. It was one of the happiest of occasions to those whose 
sons had returned in safety; but a sad one to the parents, wives and 
sweethearts of those who had gone down in battle, or had died in 
rebel prisons from starvation and disease. 

After spending thirty days veteran furlough at home, and hav 
ing a pleasant time generally, the hour came when we were obliged 
to say "good-bye." It was a sad parting, indeed, for well we knew 
it would be the last earthly meeting to many. 

The Rendezvous at Annapolis March to 
Washington and to the Wilderness 

After reassembling at Harrisburg, the regiment, with many re 
cruits, proceeded to Annapolis, Mel., where it arrived on March 
2Oth, 1864, and went into camp. It remained there until April 
23d, following. This was the rendezvous for General Burnside s 
Ninth Corps. The Forty-fifth was assigned to the First Brigade, 
Second Division, Ninth Army Corps. Colonel John I. Curtin, a 
nephew of the "old war governor of Pennsylvania," commanded 
the regiment at that time. The division was composed of the 
Forty-fifth and Forty-eighth Pennsylvania, Thirty-fifth, Thirty- 
sixth, and Thirty-eighth Massachusetts, and the Fourth and Seventh 
Rhode Island Regiments, every regiment having been recruited up 
to the maximum standard. 

During our stay at Annapolis we witnessed one of the most 
heartrending sights that ever met our eyes one that left a lasting 
impression upon our minds. It was an army of marching skeletons, 
just paroled from Rebel prisons and coming to Camp Parole. We 
wondered if it could be possible that in this clay and age of civiliza 
tion and enlightenment such treatment would be tolerated for a 
moment. Even though the poor unfortunates were prisoners of 
war they should at least have been treated like human beings. They 

Home on Veteran Furlough 113 

looked as though they had just risen from their graves, and the odor 
attending them was sickening, reminding one of the exhumation 
of dead bodies. It was a wonder to us how they could stand erect, 
let alone march, so thin and emaciated they were. 

While lying in camp at Annapolis everybody had plenty of 
money and government rations were at a discount; consequently 
when we broke camp there was an oversupply in every tent. We 
"old vets" thought of the starvation times we experienced in East 
Tennessee and other campaigns, and when we saw the recruits 
throwing \vhole loaves of soft bread at each other before leaving 
camp, thought it proper to at least warn them that they would prob 
ably need that bread while on the march. The advice was treated 
lightly, with a few exceptions ; but before we reached Washington 
city some of them were glad to accept a piece of bread from the 
old boys. Several of the boys thrust their bayonets through the 
loaves and carried them at "shoulder arms. 1 I had three loaves on 
my bayonet, besides a haversack full, so I did not suffer any incon 
venience from hunger while on the march from Annapolis to Wash 
ington. Of course, we shared our rations with those who had none, 
but reminded them of the old adage which reads, "Wilful waste 
makes woeful want." 

The inhabitants residing along the route of the march from 
Annapolis to Washington certainly reaped a rich harvest in the 
way of clothing of all kinds, from government overcoats down to 
the finest of underwear of every description, besides various kinds 
of musical instruments, which the new men had brought from home 
and found too burdensome to carry. They were all right while in 
camp, or traveling by rail or boat ; but when it came to carrying 
this surplus baggage on the march, besides the necessary accountre- 
ments, consisting of knapsack, haversack, with several days rations, 
canteen, cartridge box containing from 40 to 60 rounds of ammuni 
tion, and musket, it was perfectly natural for them to get rid of the 
unnecessary surplus, and they did, notwithstanding the fact that 
many of the articles cast away were valuable tokens from the dear 
ones at home. 

We left camp at Annapolis, April 23d, and arrived at Washing 
ton on the 25th, where the whole Ninth Corps, with its new Fourth 
Division, composed of colored troops, was reviewed by President 
Lincoln, and then crossed the historical Long Bridge into Virginia. 

ii4 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

After a three days march the corps arrived at Bristow Station and 
did guard duty along the Danville & Richmond Railroad. On May 
4th the corps proceeded via Warrenton Junction on its way to the 
Wilderness battlefield, crossing the north fork of the Rappahannock 
at ten o clock in the morning and the Rapidan at Germania Ford 
about five o clock in the evening, reaching the battlefield long after 
dark. Every soldier knew that we were about to participate in a bat 
tle, as the booming of cannon and the rattle of musketry were heard 
long before reaching Germania Ford. The trail of the regiments 
preceding us was made plain by the thousands of playing cards 
strewn along the wayside, which they had discarded from their 
blouse pockets to make room for their testaments, which had re 
posed unopened, in many cases, for weeks, in their knapsacks. It 
was the general opinion that a copy of the Bible possessed a charm 
to resist the enemy s bullets. Later in the evening, while waiting 
for the coffee to boil, the brigade bands were playing popular airs 
to cheer the tired and footsore troops after their long and tedious 
march. The thoughts of the boys reverted to their loved ones, and 
they called for "Home, Sweet Home." As the bands responded, 
tears rolled down the cheeks of the veterans, and sobs were stifled 
with much effort. To add to the dismal effects of the situation, the 
whip-poor-wills and other wild night birds that inhabited this deso 
late region gave forth their uncanny notes when all else became 
quiet, which sent a thrill of horror through the breasts of the sol 
dier boys and caused one of them to remark : "Ah, birdie, if I had 
your wings I wouldn t be in these diggins very long." We slept 
for a few short hours, with our knapsacks strapped upon our backs 
and our muskets by our side, ready to fall in at a moment s notice. 
The order came to move before daylight on the morning of the 
6th. Owing to the thick growth of low scrub wood, etc., our 
progress was slow and knapsacks were ordered off and a guard 
placed over them, which was a very foolish thing to do. That was 
the last I ever saw of my knapsack, with all its contents. Whether 
any of the boys recovered theirs I do not know, as Companies A 
and K of our regiment were ordered on the skirmish line shortly 
afterward, and opened the battle that day. 

The first man I saw fall was Simon Sanders of Company K. 
He was the second man from me on the left, Frank P. Swears being 
between us. Major Kelsey ordered Frank and myself to go see how 
badly he was wounded. We both went to him and called, but re- 

Home on Veteran Furlough 

ceived no answer. We turned him over and found that a bullet had 
pierced his heart, killing him instantly. After pronouncing him dead 
the Major ordered us back to our respective places. As Frank 
and I were exposed to the full view of the enemy we expected to 
meet the same fate, but from some unexplained reason they did not 
fire at us. After resuming my position and firing three or four 
shots a bullet pierced my left arm near the shoulder and the Major 
ordered me to the rear. Just as I stepped back our line of battle 
came up and the engagement became general. The musketry on 
both sides was most terrific and the rebel bullets whistled around 
me like hail, cutting off leaves and branches. I walked back toward 
the field hospital as unconcerned as though they were so many bees. 
My only concern was about the poor boys who were facing that 
terrible fire, and whether I would lose my arm. Weak and faint 
from loss of blood, I came across a small stream of pure water and 
bathed my wounded arm. The sleeve of my blouse was saturated 
with blood. The application of cold water somewhat revived me 
and I proceeded on my way to the field hospital, probably a mile 
or so to the rear. The first man I met was our worthy hospital 
steward, Comrade James A. Meyers, who gave my wound some at 
tention and stopped the flow of blood. 

Soon the poor fellows were brought in wounded in all manner 
of shapes, and the doctors and attendants had all they could do am 
putating arms and limbs and dressing wounds. Among the num 
ber from Company K were George Gilbert, Andrew Hostetter, Reu 
ben E. Feilis, Hillston Carrs, Thomas Kelley, Wm. H. Benson, 
Charles A. Deckman, David S. Edler, Samuel B. Weaver, Reuben 
Weaver, and others. George Gilbert was wounded in the throat 
and was unable to swallow. While supporting him in my arms and 
trying to give him a drink of water he fell back dead. The poor 
boys were calling for water all around me and I was kept busy car 
rying canteens of water from a nearby stream and administering to 
them as best I could with my lame arm. Probably an hour after 
the battle began a part of our line \vas driven back by the enemy, 
which caused a stampede and everybody who could get away did 
so very hurriedly, expecting to be captured. So I was left alone 
with the wounded and dying for a short while; in fact, I was the 
only one left that could have gotten away. They begged of me not 
to go away and leave them, saying, "Don t go and leave us, Bill." 
I said, "I ll stay with you, if we are all captured." Soon our troops 

n6 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

regained the lost ground and the scare being over the hospital corps 
returned. I don t blame them for trying to get away after seeing 
those paroled prisoners at Annapolis. It was far preferable to take 
the chance of being killed in battle than to be captured and starved 
to death by inches in a Rebel prison. I won t go into further de 
tails of the horrors of the Wilderness battlefield hospital. It beggars 
description. One of the "surgeons" wanted to amputate my arm, 
but I strenuously objected and told him I needed that arm in my 
business, as I couldn t very well set type with one arm, and I 
didn t intend to "soldier" all my life. Besides, I was entitled to 
some consideration, as I had stuck to my post and did the best I 
could while he was absent. He left me alone after that and I 
still have my good "long primer" arm at this writing, over 47 years 
after the incidents I have referred to occurred. 

Next day orders came to remove the wounded to Fredericksburg, 
and all who were able to walk had to do so, as all the ambulances 
were full of badly wounded. After proceeding on our way quite a 
distance we \vere ordered in another direction, as it was reported 
that Mosby s guerrillas were lying in wait to capture us. Thus 
we marched back and forth in the hot sun, with no attention paid 
to our wounds, and did not reach Fredericksburg for three or four 
days. Many of the poor boys died in the ambulances while going 
over the rough corduroy roads. It was heartrending to hear their 
groans and cries for water without being able to relieve them. Those 
who were able to \valk considered themselves lucky. We were a 
sorry looking set of cripples, hobbling along. Our wounds had not 
been dressed from the time \ve started until we reached Fredericks 
burg hospital, and many of them not until we met the boat of the 
Sanitary Commission at Belle Plains. A large number died from 
blood poisoning. I saw poor Pat Hamaker, one of the Columbia 
boys of Company B, die in the Fredericksburg hospital, and one or 
two others of the Forty-fifth, whose names I have forgotten. Only 
the worst cases were left in that hospital, which was crowded, and 
the remainder were sent to Washington. It was just one week from 
the time I was wounded Friday, May 6th until I arrived in and 
was assigned to Campbell hospital, Washington, D. C., together 
with Comrade Calvin Harris, of Wrightsville, and several others 
from different regiments. As soon as we reached the Sanitary 
Commission s boat we received decent treatment, had our wounds 
dressed, and immediately got something to eat and drink. It was 

Home on Veteran Furlough 117 

impossible to receive attention while on the march, and no one was 
to blame. How the boys did appreciate what was done for them 
by this grand organization of noble men and women. I could not, 
speaking for myself, realize the situation, so dreamlike did it ap 
pear. One moment in suffering and want, and the next moment, 
kind hands ministering to our needs and alleviating our sufferings. 
One would have to pass through the condition in order to fully ap 
preciate it. Such was the experience of those who were wounded in 
the first and second days battles of the Wilderness. 

After arriving at the hospital I wrote the following letter : 


Friday, May I3th, 1864. 

DEAR PARENTS : No doubt you have heard that the Forty-fifth 
Regiment has been engaged in battle and will naturally want to 
know the fate of your three boys and also of others belonging to 
your neighbors and acquaintances. * * * 

When I left the regiment, at Chancellorsville, Va., last Sunday 
morning, Edward and Albert were both sound and well. Being 
drummer boys they are not necessarily exposed to the dangers of 
the battle, as their duties as musicians are to assist in attending to 
the wounded in time of battle; but they are exposed more or less, 
and have to endure all the hardships attending an active campaign. 

Before I left I got a correct list of the names of the killed and 
wounded in Companies B and K, (the Lancaster County contin 
gent), and sent it to the "Columbia Spy" for publication, so it is 
not necessary to give the names in this letter. Besides, I expect 
soon to get a wounded furlough of thirty days and will give you all 
the details when I get home. I wrote you a hurried letter in pencil 
while on the march to the Wilderness battle, but do not suppose it 
was received, as mail was stopped from, but not to, the army. We 
marched for two days, with very little rest, arriving on the battle 
field on Thursday evening, May 5th. We expected to get into the 
battle next morning and were not disappointed. As you know the 
result I will close, expecting to see you soon ; besides, I suppose you 
have read the "Spy" by this time, giving the details. My papers 
for a furlough home were made out yesterday, so you can look 
for me almost any time. 

n8 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

While I feel most grateful that I escaped so luckily, I can not 
help but express my heartfelt sorrow for the poor boys who were my 
comrades, side by side, who went down to death in that dreadful 
carnage or who, perhaps, were maimed for life. Such is the for 
tune of cruel, cruel war. Let us hope their precious lives were not 
sacrificed in vain, but that the Stars and Stripes they died for, may 
yet float triumphantly over a once more united country. God grant 
this cruel war may soon come to an end. * * * 

The above was my last letter written home. I had written a 
letter to the "Columbia Spy" (published at that time by Mr. An 
drew Rambo, brother of Captain Ezekiel Y. Rambo, of Company 
K, Forty-fifth Regiment, who was killed March I3th, 1862, at 
North Edisto Island, S. C), giving the names of the killed and 
wounded in the second day s battle of the Wilderness. 

A little more than a year ago I addressed a letter to Colonel 
Samuel Wright, of Columbia, Pa., asking him to please hunt up the 
old files of the "Spy," in order to get details for the history of the 
Forty-fifth, and also through other letters that I had written for the 
"Spy" at different periods. The following is Colonel Wright s 
reply : 

< A , ,,, "COLUMBIA. PA V Oct. 6, IOOQ. 


"DEAR COMRADE: I thank you most heartily for your letter of 
the ist instant. It has interested me indeed. Yours is a record to 
be proud of, and I am very glad that you have cared to give it to me. 
I apologize for reducing you to the rank of devil. I hesitated over 
the recollection. I knew you had been in the Spy office during my 
time; and although I couldn t place you exactly, I concluded that 
you had been one of my imps. I am not willing to admit that 
this lapse of memory comes from my age 81 years in December 
next; but the fifty years intervening between your term of jour- 
ship and the present time sufficiently accounts for the mistake. I 
remember having had a little reminiscent chat with you at the cor 
ner of Second and Cherry streets some years ago ; and I very vividly 
recall the comfort it was to me to greet the Forty-fifth at Blue 
Springs. This was my first fight, and I was considerably concerned 
as to how I, a peaceful Quaker, would face the music. I found my 
main trepidation was lest my mare, like myself, new to War s 

Home on Veteran Furlough 119 

Alarms/ should pitch me over her head. I remember that I was 
very proud when I saw the Forty-fifth move forward through the 
cornfield, and heard the remarks of the Kentucky officers, whose 
men had been patting away all morning from behind trees : Look 
thar! Look thar! Why, they re goin out into the open! And 
you surely did go out ; and I find in looking over my letters, written 
home at the time, that the good old Forty-fifth Regiment got the 
hot end of the losses, consequently must have been in the thick of 
the mess. It wasn t much of a battle, but a pretty rough fight, and 
for the reason I have given, is ever memorable to me. I had for 
gotten that you were among the disabled at the battle of the Wilder 
ness. I saw Cy. Bruner carried out by Ben Clepper and another 
comrade. I suppose that it was after you were wounded that our 
line was driven back from their successful advance. Our division 
was put in by General Burnside, General Potter remaining to bring 
up part of a brigade that had gone astray in the thick growth of 
scrub into which we first advanced. As we reached our lines the 
boys were coming back in a hurry. I said to Major Kelsey : Hello ! 
What s the matter with the Forty-fifth? (I wasn t used to seeing 
that regiment on the back track.) He answered: Captain, we 
can t stand fire from both front and rear. Some of the new regi 
ments had got excited and were blazing away from their position 
in reserve right into friend and foe, particularly into friends. It 
was a nasty fight ! You are certainly right. Kelsey was* a good 
man and a brave soldier. He was among the standbys with Gen 
eral Potter for special duty. We always knew that when Kelsey 
and his men were detailed, whatever was doing would be done. His 
death was entirely unexpected, and I believe, unnecessary, so far 
as his wound was concerned. I feel certain that he and others of 
our best officers died from unsanitary conditions in the Washington 
hospitals in which they lay. He was a great loss to the regiment 
and to the division. 

"I have no file of the Spy of the date of your letters, and I 
doubt that it is in existence. I wrote an account of the Blue 
Springs fight for the paper, but I am not certain that it ever reached 
the office. I find no copy of it among my papers. I gave Camp 
bells Station at length, which was published. I am glad to resume 
acquaintance with old comrades. It was always a pleasure to me 
to meet the old regiment on the march or going into action, and 
though I was only an honorary member, still I felt that I was of it. 

I2O Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

In return for my degradation of you from jour to devil, you 
generously promoted me from Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel to Gen 
eral ! This is probably because you are part of the government, 
which generously permitted me to do a major s duty on captain s 
pay, and get square with a couple of brevets cheap, but not re 

"Again I thank you for your letter. Remember me to the com 
rades of your association. I hope you may succeed in getting up 
the history. 

"Sincerely yours, 


[The reader will recall the incident of the meeting of Mr. 
Wright and myself just as the Forty-fifth was going into action at 
Blue Springs, East Tennessee, October loth, 1863, which fact I 
mentioned in a letter written home.] 


The Forty-Fifth Singing Under Fire 

It was on the 6th of May, 1864, in the battle of the Wilderness. 
After a forced march through swamps and over corduroy roads dur 
ing the night, \ve reached the battlefield early in the morning. We 
knew that fighting had been going on the day before; that Grant 
and Lee were now face to face, and that a great battle was imminent. 

After being shifted from one position to another through the 
wilderness of trees and thick underbrush, being all the time under 
fire of musketry, we took our place in line of battle ready for a gen 
eral attack. 

We could not distinctly see the enemy s lines of breastwork, but 
knew that they were not far in advance of our position. 

Nothing in the experience of a soldier is more exasperating or 
more severely tests his courage than to be in a position under fire, 
seeing his comrades fall around him, yet unable to return the fire 
while waiting for the command to attack. 

In the Wilderness 121 

Such was our experience for a time that day. But the order came 
at last : "Forward !" rang out all along the line, and instantly, with 
the light of battle on their faces, the men charged through the en 
tangled undergrowth amid the yells and cheers of the charging col 
umns and the crash and roar of musketry. The Forty-fifth reached 
the enemy s rifle pits and captured about two hundred prisoners. 
There we found our old foes of Longstreet s Corps whom we had 
met on other sanguinary fields. For some reason unknown to us the 
troops on our right and left flanks were forced back, which necessi 
tated our retreat also; but soon the line of battle was reformed and 
again the Forty-fifth planted its colors on the rebel works, when 
a hand to hand conflict ensued and would have resulted in our hold 
ing possession ; but to our dismay and temporary discomfiture the 
line on our flanks was again forced back and ourselves this time 
driven to retreat in disorder and confusion, amid the groans of the 
wounded and over the dead bodies of fallen comrades. 

This was a new and hard experience for the Forty-fifth; never 
before had it been forced to turn its back on the foe. The suffering 
and confusion became intensified by the leaves and underbrush tak 
ing fire. The smoke was so dense and blinding that we could see 
with difficulty but a short distance. Under such conditions it 
seemed hardly possible to reform the regiment. 

It was at this juncture that I saw General John I. Curtin, a little 
to my right, standing alone. I rushed to his side and asked him if 
we had lost our colors. He replied, apparently disheartened, "I do 
not know." But presently, through the smoke, we saw a flag being 
borne in our direction and discovered that it was our color bearer. 
I immediately grasped the colors, and with an energy born of the 
calamity, and inspired by a realization of its meaning, sang out : 

"Rally round the Flag, boys ! 
Rally once again! 
Shouting the battle cry of Freedom." 

Those of the comrades nearby joined in with all their might. As 
if by magic the regiment reformed, each comrade took his place. 
The air was filled with smoke from the burning underbrush; the 
whistling of deadly missiles; but above all that bedlam of excite 
ment, disorder and danger, there rose in clear and blood-stirring 

strains : 

"The Union forever, hurrah, boys, hurrah ! 
Down with the traitors and up with the stars." 

122 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

The grim ranks stood fast, ready for any duty, and at the word 
of command moved firmly forward, took an advanced position, held 
and maintained it until relieved the following morning. 

Our loss in killed and wounded that day was one hundred and 

It is needless now to speculate as to what might have been the 
result had we failed to rally and maintain our position. But one 
thing was evident, had the enemy found a gap in our lines, he would 
probably have availed himself of it with disastrous results to our 
army in that part of the field. 

That was long ago, but it still remains dear as then : 
"The Flag of our Union forever." 

NOTE : Very briefly this is a story of the old Forty-fifth singing under 
fire. General John I. Curtin urged me several times to write somewhat in detail 
the facts and circumstances of the event, and for the part I had taken said that 
he would procure for me a medal of honor from the government; but I did not 
comply with the General s request for the reason that I then felt, as I do now, 
that I was no more entitled to a medal of honor than was any other of my com 
rades who on that day "Rallied round our Flag" and stood in that line of living 

Battle of the Wilderness 123 

An Unfinished Poem. 

A Narrative in Verse of the Part Taken by the Forty-fifth Pennsylvania 
Volunteer Infantry in Said Battle. 

Dedicated to the Survivors. 


Forty-eight years have come and gone, 

And we are still here, journeying on, 

A halting few, in a crowded throng, 

That greet us kindly, as they cheer us along; 

As we backward glance o er the fading years, 

With visions dim, through sunshine and tears, 

Shrouded and clouded by the struggle and strife 

And busy activities of our after life: Yet 

How vividly clear doth the picture appear, 

As the veil is parted and the scenes draw near, 

Looming up on our mental visions, 

By Corps, Brigades and Divisions. 

See! the blue clad boys as they march on their way 

Through the fields of Old Virginia, on the fourth of May, 

Tis the grand Potomac Army, in war-like array, 

Marching down to the river and across, that day, 

And the old Ninth Corps, still forty miles away. 

The order came at last, and they were crowded fast, 

To reach the threatened front, for the fearful die is cast. 

The old Confederate gray barricades the way, 

In a sullen stubborn mood, determined there to stay, 

And the Ninth is ordered in, on that memorable 6th of May, 

To pierce the rebel center, so the fateful orders say. 

In the still gray dawn of the morn, Hark; they hear the distant 

roar and boom 

Of thousands then in line, grappling with foe, 
In as fierce a fight as ever known to mortals here below. 
With a scanty hasty meal they buckle on the steel, 
And march away to the sound of the fray, no matter how they feel. 
Into the forest wild, their lengthened lines filed, 
Seeking the hidden foe in gray, 
Through the dense grown thickets still beguiled, 
For no one dare show them the way. 
In the somber gloom of the forest bloom, 
They are marshaled in battle array, 
And the order is Forward, regardless of doom, 
For they heeded it not that day. 

124 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

In silence they tread and forge ahead, 

Their colors flung out to the breeze. 

With a comrade s touch and not a word said, 

As they push through the tangle neath the shadow of trees; 

A flash; and a roar! Some are no more, 

And comrades are sinking to the earth by the score, 

But the old Forty-fifth, ever true to the core. 

Stands firm as a rock, mid the shock, and the counter roar 

Of the leaden storm, that her Springfields pour 

Speeds death, in each breath, as of yore. 

Amid the dead and dying and wounded sore, 

They strengthen their line to even the score. 

And the withering blasts from the enemy s guns, 

Die gradually out, to rattling runs. 

Twas thus they held and maintained their line, 

With constant loss, but no count of time. 

Then, gallant Curtin sang out with a shout, 

"Forty-fifth forward, we ll drive them out." 

With a smashing crash, a cheer and a dash, 

They rushed the line in a terrible clash, 

And the caldron of battle, is seething hot, 

With mixed combatants and flying shot. 

When the stubborn foe recoils from the blow, 

And with grounded arm cry out in alarm 

"Say Yank, just tell us, where shall we go?" 

"Get to the rear and out of our way." 

Was the answer then, for they had to stay; 

And one hundred rebels, all in one mess, 

Got a prisoner s pass from the Wilderness. 

But their line is still there, with flanks in the air 

In a very precarious condition 

Without proper support to guard or care, 

Far out from their position. 

And the wily foe, who was never slow 

To grasp a chance, to thrust in a lance, 

Through the thicket rank, on front and flank 

Creep up, to deliver a crushing blow. 

A withering blight, from front and right 

Forced the blue line back in hurried flight 

To the scene of their first fierce fight 

Where their fallen in death, lie low. 

On this line, they rally on time, 

And with discipline fine, and valor sublime 

Check the advancing foe. 

Then the wild woods ring, and the song they sing 

In triumphant strain, and brave refrain 

Battle of the Wilderness 12 

That steadies up the lines and courage bring; 

And the Massachusetts boys join in with a vim, 

Doubling up the chorus of the grand old hymn; 

"The Union forever, Hurrah boys, Hurrah, 

Down with the traitor and up with the Star, 

For we ll rally round the flag boys, rally once again, 

Shouting the battlecry of freedom." 

The Johnnies ceased their fire as the song rose higher, 

But when they caught its meaning, were filled with deadly ire, 

And the rifles crack again in constant snappy spite, 

Until the darkening shadows, cover all the gruesome sight, 

And friend and foe alike lie on the lines they fight, 

Exhausted Nature claiming her own, for there s no respite. 

The pickets on their post, 

Peer into the dense black skirt 

Of neutral ground that intervene, 

With listening ear and vision keen, 

And rifles poised, alert; 

Guarding the sleeping host. 

And the night grows on apace, 

So fraught with portent to the human race. 

Oh! night of anguish, night of woe, 

Where thousands of lives are ebbing out slow. 

Would you know the danger a soldier will undergo 

To relieve the wounded, be he friend or foe? 

See, the unseen silent forms, creeping around, 

Among the wounded and dying who lie on the ground 

Moaning low; succoring them as they go; 

A rustle of leaves, or a whispering breath, 

Means a flash of rifles and instant death: 

Still, on their mission of mercy all through the black night, 

They are gathering them in, from the left and the right. 

Feeling their way, with no ray of light: 

The cry of the wounded and the prayers they pray, 

Is the only sound that guides their way. 

E er the first faint gleam of morning light, 

Pierces the gloom of that desolate night, 

The lines are awakened to renew the fight, 

With armor buckled on tight; 

And with nerves all athrill, await the kill 

That is sure to come, should the enemy will; 

But the full light of day reveals at last, 

The aggregate loss the records fix, 

At just one hundred and twenty-six; 

The toll of death is thirty-four, 

For the foe has retired and gone away, 

To battle again, on another day. 

The threatened horror past; 

126 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

Then the old regiment paused, to count the cost, 
Numbering those present and those that were lost, 
And of wounded, ninety-two more; 
But this is only a tithe of the score 
Required of them, e er their battles are o er: 
And from this line that the enemy yields, 
They march away to other fields. 
Some other tongue or pen may tell, 
Of later battles; How they fought and fell, 
Following the flag they loved so well, 
Into the very jaws of Hell, 
With courage undaunted, and valor sublime; 
Till they scarcely mustered, two hundred and nine, 
Of the original thousand brave boys in line; 
Till the struggle ends, with the peace it brought, 
f The longed for ultimatum sought; 
No tongue can tell, or pen portray, 
The hidden miseries of that night and day, 
When the recording angel s books are unsealed, 
These deeds of love will be revealed. 
But the thrilling song, and the scenes of that day, 
In the tangled woods, on the Sixth of May, 
In our memory clings and will ever stay, 
Till the last survivor has passed away. 

From the Wilderness to Petersburg 127 




My diary says that on Saturday morning, May 7th, 1864, the 
day after the Battle of the Wilderness, we sent out skirmishers and 
found that the enemy had evacuated their works in our front during 
the night. We took possession of the deserted rifle pits and stayed 
there until about half past one o clock next morning when the men 
were roused up and hustled into ranks ready to march. Why they 
got us up at that ghostly hour we didn t know then and that proceed 
ing is still a mystery as we only marched to Chancellorsville, a dis 
tance of a few miles and went into camp about 8:30 A.. M., and 
stayed the balance of the day, busy most of the time viewing the 
battlefield where Hooker and Lee crossed swords a year and a few 
days earlier. Interesting relics such as shot, shells, broken guns, 
equipage and accoutrements were scattered over the field, to say 
nothing of bleaching bones of men and horses with here and there a 
ghastly human skull sticking up out of the ground. But we were 
not after relics just then. On the contrary we left a few relics of our 
own as we went along in those days. About one o clock in the af 
ternoon next day we broke camp and marching until 8 P. M., the 
regiment bivouacked by the side of the road leading to Spottsyl- 
vania Court House. 

Sunday, May loth, things began to get more interesting. In the 
afternoon the Forty-fifth was marched to the extreme front taking 
position on the left of our line. A sharp set-to between the Union 
and Rebel artillery, during which the Rebs got the worst of it, helped 
to liven things up. We expected to be attacked that night and in 
military parlance we "slept on our arms" in line of battle. Next 
morning the enemy s fortifications were in plain sight on the heights 
in front of us. We went at it and built some works of our own. 
The way we did this was to pile up some logs, rails or whatever was 
most convenient, then dig a ditch and throw the dirt on top of the 
timber, the ditch serving as a depression to stand in while every 
shovelful of dirt we piled up in front of us strengthened the breast 
works. We did a great deal of that sort of thing in the Wilderness 
campaign. We got so used to it that about the first thing after stack- 

128 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

ing arms, when moving from one point to another, was to build 
breastworks. Temporary and flimsy concerns they were, to be sure, 
but good enough to stop bullets ; although a shell would have knocked 
them to pieces in a jiffy and a cannon ball gone through our "works" 
like a hot knife through butter. In the afternoon our regiment was 
ordered to the rear to establish a new line, my diary says, and or 
dered back to the front where we stayed. It was a cold, wet, dis 
agreeable night, much too damp to sleep on the ground with any 
degree of comfort. Sergeant Rogers, of Company G, took a barn 
door off its hinges. It made a dandy bed comparatively. But 
there \vere not barn doors enough to go around ; so we toughed er 
through on the rain soaked Virginia soil, getting what protection 
we could from our small shelter tents. 

Thursday, May I2th, was an eventful day in that neck of the 
woods. "At daybreak," my diary says, "the whole army advanced 
four lines deep and drove the enemy into their works" It \vas on 
the morning of the I2th of May, as \ve all know, that Hancock made 
his famous attack at the Bloody Angle or "Hell s Half Acre," as 
some call it; and while he was doing this, Burnside with the Ninth 
Corps, which of course included the Forty-fifth, was obeying Grant s 
orders to push the enemy with all his might on Hancock s left. 

Some things in our lives w r e remember always, while others 
equally if not more important, are almost forgotten over night. 

One of the things I remember is that when we got upon high 
ground that morning where w r e could look back over the territory 
we had passed over, dead and wounded men were scattered thickly 
over the fields as far back as we could see. Being a farmer s boy 
the scene reminded me right away of a harvest field on the old farm 
in Tioga County, and forsooth it was a harvest field we were on 
the harvest field of Death with human forms as the ghastly 
sheaves ! 

Another incident that morning was more on the ludicrous than 
the tragic or sublime. A Johnny had got rattled and lost his bear 
ings somehow and instead of going to his own men he came through 
the fog and bushes plump into our line, not discovering his mistake 
until it was too late to turn back. "Oh my God!" he said, throwing 
up both hands and evidently scared most to death. "Come in you 
*** !" Charley Terbell said to the bewildered Johnny. He promptly 
accepted the invitation and was the happiest man on the job when 
he found that nobody was going to hurt him. 

From the Wilderness to Petersburg 129 

We lost 13 men killed or mortally wounded at Spottsylvania. 
Only one fatal casualty occurred in Company G. William Down 
ing was shot through the head and instantly killed. Downing was 
one of the comparatively old men of the company, probably between 
thirty-five and forty. A pathetic feature of his death was that he 
had been serving as company cook and was killed within a few hours 
after being relieved and ordered by the captain to take his place in 
the ranks. 

The enemy were behind intrenchments while our troops were in 
the open, having had no opportunity to build pits. Our orders were 
to keep close to the ground to avoid the enemy s fire. Downing 
raised up on one knee to get a better shot at the enemy when a 
bullet took him plumb in the forehead. He was a volunteer recruit 
and had been with us but a few months. Patrick Kelley and Phil 
ander Smith, also volunteer recruits in Company G, were wounded 
at Spottsylvania. 

For several days after the I2th we were busy strengthening our 
position, cannonading and musketry going on around us day and 
night. The weather was nasty and we suffered great inconvenience 
from the rainy days and cold nights. By this time we began to feel 
the effects of "Campaigning with Grant." We had not had a good 
night s rest since before the Battle of the Wilderness. Fighting and 
marching had been an almost continuous performance. On the ist 
day of May my cartridge box belt was just right let out at full 
length. At Spottsylvania I took up the buckle one hole and a cou 
ple weeks later gave it another hitch. We were getting down to 
fighting weight all right. It rained more or less for a week or ten 
days while we were in the vicinity of Spottsylvania. We could get 
no comfortable rest. Our clothing had no chance to dry. That sort 
of thing is bad for the health and depressing for the average human 
being. No wonder some of us were temporarily discouraged. But 
when the clouds rolled by and the bright sun came out again it made 
all the difference in the world. We were ready then to follow Grant, 
Burnside and the rest of them wherever they might lead ; or wher 
ever they told us to go, which would be nearer right. They got us 
up about four o clock, Friday morning, May iSth, and ordered us to 
pack up as though there was going to be something done. All we 
did, however, was to move some distance to the right and swing 
around the enemy s left flank, where we lay for several hours under 
a galling artillery fire during which Lieutenant Irvin, of Company 

130 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

E, was severely wounded, having one leg shattered by a grape shot ; 
and then, like the King s men in the story book, we marched back 
again. It seems that our business was to support an assault by a por 
tion of the Second Corps. The assault failed. 

On Saturday, the 2ist, our division marched to the Po River 
where we found the enemy in force guarding the ford. We slept 
on our arms under a brisk artillery fire that night. The screeching 
shells were not conducive to sound sleep, but we managed to get 
some rest, having become partially used to that sort of thing. 

The following extract from a letter of mine written in the field 
while the events referred to were fresh in my memory will give an 
idea of our movements and the situation for the next ten days : 

"Leaving Spottsylvania on the 22nd (May) we arrived at the 
North Anna River near Hanover Junction at daybreak on the 24th. 
Our advance had driven the enemy across the river and gained a 
foothold on the other side, our sharpshooters having prevented the 
destruction of the bridge when the enemy were in the act of firing 
it. At 5 P. M., our corps crossed the river in a shower of shells, 
which fortunately for us were aimed too high and did no great dam 

In this connection I remember very well of seeing General Han 
cock on his horse just before we crossed the river. Of magnificent 
physique, straight as a rail, and well groomed, a flashing seal ring 
on one of his fingers, Hancock, then in the prime of life, was a fine 
looking officer. I never wondered after that why they called him 

Referring to the same letter and to my diary I find that after 
crossing the river we formed line of battle and built rifle pits with 
in easy range of the enemy s works, where we stayed, skirmishing 
day and night, expecting every moment to be ordered forward or to 
repel an assault by the enemy, until about n P. M., of the 26th, 
when the enemy having disappeared from our front, we recrossed 
the river and took up our line of march southward. Marching until 
about half past one next morning we bivouacked and rested until ten 
o clock and away we went again and marched the balance of the day. 
Resuming our weary tramp about eight o clock next morning they 
kept us going stopping betimes to make coffee and maybe rest a 
little until about one o clock on the morning of the 2Qth, when we 
came to the Pamunkey River. We crossed the river on pontoons. 
A bloody encounter had taken place between our cavalry and Ewell s 

From the Wilderness to Petersburg 131 

Corps on the south bank of the river the day before. The enemy 
were driven back and the Union forces crossed over without serious 

Our regiment after crossing marched a couple of miles inland 
and went into camp. I remember we were short of rations that day. 
Nothing could be bought at any price from the natives. To use 
their own language "everything was all done gone." The country 
we had passed over however was generally under cultivation, corn 
and wheat being the principal crops. The darkies, who were sociable 
and friendly, said to us that "Bobby Lee" told them to plant their 
crops and he w r ould keep the Yankees from molesting them. One 
thing we were thankful for and that is we generally had plenty of 
good water from springs or rivulets. 

The roads at that time of the year were fearfully dusty. Forag 
ing of all kinds was at low ebb. The best we could do was to make 
an occasional "requisition" on some planter s hen-roost or maybe 
make a raid among his cattle, sheep or pigs. 

Next day, May 3Oth, we got marching orders again and left 
camp about eight o clock in the morning but only went a couple of 
miles and then formed line of battle and built breastworks as usual. 
One significant entry in my diary for that day is that "we drew ra 
tions." The term rations appears frequently in a soldier s narra 
tion. Rations are the biggest part of his living. 

About one o clock, Tuesday afternoon of the 3ist, we left our 
breastworks and advanced about a mile in line of battle and had a 
brisk skirmish with the enemy. In fact, we kept on skirmishing all 
the afternoon, our orders evidently being not to bring on a battle. 
The only casualty in Company G was the wounding slightly of Ser 
geant T. J. Davies. A partially spent ball took him squarely on the 
end of the chin. Tom called the dent it made his dimple. As usual 
we built works where we were and slept what we could "with one 
eye open" that night. 

June ist my diary says we remained behind works all day. 
More or less firing along the line. Drew rations. The connection 
between our haversacks and the supply trains was established again. 
The locality where we were about that time was called "Camp near 
Bethesda Church." I have learned since that there was a meeting 
house by that name in the neighborhood ; but candor compels me to 
say that I never saw it inside or out. Before daylight on the morn 
ing of the 2nd of June we moved back to our old pits, the ones we 

132 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

had built on the 3Oth of May. Early in the afternoon the Ninth 
Corps moved some distance to the left. While executing this move 
ment something happened that I have never forgotten and have 
thought of a great many times since. While quietly resting with 
stacked arms in an open field near what was called Gaines Mill we 
were suddenly attacked on the flank by the enemy. Our troops, 
partly massed, were in poor shape to resist attack. But what made 
a lasting impression on my mind is that no sooner had the firing and 
yelling announced the proximity of the enemy than our massed 
troops began to deploy into shape for battle, reminding me instant 
ly of a monstrous blue snake gracefully uncoiling itself after being 
disturbed. I can shut my eyes now and after nearly forty-seven years 
see the whole performance. The attack was easily repulsed with no 
great loss to us. 

Another thing I remember is that there came up a sharp thun 
der shower while we were there. I crouched down and pulled my 
gum blanket around me to keep my powder and other things dry, 
and while in that position Comrade William Penn Wood, who had 
lost or thrown away his gum blanket, snuggled down close to me to 
get the benefit of mine. As neither of us was very big the blanket 
answered very well for both. Next day Penn Wood, who was a 
genial, lovable young fellow, was killed and I have always been 
glad that I was able to do him a kindness one of the last that any 
body did for him. 

That night some of the boys of Company I and Company K 
found a lot of gold and silver in a sweet potato bin in a deserted 
house. Some of them carried specie in their pockets ail summer and 
until they were captured at Poplar Spring Church, when some of 
the Rebs if not the rightful owners got their money back. 

In most of their marching and countermarching and the minor 
engagements that occurred after leaving Spottsylvania, Grant and 
Lee had been maneuvering for position, Grant pursuing his usual 
tactics of driving Lee out of his weak places and flanking him out 
of the strong ones. At Cold Harbor a mere crossroads to be 
sure, but a place that commanded the approaches to Richmond from 
that direction the commander of the Union Army was up against 
it, so to speak. He must either fight the enemy in his stronghold or 
change his plans entirely. The odds were tremendously against us 
and almost with his last breath Grant said he was sorry he had or- 

From the Wilderness to Petersburg 133 

dered the assault at Cold Harbor. The fact that we lost 7,000 men 
in a few moments during the assault shows what the Union Army 
had to contend with. 

Other members of the regiment will give their version of what 
the Forty-fifth did or tried to do at Cold Harbor. After 47 years 
the chances are that no two of us will tell exactly the same story 
about our experience at Cold Harbor or anywhere else. 

A letter I sent home from the front written a few days after the 
battle, says in substance, that at daybreak, Friday morning, June 3d, 
our brigade under command of Colonel John I. Curtin, with Lieu 
tenant-Colonel F. M. Hills in command of the Forty-fifth, formed 
line of battle and advanced upon the enemy in their intrenchments in 
our front. The line was met by a murderous fire of musketry and 
grape and canister but never wavered, moving forward steadily un 
der a deadly direct and cross fire until within less than a hundred 
yards of the enemy s works, when the command "halt" was passed 
along the line, and there, keeping close to the ground for protec 
tion, what was left of the Forty-fifth held their part of the advance 
line under fire all day. 

In this connection, referring to the assault at Cold Harbor, a 
disinterested \vriter, author of "Burnside and the Ninth Army 
Corps," says: 

"On the right the brunt of the battle fell upon the Ninth Corps 
* * * Colonel Curtin s brigade of Potter s division made a daring 
charge, drove in the enemy s skirmishers, carried some detached 
rifle pits, forced the enemy consisting of portions of Long- 
street s and Ewell s corps back into the inner works and established 
itself in close proximity to his intrenchments." 

Companies G and H, of the Forty-fifth fought in a ravine run 
ning partially at right angles with the enemy s line, my letter says. 
Down this ravine the fire of the enemy was directed with fearful ef 
fect. Company H lost heavily in killed and wounded including all 
the non-commissioned officers but one. Lieutenant George P. Scud- 
der, of Company F, temporarily in command of Company H, was 
mortally wounded and died on the field. 

Lieutenant Ephraim Jeffers, the only commissioned officer with 
Company G, at that time, being temporarily disabled by sickness, 
Lieutenant John Gelbaugh of Company K, was assigned to com 
mand the company that morning. Gelbaugh was severely wounded 
almost the first thing after the battle opened and First Sergeant 

134 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

John J. Rogers took command of the company. Less than one- 
fourth of those present in Company G escaped being hit. William 
P. Wood was killed, Noah H. Robbins and Josiah L. Butler were 
mortally wounded and died in hospital. These three young fellows 
were volunteer recruits and had been with us but a few months. 
They were good soldiers. Sergeant Rogers, commanding the com 
pany, was kneeling upon the ground on the firing line with Charley 
Terbell immediately behind him when a Confederate bullet passed 
clear through Rogers body and ploughed its way into Terbell s left 
knee. That missile put two good soldiers out of business. Rogers 
comrades carried him to the rear where Dr. Maxwell looked him 
over and pronounced his case hopeless. Rogers was left on the field 
to die but his wonderful vitality pulled him through as his own 
statement printed elsewhere in this book will show. Terbell was 
disabled a good while and in a letter written, September, 1910, a 
few months before he died, he said the wound still troubled him. 

Others of Company G who were seriously wounded on that part 
of the line were Eli Smith with loss of leg; Thomas J. Rogers, 
brother of the wounded sergeant, seriously in right shoulder, and 
Henry T. Rice and Henry N. Gile, both wounded in the hand. C. 
H. Rogers, John Hauber, James Dickinson, S. L. Hakes and P. P. 
Smith w r ere also wounded at Cold Harbor, but less seriously. 

Undoubtedly many thrilling incidents occurred on that part of 
the field in connection with the Forty-fifth, which others who were 
present will describe. My duty was elsewhere that morning as will 
appear presently. 

Our old color-sergeant, "J oe " Reigle, was shot down during the 
assault that morning. Very likely some comrade who was present 
will give the details of that exciting incident. 

We all remember that about dark on the evening before the 
Battle of Cold Harbor, part of Company G were detailed for picket. 
I remember it especially well because I was included in the detail 
and thought it was pretty hard luck to have to be out on picket all 
night after what we had gone through. But we seldom know what 
is best for us. Being out on picket that night may have saved my 
skin the next day. 

In this connection Lieutenant T. J. Davies (sergeant then), who 
had charge of the Company G contingent, reminds me that the pick 
ets were thrown out about 40 rods in front and deployed as skirm 
ishers at the edge of the woods to protect the right flank of our 

From the Wilderness to Petersburg 135 

brigade against surprise from that quarter. We were out all night 
and a long, dark, dismal night it was out there on picket in the 
woods. Quite early in the morning, but not until the first shock of 
the assault was over, the pickets were relieved and we took our places 
on the firing line some distance to the right from where the bal 
ance of the regiment were engaged; part of the duty assigned to 
us being to help silence a Rebel battery by a flanking fire on the gun 
ners. The guns were silenced and all the battery horses shot down. 

I have a comparatively vivid recollection of some other things 
that happened there. Abram V. Gile, of Company G, another of 
our volunteer recruits, was shot dead within a few feet of me just 
before reaching the position assigned to us. A little later Allen 
Thompson and I were standing side by side behind temporary breast 
works, exchanging shots with some Johnnies, also behind rifle pits 
twenty or twenty-five rods across the field, when I heard that sick 
ening "chug" the familiar sound of lead or iron striking against 
flesh and bone. A Rebel bullet had struck Thompson squarely 
in the groin. It was a nasty wound but Thompson made no fuss. 
He was a quiet man with lots of grit and never said much. The 
boys will remember that with his round head and pug nose Allen 
always reminded us of a bull dog. He managed to get back to the 
rear and that was the last I saw of him. He partially recovered and 
served some time in the Veteran Reserve Corps. 

For better protection and to save my own "bacon" I found a 
couple of solid rails and put them on top the barricade in front of me 
and pretty soon had the satisfaction of hearing a bullet strike the 
top rail directly in line with my "solar plexus." It was a narrow 
escape all right; but we all took desperate chances in those days. 
Undoubtedly that piece of wood saved my life. 

Early in the evening after things had quieted down some, having 
had no rest the night before, I lay down and dropped to sleep, al 
most as soon as I touched the ground. But it was a short nap. 
some artillerymen, to give the Johnnies across the field a dose of 
grape and canister, brought a cannon close up to where I was lying 
down behind the breastworks and fired it directly over my head. It 
didn t quite "bust" the ear drum, but it was a day or two before I 
could hear much of anything but the explosion of a cannon close to 
my right ear ! 

Among the mortally wounded at Cold Harbor was Major Ed 
ward A. Kelsey, of the Forty-fifth. His death, which occurred June 

136 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

24th, just three weeks after the battle, was a serious loss to the regi 
ment. Major Kelsey was a good soldier. His military career be 
gan as second lieutenant of Company F, Second Regiment, three 
months men, of which Thomas Welsh (our own Tom) was lieu 
tenant-colonel. When the Forty-fifth was organized Lieutenant 
Kelsey was elected captain of Company K. In July, 1863, ne was 
promoted to major and but for his untimely death would have been 
the logical successor of Lieutenant-Colonel Hills and commanded 
the regiment after Hills was mustered out in August, 1864. 

The monthly report of Company G, for May, 1864, shows that 
on the last day of that month we had one commissioned officer and 
forty-one enlisted men present for duty. But that doesn t mean 
that that many of the company took part in the Battle of Cold Har 
bor three days later. Campaigning as we were among the swamps 
of the peninsula between the Pamunkey and Chickahominy Rivers 
there was considerable sickness in camp, mostly cases of malaria and 
bowel trouble. Soldiers good soldiers too were liable to be dis 
abled on short notice and excused from duty by the surgeon. A 
typical case is that of Lieutenant Jeffers of our company. Jeffers 
was brave and never shirked a duty, yet he was taken suddenly ill 
and was unable to be with the company during the assault of June 
3rd. The chances are that several enlisted men in the company 
were also excused by the doctor that morning, although no record 
has been preserved to that effect. Had we counted noses in the ten 
companies of the regiment on the firing line at Cold Harbor there 
might have been more than three hundred but I doubt it. There 
were, it appears, 16 casualties, four of them fatal, in Company G; 
but without the company morning reports or other official returns 
to refer to, no one can give the exact number of casualties in the 
regiment at Cold Harbor or anywhere else. Our loss at Cold Har 
bor has been variously given from 160 to 180 or more. Taking 
the minimum figure and assuming that three hundred were engaged, 
our percentage of loss would be 53 1-3. Colonel Fox, the best au 
thority we have on the mortuary statistics of the Civil War, in his 
book "Regimental Losses," says we had 315 men engaged (prob 
ably counting some who were excused from duty) and that our to 
tal loss was 181, including 45 killed or mortally wounded and 22 
missing. In this way he figures out that the Forty-fifth lost 57.4 
per cent, of the number of men engaged at Cold Harbor. 

From the Wilderness to Petersburg 137 

In the historic charge at Balaklava, made famous by story and 
song, the English Light Brigade lost only 36.7 per cent., yet nobody 
has written a poem or a song about the Forty-fifth at Cold Harbor, 
nor are we making a special claim for conspicuous service that day. 
The fact is that our regiment participated in so many engagements 
where the losses were severe that nobody is making a fuss over 
what we did in any one battle. 

Saturday morning, June 4th, we found the enemy had evacuated 
their works in front during the night. The first thing we did was 
to give our guns a good cleaning. They needed it badly enough. 
Guns always need cleaning after a battle. Frequently when the 
fighting is brisk the inside of a muzzle loading gun gets so dirty 
that it is impossible to use it. 

At four o clock in the afternoon they marched us off into a piece 
of woods a few miles to the left where we relieved some other troops. 
The Rebels must have located our position for they shelled us but 
did no great damage. Next day the regiment marched across a 
swamp and built breastworks. Sunday morning, June 6th, the pick 
ets got busy in our front. Lieutenant Ephraim Jeffers of Company 
G, and Lieutenant D. C. Hoig, of Company I, went to the extreme 
front to try conclusions with the Rebel sharpshooters. As com 
missioned officers they really had no business out there, but both 
being good shots that sort of thing was rare fun for them. In a 
little while they brought poor Hoig back on a stretcher. I remem 
ber it as though it were yesterday. A tiny hole in his breast over 
the heart showed where the bullet went in. The chances are that 
he never knew what hit him. Hoig was a promising young officer 
and popular with the men. His death cast a gloom over the left 
wing of the regiment, especially the Tioga County boys who knew 
him best. 

Next day occurred one of those minor affairs not important 
enough to attract the attention of the average historian but import 
ant enough to leave a lasting impression on the minds of those who 
were mixed up in it. Pursuant to orders from Colonel Curt in, Lieu 
tenant Jeffers with a strong detail from the left wing of the regi 
ment made a reconnoissance of the enemy s line opposite our right 
flank. Starting before daylight and making a wide detour to avoid 
attracting the enemy s attention we got around in rear of the Rebel 
picket line partly intrenched in an open field. One of their picket 
posts was in a log house in plain sight of our position in the edge 

138 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

of the woods. Jeffers lined up a lot of us where we had a good view 
of the Johnnies outside the house sunning themselves. We gave 
them a volley and I can shut my eyes now and see those fellows 
grab their guns and skeedaddle into the house. We surprised them 
all right, but our position between the enemy s pickets and their main 
line was more ticklish than we were aware of. After a while we 
heard a bugle call in the enemy s camp and the next thing was the 
familiar Rebel yell followed by a volley of musketry behind us. 
Looking around, there was a line of battle coming at us on the 
double-quick through the woods. No two of us agree exactly as to 
what occurred after that. To try to hold our ground was to be 
surrounded and gobbled up. My recollection is that we gave them 
a volley or two and then it was a case of every one for himself and 
the Devil (in a gray uniform) take the hind most. Which he did. 
Anyhow Privates Warren Munn and Stephen Nott were captured 
and perished miserably in Andersonville Prison; Corporal Samuel 
Rogers was severely wounded in the leg but managed to get away. 
Several of us made good our retreat by wading a supposedly im 
passable swamp. It was a foolhardy undertaking all around and the 
great wonder is that we were not all captured. 

For several days after this exciting incident things were com 
paratively quiet in our front. But that sort of thing didn t last 

All day Sunday, June I2th, there seemed to be a hum of prep 
aration in camp that told us something important was brewing. We 
know, now, if we did not know it then, that Grant was getting ready 
to execute his famous flank movement from Cold Harbor to the 
vicinity of Petersburg. Early Sunday evening when we ought to 
have been going to church we got orders to move. Silently and 
quickly the Ninth Corps withdrew from the works in front of the 
enemy, leaving a strong skirmish line to cover our retreat. Lee 
didn t know we had gone until next morning. A rapid all night s 
march of 15 miles brought us in sight of the Chickahominy River. 
Resting during the forenoon we started again at one o clock and 
marching in a southerly direction, our course nearly parallel with 
that of the river, we kept on at a lively gait all the afternoon. Stop 
ping toward night to make coffee and rest a while, the march was 
resumed and continued until one o clock on the morning of the I4th. 
Between nine and ten o clock in the forenoon we crossed the Chick 
ahominy at Jones Bridge. 

From the Wilderness to Petersburg 139 

At i P. M., we started across the peninsula. The weather was 
hot and getting hotter all the time. The dusty roads were crowded 
with troops and altogether it \vas tough marching. To partly off 
set this our march, especially after crossing the Chickahominy, was 
through the finest farming country we had seen in Virginia. Big 
fields of waving grain nearly ready for the sickle and orchards load 
ed with fruit contrasted sharply with the desolate fields in other 
parts of the State. As our columns advanced the growing crops 
were trampled down a good deal and much other property destroyed, 
although our generals went through the motions of posting guards 
to prevent that sort of thing. 

About ten o clock that night we bivouacked within two miles 
of the James River. Thursday, the T5th, we lay in camp all day 
and after our strenuous march of fifty odd miles from Cold Har 
bor it seemed mighty good to rest a while. My diary says we 
crossed the James River on a pontoon bridge between eleven and 
twelve o clock at night, June I5th. The river where we crossed 
was about 2,100 feet wide and it took 101 pontoon boats to build a 
bridge across it. These boats were fastened to vessels anchored 
above and below the bridge for that purpose. From midnight 
June I4th, when the bridge was completed, until midnight of the i6th 
there was a continuous movement of troops, artillery and wagon 
trains across the big bridge; and the army didn t all cross on the 
bridge either. A lot of ferry boats were busy all the time taking 
men and material across the stream. The approaches to the river 
were alive with troops marching here and there or waiting their 
turn to cross. Drums and brass bands filled the air with martial 
music. Few incidents in the varied career of the Forty-fifth were 
more impressive and spectacular than crossing the James River be 
tween eleven o clock and midnight June I5th, 1864. 

A forced march of 25 miles 25 dusty, weary miles brought us 
to the enemy s outer line of works before Petersburg about four 
o clock, Thursday afternoon, June i6th. Loaded down as we were 
with more rations and ammunition than we usually carried, the pace 
on this march was too much for some of the men. I know that 
several of Company G dropped out of the ranks because they were 
completely bushed, and followed at a less strenuous pace. But so 
far as I know every "straggler" in the company was in his place in 
the ranks when his services were needed at the front. 

140 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

Arriving before Petersburg, the Ninth Corps took position on 
the left of the Second Corps. Our brigade under Colonel Curtin 
was on the extreme left of the corps and the Forty-fifth on the left 
of the brigade; so that for once we were on the extreme left of the 
Union Army. About dark or a little before, Barlow s division of 
the Second Corps attacked and turned the enemy s right flank, our 
division under General Potter supporting the attack. 

Before daylight next morning our division made a charge and 
carried two redoubts, according to my diary. Referring to this at 
tack General Potter in his official report says : "Canteens and cups 
were packed in haversacks to prevent noise and orders were given 
to rely upon the bayonet and not fire a shot. The brigades moved 
promptly at 3 A. M., and rushed at once on the enemy s works, car 
rying their lines, taking four pieces of cannon, five colors, some six 
hundred prisoners and about fifteen hundred stand of small arms. * 
This quotation from Potter s report, written a few days after the 
engagement, is better than anything we can give from memory after 
all these years. 

No fatal casualties that I am aware of occurred in the Forty- 
fifth during this attack. The Thirty-sixth Massachusetts of our bri 
gade, who were on the front line, lost six killed and 13 wounded. 

Saturday morning, June i8th, we found that the enemy had 
abandoned their \vorks in our front during the night. They had re 
tired to another intrenched line a mile or so nearer Petersburg. A 
general advance was made in the afternoon. The Forty-fifth was 
in the front line. 

In the meantime one of our color-bearers, Corporal Thomas 
Evers, of Company D, was disabled or became exhausted, rather, 
and the adjutant detailed Corporal C. T. Kelley, of Company G, 
temporarily to fill Evers place. Anticipating our story a short time 
we might say that Kelley carried the flag until a few days before 
the Mine Explosion when Evers took it again and carried it until 
the flag was sent back to Harrisburg in October, 1864. 

The ground before us was mostly open and fully exposed to the 
concentrated fire of the enemy s rifle pits and batteries just as the 
Rebs intended it should be. The direction of our advance took us 
over the Petersburg and Norfolk railroad, which at this point ran 
diagonally across our front. The enemy made a stout resistance 
in the railroad cut. Railroad cuts were frequently used for breast 
works during the war. We made several charges during the after- 

From the Wilderness to Petersburg 141 

noon driving the enemy before us into their works some distance 
beyond the railroad. 

To avoid the enemy s fire over the worst places part of our ad 
vance was made on the double-quick. The last spurt of that kind 
we made seemed to me more like a "dead run." Used up and sore 
as I was from the effects of our last march, the pace was more than 
I could stand and I soon found myself several rods behind the regi 
ment, which had reached a point where the lay of the land afforded 
some protection. The enemy s works were in plain sight and within 
easy musket range. I made a "charge" in which I was the "whole 
push" and the way the bullets cut the June grass around my feet 
made me think a whole regiment of Johnnies were firing at one lone 
"Yank" trying to catch up with his company. Maybe my size or 
lack of size saved my skin that day. Anyway, they never touched 

Between five and six o clock, if I remember the time, we were 
in a sort of ravine or hollow considerably lower than the ground 
beyond, where we knew the Confederate works to be, close by. Ex 
pecting every minute to be ordered to climb the bank and charge 
the works I found myself wondering how many of us would live 
to reach them. But this was another case of borrowing trouble. 
The sword of Damocles suspended over our heads by a hair never 
dropped. Instead of making any more charges that night we 
stayed where we were till after dark, then quietly advancing a short 
distance we established a line within about a hundred yards of the 
Rebel works and fortified it temporarily as well as we could in the 
night. Having no idea then that we were to occupy that same 
line forty days and forty nights, during which there was no cessa 
tion of hostilities and no uninterrupted rest for any of us. 

The 1 8th of June had been a strenuous day for the Forty-fifth. 
Three of the regiment were killed and eighteen severely wounded. 
Corporal Charles H. Wilday, of Company G, one of the very best 
soldiers in the company, was mortally wounded and died July 6th 
following. Colonel Curtin commanding our brigade was struck 
in the shoulder by a minie ball and severely wounded, the com 
mand of the brigade then devolving on Colonel Bliss of the Sev 
enth Rhode Island. 

"No better fighting has been done during the war than was 
done by the divisions of Potter and Wilcox during this attack," 
General Burnsicle says in his report of what we did on the iSth of 

142 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

June, 1864. The line we established that night was a salient nearer 
to the enemy s works than any other part of the Union line. Some 
two hundred feet in our rear was quite a deep hollow or ravine from 
which the ground rose sharply to our works and then more grad 
ually to the enemy s about 300 feet farther. The hollow referred 
to, which was out of sight of the enemy, is where excavation started 
for the famous Burnside Mine, which others will describe. The 
siege of Petersburg began on the i8th of June, 1864, and ended 
on the 2d of April, 1865. The Forty-fifth was part of the besieging 
force from start to finish. We helped to establish the Union line 
farthest in advance in the first place. The regiment was actively 
engaged in the siege all the way through, sustaining heavy losses, 
as the records will show ; and we were in at the death on the 2nd 
of April, 1865, when the Confederate works were carried by assault, 
the victory which the Forty-fifth helped to achieve that morning 
being the beginning of the end of the war. 

Referring to my diary again I find that June 2Oth "we drew ra 
tions of whiskey." Half a gill (four spoonfuls) was called a ra 
tion. The officers probably got theirs in more liberal doses at the 
commissary department. Sometimes in case of emergency" they 
were kind enough to sign an order for a canteen full of "the same" 
to be delivered to an enlisted man. If some of the boys in Company 
G occasionally signed Lieutenant Jeffers name to an order of that 
kind nobody was ever punished for forgery on that account. Some 
of us, the boys said, could sign the lieutenant s name more natural 
ly than Jeffers could himself ! 

As a general thing the two brigades of our division relieved 
each other at the front every 48 hours. At first the changes were 
made in the night to avoid attracting the attention of the enemy. 
In a few days, however, we had dug a ditch or covered way and 
could go back and forth with comparative safety. 

The work of digging for the Burnside Mine began at noon on 
Saturday, June 25th. Lieutenant-Colonel Pleasants and his regi 
ment of miners, the Forty-eighth Pennsylvania, who did the work, 
belonged to our brigade. Starting in the ravine about two hun 
dred feet in rear of Company G of our regiment the main gallery 
of the mine passed under our works about 20 feet below the sur 
face of the ground we stood on. The work of excavation and pre 
paring the mine or as much of it as could be seen from the outside 
was done under our noses from start to finish. To distract the 

From the Wilderness to Petersburg 143 

attention of the enemy and prevent them from peeping over to see 
what was going on we kept up an irregular fusillade day and night 
and they gave us as good as we sent. At that distance the lines 
were less than 20 rods apart and both sides alert and watchful, 
somebody was shot every day. You couldn t raise a hand over the 
breastworks without drawing the enemy s fire. 

Looking at my diary for the Fourth of July, I find that three 
members of Company G were wounded on the firing line during the 
day: Sergeant Jasper R. White and Privates Morris Smith and 
Peter Bellinger, all wounded in the head. As a matter of fact all 
who \vere hit in the works during the excavation of the mine were 
struck above the shoulders while watching to get a shot at the 
Johnnies through the port-holes. The chances are there were as 
many sore heads on the other side as among our fellows. We took 
chances and improved every opportunity to shoot at anything that 
looked like a head. Sometimes they fooled us by holding up an old 
hat on the end of a ram rod. Sergeant White was wounded in a 
peculiar manner. A Rebel bullet flattened itself against the limb 
of a cedar tree that stood maybe ten or fifteen feet in front of our 
works and glancing downward struck White on the bridge of his 
nose squarely between the eyes. The wound though painful was 
not serious. To avoid a repetition of that sort of thing, however, 
and because the tree was a nuisance anyhow, interfering with our 
view of the enemy s works, the boys decided to get rid of the tree 
by shooting it down! In fact that was the only way to get rid of it. 
We had some good choppers in the company but none of them vol 
unteered to wield an axe between the lines in plain sight of the 
enemy less than a hundred yards distant. It took some time and a 
lot of powder and lead to down the tree ; but the ammunition used 
made but little impression on Uncle Sam s cartridge box, especially 
when we consider that it took about a ton of lead to kill a man in 
the Civil \var, so one writer says. The tree we shot down was about 
ten inches through at the butt. 

We had gotten it into our heads that something unusual was 
going to happen before Petersburg on the Fourth of July and would 
n t have been at all surprised if a general attack had been made 
all along the line. And it was a disappointment to us that the day 
passed off so quietly. There were plenty of "fireworks" at the front 
to be sure and a few shells in the evening instead of rockets, but we 
had got used to that sort of thing and it didn t count. 

144 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

The casualties referred to and the fact that we had plenty of 
ice cold lemonade are all I thought was worth mentioning in my 
diary on the Fourth of July. The boys had discovered a well filled 
ice house near the picket line but unfortunately for us in plain sight 
of the enemy. Some of our fellows were killed by Rebel sharp 
shooters while trying to get ice for their lemonade, with maybe a 
"stick" in it. All the same the boys took chances and frequently 
brought chunks of ice into camp. 

Other unexpected luxuries that came to us during the early 
stages of the siege of Petersburg were daily allowances of pickles, 
dried apples, cabbages, radishes, etc., furnished by the Sanitary Com 
mission with headquarters at City Point. 

As the season advanced we suffered much from heat. The fre 
quent discharge of cannon and a small arms day and night gave the 
atmosphere a sulphurous smell, reminding us of that other place 
(if it is a place) that we hear about so much ! It was an easy mat 
ter for us to see the steeples of Petersburg from some parts of our 
line, and the shrill notes of the car whistle and rumble of moving 
trains reminded us every day that the beleaguered town w r as alive 
and doing business at the old stand. We were losing men every 
day. Company G at any rate was unfortunate. On the i8th of 
July, John Hauber was mortally wounded by a shot in the breast 
while filling some canteens for his comrades at a spring in rear of 
our works. John was one of the "humorists" of Company G. We 
missed his droll songs and funny jokes. A few days later Corporal 
David W. Reese was severely wounded, a minie ball ploughing its 
way around one side of his head. July 2ist, Lieutenant Ephraim 
Jeffers was put out of business by an ugly wound in the face, that 
perforated his cheek and disfigured him for life. 

Three days later Sergeant T. J. Davies was shot in the head 
and nearly killed at the same porthole where Jeffers was hit and as 
likely as not by the same sharpshooter. We learned afterward that 
some sharpshooters with globe sights on their guns had been as- 
igned to duty opposite our part of the line on purpose to silence the 
Yankee marksmen who had been picking off everything that showed 
up above the parapet or at the port-holes in the Confederate works. 
Presumably other companies lost as many man as we did. Some 
mortar batteries planted over the hill toward Petersburg annoyed us 
a good deal. By careful, persistent experiments the gunners had the 
range perfectly. At first the fuses of their shells were too short. 

From the Wilderness to Petersburg 145 

They burst so high up that fragments of the shells dropped among 
their own men, the opposing lines were so close together. Very 
likely someone was on a lookout, a tree maybe, signaling the Rebel 
gunners the result of each shot. Anyway the shells kept dropping 
nearer and nearer until it kept us busy dodging them. Experience 
had taught us that a good way to dodge a shell when we saw it com 
ing was to drop flat down to avoid the flying pieces if the plaguy 
thing burst, which it generally did. Sometimes, however, the fuse 
was too long and the shell buried itself out of sight in the ground 
without exploding. The chances are that some of those mortar 
shells are there now. It seems almost a miracle that nobody in the 
regiment so far as I know (certainly none in Company G) was 
killed or wounded by the artillery fire on that part of the line. Our 
casualties were all caused by Confederate sharpshooters. But the 
enemy didn t confine their cannonading to our advanced line. Every 
once in a while a shell would come whistling or shrieking over into 
our camp where we stayed while the Second Brigade was on duty 
at the front. This camp was in a piece of \voods about a half mile 
in rear of the salient we occupied at the front. Like unwelcome vis 
itors these shells, and sometimes solid shot, were liable to drop in 
on us most any time of the day or night. To guard against them to 
a certain extent some of the officers built barricades of logs near 
their tents in the direction of the enemy. One day a shell came 
over about noon or a little before making the usual fuss as though 
to warn us to get out of the way. On it came making a bee line for 
the quarters of Company G. "Which one, which one?" we could 
almost hear it say, and finally with a satisfied "You-u-u !" landed un 
der the camp kettle where Jim Mickle, the company cook, was mak 
ing soup for dinner. Fortunately the fuse was too long and the shell 
didn t burst. If it had but it didn t, and the worst damage done, 
besides scaring the cook out of his wits, was to "pepper" the soup 
too freely with ashes and scatter the fire galley-west. 

Toward the last of July work on the Burnside Mine, that we 
were interested in and had been watching as well as we could from 
the outside, stopped. They told us the mine was finished and na 
turally we wondered what would happen next. We had seen 300 
or 400 men of the Forty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers working 
day and night for a month or more at that tunnel under the hill 
where the Confederate fort was; we had seen them carry out in 
cracker boxes and dump in the ravine behind us 18,000 cubic feet 

146 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

of dirt, and toting in a lot of timber to build the gallery of the 
mine ; and afterward had seen the miners carry in 320 kegs of 
powder (we did not count them then but knew afterward there 
were that many), and now we wondered what the upshot of all 
this would be. The "upshot," as it turned out, was all right and 
that s about all there was of it for us so far as any beneficial results 
were concerned. To others has been assigned the task of describ 
ing the explosion of the mine and the assault on the Crater after 
ward. The mine itself was a brilliant success. Lieutenant-Colonel 
Pleasants of the Forty-Eighth, who conceived the idea and under 
great difficulties carried on the work, was recommended for a 
brevet by General Potter for conspicuous services in managing the 
mine "which was sprung on July 3Oth in front of the Ninth Army 

The assault, after the explosion, failed, but the men who made it 
were not to blame. Read history and see how well they fought. All 
they needed was a leader a leader who knew his business and was 
not afraid to be on the spot and tell the men what to do. With eith 
er Potter or Wilcox, division commanders of the Ninth Corps, in 
command at the Crater instead of Lecllie the chances are that we 
would have gone into Petersburg that morning, and not as prisoners 
either, as some of the boys did. General Grant, who never talked 
through his hat said afterward, "Such an opportunity for carrying 
a fortified line I have never seen and never expect to see again." 

Others will tell what the Forty-fifth did or tried to do that day. 
Captain Gregg, who commanded the regiment, was recommended 
for promotion "for his gallantry and good efforts in rallying the men 
to defend the Crater and for his courage and daring in three per 
sonal encounters with Rebel officers each time killing his antagonist." 

Many other acts of heroism were performed that day that will 
never be known. The lips that could tell the story are closed for 
ever. Brave men were shot down, bayonetted and clubbed to death 
fighting like demons in that veritable "jaws of death and mouth of 
hell," which is about what the place amounted to for those who were 
killed or captured ! 

In a letter written in camp a few days after the mine disaster 
and which ought to be reliable, I say : "Our regiment went in with 
less than 200 men (including about half of that number who were 
left on the skirmish line and didn t go into the Crater), and lost 
47, including seven commissioned officers, killed, wounded and cap- 

From the Wilderness to Petersburg 147 

tured. Company G lost seven out of 13. Private Philemon Sloat, 
one of those left in our works with Captain Fessler, was struck 
on the head by a piece of shell and died next day. Besides Cap 
tain Richards, Sergeant Tilden C. Cruttenden, Corporal Ebenezer 
Peet and Privates John J. Johnson, Charles H. Rogers and Simon 
L. Hakes of Company G were captured. Presumably Cruttenden 
and Peet were seriously wounded before being captured. Both 
died in Petersburg a month later. As a partial offset to this loss, 
in our company Corporal David E. Bowen during the mix-up in 
the Crater captured seven Rebels and marched them through a 
shower of bullets and grape and canister into our lines. "Dave" 
was a good soldier all right, but it looks as though there must have 
been "contributory negligence" on the part of the Johnnies or he 
never could have "surrounded" seven men and brought them in 
single handed as he did. 

As a matter of fact many of the Confederate soldiers, especially 
during the last year of the war, were only waiting for a pretext or 
a favorable opportunity to come into our lines ; knowing as they 
did that they would fare better as our prisoners than with their 
own people. Deserters from the Rebel army frequently came into 
the Union lines during the siege of Petersburg. With us it was 
different. A Union soldier, even from a selfish point of view, if 
he was worth his salt, would take desperate chances and fight to 
the last to avoid being captured and sent to Confederate prison 
pens to be tortured and as likely as not starved to death. 

July 3ist, the day after the battle of the Crater, a flag of truce 
was sent into the Confederate lines asking for permission to bury 
our dead that lay promiscuously where they fell between our works 
and the demolished fort. It was so late, however, before the requi 
site formalities were over that the truce w r as postponed until next 
morning; from seven o clock till nine being the time specified. 
Promptly at the appointed hour the pickets on both sides stopped 
firing and details with stretchers, picks and shovels were set to 
work. The flag of truce was planted half way between the lines, 
surrounded by a group of officers of both armies. Officers and 
men who were there as spectators had to keep their proper distance 
from the Confederate works. The details, however, under Rebel 
guards, were allowed to gather up the dead wherever found. 

The ruins of the fort had been fixed up into a rifle pit and was 
garrisoned with two lines of battle. Most of the garrison sat on 

148 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

the parapet and seemed to be interested spectators of what our fel 
lows were doing. Rebel officers of all grades from lieutenant-gen 
eral down were strutting around between the lines, some in care 
less undress, but most of them in full regimentals. An officer who 
seemed to be "boss" and whom I took to be General Mahone, was 
in his shirt sleeves but had on high top boots and I think gauntlet 
gloves. The dead as they lay in a road, between the lines where 
a shallow trench was being dug for their reception, presented a 
ghastly, sickening spectacle. After lying on the ground nearly 48 
hours, part of the time under a broiling sun, all were alike swollen 
and totally disfigured. It took more than a casual glance to distin 
guish the whites from the blacks as they lay there side by side 
ready for burial. The stench was horrid, poisoning the air for 
miles around. 

At nine o clock the gruesome task was barely finished; but the 
truce had expired and the Blue and Gray who for a few moments, 
under the white flag, had been friends, were mortal enemies again. 

Both parties promptly retired to their respective lines of in- 
trenchment and pretty soon were shooting at each other as usual. 

Capt. R. G. Richards 
Company G 

In the Battle of the Crater 149 






Ever since June 27th, the Forty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteer 
Infantry, composed largely of coal miners from Schuylkill County 
under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Pleasants, had been con 
tinuously engaged in running a mine under the enemy s works, the 
objective point being a fort mounting six heavy guns and gar 
risoned by about 300 men which formed a part of the front line 
of the enemy s earthworks. The fort was not more than 140 yards 
distant from our line of breastworks at that point. The position 
of the Forty-fifth, when on duty, was and had been since June i8th, 
directly in front of the fort. By reason of the close proximity of 
the hostile lines in that vicinity, musketry and artillery firing were 
kept up each day, resulting in the loss on the average in the Sec 
ond Division (Potter s), of 14 or 15 men and officers per diem. 

On July 26th the mine was charged with 8,000 pounds of pow 
der, and on the 2Qth all was ready for the explosion. 

In the meantime General Burnside had perfected his plan of 
attack, which was, briefly stated, to form two columns, and to 
charge with them through the breach anticipated by the explosion 
of the mine, then sweep along the enemy s line right and left, clear 
ing away the artillery and infantry by attacking in the flank and 
rear ; other columns at once to make for the crest back of the enemy s 
works and Cemetery Hill. 

In order to carry out this plan successfully, a division of colored 
troops consisting of tw T o brigades under General Ferrero, was, by 
order of Burnside, for almost three weeks drilled in the movements 
necessary to familiarize them with the work to be done in leading 
the charge. It was a well known fact that the colored soldiers and 
their white officers looked forward with determination and enthu 
siasm to winning a signal victory and to prove themselves worthy 
of the honor of being selected to lead the attack against the enemy. 

150 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

On July 26th, General Meade ordered Burnside to report his 
plan of attack, which he did. 

It was not until noon of the 2Qth that Burnside was informed 
that his plan was disapproved and that the colored troops should 
not lead the attack, although Burnside urged upon General Meade 
that the white troops, owing to the constant and severe service to 
which they have been exposed for 40 days previous, were not in 
condition to make such a clashing charge as the circumstances would 
require, while the colored soldiers were fresh and vigorous. 

General Grant afterwards, before the Congressional Board of 
Inquiry concerning the mine disaster, said that he believed that 
the charge of the colored troops "would have been a success." 

I only mention these facts in justice to the memory of the gal 
lant commander of the Ninth Corps, whose magnanimous soul had 
no room for envy, nor ever allowed mere prerogative incident to 
rank or position to cast a shadow across his path of supreme fidel 
ity to the cause of his country. 

General Meade from that time took command of the enterprise 
and directed that at three thirty o clock on the following morning, 
July 3Oth, the mine should be exploded, and that the white troops 
of the Ninth Corps, should make the charge and gain the crest in 
rear of the enemy s line of works. 

Nearly the entire night of the 2Qth was taken up in making the 
necessary changes and arranging the position of the troops ready 
for the deadly work on the morrow. 

Burnside issued his battle orders to carry out General Meade s 
command. It fell to General Ledlie, commanding the First Divi 
sion, to lead the attack and to move forward at once to crown the 
crest at the point known as Cemetery Hill. 

Then General Wilcox, commanding the Third Division, was to 
follow as soon as possible after Ledlie had passed through the first 
line of the enemy s works, bearing off to the left flank of General 
Ledlie s column and make a lodgment to the left of General Led- 
lie s Division. Then General Potter, commanding the Second Di 
vision, was to move to the right of Ledlie s Division as soon as it 
was apparent that he would not interfere with the movement of 
General Wilcox, so that Potter could protect the left flank of Led 
lie s Division, and establish a line to run from Cemetery Hill nearly 
at right angles with the enemy s line. 

In the Battle of the Crater 151 

The order to General Ferrero was to move his division immedi 
ately after Wilcox s until he reached our advance line, when it was 
cleared by the other three divisions; then move forward over the 
same ground that Ledlie had covered; then pass through our line, 
and if possible, move down and occupy the village. 

There were other dispositions of troops, but I shall not take 
the time, or the space to mention them here. 

Such then was the plan of attack in so far as the Ninth Corps 
was concerned. 

I shall confine the rest of this narrative of that fateful day 
mostly to the part taken by the Forty-fifth. 

On the night of the 29th our regiment occupied its usual posi 
tion directly in front of the fated fort. All night long we watched 
with the utmost vigilance for any signs of movement in the ene 
my s lines, and we were ready for any emergency. 

In the dim light we could discern our troops moving stealthily 
into position in the hollow back of our breastworks. 

All was silent in the grim and doomed fort in our front; its 
garrison rested in fancied security, oblivious of the mighty and 
cruel force underneath, which waited only the signal of a spark to 
leap forth with volcanic and destructive energy. 

About three-thirty o clock in the morning of the 3Oth, while it 
was. yet dark, Captain Gregg, commanding the Forty-fifth, was 
ordered to leave a strong line of skirmishers in front of the enemy s 
works, and to march the rest of the regiment back to the edge of 
the woods, perhaps a quarter of a mile distant. One hundred men 
under command of Captain Fessler of Company K were left as the 
skirmish line. Only no men and u officers were left of the old 
Forty-fifth that morning as we marched back to the edge of the 
woods under Captain Gregg. 

The time for the explosion expired; -all waited and watched; 
an hour passed ; no sound from the front. The sky was reddening 
with the dawn; all eyes were turned toward the front; it was now 
four thirty-five. As we stood in almost breathless expectancy, n. 
staff officer rode near us from the front going toward headquar 
ters. He stopped an instant to say that the fuse was faulty, and 
that the affair was a failure, but as the last word fell from his lips, 
suddenly a heavy sound like muffled thunder was heard ; the ground 
trembled, and high in the air rose an immense column of earth 

152 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

mingled with cannon, caissons, camp equipage and human bodies; 
the red explosions of powder glowing in the horrid mass ; clouds of 
dense smoke and impenetrable dust rolled from the summit, then 
slowly settled as if to veil the awful ruin from our view. All that 
was left of the six gun battery with its garrison of 300 men, was a 
crater 200 feet long, 50 feet wide and from 25 to 30 feet deep, 
with the debris of the material of what was a formidable earth 
work, and the mangled bodies of its occupants. 

As if to further augment and intensify the awfulness of the 
scene, about 150 pieces of artillery along our line simultaneously 
crashed their thunders and belched forth their hissing and screech 
ing missiles until it seemed as if the vaulted dome above us was 
bursting asunder. 

The enemy, astounded and frightened, fled in consternation, 
evidently expecting a like fate to the entire front line of breastwork 
to the right and left in the vicinity of the fort. 

Ledlie s Division now advanced passing quickly over our breast 
works, and charged across the intervening space into the ruins in 
the enemy s line. 

As the men entered the still smoking chasm, the cries of the 
wounded among the debris, some half buried struggling to free 
themselves, the broken masses of earth and the yielding sand, caused 
the advancing line to break; the men halted, some to extricate the 
men from their distressing condition; some to take prisoners, and 
others to dig up buried guns and other materials; all this instead 
of moving on past the crater to the crest beyond as ordered. 

In justice to the noble regiments comprising the several brigades 
of the First Division, it is not at all likely they knew the objective 
point they were expected to make, or that even the regimental 
commanders were so informed. General Ledlie, the responsible 
head of the division, was inexcusably absent behind our breast 
works; all was confusion in the fort. 

What General Burnside feared now became a reality; the men 
began to intrench themselves, there being no responsible head to 
lead them on. This condition of the First Division materially de 
layed and prevented the advance of Wilcox s and Potter s Divisions 
to carry out the orders of the corps commander. 

Precious time was passing; 20 minutes were gone; ample time 
in which Ledlie s Division should have cleared the enemy s line and 
made for and reached the coveted crest. 

In the Battle of the Crater 153 

Those 20 minutes were lost ! irretrievably lost. 

By that time the enemy had regained self-possession. Our ar 
tillery began to receive sharp and spirited response from the enemy s 
batteries; the men were returning to their guns and intrenchments 
and forming lines to resist our further advance ; their rifle pits and 
batteries were so arranged as to make our position in and about 
the crater not long tenable. From the crest and from beyond the 
ravine to the right a terrific and destructive fire swept the ground 
between the ruined fort and our lines, as well as over the ruins and 
in rear of them. In addition was the musketry to the right and 
left from the breastworks. 

It was under the conditions just described that General Pot 
ter s Division, of which the Forty-fifth formed a part, became di 
rectly involved in the battle. My purpose is to confine myself 
chiefly to that which relates to the Forty-fifth, and in doing so shall 
freely quote from Captain Gregg s report of the battle, dated 
August Qth, 1864: Ed. 40, Series i, p. 553 War of the Rebellion. 

"We marched by the left flank through the covered way to our 
old position in our breastworks. On arriving there I gave the 
command to march double quick across the field to the Rebel fort. 
In crossing the field we were exposed to a severe fire from the 
enemy s works on the right and left. The whole space was swept 
with canister, grape and musketry." 

The ground was already thickly strewn with dead and wounded. 
Gregg further says: 

"On arriving at the ruins of the fort, I attempted to march the 
regiment by the right flank across them in order to charge a Rebel 
battery stationed at some buildings in the rear of the Rebel works, 
but found it impossible to do so, as the crater formed by the ex 
plosion was some 200 feet in length, 50 feet in breadth, and from 
30 to 35 feet in depth. The crest of the crater, ruined slopes and 
parapets were covered with dead, dying and wounded of the First 
and Second Divisions of the Ninth Army Corps." 

As we passed out of the crater a fragment of a shell tore away 
one side of Theodore Eyde s face; also his eye. I immediately 
wrapped his face with my handkerchief, while the wounded part 
was yet clean and bloodless. Eyde passed to the rear in safety. 
On my return to the regiment some months after, I learned to my 
astonishment, that he had recovered from the effects of the ghastly 
wound. The report of Captain Gregg continues : 

154 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

"I then received orders from Captain Peckham to march by 
the left flank and form a line of battle, under cover of the parapet 
in rear of the fort, in order to charge in rear of the line of their 
works so as to make a diversion in favor of our brigade, which was 
to charge forward at the moment they saw the colors of the Forty- 
fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers. At the same time I re 
ceived orders from General Bartlett who had command in the ruins 
of the fort, to charge a battery in our immediate front. I attempted 
to do so with my small command, composed of about 8b or 90 men 
and seven officers. As we advanced, the enemy opened with bat 
teries stationed at several different points on the right and left 
flanks and in front, accompanied by a heavy fire of musketry from 
the rifle pits, and as the other troops in the front did not advance 
to our support, we were compelled to fall back into the intrench- 

In rear of the fort the enemy had excavated a labyrinth of 
traverses and rifle pits, evidently for their protection from our 
guns, in passing into and out of the fort. One of these traverses 
was about four feet wide and three feet deep, the excavated ma 
terial piled up on the sides, it extended about 100 feet to the rear. 
From this traverse branched two other traverses, one to the right 
about 40 feet from the outer end, and the other about 20 feet from 
the outer end toward the left. 

Into this traverse we retreated after our charge already men 
tioned. Here we were mixed up with parts of other regiments, 
especially with the Fifty-eighth Massachusetts. 

Shortly thereafter the Rebels made a charge against the fort, 
but were repulsed by the force on the right of our position and with 
considerable loss, but as we were in this traverse by the flank, by 
the impact of the charge we were forced back as far as the junction 
of the main traverse with the branch leading to the right already 

In attempting to rally the men at this point affording a wider 
front, I was borne to the ground. As I sprung to my feet as quick 
ly as possible, I was confronted by a large Rebel officer, a major 
in rank, who placed his revolver close to my breast and demanded 
my surrender; with my sword in hand, we looked each other in 
the face for several seconds, when Captain Gregg rushed in and 
grabbed the Rebel s revolver. We took him and two men who 
stood at his back, prisoners. Why he did not fire I never knew. 

In the Battle of the Crater 155 

Captain Gregg took charge of the prisoners then taken and or 
dered me to remain in command at that point. 

At this time a number of the men of the regiment engaged, 
passed back to the crater leaving only a few of the men with Lieu 
tenant Catlin of Company I remaining with me at the point al 
ready described. It soon became evident to us that in the branch 
traverse to our left, the junction of which with the main traverse 
was only a few feet off, were a number of the enemy and also in 
a rifle pit running almost at right angles with the main traverse 
which we occupied, not more than 50 feet away. It was from that 
rifle pit as reported by Captain Gregg that a Rebel fired at me, 
and as I immediately fell to the ground to avoid a second attempt, 
it gave rise to the report that I was killed. 

In order to procure means to protect ourselves, I wrote on a 
piece of paper a request for picks and shovels, wrapped it about a 
stone and threw it in the direction of the fort, hoping that some 
one would get it and comply with my request, knowing that it was 
impossible for any of us to reach the fort from our position. Re 
ceiving no response, we set at work with bayonets for picks and 
tin cups for shovels, to construct an earthen barricade across the 
traverse so that we could drive the Rebels out of the branch traverse 
and protect ourselves in the event of another charge. The only 
material that we could procure had to be dug out of the side of the 
traverse \vhich was of a clayish substance and very hard. 

The men worked with all their might, and they were well nigh 
exhausted by the long continued exertions under the heat of the 
burning sun, and almost famished from thirst. Strong men wept, 
yet stood determined, Spartan-like, at the post of duty. 

All this time the bursting shells crashed above our heads and 
the air was freighted with grape and canister; and bullets buzzed 
like bees. 

Across the traverse from our position at the junction of the 
branch to the right, bodies to the number of 15 to 20 were literally 
piled up in a heap, directly in line with the branch traverse to our 
left which was filled with the enemy. Here it was men fell as they 
attempted to advance over the parapet of the demolished fort. I 
saw a colored soldier stand on that human pile of dead and wounded, 
fire his musket and while hurriedly reloading, was shot in the face ; 
still loading he was again shot in the back of the head; yet load- 

156 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

ing, when the third shot laid him prostrate like those beneath him; 
all done within the space of a few seconds. 

It was now past two o clock ; we still worked with bayonets and 
tin cups to construct our barricade; it was desperate work. In en 
deavoring to level the top with a rifle, it was shattered with bullets 
the instant it touched the earth. 

Yet determined, we hoped reinforcements would come to our 
relief, but before our barricade was high enough to afford us any 
protection there arose from behind the rifle pits in our immediate 
front a gray line of battle, about 50 feet distant, advancing upon 
us. Our position was in the extreme front of our forces. Further 
resistance was impossible and could only result in the useless sacri 
fice of the lives of the few men under my command. I sprang to 
my feet and was again confronted by a Rebel officer with a re 
volver at my breast and ordered to surrender, which I did with 
the others. 

At the time Captain Gregg took charge of the Rebel prisoners 
already mentioned, he with a number of our men and officers took 
their position near the crater slope where they became engaged in 
a hand-to-hand conflict with the enemy. I quote again from Cap 
tain Gregg s official report already mentioned: 

"I then received orders from Captain Peckham to form my 
regiment and await further orders, as the negro troops were to 
charge the works on our right. We heard the cheering of the men 
as they dashed forward; in a few minutes the works were filled 
with negroes. A Major of one of the negro regiments placed his 
colors on the crest of the crater and the negro troops opened a 
heavy fire on the Rebels who were at that time charging the fort. 
In a few moments the Rebel force, headed by several desperate 
officers, dashed into the pits among us, when a desperate hand-to- 
hand conflict ensued, both parties using their bayonets and club 
bing their muskets. A large Rebel officer, who appeared to be in 
command of the force, rushed upon me, and catching me by the 
throat, ordered me to surrender, at the same time bringing his re 
volver to my head. I succeeded in taking his revolver from him, 
and after a sharp struggle left him dead on the spot. A Rebel 
soldier who had come to the rescue of his officer, attempted to run 
me through with his bayonet, but was killed by Sergeant Bacon of 
Company G. 

In the Battle of the Crater 157 

Captain Dibeler of Company B was attacked by two Rebel offi 
cers, his sword taken from him, but after a sharp contest he suc 
ceeded in recovering it and killing his antagonists." 

The report continues : 

"Captain Richards of Company G, while gallantly rallying his 
men, was fired at by a Rebel and was seen to fall. He was a noble 
officer, and will long be remembered by all who knew him." 

I may be pardoned for quoting this concerning myself; it is 
not often given to men to read their own obituaries. I prize the 
good opinion of my gallant fellow officer and friend, Captain 
Gregg, more than I can express. Further, from the report : 

"Lieutenants Van Valin, Gelbaugh, Seely, Campbell, Catlin and 
Eyde behaved nobly during the contest. 

"In rear of the fort, Lieutenants Campbell and Eyde were se 
verely wounded. 

"During this brief contest the negroes in the crater kept up a 
heavy fire of musketry on the advancing enemy, compelling them 
to take shelter. Many of our men being killed and wounded, and 
the enemy pressing us hard, we were compelled to fall back into 
the crater in order to save our little band, while the negroes kept 
up a heavy fire on the Rebels outside the fort." 

About this time Brigadier-General Bartlett, a noble officer com 
manding the forces in the crater, but then unable to move about by 
reason of having broken his artificial leg, ordered Captain Gregg 
to act as field officer of the day with orders to rally every man to 
the defense of the crater. 

General Bartlett having witnessed the struggle between Captain 
Gregg and his Rebel antagonist presented to Captain Gregg his 
sword, saying to him: "Captain Gregg, you know how to use it." 
Captain Gregg subsequently returned the sword to the general, it 
having been presented to him by his old regiment, the Fifty-seventh 
Massachusetts. Quoting further: 

"We felt confident that another charge would be made by our 
troops upon the enemy on our right, and our hopes were to hold 
the fort until the charge was made." 

Prior to this time General Burnside had been ordered per 
emptorily to withdraw all the troops back to our line of breast 
works; of this, however, the troops in the crater were not yet in 
formed. Continuing from the report: 

158 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

"The crest of the fort was swept with canister and grapeshot 
from the batteries of the enemy. In the meantime the enemy 
opened a heavy bombardment with their mortar batteries. They 
had perfect range of the crater; therefore almost every shell ex 
ploded in the midst of the dense mass of men, killing and wounding 
many of our brave soldiers at every explosion. 

"It appeared in a short time impossible to hold the fort, as our 
men were overcome with the excessive heat, and the negroes al 
most destitute of ammunition. We succeeded in getting several 
hundred rounds from the dead and w r ounded in the fort. 

"The traverses around the fort were filled with the enemy, who 
attempted to charge into the crater, but were driven off at the 
point of the bayonet. * * * * 

"At the hour of one o clock, the bottom, sides and nearly all 
parts of the crater were strew 7 n with dead, dying and wounded 
soldiers, causing pools of blood to be formed at the bottom of 
the crater. * * * * 

"About two o clock the loss of life was terrible. * * * * It 
seemed impossible to maintain life from the intense heat of the 
sun. * * * * General Bartlett received a note from General Grif 
fin to the effect that the crater and other Rebel works in jour pos 
session were to be abandoned, and that he had better get out of the 
crater and save himself. 

"The color bearer of the Forty-fifth with the color guard with 
the exception of Corporal Haynes, who was killed, succeeded in 
gaining our former position and joined the command of Captain 

Our color bearer made a gallant fight hand-to-hand against 
Rebel soldiers who attempted to capture our flag and succeeded in 
defending it against all comers. 

One of the soldiers of the Forty-fifth captured the flag of a 
Rebel regiment and bore it in triumph as a trophy of one of the 
bloodiest conflicts of the war. 

Captain Gregg in the closing paragraph of his report says : 

"I charged the enemy s works with no men. Of that num 
ber six were killed, 22 wounded and 39 missing. Among the miss 
ing are Captains Dibeler and Richards, and Lieutenants Van Valin, 
Catlin and Seely. I am pleased to say that all the officers and men 
that were with me in the engagement are deserving great praise 

In the Battle of the Crater 159 

for their noble conduct and bearing. Much praise is also due to 
Captain Fessler and Lieutenant Cheeseman for their efforts in en 
deavoring to rally the negroes and other troops while they were 
retreating back across the front line of the Forty-fifth Regiment 
Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers." 

It will be seen that out of no men, 67 were lost; I am satisfied 
that of the 39 reported as missing many of them were either killed 
or wounded. 

The Battle of the Crater ended in terrible disaster and defeat; 
our loss was more than 2,000 killed and wounded, besides 1,652 
missing. The enemy s loss must have been very heavy. 

Never did men fight with more courage and desperation, but 
somewhere, not with the rank and file, nor with regimental officers 
on our side, lay the responsibility for the disaster. It was then, 
as it is now when we can calmly consider the situation, evident 
that a splendid victory was within our grasp, but lost because of 
mismanagement and for want of competent leadership. Are we 
not justified in believing that had General Burnside s plan of battle 
been approved, the result would have been different? 

Even as we relate in sorrow the story of the battle, we are 
proud of the part taken by our gallant Forty-fifth Pennsylvania Vet 
eran Volunteers, which is in keeping with its noble record through 
out its whole history from first to last. 

160 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 




The Forty-fifth came out of the Battle of the Crater badly crip 
pled but with untarnished honor. One-third of its members had 
been put out of business or hors de combat, as the French say. Of 
those taken prisoners many perished in captivity. Very few of 
the survivors were released in time to participate in other cam 
paigns of the regiment. Lieutenant-Colonel Hills being unable to 
command the regiment on account of ill health and the office of 
major being vacant, Captain Gregg of Company F, as the rank 
ing captain in the regiment, remained in command of the Forty- 
fifth after the mine explosion as he had been for some time previous 
for the same reason. 

With Captain Richards a prisoner, First Lieutenant Haynes 
acting regimental quartermaster, and Second Lieutenant Jeffers ab 
sent, wounded, Company G was without a commissioned officer 
present for duty from the last of July until the middle of Decem 
ber, as will appear farther on. Sergeant David L. Bacon com 
manded Company G during the months of August and September, 
the same Sergeant Bacon, who, according to Captain Gregg s own 
story, saved his (Gregg s) life during the mix-up at the crater, 
yet owing to Bacon s modesty or some other reason he never to 
my recollection mentioned the incident in my hearing. Bacon and 
I had been boys together in Tioga County and were quite chummy 
in the army, especially after so many of the original members of 
the company were gone. We tented together when he commanded 
the company. "Dave" jocularly styled himself "Commander-in- 
chief of Company G," and dubbed me his "Adjutant General," be 
cause in my capacity as company clerk I made out all his reports 
and other official papers. 

The Forty-fifth, or what was left of it, continued on duty as 
usual in the trenches opposite the demolished fort after the explo 

Sunday, August I4th, we drew rations and next day left camp 
about one o clock in the morning; marched through a night "as 

The Weld on Railroad and Pe gram s Farm 161 

dark as a stack of black cats" until about 6 A. M., when we re 
lieved a portion of the Fifth Corps. 

August 1 7th. Heavy firing on the right. Rebels shelled us 
during the night. One man killed with solid shot, says my diary. 

August 1 8th. Repaired our pits. Rebs gave us another shell 
ing last night. 

August 1 9th. Got marching orders and packed up. Left camp 
about noon, marched five miles and deployed as skirmishers on right 
of Fifth Corps. Heavy fighting during the evening. We arrived 
in the nick of time. The Fifth Corps was being roughly handled, 
having lost heavily in killed and wounded, besides more than 2,000 
captured, and the Rebels were in a fair way to drive our forces off 
the Weldon Railroad when our division and the First of the Ninth 
Corps put in an appearance. John L. Wilson, special correspond 
ent of the New York Herald, in his "Story of the War," says in 
this connection: "Very opportunely, just at the time when the 
right center (of the Fifth Corps) had become broken and was 
giving away, the First and Second Divisions of the Ninth Corps, 
under Potter and White, came up. Although they had made a long 
and toilsome forced march over roads now reduced to mud by the 
late heavy rains, they were immediately formed and sent in on the 
charge; and the enemy was overlapped and turned. The result 
was that the contest was decided against the Confederates and the 
disordered lines of the Federals were soon rallied." 

Next day we advanced our skirmish line and threw up rifle pits 
but there was no fighting to amount to anything. 

On the 2 ist the Rebels made another desperate attempt to drive 
us off the Weldon Railroad, but were repulsed. The brunt of the 
attack was on the Fifth Corps, although our skirmishers were driven 
in and we were ready to give the Johnnies a warm reception behind 
our temporary breastworks. 

The Weldon Railroad was a much coveted bone of contention 
between the two armies and cost both sides many lives during the 
summer and fall of 1864. Thursday afternoon, August 25th, the 
sound of artillery and musketry was plainly heard in our camp 
from the direction of Reams Station, where the Second Corps 
was engaged and lost more men that day than the Fifth Corps lost 
on the iQth. But our fellows kept the railroad or enough of it 
so that the road from that time on to the close of the War was no 
good to the enemy. There was no fighting to amount to anything 

162 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

in our front for some time a month or more after August 25th, 
and it seemed mighty good to enjoy a season of comparative rest 
after what \ve had gone through since crossing the Rapiclan in 

Our camp in a pine grove was, I think, as pleasant a location 
as we ever struck. Of course, the usual round of camp duties had 
to be attended to, such as drills, parades, policing, picket duty, etc., 
and the boys put in a good many days building breastworks until 
we had a fine line of fortifications ; and almost wished the Johnnies 
would come out and give us a chance to try them. But they didn t. 
Our fighting was all done in the open. Anyway I can t think of a 
place during our entire service where the enemy attacked us behind 
our breastworks. 

Toward the latter part of August General Curtin, having re 
covered from the effects of his wound received on June i8th, came 
to us and resumed command of our brigade. About the same 
time Lieutenant-Colonel Hills resigned on account of ill health. 
We were sorry to lose Colonel Hills. He had seen service in the 
Mexican War and was a good soldier. Joining the regiment in 
1 86 1 as captain of Company I he was promoted to Lieutenant- 
Colonel in March, 1863, an d commanded the regiment through 
most of the East Tennessee campaign and during the Wilderness 
campaign and after that until his health failed him and he was ob 
liged to quit. Word came to us while in this camp that Lieutenant 
Jeffers of Company G had been mustered out from the hospital on 
account of wounds received in the trenches opposite the crater. 
Jeffers had been with us from the start and served with signal 
bravery and distinction all the time. During his service as a com 
missioned officer he frequently carried a rifle and used it, pre 
sumably with telling effect, he being an exceptionally good shot. 

About 40 recruits, most of them foreigners, the German ele 
ment predominating, were assigned to the regiment while in this 
camp. None of these was assigned to Company G. 

Our camp was located about a mile from and to the rear of 
the Yellow House on the Weldon Railroad. And that reminds me 
of the Davis House about half way between the lines. It was 
the scene of several sharp encounters between the rival pickets. 
One day a cloud 0f dense smoke from that direction told the story. 
The Davis House, like thousands of others, had fallen a victim to 
the necessities of war. 

The Wcldon Railroad and Pcgnnris Farm 

The record shows that September 23d, Captain Theodore Gregg 
of Company F, was promoted to lieutenant-colonel of the regiment. 
Why Gregg jumped the intermediate grade of major when that 
place was vacant and had been since the death of Major Kelsey, 
June 24th, is a mystery which only those higher up can explain. 
It is true that we used to refer to Gregg as major for some time 
before he \vas promoted to lieutenant-colonel, but if he was pro 
moted to major at all and no record made of it, it must have been 
done in September, because the retained muster roll of Company 
G for two months ending August 3ist, which is here before me, 
was signed by Theodore Gregg, Captain, Company F, Command 
ing the Regiment. If our records are right the Forty-fifth was 
without a major from June 24th, 1864, to March 3ist, 1865, when 
Captain John F. Trout of Company C, was promoted to that office., 

September 24th, my diary says, there were cheers all along the 
line and a general jubilee over Sheridan s victory in the Shenan- 
doah Valley. 

Sunday, September 25th. Received marching orders and 
packed up. Left camp at 5 P. M. Marched until about eight o clock 
and camped near Norfolk Railroad. Next morning we moved a 
short distance and pitched tents. 

September 27th. Policed our quarters and fixed up to stay. At 
daybreak next morning got marching orders. Left camp at six 
o clock and pursuant to orders, marched to the vicinity of the Gur- 
ley House. Next day the regiment was "packed up" and under 
marching orders from three o clock in the morning but did not 
leave camp. Soldiers seldom know one day what they will do the 
next. Our business was to obey orders and ask no questions. 

We now come to Friday, September 3Oth, 1864 a day that 
many of the boys are not likely to forget. 

Turning to my diary I find that we left camp about eleven 
o clock and marching a short distance to the left we took the Pop 
lar Spring Church road through the woods and after going about a 
mile our division formed line of battle, supporting a division of the 
Fifth Corps while they charged and captured a redoubt and some 
rifle pits on the Peebles Farm, near what is called the Squirrel 
Level road. This was about one o clock in the afternoon. The 
Rebels retreated to their second and main line of intrenchments 
and the Second and Third Division of our corps moved forward 

164 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

in pursuit, passing the troops of the Fifth Corps, who were rest 
ing and taking it easy behind the works they had captured. 

My duty was not on the firing line that day. Other members 
of the regiment, in their personal sketches, will give the details of 
\vhat followed. 

It was an unlucky Friday for us. Three regiments of our bri 
gade : the Fifty-first New York, Fifty-eighth Massachusetts and 
the Forty-fifth Pennsylvania, who were on the front line and com 
posed the extreme left of the Union forces, were captured almost 
entirely. Attacked by superior numbers in front, flank and rear 
and practically surrounded, seven-eighths of what was left of the 
Forty-fifth were obliged to surrender or be shot down. 

This engagement, called the Battle of Pegram s Farm, was the 
result of an attempt to extend our line to the left and get a firmer 
grip on the Weldon Railroad. 

General R. B. Potter, our division commander, in a communi 
cation to corps headquarters under date of November ist, 1864, 
relative to this engagement, known also as the Battle of Poplar 
Spring Church, after referring to the circumstance that the Fifty- 
first New York had destroyed their flag before surrendering, goes 
on to say: "The Forty-fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers lost 
eight officers and 170 enlisted men out of about 200. The colors 
of this regiment were also torn from the staff and destroyed. 
These two veteran regiments, the Forty-fifth Pennsylvania Veter 
an Volunteers and the Fifty-first New York Veteran Volunteers, 
as you are well aware, sustained as high a reputation as any organi 
zation in this corps for uniform valor and good conduct." 

After paying a glowing tribute to the Fifty-eighth Massachu 
setts, which was also captured almost entirely and lost its flag, 
General Potter adds: "These regiments were lost by holding on 
too long to their positions ; the order for their withdrawal could 
not be got to them in season." 

This would be a good place to stop, but according to Sergeant 
J. D. Strait of Company I, who was with the colors and ought to 
know, General Potter was evidently misinformed about the colors 
of the Forty-fifth being destroyed. Sergeant Strait says in sub 
stance that after our line of battle had been attacked in flank and 
rear and thrown into confusion and he, as one of the color-guard, 
and Sergeant Joe Reigle, the color bearer, who although partially 
disabled by a flesh wound was still carrying the flag, became sepa- 

The Weldon Railroad and Pe gram s Farm 165 

rated from their comrades and were making their way through 
the brush and timber, as they supposed, into our own lines, they 
were suddenly confronted at close quarters by a line of dismounted 
Rebel cavalry. There was no time or opportunity to destroy the 
flag or do anything else but surrender when summoned to do so 
or be shot down, and that, under the circumstances, would have 
been a useless sacrifice. The boys evidently did everything within 
reason to save the flag. Of course, they might have ripped the 
colors up into ribbons .when they found that the battle was going 
against us, but they hadn t given up the idea of saving the flag and 
were doing their best to do so when they ran up against a Con 
federate line of battle lying in wait in the brush purposely to inter 
cept our men who were willing to take desperate chances to avoid 
being captured. 

In this connection Sergeant Strait says further that the flag 
captured that day was the colors of the Forty-fifth Pennsylvania 
Veteran Volunteers, the one we received after our reenlistment and 
which Sergeant Reigle carried from the time we left Annapolis in 
April, 1864, until the battle of Cold Harbor where Reigle \vas 
wounded and Strait himself took the flag and carried it until 
Reigle, having recovered from the effects of his wound, resumed 
his duties as color bearer on the I9th of June ; Reigle carrying the 
flag from that time on until it was captured. 

As a matter of fact Sergeant Reigle, who was a strapping six- 
footer and a good soldier, put in most of his time as regimental 
color bearer. Before carrying the new flag in the Virginia cam 
paign in 1864, he had carried the colors we got at Harrisburg in 
1 86 1 all through our first enlistment. After that, according to 
Comrade Strait, who was with the colors and ought to be good 
authority, Corporal Thomas Evers of Company D, carried the old 
flag through the Virginia campaign up to September 3Oth, 1864; 
except during the four or five weeks when Corporal C. T. Kelley 
of Company G, served as color bearer after June iSth, as referred 
to in another place. 

So much for the flags. Now to resume our narrative. 

Colonel Curtin, who commanded the brigade, but as usual was 
in close touch with the Forty-fifth, did everything possible, ex 
posing himself recklessly, to rally the men and reestablish his line, 
but finding the condition hopeless, three regiments of his brigade 
being practically surrounded, to avoid being captured he put spurs 

1 66 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

to his horse and made a run for it. The horse seemed to take in 
the situation and put in his best licks to carry his master through 
a shower of bullets that the Rebels sent after the horse and his 
rider. It looked as though both would get away all right when 
just as Curtin had jumped his mount over a fence the horse was 
shot behind the ear and instantly killed. Curtin, who was young 
and spry in those days, went right on over the horse s head and 
got away almost miraculously without a scratch. 

Curtin s horse was the one the boys presented to him in Ken 
tucky, referred to in another chapter of this book. "Burnside," 
as they called him, was a good horse and had he rendered no other 
service than to save his master from capture that day he would 
have paid what he cost many times over. 

We got decidedly the worst of it in this set-to with the enemy 
but the result was no reflection on the bravery and good conduct 
of the men. Bad management or carelessness by superior officers 
was the cause of our undoing". Our brigade was pushed forward 
too far without proper support, and the enemy, always alert and 
watching for mistakes of that kind, got in on our flanks and rear 
and gathered in the best part of three regiments, just as they cap 
tured a brigade of the Fifth Corps on August iQth under practi 
cally the same conditions. 

First Lieutenant James P. Gregg of Company D, acting adju 
tant of the Forty-fifth, was killed. Lieutenant Gregg was a brave 
and accomplished officer. His death w r as a severe loss to the regi 
ment. Among the commissioned officers captured were Lieutenant- 
Colonel Gregg commanding the regiment, Captain John F. Trout 
of Company C, acting major, and Captain R. C. Cheeseman of Com 
pany F, who later on commanded the regiment. 

In Company G, Sergeants David L. Bacon and Jasper R. White 
and Privates D. H. Belcher, George R. Derbeyshire, H. N. Gile, 
James Morse, W. J. Mickle, W . W . Peterson and P. P. Smith were 

In Company I, Robert S. Orr and Cornelius Saxbury were 
killed. Sergeant Andrew Strong and Corporal John Hancock w^ere 
severely wounded, and the following named members of the com 
pany taken prisoners : Sergeant Wm. Hoffman, Corporals Malcolm 
A. Royce .and J. D. Strait, and Privates John S. Beach, Joseph 
Cahn, A. C. Ellsworth, James English, Joseph O. English, Lewis 

The W eld on Railroad and Pe grain s Farm 167 

Elliott, Patrick Maney, John P. Miller, H. H. Sawyer, P. R. Sher 
man, H. H. Smith, John Wilkinson and J. H. Wood. 

I give the casualties in these two companies because I found 
a record of them in a letter I sent home a few clays after the bat 
tle and I know the list is correct. 

Members of the regiment who had not reenlisted and whose 
term of service of three years had practically expired (most of 
those in Company G enlisted about the middle of September, but 
were not mustered into the United States service until October 2Oth, 
1861), were excused from going into the fight on September 3<Dth, 

The old flag, the one we got at Harrisburg in 1861, was also 
kept out of the engagement at Poplar Spring Church and to the 
best of our knowledge was sent back to Harrisburg the latter 
part of October at about the same time the boys who did not re- 
enlist went home. 

After Sergeant Bacon was taken prisoner Corporal C. T. Kel- 
ley commanded Company G for some time. Kelley and I tented 
together while he commanded the company. I served him as faith 
fully as I had Bacon in the discharge of my duties as "Adjutant 
General" of Company G, making out all reports and other official 
papers. It is no disparagement of others to say that 44 Tonr Kel 
ley was one of the best soldiers in the regiment. He served from 
September, 1861, until discharged in June, 1865, on account of 
wound received in action. 

On October I4th, Charles Merlin of the Second Maryland 
Volunteers in our division was executed for attempting to desert 
to the enemy. The execution took place in the presence of General 
Potter and the entire Second Division which was drawn up on 
three sides of a hollow square to witness it. Several of our com 
pany were among those detailed to guard the prisoner before and 
during the execution. Seated blindfolded on his coffin alongside 
an open grave in which he knew he was to be buried the unfor 
tunate man met his fate apparently unconcerned. It didn t take 
long to do the job. The officer in charge of the firing squad 
dropped his handkerchief as a signal, there was a volley of, I think, 
12 guns (one of which was loaded with a blank cartridge), and it 
was all over. The poor devil fell over backward, his head striking 
the lid of his coffin with a sickening thud that I could hear, or 
thought I could hear, for several days afterward. It was a grue- 

1 68 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

some proceeding all around. We had seen men shot and killed 
but not in that way. It was an ignominious fate that overtook 
Charles Merlin; yet a condemned soldier, if he had any sense and 
was worth his salt, always considered it a rare privilege to be 
shot instead of hanged as most condemned soldiers were. 

On October 2Oth, Lieutenant Samuel Haynes and seven en 
listed men of Company G, who did not reenlist when the rest of 
us did, were mustered out and went home. We were sorry to lose 
Lieutenant Haynes; although he had been serving as regimental 
quartermaster since our reenlistment and, of course, we did not 
miss him so much in the company as if he had been with us right 
along. Haynes was a good drill-master. To him as much as to 
anybody the company was indebted for its proficiency in the manual 
of arms. We all liked "Sam" Haynes. He was a big-hearted, gen 
erous man as well as a good officer. 

The enlisted men discharged were Sergeant L. W. Thompson, 
Corporal S. R. Rogers and Privates Peter Bellinger, V. S. Culver, 
R. F. Patterson, Morris Smith and Joseph Willard. These com 
rades had served three full years and had made honorable records. 
As many if not more on an average were mustered out from each 
of the other companies. The discharge of these comrades at this 
time, together with the fearful losses we had sustained during the 
Wilderness campaign and the siege of Petersburg, reduced the old 
Forty-fifth down to a shattered remnant of its former self. We 
looked more like a company than a regiment in the fall of 1864! 

October 26th. Engineers built an abattis around Fort Fisher. 
Troops moving to the left all the afternoon. Fort Fisher (not the 
one that Ben. Butler didn t take), was the name of the works we 

October 27th. A strong force consisting of portions of the 
Second, Fifth and Ninth Corps tried to turn the enemy s right 
flank in the vicinity of Hatcher s Run. Our division started out 
early in the morning and marching a couple of miles we formed 
line of battle and stayed there supporting the Third Division of 
the Ninth Corps while it made an unsuccessful attempt to carry 
the enemy s works, which were stronger than had been expected. 
The afternoon and night were rainy and cold and altogether we 
had a nasty time of it. There were no casualties in the Forty-fifth. 
Next day, the 28th, we marched back and occupied our old stamp 
ing ground in Fort Fisher. This movement was made in an at- 

The Weldon Railroad and Pe gram s Farm 169 

tempt to get possession of the South Side Railroad. General Grant 
says himself in his Memoirs that our troops didn t get "nearer than 
six miles of the point aimed for." There was not much doing on 
that part of the line for several weeks after that. 

November ist, the Second Division of the Ninth Corps of which 
we formed a part (a very small part now), was reviewed by Gen 
eral Potter, my diary says. 

The presidential election in which the soldiers at the front were 
allowed to take part was held November 8th. An election board 
was appointed for each regiment, it falling to my lot to be one of 
the clerks in the Forty-fifth. The election passed off quietly, every 
one voting as he had a mind to. Discipline and obeying orders did 
not count so far as voting was concerned. My diary says we polled 
116 votes (a pretty good indication of the strength of the regi 
ment at that time), of which Lincoln received 97 and McClellan 
19. Most of the boys were for "Old Abe" first, last and all the 
time, but there were some who believed that the country would be 
better off with McClellan in the saddle at the White House as well 
as in the field. Looking over the published returns of the vote in 
the army one is surprised to find that some regiments not many 
actually cast a majority of votes for McClellan. 

A few extracts from my diary will give an idea of how we 
passed the time during the next three or four weeks : 

November izj-th. Boys excused from duty to fix up quarters. 
The duty referred to must have been standing guard or picket or 
getting up wood, as that was about all there was to do at that 
time. In fixing up our quarters each one had opportunity to show 
his enterprise and ingenuity in devising means to make the place 
he occupied cozy and comfortable. 

November 24th. Thanksgiving Day. Weather cool and clear. 
Had codfish balls for dinner. 

On the 29th the monotony of camp life was broken by the re 
ceipt of marching orders. Leaving camp at 11:50 A. M., we 
marched six miles to the right and bivouacked for the night near 
Grant s military railroad. Next morning we occupied quarters 
vacated by a portion of Second Corps. This movement was made 
in pursuance of orders to the effect that the First and Second Di 
visions of our corps should relieve Mott s and Gibbons Divisions 
of the Second Corps, these two divisions to take our place on the 
line. Why they made us swap places with the Second Corps we 

170 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

never knew. It was none of our business. The arrangement, how 
ever, was satisfactory to us. It brought us near our old camping 
ground that we occupied during the summer before the mine ex 
plosion. The position assigned to us was in rear of what was called 
Fort Meikel. Not far off to our left stood Fort Sedgwick, nick 
named "Fort Hell," so called, I suppose, because Fort Mahone on 
the other side used to pour shot and shells into it like like what 
we called it! And the Rebels gave their own Fort Mahone the 
sobriquet of "Fort Damnation," because we made it so hot over 
theie with our batteries. So for once at least the two bad places 
were trying to destroy each other ! 

It took us several days to put our new quarters in shape to suit 
us. We built chimneys of tin cans filled with mud and chinked 
up the cracks in our shanties with the same material. 

On December loth we witnessed another military execution. 
Two men, Charles Smith and Edward Rowe of the One Hundred 
Seventy-ninth New York, were hanged side by side on the same 
scaffold. One of them, I remember, walked firmly to the gallows 
smoking a cigar until it was time to pull the black cap over his face. 
His companion in misfortune and crime (if they were guilty), 
showed more feeling. He tried to be brave, but the expression on 
his face as he looked up at the dangling rope with a noose already 
fixed for his neck gave him away. We understood these two young 
men were tried, condemned and executed for desertion and rape. 
The ignominy of these executions was made as conspicuous as 
possible to serve as a warning to other would-be deserters and crim 

We had received marching orders the day before and about 
dark on the day of the execution, loaded down with three days 
rations and 60 rounds of ammunition, we started out, we knew not 
where, and marched all night. A cold December rain and the fear 
ful condition of the roads the mud was ankle deep and sticky- 
made this one of the most tedious marches of our experience and 
that is saying a good deal. Arriving at what my diary says was 
"Stony Creek" about five o clock on the morning of the nth, we 
stayed there until two o clock in the afternoon and started back to 
our old camp, without having come in contact with the enemy or 
knowing then what it was all about. The weather had suddenly 
turned cold and anyone who has tramped through freezing mud 
knows what we had to contend with. I shall never forget that 

The Weldon Railroad and Pe gram s Farm 171 

march of the longest 22 miles I ever saw. Had it not been that I 
chanced (chanced is all right, if you don t believe it, ask the boys), 
to have a small flask of "fermenti" in my pocket that night I am 
not sure that I should have tried to make camp at all but let the 
Johnnies gobble me up, I was that dead tired and used up. This 
movement in which our division participated we learned afterward 
was made in support of General Warren, who with the Fifth Corps, 
was making an extended raid across the Nottaway river, tearing up 
a lot of the Weldon Railroad. As a matter of fact W^arren had 
got lost and they sent out to see what had become of him. 

In his instructions to General Potter, General Meade says in 
part : "General Warren left here on the 7th with six days rations. 
To-day (December loth), being his fourth day, unless prevented 
by the enemy he should be on his return to-morrow. The great 
object in view is to support General Warren." 

We reached camp about ten o clock that night and my diary for 
next day simply says : "Regiment nearly all sick. Under march 
ing orders all day." But we didn t go anywhere. In fact this was 
the last offensive movement by the Army of the Potomac in the 
year 1864. From that time on we settled down in winter quarters 
making ourselves as comfortable as we could under the circum 
stances. As I look back to the winter of 1864-5 it seems to me 
that we had a pretty good time. Uncle Sam was good to us. He 
kept us well clothed and we had plenty of rations right along, in 
cluding fruits, vegetables and other healthful green stuff, fur 
nished by the Sanitary Commission. 

On December 7th, First Sergeant John J. Rogers of Company 
G, came to the regiment from the hospital where he had been since 
June 3d, when he was desperately wounded .at Cold Harbor. He 
immediately took command of the company and December i6th. 
Sergeant Rogers was promoted to first lieutenant and commanded 
the company during the remainder of our service. 

As early as the middle of November batches of recruits, sub 
stitutes and drafted men, began to arrive from the north to fill up 
the depleted ranks of veteran regiments. They kept coming from 
time to time during the latter part of November, in December and 
the forepart of January; the last batch reaching us, I think, on 
Friday, January I3th, 1865. Thirteen of these were assigned to 
Company G, making the aggregate strength of the company 101, 
including prisoners of war and other absentees. The total number 

172 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

of recruits assigned to Company G was 59 52 substitutes and seven 
drafted men. Between 400 and 500 of these substitutes and drafted 
men were assigned to the Forty-fifth. There were some good sol 
diers among them; but the majority having joined the army for 
what there was in it for them or because Uncle Sam had them cor 
ralled and they had to go, they were careful not to render any more 
service than was necessary for their own comfort and well being. 
Some of those fellows were past masters in the art of evading mili 
tary duty. Very few of them took kindly to military discipline in 
any form. Some in our company w r ere regular "toughs." The only 
way to manage them was to impress on their minds and elsewhere 
if necessary that obeying orders was not the most disagreeable 
feature of army life. They soon got onto it that standing guard, 
drilling or maybe getting up wood and performing other camp 
duties was a pleasant pastime after being "bucked and gagged" a 
few hours. 

Turning to my diary I find under date of January loth, "Happy 
Jack tied up by Captain Cheeseman." Happy Jack, whose real 
name I have forgotten, was one of the worst "pills" in the com 
pany and gave us a lot of trouble. 

Meanwhile some important changes had occurred at regimental 
headquarters. Captain Roland C. Cheeseman of Company F, took 
command of the regiment December 25th, relieving Captain Lafa 
yette W. Lord of Company A, who had commanded the regiment 
most of the time since the battle of Poplar Spring Church. Sergeant- 
Major Decatur Dickinson was promoted to adjutant November 
3Oth, and Sergeant Jacob Meese of Company A, took Dickinson s 
place as sergeant-major. January 3ist following, Meese was pro 
moted to second lieutenant of Company F and later on to first 
lieutenant of the same company. Corporal Homer S. Thompson 
of Company E, took Meese s place as sergeant-major. December 
28th Private Eugene Beauge of Company G, was appointed clerk 
for the adjutant and served in that capacity until the regiment was 
mustered out. 

Right here I want to express my appreciation of the courtesy 
with which I was treated at regimental headquarters, especially in 
the adjutant s office where my work was. Adjutant Decatur Dick 
inson was one of the best natured men in the regiment. He never 
seemed to be in a hurry and never fretted, but always managed to 
get his reports and other official papers out on time and in good 

The Weldon Railroad and Pe gram s Farm 173 

shape. I did what I could to help him and venture to say he never 
had cause for worry on account of the work in the adjutant s office 
in his absence, if his clerk was on deck and he most always was. 

"Gate" Dickinson s many friends will be glad to hear that at 
this writing (February, 1911), he is prospering "out West." 

Sergeant-Major Meese was not in the office a great while 
only about a month but he made a good record while he was there. 
Quiet and gentlemanly in his deportment, the only time I ever 
knew him to kick over the traces and be anything but sedate was 
one evening when he came up to headquarters and asked us to help 
him "wet" his commission as lieutenant of Company F. It was a 
reasonable request and my recollection is that we did what we could 
to help him out. 

Homer Thompson, who took Meese s place, was a good ser 
geant-major, prompt and methodical in everything he did, and he 
was easy to get along with. We worked together six months in 
the adjutant s office and were good friends all the time. In fact 
we were better friends, if anything, when the regiment disbanded 
and we parted never to meet again than when our acquaintance be 
gan. Poor old Homer! I am sorry to hear that he is dead and 

There was not much doing on the firing line during the winter 
months, although some of the pickets exchanged shots now and 
then and as likely as not the booming of cannon would break the 
stillness of the night once in a while. One day a member of Com 
pany E was wounded by a stray bullet from the enemy s camp 
while attending roll call in front of his quarters. Another time, 
although earlier in the season, I think it was, a member of the 
regiment was cleaning his gun under a tree, whistling away, totally 
unconscious of danger, when a stray ball struck a limb above him 
and glancing downward just missed his head and entered his 
body between the neck and shoulder. Dropping his gun the first 
thing the poor fellow said after he was hit was to call for water. 
"Water, water!" was the burden of his cry. The wound, if I re 
member right, was fatal; but the point is that the first thing a 
wounded soldier needed and the first thing he called for if he didn t 
have it was water. And God only knows how many poor fellows 
perished miserably on the battlefield calling in vain for water to 
quench their consuming thirst and make it easier for them to die ! 

174 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

Drilling, guard and picket duty, inspections, policing the streets, 
polishing up guns and accoutrements, and dress parade occasion 
ally these we had with us all winter. Drilling was more im 
portant after the "subs" and drafted men joined us, and it took a 
lot of hard work and patience to teach those raw recruits the manual 
of arms and the different evolutions of company and battalion drill 
that we all had to learn in order to be good for anything as soldiers. 

To go back a little I find in my diary for Friday, January 2/th, 
"In the evening one man of each company drew cuts for a furlough 
for meritorious conduct. Corporal Beaver of Company K, the 
lucky man." Maybe some of the boys who read this will remem 
ber the circumstance. It must have been Corporal John H. Beaver, 
who I am told, was a cousin of Ex-Governor James A. Beaver, 
who got the furlough. Furloughs were granted quite freely to 
officers and men at the front during the months of February and 
March before the beginning of the spring campaign, which every 
body knew was brewing. The first requisite for a furlough was a 
formal written application giving some cogent reason why a fur 
lough was desired. I made out quite a number of these applica 
tions for the boys. Usually the health or well being of some rela 
tive or dear friend was mixed up in the "reasons" why a furlough 
was absolutely necessary. The application was merely a matter of 
form and if the applicant was a good soldier and there was nothing 
against him the officer whose signature was required merely glanced 
at the paper, "winked his other eye," wrote "Respectfully forwarded 
and approved," across the back of the paper and after signing his 
name passed it along. The signatures of the company, regimental, 
brigade, division and corps commanders, if I remember right, were 
required for a furlough. When my turn came to ask for a fur 
lough on the Qth day of March, 1865, I didn t have to manufac 
ture an excuse. My aged mother, who had become a widow since 
my enlistment in 1861, was in poor health and I wanted to make 
her a visit. Certainly. But Captain Cheeseman, who commanded 
the regiment would have his little joke. "More likely it s your 
best girl that you want to see instead of your mother, but that s 
all right," he said, his kindly face beaming with good humor. He 
had been there himself and knew all about it. "Give her my love 
but keep hers for yourself." I received my furlough next day and 
got back to the regiment about five o clock Sunday afternoon, April 
2d, 1865, J ust n time to miss getting mixed up in the assault on 

The Weldon Railroad and Pe gram s Farm 175 

the enemy s works before Petersburg in which the Forty-fifth par 
ticipated and lost five men killed, four officers and 29 men wounded 
and one officer and 20 men missing, making an aggregate loss of 
59. Others will describe the engagement but may not mention the 
fact that under date of May 29th, 1865, General John G. Parke offi 
cially recommended that medals of honor be awarded to the follow 
ing named members of the Forty-fifth "who by their personal valor 
distinguished themselves in the assault on Fort Mahone April 2d, 
1865: Color Sergeant Andrew J. Goodfellow, Company A; Cor 
poral John Kinsay, Company B ; Corporal Henry Irvin, Company 
E; Corporal David W. Reese, Company G; Private Edward Mills, 
Company I. 

Lieutenant Levi R. Robb of Companv H, a brave, capable young 
officer, was mortally wounded by a piece of shell during the assault 
on the enemy s works on April 2d and died a few days later. 

176 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 




Monday morning, April 3d, the Confederate works in our 
front were empty and we marched in and took possession. It is 
nothing uncommon for soldiers to cheer. We had heard a good 
deal of that sort of thing but never such cheers as rolled along the 
line that morning. 

While marching to Petersburg about eleven o clock we opened 
ranks to let President Lincoln with a small cavalcade, including his 
two sons, pass us and then there was a lot more cheering. Riding 
at a slow gallop through our division, guiding his horse with one 
hand, his stove-pipe hat in the other, Mr. Lincoln seemed very con 
tented that morning as he bowed and smiled in response to our 
cheers. And no wonder! After four years of weary waiting and 
great tribulation the beginning of the end of the war had come. 
"Fondly do we hope, fervently do w r e pray that this mighty scourge 
of war may pass away," he says in his second inaugural address. 
And now his hope was to be realized and his prayer about to be 

In the afternoon we marched through Petersburg with beating 
drum and flying colors. Negroes of all ages and both sexes were 
out in force to welcome us and were about as happy as they could 
be and did not care who knew it. The few white people we saw 
were quiet but manifestly sullen. They had no use for the Yankees. 

This was Monday of what may be called the last week of the 
Confederacy, and a week of strenuous endeavor it was for both 
armies Lee doing his best to get away and join Johnston, and 
Grant straining every nerve to head him off and capture the whole 
outfit, which he finally did. Sheridan with his cavalry took the 
lead and was at the fore front all the time. But Sheridan knew 
as well as anybody that it was necessary to have good backing in 
any kind of a fight. The Army of the Potomac, including the Ninth 
Corps, was supporting Sheridan in the brilliant campaign that ended 
at Appomattox and, of course, are entitled to their share of the 
credit. Part of the task assigned to the Ninth Corps, which, of 

Closing Events 177 

course, included the Forty-fifth, was to guard the wagon trains and 
picket the South Side Railroad, moving forward as the army ad 
vanced and "scouting and picketing well to the Southward," as 
General Parke says in his report, "to guard against any incursion 
from that quarter until the surrender of the Rebel Army when the 
Ninth Corps was stretched from Sutherlands (near Petersburg) 
to Farmville," a distance of about 80 miles. My diary covering 
the same period is rather more specific: 

Thursday, April 4th, left camp 8 A. M., marched by fits and 
jerks until 8 P. M., and camped near South Side Railroad. Roads 
swampy and wet. Weather pleasant. Threw away my woolen 
blanket. Saw Rebel brigadier general and a lot of prisoners. 

April 5th. Broke camp 10:30 A. M. Stopped at 2 P. M. to 
make coffee. Marched until about 8 P. M. Our regiment sta 
tioned in advance of the brigade. Heavy detail for picket. Cooks 
compelled to make fire under cover of banks along the railroad. 
Cold night. Almost wish I had my blanket now. Sound of artil 
lery in the distance. 

April 6th. Lay in camp until 2 P. M. Boys out foraging this 
forenoon. Got chickens and ham. Marched rapidly all the after 
noon. Heavy cannonading ahead. Our regiment supporting a 
battery. Companies F and G rear guard for the brigade. Went 
into camp at 1 1 :3O P. M., tired, footsore and used up, having 
marched 16 miles since two o clock. 

April 7th. Weather wet. Marched about a mile in the fore 
noon and camped near Burkeville. At 5 P. M., seven or eight 
thousand Rebel prisoners and 18 pieces of artillery came from the 
front captured by General Sheridan yesterday. Johnnies in good 
spirits but badly off for rations. Our regiment left camp to guard 
the prisoners. Evening sergeant-major and I worked until eleven 
o clock to make out tri-monthly report. More heavy cannonading 
toward the front during the day. 

April 8th. More prisoners came in about noon. In the after 
noon our regiment escorted Johnnies to railroad station. Marched 
back to Burkesville and occupied the camp we left yesterday. I 
made out a report of prisoners, etc., at Burkesville for Major Trout, 
acting provost marshal. 

Sunday, April Qth. Visited wounded in the hospital. Regi 
ment left camp at 2 :3O P. M. Marched about 10 miles toward 

178 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

Farmville and camped for the night. Got up about midnight to 
put up tent. Raining hard and kept on raining balance of the 

April loth. Marched five miles to Farmville and established 
our camp on a hill overlooking the town, relieving a portion of the 
Sixth Corps. In the evening a couple of the boys and I called on 
some darkies in town and got them to bake us some genuine South 
ern hoe-cakes. It tasted good. At 8 P. M., the news was officially 
read to us that Lee and his entire command had capitulated to Gen 
eral Grant. Great cheering among the soldiers and ringing of bells 
in Farmville. The surrender of Lee s army took place about three 
o clock Sunday afternoon, April Qth. The Forty-fifth was then on 
the way from Burkesville Junction to Farmville, probably from 20 
to 25 miles away. I don t remember just when we first heard the 
news of the surrender, but of course it was before eight o clock 
on the evening of the loth. 1 have an idea that we rather doubted 
the report at first. The news seemed too good to be true and it 
was not until official notification of the event had been read to us 
by the adjutant that we dared to throw up our caps and yell ! 

I suppose \ve acted like lunatics. I don t know of any better 
way to put it than to say that officers and men alike were crazy 
drunk (with joy) and acted the part. All but General Grant. 
Grant never got excited. Some of our fellows felt so good, it 
seems that they just had to do something. Anyway we have it 
from good authority that the artillery went to firing salutes after 
the surrender, but Grant promptly put a stop to it. "The war is 
over," he said, "the Rebels are our countrymen again and the best 
way to rejoice will be to keep quiet." 

During our stay in the vicinity of Farmville we got to be quite 
chummy with the Confederate paroled prisoners who were much 
in evidence on the streets after the surrender. I don t know what 
impression we made on their minds, but they looked a good deal 
better to us meekly eating our hardtack than they did coming at us 
full drive with loaded muskets and yelling like destruction ! 

As a matter of fact we felt sorry for these men, going home as 
they \vere, penniless, their only possessions the ragged clothes they 
wore, their lean haversacks and a load of sorrow in their hearts. 
And what a home-coming it was. Desolation and ashes everywhere ! 
With buildings, fences and all land marks of their former homes 
gone, they say it actually bothered some of the returning Rebel 

Closing Events 179 

soldiers to find where they used to live. And we may well believe 

It is easy enough for us to say that these men enlisted and 
fought in the worst cause for which soldiers ever went to battle 
and got what they deserved, which in one sense is true enough. 
But we must remember that most of them w T ere just as sincere 
in their devotion to the Southern Confederacy as we were in our 
loyalty to the Union. The chances are that if you and I, my com 
rades, had lived in the South in 1861-5 we should have been Rebels, 

Our fellows and the Johnnies did quite a lively business ex 
changing greenbacks for Confederate script; one hundred dollars 
of their money for one of ours being the standard quotation. At 
that rate they got a good deal the best end of the bargain, the Rebel 
scrip being practically worthless as money. 

On April I3th, Captain John F. Trout of Company C, w-as 
mustered in as major of the regiment, his promotion, however, 
dating from March 3ist. 

April 1 6th. Lieutenant-Colonel Gregg came back from Rebel 
prison and assumed command of the regiment relieving Captain 
Lord of Company F, who had been in command since the 2d of 
April, when Captain Cheeseman was wounded with loss of leg. 
Captain Lord enjoyed the unique and flattering distinction of hav 
ing entered the service as a private in the ranks and on his own 
merits climbing the ladder of promotion until he commanded the 
regiment. Not a bad record for one of the Boys of Sixty-one. 

In the afternoon (Sunday, April i6th), our new chaplain, Rev. 
F. A. Cast, my diary says, preached his first sermon to us. As a 
matter of record Chaplain Gast was not mustered until May i/th. 
He must have been with us about a month on trial and evidently 
made good. In the evening of the same day rumors were rife in 
camp that President Lincoln and Secretary Seward had been as 

April 1 8th. Official announcement of the death of Lincoln 
was read to us. The news of President Lincoln s death made a 
great sensation in the army. Some say that officers and men fell 
on each other s necks and cried like children. I didn t see anything 
of that kind, but I knew that some of the boys who had been through 
all the phases of war without flinching were moved to tears. It 

180 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

was well enough for them to make a pretense of blowing their 
noses or brushing dirt from their eyes, but we knew better! 

April 1 9th. Went fishing in the Appomattox. No luck. Cap 
tain Charles M. Hart of Company I, and some other officers came to 
the regiment from Rebel prison. 

April 2Oth. Got marching orders. Struck tents and left camp 
at 10 A. M. Stopped at i P. M. to make coffee. Our regiment in 
rear of the brigade. Arrived at Burkes ville at 7 P. M. Reports 
current that Johnston had surrendered. Boys cheered over it. 
Breaking camp at eight thirty next morning we marched 30 odd 
miles good long ones, too, as we were getting tired and foot 
sore during that day and the next, and camped in a piece of woods 
about 5 P. M., of the 22d. There we met a lot of conscripts going 
to the front. These drafted men were going to war when we were 
coming back and the fighting was all over. Most of them never 
fired a shot in the service, yet if you care to hear big war stories 
some of these latter day recruits will probably entertain you better 
than we can. 

Sunday, April 23d, we left camp at four-thirty in the morning, 
marched briskly until nine o clock and halted near Petersburg. An 
hour later we marched through the town, drums beating and colors 
flying. Citizens were out in force, dressed up and going to church. 
We camped between the city and the old fortifications. Afternoon 
visited the Rebel works, including the crater, the field in the vicin 
ity being still covered with the debris of the terrible conflict of 
July 30, 1864. We also made a flying visit to our old camping 
ground. Everything seemed natural as home to us. 

April 24th. Left camp near Petersburg at six o clock in the 
morning and marched to City Point. Our long, strenuous march 
of 82 miles from Farmville was over and we felt pretty good 
over it. 

On the 25th we had regimental inspection. In the evening Jap 
White and John J. Johnson of Company G came to the regiment 
from Rebel prison. Next day toward night we marched to the 
landing and after a good deal of waiting and fussing, our regiment, 
the Fifty-eighth Massachusetts and the artillery of our brigade, 
got jammed together on board the steamer "Glaucus." Lay at 
anchor off City Point all night. My diary for next day says : 
"Journeyed pleasantly on the James. Passed Fortress Monroe at I 
P. M. Afternoon very hot on deck. Fixed up shade with our 

Closing Events 181 

shelter tents. Boys got to shooting ducks to pass away the time. 
Quite a rattle of musketry until the colonel put a stop to it. Short 
ly after dark anchored at the mouth of the Potomac." Next day, 
Friday, April 28th, we arrived at Alexandria. "Marched through 
the city toward Washington and camped on a beautiful green plain." 
Next day, the 29th, Captain Richards of Company G came to the 
regiment after an absence of nine months, most of the time spent in 
Rebel prisons. We had a pretty good time in camp near Alexan 
dria. Soldiering was comparatively easy, but not free from disci 
pline by any means. In proof of this my diary for May 3d says : 
"Sergeant - reduced to the ranks. Had his stripes torn off on 
dress parade after the order had been read to the whole regiment." 
His offense was imbibing too freely of "bug juice." 

Dress parades, battalion and company drills, inspections, re 
views and so forth were kept up right along to remind us that we 
still belonged to Uncle Sam. 

On the afternoon of May Qth, Captain and Mrs. Cheeseman 
were in camp. We were pleased to see Rolla and his bride (they 
had been married but a few months.) Few officers in the regi 
ment had more friends than Captain Cheeseman. A disciplinarian 
not to be trifled with, yet he was friendly and never put on airs. 
Add to this the fact that, as one of the boys put it, he was a "gritty 
little cuss," never showing his back to the enemy, and you have 
the secret of Cheeseman s popularity among the boys. 

We made frequent trips to Alexandria and Washington al 
though it required a pass from brigade headquarters to go outside 
the limits of our camp. 

On May nth, acting Hospital Steward Deming and I got a 
pass to visit Mount Vernon. It was a beautiful spring morning, 
the air fragrant with the rich perfume of early flowers. To me the 
trip and the visit to the historic spot that I had heard and read so 
much about was extremely interesting and made a lasting impres 
sion. The vault where rest the remains of the Father of His 
Country; the different apartments of the spacious mansion on the 
banks of the Potomac where Washington lived, including the room 
where he died, his death bed still standing ; the well kept, artistically 
laid out flower and vegetable gardens I can shut my eyes and see 
all these now after 46 years. Another thing that riveted our at 
tention was the great key of the Bastile, presented to Washington 
by his friend General Lafayette. The key hung on a nail in the 

182 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

corridor of the house. To see that alone would have amply paid 
me for the trip. We Frenchmen are interested in anything La 
fayette did. 

The records of Company G show that May nth, Captain Rich 
ards was appointed brigade inspector on General Curtin s staff. 
We were sorry to have Captain Richards leave the company. One 
of ten Welsh lads who enlisted in Company G, Richards had been 
with us through thick and thin in all our campaigns until he was 
captured in the crater, July 3Oth, 1864. On account of his well 
known qualifications he was elected orderly sergeant of the com 
pany the first thing after we enlisted. A fine penman and painstak 
ing in everything he did his reports and official papers were models 
of neatness and accuracy. Promoted to second lieutenant in July, 
1862, and to captain immediately after the battle of South Moun 
tain, where he commanded the company, Richards, at 20 years of 
age, w r as probably the youngest captain in the regiment. Known 
in the army as a young man of ability and high character, his de 
served success since the war has been a matter of pride and satis 
faction to his old-time comrades of the Forty-fifth. 

How many of the boys remember the illumination and parade 
on Friday evening, May I2th, in all the camps of the Ninth Corps? 
Every man carrying a lighted candle, some in the muzzle of their 
guns, we marched around singing, yelling and making a deal of a 
racket. The performance ended by some of our boys going to Alex 
andria and being put in the guard house. There is such a thing 
as feeling too good. 

Monday, May I5th. Three corporals of Company G got their 
4 dander" up about something and tore off their own stripes. In 
the evening two other veterans got to fighting and were put in 
the "coop." These were all good soldiers. What they needed was 
something to do to work off their surplus energy. Camp life was 
too easy for them. They could not stand prosperity. 

Tuesday and Wednesday, May 23d and 24th, occurred the his 
toric Grand Review in Washington. The Army of the Potomac 
came first. Being on special duty at that time and not serving in 
the ranks, I was there as a spectator. Standing near the Treasury 
Building I had a fine view of the troops passing down Pennsylvania 
Avenue. First came Sheridan s Cavalry led by Merritt. Con 
spicuous among these famous troopers was General Custer. With 
his long yellow hair flowing in the wind, his red necktie and buck- 

Closing Events 183 

skin breeches, he looked every inch the dare-devil that he was. And 
how Custer could ride! His horse, a vicious brute, tried to run 
away with him and created quite a sensation in the parade, but his 
master, with a few dexterous twists, soon brought him to time. 

After the cavalry came the Ninth Corps, with General John 
G. Parke, at the head, followed by the Fifth Corps, under Griffin, 
and the Second commanded by Humphreys. 

It was a peculiar coincidence that neither of the corps com 
manders who had led these veteran troops in their strenuous cam 
paigns was present at the Grand Review. It almost broke Sheri 
dan s heart not to lead his command on that occasion, but his duty 
was elsewhere. Grant had sent him to Texas to compel the sur 
render of the last Confederate force in the State under Kirby 
Smith. Burnside had been laid on the shelf since shortly after the 
ill starred Mine Explosion. Hancock had retired on account of 
wounds and Warren, as we all know, was relieved by Sheridan at 
Five Forks and Griffin put in his place. 

The military display was something to be remembered a life 
time. Inspiring strains of martial music filled the air with such 
selections as "Tramp, Tramp, the Boys are Marching," "When 
Johnny Comes Marching Home," "When This Cruel War Is Over," 
and so forth. Probably no one enjoyed the occasion better than 
Lieutenant-Colonel Gregg, who led the Forty-fifth, marching by 
company front, in the parade. Gregg, as we all know, was a good 
officer in his way but very excitable. We can almost hear his 
"Hem, hem, by G d, Sir !" as he went storming around when 
things didn t go to suit him. In the absence of Captain Richards, 
who was on duty on General Curtin s staff, Lieutenant Rogers 
commanded Company G in the parade. 

Next day Sherman s veterans had their innings in the big 
parade. Most if not all of the "Field and Staff" of the Forty- 
fifth went to Washington to see the show that day, leaving me in 
charge of the adjutant s office with a lot of work to do, and so, 
much to my regret, I missed seeing the picturesque parade of Sher 
man s legions through the National Capitol. 

A few more extracts from my diary may be interesting: Sun 
day, June 4th. String band from the Thirty-sixth Massachusetts 
came over to serenade the colonel about midnight. Kept us awake 
about an hour. Fine music, but the boys got a little how-come- 
you-so on the colonel s beer before they left. 

184 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

Tuesday, June 6th. Evening Thirty-sixth Massachusetts came 
over in a body to bid us good-by. Colonel Gregg made a speech to 
them which was responded to by Colonel Barker. An address by 
General Curtin was read. Cheers were given for Pennsylvania, 
Massachusetts, Governor Curtin, Governor Andrew and Generals 
Curtin, Burnside and Grant. 

The following extract from the History of the Thirty-sixth 
Massachusetts gives their version of this farewell meeting between 
the two regiments : 

"On the 6th (of June), all preparations for muster out having 
been completed orders were received for the regiment to be in 
readiness to depart the following day. 

"That evening the regiment organized a torch light procession 
and escorted by the brigade band, marched to the camp of our com 
rades of the Forty-fifth Pennsylvania. It was the last time these 
organizations which had been so intimately associated since Sep 
tember, 1862, were to meet as regiments. During the entire term 
of the Thirty-sixth through all the vicissitudes of its service this 
gallant regiment of Pennsylvanians had never been separated from 
it; and in every battle in which we had been engaged we had felt 
their strong support upon our right or left. 

"After a season of fraternal conversation Colonel Gregg of 
the Forty-fifth delivered the following address : 

" Officers and men of the Thirty-sixth Massachusets Volun 
teers : 

" Nearly three years of toil and blood have passed since our first 
acquaintance with you. Thinned in numbers we had just left the 
victorious fields of South Mountain and Antietam. From that day 
to the present in camp and on the toilsome march and in the con 
flict of battle you have stood side by side with us, contending for 
our country against treason and oppression. Your record is one 
of which the glorious old Bay State may well be proud ; and we 
are sure she will ever count your organization one of the noblest 
she has sent to the field. 

Amid scenes of conflict we have learned to love and honor 
you; and as the blood of our heroes has there mingled together, so 
have our hearts been united in one fraternal bond of union which 
time cannot sever. With the brave men of the Thirty-sixth by our 
side we were always sure of hearty support and final victory ; each 

Closing Events 185 

vied with the other in deeds of valor and trials of endurance and 
both shared equally the honors won. 

" Together we have thus fought, together we have rejoiced and 
wept rejoiced at the success of our united arms, wept for the 
fallen brave around us. 

Now all is changed. The white winged Messenger of Peace 
beckons us from scenes of conflict to once more resume the avoca 
tions of industry and domestic tranquility. You are about to leave 
us and return to your homes in the old Bay State. We have met 
probably for the last time. Here, under the folds of our colors, let 
us strengthen these feelings of love and affection which have closely 
united our destinies in the field. Let us also, in remembrance of 
our comrades who have so nobly fallen, and whose memory we will 
always cherish, pledge ourselves anew to the flag and the country 
we love. 

" Brave and faithful Sons of Massachusetts, the victory is 
won ! Return to your homes, and, as you recount the valor of your 
arms, say that the Keystone boys of the Forty-fifth, sons of your 
ancient sires, defended with you the liberties of our fathers assailed 
by rebellion and wrong. 

" Comrades of the Thirty-sixth, we bid you an affectionate fare 
well ! 

"This address was received with great applause. Appropriate 
responses were made by the members of the Thirty-sixth; and we 
returned (to our camp) late at night, with the conviction that we 
bore with us the esteem and affection of that gallant regiment." 

Thursday, June 8th. At 9 A. M., our regiment formed and 
marched to camp of the Thirty-sixth, expecting them to start for 
home. Orders countermanded until afternoon. At 3 P. M., the 
Forty-fifth accompanied by the brigade band, the non-commissioned 
officers carrying small flags in their bayonets, escorted the Thirty- 
sixth to town, where the boys of the two regiments bade each other 
a last fond good-by. At the landing cheer after cheer made Old 
Alexandria ring. Our old standby had gone! The Thirty-sixth 
Massachusetts was a fine regiment. They were brigaded with us 
during their entire service. We missed them almost as much as 
we would our own men. Life long friendships sprang up between 
members of the two regiments. If Jonathan Butterworth of Com 
pany C still lives in Worcester, Mass., I send him greeting. If he 

1 86 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

comes my way he will get a cordial welcome and a French hug". 
Long live the boys of the Thirty-sixth Massachusetts ! 

Quite a number of changes and promotions occurred among 
the commissioned officers of the Forty-fifth during the months of 
May and June, as the roster will show. But none of these changes 
attracted more attention than the promotion of Commissary Ser 
geant Jacob Roath to first lieutenant of Company B. "Jake" had 
been so long in the Commissary Department that we supposed he 
was a permanent fixture there. Anyway we had no idea that any 
one could do any more than rattle around in his place. Charley 
Cook, his successor, was all right but we missed Jake Roath, who 
beside being a good fellow, was an ideal type of a Pennsylvania 
Dutchman. We missed his familiar, open countenance and cor 
dial greeting when we went after rations. But more than all else 
we missed his inimitable "Fall in boys and get your wittles," or 
"Bring a wessel to get your winegar." Nobody could say that 
and have it sound as he said it. 

My diary for Friday, July 7th, says : "Got order to be mus 
tered out. Three cheers for that !" Next day the blank muster out 
rolls came. From that time on officers and clerks who had to fill 
out the rolls were more than busy. The boys were getting out of 
patience. Now that the war was over they were anxious to get 
home. But disbanding an army of a million men was no fool s job. 
It took time, and we have learned since that to pay us off Uncle 
Sam had to reach down in his long pocket and fork out about $300,- 
000,000 ! That doesn t mean that we all got $300 apiece ; the offi 
cers, as usual, getting the lion s share. 

Sunday, July i6th, 1865. I made this entry in ledger heading 
letters in my diary: "Were mustered out of the United States 
service this morning. Good news enough for one day. Evening 
boys made bonfire of brush. Colonel Gregg made a speech." Our 
discharges, when we got them a few days later, were dated July 
1 7th, but we were mustered out on Sunday, July i6th, all right. 

Monday morning we got aboard the transport "Wawaset" at 
Alexandria. Arriving in Washington an hour later we remained in 
the city until 8 P. M., and took the cars for Baltimore, where we 
arrived near midnight. Slept on the streets. 

Tuesday, July i8th. Left Baltimore at six o clock in the morn 
ing and arrived at Harrisburg about two in the afternoon. Such 

Closing Events 187 

in brief is the itinerary of our last journey in the service of Uncle 

After dinner of bread and coffee at the Soldiers Home we 
marched to Camp Curtin and pitched our tents (or did we go into 
the barracks) for the last time. 

On Friday, July 21, 1865, just three years and ten months to a 
day after Company G arrived in Camp Curtin, September 21, 1861, 
we signed the pay rolls for the last time and got our greenbacks 
and our "buzzards" as some of the boys called their discharges 
from Uncle Sam, with a Spread Eagle on them. It was eleven 
o clock at night before they got through with us; but we lost no 
time in making our way to the nearest railroad station. We had 
no orders to obey then, and after nearly four years of knuckling 
down to authority it seemed a queer and very agreeable sensation 
to feel that we could go and come when we got ready. That was 
all right, but as my diary says, "Many a tear trickled down the 
bronzed cheeks of old comrades when the time came to bid each 
other goodbye !" 

That was 47 years ago almost. Many, if not most of the 
boys we parted with that day have crossed the Great Divide. Our 
turn will come soon. And what a Grand Reunion there will be 
when we all get on the Other Side and maybe form dress parade 
on the Streets of the New Jerusalem ! Goodbye, boys, till we meet 
again ! 

1 88 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 


15 26 

7 27 

6 34 

14 25 

1 35 

8 18 28 

5 13 24 33 

29 29 36 

12 23 

4 32 


10 11 22 30 

3 31 


1. First Lieut. A. A. McDonald, Co. C. 19. 

2. Capt. Edgar Eyde, Co. K. 20. 

3. Quartermaster William Pfahler. 21. 

4. Capt. B. C. McManigal, Co. C. 22. 

5. Sec. Lieut. Wesley Gould, Co. F. 23. 

6. First Lieut. W.K. Whitlock, Co.OD. 24. 

7. Sec. Lieut. Thos. J. Davies, Co. G. 25. 

8. First Lieut Jacob S. Roath, Co. B. 26. 

9. Capt. C. M. Hart, Co. I. 27. 

10. Capt. R. C. Cheeseman, Co. A. 28. 

11. Lieut.-Col. Theodore Gregg. 29. 

12. Capt. John M. Kline, Co. B. 30. 

13. First Lieut. W.C.Vanvalin, Co. A. 31. 

14. Sec. Lieut. Michael Heiney, Co. C. 32. 

15. Sec. Lieut. Jos. L. Hinton^Co. D. 33. 

16. Sec. Lieut. Andrew Strong, Co. I. 34. 

17. S. Lieut. Armstrong Bailey, Co. E. 35. 

18. First Lieut. Chas. H. Kock, Co. K. 36. 

Capt. Chas. T. Fryberger, Co. D. 
Surgeon F. B. Davison. 
Col. John I. Curtin. 
Maj. John F. Trout. 
Capt. John Beck, Co. E. 
First Lieut. Jas. E. Catlin, Co. I. 
Sec. Lieut. Mbses/S. Mullin, Co. B. 
Second Lieut. Jos. Funk, Co. A. 
Sec. Lieut. Nathan Edwards, Co. H. 
First Lieut. J. W. Meese, Co. F. 
Capt. L. W. Lord, Co. F. 
Chaplain F. A. Cast. 
Adjutant Decatur Dickinson. 
Capt. Rees G. Richards, Co. G. 
First Lieut. JohryJ. Rogers, Co. G. 
Sec. Lieut. E. E. Myers, Co. K. 
First Lieut. A. W. Harper, Co. E. 
Capt. Luke D. Seely, Co. H. 

The Commissioned Officers of the Forty-Fifth Pa. Vol. Inf. 

Some Statistics 189 


From Fox s Regimental Losses in the Civil War. 

There were 2,047 regiments in the Union Army of which 300 
are classified as the "Fighting Regiments." Of the infantry regi 
ments only 45 lost 200 or more men killed or mortally wounded in 
action; and of these 45 the Forty-fifth Pennsylvania Infantry 
stands eighteenth on the list with a loss of 227. 

Its heaviest losses were incurred in the battles of South Moun 
tain, Wilderness, Spottsylvania, Cold Harbor, Siege of Peters 
burg, Mine Explosion, Poplar Springs Church and Fall of Peters 

Its total loss by death killed in battle, mortally wounded, dis 
ease and death in Rebel prison was 479 ; total of killed and 
wounded in an enrollment of 1,960 was 873. 

At Cold Harbor and at Poplar Springs Church the loss was 
over half of those who went into battle; and of its numbers 98 
died in Rebel prisons. 

In the Battle of the Crater it captured the flag of the Sixth 

Of the regiment s total enrollment, in general terms, a fourth 
died during the war, a half since the war, and a fourth are living 
January i, 1911. 

No regiment in the Ninth Corps lost so many men in action as 
the Forty-fifth Pennsylvania. 


Thomas D. Grant 

Jarid C. Irwin 

Jesse Metz 

G. W. Walls 


Company J5>fcetc|)es anto 


The Band 193 



A number of regimental bands were discharged by general order, issued 
September 14th, 1862. By permission the band of the Forty-fifth Pennsylvania 
Volunteers was retained until the 29th day of September, 1862, when it was 
discharged by order of General Burnside. 

In the month of September, 1861, Leader Thomas D. Grant, Musicians Jarid 

C. Irwin, Edward M. Bucher, Samuel P. Bright, W. T. Blair, Jacob Feig, C. 

D. Wharton, L. B. Howard, Jesse Metz, J. C. Miller, Charles D. Snively, Henry 
Stulen, J. P. Strickland, Samuel Vanbuskirk, George W. Weaver, Philip Wet- 
more, Jacob Weiser, and George W. Walls, organized a band to be known as "the 
Sunbury Brass Band," with the intention of enlisting in the Forty-fifth Regiment, 
Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, as such, during the war. The band as or 
ganized proceeded to Harrisburg, Pa., and was sworn in the service and 
went into camp at Camp Curtin. After camping a few days the regiment was 
ordered to Baltimore, arrived there the next morning, and left by rail for Wash 
ington. After reaching Washington it was ordered to Fort Monroe, Va. There 
a light snow and a strong wind greeted the regiment as it went into Camp Hamil 
ton. On the sixth of December it was ordered out of camp and marched to the 
wharf and embarked on board the transport ship Cosmopolitan, and( proceeded 
out of the harbor, passing Cape Henry and Cape Charles. By this time some of the 
boys became seasick. On the 8th we passed Sullivan Island and Fort Sumter 
and arrived at Port Royal in good time and shape. We found a great many 
vessels in the harbor, after disembarking. 

The regiment was divided, one-half starting for Bay Point, and the other, with 
the band included, went aboard a transport and proceeded up the coast and cast 
anchor opposite Otter Island, S. C. After the tide receded we proceeded to un 
load. We found a desolate place, a few negroes, but no buildings. There was a 
dismantled fort on the Point next to the entrance from the coast. It was named 
"Fortl Drayton." It was a lonesome looking place. The sloop of war Dale lay 
in the entrance to St. Helena Sound to guard the entrance to the river. Many 
transports navigated the stream up and down, conveying soldiers and supplies 
to the different islands. There was not much amusement on the island. Fishing 
for crabs and hunting coons and shells took our time. There were alligators on 
the island and we left a few young alligators in a barrel sunk in the sand. The 
band did duty on these islands in South Carolina*, for several months. 

On the 9th of June, 1862, the band arrived at James Island with part of the 
regiment. Here we had quite a skirmish. Captain W. W. Williams, of the 
rebel army, was killed here and buried within our lines. After camping here 
some time we were ordered to march aboard the transport Ben De Ford, on 
which was a part of another regiment, and started down the river in sight of 
Fort Sumter, arriving at Hilton Head in the evening. Here we found that 
the Forty-seventh Regiment had just left before we got off the boat, and had 
gone up the river to Beaufort, S. C. 

194 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

July 4th, 1862, the band played the national airs, and on July 8th took a 
trip up the river to Beaufort, to see the Forty-seventh Regiment. We arrived! 
there safely and were entertained by the Sunbury boys in great style. 

On July 13th, 1862, the band left for Elliot s Plantation, a mile or two above 
Hilton Head, and went into camp, in sight of Hilton Head. A rumor was circu 
lated that we had been ordered to report at Hilton Head, and take transportation 
for Fortress Monroe, Va. We started at once and went aboard the mail ship 
Arago with the regiment. There were also a number of other soldiers and 
officers, also some ladies and children aboard the ship. During the voyage the 
band was in great demand, the strangers aboard enjoying their music, particularly 
the music adapted for dancing. Captain Gregg and other officers of the Forty- 
fifth were quite liberal with the champagne they furnished the band. The guests 
presented the band with twenty dollars, with the following communication : 

"Presented by the guests of the steamer Arago, other than the members of 
the Forty-fifth Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers, who appreciate the music 
of the Band of the Regiment, twenty dollars. Steamer Arago, July 19th; 1862, 
at Sea. (Signed) D. W. SMITH, 

"in behalf of the Guests." 

I have preserved the original of the above communication. 



The band arose early this morning ; there was a light rain, and the wind was 
blowing quite brisk. The band played the familiar hymn, "Old Hundred." The 
music aroused a great many of the guests, and under the inspiration of the 
melodious sounds joined in unison with the band, and the harmony produced 
brought forth many tears. The band also joined in the sacred service at ten 
a. m., conducted by an Episcopal minister. A lady aboard led the singing in the 
grand and solemn service. The ship arrived at Hampton Road in the morning 
and received orders to report at Newport News, Va., where our regiment went 
into camp for some days, and met the Forty-eighth Regiment. 

August 4th, 1862. Marched aboard the transport Elm City, and proceeded 
to Fortress Monroe, thence up the Potomac River and landed at the mouth 
of Acquia Creek. Here we received orders to go aboard the cars, and after 
about five miles ride arrived at Brookes Station, where we remained for some 
time, guarding the railroad to Fredericksbuirg. 

August 13th, 1862. To-day five of the band were reported sick, among them 
T. D. Grant, the leader. I reported the fact to General Welsh, but the general 
gave orders that the band must play for dress parade, or turn in our horns to 
the quartermaster, and get muskets for them. The band came to the con 
clusion that the horns were worth more than the guns, so the trade was off, 
and when the time came the band was ready and reported for duty, and played 
"Hail Columbia" five times during dress parade. It was quite amusing and 
passed off as a joke on the general; but he never said a word. 

We had rumors to-day stating that the Rebel General Jackson, was within 
four miles of Washington, D. C. To-day the road leading from Fredericksburg 
past our camp at Brookes Station, to Acquia Creek, is blockaded with artillery, 
wagons and soldiers, all on a rush for Washington, by way of the Potomac River. 


George W. Emenhizer 

Sergt. Theophilus Lucas 

G. W. Emenhizer and Bro. 

Personal Reminiscences of the War 195 

September 3d, 1862. Received orders to strike tents and get aboard the cars 
for Acquia Creek, to take transportation for Washington. We arrived at the 
creek in time to witness the great fire that destroyed the warehouse and supplies. 
The fire was a grand sight. 

September 7th, 1862. Marched aboard the transport Niagara for Wash 
ington; arrived at the wharf, left the boat and marched through Pennsylvania 
Avenue, and some eight miles out of the city and went into camp. Resumed the 
march into Maryland, and passed through Frederick City in pursuit of General 
Jackson and the rebel army. 

September 14th, 1862. Heavy firing was heard ahead. We soon came in 
sight of the smoke on South Mountain. Our brigade was ordered up the moun 
tain and overtook the enemy half way up, when a general engagement took 
place. Our band went into action at the head of our regiment, the Forty-fifth, 
playing "Rally Around the Flag, Boys," and continued up the mountain opposite 
the corn field on the left. At that point the band was ordered out of the line 
by General Reno, who was killed later on. The fight was severe and the loss 
heavy on both sides. The rebels retreated toward the Potomac River. 

September 17th, 1862. The Battle of Antietam was fought on Antietam 
Creek, near Sharpsburg, Md., and began early in the morning and continued 
until evening. The battle was fought with great determination. During the 
night the rebels retreated, leaving thousands of dead and wounded prisoners. 
The band was on duty at the hospital, rendering good service, and received many 
compliments from General Burnside and others fotf marching up the hill at the 
head of the regiment. 

On September 29th the band severed its connection with the regiment and 
prepared to leave for home. We walked down to Sandy Hook, above Harpers 
Ferry, where we sold one of our horns to a New Hampshire band(, and used the 
proceeds for something to eat. We had some trouble to get transportation to> 
Baltimore, where we were paid off. After all our trouble in getting transportation 
it was secured through the kindness of that grand old soldier, Major General 
Burnside. J. C. IRWIN. 

Sunbury, Pa. 



On August 7th, 1862, at the age of 19 years, I left my home, situated on the 
banks of Marsh Creek, near the foot of the Allegheny Mountains, in Center 
County, Pa. 

Full of ambition and feeling very proud at the thought of being a soldier, I 
started for Harrisburg, arriving there the morning of the 9th, went to a recruit 
ing officer and enlisted in the Forty-fifth Pennsylvania Regiment. On September 
4th, 1862, I reported to Company A, at Brookes Station, Va. That same even 
ing I was equipped with a full outfit, consisting of haversack, knapsack, cartridge 
box with 40 rounds of ammunition, and musket. We were formed in a line and 

196 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

the officer in charge gave the order to load. The command embarrassed me very 
much, for I did not know how. I turned to my comrade on the right (F. B. 
Williams) and said: "Can you tell me which end of this cartridge I must put 
in first?" He loaded the gun for me. That night we lay on our arms. Next 
day we came to Acquia Creek Landing, and the same day the place was evacuated. 
Boarding a transport we arrived at Washington, D. C, the same day. Next day 
we were on the march to meet Lee s army, which had already crossed the Potomac 
into Maryland and was moving toward South Mountain. 

I thought of the many stories the boys told me of their experiences, as they 
had been in the service a year. On the way to the front they expressed a desire 
to get into an engagement. Only a few of them had ever been under fire. I said 
to them, "Do you know what some of the people in Center County told me when 
I left home? They said the Forty-fifth Regiment would see very little fighting, 
as they are Curtin s pets." Just then some of the boys said to me, "Do you see 
those cards?" The road was strewn with them. "That means breakers ahead," 
and it did ; for in less than one hour we met the enemy on the summit of South 
Mountain. It was almost a hand-to-hand conflict. If I remember correctly ten 
of our company were killed and seventeen wounded. Three days later we met 
the enemy at Antietam in one of the hardest fought battles of the war. "Curtin s 
Pets" were there, and in one battle after another until the bloody strife was 
ended at Appomattox, April 9th, 1865. 

In the Fredericksburg campaign I gave out one day and my brother took my 
knapsack, in addition to his own, and carried it more than two miles, thus pre 
venting me from falling into the hands of the bushwhackers. A few days later 
we went into camp on the old Chatham plantation, in front of Fredericksburg, 
where occurred a little incident somewhat amusing. Captain Trout of Company 
C, had with him two colored boys who served as officers cooks. These boys 
caught a rabbit, skinned and cleaned it very nicely, and hung it on a little cedar 
sapling in front of his marquee to freeze. Of course we were not allowed to 
steal, but when the captain turned his face toward his tent I just "confiscated" 
that rabbit, and my brother, two other messmates and myself had a good stew. 

Perhaps you will remember that Company B had a fine quartet of singers. 
I can not name them, but they were all Germans. They composed a song entitled, 
"Who Stole Captain Trout s Rabbit?" and when they saw the captain two of 
them would sing, "Who Stole Captain Trout s Rabbit?" and the others would 
answer, "George Eminhizer stole it," etc. 

While in camp the pickets on both sides of the river were in the habit of 
exchanging papers. On one occasion, a member of Company B, Forty-fifth, and 
a member of a Connecticut battery were on picket duty. Lieutenant Kline had 
command of the picket line at that time and the men asked permission to go in 
a dug-out which they had found to exchange papers with the Confederate picket. 
The lieutenant did not say they might go, neither did he say they should not. 
They went, however, made the exchange, and on their return the dugout upset 
and both men were drowned. The noble, kindhearted officer got into trouble 
about it and was reduced. In a few months he returned to his company and 
was reinstated to his former rank. 

The next day after the battle of Fredericksburg we recrossed the river. Sev 
eral of the boys had come to the river bank and the Johnnies had come on the 

Personal Reminiscences of the War 197 

other side and a conversation ensued between the two parties, John A. Daley 
being the mouthpiece on our side. The boasting went on with a vim. John 
asked one of the fellows on the other side what regiment he belonged to. He 
replied, "The Thirty-second Mississippi." Then the Johnny in turn put the same 
question to us. To this John replied : "I belong to the Forty-fifth Pennsylvania ; 
there are quite a number of regiments here from Pennsylvania." Placing his 
hand on my shoulder, he said : "Here is a man who belongs to the Four Hundred 
Forty-fifth." The Johnny laughed and said: "Put the bone a crack higher." 

Later on General Burnside was succeeded by fighting Joe Hooker, and Burn- 
side, with his Ninth Corps, broke camp and started southwest. We sailed up 
the bay to Baltimore and then took cars on the Baltimore & Ohio for Parkers- 
burg, thence by boat to Cincinnati, where we arrived in due time. We then 
crossed the river to Covington, Ky., and from there were transported by rail to 
Paris, Ky. As soon as we arrived at the latter place Comrade William Peoples 
and I went about a mile to a farm house and bought 20 dozen of eggs for a 
dollar bill in Confederate money. That was the only money we had at the time! 
The lady asked me if the bill was good. I told her it was sound Confederate 
money. She took it and let us have the eggs. Five cents a dozen was the price 
then. Four hours later we could not buy a dozen of eggs for less than five 
times that amount in greenbacks. 

While in Paris we received four months pay. The boys were talking about 
how they would send their money home, and Ben Musser, company cook, made 
the remark that he would take his money home. I guess he did, for in a few 
days he was missing. His home was at Curtin s Works, Center County, Pa. My 
father saw him, but Musser did not stay at home, and to this day no one knows 
what became of him. 

At Cairo, 111., we embarked on board the steamer Sallie List. In a few days 
we arrived at Memphis, Tenn. We remained at this place a few hours and then 
proceeded down the Mississippi River to the mouth of the Yazoo River, landing 
at Mill Dale, on the latter river, in the rear of Vicksburg. This was about the 
17th of June, 1863. We remained at Snyders Bluff until after the surrender of 
Vicksburg, July 4th. Comrade David Hendershot died and was buried there. 
We left camp the same day Vicksburg fell and moved across the Big Black 
River, where we had a fight with a part of Joe Johnston s army, July 6th. Then 
we pushed on toward Jackson, the capitol of the State, marching^ through miles 
of cornfields and living on roasting ears and mutton principally. We reached 
Jackson after the battle at Halls Crossroads, on the 9th. The battle of Jackson 
lasted from the 10th to the 17th. 

While on guard duty at the asylum during the battle a shell from the 
enemy s lines passed through the building, slightly wounding one of the inmates. 
He threw it out of the window of his room. Fortunately it did not explode and 
no other damage was sustained. Forty-three years after, on my return from 
the unveiling of the Pennsylvania monument at Vicksburg, March 24th, 1906, I 
stopped at Jackson, and visited the asylum. Strange to say, I learned from one 
of the officials that the same man was still an inmate, but they were just waiting 
for him to die. 

After the seven days siege at Jackson the Forty-fifth Regiment played its 
part with the Ninth Corps in destroying about forty miles of railroad. We were 

198 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

returning to our old camping ground on the "Bluffs." On the march we passed 
through the town of Brownsville, Miss. Some of the comrades went into a 
Masonic Lodge and brought out some high plug hats. William Mahaffey and 
Ira C. Knoll were two of the party. These hats were somewhat expensive. 
They were marked "$200." The night before that happened I lost my cap. Next 
day when the scorching sun began to pour its rays upon my bare head I began 
to complain. Will and Ira took one of those hats, cut some holes in it for ven 
tilation, and placed it on my head. The captain spied the hat and came back all 
in a fluster, with drawn sword, and face as red as a turkey gobbler in August, 
ordering me to take if off. I told him that I had lost my cap and had nothing 
else to wear. Then several of the boys spoke up, saying: "George, just wear 
that hat until you find your cap or get another one." And I did. 

A few days later we reached the old camping ground. A very short time 
after that we broke camp and marched back to the Yazoo River. There we 
boarded a steamer and proceeded down the Yazoo River to the Mississippi River 
and thence up the Mississippi, landing at Cairo, 111. There were four regiments 
and a battery on the vessel. The Thirty-sixth Massachusetts Regiment was placed 
beside us on the top deck. 

A few days later we reached Cincinnati, crossed the river into Kentucky, and 
soon were on the march to Crab Orchard, where we went into camp and re 
mained there about ten days, when orders came to break camp. We left Crab 
Orchard with eight days rations in our haversacks and started on the march to 
East Tennessee, a distance of more than 180 miles via Cumberland Gap. After a 
long and weary march we finally reached Knoxville. Remaining there a few days 
we were ordered to Bulls Gap, near Blue Springs, where we met the foe in battle 
October 10th. 

Just before the battle I took some canteens and went in search of water> 
passing the Third East Tennessee Artillery. I spoke to two boys brothers 
members of the battery. During the conversation one of them said that he 
would like to see his mother. I replied that more of us felt that way, but that 
it was wartime and the less we thought about our mothers the better it would 
be for us. I said : "I would have to go a thousand miles to see my mother." 
He replied: "I would not have to go two miles." "Well," I said, "that alters 
the case; if I were that near to my mother I would certainly see her." "Maybe 
not," he answered. "Our family is equally divided. My mother, my brother here 
and myself are for the Union, and my father and two brothers are on the other 
side, and we may meet in battle." I often wonder what became of those boys 
and at that time thought of the words of Christ : "Brother against brother, father 
against son," etc., a literal fulfillment of that prophecy. 

I was wounded in the battle and sent back to Knoxville. I spent three 
months in the hospital, and thinking that I had been there long enough 
I asked the doctor in charge to give me a discharge from the hospital and let 
me go back to my company. He gave a short answer, to the effect that he would 
let me know when he was ready to send me to my regiment. I waited a week 
or ten days longer and then learned that the regiment was only eight or ten 
miles across the country, so concluded to go without his knowledge. Some four 
or five days after my return to the company, the officer in command, Roland C. 
Cheeseman, came and questioned me in reference to my getting away from the 

Personal Reminiscences of the War 199 

hospital, and said that I was marked as a deserter there, but he would make it 
all right. I never heard any more about it. 

About the middle of January, 1864, the regiment re-enlisted and shortly after 
ward started on its long march back across the mountains into Kentucky. It was 
a cold, arduous march, filled with hardships because of the long distance and awful 
mountains. It was almost an impossibility to get the necessary supplies to the army, 
but without any complaining we pushed on until we reached the other side of 
Crab Orchard and then went on through to Cincinnati. About the latter part 
of February we were paid off and received our 30 days furlough. With glad 
hearts we returned to our homes and with rare exceptions, every one of the boys 
spent 30 of the happiest days of his life. 

At the battle of the Wilderness, May 6th, 1864, at the time the engagement 
had reached its crisis, the line on either side of the gallant Forty-fifth began to 
break and waver. Colonel John I. Curtin took the flag and carried it some dis 
tance, perhaps 50 steps forward. That brave, heroic act sent a wave of inspiration 
along the line. 

From the Wilderness we moved on to Spottsylvania, Po River, North Anna 
River, Totopotomoy Creek, Bethesda Church, and Cold Harbor. George Moore, 
my messmate, was killed by a sharpshooter while on picket duty at North Anna 
River. On the evening of June 3d my brother was wounded. He was lying 
flat on the ground when a rebel bullet pierced his body. He was not more than 
ten feet from me. I talked with him for a few minutes after he was moved 
back a little. In the course of the conversation he gave me the assurance tHat 
if he died at that time all would be well with him. Just then the firing began 
to rage furiously, and he said : "George, you had better go back to the front 
to your place and be sure to stand by the old flag." He was sent to the Emery 
Hospital at Washington, D. C, and died there June llth, 1864. I visited the 
spot four years ago where his body rests in the Arlington cemetery. 

Other comrades will no doubt write about the assault on the lines in front 
of Petersburg from June 14th to 17th, 1864. I was there with my comrades and 
was among those detailed to carry the powder to the mouth of the crater. Four 
years ago, on my return from Vicksburg, I visited the crater and spent almost a 
day and a night in Petersburg. I went along the old lines for about a mile. Oh, 
what memories ! How the scenes of 42 years ago came back to my mind like a 
panorama ! How vivid and real were the many incidents which occurred ! Some 
would arouse laughter ; others would make me weep like a child. We were sta 
tioned at different points along the line from the crater to our left, and as I 
looked over the old ground it seemed as if these things occurred the day before. 

I want to mention one experience that took place at midnight in front of 
what we called "Fort Hell." We were awakened from our slumbers while in 
our tent behind the breastworks by the thunder of the cannon from the fort. 
We grabbed our guns and were soon in line behind the breastworks. Most of us 
were in our underclothing with our overcoats thrown over our shoulders. The 
Johnnies had the range down fine. One of their guns sent a ball just skipping 
over the top of the pit behind which we were placed. We all stood and watched 
the flash of their guns and then dropped down behind the pit ahead of the re 
port. Comrade Armstrong, of Company B, close to my left, would not dodge, 

2OO Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

and laughed at the rest of us for doing so. His captain told him to dodge or 
he might lose his head. Sure enough, in less than two minutes, a ball struck 
him and took off his head. 

After the final battle of Petersburg and the evacuation of Richmond we were 
on the march after Robert E. Lee s retreating army. For a few days we en 
camped at a place called Farmville, where our regiment was at the time of 
Lee s surrender. One morning a colored man, a slave owned by an old planter 
by the name of McNaught, was sent by his master to ask for a safety guard. 
After the boys had their fun with him and we were on our way to the plantation, 
I said to him: "Sam, have you any good fresh milk cows out there?" He 
laughed heartily and answered: "No, sar; dem Yanks am de debble; dey come 
out dar and kill all de cows we had but de bull." 



Having been requested to write a sketch of the first organization of Company 
C of the Forty-fifth Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers, I will say that I must 
depend upon my recollection of facts as I knew them over 50 years ago, though 
I was not a member of the company until it entered the service of the United 
States under the first call for volunteers "for three years or during the war." 

I was a student in Kishacoquillas Seminary, which was located about four or 
five miles from the little town of Belleville in the beautiful valley of Kishaco 
quillas in Miffiin County, Pa. During my attendance at this school, about three 
years prior to 1861, there was organized, in Belleville, a company known as "The 
Belleville Fencibles," with Dr. William G. Bigelow as captain. This and similar 
organizations comprised the uniformed militia of the State. This company, in 
the Fall of 1861, was recruited to number about 90 men, and was mustered into 
the service of the United States to serve for three years or during the war. The 
place of rendezvous was Camp Curtin, near Harrisburg. Among the ten com 
panies forming the Forty-fifth Regiment, this one was known as Company C. Its 
first officers were: Captain, William G. Bigelow; First Lieutenant, Jesse W. 
Horton ; Second Lieutenant, James M. Bulick ; First Sergeant, Isaac Steely, and 
other sergeants and corporals as were required. 

Each member of the company was given a copy of the New Testament and 
Psalms of David, bound in one volume pocket size. I was informed that this was a 
gift from the ladies of the churches at Belleville and vicinity. I carried the copy 
given to me from 1861 to the date of muster out of service in July, 1865. I read 
it through more than once during the war and prize it very highly. It is now 
in the possession of my son, James G. Mitchell, of Topeka, Kan., who served 
in the Twenty-second Regiment of Kansas Volunteer Infantry in the Spanish- 
American war; and I trust he will be blest by observing the precepts contained 

About one-sixth of the company were married men. Colonel Thomas Welsh 
commanded the regiment, which soon went to Washington and encamped near 
Bladensburg on the ground where the British landed to burn the Capitol in 


Sergt. Josiah McManigal 

Sergt. Josiah McManigal 

First Sergt. J. S. Mitchell 

Corporal J. A. Pressler 

Sketch of Company C 201 

the War of 1812. We were at this time in a brigade commanded by General 
O. O. Howard, who afterwards became a famous corps commander under 
General Sherman. Our next camp was in Southern Virginia near Fortress 
Monroe. In December, 1861, we were sent to Port Royal, S. C., on the steam 
ship "Illinois," which ran on a sand bar late in the evening, about ten miles 
from the harbor where we were to land. There was quite an excitement during 
the time the vessel stuck fast. Some prayed, some left the upper deck and 
went below and someone in Company E held a prayer meeting and exhorted 
his hearers, while others watched every movement of the sailors. The tidal 
waves caused the vessel to careen, and watching the swaying of the masts it 
seemed that the vessel would turn over and spill us into the ocean. After 
signaling for some time another vessel came to pull us off the bar, and as 
the tide was rising succeeded. While the ship was stuck fast on the bar the 
captain of the tug called out to the captain of the "Illinois" : "How much water 
do you draw?" He answered, "Eighteen feet, sir." The answer bame back that 
there was twenty-five feet of water all around here. The ship moved into deeper 
water and anchored until morning, when a pilot came ; then we entered the bay 
in safety. 

The Stars and Stripes flying over Fort Walker was to us a glorious sight. 
In January, 1862, Company C was detached from the regiment and sent to 
Braddocks Point on the south end of Eddings Island, near the mouth of the 
Savannah River. Fort Pulaski on the south side of the river, still in the pos 
session of the enemy, could be seen from our camp. One day a corporal, 
whom we named "Buscod," had charge of a squad of men near the point 
where Calibogue Sound connects with the river. A vessel named the "Cos 
mopolitan" was passing on its way to Tybee Island. He put his men in line 
with guns loaded and bayonets fixed; then yelled out across the water, 
"H-a-l-t !" The vessel kept on her way. He made several remarks, which I 
do not now remember very well, then yelled out again, "Halt, or I will fire 
into you." But the vessel was beyond the reach of a Springfield rifle. Some 
of the boys, who are still living, will remember several incidents which oc 
curred during the few months we were encamped at this place. When chickens 
and other things were lost or stolen complaint was made to the captain, who, 
of course, could not find the guilty parties and rather than have the complaint 
carried any farther the captain generally paid the bill on as reasonable terms 
as he could get. 

Fort Pulaski surrendered at about 2 P. M., on April llth, 1862. Soon 
after this the Forty-eighth New York Regiment was placed in charge of the 
fort. Some time in June some boxes, shipped from New York City, to be de 
livered to the Forty-eighth Regiment, were left in charge of our guard at the 
landing to be transferred to Dawfuski Island and from there to Fort Pulaski, 
so that officers of the Forty-eighth could have a good time on the Fourth of 
July. A lieutenant, a sergeant and a private of the Forty-eighth were in 
charge of the signal station at our camp. I recollect that the name of the 
private was Tracy, and he convinced some of our boys that the signal station 
here had an interest in the contents of these boxes and would not get their 
share unless they got it now. About six or eight of our company went with 
him and the sergeant and made a raid on the guards that had charge of the 
goods and all had a jolly time. The guards were easy now and a second raid 

2O2 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

captured all the goods and the celebration commenced right away. Any of my 
comrades who are living when they read this can fill in the particulars. Our cap 
tain had a great time punishing the ones who got too full or who made trouble 
or a disturbance in camp as a result of being only about half full. Some of 
the bottles had been hidden in the bushes and were found two weeks later and 
we had some more fun. If the Forty-eighth New York celebrated any in the 
same manner, they must have ordered a new supply. 

In July the companies of the regiment were brought together again at 
Hilton Head, where on the 18th the regiment was placed on board the steam 
ship "Arago," which landed us at Newport News, Va. Quite a number of 
regiments were gathered here and formed what was afterwards named the 
Ninth Corps, under the command of Major General A. E. Burnside. From this 
time to the close of the war each of the companies did its part in making the 
history of the Forty-fifth Regiment, In the long and : tedious marches^ 
skirmishes, severe battles, and starvation and sickness incident to camp life in 
unhealthy places, the boys of Company C were participants, along with their 
comrades in the other companies. August 5th, 1862, the regiment was sent to 
Acquia Creek Landing on the Potomac and the companies were distributed 
along the railroad leading to Fredericksburg, to guard the same while a por 
tion of McClellan s army was being sent to the support of General Pope. About 
September 3d to 5th we burned the railroad bridges and the cars and army 
supplies at Acquia Creek Landing and went by boat to Washington, from 
which place the different army corps made a march to intercept Lee s army 
and at the same time to shield Baltimore. The armies met and the battles of 
South Mountain and Antietam marked the place. On the list of killed in these 
battles will be found these names from Company C: James B. Field, James 
Baird, Thomas Parsons, Robert Kerr and Charles B. Goodman, besides Lieu 
tenant J. M. Bulick severely \vounded and a number of others whose names I 
cannot recall at this time. After a few weeks rest along the Potomac and a 
change of commanders the Union Army again crossed the Potomac and ar 
rived at Falmouth, Va., on November 19th, 1862. Here the army was formed 
in three grand divisions for the purpose of crossing the Rappahannock River 
and capturing Fredericksburg. The Second and Ninth Corps formed the cen 
ter grand division. This division forced a crossing at the City of Fredericks 
burg about December llth or 12th. The pontoon bridge was completed after 
volunteers crossed the river in boats under fire and drove the Rebel guards 
from the wharf. The Union Army failed in this attempt as well as the one in 
January, 1863, when the roads became impassable and the army stuck in the 
mud. As I was sent to a hospital in Washington on December 29th, and dis 
charged for disability on March 3rd, 1863, I was out of service till August 19th, 
1863, when I reenlisted and returned to Company C and remained with it 
until it was mustered out of service in July, 1865. During the time of my 
absence the Ninth Corps was sent west under the command of General Burn- 

The Ninth Corps is next found assisting in the siege of Vicksburg, Miss., 
and then in driving the army of Johnston eastward through the State capitol 
in July, 1863. The corps then returned to the Ohio valley, and entered Ken 
tucky ; Burnside with the Ninth Corps and a division of the Twenty-third 

Sketch of Company C 203 

Corps entered East Tennessee, capturing Knoxville and Cumberland Gap. In 
the Battle of Blue Springs, October 10th, George McMichaels of Company C, 
was killed. 

I rejoined the company at Lenoir Station in September, 1863. About this 
time Parson Brownlow opened up his printing office and again began the publi 
cation of the Knoxville "Whig," which had been suppressed for two years. The 
first issue bore the title, "The Knoxville Whig and Rebel Ventilator." Papers 
sold as high as 25 cents a copy. We thought the regiment would remain here 
for a while and we built comfortable winter quarters but occupied them only a 
few days. Longstreet s Corps on its return from Chattanooga to rejoin Lee s 
army in Virginia drove the Union forces back to Knoxville and laid siege to 
the place. We were now on double duty and less than half rations. 

Some days during the siege we doubted our ability to defend the place suc 
cessfully against an attacking force which largely outnumbered us. Conversation 
of this kind by line officers and their soldiers was brought to a sudden termina 
tion by a printed order from General Burnside, which was read to each com 
pany along the line of breastworks. It prohibited conversation between men 
and officers bearing on the matter of surrender and contained these words: 
"Knoxville will not be taken by the enemy except over the dead bodies of its 
defenders." This fixed the determination to do or die. Night after night was 
spent in strengthening the fortifications, placing of abattis and stretching of 
telegraph wire in front of the outer line of works. The attack on Fort Sanders 
soon revealed to us the wisdom in all this preparation. 

Survivors who read this account will remember that rations were very 
slim. One day Sergeant Young, who generally drew rations for Company C, 
returned to us near noon with one ear of corn for each man; I noticed tears 
in his eyes when he said, "Boys, this is the best I could get." 

A few days after the defeat of the enemy at Fort Sanders, a relief force 
came from Sherman s army and the siege of Knoxville was raised; then came 
the pursuit up the Rutledge Valley and shortly after, the night march back to 
Blains Cross Roads, where the regiment reenlisted for three years more. Com 
rades will remember how nearly naked many of us were; very few had more 
than one shirt and that not comfortable to wear because of graybacks. Notwith 
standing all this we had lots of fun on our march from East Tennessee through 
the towns which lay on the route till we reached Nicholasville, Ky., where we 
could take cars for Cincinnati. I would like to mention many incidents occur 
ring on this march but have not room in this article. The night before we 
reached Nicholasville, we received a supply o f new clothing being a complete 
outfit for each man. We felt like new men the next morning after the night 
bath with soap and water and leaving every bit of the old habilaments with their 
unwelcome occupants alongside the little stream, \vhile we were clad anew from 
head to foot in Uncle Sam s best. We stayed in Cincinnati a few days then 
took the train for Pittsburg, Pa., where we were furnished with a splendid sup 
per. We soon reached home and had about forty days in Grand Old Penn 

While we were enjoying our visit at home, U. S. Grant had been placed in 
chief command of the Union Armies with headquarters in the field, and our 
corps the Ninth had been attached to the Army of the Potomac. When the 

204 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

Forty-fifth Regiment returned to its place in the First Brigade, Second Division. 
Company C was also in its accustomed place in the regimental line and from 
the crossing of the Rapidan in the first week in May, 1864, to the surrender of 
Lee s Army at Appomattox in April, 1865, shared in the hardships and braved 
the dangers of the most destructive campaign of the Civil War. 

The following is an additional list of those killed in battle belonging to 
Company C : 

Battle of the Wilderness, May 6th, 1864, Corporals John Bice and Foster 
Hazlett; and Privates J. M. Caldwell and Jackson H. Price. 

Cold Harbor, June 1st to 3rd, 1864, William Rose, N. L. Weiser, John Mc- 
Fadden, David K. Zook and John B. McElroy. 

Siege of Petersburg, Jacob Ham, Lieutenant J. P. Gibboney, John W. 
Bailey, Ludwig Bremer. 

Poplar Spring Church, Andrew Gregg, Thomas B. Scott, William Phillips; 

There may have been others but these names are remembered and I place 
them on the Roll of Honor. To this list should be added a few of the com 
pany who died in Rebel prisons. Then comes the list of those who died from 
wounds and disease; then those who are crippled for life. 

The Grand Review at Washington in 1865 marked the close of the period 
of destruction; and surviving comrades of both contending armies bade each 
other good-bye and returned to civil life to begin the work of reconstruction and 
to teach loyalty and inspire a love and veneration for our victorious banner and 
the principle which it represents. 

Our children grew to manhood and in 1898, the sons of Union and Con 
federate fathers rushed to the front and stood shoulder to shoulder, and 
marched and fought side by side until Old Glory was again triumphant and 
our nation became a mighty world power. 

Comrades, we are still enjoying the fruits of the victory of right against 
wrong, and in our declining years can feel confident that our teaching of loy 
alty and patriotism both by example and precept has not been in vain. 

May the Star Spangled Banner always wave o er the land of the free and 
the home of the brave. 



September 2d, 1861. Left The Pines, Baileyville, Center County, Pa. 
September 3d, 10 A. M. Arrived at Harrisburg. 
October 21st. Left Camp Curtin. 


Two days after our arrival Captain Stevens went home for recruits. Before 
he left we had decided to enter Colonel Welsh s regiment. Welsh is a most fin 
ished gentleman. Beaver, his lieutenant-colonel. 

Captain Tarburton takes all officers, who are willing, to a field out of sight 
and gives practical drills four hours each day. 

Memoranda From Diary 205 


October 22d to November 19th. Camp Hale, Bladensburg, five miles %ast of 
Washington, D. C. Sent on a seven days tramp of 160 miles to Calvert 
County, Md., to guard the polls. Says Captain Fessler of this march: "The 
officers, after a hard day s march, had to scour the country for miles to get 
even a water-baked Johnny cake and this invariably from the negro." Camp 
Casey, three miles from Washington, a few days. 

November 2d. Regiment arrived at Fortress Monroe, Camp Hamilton. 


Left Washington at midnight, November 19th. Ours being an extra train 
we had to lie over a couple of hours every few miles. Embarked on the "Poca- 
hontas" for 180 miles. Adjutant T. Gregg, who had for years traded on the 
river, told many pleasing incidents. Fine camping grounds. Five of our boys 
are sick. Corporal McWilliams and I have been busy for several days posting 
books. Here comes paymaster. All glad. 

December 6th, 1861, at 3 P. M. Forty-fifth steamed off from Fortress Mon 
roe for Port Royal, S. C. Says Captain Fessler: "Six inches snow when we 
left Fortress Monroe. Three days later we landed at Hilton Head and found 
flowers in bloom orange trees loaded with fruit." 

Colonel Beaver with five companies are detailed to occupy Fort Seward, on 
Bay Point, Hilton Head Island. He has the three captains, Curtin, Biglow, Hill 
and myself (Lieutenant Campbell). Hill and I were shifted from the "Cosmo 
politan" to the "Delaware" last evening (December 9th), drifted down the bay 
alongside the "Illinois" and took on board Companies A, C and D. Are now 
moving off amidst the cheers of Zouaves on the "Illinois." They lay beside us 
at Camp Hamilton. 

December 24th. Company E has been sent to St. Helena Island to guard 
United States cotton agent, Colonel Noble, who is collecting cotton to send to 
New York. These isles are rich in cotton, sweet potatoes and negroes. There 
is one isle between us and the main. The company is divided into seven squads. 
Extremes twenty miles apart. My headquarters, Dr. Jenkins plantation. Ed. 
Salisbury, Colonel Nobles clerk, and I mess together. 

January 6th, 1862. To-day went to Bay Point to hand in weekly report. 
Colonel Beaver not there. Met some boys of Company D, who had been left 
behind to bury a dead comrade. They said Beaver had yesterday received orders 
to go to Skull Creek with his whole command. We had received no word. 

January 8th. Visited Colonel Beaver. Received orders to gather our men 
and be ready to embark at any moment for Skull Creek. 


Spent six months here, extreme south point Hilton Head Island. Are on 
picket duty. Have two stations, one at the landing in front of our quarters, the 
other on Calibogue Sound, three miles distant. Have three men at one, four at 
the other. A commissioned officer visits the pickets between ten and twelve each 
night. Northern friends wonder how we spend time. We are under orders to 
drill four hours daily; then come daily orders from headquarters to be acted on 

206 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

forthwith. Routine of sending out pickets, foraging for beef, etc. Then per 
fection in tactics requires continual study. Keeping affairs of company abreast 
of demands fills every moment. 

February 7th. As I was writing, an order was handed me to go to the main 
under cover of night, with picked men to learn the strength of a Rebel picket 
in the rear of Bluffton. Fifteen men, including Beck, myself and "Steve," coU 
ored guide, pulled off an hour after dark with muffled oars, rowed about six 
miles, landed one-half mile beyond picket. "Steve" led us across a cotton field 
to the rear. We crept up cautiously to the buildings, then into them, but could 
not raise a Rebel. By moonlight W 7 e examined the premises and found evidences 
of horsemen having been there. When we reached Spanish Well s at 11 P. M., 
found Major Killbourne, Captain Curtin and fifty men who had intended to go 
with us but were too late. 

March 24. "Oriental" yesterday brought Corporal Dick Bailey and four re 
cruits, Deters, Ewing, Road and Alley. Am now drilling these fine new boys. 
Same day was ordered to throw out a strong picket to catch two spies. Eighty- 
three men were patroling the beach. A boat is on the water. No spies seen 
yet. Left Port Royal July 18th, 1862. 


July 18th, 1882. Came from Hilton Head on the "Arago." All seasick dur 
ing the two and one-half days voyage. I ate but one meal on the water. At 
Fort Monroe, Colonel Welsh was ordered to report to Burnside at Newport 
News. Are now two miles up the James. Lay out last night. Several Pennsyl 
vania regiments here. 

July 28th. Still at Newport News. 

August 1st. "Father is dead and you want me to come home on furlough. 
Simply impossible. Since coming here six officers of this regiment have resigned." 


Left Newport News yesterday, August 4th. Troops in fine condition. We 
are guarding the railroad. Left four, including Beck, in hospital at Newport 


August 12th. The valleys here are mere cracks between little hills shocked 
up laughably. Innumerable women and children stuffed into the cracks. 

August 14th. Dr. Gibson arrived last night. Says the hospital boat from 
Fort Monroe collided with another last night going down with over 100 sick. 
Hope our boys were not among them. Ague chills are shaking us here. 


September 9th. The orderly and I were left here as the regiment passed on 
to Maryland. He has dysentery, I fever the dregs of ague. 

September 15th. We are now able to walk some. Yesterday heard Mr. John 
B. Meek preach on the grounds. 

Memoranda From Diary 207 


September 22d to October 16th, 1862. 

September 22d. Haynes and I came up with the regiment yesterday at 
Sharpsburg; walked from Frederick to Middletown. It was full of wounded. 
Lightner, Johnny Chronister and Ulrich were shot through the lungs, and Cor 
poral Schall in shoulder. I wrote letters and did what I could for the poor 
fellows, then passed over battlefield of 14th. The Forty-fifth had occupied a field 
covered with small lots surrounded by stone fence behind which the enemy 
fought. All along the lines the ground was covered with clotted blood. Saw 
where the 28 dead of the Forty-fifth were nicely buried. 


October 8th. Our division (Wilcox s) left Antietam yesterday. We crossed 
a high ridge and are now two miles below Harpers Ferry. Lieutenant Beck has 
gone home for 20 days on sick leave. Since leaving the hospital unsuitable food 
has caused indigestion and diarrhoea. I am in a bad shape to be busy making 
out papers for killed, wounded and other absentees. 


October 14th. As we lay in camp near Harpers Ferry last evening we were 
ordered to march in 15 minutes. Camp equipage and all personal effects were 
left scattered around, the infirm to guard them. Stuart s cavalry having dashed 
into Pennsylvania, there were fears they would burn Frederick, Md., a Union 
city of some eight thousand population. We reached Frederick about midnight, 
guarded the approaches and lay down about one o clock to freeze till morning; 
when we found the citizens much surprised at their town being so well guarded 
when they had not dreamed of danger. At sundown we were loaded on cars, 
run back to Point-of-Rocks, marched out two miles on picket. At eleven lay 
down in a thick wood while it rained hard on us till daybreak. 

Captain Fessler writes of his effort to head Stuart: "Part of the way we 
were on forced march. Night overtook us in a dense forest. Rain fell in tor 
rents. It was decided to bivouac till morning. We laid overcoats on the ground, 
lay down on them, but soon were numb and cold in pools of water." 


October 23d, 1862, to March llth, 1863. 

Old Virginia, October 29th. Last Sabbath morn our brigade left camp. 
Marched down river about six miles to Berlin, crossed into Virginia on pontoon 
bridge. Marched three miles on Leesburg pike, and encamped. Lieutenant Beck 
came up with us at Berlin. At this date Beck writes : "At Berlin I found Cap 
tain Campbell in a tent with Captains Gregg and Richards, Lieutenant Haynes 
and Scudder and Quartermaster McClure. Rain poured in torrents, night pitchy 
dark, blowing furiously. Ropes gave way, pins drew out. Captain Campbell 
sprang to his feet, grasped the center pole, at top of voice cried, Fasten the cor 
ner pins, but in the darkness neither corners nor pins could be found." 

November 8th, 1862, near Warrenton, Va. Still moving south. Last three 
days passed through poor country. Have two inches of snow. Sabbath, Rev. 
Brown, chaplain, 100th Psalm, 2 v., preached. He read an order from General 

208 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

Wilcox calling upon regimental commanders to have special prayers offered dur 
ing the day for the continued success of General Burnside and his officers, this 
to be carried out whether on the march or in camp. 

Camp Tribulation, November 12th. Very short rations. Some eat parched 
corn, others insist on grumbling. Fessler writes of this period : "Late in Oc 
tober we were ordered from Pleasant Valley, Md., to cross Potomac to force 
General Lee to give battle, or fall back beyond the Rapidan. Food scarce. Near 
Warrenton, Va., our camp was called Camp Starvation. Dr. Christ writes, Our 
troops suffered much from short rations. " 


November 19th. Have made the circuit and arrived about where we were 
ten weeks since. One night at White Sulphur Springs, a branch of Rappa- 
hannock, then after ten-mile march stopped on line of Orange & Alexandria 
Railroad. The last three days all spent marching. The Rappahannock is now 
between us and the city of Fredericksburg. City occupied by Rebels. Lee s army 

From notes at this time from Captains Campbell, Beck and Fessler we 
learn that on December 12th the Forty-fifth was marched across the Rappa 
hannock on pontoons and posted near Fredericksburg. During the four days 
engagement the regiment was vigorously shelled from a Rebel fort, but made 
no attack. In the night was placed in front the Rebel fort for a charge at day 
break, but orders for retreat came and this was silently effected during the 
night over the bridge covered with clay. 

Under different dates from November 25th, 1862, to February 15th, 1863, 
Captain Campbell writes from Falmouth, Va. : 

"Comfortable in winter quarters, though to stand erect in their huts they 
must arrange in line of battle in the center. Delightful visitors from the One 
Hundred and Forty-eighth lying near, also from old homes. Gratitude for dried 
fruits sent from homes. Sudden changes from bitter cold to bitter warm same 
day. Restlessness of troops because of inactivity, though history shows that 
the greatest part of any army s time is spent in camp. 

February 15th, 1863. On the evening of the 10th the Forty-fifth embarked 
on "John A. Warner." Left dock at five next morn and moved slowly down 
the Potomac. Our nautical encyclopedia, Captain Gregg, gives all necessary in 
formation concerning dangerous places. He is a good book of reference. 

Newport News, March 1st. Troops in fine spirits. The change from Fred 
ericksburg to this place would revive the most desponding. Busy drilling. 
Brigade drilling has been introduced. 


March llth, 1863 to June llth. Left Newport News March 22d on board 
"Mary Washington." Reached Baltimore same night. On the 23d in cars 
moving toward Relay House. On the 24th in mud at Harpers Ferry, each man 
scrambling for his bread and coffee, on through Martinsburg; at Piedmont, 
supper by candlelight. Breakfasted next morn at Grafton, W. Va. At Parkers- 
burg on the Ohio went aboard the "La Crosse." 

Memoranda From Diary 209 

Paris, Ky., March 30th. Are now in a low green valley on the old Ken 
tucky shore. Magnificent is the only word to describe the country. Our Lan 
caster County men are silent seeing how far this land surpasses their own in 
beauty and in fertility. With the Twenty-ninth Massachusetts we are protect 
ing the town and extensive bridges. Loyalty predominates but there are some 
excessively bitter Rebels principally among the gentler sex. Senator Davis 
lives here. He wants the leading Rebs shot and rabid women sent to military 

April 15th, 1863. Camp Dick Robinson, nine miles from Danville, Ky. Our 
brigade is here. General Welsh in command of division which is scattered 
over the county. Came on railroad to Nicholasville ; marched remaining 15 
miles through awful dust. At close of dress parade McClure in a neat speech 
presented Colonel Curtin with a fine bay horse bought by the regiment. Utterly 
confounded the Colonel began, "Gentlemen, I Gentlemen, I " when three 
loud cheers relieved him. April 26th. Oh! that we could move on and relieve 
East Tennessee, whose citizens are being driven out by hundreds. More than 
half a regiment of refugees are in this single camp. They report absolute starva 
tion in many parts. 

Middleburg, Casey County, Ky., May 8th. We don t seem to be doing 
much, yet we are keeping the Rebs out of Kentucky after having driven them 
out. We frequently hurry up and off to meet Morgan but have not yet met 

June 10th. For the last month have been constantly marching and scout 
ing, resting only a day at a time. Often jump up and prepare to fight Rebs 
before breakfast, but after a hard day s scouting have nothing for our pains. 
Starting from Jamestown, near Cumberland River, we marched over 60 miles 
in 51 hours. Reached Lebanon and took the cars for Louisville 65 miles dis 
tant. The Ninth Corps has been sent to Grant at Vicksburg, Miss. I am glad 
to leave Kentucky. Her neutrality has poisoned her patriotism. Few uncondi 
tional Union men to be found here. 


June llth. We are bound for Vicksburg. At Louisville were served with 
hot coffee, ham and bread. After many car changes reached Cairo, the junc 
tion of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, at 11 P. M., on the 9th. Met with 
a royal reception through Indiana and Illinois. The best the land could afford 
was pressed upon us. Reaching one village at midnight, the boys asleep, ladies 
surrounded the train crying, "Wake up, soldiers, and take our provisions." 
The whole brigade was on board, yet no lack of good things. At Cairo lay 
on the street under showers till morning. At daylight the Forty-fifth embarked 
on the "Sallie List." Left Cairo, that mud-hole of creation, at 5 P. M. Am 
disappointed in the "Father-of-Waters." It is crooked, muddy and dismal 
compared with the beautiful James. Passed Island No. 10 at daybreak. At 4 
P. M., have just passed Fort Pillow. 

Tanny s Point, June 19th. Reached this place at 9 this morning. Vicks 
burg is five miles from us in a direct line. 

July 6th. We are lying in the woods in sight of the Big Black almost 
opposite Haines Bluff. Have not written since landing. Our work has been 

210 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

too hard. Felling trees and entrenching in this hot climate is not play. The 
reinforcements have all been employed entrenching against Johnston. 


July 15th, 1863. I scarcely know how to commence this. We have no 
camp, no shelter, no bedding. Soon as Vicksburg fell we left our entrench 
ments and went in pursuit of Johnston. Crossed Big Black on 7th, moving 
toward Jackson, the enemy retreating before us. Friday, 10th, at 3 P. M., the, 
Forty-fifth was thrown forward to skirmish for the brigade. Moved directly 
toward Pearl River. At dark we were facing the city on the north side. At 
night rested at lunatic asylum on the top of which the flag of the Forty-fifth 
took the place of a Rebel flag. Saturday morning advanced driving the enemy 
before us. Within one-half mile of town planted batteries. Musketry firing 
briskly all day; four killed, one dozen wounded. Lieutenant Humphrey, Com 
pany F, was killed. At 4 P. M. our division was relieved and sent to the 
rear to rest. Tuesday, 14th, again sent to front to remain 48 hours. Just as 
I wrote the last line a ball from the enemy struck a sapling, glanced off and 
hit Homer Thompson on the jaw. 

From further letters from Captains Campbell, Fessler and Beck we learn 
that Johnston slipped out of Jackson the night of the 16th of July by cross 
ing Pearl River. After capturing 200 or more prisoners and tearing up 20 
miles of railroad, on the 20th the Ninth Corps began the retrograde movement* 
Heat oppressive. Many lay down by the roadside and died. Grant ordered 
Vicksburg and Jackson to be inscribed on the banners of the Forty-fifth. 

August 10th, 1863, 9 A. M. Our regiment has just reached Cairo on 
board the "Hiawatha." The Mississippi campaign is ended. 


Camp Nelson, near Nicholasville, August 22d, 1863. The Kentucky troops 
are moving toward East Tennessee. Our Corps will have to recruit in health 
before moving. Chills and fever abound. We are favorably situated. Good 
water. Are abundantly supplied with vegetables by the citizens. General Welsh 
died suddenly some weeks since. Captain Hicks, his adjutant, now commands 
the division. 


September 3d. We halted here after a march of 30 miles on the 27th ult. 
Troops in much better health. 

September 13th, near London, Ky. We are moving toward Knoxville, via 
Cumberland Gap. Left Crab Orchard, the 10th. Our first day we marched 
through country whose springs were most unpleasant with sulphur. Second day 
crossed a mountain and forded a branch of the Cumberland called Rock Castle 
River. Third crossed a barren tableland. Are over 100 miles from Knoxville. 
All the boys with us are in good health. Left some sick at Crab Orchard. 


While the Forty-fifth was near the line between Kentucky and Tennessee 
a detail from each regiment was being made out to be sent to their respective* 
states for recruits. Says Colonel Curtin of the Forty-fifth: "Captain Camp- 

Memoranda From Diary 211 

bell, you are about the only officer of the Forty-fifth who has not been home 
since enlisting over two years since. Will you not take a detail? Many of 
your company have also been home." The Captain replied, "I have an invalid 
sister I would like to see, otherwise I would greatly prefer being with the regi 
ment." Unexpectedly he received orders to take a detail. He, after reaching 
home, said, "We wheeled about for a backward tramp of over 60 miles to rail 
road, again forded that river, crossed that mountain and that country with its 
unpleasant sulphur springs." After something over four weeks furlough, part of 
which was spent in Philadelphia recruiting station, he started for the regiment 
and on November 14th, 1863, again writes from Crab Orchard, Ky. : "Arrived 
here last evening. Met my men at Pittsburg. Messrs. Bailey and Musser, who 
are going for the bodies of relatives, have much trouble getting the coffins 
through. I find Halderman, Will Campbell and Sam Crider here." 

November 19th, London, Ky. Reached here through much tribulation. Mr. 
John Musser, who has likely reached home by this time, can tell of the perplexi 
ties of himself and Mr. John Bailey. Friends there will never realize what Mr. 
Bailey endured on this trip. The roads are so narrow, so worn down water can t 
drain off. Mire mixed with mule flesh, so deep and strong, stench is horrid. 
Wagon trains can make but six or ten miles per day. All trains in the rear are 
ordered to halt. Those between this and the gap ordered back. We are pushing 
to the front on foot. One hundred and sixty miles before us. Make about 16 
per day. Army mail is carried on pack mules. 

November 22d, 1863. Barboursville, Ky. We are 28 miles from Cum 
berland Gap. Parson Brownlow, Horace Maynard and other prominent East 
Tennesseeans are here in exile. The enemy between the Gap and Knoxville. We 
can t get farther than the Gap. Choose to remain here. Our party consists of 
Rev. J. R. Miller of the Christian Commission, Mr. John Bailey, Lieutenant 
Hart and myself. The boys fell in with a wagon train. Hundreds of refugees 
from Tennessee are in this region. A lawyer told me that men had hid from 
Rebel conscription, their wives hung by the neck to compel divulging their hid 
ing places. Some had yielded. The men were then shot and the women left 


November 25th. Mr. Bailey started home yesterday. We go forward this 


November 26th. Arrived here at three P. M., to find that the statement of 
open way to Knoxville is incorrect. 

November 29th. Cold morning. Last news from Burnside still gloomy. He 
is short of rations. So are we. A little Indian meal foraged in the country, a 
smell of coffee and sugar, some fresh beef. Colonel Curtin and Lieutenant Good- 
fellow are here. We are all on duty under Wilcox. 


December 3d. General Foster came to the Gap on 30th, ult. Next morning 
troops moved to this place. The army is living from hand to mouth. The citi 
zens are almost destitute. Starvation stares them in the face. 

212 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 


December 18th. I left Tazewell alone, the other officers being on duty. Over 
took the regiment 30 miles northeast of Knoxville. Had made quite a circuit 
to avoid the enemies scouts. Found we had five wounded around Knoxville. 
Orderly Dad Simms, Caleb Gates, Josiah Crider. The last three have died. 
We fell back to this place as the enemy pressed us heavily. The wagon trarn 
containing my trunk was captured. I had my best suit on, which was not 
quite so good as the old one. Will Campbell and Reuben Halderman were 
with the captured train. We hear they escaped. As to the captured wagon 
train, we glean from other letters, mainly Beck and Fessler s, that it contained 
100 pounds of sugar, 60 pounds of coffee and a large amount of provisions 
ordered by officers of the Forty-fifth. One who escaped from it said he saw Cap 
tain Campbell s coat sold four times. 


Under date of December 24th, 1863, Captain Campbell writes : "Some fifty 
or sixty have signified a willingness to reenlist. This thing of sitting with aching 
eyes over smoky campfires, on half rations, almost naked from head to foot, does 
not encourage reenlisting." 

January 3d, 1864. "The color company (E) was the first to secure reor 
ganization by a three-fourths enlistment. This reenlisting will be considered by 
the Rebels as a victory over them. As I have charge of the reenlisting of the 
regiment am too busy to write often." 

Of this period Dr. Christ writes : "Officers and men suffered for necessaries 
food for days, fresh beef without salt and parched corn. Many had no shoes, 
stockings, blankets or overcoats, yet this winter was severe. Never were troops 
more tried. Government hardly to blame. Under all these circumstances. Janu 
ary 1st, 1864, 426 men out of less than 500 of our noble Forty-fifth reenlisted for 
three years more. Shall never forget the hardship crossing Cumberland Moun 
tains in midwinter. Blood from many a poor boy s foot stained ice and snow. 
Every one was a hero." 

Fessler writes : "After reenlisting we started on a 200 mile march with one 
pint of flour per man. Thought we might as well starve trying to reach home as 
remain where we were and starve. After a week in Cincinnati we hied to our 
homes, to all that name makes dear to man, to forget for a time war s fearful 

Beck writes : "When on January 16th, 1864, we began the homeward 
march, Captain Campbell took charge of all the regimental papers and the sick." 

February 10th, 1864. Many boys of Company E reached their homes in Cen 
ter and adjoining counties on veteran furlough for 30 days. Early the following 
March the regiment reassembled at Harrisburg. Soon left for Annapolis, Md., 
where the corps reorganized under Burnside before the Virginia campaign. April 
27th the corps encamped at Fairfax, Va. 

February 28th. Again on the march, through Centreville, waded Bull Run, 
encamped about twelve miles beyond it. 

May 4th. Marched eighteen miles. 

May 5th. Started at 5 P. M., crossed the Rappahannock at 8 P. M., Rapidan, 

W. H. Musser 
Company E 

A Short History of Company E 213 

4 :30 P. M. Crossed both streams on pontoons. Encamped after 20 miles of 
march. From letters of Lieutenant Beck, Drs. Maxwell and Christ we glean : 
Resting a few hours after march on the 5th, the heavy cannonading of night 
attack in the Wilderness roared around. At 2 A. M., May 6th, the Ninth Corps 
moved to the front and "occupied the center of the fiery flaming field of the 
Wilderness." "At 1 P. M. the Forty-fifth received a shower of leaden balls 
from concealed Rebels learned they were on their knees 100 yards from us." 
Lieutenant Goodfellow was the first killed, next Halderman and Beck, Company 
E. "Colonel Curtin, grasping the colors from the color-bearer, dashed to the 
front. At the same moment each captain dashed to the front of his company. As 
we were sweeping all before us Captain Campbell turned facing his men and 
cried, Rally Round the Flag, when he fell mortally wounded." 



In attempting to give a history of the doings of Company E of the Forty- 
fifth Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry from the time of enrollment, on 
September 2d, 1861, at Baileyville, Centre County, Pa., to the time of the final 
discharge at Harrisburg, July 21st, 1865, is at this late day, an undertaking which 
I am hardly capable of fulfilling; but having been appointed by the Historical 
Commission of the Forty-fifth to do so, I will try to obey orders, which is the first 
duty of a good soldier. When the company was organized, Henry Stevens, a 
Mexican War soldier and a farmer, was elected as its first captain, and John O. 
Campbell and John Irvin as first and second lieutenants respectively. It went 
at once to Harrisburg and reported at Camp Curtin. Armstrong Bailey was elect 
ed first sergeant and Joseph Reigle regimental color bearer, as Company E was 
selected by the field officers as the color company of the regiment. Joseph Reigle 
was the tallest man in the regiment, and he proved to be one of the most patriotic 
men. He was a great reader of history and a first-class soldier. Company E 
consisted mostly of farmers sons, and laborers employed at and about the Penn 
sylvania Furnace, Centre County, and from the northwestern part of Huntingdon 
county. Thomas Welsh, of Columbia, Pa., was placed at the head of the regi 
ment, and received our colors from Governor Andrew G. Curtin on the 21st of 
October, 1861. 

We left Camp Curtin and went to Washington, D. C, by rail, and from 
there to Bladensburg, Md., and encamped on the dueling grounds of the fighting 
men of former days. This proved to be an unhealthy place. Many of the men 
were prostrated with chills and fever and our field officers made complaint to the 
Secretary of War, when we were soon ordered to go south. At this place the 
writer was appointed by Captain Stevens to the position of first corporal of Com 
pany E. At this camp (Camp Casey) we were brigaded with other regiments, 
and General O. O. Howard was appointed our brigade commander. The first 
week in November, 1861, we had our first taste of hard marching. Our brigade 
was sent to guard an election on the peninsula lying between Chesapeake Bay 
and the Potomac River. We marched about 60 miles in three days, leaving 
portions of the brigade at small towns on our route. The third day Company E 
was selected, together with a company of cavalry, and marched about 12 
miles farther to guard the last polling place on the peninsula. On the day after 

214 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

the election, November 7th, we started on the return, on the 10th arriving at our 
old camp at Bladensburg. This march proved to be a hard one, the weather was 
bad, rain part of the time, the roads were deep sand, much sickness ensued. I 
myself lost several toe nails on account of wearing light boots; this taught me 
to wear none but the easiest army shoes. Having received marching orders on 
November 19th, we struck tents and left quite a number of the regiment sick in 
camp to be sent to the hospital. Corporal John Campbell and Private David 
Lightner were among those left. Francis A. Weston, of our company, died here 
on November 13th. We went to Baltimore by rail, thence on the old steamer 
"Pocahontas," down Chesapeake Bay and landed at Fortress Monroe, on Novem 
ber 21st. Then marched to camp along Hampton Roads. On the 28th of Novem 
ber, at this place, Captain Henry Stevens resigned on account of ill health and 
the company elected John O. Campbell captain, and Sergeant John Beck as first 
lieutenant. On December 4th, 1861, the paymaster visited us for the first time 
and gave us two months pay, but on account of a blunder of some person I failed 
to get my pay, being not as yet sw r orn regularly into the United States service. 
This was my first lesson in red tape. I was sworn in, as I thought, solid enough 
on September llth, at Harrisburg. But putting the cart before the horse I was 
sworn into the United States service before the State service. I might here state 
that I joined the company on September llth, at Harrisburg, having had a taste 
of army life from April 20th, 1861, to August 1st, 1861, in Company H, Seventh 
Pennsylvania Infantry, and being well acquainted with Captain Stevens and some 
of the men of the company, I chose it for a three years service. During the 
month of August, 1861, I was at home, and took the notion of preparing myself 
for teaching school the coming winter, having attended Pinegrove Academy for 
several years and left it to fight the battles of our country. I returned to the same 
school, but feeling it my duty to my country and flag myj attendance at school 
was of short duration, hence my enlistment at Harrisburg. On December 6th, at 
Fortress Monroe, we struck tents, got on board the steamer "Cosmopolitan" and 
next morning found us on the broad Atlantic going south, and on the 10th we 
landed at Fort Beauregard, in Port Royal Harbor, S. C. 

We had a very pleasant trip, and on this our first day in the "Sunny South," 
Companies A and E had the pleasure of our first bath in southern waters. From 
this time until December 31st, we had charge of the negroes of the island of St. 
Helena, in gathering in the cotton left on the island and shipping it north, the 
white people having all deserted when our troops took possession after the cap 
ture of Port Royal in November. 

Some time in January, 1862, Company E was sent to Hilton Head and settled 
down on the plantation at Spanish Wells ; here we encamped very pleasantly until 
about the 1st of July, when the regiment was called together and encamped near 
Seabrook Landing until the 8th of July, when we were ordered north to join 
the Army of the Potomac. The eight months we spent in South Carolina was 
what we might call Sunday soldiering; our hardest battle there was with gnats 
and mosquitos, and we only now and then saw one or two of the enemy, miles 
away on other islands. For some time after we arrived there we picked oranges 
off the trees, and sweet potatoes were still in the sand where they grew. We 
could catch all the fish we wanted with hook and line and the last three months 
we were there we had all the green corn and all the watermelons we wanted 
to eat. Of course the two latter were private property belonging to the colored 

A Short History of Company E 215 

people. Some we paid for and some we did not. The great majority of these 
people was strangely ignorant and very few of them knew of any other island 
than the one they were raised on. Hilton Head Island, where we were then en 
camped, was about seven by fifteen miles. The melons were large and the patches 
were full. More than once I heard this expression among the colored people, 
"Great God, wot a Yankee kin do ; dey walk troo de patch and de melon hang to 
dere feet." The melons lay in deep furrows and while some of the Yankees were 
walking through the patches talking to the owners the melons would naturally 
hang to their feet as their feet were entangled among the vines. Some of these 
people could not understand where all the soldiers came from. We told among 
them that up north we could plant the seed, raise soldiers in the spring, and in 
the autumn we could drive them out of the fields in regiments. We could get 
fresh meat on other islands by going across and killing it. Our soldiering was 
picket guard duty from dusk to daylight and in day time stopping all passing 
boats and demanding passes. This body of water was called "Calibogue Sound," 
an arm of the sea. The water was deep enough for ocean steamers. The sound 
was from one mile to one and a half miles wide. Sometimes small boats would 
run past us by keeping close to the opposite shore. Some parties did not wish to 
be hauled in and lose time by showing passes, so at one time the writer was on 
guard in front of the camp of Company E, when a good sized boat with six or 
eight oars, run past, not heeding the call of "Boat Ahoy!" So we shot across 
their bow before they turned and came over; the boat contained, besides six or 
eight men at the oars, several officers of a New York command. Their bow 
struck bottom about twenty feet from land and the ranking officer reached in his 
pocket and held out his pass and the following dialogue took place : 

OFFICER. "Come and examine my pass." 

GUARD. "Bring or send it to land, please." 

OFFICER. "I am not obliged to wade out to hand it to you." 

GUARD. "Neither am I obliged to wade out to see it; send one of your 
men with it." 

OFFICER. "I will not." 

GUARD. "Then you cannot proceed." 

OFFICER. "Men push off." 

GUARD. "If you do so, you will be shot ;" and the guard proceeded to reload 
his gun. Then the officer sent one of his men out and the writer looked at the 
pass and pronounced it all right. 

OFFICER (talking to guard.) "Do you know to whom you are talking?" 

GUARD. "I do not." 

OFFICER. "Well, I am Gneral , of New York." 

GUARD. "General, I am glad to meet you ; and do you know who you are 
talking to ? You are talking to Corporal Musser of the Forty-fifth Pennsylvania." 

By this time most of Company E were gathered on the beach looking on and 
were much amused in listening to this dialogue. The officer, seeing one of our 
sergeants in the crowd, called to him, asking him to go to camp and tell his cap 
tain to put Corporal Musser under arrest, but the corporal was not arrested. 

2i 6 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

While in camp at this place we lost the youngest soldier in our company, 
Stewart Cronister. While in bathing he \vas taken by the undertow and was 
drowned. His body was afterwards recovered and buried under a pine tree on 
the Spanish Wells plantation. 

While here three of our company, Christian Ellenberger, John W. Rider and 
John G. Rider were discharged for disability and sent home. About the 1st of 
July the different companies of the regiment were called together and opened a 
new camp on Hilton Head Island, near Seabrooke Landing. After drilling and 
having dress parades for a week or ten days we were ordered north and em 
barked on board the steamer "Arago," and in due time landed at Newport News, 
Va. Here we had a beautiful camp on the banks of the James River. In the be 
ginning of August we embarked on steamers, went up the Potomac, and landed at 
Acquia Creek on the west side of the river. We encamped at 1 Brookes Station, 
several miles from the river. A part of the regiment guarded the Fredericksburg 
railroad for some miles. While at this place our lieutenant colonel, James A. 
Beaver, left us and went to Harrisburg to take command of the One Hundred and 
Forty-eighth Regiment. 

About the last of August the second battle of Bull Run was in progress. We 
marched back to Acquia Creek Landing, after burning the railroad bridge at our 
camp and all buildings at the landing. 

I celebrated my twenty-first birthday at this camp, on August 20th, 1862. 
After burning and destroying all buildings at Acquia Creek Landing, on the 6th of 
September we embarked on a steamer and came up the Potomac to Washington. 
From Washington we marched to Frederick, Md., in light marching order, and 
met the enemy at South Mountain on Sunday, September 14th. This was Company 
E s baptism of fire. The first member of our company killed was Corporal John 
Bell, and among the mortally wounded who died a few days afterward was David 
Lightner, our violinist, and one of our best men. John Cronister, a brother of 
Stewart Cronister, who was drowned in South Carolina ; John Uhlrich, and Cor 
poral Harry Schall, and quite a number of others were slightly wounded. Among 
the latter was the writer. No one need ask any questions about it. It was pro 
nounced by a reporter of the Philadelphia Inquirer, "wounded severely." After 
spending a few days in a temporary hospital in Middletown and assisting W. H. 
Fry to Frederick City, he being severely wounded in the scalp, the writer then be 
ing tired of temporary hospital life retraced his steps and the next night, all 
alone, he slept on the South Mountain battlefield. The next morning, at the foot 
of South Mountain, near Boonesboro, he ate breakfast with a number of 
teamsters, after which he resumed his march and by the way of Antietam battle 
field and Sharpsburg, he rejoined his regiment that evening near the Antietam iron 
works. At the latter battle, September 17th, we lost, instantly killed, one of our 
best and noblest corporals, Thomas B. McWilliams. He was killed near Burn- 
side Bridge. 

While in camp at this place I had the pleasure of seeing President Lincoln 
at the headquarters tent of General McClellen. The 6th and 7th of November we 
encamped in what we called "Starvation Hollow." Some quartermaster s blun 
der was the cause of all this, as we were not more than 45 miles from 
Washington, and were unnecessarily starving so near our base of supplies. 

A Short History of Company E 217 

From this place we crossed the Potomac and marched overland to opposite 
Fredericksburg. At the battle of Fredericksburg, December 13th and 14th, we were 
under fire several times, but our company escaped without any casualties. On the 
march from the Potomac to Fredericksburg we suffered some days for want of 
rations. We were in camp on the hills opposite Fredericksburg, took part during 
this time in the "Stuck in the mud" campaign and on February 12th, 1863, we 
went by rail to Acquia Creek Landing and by boat down the Potomac to Newport 
News again and encamped on the banks of the James River. 

While in South Carolina we were drilled in the bayonet and skirmish exer 
cises, and in this camp we were drilled in the manual of arms by the ( tap of the 
drum. This drill was gone through in 106 different movements, and in a short 
time the regiment became proficient and made a fine appearance. From here we 
made one of our much-talked-of movements, by being transferred to the west, by 
steamer to Baltimore, thence by rail over the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad to 
Parkersbtirg, Va., on the Ohio River, thence by steamer to Cincinnati, and by rail 
again south to camp Dick Robinson, in Kentucky. Here Colonel Welsh was pro 
moted to brigadier general, and Lieutenant Colonel John I. Curtin to colonel. In 
this camp we had a pleasant time for a few months, but about June 1st, General 
Grant, having invested Vicksburg and asking for reinforcements, our division of 
the Ninth Corps was ordered to his relief. We marched across to Louisville, 
crossed the Ohio on ferry boats and went by rail to Cairo, 111., via the Ohio & 
Mississippi railroad, by steamer down the Mississippi River and up the Yazoo 
and landed at Haines Bluff in rear of Vicksburg. From this time on until the 3rd 
of July we worked with pick, shovel -and axe, building fortifications and breast 
works, digging rifle pits, facing to the rear, watching for General Johnston and 
his army to come to relieve the Rebel army, which was besieged in Vicksburg. 

After the surrender of General Pemberton and his army on the Fourth of 
July, 1863, we advanced in the direction of Jackson, the capital of Mississippi, 
situated about forty-five miles northeast of Vicksburg. By the 10th and llth we 
closed in on the city from all sides except on the east on Pearl River. After 
skirmishing more or less until the 17th, in the morning we found the enemy gone. 
We stayed here a few days, destroying railroads and government buildings, then 
returned to our old camps in the rear of Vicksburg, and on the 4th of August we 
embarked on a steamer on the Yazoo River at Haines Bluff. The Ninth Corps re 
ceived the thanks of General Grant acknowledging our valuable services during 
the Vicksburg campaign. It was a severe campaign for all of us. The malaria of 
the Mississippi low lands, the scarcity and bad quality of water, the severe march 
ing and extremely hot weather, dry and dusty roads greatly impaired the health 
of the command. The writer for the first time since enlistment, in April, 1861, was 
one of the many afflicted with chills and fever, every other day. Our general, 
Thomas Welsh, here contracted disease from which he died at Cincinnati on the 
14th of August, 1863. We landed at Cairo, 111., and returned by rail via Cincin 
nati, down into Kentucky to Crab Orchard, camping for some time there. In the 
beginning of September we started to march across the Cumberland mountains to 
East Tennessee via Cumberland Gap. The writer, with others, having had 
malaria since our Vicksburg campaign, started on this march, but took chills and 
fever and was compelled to stop and spend the night there all alone, and the next 
day returned to Crab Orchard, Ky. Here about 1,500 of our division 

218 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

were left in a convalescent camp in charge of a surgeon. William Ellenberger, 
Samuel Crider and Corporal Jacob Ward of our company were here also. The 
latter died October 1st, 1863. I applied to the surgeon in charge of our camp 
for permission to cross the Cumberland mountains. With four others of our 
regiment, having received two days rations and a good supply of quinine and two 
months pay, we started on October 10th for Tennessee. We traveled by ourselves 
and camped when tired. The second day of our march we captured a cast-off army 
mule and compelled him to lug our baggage. After marching for 16 days we 
arrived at Morristown, Tenn., on the East Tennessee & Virginia Railroad. There 
we discharged our mule and procuring transportation from the provost marshal of 
the city, boarded a freight train and found the regiment in camp at Knoxville. 
The regiment was engaged on October 10th at the Battle of Blue Springs, and 
Corporal Richard Bailey, of our company, was wounded and died at Knoxville on 
October 18th. He was one of our best young men. While on the tramp from Crab 
Orchard, Ky., to Morristown, Tenn., a distance of 120 miles, sixteen days 
marching, we had only four days government rations. We started with two days 
rations and received two more from a quartermaster enroute to Tennessee. We 
lived well, had plenty ; we had corn, apples and one day we had the good fortune 
to capture a good sized hog, corn bread and sorghum, (Kentucky and Tennessee 
molasses made out of corn stalks), with now and then purchasing some biscuits. 
My chills and fever left me in the beginning of this march, surrendered to 
quinine, but returned in the spring of 1864 at Harrisburg. On about the last of 
October we left camp, marching down the valley of the Tennessee River and went 
into camp at Lenore Station, about 25 miles southwest of Knoxville. Here 
we were ordered to build winter quarters, which we did, and after being snugly 
fixed for the winter we struck tents. General Longstreet came up from Chat 
tanooga, aiming for Knoxville, and on the 17th of November we were attacked 
at Campbells Station and had quite a lively skirmish until dark. We lost Josiah 
Crider, of Company E, mortally wounded as we were on the retreat. The writer 
was with him until the last, but was compelled to leave him in the hands of the 
enemy. We then marched all night and at daybreak arrived at Knoxville, very 
much fatigued. We lay down to sleep but our rest was of short duration. Wagon 
loads of picks and spades were given us, engineers marked a line for rifle pits and 
we stacked arms and went to digging. Our brigade commander, Colonel Morrison 
of the Seventy-ninth New York Highlanders, came along and watched us digging 
and exclaimed, "Boys, you must be treated well," and it was but a short time when 
buckets of army whiskey were carried along the line for our use. In a short time 
we had fairly good rifle pits thrown up and at about eight o clock in the morning 
our outposts were attacked by the advancing enemy. Our cavalry skirmishers 
were engaged all day. General Sanders was killed on the skirmish line. Out 
main fort, situated on the northwest corner of our lines, was named after him. 

The following ten days we spent strengthening our lines. More or less 
skirmishing was going on every day. We had very little time for rest and were 
on about one-fourth rations and towards the last, one ear of corn to a man for 
24 hours. Company E was on the left of Fort Sanders supporting Bat 
tery Noble. On November 29th our lines were attacked at break of day. The 
main assault by the enemy was made on Fort Sanders. Our army was hungry 
enough to be out of humor and consequently in a fighting humor. The enemy 
was badly used up in less than 30 minutes and retreated in disorder, leaving 1 

A Short History of Company E 219 

their dead and wounded in our hands. By December 6th the enemy was in full 
retreat, moving to the left and around us and up the valley towards Virginia, we 
in pursuit. 

Thus ended the campaign in East Tennessee and we settled down in camp 
at the foot of Clinch mountain at Blaines Crossroads between Morristown and 
Knoxville. Company E lost in this campaign Richard Bailey, Caleb Gates, Mat 
thias Krider, Wesley Simms, Perry Funk and James Bailey, the first three died 
of wounds and the latter three of disease. At this time we were sadly in need 
of clothing and worse off for rations. On January 1st, 1864, 426 of the Forty- 
fifth Regiment reenlisted, thus securing to themselves a 30 day furlough. 
Among the mountains about Clinch River in mid-winter with scanty provisions 
and worn-out clothing and quite a number nearly bare foot, it became a question 
with us whether to remain and wait for rations and clothing or take up the line of 
march and forage on the way. The latter was chosen. Many of the men pro 
vided themselves with rawhide moccasins of their own make for the trip over the 
mountains of Kentucky. An example of heroic endurance and patriotic devotion 
to the Bag worthy of imitation was manifested in the conduct of the men on this 
march of about 160 miles across the mountains by way of Cumberland Gap to 
the nearest railroad station, Nicholasville. With only a quart of meal and a little 
meat to each man . and no certainty of finding more on the road, it required a 
patriotism as earnest and a purpose as fixed to patiently endure hardships and 
privations as to achieve victory in the face of the enemy. On the 17th of Janu 
ary the regiment began this perilous march. 

The few men who did not reenlist were transferred temporarily to the Sev 
enty-ninth New York. On the 18th the writer while passing through Cumber 
land Gap lost the sole of one of his shoes and was obliged to walk in his stock 
ing feet through mud, snow and slush. We encamped late that night in woods 
by the side of the road; the rain during the night turned into snow and sleet 
and the next morning we found ourselves covered with three or four inches of it. 
I borrowed ten dollars from a comrade and remembering from last fall that we 
would find a small store near our camp I started a few minutes before the regi 
ment and bought a pair of light boots, the only pair that would fit me in the 
whole outfit. They cost me $8.00. Think of it! New boots to march in, yet it 
was the best I could do. After eight days more of marching we arrived at Nick- 
olasville, Ky., and received rations and clothing. Marching in new boots caused 
blistered feet, therefore where blisters would appear I would cut holes in the 
boots. By the time we arrived at the rairoad my boots were more holes than 
anything else and were exchanged for army shoes. Here we boarded cattle cars 
and the next day we arrived in Cincinnati. We received our $100 old bounty 
and pay due us and boarded a train for Harrisburg, Pa., where we arrived on 
the 8th of February and in due time we were granted a furlough of thirty days. 

The thirty days among our dear ones at home were quickly spent and the 
9th of March found us back in Camp Curtirt with many new recruits and ranks 
well filled up. The writer was detailed with nine others of the Forty-fifth for re 
cruiting service and when the regiment left we remained in Camp Curtin. I was 
on detached duty in charge of squads of recruits, delivering them to their com 
mands, some to New York City for regiments in the South, some for Nashville, 
Tenn., for the Southwestern army, and in August was detailed to the quarter- 

22O Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

master department and assisted in issuing clothing and supplies to the Pennsyl 
vania regiments which were organized in Camp Curtin during the autumn of 

On or about the 1st of November I was ordered to the front and was granted 
a five day furlough to go home to vote, after which I returned to my place in Com 
pany E in front of Petersburg, Va. Oh, what havoc war had made in the last 
eight months in our ranks ! When the Forty-fifth left Harrisburg in March it 
numbered almost 1,000 men, and I found on November llth only 73 men and one 
officer, all told, by the morning report of the regiment and nine men and one offi 
cer all were left of Company E. During these eight months of my absence Com 
pany E lost 13 men instantly killed, ten died of gunshot wounds, and ten died 
in southern prisons. Among those killed was our captain, John O. Campbell, one 
of the grandest officers in the regiment; a God-fearing Christian whole-souled 

Corporal John Campbell was killed July 30th by a cowardly Rebel after he 
had surrendered in the crater. But the same Rebel was instantly run through 
with a bayonet by John G. Heberling of our company and killed. William H, 
Buck, Joshua Hirst, Reuben Halderman, Sergeant William S. Koons, Robert 
Ewing and Henry Ellenbarger were among the killed. Among the captured were 
Lieutenant John Beck and First Sergeant Armstrong Bailey. Lieutenant John 
Irvin lost a foot. Many others of our company were killed, wounded or cap 
tured. In December we were moved to the right and directly in front of Peters 
burg and camped alongside of and near Fort Hell. Here we built pretty fair 
winter quarters, camp regularly laid out in company streets behind a low hill 
and partly sheltered, but now and then spent balls lit in our camp during the win 
ter. One of our substitutes, Jerome B. Kelley, was seriously wounded by a spent 
ball a few days after being placed in our company and was taken to the hospital. 
I have never seen him since, but was called on by the Pension Department some 
years ago for an affidavit for his benefit. I was able to give date and particulars 
by referring to my diary. 

Here during January, February and March our ranks were filled up with 
drafted men and substitutes. In February I was promoted to sergeant and acting 
first sergeant of the company. We might say that we were under fire con 
tinually and doing picket duty in the ditches about one-third of our time. David 
Love of our company was wounded while on picket duty and was sent to the 
hospital and discharged on account of said wound. 

I am able to relate here the most miserable 24 hours of the four years I 
spent in the army. I went with a detail of our company to the rifle pits and 
it rained and sleeted nearly all of those 24 hours. Our rifle pits were only 
about five feet, six inches in depth. I being almost six feet in height, I could 
not straighten up except by exposing my head to the fire of the Rebel pickets. 
No place to sit down on account of the mud and water in the bottom of the 
rifle pits, all this time was spent in a stooping position, walking back and 
forth, firing now and then in the direction of the enemy. Those 24 hours 
spent there I can never forget, but such was war. On April 2d we were in 
our last battle, in the general assault along the whole line. Company E lost 
in this assault John G. Goss, seriously wounded, and Sergeant William Bell 
and William Zeigler as prisoners. Our regimental commander, Captain R. C. 
Cheeseman, lost a leg. The next morning, April 3d, the enemy was gone and 

A Short History of Company E 221 

we marched into Petersburg. With our lamented president, Abraham Lincoln, 
among us, the last time I saw him. From this time on we were in chas^, fol 
lowing the fleeing enemy to Farmville, Va. While in camp on the 9th General 
Lee surrendered his army at Appomattox Court House and the work of carnage 
was over. 

The writer finds it a rather unpleasant duty to attempt to go into detail and 
give an accurate account of what transpired during his time in actual service. 
Space is too limited to allow more than a brief sketch of our experience during 
that uncertain period of our life s history. Those who exchanged homes, 
friends and comfort for the fatigues of the march, the terrors of battle and 
the pains of death, went not as men against men, but as principle against prin 
ciple, doctrine against doctrine, and faith against faith. 

It is charged by some, who possibly had a warmer side for that section lying 
south of the Mason and Dixon line than the one north, that the War of the 
Rebellion was a fratricidal war ; and so it was in a sense, for it was brother 
against brother, yet the object was not merely to establish the supremacy of one 
flag over all others; one flag representing a code of principles. There was no 
desire to shed blood, to kill each other, to cause the fair land both north and 
south to be moistened with the tears of widows and orphans. This to any 
soldier was a shocking thought, yet above and beyond it all he read his duty 
stamped in living letters. The chill of horror suggested by thoughts of carnage 
was promptly dispelled by the thought that the honor of the government had 
been defied ; the supremacy of the stars and stripes derided ; and the sacred 
traditions of liberty and independence decried. It is true the bloodiest of wars 
has caused desolate homes, vacant chairs, fatherless children; and the one flag, 
representing as it does the grandest principles in the political economy of the 
world, floats supremely and without a rival. Its fair folds cleared of the stain 
of slavery and its field of stars widely extended. 

It is true that hundreds of thousands died in the struggle, but it was that 
millions that were and millions yet to be, might breathe the soul-nourishing air 
of freedom, and develop into a heroic and independent manhood. It was a 
sacrifice that others might live. 

I will now pursue my sketch briefly confining myself to the facts as they 
existed at the time of the surrender of Lee s army. Our brigade commanded 
by Colonel John I. Curtin was located at Farmville, Va., about 30 miles from 
Appomattox Court House. Consequently we w r ere not aware of the surrender 
until the next day, April 10th. Naturally there was much rejoicing among the 
troops. Some of the boys went wild and in the excitement the writer met 
with a serious accident. The Company E axe was thrown in the air and it 
happened to cut me across the heel of my left foot, putting me out of active 
service for about four weeks, in consequence of which I had a free ride on an 
ambulance and on a wornout Virginia railroad back to City Point; my first 
ride in an ambulance during the war. 

The regiment marched back. Our rejoicing was of short duration, for the 
next painful news was of the assassination of President Lincoln which cast 
a gloom over the whole army. We were soon on board an old transport and 
arrived at Alexandria the next day and encamped on the hills back of the town. 

222 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

The next 90 days were spent pleasantly, very little doing, our ranks were filling 
up from paroled prisoners and others who had been absent sick. 

On May 1st I was promoted to first sergeant of Company E and in June I 
was granted a 15-day furlough. After spending those 15 days pleasantly at 
home I returned and we were then busy preparing our muster-out roll and 
I also took part in the grand review at Washington. While at Alexandria in 
camp and in need of new footwear I thought of buying a pair of light boots, but 
being short in finances, I called one of our substitutes, Jacob Summers by 
name, a German from New York City, knowing that he had money, and asked 
him for the loan of ten dollars until pay day and offered him my due bill. 
"Yes, sergeant," says he, "I will loan you fifty dollars," and he handed me a fifty- 
dollar bill, but not wishing to have that much we went to the sutler and had 
the bill changed, received ten dollars and gave him my due bill until pay 
day. I went to Alexandria and bought a pair of boots, paying eight dollars for 
them. The next morning Jacob Summers was among the missing and I have 
never seen him since and at this late day I am still afraid of meeting Jacob 
Summers with my due bill, demanding pay for same with compound interest. 
Quite a number of our substitutes and drafted men did the same at about this 
time; got tired waiting to be discharged, walked off and went home. Some 
years ago one of them wrote to me and asked me for an affidavit in order to 
have the charge of desertion removed so that he could receive pension. I granted 
the request. 

In the beginning of May, Captain John Beck and Lieutenant A. S. Bailey 
returned from prison. Lieutenant Colonel Theodore Gregg also returned about 
this time and took command of the regiment and on July 16th we were mus 
tered out of service by Lieutenant Rose of the Fifty-sixth Massachusetts Volun 
teers. On the 17th we took the cars for Harrisburg, arriving there on the 17th 
and went once more to Camp Curtin. We were paid off on the 22d of July and 
our discharges dated the 21st of July, 1865. My last morning report of Com 
pany E showed present three officers and 63 enlisted men. I cannot tell the 
number living at this time, as I do not know the whereabouts of so many of 
our substitutes and drafted men. The total number of officers and enlisted 
men in Company E from September 2d, 1861, to July 21st, 1865, were 190. Our 
losses during this time were as follows: 

Number killed in battle 17 

Died of gunshot wounds 17 

Died of disease 11 

Died in prison 9 

Drowned 2 

Discharged, account gunshot wound 10 

Discharged for disability 30 

Discharged at expiration of first enlistment 5 

Total 101 

I believe this statement to be correct, as I have compared Bates History of 
Pennsylvania Volunteers with my diary kept during the war. We might have 
had a few losses in the summer of 1864, from the Rapidan to Petersburg of 
which I have not been correctly informed. I can truly say, and often have said, 


~ -Jl 


C O 

^- M 

PQ oj 

o S 

A Short History of Company E 223 

at campfires and reunions that to take my service in the army from 1861 to 
1865 as a whole, I enjoyed it, yet I experienced trials and hardships so that 
many times I wished I could spend the night in my father s barnyard with the 
cattle around the straw stack. But I always tried to look on the bright side, if 
there was at all any bright side to look at. I refer to all my comrades living 
to say that it was very seldom I was down-hearted. In my boyhood days I 
was taught music; I loved it. Some five or six of our regiment organized 
into a glee club and one of the alto singers was a member of the Thirty-sixth 
Massachusetts Volunteers. We often met in the summer of 1863 while in Ken 
tucky and did much singing, but the Vicksburg campaign played havoc \vith us. 
The one from the Thirty-sixth Massachusetts died on the march from Vicksburg 
to Jackson, Miss., very suddenly from sunstroke and the writer was laid out by 
an attack of malaria. Then in the summer of 1864 our bass singer was killed in 
the crater in front of Petersburg, July 30th, and Dr. Yarrington of Company 
D was also incapacitated in this campaign. In the spring of 1865, while at 
Alexandria, Va., we tried to reorganize with new blood but did not meet with 
much success. We of Company E rejoice to know that in a measure we have 
kept up our organization. Shortly after our return home we were called to 
gether by the noble citizens of the west end of Center County and the northern 
part of Huntingdon County for a grand welcome home. We had such leading 
men and women as the Clemsons, the Goheens, the McWilliams, the Glenns and 
many others whom I could name, who all stood by us during those trying times 
of the war. I remember in the winter of 1862 and 1863, in front of Fredericks- 
burg, Va., they came to see us and brought us a four-horse wagonload of good 
things from home for Company E. For John Goheen nothing was too much of 
a task to undertake for our comfort. Our old captain, Stevens, had us hold a 
reunion at his home, Comrade W. H. Fry had us at his home once at Pinegrove 
Mills, our lieutenant, Amos Harper, had us once at his home in Philipsburg, 
Pa., and on September 2d, 1909, the writer was honored by the annual reunion 
at Bellefonte. Some of the company brought their wives and we spent a very 
pleasant time in Bellefonte. Thirteen of us came together and had our picture 
taken in group, (see group). On August 20th, 1910, 12 of us spent the day very 
pleasantly at Baileyville picnic and helped in the preparations to erect a monu 
ment to our old company on the grounds where the company started from ; on 
September 2d, 1861. Since our last meeting three others have died: Jefferson 
Force died October 20th, 1910, at Pine Glen, Center County, Pa.; David Love 
died on the 23rd day of April, 1911, at Bellefonte; John G. Heberling died on 
July 2d, 1911, at Pinegrove Mills, Center County, Pa. 

As the writer looks back over those 50 years as a young boy still in his 
teens, unthinking of the world, not thinking what was in store for him or 
what he was about to face, he donned his blue uniform and swore allegiance to 
the United States against all enemies or oppressors whatsoever. No imagination 
could have possibly conceived what that boy was about to experience, what 
paths of danger and hardships he was about to traverse. Standing to-day on the 
sundown slope and looking back over the bewildering course we have followed 
since that day when Fort Sumter was fired upon, no one can help being lost 
in the wonder of it all. It is only with the greatest difficulty that we can com 
prehend a part of it; much as we may strive we cannot take in all that came 
to us and our comrades and those around us, and to our nation in the half 

224 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

century which has elapsed, our highest and deepest feeling must be amazement 
over the "mysterious ways in which God moves His wonders to perform;" so 
that, looking back to what we have accomplished by our fidelity, our suffering 
and the hardships which we endured, we can rejoice to know that our country 
was saved, the union of states is complete, and on account of our sacrifices we 
have the best and grandest country on the globe. So let us live that our last 
days may be our best days, and let us all strive to be ready to answer when the 
last roll is called that we may receive the plaudit, "Well Done." 



The larger part of this company was recruited at Equinunk, Wayne County, 
Pa. About 20 were recruited from Tioga County by George P. Scudder, and 
15 came from Delaware and Sullivan Counties in New York State, i 

In the first week of August, 1861, Charles E. Parker, of Equinunk, Pa., went 
to Harrisburg, Pa., and obtained permission from Governor Curtin to raise a 
company of volunteers for the war. He came home wearing an army forage 
cap and immediately began recruiting. 

The patriotic citizens of Equinunk had contributed money and purchased 
an American flag, fife and drums, so we started with martial music. On the 2nd 
day of September the first 22 men were enrolled. After a few days Captain 
Parker took the first squad to Camp Curtin, Harrisburg, Pa. The writer, who 
could play the fife, and N. D. Guile, the drum, remained behind to drum up 
more recruits. Soon Captain Parker returned and on the 17th, all that had 
enlisted since the 2nd, started for Lordville, N. Y., the railway station one mile 
distant, with our music in the lead. As we were passing a gang of railroad 
fence builders one of their number, Daniel Thomas, threw down his tools and 
joined us, saying: "I can t see the boys go without me." William M. Nelson, 
a prominent citizen of Equinunk, who has served several terms in the Pennsyl 
vania legislature, accompanied us to the station and sent us off with a patriotic 

We arrived at Camp Curtin the 18th, and our first night in camp is still 
remembered. We had A tents and with half of a dirty army blanket lay on the 
ground without any other covering except our clothing. We had come out of 
feather beds at home and the contrast could be felt. Captain Parker returned 
to Wayne County for more recruits. George Scudder, formerly of Equinunk, 
enlisted 20 men in Tioga County and joined our company. He was commis 
sioned second lieutenant, and George S. Redfield, a physician of Equinunk, first 
lieutenant. While in Camp Curtin the writer acted as orderly sergeant and 
attended sergeant s drill and school of instruction, and what he learned there 
of Captain Tarbutton was of great benefit to him during the four years of 

Our company was attached to Colonel Thomas Welsh s Forty-fifth Penn 
sylvania Regiment and called Company F. A part of the company and regi 
ment were mustered into the United States service on September 21st by J. W. 

Captain L. W. Lord, Co. F. 

Formation of Company F 225 

Piper. Soon Captain Parker returned with more recruits and the regiment was 
mustered into the United States service October 16th by Lieutenant Gansevoort. 
The enlisted men of our company had no voice in the selection of its commis 
sioned officers; it was understood by them who the officers were to be. An 
election of noncommissioned officers was held while in Camp Curtin, resulting 
as follows : 

James E. Woodmansee Orderly Sergeant 

Richard Humphrey Sergeant 

Henry Lord " 

Depuy Teeple " 

Morris Eldred " 

Albro F. Hill Corporal 

Daniel C. Warren 

Isaac W. Cole 

John W. Hughes " 

Jasper E. Edwards " 

Linus Demander " 

Andrew Frazier " 

George Osterhoudt " 

James H. Guile Musician 

John D. Palmer, Jr 

John M. Chandler Wagoner 

When John D. Palmer was enlisted he was too young to be accepted as a 
private. He was large for his age and it was understood at the time he should 
carry a musket, as he knew nothing about music, and the writer, who could play 
a fife, was detailed as musician. The company and regiment, after being mus 
tered into the United States service, received their clothing and after a few 
days, their arms and equipment. Just before the regiment started for Wash 
ington, the writer was detailed on recruiting service and sent to Wayne County, 
Pa., and while waiting in the capitol for transportation had his first conversa 
tion with Governor Curtin. 

The regiment went to Washington and was reviewed by General McClellan 
and then marched to Bladenburg encamping on or near the old dueling ground. 
Our camp was called Camp Casey. The writer returned to Washington with 
recruit Lewis M. Purdy, about November 2d, and after some difficulty and de 
lay found the camp. The regiment had been sent to Prince Frederick, Md., a 
distance of about 60 miles, to guard election polls, and was away when we 
reached camp. Captain Parker s remarks in the monthly return of the Company 
for November, 1861, said: "The company with the regiment on November 3d, 
marched 27 miles, carrying arms, knapsacks and rations. In a few days we 
returned to camp. On this march our boys had their first taste of unripe 
persimmons. Our regiment was attached to General O. O. Howard s brigade. 
Lieutenant Scudder of Company F was detailed as aide to General Howard, 
who was a very pious man and would get down on his knees and pray audibly in 
the presence of his brigade. 

On the 17th of November we moved from Camp Casey to a location two 
miles from Washington. Lieutenant Scudder was relieved from detached service 
and reported to his company for duty, the regiment having received orders to 

226 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

go South. On the 19th we broke camp and went on cars to Baltimore. On our 
way Private William H. G ifford of Company F became very sick. 

At Baltimore the company went on board the steamer "Pocahontas," a boat 
used for carrying coal. Our quarters were down in the hold below the water 
line black, damp and dirty. The vessel groaned and creaked and we feared she 
would sink, notwithstanding we spread blankets down, and being tired, fell 
asleep, forgetting all danger. We arrived at Fortress Monroe the 21st and 
marched to Camp Hamilton. 

On November 24th, William H. Gifford died of typhoid fever in the hos 
pital at Fortress Monroe and was buried the 25th with military honors on the 
main land north of the Fort. On December 4th the regiment was paid by Major 
Oakley for September and October. Company F sent by Adams Express to 
Equinunk, Pa., $457.50, and to Hancock, N. Y., $225.50. While in Camp Ham 
ilton the Fifty-fifth Pennsylvania Regiment arrived, Colonel White commanding 
and each company of the Forty-fifth made coffee for the corresponding company 
of the Fifty-fifth. On December 6th we went on board the steamer "Cosmo 
politan and started for Hilton Head, S. C., arriving the 8th. On the 10th, after 
taking in tow five large launches, each launch containing a large cannon, started 
with Companies F, G, H, I and K, on board for St. Helena Sound, 20 miles 
north ; on arriving opposite the sound, we anchored for the night. On the llth 
we ran in, anchored at Otter Island, and went ashore. There was no wharf, 
but a smooth sandy beach extended out into the water. The officers horses 
were unloaded by taking away a section of the gunwale of the vessel, bring 
ing a horse up in front of the opening and two men shoved the horse over 
board. The horse would go under water, come up and swim ashore. We found 
the old ship "Dale" and the gunboat "Isaac Smith" in the harbor. The Con 
federates had built a fort on the island, but when Hilton Head was taken by 
the Union troops they bursted their cannon in the fort and abandoned the island. 
We knew it as Fort Drayton and Company F placed a guard on the fort, reliev 
ing the marines from the ship "Dale." 

The island was barren nothing but sand, some tall pines, swamps, alligators 
and negroes. There were about 200 of the latter. Colonel Welsh came with 
this part of the regiment while Lieutenant Colonel James A. Beaver and Com 
panies A, B, C, D and E, landed on Hilton Head Island. The regimental band 
came with us, and when it began to play every darkey, old and young, began 
jumping up and down, keeping time to the music. The island seemed to be 
alive. The colored population kept increasing coming down the rivers during 
the night time in dug-outs, and nearly every morning there would be new ar 
rivals. One young woman was brought into camp with an iron around her 
ankle, with a short piece of chain attached. Zillard Minard of Company F, a 
blacksmith, filed the band off. In a short time the colored people were colonized 
about one mile from camp and huts built for their accommodation. 

Our trip from Camp Hamilton had been very pleasant, the weather being 
fine. We were out of sight of land part of the way and saw the sun appar 
ently rise and set in the water. Some of the boys were seasick during the trip 
but were all right after landing. A bath in the Atlantic was enjoyed after out 1 
sea voyage. Company F, on December 15th, started up the Ashepo River on a 
scouting expedition in one of the launches which could hold 100 men. After 

Formation of Company F 227 

going about five miles we landed on Fenwick Island and found it deserted by 
the inhabitants who had left cotton, sweet potatoes, horses, cattle, sheep and 
swine. We returned to Otter Island bringing sweet potatoes to Colonel Welsh. 

On December 21st Companies K and F formed a camp on Fenwick Island 
under command of Captain Rambo of Company K. We scouted all over the 
island which lay between Ashepo and South Edisto Rivers, and separated from 
the main land by Mosquito Creek. From the upper end of the island we saw 
Confederate pickets on the main land across Mosquito Creek. They occupied 
a house as a signal station. On the island were several plantations and there 
was also a cotton gin and a well of good cold water. We remained on the island 
doing outpost duty, living on sweet potatoes, fresh pork, and lean beef, until 
January 29th, at which time we returned to Otter Island. Private Lewis M. 
Purdy of Company F, died January 3d, 1862, and was buried on Otter Island. 

First Lieutenant George S. Redfield was detailed on recruiting service Jan 
uary 13th, and went north. One company of the Third Rhode Island Heavy 
Artillery Regiment had been brought to Otter Island to mount the five guns 
which we had brought from Hilton Head. On February 5th work was begun 
on the Fort building a stockade around it, and for this work a detail was 
made from Company F of four men to hew timber, four men to do carpenter 
work and 11 men to drive piling. 

On Washington s Birthday a salute was fired from Fort Drayton, also from 
the vessels in the harbor. Private Amos Slocum of Company F, died of apoplexy 
on March 21st, and was buried on Otter Island. 

Captain Charles E. Parker resigned on the 24th; and on the 26th Adjutant 
Theodore Gregg, a Mexican War soldier, was promoted to captain of Company 
F, and after taking command appointed the writer company clerk. The steamer 
"Planter," which was run out of Charleston Harbor by the colored engineer 
during the dinner hour, made the first stop at Otter Island and was sent to Hil 
ton Head. 

We received our mail from Hilton Head, 20 miles distant, by rowboat, with 
four or six colored men at the oars. Water was procured for coffee at Otter 
Island by digging a hole in the sand about five or six feet deep and sinking 
a barrel with both heads out. The water was very brackish. On April 6th 
Company F was ordered to Fenwick Island, and on the 14th First Lieutenant 
George S. Redfield resigned, and Second Lieutenant George P. Scudder was 
promoted to his place. Orderly Sergeant James E. Woodmansee was promoted 
second lieutenant and Corporal Nathan D. Guile promoted to orderly sergeant. 
Sergeant Guile wrote a peculiar hand, nearly perpendicular. One morning he 
made out a list of sick and took it with the sick to the assistant surgeon, Theo-* 
dore S. Christ. The doctor looked at the list a moment and then exclaimed: 
"I can t read music." 

On Fenwick Island we occupied some buildings near a cotton gin not far 
from Mosquito Creek. A gunshot at night was the signal for the company to 
form under a large white oak tree near our quarters. One night a gun was 
fired on the picket line. The company at once fell in and soon all the pickets 
came running to the large oak tree. Private Becraft came also with end of 
first finger of right hand shot off. Another night while at this place our pickets 
heard a noise in a building near the mouth of Mosquito Creek, and one of them 

228 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

fired at what he supposed to be a man. The firing brought the company and 
the pickets under the large tree. We soon heard the tramp of feet, and Lieu 
tenant Scudder went forward challeging, "Who comes there?" The answer 
revealed Colonel Welsh with an armed company as escort. They had come 
from Otter Island and expected to find us napping or not on the alert. Mos 
quito Creek is well named ; at night our pickets were compelled to cover their 
faces and hands for protection from mosquitoes. Each soldier was provided a 
mosquito frame to sleep under. 

The white inhabitants had all left the island. On May 20th the company 
was ordered to Otter Island, and the next day the five companies went in 
launches to Edisto Island. After landing we marched eight miles and en 
camped six miles from General Wright s headquarters, which place we reached 
on the 22d and remained until June 1st. 

On June 2d we crossed the North Edisto River on the steamer "Planter" 
and encamped on Johns Island. The rain fell for three days, the tide rose high 
and overflowed our camp in the night, and we were compelled to seek higher 
ground. On the 5th we marched 12 miles in the rain across Johns Island!, ar 
riving at Legreeville on the Stono River at night. Here we first saw Confederate 
prisoners; two were brought into camp. 

On June 9th the steamer "Mattano" landed us at G rimball s plantation on 
James Island. The next day Company F went on picket quite near the enemy, 
who in the afternoon attempted to capture some of our pickets, but was re 
pulsed. Their commander, Captain Williams, was mortally wounded and cap 
tured ; he had seven wounds and died soon after being captured. Captain Hills, 
with Companies H and I, rendered good service, and saved our pickets. 

The battle of Secessionville occurred June 16th, and our battalion was irt 
General Wright s division, under fire but not engaged. We remained on James 
Island until July 2d, when we went on board the steamer "Ben Duford " about 
10 A. M. and arrived at Hilton Head at 4 P. M. On July 9th we were reviewed 
by General Williams near Fort Walker. It was a hot day and several men 
dropped in the ranks from the effects of the heat. 

On July llth we moved camp to Elliott s plantation, four miles from Hilton 
Head. Companies A, B, C, D and E joined us on the 12th, and the regiment 
was united once more. The next day being Sunday, all attended services by 
our chaplain. We received pay while here to July 1st, and on the 17th received 
orders to go north. We marched to Hilton Head and encamped on the long 
wharf, and on the 18th the regiment went on board the steamer "Arago," and 
left the wharf at 12 :30 P. M. The weather was mild while passing Cape Hat- 
teras, and on the 20th we anchored at Fortress Monroe and the next day landed 
at Newport News, Va., where we saw the masts of the "Cumberland," which 
had been sunk by the "Merrimac," sticking out of the water. 

Second Lieutenant James E. Woodmansee of Company F resigned the 22d 
and started for home. On the 4th of August we embarked on board the "Elm 
City" and landed at Acquia Creek, Va., the following day. On the 6th we went 
on cars to Camp Wright at Brookes Station. This was a delightful camp 4 with 
plenty of shade and good water. On the 3d of September we went to Acquia 
Creek, and after burning all the buildings, embarked on board the steamer "Ex 
press" for Washington, D. C. We marched through Washington on the 7th on 

Formation of Company F 229 

our \vay to meet General Lee, who with the Confederate Army, had crossed 
the Potomac into Maryland. On the 13th we marched through Frederick while 
our drum corps played Yankee Doodle. We marched through Middletown on 
the 14th and up South Mountain, and became engaged with the enemy near the 
place where General Reno was killed. Colonel Welsh commanded our Brigade 
and General O. B. Wilcox the Division. Lieutenant Colonel John I. Curtin com 
manded our regiment which was armed with Harpers Ferry muskets, carrying 
a large ball and three buckshots and in close action were very destructive. In 
the terrific battle Company F lost Private James Kurd, killed, and Captain 
Gregg, Orderly Sergeant N. D. Guile, Sergeant Depuy Teeple, Corporal Isaac 
W. Cole, Privates James Kennedy and Wesley Gould, wounded. The regiment 
lost 136 men killed and wounded. There were 21 or more dead of our regi 
ment buried in a trench under a large chestnut tree in a field just back of the 
battle line. During the fight our drum corps was under the chestnut tree men 
tioned, near the temporary field hospital. A large limb was cut off by one of 
the enemy s shots and fell on the bass drum. During the thickest of the fight 
General O. B. Wilcox sat on his horse like a statue while the shots of the 
enemy cut the rails of the fence behind him into slivers. He had sent his aides 
to places of safety. The enemy was driven from the crest of the mountain;, 
leaving the dead unburied. The next day we marched toward Antietam Greek* 
over the battlefield in our front, and we often stepped aside to avoid the dead 
bodies of the enemy that by this time had turned black. We halted near An* 
tietam Creek and remained until the 17th. On the 16th a reporter for the New 
York "Tribune" came to Colonel Welsh s headquarters, and the colonel kicked 
him out of camp. In the "Tribune" of the 15th our regiment had been reported 
the Forty-fifth New York instead of the Forty-fifth Pennsylvania, and Colonel 
Welsh was very angry. 

On the 17th we were moved toward the left to support a battery on the east 
side of Antietam Creek. Late in the afternoon Colonel Hartranft s brigade 
forced the now famous Burnside Bridge. Colonel Welsh s brigade was the sec 
ond one to cross. We formed in line on the west bank of the creek, under a 
steep hill. Then we charged forward from hill to hollow where we would rest 
for a short time, and then forward again until we came near the old mill. General 
Stonewall Jackson arriving at this time from Harpers Ferry with his corps, the 
regiment was compelled to fall back to Antietam Creek where we remained until 
the 19th. When we were crossing the bridge the enemy s grape shot was rip 
ping the covering from the battlements on either side of the bridge. One mem 
ber of Company H was wounded soon after crossing and was carried on a 
stretcher back over the bridge to the field hospital, and while recrossing ,the 
bridge the man on the stretcher was struck by a piece of shell that exploded 
overhead. One of the most ghastly sights we beheld during the war was at 
this field hospital. A heap of amputated arms and legs thrown together, as 
many as 100, produced a feeling of horror. 

We remained quiet on the 18th. Our regiment lay at the mouth of a ravine 
extending up to the old mill mentioned before, and all day long some one kept 
firing down this ravine from the old mill. On the 19th we advanced through 
Sharpsburg. The enemy had gone, crossing the Potomac while the Union Army 
lay quiet on the 18th. The battlefield was covered with dead men and horses. 

230 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

The Confederates did not stop to bury their dead. In passing the old mill we 
took the miller prisoner. He was an old man and we having no proof that he 
did the shooting, he was set at liberty. 

In the Battle of Antietam, Company F had Sergeant Wesley Gould, Corporal 
Loren A. Webster, Privates Ellis P. Hotelling, Daniel C. Warren, Austin Rice 
and Obadiah Palmer wounded, the last two each lost a leg. We encamped near 
Sharpsburg until the 26th when we moved to Antietam Iron Works. Company 
F left a detail at Sharpsburg to help bury the dead. After the Battle of Antietam 
our regimental band was mustered out of service. On October 7th we marched 
over the mountain into Pleasant Valley and encamped. 

The Thirty-sixth Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteers joined us here and 
were attached to Colonel Welsh s brigade. The regiment on October llth went 
by rail from Knoxville, Md., to Frederick, to intercept the Confederate General 
J. E. B. Stuart, who had crossed into Maryland. We arrived in the city during 
the night, and when the citizens woke up the next morning they were not a 
little surprised. General Stuart avoided the city of Frederick this time. We re 
turned to Pleasant Valley on the 15th, having marched from Frederick. 

We broke up camp on October 26th, crossed the Potomac at Berlin, and 
marched through the rain to Lovettsville, Va. The next day Company F was 
detailed on picket duty. On the 29th we marched to Waterford where the mus 
ter and pay rolls were made out. We then marched along on the east side of 
the Blue Ridge through Philomont and Rectortown near Manassas Gap ; then 
through Orleans to Waterloo where we arrived on the 7th and remained untif 
the 15th. We then started for Fredericksburg in a race with the enemy. They 
were on the south side of the Rappahannock, and we \vere on the north. We 
marched through Sulphur Springs, Warrenton Junction, Elktown, and arrived 
at Falmouth Station opposite Fredericksburg on the 19th. Company F was de 
tailed to picket duty. We out-marched the enemy, but had no bridge to crdss 
the river. The pontoons did not arrive for several days. The Battle of Fred 
ericksburg commenced December llth. One hundred cannon on the north 
bank of the Rappahannock River opened fire. Not a house in the city could 
be seen all day owing to a dense fog. On the 12th the regiment crossed Ion 
a boat bridge opposite the city which had been laid under fire by the Fiitieth 
New York Engineers in the early morning. Several bullet holes had been shot 
through the boats and some men were working with bandages over their wounds. 
The regiment was stationed in the city near the river. There was heavy fight 
ing on our right and left during the 13th. Our regiment was under fire but 
not engaged, only three men in the regiment were wounded. We recrossed the 
river at midnight of the loth. The bridge was covered with boughs to prevent 
any noise made by our artillery and ammunition wagons being heard by the 
enemy. We returned to our old camp where we remained until February 10th, 
1863, when we went to Acquia Creek and there boarded the steamer "John A. 
Warner" and started down the Potomac on the morning of the llth, and the next 
day anchored in Hampton Roads. They were a jolly lot of boys on this trip. 

On the 13th we landed at Newport News and began building log cabins for 
winter quarters. Colonel Welsh was promoted brigadier general on the 15th, and 
Lieutenant Colonel John I. Curtin to colonel. On the 20th snow fell one foot 
deep, and on the 22d we broke camp and went on board the steamer "Mary 

Formation of Company F 231 

Washington," which took us to Baltimore, Md. From there we went on cars to 
Parkersburg on the Ohio River and then were put on board the stern wheel 
steamer "La Crosse/ and steamed down the Ohio to Cincinnati. We crossed the 
river to Covington, Ky., by boat as there was no bridge. General Grant s father 
was postmaster at Covington. We went via the Kentucky Central railroad to 
Paris, Ky., and encamped in the fair grounds on March 28th. 

Paris is the county seat of Bourbon County, a prosperous town in the midst 
of a good agricultural section. We found the people kind and loyal. Provisions 
were plenty and cheap; butter 15 cents a pound and eggs ten cents per dozen , 
and everything else in proportion. We received four months pay on the 1st of 
April, and with plenty of money and provisions cheap, Uncle Sam s rations 
were at a discount. We went on cars to Nicholasville on April 10th and 
marched to Camp Dick Robinson, arriving the llth. Camp Dick Robinson is a 
delightful place, in a grove of large trees, the surface level and an ideal place 
for a camp. While here the officers of the regiment presented Colonel Curtin 
with a horse. 

A. Girod, the fifer of Company A, could play the guitar, so the officers sub 
scribed money to buy one., An ambulance was provided and four of the drum 
corps went to Danville and secured a guitar. While we were looking around 
Danville some ladies of the woman s college beckoned us over to the building, 
invited us in and introduced us to the principal. We were shown around the 
buildings, and before the school was dismissed, taken into the school room. 
A lady presided at the piano and when a signal was given the scholars all arose 
and marched out keeping step to the music. After dismissal the young lady 
played and sang for our special benefit. We learned that some of the teachers 
were from Massachusetts and informed them that the Thirty-sixth Massa 
chusetts Regiment was at our camp. The next Saturday they drove to our 
camp to see friends they had in that regiment. 

At Camp Dick Robinson we found a number of refugees from Tennessee. 
One old man, Mr. Markham and his two daughters, had been forced to leave 
their home in Tennessee. One of the girls had a large scar on her neck made 
by a Rebel bayonet. The officers of our brigade contributed a purse for this 
family. Mr. Markham placed his two daughters with friends and started back 
with us to Tennessee, carrying a Burnside rifle. Before leaving Camp Dick 
Robinson Company F boxed up their overcoats and sent them to Cincinnati. 
Our muster and pay rolls were made out the 29th, and on the 30th we broke 
camp and marched to Stanford, 17 miles. It was a very warm day and every 
soldier had his knapsack well filled. At the first stop for rest the boys began 
to unload, casting their superfluous clothing in the road 1 . Two men passing in 
a buggy were completely covered, horse and all, with clothing and blankets. 

On May 1st we marched to Hustonville. Company F hired a farmer and 
team to haul its knapsacks. On the 2d we marched to Middleburg and returned 
to Hustonville on the llth. At this place we had a delightful camp in a shady 
grove. On May 19th the citizens gave the rank and file of the regiment a picnic, 
supplying tables well loaded with good things. Our officers did picket duty dur 
ing the day. The officers were entertained in the evening with refreshments 
and a dance. It was quite a contrast between our soldiering here and the 

232 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

soldiering we did later in front of Petersburg. We were visited here by Colonel 
Wolford of the First Kentucky Cavalry, and Colonel Fry, the man who shot 
Zollicoffer. Each delivered an address. 

On May 23d we marched to Liberty and from there to Columbia, and on the 
30th reached Jamestown. The inhabitants called it "Jimtown." We were en 
camped on a hill near the town, and one morning early a company of Confed 
erate cavalry dashed past our pickets and came in sight of our camp. The long 
roll was sounded and the enemy discovering our camp, made haste to get away. 
One of their number was captured, his horse having been injured. 

We soon received orders to go to Vicksburg, Miss., and started on June 
4th. Marching through Columbia and Campbellville, we arrived at Lebanon the 
6th, and received two months pay on the 7th. 

We went by rail to Louisville, crossed the Ohio River, and took cars north 
to Seymour, Ind., where we changed cars and went west to Sandoval, 111., and 
then south, reaching Cairo in the night. All along the route people came from 
both sides of the railroad to see the troops pass. The weather was fine, and we 
sometimes rode on top of the cars. The young ladies along the road had pre 
pared bouquets with cards attached, having names and addresses requesting the 
soldiers receiving them to write. After our arrival in Mississippi many of the 
boys wrote to girls in Indiana and Illinois. 

One day in East Tennessee an officer came to our camp who said he was 
Captain Jack of some Indiana regiment who had just escaped being captured 
near Cumberland Gap. He asked for Captain Trout, who at that time was on 
picket duty away from camp. So Captain Jack said to me : "Tell Captain Trout 
that he is corresponding with my sister in Little Washington, Ind." 

At Cairo Company F and the regiment went on board the steamer "Sally 
List," and started down the Mississippi River, reaching Memphis, Tenn., the 
llth. We went on shore and encamped near the city. Our duties were light, 
so we practiced the manual of arms by the tap of the drum, no commands being 
given. On the 17th we started on our journey down the river, and! stopped 
for the night at the mouth of White River, Ark. The next day we ran to Lake 
Providence, and tied up for the night. On the 19th we touched at Young s Point, 
La., and then ran up the Yazoo River to Haines Bluff, Miss., landed and marched 
to Milldale, where we encamped. 

Two divisions of the Ninth Army Corps had been sent to Vicksburg to pro 
tect General Grant from a rear attack by Confederate General J. E. Johnston, 
who was gathering an army to relieve General Pemberton, so we were placed 
in rear of Vicksburg, where we dug rifle pits and built breastworks facing ea&t. 

On July 4th, with the news of the surrender of Vicksburg, we received or 
ders to pack up and marched eight miles toward the Big Black River, whi ch 
we crossed on the 7th and marched in the rain until 9 P. M. Between Vicksburg 
and Jackson we passed Joe Davis plantation and halted to rest opposite the 
house. (Mr. Davis was a brother of the President of the Southern Confederacy). 
Several soldiers went into the house which had been deserted by its occupants, 
and found books and other things scattered over the floor. One soldier was play 
ing the piano and others were looking at their reflection in the large mirrors. 
After proceeding a short distance Lieutenant Scndder, who had been reading a 

Formation of Company F 233 

book while resting, found that he had left his blouse. He sent one of his com 
pany back to get it, saying to him, "Don t set that house on fire." After the man, 
with the blouse, joined us our attention was called to a volume of black smoke 
in the rear, and looking back we saw Davis house in flames. 

The weather was extremely warm, the men carrying only one-half of a 
shelter tent, a rubber blanket, canteen and haversack. Water was scarce and 
difficult to get. The enemy had driven cattle in places where there was water 
and shot them, making the water unfit to drink. The inhabitants had taken 
everything from the wells along the route, so we tied strings together and tied a 
cup or pail on the string to get water from the wells. One woman was very bit 
ter against the Yanks. She said "Lee is giving it to you uns in Pennsylvania." 
None of us thought that General Lee was in Pennsylvania. How this woman 
knew we could not tell. It took two weeks for letters from Pennsylvania to 
reach us. Our mules, after going into camp, often would cry for water so that 
sleep was almost impossible. 

Sometimes we marched until midnight as the evenings were cooler. Along 
side of the road was a rail fence with stakes and riders. While marching at 
night we often passed soldiers stretched out on top of the riders eight feet above 
the ground with their haversacks for a pillow and covered over with their rub 
ber blankets. They were out of the reach of snakes and other reptiles. On the 
10th of July we passed the insane asylum, and when about three miles from 
Jackson a line of battle was formed. Our regiment was formed in front as 
skirmishers and drove the enemy about two miles. On July llth our regiment 
was still on the skirmish line. Sergeant Richard Humphrey had been promoted 
to second lieutenant of our company. He had shoulder straps on his blouse and 
used a bayonet in place of a sword. During the day Sergeant Lewis F. Hill of 
Company F was severely wounded in the shoulder resulting in his death on the 
14th. Lieutenant Humphrey went back to a house in the rear of the line where 
the drum corps was, to get some of them to carry Sergeant Hill to the hospital. 
The writer went with Drummer J. H. Guile and two others, out to the skirmish 
line. We placed Sergeant Hill on a stretcher and started for the rear. Lieutenant 
Humphrey passed on to the front, expecting to find his company, and talked 
with me as he went forward. While Lieutenant Humphrey was absent from his 
company the regiment received orders to move by the right flank. Six com 
panies on the right of the regiment received the order and obeyed while the four 
companies on the left remained in their places, not having heard the order. This 
left a gap where Company F had been when Lieutenant Humphrey went to the 
rear. Our skirmishers had been pressing the enemy back all day, and the lieu 
tenant no doubt thought the company and regiment had advanced and so went 
forward. He came to an open space in the woods, near the enemy s pickets, 
which were behind a low bank, and some trees, and was shot in the forehead 
and killed instantly. On the 14th a flag of truce for two hours was announced, 
and Lieutenant Scndder and the writer went over to the enemy s lines and 
talked with the major of a Mississippi regiment, who said that a dead body lay 
between the lines, and that the man might have been captured as he was appar 
ently unarmed and alone. We went to the dead body, found it to be Lieutenant 
Humphrey, and procuring shovels, dug a trench alongside the body, pulled it in 
and hastily covered it while the pickets of the enemy stood only a short distance 

234 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

away watching us. The truce having already expired we made haste to our 
lines, and firing immediately began. 

Jackson was evacuated on the 17th and we started for the city. A board 
marked with name, company and regiment was placed at Lieutenant Humphrey s 
grave. We marched into the city and placed our regimental flag on top of the 
State Capitol, and then marched 12 miles north toward Canton. 

On the 18th we destroyed the railroad at Tugalo and burned the station. 
We marched back to Jackson on the 19th and the next day started for Vicks- 
burg. We reached the Big Black River and crossed on the 22d. Savillion Davall 
of Company F, who was sick when we left Jackson, died in an ambulance and 
was buried on the west side of the river. We arrived at our old camp near 
Milldale at noon of the 23d, having marched 15 miles since morning. A large 
number of the regiment were sick with chills and fever. 

About August 1st orders were received to go north. On the 4th we marched 
to the landing, and on the 5th our whole brigade, including DurelPs Battery went 
on board the side wheel steamer "Hiawatha" and started up the river in the 
evening. We arrived at Cairo, 111., on the 10th; then went on cars at midnight 
and arrived at Cincinnati, O., on the evening of the 12th. We crossed the river 
to Covington, Ky., and went into camp, and on the 18th received two months 

George Schermerhorn of Company F had been detailed as teamster in di 
vision quartermaster s department (Captain Austin Curtin), and was present 
and signed the pay roll on August 17th, but when the company was paid he 
could not be found. Captain Gregg sent his pay to his wife at Equinunk, Pa. 
The man has never been heard from since. It is thought that he was murdered 
in Covington, Ky. While we were encamped near Covington, Brigadier Gen 
eral Thomas Welsh died in Cincinnati, O., on August 14th, 1863. We broke 
camp and went on cars to Nicholasville and encamped for a few days, and while 
at this camp Private John Campbell of Company F died and was buried in a 
churchyard at Nicholasville, Ky. 

We soon resumed our march through Camp Dick Robinson and Lancaster, 
arriving at Crab Orchard on the 29th. On the 10th of September we marched 
to Mount Vernon, Ky. The citizens had raised the American flag with the blue 
field down, and after we had passed Colonel Curtin sent back word to reverse 
their flag. We marched through Wild Cat, crossing the Rock Castle through 
London and Barboursville to the Cumberland River where we received pay for 
July and August. Before reaching Cumberland -Gap we met about 2,000 Con 
federate prisoners who had been captured there. On the 20th we marched 
through Cumberland Gap, then through Tazewell, Tenn., and crossed the Powell 
River on a bridge. We waded the Clinch and Holston Rivers and marching 
through Morristown, we reached Knoxville the 26th. 

On October 3d we went on cars to Bull s Gap, and marched to Blue Springs 
or Midway Station, where on the 10th we fought and defeated the enemy under 
command of "MudwalP Jackson. Christopher Teeple and Zephaniah Worden 
of Company F were wounded in the engagement. We followed the enemy 
through Greenville, Tenn., where we saw Andrew Johnson s tailor shop. We re 
turned to Midway Station, took cars to Knoxville, and on the 20th started for 

Formation of Company F 235 

At Louden, on October 31, Company F was detailed to go to Lenoir s steam 
sawmill for the purpose of sawing lumber for a boat bridge. Company F furnished 
all the mechanics required, except two engineers who were sent from another 
regiment. We began work at the mill on November 1st. There was a forest 
of large pine trees on the property, which were cut down and made into logs ; 
ox teams were pressed into service to haul the logs to the mill, where they were 
sawed into plank for the bridge. 

A feed mill was attached to the sawmill which was used for grinding corn 
and feed. The nearby inhabitants brought small grists of corn to be ground into 
meal. Captain Gregg placed the writer in charge of this mill. One day an old 
man came to the mill with a bag of corn and insisted on having it ground while 
others who had preceded him should wait. He was informed that he must wait 
his turn. The writer learned from Captain Gregg afterward that the old man 
was Mr. Lenoir, the owner of the property. 

The bridge, 800 feet long, was finished on the 13th and laid across the Ten 
nessee River. General Longstreet had been sent by General Bragg to drive Gen 
eral Burnside out of Tennessee. Longstreet had crossed the Tennessee below 
Louden, sd the bridge was destroyed and Company F ordered to join the regi 
ment below Louden. 

Lieutenant Scudder had been detailed assistant provost marshall of First 
Brigade, First Division, Ninth Army Corps, and Captain Gregg of Company F 
had left the mill a few days before with an ox team load for Knoxville. So 
Company F was in command of Orderly Sergeant A. D. Campbell. After leaving 
the mill on our way to join the regiment General Burnside passed, and taking 
us for stragglers, did some scolding. We did not answer the general but kept 
on and joined the regiment below Louden. The enemy was crossing the river 
below and we were ordered back to Lenoir Station. The roads were very muddy 
and the wheels of the artillery (Lieutenant Benjamin s 32 pounders), sank so 
deep in the mud that the soldiers took hold of the traces to help pull them out. 

At Lenoir s Station the regiment formed in line of battle on the crest of a 
ridge, and sent out pickets, which soon came in contact with those of the enemy, 
which was heard during the early part of the night forming camp on the opposite 
side of the ridge. During the night our regimental quartermaster destroyed 
books, provisions and everything that would prevent haste, and just before day 
light the regiment started for Knoxville with the enemy following closely. We 
made a stand at Campbells Station and held the enemy until night, and then un 
der cover of darkness retreated to Knoxville, where at day light of the 17th Com 
pany F was sent to support the Second New York Battery at the Seminary. The 
next day we made holes for rifles in a large brick house on the west side of town, 
owned by a Mr. Powell, who claimed to be loyal and expected to be remunerated 
by the U. S. Government. The next two days we were on the skirmish line near 
the river below the city, and between the lines some distance to our right stood a 
house occupied by Rebel sharp shooters whose shots annoyed our troops. One 
evening after dark the Seventeenth Michigan charged and drove them out setting 
the house on fire, and while the house was burning the enemy shelled our lines. 

During the siege we were put on quarter rations. Our bread, made of bran, 
was black and heavy, and as we could buy but little food of the citizens we some 
times went hungry. 

236 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

All the trees had been cut down in front of the line of breastworks, with 
their stumps left about two feet high, and telegraph wires stretched from stump 
to stump in every direction. 

On November 29th a picked division of Longstreet s men charged on Fort 
Sanders at daylight, and was repulsed with heavy loss, while the Union loss was 
light. Our regiment was some distance to the left of this fort and was not en 
gaged. The writer went over to the fort after the engagement and saw numbers 
of Confederate dead laying among the wires stretched to trip them. It was a very 
cold, frosty morning and nearly all were bare-footed. A truce was obtained to 
bury the dead and exchange prisoners, and during this truce two picket lines 
were shaking hands and exchanging pocket-knives and tobacco. 

On December 5th the enemy withdrew from our front, and we followed them 
the 7th, arriving at Rutledge on the 9th. While in Knoxville we were on short 
rations, and when the boys got out among the farmers they did not spare pigs or 
sheep, and some would come into camp with a quarter of a pig or sheep on their 

Reuben Schnarr of Company F had been detailed as miller and sent to a mill 
near Cumberland Gap, and was captured by the enemy on the 14th with J. B. 
Emery of Company I, and others, and died in Andersonville, Ga. 

We fell back to Blaines Crossroads on the 15th and encamped. While at 
this camp our commissary ran out of coffee, so we procured wheat from a farmer, 
roasted and used it as a substitute. While at Blaines Crossroads the regiment on 
January 1st, 1864, reenlisted as veteran volunteers. All that were present of Com 
pany F reenlisted except five, and four of them were temporarily transferred to 
the Seventy-ninth New York Regiment, and Morris Eldred, too old to reenlist, 
was allowed to go home with the company. From Christmas until after New 
Year s the weather was very cold, and as we had no opportunity during the siege 
of Knoxville to get clothing, quite a number were without shoes. Some of the 
boys without shoes brought raw hides to the old shoemaker, Morris Eldred, and 
asked him to make shoes of them. He told them that he could not make shoes 
of raw hides. A number of the boys made moccasins out of the raw hides, for 
on our march over the mountains we found them left along the road the first two 
days. After the moccasins fell off their feet they must have marched barefooted 
through snow and ice, but they were on their way home, and the thought of home 
kept their spirits up. 

The regiment started from Elaine s Crossroads on January 16th with joyous 
feelings to march 200 miles over mountains and rivers before reaching a railroad. 
The weather had moderated by this time and we saw men plowing their fields as 
we passed. Along the road, as far as Cumberland Gap, lay dead horses and mules, 
so thick that we were seldom out of sight of one or more, and Colonel Curtin had 
difficulty in getting his horse to pass them. 

We marched through Cumberland Gap on January 20th, and after passing 
over the mountain, went into camp at its foot. We built a large fire alongside 
of a fallen tree and lay down with our feet to the fire, covered with our woolen 
blankets. We slept well and woke up the next morning to find ourselves covered 
with about one foot of snow which had fallen during the night. After breakfast 
the regiment started on the march in Indian file, and marched to Nicholasville. 

Formation of Company F 237 

Ky., where we took cars to Covington. We made out our muster rolls in the 
hotels of Cincinnati, and were paid about the 4th of February, each soldier hav 
ing from $200 to $300 in his possession. 

We went on cars to Harrisburg, Pa., where we left our arms and equipment 
on February 9th, and received veteran furlough for 30 days, each soldier going to 
his home where the time was spent in visiting friends and neighbors, and recount 
ing our experiences during two and one-half years in the service of Uncle Sam. 

At the expiration of the veteran furlough, the company returned to Harris- 
burg, March 9th, 1864. On the 10th Lieutenant Scudder, Corporal W. H. Neer, 
and Isaac Chamberlain and the writer were detailed on recruiting service by or 
der of General Burnside. Isaac Chamberlain went to Tioga County and the oth 
ers to Wayne County. The regiment went to Annapolis, Md., where it remained 
until May 1st. 

N. D. Guile of Company F died April 12th in hospital at Annapolis, and his 
body in charge of his son, J. H. Guile, was sent home. 

The regiment with the Ninth Corps went to Washington and was reviewed 
by President Lincoln. It crossed the Rapidan to the Wilderness, where on May 
6th Company F lost Private A. J. Hopkins, killed; Sergeant J. T. Brazie, Cor 
poral Jonas Kilburn and Privates John Mooney, C. W. Parker, Joseph W. Blough, 
Wm. Young, John F. M. Barfield, Samuel Christner, wounded. John D. Palmer 
was wounded on May 17th. The regiment was engaged with the enemy at 
Spottsylvania May 12th and lost Privates Lyman H. Saxon, Henry Burkheiser, 
James Kennedy, John Otto and James S. Rock, wounded. The latter died of his 
wounds June 9th. Lieutenant Scudder, Corporal Neer and the writer were re 
lieved from recruiting service on May 1st and went to Philadelphia to settle our 
accounts. It was necessary for Lieutenant Scudder to go back to Wayne County 
to get the oath of allegiance of the landlord where we boarded. This delayed us 
some time and after settlement we went on to Washington, and from there to 
Fredericksburg, Va., where we visited the hospitals and saw a large number of 
our wounded from Spottsylvania and the Wilderness. We had in our party Lieu 
tenant Scudder, Sergeant Gould, Corporal Neer, Drummer J. H. Guile, Private 
James Kennedy and L. W. Lord of Company F, Sergeant J. B. Emery of Com 
pany I, and a number of others of different regiments. We joined the company 
May 26th on the "North Ann." Upon joining the company the writer took a 
musket and went into the ranks. We crossed the Pamunky the 29th and marched 
to a place near Bethesda Church, where Company F went on picket the 2d of 
June. Lieutenant Scudder was put in command of Company H, there being no 
commissioned officers of that company present. On June 3d the Battle of Cold 
Harbor commenced early in the morning. Company F was ordered to the line of 
battle and was sent to the right of the regiment, and later still farther to the ex 
treme right of the line in a grove of timber w r here we had oak trees for shelter. 
Some of the enemy were concealed behind buildings in a field, and would shoot 
at us from the corner of the buildings, their shots mostly going over our heads, 
and as soon as they saw our smoke, would dodge behind the buildings. 

We were some distance apart, yet our shot cut the corner of the building, as 
we ascertained the next day. While behind a tree the writer saw smoke arise 
some distance to our left, and fired a shot or two in that direction. Soon the 
writer heard something rattle and looking down found a bullet hole through a 

Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

quart cup hanging to his haversack. Soon another shot from the same direction 
struck the roots of the tree. A third shot went through his blouse which caused 
him to hug the tree a little closer. Some of the boys to the right began firing at 
this same Johnny, and made it so hot that he jumped up and ran to a safer place. 

The line of battle on our left was in an open field, the enemy s line being on 
the farther side near the woods. The Confederate General Ewell s Corps was in 
our front, and the two lines being some distance apart, fought this way nearly all 
day. Late in the afternoon we \vere ordered to join the regiment which was some 
distance to our left, and we found it a hot place, near the spot where Lieutenant 
Scudder had been killed. Here the two lines were only a short distance apart, 
and as soon as it grew dark, and the firing ceased we threw up breastworks. 
On the morning of the 4th we found the enemy had withdrawn from our front 
during the night, leaving their dead partly buried and also one of the caissons of 
the Twenty-second Virginia Battery between the lines. Company F lost First 
Lieutenant George P. Scndder, killed, and Corporal Francis Seeley, Privates 
Mason K. Whipple, Moses Merrick, Wheeler O. Merrick and Michael Mooney, 
wounded. While on picket duty June 7th, Christopher Teeple of Company F was 
wounded in the hand, causing the loss of two fingers. About June 1st some boys 
of our regiment visited a vacant house near our camp and found buried in an 
outhouse and cellar several hundred dollars in gold and silver. It was mostly 
silver and would have filled a peck measure. After this battle we marched to 
ward Whitehouse Landing, and thence to James River, crossing the Chickahom- 
iny on Jones Bridge, and on the 15th we crossed the James River on a: pontoon 
bridge, and then marched all night toward City Point, reaching the front on the 
16th. We were in Colonel Curtin s Brigade and General Potter s Division. Cap 
tain Gregg of Company F commanded the regiment. 

At about three o clock the morning of June 17th the company, regiment and 
division, charged on a Confederate redoubt near the Shand House, capturing four 
guns, 650 prisoners, about 1,500 muskets and four stands of colors. On June 18th 
the regiment charged across the Norfolk Railroad, where Privates John S. Shafer 
and Henry Thomas of Company F were wounded. We passed on to lower ground 
and were under cover. 

On the 19th of June the writer was detailed clerk at regimental headquar 
ters. Captain Gregg of Company F had been in command of the regiment since 
June 7th. On June 21st, Orderly Sergeant A. D. Campbell was promoted to the 
rank of second lieutenant of Company F and commanded the company. 

Sergeant Wm. H. Childs of Company B, a fine young man of good habits, 
had been promoted to a lieutenancy in Company F, but had not been mustered. 
On June 22d the writer was sent out to the picket line by Lieutenant Colonel 
Hills, who was on the sick list, to get from adjutant Calvin S. Budding some 
papers to enable Childs to be mustered as lieutenant of Company F. Captain 
Gregg, who was in command of the pickets, and the adjutant were lying down in 
a pit about seven feet square and two feet deep for protection against the bullets 
of the enemy that were constantly flying through the air. The two lines of pick 
ets were only a short distance from each other and each protected by a low bank 
of earth. As soon as the captain saw me he said : "For God s sake, get down." 
I dropped into the pit and looking up saw Sergeant Childs standing on its edge 
looking at the two picket lines which ran through an open field. He was told !to 

Formation of Company F 

get down, but before he had time to do so a bullet struck him and he fell dead on 
the edge of the pit, and the writer in order to get out safely, was compelled to 
crawl over his dead body. Why he had followed me out to the picket line was 
a mystery to all. 

From June 22d to July 30th the regiment did picket duty nearly every other 
day on the front line opposite the Confederate fort which was being mined by 
the Forty-eighth Pennsylvania Regiment of our Brigade. A short distance in front 
of our breastworks stood a cedar tree about one foot in diameter, and the bul 
lets of the enemy often striking its limbs would glance and wound our men. Cap 
tain Richards of Company G suggested that it be shot down. The fire of our men 
was concentrated on one spot on the tree for a day or two when it fell. 

A shaft was dug down to the mine just behind our breastworks and a fire 
kept at the bottom to create a draft for the purpose of ventilating the mine. A 
small fire was kept up behind the breastwork at the top of the shaft, where the 
smoke came up ; also other fires along the line to deceive the enemy who could 
see our every move, as the lines were not far apart at this point. The breastworks 
were covered with bags of sand with small openings between to fire through, and 
often the enemy would shoot into these holes and wound our men. Corporal 
Nathaniel Bloom and Private Henry Lord of Company F \vere shot in their faces 
through these holes, and every day that we occupied the front line our men were 

Our camp and headquarters were in a wood where the regiment camped when 
not on the front line, but were not out of reach of the enemy s bullets, as occa 
sionally a shot came into our camp. One day our sutler, Henry Starr, came to 
our camp and remained over night sleeping with the writer under a shelter tent, 
and in the morning we found a bullet hole through the tent just about one foot 
above our bodies. This being too near the Johnnies for the sutler, he went back 
to City Point. 

When this camp was established we dug a well, placing a guard over it, and 
on the 24th of July, Private Reuben Bailey of Company F, while getting water at 
the well was shot, the bullet passing nearly through his body and was cut out of 
his back by the surgeon. 

One day in July, while at this camp, Macaiah Scudder, a young brother of 
Lieutenant Scudder, who was killed on June 3d, came to visit friends he had in 
Company F. "Mack," as we called him, was employed by Wheelock, a sutler, and 
occasionally came to see us. This day the company was on duty on the front 
line opposite the mined fort, so Mack and the writer went out to the front line, 
and while there one of the sergeants loaded his gun for Mack to fire a shot at 
the Johnnies, which he did and was answered by a shot which went between him 
and the sergeant, very close to both. We returned to camp, Scudder having the 
satisfaction of firing a shot at the enemy who had caused the death of his brother. 

A few days before the explosion of the mine, a detail from each company of 
our regiment was made to carry powder into the mine. On July 30th the mine 
was exploded. The fuse was lighted before daylight but failed to go off, and after 
a half hour had expired, two men of the Forty-eighth Pennsylvania volunteered to 
ascertain the cause. They found that the fuse had gone out, and after relight 
ing it, came out and soon the explosion occurred, but valuable time had been lost. 

240 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

The artillery opened fire a half hour before the advance was made by our troops. 
When the explosion occurred, the enemy on either side of the mined fort fell back 
from their line, but before our troops charged their line, they had returned to 
their places, and as our troops advanced, gave them an enfilading fire from right 
and left. Captain Gregg, who commanded the regiment at the time, said in his 
report : "The effective strength of the Forty-fifth Regiment was 210 men. I left 
100 men on the skirmish line under command of Captain Fessler of Company K, 
and marched the remainder back to a wood." After the explosion, the regiment 
charged across the field under a severe fire from right and left, Lieutenant A. D. 
Campbell commanding Company F, was shot in the elbow of right arm, while 
leading his company, and Orderly Sergeant Gilbert Vanduser had one eye shot 
out. Sergeant Francis Seeley and Corporal George W. Hains of Company F 
were killed in the trenches beyond the crater of the mined fort, where there was a 
hand to hand fight with the enemy. Corporal Wheeler O. Merrick and Private 
Flynn of Company F were also wounded in this fight, and Captain Gregg ran a 
Confederate officer through with a sword. 

About 2 P. M. the remainder of the regiment fell back to our old line. Cap 
tain Gregg says in his report: "I charged upon the enemy s works with 110 
men. Of that number six were killed, 22 wounded, and 39 missing. Among the 
missing are Captain Dibeler, Captain Richards, and Lieutenants Van Valin, Catlin 
and Seeley." He further says, "All the officers and men that were with me in 
the engagement are deserving of great praise for their noble conduct and bearing." 

The monthly report of Company F for July, 1864, shows 20 enlisted men 
present for duty, 42 absent, sick and wounded, one prisoner of war and six on 
detached duty. 

In this engagement Corporal Frank Hogan of Company A captured the flag 
of the Sixth Virginia Confederate Regiment, and received a medal from the Gov 
ernment. We remained in this position until August 19th when we moved to the 
left and occupied the front line near the enemy. On August 31st the regiment 
was occupying the front line near the Weldon Railroad. After the explosion of 
the mine Company F was left in command of Sergeant Wesley Gould, and in 
August, Lieutenant William K. Whitlock of Company D, was put in command of 
it. Some time in September our camp lay behind substantial breastworks running 
through a grove of timber near the Yellow House. 

General Grant and staff came riding through our camp and looking at the 
timber said, "You will have plenty of fire wood for the winter." In a few days 
we were on the march. Company F received 23 recruits on September 25th. 
While Captain Gregg was in command of the regiment, our boys called him 
"Major." On the 29th of September he was promoted to lieutenant colonel of the 
regiment, and Lieutenant R. C. Cheeseman of Company A, to captain of Company 
F. Twenty-eight of Company F had petitioned Major Gregg that the writer be 
made captain of the company. On the 30th of September the regiment marched 
to Peebles farm and became engaged with the enemy about 4 P. M., but were 
flanked on the left and compelled to fall back. They rallied twice and fired but 
were flanked again by the enemy s cavalry, which captured Captain Cheeseman, 
22 enlisted men of Company F, and a large number of the regiment, including 
Lieutenant Colonel Gregg and Major Trout. Privates John Braithwait and Wil- 

Formation of Company F 241 

liam H. Kain of Company F were killed and Private Baman Williams of Com 
pany F wounded. 

On the morning of September 30th, when the regiment received orders to 
march to the left, Sergeant Major Jacob Meese and the writer were sent by Colonel 
Gregg back to the wagons to get the blank monthly returns and other papers. 
After we returned and while trying to find our regiment, we went to the front 
until the bullets flew so thick that we with others fell back to a safer place where 
we found two or three members of Company F, who informed us that the larger 
part of the regiment had been captured. We gathered the stragglers together and 
those who had escaped being captured, and the next morning the writer was placed 
in command of the pickets of our regiment. We were on the picket line two days 
and nights, and near the enemy s lines where we saw them relieve their pickets. 
They would place men from different states on the same post. They could not 
trust the men from North Carolina or Tennessee, so one or two men from a 
South Carolina, Georgia or Mississippi Regiment were left on each post to pre 
vent desertions, as we could tell by the difference in their uniforms. 

Some of the old officers that did not re-enlist nor go into the fight with 
the regiment were still with us and remained until the expiration of their term. 
The writer had been commissioned first lieutenant of Company F and as soon 
as there was an opportunity was mustered in. Our camp was on the front 
line near a tall pine tree used as a signal station, and after Fort Fisher was 
built, a tall lattice work tower was built for the signal corps. All who did not re- 
enlist as veteran volunteers, were mustered out of service October 20th and 
started for home. 

Quartermaster Haynes had turned over to the writer his camp, clothing 
and garrison equipage, and the adjutant his office, so the writer was regimental 
commander, quartermaster and adjutant all at the same time. At the end of 
each month there were five different returns to be made out, and having been 
company clerk for a long time and three months clerk at regimental headquar 
ters, he had no difficulty with his returns. 

At the time the writer became commander of the regiment, every company 
was commanded by a sergeant or a corporal. Sergeant Joseph Funk had com 
mand of Company A, Sergeant Boggs of Company D, Sergeant Kelly of Com 
pany G, and Corporal Jonas Kilburn of Company F. Commanders of other 
companies I do not recall, but they were good men, and the regiment having 
been mostly captured with some killed and others wounded, the sergeants of the 
different companies got their company records in good shape, so that every man 
in the regiment was accounted for, and the pay rolls and monthly returns for 
September and October were correctly made out. On October 31st the writer 
was inspection officer and his report will be found on the muster rolls of every 

One day there was to be a review of the brigade. The writer went to General 
Curtin s headquarters and requested him to send an officer to conduct the 
regiment on the review. He said: "Oh! You can do it." So the writer obeyed 
orders and conducted the regiment on this review. A large number of sick 
and wounded had returned to the regiment from hospitals, so in numbers we 
made a fair showing. The majority of the regiment were veterans and could 

242 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

pass in review as well with sergeants in command as commissioned officers. 
Every company except A was in command of a noncommissioned officer on this 

About the last of October our first quartermaster, Lieutenant McClure, was 
delivered in my care, under arrest. He occupied a cot in my tent and was 
allowed the liberty of the camp, and when general election day came, the regi 
ment being small, only one polling place was appointed for the regiment. McClure 
was selected as judge, and two inspectors appointed, both politicial parties be 
ing represented, so every soldier had the privilege of voting as he wished and 
none were influenced by their officers. The picket line of the enemy was not 
far away, and several times during the day we heard them cheer for McClellan, 
but that did not have much influence on our boys, as only 19 votes were polled 
for McClellan in the regiment. 

We broke camp November 28th and marched to the rear of Fort Rice 
where we remained until April 2d, 1865. On December 10th our regiment was 
ordered to attend a hanging of two men of the One Hundred and Seventy-ninth 
New York Volunteers, whose crime was deserting to the enemy. Many of the 
recruits who had recently joined us shed tears. The same day we received 
four days full rations and in light marching order the regiment fell in about 
5 P. M., and marched 20 miles on the Jerusalem plank road to Nottaway River 
to assist the Fifth Corps, said to have been cut off by the enemy. We returned 
to camp at 4 P. M., the next day, not having been engaged. Company F re 
ceived 22 recruits during December, 1864. 

On December 17th the writer was promoted to captain of Company A in 
place of Captain W. W. Tyson, who was mustered out October 20th. 

Captain Cheeseman of Company F returned to the regiment December 25th 
from the prison pens of the South, and being the ranking officer present, as 
sumed command of the regiment. 

After January 1st, 1865, there were two recruits in Company F, who a 
short time before, had belonged to a North Carolina Confederate Regiment. 
They proved to be good soldiers, willing to do any camp duty, but asked to 
be excused from doing picket duty on the front line, as their old regiment lay 
in our immediate front and if captured they would be shot. They were ex 
cused from this duty. 

Second Lieutenant A. D. Campbell of Company F was discharged Decem 
ber 15th, 1864, on account of wounds received July 30th in the elbow 7 joint. 
The surgeons at the field hospital wanted to amputate his arm but he begged 
so hard to save it that they removed five inches of bone, including the elbow 
joint, saving the arm and his life. 

While at this camp the writer was placed in charge of a detail to dig a 
covered way from Fort Rice to the picket line. This work could only be 
done after dark when the enemy could not see us, and while we were at work 
the pickets on both sides kept up a desultory firing all through the night. We 
dug in an oblique direction toward the picket line, setting up on the side of the 
trench next to the enemy willow baskets called "gabions," and filling them with 
sand from the trench which ran zigzag toward the line. This covered way, as it 
was called, enabled us to go to and from the picket line with orders, hot 

Formation of Company F 243 

coffee or to bring back the wounded without being seen by the enemy. Sev 
eral times during the winter the writer was detailed brigade officer of the day 
and part of his duty was to visit the picket line in front of the brigade once 
each during the day and night. This duty was attended with some danger, as 
there was almost constant firing between the two picket lines during the night, 
which were within talking distance of each other opposite Fort Sedgwick, 
called by our boys "Fort Hell." It had been agreed by both sides that there 
should be no firing done while the pickets were being relieved, and each side 
relieved their pickets at the same time about 4 P. M. One day the writer being on 
the picket line as brigade officer of the day, while the pickets were being re 
lieved, saw a squad of about 30 Union pickets march across the open field 
toward the front line in plain sight of the enemy s artillery men, stationed on 
a rise of ground some distance in the rear of their line. These artillery men 
fired a shrapnell which struck one of the men in the head and exploded leav 
ing the body headless. The shell was filled with iron balls which scattered in 
all directions and wounded a number of men. A surgeon was sent for and a 
stretcher to carry one man severely wounded, to the rear. The last time the 
writer served as brigade officer of the day in front of Petersburg, 17 men 
deserted the enemy s lines during the night and some of them brought their 

On February 1st, Sergeant Major Jacob Meese was promoted to second lieu 
tenant of Company F. On the 18th of February the writer was detailed on 
court martial duty. Court was held in Fort Davis and no soldier was shot 
by the order of this court, but a lieutenant of the Seventh Rhode Island Regi 
ment was dismissed for cowardice. 

On March 25th the attack on Fort Steadman, a short distance to our right, 
brought the regiment into line in our quarters where we remained until after 

Captain Cheeseman of Company F and Captain Lord of Company A, jointly 
made applications to the Secretary of War to be transferred to their original 
companies and were so transferred by special order No. 143, Extract No. 59, A. 
G. O,, Washington, D. C, March 24th, 1865, and each went home with the 
company he enlisted in. April 1st about 50 men of the regiment were on the 
picket line in front of and to the right of Fort Rice, and at dark the writer 
received orders from brigade headquarters to take Companies F and G and re- 
enforce the pickets on the front line. There had been heavy firing all day 
on the extreme left and the enemy s pickets in our front being unusually quiet, 
the impression prevailed that a large part of the enemy s troops in our front 
had been withdrawn and sent to their right. My instructions were that at a 
certain signal we were to mount the breastworks and go over to the enemy s line. 
This undertaking if carried out would have required courage as the enemy might 
have been "playing possum." These instructions were imparted to the pickets 
who were ready and willing to obey orders. 

Lieutenant Meese was in command of Company F, but who was in com 
mand of Company G or the old pickets on the line I do not remember. The 
pickets believed the enemy to be still in our front. To find out the men were 
ordered to load and give them a volley, to which there was no answer, but 

244 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

a second volley brought a reply but nothing like the challenge we sent them. 
We did not get the signal to charge but before daylight received orders to 
join the regiment, and upon arriving at the camp found the regiment had 
gone to take its place in line for the charge on the enemy s works. The men 
were told to make coffee while the writer would try and locate the regiment. 
While going toward the front, to the left of Fort Rice through some fallen 
timber, the works were assaulted and the shot from the enemy s guns tore 
through the air and fallen timber with terrible noise. The writer hastened 
back to his command and found them in line ready for orders. By this time 
it was getting daylight and we started for our main line to the right of Fort 
Sedgwick. By the time we reached our line soldiers were carrying large shot 
across the field in their arms to load the two guns that had been captured and 
turned on the enemy, who had fallen back to a second line. Supposing our 
regiment to be directly in front where we could see Union troops occupying 
the captured line, we marched across the field by the right flank and came to 
the captured line to find a part of General Hartranfdt s division of new Penn 
sylvania troops. We learned after the battle that our regiment was some dis 
tance to our left near the Confederate Fort Mahone. We deployed to the right 
and left along the works and after fighting a while, about 15 of us mounted 
the works and went over. We found no enemy in our immediate presence but 
were exposed to the fire from the second line. 

We found a black glazed cloth satchel, which they rn their haste had left. 
It contained a white shirt which Private John H. Gow of Company F put on 
regardless of flying bullets. In the satchel was the company book of Captain 
Rogers, Company A, Twelfth Alabama Regiment, containing the names of 
his company and amount of clothing charged to each man; one pair of shoes, 
$12.00 ; a pair of pants, $10.00, and other things in the same proportion. It 
soon became too hot for us and we began to get over the works to the safer 
side. Philip Kriner of Company F was killed, and six of the company captured 
before they could get out. Charles Lebold of Company F was killed later in 
action, and five of Company F wounded. 

Some time in the afternoon General Collis came up from City Point with a 
Zouave regiment, and before dark our line was strongly reinforced and it was 
evident to all that if the Confederates did not evacuate Petersburg during the 
night it would be forced to surrender in the morning. On the next morning, 
April 3d, we found the regiment, and as Company H had no commissioned 
officers present, Lieutenant Jacob Meese of Company F was put in command. 

Captain Cheeseman of Company A, who commanded the regiment, when it 
went into action, was shot in the knee, causing amputation of the leg. The 
writer being now the ranking officer present, assumed command of the regiment. 
Petersburg was evacuated by the Confederates during the night of the 2d, and 
the morning of the 3d the regiment with the brigade started to march into 
the city but before going far were ordered to move to the left of the road to 
allow President Lincoln and party to pass. The President had his hat in his 
hand and looked pale and haggard. Before we reached the city the colored 
population came out to meet us with broad smiles on their faces and "God bless 
the Lincum Sogers" from their thick lips. As we passed through the city, 
white women were sitting on their verandas dressed in black with handker- 

Format ion of Company F 245 

chiefs to their eyes, thus the feeling of the two races were in great contrast. 
During the winter our regiment had been filled with recruits to over a thousand 
strong, and we marched through Petersburg with flags flying and drums beat 
ing. During a halt for rest we received news of the fall of Richmond and we 
made the city echo with our cheers. 

Pardon the writer if at that time he should feel a little pride, having en 
listed and served nearly three years as a private soldier and now command 
ing the veteran regiment as it marched through the streets of Petersburg. 

We passed through the city and turning to the left began the march after 
Lee s army toward Burkville, Va., arriving there at 10 P. M., the 6th. Major 
John F. Trout having been released from Confederate prison joined the regi 
ment when between Petersburg and Burkville and assumed command. At 
Burkville a large number of the regiment was detailed to guard 7,000 or 8;000 
Confederate prisoners. The Confederate General Ewell and his corps had been cap 
tured near Farmville, Va., and among the prisoners were sailors from the 
gunboats at Richmond. Major Trout had just returned from confinement in 
a Rebel prison pen and had no love for the Confederates, so the writer was 
placed in command of the guard around the camp of the prisoners, who were 
furnished with rations by our commissary, and after two days were started 
toward City Point. 

On the 9th of April we started for Farmville, at which place we arrived 
on the 10th and encamped near town on a plantation belonging to a Mr. Rich 
ardson, on which still stood the old slave whipping post. We were told that 
the elder Richardson had been a cruel and severe master to his slaves; that 
one day in the field a slave was mowing with a scythe, and for some reason 
the master struck him, when the slave suddenly brought his scythe around and 
disemboweled his master. 

Some of the officers occupied the Richardson mansion, sleeping in the parlor 
and other rooms where pier mirrors reached from floor to ceiling. There was 
also a piano in the parlor and our chaplain, F. A. Cast, could play it well, \so 
we enjoyed music as well as shelter. Our boys that were captured in the 
attack on Petersburg, April 2d, returned to the regiment the 10th. They were 
nearly starved and had been on the march ever since their capture. 

Two of the Richardson sons were officers in the Confederate service, and 
soon after the surrender of General Lee s army, they came home and stood 
around but had nothing to say. A number of colored people occupying a 
house adjoining the Richardson mansion had been slaves of the Richardsons, 
and two of them had for some time desired to get married, but had had no 
opportunity. One day our chaplain united this colored couple in wedlock and 
the writer witnessed the interesting ceremony. As soon as we arrived at 
Farmville, farmers from all around came to our camp asking for safeguards. 
The writer rode out to three different plantations and placed one or two safe 
guards at each house. A part of the writer s duty was to visit these safe 
guards each day, and having a good horse to ride the duty was not unpl-easant. 
Lieutenant Colonel Gregg returned from the Rebel prison pens while we wer 
at Farmville and took command of the regiment. The colonel and the wrrter 
rode out together one day to visit the safeguards. At one house we found sev- 

246 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

eral young ladies, and one of the young ladies and her mother being afraid 
to stay in their house, which was isolated from their neighbors, had come 
here for safety but had left their piano which they now desired to get. So 
the colonel and the writer went with two darkies and an ox cart and brought 
the piano, and while the older women were preparing a good dinner the girls 
sang and played, all of which we enjoyed. 

While visiting the safeguards at the house of a Mr. Price, who had a 
fine looking daughter, the writer was often asked to dine with the familyl Mr. 
Price said he blamed General Lee for leaving Richmond. He said some of 
Lee s men came ahead of the army who took the best horses and other things 
they wanted, and then came Lee s army which took more of his property, and 
after them the stragglers who helped themselves. After them came the Union 
army and their stragglers, so he had not much left. War is just what General 
Sherman said it was, and no one knows what war is except those who have 
lived in its tracks or who have participated in it. 

The writer has seen a large forest of valuable pine trees disappear in two 
months, even the stumps were afterward cut down and used for fuel. Hay 
and straw stacks w r ould disappear in a very few minutes after a brigade went 
into camp and a long line of rail fence would go walking to every camp where 
a fire was needed to cook coffee, although the colonel had told the boys to 
take the top rail only, but every rail was the top rail to the next soldier and 
no order was disobeyed. 

When the news reached camp of General Lee s surrender old soldiers would 
shake hands and cry like children for joy. They knew then that the war was 
over and that they would go to their homes and would not be called back to 
the tented fields or the open trenches. 

But the saddest news was that of the assassination of President Lincoln 
received April 15th. We at first could not believe it. A gloom was cast over 
the whole army when the news was confirmed, for the best and greatest Presi 
dent of the United States to be thus murdered was indeed sad, especially 
to the soldiers who loved him. 

On April 20th the regiment started for City Point and stopped near Peters 
burg the 24th to take a last look at the mined fort where we saw bones of 
our dead comrades sticking out of the ground in several places. We marched 
to- City Point, went on board the steamer "Glaucus" on the 27th and arrived 
at Alexandria, Va., on the 29th. We marched to the rear of Fort Lyons and 
went into camp. We had left behind the trenches and breastworks, the battle 
fields where comrades were wounded, and we had left our dead comrades who 
fell at our side. We were going, home after the war had ended to meet our 
friends who would welcome us with open arms. But sad indeed would be the 
friends of our comrades who were buried in the trenches and unmarked graves 
of the South. 

The Court martial of which I was a member reconvened on May 8th in a 
house situated in the rear of our camp. 

On May 22d the regiment marched to Washington, D. C., and encamped 
for the night east of the Capitol, and on the 23d marched down Pennsylvania 
Avenue in the Grand Review. In this review the writer commanded his com- 

Formation of Company F 247 

pany which reached across the street from curb to curb, and after passing the 
reviewing stand the command of the company was turned over to First Lieu 
tenant Meese and the regiment returned to camp near Fort Lyons. Second 
Lieutenant Jacob Meese was promoted to first lieutenant of Company F ori 
May 21st. About the last of May Sergeant Wesley Gould of Company F, 
who was captured on the 30th of September, 1864, and had been discharged at 
Annapolis, Md., came to the regiment on a visit. A lieutenancy had been left 
vacant for him, and he was told he could still have the place. He decided 
to accept it and was commissioned second lieutenant of Company F from 
civil life. On June 12th, 1865, the Thirty-sixth Massachusetts Regiment, which 
had been brigaded with us for a long time, was mustered out and started for 
home, and our regiment escorted them to the wharf at Alexandria and gave 
them a good send-off. They had been with us more than two years and 
thought whatever the Forty-fifth did was all right. They were spoiling for a 
fight until they went into Fredericksburg ; there they were under fire and had 
a few men wounded but that was enough to cool them. 

On July 17th the regiment was mustered out of service and in a few days 
was on its way to Harrisburg, Pa., where muster-out and pay rolls were com 
pleted, final returns made out and arms and equipment turned in. Company 
F having its rolls and returns finished, was the first company paid July 21st, 
the officers being paid July 25th by Major Moore. After being paid off we 
returned to our homes as private citizens and were welcomed by having par 
ties and dances given in our honor. The discharged soldiers had money and 
spent it freely and before long weddings took place, for had not "The girl I 
left^ behind me" waited until "The war was over?" The writer remained single 
until 1870, and as he could not marry a soldier, married a soldier s sister. 

All found work of some kind and none remained idle. The great question 
had been settled. The Union had been preserved and all settled down to peace 
ful pursuits. 

Of the 222 who belonged to Company F during its term of service, ten were 
killed in battle ; four died of gunshot wounds ; 17 died of disease and wounds ; 
nine died in Confederate prisons ; three officers resigned ; one officer was promoted 
to lieutenant colonel of the regiment; one officer promoted to captain of Com 
pany A; twelve enlisted men transferred to Fifty-fourth Pennsylvania Regi 
ment; ten enlisted men transferred to Company D, Forty-fifth Pennsylvania 
Volunteers; four enlisted men transferred to Company C, Forty-fifth Penn 
sylvania ; four enlisted men wounded and transferred to Veteran Reserve Corps ; 
two enlisted men never joined the company; two enlisted men captured and 
joined the Confederate army to keep from starving; 12 enlisted men mustered 
out after three years service; three enlisted men absent sick at muster-out 
of company; 14 enlisted men deserted, mostly substitutes; 56 were discharged 
for disability and wounds; 58 were mustered out at the close of the war. Only 
ten of the original company were mustered out with Company F at the clos e 
of the war. 

The comrades are passing away, our ranks are getting thinner and soon 
blossoms and the flag w r e love will be planted over our sleeping places by our 

248 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

children and our children s children, and may they gather inspiration in the 
act and thereby be made better citizens and patriots. 

Good-bye, Comrades, may God bess you, is the wish of L. W. Lord, late 
Captain, Company F, Forty-fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry. 

Denver, Colorado, November, 1911. 



Samuel Haynes was born at Oxford, Chenango County, N. Y., June 30th, 
1834. He received his education from the common schools of that county. In 
early manhood he was sent to the pine woods of northern Michigan for his 
health and was engaged in the lumber business with an uncle until his health 
was restored. 

Three years later he was engaged in the same business in Lycoming County, 
Pa., and was in that business when the Civil War called for volunteers to put 
down the Rebellion. He was pilot on the Susquehanna River taking several 
rafts of. lumber to market at Marietta, Pa., and when passing Harrisburg heard 
the tumult occasioned by the arrival and disposal of recruits. As soon as he 
could dispose of his lumber at Marietta, he returned to Harrisburg and enlisted 
as a private in the Tenth Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry (three months). 

He then came to Wellsboro and helped to raise and drill Company I, of 
the Forty-fifth Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. Mustered into service October 
21st, 1861, he was orderly sergeant of that company until the Battle of James 
Island, S. C., June 10th, when he was promoted to the rank of first lieutenant 
of Company G and served in that capacity until April, 1864, at which time he 
became acting quartermaster for the regiment and filled that place until the 
expiration of his term of service, October 21st, 1864. 

After the close of the war he again entered the lumber business for a 
short time but later became employed on the Western New York & Pennsyl 
vania Railroad, now a part of the Pennsylvania Railroad system, from Buffalo 
to Pittsburg, and from Buffalo to Olean and Oil City. He served 31 years 
on that road, the last 20 as supervisor of a division. He died October 13th, 
1898, in Oil City, Pa., honored by all who knew him and beloved by those who 
were dear to him. 

Extracts from letters written to his wife by Lieutenant Samuel W. Haynes: 
FORTRESS MONROE, VA., November 24th, 1861. 

We left Camp Casey last Monday for a new camp two miles nearer Wash 
ington and when we had everything about the camp in "apple-pie order" re 
ceived marching orders about noon for Fortress Monroe, to be ready at one-thirty. 
Several tremendous cheers and yells greeted the Colonel s announcement of the 
news and every man was ready by the appointed time. The cars to take us were 
delayed and we did not reach Baltimore until ten next morning. 

We embarked on the steamer "Pocahontas" and just before dark the steamer 
began to move and we were soon under way down the Potomac past Federal 
Hill, which is fortified and looks fierce enough to scare anybody ; and down 


Sergt. T. C. Kelley 

First Lieut. J. J. Rogers 

First Lieut. Samuel Haynes 

Lieutenant Samuel Haynes, Company G 249 

past Fort McHenry and the lighthouse on the point opposite, whose beacon 
light shows the entrance to the harbor and we are on the broad bosom of the 
Chesapeake Bay. A thousand men were packed on and inside and some 300 or 
400 remained on the upper deck with the great canopy of heaven spread over 
them for an awning. Jim Cole, Decatur Dickinson, Phil Wetmore and myself 
fixed up a fence on deck to keep some of the sea breezes off, "put up the 
bars," and laid down and slept, but not as warm as we could wish. 

We landed at the dock here about 6 P. M. Some large ships of war lay at 
anchor as we passed the fortress. We then marched to our camp, about a mile 
from the dock. We heard heavy firing last night in the direction of Norfolk. 
Emissaries of Jeff Davis, Esq., are all around us a few miles distant and our 
pickets are attacked frequently. I saw General Wool as we marched to our 
camp. He looks old, is a light, spare built man and has always had the reputa 
tion of being the best military man (next to General Scott) in the United 
States. The village of Hampton, which the Rebels burned down some time ago, 
(all but one house), is about a mile away and in plain sight. The house was 
the residence of ex-President John Tyler. 

Monday morning. The regiment was turned out this morning for in 
spection of arms, accoutrements and quarters and we have just come in. 


Write soon and direct to Fortress Monroe, Co. I, Forty-fifth Regiment, Penn 
sylvania Volunteers. 

BAY POINT, S. C, December llth, 1861. 

We are really "Away down south in Dixie." Last Thursday at Camp Hamil 
ton we received marching orders again and it seems that the Forty-fifth Regi 
ment is to keep moving and it may happen yet that we will see fire fly and bul 
lets, too. 

Friday we embarked on the steamer "Cosmopolitan" at Fortress Monroe and 
at 4 P. M., cast loose from the dock and moved out to sea. Passed Cape Henry 
lighthouse at sunset and were fairly out to sea for the most of us. *. 

Sunday morning we were outside of Charleston Harbor and could see our 
blockading fleet laying off the harbor. At noon we were in sight of this 
harbor (Port Royal). We had taken a pilot aboard and at 4 P. M., were lay 
ing quietly at anchor in the midst of the great fleet, ships of war, transports 
and vessels of all kinds and sizes. We remained on the boat Sunday night. 
Monday morning orders were received from General Sherman, who commands 
this department, to divide the regiment. Companies B, F, G, H and K have 
gone to Otter Island in command of Colonel Welsh, the band having gone 
with them. The balance of the regiment, Companies A, C, D, E and I are 
here on Bay Point in charge of Fort Seward. The fort on the other side is 
now Fort Welles. This is the place where our fleet had the engagement with 
the Rebel forts. Fort Welles was called Fort Walker and Fort Seward was 
called Fort Beauregard. There are plenty of Secesh relics around here trunks, 
boxes, cannon shot and shell and many marks of the recent fight. Palmetto 
trees growing here remind us that we are really in the Palmetto State, the hot 
bed of the Rebellion. 

250 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

I have seen many things that were brought here from Beaufort, which was 
a fine town but is now occupied by Union soldiers. I saw to-day some books 
from Beaufort, among which was a lady s album, with many pieces marked 1827 
and 1828, an old souvenir, but now in the hands of a northern Yankee. 

Men are running around in their shirt sleeves, sweating and wading in salt 
water. It does not seem like December and so near Christmas. 

NORTH EDISTO, S. C, May 23d, 1862. 

If "change of pastures makes fat calves," our company will get fat surely. 
We left Otter Island day before yesterday, on an old steamer and landed at 
this place, which is 20 miles nearer Charleston. The whole detachment at Otter 
Island came along, leaving that place without garrison. The sloop of war "Dale" 
lies in the stream to command the channel. The balance of our regiment (four 
companies) is still on Hilton Head but will probably be here soon. Many of our 
boys were sea-sick on the trip. 

This is a nice country and shows signs of wealth and prosperity. Large 
estates, splendid buildings, niggers, etc., are some of the indications. 

The mail is to leave in a few minutes and I must close. 

SUMMERVILLE, S. C., June 7th, 1862. 

On Sunday we crossed over to Seabrook Island. Monday the rest of our 
regiment, all the force stationed at Edisto, came. About noon we found them 
and marched with the column. We were without tents and one night it rained 
as hard and as much as I ever saw in six hours. 

We arrived here day before yesterday and haven t had enough to eat since 
last Sunday to hurt a man s dyspepsia or give him the gout. 

This place is on Johns Island on Stono Inlet and only five miles from Charles 
ton. I can not estimate our force but there is a good show of gunboats in the 
stream. They took their places last Monday. SAMUEL HAYNES 


I write now simply to let you know I am well, for you will probably hear 
before this reaches you of the battle of Monday on the Island. 

The Forty-fifth Regiment was not in the attacking party but was stationed 
as a reserve and to support the batteries if necessary. All we had to do was 
to dodge the shot and shell, which flew uncomfortably thick about us for a 
while. Our men did not take the Rebels position, but retired in good order 
after firing had ceased on both sides. I can give no estimate of the loss in 
killed and wounded. 

The regiments that suffered most were the Twenty-eighth Massachusetts, 
Third New Hampshire, One Hundredth Pennsylvania and Seventy-ninth New 

Solon S. Dartt died yesterday at Edisto Island of fever. 


[I knew Mr. Dartt well, he was a fine man and left a good wife and chil 
dren in Tioga County. Mrs. Haynes.] 

Lieutenant Samuel Haynes, Company G 

HILTON HEAD, July 5th, 1862. 

I received notice from Colonel Welsh a few days ago of my promotion 
from orderly sergeant of Company I to first lieutenant of Company G, to date 
from the Battle of James Island. This was very unexpected to me for I was 
in arrest a few days before and didn t think the old chap would give me any 
show at all. 

The Union forces began evacuating James Island on the 1st of July. We 
arrived here on the 2d and by this time all of our men have left the Island and 
nearly all have come to Hilton Head. 

The amount of the matter is just this The Battle of James Island was a 
miserable calculation and our generals found a "hornets nest." They were not 
satisfied to build batteries and shell them out but they must storm the bat 
teries and take them at the point of the bayonet, but we found them too strong 
and well entrenched and 700 gallant men are killed and missing on our side. 
I have seen sights and heard sounds that I never want to see or hear again. 
Really the price paid for the restoration of the Union never can be appreciated 
by those who stay at home. 


On the 17th we got marching orders, struck our tents and marched to the 
fort. Yesterday we came on board the ship and left Hilton Head at 12 o clock 
noon. We are destined for Fortress Monroe. I am not sorry that we are 
leaving South Carolina for the weather has been "very hot" for the last two 
weeks. This is a fine ship and we are having a fine trip. 


BROOKS STATION, August 14th, 1862. 

Two companies of our regiment, I and K, are at Acquia Creek. The rest 
of us are at Brooks Station on the United States Military Railroad, about half 
way between Brooks Station and Acquia Creek, guarding the railroad. We have 
the most comfortable camp we have had since we left Mrs. Stoney s man 
sion at Hilton Head, S. C. 


SHARPSBURG, MD., September 20th, 1862. 

[This is copied from a letter when Lieutenant Haynes was on his way to the 
regiment after being sick and in Harewood hospital at Washington. Mrs. 

Our regiment has been badly used since I was with it. Last Sunday at the 
Battle of South Mountain or Blue Ridge it lost 134 killed and wounded. I saw 
the place to-day where 28 were buried in a row on the battlefield. They are 
buried as nicely as possible and each grave is marked plainly with a headboard. 
Poor fellows ! Dwight Smith and Jimmie Cole lie together and the first tears 
that have started from my eyes since my mother died fell on their graves. They 
were indeed the most intimate and truest friends I had in the army and fell at 
their posts, fighting like true soldiers and brave men. Henry Fenton, George 
Brewster and Jacob Squire of Company G; George English of Company I, and 

252 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

Gillett Holiday of Company H, were all the boys I was acquainted with and em 
braces all of Companies G and I, that were killed, but there were more of Com 
pany H whose names I do not recollect. 

The Forty-fifth was in Wednesday s fight at Sharpsburg, but did not suffer 
severely in the battle. 

Lieutenant R. G. Richards was made captain of Company G the day after 
the battle for gallant conduct in the field and he earned the promotion bravely. 


WATERFORD, VA., November 1st, 1862. 

On the march from Pleasant Valley to Fredericksburg. 

Yesterday was general muster day. I have been busy making out Company 
I s rolls as they were out on picket. 

The Pennsylvania Reserves passed here to-day going toward Leesburg. I 
saw L. Truman, Cale Fenton, John Morgan, Ned Roughton, Charley Dodge, 
Loren and Dan Foster and many others from Tioga and Lycoming Counties. 

There has been heavy firing all day in a southwesterly direction. 

We have had orders for two nights past to be ready to march or fight at a 
moment s notice. 

We were the advance the first night here and our company was sent out 
for picket. I got a good breakfast with a nice Quaker family. There are some 
really good Union people here, who are very hospitable and the good woman 
who gave me breakfast and dinner would say as she passed the good bread and 
butter and honey : "Won t thee take some more ?" and I said, "Yes, ma am," un 
til I was full. 

Eton Jones of Company I died about two hours ago very suddenly and will 
be buried here. 


On the march from Pleasant Valley, Md., to Fredericksburg, near Rectors- 
ville, Va., November 5th, 1862. 

I wrote you from Waterford on Saturday last. Sunday morning we marched 
from there and camped near a little town called Philemont, making about 15 
miles that day. We were then nearly opposite Snicker s Gap in the Blue Ridge. 
On Monday afternoon we marched about ten miles passing through Union- 
ville, where our cavalry and artillery had had a skirmish the day before, our 
men driving the Rebs, and encamped opposite Ashby s Gap. Yesterday we lay 
quiet in camp but early this morning, received orders to be ready to march at 
sunrise, and have marched eight miles and are now opposite Manassas Gap, 
close by the .Manassas Gap Railroad. We are about 40 miles from Berlin 
on the Potomac, 60 from Washington by railroad, 30 from Manassas Junction 
and 25 from Fort Royal. 

Since we left Waterford the character of the inhabitants has been "secesh" 
outright. Our boys have "appropriated" any quantity of turkeys, geese, chickens, 
hogs, sheep, honey and any other articles of food they could eat. Uncle Sam s 
"greenbacks" were refused and for payment consequently very many Philadel 
phia "fac-similes" of Confederate notes were issued to the respectable "F. F. 

Lieutenant Samuel Haynes, Company G 253 

V. s," and all sorts of shinplasters taken for change. This afternoon nearly 
all the regiment was out foraging and my pistol brought in a fine hog. Every 
man has "flesh stuff to eat" and about 20 have horses and mules, for all of 
which, "May the Lord make us truly thankful." 

There never has been a movement made since the war commenced, that I 
understood so little as the one going on now and I don t know what is going 
on in any other part of the army or what this means or if it means anything. 


ORLEANS, November 7th, Noon. 

Yesterday we broke camp, marched across Manassas Gap Railroad, through 
Salem to Orleans. We made nearly 18 miles. The night was cold and we had 
no tents. To-day it has snowed since 8 o clock and stifl snows but we have 
our tents up and are doing first rate. Prospects for picket to-night. 

November 8th. Instead of picket we marched five miles and are on a 
branch of the Rappahannock River. Richards and I have ten blankets and straw 
when he can get it. 


CARTER S RUN, VA., November 16th, 1862. 

In camp at Carter s Run, near Waterloo, Va. For the past five days hard 
tack has been lamentably short and the boys have been reduced to the necessity 
of eating popped corn, wheat shorts and of grinding corn on a grater to make 
"slap jacks" to supply the temporal wants of their mortal systems, but to-day 
our visions (and bellies, too) were greeted with the sight of the much coveted 
"tack" and all goes well again. Some of the men actually said: "Instead of 
our starving the Butternuts out, the impudent rascals had surrounded us (on 
one side) and were starving us out." 

The removal of General McClellan from the command of the Army of the 
Potomac has caused a great deal of talk. Many deeply regret it but all join 
in the hope that under our new leader (Burnside) we may be more successful 
in the cause of Union and right. He has the confidence of all the officers and 
men with whom he has already come in contact and he has prestige bright, 
beside his bald head, checkered shirt and bob-tailed horse, to carry him through 
the great tribulation. 

I heard to-day that we were to march to-morrow for Fredericksburg. 



December 18th, 1862. 

We are back again in our old camp opposite Fredericksburg and to tell the 
truth I am not sorry but on the contrary very glad that the Forty-fifth Regi 
ment came off without losing a man. The papers have given you a better gen 
eral account of the battle than I can but I will give you a sketch of our own 
immediate movements. 

On Thursday morning the bombardment commenced. Our line was formed 
at 8 A. M., in a large field near our camp. We remained near the stacks all day 

2^4 Forty-Fifth Pennsyfoania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

and returned to our camp at night. During the forenoon the firing was terrific. 
One hundred and fifty cannon combined to destroy the town and smother the 
Rebel batteries. 

Friday morning our line was formed again and marched directly across the 
river and formed at the lower end of town. Our regiment in advance of the 
division, with skirmishers in front. We remained in this position all day. 
During the afternoon the Rebels trained two batteries upon us wounding two 
men of our regiment slightly. Several of other regiments were killed or 
wounded. There was a little firing in front between the skirmishers but no 

Saturday morning our division moved down the river and formed the con 
nection between Summer s and Franklin s Grand Divisions. We occupied this 
position with very little changing until we were withdrawn to this side of 
the river. The fighting back of the city was awful and our loss must have 
exceeded the enemy s very much. It was kept up at intervals until late in the 
evening. After dark the roar of the cannon, the rattle of musketry, the yells 
and cheers of the men, the streaks of vivid fire issuing from the guns, made 
an impression on our minds never to be forgotten and was most painful to 
hear and behold. On the left where the reserves were engaged it was the 
same thing over again but was more distant from us. 

Sunday was very quiet. So was Monday. On Monday night our whole 
immense army recrossed the Rappahannock without the loss of a gun, wagon 
or man except a few stragglers and skulkers who had hid themselves to get rid 
of fighting and were thus left to fall into the hands of the merciful (?) Rebels. 
The crossing and recrossing of our great army over such a river was done in 
the most masterly manner and I consider it a great feat. - 

The position of the Rebels is so strong that they have a great advantage 
over us even if their numbers are greatly inferior to ours and I think Burnside 
did a wise thing in withdrawing his army from such a slaughter house to try 
some other spot. 


CAMP NEAR FALMOUTH, VA., February 6th, 1863. 

The Ninth Army Corps has marching orders for Fortress Monroe to em 
bark as soon as possible and report to General Dix for orders. 


NEWPORT NEWS, February 17th, 1863. 

We started from our old camp opposite Fredericksburg last Monday and 
came to Acquia Creek after dark and embarked on board the steamer "John A. 
Warner" the same evening and started for Fortress Monroe next morning. Tues 
day night we lay at anchor in the mouth of the Potomac. Wednesday we 
reached Fortress Monroe. Next day we came to Newport News, disembarked, 
marched here to our camp, near where we were last summer, after we came 
from South Carolina. We are near the James River and the boys are all busy 
building log cabins. Already quite a town has sprung into existence. 


Lieutenant Samuel Hayncs, Company G 255 

Last Thursday I was ordered to Washington for officers baggage which 
was stored there and to bring it to this place. Our division is moving again. 
It is to report to Baltimore and then go on cars, where I don t know probably 
Kentucky or Tennessee. I left Fortress Monroe, Thursday evening, arrived 
here Friday morning, went to Washington same day and came back here yes 
terday and am now awaiting the regiment. The first brigade has arrived; ours 
will probably be here to-night or to-morrow morning. 


PARIS, KY., March 29th, 1863. 

I did not have time to write you again from Baltimore for the regiment 
arrived at Locust Point, Monday night, and I was busy all the time until we 
left. We went on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad to Parkersburg, Va., on the 
Ohio River below Wheeling. We were 48 hours on the cars, through very 
rough country west of Cumberland and passed through about 30 tunnels, two 
of which were a mile long. We reached Parkersburg Thursday evening and 
embarked on board the steamer "LaCrosse" for Cincinnati. We reached Cin 
cinnati Friday night but did not go off the boat. Yesterday we crossed the 
river to Covington, Ky., and came here by railroad, the Kentucky Central. 
The distances from Newport News are nearly as follows : Newport News to 
Baltimore, 190 miles ; Baltimore to Parkersburg, 389 miles ; Parkersburg to Cin 
cinnati, 300 miles; Cincinnati to Paris, Ky., 76 miles, all of which put together 
makes quite a journey. 

We are quartered here on the fair grounds, all the men in buildings and 
officers in tents. The Ninth Corps is scattered all over the state. The Twenty- 
ninth Massachusetts is with us. I believe we are here to prevent raids, a good 
business if the raiders keep far enough away. 



After bidding you good-bye at Seymour, Ind., on the 8th, we were on the 
cars until last night at 12 o clock and came on board this boat about three 
this morning tired and awfully dirty. From Seymour to Cairo the country 
is mostly prairie but many fine little towns are growing up along the line of 
the railroad. The inhabitants welcomed us with many demonstrations of joy 
and with many substantiate in the eating line, for which we were all truly 

Do you want a description of Cairo? In the first place, mud, knee-deep, 
then steamboats, gunboats, wharfboats, officers, soldiers, niggers, citizens and 
railroad cars; hotels, restaurants, whisky shops, clothing stores, some dwell 
ing houses, a great deal of confusion, calliope playing, bells ringing, the Ohio 
River one side, the Mississippi the other. Lastly mud, deeper than the first. 

P. S. Mud and Cairo. 

We are going down to Memphis or Vicksbtirg, I don t know which. Troops 
have been going forward for a week, very fast and many of them. 


256 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 


There is a marble bust of General Jackson standing in the park in this 
city. On the side of the block on which it stands is the saying of his : 
"The Federal Union, it must and shall be preserved." 

The word "Federal" is almost obliterated. It was done by some secesh 
before the city was taken by our forces. 


CAMP NEAR SNYDERS BLUFF, June 27th, 1863. 

We are now down at Vicksburg with Grant s army on both sides, one line in 
front of Vicksburg and the other from the Yazoo to" the Big Black. The siege 
is progressing slowly but awfully sure. Day before yesterday our men blew up 
part of one of their forts, the highest one they had along the whole line. They 
then made an assault, drove the Rebels out and now occupy the work. The mine 
was loaded with 2,700 pounds of powder and you may imagine the dirt flew and 
Rebels too. Our regiment is digging rifle pits and cutting down timber in order 
to defend any attack from the rear. We get no news here. Hear nothing but 
the reports of guns and mortars, live in a cane brake and have blackberries and 
plums for dessert. 


(From the original letter.) 


July 5th, 1863. 

Sound the trumpet and blow the Hevvgag; smite the huzzy-fuzzy, beat the 
tomtom and permit miscellaneous things to rip generally ! 

Because why? Vicksburg has fallen, and great was the fall thereof. Yes 
terday morning General Pemberton surrendered unconditionally to General 
Grant and our forces occupied the city. 

That was all the celebration we had for the Glorious Fourth and that was 

We marched about four miles toward the Big Black River yesterday after 
noon and are now laying in the woods without tents or blankets. 


TEN MILES NORTH FROM JACKSON, Miss., July 18th, 1863. 
[This is from the second letter after the fall of Vicksburg. Mrs. Haynes.] 
I have not written you since July 5th for we have marched nearly every 
day since. We crossed the Big Black River and marched to Jackson a week 
ago yesterday. Our regiment skirmished up within a mile from town, lay afl 
night in the skirmish line, next morning advanced a short distance, but upon 
coming on the Rebel force, and the fire becoming too hot to advance further, 
we had to stop. We lay there until after noon, when we were relieved. 

James Naval of Company I was killed; Sergeant Carvey of Company I, 
shot in the leg; Stratton of Company H, killed. No casualties in Company G; 
Lieutenant Humphrey and Sergeant Hill of Company F, killed. A few others 
on the right of the regiment were wounded but not severely. Yesterday morn- 

Lieutenant Samuel Haynes, Company G 257 

ing the city of Jackson was found to be evacuated by the Rebels and our force 
took possession. 

Our division marched at 12 o clock due north and are now ten miles from 
where we started. Where we are going, I can t tell. I haven t had but one 
shirt since the 19th of June and had that washed once. I am well and nearly 
all the boys are. The news from the North is very cheering. 


CAMP NEAR COVINGTON, KY., August 14th, 1863. 

I was sick a couple of days before we marched to Jackson and didn t feel 
well for some time after we got back. That is not strange for that heat, dust 
and fatigue was enough to kill an imp of darkness and many men did die 
along the road from sunstroke and exhaustion but none from our regiment. 
We have a good many sick in hospitals, however, in consequence. 

We embarked at Snyder s Bluff last Thursday on board the steamboat 
"Hiawatha." There were on board the Forty-fifth Pennsylvania, Thirty-sixth 
Massachusetts, Twenty-seventh Michigan and Benjamin s Battery of Regulars, 
in all 1,702 men, 95 officers, 250 horses, six 20-pound guns with their caissons, 
etc., making in all a "right smart" load. Our trip up the river was without 
accident or incident but most mortal hot and we arrived at Cairo on Monday 
morning after braving the dangers of the big muddy "Father of Waters" for 
four long nights and three longer days. We disembarked, loaded on cars and 
started at 2 A. M., Tuesday, passing over the same route we went as far as 
Seymour, Ind., so on to Cincinnati, where we arrived Wednesday night. 



The regiment moved last night to Crab Orchard leaving 150 here sick, 
mostly with fever. I have been very sick with chills and fever but am sor 
I can walk around again. Bill Willard is doctoring me with potatoes and 

General Welsh died in Cincinnati very suddenly a few days before we left. 
We are three miles from Nicholasville on the pike. <- HAYN 

NEAR BARBOURSVILLE, KY V December 22d, 1863. 

[This was written after Lieutenant Haynes had been home on sick leave 
and was returning to his regiment. Mrs. Haynes.] 

We left Crab Orchard and have been ever since getting this far, about 50 
miles. At this rate we may reach Knoxville some time next year. The roads 
are awful hills, mountains, rocks and mud on to the end. I saw Captain Cur- 
tin, Billy Bell and Charles Terbell to-day as we passed through London. They 
were going to Camp Nelson for supplies. I saw some boys of our regiment 
(Company E), who were with the train which was captured by the Rebels be 
tween Tazewell and Knoxville. Charley Hart, John Emery, Amos Mullen, 
Johnny Miles and young Wilcox of Company H were taken prisoners with the 
train. Wilcox was slightly wounded. Colonel Curtin and Colonel Bowman 
are with General Wilcox near Tazewell. SAMUEL HAYNES. 

258 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

ANNAPOLIS, Ma, April 24th 3 1864. 

The Ninth Army Corps has moved towards Washington. The orders were 
sudden and the whole concern left, I suppose, for the Army of the Potomac. 
I am here to attend to the transferring of tents and extra baggage, as we 
could have but two wagons to a regiment, and shall start from here this after 
noon to catch the regiment. 

Direct to Forty-fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers, First Brigade, Sec 
ond Division, Ninth Army Corps, as we are not in the First Division any 

[Lieutenant Haynes was acting quartermaster from this time until the ex 
piration of his term of service, October 21st, 1864. Mrs. Haynes.] 

KETTLE RUN, VA., May 2d, 1864. 

The Forty-fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers are now encamped at 
Kettle Run, about a mile and a half from Bristow Station, where the Pennsyl 
vania Reserves were all winter. 

I left Annapolis the next afternoon after the regiment marched and rode 
nearly all night. I passed the camp in the night and reached Bladensburg the 
next morning at daylight. We passed through Washington the next day (Mon 
day) and were reviewed by President Lincoln from the balcony of Willard s 

We crossed the river and encamped two miles from Alexandria. Tuesday 
we laid still. Wednesday we marched to Fairfax Court House, passing through 
Centerville, over the Bull Run field, Manassas Plains, etc. Thursday we arrived 
at Bristow and Friday came here. 

We are very well situated here but will not be so very long, as we are 
under orders to march at the shortest notice and to keep constantly on hand 
six days rations. The headquarters of the Ninth Corps are Warrenton Junc 
tion for the present 

I have not received the things you sent me and I want them badly, especially 
the tobacco for I am "done played out" and there is famine in the land of the 
Forty-fifth Regiment. 

I wish you would send me a New York paper occasionally, as I haven t seen 

one for a week. 



We left Kettle Run May 4th and marched to Bealton Station on the 5th. 
Crossed the Rappahannock at Rappahannock Station and same day crossed 
the Rapidan at Germania Ford. At 2 o clock on the morning of the 6th our 
corps moved out to the Wilderness and commencing fighting about noon. The 
fighting was desperate in the extreme and the loss to the Forty-fifth on that 
day was 17 killed, 120 wounded, and five missing. Lieutenant Goodfellow was 
killed on the field, and Captain Campbell was shot through the bowels and died 
two days later. They were both very good men, and I feel their loss very 
much. Captain Chase was shot through the shoulder. Two or three other 
officers were wounded slightly. Company G had ten wounded, none mortally. 

Lieutenant Samuel Hayncs, Company G 259 

On the 7th and 8th we lay at Chancellorsville. On the 9th we moved 
toward Spottsylvania Court House. On the 10th the corps crossed Mine Run. 
On the llth our brigade was engaged in the morning, the loss of our regi 
ment was about 50 killed and wounded no officers. The loss to this time 
has been mostly from sharpshooters. 

The regiment lays about nine miles from here, as the wagons were all or 
dered back to this place, but I have been out to the front every day until to 

The boys are in good spirits but they are having a hard time. I can not 
mention all the boys of Company G who are wounded but recollect Dan Wil 
liams, George Derbyshire and Nick Culver. A few others were slightly wounded. 
I shall go out again to-morrow. I have seen awful sights about the fields and 
hospitals; more than I can tell you. SAMUEL HAYNES. 

NEAR MECHANICSVILLE, VA., June 5th, 1864. 

I was out last night with Captain Curtin to the line of battle, which is 
about three miles from Chickahominy and ten from Richmond. Our brigade 
was engaged yesterday forenoon and the Forty-fifth suffered terribly. The loss 
of the regiment is nearly or quite 200 men, one-half of those engaged. It 
was awful fighting but our men drove the Rebels and held their ground. They 
were in the front line last night and were to be relieved this morning but as 
we left at daylight we did not see the regiment. We were at Colonel Curtin s 
headquarters and got the news. 

I dread to speak of the casualties and do not know all. Lieutenant Scud- 
der was killed and was being buried last evening when I was out. He had 
just been back from a visit to his home. I saw him when he returned to the 
regiment one short week ago and now the poor fellow is gone. What a blow 
to his people when they hear the news! Major Kelsey received a severe flesh 
wound. Only one killed in Company G, a recruit named Wood from Blossburg, 
and 18 wounded, Charley Terbell and Eli Smith among the number. Wright 
Redington is severely wounded. Decatur Dickinson and John Emery all right 
so far. I shall go out again to-morrow and then I can give you more informa 
tion about the killed and wounded. 

Our army has been almost constantly under fire for the last 30 days and 
the end is not yet. When will it be? I believe this campaign is destined to be 
the death blow to the Rebellion and also the death blow to many thousands of 
brave men. 

CAMP IN THE FIELD, June 6th, 1864. 

We are fourteen miles from White House Landing and four or five from 
the Chickahominy River. 

More sad news. Colonel Curtin was out to the line to-day and brought 
word that Lieutenant Hoig was killed to-day while on the skirmish line. Poor 
fellow, he was a good officer and as brave as a lion. 

Goodfellow, Campbell, Scudder and Hoig gone besides so many brave men. 
How many more brave and noble hearts must be silenced before this war is 
ended? Truly, the cost of preserving the Union is great. Is it too great? 


260 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

WHITE HOUSE, VA., June 12th, 1864. 

We came here from the front two days ago, to send away extra baggage, 
etc. I am told this place is to be evacuated and a change of base made to 
the James River. 


CITY POINT, VA., June 27th, 1864. 

I think that it has been as hot here the past week as any time I saw in Mis 
sissippi last summer, but thank the good Lord I hear drops of rain on the 
roof of my tent. 


CITY POINT, VA., July 2d, 1864. 

Major Kelsey died at Washington of his wounds. He was a conscientious 
man and a fine officer. 


NEAR CITY POINT, VA., July 10th, 1864. 

John Hauber of Company G was killed the 8th of July. The Rebels made 
an attack on our lines but were easily repulsed, our loss being very slight. 


NEAR CITY POINT, VA., August 4th, 1864. 

[Lieutenant Haynes was acting quartermaster of the Forty-fifth when this 
was written. Mrs. Haynes.] 

You have read before this of the Battle before Petersburg and in front 
of the Ninth Corps on Saturday, July 30th. I have neglected to write, mainly 
because I dreaded to say anything to you about it. Not because our noble old 
Ninth Corps and our regiment did not maintain the brilliant reputation which 
they had previously gained by severe marching and desperate fighting in seven 
States of the Union, but because of the casualties, which have laid many a 
noble man in ,his last resting place, but not unwept nor unhonored. The fort 
was blown up at 4 :30 A. M., and w r as a complete success. Earth_and timbers, 
guns and limbers, graybacks and all the rest went up 300 feet or more in a 
sheet of flame and smoke, caused by the explosion of four tons of powder 
placed 20 feet beneath. ^ It was the most terribly magnificent sight I ever wit 

You can learn more concerning the other parts of the army from the papers 
than I can tell you. I will tell you a little of what happened to the Forty-fifth. 
Three officers. Captains Fessler and Trout and Lieutenant Cheeseman and 80 
men were left in our old pits (which are about 100 yards from the Rebel fort) 
for a skirmish line. The balance of the effective men (about 90) charged with 
our division into and through the fort. Sixty-seven of the 90 are either killed, 
wounded or prisoners. They were in the Rebel works some five hours and 
only left after two peremptory orders had been received to return to our own 
line. The fighting was hand to hand and beats anything I ever saw, heard or 
read of. I take the statements of officers and men who were in it. Eleven 
officers went in and four came out unharmed. Captain Gregg, Lieutenant Gel- 
baugh, Lieutenant Bailey (Company E) and Lieutenant Wheelock of Company 

Lieutenant Samuel Hayncs, Company G 261 

K are O. K. Lieutenant Vanvalen of Company A, Captain Dibeler of B, Cap-; 
tain Richards of G, Lieutenant Seeley of H and Lieutenant Catlin of I, are 
in the hands of the enemy. They are not known to have been either killed or 
wounded, only failed to make their escape. Lieutenant Campbell of F and Eyde 
of K, are in our hospital badly wounded. I very much fear that Captain Rich 
ards is killed. Gelbaugh is the last tman who remembers seeing him just as a 
Rebel had a gun pointed at Richards head. Gelbaugh s attention was called 
to another Rebel on the point of shooting him, but one of our men killed the 
Johnny before he had a chance to fire. 

I wrote to Mrs. Richards but did not tell her all these circumstances but 
led her to suppose he was taken prisoner. I couldn t tell her he \vas killed. I 
was afraid it would Jcill her. If it is true, she must know it sometime, but I 
don t want to be the one to tell her. 

Captain Gregg came down with me day before yesterday and took supper 
with me. He did some big fighting in the Rebel pits on Saturday. He killed 
the Rebel officer who led the charge. The Rebel caught Gregg by the throat 
and placing a pistol at his head demanded him to surrender. Gregg said: 
"You impudent scoundrel, how dare you ask me to surrener?" and wrenched 
the pistol out of his hand, knocked him down with it, drew his sword and 
ran him through the body and left the sword in him. Then Gregg said : "You 

, I guess you are my prisoner now." 

Dave Bacon shot the Rebel who was in the act of stabbing Gregg with his 
bayonet. In fact they all fought as men never fought before in the war, nig 
gers and all. Every man who was in the fight bears testimony to splendid con 
duct of the darky troops. Those who were not in say, "the niggers ran away." 


CITY POINT, VA., August 12th, 1864. 

[In which Captain Gregg and Lieutenant Haynes call on General Grant. 
Mrs. Haynes.] 

Day before yesterday, a barge at City Point, which was loaded >with ord 
nance and ordnance stores, blew up from the accidental explosion of a shell, 
supposed to be at the time. The destruction was awful. Shot, shell, shrapnell, 
grape, canister, boxes of cartridges, timbers, etc., flew high in the air and in 
every direction tearing down the wharf and several buildings, killing probably 
100 men. I was at the division hospital, near the front, at the time and heard 
it plainly and thought an ammunition wagon or caisson had blown up not more 
than a mile away, when in fact it was eight miles. 

Yesterday afternoon Captain Gregg and I called on General Grant at his 
headquarters at City Point. Gregg was bound to see him and insisted on 
having me go with him. The sentinels didn t want to let us go in, I sup 
pose on account of our rough appearance. We neither had shoulder straps, 
vests nor shirt collars on ; our pants were stuck in our boots, we hadn t been 
shaved for several days and altogether presented a very unmilitary appearance 
and not exactly the thing in which to appear before the lieutenant general 
commanding the Armies of the United States. Gregg swore some awful oaths 
that he had most urgent business with the General and the sentinel let us 
pass. We rushed in, took off our hats and Gregg opened his battery. I ex- 

262 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

pected that we would get kicked out or be ordered in arrest but Gregg was 
equal to the occasion. He introduced himself as one of Grant s old soldiers in 
Mexico in the same regiment (the Fourth United States Infantry) and then 
introduced me. 

General Grant politely asked us to be seated ; then he and Gregg rehearsed 
their old campaigns and "fought their battles over again." We stayed an hour. 
Gregg talked to General Grant very much as he would to me. The General ex 
pressed himself very much pleased to meet Gregg and when we were leaving 
asked us to call again. I don t think I will call again unless I have some busi 
ness. General Grant asked Gregg many questions about the members of their 
old regiment and about the fight of July 30th before Petersburg. 



The moon displays her icy smile 
And stars their sentry keep, 
No sound disturbs the silent air 
Along my lonely beat; 
But thoughts of home so far away 
And friends who smile reward, 
Are dear unto the soldier s breast 
Upon his midnight Guard. 

One glance back to my native hills 
Along the glades and streams, 
Reminds me of my boyish days 
And long, long summer dreams, 
While musing neath some trysting shack 
The hours were dear to me, 
Contentment spread her happy wings 
From care and anger free. 

Once more I see the cottage home 

Shadowed by creeping vine, 

My aged Father standing near, 

A Mother s hand in mine ; 

While gathering tears from eyelids start, 

Her arms around me threw, 

She pressed me to her aching heart, 

And bade her boy adieu. 

And one whose form and constancy, 

I never can forget; 

The stolen interviews are passed 

But I remember yet; 

When she forsook her village home 

To be a soldier s bride, 

A haughty Father s anger 

And all the world beside. 

Company G at Camps Curtin and Casey 263 

And when rebellion sounded forth 

The clarion notes of war, 

When from the walls of Sumter 

They tore the Stripes and Stars; 

"Go, guard your country s Flag," she cried, 

"Our homes and liberty, 

And when you re on the battlefield 

My prayers shall go with thee." 

But Hark ! what sound approaches, 
Disturbs the silent air, 
Still nearer, "Halt! friend or foe 
Answer, who comes there, 
Advance, and give the countersign, 
There s death in your retreat, 
For I am bound none but a Friend 
Shall cross my lonely beat." 

"Relief! * the Corporal s stern reply, 

The countersign is right, 

"Advance, now sentry to your post," 

One trick the less to-night. 

"Quick forward march !" from post to post 

And Morpheus will reward 

The Comrade who an hour or two 

Has stood his turn on Guard. 

Camp Casey, Washington, D. C, 1861. 



Company G, known at first as the "Charleston Rangers," was organized on 
the Village Green in Wellsboro, Tioga County, on Wednesday, September 18th. 
1861. The original members of the company were mostly young fellows from 
the vicinity of Wellsboro, a large proportion of them farmers and farmers 
sons from Charleston township, most of them between the ages of 18 and 
25. "Uncle Joe" Willard was the oldest man in the company. He was 47. 
Charley Terbell at 16 I think was the youngest. The company was recruited by 
Nelson Whitney, himself a Charleston farmer, who was unanimously elected 
captain when the organization was effected. 

Friday morning, September 20th, we met at Whitneyville, where the captain 
lived, and rode from there in wagons to Troy, Bradford County, a distance of 
25 miles. Many of us had never been away from home to amount to anything 
and naturally there were some sad faces and moist eyes as our native hills re 
ceded from view. But we soon got over that and really had a jolly time on the 

264 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

Our destination was Harrisburg and the remainder of the journey from 
Troy to the State Capital was made by rail. It was about three o clock Saturday 
morning when we arrived at Harrisburg. Then and there began our experi 
ence as soldiers. Instead of going to bed, as gentlemen who travel are sup 
posed to do, we were told to make ourselves comfortable (?) on the pavement 
near the station or wherever there was room to spare. 

Shortly after daybreak we proceeded to Camp Curtin, a large level field 
enclosed by a high board fence, ( something like a country fair ground, about a 
mile from the heart of the city. The first thing that attracted our attention 
and our appetites was breakfast. Sitting on the lap of Mother Earth with 
outstretched legs for a table we made our first meal in camp. A pint cupful of 
steaming hot coffee, a liberal chunk of boiled beef on a tin plate, a couple of 
slices of soft bread and an onion comprised the bill of fare. A greasy soldier 
seemed to have general charge of the culinary department but we had a cook 
of our own in the person of Uncle Joe Willard. He could beat them all. Lafer 
on Uncle Joe was assigned to special duty as chief cook at the field hospital and 
rendered excellent service. 

Camp Curtin was a lively place in those days. It seemed to be full of young 
men, some strutting around with new uniforms on, others like ourselves in 
citizens clothes. In the forenoon especially everybody seemed to be doing some 
thing or going somewhere. Drilling by regiments, companies and squads was 
going on all over the field. One fellow I remember was marching between two 
soldiers with fixed bayonets, presumably to the guard house. Another was doing 
penance astride the big cannon in front of headquarters. 

One commissioned officer, in a smart uniform, tall, graceful and straight as 
a rail, especially attracted my attention. He was in charge of a squad of sol 
diers taking a couple of fellows where they evidently did not want to go. I 
overheard the young officer say something about a few sharp bayonets being 
a most convincing argument and concluded he must be a lawyer. And he 
was. Moreover, that young man later on made his mark. We .all know him. 
His name is James A. Beaver. 

The afternoon was more quiet. Most of the men seemed to be taking it 
easy, lolling around or amusing themselves playing ball, checkers, cards or 
maybe writing letters. Having been brought up to work every day I wondered 
how Uncle Sam could afford to feed and clothe all this crowd and not keep 
them busy. By and by I wondered that soldiers could stand so much and live ! 

Late in the afternoon we formed in line near the surgeon s tent and as 
each one answered to his name we stepped inside where a young fellow with 
shoulder straps and brass buttons told us to "strip." The doctor examined us 
carefully from head to foot, finally requiring each candidate to perform certain 
gymnastic stunts to test his arms and legs. Having passed examination, Major 
John M. Kilbonrne (later on attached to the Forty-fifth) mustered us into the 
State service on the same day. It was not until the 14th of October, however, 
that Lieutenant H. S. G ansevoort of the regular army administered an oath 
that made us Volunteer Soldiers x}f the United States. The oath in each case 
was practically the same, concluding with the startling clause, "For three years 
or during the war !" From that time until finally discharged the Government 

Company G at Camps Curtin and Casey 265 

had an iron grip on us, and to those of us who reenlisted and stayed with the 
company from start to finish, it meant a period of three long years and ten 
months. But we had counted the cost and took our chances, knowing well 
enough that enlistment then meant business. The war had just begun, with 
every indication of a long, bloody struggle. Few periods of the Civil War were 
more gloomy for us than the fall of 1861. No bounties or other inducements to 
enlist were in sight. Thirteen dollars a month and "found" was all there was 
in it for us that we could see. 

I have never forgotten our first night in Camp Curtin. Not that there was 
anything particularly remarkable about it, but the experience was new and made 
a lasting impression. It began to rain about dark and kept it up the greater 
part of the night. The quarters assigned to us were rickety, leaky old barracks, 
with nothing inside but the bare walls and the floor sopping wet with the rain 
that came down through the roof. Of course \ve had no bedding of any kind, 
not even a blanket that night. But as most of us had not slept a wink the 
night before and were "all in" from the unusual excitement of the last few days, 
the boys were in good trim to sleep most anywhere and probably would have 
rested all right on the bare, wet floor if it hadn t been for the infernal racket 
of the cars that seemed to be in perpetual motion, the locomotive whistle getting 
busy every time we shut our eyes. The trouble was there were no railroads in 
those days in the neck of the woods where most of us came from and we were 
not used to that sort of thing. Later on we got many a good night s rest rid ing 
on cattle cars, no matter how much noise they made nor how rough the road. 
But if sleep was denied us that night we had lots of fun. Something had to be 
done to pass away the time and if some peppery stories were told, a few spicy 
solos rendered- and maybe a cuss word thrown in now and then, I am sure the 
Recording Angel, knowing what was coming to us, made no entry in the Big 
Book against us. Our experience was probably the same as that of all raw re 
cruits. We soon learned to take things as they came and feel thankful it was 
no worse. 

Meanwhile we got our military trappings as follow : Clothing overcoat, 
blouse (short coat), trousers, cap, flannel shirt, two pairs cotton drawers, two 
pairs of socks, shoes and blanket; camp equipage knapsack, haversack, canteen, 
pint tin cup, tin plate, knife, fork and spoon. Arms and accoutrements gun 
(Harper s Ferry musket), cartridge box, belt and plate. 

Our duties in Camp Curtin w ? ere not strenuous enough to hurt anybody, 
although they kept us busy most of the time drilling, "policing" the streets and 
standing guard. Drilling was an agreeable pastime at first. But when we had 
to practice the manual of arms with a gun weighing 15 pounds and go through 
the manceuvers with accoutrements on and likely as not a packed knapsack 
they did this to get us used to wearing the blamed things well, we did it be 
cause we had to. Cleaning or policing the streets was a sort of drudgery "but 
no one ever hurt himself doing it. We did picket duty on the different roadjs 
leading from camp and at the gate, more to pick up stragglers found wandering 
around without a pass than anything else. No one that I know was ever court 
martialed, however, for being caught in that way, although the culprit might be 
kept in the guard house for a change. 

266 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

The Forty-fifth Pennsylvania Infantry was organized about the middle of 
October. Three companies, G, H and I, and part of Company F, were from 
Tioga County. This paper, however, has more especially to do with Company 
G. Our first commissioned officers were Captain Nelson Whitney, First Lieu 
tenant W. T. Fitzgerald and Second Lieutenant John J. Reese. Captain Whit 
ney was jolly and clever and we thought a great deal of him, but Hike many 
other volunteer officers he had had no experience in military affairs. Lieutenant 
Fitzgerald had been in the three months service and knew more about tactics 
and discipline than all the rest of us put together. He was the drill-master of 
Company G. Fitzgerald had a penchant for poetry and wrote (or writes rather, 
as he is still living) some very clever verses. We called him "The Bard of 
Company G." Big hearted and generous, Lieutenant Reese, a Charleston boy 
and charter member of the company, was a good officer and popular with the 
men, but all he knew about war was what he picked up after he joined us. 

As near as can be ascertained there were 95 officers and men in Company 
G when the regiment was organized. The non-commissioned officers were : 


First Rees G. Richards 

Second David Wilcox 

Third W. L. Reese 

Fourth Jerome Scott 

Fifth Ephraim Jeffers 


First L. W. Thompson 

Second J. R. White 

Third D. L. Bacon 

Fourth W. W. Owens 

Fifth Delmar Wilson 

Sixth V. S. Culver 

Seventh R. E. Smith 

Eighth D. A. Evans 

Evans was sick in a hospital when the company was mustered into the 
United States service October 14th and went no farther than Harrisburg with 
us, being discharged a few days after we left Harrisbnrg, which explains why 
his name does not appear among the Corporals on the roster, although he had 
been duly appointed while at Camp Curtin. 

Monday morning, October 21st, 1861, we got our first orders to pack up and 
get ready to move. The "loading up" process was interesting at first, but soon 
got to be an old story. First came the cartridge box and belt; then the haver 
sack with three days rations of hard tack and cooked meat, followed by the 
canteen filled with water. Anyway, that s what the "non-coms" and privates 
carried in their s. Last but not least was the knapsack. A soldier s knapsack 
was a very important part of his kit. In it he carried his blanket, a change of 
clothing, shoe blacking and brush, a portfolio with writing material, and any 
thing else he cared enough about to lug around. All this with our ponderous 
Harpers Ferrys made a load as heavy if not as valuable as a pack peddler s. 

Company G at Camps Cur tin and Casey 267 

The regiment being formed in line on the parade ground Governor Curtin 
came forward and formally presented to us, through Colonel Welsh, our col 
ors, a beautiful banner bearing the Stars and Stripes. The Governor made a 
neat little speech, the concluding words of which were spoken loud and dis 
tinct enough to be heard along the whole line: "Return in honor or not at 
all ;" eloquent words that made a lasting impression and nerved us many times 
to endure and to dare rather than disgrace that noble sentiment and ourselves. 

With light hearts and flying colors we marched out of Camp Curtin, giv 
ing three hearty cheers for "Andy" Curtin as we passed headquarters, where 
the Governor and other officials stood. We left Harrisburg on the cars about 
dark. Daylight next moning found us far down in Maryland, plunging along 
through a rough country thickly dotted with limekilns. Arriving in Baltimore 
early in the afternoon we marched through the city with flying colors, beating 
drums and guns at a "right-shoulder shift with fixed bayonets. Citizens were 
strung along the sidewalks on both sides the street, apparently interested in 
our appearance. A thousand strong, our officers all with us, every man spick 
and span in his new uniform, our guns and accoutrements carefully polished, 
the Forty-fifth was then at its best. Never again was our regiment in as good 
shape and as fair to look upon as when we marched through Baltimore on the 
22d of October, 1861. Here and there the Stars and Stripes waved from a door 
or window and a few ladies fluttered white handkerchiefs toward us. Aside from 
that the enthusiasm of our reception in Baltimore was conspicuous by its 
absence. Anyway we fared better than the Sixth Massachusetts, when four of 
their number were killed and twelve wounded on these same streets on the 19)th 
of April previous. 

At Washington, our next stopping place, we got a more substantial wel 
come. Almost the first thing that attracted our attention at the National Capitol 
was a long, low building with the words "Soldiers Rest" over the entrance. 
The name was suggestive and inviting and the colonel lost no time in march 
ing us inside, where we stacked our guns and got a good meal of bread, corned 
beef ("salt horse" the boys called it) and hot coffee. These Soldiers Rests 
established in the principal cities of the North where soldiers were likely to 
pass were great institutions. Most of the Union soldiers at one time or another 
\vere cheered and made happier by a loaf of bread, a cup of coffee or a night s 
lodging without money and without price at these "Rests for the Weary" as 
we called them. 

After a good night s sleep on the floor of the "Soldiers Rest," we started 
out in the morning to explore the city. The public buildings \ve had heard so 
much about of course were especial objects of interest. I remember that a 
squad of us while "doing" the Capitol Building climbed up the winding stairs 
to the unfinished dome. What I saw from there made such an impression 
on my mind that I have never forgotten it. After 49 years I can shut my 
eyes and see it now. To a country boy who had read a little but had never 
been away from home to amount to anything the panorama spread out before 
us from that dizzy height was one of the things worth living for. At our feet 
lay the Capitol of the Nation. Farther away the blue waters of the Potomac, 
sparkling in the morning light, flowed leisurely by. Across the river Arlington 
Heights, made jagged and rough by its long line of forts, with the Stars and 

268 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

Stripes waving to and fro in the breeze, loomed up grandly in the distance. A 
very faint outline this of the picture spread out before us on that beautiful 
October morning in 1861 ! 

The same day, October 23d, we marched a few miles out of Washington to 
Camp Welsh and on the 27th the regiment moved to Camp Casey near Bladens- 

Tents had been issued to us, before leaving Washington, big enough to 
accommodate eight men comfortably and ten or twelve upon a pinch. I re 
member very well what a fuss we made pitching our tents the first time, using 
many such expressions as our wives hear when the time comes to put up that 
stove pipe! 

How many of the boys remember the grand review held at Bailey s Cross 
Roads the day after our arrival at Camp Casey? Part of the Army of the 
Potomac was there. Several regiments besides our own at Camp Casey, com 
manded by General O. O. Howard, took part in the review. We had not seen 
so large a body of troops together before and the manceuvers of these soldiers, 
marching and countermarching in perfect alignment and keeping step as one 
man to the tap of the drum ; the waving banners and long lines of polished gun 
barrels and gleaming bayonets all this was very beautiful and left an im 
pression not to be forgotten over night. Such was the romance \and splendor 
of war; the stern reality came later on. Of course there was a good deal of 
"fuss and feathers" about the review and a good deal of cheering for the re 
viewing officer, General McClellan, who was then at the height of his fame. 
It is natural for soldiers to cheer for something or somebody and these same 
troops, or many of them, cheered just as loud for Burnside, Hooker, Meade, 
and Grant later on as they did for McClellan then. 

The famous Prince Frederick march, which others will describe, was made 
from Camp Casey. The expedition started Sunday morning, November 3d, and 
was gone about a week. Among others left sick and unable to go were Moses 
Thompson of Company G and myself. Moses stayed in the captain s tent, 
while I was in a sort of field hospital. 

Moses Thompson died November 10th, the same day, if I remember rightly, 
on which the regiment returned from Prince Frederick. The death of Moses 
Thompson was the first to occur in Company G, except that of James Franklin, 
who died November 9th in a general hospital. There was a good deal of sick 
ness in camp by the middle of November, mostly cases of pneumonia, catarrh, 
measles, diarrhoea and fevers, .brought on by exposure, bad water and the low 
vitality of the men. Not every day but often enough, the sound of muffled 
drums and the Death March were heard in Camp Casey. There is something 
so peculiarly solemn and mournful about this Death March that having heard 
it once, especially if at the burial of one we love, it is almost impossible to for 
get the plaintive melody. Coming to a sick man with shattered nerves it 
makes him think the bottom of things is dropping out ! I have been there 
myself and know how it is. But if music is powerful to depress it is also 
potent to charm. Among the regiments at Camp Casey was the Fourth Rhode 
Island. This regiment had a splendid military band that frequently gave an 
open air evening concert that could be distinctly heard all over the camp, and 

Organization of Company H 269 

it was affecting to see the sick come out with their pale faces and emaciated 
forms to hear the Rhode Island band play "Yankee Doodle," "Hail Columbia" and 
other lively pieces. That sort of thing was better for them than medicine. 

Being sadly under the weather myself most of the time at Camp Casey my 
recollection of the place is anything but pleasant. November 19th we got orders 
to pack up and be ready to move. At last I could say something in favor of 
Camp Casey. It was a good place to leave ! 

Marching alongside the railroad late in the afternoon we stacked our guns 
and waited long hours, in fact until near midnight, for the cars to come along. 
It was bitter cold. We put on our overcoats and built roaring fires, which: 
helped some, but it would be stretching it a lot to say that any of us were com 

An agreeable surprise awaited us in Baltimore next morning. The citizens 
actually treated us with a delightful luncheon of bread and butter and cheese 
and after a long restriction to government rations that sort of thing tasted 
mighty good. Our journey from Baltimore down Chesapeake Bay in the trans 
port "Pocahontas" was very pleasant. Traveling by water was something new 
to most of us and I suppose the boys enjoyed it. Sickness, however, .spoiled 
the trip for me. The only incident of note I can recall is that a school of por 
poises seemed to be following in the wake of our vessel and were in sight 
most of the day. Swimming in line, like a company of soldiers, as they did, it 
was fun to watch them churn the water and by their snuffing and" blowing fill 
the air with clouds of mist and spray. To me the antics of these fish were very 

Saturday, November 23d, we landed at Old Point Comfort, or Fortress 
Monroe, at the mouth of the James and York Rivers. Most that I remember 
about this place is that they put me in a hospital tent where I stepped into a 
puddle of water every time I got out of bed. Later on a couple of soldiers 
carried me up to the third or fourth story of the old Hygeia Hotel, then used 
as a general hospital. Typhoid-pneumonia, measles and neuralgia didn t quite 
finish me but left their mark which the lapse of 49 years has not entirely 
effaced. It was not until January 12th, 1862, that I got aboard the transport 
"S. R. Spaulding" to join the regiment in South Carolina. 


Company H of the Forty-fifth Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry was or 
ganized at Tioga, Tioga County, Pa., September 18th, 1861, with E. G. Scheiffelin 
as captain, E. G. Howard as first lieutenant, R. H. Close as second lieutenant 
and L. D. Seely as orderly sergeant. The boys that started for the war thai 
day, as I remember, were all boys that were born and brought up in the 

I will give the names of the men in the company and will mark those that 
were married with the letter M, and the others were S : 

John C. Roosa, S; Joel E. Smith, S; B. C. Hynes, S; M. Gillett Holliday, 
M ; Cyrus Mann, M ; William H. Dunham, M ; Aaron Benson, M ; John H. 
Hotchkiss, M; Robert A. Lovejoy, S; Nathan Edwards, M; N. R. Shappe, M; 
Daniel Church, S; Rodolphus Fuller S; Reuben Daniels, S; Van R. W. Bal- 

2/o Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

lard, S ; Nelson Hackett, S ; Charles Walton, M ; George W. Tremaine, S ; 
Ira Odel, S; H. F. Odell, M; H. Calvin Colney, M; Deruyter Avery, S; 
Thomas Dingman, S; Thomas M. Jobe. S. The latter was the first man killed 
by a Rebel ball on James Island, S. C, June 10th, 1862. 

We had a number of men die before we got in battle. The Prince Frederick 
march killed two of the strongest men we had in the company. They were Wal 
ter Ballard and Nelson Hackett. 

We had more men who went from near Tioga: 

George Sawyer, M ; Harvey Sawyer, S ; Lewis Sawyer, M ; James Soules, S ; 
James Meyers, S ; James Lovee, M ; William Utter, M ; William R. Gee, S ; 
V. B. Holliday, M ; Hiram Pickering, S ; Clark Ames, S ; George Couch, S ; 
Levi R. Robb, S, one of the best soldiers wounded at Petersburg, Va., with a 
piece of shell. He lived one week and then died. He was wounded in the arm 
at Cold Harbor, the 3rd of June, 1864, and I gave the fellow that wounded 
him his discharge. 

Lieutenant George Scudder of Company F commanded Company H in that 
battle until he was killed, about the third round after they opened fire. He 
said the orders were not to fire until we received orders. I said that I didn t 
care, that I came out for that purpose and w r hen a man steps out to shoot us 
and I have a good shot, I will take it orders or no orders. I got knocked out, 
in about five minutes after Scudder was killed, with a ball through my right 
lung, so I did not help take Richmond. 

We had so many cnanges in officers that I can t tell where all come in or 
how some of them got in. After Scheiffelin got to be major or acted as major, 
a man by the name of Edgar F. Austin was captain. 

L. D. Seely commanded the company after the Vicksburg campaign and 
we got back to Kentucky. Sixteen of us were left back there to guard the 
Hickman bridge on the Little Kentucky River. Austin was with us there and 
when we received orders to join the regiment, Levi Robb had command and 
we never saw Austin afterwards. L. D. Seely was a good officer and the men 
all liked him. 

After we got to Harrisburg a good many more joined the company from 
Tioga County. All were from Tioga County with the exception of two, Wil 
liam E. Parker from Ralston, Lycoming County, and Daniel Mix from Tomp- 
kins County, N. Y. The latter deserted us at Paris, Ky., with another man 
by the name of Stephen I. French. After we reenlisted and came home, we 
took back with us a number of recruits. Two of them were noble boys and 
boys that had the fight in them. Elliot A. Kilbonrne, Major Kilbourne s son, 
only 15 or 16 years old, was one. He was wounded at Spottsylvania, Va. When 
carrying him back, he cheered for the old flag, and said : "Boys, don t ever 
give up until you whip them." The other boy was William R. Gee. In the 
Battle of the Wilderness he had his big toe shot off all but a little skin. When 
he took off his shoe, I said: "Go back to the rear." "No," he said, "you do 
it up, I am not going to leave the company." I bandaged it the best I could 
and he staid and marched right along with us. At the time the fort was blown 
up at Petersburg, he was excused from duty with a felon on his hand but he 

Organization of Company I 271 

said he was going with the rest of us and did go and was taken prisoner and 
died in old Wirz s hotel at Andersonville. 

There were others just as brave as those boys, I suppose. Gee was my cousin 
but I don t know that I was as brave. One more good boy who was killed, one 
of the first lot, was Frank Stratton. He was killed at Jackson, Miss. The next 
one was William E. Parker, who was captured at Campbell s Station, Tenn., and 
died at Andersonville. There were others killed at South Mountain, Md. Joel 

E. Smith, Aaron Benson, J. N. Hodkiss, Aaron Burr, M. G. Holliday, James 
Tremaine and David French. At the Wilderness we lost three men. Isaac H. 
Sherman was killed. Levi Robb and I found him after the battle. Clark Ames 
was also killed there. William Utter died at Andersonville. Several were 
w r ounded. A new recruit, William A. Mosher, was hurt very badly. Cyrus Mann 
died at Camp Dick Robinson after the Vicksburg campaign. There were others 
that I do not think of. 

Those who were killed at Cold Harbor, the 3d of June, before I was knocked 
out, were Griffin Palmer, Thomas Dingman and a man by the name of H. F. 
Bowen, who was a recruit. Robert Martin was wounded and taken to Washing 
ton with me and died three or four days afterwards. 

What I have penned here has been from memory as I lost both of my diaries 
when I was knocked out. 

Company H, Forty-fifth Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. 


Company I, Forty-fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers, was recruited and organized 
in Tioga County. 

F. M. Hills having served under General Scott in the Mexican War took 
the initiative in the work by writing a letter to Governor Curtin asking permis 
sion to raise a company of infantry and in reply received the following communi 
cation : 

HARRISBURG, August 19th, 1861. 

F. M. HILLS, Wellsboro, Pa. 
Dear Sir : 

The smallest number of officers and men for a company of infantry is 83. 
If you raise a company yon will inform me when you are ready to move to 
this point when an order for transportation will be furnished you and you will 
be subsisted on arrival. Very respectfully, 


A. D. C. 

The next act that there is any record of was a meeting held at Liberty, Sep 
tember 10th, to be addressed by Dr. W. W. Webb and other speakers. This 
meeting seemed to have been a failure as there were no enlistments from that 
part of the county. 

About this time recruiting commenced in earnest in Delmar and the north 
western portion of the county. Meetings were held in school houses and churches 
which were usually filled to overflowing. 

272 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

Captain Hills was very active in the work as the muster roll shows that 48 
out of 60 that went from there were credited to him. 

About the 25th of September a sufficient number having been enrolled to 
assure the raising of a full company, the time was fixed to start for Harrisburg, 
which was the 27th, and on the morning of that date every one of them was on 
hand and ready to go but owing to the bad condition of the roads caused by the 
heavy rain of the night and early morning and dearth of conveyances the move 
was postponed until Monday, the 30th. 

During the interim we were quartered at the hotel of David Hart, which 
stood on the corner of Main and Queen streets where now stands the residence 
of Carl Bernkopf. The first day a meeting of the company was held in the 
court house and the following company officers were elected: Captain, F. M. 
Hills ; first lieutenant, G. D. Smith ; second lieutenant, G. M. Ackley ; first ser 
geant, Samuel Haynes. 

The most of the time was occupied taking our first lessons in. military drill 
with Sergeant Haynes as drillmaster, who having served three months at the be 
ginning of the war, proved himself to be very proficient in that capacity. 

Some of the boys went home to spend Sunday but the most of them stayed 
in Wellsboro, not carying to repeat the scenes of a few days before when they 
took final leave of their families and other dear ones. 

Monday morning found the boys all on hand ready for the trip overland to 
Troy and when all were aboard, the word forward march was given and we 
were off amid the shouts and good wishes of the people of Wellsboro. 

Nothing of particular interest occurred on the way and we arrived safely at 
Troy about 5 P. M., and an hour later got oi> board the cars and were soon on 
our way to Harrisburg, where we arrived about two o clock the next morning. 
There was no place for us to sleep except on the floor in the depot, which was 
not very inviting to those who had slept on feather beds, so we put in the 
time as best we could until daylight came to our relief when we fell in line and 
marched to Camp Curtin. The first thing we did was to draw our rations and 
through the courtesy of Company G we cooked it at their quarters. After par 
taking of our first army rations we were assigned our quarters and when night 
came were in our own tents. 

Soon after our arrival at camp details were made and sent back to recruit 
so as to fill the company and the muster roll shows the following named mem 
bers have been credited with assisting in the work : G. M. Ackley, G. D. Smith, 
R. I. Reynolds, Josiah Emery, Samuel Haynes, O. H. Andrews, A. C. Ellsworth; 
I. D Strait, E. B. Garvey. 

Those engaged in recruiting were very successful as the muster roll shows 
that on October 16th there were 95 officers and men accepted after examination 
by the surgeon and one rejected. 

At this time we all were quite anxious to know to what regiment we were 
going to be assigned. We had seen Colonel Welsh, who was then making up 
his regiment, and he had made a very favorable impression on us, therefore he 
was our first choice for our commander and on the 18th a note to Captain Hills 
stating that his company was assigned to the Forty-fifth Regiment in place of 
Captain Lyons company was received with a cheer. 

tph. C. Myers, 2 Lieut, Co. K. 

Experience of an Orange Recruit 273 

Having now received our arms and accoutrements we came out full fledged 
soldiers and on the 21st of October were lined up on the drill ground when 
Governor Curtin presented the colonel with the regulation flag, and said to him, 
"Bring it back in honor or not at all." 

About noon we boarded the train and were soon on our way to Washing 
ton, where we arrived the next day, and now begins the history of the regiment, 
which is told by others much more competent to perform the task than myself. 




During the winter of 1861 and 1862 the country was in a state of great up 
roar. Our small village was worked up to the highest pitch of excitement. There 
were in Newtown, Lancaster County, probably a dozen young men, who generally 
met in an old shoemaker s shop to talk war and play checkers. At that time we 
thought six months would end the war. 

On February 25th, 1862, a number of us village and country boys were in 
the shop. Someone suggested that we go to Columbia, about three miles away, 
and enlist. Colonel Welsh had opened a recruiting office at that place. Five of 
the boys went, namely : Andrew Hostetter, Jacob W. Kling, who were from 
Donegal Township; Benjamin F. Divit, Samuel E. Myers and Ephraim E. Myers 
from Newtown. I was the only married man in the squad ; I left a baby boy 
five months old, namesake of Colonel Ephraim Ellsworth. 

Colonel Welsh succeeded in recruiting a number of young men from Colum 
bia and the surrounding country. We were sworn into the State service February 
25th, 1862, and mustered into the United States service two days later. The 
regiment we had joined was then stationed on various islands in South Carolina. 
As we had big ideas of feasting on oranges and had boasted of it, we were 
humorously dubbed "The Orange Recruits." 

Early on the morning of the 28th we took cars for New York City, and a 
happier lot of boys you never saw. We sang all kinds of songs ; one rings in 
my ears to-day: 

"If you belong to Gideon s Band, 
Oh, here s my heart and here s my hand." 

About noon we boarded the vessel which was called the "Atlantic." I knew 
nothing of sickness and felt sure I would not get seasick but along about dusk 
I began to feel squeamish. As we neared Cape Hatteras, it was rather danger 
ous on deck, so we went into the hold which was full of grain sacks and baled 
hay. I lay down on a bale and about every time the vessel rocked my stomach 
turned. A sicker man never was. Distressed as I was, I had to laugh at 
some Germans. Large waves broke continuously over the deck. One of the 
hatch holes being open water dashed down upon us. The Germans began to 
pray powerfully and cried out dismally, "Mein Gott, mein Gott, mein Gott!" 

274 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

There were not a dozen of us, other than the sailors on board, who were not 
sick. The colonel was among the sick. Our appetites were totally gone ; the 
rations we had we could not eat. The sailors said we had made very little head 
way on account of the storm. It took us about three or four days to reach Port 
Royal, S. C. 

After we made port, we remained on board some time before we landed. 
The high wind was driving the sand on the mainland in regular clouds. After 
landing we remained several days at Port Royal. We walked out into the 
country reconnoitering for oranges. We found a few trees, but the fruit un 
palatable. We were greatly disappointed. We met a number of the Seventy- 
sixth Pennsylvania Zouaves, quartered at Port Royal, some of whom were from 
Lancaster County. 

We left there about the llth of March and arrived at Otter Island on the 
morning of the 12th, the same morning that Colonel Beaver arrived 1 with Com 
panies K and H. Captain Rambo was brought to our camp a corpse. 

Landing on Otter Island we were attached to Company K. After Captain 
Rambo s death (killed when Company H, by mistake, fired into Company K), 
First Lieutenant Edwin Kelsey was promoted captain. He was well liked by the 
boys. While on Otter Island we did guard duty and drove piles around the fort. 
We also did picket duty on Fenwick Island, which was several miles north of 
Otter Island. The principal enemy we had to fight was the sand flea ; he was a 
terror, attacking by night. 

I ate my first South Carolina blackberries on April 25th. They were of the 
dewberry variety and very plentiful. 

While on Otter Island we made frequent visits to different parts of the 
island, which was the home of the alligator. Capturing alligators was our de 
light. One day a squad of the boys was out reconnoitering for them. We 
found one ; he was soon dispatched with an ax and measured in length six feet 
two inches. This gave us a chance to eat alligator meat. It tasted much like 
fish, only a little strong. A large sea turtle was also caught on the beach. It 
weighed about 300 pounds, contained 125 eggs ready to lay and innumerable 
small ones. The turtle made all the soup the boys wished to eat. 

From Otter Island we went on scows to North Edisto Island and thence 
to Johns Island. It was May but the weather was cold, and I shall never forget 
one night I spent on picket duty on Johns Island. It rained continuously; our 
guns were rendered useless. I said "Boys, if we can stand this, we can 
stand any other kind of hardship that may come to us." After marching across 
Johns Island we stopped at a small village called Rutledge; we were without 
rations. Our captain bought a preparation to make coffee, but the coffee was 
not fit to drink. We were next sent to James Island; we remained there some 

On June 10th, 1862, we undertook to capture Secessionville and were de 
feated. From this place we returned to Port Royal and remained there probably 
two weeks or more. About the middle of July we received orders to go north 
again. We landed and went into camp at Newport News, Va. We had fine quar 
ters. Mrs. Welsh, the colonel s wife, paid him a visit. She was much inter- 

Experience of an Orange Recruit 

ested in camp life ; she intently watched the boys come with their black tin cups 
for coffee. 

Card playing was one of the standard amusements. One day the colonel, 
passing down our company street, heard Brannon, one of the boys, say : "Spades 
is trump." The colonel pushed the tent fly aside and looking in saw who it was. 
Not long afier a guard took Brannan. He was put to digging a sink. While 
busy at his work, the colonel came along, remarking, "Spades is trump," and 
added, "hereafter when you play cards you must make less noise." Private John 
Elder died July 29th, 1862, of typhoid fever. 

We remained at Newport News until the 10th of September, when we broke 
camp for our campaign through Maryland to South Mountain and Antietam. 
The Battle of South Mountain was fought September 14th and the great Battle 
of Antietam, September 17th, 1862. On the march to South Mountain I gave 
out, but got as far as Middletown, Md. From the hospital I could see the firing 
of cannon up on South Mountain. I was taken from Middletown to the hospital 
at Baltimore and remained there until after the Battle of Frederieksburg. It 
was some time in February, 1863, I rejoined my company. 

One day at Falmouth I was on picket duty along the Rappahannock. There 
were probably five men on the post with me. Johnnies were on the opposite side 
of the river, about 100 yards off. As the pickets were on friendly terms, the John 
nies proposed exchanging tobacco for our coffee ; to which we agreed. Three of 
the Johnnies then got into an old boat and came across, leaving their guns be 
hind. When within 15 or 20 feet of the shore, they said : "Now, Yanks, be hon 
est." I said : "Come on, you will be all right." They landed and the exchange 
was made. I asked one fine looking young man among them what regiment he 
belonged to. He said he was from Mississippi. I said to him : "Here we are 
friends, probably an hour from now we will be shooting at each other." They 
made their stay short as this kind of treaty-making was contrary to all military 

We left Falmouth, Va., the latter part of February, 1863, for Acquia Creek, 
where Company K and the regimental headquarters were stationed. We re 
mained there several weeks. Other portions of our regiment at this time did 
guard duty along the railroad running from Acquia Creek to Frederieksburg. 

The latter part of March we broke camp at Acquia Creek. We embarked 
on a boat, the name forgotten, for Baltimore, where we took cars over the Bal 
timore & Ohio Railroad for Cincinnati, O. It was a long journey and especially 
uncomfortable as we were riding in freight cars, with rough board seats, packed 
so full there was no room to lie down. The scenery through which we passed 
was wildly grand and the journey throughout one of thrilling interest to us all. 

On this trip we passed through Point of Rocks, Berlin, Sandy Hook and 
Harpers Ferry, all familiar places. The country grew mountainous as we ad 
vanced. We passed through ten or more large tunnels before reaching Park- 
ersburg on the Ohio River, where we embarked on a steamer and had a very 
pleasant trip to Cincinnati. On April 1st we crossed over to Covington, Ky., 
where we took cars for Paris, the county seat of Bourbon County. The county, 
one of the finest in the state, was famous for fine bred horses. We encamped 
in the fair grounds. We remained a short time at Paris. On one occasion the 

276 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

regiment was called to dress parade. The regiment went through the manual 
of arms by tap of drum. This drill, in which we were expert, was something 
entirely new to the citizens of Paris, of whom a large number were pleased spec 

On or about the 8th of April we broke camp and took cars for Nicholas- 
ville, Ky. We reached there late in the afternoon. The next morning we re 
sumed our way. I shall never forget that 15 miles march to Bryantsville. We 
reached Camp Dick Robinson in the afternoon; it had been occupied by Gen 
eral Bragg, who quietly vacated it upon the approach of our troops. 

About April 30th we left camp Dick Robinson and passed through the towns 
of Lancaster and Stamford, arriving at Htistonville, Ky., about May 24, remain 
ing there a few days. The Union citizens of Hustonville gave us a splendid 
dinner. While at this place an incident occurred which caused a great deal of 
fun and laughter. One day several of us took a walk. I captured two black 
snakes alive. Holding both of them in my right hand with their heads between 
my fingers and their bodies coiled tightly about my arm, we started back to 
camp. In one of the tents was Simon Sanders. I opened the fly of his tent and 
said, as I pushed the snakes toward him: "Simon, how is that?" He yelled 
like an Indian, "Myers, get out of here, or I ll kill you." Without taking fur 
ther notice of me, he jumped out of the rear of the tent and ran as if the daddy 
of all snakes was after him. 

From Hustonville we passed through Middleburgh, Liberty and several 
other towns, but finally on June 6th we reached Lebanon, Ky. There we took 
cars for Louisville, where we crossed the Ohio River to Jeffersonville, Ind., re 
maining there until about the 13th of June. On the 14th of June we embarked 
on a steamer and started down the Ohio for Vicksburg, Miss. 

A ridiculous incident occurred on the 15th day of June. One of the boys 
bought a large catfish, which were plentiful in the Mississippi. He stuffed a 
deck of cards into the fish. When he cleaned it he found the cards. This ex 
cited the boys, who flocked around him; each wanted a card for a memento to 
send home. If I remember correctly I selected the king of hearts. But the 
joke was too good to keep. It finally leaked out of the joker and the boys 
did not keep the cards. 

Our trip down the big river was a very pleasant one. We arrived at the 
mouth of the Yazoo on the 16th of June. We went up that river to Milldale, 
where we landed and marched to the rear of Vicksburg. We remained there 
watching General Joseph Johnston, who it was understood, intended an attack 
on General Grant. General Pemberton surrendered to General Grant on the 
Fourth of July. There was great rejoicing at the fall of Vicksburg and defeat 
of General Lee at Gettysburg. 

Hardly had the news of the surrender become known before orders came to 
break camp. General Sherman commanded the army which started out to cap 
ture or destroy Johnston s army. Johnston had fallen back to Jackson, the 
capitol of Mississippi. There had been some fighting between Vicksburg and 
Jackson. Our Company K was provost guard at General Welsh s headquarters, 
hence we had no fighting to do. We did some foraging on our own account and 
an incident occurred on this line which I will relate. 

Experience of an Orange Recruit 277 

While on the march a short distance beyond the Big Black River, Thomas 
Kelley and myself, while foraging came to a farm and fine residence occupied 
by several cultured ladies and some negro servants. We found in the yard a 
colony of bees. The form of the boxes was odd, 12 inches square at the end and 
about three feet long, closed at the top. Kelley was afraid of bees, so I grabbed 
a long box hive, running with it over my shoulder into a deep woods close by 
which skirted the field. We built an oak leaf fire, knocked off the top of the box 
and smoked the swarm down into the lower part of it, tearing out the rich upper 
combs. We squeezed our canteens full of honey. Leaning the box against a tree 
we hurried to rejoin our rapidly moving column. The honey did not last long, 
soldiers are always ready to share their provender with comrades. 

Brother Samuel and Andrew Hostetter ran away from Company K and 
joined Company I of our regiment, in order that they might get into the next 

July 17th was the time selected to make the general attack along the whole 
line around Jackson, but General Johnston was not there on the morning the at 
tack was to be made ; he had retreated that night, leaving in our hands some 

The Ninth Corps returned to the rear of Vicksburg and there we remained 
for some time. A great many of the regiment were taken sick here. General 
Welsh was taken down with the black fever. On or about the 4th of August we 
broke camp and proceeded to Milldale Landing. On August 5th, about 3 P. M., 
the regiment marched aboard the fine steamer "Hiawatha" in company with the 
Thirty-sixth Massachusetts, Twenty-seventh Michigan and the regulars of Bat 
tery E. All night of the 5th the boat moved slowly north on the Mississippi. 
Being heavily laden her crowded condition made it a very tedious journey for 
all. Late in the afternoon of the 6th the boat passed Columbus, Ark. 

August 7th, all day, we were moving slowly up the river and at sunset stopped 
about 20 minutes at Helena, Ark., for provisions. We arrived at Memphis on 
the morning of the 8th, the men were landed on an island a short distance above 
the city, where they remained while the boat was thoroughly cleaned, and at 5 
P. M., we reembarked and were off again. August the 9th was Sunday ; in the 
forenoon divine services were held by our chaplain. 

Monday, August 10th, 9 A. M., we arrived at Cairo, 111. Late in the after 
noon our regiment was transferred to cars of the Illinois Central Railroad. We 
rode all night, all of next day and late in the evening reached Vincennes. At 
noon, August the 12th, we arrived at Cincinnati. We crossed the river to Cov- 
ington, Ky., and found quarters in some barracks. 

Friday, August 14th, at Cincinnati, our dear General Welsh died. Several 
of us went over to see him. When I looked upon him I wept like a child, for I 
loved him as an officer. He was a great friend of Company K, we were his pro 
vost guard and recruited by him in his own town. His body was immediately 
sent home to Columbia under a detail from Company K. 

Monday, August 17th, the regiment took cars and after riding all night ar 
rived again at Nicholasville. Thence we marched once more into Camp Dick 
Robinson. About August 28th we again broke camp for a long march into East 

278 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

Tennessee. We passed through Crab Orchard, Barboursville, and several other 
small towns. 

On our march to Cumberland Gap we met the Confederate General Frazier 
and his command, captured at Cumberland Gap by the Twenty-third Army Corps. 
There were about 2,200 prisoners. We saw General Frazier riding in an am 
bulance. Our march to and over Cumberland Gap was very rough and hard. 
We passed over the mountain about September 20th. The view from the top is 
grand, three states come together here, so that we could see into Virginia, Ken 
tucky and Tennessee at the same time. On the very top there was a fine spring 
of water. On the Tennessee side of the mountain flows Yellow Springs, a very 
large stream. Continuing our march for East Tennessee we passed through* 
Tazewell, a considerable town. We crossed the Clinch and Holston Rivers by 
fording. The current was pretty swift but not deep ; I got across without a duck 
ing, but some of the boys were not so fortunate. We arrived at Morristownt, 
September 22d, and continued our march to Knoxville. 

Our next move was retrograde. We stopped at Bulls Gap on the way to 
Blue Springs. There we went into a two days camp. Before the boys had 
guns stacked, cotton-tails were running in all directions. I never saw so many 
wild rabbits at one time as I did there. Every one was anxious to catch a bunny. 
We caught a great number by knocking them down with sticks and stones. They 
certainly tasted good to us. 

The Battle of Blue Springs occurred October 10th. As we were nearing 
that place we met some of our cavalry. We remarked to them : "The Johnnies 
must be pretty near as the cavalry is coming back?" In the afternoon Company 
K deployed as skirmishers ; since the death of General Welsh we were no longer 
provost guards. Our company moved forward and drove the Johnnies, the line 
of battle following close behind us. We continued to drive them through the 
woods until called to a halt. Looking down through the woods, we could see 
them and shot at them while they were reforming. Charging us they came up 
close to where I was standing behind a tree and halted. I fired at them at short 
range. Our skirmish line then fell back a short distance to let the line of battle 
advance. The twenty-seventh Michigan was in line of battle ready to receive 
the Johnnies at our old place on the skirmish line, but the Johnnies came to a 
halt and fell back. Company K had no killed or wounded. The Battle of Blue 
Springs was only a skirmish compared to some of the fights we got into later 
on, of which I intend to give my personal experience. 

Company K in the evening and during that night supported a section of one 
of our batteries. We could see the lights of the Johnnies moving about through 
the night. We were much disappointed the next morning to find they had dis 
appeared, retreating toward Virginia. The pursuit was started at once and 
pushed hard. We followed them all day. Citizens told us as we pushed along 
the road that the Johnnies told them, "The Yankees are so close behind and in 
such numbers we fellows could have stirred them with poles." We marched about 
19 miles on this chase, going through Greenville, Andrew Johnson s home, and 
continued as far as Rheatown, where we encamped. 

October 14th we took cars for Knoxville. October 19th or 20th we broke 
camp and marched to Louden, about 30 miles southwest of Knoxville, on the 

Experience of an Orange Recruit 279 

south bank of the Tennessee River. An attack by the enemy threatened from 
that quarter. From October 22d to October 28th we encamped on the south 
side of the Little Tennessee River. On the morning of the 28th the regiment 
marched back to Lenoirs Station, about 23 miles southwest of Knoxville, and 
halted for the night. On the following day orders were received to establish a 
permanent winter camp near Lenoirs. Never was such an order more welcome. 
The place selected for the regimental camp was a thrifty young oak grove near 
the little village. We built rude but comfortable log houses, roofed with tent 
cloth, all the time thinking what good times we would have during the winter. 
In this camp it dawned on me that a soldier has a conscience, but he is not al 
ways aware of it. I was reputed an honest man at home and in my company^ 
but I stole an axe while at Lenoirs. It happened in this way. George Fisher, 
nicknamed "Fannie," another companion and myself took a stroll one evening 
through the camp of the Twenty-seventh Michigan. I saw an axe on the company 
woodpile. Axes in our camp were scarce ; I picked this one up, slipped it under 
my overcoat and walked along without concern until I delivered it on the chop 
ping block of Company K. I have never forgotten this act and have ever felt 

While in camp here my brother, Samuel, who was a great forager, killed a 
fine hog one night and brought it into camp. It was shared among the boys, but 
it was cooked and eaten without salt. Too much salt produces scurvy, but fresh 
hog meat without any salt has nothing among laxatives to equal it. 

But our plans for a quiet winter were broken up by a sudden change into an 
active military campaign. On the morning of November 14th, orders were issued 
to break camp and bread rations were served. The bread was carried around 
the camp by a number of the boys on the cloth of an old rotten shelter tent. The 
ground was muddy and sloppy. The weight of the bread caused the cloth to 
break, the bread falling into the mud and water. It was soaked and in bad con 
dition, but it was gathered up and distributed. Being soggy, of course, it took 
less coffee to soften it. A hasty breakfast followed. Forming our line we stacked 
arms and awaited further orders. 

The meaning of all this is not so dark to us now as it was then. Lieutenant 
General Longstreet, who was in command of the best corps in Bragg s Army 
at Chattanooga, had received instructions November 3d to move his command 
against Burnside. His instructions were to "drive General Burnside out of 
Tennessee," a thing easier said than done. He had about 15,000 men besides Gen 
eral Wheeler s cavalry, perhaps 5,000 more. This force of Longstreet was close 
upon us. General Burnside ascertained that Longstreet had now reached the 
Tennessee River at Hough s Ferry, a few miles below Louden. 

During the night of the 15th of November we were in the woods lying in 
line of battle ready to meet an attack. It was unfriendly weather, the heavy rain 
having made the ground very wet and cold. That night Joseph McLane came 
to me and cried ; he was terribly nervous and afraid the Johnnies would attack 
us. I assured him there was no danger. We had pickets out in front and if they 
did come we would give them a warm reception. The night passed without at 
tack. The next morning we left for Campbell s Station. After marching some 
distance McLane could not keep up. I spoke to him and advised him to do so, 

280 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

or the Johnnies would capture him and told him that some of our boys were 
even then firing at them, not far in our rear. But McLane helplessly fell be 
hind and was captured. He died in Andersonville prison. 

Some of our troops were sent ahead to hold Longstreet in check. He was 
moving by another route, the Kingston road. The Thirty-sixth Massachusetts 
and Eighth Michigan were holding him when we came up, Company K deployed 
as skirmishers. When we got to a rail fence we could see the Johnnies lying 
low down in a field in a hollow only a short distance from us. We instantly 
opened fire on them; they jumped up and fled like so many sheep. The Johnnies 
who had been following us were at this time in the woods on our right. We were 
that close to them I heard a Rebel officer call out : "Forward ! On there ! Give 
it to them! The Second Michigan were holding that skirmish line. I said: 
"They won t drive the Second Michigan very fast." It was considered one of 
our very best fighting regiments. We fell back to the rear of Campbells Sta 
tion, where General Burnside had chosen a position for holding the Rebels in 
check. Captain Fessler and several of us were sitting on some rails watching 
the Rebel movements. I noticed a puff from one of their cannon and in a mo 
ment I saw the shell coming and called out: "There she comes!" It passed just 
over our heads sounding like a gigantic pinwheel. 

General Burnside held Longstreet in check until evening, then we started 
back to Knoxville. We marched all night arriving early in the morning. The 
left wing of our regiment extended to Holston River, Company K being on the 
extreme left. We were employed building breastworks and doing picket duty. 
In front of our strong line of works we had strung heavy wires, stretched 10, 
or 12 inches above the ground, wrapped around tree stumps, thus connecting 
stump to stump. The principal fighting was done at Fort Sanders. Here we 
suffered a great deal more from shortage of rations than we did from bullets. 

Longstreet attacked Fort Sanders on the morning of the 29th. The wire 
entanglements proved a great aid in checking the advance of the Rebels. But 
they succeeded in reaching the ditch in front of our fort. The Confederate loss 
was very heavy in front of Lieutenant Benjamin s battery of the Ninth Corps; 
he had triple shotted his guns. Lieutenant Benjamin actually took shells in his 
own hands, lighted them and tossed them over the parapet into the crowded 
ditch. "It stilled them down," he modestly remarked. One of the Rebel brigades 
in reserve now came up in support yelling, and the slaughter was renewed. The 
ditch was filled, but several Rebel flags were bravely planted on the parapet, but 
"The Highlanders," the Seventy-ninth New York Volunteers, swept them off 
with their muskets and also those who attempted to scale the parapet. The men 
in the ditch, at last convinced of the hopelessness of the task they had under 
taken, surrendered. 

These prisoners represented 11 regiments and numbered nearly 300 men. 
Among them were 17 commissioned officers and over 200 dead and wounded, 
including three colonels. The body of Confederate General Humphrey was found 
near the ditch, while the ground in front of the fort was strewn with the bodies 
of the dead and wounded. Over 100 stands of arms and three battle flags fell 
into our hands. 

Experience of an Orange Recruit 281 

Our total loss in the engagement was eight men killed and five wounded. 
In view of this remarkable victory, we need not wonder why the song was writ 
ten in honor of it: 

"The Yankee fire and Burnside wire caused them to stumble 
Head over heels into the ditch, like bullfrogs, they did tumble." 

I recall a little incident that occurred while on picket duty in the woods near 
Holston River. On our way out to the post I noticed a small shoulder of an un- 
pickled hog. I picked it up and smelt it. I dropped it again. Brother Sam 
coming behind, grabbed the shoulder, cooked and ate some of it. We were very 
nearly starved. Parched corn was our principal ration and that was scarce. We 
often picked up scattered grains under the mule troughs. For several days we 
received only a small piece of bread baked of bran, which we could not eat with 
out first frying it in our skillets. 

On the night of December 4th General Longstreet withdrew his lines around 
Knoxville, crossed the Holston and moved up the north bank of the river, toward 
Morristown, Tenn. His retreat was discovered by the Thirty-sixth Massachu 
setts Regiment of our brigade. On or about the 7th of December we followed 
after Longstreet, but were so very weak that we could hardly get along. We 
went slowly. We continued our march on the 8th and 9th, reaching Rutledge. 
On December 15th we fell back to Blaines Cross Roads. We remained there 
until January 16th, 1864, when we reenlisted as veterans. Our rations were again 
very short. Corn chop was considered a rare luxury at 25 cents a quart. Being 
mid-winter we suffered severely from cold, as we had nothing but shelter or dog 
tents. In order to keep warm we built large log fires, there being plenty of 
wood. One of the boys found an old Dutch oven near camp; we cleaned it up 
the best we could, then mixed up a batch of corn chop and baked it in the oven. 
I tell you it tasted good. Hunger does a great deal. 

We were all happy when we got orders to leave for our homes, January 
16th, on 30 days furlough. I remember how I loaded myself down with corn 
chop (on the outside), which was about the only rations we could get. The roads 
were muddy, which made marching in our weakened condition very exhausting. 
It had been a season of much rain. 

One night we encamped in some timber. There were three of us together. 
One was "Fannie" Fisher and the other I think was Jacob Kling. We made our 
bed about as comfortable as we could on our gum blankets and crawled under 
our woolen blankets, always covering head and feet. Whenever we got tired 
lying one way, which was spoon fashion, the command was "about face." This 
same night it snowed about an inch but we were so hardened that we did not 
mind it. 

I suppose it took, as nearly as I can remember, 10 or 12 days to reach Crab 
Orchard, Ky., which was about 150 miles from Blaines Cross Roads. We next 
marched to Nicholasville. There we took cars for Covington, Ky. We crossed 
the Ohio River to Cincinnati. There we received and read our mail. I received 
at least three or four letters which rejoiced and wonderfully revived me. The 
last lot of letters from home had brought me the distressing information, that 
by the time I received the letter my wife would be no more; that she was dan 
gerously ill with typhoid fever and Dr. Rohrer had despaired of her life. It was 

282 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

under strain of the thoughts this news had produced that I made the long journey. 
Soldiers can only know what such feelings mean and will fully realize the depth 
of my joy when the next letter read: "Your wife is well again." 

We remained at Cincinnati for several days. Then we took cars for Har- 
risburg. We were all a happy set of boys. We remained at Harrisburg for sev 
eral days as we had to make out our reenlistment papers. This delay was a 
great trial to me. Being rather handy with my pen it fell to my lot to help Cap 
tain Fessler make out our papers. After the papers were made out we started 
by railroad for Columbia. 

We were met by an immense crowd of people, anxious to see the boys of 
Company K and Company B, which was also recruited in Columbia. I certainly 
felt happy, all of us did, to be "at home" after an absence for some of us, of two 
years and more. Those of us who originally belonged to the "Orange Recruits" 
had been just two years away. 

Andrew Hostetter of Donegal Township, a brave soldier, was met at the 
station by his brother who drove us out to our homes in the country. I lived at 
Newtown. Knowing that I would be at home that evening the house was filled 
with people. 

Although our furlough was only for 30 days we had a good time while it 
lasted. The ladies of Columbia gave Companies K and B a grand reception and 
dinner, which was very much enjoyed by them. A great many of the boys who 
attended that dinner never lived to come back from the war. Many of our brave 
fellows fell in the battles of the campaign of 1864. 

Our veteran furlough of 30 days expired on or about March 15th, 1864. 
Company K received quite a number of recruits. If I am not in error the regi 
ment was recruited to the full quota of 1,000 men. Some of the recruits were 
quite young, 17 to 18 years old, and proved to be very good soldiers. When we 
left Columbia for Harrisburg there was a large crowd of people to see us off, 
and many tears were shed by our wives, sisters and parents. But we boys only 
laughed in return for these; military service had hardened us in some things. 
Knowing full well that the campaign of 1864 was to be a hard fought one, that 
General Grant and General Lee were to lock horns with each other, we were 
eager to get back. We all know that General Lee was hard to defeat on his own 
grounds, and the boys had great confidence in General Grant. Grant was called 
the "Bull Dog Fighter," but let me say, it was in my opinion, our superior num 
bers that defeated Lee. As we had to be the attacking party, Grant s strong 
point as a general was he made every man fight. He did not take one division 
or one corps into battle and hold the balance in reserve (which was done by 
many of our generals in the early part of the war) ; he made every man in the 
army fight, even cowards. We left Harrisburg the latter part of March for An 
napolis, Md., where the Ninth Corps was reorganized. Our camp at Annapolis 
was fine. Our quarters were excellent. Our principal duty was company and 
regimental drill. 

On April 13th the entire corps then in camp was reviewed by Generals 
Grant and Burnside. The day was delightful and as the generals rode in front 
of the long imposing lines they were greeted by cheers, strains of martial music 

Experience of an Orange Recruit 283 

and the waving of tattered and blood stained banners. The enthusiasm of the 
men was unbounded. This was the first time that I saw General Grant. 

The destination of our corps was still a mystery. On the evening of April 
22d the command was ordered to be in readiness to march, and before daylight 
of the 23d the happy camp was broken up. The corps took up its line of march, 
not toward the Harbor of Annapolis, but in the direction of Washington. The 
day was very warm and before evening many overcoats were left behind along 
the road. We arrived at the outskirts of Washington about noon and halted on 
New York Avenue for the command to close up, as we were to give a marching 
salute to the President and General Burnside, who were to review us from a 
balcony of Willard s Hotel. The streets along our line of march were densely 
packed with people. After the President had reviewed us we passed over Long 
Bridge into Virginia. Many a brave man felt that he was crossing Long Bridge 
never to return. Grim resolve and cheerful devotion were the lessons of the 

On Wednesday, April 27th, at ten o clock in the morning the brigade left Alex 
andria to follow the divisions which had been advanced toward the Rappahan- 
nock. After a fatiguing march of 16 miles we encamped that night three miles 
beyond Fairfax Court House. The next day we went into camp at Bristow Sta 
tion, passing over the historic ground of 1861 The Battlefield of Bull Run. 

On the morning of May 4th all doubts as to our destination were removed; 
we were bound for the Wilderness. At daylight of the 5th the command was in 
motion, and at about nine o clock we crossed the Rappahannock on a pontoon 

The speed of our march did not abate until the Rapidan, at Germania Ford 
was reached. We passed over the river on a pontoon. The regiment was now 
south of the Rapidan and upon halting we had an opportunity to look about. 
We learned that the entire army had crossed the day before ; the Fifth and Sixth 
Corps at Germania Ford ; the Second Corps and the supply train, of. more than 
4,000 wagons at Ely s Ford, six miles below. 

We encamped that night in some timber, not far from the front. Between 
one and two o clock we were aroused and before three o clock moved toward 
the front. I remember counting the guns that morning before we started ; there 
were 81. As we were moving toward the enemy at Wilderness Tavern we 
passed a field hospital where lay many wounded of our brave boys of the Sixttf 
Corps, who were engaged in a fearful battle on the 5th. Some of the men stand 
ing around said to us : "The Sixth Corps was cut all to pieces." Of course, 
we paid very little attention to that remark, as we thought perhaps they were 
cowards looking on the dark side of the battle. We moved forward to a brick 
house, the one to which General Jackson was taken after he was wounded at 
Chancellorsville; we halted a short distance from the house. After loading guns 
we moved to our right a short distance on a narrow road leading through the 
pines. Here we stood facing south in the direction we expected to find the 

Before we deployed as skirmishers we piled our knapsacks, our best clean 
clothing being in them. I detailed George Seiple and Augustus Weigand to 
guard them, little thinking when we left them it would be the last time that we 

284 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

would ever see our knapsacks. Company K being a skirmish company we de 
ployed, moving cautiously through pines and underbrush. We had not gone very 
far when we saw one of our boys in blue lying up against a pine tree dead. I 
suppose he had been killed in the fight of the previous day. We did not take 
time to examine his marks for what company or regiment he belonged. We 
kept moving steadily and cautiously forward. Looking to our right we saw Gen 
eral Burnside and his staff ride into a small field. When he reached about the 
middle of the field the Johnnies opened a battery on him. He wheeled about and 
in double quick time got out of there. I thought when I first saw him that he 
was watching our line advance. We continued to go forward until we reached 
a small run called Wilderness Run ; the boys tried to ford it the best they could 
without getting wet. When we had crossed the run we moved to the left a short 
distance and halted a little while. Sergeant Reuben E. Fillis and Private Thomas 
Kelley of our boys were wounded here. Our skirmish line moved again toward 
the left a short distance and then forward. We had gone but a very short dis 
tance when we came upon a squad of Boys in Blue; if I mistake not, they had 
no guns. We did not take time to ask them where they belonged or why they 
were there but kept moving forward. We went but a short distance when we 
found Johnnies in the woods. We halted and got behind some of the large oak 
trees. The company moved to the left a short distance and then forward, but 
three of us remained at our first position behind the oak trees and continued to 
fire. The Johnnies were not slow to return our fire. They seemed to be mov 
ing from tree to tree toward us. I remember that one of their bullets came very 
close to my head. 

The line of battle which had followed close behind the skirmishers now 
passed us. I said to them as they went forward, "Boys, the Rebels are right in 
front of us." After the line of battle had passed I said to my two companions, 
"Boys, come on, we must hunt up our company." They had formed a close at 
tachment for the trees and hesitated, being reluctant to leave them but finally we 
started. We went about 100 yards to our left and forward toward a point on the 
battle line where we supposed the Forty-fifth was engaged. At that particular 
time a hot fight was going on along our whole line. As we approached the posi 
tion of the Fifth Corps (which was on the right of the Ninth), the musketry, 
firing was so intensely fierce that I said to my two comrades, "My, oh my! I 
don t see how in such fighting anyone can be saved." 

As we went forward we met David Edler, one of Company K,, limping^ 
back ; he wanted me to help him to the rear. I replied, "No, you will have to get 
back yourself ; we are needed at the front." Just then we were overtaken by 
brave Colonel Griffin, who was going toward the firing. He saw us and sternly 
commanded me in these words, "Sergeant, get forward there or I ll take those 
stripes from you." I answered, "Colonel, we have been cut off and are going 
forward to find our company." He went on. I can record in this place that 
Colonel Griffin when he threatened thus did not know that he was addressing 
one of the sergeants of that gallant old Forty-fifth Veteran Volunteer Regiment 
of Pennsylvania, whose fighters were at that moment in the midst of one of the 
most heroic engagements of the Battle of the Wilderness. As we came close to 
the rear of our firing line I heard my brother, Samuel, call to me in a glad tone 
(he had thought I was killed or a prisoner when he missed me from the com- 

Experience of an Orange Recruit 285 

pany), "Eph, get in behind one of these trees; the Johnnies are as thick out 
there as flies." I took his advice and stood near him. While in this position I 
noticed close by me one of Company A s boys on his haunches behind a tree 
firing. I was looking at him as he was reloading ; I saw him fall, shot through the 

The order Forward" rang along the line. The whole line sprang toward 
the enemy s line of works, capturing them and a number of prisoners. In this 
charge I saw Captain Campbell, an officer of Company E, fall mortally wounded. 
When it was found that our post on the line was too far in advance, we were 
immediately ordered back to our first position. I shall never forget the splendid 
bravery of Captain Campbell. As he fell with a mortal wound on his body he 
beckoned us to come on. We could not hear what his orders were, but his actions 
spoke louder than words. 

When we regained our old position the firing practically ceased. While 
standing behind the line a minie ball passed so close to my ear that my head 
dodged violently wrenching the muscles of my neck painfully. I grabbed the 
sides of my head with my hands. General Curtin, who was near me inquired, 
"Sergeant, are you hurt?" "No, but I was terribly scared just then," I jokingly 
replied. The 6th of May, 1864, during this fight had been extremely hot ; the boys 
all suffered from heat and the want of water ; there was no water in those woods. 
Many of the boys fell out of ranks, remaining a short distance in the rear, in a 
state of either total or great exhaustion. 

Captain Fessler, a dear and brave officer, who at this writing is no more, 
dispatched me to go back and bring forward all of the boys of Company K, as 
a general attack was to be made again at six o clock. When I got back to the 
line again I took position behind a big tree. (The Eighth Michigan in the fight 
had gotten mixed up with our regiment in the woods.) While there I saw one 
of the Michigan men suddenly interlock his arms across his breast and heard him 
cry out pitifully, "Oh, Company D ! Oh, Company D ! Help me !" He was 
taken to the rear, supported by his companions. I also saw in his direction my 
brother, Samuel, and Billie Benson a few steps away, behind the same tree, firing 
as we all were, industriously. A minie ball from the Rebels struck the side of 
their tree and glancing off hit Billie in the shoulder. He fell backward kicking 
up his heels comically. It was serious business but I actually laughed. He, too, 
wanted help to the rear but I told him, "No, Billie, it s too dangerous, jump up 
and run," which he did with great spirit. The firing was sustained continually 
with varying intensity. 

Colonel Griffin went out to reconnoiter during one of the lulls in the battle. 
As he passed me I said to him, "Don t go out, colonel, the Rebels are thick out 
there." He paid no attention but he was not out very far nor very long until he 
wheeled as if an idea had struck him and he came back on a run. As he again 
passed me my thought was to say to him, "Don t run, colonel, or I will take that 
eagle off your shoulder." Griffin had good judgment. He knew just when it was 
proper to use a fine pair of legs. 

Simon Sanders of the Black Snake episode and Peter Brady were among the 
killed. The wounded were numerous, as the list will show. About sun down 
the fight was over and we at once began to erect temporary breastworks; there 

286 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

was no time for anything of this kind during the day. The company cook brought 
us coffee. After haversack rations we settled down to a watchful rest, for no 
body was allowed to go to sleep that night. During the whole night we heard 
moaning on our front. The next morning some of the company went out and 
found behind a log Private George W. Gilbert of Company K. They brought 
him into the lines. As they carried him mortally wounded past me I said to him, 
"George, keep up good courage, you will be all right." But he replied, "No, I am 
going to die." He also told the boys who brought him in that he had gone too 
far out in advance of the line, and that he had been hit by a stray shot from our 
own guns. He told us also that there had been Rebels with him out there all 
night but that they had left in the morning. George W. Gilbert of East Prospect, 
York County, died about nine o clock that same forenoon. A brave soldier was he. 

On the morning of the 7th we advanced to the line from which the Rebels 
had retreated. Behind their defenses Company K was lucky in finding one of its 
skillets which had been captured from Seiple and Weigand the day before. George 
W. Derrick was in charge of the pioneer corps whose duty it was to find and 
gather the dead. He dug a long ditch in the woods about three feet deep and 
wide as the length of a man. After wrapping our dead in blankets, they werfe 
tenderly laid side by side without any ceremony (our chaplain at that time was 
with the field hospital), and then they were covered over. Every one of the 
graves was marked with a cracker box lid for a head board, on which was pen 
ciled the name, company and regiment. Killed, Privates Simon Sander and Peter 
Brady. Mortally wounded : Hilston Carrs, Andrew Hostetter and George W. Gil 
bert. Wounded: Sergeant Reuben E. Fillis, Privates William Benson, Thomas 
Kelly, Charles A. Deckman, Reuben Weaver, George W. Findley, David S. Edler, 
W. A. Roberts, Henry Fitzkee, Calvin Harris, George F. Seiple, Samuel Sump- 
man, Samuel B. Weaver. Missing: Augustus Weigand. 

May 8th toward noon it became evident that a new movement was contem 
plated ; we began to fall back without any apparent reason ; we were not pushed 
by the enemy. About one o clock we marched to the rear and halted near a road 
while the rest of the brigade was withdrawing and concentrating. We then 
moved rapidly to open ground near the old Wilderness Tavern, where the Ninth 
Corps was already massed. Our immense artillery and ammunition trains were 
then moving past our rear in the direction of Chancellorsville. We remained at 
the tavern until dark. As soon as the trains were on the road we were ordered 
to follow them. 

The march that night up to ten o clock was very tiresome. We would move 
a short distance, then halt ; march and halt again. We finally lay down by the 
roadside for the night. At daylight we resumed the march. At nine o clock we 
reached Chancellorsville and halted in an open field at the intersection of the 
Gordonville Plank and Orange County roads. Here stood the ruins of the house 
used by General Hooker as headquarters during the great battle fought one year 
before. All around us were traces of the bloody struggle. We remained quietly 
at Chancellorsville during the entire day. The Fifth and Second Corps had moved 
on the Brock road toward Spottsylvania. The Sixth Corps was with us. 

May 10th was clear and intensely hot. The burning sun drove us from the 
open fields to shelter of the woods. We lay there during long and tedious hours 

Experience of an Orange Recruit 287 

listening to the sounds of battle on onr right and under orders, "Be ready to move 
at a moment s notice." 

On the llth we moved to right from our advanced line facing Spottsylvania. 
Court House, into an open field near the Harris House. Here we remained un 
der fire for more than an hour, exposed to the full fury of a drenching rain, which 
caused the men to shiver with cold. Rubber coats and blankets proved no pro 
tection. The whole army was soaked to the skin. Late that afternoon we moved 
back to our original position in front of the court house, probably a half mile 
or more away. I shall never forget that night. As we had no place to lie down 
but on the wet ground, we got very little sleep. 

Early next morning we formed into line of battle and moved forward a lit 
tle to the right of a road running toward the court house. We did not move 
very far when we came in contact with Rebel pickets. They were driven in. We 
advanced through an open field a short distance, when we reached a woods. We 
pushed forward through the brush, driving the Johnnies before us. While mak 
ing this movement, I remarked to the boys upon the character of the firing on our 
right. I said, "I don t believe those fellows are putting in all their powder." The 
reports sounded like firing with half charges. But I found out the next day when 
we got on that part of the line that there had been no half charges there. The 
field was strewn with dead and wounded Johnnies and some horses. One Reb 
who was brought in from that field make the remark in my hearing, "You Yanks 
were not satisfied with shooting me once ; you shot me two times while I was lying 
out there." This was a saucy fellow. Shot up as he was, he was a radical of 
radicals. That singular sound in the firing was produced by a blanket-like con 
dition of the atmosphere which enveloped the battle. 

Halting our line we kept up a continuous fire. A short distance in front we 
saw a line of Johnnies moving to our left. They could not see us in our position 
and were marching as though they had no thought that they were near our line. 
When we had watched them a while I said to Captain Fessler, "Let us fire on 
that column," but the captain felt sure they were a part of Hancock s captives 
and said, "No, don t fire." We could have mowed them down. Had we done so 
the Thirty-sixth Massachusetts would not have been outflanked or taken by sur 
prise as they were, and the lives of many of brave Major Buffum s men sacri 
ficed. This column of Rebels was playing a daring trick on our officers. When 
they came close to the Thirty-sixth Massachusetts they acted as though they were 
actually going to surrender, but when about ten yards off opened a murderous 
fire. As onr company adjoined the Thirty-sixth Massachusetts on their right, we 
observed them falling back and cried to them, "Don t run !" I know not whether 
they heard us, but as they made a most gallant rally we believed at the time that 
it was our encouragement that helped them to do it. 

During this time our regiment kept up a continuous fire on the Johnnies in 
our front. Our loss was slight as we were lying down concealed by the under 
brush. We had one killed and three wounded. Killed : John Heffner ; mortally 
wounded : Corporal Dennis Digman ; wounded : George McG ill and John Eisher. 

Our line charged and drove the Rebels back. When halted we threw up 
temporary breastworks, behind which we remained under arms six days and 
nights, with strict orders not to remove so much as a cartridge box. We were 

288 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

held there from May 12th to May 18th, entirely without shelter even as to tents 
and allowed to cook nothing on the lines. The cooks brought us our coffee from 
the rear ; it was a dangerous place for them and a good many of them lost their 
lives on this line. 

On May 14th, w r hile looking out over our breastworks I noticed a Rebel not 
very far away. I said to the boys, "Look out there. Do you see that Johnnie?" 
I hardly had the words out when a minie ball passed over us. To several of 
the boys I proposed; "Let us go in front and play sharp shooters." John Beaver, 
Brother Samuel and myself made up the squad. Crawling out beyond our pick 
ets we got behind trees and commenced plugging at the Johnnies. We had not 
been firing very long before a bullet hit "Knotty" (Brother Sam) in the arm. I 
helped him to the rear as far as I was allowed to go. (There was a line in the 
rear beyond which you could not help a comrade.) We did no more sharp shoot 
ing that day, but got back behind our works. We had no orders to go out there ; 
it was just a prank. We wanted extra excitement. Samuel was sent to the hos 

On the 12th I saw First Lieutenant Daniels of the Thirty-sixth Massachu 
setts killed. His head was pierced by a sharp shooter s minie ball. He had 
charge of the skirmish line and had been firing at the Johnnies a long time. 

On the evening of the 18th we moved to the rear. Our next left flank move 
ment was toward the North Anna and the Pamunkey Rivers. On or about May 
23d we crossed over the North Anna and drove the Rebels a short distance. We 
erected some breastworks in the woods and I remember that it was a very dan 
gerous position. There was a terrible storm coming up. Thunder, lightning and 
the roar of cannon made it an awesome place during all that afternoon and even 
ing. An appalled or affrighted feeling seemed to exist among the men so that 
none of them wanted to go on picket duty at this place. I have never learned 
why this was but certain it is there was a singular manifestation of superstition 
among the men. In all my relation with campaigns I never saw anything just 
like it before or since. 

The- next morning we recrossed the North Anna River. While resting on 
the opposite side after crossing, Generals Grant and Meade, with their staffs, 
passed near us. It was the first time I saw Grant or Meade on that campaign. 
The army commenced to move once more to the left. When the boys found out 
that another movement was to be made, they began to cheer and were in high 
spirits. "Another flank movement," they called to each other. Let me say here 
that a forward movement was what the boys wanted. They never wanted to turn 
back. The boys were just like Grant; they felt like fighting it out. There was 
very little fighting until we arrived at Bethesda Church. 

On June 2d, 1864, four or five of our boys, Joseph Lease, John Beaver, Peter 
Gardner and Simon Hogentogler, as a squad of foragers hunting hams, found a 
lot of buried gold and silver, principally Spanish coin, buried in the cellar of a 
small country house. Noticing fresh ground on the cellar floor, they suspected 
concealed treasure and dug for it. Sure enough, they uncovered after digging, a 
strong box filled with shot bags of coin. The party secured a good portion of 
the money before the rear guard drove them forward to their command. Joseph 
Lease stated to me a few years ago that they did not have time to get all the 

Experience of an Orange Recruit 289 

money, and it was his belief that the rear guard under Captain Roath of Marietta, 
got the balance. 

The amount was thought to be about $3,000; whatever it was, I shall never 
forget the excitement created when the fact became known along the line of our 

I helped the boys to exchange some of the silver for greenbacks, at rate of 
one dollar in silver for one dollar and twenty-five cents in greenbacks. I was 
kept pretty busy as a money exchanger for a long time. 

It then fell to my lot to divide and distribute the balance of the money after 
the men tired of exchanging silver for greenbacks. I remember very well that 
we had 52 enlisted men and only one officer, Captain A. J. Fessler. I gave each 
man four dollars, and when I got around there was still some left. I started on 
the second round and gave each man two dollars. After I had finished the divid 
ing up, John Beaver said to me, "Here, Myers, take this for yourself," and pre 
sented me with a handful of silver. 

While on picket at this place I had a bad scare, the worst of my army life. 
It was a shock so sudden that for the moment I was much rattled. Unawares 
to the picket, a pair of howitzers had been dragged noiselessly into position be 
hind the picket line and opened fire. The terrific boom, the rush of air, the con 
cussion, the feeling that my cap and head had blown off, was a queer one. 

Orders now came to move by left flank. At 1 P. M. we moved about two 
miles a soldier can only guess at distance. As soon as the Rebels discovered 
that we had vacated our works, they followed up closely, watching us like hawks. 
I recall my admiration of the Fourteenth Brooklyn Zouaves skirmishing ahead 
of us. Their brilliant uniforms made me think, "You are surely bright targets." 
And it was so, for they soon came back at a pretty lively gait. 

We were in line of battle ready for the Rebels, but they came to a halt in 
their pursuit of the Zouaves. General Burnside now rode between us and the 
Zouaves ; it was here he uttered the words, "Well, they didn t quite catch me." 

While here in line of battle a spent cannon ball from a battery came running 
along the ground toward us. It was a graceful thing, the unconcerned way our 
boys side-stepped right and left to let it pass through and without a word close 
up the line again. A little later a battery firing at us obliquely sent a rifled shot 
which struck the ground about 20 yards in front, and then ricochetted beauti 
fully ; we watched it skim and sail off along the line for a half mile or more. 

We were overtaken during the afternoon by a heavy rain. The ground we 
occupied was near Bethesda Church on the historic field known as ol d Cold 
Harbor, and which several years before had been a part of McClellan s famous 
"Seven Days." We were occupying generally a part of his old works. Toward 
evening we were moved a short distance to right and rear of our day line. The 
ground of our new position was water soaked ; we spent a miserable night in an 
open field dozing on fence rails. 

It has been necessary to refer often to a sort of hammock or bed in .the mud 
made of rails. I will explain to those who in after time may read these lines that 
this kind of bed was made by spreading rails on the ground. They were gen 
erally pine in that country and of the same size and shape as found in the worm 

290 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

fences of Pennsylvania. They were rough, sharp and hard, but I cannot tell 
who first invented them. I can say nothing except that we turned the soft side 
up and lay down lengthwise upon them, glad to keep out of water, using our 
blankets, and they were scarce, for covering. Most of the men had no blankets 
that shivering night ; in such case they used the sky or sat up and walked round 
by turns to keep warm. 

Early next morning Company K deployed as skirmishers going through a 
swamp. Captain Fessler commanded the left of the line ; I had charge of the 
right. Before we reached the swamp we were fired upon and Private Frank 
Carroll was mortally wounded. Beyond the swampy ground on a slight eleva 
tion stood a small house and some outbuildings full of Johnnies. I ordered the 
line forward ; with a cheer the boys ran up and surrounded the house. The thing 
was all done so quickly the Rebels could not do much execution with their rifles 
but Howard Vache was mortally wounded. We captured the whole squad of 

I continued going forward with a part of the skirmish line ; the rest of our 
boys remained with the prisoners and held the house. As we advanced, looking 
a little to my right, we saw about 200 yards off a Johnnie standing in his rifle 
pit. If I am not mistaken there were three others with me. Said I, "Boys, make 
ready." Counting three we fired a volley ; the Johnny disappeared. We had 
scarcely shot when a hot minie scraped my body. I said to the boys, "They have 
got a flank fire on us." I entered an outbuilding and gave attention in direction 
of some breastworks which were about 200 yards to our left. Every time we saw 
a shovel full of dirt thrown up, we would fire at it ; this was done to keep the 
Johnnies down. While I was in the shed Comrade Kling, who was outside, called 
to me, "Myers, get away from that window ; there is no protection there." I had 
looked out and seen a dead Johnny lying near the building. 

Not far off was a road; when we reached it we took position behind some 
rail piles. Looking toward our left and over the low Rebel breastworks, which 
were only a short distance away, I saw a Johnny battery run into position. At 
first I thought it w y as one of ours, as some of the artillerymen wore blue coats. 
This battery took a position at the apex of an acute angle on their line. I noticed 
that we were not in direct range of their guns as they faced them toward our 
main line. I said, "Boys, shoot down those gunners and horses as quick as you 
can." The command was instantly executed and as we had a flank fire on the bat 
tery I assure you we made it hot for them. I have no recollection of their firing 
more than one shot at us and that went through the captured house behind which 
Captain Fessler s line held position. It was exciting indeed to watch those gun 
ners, who though driven from their battery made heroic but vain attempts to 
crawl close to the gun carriages and attach ropes, that they might draw them 
away. We did not have force enough to advance and capture this battery but I 
realized at the moment more tremendously than words can tell, the possibilities of 
doing so. If we had only had a regiment at that place with us we could easily 
have broken through and captured that line. Late in the afternoon one gun was 
sent as far as the house to support us, but did not go into action. It was my 
impression at the time, and I will ever have it with me, that what we came upon 
so suddenly there that forenoon was an accidental discovery and a surprise to 
the Rebels. 

Experience of an Orange Recruit 291 

I remained behind the rail pile but a short time. I noticed several large pop 
lar trees closeby; I got behind one of them and continued firing. The Johnnies 
got sight of me and it was not very long until one of their bullets grazed my 
pant leg below the knee. A little later on a second ball struck me above the 
knee, causing a flesh wound; as it passed through my skin I felt a sharp pain 
just like a knife cut. I called to Comrade Kelley, "Bill, I am wounded but in 
tend to stay here until I have shot my cartridges." After my cartridges were 
all gone I went back behind the house, where I found Captain Fessler and Gen 
eral Curtin. I pulled up my pants and saw that a bullet had only cut the skin. 
Whereupon I said to Captain Fessler, "I am not going to the rear for that." Tak 
ing a fresh supply of ammunition and tucking a child s petticoat I found in the 
house under my blouse, against my gun shoulder, as a buffer, I started off ready 
for duty again. 

Beyond the house a little distance was a picket fence and close by the out 
side of the fence grew a large cherry tree. Elias Arbogast and I took possession 
of the tree and fired from behind it. Arbogast shot from the one side and I from 
the other ; I was a left-handed shot. Again the Johnnies caught sight of me and 
gave me a pretty close call, sending a minie through the waist of my blouse. 
This was the fourth and last ball that hit me during the day. Arbogast and I 
continued to fire from the cherry tree all afternoon, our guns bruising us cruelly. 
Our guns had become violent kickers and we had no time or chance to clean 
them. The firing ceased at night. 

I was generally an even-tempered soldier but during the day s fighting at the 
cherry tree I was made mad by a profane blustering fellow from some other 
regiment, who had taken a position immediately in my rear behind the fence. 
Once in his excitement he leveled his gun close up to my ears and banged 
away. I thought my head was cracked; my ears rang and roared. Indeed I 
was so much shocked or stunned I was almost deaf. I reprimanded hint fiercely. 
He paid no attention to me, made no reply at least but continued to talk to 
himself, soundly cursing the Rebels as he repeatedly ran back to load behind 
the house and ran out to fire again. 

In this battle our losses were severe. Company K lost two killed, Moss and 
Kahoe, privates ; and 16 wounded, out of o 2 men and one captain, a loss of 33| 
per cent. I will state that personally I fired more rounds on this particular day 
than in all my army record put together, and I believe the others of our company 
did likewise. The regiment lost, if I am correct, 160 killed and wounded. Among 
the latter was brave Major Kelsey, formerly captain of Company K. Captain 
Fessler was slightly wounded by a splinter when the cannon ball, I mentioned, 
passed through the house. 

During the night the Johnnies fell back. In the morning we went to their 
works and looked at the place where we had shot up the battery. We found the 
guns gone but they had left a caisson. We counted 55 dead horses where it 
stood and realized then more fully the effect of our flank fire and the havoc we 
had played among them, much blood in the trenches showing that the North 
Carolinians, who held them, suffered severely. Their line being entrenched, they 
had us at great disadvantage ; we had no protection other than rail piles, a house, 
a few large trees and an orchard. Our offset to their advantage consisted in 

292 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

covering them with a flank fire. The left of our regiment occupying the woods 
was more protected, but it had been subjected from morning to night to an in 
cessant direct fire. 

While we were looking over the battery ground, I said, "Kling, let us go to 
the rifle pit where we shot our volley at the Johnny." When we got there and 
looked in, lo and behold, there stretched out lay our Mr. Johnny, shot through 
the neck ; whether our party had killed him is a question. This fight was called 
the Battle of Bethesda Church. 

In talking with General Curtin many years after the war I inquired, "Why 
was it, General, that our skirmish line was not supported in its attack on that 
battery at Bethesda and the Rebel line broken up?" He replied that in his opin 
ion, "It was not then any part of General Grant s design to break through the 
Confederate line, but to hold them tight in place." 

On June 4th we fell back again to Cold Harbor. On the 7th a part of o<ur 
regiment was on picket duty. Company K was in timber on the extreme right of 
the line resting on a swamp. I was in charge of the right of Company K. Alonzo 
Stonecypher was sent about 50 yards forward, as a vidette ; Company G had also 
put forward one of its men for the same purpose. A large field adjoined the 
woods ; in the field was a small house. The vidette from Company G soon came 
back reporting a lot of Johnnies behind the house. Lieutenant Co. G said to me, 
"Sergeant Myers, what do you think about creeping up on them?" I replied, "Alt 
right, I am in for it." Turning to my men I said, "All you boys that will volun 
teer to go up and fire into those Johnnies, come on." A dozen or more of Com 
pany G and K men went with us. The house stood on a considerable rise. We 
sneaked up to it as close as we could. We saw them plainly behind the house 
having a jolly time together. They did not dream Yanks were close. When we 
were all ready the ringing command, "Fire/ was followed by a loud volley. Of 
all laughable skedaddlements ! They paused a moment as if to think, and then 
humping themselves jumped wildly in all directions. We put a second round in 
to them. By the time they had run some distance they got their wits together 
and tried to rally. They then returned our fire, but shooting down hill over-shot 
us and did no harm. This escapade was fun for us but I want to tell you we 
stirred up a hornet s nest by it. 

My vidette, Stonecypher, still out in the woods, the moment he heard our fire 
took a notion it was time to come in and did so without delay or ceremony. Jrie 
reported "great numbers of Johnnies out there." "How do you know?" I asked. 
"I heard their tin cups rattle," he said. I pooh-poohed this, "What you heard 
was the Forty-eighth Pennsylvania getting water over at the spring on the other 
side of the swamp," but I knew better. I went out to the place where Stone- 
cypher had been to see for myself. As I was looking through the woods I saw 
the Johnnies coming about 100 yards off, and they were coming. I was behind a 
tree getting ready to aim at one I had noticed slip behind a tree in my front. 
Casting my eyes around to the right I saw another Johnny about 30 yards off 
stealthily moving toward me. He did not appear to see me. He was searching 
the woods with keen eyes toward our line. I could only see a part of his body 
as he peered over a bushy edge of the slope; he was down hill from me but I 
turned from my first man and took dead aim on him. I fired. He disappeared, 
sinking down. 

Experience of an Orange Recruit 293 

I was in a dangerous place and took no time to examine the effect of my 
shot but got back to our men at a Stonecypher gait. After rejoining the squad 
I stood behind a pine tree which grew near the edge of a narrow strip of tim 
ber on the sharp verge of the hill or bank which ran down to the swamp. While 
there looking to my right toward the swamp I saw four Johnnies crouching along 
toward us intently listening and on sharp watch ; they did not see us. As quick 
as I saw them I said, "Lieutenant, look down there. Do you see those Johnnies 
trying to get around us?" We both fired at them. They wheeled and started 
for the woods. I got a second shot at them, which they returned. Their 
aim was true; the bullet hit the tree I stepped behind. While occupied with 
these fellows in this exposed position, a loud Rebel yell came from our left and 
rear ; then we knew a charge on our pickets had been made. We were in a bad 
fix, almost certain to be cut off. 

I had seen the others getting out of there and thought I was the last to go 
but in this I was mistaken. Corporal George Stape, Alonzo Stonecypher and 
Dennis Collins remained too long in the rifle pit and were captured. As I ran 
back I snatched a red handkerchief hanging on a bush. Bullets were zipping, clip 
ping leaves and branches all around me. 

Respecting the Rebel I had seen sink down in the woods, I must relate that 
Alonzo Stonecypher, who after capture had been a long time w 7 ith the Rebels, told 
me many years later, "Myers, do you know that you killed that Rebel you shot 
at when on picket at Cold Harbor, June 7th?" 

Following this last attack on our pickets a number of Company K fortu 
nately escaped by a short cut through the swamp. Captain Fessler s squad took 
another route and escaped only by the skin of his teeth. Houtz, Kelley and my 
self kept close along the edge of the swamp and at some distance came to a cor 
duroy bridge which we crossed. As we approached the bridge running, we came 
upon some Union men there who seemed to be uncertain of their movements. 
They saluted us with a rasping, "Oh, you cowards! What are you running for?" 
I replied in heat, "If you are so brave, why clidn t you come out and help sup 
port us ? Wait a minute here and you will have a chance to see why we run." 

After consulting with these fellows we decided to go back over the bridge 
and reconnoitre up in the woods. We saw no Johnnies and returned. Follow 
ing the other side of the swamp, we rejoined our regiment. The part of Com 
pany K that waded the swamp stayed all night with another command, reaching 
the regiment next morning. 

We remained here five or six days, when we were ordered by left flank, to 
a point near the James River, where we stayed until the pontoon bridge across 
the James was completed. Then came orders to move. The bridge was 2,200 
feet long. 

On the evening of June 15th we crossed over and moved toward Petersburg. 
It was a terrible night s march ; a great many of the boys fell out. About mid 
night our company cook, Peter Strickler, complained to me that he was over 
loaded, that in addition to the camp kettles, he had to carry sugar. To lighten 
his load, I called the boys together and told them that each should take what 
sugar he wanted. The boys helped themselves; the balance was left behind. I 

294 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

could not drink sweetened coffee, black coffee being my drink, and whenever I 
had a chance I filled my canteen with it. 

We continued our march all night. Next morning, when we halted to get 
breakfast, it was found that the regiment had dwindled to about one-half its 
number ; the fagged boys came straggling along later. After breakfast we started. 
It was hot and dusty. We had not gone far before we heard cannon booming. 
This stirred the old Forty-fifth s fighting blood and made us eager to get where 
we could help "capture Petersburg." Everybody was in for that, but we found 
plenty of time to learn that it was not an easy job to take Petersburg. This old 
town on the Appomattox was the home of some of the best families in Virginia, 
who were bravely determined upon their defense of it. 

The march this day was hard. It had been forced because we were badly 
needed at the front. Approaching Petersburg we met some negro troops guard 
ing Rebel captives. As we passed them they said to us, "There am only a few 
pots left to take yet." (Colored troops always called Redans "pots.") About 6 
P. M., our regiment arrived in front of the town. I call it behind the town. We 
held a position in the woods southeast of the Norfolk & Petersburg Railroad, op 
posite a fort which I think was the one afterwards known as "The Crater." As 
soon as we got in place our cook went to boiling coffee. Just as it was ready to 
dish out came an order, "Fall in." It was hurry of course but I managed to fill 
my canteen and took time to wrap my skillet HI my shelter tent, and flung the 
roll across my shoulder and breast. I thought at the time, "If a minie ball hits 
this skillet it will glance." When all was ready to move we were ordered to the 
right. We had not gone far in that direction when Captain Fessler gave orders, 
"Close up, boys." I repeated his command. That instant a cannon ball hit a 
tree and passing through, it struck me on the left leg above the knee. It was a 
spent shot or that would have been the last of "Sweaty Myers." Its force, how 
ever, threw me 10 or 15 feet. I landed on my back, down and out. Four or five 
of the boys carried me some distance to the rear. At first I thought my leg was 
broken, but it was not. 

It now grew dark. I said, "Boys, go back to the company." They told me 
two months later (when I had returned from the hospital), that they did not go 
back that night. 

The boys had laid me down in the woods. Our hospital steward, a sym 
pathetic man, James A. Meyers, was always on careful look-out for any of us 
whenever the regiment went into action. He found me lying up against a tree, 
still holding on to my canteen of coffee. The ambulance took me to the field 
hospital. There was another poor fellow in the ambulance with me, who had 
been hit on the shins just as I had been. He suffered as I did from what the 
doctors called a "painful contusion." 

I remained in the hospital a few days, limping around. On June 18th I saw 
General Curtin brought to the field hospital wounded. We had been under con 
tinuous fire from the time we crossed the Rapidan at Germania Ford, until June 
16th, the day I was wounded. 

Having begun to feel anxious to get to some general hospital I was sent to 
Annapolis. Mrs. Myers, and Brother Samuel, who was home on a furlough, 
came from Lancaster County to see me there. 

Experience of an Orange Recruit 295 

I remained in the hospital about six weeks then started for the front once 
more. I arrived about August 15th, as near as I can remember, and had a 
chance to do some firing at the Rebels in the Crater. It was certainly a danger 
ous place. We had to keep close behind our breastworks and both sides main 
tained continuous firing. Many of the Forty-fifth boys were killed and wounded 
at this place. 

The regiment was next moved a short distance westward into "Fort Hell" 
the Rebel name for Fort Sedgewick. The Yanks of this fort and the Johnnies 
in "Fort Damnation" (Fort Mahone), seemed on better terms than those on the 
crater line. 

At the time the spent cannon ball hit me I was acting as first sergeant. Ser 
geant Charles Koch succeeded me. One day Captain Fessler came to me at "Fort 
Hell" and asked me if I had charge of Company K again. I said, "No, I do not 
know that I am to act as Orderly." "Yes, you take charge of the company," he 
said. I at once set about making for myself a complete roster of the Company. 
Shortly after this had been done, Sergeant Koch came to me and said, "M yer s, 
you are detailed to go on picket." I said, "Sergeant Koch, it will fall to your 
lot to go on the picket line this morning." His was a look of blank surprise. 
Then I said to him, "Koch, before we go any further, I will call Captain Fessler* 
who will state how the case stands." When the captain came, he said, "Koch, 
Myers has been promoted first sergeant by order of General Curtin for corf- 
spicuous bravery at Bethesda Church." I felt good and of course Comrade 
Koch went with the detail to picket. The next day he felt a little sore and took 
his own way to relieve it, but his bruise wore off and we were ever afterward 
good friends. I made it all right, as will appear later on, when I made a way 
for his appointment as first lieutenant, and I took second place. 

Many things happened to us at "Fort Hell." Our pickets and the Johnnies, as 
I have said, were on good terms ; the two lines were very close. Whenever the 
Johnnies intended to open batteries, they would call out from their pits, "Ho ! Yanks ! 
Crawl into your holes, we are going to shell." It didn t require a second notice. 
I remember well on one occasion a Rebel battery opened on us after dark; we all 
ran out of the bomb proofs to our places behind the breastworks, ready to resist 
a charge. The officers had fully advised everybody to "keep heads down." Com 
rade Armstrong of Company B forgetting himself and looking over the works, a 
shell struck him in the forehead. The shot that hit him was pointed like a minie 
ball and split his head to the nose. 

One of the most beautiful sights of war \vas witnessed by us at night when 
the armies shelled each other. A great game of ball it was. The spheres weighed 
50 to 100 pounds each. With a screeching howl they came in great up curves 
from mortars behind the lines. There was no umpire. How the batteries played 
with each other ! We could see the shells start ; the blazing fuses lit up thei r 
arching courses like rockets and as they passed back and forth they presented a 
spectacle unequaled for terrible grandeur. It was one never to be forgotten. 
These shells generally landed in our rear where they bursted with frightful re 
port. We got so used to them we always w atched for the night performance with 

296 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

On or about August 19th we broke camp for another move, the Weldon 
Railroad being our objective point. When we reached our new position our left 
connected with the Fifth Corps. Although the Fifth Corps had done great work 
capturing the railroad, several days before we got there, our regiment did not 
get into any severe fighting. 

The night of the 19th was very disagreeable. It had rained the whole day 
and with the enemy immediately in our front we were not permitted to build 
fires. Our company was in woods in line of battle on constant watch ready to 
receive attack. The next morning we moved forward quite a distance without 
meeting any Rebels. After securing the Weldon Railroad we established perma 
nent line of formidable works. Our principal occupation here was strengthening 
defenses and picket duty. The camp, sheltered by these defenses and the woods, 
was known as "Camp in the Pines ;" it was a charming location. An unusual 
ration was issued to the men in this camp ; whiskey was served once a day for two 
weeks as a "precaution against malarial fever." I had no occasion to take either 
the whiskey or the fever. 

During this period we had uninterruptedly two enemies to contend against. 
General Mahone was in front; myriads of graybacks on our rear. It would be 
difficult to say which of these fellows gave us the most annoyance. Old soldiers 
understand well how it was that on such a continuous campaign as General Grant 
maintained from the Wilderness to Appomattox, and the amount of work he kept 
us doing, it was impossible to keep clean. Grant s veterans and the grayback 
were inseparable. 

While stationed at Camp in the Pines we had on the whole a good time. 
Early every morning a part of the company would man the works and prepare 
to meet any sudden attack; this was kept up from August 20th to September 
30th. There was one man, a coward, in our company who continually found 
fault with the army and manifested sympathy with the Rebels. This thing be-^ 
came a bore to us boys. One day I said to him, "Blank, if you favor the Rebels, 
go over and fight for them, or shut your mouth ; if you don t, we will take you 
to the picket line and make you go." 

On September 30th we again received orders to move by our left to Poplar 
Springs Church, near the South Side Railroad. We halted in some timber or 
woods near Poplar Springs. While lying at a short rest there cannon balls be 
gan to fall pretty close to us. Whereupon this same coward crawled behind a 
rotten stump. I said to him, "Do you for one moment think that old stump will 
stop a cannon ball ?" He mumbled, but kept to his stump. 

While going to a point where there had been severe fighting, we passed a 
squad of Johnnies and a breastwork that had been captured by the Fifth Corps. 
Late in the afternoon our company was deployed as skirmishers in a woods cov 
ered with underbrush, so thick we could hardly get through. We had not gone 
far into the thicket when orders came to rejoin our regiment, which was going 
to the front over open ground on our left. We rejoined the regiment on the 
edge of a woods at a fence which enclosed a large field. We were ordered over 
the fence. While forming in the field, I said in the hearing of the coward, 
"Boys, if - attempts to run back I will shoot him." He took the hint and did 
not run. 

Experience of an Orange Recruit 297 

In order to straighten our line and properly face it to the enemy, our ob 
jective point being a fence row at right angle to the line we held as we came out 
of the woods, the regiment had to make a right half wheel. Executing this 
thrilling movement midway in the field, the boys gave a great cheer and rushed 
forward. I have often thought since what a mistake that cheer was as it in 
stantly drew upon us a heavy and destructive fire. General Curtin s horse was 
killed under him. When we were about 50 yards from the fence I was hit by a 
bullet and went down. As I fell John Beaver, one of my mess mates, thinking 
me killed, said, "There goes Myers !" I had bought a silver watch from Beaver 
several months before. He told me long afterwards that he thought of the watch 
as soon as he saw me fall and intended to get it for my friends, rather than 
leave it for the Johnnies, but he was kept too busy fighting to do so. The boys 
reached the fence. 

Where I lay the bullets dropped thick and fast all around me, and as I could 
do no fighting I took my blanket, which was in a roll, and placed it in front of 
my head as some slight protection. Along the fence row grew some large trees. 
I could see Captain Fessler and John Enny, my other mess mate, behind a huge 
oak firing. John Enny was killed and Captain Fessler wounded in the thigh at 
this tree. 

Our line now hard pressed was broken on the right ; the regiment had to re 
treat and leave me behind. I will always remember calling to them as they went 
back past me, "Don t run, boys." In a short time the Rebel line came up, sprang 
over the fence and passed me as I lay on the field. To them I said, "Don t 
shoot ; I am wounded," and asked them to help me to the rear. They said to me, 
"No, we can t leave our ranks. Crawl to the rear." I saw a fine looking officer 
with sword in hand pass close ; some of the Johnnies told me his name was Gen 
eral McCrea. This was a North Carolina regiment. They had not gone far in 
pursuit when they came back. 

As best I could I crawled to the fence and got over it among the Johnnies. 
I did not know at that time that Captain Fessler had been wounded or that John 
Enny had been killed, nor that they were both near me while I was lying among 
the Rebels. It was now getting dusk. Not far off I noticed four or five men in 
United States uniform, without guns, running toward the Rebel rear. I was 
astonished to hear them shout to the Confederates, "Give it to them ; you ve got 
them now." I shall never forget the fierce indignation I felt as I lay there help 
less, hearing men wearing the same uniform as myself, encouraging the enemy. 
My heart never felt like that toward any living creature since and I never want 
it to do so. 

Some of the Johnnies offered me of their biscuits ; they treated me kindly. 
An officer, whom I asked to let his men take me to the rear, replied roughly, 
"What did you come down here to fight us for?" I thought it best to keep quiet 
on that subject. Finally they brought a stretcher and started to the rear with me. 
By this time it was dark. Our battery had fired several shells, which fell near 
where we were, but it soon quieted down and firing ceased entirely. Two men 
carried me to the rear. They had a great time getting me back; it was 
swampy ground they carried me over. One of the Johnnies lost his shoe; it 
stuck in the mud. They set me down and hunted the shoe until they found it. 

298 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

Finally they got me out on a road where there were others of our wounded. I 
thanked those two men for the way they stuck to me and my stretcher, and 
should it ever happen that I capture a North Carolina Confederate in Pennsyl 
vania, I will treat him well on their account. 

It was a dreary night with me. The ground was very wet. Along about 
ten o clock reaction set in and I suffefed great agony for several hours, when 
the pain in my wound suddenly left me. Somehow I found out that Captain 
Fessler was lying a short distance from me. I said to a Johnny, "Please tell that 
captain to come over here." They brought him over and laid him down along 
side of me; this made me feel something better. I was using my haversack for 
a pillow; it was full of rations. In my restlessness I would sometimes sit up. 
Finally when I lay down again I found it gone. Some hungry Johnny took it. 
They tried to buy my shoes. 

Some time after midnight an ambulance came. They put Captain Fessler in. 
As they lifted me I fainted. When I came to I was lying on my back in the road 
where they had left me for dead. When near morning they found me alive, they 
took me to their field hospital. When we reached it I expected to get into a com 
fortable place, but I was disappointed. There was with me a young boy, prob 
ably 18 years old, who had a severe wound in his leg. In the field hospital, or 
rather on the outside of it (everything was out of doors), we had to make our 
selves as comfortable as we could. 

While there, I met a fine looking Confederate major and several doctors. 
One was from Baltimore. He saw that I had a watch and said, "Sergeant, I 
will give you three hundred dollars Confederate money for your watch." "No, 
but if you will give me fifty dollars in greenbacks, you may have the watch," I 
said. He did not buy it. He kindly warned me though to be careful when I got 
to Richmond or they might take it away from me. The Confederate major asked 
me many questions in regard to our army ; he wanted to know what had become 
of General Hancock s Corps. To this I replied, " Major if you knew how much 
of the line Hancock is holding now," pointing in the direction of our line, "you 
wouldn t ask what had become of him." I further told him that General Han 
cock had relieved our division when we came to attack them. The next question 
he asked me was, "Well, how about that 500,000 draft?" "Major," I said, "if 
you could see the numbers of men rolling into the rear of our line, you wouldn t 
ask me another question about that. 5 Then I asked him how he got his wound. 
He told me, "I was in command of a regiment of about 200 men and made an 
attack to retake our line." I said to him, "Major, you were very foolish in try 
ing to retake those works. There might have been several thousand men in them." 

The wounded boy and I were given a few rails to lie on at the hospital. It 
made a pretty tough bed but in the army we hunted the soft side of things. I 
gave a Johnny my fine gold pen for a small old blanket. Really they did the 
best for us they could ; they absolutely had nothing. Seeing this to be a fact it 
made us satisfied. During the night it rained very hard and we were wet to the 
skin. The next day the doctors took the boy away to amputate his leg. His pa 
tient willingness deeply touched me. 

When the doctor came to my place he said, "Sergeant, I would rather have 
taken your leg off than that boy s." I said, "Oh, no, doctor, I would not allow 

Experience of an Orange Recruit 299 

you to take my leg off, as I may be able to give you another rally with it before 
this war is over." Quite a number of old Johnnies, none less than 60 years of 
age, standing around heard me say this. When the doctor had gone I spoke to 
them, "You all look to me as if you had families. Are you not tired of this 
war?" "Yes, we are; we would be satisfied with peace on any terms," they said. 
I then remarked, "Men, this war will last 20 years if the South does not give 
up." I began to see how things were going in the South. 

While in the hospital the Confederate major held frequent conversations 
with me. One day an elderly southern lady, sitting a short distance off, called 
out to him, "Major! Major! come away from that Yank. You are all the time 
talking to him." The fact is the major and I took mutual pleasure in each other. 

One day I noticed a Johnny filling his canteen with powder. I said to him, 
"Why are you filling your canteen with powder?" His answer was, "I intend 
to send it home so that I will have some to go hunting after the war." I said to 
him, "Well, Johnny, I am fond of hunting too." He looked up cheerily and said, 
"Come down, Yank, to see me after the war is over and we will have a good time 
hunting together." He was a North Carolinian. 

The same day the boy, whose leg had been amputated, and I were put into 
a wagon and taken to the railroad. He was consigned to a field hospital near 
Petersburg; I was sent to Richmond. On the road, which was terribly rough, 
the poor boy suffered intensely. He cried pitifully the whole way, but such is 
war. When we arrived at the railroad I was loaded into a freight car with a 
lot of Johnnies. While enroute to Richmond I said to a young man dressed in 
blue, "We seem to be about the only Yanks on this car." "If you think I am a 
Yank, you are very much mistaken ; I shot a Yank and took his clothes," he 
said with a matter of course air. 

As we passed along, looking off toward the right in direction of our lines, 
I saw General Butler s look-out, a big frame tower. Oh, how I did wish I was 
over there on that look-out. We arrived at Richmond in the evening. I was 
taken out of the car and laid on some planks along the railroad tracks. After a 
while an old citizen came along and saluted me with "Ho, Yank, you are good 
for the war," meaning I was done up. "All right if I am," I replied as good 
naturedly as I could. Remarks of this kind generally made a soldier surly, but 
this did not affect me. In a short time an ambulance took me to a hospital, one 
better equipped than at Petersburg. It was full of sick and wounded. The 
nurses in it were of our own men. I was there probably four or five days when 
an order came for exchange. The method of exchange was this: one day our 
names would be enrolled for exchange, and the next morning when called we 
would be marched out to the exchange boat. 

Queer things happen. One of our men died on the very day his name and 
mine were enrolled. Next morning his name was called. As he did not answer, 
it was called a second time. Then I heard one of the nurses near me answer 
"Here" and he fell into line with me, and passed out without detection. When 
we were safe aboard Uncle Sam s boat he said to me, "I am a happy man." 

We were put aboard a Rebel transport at Richmond, which took us down 
the James River to Butler s Dutch Canal. I was surprised to meet Captain Fess- 
ler on the boat; glad we were to see each other. Taken across a neck of land 

300 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

at the Dutch Canal in a United States ambulance and put on board a boat, we 
arrived at Annapolis. One of the Company I boys helped to put me on a 
stretcher and I was taken to Ward C in the Annapolis hospital. 

There were quite a number of wards and they contained many sick and 
wounded. Upon entering all soldiers were stripped and given a bath before as 
signed a cot. The cots were as clean as a new pin. 

As soon as I could I wrote from Annapolis telling my wife that I had been 
"wounded in the middle third of my right leg, the small bone being shattered and 
several of the tendons shot off," as tTie doctor described it. My wife and father 
came down shortly to see me. At this time I did not know that John Beaver, 
who saw me fall in the fight at Poplar Springs Church, had written to my wife 
that I was "among the missing." He told me afterward that he really thought 
me dead. A few days before they started for Annapolis a report also reached 
home that I had died. It was a terrible shock to her but she came down. 

At the upper end of the ward the nurses stood. My father, a most diffi 
dent and modest man, was slow in asking for me, but Mrs. Myers spoke out, "Is 
there a soldier by the name of Ephraim E. Myers here?" They said, "Mayers? 
Myers?" hesitatingly. It was a trying moment, but finally they answered, "Yes, 
he is here; come along." 

My cot was about midway down Ward C. There were two rows of cots 
with an aisle running through the center. I can describe minutely and with calm 
thought all other incidents in my war story, but for the moment in which I met 
my wife I have no words. My father and she remained with me a few days. I 
was fortunate, inasmuch as my wound never gave me much pain. I did not dis 
tress her with manifest suffering, but she saw and heard other things that touched 
her deeply while she was there. 

It was a pitiful sight to see our poor men as they came to the hospital from 
Rebel prison pens. It was horrible; they were skeletons, starved, contorted with 
scurvey and sick unto death. They had to have their heads shaved, so full of* 
vermin were they. No one knows or will ever comprehend the suffering these 
went through. 

When I had been at the hospital a while I was detailed clerk to take the 
names of the poor fellows brought in from Rebel prisons. It was my duty to 
make a record of name, regiment, company and home post office address. A very 
large number of men from these prisons died at the hospital. It was also my lot 
to make out a card giving full description and complete information of them. In 
this work I was called up at all hours of the night. A great many visitors came 
to my tent, making inquiry regarding brothers, sons or relatives. I remember 
one young man who called on me for information respecting his brother. Just 
a moment before I had made out a dead card in the name of the man he wanted 
I was sorry to inform him that his brother was in the dead house. 

Daily almost I saw three or four ambulances, each carrying from two to six 
corpses, start at the same time for the National Cemetery; the dead march was 
always played to the grave. I tell you, my dear reader, old veterans and young 
patriots, those were sad times. As I see them again all so vividly while I tell 
of them my heart swells and aches. 

Experience of an Orange Recruit 301 

On November 4th, 1864, an election for president of the United States was 
he!3 in the army camps, hospitals and on battle lines, the separate states being 
accredited with the vote of their soldiers in the field. In hospitals all those who 
could not walk to the polls were carried there. At our voting tent I saw my cap 
tain carried on a stretcher to vote. It was the first time we had met since the 
day on the boat when we were exchanged. It was a happy meeting. He was 
discharged on November 21st, 1864. We didn t meet again until 29 years after 
the war was over. 

I continued in the hospital office, employed as stated, until after the holidays, 
when I was taken to the hospital at Baltimore. We were there a month or more 
and were next sent to the Cuyler Hospital at Germantown, Pa. There I received 
a 30-day furlough and started for Mount Joy. I could cripple along with the 
use of a cane and had a pleasant time while at home. When my furlough ex 
pired I returned to Cuyler Hospital. 

About this time great excitement broke out at the front. General Grant was 
making his final attack on Petersburg. News of the movements was eagerly 
sought through the Philadelphia Inquirer, the leading war newspaper in Penn 
sylvania. I was clerking at the hospital when word came that General Lee had 
surrendered. What a time there was ! I was inexpressibly aroused. I could 
scarcely remain at my work in the hospital, so anxious was I to go to the boys 
at the front. 

I left Philadelphia on or about April 13th and passed through Washington 
on the 14th, the very night that President Lincoln was assassinated but I did 
not know of it then. Arrived at Alexandria, we took boat for City Point. Pass 
ing Fortress Monroe on or about April 16th, we observed our flag at half 
mast. We knew that meant that some prominent person or general had been 
killed. The Fort signaled us that President Lincoln had been assassinated. Oh, 
how unspeakably sad we felt ! The very sky seemed enveloped in gloom. On 
the way up to City Point we notified everybody we passed of the awful news. 

From Fortress Monroe to City Point, we were mixed up with a tough lot of 
characters. I was impressed more than once from what I saw that the last days 
of the war must have brought to the ranks a ruffian element that was not seen 
in the earlier days of the struggle. I thought with bitterness, "Has the crop of 
good men been harvested and are the nubbins being hauled in?" 

While asleep one night on deck somebody stole my cap. I had to pay a 
soldier on board, who belonged to another regiment, two dollars and a quarter 
for an extra cap. I didn t pay him cash, I bought on trust and never saw my 
creditor after we landed. I don t know his name but if he is in the land of 
the living and reads this account, upon assurance of his identity it will be a joy 
to pay him the long over-due bill, with interest to date. 

I arrived at City Point about April 17th and was there put with others into 
a place called the "Bull Pen," until arrangements could be made to send us 
forward. The "Bull Pen was a disreputable place and under rigid guard; it 
contained all kinds of soldiers, criminals and honest men. If a man had any 
thing of value about him he kept it shady. To my disgust I was compelled to 
remain in the pen several days, when a squad of us was sent on foot toward 

3O2 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

Petersburg. The distance was long. I was unable to finish the march. My 
wound, which had never healed, tormented me; I played out. 

Fortunately I met Comrade Washington Hershey of Company B who had 
charge of a wagon train coming back from the front. Observing my condition 
as I lay by the roadside, he invited me to return with him. I gladly accepted the 
offer and was put into an army wagon. In due time we arrived at City Point 
and I remained with Mr. Hershey and the train for several days, waiting for 
the arrival of our brigade, which we knew was on its way from Appomattox. 

On the 24th the brigade arrived and went into camp where I was stationed. 
On the night of the 26th, we went on board the "Vidette," and the next morn 
ing started down the James River, passing Fortress Monroe. On the 28th we 
arrived at Alexandria. Marching through the town, we went into camp behind 
the city in left front of Fort Lyon. We remained here until discharged. Al 
though discharged July 17th, I was not paid off until July 25th, when I reached 
Harrisburg; my pay was at the rate of one hundred and twenty-nine dollars per 
month from June 8, 1865, the date of my commission as a second lieutenant. 

While at Alexandria my wound annoyed me more and more. One night re 
turning from a variety show, I found a splinter of bone protruding. Before the 
doctor arrived next morning I had it pulled out. This \vas the last piece of 
bone that came from my leg. My wound healed permanently thereafter and it 
has never inconvenienced me since, though at times, as I grow older, I feel a 
peculiar numbness in that locality. 

While at Alexandria a big event came off at the National capitol, "The 
Grand Review of the Army." It has always been a regret to me that when the 
order came to attend it, my wound compelled me to remain behind in camp. 

I wish it was possible to express my feelings and make plain our experi 
ences when we started homeward from City Point. Sunshine and shadows 
seemed to play with us. We knew that the war was over, Lincoln dead, Lee 
surrendered, and that we had impressed four years of vigorous young man 
hood on the battles for our country. We had hoped and prayed for the end of 
strife; we were overjoyed that we had won the victory and the end had come; 
as comrades, we were attached by devoted ties, we loved one another ; we 
were dissolving old associations. 

It seemed to me that to be without a musket and with no more camps or 
campaigns to look forward to, we would be out of an occupation and without a 
commission. Settling down to routine daily employment in slow shop and 
store was not favorable to our habits of life ; we felt kind of lost. Our world 
of thought and action was breaking up ; our accustomed ways in four years 
of singular existence seemed forsaking us ; we were going home of course to 
friends and scenes we had kept alive the while in our hearts, but after all 
home life would not be the happy-go-lucky army. 

Illustrative of the fact that we had acquired some peculiar habits, domestic 
and otherwise, I cannot make my meaning plainer than by stating an absolutely 
true anecdote. 

In Lower Chanceford, York County, was a good old mother who had three 
sons in the war. When it was over they came back to her safe; her heart was 
very glad and proud. Their comfort was her constant thought. Every morning 

Experience of an Orange Recruit 303 

early she would quietly open their room door and peep in at them. It dis 
tressed her to find the three boys lying on the floor, her soft sweet feather 
ticks untouched. She could not understand it, nor could she stand it any 
longer, so one morning as she looked in upon their slumber she aroused them 
with these words, "Web! Dave! Jack! What are you doing there on that 
hard floor? Opening their drowsy lids, staring at her, they replied ruefully, 
"We can t sleep in no darn bed, mother. 

On or about July 21st we departed from Alexandria on a steamboat, go 
ing up the Potomac, and arrived toward evening at Washington. We walked 
from the boat across open flats or vacant lots to the Pennsylvania Railroad. 
We had to wait an hour or more for transportation. When the box cars 
came, there was no order in our getting aboard. Every man helped himself. 
Some went inside, but I climbed up with others on top. As our train did not 
run very fast and had every kind of detention along the road, the state capitol 
was not reached until about noon next day. 

At Harrisbtirg we went to Camp Curtin, where I remained until paid off, 
July 25th. As I had not held my second lieutenant s commission for a period of 
six months, as required, I was not included among the officers who received 
"one hundred and fifty dollars extra compensation for services." 

Of my army accoutrements the only things I brought out of service were 
a woolen blanket, overcoat, sabre and Springfield rifle, which I converted later 
into a smoothbore. 

Our two days at Camp Curtin were uneventful, being nothing but a repeti 
tion of regular camp life, except there was no guard mount. We had liberty 
to go and come as we pleased, for nobody could have been induced to desert 
just before pay day. 

As soon as we were paid off we took passenger cars for Columbia. On 
this trip we paid our own fares, an odd thing for us, as Uncle Sam had at 
tended to our railroad tickets for almost three and a half years. 

When we pulled into Columbia the people from town and country round 
presented a fine picture as they swarmed about the station. When the train 
stopped we could not do much but watch excited wives and sweethearts, old 
fathers and mothers, little brothers and sisters, all gleefully clapping their 
hands. How they did rush in eager love hither and thither, seeking their own ! 

Oh, it was good to look upon the faithful friends who had come to greet 
and welcome us home ! 

It was a glorious summer evening. We had a happy three miles walk to 
our native village and entered Newtown just as the day drew to a close. 

At last I had rejoined my family in the dear old place which first knew the 
"Orange Recruits," and from whence more than three years before they had 
gone forth to bring back, let us hope, somewhat of pride and honor. 

Years have slipped away. An old man s story of a young man s adventure 
has been told. I want only to add that in my age I am blest with health, 
family and friends, and devoutly thank my Creator for safe passage through 
many dangers. EPHRAIM E. MYERS, 

York, Pa., May 4th, 1910. Second Lieutenant, Company K. 

304 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 


F. M. Hills was born in Hebron, Conn., June 15th, 1829. His military career 
commenced at the age of 17, at which time he enlisted in a company that was 
being recruited by Captain James Caldwell at Newton-Hamilton, Pa., which 
company afterward became Company M, Second Regiment Pennsylvania Vol 
unteers, and marched from Vera Cruz to the City of Mexico, a distance of 300 
miles ; was engaged in the battles of National Bridge, Chapiltepec and the 
taking of the City of Mexico, and was discharged in May, 1848, by reason of 
an injury received in the latter engagement. 

F. M. Hills came to Wellsboro in 1856, and was engaged in business until 
the summer of 1861, when in response to the President s call for more volunteers, 
he made the attempt to raise a company, devoting his whole time and energy 
to that purpose, and was so successful that on the 30th day of September, 1861. 
he left Wellsboro for Harrisburg with about 60 men. 

He was commissioned captain by Governor Curtin and sworn into service 
October 18th, 1861, for three years or during the war. 

The company now became Company I of the Forty-fifth Regiment, Penn- 
sylvannia Volunteer Infantry, commanded by Colonel Thomas Welsh. 

The first engagement in which the captain participated was on James Island, 
S. C., when with a portion of Companies H and I, he repulsed a regiment 
known as the Georgia Tigers. 

A few days later Captain Hills received a letter from Lieutenant Colonel 
James A. Beaver, which speaks for itself: 

CAPTAIN GRAHAMS, S. C, June 22d, 1862. 

I have been very much gratified in hearing the account of the heroic con 
duct of Company I, as also of Company H, in the late important movements on 
James Island. 

I feel peculiarly gratified with the conduct of Company I because I had 
been so intimately associated with it for so long. 

I have not changed my opinion of it, however, in the least, for I had 
always regarded it as second to none in the regiment for material and it was 
rapidly improving in drill and discipline before it left here. 

The intelligence of the death of Sergeant Dartt, which I have just received 
through Lieutenant Gregg, pains me exceedingly. He was a brave and faithful 
officer and will be much missed in your Commissary Department. 

Please remember me to Lieutenant Ackley and the boys. 

Very respectfully yours, 

(Signed) JAMES A. BEAVER/ 

Captain Hills was also engaged in the battles of South Mountain, Antietam 
and Fredericksburg subsequently, and of many others. 

He was commissioned lieutenant colonel of the Forty-fifth Pennsylvania 
Volunteer Infantry by Governor Curtin, March 1st, 1863; went with the regi- 

I* -I 

Lieut. Col. F. M. Hills 

Lieut. Col. F. M. Hills 


Charles Heverly 

William A. Roberts 

Chaplain Frederich W. Cast 

A Chaplain s Reminiscences 30 s 

ment to take part in the siege of Vicksburg, and commanded the regiment Sn 
the battles of Jackson, Campbells Station, siege of Knoxville, Blue Springs, 
Wilderness, Spottsylvania and Cold Harbor. 

He was disabled before reaching the front at Petersburg and up to that 
time was in every battle and skirmish in which the regiment was engaged. 
He resigned about September 15th, 1864, on account of disability, and returned 
to Wellsboro, Pa., being engaged in buying horses for the government. In 
1865 he removed to Titusville, and in 1872 went to Kansas, where he soon 
became one of the most useful and prosperous citizens of the community in 
which he resided. Now while he is waiting for the summons to the last roll 
call he can lay down his armor with the consciousness that he has nobly per 
formed his duty both as a citizen and a soldier of this Grand Republic. 



When I was asked to contribute a chapter to the history of the Forty-fifth 
Regiment of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, I naturally hesitated for a while 
to accede to the unexpected yet flattering request. My term of service was 
brief. At the time I entered on my official duties the .four years Civil War was 
rapidly nearing its close. The great battles, in which the regiment played SO 
prominent a part, and by its gallantry won for itself such imperishable farrie, 
had, with a single exception, all been fought and had already become a matter 
of history. I had no share in the glory. I was not even an eye witness of the 
regiment s most brilliant achievements. What light, then, could I cast upon 
the record of its courage and bravery? What added interest could I lend to 
the story? 

And yet, when I reached the front, the future still held in reserve one very 
important, because decisive battle, which resulted in the retreat of the enemy 
and the utter collapse of the doomed Confederacy. It was the fight before 
Petersburg, April 2d, 1865 the last in which the Forty-fifth was actively en 
gaged. After the surrender of Lee, just one week later, there came the long 
wait of well nigh four months before the regiment was mustered out of the 
service. It was a time of well earned rest, after the severe and bloody com 
bats of the preceding years a time which, marked by no thrilling military 
events, filled the hearts of those who had survived the perils of battle and dis 
ease with a deep, ardent, often impatient longing for home and the joys of a 
reunited family. It would be strange, indeed, if these closing months of the 
regiment s career furnished its chaplain with no incidents worthy of brief men 
tion. In fact, after the lapse of 45 years, many reminiscences, partly pathetic, 
partly humorous, recur to his mind; it seems fitting, therefore, that as the 
last and only surviving chaplain of the regiment, he should give expression to 
some of these, though they may only serve to throw a sidelight on life in a 
military camp. 

306 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

At the outbreak of the War of Secession my father had five sons the 
youngest of whom was then but a school boy, making his preparation for en 
trance into college, the remaining four entered the army in defence of the 
Union. If he had had a hundred sons, and they had come to him in succes 
sion, saying, "Father, with your free consent, I wish to go to the war and give 
my best service to my imperiled country/ he would not have withheld one 
of them, but have said to each : "Go, my son ; do your duty, whatever may 
befall." And I verily believe that, though born in Germany, and brought to 
America when ten years old, he would, if it had not been for his already ad 
vanced age, have shared with his sons the privations and dangers of the war, 
willing, in the language of St. Paul, to "endure hardness as a good soldier of 
Jesus Christ." 

About the close of the year 1864, or the beginning of the next, Dr. 
W. Scott Yundt, assistant surgeon of the Forty-fifth Regiment, came home 
on leave of absence. The family residence was in Blue Ball, about three 
miles east of New Holland, Lancaster County, where I was then pastor. We 
met on several occasions, and in one of our conversations I casually mentioned 
my unsuccessful endeavors to enter the service of the army as chaplain. He 
then informed me that the chaplain of the Forty-fifth had resigned in January, 
1864, and that during the entire year no one had been appointed to fill the 
vacancy. He had no doubt, he said, that if I desired the position it could easily 
be secured for me. 

In the second half of February I received, quite unexpectedly and much 
to my surprise, an official communication from Harrisburg, Pa., informing me 
that I had been appointed chaplain of the Forty-fifth Regiment of Veteran 
Volunteers of Pennsylvania, and had been enrolled February 17th. The ap 
pointment coming thus unsolicited on my part, I decided, after due reflection, 
to accept, and at once entered on such business as was absolutely necessary to 
be attended to before I was ready to join the regiment. 

At length, however, everything was ready and on Monday, March 27th, I 
set out for Baltimore, where on the following afternoon I took the boat for 
City Point, the base of supplies and operations of the Civil War. To me the 
trip down the Chesapeake Bay was a novel experience. To enjoy it to the 
full I kept my place on deck, for the evening was mild and the moon shone 
bright in an almost cloudless sky. Yet there soon stole over me a feeling of 
loneliness. The boat was crowded with officers and men on the way to their 
respective camps. They were talking, laughing, and singing, but in all the 
noisy throng there was not a single face I &ould recognize, nor a voice that 
did not sound strange. I realized the truth of what has often been remarked, 
that one never feels so much alone as when in a crowd of unknown people. 

But while the first half of the night was calm and beautiful, sometime after 
midnight there arose a terrific storm. The waves were lashed into fury, dash 
ing against the boat, causing it to rock violently. I slept quietly during the 
greater part of the storm, but when I awoke towards morning I felt a dreadful 
sensation of nausea. I could hardly lift up my head. It was a mild attack of 
what Mark Twain in his "Innocents Abroad" calls the "Oh My s!" I have 
never ceased to smile at the recollection of my first thoughts on awakening, "O, 

A Chaplain s Reminiscences 307 

how can I eat breakfast with this recalcitrant stomach?" But soon after land 
ing at City Point the disagreeable feeling passed away. Whether I ate any 
thing I cannot remember, but I know that I took the first train for the nearest 
station to the camp of the Forty-fifth. 

On nearing the station, another, but less ridiculous question presented itself 
to my mind : "How can I ever find the camp of the Forty-fifth among the 
numberless camps extending for miles over the homeless and treeless hard- 
trodden ground?" I knew not its distance nor even its direction. But my per 
plexity was soon relieved, when on leaving the train and making known my 
difficulty to a knot of soldiers, a young man belonging to a New Hampshire regi 
ment, told me that he knew where the camp of the Forty-fifth Pennsylvania lay 
and would willingly take me there, as he was well acquainted with some of its 
members. I was glad to have him for my guide, for he was an entertaining, as 
well as communicative companion. We trudged leisurely along until we reached 
the rear of Fort Sedgwick, nicknamed "Fort Hell," when I heard a loud whizzing 
noise above our heads. I asked my young friend what it was. He said that it 
was a Whitworth bolt sent by the Rebel fort in front of Fort Sedgwick, which 
had been shelling the enemy at intervals all day, and that this was the first re 
sponse. That was my initiation into army life. The missile fell at a comfortable 
distance behind us and wrought no harm. So I thought : "Where ignorance is 
bliss, tis folly to be wise." On inquiring of my pleasant guide, how Fort Sedg 
wick got its name, "Fort Hell," he said that a Rebel once asked, "What do you 
call that fort," and was told "Fort Sedgwick," to which he replied: "it is Tort 
Hell , for it s playing hell with us." 

Fort Sedgwick was situated at a distance of perhaps half a mile or less west 
of Fort Rice, in the immediate rear of which the Forty-fifth was. encamped. As 
we approached our destination I naturally felt a slight trepidation of heart. A 
new and untried field of labor lay before me. There was but one individual in 
the regiment, Surgeon Yundt, with whom I had any acquaintance. What was 
the character of the men with whom I was about to become associated more or 
less closely for a longer or shorter time? Would our relations be harmonious 
and pleasant? In such circumstances as I was then placed, the mind is always 
sure to feel some degree of uneasiness. This feeling, however, soon passed away. 
My impressions on coming into contact with the chief officers of the regiment 
were very favorable. I found them gentlemanly in their bearing, respectful and 
courteous, more than ordinarily intelligent, friendly and companionable. And 
these impressions were strengthened as I gradually made the acquaintance of the 
other officers. It was different, of course, in the ranks, which were made up of 
men of different nationalities and languages, as well as of various degrees of edu 
cation and breeding. Some came of families of high respectability and culture ; 
others belonged to the lowest stage of society. Occasionally you would meet a 
college graduate serving as a private soldier, but oftener you would come across 
men so illiterate that they could neither read nor write. Yet I cannot recall a 
single word or act of disrespect to which I was at any time subjected, even by 
the most ignorant and roughest characters. 

It was Wednesday afternoon, March 29th, when I arrived at camp where 
Surgeon Yundt met me; and as, fortunately, I knew him, I did not feel like an 
utter stranger. He at once introduced me to others, and so the circle of my 

308 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

acquaintances growing larger day by day I soon knew the names of most of the 
officers who were with the regiment at that time. Others, among them Colonel 
Gregg and Major Trout, with a large number of privates, were then prisoners of 
war, and were not released until the surrender of General Lee. 

That first evening in camp Major (then Captain) Cheeseman invited me 
to accompany him to the picket line. Perhaps, in the kindness of his heart, he 
thought in this way to make me feel less lonely and more at home amid my novel 
and strange surroundings. In the course of our conversation I gained a true in 
sight into his noble character, the correctness of which was confirmed by subse 
quent events. He was large hearted, tenderly considerate, and as modest as he 
was brave. He was not one of those boasters who were ever "spoiling for a 
fight, but who, when the battle was on, preferred a safe place in the rear, rather 
than advance on the foe. He was not ashamed to tell me, and it was no deroga 
tion from his bravery, that he never went into battle without fear and trembling; 
for he never came out without being more or less severely wounded. There was 
that in his personality that attracted me strongly, but unhappily our intercourse 
lasted only a few days. 

Sick call was regularly held in the morning after breakfast. It was the hour 
when all who were either really ill, or as sometimes happened, only pretended to 
be, with a view to escape military duty, presented themselves before the surgeon 
and stated their complaints. He inquired carefully into each case and prescribed 
the course to be pursued by the patient, sending the more serious cases to the hos 
pital, where they could be better cared for than in camp. Having been informed 
that the chaplain s place was with the surgeon, as there might be need for the 
services of both, I was present at sick call for the first time, perhaps on Thurs 
day, the day after my arrival, but more probably on Friday. Surgeon Iddings 
was in charge, Surgeon Yundt attending to the hospital cases. Both were com 
petent physicians, and both came from Lancaster County ; Yundt from the east 
ern section, Iddings from the southern, settled by Scotch-Irish, Presbyterians and 
Quakers. It was then, as it is now, the most intelligent part of the county. 
Iddings and I were most closely associated. We occupied the same tent. He 
was of Quaker origin, though not himself a Quaker, and sharing, as he did, much 
of the culture and refinement of that peaceful people, I found him an agreeable 
and estimable companion. He with his associate, Yundt, have both passed into 
the Great Beyond. 

Sick call afforded an excellent opportunity to witness a display of human 
nature. There both the good and the bad side of man were often strikingly re 
vealed. A few occurrences before and during the last fight at Petersburg may be 
of interest to the reader. It should be premised, however, that the picket lines 
were then in close proximity; and from the time it became dusk the enemy began 
and kept up throughout the night a constant firing to prevent the frequent deser 
tions to the Union lines. Besides, there was a wide-spread expectation that a 
general assault was about to be made along the entire line of the enemy. 

Now there are always in an army some men utterly lacking in physical cour 
age. An impending battle fills them with uncontrollable fear so that there is 
hardly anything they will not do to escape the stern necessity of confronting the 
enemy s guns. At my first attendance on sick call with Surgeon Iddings, a pri- 

A Chaplain s Reminiscences 309 

vate of this sort presented himself. "Well, my friend," said the doctor, "What 
is the matter with you?" Extending his left hand he showed the fore-finger 
minus the first joint. "Well, how did this happen?" he was asked. "Well, doctor, 
I ll tell you exactly how it was. You see I was on picket duty last night, and 
as I am suffering with a bad diarrhoea I was obliged to go to the rear, and while 
I was doing no harm to anybody, a Rebel minie ball came whizzing along and 
shot off the tip of my finger." "Yes, but I see your hand is blackened with pow 
der; how do you account for that?" "Well, don t you think the Rebels use pow 
der as well as our men. It was the minie ball did it." "Not a Rebel ball sent 
from that distance," said the doctor, "you inflicted the wound yourself." And 
so he was sent back to his tent to suffer the consequences of his cowardice and 

On Sunday morning, while the Battle of Petersburg was raging, the sergeant 
brought from the front a typical Irishman. His was a truly laughable case, and 
notwithstanding the bloody scenes that were being acted so near us, it was im 
possible to restrain at least a smile. To the surgeon s question : "Well, what ails 
you?" he replied: "Och, docther, Oi m so sick." "What is your complaint?" 
"Oi have the diarrhoea so bad ; Oi can hardly shtand it." Seeing that he was only 
"playing off" and that there was nothing really the matter with him but his dread 
of Rebel bullets, the doctor went on asking him as to various other diseases he 
might possibly have. "Have you not the rheumatism too?" "The rheumatism, 
you say? Begorrah its so bad Oi can hardly kape on my legs." "And how is 
your hearing?" "Hearing is it? Oi can hardly hear the noise of a musket shot." 
"And haven t you a bad breath?" "Och, Bejabers, they can t come within a yard 
of me." And so on, until it seemed to me the doctor had well-nigh named all 
"the ills which flesh is heir to." And lo ! the Irishman had them all, and in the 
most aggravated form. As the result of his diagnosis Dr. Iddings said: "Ser 
geant, take this fellow to the front, that the Rebels may shoot him dead and so 
put him out of his intolerable misery." He went away muttering to himself, and 
his mutterings were doubtless curses on the hard-hearted surgeon. 

The cases I have just mentioned were of course very exceptional. It must 
not be supposed that the soldiers of the Union army were generally of such a 
cowardly type. Indeed not infrequently one would meet a case that exalted one s 
opinion of human nature. That same morning, a little later, a German came up, 
who in reply to the surgeon said he was very sick. That fact was at once evident 
to the physician s eye. "I see you are. But this is a very important battle. A 
decisive victory now will probably end the war. Every soldier then who is 
fit for any duty at all must be at his post. But I am not going to order you to be 
taken there. I shall let you decide the question for yourself. If you conscien 
tiously think you are too ill to take part in the battle this day you may go quietly 
to your tent and I will attend to your case ; but if you think you can be of any 
service at the front, then go and take your place in your company." "Veil, den, 
doctor, I dinks I go." And like a true hero he went facing death. 

The fight, the last in which the Forty-fifth Regiment participated began along 
the lines of the Ninth Corps on Saturday, April 1st. If my memory serves me 
right, it was about an hour or two before midnight. At all events Surgeon 
Iddings and I had retired and were asleep. Unknown to us, Major Cheeseman 
had been called to a council of war, and on his return, he came to our tent to 

310 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

tell us that he was about to lead out the regiment to battle ; but finding us asleep 
he, in his kindness, concluded, as he afterwards informed me, not to wake us, 
knowing that we would be roused soon enough from our slumbers. And we were. 
The awful roar of artillery along the whole line for miles was enough to wake 
the dead. Of course, we rose, hastily dressed and going out of our tent, stood 
under the open sky where for hours we watched the shelling a beautiful sight, 
if you can detach it in thought from the terrible destruction it works, and is in 
tended to work. We were a small, but intensely anxious group of nocturnal 
watchers, comprising the commissioned and non-commissioned officers, stationed 
at the regimental headquarters Surgeons Yundt and Iddings, Adjutant Dickin 
son, Quartermaster Phaler, and Commissary Sergeant Roth and of that group 
the only survivor of that night of storm and stress beside myself is Adjutant 
Dickinson, who in his old age, I doubt not, still preserves his native dignity and 
gracious smile. 

The battle continued the remainder of the night and with an occasional lull, 
throughout the next day, Sunday, until toward evening the firing gradually slack 
ened and finally ceased. It is no part of my task to describe the progress of the 
fight and the splendid gallantry of the Forty-fifth. That must be left to others 
who were competent eye witnesses of the events. The chaplain is a non-com 
batant. His place is not on the battlefield, but at the regimental headquarters or 
in the hospital. There is a partial exception in the case of Catholic chaplains, 
some of whom are needed on the field to administer the sacrament of Extreme 
Unction to those dying in the Catholic faith. 

One scene, however, my eyes beheld which impressed me with deep sadness. 
At a time when the Union lines were being driven back and were in great need of 
support, a train from City Point brought several regiments of fresh troops, who, 
forming their lines in the rear of Fort Rice and hastily entering the field of battle, 
rushed forward to the front to be received by the deadly fire of the foe. With 
a sinking of heart I thought within myself : "how many of those brave men, now 
so full of life and vigor, will, before the rising of another sun, experience the 
agonies of death, or at least the sufferings of severe wounds !" 

Later in the day I received my first call as chaplain to a painful duty. Early 
in the morning of the 2d of April the Forty-fifth was moved from Fort Rice to 
the left of the brigade in front of Fort Sedgwick ; and later Major Cheeseman, 
while leading the regiment in a bold attack on the Confederate Fort Mahone in 
the face of canister and grape shot, was severely wounded in his right knee and 
taken from the field to the hospital, from which he sent me a message requesting 
that I should come to him as soon as possible. Fearing he was dying, I set off 
at once, and by rapid strides soon reached the hospital. He met me with a friend 
ly smile. He told me briefly and modestly how he had been wounded. There 
was not a murmuring word over his misfortune ; not even a moan of pain. He 
seemed to have no thought of himself; his only consideration was for his dear 
wife, that she might not be unnecessarily distressed. In his anxiety he begged 
me to write to her immediately, breaking the news gently, anticipating if possible 
the reports of the papers, lest she might believe he had been killed. I promised to 
comply with his request. Comforting him with cheering words as best I could, 
I returned to camp and at once wrote my letter. It was a letter that would bring 

A Chaplain s Reminiscences 311 

both sorrow and joy; sorrow, because her husband had been wounded; and joy, 
because the wound would not prove mortal. 

I often wondered, especially on the recurring anniversaries of the bloody, 
but victorious battle in front of Petersburg, April 2d, whether that letter had 
reached its destination and accomplished its purpose. Not until nearly 45 years 
had elapsed did I ascertain the truth. In a letter written to me by Major Cheese- 
man, November 23d, 1909, the first I had received from him since we parted 
long, long ago, never to meet again on earth he says : "My wife and I have 
often thought of your kindness when you wrote to her apprising her of my severe 
injury. She will never forget your kindness to me at that time, and requests me 
to tender you her kindest wishes for yourself. Your name will ever be fondly 
mentioned in our home." It was a very trifling service, which it was my duty 
as chaplain to render, and which most persons, after the lapse of well-nigh 50 
years, would probably have forgotten, and I quote his words only to show how 
to his kindly, generous soul, the insignificant fact of writing that letter was mag 
nified out of all proportion to the merits of the deed. 

Early in the morning of the 3d the advance skirmishers discovered and re 
ported that the enemy had evacuated his works during the night, and that Gen 
eral Lee had fled with the remnant of his disheartened troops. These glad tid 
ings strengthened the belief and encouraged the hope, that the end of the ter 
rible four-years Civil War was near at hand. The victors were soon in full pur 
suit of the foe, with the Ninth Corps, to which the Forty-fifth belonged, in the 
rear, as it was stationed at the extreme right of the Union lines. We were de 
layed at the entrance to Petersburg, and as I rightly judged, the delay would be 
of considerable duration, I concluded to embrace the opportunity for visiting the 
hospital and seeing how our brave but unfortunate major was progressing. 

I had not proceeded far on my way, when I heard a tremendous hurrahing 
by the multitude of soldiers on the road to Petersburg, and on looking ahead, I 
saw two men approaching on horseback. It was evidently they in whose honor 
these joyous acclamations rent the air, and my curiosity being excited, I found 
on inquiring that it was Lincoln and his son. When they passed by they were 
only several yards away from me, and I have never ceased to be thankful for 
the privilege of gazing upon the face of that noble martyr of immortal fame, 
especially as only 11 days later he was stricken down by the hand of an assassin 
who will be an object of loathing and abhorrence to the end of time. Here he 
was, entering unattended yet fearless, a city of the enemy, which only a few hours 
before had been abandoned by a defeated and desperate army. After a brief 
pause I resumed my walk to the hospital, where I was glad to find the major 
awake and as comfortable as possible in such circumstances. During the night 
his leg had been amputated. He said that in the morning, when he had regained 
consciousness, he felt for his wounded leg where it ought to be, and it was not 
there. Then he first realized the extent of his misfortune. Commending him to 
the Heavenly Father, who is too wise to err and too good to be unkind, I bade 
him adieu in a few cheering words, expressing the hope that his wound would 
soon heal. And, indeed, being a man of good habits, he rapidly recovered, nor 
was it many weeks before he rode into camp amid the loud cheers both of offi 
cers and privates. 

312 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

While yet at the hospital, announcement was made that the battle had re 
sulted in a glorious victory to the Union arms, and that Lee, having abandoned 
his fortifications in the night, was in full flight with his shattered army. It was 
the harbinger of the complete collapse of the Confederate government and the 
promise of the near advent of the much longed for peace. The effect of the news 
on the unfortunate patients was something marvelous. The scene presented was 
one never to be forgotten. All who had retained sufficient consciousness to 
comprehend the situation some of them mortally wounded and others already 
in the first agonies of death aroused themselves to murmur, however faintly, 
almost with their last breath a "Praise God." It was a glorious Te deum laudamus, 
the utterance of patriotic hearts, glad to know in their last hour on earth of the 
triumph of the cause to which they had sacrificed their lives. To me no Te Deum, 
though sung in the grandest cathedral, by the most skilled of choirs, could be 
more impressive than the simple, quiet utterance from those dying lips, a "Thank 

Passing out I beheld a scene of a widely different character : a soldier 
stretched out upon an operating board, one surgeon administering the ether, an 
other working about the bloody, wide-gaping wound; the patient, meanwhile (un 
consciously, of course), uttering the most horrible, blood-curdling oaths. Turn 
ing aside from these dreadful sights and sounds, my eyes beheld in a corner a 
miscellaneous heap of various amputated members of the human body, carelessly 
cast aside. The whole scene was the most gruesome I had ever beheld. I could 
not help inwardly exclaiming : "O, the horrors of war ; especially of civil war !" 

With a feeling of relief I turned away and hastened to the regiment to begin 
my first march, which was made in two stages with an interval of some days dur 
ing which we were encamped at Burkville. We advanced, however, only as far as 
Farmville, which lay, I believe, at a distance of about 12 miles from Appomattox 
Court House, where the surrender of General Lee took place April 9th. Just out 
side of Farmville there stood on elevated ground a fine mansion, which gave evi 
dence of having been the abode of wealth, refinement and culture before the war. 
At the time of our arrival it was unoccupied by any members of the family. The 
master, Mr. Richardson, a true Southern gentleman, was, with his brother, as we 
learned, in the Confederate army ; his sister was married and lived in Richmond ; 
only the colored servants remained behind. Naturally the staff officers, with some 
of the captains and lieutenants, took possession of it and made it their head 

There, from the porch of that mansion as my pulpit, I preached to the regi 
ment for the first time. It was Easter Sunday, April 16th, before sunset. 

The day before the Battle of Petersburg, a private soldier came to me, hold 
ing in his hand a small package nicely wrapped up and carefully secured, with the 
address to which it was to be sent plainly written. It would seem that he had a 
vague, uncomfortable feeling of his impending death in the coming fight. He re 
quested me to take charge of it and in case he should fall, send it according to 
the directions given; but if his life should be spared, he would see me again as 
soon as he could after the return to camp and reclaim his package. I told him I 
regarded his wish as a sacred duty and would faithfully comply with His request. 
Our lives are in the hands of an infinitely wise Father, and without His will not 
a. hair of our heads can fall. I sincerely hoped he would come out of the battle 

A Chaplain s Reminiscences 313 

alive, and be spared to his family to share with them many happy years. And 
he did ; and I soon had the pleasure of returning to him what, in a solemn hour, 
he had entrusted to my care. I know not what it contained; it may have had 
little intrinsic value; it may have been only a lock of his hair; but how the widow 
and her fatherless children would prize that memento as an inestimable treasure, 
reminding them, how in his last hours on earth his thoughts were fixed on them 
and his love was faithful unto death. 

After supper Captain Lord (who, as ranking captain, was in command after 
Captain Cheeseman was disabled), and myself concluded to walk into the town. 
We had gone but a short distance of perhaps 100 or 200 yards, when we saw sol 
diers in crowds rushing towards us in the wildest excitement. The assassination 
of President Lincoln, on Good Friday night, April 14th, had just been made 
known. The effect of that announcement was something appalling. He was at 
that time the idol of his country and of the army ; and it was not an easy task to 
restrain the men in their mad frenzy, as with stern faces and set teeth they 
rushed on, threatening to kill every Rebel, burn down their houses and barns, and 
create wide-spread havoc and devastation. From all the surrounding country men 
came to headquarters in great alarm, humbly begging for a safeguard to protect 
their lives and property. It was a pitiful sight to behold aged, gray-headed 
fathers, telling in deep distress, with big tears rolling down their cheeks, how 
they had learned too late the true character of Lincoln, who they could now see, 
was the sincere friend of the South. Of course, safeguards were given, and on 
calm reflection, the furious passion of the Union soldiers soon subsided. 

It was at this time, when we were encamped at Farmville that Colonel Gregg 
and Major Trout returned to the regiment after having spent many months in 
the South as prisoners of war. They were received with hearty greetings and 
shouts of joy. The colonel was a man of fine military bearing, strict in disci 
pline, but not harsh in enforcing it. Indeed, his heart was as tender as a wom 
an s and his feelings easily moved. He was very popular with the men under his 
command. They admired his undaunted courage which they had witnessed in 
many a hard-fought battle. Of a genial, social disposition, full of kindly humor, 
he gathered around him a circle of delighted friends. He was not without faults, 
but in my close intercourse with him, I learned not only to admire him as a sol 
dier, but also to love him as a true-hearted man. He died in Washington, July 4, 
1878. The major, too, like his superior officer, Gregg, was and deserved to be, a 
favorite with the regiment. As he still survives, I trust that, in spite of the bur 
dens and sorrows of life, he still retains something of the old time merriment and 
love of innocent fun he so often displayed amid the darkness and gloom of the 
Civil War. 

About the same time Mr. Richardson returned from the Confederate Army 
to his home. He was the owner of the large plantation on which stood the fine 
mansion occupied as regimental headquarters during our stay at Farmville. I 
could only pity him as I tried to imagine his feelings on again entering his de 
serted home ; the bitterness and depression of mind with which he realized the 
utter destruction of the bright hopes that animated his southern heart as he went 
out from its halls to the war; the sadness of soul when he remembered them as 
the scene of many happy social gatherings of dear friends, some of whom were 
now sleeping in a soldier s grave ; the inward rage with which he saw their dese- 

314 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

cration by the footsteps of the once despised, but now victorious Yankees. But 
if such were his real feelings he made no open display of them. The war was 
practically ended, and he had the good sense not to seclude himself and mope in 
solitude, nor yet in sullenness to hold himself aloof from the officers of the regi 
ment. Never of a merry spirit, he was always courteous in manner. He was a 
skilled chess player, as was also Colonel Gregg. They sometimes played for their 
amusement far into the night, while others followed with interest the progress of 
the game. And while this was going on in one room there was often music in 
another. We found in the mansion an excellent piano in good condition, and as 
there were a number of fine voices in the regiment, they sang at times well known 
hymns and patriotic songs, accompanied on the piano by the chaplain. 

During my term of service I was never consciously in danger, except on one 
occasion. It was necessary for me to go from Farmville to Burkeville, a distance 
of about 13 miles, to be mustered into the service. When I first joined the regi 
ment, and while we were yet at Petersburg, I had gone for that purpose several 
times to division headquarters, but always found the proper officer absent for one 
reason or another. No other opportunity presented itself until we were encamped 
at Farmville. Then one bright morning I set out on my journey on horseback 
alone, never doubting I could find my way without a guide. Unfortunately, how 
ever, after traveling a considerable distance, I saw that I had lost the direct way 
and was on a corduroy road to the right. Retracing my steps to the broad, beaten 
track, I rode on for a number of miles, when to my surprise I discovered that 
I had again gone astray. But, reflecting that the road I had entered by mistake 
must lead to Burkeville, I concluded to go straight forward. As I was riding 
along in a quiet way, never dreaming of danger ahead, I saw a number of men 
with guns in their hands about to enter a wood at a distance of a quarter or, 
perhaps, a third of a mile to my right. The war was virtually closed and Lee s 
army disbanded, but small guerilla parties continued to roam about and keep up 
an irregular warfare. They were desperate men, maddened by the irretrievable 
ruin of the cause for which they had sacrificed their all. Had I encountered them 
on the road, or had they noticed me before their entry into the wood, they would 
have thought I was one of the "accursed Yankees," and as I was in citizen s dress 
with only a military cap, they would have recognized me at once as a chaplain, 
and suspected that I carried money about my person which was indeed a fact, 
for I had a considerable sum hidden in a belt around my waist. It might in that 
case have gone ill with me. I thanked God for my escape and hastened on my way. 
When yet about three or four miles distant from Burkeville, I met some Union 
officers with field glasses, reconnoitering the country for scattered hostile bands, 
and from that time onward to the end of my journey I felt a pleasant sense of 
security. There I sought and found, James A. Myers, hospital steward of the 
Forty-fifth. In the course of our conversation, I told him of my adventure and 
he informed me that, coming alone, I had been in great peril, for the country was 
overrun by guerilla bands. He entertained me that night and I shall always cher 
ish pleasant recollections of his kindness on the occasion of my visit to Burkeville, 
as well as on some other occasions. The next day, after a refreshing sleep, I set 
out on my return to Farmville, which strange to say, unlike my journey the day 
before, was made without a single incident impressed on my memory. 

A Chaplain s Reminiscences 315 

One event worthy of mention occurred during our short stay at Farmville. 
There was a grand wedding at which the chaplain had the high honor of officiat 
ing. Mr. Richardson had just returned when a colored gentleman, looking some 
what serious, approached me and said: "Mr. Chaplain, will you marry me?" On 
inquiring who he was, he informed me that he was a servant on a neighboring 
plantation. "And who," I asked, "is to be the happy bride?" He answered: 
"One of Mr. Richardson s colored servants." "Well," I said, "Mr. Richardson 
is now home, and I will ask him whether there is any reason why you should not 
be married. If he says there is not, I will marry you with pleasure." In an in 
terview with Mr. Richardson I stated the case to him. He said : "Marry them, 
of course. There is no reason why they should not be married, or rather, there 
is a great reason why they should be." And then, exposing one of the terrible 
evils connected with slavery, he added : "they should have been married years ago, 
for they already have several children." 

After reporting to the groom the glad result of my conference with Mr. 
Richardson, we arranged for the time and place of the marriage ceremony. No 
invitations had been extended to members of the regiment, nor cards issued for a 
grand reception after the nuptial knot was tied. But such a splendid occasion 
could not be kept secret. Many of the officers insisted on being present. Some 
even avowed that the chaplain must conform to ancient custom and kiss the bride. 
Indeed, I trembled to undertake my part, usually so pleasant, on that special oc 
casion, lest from my sense of humor I should ignominously break down in the 
midst of the service. They came and took their places in the rear. I stood a 
little in advance with my back toward them, that I might not see the faces of 
those mischievous boys. Then the door opened and in came two couples, but un 
fortunately they knew not in what order to arrange themselves. To my right 
stood, first, the bride, then the groom, to my left, the bridesmaid and lastly, the 
bridegroom. I was puzzled, not knowing which was the bridal pair, and which 
their attendants. "Are both couples to be married?" I was compelled to ask) 
"No," was the answer, coming from the couple at my left, who pointed to the 
couple at my right, "Jist dem two." I could not see behind me, but I could hear 
a slight titter. It was a bad beginning of a solemn ceremony. And there stood 
the bridal pair, a sight to behold. The groom was arrayed in the uniform of a 
Union soldier, and was awfully conscious of his dignity and grandeur. The bride 
appeared in an old, ill-fitting, but once rich dress, probably a cast-off dress of a 
former mistress. One could hardly refrain from smiling. In the circumstances it 
was necessary to make the service as short as possible, and no sooner was the 
service ended and the "amen" pronounced, than the colored lady friends of the 
bride threw themselves upon her, half a dozen at a time, hugging her and almost 
weighing her down to the floor; and so, the unfortunate chaplain, whatever his 
desire, and very much to the regret of the white guests, lost his opportunity for 
kissing the bride. 

The regiment had been but a brief time at Farmville, when it was ordered 
to march to City Point and there take the boat to Alexandria, near which it lay 
encamped till mustered out of the service. The four-years war was ended ; peace 
had been won, though at a terrible sacrifice ; the return homeward was begun." 
Life at Alexandria became very monotonous ; only the routine duties of camp life 
were performed. Occasionally the tedium was broken by a horseback ride td 

316 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

Mount Vernon, the residence and place of burial of George Washington, or by a 
boat ride to the city of Washington to visit an old college chum, General B. F. 
Fisher, then at the head of the Signal Corps Service. There were no longer such 
thrilling events as when the regiment faced the enemy. But before the Union 
Army was finally disbanded, a glorious spectacle was presented to the gaze of 
the rejoicing nation a spectacle unsurpassed, unless by an ancient Roman 
Triumph in honor of a victorious general, yet without its gorgeous pomp, its con 
quering hero crowned with a wreath of laurel, its display of the spoils of war, 
and its captive kings and princes bound with chains. In this American Triumph, 
if such it may be called, there was not a single feature designed to humiliate a 
conquered, yet honorable foe. 

It is not necessary to inform the reader that this last crowning event of the 
War of Secession was the Grand Review of the Union Army in Washington, May 
23d and 24th, 1865. The Eastern troops were reviewed on the first day, the West 
ern, the day following. It is not easy to form even a faint conception of the vast 
multitude of officers and men in line on that memorable occasion. In those two 
days more than 250,000 veteran soldiers passed the reviewing stand, marching 
company front, on Pennsylvania Avenue, the broadest in the city of Washington, 
from about nine o clock in the morning till about five o clock in the aifternoon. 
What a magnificent pageant was presented to the world by those brave heroes, 
who had gone through many of the bloodiest battles recorded in history and 
brought out of the civil conflict the most glorious victory for the Union! As 
they moved on in one solid column amid the tremendous applause of a grateful 
and admiring people, and bore aloft their bullet-riddled flags, often rent into mere 
shreds, many a spectator felt constrained to stand, bare-headed, in solemn rever 
ence before the emblem of the nation and its gallant defenders. 

I speak as an outside, but deeply interested observer; for indeed, I was not 
with my regiment in the grand review. Having been quite unwell for several 
days, I requested Colonel Gregg, as a great favor, to relieve me from the special 
duty of the day which in his kindness he readily did. And so I enjoyed the 
inestimable privilege of beholding the entire grand display, so inspiriting to the 
patriotic heart. At the same time I lost a much coveted opportunity for seeing 
General Grant. While we were encamped at Burkville, a number of us under the 
guidance of Captain Lord went to his headquarters for that purpose but were 
doomed to a cruel disappointment. The general, only an hour or two before, had 
set out for Appomattox Court House to receive the surrender of General Lee. 
At the grand review, the ever modest commander-in-chief instead of riding at the 
head of his victorious army, occupied a place on the reviewing stand with the 
President and his Cabinet, the Supreme Court and Congress, and so I was never 
so fortunate as to catch even a passing glimpse of that great general, whose fame 
will be immortal in the annals of history. 

But, as if in compensation for my loss, I received an unexpected but pleasant 
surprise. Early in the morning of the first day, May 23d, when tens of thou 
sands were flocking into Washington from far and near, I encountered many 
friends from my home city of Lancaster, Pa., from whom I learned that my 
father had come with them to witness the grand review. Of course, I was on 
the watch for him the whole of that day, but it was not until the close of the 

Chaplain Gibson 

James A. Meyers 

Hospital Steward, 45th Regiment Penna. Vols., 
October, 1863. 

Medical History of the Regiment. 317 

afternoon, as we were about to return to Alexandria for the night, that I had the 
good fortune to meet and greet him. We took him with us to camp, gave him a 
soldier s supper and furnished him with the softest bed we could find ; but the 
softest bed was too hard a bed for him, and I fear he found little or no sleep 
that first night of his spent in a soldier s tent. 

But it is time to bring this paper to a close. There are yet other reminis 
cences I should be delighted to record, were I not mindful that I have no right to 
occupy too much of the reader s attention with incidents in the chaplain s quiet 
activity, after the war was already ended and the regiment awaiting its happy 
return home. I have never regretted my short term of service as if it was a 
culpable waste of life. It gave me a new and richer experience of life, afforded 
a deeper insight into the varieties of human character, filled me with intense 
hatred of the awful horrors of war, and kindled in my soul an unquenchable 
yearning for the day, still perhaps in the far distant future, when war shall be 
forever banished and universal peace be established among the nations of the 
earth. And, in closing, I would express the hope, that at the end of time, when 
the battle of life shall have been fought and the final reveille been sounded, the 
comrades of the Forty-fifth may awake from the sleep of death to the peace and 
joy of eternal life. 

REV. F. A. GAST, D. D., 
Professor Emeritus of the Theological Seminary, 

Lancaster, Pa 


At the time of organization of the regiment at Camp Curtin the Medical Staff 
was composed of George L. Potter, of Bellefonte, Pa., surgeon, and Theodore S. 
Christ, of Lewisburg, Pa., assistant surgeon. W. Godfrey Hunter was promoted 
from private Company A to hospital steward, November 26th, 1861. 

Dr. Potter, who was a well educated, capable medical officer, resigned from 
the service August 1st, 1862. Assistant Surgeon Theodore S. Christ succeeded 
Surgeon Potter, his promotion dating from August 4th, 1862. 

Charles S. Styer succeeded Dr. Christ as assistant surgeon, with muster dat 
ing from August 1st, 1862. He was a competent officer, well liked by the men 
and officers and remained with the regiment until promoted Surgeon United 
States Volunteers, January 12th, 1863. 

Robert R. Wiestling joined the regiment as second assistant surgeon, his 
muster dating from August 13th, 1862. 

Dr. Wiestling was present and on duty during the Battle of South Mountain, 
September 14th, 1862, was taken sick and went to hospital with typhoid fever. 
Being broken in health he resigned from the service February 22d, 1863. Dr. 
Wiestling gave promise of making a useful medical officer and his loss was re 

318 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

W. S. Yundt was mustered as assistant surgeon, February 23d, 1863, and re 
signed May 18th, 1865. Dr. Yundt was a genial man and soon made many friends 
in the command. He was capable as a medical officer and should have been pro 
moted to surgeon on the resignation of Surgeon Christ. Unfortunately, however, 
Governor Curtin could not be induced to accede to the recommendation for pro 
motion of Dr. Yundt, which was strongly urged by Colonel John I. Curtin and 
others, and instead, after the war and the field service were ended, promoted a 
stranger to hold the position for the few remaining weeks, thereby depriving Dr. 
Yundt of an honor which was justly his due. Naturally, the doctor resigned. 

John K. Maxwell mustered as assistant surgeon, March 3d, 1863. 

Dr. Maxwell was a man with a strong personality; somewhat older than the 
majority of the officers and men, and with difficulty adjusted himself to his posi 
tion as second assistant surgeon. He was, however, an efficient medical officer and 
honest in the performance of his duties. He was severely injured near Milldale, 
Miss., from which he never fully recovered. He resigned August 27th, 1864. 

The vacancy occasioned by the resignation of Assistant Surgeon Maxwell 
was filled by the appointment of C. Edward Iddings, who was mustered out with 
the regiment July 17th, 1865. 

F. B. Davidson, who entered the service August 12th, 1864, as assistant sur 
geon, Second Pennsylvania Cavalry, was transferred and mustered as surgeon of 
the Forty-fifth, dating from May 27th, 1865. 

Of the noncommissioned medical staff, Hospital Steward W. Godfrey Hunter 
was mustered out in September, 1862, to accept promotion as assistant surgeon of 
another regiment. The vacancy thus occasioned was filled by the promotion of 
James A. Myers, a private of Company B, to be hospital steward, the date of his 
warrant being September 22d, 1862. Steward Myers remained in this position 
until May 26th, 1865, when he was discharged by special order of the War De 
partment at Alexandria, Va. 

H. D. Deming, private Company G, was promoted to fill the vacancy and mus 
tered out with the regiment. 

Unfortunately, the work of writing a regimental history was from various 
causes delayed, until now after a lapse of more than 45 years, the writer being 
the only survivor of those of the medical staff who followed the fortunes and par 
ticipated in the work of our dear old regiment, is called upon to prepare as well 
as he may something of its medical history. This could have been done so much 
better by one or more who are no longer with us that I have approached the task 
with great reluctance. I am, however, doing the best that I can to place on rec 
ord from the little data at my command and from memory something which I 
trust may have some interest to the few members of the regiment who survive 
and possibly to the posterity of those who followed the flag of the Forty-fifth. 

Of the work of the Medical Department in the early days and while the regi 
ment was in South Carolina I have no personal knowledge. During this period it 
appears to have been largely confined to the ordinary routine among the sick, 
there having been no engagements in which any considerable number were 
wounded; nor had there been any extended experience such as is acquired only 
when operating in connection with armies in movements and facing the enemy. 
So that when the troops under command of General Burnside became a part of 

Medical History of the Regiment . 319 

the army under General McClellan there was much to be learned by the Medical 
Staff. Our regiment on reaching Washington, September 6th, 1862, became a 
part of the Army of the Potomac and as such participated in the Battle of South 
Mountain, September 14th, 1862. In going into this fight the surgeon and both 
assistants were with the regiment. This seemed to be considered the proper 
place for them. However, when the musketry fire opened and the air was full 
of uncomfortable sounds, Dr. Christ soon realized that to use his own words 
"It is to - - hot here;" turning to the assistant surgeons, he ordered them to 
attend to the temporary dressings of the many wounded, sending them a little 
way down the mountain to a little log house where he established our field hos 
pital. This was not entirely out of range, but on the whole better suited to the 
work that was in hand, and w r ork it was, for our boys were hard hit. The loss 
in our regiment alone being about 140 killed and wounded. 

The scenes in and about that little log house I cannot describe, but there is 
one impression gained there and on many subsequent fields that remains with 
me, and that is with wh?t uncomplaining fortitude the boys bore their sufferings. 
Patiently they awaited the attention that was so necessary, and patiently and 
without a murmur they met the advance of death. 

Our next engagement was three days later at Antietam. Here while the 
fighting was terrific and the losses of our army great, it was the great good for 
tune of our regiment to escape with a comparatively small list of killed and 
wounded, yet there was plenty of work for all. 

In October, while encamped at Pleasant Valley, Md., there seemed to be an 
outbreak of itch about regimental headquarters. Remedies were asked for and 
used until one day Sumner Pettus, one of the hospital attendants, engaged in 
washing underclothing for Dr. - , called my attention to a condition which 
explained the outbreak of itch, as supposed, but which was nothing else than a 
host of the soldiers friend. r enemies, as you choose, the gentle and close stick 
ing "grayback." Result, no more medicines but an order from headquarters for 
a general wash up. Boys, do you remember the day when your only suit was 
hung on the bushes along the creek to dry while you sat in the sun? 

Considering all the exposure of this campaign, the general health of the 
regiment remained good. There was but one death in camp from disease until 
after reaching Fredericksburg ; this was at Waterford, Va. 

At Fredericksburg, during the great battle of December 12th, 1862, the field 
hospital of the division was located in the court house. Here was performed an 
operation in conservative surgery which at that time was new to us. Surgeon 
Coggswell of the Twenty-ninth Massachusetts by resection removed a consider 
able portion of the bone of the upper arm, which had been fractured by a ball, 
thereby saving the arm. The man was one of our own, whose name I have for 
gotten. His recovery was rapid. During the siege of Knoxville this same sur 
geon by resection removed a considerable portion of the lower jaw of one of 
his men. This was a case of comminuted fracture. This man also made a good 

From Fredericksburg to Newport News, during our stay here, there was a 
smallpox scare, resulting in a general order for vaccination. It was something 
to see the first sergeants bringing their men by companies each with a bared arm 

320 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

to receive the virus. There were a lot of sore arms but no smallpox in the regi 
ment. More than a year later at Petersburg, Va., Quartermaster Sergeant J. 
Hall Musser developed the only case we had. Prompt isolation and a stay of a 
couple of months in a tent far away from any others and Musser showed up 
good as new and can to-day answer roll call for himself. 

From Newport News to the Blue Grass of Kentucky, a good climate, good 
\vater and good food meant that the hospital had but a few patients. But then 
came the call to Vicksburg. Joe Johnston was threatening Grant s rear and the 
old reliable Ninth Corps must go. The good pastures of Kentucky were ex 
changed for the swamps of the Yazoo, filled with malaria and congestive chill. 
Then began the fight with disease; hospitals filled and many sick in quarters, 
taken down with chill in the morning, dead and buried by sundown was the 
record in some cases. 

When Vicksburg was about to fall Sherman with his own and the Ninth 
Corps was sent after Johnston, each regiment of our corps leaving its regimental 
hospitals filled with sick in the various regimental camps scattered over miles of 
the Milldale country. The medical officers accompanied the troops. The writer 
was left .in charge at our camp with 55 sick. The situation was strenuous and a 
call for help resulted in the sending back of Dr. Maxwell with orders to assume 
charge of and concentrate the various regimental hospitals. 

In order to carry out his instructions Dr. Maxwell, accompanied by the 
writer, started on a tour of inspection, riding in an ambulance. After visiting 
the camp of the Seventy-ninth New York and starting homeward, the night 
pitch dark after a thunder storm, the driver losing the road, the ambulance was 
upset, resulting in the serious injury of Dr. Maxwell and the breaking of three 
of his ribs. From this he never fully recovered, although with a signal devo 
tion to duty he continued in the service for a year longer. His ultimate end 
was undoubtedly hastened by this occurrence. 

At last came the welcome orders to ship our sick and prepare to leave the 
Milldale valley of death and go up the river to Cairo by boat. On reaching here 
a large number of new cases were transferred to the hospital boat, then by rail 
to Covington, Ky. The seeds of disease sown in Mississippi still pursuing us, 
another lot of sick was sent to hospital, thence to Camp Park and here the sick 
multiplied until, when the regiment left for Crab Orchard the hospital in charge 
of the writer contained 155 patients. Here, also, was the only case of diphtheria 
which we had in all the years, resulting fatally, as did a number of cases of ma 
larial fever. When ordered to rejoin the regiment the most serious cases were 
sent to the general hospital at Camp Nelson, the others in ambulances and on 
foot going to Crab Orchard. Hardly had we reached there when marching or 
ders for East Tennessee came. Reveille at 3 A. M., and march at daylight were 
orders for September 10th. Again our sick boys had to be left behind, this time 
in charge of Maxwell. A number of the sick of the Mississippi campaign died 
in the general hospital, others were discharged for physical disability and a num 
ber who had recovered and were enroute to rejoin the regiment were captured on 
the Clinch Mountain in East Tennessee. Many of these died in Rebel prisons. 

After a wearisome march the command entered East Tennessee by way of 
Cumberland Gap. Here under the influence of a good climate the boys recuper- 

Medical History of the Regiment 321 

ated and were ready for the hard campaign which was before them. November 
found us in winter quarters at Lenoirs Station on the East Tennessee and 
Georgia Railroad. From these comfortable quarters the advent of Longstreet 
drove us. Then the skirmish at Lenoir and retreat to Knoxville with the hot 
little fight at Campbells Station on November 16th. 

Dr. Christ was now surgeon in chief of brigade, with Dr. Yundt in charge 
of regiment. The retreat to Knoxville proved disastrous to the medical depart 
ment in the loss of both brigade medical wagons, with all their much needed 
stores. Our loss proved our enemy s gain and doubtless many a poor Johnny 
profited by it. 

The siege of Knoxville was now on, with our hospital established in the 
court house. Day by day the list of wounded increased and day by day our 
scanty store of medical supplies became less until it became necessary to wash 
old bandages and use them again, repeating the operation from time to time. 
Disinfectants, excepting a little bromine, we did not have. Notwithstanding all 
this and with the main court room lying full of wounded men, we had but one 
case of gangrene and that was fatal. Operations, major and minor, were of 
daily occurrence. Finally the climax came when Longstreet assaulted Fort 
Sanders, November 29th. Then came the streams of wounded Johnnies who all 
received the same care and attention as our own wounded. They were simply 
wounded men requiring help. 

In recording the names, etc., of the enemy s wounded, I found one who had 
been brought in on a stretcher. In reply to my question, he said that he was 
wounded in both legs below the knees. An examination showed no injury, but 
simply red marks where he had struck the telegraph wire obstruction in front 
of the fort, plunging headlong among the dead and wounded in the moat. His 
imagination had done the rest. A somewhat surprised man was turned over to 
the provost marshal as a prisoner, while one of his comrades remarked, "Yes! 
If it hadn t been for that damned telegraph wire, we would have got you," and 
maybe might have done so. 

With the disappearance of Longstreet there was little for the medical de 
partment except ordinary routine. The homeward march in January, 1864, after 
reenlisting was made by men who represented the physical cream of the old 
regiment, and had little need for the doctor. 

The opening of the campaign of 1864 found us bringing up the rear of the 
Army of the Potomac in its march to the Wilderness. With it, but as yet not 
an integral part, the Ninth Army Corps went into the Wilderness fight, with 
the medical department not well prepared for active field service, so much so that 
after the fight had opened and the writer was ordered to report to the surgeon 
in charge of field hospital for duty, there was only the officer himself to be 
found and the organization was made subsequently as best it could be. However, 
it was done, and the hosts of wounded cared for, from this time until the end, 
almost a year later. There was to be no let up and night and day the work went 
on. As the long day of May 6th was drawing to a close our hospital was located 
in rear of the Sixth Corps, the ground lying full of wounded men. Of a sud 
den an uproar in our front arose and back came a demoralized brigade. Over 
us they went and we were between the lines. It was uncomfortable and gave 

322 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

promise of a Rebel prison. Two of my attendants, Jim Stonecypher of Company 
K, and Van Buren Holliday of Company H, volunteering to stay with me, re 
mained until all were ordered within the lines and the wounded rescued. 

At Spottsylvania the medical department was handicapped by a lack of 
shelter from the cold rain, hundreds of wounded lying exposed to the elements. 
At Cold Harbor or Bethesda Church the field hospital was shelled out of three 
different locations. 

After many privations Petersburg was reached. The siege commenced 
here with a good base of supplies and plenty of material, division hospitals 
were set up, the wounded and sick well cared for and from time to time sent 
to the depot hospitals at City Point, and thence to the north. Dr. Christ was 
now surgeon in chief of division, Dr. W. R. D. Blackwood, of the Forty-eighth 
Pennsylvania Volunteers, having succeeded him in charge of brigade. 

Dr. Maxwell resigned in August, Dr. Iddings succeeding him and Dr. 
Christ resigned in October, leaving a vacancy unfilled, as before stated. 

These resignations were a distinct loss to both the regiment and the serv 
ice. They were both experienced and capable officers. 

At last came the final assault on Petersburg, where Captain Cheeseman, 
commanding the regiment, lost his leg and Lieutenant Robb was killed. These 
casualties at the end seemed doubly hard with home in sight. 

Petersburg fell; then the chase after Lee; the surrender; back to Alex 
andria, then Johnny went marching home to Harrisburg and his final discharge. 

In conclusion, I wish tp say that wherever the regiment went, or whatever 
duty it was called to perform, its medical staff was there, always ready for serv 
ice and winning for itself a recognition from the higher authorities of the Medi 
cal Department of the army. 

Reader, if you find in what I have written something told that will com 
mend itself, I am content. 


Hospital Steward. 


Francis Barker Davison, M. D., major and surgeon, was born July 8th, 
1827, at Thompson, Conn. His grandfather, Daniel Davison, was a soldier in the 
War of 1776 and his father, Rufus Davison, in the War of 1812. 

Dr. Davison was in New York City buying goods when Fort Sumter was 
fired upon by the Rebels, and participated in the excitement of that occasion. He 
was in the recruiting service for the inspection of recruits in Camp Curtin at 
Harrisburg in August, 1862. 

On August 18th, 1864, he was commissioned as assistant surgeon of the 
Second Pennsylvania Cavalry. 

March 29th, 1865, when the Army of the Potomac commenced its last and 
grandest movement, the Second Pennsylvania Cavalry remained southeast of 
Petersburg on the flank of the Ninth Corps, and reported to General Parke. Dr. 
Davison was in Fort Sedgwick, April 2d, during a lull in the bombardment 
where he had his best view of General Parke. At 2 A. M., April 3d, Petersburg 

Surgeon F. B. Davison. 

Lieut. Col. Theo. Gregg 

Surgeon Theodore S. Christ 

Medical History of the Regiment 323 

was evacuated, and only a few hours afterwards, he rode with several officers 
into Petersburg following President Lincoln, who rode horseback, with his son, 
Tad, riding at his side. This proved to be the last time he saw Mr. Lincoln. 
About April 10th, the Second Pennsylvania Cavalry was detailed for guard duty 
at General Meade s headquarters at Burkeville, Va., and on the march to report, 
met General Ewell and his corps, including four other generals recently taken 
prisoners by Sheridan, and on arrival at Burkeville heard the sad news of the 
assassination of President Lincoln. 

General Meade with his headquarters, of which the Second Pennsylvania 
Cavalry was a part, started, May 1st, on the march for Washington, D. C. The 
band played "Home, Sweet Home," which more than ever before cheered every 
heart. The leading event of this march was the review in Richmond. Dr. 
Davison rode the fine bay presented to him by his army friends, which he 
finally took to his home in Pennsylvania. The next noteworthy occurrence was 
the grand review of the armies, May 22d and 23d, at Washington, D. C. 

On May 27th Dr. Davison was promoted and commissioned to rank as 
major and was appointed surgeon of John I. Curtin s Forty-fifth Pennsyl 
vania Regiment, into which he was mustered, and in which he was very 
happy, and with which he was discharged July 17th to 24th, 1865. In this regi 
ment Colonel Theodore Gregg was breveted by the President for bravery at 
the mine explosion, and General James A. Beaver (afterward Governor of 
Pennsylvania), was promoted from this regiment. 

Surgeon Davison now returned to private life and the practice of his pro 

He is a member of the Lackawanna County Medical Society, was its presi 
dent in 1886, and was a member of the Medical Society of the State of Penn 
sylvania, and of the American Medical Association, of Nicholson Lodge, No. 
438, F. & A. M., and of Post No. 85, G. A. R., at Glenwood. 

One day as we escorted a Massachusetts regiment, just discharged, to a 
boat at Alexandria, the driver of a wagon crowded the regiment before the 
house where Colonel Ellsworth was assassinated. Colonel Theodore Gregg 
drove the driver and his team upon the sidewalk. I was fearful Colonel Gregg 
would put his sword through the driver as he did the Rebel major at the crater. 


324 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 



To give you something of an idea of my prison life I must commence with 
my enlistment in February, 1864. I was enrolled to fill up the Old Forty-fifth 
Pennsylvania, a veteran regiment. Therefore, you see I was soon at the front. 
Trace the history of this regiment during the period of time from the last of 
February until September 30th, 1864, and you will have some idea how a boy 
of 20 years of age must have felt on finding himself a prisoner of war. (My 
capture as you will see occurred before Petersburg on the 30th of September.) 
We had drawn five days rations early in the morning and had been marching 
all day until we entered the fight. By some maneuver the Rebs had gained out 
rear before we were aware of it and about four o clock in the afternoon we 
found that we were surrounded and forced to surrender. After our surrender 
we were marched back to their rear and robbed of our rations and all our loose 
clothing. They took my hat also, but they served others worse than they did 
me. It soon became dark and with the darkness came the most terrible rain 
storm that I ever experienced. The darkness was stygian and the rained poured 
in torrents. Amid the terrible storm tired, weary and hungry, for we had not 
tasted food since morning we were ordered to march five miles on to Peters 
burg and to Lee s headquarters. When we arrived it was near midnight of that 
never-to-be-forgotten night of horrors. We were ordered to wade a canal with 
the water up to our armpits and take up our quarters on an island. This islan d 
was a low, wet strip of land just large enough for the men to stand on, for we 
were then 10,000 strong. There without rations, cold and wet, we stood the rest 
of the night amid the driving storm. Morning came at last but no relief. 
Through the entire day we stood there shoulder to shoulder and the storm 
went on. This was on Saturday night. Night again shut us in amid the roar 
ing waters that beat upon us. Not room enough to sit or lie down, wet through 
and chilled by the storm, our sufferings beggar description. All through that 
second night of misery we remained on the island without relief. Again the 
morning came, the Sabbath morn; but Oh, how strangely different from any 
Sabbath we had ever known ! Let me pause here, my comrades, to say that 
not one of us who saw that morning dawn can ever tell the same without a 
feeling of that nameless horror which filled our hearts that day, while neath a 
southern sky, amid rain and storm, we stood waiting our unknown fate. About 
noon the rain ceased, but not until four o clock was there any change. Then 
our persecutors began to build a small bridge across the boiling waters. Di 
rectly we were ordered to pass, five at a time, to the mainland, register our 
names, give up whatever valuables or money that we still possessed and draw 
rations. These were the first rations that we had received since we entered the 
Rebel lines. It consisted of three small, hard crackers. At first the boys were 
frightened, and thought this time they would lose everything, but we soon saw 
that we could manage. Be it understood here that the Forty-eighth Pennsylvania 
had just drawn pay and nearly every one of the boys had from one to two 
watches, besides rings and other articles of value which they had managed to 

Horrors of Rebel Prisons 325 

keep through the first search. In the darkness it was probably carried on more 
by thieves than any one else. Our lack of overcoats, knapsacks, etc., through 
these long terrible nights and days, was due to camp thieves and the lack of 
protection, which we should have received. But to return to the second search, 
which was not a scientific one. When we were searched we were allowed to re 
turn to the island. After they had satisfied their desire for unholy gain (or 
in other words after they had finished the robbery), they managed to let the 
water off from one side of the island. On one side was a canal, and the water 
was let off sufficient for us to wade back to the city of Petersburg. With the 
water up to our armpits we found it a rather difficult task, but Yankee grit and 
resolution succeeded at last and we gained the shore. In this condition we were 
ordered to form four abreast and march through the streets of Petersburg wittf 
mounted guards. We were put to double quick marching from street to street 
for exhibition, until not a man in the whole number but reeled like one drunk 
from sheer exhaustion. When we could march no longer our Satanic oppressors 
placed us in an old tobacco house with the roof torn partly off by shots from our 
guns. With this remark "they hoped now the whole thing would be blown 
away with our d Yankee guns," which remark I believe was made in dead 
earnest. But to return. Here without anything to eat but those three wormy, 
hard crackers and no water whatever, wet through from our recent exposure and 
but the naked, dilapidated old building to keep us warm, we spent the first night 
that we were privileged to lie down within the Rebel lines. We welcomed the 
cold, hard boards, as we had never welcomed the best beds in our far-distant, 
Northern homes. Morning came and our sufferings became intense. We re 
ceived no more rations neither water. Packed in that inhuman manner in the 
old building without care or attention we were left until Tuesday towards night. 
Then we were again marched out and taken to a slope or hill about a mile from 
Petersburg, to await transportation to Richmond. We lay on that hill the most 
of the night and arrived at our destination early next morning, it being only 20 
miles distant. At Richmond we went immediately to Castle Thunder, a large 
stone building opposite Libbey prison. The Rebs placed me with a good many 
more on the third floor where we were waiting, anxious to know what would 
come next, when a darkey appeared at the landing and began to beat a drum. Not 
knowing what was wanted we waited further developments, but we did not wait 
long before we were aware of what was wanted. Some Rebel officers made 
their appearance and began to assail us with one of the most brutal, horrible 
harangues of cursing and swearing which I believe possible for a gang of vil 
lains to produce and the outcome of the whole thing was for us to form in line, 
two deep, lengthwise of the room, take off all our clothes and lay them in front 
of us on the floor without delay, while that Rebel gang went through them. But 
first as many of us as would give what we had left to the officers should foe 
registered and when we were exchanged they, those Rebels, would return them 
again, which promise in every case they failed to remember or wholly ignored. 
Quite a number gave them what they had, but were forced to strip with the rest 
and submit to this inhuman search. We were obliged to stand with arms folded 
and see them cut our clothes to pieces and take everything that we had, in many 
cases taking our good clothes, leaving us a few miserable rags. When they were 
satisfied they left us to dress. I had taken my watch, having broken the main 

326 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

spring so it would not tick, and put it in the toe of one of my socks; just stick 
ing the toe in my shoe. It looked so natural that it passed inspection and I saved 
my watch, while others had their clothes half cut to pieces in the search. Let 
me state here that Castle Thunder, I believe, had been an old tobacco factory 
before the war. The room in which I was placed was about 30x70 feet without 
any furniture whatever, but the smooth, hard floor and naked wall s. Its large 
windows were barred up and down each with seven iron bars, but with all it 
was comparatively clean. Here also we were much crowded, giving us little 
chance to lie down or rest. We had no access to the lower floors and I do not 
know how the boys fared there at this time. We stayed in Castle Thunder until 
towards night, but received no rations whatever. We were then taken out and 
placed in Libbey Prison. While passing from Castle Thunder to the prison, some 
of us managed to buy on the streets of passersby some corn bread, for we were 
starving ; for which cause we were again searched at Libbey Prison. This search 
was carried on in precisely the same manner as at Castle Thunder. Finding 
that we must go through with another inhuman robbery, I dug a hole in my lit 
tle loaf of bread and put my watch inside and plastered it over with mud. It 
again passed inspection. Libbey Prison was extremely dirty and filled to over 
flowing. It also smelt very bad. This prison had stalls and alleys, was firmly 
fastened by iron bars at the windows and withal was the most doleful, woebe- 
gotten place one could well conceive. We remained in this abode of horrors until 
the next day, when we were again on the wing. We were ordered out in the 
streets, before we left Richmond, bound for the far South. We again drew ra 
tions that consisted of a round ball of corn bread, ground cob and all and so 
hard that they immediately received the name of solid shot. We then marched 
to the train and were packed in cattle cars about two-thirds as large as our 
common cars in which the United States Government usually put 40 men and 
they made them take 80. The tops of the cars were so low that I could not 
straighten up or stand erect. We were packed so tightly that I could not move 
an inch either way, and with the door locked we nearly suffocated, to say noth 
ing about our weariness. Here let me explain that the railroad in^ that part of 
the country in 1864 was a single track with switches. All the Rebel supply trains 
were from the South, coming mostly from South Carolina at that time, so we 
were obliged to sidetrack and wait for hours in order to let them pass. This 
made our journey more tiresome than it otherwise would have been and only on 
the third day towards night did we reach Danville. Here we unloaded in an 
open field and drew rations. This time it was good corn bread made from clear, 
nice Indian meal; and we enjoyed it. We also obtained water here and an hour s 
rest from our tedious journey. When I think of it now it seems like a green 
spot in a desert or a light in darkness. At dusk we were again crowded into 
those horrible cars and proceeded on our weary way on, on we knew not 
whither. Our next stop was made at Greensboro, where we were sidetracked, 
and by begging and praying we succeeded in getting the car doors unlocked to 
let in air while we were waiting for the coming train to pass. We also ob 
tained water. Here we saw Jeff Davis as they had had a great mass meeting 
nearby and he had been speaking to the people. They hailed him almost as a 
god and seemed to be perfectly united and confident of success. Probably our 
appearance just at this particular occasion helped on their enthusiastic glee, but 

Horrors of Rebel Prisons 327 

be as it may they seemed to think they were sure of ultimate success and 
thought themselves capable in the near future to carry the war to the North 
and thus relieve the suffering South from the carnage and terrible devastation of 
the conflict. We remained here for a few hours and then were again locked in 
from the outer world and sent on our weary way. Nothing of note occurred 
unless it was our unknown sufferings which can never be described until that 
great day when the robe of white is given for the faded coat of blue, and God, 
Himself, shall reveal the secret things of earth. But to return. Time will not 
stand still and at last we arrived at Salisbury, N. C., after a journey of five 
days, having tasted bread but once and getting water but twice. During the 
time such privations as this in our previous worn-out condition had a telling 
effect but we had only commenced our misery as you will ere long see. When 
we arrived at our destination we were unloaded and marched through Salisbury 
and thence to prison which was to be our home for five long months. It had 
once consisted of an old cotton factory, worn and dilapidated and dismal enough 
to all appearance, but now when the influx of prisoners was so great they had 
added an open stockade. This had no water privilege and no shelter from the 
inclement weather which was then coming on. Half naked as we were we had 
no protection by night or day, only as we dug holes in the ground and crawled 
into them like wild beasts. Our rations were one-half pound of hard corn 
bread made from corn ground cob and all and mixed with sorghum seed. This 
with less than a pint of pea soup so filled with bugs that where we drew for 100 
men the top would be covered. I should judge that it was made from peas, 
bugs and water in about equal parts,, without salt or pepper. I suppose that the 
Rebel government calculated we should have the above named bill of fare every 
day, but the officers oTten suppressed our rations and we went day after day 
without even this. 

Then our number began to decrease rapidly and the mule team took from 
the stockade every morning our beloved comrades; not one by one, but by the 
score. They were thrown into a common woodrack, or rigging just as you 
would load a wagon with four foot wood, and took them from among us. We 
begged that they might be buried and they finally consented to let our own men 
bury the dead if they chose and for which service they allowed those that did 
the work an extra ration such as I above described. This they did more be 
cause they were obliged to, that the men might have strength to perform their 
task t FTan for any other reason. And accordingly, surrounded by a strong guard 
we performed those last sad offices, the best that lay in our power. They were 
laid in trenches side by side without shroud or coffin or even a friendly blanket. 
They sleep in their unknow r n graves far away from home and loved ones who 
may never know their sad fate nor ever come to shed a tear beside their silent 
resting place. "Yet tis holier ground, their lowly bed where sleep the conse 
crated dead, than field where Liberty hath bled beside her broken battle blade." 
Now as I think over the miseries of those dark hours I shudder and my thoughts 
become insupportable. Oh, comrades, little can you who have been baptized 
with us in one common baptism of fire on many well-fought battlefield; ah, 
little can you imagine our misery and woe in those dark days. Kneeling beside 
a dying comrade, stretched on the cold damp earth, no friendly campfire near 
to warm his cold emaciated limbs ; for by this time not one of our number but 

328 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

looked as if his skin was drawn over a few sharp bones. Their hair hung loose 
over the shoulders and their eyes were sunk into their heads. This and our tot 
tering footsteps told too plainly the story of our wrongs in this dire condition 
in mid-winter in North Carolina without tent or blanket. We could only draw 
one stick of green wood eight feet long to every 100 men. This was so meager 
that it could be of little use under these circumstances. As I was saying the 
comrades were dying by hundreds and we begged for shelter so hard for the 
sick that they allowed us to occupy some old buildings that stood in the stockade. 
They had probably been the tenant houses, attached to the cotton factory, part of 
which was used as officers quarters, but which were now empty. Finally they 
gave us three of those old buildings for hospital purposes which I will now de 
scribe. We had a few miserable old blankets given us. These were so filled with 
vermin and filth that they were scarcely less loathsome than the miserable old 
buildings. Even the boys themselves, who had had but little water to drink and 
none at all with which to wash, were covered with body lice or "graybacks" as 
we called them. But some will say that we might have kept rid of them. How ? 
The stockade was alive and even the ground (it being a loose sandy soil), was 
one living mass of creeping graybacks. Now, this hospital in this modern bastile 
had no beds, just little bunks or small places filled with straw. We had no 
lights allowed us but there was an old fashioned fireplace in each of those 
little places. Here we placed our little wood which served us for all the light 
we had. But this place, void of all the necessaries which makes life bearable, 
was far better than the open stockade. And thus time wore on. It was then the 
tunneling began, and in earnest. I will not attempt to describe how we worked 
at this. Shut off entirely from the outside world we were bound in some way 
to send the tidings of our fate to our government at home in the firm belief that 
we should receive relief. But it was of not much avail. The Rebels said Old 
Abe would not exchange, and they could kill us faster in the prison than they 
could in the field, at the front. Towards the last of January we received two 
tents to every 100 men. The tents, one of which was a wall tent which would 
hold 16 men, and the other a round tent which would hold 25. Thus you see 
but half our number had shelter, and we were obliged to change off, alternately 
sleeping in holes in the ground. Our tent was a round one in which 24 men 
could lie down with their feet to the pole in the center. One would lay on top 
and work down in. When we turned over we were obliged to get up and turn 
at once. It was nothing uncommon for us to lie down at night to sleep and dur 
ing the silent hours, when none but God was near, for the Angel of Death to 
enter our tent and bear away our suffering comrades to that shore where sor 
row never comes. Many times I have seen five out of the 25 found dead in the 
morning. Gone without a murmur; dying as they had lived. In this way Com 
rade Joe Seymour, of Lawrenceville, Pa., died on the night of February 3d, 1865. 
A brave and noble soldier; a true and faithful friend. Four others died the 
same night in our tent. We wept not, for they had gone where they would be 
persecuted no more. Tis true they would never see the dear old North again, 
but they had entered the happy tenting ground. Though they sleep that sleep 
that knows no waking they are safely housed and but a little while and we shall 
all be there. On the 5th of the same month Comrade Carl Chatmen, also of 
Lawrenceville, became seriously ill. This young man was my bosom companion, 

Horrors of Rebel Prisons 329 

and to-day the tears unbidden start, when I remember his unhappy fate. Pre 
vious to this I had sold my watch for $400 in Confederate money which proved 
to be worth one cent on the dollar, but it was something. In the stockade was a 
kind of sutler shop where we could buy salt for a dollar a pint in Confederate 
money, also a sort of ginger bread, which looked very much like a boot tap, with 
a sweet taste and in our starved condition we considered it a great luxury. 1 
never saw any such article of food anywhere else. This and little onions we 
could buy for one dollar a piece and upwards. We could get tobacco in quite 
large quantities for one dollar in Confederate money. At that time I did not use 
tobacco ; I never had. But Carl, dear noble Carl, did and it seemed he could not 
live without it. So when my money ran out I cut the buttons off my coat and 
sold the buckles off my suspenders, and in fact everything I could sell to buy 
his tobacco and our other necessaries. 

I had a new suit when I was taken and so did my companion, Carl. Mine 
I succeeded in saving with the exception of my hat, and hatless I went for over 
six months. They took Carl s coat and shoes, leaving him an old gray jacket or 
blouse coat and a pair of worn-out shoes in their place. Poor boy, how my 
heart bled for him. The only son of wealthy parents, never having known a 
want, not accustomed to the hardships of life, how nobly he bore our common 
misery, seeking to cheer us, striving to lighten every burden. But alas ! He also 
sickened and on the 5th we had him taken to the hospital. I went with him. I 
begged as a boon that I might. There by that poor pallet of straw, striving to 
relieve his misery I watched for three long days. But he knew it not. God in 
His mercy had drawn a veil over the squalid misery which surrounded him. In 
fancy he stood in his own native land, while he lived again the hours of his boy 
hood, but the scene changes and he sleeps. The gathering pallor warned me 
that the change is near. Closely I listened for each murmured word. It comes 
at last. He calls my name and says: "Shall we be hungry on the other shore? 
Dear Comrade, take my head upon your breast and let me fall asleep. Death 
hath no terrors and the grave no gloom. Don t weep but gently hum the tune 
I love so well, Goodbye, my boy, remember all is well. " Closely I held. his head 
upon my breast and feared to speak long after the notes of my song had died 
away. But he, my noble Carl, had passed away from earth. Without an out 
ward sign he fell asleep, e en like an infant on its mother s breast. I felt that 
our loss was his infinite gain. 

This was on the 8th of February, 18(35. My space will not allow, neither is 
my pen adequate, to tell you one-half of what we suffered in that loathsome 
prison pen. Out of all the men who went in 5,550 were buried there in un 
known graves. They sleep peacefully, awaiting the resurrection morn. This did 
not include any but our own number, for over 6,000 Union soldiers died 
while we were there and were buried in a little more than five months. At 
last when our doom seemed sealed and fate with its shadowy wings seemed 
to settle clown upon us, we one morning awakened to the fact that we were 
not forgotten. From the little gate in the lower part of the stockade two 
Union officers entered. At first we could not believe our own senses and many 
a bony hand was brushed across the eyes of its emaciated owner as we once more 
beheld the uniform worn by our country s defenders. With tottering footsteps 
we gathered closely, and with bowed heads we listened*- as those men proclaimed 

330 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

to us that the hour of our deliverance was near. God bless them! They said 
but Tittle for tears choked their utterance when they beheld all that was left of 
our once strong and noble braves. But this they told us. Think of it, my Com 
rades ; some of our boys who had succeeded in tunneling out had apprised our 
government of our situation. Not deeming it policy to exchange they had gotten 
permission of the Rebel government to send us relief in the w r ay of tents, blankets 
and overcoats. In fact, all kinds of clothing that we should need. This they 
forwarded on to Salisbury in the early part of the winter. But not until the last 
of January did we receive any part of it and then only part of the tents. The 
greater part of what was sent they used for their own soldiers. When the offi 
cers came there remained but one blanket to every three of us and a few coats 
and blouses. These had lain there while most of the boys were covered with a 
few miserable rags not near sufficient to hide their emaciated frames, without 
reference to warmth or comfort. To make a long story short the officers dis 
tributed what remained to the most needy and with cheering words left us, anct 
but for the relief they had brought, we in our dazed condition, certainly would 
have thought we had been dreaming. Time passed on until three or four weeks 
longer without much change until one night we were drawn up in the stockade 
and told that we were to be paroled the next morning. We were to draw five 
days rations. This was two loaves of wheat bread something like our hardtack 
and about as much as our boys would draw for two days rations. That with a 
quarter of a pound of fresh pork was what we drew, and it was the only wheat 
bread I saw in the South. We did not sleep much that night. How could we? 
Early next morning we were again drawn up in the stockade to listen to the read 
ing of the parole and told that we must sign it at Goldsborough. After the read 
ing we that could crawl were marched out with a guard in front of us. There 
was no need of one elsewhere, for our faces were set as a flint northward. Thus 
we proceeded on our first day s march to Greensboro. At first I was obliged to 
walk with two canes and tottered like one bent with the infirmities of age. We 
went but a short distance that day although we strained every nerve to go as far 
as we could. Perhaps we got five miles from Salisbury. We camped at night 
in a piece of woods without tent or blanket, lying on the cold damp earth, but 
we had good fires and were on our road to liberty. This brought sleep to our 
eyes and we murmured not. Towards morning it began to rain and get colder. 
This was in March and when we awoke the earth was covered with ice, the 
streams swollen and the bridges gone. Thus again our condition was deplorable. 
After we had gotten warm by a good fire and eaten some breakfast we felt bet 
ter and concluded to proceed. We soon came to a place where we must cross 
the swollen waters of a stream. The Rebels told us the bridges were gone for 
15 miles each way and we must cross on a kind of a railroad bridge over a deep 
place. You could not call it a bridge and still it formed a passageway. It was 
something like our trestle works, only the ties were about four or five feet apart. 
This bridge, if you may call it such, spanned a chasm 125 feet deep, so we were 
told by the Rebs. It was filled at the bottom with enormous great sharp rocks 
around which the boiling waters of the swollen floods rushed with terrific roar. 
The Bridge from bluff to bluff was something over 200 feet, covered with ice from 
the recent storm. It was impossible to walk and the only way to do was to crawl 
across on the stringers. This was slow and tedious. Weak as I was I knew I 

Horrors of Rebel Prisons 331 

could never reach the other shore, unless the ice thawed off, so I sat down to 
watch. I think that without doubt one of every 12 fell into the flood below and 
was forever lost. About noon the sun and the incessant crawling had dried the 
rails and I knew I must make one great effort to cross. With my mind made up 
I started. How I hung to those rails ! Slowly I approached the center of the 
bridge, not daring to turn my eyes either way, I strove with all the powers with 
in me to gain the other shore. Just at that moment we heard the whistle of a 
coming train, and to add to our terror, our unfeeling guards began to curse and 
swear for us to get off the track or be run over. To be sure it was a single track 
and they were coming whistling and puffing right into our faces. I thought they 
would not dare to run onto the bridge on their own account, and if they did 
I would not drop from the track thus to allow them to scare me to certain death 
at this point. Three fell from the track in front of me, but I dared not even look 
after them for fear I should follow. The train came up close and stopped ; the 
Rebels kept howling and cursing, but I reached the shore safe with a number of 
others, and the train passed on. That was a happy moment. I can never tell 
my feelings of joy at the moment when I first stood on shore. 

Finally all were across and we of the Forty-fifth and Forty-eighth Penn 
sylvania concluded to shirk for ourselves, to find our own way to Greensboro in 
time to take transportation with the rest of the command for Goldsborough, 
where we were to get our parole. Accordingly we set off. The first day we came 
to a patch of flat turnips. The turnips had not been gathered and being of enor 
mous growth we helped ourselves to one apiece. It was all that we couFd carry 
and we then proceeded to darky shanties nearby. We had reached the railroad 
again and we found that this station was called Thomasville. By this time we 
were about 300 strong. We spent the night with the negroes and kept shady. 
Early next morning a train stopped at the little station, which consisted of an 
empty blacksmith shop and two or three empty houses, a water tank, etc. The 
train was switched and the engine moved off taking with it all the trainmen and 
guards. We investigated and found it was a supply train coming from the 
South going to the front. It had on board 140 Union officers, prisoners of war, 
taking them to Goldsborough to be paroled or exchanged. They told us that a 
down train had jumped the track a few miles away and the engine and guards 
had gone to assist them. Seeing our condition they, told us to help ourselves, 
and we did. We carried away most of the sugar, molasses and sugar cured 
hams, bacon, etc., that they had on board. We worked hard taking our stuff to the 
shanties until we heard the whistling of the returning engine. Then we made 
good our escape. We expected to be followed but our officers told the Rebs that 
we were 1,000 strong and all armed, and that they had better not follow us. 
After blessing us with all the curses imaginable, they went on. 

My captain, L. D. Seely, was one of the prisoners on the train from which 
we took our timely supplies. After the train had gone we returned to the 
shanties, the darkies cooked and we >ate and rested. Oh, how we enjoyed our 
selves ! We took no thought of the morrow in our supreme content, and I be 
lieve that those two or three days that we spent with the darkies at Thomasville, 
saved our lives. 

Knowing that the main line must be nearly to its destination we thought we 
must make a start. We found that a long train of box cars would stop at 

332 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

Thomasville for wood and water on the night of the third day about ten o clock 
in the evening. So we hid behind the tank and along the opposite side of the 
track. When the train stopped we climbed on top of the cars, keeping very 
still and lay down. We were lucky and were not discovered as it was very dark. 
In a short time it began to snow and we were covered up. We rode all night in 
this way and in the morning arrived just in time to fall in with the rest and 
draw rations, the main line having got in the night before. 

Ofi, but those Rebels were mad because we stole our ride, but it was of no 
use; we had beat them once. Nothing more occurred worthy of note until we 
reached Goldsborough at about five o clock the same day. We went into camp 
about a mile from town and the next morning signed the parole. Towards 
night we were marched out and lay waiting until near midnight when we were 
again on our way. Next day we reached our lines, ten miles below Wilmington. 
I cannot describe to you our feelings when we were so warmly received in Gen 
eral Sherman s camp. Picture a poor, way-worn, straggling few, leaning on 
canes with bent and tottering steps, eyes deep sunk, worn and wasted forms, 
hair long and disheveled reaching far down over our shoulders ; whiskers wild 
and unkempt ! Suffice it to say we seemed dissolved in thankfulness when we 
once more rested our weary heads beneath the dear Old Flag. But little remains 
to be said. Thus ends the most bitter page of my life s history, with those my 
prison days. 

Caton, Steuben County, N. Y. 
Late of Company H, Forty-fifth Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers. 



I enlisted at Norristown, Pa., on the 30th of July, 1864, the day of the burn 
ing of Chambersburg and of the explosion of the mine at Petersburg. This was 
a sad day for the North. I joined the Forty-fifth in the latter part of August in 
the lines south of Petersburg and a little east of the Weldon Railroad. Captain 
Gregg was in command. I was attached to Company C of which B. C. Mc- 
Manigal was captain. 

Nothing of importance occurred until the 29th of September, on the even 
ing of which day we pulled out from the lines and marched in an easterly direc 
tion for about five miles, then camped for the night. Next afternoon we re 
traced our march of the day before and continued going west until we reached 
the Squirrel Level Road and then turned south for a short distance, halting in a 
piece of woods about a half mile in width. At this time a part of the Fifth 
Corps was engaged in attacking a line of earthworks about half a mile south 
of where we were halted. In a short time they captured the works, together 
with about 100 prisoners and two pieces of artillery. When we halted we were 
told to rest but not to leave our ground. On the word "rest," Jacob Gear, my 
rear rank man, sat down on a small knoll and I went about two paces farther 

Libbey and Salisbury Prisons 333 

and lay down. In about a minute afterwards the Rebels fired their last shot from 
the earthworks which were being stormed. The shot came along just above the 
heads of the men, who fortunately, were sitting or lying down, until it reached 
Jacob Gear. It was then inclining towards the ground. It struck Gear on the 
back of his head. Passing onward it struck another man, breaking his leg and 
then struck the ground a few feet further. We lifted Gear from where he had 
fallen and finding that he was still alive, he was assisted to the rear for surgical 
aid. I saw the shot which struck him; it was conical in shape and about 18 
pounds in weight. That he was not instantly killed was owing to the fact that 
he was leaning with his back against the knoll and with his head inclined. He 
wore a soft felt hat and the shot cut a hole in it about four inches in length. I 
examined the hat and gave it to him before he was led aw r ay. It may be 
doubted whether any one else during the war, survived a blow on the head 
from an 18 pound cannon shot, but Gear recovered after a few months in the 

Just after this incident we fell in and marched off, passing the captured 
prisoners and the earthworks. We went in search of the enemy who had re 
treated. Their position was found at last and preparations were made to attack 
them. We formed a line of battle, advanced through a piece of woods, sprang 
over a fence at the edge, charged across a large field and dropping down behind 
a fence on the far side, opened a heavy fire on the Rebels. After this had 
continued for about 20 minutes, a panic occurred among the Fifty-first New 
York Volunteers, who were in line on our right. They fled along our rear and 
the panic spread along the whole line to the extreme left and there was a 
stampede to the rear. The color sergeant of the Forty-fifth stood his ground 
and Colonel Gregg and other officers succeeded in rallying about 70 of the men 
in line with the colors. We opened fire again but in a little while, Colonel 
Gregg, finding that we were quite unsupported and that the enemy were closing 
in, said: "Boys! it is no use, let every man look out for himself!" This we 
proceeded to do without delay but in vain. In less than one hour we were all 
prisoners. I was captured by some of Wade Hampton s cavalrymen just at 
dark and marched to the place where the prisoners were being collected and 
placed under guard. 

It was now dark and nearly all of the prisoners had been brought in. I 
heard Colonel Gregg trying to console the men. "Boys!" said he, "Keep a stiff 
upper lip, all will be well with us yet." The Rebels now came among us and 
helped themselves to our hats, overcoats, blankets and everything they fancied, 
after which they marched us off to Petersburg, where we arrived at or about 
midnight and were placed on an island in the Appomattox River. I laid down 
under a tree but it soon began to rain and continued to rain until the afternoon. 
The Rebels then helped themselves to anything we had left over from the plunder 
of the night before, so that soon we had nothing but the clothes we wore. When 
I saw what they were doing, I looked around and seeing a Rebel soldier, who 
was looking on, I showed him my blanket and asked him to give me some 
bread for it. He went away and soon came back again with a pound loaf, for 
which I gave him my blanket. After they had finished searching us, we were 
marched into a large brick building near by and kept there until the next after 
noon. We suffered greatly as there were so many of us that there was not 

334 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

room for all to lie down and the floor was in a filthy condition from long use 
without cleaning. 

At about 3 P. M., we were turned out of the building, marched outside the 
city to a field and waited there until about 1 A. M., when a train of freight cars 
came along and took us into Richmond. We were placed in a large brick 
building and remained there until the afternoon. We were then searched care 
fully for any money still in our possession and a promise was made that any 
money that we gave up to them would be restored to us when we were paroled 
or exchanged. Some rations were then issued to us, after which we were 
marched outside the city, put on board a freight train of box cars and started 
for Salisbury, N. C. In each car were 60 prisoners, besides four guards who sat 
at the doors, which were kept open for ventilation. There were also a number 
of guards on top of the cars. We were so crowded that we could not lie down. 
We had to stand up or else sit on our heels. We reached Greensboro, N. C., next 
evening and remained there until the next forenoon, sleeping on the ground in 
front of the court house during the night. We resumed our journey by train and 
at 8 P. M., October 5th, arrived at Salisbury and entered the prison. 

I slept under a tree during the night and in the morning inspected the place 
which was to be my home for the next four months and eighteen days. I found 
that about eight acres were enclosed with a high board fence. There were 
seven wells of water in the enclosure but no pumps or other means of getting the 
water except by letting down a tin cup tied to a string and as the wells were 
near to each other only a small quantity of water could be gotten from any one 
of them. There w T as one frame and one brick building which were used for hos 
pitals. Besides these there were a few small brick buildings, one of which was 
used for a bakery and one as a morgue. About 20 oak trees were in the en 
closure. Rain fell the day after our arrival and from that time the nights were 
chilly and sometimes very cold, so as we had no shelter, overcoats or blankets, we 
could get scarcely any sleep except in the daytime when it was warmer. 

After we had been about three weeks in the prison without shelter and with 
no prospect of getting any from our gaolers, I held a consultation with eight 
other comrades of Company C and the result was that we decided to dig a hole 
in the ground, put a roof over it and fit it up as well as possible for a dwelling 
place. The hole we dug was about 7x12 feet and the depth three and one-half 
feet. We raised one side about two feet higher than the other, so as to give 
the roof a slope. We made the rafters of fence rails and branches of trees and 
these we covered with brush. On top of the brush we put six inches of blue 
clay. In the center of the lower side of the roof we built a fireplace and chim 
ney. At one of the lower corners of the roof we left a hole large enough to 
enter and go out. Having finished our house, and it took about six weeks to 
do so on account of the difficulty of getting rafters and our lack of tools, we 
moved into it. The furniture consisted of a*dozen bricks, which served us a^ 
seats by day and pillows by night. The heavy and cold rains had now set in, 
lasting one or two days at a time, flooding us out of our house sometimes, in 
spite of our bailing. As soon as the rain ceased we would scrape the mud off 
the floor, put on a fire, when we had any fuel, and make ourselves as comfort 
able as circumstances would permit. 

Libbey and Salisbury Prisons 335 

I will now give the names of the eight comrades who occupied the house 
with me and tell what happened to them: 

John Bovel, a Scotch sailor, got work in the bakery and having enough to 
eat survived the imprisonment; James Flannery and Michael Brophy, Irish 
Roman Catholics, went out of the prison to a camp which was in charge of a 
priest and I saw them no more; George Rodis, a musician, whose home was 
in Philadelphia, died in December; Charles Burns, an Irish sailor, no home, 
died in December; Michael or Patrick Regan, a shoemaker, home in Philadel 
phia, died in December; Joseph Taylor, an Englishman and machinist, had a 
wife and children in England, died in January; John Murphy, a veteran, had 
been wounded in the Battle of Antietam, died in February. 

The death of these comrades was due to the privations of life in the prison. 
We never had enough to eat and on two occasions were 48 hours without food. 

An exchange of prisoners having been agreed upon about 800 of us were 
marched out to the railroad track about 100 yards from the prison gate to take 
the train to Richmond. It was on the 22d of February. We waited there all 
day but no train. The weather was very cold and night was coming on. The 
officer in charge of us, seeing our pitiable state, had some old tents brought 
out and making us lie down on the frozen ground, in rows and close together, 
spread the tents over us and so we passed the night. In the morning, John 
Murphy, who had lain beside me, was unable to get up, so they carried him into 
the prison and there he died. The train came about 11 A. M., and we got on 
board. The cars were box freight and we were packed in almost to suffocation. 
I got out as soon as possible and climbed on to the roof of the car and laid 
down, using the brakeman s foot board for a pillow 7 and so I made the trip to 
Richmond. It rained or sleeted nearly all the time, about 44 hours. The train 
moved slowly and stopped often. We reached Richmond at daylight on the 25th 
of February. Twenty-eight men died during the journey. We were put into 
Libbey prison and I staid there until the 13th of March. 

On the morning of that day, about 800 of us went down the James River 
on a steamer to Varina Landing, where we went ashore. An escort of our own 
cavalry was on hand and they accompanied us across the neck of land to where 
the steamer "New York" was awaiting us. We arrived at Annapolis the next 
forenoon and went ashore. The spectators were horrified at our ghastly appear 
ance. I remained at Parole Camp five days and having gotten a hot bath, new 
clothes, two months pay and a furlough for 30 days, went to Philadelphia. On 
the expiration of my furlough I rejoined the Forty-fifth at City Point and con 
tinued with them until we were paid off at Harrisburg, July 22d, 1865. 

I have omitted many things of great interest and have been as brief as I 
could in narrating some of the events which I witnessed during my connection 
with the Forty-fifth Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. I have a vivid recollec 
tion of Salisbury prison and of the state of affairs there during my unwilling 
stay in that dreadful place and I feel grateful to the kind Providence who 
watched over me and restored me to liberty again. 

336 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 


By E. W. McEijROY. 

September 30th, 1864, was a beautiful day. We broke camp in the morning, 
marched around considerably and finally came to Pegram s or Peeble s Farm, 
where we lay on our arms, watching two white horses flying to and fro. At 
last a quiet "Fall in" was given and we charged the enemy, doing good work 
at first, but the tide turned. It seems our left was not connected and quite an 
opening existed. I shall never forget when I looked down a hill and what I sup 
posed to be reinforcements were the Johnnies in our rear, and as I supposed, 
all around us. So we gave them all we could until our ammunition gave out, 
after which we broke. I managed to get into an old blacksmith shop with 
other comrades, Colonel Gregg among us. The Colonel broke his sword into 
pieces. The Johnnies closed in on us and a captain commanded the colonel to 

surrender, when Colonel Gregg replied, "I am a colonel. G d you, I will 

surrender to my equal." And he did, saying, "There, colonel, is my belt and 

scabbard. I lost my d old sword." A short time after our men who had 

not been surrounded returned and made things lively for the Johnnies, drove 
them back, capturing the ground we had lost, but we were hurried to the rear. 
In this fight the regiment lost every commissioned officer it had, except Lieu 
tenant John Gelbach of Company K, and he happened to be sick and did not 
go in or I suppose he would have been with us. I know of none left of the 
regiment, but the regular detail and the canteen detail, one of which lives to 
day in our midst and every now and then I make a demand for my canteen. 

We were run up to some kind of a pen alongside of a mill race until next 
morning, Sunday, where we could look down into Petersburg and see the people 
going to church. It occurred to me that those people were going to their church 
to pray to God for the success of the Confederate arms and at our homes our 
people were praying to the same God for the success of our cause. In my mind 
the Lord could not answer both. 

An incident occurred on our way to the city. Passing along the road there 
happened an old couple coming from a small brick house standing back to the 
left. I said to the old gentleman, "Daddy, you got the whole Yankee army." 
The old gentleman replied, smiling, "Yes, my Lord, worlds and worlds of them 

October 2d. We left Petersburg in the morning. We marched as near as 
I can tell about two miles to the railroad, where we took the cars for Richmond, 
arriving about midnight. We were marched to Pemberton prison, where we 
remained until next day. 

October 3d. We were counted out like hogs or sheep by the hundreds, 
taken to another part of the building where we had to disrobe as naked as the 
day we were born, our clothing lying before us. The thieves, or whatever you 
may call them, would take all our money, watches or whatever they wanted, 
and if you had a garment, haversack, hat, cap or anything they wanted, they 
took it, giving you a receipt for the same. This receipt I still hold. George 

My Experience in Prison Life 337 

B. Haynes of Company B and I got wind of what was going on and we hung 
back and decided to destroy our money. All new legal tenders. So we con 
cealed some little about us where they failed to examine. The balance we tore 
up into our caps in bits not larger than your finger nail and emptied same out 
of the third or fourth-story window, so that its falling resembled a snow squall. 
In a few minutes some of the officers (and among them a deserter from our 
army) came up in our room and offered $100 in gold to the person who would 
tell who tore up the money. Comrade George B. Haynes, I think, tore up five, 
not less than four new twenty dollar notes ; I tore up four and Surgeon Robert 
Carroll tore up five tens. Is it any wonder it snowed on the pavement below? 
So after we were all put through a thorough search we were transported across 
the street to Libbey, where we received our first ration of corn bread in Rebeldom. 

October 4th. Marched from Libbey over the river to Manchester. Took the 
cars for Danville. On the cars all day and night. 

October 5th. Arrived at Danville at about 10 A. M. Changed cars for 
Greensboro ; arrived at 6 P. M. Marched about a mile in the country. Went 
to camp for the night. Raining and cold and no shelter. All our dog tents and 
blankets were taken at Richmond. 

October 6th. Took the cars at Greensboro for Salisbury via Milford. On 
the road all day and night. Arrived at Salisbury on the day of the 7th at 2 P. M. 

October 7th. Marched out to camp. No tents nor shelter of any kind ex 
cept the old factory and nine other huts afterward used as hospitals for our 
sick, and they were full at that time. On our arrival we were greeted with that 
old familiar yell, "Fresh Fish !" "Fresh Fish !" We had quite a reception and 
had many questions to answer. The day was fine. 

October 8th. In camp at Salisbury, conversing with the older prisoners as 
to where and how we were taken. Received our rations, which were fair to 
commence. In the after part of the day there was a sudden change in the tem 
perature and no blankets or shelter. Considerable suffering. 

October 9th. Still in camp. Received our rations. Still cold and miserable 
with high winds. 

October 10th. Still in the prison. Received our rations. Weather more 

October llth, 12th, 13th and 14th. No changes. Weather fair and warm. 
Received our regular rations. 

October 15th to 28th. Weather was fine. Received our regular rations each 

On or about October 15th, 1864, I saw a lieutenant of a New York regiment 
have in his hands a shirt he had washed and was in the act of hanging it upon 
a peach tree fully 15 to 20 feet from the dead line, when one of the "young 
bloods" shot him through the heart. I think the "blood" got a furlough. 

October 17th, 1864. On this day I ran the guard line that was between our 
officers and the men of rank to make arrangements for a break for liberty 
when someone let it out and that same day they took the officers out and sent 
them back to Danville, Va., where they were kept until exchanged or paroled. 

338 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

Oclober 29th to 31st. Rainy and cold weather. Received our rations, but 

November 1st. Clear and warm. Our rations were a small piece of raw 
meat, no bread. Many of the older prisoners sick and many dying. 

November 2d. Our rations consisted of a little soup and very small piece 
of meat. No bread. Weather good. 

November 3d. Weather fine. Received a small ration of meat and bread: 
Considerable talk of parole and exchange. The muggers made an attack on 
some "Fresh Fish" but they all escaped punishment. The Rebs promise pro 

November 4th. The weather fine. Nothing to eat until after dark when we 
received bread. More depredations by the muggers and more talk of exchange. 
Sick list growing and many dying. 

November 5th. Weather fine. For our rations we received a little soup 
and one-half pint flour. Half of the boys had nothing to receive their flour in 
so those who had caps pushed in the crown from the outside,. Others used 
their blouse shirts. Some had cans and many had other ways. No doubt the 
reader would like to know how they baked their flour. I will tell you how we 
did it. In a division there were supposed to be 1,000 men. In each division 
there were ten squads; to each division one quartermaster sergeant to each 
squad. We received our rations from them. Some few of us had an old tomato 
can. The cans were in use in rotation. We would put the flour in the can and 
water with it until we had a paste as we make at home. We would make fire 
of old railroad ties, the wood of which was cut and made fine without the use 
of an ax. We would make fire over a hole dug in the ground. The fire would 
make the hole hot. At the same time we would make a cake of mud large 
enough to cover the hole. We would draw the fire from the hole and take our 
cap and fan the ashes and dust from the hole ; pour our paste into the hole, cover 
it with our mud cake, draw the hot coals over the top watching it very closely. 
As soon as the mud cake that was put on top would puff up the bread would 
be done and better than any pound cake you eat at home. Ask any of the boys 
who were there. As I told you, we had no ax to cut our wood. I will tell you 
how we did that. Every person has seen railroad ties taken out. In them you 
will find some spikes. When you examine you will find that they are on the 
wedge order at the point. These we first had to get loose and out of the ties. 
When we had them out we could use a stone for a sledge and split all the ties 
we got and that was not many. 

I will tell you how I remained fat through my whole prison life. First 
we never saw a grain of coffee and as I was one of my mother s seven boys I 
longed for coffee. In prison we used to go out with two guards to the creek for 
water, having a flour barrel with holes through it and a pole so we would get the 
only pure water we got in the pen. In going to the creek we had occasion to pass 
a woods and the road was cut quite deep through the woods. On a hill there 
the acorns would roll down in the gutter. These acorns looked inviting and I 
asked the guards to allow me to gather some and they did so. When I got to 
camp I was no time in roasting my acorns for coffee. I then had no bread so 
I boiled them, but had no salt to put in them. But I had my coffee and boiled 

My Experience in Prison Life 339 

acorns and I worried them down, but you can imagine it was a bitter dose. 
But let me say to you, reader, I knew my uncle did feed them to his hogs and 
the hogs got fat on them. Now, under the circumstances, what would you have 
done eat the acorns or starve? I ate them and they did the work for me and 
toward the last I ate them raw and I still live at 73 years, but at this age I 
have changed the bill of fare, but I believe as I believe in God that the acorns 
pulled me through. 

Now, my reader, there are few that may credit what I say and more there 
is none but the one who endured prison life who can. Now, what would you 
think if I would tell you that the sergeant of the squads would carry the rations 
of one hundred men? This you would not credit. Ask any comrade that was 
there and he will swear to it. I will tell you what the sergeant had in his 
pack on his back. One hundred pieces of raw tripe just from the bullock, never 
washed. Each prisoner received a piece of raw tripe about the size of an ordi 
nary man s hand for a day s ration. I will now tell you how we would man 
age to eat it. We would take our ration of raw tripe, wash it nice and clean, 
then make two mud cakes and put the tripe between and stick in the coals 
and when the mud ball would burst we would pick off the hot clay, keep up a 
constant blow on the tripe and it would peal as white as snow. Then our draw 
back was no salt. This one thing had we had in abundance would have saved 
many a poor soldier s life. Salt and vegetables were what we needed most of all. 

November 5th. Rain set in in the evening and it became very cold. 

November 6th. Still cold and raining. Received soup and raw tripe. I 
worked on detail to build coffins but this detail was sent into stockade as there 
were no more coffins used, allowing all to be buried without coffins except Free 
Masons. They would receive coffins. In the beginning of our confinement they 
used plain rough board coffins but our men were dying so fast the coffin busi 
ness was all canceled. They did take coffins for a time, just to make a show 
for humanity s sake to take the bodies out, then dump the bodies in the holes 
and take the same coffin back for another until one of the Thirty-sixth Massa 
chusetts boys and I discovered the game and reported the same to Major Gee, 
who was in charge of the prison. He was not slow in running us back to the 

November 7th. Cloudy and rainy. We received our rations of soup and 

November 8th. Cloudy and rain but warmer. Nothing to eat but a little raw 
tripe. We held a sham election and had quite a time. Considerable interest was 
taken. Abraham Lincoln and General George B. McClellan were the nominees. 
It was quite interesting and there was a close contest, McClellan having a little 
the best of it. We had some colored soldiers in the stockade. The colored men 
all voted for Lincoln and this did not suit the muggers, who were a mighty 
rough set of men cut-throats from all over the country, mostly from New York. 
From what I learned of them they lived on the top of the pile and none but 
their gang could enter their quarters. They operated on all batches of "fresh 
fish," as the newcomer was called. These men would go through them, plunder 
and take everything they had. They could get anything they wanted from the 
Johnnies because they had plenty of United States greenbacks. Many of this 

340 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

class bought their freedom when they got in tight places. Some of them were 
tried by court martial and sentenced to be hanged when the Rebel authorities 
interfered and took them from the stockade, promising to hang them in sight 
of the prison. That was Major Gee s promise but when he got them from 
us and out of the stockade that was the last we ever heard from them. They 
had money enough to buy their freedom that they robbed our poor soldiers of. 

November 9th. Still cloudy but warm. Received our long looked for bread 
with a relish. 

November 10th. Warm and beautiful but nothing to eat. Great talk of 
the election but all quiet. 

November llth. Clear and warm. Received full rations, the first in 15 days 
that is, full rations. 

November 12th. Clear and warm. Received our full rations. Plenty of tall! 
of parole and exchange. 

November 13th. Stormy and cold. Received one-half rations. 

November 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th. Clear and warm. Received our 
regular rations. 

November 19th. Raining, blowing and sleeting, breaking immense limbs off 
the trees. Received a ration of corn and wheat bread, mixed cobs and all. No 
sign of parole. 

November 20th. Raining and very cold. Sleeting and still breaking trees. 
Received a ration of bread and small piece of meat. First meat in nine days. 

November 21st. Still raining and very cold. Received a ration of cornbread 
and soup. 

November 22d. Still cloudy with snow sprinkle. Received a ration of corn- 
bread. No sign of parole or exchange. Making preparations to break prison; 
awaiting the removal of the young bloods of boys of 16 years who would rather 
shoot a Yank than a rabbit. I cannot say but it was supposed to be a regiment. 
They were ordered to the front. Our information was received from the very 
old men that did guard duty that they were to be removed very soon and sent 
to the front. To explain these old men who did guard duty were old and feeble 
and unfit for marching. Some of them were Union at heart and different times 
would divide their rations, consisting of bacon and cornbread, with us, which 
was much better than our own. The raw bacon tasted better than chicken to 

On this day Major Gee and escort marched through the stockade seeking 
Yankee recruits, offering $300 in gold to any Yankee that would take the oath 
of allegiance to become a Johnnie. Many fell in line to get the $300 in gold 
offered them and to save their lives from starving, but alas, none of them re 
ceived the bounty. I have since seen two of those that went out. They stated 
their treatment was some better than the stockade, but that none ever saw the 
bounty, but that they both successfully deserted and got through to our lines 
with the aid of colored people (slaves). Their names I have lost but they be 
longed to a Connecticut regiment. These rounds of the Johnnies making the 
offer of $300 in gold for all Yanks who would take the oath were a daily occur 
rence. The money in gold was carried on a tray, carried in the front amj any 
comrade who was there will vouch for all I say. 

M\ Experience in Prison Life 

November 23d. Clear and beautiful. Received one-fourth ration of rice, 
soup and bread. 

November 24th. Cloudy but warm. Received one-fourth rations. Soup and 
bread. Our leaders in session all day making arrangements for the break. The 
"young bloods," as they were called, were packing up to go to the front In 
all parts of the prison the boys were packing up and fixing their possessions, 
fixing something about their clothing, more especially their shoes those who 
had shoes. Those that had none one could see them tearing pieces of old haver 
sacks, old pieces of gum and wool blankets, tying the pieces on their feet and 
preparing for a long march. All in good glee. The "young bloods" were sent to 
the railroad, but no transportation was ready. 

November 25th. Clear and warm. Received one-fourth rations of bread 
and soup. All was going quietly along when the signal was given and all the 
boys who had tents began tearing them down. The relief guards were passing 
and a raid was made upon the 16 guards and quite a fight was on for the pos 
session of the guns, but we drove the Johnnies out of the stockade. The old 
guards were on the stockade. Some of these old men threw their guns and 
accoutrements in to us and some opened fire, so in all we had about 25 muskets 
and carried everything before us, stopping to raid the bake house, and out of the 
stockade we went, in what I would call a southeasterly direction. Some of the 
ladies of Salisbury shouted to us as we went, "Go it, you poor fellows." Some 
to the reverse shouted, "Go on, you d - Yankees, you will soon get what 
you want," and here to our great surprise the young bloods were still lying 
at the railroad. They were soon on our trail and opened fire on us, killing 
outright 23 and wounding 57 that I know of. We were all in confusion and 
when driven back into the stockade I saw Major Gee and a long slim doctor 
stand on a platform on the inside of the stockade near the main entrance and 
shoot for fully an hour after we were driven back, wounding a number and 
killing two. These bloods did plenty of shooting. I was on the detail of our 
me i to crather up the dead and wounded is how I learned as to the number. 
None of the dead or wounded were brought back into prison. The wounded 
were taken to the hospital close outside the stockade. The dead were all taken 
out to the cemetery and buried. I never saw any of the wounded again and 
am sure more than half died as some were mortally wounded. One poor com 
rade begged me to kill him and end his suffering. 

It might be interesting to the reader to know the outline of the stockade, 
Salisbury Confederate prison, was a triangle-shaped piece of ground with about 
a ten-foot fence of tight boards all around it. On the outside was a walk all 
around the stockade about hip high. On this all the guards walked their beats. 
On the inside there was a ditch dug and the earth was thrown inside. This 
was called the dead line. Any one of us who put a foot on that line was a dead 
man. In each corner of the triangle-shaped pen the Johnnies had a brass 
howitzer field piece, from which they fired a number of shots of all kinds of 
scrap iron. One would think they would have killed all in the stockade, but 
we lost no time in getting into our holes in the ground that served us as tents 
and were bombproofs. 

November 26th. All very quiet in the pen. Clear and warm. Received a full 
ration of bread and meat. 

34 2 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

November 27th. Cloudy. Heavy weather and rain in evening. Received 
our rations of bread but little soup. 

November 28th. Clear and warm. Received one-fourth ration of bread and 
soup. All quiet. 

November 29th. Clear and beautiful. For our rations we received a small 
piece of raw tripe and a one-half ration of soup. Recruiting going on in full 
bloom. Twenty-seven in line. Benjamin Kemerly of Company B was taken 
very sick and taken to the hospital. 

November 30th. Recruiting going on. They only take ten at a time out of 
stockade. Received small loaf cornbread. All quiet. 

December 1st, 2d, 3d, 4th and 5th. Beautiful and warm in morning. Clouded 
up and had cold rain. Still recruiting. Received cornbread and sorghum. 

December 7th. Cloudy and rain. Received our rations of cornbread and 

December 8th. Clear and warm. Received bread and soup. 

December 9th. Cold, raining and sleeting, breaking large limbs off the trees. 
Received our rations. Wet bread and soup. 

December 10th. Still raining, sleeting. All very quiet. Received our rations. 

December llth. Moderate and thawing. George B. Haynes, of Company B, 
sick. Received our rations. 

December 12th and 13th. Warm and muddy. Received our rations. 

December 14th and 15th. Clear, warm and beautiful. Received our rations. 

December 16th. Cloudy but warm. Received our rations. 

December 17th. Cloudy but warm. Received our rations of wheat bread and 

December 18th and 19th. Rainy but warm. Received our full rations of 
wheat bread. Much talk of parole and exchange. 

December 20th, 21st and 22d. Cold and growing colder. Received our regu 
lar rations, wheat bread and soup. 

December 23d. Clear and very cold. Received one-half ration of wheat 
bread and soup. 

December 24th. Christmas eve. Thinking of the many pleasures of home. 
Received our daily rations. Cornbread and soup. 

December 25th. Christmas. Clear and cold. Received our rations. Wheat 
bread and soup. So for our Christmas dinner we had crust bread coffee, soup 
and bread. Received from Dr. W. Howerton, who carried a Union heart under 
Rebel clothes, a newspaper in which we read much encouragement. TRe doctor 
told us we would soon be paroled. While he meant it well it was long coming. 
I was suffering with bone break and rheumatism. 

December 26th and 27th. Rain and warm. Nothing new. Received our 

December 28th. Rain all day. Received our rations of bread and soup. 

December 29th. Clear and very cold in morning but moderated to pleasant 
by noon. Received our daily rations of cornbread and soup. 

My Experience in Prison Life 343 

I would just here say that if any person outside of a prisoner of war would 
tell you how the dead were handled and how the sick were treated you would 
not wonder at the death roll of Salisbury, N. C., where between 17,000 and 
18,000 Union soldiers were buried between 1861 and 1865. I will now tell you 
how our comrades were treated in the hospital at Salisbury, N. C. In our 
stockade was a large cotton mill, I think four stories high, known as No. 1. 
Then there were ten or twelve small houses or huts, one story and attic, one 
room up and one down, with great fireplaces in each. These buildings were 
used as hospitals, dead house and some for the sergeants of squads, so the beds 
for our sick and wounded were on the floor. The washboard on the floors served 
as a headboard and a three by four as a footboard, placed about six and one-half 
to seven feet from the washboard. In here there was rye straw for a bed and 
I will just say that there were few to enter who went out alive. 

I will tell you now how they handled our dead. When a soldier died he was 
carried to the dead house and should the soldier have any good garment on 
him that would be taken off, as a rule none replaced and many a poor comrade 
went to the grave as naked as when born. When the dead house was full the; 
Johnnies would come in with a pair of mules, load up as you would cord wood. 
I have seen 21 go out in that shape at one load and in that load was my com 
rade James Chambers from my own town and of Company K. 

There was but one doctor for all the sick. His name I have already men 
tioned. It was Dr. W. H. Howerton, with whom I became very intimate, and 
I will again say he had a Union heart beneath Confederate clothing. Many 
times he would bring me bacon, onions, tobacco and other things that he could 
carry in his long frock-tailed coat. I corresponded with him up to the time 
of his death. That I mourned him as I would my brother is true, for he was 
as good as he could be. 

December 30th. Clear and very cold. Received our daily rations. All quiet. 
Newspapers speak of the coming of Sheridan. 

December 31st. Rained and snowed all day. Received our rations. Sat up to 
welcome the New Year but no one had a watch and did not know the tfime. 
Some of the guards shot and I hollered out to the Johnnies and asked in the 
darkness what time it was. The answer came back, "The New Year has just 
stepped in." 

Sunday, January 1st, 1865. Clear, warm and beautiful. We received our 
full rations and as a dessert we received a gill of sorghum. So we had for our 
New Year dinner toast bread, molasses, rice and turnip soup and crust coffee. 

January 2d. Clear and cold. Received our rations, but no news of parole 
or exchange. 

January 3d. Morning fair but started to rain in the early evening. Received 
our daily rations. Plenty of talk of exchange. 

January 4th. Clear and warm. Received one-fourth ration of soup, corned 
beef and bread. 

January 5th. Clear and beautiful. The whole pen was out on the skirmish 
line searching for "graybacks." Received our bread, soup and small piece of 
meat. Martin Eshelman was admitted to No. 9 hospital. 

January 6th. Rained all day but warm. Received rations. 

344 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

January 7th. Clear and beautiful. Received full rations. There was news 
in the prison that Charlotte, N. C, had been fired and a great loss sustained by 
the Confederacy; fired by the Yanks. 

January 8th. Jackson day celebrated by the Johnnies. Clear but very cold. 

January 9th. Cloudy but very warm. Much talk and confusion among 
Johnnies and our boys but nothing official. We received the largest rations <in 
three months of meat, soup and bread. Commenced raining at 8 P. M. 

January 10th. Rained hard all day and night. There came a terrible cyclone 
which did great damage outside but did us no harm. The thunder and lightning 
were terrific. 

January llth. Clear and beautiful. Received our daily rations. 

January 12th and 13th. Clear and beautiful. Received our daily rations. A 
large fire broke in Salisbury, destroying two blocks. Rumors to the effect that 
some of the detailed cigarmakers did it, while others say it was Union people 
living there; no arrests that I heard of. 

January 14th. Clear and beautiful. The great fire seemed to interfere with 
our rations, so we got nothing to eat at all. Rumors say it was done to force 
men to join the Confederate army. Recruiting going on at a lively rate and a 
good bunch of boys went out. 

January 15th. Clear and beautiful. Received one-half rations. Bread. 

January 16th. Clear and warm. Received one-fourth rations. All quiet in 
camp. Nothing going on except skirmishing for graybacks. 

January 17th, 18th and 19th. Warm and beautiful. Received regular rations. 
All quiet. In conference with many others in reference to digging tunnels, but 
to no point. 

January 20th. Cloudy and cold. Received one-half rations. Six of our 
number concluded to dig out from under No. 9 hospital. All of our number 
sworn to secrecy and death to traitors. E. W. McElroy, Company B, Forty- 
fifth ; S. G. Turner, Twelfth United States ; Robert Monk, Thirty-ninth Massa 
chusetts ; A. G. Cassel, Fifty-first New York; Henry Griffith, Company K, Forty- 
fifth ; John Marks, unknown, but I think from Massachusetts. 

January 21st. Still cold but fair. Received our regular rations. As near 
as can be guessed we dug 60 feet. Received our implements from Dr. H ower- 
ton. Some old files and two fire shovels and an old bayonet. All the earth was 
put down in old well and on dead line. All work at night. 

January 22d. Rained all day and night but warm. Received our full rations. 
The night was a good night and all went nicely in our work in tunnel, only 
Turner got fast and we had quite a time, as a good sized stone dropped on 
him and we had to do all quietly, but finally we dug the hole larger to get Turner 

January 23d. Still raining hard but warm. Received one-half rations of 
cornbread and rice soup. Robert Carroll and Benjamin Kemerly of Company B 
went out on parole to make cigars for Dr. Howerton. The doctor told us to 
bear up that exchange was near. 

My Experience in Prison Life 345 

Tuesday, January 24th. Clear and cold. Received full rations of wheat 
bread, soup and meat. The Johnnies ordered a recount of all prisoners to pre 
vent flankers from repeating. Still digging. 

January 25th. Clear and very cold. Received our full rations. Dr. Hower- 
ton brought me a newspaper showing the conditions offered by Confederate 
commissioners to our commissioners. The Johnnies offered to exchange white 
man for white man and parole all over, but would not recognize the black man, 
they having more prisoners than our people had. So it seems from their side 
that there was no agreement reached as our people wanted man for man, white 
or Black. Pushing our digging day and night. Keeping all of the earth taken 
out in daytime to be put away at night. 

Thursday, January 26th, 1865. Very cold and blustery. Received full ra 
tions. All quiet and digging going on nicely. We could hear the Johnnies 
shouting above us and knew from our measurements we were not quite where 
we wanted to break ground. Our engineer, Mr. Turner of the Twelfth United 
States Infantry, said, "Boys, we will wait until to-morrow and measure again." 

January 27th. Clear and very cold. Received our daily rations. Our tunnel 
completed. Mr. Turner broke ground. All who were in Salisbury prison will 
know we broke ground to the left of the frame hospital facing the same from 
the pen. We broke ground under a large pile of brush. It seemed to us as if 
Providence favored us, for we could have struck no better spot. We all went 
through to try it and put our heads out of the hole but very cautiously. To give 
the reader an idea At one end we made the hole large enough to turn around 
to go back, but while digging we went in head foremost and came back feet first. 
After consultation, as the weather was very cold, we decided to wait a day or so 
for better weather before attempting to escape, knowing our suffering would be 

January 28th. Still very cold and stormy. Received our regular rations. All 
quiet along the line and we decided to go out that night. We ate our soup and 
a little of our bread, topping out with acorns that we boiled. That night when 
all was still I suppose midnight we went out, Comrade Turner in the lead, 
myself second. We had decided to get to a given spot beyond the town where 
we would meet. Going through the outskirts of the town in twos we got to 
gether but were very cold. We walked all night and when day was breaking 
we lay under the bushes and undergrowth until the sun came up. You can 
imagine it was welcome for we were nearly frozen. We lay there in the sun on 
the morning of the 29th eating what we had and while eating we heard the clat 
ter of horses hoofs. We all crawled a little farther back, when along came a 
detachment of cavalry and a hot looking lot they were, but with our hearts in 
our mouths we lay as still as mice and they rode by within 100 feet of us. They 
had hounds with them and went on by to a running stream. They watered their 
horses and two hounds that I thought were as large as their horses crossed 
the stream and went on. What we feared was that the dogs would take our 
trail, but luckily for us the dogs never crossed it. Beyond this stream was a 
road and we got water from the stream and lay there that day. Some sleeping 
and two on guard. After a while we were again on the alert and I believe I held 
my breath. We again heard the sound of hoofs and to our agreeable surprise 
along came two negroes with a pair of oxen. We hailed them when we saw 

346 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

they were unarmed. "Hello, Sambo, where are you fellows going?" One of 
them answered in surprise, "My Lord, Marsters, what are you? You ain t Yanks, 
is you?" We told them to speak low and that we were, and the darkies told us 
that we were in a dangerous place. They said we were close to Bradley \Tohn- 
son s, and a lot of officers were there at that very moment, cursing and swearing 
and fighting. We asked them if they had any bread and the older one said, "We 
ain t got much but we will give you what we s got," and they gave us a loaf of 
cornbread and two caps full of whole corn and told us when they came back from 
the store they would give us as much corn as they could. We went to the other 
four and sat down to a feast there in the sun, for it had gotten warm, and *we 
here waited for the blacks to return from the store. They told us that down 
at the store they went among some other slaves and we got a sack of corn. They 
told us that over at the store all the white people said that the Yanks were com 
ing sure and they were burning everything as they went and that all the Yankees 
in the pen would be moved. The darkies directed us as best they could and we 
lay in the bushes, seeing nothing alive during the day except ourselves. We had 
plenty of good cornbread and water. When night came we started again and 
marched all night traveling as we supposed in a southeasterly direction. We 
wandered until day began to break. We were pushing for a woods or where 
we had some protection. Day was coming fast so we saw some bushes and as 
it was day we had to stay right there and lie right there, and to my surprise in, 
this cluster of bushes along this stream of water I met Samuel Eppler of my 
own Company B. He escaped through our tunnel the night before we started 
and he went alone. From exposure he had become sick and as he was from 
my own company I did all I could for him. Day was coming on fast and not 
knowing what to do and he too sick to march we talked the matter over. He 
decided to stay there over night again and in the morning go out on the open 
road and give himself up and go to a Reb hospital. So I left Sam as he said I 
should go with the boys with whom I had come, as he could not march. We 
were all talking and Mr. Turner thought we had better make two groups. We 
had just completed our arrangements when we again heard the clatter of horses 
hoofs and the rattling of side arms, and all at once we were surprised for a 
scouting party blundered through the bushes to water their horses. One of the 
horses trod on the foot or leg of poor Eppler and the pain I suppose was too 
great, for when they discovered Eppler they put their hounds on us and they 
rode up and down the stream and captured every one except Comrade Turner 
and I never saw or heard of him since the morning or rather evening of January 
30, 1865. We had to carry Eppler in turns over to Bradley Johnson s headquar 
ters. There they put him in an ambulance and we afoot and took us right back 
to where we came from. I asked permission to stay with Eppler that night 
and they allowed me to stay with him. At midnight he died and I lay down 
aside of him until morning, when they took him with others out to the cemetery, 
now the National. When the Johnnies had him on the dead wagon I saw the 
guard cut the buttons off his blouse, take his cap and then take the blouse off 
of him. Chances are he was buried naked. They then put me back into the 
same old pen and as all new arrivals get the salute of "fresh fish" I received 
the salute. All the same I soon found my other comrades and that afternoon I 
made an inspection of the tunnel and found everything just as we had left .it;. 

My Experience in Prison Life 347 

Where Comrade Turner got to is a queer thing. That neither the Johnnies nor 
dogs captured him is a mystery. 

January 31st. Clear and beautiful. Received our rations. An order came 
that all the colored men should be taken out of Salisbury and sent to Columbia, 
S. C, after which I met Dr. Howerton. He brought me a paper and two onions. 
He told me not to go out again as we would soon be exchanged as the blacks 
were now removed. I went out with the news and we formed in a large group 
and sang all the patriotic songs we could think of, marching all through the pen. 
We sang, "Give Us Back Our Old Commander, Little Mac," "Star Spangled 
Banner," "John Brown," or anything we could think of. We raised such a com 
motion that many of the ladies of Salisbury came out to hear the boys, so some 
fellow started, "We ll Hang Jeff Davis on a Sour Apple Tree" and Major Gee 
and some other long slim Christian commenced to shoot and did shoot. I could 
not say how many were hit because I did not go out as I knew I would surely 
get it. 

February 1st, 1865. Clear and beautiful. Received our full rations. All sat 
around talking of the news of parole or exchange. All quiet along the line. 

February 2d, 3d and 4th. Warm and beautiful. Received our usual rations. 
All quiet and in good glee. 

February 5th. Cloudy and warm. Received our usual rations. Dr. Hower 
ton brought in the news. Said Jeff Davis was skedaddling. I took the news out 
among the boys after the doctor had retired and we fell in line and the singing 
was immense. The crowd of ladies was greater. We sang until after dark but 
Major Gee did not shoot any more. 

February 6th. Cloudy but warm and pleasant. Received our daily rations. 

February 7th. Cold, rainy and sleeting all day. Much talk of the meeting 
of commissioners of ours and the Johnnies. Received our usual rations. 

February 8th. Clear, warm and thawing fast. The pen nearly dry. Much 
better hopes. All the boys cheerful. Received our regular rations. Dr. How 
erton reports the Yanks approaching rapidly. 

February 9th. Clear, beautiful and warm. Received our daily rations. 

February 10th. Clear and beautiful. Received our regular rations. The 
boys all singing and in good glee. Twenty-three dead hauled out. 

February llth. Clear and very cold. Received our rations. Things grow 
ing brighter every day. 

February 12th. Cloudy with little rain. Excitement still growing. Received 
our regular rations. 

February 13th. Clear and beautiful. Excitement growing but nothing to 
eat but acorns. 

February 14th and 15th. Clear and beautiful. Received one-half ration. 

February 16th. Cold and stormy. General Bradley Johnson came into prison 
and made a speech and told all to cheer up that we would all be sent home inside 
of ten days. We received our daily rations. The boys cheered Johnson and 
started singing and marching. 

February 17th. Still cold and stormy. Received our rations. Excitement 
running high. 

348 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

February 18th. Orders came into prison posted all around to be in readi 
ness and the bakers were ordered to bake bread as fast as they could. There was 
plenty of flour for bakers. Boys shouting, singing, gay and happy. 

February 19th. Clear and beautiful. Baking going on as fast as possible. 
All the boys packed their little effects. Singing all day long. Received plenty 
of bread and a little soup. 

February 20th. Still warm and beautiful. All gay and happy. To move 
as soon as transportation can be gotten. Received all we could eat of bread, 
meat, small ration of soup and molasses. 

February 21st. Cloudy and rain in afternoon. All gay and happy. The 
boys did not mind the rain. Cannonading off in the direction of capitol, Raleigh 
city. This set the boys wild and cheer after cheer went up. The old men doing 
guard duty would laugh heartily and when opportunity afforded would wave 
their hankerchiefs. Received all we wanted to eat. 

February 22d. Clear and beautiful. Early in the morning cannonading 
could be heard toward Raleigh. Dr. Howerton told us it was General Thomas 
command, so they sent in three or four wagons of bread, piled it up in the stock 
ade and we could take all we wanted. Then came orders for all that could 
march to fall in line and an escort with them to march to Greensboro. All that 
possibly could went, plenty falling by the way. Dr. Howerton requested ^ me to 
stay back and see after the sick, so I remained. I received a number of new 
wool blankets, sent to us from our government. In fact, I had more than I 

February 23d. Clear and beautiful. I had all the sick transferred to the 
old factory, where we, through Dr. Howerton, had them as comfortably fixed 
as could be under the circumstances. Had all we wanted to eat. 

February 24th. Still clear, warm and beautiful. I was, as were all that 
were left back, placed on parole of honor and went in and out of x the city at will. 
Conversed with many old people who wished the cruel war was over. We had 
all we wanted to eat but so many poor comrades were past eating. The first night 
in Prison No. 1 seven died. One of the number was a colored soldier and as 
they were of strange commands to me I could not get name nor command, but 
they were taken out more decently than the others who had died there. 

February 25th. Rained hard all day and very cold. Still in old No. 1 pen. 
About nine o clock I got orders to be in readiness, so we went out to the depot, 
lay around all night until the next day. I was the last man to leave the stockade. 

February 26th. We took the cars at Salisbury for Greensboro. Arrived 
there about eight o clock a. m. We were marched out into the country, the sick left 
in the cars until morning, 10 a. m., February 27th, when we marched into Greens 
boro. Took the cars at Greensboro that afternoon. Marched out to fair grounds, 
camped over night and until afternoon of the 28th. Marched into Goldsboro, 
took the cars for Stony Point Station and were turned over to our people. I 
am sure that was the happiest moment of my life; tears streaming from the eyes 
of every prisoner and of our comrades who received us; then the hallelujah 
began ; thousands of our men asking questions about some dear one. First ques 
tion was, "Where were you boys ?" After hearing, "Salisbury ;" "Why, I had a 
father or brother there." "Did you know so and so?" Some were there and others 

My Experience in Prison Life 349 

had answered the last roll call. So on we marched along to a camp ready for 
us, our ambulances taking the sick into this camp prepared for all there on the 
banks of Cape Fear River. We were taken in charge by those good people, the 
Sanitary and Christian Commission. After receiving all we wanted to eat and 
drink I strolled about to see if I could see any comrade I knew. There is where 
I saw the first of the Two Hundredth Regiment and the first one I ran against 
was Sampson Nunimaker of the Two Hundred and Third. The next was Cap 
tain S. E. Wisner of the Seventy-ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers and next was 
Lieutenant Paris Rudisill. The three named were all from my native town, 
Marietta, Pa. None of the three knew me, but I knew them. The reason was 
that I never had my hair cut or was shaved in my confinement, but when I spoke 
to them they knew my voice and I say it was a happy meeting. Lieutenant 
Rudisill remarked I looked more like a buffalo. Those that could and would 
march started for Wilmington, N. C., but many took transportation on the boat 
via Fort Fisher. There we were compelled to wait for high tide. This is how 
we saw Fort Fisher. We got into Wilmington, March 2d. On our arrival at 
Wilmington all was quiet. We saw plenty of sham monitors drifting around 
in the river front. This I was told answered all purpose to draw troops to the 
front and our men I am told got in the rear on the Johnnies. On our arrival 
at Wilmington we were a horrible looking set of Yanks and one would say alive 
only to move along until we came to where there were troops that had their 
guns stacked. Our boys were wild at sight of them and on hearing that our men 
had a lot of prisoners in the jail and other pens our boys made a rush and se 
cured the guns, accoutrements and ammunition and were preparing for a charge 
and massacre of the Rebel prisoners when some of our officers pleaded with 
them to desist. After considerable persuasion they again returned and stacked 
arms. We were at liberty to go where we liked in and about the city. We fey 
at Wilmington for three days and finally they got the boat "California" and 
started for Annapolis. A rough sea about Cape Hatteras made us all more sick 
and there was a sickly set in that hull and on deck. At last we arrived at An 
napolis, Md. There we were all cleaned up. If we had any trinkets they were 
taken from us. Our names, company and regiment were recorded. We were 
then sent into an old tent and stripped to the skin. Next we were sent to the 
bath houses and all of us received a thorough cleaning up and painted with oint 
ment and all received good clean clothing and underwear from the Sanitary and 
Christian Commission. We were all sent or taken to the barber shops. I was 
sitting waiting for my turn when I happened to look into a mirror and I turned 
both ways right and left to see if anything else was looking into the mirror, when 
to my great surprise I did not know myself. Then I thought of Wisner, Rudi 
sill and Nunimaker and thought to myself, no wonder they did not know me 
when I did not know myself. Finally my turn came for the chair. I took a good 
look at myself and said to the barber, "Now, by G , isn t that the ugliest thing 
you ever saw." The barber laughed and laughed and said to me, "Be quiet if 
you do not want to be cut." So finally I got both crops off and after another good 
coat of ointment I bade farewell forever to my old associates, the graybacks that 
had kept me moving many times and when I arose from the chair I took an 
other look in the glass again and again thought, "Well, if that is the same thing 
that looked at me before I am beat that red faced boy." 

35 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

We then went into Parole Camp. We were there for three days, awaiting 
transportation and our pay. We received three months extra pay, clothing, 
money and commutation money. While waiting there I witnessed the most af 
fecting scenes I ever saw in camp or elsewhere. We would sit around in groups 
making our arrangements for our furloughs home. The camp was full of citi 
zens of both sexes. Every minute or so some one would ask of you, "What 
prison were you in?" "Salisbury," I would say. "Oh, soldier, I had a brother, 
a father, husband, there." So if I knew anything about them I would answer, 
or if I or any of the groups about us did or did not, so if we knew nothing there 
was weeping and pitiful lamentings for the poor brother, poor father, or husband. 
I tell you, reader, there were more red eyes there than I ever saw in my life. Now 
and then some friend would find one of his loved ones. Then there were shouting, 
praying and singing. Two others and myself concluded to hide and got way back 
under the barracks when an old gray-headed man saw us crawling under the 
barracks and he crawled under to us. We could not refuse answering the old 
man and we went out into camp, and found his son. Now, I will tell you it 
was a great happening. All hands used our handkerchiefs. The old gentleman s 
name was Haynes, of Maytown, Lancaster County, father of George B. Haynes, 
of Company B, Forty-fifth Regiment. 

During this meeting they began giving us what we never looked for three 
months extra pay, our clothing and commutation money. We all were fixed up 
and started next morning, all singing, gay and happy and if ever there was a 
happy crowd we were. We made Baltimore ring and everywhere we went things 
were open to us. I arrived in Columbia on the 17th of March, 1865, and as there 
was no bridge we were ferried across the Susquehanna from Wrightsville by 
Captain Joe Black. The water ran over the top of the bridge piers and there 
were no cars running to Marietta, so we had to take the pike and when I got to 
Marietta the water ran down Front Street. People were running boats on the 

The following is a true statement of the comrades that died at Salisbury, N. 
C, from October 7th, 1864, to February 26th, 1865, of the Forty-fifth Regiment 
of the Pennsylvania Infantry, as I have them in my diary ; there were some that 
I did not get. I will just say that I do not have one name of the Forty-fifth 
Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry that went out and took the oath to the Con 
federacy as many others did : 


Henry Souders, Company F, died October 4th, 1864. 
Abraham Boyer, Company A, died November 1st, 1864. 
Conrad Soder, Company F, died November 9th, 1864. 
Albert Bryan, Company H, died November 17th, 1864. 
Alfred T. Whitney, Company F, died November 19th, 1864. 
William Dunlap, Company A, died November 25th, 1864. 
Henry Hurman, Company F, died November 26th, 1864. 
Willis J. Mickle, Company G, died December 3d, 1864. 
John Lyons, Company D, died December 16th, 1864. 
William Gearhart, Company E, died December llth, 1864. 
Albert Lyons, Company F, died December 18th, 1864. 

My Experience in Prison Life 351 

William B. Glenn, Company E, died December 22d, 1864. 

Jerome Seymour, Company H, died December 23d, 1864. 

Benjamin Glenn, Company C, died December 24th, 1864. 

Jacob B. Eshelman, Company B, died December 24th, 1864. 

Charles Cartright, Company E, died December 25th, 1864. 

Isaac Metcalf, Company F, died December 25th, 1864. 

William Cahill, Company H, died December 27th, 1864. 

Isaac Chamberlain, Company F, died December 28th, 1864. 

Charles Burns, Company C, died December 28th, 1864. 

Michael Regan, Company C, died December 29th, 1864. 

John Otto, Company F, died December 29th, 1864. 

Samuel L. Eppler, Company B, died February 1st, 1868. 

John More, Company K, died January 1st, 1865. 

George Slack, Company C, died January 4th, 1865. 

James Chambers, Company K, died January 8th, 1865. 

Joseph Taylor, Company C, died January 8th, 1865. 

Charles Lamberson, Company K, died January 9th, 1865. 

Martin Eshelman, Company B, died January llth, 1865. 

John S. Beach, Company I, died January 12th, 1865. 

Charles A. Deckman, Company K, died January 13th, 1865. 

Henry P. Griffith, Company B, died February 3d, 1865. 

George E. Fergerson, Company H, died February 5th, 1865. 

Daniel B. Harpster, Company E, died February 8th, 1865. 

Tyler Rittenhouse, Company B, died February 9th, 1865. 

Samuel H. Myers, Company E, died February llth, 1865. 

Dennis Ryan, Company E, died February 14th, 1865. 

Joshua L. Brown, Company B, died February 15th, 1865. 

Charles F. Starks, Company C, died about February 27th on the route home. 

35 2 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 



At the request of the Historian of the Forty-fifth Pennsylvania Regiment 
Veteran Volunteers I will endeavor to write an article detailing my experience 
while held as a prisoner by the Confederates during the Civil War. 

I can give dates and occurrences with accuracy from the fact that I am in 
possession of a diary kept by myself during my imprisonment, excepting a short 
time while too ill to write. 

Monday, September 14th, 1863, while at Linn Camp Post Office, Ky., a de 
tail of the following persons was made and sent to Pennsylvania for the pur 
pose of bringing conscripts, otherwise drafted men, to our division. This detail 
consisted of Captain Campbell, Company E ; Lieutenant Hart, Company I ; Lieu 
tenant VanValin, Company A; Quartermaster Sergeant Mullen, Company K; 
Sergeant Hollahan, Company A; Jesse Wilcox, Company H; John Bailey, Cor 
poral Joseph Bailey, Company E, and myself. We marched to Nicholasville, Ky.. 
and took train for the East. This detail was ordered to return to its command 
early in November, not having secured the quota of conscripts for which it was 
sent. We, or rather a part of the detail, reached Cumberland Gap, Tenn., on the 
25th of November, and were there detained as we were unable to proceed to our 
regiment because of the siege of Knoxville by General Longstreet s command. 
November 30th the troops at Cumberland Gap were advised of the raising of the 
siege and on 1st of December marched to Tazewell enroute to join their various 
commands. We of the Forty-fifth accompanied a lot of Ninth Corps convales 
cents under Captain Banks of the Thirteenth Kentucky Regiment of United 
States troops. 

On the 13th of December orders were received to move toward Flat Gap of 
the Clinch Mountains. We left Tazewell in company with a wagon train of 22 
wagons loaded with sugar and coffee for General Burnside s command. Only a 
portion of our party was armed. We marched till late in the afternoon and en 
camped at a point near a gap in the mountains where there was encamped 1 a 
regiment of new troops from Indiana. As we had passed a camp of Union 
cavalry a short time before we reasonably supposed we were on safe territory. 

Now commences my prison experience. Shortly before dark while we were 
preparing our supper General W. E. Jones brigade of Virginia cavalry, evi 
dently on the lookout for this supply train, moved to a point back of a low ridge 
near us, and sent Colonel Wicher s battalion of Thirty-fourth Virginia, dis 
mounted, to charge us. 

Three others and myself were sitting around our small camp fire when 
first shots were fired. One went through my cup of coffee. I copy following 
from diary : 

"About 20 of us had guns. We stood and fired till they overpowered us, 
and of course took us prisoners. Corporal Wilcox of Company H was shot 
through the hand and one man of Fifty-first Pennsylvania through the shoul 
der. Twelve of the Forty-fifth were taken prisoners. They marched us all 

First Sergeant John B. Emery. 
Company I. 

Confederate s in East Tennessee. 

Enlisted .Imiuarv 1st. 1st;:. ; captured 
December 14th, 18<>J. 

Prisoner of war at Hichmoiid. Va.. until April Kith. 18>4: paroled and 
went to hospital in Baltimore. April 18th: to Convalescent Camp at Annap 
olis. Md.. Ani-ii 25th, and to the regiment, Mav 25th, 1SU4, at North Ann 
Kiver, Va. 

I romoted to corporal September. 1S< >2: to sergeant in 18(53, to first ser 
geant October 30th. 1SU4. to date from September 7th, 1804; to tirst lieutenant 
of Company (1, October 2d. 1S(i4. This commission was declined by Sergeant 
Emery for the reason that there were good sergeants in Company Cl who had 
reenlisted when he was a prisoner of war and these men deserved promotion. 

Life in Prison and Hospital 353 

night. Captain Burke s Company of Twenty-first Virginia was in charge of us. 
The man who captured me took my watch, pocketbook, haversack and over 
coat and cursed me because I didn t carry a jackknife. I had a small poke of 
coffee and one of sugar in my haversack and asked that I be permitted to keep 
them as they had gotten our train and would find plenty in the wagons. I 
didn t retain them." 

I find that I did not record, nor can I remember, the names of all the com 
rades captured with me. Lieutenant Hart, John Miles, Jesse Wilcox, H. W. 
Smith, Sergeant Amos Mullin and Sergeant Hollahan were among the number. 

The skirmish was hot for a little while. There were several small log 
buidings at the point of attack, and Wilcox and I were behind one of them 
firing. As three Confederates were running to get under cover of another 
building I aimed at the one in the lead who had not seen me. One of the three 
sighted me and raised his gun on me. We fired simultaneously. I nearly "got" 
my man. During the night of the capture, while seated around a camp fire, I 
spoke of the circumstance. One of the guards spoke up and said, "I should say 
you did look at my cheek." I had cut the skin over his cheekbone. 

During our first night s capture one of the guards stole Lieutenant Hart s 
cap. The matter was reported to Captain Burke who at once instituted a search, 
recovered and returned the cap to Lieutenant Hart thus proving himself a 

On the 15th we marched till noon when we received some cornmeal and a 
very small piece of meat per man. Lieutenant Hart and I baked our meal on a 
board and roasted the meat on coals. 

On the 16th we each received a pint of flour and a half pound of meat, 
marched to Mooresburg and were quartered for the night in an old warehouse. 
On the 17th John Johnson of Company I, Forty-fifth, and two of the Eighth 
Michigan were added to our number. On the 18th further additions were 
made by Kaufman of Company F, one other of the Forty-fifth, ten of the Thir 
ty-sixth Massachusetts, and 66 others. We reached Rogersville on the 19th 
and were packed like sardines, in a bank building, where we each drew seven 
small biscuits. Weather exceedingly cold. While still here on the 20th some 
of the loyal East Tennesseeans wanted to bring in some food to distribute among 
us. General Vaughn issued an order forbidding it. No rations issued to us on 
this day. My diary notes the following: "Beginning to get lousy." We drew 
six small biscuits per man on 21st. On 22d, record in diary says, "Drew about 
one pound of bread and a half pound of boiled beef in the evening. I paid one 
dollar in Confederate money for four ears of corn to parch. On 23d we left 
Rogersville under guard of a part of the Thirty-eighth Tennessee Regiment, 
C. S. A. Drew two biscuits per man to-day. Other prisoners were added to our 
crowd making about 200. Marched 15 miles on 24th and spent the night in 
a church at Kingsport. The 25th found us 16 miles nearer our destination 
quartered in the Jefferson Seminary, and the 26th we reached Bristol, the 
main street of which is the dividing line between Virginia and Tennessee. 

We were encamped here in a piece of oak woods for two and one-half days 
without shelter of any kind in a drizzling cold rain. Our treatment by our 
guards on the march from where we were captured to this place was very good, 

354 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

but our rations were very scant, being really less than half the usual amount or 
weight. There was no salt in the bread and none given us for our meat and the 
bread to be made by us out of the flour and meal issued. 

The afternoon of the 28th we drew some rations and were loaded into sec 
ond class cars and at 10 P. M., started for Richmond. We were packed in so 
close that not half of us could get seats. 

During the war a large number of loyal East Tennesseeans enlisted in the 
Federal Army and I am told they made excellent soldiers. Hundreds of 
mountaineers "hid out" in the mountains to prevent conscription for the Con 
federate army. At times they would visit their homes for supplies and to meet 
their families. On our march towards Bristol an affecting incident occurred. 
Our guards halted us near a small farm house. While there, some of the 
guards searched the house and found the head of the family in hiding. He 
was brought out and told to get in line with us the intention being to turn 
him over to the Rebel conscription officers. At the bars near the house his wife 
threw her arms around his neck and two small children clung to his legs, the 
wife begging the guards not to take him away. Her appeals and screams were 
of no avail. 

On the 28th we started for Richmond. Our trip was without incident 
worthy of mention. On the 30th we reached our destination, the goal the 
Union army had been trying to reach for many months. I have always very 
much regretted that I was not present at its triumphal entry at close of the war. 
On our arrival the privates and noncommissioned officers of our party were 
taken to Scott s tobacco factory the officers being placed in Libbey Prison. 

This factory was several stories high filled with Union prisoners. Near the 
center of it there was an open hatchway down which was thrown all sorts of 
slop and dirt. Corporal Wilcox and myself were located on the lower floor, along 
the center of which there was no flooring but instead a stinking pool of dirty 
water, etc. On the wet slimy flooring along the sides we were located, our 
heads, when sleeping, being toward the wall and our feet on the edge of the pool. 

On the 30th we drew some corn bread and a little beef. Corporal Wilcox 
whose hand had received no medical attention since he was shot on the 13th 
was removed to the hospital, at least the guards said he was to be taken there. 
His wound was in a horrible condition and smelled to the skies. He died in the 
hospital. I gave him all the care possible during his trip from point of capture. 
At one time on our march to Bristol I saw an opportunity to escape but did not 
embrace it because I thought Comrade Wilcox, my blanket mate, needed my at 

On the above date at noon we were each given a small piece of cornbread 
and fresh beef and at night a little soup. 

January 1st, 1864. I with many others was sent to Belle Isle, in the middle 
of the James River, opposite Richmond. In casting lots for Belle Isle or hell 
give me the long straw for the latter. I am sure it would be healthier and pleas- 
anter. From this time until my release from prison I thought it prudent not to 
mention in my diary all the cruelties practiced at our prison camp fearing if it 
were examined it would be taken from me. From above date until my re 
lease I will give practically all the contents of my diary, injecting a few remarks 
now and then. 

Life in Prison and Hospital 355 

We found on Belle Isle a very large number of Union prisoners quartered 
in old tents too old and worn to be of service in the field, the larger part of them 
very leaky. I can never forget the appearance of these men. Those who had 
been longest confined were emaciated, dirty and lousy, and many of them too sick 
to get out of their tents. Many were suffering from frozen and frosted feet. 

For convenience in issuing rations and to prevent "repeating" our boys were 
divided into squads of 100, in charge of a Union sergeant, the squads being sub 
divided into messes of 20. When rations were issued the sergeant drew them, 
divided them into five lots. Members of each mess would stand with their backs 
to the ration. The sergeant would point to a pile and ask, "Who takes this?" 
This plan pleased all parties as it was entirely fair. 

January 2d. Did not get out of bed except to get my ration of cornbread 
and soup or rather swill. Weather extremely cold. I was quartered in an old 
Sibley (circular) tent with 18 others. My "bed" consisted of the ground with a 
piece of shelter tent made of twilled muslin between myself and it. 

January 3d and 4th. No record made in diary. 

January 5th. Rained a little to-day. 

January 6th. Snowed in the afternoon. Weather extremely cold. Ration a 
half loaf cornbread and one or two ounces of beef. No salt in bread or beef. 

January 7th. Nothing occurred worthy of note. 

January 8th. Laid in bed all day trying to keep warm. Drew two or three 
sweet cakes, extra from the United States Sanitary Commission. 

January 9th. Weather somewhat warmer. Drew a fourth loaf of cornbread 
in morning and a small piece of bacon in the evening. 

January 10th. Drew rice soup at night. 

January llth. Weather pleasant but very nasty under foot. 

January 12th. Drew a fourth loaf cornbread and one ounce of beef for din 
ner. Bread and bean soup for supper. 

January 13th. Pleasant to-day. Rice soup for supper. 

January 14th. Quite pleasant. Rations same as usual. 

January 15th. Rice soup for supper. 

January 16th. Drew no meat to-day only one pint of rice soup and a piece 
pf cornbread. 

January 17th. Same rations as yesterday. Two or three hundred new men 
came in to-day. All have to lie in the streets no room in the tents. 

January 18th. Drew a half loaf cornbread and a little soup. Rained at in 
tervals all day. I am getting thin for want of something to eat. Five hundred 
new prisoners came in to-day. All are compelled to lie in the street. 

January 19th. Drew a half loaf bread. Men dying every day. 

January 20th. Rations to-day, a half loaf cornbread and a little bean soup. 

January 21st. Everything goes on as usual. Rations as ever hardly suf 
ficient to keep a mouse. Weather quite pleasant for the season. 

January 22d. Warmer to-day. Rations a half loaf bread and a little rice 

356 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

January 23d. Bean soup and cornbread drawn to-day. 

January 24th. Bean soup and bread to-day. 

January 26th. Smaller rations of bread and no soup. 

January 27th. Drew a third loaf cornbread twice to-day. 

January 28th. To-day received a loaf of bread and a small piece of fresh 

January 29th. Same rations as yesterday with the addition of some rice soup. 

January 30th. Rained hard in the night. 

February 1st. Very muddy and disagreeable in camp. Rations of bean soup 
and bread. 

February 2d. I was sent over to Richmond to Alabama hospital number 22. 

For some time before this date I was ill. The cornbread diet gave me severe 
heartburn and had reduced me in weight so much that I could walk but a few 
steps at a time. I did not wish to go over to the hospital but was finally induced 
to do so by the sergeant of our squad. 

The soup furnished us was very thin no salt and only slight evidence that 
meat had been boiled with it. Many days, as you may observe in record of 
diary, nothing but this soup was issued. I speak of a loaf of bread this was 
very small in size. 

On our arrival at the hospital, myself and others, including H. W. Smith 
of Company B, were assigned to a room in which were about 30 cots nearly all 
occupied. Eight of us were compelled to lie on the bare floor and use such 
covering as we brought with us from Belle Isle. I had no covering of my own. 
A comrade shared a lousy blanket with me. I asked the ward master, who was, 
by the way a Northern soldier named A. S. Patrick of Brooklyn, N. Y., how 
long before we could get cots. He replied, "It won t be long, men are dying 
every day." He was right. In about five days eight bodies had been carried out. 

I secured a cot next to Comrade Smith. From this date to April 16th, 1864, 
I kept no diary. I was too sick for several weeks to do so. I was in the hospital 
for about one month. During this time many men died and their places were 
promptly filled by others. The prevailing trouble was chronic diarrhoea. The 
food given us here was small in amount and damnable in quality, the greater 
part of it being cornbread without salt and made from corn, ground cobs and 
all and baked hard on top and bottom and heavy in the middle. 

This diet was more fatal than the bullets of the enemy as it produced ag 
gravated diarrhoea. Many of the patients became so sick they could not eat the 
bread nor anything else furnished, the result being they became gradually weaker 
and weaker and finally died, having literally starved to death. 

Comrade Smith in his last days became delirious and would very often call 
for something to eat, although he had several pieces of cornbread hidden under 
his pillow. I could eat more than I got. Smith had no sooner breathed his last 
than I crawled out of my cot and secured his uneaten bread. Of the 14 of our 
regiment taken prisoners December 14th, ten literally starved. Amos Mullin, 
Lieutenant C. M. Hart, John Miles and myself survived, Miles dying immediately 
on his arrival home. 

Life in Prison and Hospital 357 

I made inquiry after my release and was informed that we were the only sur 
vivors of the list. Later I became somewhat better. A clerk was needed in an 
other hospital so Wardmaster Patrick recommended me to the surgeon in charge, 
Dr. Sims, and I was taken to this hospital, the name of which I have forgotten, 
and given a clerkship in the office, where I found three other Yankee clerks, viz. 
Lieutenant Robinson of an Illinois regiment, A. S. Palmer of New Jersey and 
Sergeant John W. Flintham of Eighth Pennsylvania Cavalry. My duty was to 
assist in keeping the death register, etc. From this time on I had enough to eat, 
such as it was and consequently gained gradually in strength. 

While in this hospital I saw many pitiable sights. Every morning the dead 
wagon would be drawn into the court yard to the dead house and loaded with 
those who died the preceding day or night and the number was not small. Many 
deaths from dry gangrene from frozen feet were recorded, probably frozen on 
Belle Isle. In the month of March there were recorded 293 cases of chronic 
diarrhoea, 250 of which were fatal. Nearly all of these men came over from 
Belle Isle on stretchers; some could walk with assistance. They were starved 
down to mere skeletons. 

A few days before the 16th of April the clerks were ordered to make out in 
triplicate, parole sheets, a list of such prisoners as were considered convalescent 
and were to be sent down the James River for delivery to our flag of truce ex 
change boat. I assisted in securing the signatures of the men. On the afternoon 
of the day before our departure I added my name without consent of the hos 
pital steward, to the parole sheets hoping to get away without discovery. I was 
detected in the crowd when the names were called, and ordered to return to the 
office. I broke clown and shed tears, begging the steward to let me go. I was 
weak but still strong enough to tell a good healthy lie or two. I gave him a line 
of talk about my mother being a widow and that father had died since I enlisted 
and that I wanted to go home and help support the family. This melted the 
steward who interceded with Surgeon Sims and I was allowed to go. 

We were loaded into ambulances, taken down to the river and loaded on 
the Rebel exchange boat, which very carefully picked her way down the river past 
the bombs and mines laid to protect Richmond from Yankee gunboats, and after 
pulling alongside the steamer "New York," our flag of truce boat, we were taken 
aboard the "New York" on which waved the glorious Star Spangled Banner. I 
looked around and saw iron cots with clean linen and blankets, smelled good old 
Government Java coffee, looked up and took another good look at the flag and 
then cried like a baby. On the 18th we reached Baltimore and I was sent to Pat 
terson Park hospital. On 25th of April I was sent to Annapolis to Convalescent 
Camp, and on 25th of May reached the regiment at North Ann River. 

Now a few words about the treatment accorded our prisoners on Belle Isle 
and in the Richmond hospitals. The winter of 1863-4 was an unusually cold one 
entailing untold suffering for our men. At the time of capture in nearly all in 
stances the overcoats, and in most cases under my observation, the blankets of 
our men were confiscated, now and then one being retained; I should say about 
one in four blankets were left us. 

In our tent previously mentioned, there were 18 men. At night we laid spoon 
fashion for mutual warmth ; when one turned, the whole bunch was compelled to. 

358 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

Many of our party had very sore hips, their bones having almost pricked through. 
At my location I had a couple of small holes dug in which to plant my sores. 

There was a bank thrown up around the camp on top of which the Rebel 
guards were posted. On the inside of the bank was a shallow ditch about eight 
feet wide. Our men were told not to enter this space under penalty of being shot. 
Many men were shot for an infraction of this rule, and for alleged impertinence 
and various other excuses. 

When the new recruits, or "fresh fish" as we termed them, arrived, many of 
them were compelled to lie in the streets without protection from the cold, the re 
sult being*that a good many deaths occurred from exposure, etc. No wood was 
furnished for fires except in say three or four instances when a small stick about 
two inches square and 18 inches long was given each prisoner. Several times I 
whittled my sticks into shavings and after pounding up some bones I had saved 
built a fire and made some-called soup, as I had gnawed the bones before, all 
the nourishment I procured was a few globules of fat. Narrow lanes boarded up 
about eight feet high on each side were built from the camp to the river. As 
the fence neared the river the lane widened and extended out into the water. 
Narrow plank walks extended out to open and very crude water closets or sinks. 

Now and then a dog would stray into our camp, but never strayed out. It 
would be caught, killed, skinned and eaten. More than once I saw a Yank ped 
dling small slices or pieces of dog meat and calling out, "A slice of good fresh 
meat, ten cents in money, or a dollar in Confed," meaning Confederate money.. 
Once in a while a man could be found among us who had managed to save a little 
money from his captors. In such cases he could arrange with the more honest 
guards to secure edibles from outside the camp. I was dead broke when captured. 

In the hospitals very little medicine was given our men, possibly on account 
of scarcity of same caused by the blockade or other reasons. Personally, I don t 
think so. While working in the office I had access to a couple of daily papers 
published in Richmond. I read in one of them a sentence like this : "We here in 
Richmond are doing more to end the war than they are in the field;" evidently 
referring to the excessive mortality in the hospitals, and prison camps. 

The treatment of prisoners by the Confederacy is a somber and enduring 
stain upon her record. Admitting the plea of her limited resources, yet much 
very much might have been done to prevent or alleviate the horrors of her 

Ample room, good water, plenty of wood to keep the men warm would have 
cost nothing. There were many ^ localities in the South remote from the field 
of the operation of our armies where all those could have been provided. The 
prisoners themselves, under proper guard, could have built comfortable huts for 
their own shelter against the elements. 

The cold, the exposure, the bad water, the crowding, the unspeakably filthy 
lack of the most rudimentary sanitation, probably had almost as much to do with 
the frightful mortality as the bad and meager rations. Moreover the South was 
not as poor in food supplies as is sometimes thought and Sherman s large army 
on the march to the sea found abundance for its subsistence. 

Life in Prison and Hospital 359 

It was want of system quite as much as want of means that caused the Con 
federacy to fail in properly subsisting its own army and so woefully treating her 
prisoners. Whether the latter arose from want of means or system or simple in 
sensibility to their privations, the fact remains. 

Even in the retrospect and under the mellowing influences of 47 years after, 
it is difficult for me to speak in any degree of moderation of those prison pens, 
and they will ever be remembered and regarded by those who suffered there and 
by those whose loved ones died there as places of indescribable misery and horror. 

If the South had not the means to care for her captives, then rather than 
subject them to the conditions prevailing in her prisons the dictates of humanity, 
even amid the bitterness of war, should have impelled her to parole them until 
duly exchanged and what was done cannot be justified, and impartial history will 
neither condone nor forget it, and Andersonville, Belle Isle and other spots are 
dark chapters in the Nineteenth Century history of a Christian land. 

Nicolay and Hay in their life of Lincoln in a chapter treating on prisoners 
of war say, "The spirit of the times, the circumstances of the case which made 
those horrors possible are gone forever. The readers of the present day could not 
make the proper allowance for them and the naked story of those who came alive 
out of Libbey, Belle Isle -and Andersonville would awaken either incredulity or a 
feeling of resentment which is undesirable to excite." 

360 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 



Asylum Prison Camp, about five acres in area, was a part of the grounds be 
longing to the State Asylum, situated in Columbia, S. C. The prison was en 
closed by a very high board fence, near the top and outside of which was a plat 
form, all round, on which the guards walked their beat, night and day. 

Between 500 and 600 Federal prisoners all commissioned officers were there 
confined, subsisting on cornmeal and sorghum. The diet through the long 
months was varied only to sorghum and cornmeal. Some of the prisoners were 
provided with shelter, others were not ; those of us who had been taken into that 
camp from the Richland County jail in the City of Columbia, in most cases, had 
no shelter from about the 1st of December, 1864, until the beginning of February, 
1865. Lieutenant James E. Catlin of Company I and myself had stuck together 
from the hour of our capture in the Battle of the Crater, July 30th, 1864, until my 
escape February 16th, 1865. We were among those who had only the ground for 
a bed and the sky above for covering, until the first part of February, 1865, when 
in some way we got possession of sufficient canvas for shelter. Lieutenant Cat 
lin was a part of the time in the hospital with a very serious attack of pneumonia. 
Many a night I watched over him when he was delirious and apparently uncon 
scious of his surroundings. He was convalescent, however, when we left 

How to escape was always an interesting theme of conversation among the 
prisoners, and many and devious were the plans suggested and undertaken. Some 
were successful. For instance, one night it was quite dark, and wood was brought 
into the camp, several guards marching in with the negro carriers. A prisoner 
got a long slender stick of wood, and stood with it at shoulder arms. Bringing 
up the rear of the guard he marched out in company with the other Johnnies, 
who were also carrying their guns that way. 

But the monotony of that miserable existence was broken at last. On the 
14th day of February, 1865, we heard in the distance the booming of artillery. 
We knew what it meant. Sherman was approaching. The sound was music to 
our ears. We sang "The Star Spangled Banner," and cheered with our might 
the cannon s roar. But we were soon told, "Yous Yanks must stop that or we ll 
open our guns on you." And sure enough the port-holes were opened and we 
plainly saw that the guns were ready for deadly work. While our demonstra 
tions of joy were not so hilarious after that, they were just as intense; and it was 
plain to be seen on the countenances of the guards and their officers that they 
realized the tables were turning. 

That night we were all ordered to be ready to march in an hour and a half. 
That did not take us long, as we had nothing to get ready. We were always 
ready. The night was dark, cold and rainy, and when the head of the column 
reached the railroad depot we had to stand in our places in the rain for two 
hours. We were then ordered to about face and march back to camp. The 
people of Columbia had become panic stricken and had taken possession of the 

From Columbia, S. C., to Knoxvillc, Tenn. 361 

train to escape from the city. On returning to prison, although armed guards 
every 20 feet or so were on either side, several of the prisoners got away. One 
I now remember, Captain Rourke, an artillery officer, dashed out between two 
of the guards, leaped the fence and was gone. One of the guards in astonish 
ment said to the other, "Jim, did yous see that a r Yank jump?" "Yes, he 
jumped like h 11, didn t he?" 

At four o clock the following morning we were again marched to the depot 
and packed like sardines in box cars, with an armed guard at the door of each 
car. Near one end of my car a large hole had been broken through the floor, 
and through it could be seen three or four small pigs sniffling about under the 
car. One of the prisoners emptied the crumbs from his haversack on the ground 
for the pigs. He then reached down, caught one of the piglets by the snout, 
butchered it, and divided it among us as far as it would go. It was done so 
silently and skillfully that the guard at the door never knew or suspected what was 
being done. When the pig attempted to squeal several of us had a spell of 
coughing. When all was over and the pig was in our haversacks, every little 
while some of us w r ould grunt. Finally the guard asked, "What is the matter 
with yous Yanks ?" then said, "I must have a car of hogs on my hands." 

Finally the train started for Charlotte, N. C. Our car was so crowded that 
we all had to lie down at the same time. We called it "spoon fashion." About 
midnight the engine ran off the track and was disabled. In that condition we 
remained until morning. I find the following account in my diary: "I could not 
sleep; it was too cold. February 16th, Thursday. An engine came to our as 
sistance, and away we started for Charlotte. We were issued a cracker and a 
little piece of pork. Arrived at Charlotte a little after dusk, and remained in 
the car all night. We suffered a great deal for want of room. February ITtfa; 
Friday. This morning before leaving the cars for camp, an order was read to 
us to the effect that a general exchange (of prisoners) was agreed upon. But 
it is considered a canard ; we have heard so many rumors of the kind." 

I did not believe the exchange order was true, and determined to escape from 
prison if possible. 

We were placed in a field near a large tract of woodland, and perhaps a 
mile from Charlotte. Guards were placed around our camp in the usual way. 
About noon of that day, February 17th, I went up to one of the guards, who 
was an elderly man, and said, "You see it is going to rain. I don t want to be 
compelled to lie in the mud. We have no shelter. Won t you let me go into 
the edge of the woods and gather some brush and leaves of which to make a 
bed ?" Hesitating a little, he asked me if I would be sure to come back. I said 
of course I would. (Here I plead guilty to a little prevarication.) He then said, 
"You can go out tha r, but don t go too far." I said, "All right." 

I did go out and gathered some brush and leaves, and continued to gather 
leaves until on the 16th day of March when I reached Knoxville, Tenn. 

It was necessary of course to go some distance in the woods to find the right 
kind of brush and leaves. When far enough to be beyond musket range, I ran as 
far as I could. Whither I knew not. When I stopped to get my breath, a sen 
sation of utter loneliness and of strange unrestraintness came over me. For over 
six months I had been a prisoner, all of which time, look where I would, an 

362 Forty-Fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry 

armed soldier clad in gray marked the line beyond which I dared not go ; but 
now I was out in the wide world, alone and a stranger in an enemy s country, 
hundreds of miles from where I could lie down in safety or see a friend, other 
than those I had left in yonder prison camp. 

But very soon Adjutant Muffly, who had also escaped, came in sight. To 
gether we moved on, until we came to a small stream over which lay a fallen 
tree ; as we passed over we heard men coming in our direction. Immediately 
we got behind a large log and watched, thinking we were being pursued. When 
they approached near enough we recognized them as escaped prisoners like our 
selves. Our meeting, as may be imagined, was a cordial one. They were Adju 
tant James L. Hastings, Seventh Pennsylvania Reserves, (brother of the late 
Governor Hastings of Pennsylvania), and Lieutenant Richard Cooper 
of a New Jersey regiment. The four of us at once sought a place of hiding, 
which we found near enough to the public road to ward off suspicion, and far 
enough therefrom not to be heard by travelers. There we discussed and deter 
mined our plan of campaign. Westward was the course, Knoxville, Tenn., our 
objective point. It was also agreed between us that each one in his turn should 
procure food and information, and if discovered and taken in the enterprise the 
others were to leave him to his fate and themselves escape, if an attempt to 
rescue him would result in the recapture of the others. We were to travel at 
night and conceal ourselves during daylight. We each cut a stout stick of wood 
for weapons. 

Lieutenant Cooper, whom we all called "Dick," cut on the bark of his stick, 
"Death to Dogs." Our circumstances and preparation brought to my mind that 
up-start climbing Alpine Heights, of whom Longfellow sang, and thus expressed 
it to the others: 

"The shades of night were falling fast 

As o er the muddy roads there passed, 

Four Yankees, bearing each a stick, 
On one of which was cut by Dick, 
Death unto Dogs." 

When darkness came we started on our journey full of hope and determina 
tion to reach our goal. Our haversacks were empty, so it became necessary to 
replenish them as soon as possible. After a few miles of travel we saw negro 
shanties. I think Cooper volunteered to go first. He knocked lightly at the 
door, which was partly opened. A voice from within asked "Who da r?" When 
Cooper saw it was a black face he said, "Yankee." Immediately the negro said, 
"Good Lor Massa, how dun ye get here without dem dogs gettin ye? Any 
more out da r?" "Yes." "Well, we heard dat some Yankees got ter way from 
Charlotte to-day, and massa s been watchin de barn, fear dey would steal de 
hosses. Come in hea ." Soon Cooper returned to us accompanied by several 
negroes, who brought corn pone and bacon enough to last us a whole day, for 
which we paid them seven dollars in Confederate money. After telling them the 
general direction we intended to go, they said that we would have to cross the 
Catawba River ; then one of them proceeded to give us directions (it being un 
derstood that it was our purpose to avoid public roads.) "Do yous see dat 
star over dar?" (pointing.) "Yes." "Well, you go for dat star to a place" (de 
scribing.) Then "Do you see dat" (still pointing.) "Yes." "Well, yous go 

The Escaped Union Prisoners 

(1) Lieutenant Richard Cooper, X. J. Inf. 
i Adjutant John L. Hastings, Seventh Pa. Res. Inf. 
(3) Captain R. (i. Richards, Co. G. 45th Pa. Inf. 

From Columbia, S. C., to Knoxville, Tenn. 363 

for dat star and yous M will get to de bridge, but watch out, they dun lik ly be 
watching for yous." 

We bade them all goodbye and started, keeping our eyes steadily on the 
first star. Through the brush, climbing over fallen trees, sometimes crawling 
under them, picking our way as best we could over the stony ground, often over 
our shoe tops in water, we reached the place from where we were to go for the 
other star, and finally arrived at the bridge across the Catawba. Cautiously we 
crept along. Luckily the guard had left his post, and we passed over unmolested. 

By this time Lieutenant Mufifly, who was not strong physically, was showing 
signs of exhaustion. On his feet was an old pair of women s shoes which after 
our experience that night were literally torn to pieces, and his feet were very 
sore. We came to a high rail fence. Hastings and Cooper had gone over it, 
but poor Mufifly in attempting to climb over fell back exhausted. With my help 
he tried a second and a third time but could not make it. He begged me to stay 
with him. Hastings and Cooper were going on. It was nearing daybreak. To 
stay meant my giving up the escape and being recaptured. I could not aid him 
in any event, so with a sorrowful heart I bade him goodbye, and advised him to 
go to the house nearby and give himself up. I soon caught up with the others. 

It was now time to find a place of concealment. We went a distance into the 
forest and laid down, "spoon fashion," to rest. We were soon asleep. About 
ten o clock I awoke. Three dogs were barking at us. I also heard chopping not 
far away. Upon waking my bed-fellows they too at once took in the situation. 
We crawled up to the brow of the hill and saw a white man at his work near by. 
Quietly we passed down the hill, into a ravine, and with accelerating steps got 
farther into the forest and remained the rest of the day. 

That night it was very dark, and we went cautiously along the public road. 
We heard a negro approaching, so stepped aside into the woods. He came on 
and in a stentorian voice was preaching a sermon to an imaginary congregation, 
for he was alone. As he came opposite, Hastings hailed him. To say that the 
preacher cut short his sermon is to put it mildly. That voice out of the dark 
ness so terrified him that for the moment he could not speak, but later said: 
"Who is dat?" Hastings said, "Yank." Then came the exclamation: "Dear 
Lor Massa, God bless yous !" After a little conversation he said that a white 
Union man lived not very far away, by the name of Beasly. We followed him 
to Beasly s but found he was not at home. 

We again got on th