Lieutenant-Colonel Levi Bird Duff was born near Saulsburg, Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania, 13th September, 1837, of Pennsylvania parents. His father, Samuel Duff, was born at Perkiomen Bridge, Montgomery County, and his mother, Catherine Eckeberger, in Huntingdon.
He was educated at Eldersridge Academy and Allegheny College, graduating from the latter in June, 183 j. He studied law in Pittsburg and was admitted to the bar in April, 1860. May 1, 1861, he enlisted in Company A, Ninth Regiment, Pennsylvania Reserve Corps, and was mustered into the United States’ service at Washington July 26, 1861, as corporal. The regiment was engaged at Dranesville, December 20, 1861, and the Commanding General Ord recommended a number of officers and privates ” for reward for gallant conduct” in the engagement, among whom was Corporal Duff.
February 6, 1862, Mr. Duff was appointed captain of Company D, One Hundred and Fifth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, then in Heintzelman’s division of the Army of the Potomac, subsequently the First Division of the Third Army Corps. Captain Duff had command of his company during the siege of Yorktown and at the battles of Williamsburg and Fair Oaks (or Seven Pines), where he was severely wounded in the right chest by a musket-ball which passed through his right lung.
On recovering from his wound he rejoined his regiment at Harrison’s Landing, August 16, 1862. The division was ordered to join General Pope, and when General Jackson captured Manassas Junction, Captain Duff with his company was guarding the railroad at Catlett’s Station. He joined General Hooker in the pursuit of Jackson, and was engaged at Kettle Run August 25, 1862. He rejoined his own regiment and was engaged at Bull Run August 29 and 30, and at Chantilly September 1, where General Kearney, commanding division, was I killed. During the Antietam campaign the division lay in front of Washington, but joined the army on the march to the Rappahannock. Captain Duff commanded his company during this march and at the battle of Fredericksburg, 13th December, 1862.
In March, 1863, he was appointed acting assistant inspector-general of the First Brigade, First Division, Third Corps. He served on the staff at Chancellorsville, and General Birney, commanding division, said he was proud of the conduct displayed by Captain Duff on that field of battle.”
May 4, 1863, he was promoted to major of his regiment, and May 1 1 he was appointed acting assistant inspector-general of the Third Division, Third Corps; and June 26 appointed acting assistant inspector-general of the First Division, Third Corps. He served on the staff at Gettysburg and in the campaign to the Rappahannock, including the affair at Manassas Gap, July 24, 1863.In November, 1863, he was placed in command of the One Hundred and Tenth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, which he commanded in the Mine Run campaign and until December 21.
April 9, 1864, he was appointed acting assistant inspector-general of the First Division, Third Corps, then the Third Division of the Second Corps. He served on the staff at the Wilderness, and was then, at his own request, returned to his regiment. He commanded his own regiment and the Sixty-third Pennsylvania Volunteers, which was added to his own for field-service, from May 8 until June 18, and was engaged at Po River, Spottsylvania Court-House, North Anna, Totopotomy, Cold Harbor, and the first assaults on Petersburg. June 18, in an assault on Petersburg, commonly called by the soldiers the ” Hare-House slaughter,” he was wounded, with loss of his right leg.
May 18, 1864, he was appointed lieutenant-colonel of his regiment. October 25, being disabled for field duty, he was, at his own request, discharged from the service. He returned to Pittsburg and resumed the practice of his profession. In 1865 he was elected district attorney of Allegheny County, and held the office three years.
In a letter dated August 31, 1864, General Birney, commander of the Tenth Corps, says, “It gives me pleasure to state that I have always regarded Major Duff as one of the best soldiers and most efficient officers in my former command, the Third Division, Second Army Corps.”
Colonel Duff was married July 21, 1862, to Harriet H. Nixon, who died July 13, 1877. He was again married January 16, 1882, to Agnes F. Kaufman. Two sons, children of the first wife,-Samuel Eckeberger and Hezekiah Nixon; are living.
Currently a resident of Burke, Virginia - I'm originally from the City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I have been a student of the Pennsylvania Reserves since 1997 and thoroughly enjoy telling their story. By trade I'm a former IT Professional but presently working as a Letter Carrier for the United States Postal Service.