The companies composing the Fourth Regiment were recruited, one from each of the counties of Chester, Monroe, Montgomery, Lycoming and Susquehanna, and the remaining five from the city and county of Philadelphia. The latter were sworn into the State service before leaving Philadelphia. Most of these companies had been partially recruited under former calls, but not being accepted their organizations were preserved and the expenses borne by the officers and their friends.
The companies were ordered to rendezvous at the camp at Easton, where seven, raised in Philadelphia and vicinity, arrived early in June. General McCall, who had been appointed to command the division, visited the camp on the 14th of June, and gave orders for its voluntary organization. He again visited it on the 20th, when, finding that regimental organizations had not been effected, he prescribed regulations by which they were immediately executed.
The following field officers were elected for the Fourth Regiment:
- Robert G. March, Colonel
- John F. Gaul, Lieutenant Colonel
- Robert M. McClure, Major
The regiment was clothed and equipped at the camp near Easton in July.
On the 16th it was ordered to Harrisburg, and proceeded thither by rail, encamping at Camp Curtin, where it remained until the 21st, when, in compliance with orders from the national authorities at Washington, it moved by rail to Baltimore, and encamped at Carroll Hill, reporting to General Dix. A few days later it moved to Stewart’s mansion on Baltimore street, where it remained on duty until the last of August, when it was ordered to the general camp of rendezvous for the Reserves at Tenallytown. On the Second of September General McCall thus reports its condition:
“The Fourth Regiment, Colonel Robert G. March, with an aggregate list of eight hundred and forty-seven men, is variously armed, the flank companies have rifles; company K, has the Harper’s Ferry musket; the other companies the old, altered flint-lock musket. This regiment, when encamped near Baltimore, was drilled in street firing to the neglect of the battalion drill, which is now being steadily practiced.”
On the 1st of October Colonel March resigned on account of disability, and was succeeded by Albert L. Magilton, Lieutenant Colonel of the Second Reserve. Upon the occasion of the presentation of flags to the division, the Fourth, being on picket duty, did not participate in the ceremonies. Colonel Magilton was well versed in military duty, and under his skillful discipline the regiment acquired marked proficiency. Upon the organization of the division, the Fourth was assigned to the Second Brigade,1 commanded by General Meade.
On the 9th of October the division broke camp at Tenallytown, and crossing the chain bridge, encamped in line with the Army of the Potomac near Langley. The Fourth Regiment, with the exception of the First, which was on its right, held the extreme right of the line. During the month of December Colonel Magilton established a school for the instruction of the officers, which was held nightly, and at which they were critically examined in the lesson which they had been required to study, and in the daily drill they were called, in turn, to put in practice the lesson of the previous evening. By this thorough course of discipline they soon became expert in duties, which, to many of them, were entirely new.
In the brilliant little victory achieved at Dranesville on the 20th of December, by the Third Brigade under General Ord, the Second Brigade was held in reserve; but, upon the opening of the fight, marched rapidly to its support, arriving upon the field, however, too late to be engaged.
Joining in the general forward movement of the army towards Manassas, which commenced in March, the Fourth moved to Hunter’s Mills, where the division was halted, it having been discovered that the enemy had fled. After a few days delay it returned to Alexandria, where it bivouacked and remained till ordered to Catlett’s Station.
Upon the departure of McClellan for the Peninsula, it was intended that McDowell, who commanded the First Corps, should join him by an overland route, covering Washington. The Reserves, constituting a part of the First Corps, were ordered to concentrate, at Falmouth, opposite Fredericksburg, early in June, and orders were issued for an advance by the general route of the Richmond and Potomac railroad. The First Brigade was already across the Rappahannock, when the order for an advance by that line was countermanded, and the Reserves, being detached from McDowell’s Corps, were ordered to proceed by water to White House, on the Pamunky, and thence march and form a junction with McClellan’s army.
The Fourth regiment arrived in the neighborhood of Mechanicsville on the 20th of June, and soon confronted the enemy. On the 26th a severe battle was fought by the Reserves on the line of Beaver Dam Creek, in which the enemy was repulsed with great slaughter. In this engagement the Fourth was held in reserve, and, though under fire during the entire battle, was not actively engaged. During the night the division was withdrawn to Gaines’ Mill, where, on the following day, the rebel army, sixty thousand strong, under its most trusted leaders, attacked the single corps of Fitz John Porter, isolated from the main army by the Chickahominy River. In this engagement McCall’s division was held in reserve until three o’clock P. M., when it was ordered in, and soon became desperately engaged.
The Fourth Regiment, says Sypher,
“commanded by Colonel Magilton, supported Duryea’s Zouaves, and after driving the enemy from the woods the regiment moved up to support Colonel Sickel, whose regiment was engaged in a terrific contest. Before the Fourth could come up, the Third had repulsed the enemy, and Colonel Magilton was ordered to the extreme left. Soon after going into action there, his regiment was overwhelmed,2 driven back, and becoming detached, was forced to cross the Chickahominy to Smith’s division to escape being captured.”
Retiring from the Chickahominy, the Army of the Potomac slowly wended its way towards the James. At Charles City Cross Roads the Reserves were drawn up across the New Market road to resist any attack from the direction of Richmond. On the 30th of June the enemy having massed his forces in their immediate front, attacked at half past two P. M. in the most determined manner, and followed up his first onset with unabated fury. The Fourth was posted in the front line on the right, in support of Randall’s Battery. Upon the opening of the battle the enemy struck heavily upon the left, but supports coming up quickly the force of the blow was broken and his lines were repulsed.
“Some time after this,” says General McCall in his official report, “the most determined charge of the day was made upon Randalls Battery by a full brigade, advancing in wedge shape, without order, but with a wild recklessness that I never saw equalled. Somewhat similar charges had, as I have stated, been previously made on Cooper’s and Kern’s Batteries by single regiments without success, the Confederates having been driven back with heavy loss.
“A like result appears to have been anticipated by Randall’s company, and the Fourth Regiment, (as was subsequently reported to me,) was requested not to advance between the guns, as I had ordered, as it interfered with the cannoneers, but to let the battery deal with them. Its gallant commander did not doubt, I am satisfied, his ability to repel the attack, and his guns fairly opened lanes in the advancing host.”
But the enemy, unchecked, closed up his shattered ranks and came on, with arms trailed, at a run to the very muzzles of the guns where he pistolled and bayoneted the cannoneers and attacked their supports with such fury and in such overwhelming numbers that they were broken and thrown into great confusion. Remnants of the regiment, however, rallied and held their ground with the most determined obstinacy.
“It was here, however,” says General McCall, “my fortune to witness between those of my men who stood their ground, and rebels who advanced, one of the fiercest bayonet fights that perhaps ever occurred on this continent. Bayonets were crossed and locked in the struggle; bayonet wounds were freely given and received. I saw skulls crushed by the heavy blow of the butt of the musket, and, in short, the desperate thrusts and parries of a life and death encounter, proving indeed that Greek had met Greek, when the Alabama boys fell upon the sons of Pennsylvania.”
The enemy was successfully held in check, and: during the night the Reserves retired to Malvern Hill. Here McCall’s Division was held in reserve and was not called into action. The casualties in the Fourth Regiment, during the seven days of battle, were upwards of two hundred.
From Malvern Hill the Reserves marched with the army to Harrison’s Landing, where they remained until summoned to the support of Pope, on the Rapidan. General McCall having resigned, the command of the division was given to General John F. Reynolds, under whom it marched to the plains of Manassas, and was engaged in the second battle of Bull Run, on the 29th and 30th of August. The Fourth Regiment was posted near the centre of the last line.
Attacked with overwhelming numbers the left was obliged to yield, the troops not being sufficiently in hand for the commanding General to furnish ready supports at the needed points. The Reserves fought well in this battle; but from no fault of theirs it was in vain. The loss in the Fourth was one killed and eleven wounded.
The regiment next met the enemy at South Mountain. General Meade having succeeded to the command of the division, Colonel Magilton assumed command of the Second Brigade, and Major Nyce, that of the regiment, Colonel Woolworth being absent, wounded. The First Brigade, under Seymour, was ordered to advance and take a low ridge, running parallel to the mountain. The Third Brigade, under Gallagher, and the Second, under Magilton, was formed in line with that of Seymour’s, but lower down in the Valley. At the foot of the mountain the enemy’s infantry was met, when the action became general, and, as the line advanced, his troops, posted behind trees and rocks, were gradually dislodged until the heights were carried and the victory was complete. The Fourth lost, in this engagement, five men killed and twenty-two wounded.
From South Mountain the Reserves moved through Boonsboro, and, crossing Antietam Creek, opened the battle on the evening of the 16th of September, where the Fourth was in the advance. Resting upon the ground on which they had fought, at daybreak on the following morning they renewed the battle, which raged with great fury for five hours, when the division was relieved. The Fourth lost in this engagement five killed, forty wounded and four-missing.
In the battle of Fredericksburg, which was fought on the 13th of December, the Fourth participated and held the right of the second line. Advancing in the face of a severe fire of infantry and artillery, the men fought with determined bravery, and breaking through the enemy’s line carried the summit, which was the key to his position; but failing of support the division was forced to retire,3 and the fruits of the success were lost. The Fourth lost in this engagement two killed, thirty-four wounded and four missing. Among the wounded was Lieutenant Colonel Woolworth, commanding the regiment.
Soon after the battle of Fredericksburg, Colonel Magilton resigned, and Richard H. Woolworth, Major of the Third Regiment, who had been acting as Lieutenant Colonel, was promoted to fill the vacancy.
On the 8th of February, 1863, the Reserves, now greatly reduced by active service, were ordered to the defences of Washington to rest and recruit. Here the Fourth Regiment remained, engaged in various duties pertaining to the Department, until the 6th of January, 1864, when, in company with the Third, it was ordered to duty in West Virginia.
On the evening of January 5th, orders were received to take transportation at Washington. Soon after midnight they left camp, marched into Washington, were loaded into box cars, and proceeded by the Baltimore and Ohio railroad to Martinsburg, where they arrived on the morning of the 7th. From Washington Junction to Martinsburg, the cars were pushed forward at their utmost speed. The 6th and 7th being the coldest days of the winter, the men suffered terribly from the sharp winter blasts as they were hurled through the gaps and ravines of this mountainous district.
At Martinsburg they found General Averill’s Cavalry. His command had just returned from a raid upon Salem, in Roanoke county, Virginia, an important point on the Virginia and Tennessee railroad, where they destroyed a great quantity of commissary stores which the enemy had collected there. On their return they were pursued by a heavy force of rebels. It was thought that the enemy designed pushing forward to the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, perhaps into the border counties of Pennsylvania, and hence the speedy forwarding of these two regiments to the rescue. No attempt was made to execute this purpose, and there was no immediate work for the detachment upon its arrival.
The Third was commanded by Major William Briner, the Fourth by Lieutenant Colonel T. F. B. Tapper, the whole under command of Colonel Woolworth of the Fourth. The detachment performed picket duty on the roads in the vicinity of Martinsburg from January 7th till the 28th. On the latter date it was ordered to take transportation on cars westward, and was halted at New Creek, a station in a wild mountainous district one hundred miles west from Martinsburg. The detachment reported to Colonel Mulligan who had command of this post. The exigency which called the Third and Fourth to this wild forlorn spot appeared to have passed, and they were ordered to pitch their tents on a flat on the north branch of the Potomac.
Early in the night of January 31st, in the midst of a rainstorm, they were ordered to report at Colonel Mulligan’s headquarters with two days rations. It was reported that the rebels had attacked a train of eighty wagons going from New Creek to Petersburg, in Hardy county, a point some forty miles south, an extreme out-post, garrisoned by a small federal force. Under the command of Colonel Mulligan the Third and Fourth, accompanied by several small squads of cavalry and infantry commenced the night pursuit. They were marched and counter-marched for six successive days and nights without shelter over muddy and rocky roads, compelled to ford swollen mountain streams, scour the sides of mountains, penetrate gaps on either side of the narrow valley through which they marched, for the double purpose of finding the enemy and guarding against surprise. Within five miles of Moorefield they formed a junction with Averill’s Cavalry, which had marched from Martinsburg through Winchester and Romney.
The enemy moved with rapidity, and succeeded in escaping with most of the wagon train, together with about five hundred cattle stolen from the people of Hardy and Hampshire counties. Completely exhausted from constant marching, want of sleep and exposure, the two regiments returned on the evening of February 6th to their tents left standing on the banks of the Potomac.
On the 10th of February, the Third Regiment was furnished with transportation to Martinsburg. The Fourth followed two or three days later. On the night of February 11th, a force of rebel brigands said to have been under the command of the “chivalrous” Harry Gilmore, threw a passenger train off the track eight miles east of Martinsburg, and robbed the passengers of all their valuable effects. This was represented as the advance guard of a large rebel force in the vicinity of Winchester. Early on the morning of the 4th, Colonel Rodgers who had command of the troops in and about Martinsburg, put the Third Reserve, Eighteenth Connecticut, One Hundred and Twenty-third Ohio and two batteries, in motion towards Winchester. Several regiments of cavalry preceded the infantry and artillery. Winchester was reached in the afternoon, but neither robbers nor enemy in force were found. On the following day this force returned to Martinsburg.
Wednesday, February 7th, the Third moved from Martinsburg to Vanclevesville, five miles east of Martinsburg on the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, and the Fourth to Kearneysville, nine miles east on the same road. From these two points the regiments performed picket duty on the railroad until March 27th, when the Fourth was moved to Harper’s Ferry; two days after, the Third joined it. The detachment performed picket duty at Harper’s Ferry till April 3d.
All baggage that could possibly be dispensed with was here stored. Each man was ordered to have on his person sixty rounds of cartridge, an extra pair of shoes and four days’ rations. Thus relieved of many camp comforts and having received additional burden, the Third and Fourth were again sent westward, across the Alleghenies, to Grafton, two hundred miles from Harper’s Ferry; from thence, five miles on the South Branch road leading to Parkersburg, to Webster. Several loyal Virginia regiments had preceded the Reserves at this point, and two batteries followed. Averill’s cavalry went into camp several miles further north. Wagons, ambulances, and pontoon bridges were collected at Webster.
The design of the expedition, which was to start from this point, was to advance upon the Virginia and Tennessee railroad, by marching through Barbour and Randolph counties, and thence directly south through the mountainous districts. The continuous rains, however, made the roads impassable; in addition to this, the enemy, having some knowledge of the design and route, had dug down the mountain road in several narrow passes, and felled trees over other portions. It was eventually concluded to abandon the enterprise. The force that had been collected about Webster was divided and sent east and west. Several Virginia regiments marched to Martinsburg to join the command of General Sigel, about to move on Staunton and Lynchburg.
The two Reserve regiments were among the infantry sent west, and, on the 22d of April, started for Parkersburg, on the Ohio river. At Parkersburg they were transferred to steamboats and went down the Ohio to the mouth of the Great Kanawha, thence up this river to Brownstown, ten miles above Charleston.
Colonel Sickel, who had been retained at Alexandria to fill an important trust, was ordered, at his own request, to rejoin his old command. He received, upon his arrival, a hearty welcome from the officers and men of his regiment. General George Crook had command of the troops concentrating in the Kanawha Valley. He spent but four days in organizing his fragmentary commands, reducing baggage, sending off the sick and getting in order his supply and ammunition train, Immediately after landing at Brownstown, General Crook placed Colonel Sickel in command of his Third Brigade, composed of the Third and Fourth Reserve and the Eleventh and Fifteenth West Virginia regiments. The Third was under command of Captain Jacob Lenhart. Major William Briner, while at Webster, had received a severe injury in his right hand in extinguishing the fire that was burning his tent, and was sent to the hospital at Grafton, to the deep regret of his men. The Fourth was commanded by Colonel R. H. Woolworth.
On Saturday morning, April 30th, the Third Brigade started from Brownstown, and for two days marched up the narrow Kanawha Valley. The swollen tributaries of the Kanawha had no bridges and the men were obliged to ford them. On the morning of May 2d, the command started from Great Falls, at the confluence of Gauley and New rivers, (forming the Kanawha,) and climbed the heights of Cotton Mountain. The morning was bright and beautiful, quite warm, and many of the men, as they toiled up the steep rough way, became exhausted, and threw away overcoats and blankets. Before noon, dark clouds arose succeeded by a cold chilly rain, and by the time they reached the ragged village of Fayette, they were greeted with a driving snow storm. Men divested of overcoats and blankets, wet to the skin, shivering with the cold, presented a pitiable sight. Fayette was the extreme out-post held. by the Union forces. The brigade of infantry and battery on duty here, were added to General Crook’s command.
The force was now composed of three brigades of infantry, three batteries, General Averill’s cavalry, and a train of one hundred and fifty wagons with about fifty ambulances. The design of the expedition was to strike the Virginia and Tennessee railroad at Wytheville and Dublin, tear up the track, burn the bridge across New river and thus co-operate with the army of the Potomac, by cutting the main artery which furnished supplies to Lee’s Army. General Averill moved by Logan Court House, intending to strike at Saltville, to which point there was a branch from the main road.
To deceive the enemy as to the route, General Crook sent the Fifth Virginia Infantry, under command of Colonel A. A. Tomlinson, with Lieutenant Blazer’s scouts on the Lewisburg road. This feint succeeded admirably in drawing off’ MCausland’s Brigade in that direction.
From Fayette Court House the three brigades of infantry with artillery and wagon train, marched through Raleigh county, and across the Great Flat Top Mountain, which was set on fire by our advance. The mountain was systematically fired on both sides of the road. This was done to give General Averill a signal and mark the course of the infantry.
On this day the Third Reserve was acting as a guard to the wagon train. The road was lined with the trunks of dead chestnut trees which burned with great fury. Occasionally a flaming limb or top of a tree would fall across the road, terrifying both horses and men. It was by no means a pleasant duty to guard wagons loaded with ammunition, while passing through such an ordeal as this. Even veteran soldiers were in trepidation lest there should be a premature explosion from sparks that might find their way among the wooden boxes to the missiles of death. On the south side of the Great at lt Top Mountain many trees were found felled across the road-the first intimation of the presence of an enemy.
On the 6th of May the advance had a lively skirmish with the Sixtieth Virginia, at Princetown, the county seat of Mercer county, Our forces came upon them suddenly. They left their tents standing, and dropped their tools in the trench of the formidable fort they were erecting. During the next two days the command made a forced march, skirmishing by the way with small detachments of the rebels, groasd East River Mountain, passed through Rocky Gap in Tazewell county, and moved through Walker’s Valley. It was after a march of thirty miles, on the 8th, that the gap near Shannon’s bridge ws gained. This gap opens up to the north-west slope of Walker or Cloyd Mountain.
On the morning of the 9th, the command passed through this gap. The Second Brigade was under command of Colonel C. B. Nybite. The Third Reserve and Eleventh Virginia filed off the mountain road t the left, marched down a densely wooded ravine for half a mile, and climbed directly to the summit of the mountain.
While this was being done, Colonel Sickel with the Fourth Reserve and Fifteenth Virginia proceeded up the mountain road, and the First Brigade advanced up the mountain on the right of the road. General Crook dismounted and climbed the mountain on the left with the Second Brigade and the two regiments of the Third. When the summit was gained the position of the enemy was discovered on a bold ridge running along the foot of the mountain. His artillery was placed so as to command the mountain road, rake the open fields on either side and the bridge that spanned a deep stream at the mountain’s base. The rebel infantry extended on either side of the batteries across the open space until their right and left were lost in woods on either side of the road. In this open space the rebels were well protected by a fortification of logs and rails.
General Crook, from his commanding lookout, formed his plan of battle and issued his orders for the advance. The Second Brigade crept secretly along the south side of the mountain to operate upon the enemy’s right. The Third Reserve and Eleventh Virginia rejoined Colonel Sickel’s Regiment on the mountain road. The First and Third Brigades moved down the mountain and formed in the edge of the woods immediately in the enemy’s front under a constant fire from rebel artillery.
As soon as the Second Brigade had fairly engaged the enemy, the First and Third Brigades were ordered to charge across the open field, in the face of the enemy’s battery and over the rail and log fortification of his infantry. The moment they came out from the cover of the woods, the enemy opened upon them a terrific volley of grape and canister, which told frightfully on the advancing column. Colonel Sickel, who saw his men falling rapidly, ordered his command to move by the left obliques so as to secure the protection of the hill over which they were charging. This was done in good style, the ravine was gained and they plunged through the deep stream. They paused but a moment on the bank and with a cheer pressed up the steep ridge, the enemy receiving them with a withering fire, as they climbed the height. With an intrepidity that can not be overawed nor baffled, those who survive the deadly volley, rush on and scale the enemy’s breast-works. While the First and Third Brigades gain the front, the Second, with heavy loss break in on the right. The rout of the enemy both in front and on his right is simultaneous and complete.
The enfilading fire that was poured into the rebels on the right, and the fire from the front, as they fled panic-stricken and in disorder, told with terrible effect. The flight of the enemy was followed up by Colonel Oley with four hundred cavalry. Morgan, who had just arrived at Dublin with six hundred men from Saltville, was coming up to the support of the rebels, when he met them discomfitted and fleeing. The advance, which pressed on to Dublin drove him before them. He soon sought refuge with his fleeing comrades.
The loss in this engagement was one hundred and seven killed, five hundred wounded and twenty missing. The two Reserve regiments, numbering from five to six hundred, had from seventy-five to one hundred killed and wounded. Chaplain Pomeroy buried the remains of Colonel Woolworth, who fell, mortally wounded, at the head of his regiment, together with six private soldiers of the Third and Fourth, underneath a locust tree near by the stream over which the regiment charged.
Captain Lenhart was wounded early in the engagement. The command of the Third then devolved upon Captain Robert Johnson, and the Fourth, after the fall of Colonel Woolworth, on Lieutenant Colonel T. F. B. Tapper. Captain P. M. Davis died on the field from the effect of his wounds. Captain James H. Waites and Lieutenant Jacob Wheeler, of the Fourth, and Lieutenant R F. Hemming, of the Third, were among the wounded. The Third Regiment had three color bearers shot down in the charge upon the enemy’s works.
Owing to the lack of transportation, about two hundred of the most seriously wounded were left in the large brick mansion of James Cloyd, on the battle-field. Supplies were left with them and medical attendance provided for.
In the battle of Cloyd Mountain the enemy is supposed to have had at least four-thousand men engaged. This force was under the command of General Jenkins. He was mortally wounded in the engagement, and died a few days after the battle. Over two hundred rebels were buried on the field; at least two hundred wounded were left in our hands, and two hundred and thirty were taken prisoners.
After the complete rout of the rebels here, they did not make a stand at the railroad. General Crook’s force marched into Dublin without firing a gun. Here a great amount of rations and military equipments of different kinds fell into our hands. The rations were appropriated, the warehouses with military stores were destroyed.
On the morning of the 10th, General Crook’s command pushed on from Dublin towards the bridge across New river. When within a short distance of this point the enemy opened with artillery. The federal artillery, which was not used in the battle of Cloyd Mountain, was now brought into play and soon silenced the rebel guns. The enemy spiked his pieces and fled. The Third and Fourth regiments were on the left, supporting our batteries during this artillery duel. In the engagement the Third had one man killed and several wounded.
The enemy beaten, the railroad bridge, an immense structure, was destroyed and General Crook’s command commenced its return. New river was crossed on the night of the 10th at Pepper’s Ferry. The troops were pushed across in a single flat-boat, and the ambulances loaded with wounded men, together with the wagons, were driven through the deep rapid stream. Several men and teams were reported as lost in this perilous crossing.
On the night of the 10th, rain began to descend, making the roads horrible. On the 11th, the command marched in rain during the entire day and reached Blacksburg in the afternoon. Here comfortable quarters were found for the wounded in a large brick academy building. On the following day, the rain still continuing, the march was pursued to the summit of Salt Pond Mountain. The rebels opposed the advance at several points. Owing to the impassable nature of the roads, and the worn out and almost starved condition of the animals, it was found necessary to destroy part of the loads and in some instances the wagons. On Peters’ Mountain one cannon and ten ambulances were taken from the enemy.
May 15th the command reached Union, the county seat of Monroe county, and on the evening of the 16th the Greenbrier river. The banks of the stream were full to overflowing. The ambulances and wagons were taken across in a single flat-boat.
On the 19th of May, the command halted at Meadow Bluff, in the Southern extremity of Fayette county, after twenty days continuous marching. Half this time it was skirmishing with the enemy. Every night a strong guard had to be posted around the camp to avoid surprise. On most of this expedition it had to depend on the country-most of it poverty stricken-for subsistence for both men and animals. By the time it reached Meadow Bluff some of the men were suffering terribly from hunger, and no less than three hundred were without soles to their shoes.
The suffering of the wounded, riding for ten consecutive days over horrible roads, fording deep streams that frequently entered the ambulance beds, and over rugged mountains, cannot be described. From Meadow Bluff the wounded were sent to the Kanawha river, loaded on boats, and from thence taken to Glipolis, on the Ohio river.
On the 22d of May, General Sickel’s Brigade was ordered to Millville near Louisburg. While here, their term of service having expired, the Third and Fourth Regiments received orders to return to Pennsylvania, to be mustered out.
On the 30th of May, these two regiments turned faces homeward, leaving behind the recruits that had been received into the regiments since their organization, whose term of service had not yet expired, and the men who had re-enlisted. The Third and Fourth marched from Millville to Meadow Bluff, and thence across the Great Sewell Mountain to Great Fails and down the Kanawha Valley to Camp Piatt, a point directly opposite Brownstown, on the Kanawha riverf rom which General Crook’s expedition started April 30th.
On the 4th of June they embarked upon the steamer Jonas Powell and proceeded to Pittsburg. On the way up the Ohio river, the reception at Pittsburg and transit from Pittsburg to Philadelphia, these veterans received a welcome and hearty greeting from a grateful people. The brass band of the detachment gracefully returned the greeting in the same soul-stirring strains as reverberated amid the hills and mountains of West Virginia in the daring advance and victorious return.
This band has a peculiar and honorable history. Captain N. A. Pennypacker, of the Fourth, originated it while the detachment was on duty in the Department of Washington. The members were officers and privates, principally from the Fourth, several from the Third. After leaving Washington, in all the wanderings and buffettings of the West Virginia experience, this musical organization was still preserved. Bands and drum corps are usually in the rear when there is danger or fighting to be done. In this case instruments were simply sent to the rear, and Captain Pennypacker and his fellow musicians were always found in their places when the enemy was to be met in, deadly conflict. Helping to overcome the rebel foe, they were the men to sound forth the paeans of victory when the field was won.
Arriving at Philadelphia on Wednesday, June 8th, they were mustered out of service, the Fourth on the 15th and the Third on the 17th days of June. After the order for muster out was received, Colonel Sickel detailed six officers, together with those remaining in the field, to command of the veterans and recruits, as follows: Lieutenants George B. Davis, Amos N. Seitzinger, John H. Crothers and William McCarty of the Third, and J. N. Blundin and W. H. Derickson of the Fourth. The veterans and recruits formed a battalion of five companies, commanded by Captains Sweet, Davis, Blundin, Seitzinger and Moulton. The battalion was in command of Captain Sweet, Captain Blundin acting as Adjutant and Captain Davis as Quartermaster. It participated in all the engagements from Meadow Bluff to Staunton and thence to Lynchburg, being employed as skirmishers. They were the first to break the lines of the enemy at Lynchburg, and were upon the point of entering the town when they were ordered to retire. It was afterwards consolidated with the Fifty-fourth Pennsylvania, Colonel Campbell.
- Organization of the Second Brigade, Brigadier General George G. Meade; Pennsylvania Reserve Corps, Major General George A. McCall. Third (32d) Regiment Pensylvania Volunteers, Colonel Horatio G. Sickel; Fourth (33d) Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel Albert L. Magilton; Seventh (36th) Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel Elisha B. Harvey; Eleventh (40th) Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel Thomas F. Gallagher.
- This and all our positions were held against the enormous odds, and the enemy were at times driven back by our battalions of fresh troops as they were successively thrown into action. At each repulse by us, fresh troops were thrown by the enemy upon our exhausted forces, and in such numbers and so rapidly that it appeared as if their Reserves were inexhaustible; the action now extended throughout our entire line, the brigades of M’Call were successively thrown forward to give support to Morrell’s hard pressed division. The promised reinforcements (Slocum’s Division) arrived just as the last of M’Call’s troops had been sent in to the relief of those of Morrell’s Battalions, whose ammunition had been exhausted, or to take the place of those who had been nearly cut to pieces.-.Official Report of General Porter. – Moore’s Rebellion Record, Comp. Vol, page 668.
- So sudden and unlooked for was Meade’s success, that General Gregg, mistaking the advancing Federals for a body of Confederates, did what he could to prevent his men from firing and fell mortally wounded while doing so. The brigades received and poured a withering fire into the faces of Meade’s men. At this moment the second line, composed of Early’s and Taliaferro’s Division, movedforward at a double quick and turned the tide. Meade’s confused line was compelled to draw back; the enemy was closing in on either flank, and the alternative of a rapid retreat, only, was left him. -Battlefield of Fredericksburg, (rebel,) pages 16 and 17.