William W. Stewart, 1st Pennsylvania Reserves

History of Cumberland and Adams Counties, Pennsylvania Chicago: Part III, History of Adams County, Pages 463-464. Warner, Beers & Co., 1886.

Col. William Warren Stewart, civil engineer, York Springs, is a native of York Springs Borough, and was born August 8, 1836, a son of Dr. William Rippy and Diana (McKinney) Stewart; the former a native of Shippensburg, Cumberland County, and a son of Alexander Stewart, M. D., and Jane (Rippy) Stewart. Diana McKinney was a daughter of David McKinney, a tanner of Strasburg, Franklin Co., Penn. The Stewarts are of Scotch, the McKinney’s of Scotch-Irish, and the Rippys of Scotch extraction. Dr. William Rippy Stewart located at York Springs in 1827, and was in continuous and successful practice there up to within one year of his death, which occurred March 9, 1867. He left a widow, now (1886) aged seventy-eight, and eight children. He was an enterprising and progressive citizen and had the confidence and respect of the entire community to a remarkable degree. Col. Stewart, at about the age of fourteen, became a student at Cumberland Valley Institute for one year; then at Juniata Academy, Shirleysburg, Huntingdon County, two years. At the latter place he paid considerable attention to mathematics and civil engineering with the intention of following that profession. In 1857 he became a member of a corps of United States engineers in the survey of Government lands in Nebraska; returned in 1859, and shortly after obtained employment in the office of the Adams Express Company at Baltimore; was with them when Fort Sumter was fired upon, and about that time returned to York Springs. In June, 1861, he enlisted in Company K, First Regiment Pennsylvania Reserve Volunteer Corps. and, two weeks after arriving in camp at West Chester, Penn., was made first sergeant; September of the same year was made first lieutenant of Company K, then stationed at Tennellytown, Va.; November of the same year he was detached from Company K, and made adjutant of the regiment, June 30, 1862. During the seven days’ battle of the peninsula, at Charles City Cross Roads, he was wounded by a minie ball through the left thigh, and taken prisoner. He was confined in Libby prison until September, when he was paroled. While in prison he was promoted, June 30; the captain having been killed, the captaincy of his company devolved on him.

William W. Stewart
Lt. Col. William W. Stewart, First Pennsylvania Reserves

When his exchange was duly effected he was released from this parole and assumed the command of the company. January 7, 1863, he was appointed lieutenant-colonel of the regiment, it being a part of the Twenty-second Army Corps, in Fairfax County, Va., and a brevet-colonel March 13, 1864, for gallant conduct at the battle of the Wilderness and Spottsylvania Court House. The regiment was mustered out in June, 1864. The Colonel took part in the following battles: Drainsville, Hawkshurst Mills, Mechanicsville, Gaines Mills, Charles City Cross Roads, Fredericksburg, New Hope Church, Mine Run, Rappahannock Station, Spottsylvania Court House, Wilderness, North Anna (where he was slightly wounded in the side by a piece of shell), Pamumky River, Cold Harbor, Bethesda, and the battle of Gettysburg. At the last named, the Colonel with his command came on the battle-ground early in the morning of the second day, having marched thirty-five miles the day previous. The command occupied Little Round Top, and charged with their brigade, which recovered the ground lost by the First and Second Divisions of the Fifth Army Corps. He had charge of the skirmishers that afternoon and night, and continued to do duty until the charge of his brigade on the third day, which was personally ordered by Gen. Meade. In the charge, some eighty or ninety prisoners were captured, two battle-flags and from 2,200 to 3,500 stand of muskets. The brigade lay on the field that night, making forty-two hours they had been without rest. March 15, 1865, he was commissioned a colonel of the One Hundred and Ninety-second Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, and with it participated in the campaign against Richmond, and took part in some skirmishes in the valley of Shenandoah and Virginia. Part of that time he was in command of the Third Brigade of the Second Division of the Army of the Shenandoah. After the surrender of Lee, he had, as brigade commander, charge of the post at Staunton, Va., which embraced Harrisonburg and Lexington, Va., and the latter part of July, 1865, was assigned to command the post at Harper’s Ferry. Was mustered out August 24, 1865; and for gallant conduct at North Anna River, where he led the forlorn hope, was brevetted a brigadier-general, dating from March 15, 1865. At the close of the war he returned to York Springs, and has since followed the profession of a civil engineer. The Colonel resides on the old homestead of his father, at York Springs.

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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.