Field & Staff---Unassigned---Band
Organized at Harrisburg August and September, 1861. Moved to Washington, D.C., September 20-21. Attached to 3rd Brigade, W. F. Smith's Division, Army Potomac, to January, 1862. District of Key West, Fla., to June, 1862. District of Beaufort, S.C., Dept. South, to November, 1862. District of Key West, Fla., 10th Corps, Dept. of the South, November, 1862, and Dept. of the Gulf to February, 1864. 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 19th Army Corps, Dept. of the Gulf, to July, 1864, and Army of the Shenandoah, Middle Military Division, to February, 1865. 2nd Brigade, Provisional Division, Army Shenandoah, to April, 1865. 2nd Brigade, Dwight's Division, 22nd Corps, Dept. of Washington, to May, 1865. 3rd Brigade, Dwight's Division, District of Savannah, Ga., Dept. South, to July, 1865. 1st Sub-District, South Carolina, Dept. South Carolina, to December, 1865.
SERVICE.--Duty in the Defenses of Washington, D.C., until January, 1862. Moved to Key West, Fla., via Annapolis, Md., and on Steamer "Oriental!" January 22-February 4. Duty at Fort Taylor, Key West, Fla., until June 18. Moved to Hilton Head, S. C, June 18-22, thence to Beaufort, S.C., July 2, and duty there until October. Expedition to Florida September 30-October 13. St. John's Bluff October 3. Capture of Jacksonville October 5 (Cos. "E" and "K"). Expedition from Jacksonville to Lake Beresford and capture of Steamer "Gov. Milton" near Hawkinsville October 6 (Cos. "E" and "K"). Expedition to Pocotaligo, S.C., October 21-23. Frampton's Plantation and Pocotaligo Bridge October 22. Ordered to Key West, Fla., November 15. Garrison Fort Taylor (Cos. "A," "B," "C," "E," "G" and "I") and Fort Jefferson (Cos. "D," "F," "H" and "K") until February, 1864. Moved to New Orleans, La., February 25. (Regiment reenlisted October, 1863, to February, 1864.) At Algiers, La., February 28. Banks' Red River Campaign March 10-May 22. Advance from Franklin to Alexandria March 14-26. Battle of Sabine Cross Roads April 8. Pleasant Hill April 9. Monett's Ferry, Cane River Crossing, April 23. Fatigue duty at Alexandria constructing dam across Red River April 30-May 10. Retreat to Morganza May 13-20. Mansura May 16. At Morganza until June 20. At New Orleans until July 5. Moved to Washington, D.C., July 5-12. Sheridan's Shenandoah Valley Campaign August to November. Battle of Opequan, Winchester, September 19. Fisher's Hill September 22. Battle of Cedar Creek October 19. At Camp Russell, near Winchester, until December 20, and at Camp Fairview, Charlestown, and on outpost duty in West Virginia until April, 1865. Moved to Washington. D.C., April 19-21. Grand Review May 23-24. Moved to Savannah, Ga., May 31-June 4, and to Charleston, S.C., June 17. Duty at Charleston and other points in South Carolina until December. Mustered out December 25, 1865.
Regiment lost during service 5 Officers and 112 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 3 Officers and 170 Enlisted men by disease. Total 290.
Companies B, E and G, as also a portion of company I, had previously served in the First Regiment, during the three months' service, D in the Second, A and a portion of I in the Ninth, C in the Eleventh, and K in the Twenty-fifth. The companies rendezvoused at Camp Curtin, and on the 1st of September the following field officers were appointed:
Tilghman H. Good, Colonel
G. W. Alexander, Lieutenant Colonel
William H. Gausler, Major
James W. Fuller, Jr., was appointed Adjutant
Schools of instruction for officers were here instituted, and although but little opportunity was presented for drill, the command was brought to a high degree of proficiency in discipline. The various companies were uniformed and equipped as they were mustered in, at dates varying from the 19th of August to the 20th of September.
From Harrisburg the regiment proceeded to Washington, arriving on the 21st of September. It was accompanied by an excellent brass band, under the leadership of Thomas Coates. Upon its arrival it was stationed on Kalorama Heights until the 27th, when it was ordered to move across the Chain Bridge and join the advance of the army. It encamped at Fort Ethan Allen, and was assigned to the Third Brigade1 of General W. F. Smith's Division. It had been armed by the State with the Mississippi Rifle, and drilled exclusively in light infantry tactics. Its commanding officer was a strict disciplinarian, having for years commanded the Allen Rifles, a company well known in Pennsylvania for its efficient drill. At the approach of winter the soldiers of the Forty-seventh were not forgotten by their friends at home. Gloves, blankets and articles of clothing, to protect them from the chilling blasts of winter, were provided in abundance.
The evening of the 28th, the Forty-seventh occupied the fort, expecting an attack from the enemy. The night was cold, and the men anxiously awaited the approach of day. At four A. M., heavy firing was heard in the direction of Falls Church. Volley after volley rolled out on the still air of the morning.
Hastily forming, the regiment marched at double-quick three miles in the direction of the sound, when ambulances were met bearing their mangled freight, and it was ascertained, that through mistake, the Sixty-ninth and Seventy-first Pennsylvania regiments had fired upon each other. The regiment moved with the brigade and division to Camp Griffin, and on the 11th of October, participated in the grand review at Bailey's Cross Roads. It was ordered, on the 20th of December to Dranesville, to take part in the battle at that place; but the enemy having retreated, it was halted at Freedom Hill, and at dusk returned to camp.
On the 22d of January, 1862, the regiment was, at the request of Brigadier General Brannan, then commanding the Third Brigade, ordered to accompany him to Key West, Florida. Exchanging the Mississippi for the Springfield rifle, it left Washington, on the 23d, for Annapolis, where it was quartered in the Naval buildings, and embarked on the steamship Oriental, for Key West, on the 27th. Arriving on the 4th of February, it was brigaded with the Seventh New Hampshire, and the Ninetieth and Ninety-first New York, the whole under command of General Brannan. While here, it was drilled from five to eight hours each day, a part of the drill being in heavy artillery, at Fort Taylor. It suffered much from fevers incident to the climate, and many of its members died.
Remaining until the 18th of June, it embarked with the brigade for Hilton Head, South Carolina, where it arrived on the 22d. Debarking, it encamped in the rear of Fort Walker until the 2d of July, when it was ordered to participate in the attack upon Secessionville, but was not engaged. It then moved to Beaufort, where it was brigaded with the Sixth Connecticut, Seventh New Hampshire and Eighth Maine. A large portion of the forces here were about this time sent north, in consequence of which, the duty became onerous, it being necessary to picket the entire island. For its attention to duty, discipline and soldierly bearing, the regiment received the highest commendation from Generals Hunter and Brannan.
General O. M. Mitchell assumed command of the Department of the South on the 16th of September, and an expedition was soon after fitted out to penetrate Florida, and remove the obstructions in the St. John's River. The force selected consisted of the Forty-seventh Pennsylvania, Seventh Connecticut, First Connecticut Battery, and one company of the First Massachusetts Cavalry, all under the command of General Brannan.
Landing at Maysport Mills, on the 1st of October, the campaign was opened by operations directed against St. John's Bluff, a strongly fortified point, five miles from the mouth of the St. John's River. Moving on the 2d through swamps and pine woods, by a circuit of twenty-five miles, the Forty-seventh in advance, constantly skirmishing with, and driving the enemy as they went, the command bivouacked at night, in rear of the fort, in sight of the rebel works. The gunboats were continually exchanging shots with the fort during the night. In the morning, the brigade was formed, and moved to the assault, but found that the rebel General Finnegan, who was in command, had evacuated under cover of darkness, leaving eleven pieces of artillery, in excellent order, and an immense quantity of ammunition.
Companies E and K, under command of Captain Yard, were sent in pursuit of the retreating foe, and, after a sharp skirmish, took possession of Jacksonville, Florida. Thence the two companies proceeded, on the 6th, by steamer Darlington, two hundred miles up the river, where the rebel steamer Governor Milton was captured, and safely conveyed within the Union lines. The artillery ammunition and materials captured at St. John's Bluff, were placed upon steamers, and with the command were taken to Hilton Head, where they arrived on the 7th, the object of the expedition having been accomplished, with a loss to the Forty-seventh of only two wounded.
On the 21st the command proceeded to destroy the railroad bridge over the Pocotaligo, and sever communication between Charleston and Savannah. A landing was effected at Mackey's Point, and it proceeded without delay, the Forty-seventh in advance, towards the bridge. The brigade was commanded by Colonel Good, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander commanding the regiment. Advancing a few miles, and debouching upon an open, rolling country, it suddenly received a heavy fire from a rebel field battery. The brigade was deployed to the front, passing the artillery, and drove the enemy from his position. At Frampton the rebels were found posted in a wood with infantry and artillery. The approach to their position was over an open cotton field. The brigade was formed in line of battle, with two companies thrown forward as skirmishers, and charged upon the enemy in the face of a terrific fire. This bold movement had the desired effect. The affrighted enemy fled in precipitation. Pursuit was immediately given, and after an exciting chase of four miles, he was found in force at Pocotaligo Bridge, under command of General Walker. A ravine here ran between our line and the enemy. The Forty-seventh was ordered to relieve the Seventh Connecticut, and forming upon the edge of the stream, for two hours kept up an uninterrupted fire. The enemy being strongly posted behind works, and receiving reinforcements, poured forth a murderous fire upon our line, frustrating every attempt to cross the ravine. The ammunition of the artillery was entirely exhausted, and night coining on, the command was withdrawn, and returned unmolested to Mackey's Point. Captains Mickley and Junker, and eighteen enlisted men were killed, and one hundred and fourteen wounded. Both officers and men were complimented in general orders for their gallantry.
On the 23d it returned to Hilton Head. On the 30th General Mitchell, the commander of the Department, died. The Forty-seventh was detailed as escort at the burial, and fired the salute over his grave.
On the 15th of November, the regiment was ordered to Key West, Florida, and arrived at that post on the 18th. Here a detachment of five companies, under command of Colonel Good, was ordered to garrison Fort Taylor, and the remaining five, under command of Lieutenant Colonel Alexander, to garrison Fort Jefferson. The military importance of these positions was at this time very great. A strenuous effort to secure foreign intervention was being made by the rebel government with some probability of success.
In his instructions to Colonel Good the General commanding says:
"It is hardly necessary to point out to you the extreme military importance of the two works now entrusted to your command: suffice it to state, that they cannot pass out of our hands without the greatest possible disgrace to whoever may conduct their defence, and to the nation at large. In view of difficulties that may soon culminate in war with foreign powers, it is eminently necessary that these works should immediately be placed beyond any possibility of seizure by any naval or military force that may be thrown upon them from neighboring ports. * * * * Seizure of these forts by coup-ae-main may be the first act of hostilities instituted by foreign powers, and the comparative isolation of their position, and their distance from reinforcements, point them out (independent of their national importance) as peculiarly the object of such an effort to possess them."
Recognizing the imminent peril to which they were exposed, without a moment's delay, the entire available force was employed to place the forts in the highest possible condition of defence, and the efforts were unremitting until every means at command were brought into requisition to render them impregnable. In these positions, with Colonel Good in command, the regiment remained until the 25th of February, 1864. In the meantime five hundred men of the regiment had re-enlisted, and received a veteran furlough. It was highly complimented at various times during its occupation of Key West for its efficiency, and continually enjoyed the confidence of the commander of the Department.
On the 25th of February orders were received to proceed to Louisiana. Embarking upon the steamer Charles Thomas it arrived at Algiers on the 28th, and moving by rail to Brashear City was conveyed by steamer up the Bayou Teche to Franklin, its destination. It was here assigned to the Second Brigade of the First Division, Nineteenth Army Corps. An expedition was here fitting out, under command General Banks, to proceed up the Red River, and on the 15th of March it moved, infantry, cavalry, and artillery, via New Iberia, Vermillionville, Opelousas, and Washington, to Alexandria, at which place it was joined by the command of General A. J. Smith, and a fleet of gunboats under Commodore Porter.
After a few days rest it again moved forward, following, in the main, the course of the Red River to Natchitoches. The point of attack was Shreveport. The line of march from Natchitoches was through a barren, sandy country, with little water and no forage. On the night of the 7th of April, the regiment encamped at Pleasant Hill, and on the following day marched until three P. M., when the column halted. Firing in front had been, for some time, heard in the direction of Sabine Cross Roads. The Forty-seventh was hurriedly formed and advanced at double-quick, passing the Second Division of the Nineteenth Corps. As it approached the front, cavalry, infantry, and artillery were met in confusion seeking the rear. The brigade was brought into position on a small elevation. Scarcely had the line been formed, when the pursuing and victorious enemy came pressing on. A well directed volley suddenly checked his course, and he was driven back in dismay. Again he attempted to break the line, and again was repulsed. Darkness intervened, and the men lay down in line of battle. Shortly after midnight the command was withdrawn. The wounded of both armies had, during the night, lain between the lines, and their groans and cries for water were heart-rending. The command, wearied and worn, returned to Pleasant Hill on the 9th. The loss was near sixty men killed and wounded; among the former was Lieutenant Swoyer, of company K.
At Pleasant Hill the regiment was posted on the right of the line, with its right resting on a high bluff. The enemy, under command of Dick Taylor, attacked at midday, and the battle raged with great fury until five P. M. At three o'clock the Forty-seventh was ordered from the right to the left of the line. While passing by the flank in the rear of the One Hundred and Sixty-fifth New York, an impetuous charge was made by the enemyg causing that regiment to retire before him. The Forty-seventh repelled the charge and delivered a counter-charge in force. A desperate encounter ensued, in which the rebels were driven and several pieces of artillery captured. Lieutenant Colonel Alexander was severely wounded. Color Sergeant Walls, the oldest member of the command, was wounded, when Sergeant Pyers, of company C, immediately took the colors and was also soon after wounded.
Notwithstanding the victory at Pleasant Hill, Banks, from the want of supplies, was obliged to retreat to Grand Ecore. The place was immediately put in condition for defense and was strongly fortified. Here the army remained until the 22d, when the retreat to Alexandria was commenced. At Cane Hill the enemy was encountered and routed, with but small loss to the Union forces. After long and wearisome marches they arrived at Alexandria on the 25th. During the progress of this memorable expedition, the regiment marched eight hundred miles, and lost by sickness, killed, wounded and missing, two hundred men. It remained some time at Alexandria, assisting in the construction of a dam across the channel of the Red River, for the purpose of passing the fleet over the falls. This work was under the supervision of Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Bailey, an eminent engineer belonging to the Nineteenth Corps.
On the 13th of May the last of the gunboats successfully passed the rapids. On the 16th the command reached Simmsport and crossed the Atchafalaya on a bridge of steamers. At this point company C, Captain Gobin, was detailed to proceed on the steamer Dunleith to New Orleans as guard to prisoners. The balance of the regiment marched to Morganzia, where company C rejoined it, and it remained until the 20th of June, when it moved by steamer to New Orleans.
The Nineteenth Corps was now ordered to Washington, and on the 5th of July, the regiment embarked on the steamer M'Clellan, and arrived at the capital on the 12th. The corps was immediately assigned to the command of General Hunter, which it joined near Snicker's Gap, and was engaged in the defense of the National capital, and in expelling the rebel army from Maryland.
General Sheridan was soon after placed in command of the forces here concentrated, and at once proceeded to re-organize what was thence forward known as the Army of the Shenandoah. On the 19th of September was fought the battle of Opequan. The regiment was posted upon the extreme right of the corps. At two A. M., General Sheridan drew out his entire, force, determined to carry the enemy's works by assault. The First Division of the Nineteenth Corps, to which the Forty-seventh was attached, fought with great gallantry, and suffered heavy loss. -The grand charge of General Crook's forces, and the cavalry under Averill, was made through the line held by the Forty-seventh. The enemy fell back to Fisher's Hill, eight miles south of Winchester, where, on the 21st, he was found strongly posted. Occupying a position on the left of the rebel line, the regiment deployed as skirmishers, and charged upon the enemy's works. Owing to the abruptness of the ascent, the rebels were unable to depress their guns, and the men suffered little loss The pursuit of the retreating foe was continued during the entire night, and until it reached Port Republic. The command soon after returned, and encamped at Cedar Creek. Colonel Good and Lieutenant Colonel Alexander, were here mustered out of service, their term having expired, and Major Gobin and Captain Charles W. Abbott, of company K, were promoted to fill the vacancies thus occasioned. Captain Levi Stuber, of company I, was promoted to Major.
On the 17th of October, the regiment proceeded on a reconnaissance to Strasburg, and on the 19th, participated in the battle of Cedar Creek. The brigade occupied a position in the centre of a semi-circle, formed by a curve in the channel of the creek, and in rear of the line of works. When the Army of West Virginia, under Crook, was surprised and driven from its works, the Second Brigade, with the Forty-seventh on the right, was thrown into the breach to arrest the retreat. The line was formed while vast bodies of men were rushing past it. A heavy fog prevented objects from being visible at a distance of fifty yards. Scarcely was it in position before the enemy came suddenly upon it, under cover of the fog.
The right of the regiment was thrown back until it was almost a semi-circle. The brigade, only fifteen hundred strong, was contending against Gordon's entire division, and was forced to retire, but in comparative good order, exposed, as it was, to a raking fire. Repeatedly forming as it was pushed back, and making a stand at every available point, it finally succeeded in checking the enemy's onset, when General Sheridan suddenly appeared upon the field, who "met his crest-fallen, shattered battalions, without a word of reproach, but joyously swinging his cap, shouted to the stragglers, as he rode rapidly past them-" Face the other way, boys! We are going back to our camp! We are going to lick them out of their boots! The lines were re-formed, and the first charge of the enemy, at one P. M. fell upon the Nineteenth Corps, and was handsomely repulsed. The force of the blow fell heavily upon the Forty-seventh, but it stood firm, and was complimented on the field by General Thomas.
This success cheered the hearts of all and the army began to take courage. When the final grand charge was made, the regiment moved at nearly right angles with the rebel front. The brigade charged gallantly, and the entire line, making a left, wheel, came down on his flank while engaging the Sixth Corps, when he'" went whirling up the valley" in confusion. In the pursuit to Fisher's Hill the regiment led, and upon its arrival was placed on the skirmish line, where it remained until twelve o'clock M. of the following day. The army was attacked at early dawn, and no respite was given to take food until the pursuit was ended. Captain Minnich was killed, Major Goebel mortally, and Captain Oyster severely wounded. The loss was one hundred and seventy-six, killed, wounded and missing. In this action Chaplain Rodrock rendered effective service, and received a bullet through his hat. In every battle in which the regiment was engaged, save that at Pocotaligo Bridge, where he was detailed to take charge of the wounded, the Chaplain was at the post of duty.
The corps fell back to Camp Russell, five miles south of Winchester, and went into winter quarters. Much care and labor was given to the construction of the log huts, and arranging the camp in perfect order to withstand the blasts of winter but when completed had to be abandoned for the march. On the evening of the 12th of December, in the midst of a snow storm, the regiment moved through Winchester, along the Charlestown and Winchester Railroad, until two'clock of the following morning, when it bivouacked until daylight, the guide having lost his way.
At Camp Fairiew, two miles from Charleston, the command again went into winter quarters, and was on constant active duty, guarding the railroad and constructing works for defense against the incursions of guerrillas. The regiment participated in a number of reconnaissance's and skirmishes during the winter The command was ordered to proceed up the valley to: intercept the enemies troops, should aiy succeed in makin:-their scape in that direction. It accordingly moved on the 4th of April through Winchester and Kernstown; but the army with Gineral rant had forced the enemy under Lee to surrender on the 9th. The regiment moved by rail to Washington, and encamped near Fort Stevens, where it was clothed and equipped, and participated in the Grand Review on the 23d and 24th of May.
On the 1st of June it was again ordered to duty, and embarked for Savannah, Georgia, where it arrived on the 6th of July. It proceeded to Charleston, South Carolina, and relieved the One Hundred and Sixty-fifth New York, on duty in the city. Here, its headquarters were in the beautiful mansion of the rebel Secretary of Treasury; company garrisoned Fort MoAiltrie; and a detachment of company G, Fort Sumter. Many fell victims to disease, and their remains now repose in Magnolia cemetery. At length the long wished for day of muster-out arrived.
On the morning of the 3d of January, 1866, it embarked for New York; here, after a stormy passage, it arrived safely, and proceeded by rail to Phiadelphia. It had seen service in seven of the Southern States participated in the most exhausting campaign, marched more than twelve hundred miles, and made twelve voyages at sea. It was the only Pennsylvania regiment that participated in the Red River expedition, or that served in that Department until after the surrender of Lee.
On the 9th of January, after service of four years and four months, it was mustered out at Camp Cadwalader.
Source: Bates, Samuel P. History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-65, Harrisburg, 1868-1871.