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Title: History of the Fifty-Seventh Regiment, Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry

Author: Various

Release date: November 20, 2018 [eBook #58315]

Language: English

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Monument of 57th Pa. Vet. Vols.

Monument of 57th Pa. Vet. Vols., at Sherfy's house on the battlefield of Gettysburg.

History of the Fifty-Seventh Regiment, Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry

History of the Fifty-Seventh Regiment,
Pennsylvania Veteran
Volunteer Infantry.
First Brigade, First Division, Third Corps, and
Second Brigade, Third Division, Second Corps,
Army of the Potomac.
Compiled By
James M. Martin,
E. C. Strouss,
R. G. Madge,
R. I. Campbell,
M. C. Zahniser


Chapter I. 9

Organization of the Regiment—Camp Curtin—Departure for Washington—In Old Virginia—Colonel Maxwell Resigns—Colonel Campbell

Chapter II. 18

We Embark for the Peninsula—Yorktown—Camping in the Mud—Peach Orchard—Artillery Practice—Battle of Williamsburg

Chapter III. 29

Battle of Fair Oaks—Death of Major Culp—Increasing Sick List—Advancing Our Lines—The Seven Days' Battles—Glendale or Charles City Cross Roads—The Fifty-Seventh Under Captain Maxwell as Rear Guard—Malvern Hill—Retreat to Harrison's Landing

Chapter IV. 43

Camp Life at Harrison's Landing—Major Birney Assigned to the Command of the Regiment—Transferred to General Birney's Brigade—Evacuation of Harrison's Landing and the Peninsula—The Army of the Potomac is Sent to Reenforce General Pope

Chapter V. 53

Second Bull Run Campaign—Battle of Chantilly—Death of General Kearny—His Body Escorted to Washington by a Detachment of the Fifty-Seventh—Retreat to Alexandria—Conrad's Ferry—Colonel Campbell Rejoins the Regiment

Chapter VI. 61

On to Richmond Once More—Foragers Captured—General McClellan Superseded by General Burnside—The March to the Rappahannock—Battle of Fredericksburg

Chapter VII. 69

Camp Pitcher—The "Mud March"—General Hooker in Command of the Army—Resolutions Adopted by the Fifty-Seventh—Re-assignment to the First Brigade—Anecdote of Colonel Campbell—Drill and Inspection—Adoption of Corps Badges—The Chancellorsville Campaign—Jackson Routs the Eleventh Corps—A "Flying Dutchman"—In a Tight Place—General Hooker Disabled—General Sedgwick's Movements—A New Line Established—Strength of the Fifty-Seventh and Its Losses

Chapter VIII. 82

Back Again in Our Old Camp—Cavalry Battle at Brandy Station—The March to Gettysburg—Hooker's Request for Troops at Harper's Ferry—Asks to be Relieved from the Command of the Army—We Arrive at Gettysburg—Battle of July 2d—Strength of the Fifty-Seventh—Its Losses—General Graham Wounded and Captured—Wounding of General Sickles—Battle of July 3d—July 4th—The Confederates Retreat—General Sickles Asks for a Court of Inquiry—President Lincoln to Sickles—A Visit to the Battlefield Twenty-five Years Later

Chapter IX. 95

We Leave Gettysburg—Rebel Spy Hung—French's Division Joins the 3d Corps—Enemy's Position at Falling Waters—He Escapes Across the Potomac—In Old Virginia Again—Manassas Gap—Camp at Sulphur Springs—Movement to Culpepper—Eleventh and Twelfth Corps Sent West—Lee's Efforts to Gain Our Rear—Skirmish at Auburn Creek—Warren's Fight at Bristow Station—Deserter Shot—Retreat of the Enemy—Kelly's Ford—Mine Run Campaign—The Regiment Re-enlists—The "Veteran Furlough"—Recruiting—Presented with a New Flag by Governor Curtin—Back to the Front—General Grant Commands the Army—Reorganization—The Wilderness Campaign—Three Days of Hard Fighting—Loss in Fifty-Seventh

Chapter X. 111

The Movement to Spottsylvania Court House—General Sedgwick Killed—Hancock's Grand Charge of May 12th—Great Capture of Prisoners, Guns and Colors—The Famous Oak Tree—Ewell's Effort to Capture Our Wagon Train—Losses in the Fifty-Seventh at Spottsylvania—Movement to North Anna River—Fight at Chesterfield Ford—We Cross the Pamunkey—Skirmish at Haw's Shop and Totopotomoy Creek—Battle of Cold Harbor—Our Colors Struck and Badly Torn by a Piece of Shell—Flank Movement to the James River—March to Petersburg—Severe Fighting at Hare's Hill—Battle of June 22d—Losses in the Fifty-Seventh—Fort Alex. Hays—Petersburg—We Move to the North Side of the James—Strawberry Plains—Return to Petersburg—The "Burnside Mine"—General Mott in Command of Our Division—Deep Bottom—Other Marching and Fighting Around Petersburg

Chapter XI. 126

Recruits—Dangerous Picket Duty—Muster-out of Old Regiments—Composition of the Brigade—Expedition Against the South Side Railroad—Battle of Boydton Plank Road or Hatcher's Run—Disguised Rebels Capture Our Picket Line—Election Day—Thanksgiving Dinner of Roast Turkey—Change of Camp—Raid on Weldon Railroad—A Hard March Returning—"Applejack"—General Humphreys in Command of the Second Corps

Chapter XII. 138

Disbanding of Companies A and E—Regiment Organized Into a Battalion of Six Companies—Consolidation of the Eighty-Fourth with the Fifty-Seventh Pennsylvania—Necessity for Changing the Letter of Some of the Companies—Confusion in Company Rolls Growing Out of It—Officers of the Consolidated Regiment—Another Move Across Hatcher's Run—The Regiment Again Engaged with the Enemy—Great Length of the Line in Front of Petersburg—A Lively Picket Skirmish—Battle Near Watkin's House—Enemy's Picket Line and Many Prisoners Captured

Chapter XIII. 147

Beginning of Our Last Campaign—Battle of Five Forks—On Picket Duty on Old Hatcher's Run Battlefield—Jubilant Rebels—Enemy's Lines Broken—Petersburg and Richmond Evacuated—In Pursuit of the Enemy—Battle of Sailor's Creek—High Bridge—General Mott Wounded—Lee's Army Breaking Up—Appomattox—Joy Over the Surrender—On the Backward March—Camp at Burkesville Junction

Chapter XIV. 157

Departure from Burkesville—Marching Through Richmond—The March to Washington—Passing Over Old Battlefields—Camp at Bailey's Cross Roads—Grand Review of the Army of the Potomac—The Order of March—The Fifty-Seventh Ordered Mustered Out—Names of Engagements in which the Regiment Participated—Its Casualties—We Start for Harrisburg—Finally Paid and Discharged—Farewell Address of Our Field Officers

Appendix A.—Roster of Officers 164

Appendix B.—Medical Report of Surgeon Lyman for year 1862 170

Appendix C.—Address of Lieut.-Col. L. D. Bumpus at the Dedication of the Regimental Monument at Gettysburg, July 2d, 1888 176

Appendix D.—Reminiscences of the Fifty-Seventh Regiment by Gen. William Birney 190


When the idea of publishing the History of the Fifty-Seventh Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers was first conceived and a committee appointed to prepare the manuscript for the same, the chief difficulty to be met with was to confine the limits of the work to such a size that the price of the book would be such that it might be placed within the means of all the survivors of the regiment.

The committee regrets that the muster-out rolls of the regiment were not accessible, nor could they be copied from the rolls at Washington, D. C.

Even if the rolls could have been copied and published in the book, it would have greatly added to the price of the work and would have required a much greater fund than the committee had on hand for that purpose.

A great deal of pains have been taken and the marches, campaigns and battles of the regiment have been carefully studied, and it is to be hoped that they will be found to be accurately described.

If the labor of the committee will meet the approval of those who have marched and fought with the gallant old regiment, it will be duly appreciated by those compiling the work.

The Historical Committee

The Historical Committee

1. J. M. Martin.
2. E. C. Strouss.
3. R. G. Madge.
4. R. I. Campbell.
5. M. C. Zahnizer.
6. B. F. Smith.


Organization of the Regiment—Camp Curtin—Departure for Washington—In Old Virginia—Colonel Maxwell Resigns—Colonel Campbell.

The sanguinary battle, and almost disgraceful rout of the Union army under General McDowell at the first Bull Run in July, 1861, convinced the authorities at Washington that the insurrection of the slave states was not a mere spasm of anger at their defeat in the preceding presidential election to be crushed out by the levy of 75,000 troops, undisciplined and indifferently equipped, in a three months' service of holiday soldiering, and that Secretary Seward's prophecy that a sixty days' campaign would restore the Union and bring peace to the nation was a dream destined not to be realized. Acting on this conviction a call was made for 300,000 volunteers to serve for three years, or during the war.

To meet the emergency, evident to many, who were not disposed to accept the prophecy of the Secretary of State, Andrew G. Curtin, whose name will go down in history as "Pennsylvania's War Governor," organized, equipped and had put in training that superb body of men, "The Pennsylvania Reserves," who through all the four years of bloody conflict to follow, were to find the place their name indicated, on the skirmish and picket line, and in the front of the battle, were the first to respond, and none too quickly, for the safety of the Nation's Capital. In obedience to this call other regiments and battalions were promptly organized and forwarded so that by September 1, 1861, Arlington Heights and the environments of Washington were thickly studded with the camps of these new levies, and out of the mass was being moulded, under the hand of that skillful drill master, General George B. McClellan, that mighty host known in history as the Army of the Potomac, whose valiant deeds in the cause of Union and Liberty are co-eternal with that of the Nation.

At the first, regiments were recruited and mustered from single cities, towns and counties, but as time passed and the first flood of recruits were mustered into service, companies and squads, to the number of a corporal's guard, were gathered from distantly separated districts, and rendezvousing at some common camp were consolidated into regiments and battalions. Such was the case in the organization of the 57th Pennsylvania Volunteers, the place of rendezvous and final mustering being in Camp Curtin at the State Capital.

The roster of the regiment, by company, shows the different sections of the state whence recruited, viz:

Company A, Susquehanna and Wyoming counties.

Company B, Mercer county.

Company C, Mercer county.

Company D, Tioga county.

Company E, Allegheny, Mercer and Lawrence counties.

Company F, Mercer county.

Company G, Bradford county.

Company H, Bradford county.

Company I, Mercer and Venango counties.

Company K, Crawford county.

Thus it will be seen at a glance on the state map that there were representatives in the regiment from Wyoming county in the east; thence along the northern border of Crawford, Mercer, Venango and Lawrence counties in the extreme west. Before, however, the final rendezvous of these several companies at Camp Curtin there were smaller camps established for recruiting in several localities, notably that at Mercer, Mercer county, where it may be said was established the original regimental headquarters.

The Hon. William Maxwell, a graduate of West Point, but at that time pursuing the peaceful avocation of the practice of law in that county, was, about September 1, 1861, authorized by Governor Curtin to recruit a regiment for the service. With this in view he established a rendezvous camp outside of the borough limits of the town of Mercer, on North Pittsburg street, in a field given for that purpose by the late Hon. Samuel B. Griffith, and which was named in honor of the donor, "Camp Griffith." Here temporary barracks were erected and a regular system of camp duties inaugurated, and the usually quiet hamlet of Mercer became the scene of quite active military enthusiasm; the still breezes of the Neshannock being stirred by the beat of drums and shrill notes of fife. In two or three weeks after the establishing of this camp a large number of volunteers were recruited who formed the nucleus of what afterwards became Companies B, C, E, F and I, of the regiment. When the number of these recruits became sufficient for the formation of a battalion Colonel Maxwell transferred them to Camp Curtin. In making this transfer the men were taken in conveyances overland to the "Big Bend" on the Shenango and there embarked on a canal boat for Rochester, Beaver county, and thence by the only line of railway, the Pittsburg, Ft. Wayne & Chicago, to Pittsburg and Harrisburg. Along the way from Camp Griffith to the Ohio these recruits enjoyed a continual ovation; the last, alas! that many in that band ever received. At Pittsburg they were joined by others from Allegheny and a small contingent from the northeastern part of Lawrence county, who cast their fortunes with Company E.

Col. William Maxwell

Col. William Maxwell

Arriving at Camp Curtin the regiment was rapidly filled up to the required ten companies by the addition of Companies A, D, G, H and K. In the latter part of October the regiment was organized and mustered into the United States service.

Immediately following the mustering, clothing was distributed, and stripped of every habiliment and insignia of the citizen and arrayed in forage caps, dark blue blouses, sky blue pants and army brogans the regiment marched to the armory in the city and received its equipment—Springfield muskets and cartridge boxes. An impressive ceremony, one not to be forgotten by those present, was the committing by Governor Curtin with appropriate words to the care of the regiment the colors:

The starry flag,
With stripes of red and white,
And field of azure blue.

Sacred emblem of our Union, in defense of which many who that day stood as stalwarts in those ranks, gave health, and limb, and life in the three years to follow.

Thus fully inducted into service the regiment settled down to the daily routine of camp duty, drill and guard mounting, waiting for the call to the more heroic service at the front beyond the Potomac.

To those accustomed to the dainties of the home table and unstinted in their access to the larder, the black coffee and indigestible sea biscuits, with the suggestive initials "B. C." stamped upon them, soon mollified their love of camp life and cultivated a craving desire to terminate the "cruel war" at the earliest date possible, even at the risk of being hurt or hurting somebody in the attempt.

During the month of November that destructive pest of the camp, measles, broke out in the regiment, and proved to many a foe more to be dreaded than the bullets of the enemy; besides, to go a soldiering in defense of one's country and be ambushed by a disease that at home was regarded as a trifling affliction of childhood, was a source of real humiliation.

About December 14th orders were received to transfer the regiment to Washington. The transfer was anything but a pleasure jaunt. Instead of the commodious and comfortable passenger coaches, the ordinary box freight cars were used, and packed in there, that cold December night of transfer was truly one of misery. The cars were seatless, consequently the Turkish style of sitting had to be adopted by all who did not prefer to stand or were so fortunate as to obtain a seat in the side doors from which the feet could swing with freedom. The night was exceedingly chilly and with no facilities for warmth the discomfort was at the maximum. The day following, the regiment arrived at Washington, where it was lodged for the night in the "Soldiers' retreat," the hard floors of which were as downy pillows to our wearied and cold stiffened limbs. The next day we marched out of the city, passing the Capitol, and formed camp near the Bladensburg road. It was now the dead of winter, a Washington winter, with frequent storms of rain, sleet and snow. The camp was on the lowlands and the regiment experienced to the full the disagreeableness of the mud and slush of "My Maryland." Here we had our first introduction to the Sibley tent, a species of canvas tepee of the western Indian pattern, each of which afforded shelter to a dozen men. A small sheet iron stove, with the pipe braced against the center pole, diffused warmth, while a hole in the canvas at the apex afforded an exit for the pungent smoke of the green pine used for fuel.

It was while in camp at this place we first heard the booming of the enemy's guns away to the westward across the Potomac. These deep notes were of such frequent recurrence that all were fully convinced that a battle was in progress. Steed-like "we snuffed the battle from afar," and many were the expressed fears that victory would perch upon our banners, and the war be ended ere we should reach the Virginia shores.

Alas! poor, ignorant mortals that we were! Little dreaming of what scenes of carnage and hot battle we should be called to witness before the last notes of the hostile guns should be heard. The next morning the papers brought us the news of the battle of Dranesville and the repulse of the enemy, and our sorrow was deep and loud spoken, that we were not forwarded and permitted, at once, to put an end to this southern fracas! Such was our confidence of easy victory!

While in this camp the measles again broke out in the regiment. Many of the men had contracted severe colds during that night of dismal ride from Harrisburg, and cases of pneumonia were numerous, many proving fatal, while others lingered for months in hospitals, either to be discharged on account of disability or to again return to their companies mere wrecks of their former selves.

In February, 1862, the regiment broke camp, and crossing the Potomac, took its place in the left wing of the army near Fort Lyon, below Alexandria. Here in the organization of the army it was assigned to Jameson's brigade of Heintzelman's division, which later, upon the organization of the army corps, constituted the first brigade, first division, third corps, commanded respectively by Generals Jameson, Hamilton and Heintzelman, General Hamilton later being superseded in division command by that intrepid and fearless fighter, General Philip Kearny, whom the enemy dubbed with the uneuphoneous soubriquet of the "One Armed Devil." The brigade as then organized consisted of the 57th, 63d, 105th Pennsylvania regiments and the 87th New York, and from that date so long as the old Third corps existed these Pennsylvania regiments retained their place side by side. Our associations were most pleasant, many last friendships were formed, and the courage of each was ever held in highest esteem by the others.

On March 1st, Colonel Maxwell resigned his commission as colonel of the regiment and was succeeded by Colonel Charles T. Campbell. Colonel Campbell was by education and choice an artillerist, and had seen service on that arm in the Mexican war. He had had command of a battery of Pennsylvania artillery in the three months' service, and had been commissioned by Governor Curtin colonel of artillery and had recruited and organized the first Pennsylvania regiment of light artillery as part of the Pennsylvania Reserve Corps. When, however, the regiment entered the United States' service, such an organization was deemed impracticable and the regiment as a compact body was disbanded and the batteries assigned to the several corps. Thus Colonel Campbell found himself a colonel in commission without a command. But he was enlisted for the war and with uncomplaining patriotism he willingly took his place where duty called. At the first the members of the regiment were impressed with the thought that they had "caught a Tartar." Tall and commanding in figure, gruff voiced and with sanguinary hair and whiskers, the colonel did not give the impression of being a weakling, but it was not long until they began to realize that beneath the rough exterior there beat a considerate and tender heart and in the gruff voice there was a soft chord, and soon the name "Charley" was more frequently on the lips about the camp fires than the more stately title of "Colonel." These characteristics of the new commander were manifested in many acts that the men appreciated. He was always ready to take the rough side of soldier life and share privations with the rank and file, and at the end of a hard day's march he would lie down with only the heavens for a covering with any of the boys rather than ask a detail to erect his headquarter tents. And many a comrade can remember when on camp guard and the weather was threatening, hearing that gruff voice calling from his tent door: "Officer of the day, release the guards and send them into their quarters!"

Gen. Charles T. Campbell

Gen. Charles T. Campbell


We Embark for the Peninsula—Yorktown—Camping in the Mud—Peach Orchard—Artillery Practice—Battle of Williamsburg.

On the 17th of March the regiment embarked and steamed down the Potomac, past Mount Vernon, of hallowed memories, on its way to Fortress Monroe, whither the army was being transferred to enter upon the historic and ill-fated Peninsular campaign. Upon arrival it went into camp near the ancient, but then recently burned town of Hampton, crumbling brick walls and charred chimneys being the only remaining monuments to mark the site of the once pleasant village, the beginning, to us, of the scenes of the war's "rude desolations," while protruding from the placid waters of the bay were to be seen the masts of the "Cumberland," that but a few days before had gone down with flag flying before the onset of the ram "Merrimac," while over by the Ripraps peacefully floated low on the waters the little "Monitor" that David-like, had single-handed put to flight this Goliath of the rebellion, that had defied our navy; a veritable "tub on a plank."

On the morning of April 4 the grand advance was begun. Across the narrow neck of land that divided the waters of the Chesapeake and James, the magnificent hosts of the Army of the Potomac, stretching from shore to shore, moved forward to the fortified post of the enemy at Yorktown. Battlefields, like history, repeat themselves. It is said the plains of Esdraelon have been the theater of a greater number of conflicts at arms than any other known portion of the globe, so here at Yorktown, where the Sons of Virginia, Pennsylvania and others of the thirteen colonies humbled the British under Cornwallis in 1781, and whose lines of entrenchments were yet visible, were again to meet in 1862, the sons of these sires of revolutionary fame, in martial combat, not shoulder to shoulder, as then, but in opposing phalanx. The line of advance of the 57th was by the main road leading from Hampton to Yorktown by way of Little and Big Bethel, the latter place being the scene of General B. F. Butler's unfortunate night venture of 1861.

The afternoon of the second day's march brought the advance of the army in front of the enemy's formidable works around Yorktown and along the Warwick river. For the space of nearly a mile, immediately in front of the town, the country was open, scarcely a tree or a shrub impeding the view of the fortifications, whose embrasures bristled with heavy ordnance. With drums beating and colors flying we marched boldly along the way and filing off into the open fields deliberately proceeded to pitch our tents and make our camp in the very jaws, as it were, of these frowning batteries. Whether it was a fear of bringing on a general engagement, or amazement at our audacity that kept the Confederates quiet behind their earth-works we did not then know, but subsequent events proved the former to be the cause. Not until the day following did they manifest a disposition to disturb our repose, and then only by a solitary shot that plunged into one of our company's streets, burying itself deep in the soft earth. This shot was sufficient, however, to admonish us of the fact that they had a perfect range of our camp, and could, of they chose, make it exceedingly uncomfortable for us. As a result we very deliberately withdrew, without the loss of a tent or knapsack, back to the main line in the woods, though not wholly beyond the range of their guns.

Once in our established camp there began a month of as arduous duty as untried soldiers were ever called to perform. Digging trenches, constructing earthworks, and picket duty, kept us constantly engaged, and to add to our discomfort the weather was extremely unpleasant; frequent rains wetting us to the skin and rendering the earth about the consistency of a mortar bed. Of this time Surgeon Lyman writes: "Here for three weeks the men walked in mud, slept in mud and drank water from holes scooped out of the mud. The combined remonstrances of the medical officers of the brigade, 'that a month's continuance in that place would deprive the government of the services of one-half of its members,' were met by the silencing reply, 'It is a military necessity.' The result showed that our fears were well founded. The malaria of the marshes and swamps of Yorktown, with the excessive labor performed in the trenches and on picket duty, debilitated our men for months, sending dozens of them to their graves, and rendering hundreds unfit for service, and many for life."

Here we had our first experience with the wild garlic, which grew spontaneously in the uncultivated fields and after a day or two's pasturing rendered the flesh of the beeves unpalatable, the taste of the garlic remaining long in the mouth after the act of mastication. Here, too, the regiment had its baptismal of blood, in the known to us, though never historically christened, "Battle of the Peach Orchard."

On the afternoon of April 11 the 63d Pennsylvania Volunteers, while on picket duty in the woods to the left of the Yorktown road, was attacked by the enemy. The 57th was ordered to its assistance and advancing at double quick, formed in line of battle, moving over the open field in face of a hot fire and quickly putting to flight the columns of the enemy, driving them back to the protection of their heavy batteries. In this short but exciting engagement, the regiment lost by wounds two men, Samuel Merven, of Company E, and John Cochran, of Company F. Cochran subsequently died from the effects of his wound and Merven was discharged. In this engagement, insignificant as it was, compared with its after battles, the regiment exhibited great coolness and gave token of its ability and readiness for future duty and service.

An incident occurred about this date, while the regiment was on picket duty, that is worthy of passing notice. Lieutenant Wagner, of the topographic engineers, was engaged in making drawings of the Confederate works. He had placed a camp table in an exposed position and spread his drafting material upon it. The white paper made an excellent target for the enemy's gunners. One of their shots struck the table and fatally wounded the lieutenant. A few moments after he rode along the rear of our lines, his shattered and bleeding arm dangling at his side. This shot is referred to, after these many years, by General Longstreet in his recent work, as one of two of the most remarkable shots, for accuracy of aim, of the war. He says:

"An equally good one (shot) was made by a Confederate at Yorktown. An officer of the topographical engineers walked into the open in front of our lines, fixed his plane table and seated himself to make a map of the Confederate works. A non-commissioned officer, without orders, adjusted his gun, carefully aimed it, and fired. At the report of the gun all eyes were turned to see the occasion of it, and then to observe the object, when the shell was seen to explode as if in the hands of the officer. It had been dropped squarely upon the drawing table and Lieutenant Wagner was mortally wounded."—Gen. Longstreet, in "From Manassas to Appomattox."

This shot appears, by a note to the text written by Capt. A. B. Moore, of Richmond, Va., to have been fired by Corporal Holzbudon, of the 2d company, Richmond Howitzers, from a ten-pound parrott gun.

Another incident more immediately connected with the regiment, worthy of a place in its history as an exhibition of accurate firing, occurred here. On the left of our regimental picket line was stationed a section of a field battery whose duty was to shell the enemy's works and prevent their annoying our lines. For some time Colonel Campbell watched with manifest disgust the green cannoneers blazing away at random, and with evidently little effect. At length stepping to one of the guns the colonel said:

"Boys, let me sight this gun for you." Running his eye along the sights and giving the elevating screw a turn, he said:

"Now, let her go!"

In an instant the death-dealing missile was speeding on its way, entered the enclosure and exploded amid the startled gunners of the enemy.

"There, boys, that's the way to shoot. Don't waste your powder!" said the colonel, as he turned and walked away, an expression of satisfaction wreathing his florid face.

By the 3d of May all things were in readiness to open our batteries of big guns on the Confederate fortifications and all were in excited expectation of the bombardment and possible storming of the enemy's works on the following day, but the morning light of the 4th revealed the enemy's strong works abandoned and empty. In the night, Johnson, who had superseded Magruder in command, like the Arab had "folded his tent and silently stolen away." The 105th Pennsylvania were the first to enter the abandoned works. The news of the evacuation of the works and retreat of the Confederates spread rapidly from regiment to regiment, and our bloodless victory, but not without the loss of many a brave boy, was celebrated with wild shouts and cheers. The cavalry followed closely on the heels of the retreating enemy, but the infantry did not take up the line of march until later in the day; Fighting Joe Hooker's division following first, with Kearny close in his rear. As we marched through the Confederate works, stakes planted upright in the ground with red danger signals attached gave warning that near them were planted torpedoes, placed there for the injury of the unwary by the enemy.

A story was told at the time that the planting of these torpedoes was revealed to Lieut. R. P. Crawford, of Company E, of the 57th, then serving as aid on General Jameson's staff, by a Confederate deserter. That the 105th Pennsylvania, being about to enter the abandoned works, this Confederate stepped out from the shelter of a building, and, throwing up his hands as an indication that he desired to surrender, came forward and revealed to Lieutenant Crawford, who chanced to be present, the secret danger that threatened them if they attempted to enter the works without caution. Thus forewarned of their danger, a squad of prisoners, under compulsion, were made to search out, and locate these concealed missiles, thereby preventing possible loss of life and woundings.

During the afternoon of the 4th the regiment marched with the division about four miles on the main road to Williamsburg and bivouacked for the night. By dark rain began to fall and continued throughout the night and the day following. The early morning of the 5th found us on the march again. The rain had thoroughly soaked the light clay soil and the preceding ammunition trains and batteries had worked the soft clay roads into deep ruts and numerous mud holes. To take to the fields and roadsides did not better much the marching, the unsodded fields being little better than quagmires, in which the men floundered to the knees.

All the forenoon there was now and then cannonading to our front with occasional rattle of musketry, indicative of skirmishing, but by two or three o'clock there came the long swelling roar of infantry firing, giving evidence that our advance had overtaken the enemy and they were making a stubborn stand. The atmospheric conditions were such that from these sounds the battle appeared to be but a mile or two in our advance, and at every turn of the way we expected to see the blue line of smoke and snuff the odors of burning powder, while in fact the engagement was five or six miles distant. Reaching a point about two miles from the battlefield the regiment was ordered to unsling knapsacks, doff blankets and overcoats and march at quick step to the front. As we neared the field, panting from our exertion, we passed a brass band standing by the roadside. General Heintzelman, observing them as he passed, exclaimed in that nasal twang so familiar to all:

"Play, boys, play! Play Hail Columbia! Play Yankee Doodle! Play anything! Play like h—l!"

It is needless to add that the band promptly obeyed and the strains of the national quickstep put a new spring in our weary limbs, revived our flagging spirits and with a rousing cheer we pressed forward. Arriving on the field the regiment was deployed in line of battle in the woods to the right of the road, but darkness was settling over the field, the firing soon ceased and we were not engaged. The night following was extremely disagreeable. The rain continued to fall, and drenched to the skin we lay on our arms all night without fire, blankets or rations. By morning the lowering clouds were gone, and so also were the Johnnies, leaving their dead unburied and their wounded to our tender care. Many private houses of the ancient town, all of the churches and that venerable seat of learning, from whose halls came many of the nation's most eminent statesmen and patriots, William and Mary College, were turned into hospitals, where friend and foe were gathered from the field of conflict, housed, and cared for by our surgeons and nurses with undiscriminating attention.

An incident that well illustrates the reckless daring of General Kearny, and which ultimately lost him to our cause, as well as the influence of such acts upon others, occurred during this engagement. During the battle, General Kearny, accompanied by General Jameson, rode out to the front, and on an open piece of ground, in full view of the contending forces, the two sat there observing the progress of the battle, apparently oblivious of the fact that they were exposing themselves as targets to the enemy's sharpshooters. Past them the minie balls were zipping, while the air was redolent with the "ting" of musket balls and buck-shot. At length, satisfied with their observations, they coolly turned their horses about and rode to the rear. The day following, General Jameson was approached by one of his aides who had witnessed the act, who said to him:

"General, don't you think the risk you and General Kearny exposed yourselves to yesterday was unjustifiable?"

"I certainly do," the general candidly replied.

"Then why did you take the risk?" the aide queried.

"Captain," said the general, gravely, "If I had been conscious that I would have been hit the next minute I would not have turned my horse's head. Why, what would Kearny have thought of me!"

After the battle the regiment camped immediately west of town. Of course the commands that had borne the brunt of the battle were lionized, as were also those officers who had acted a conspicuous part. On this field General Hancock received his chief sobriquet, "The Superb," which clung to him throughout life. Regimental ranks, after a hard day's fighting, often were very much broken, the losses not always being catalogued as of the killed and wounded; roll calls exhibiting many names marked "missing," or "absent without leave." These absentees invariably reported fearful losses in their commands. While in camp at Williamsburg a strapping big fellow with turbaned head, blue jacket profusely decorated with gold lace, and baggy red trousers, wandered into our midst.

"Hello! What regiment?" one of the boys inquired.

"—— regiment."

"But what state?"

"New York, of course."

"In the fight?"

"Yep. All cut to pieces. I'm the only one left!"


Battle of Fair Oaks—Death of Major Culp—Increasing Sick List—Advancing Our Lines—The Seven Days' Battles—Glendale or Charles City Cross Roads—The Fifty-Seventh Under Captain Maxwell as Rear Guard—Malvern Hill—Retreat to Harrison's Landing.

On the 7th the army resumed the march "on to Richmond," the 57th diverging from the main line to Cumberland Landing on the Pamunkey, where for several days it guarded the army stores that had been shipped by steamer to that point. Afterwards we rejoined the brigade at Baltimore Store, and on the 24th crossed the famous Chickahominy at Bottom's bridge and camped on a pine covered bluff to the left of the railroad, a short distance from the river and near Savage station.

As soldiers we knew little of the danger that confronted us, and nothing of the councils being held by the enemy plotting our discomfiture. This knowledge was reserved for us until the 31st. On that day about one o'clock, just after the regiment had its midday ration, like a clap of thunder out of a clear sky the crash of musketry came to our ears from the front. Casey's division of Key's corps, which had pushed about three miles to our front, and had erected some slight fortifications near Fair Oaks station, had been suddenly and fiercely attacked by overpowering numbers. For what seemed to us hours, that probably did not exceed minutes, we stood listening to the crash and roar of the battle. Soon the long roll was beaten, the bugle blast sounded, the order to "fall in" was given, and we knew our hour had come. Forming in line with the other regiments of the brigade, we were soon on the march toward the front at a quick-step. Taking the line of the railroad, and the sound of the battle for our guide, we pressed on. Nearing the battlefield we began to meet the scattered and retreating men of Casey's division, many of them wounded and bleeding, but the majority suffering only from panic. Among this fleeing and panic-stricken mass, field and staff officers rode, seeking to stay their flight and reform their broken lines. General Kearny rode among them shouting, "This is not the road to Richmond, boys." Approaching nearer the field of battle the lines assumed a more defiant order, and it was evident that the greater mass of the troops were nobly standing, and lustily cheered us as we passed. A short distance beyond Fair Oaks station the brigade was deployed in line of battle in an open field to the right of the railroad. The thick woods to our front afforded an excellent cover for the enemy's sharpshooters, of which they speedily availed themselves, field and staff officers being their tempting targets. In a few moments orders were received to move to the left. There was a slight cut at the point of crossing the railway track and under the sharp fire from the enemy there was some confusion in making the crossing. While effecting this movement Major Culp was instantly killed and several of the line wounded. After crossing to the left of the railroad the brigade was again formed in line, face front, and stood waiting orders to advance. Immediately in our front was a "slashing," several rods in width. Beyond that was standing timber quite open. We were not long waiting orders and soon were moving cautiously forward, scrambling over and through the felled timber. Once beyond the "slashing," our lines that had become disarranged were again formed. From our position we could see an open field beyond, across which extended a line of Confederate infantry, their compact ranks presenting a fine mark and in easy range of our Austrian rifles, with which we were then armed. Colonel Campbell, who had dismounted, having left his horse beyond the "slashing," standing a few paces to the rear of the column, in low, but distinct tone gave the command, "Ready! Aim! Fire!"

Every gun in the line responded. What the execution was is not known, the smoke from our pieces completely excluding our view, but that every Johnnie had not bitten dust was soon evident from the lively manner in which they sent their missiles amongst us in very brief time. After the first volley the regiment loaded and fired "at will," the men seeking cover behind logs and trees as best they could from the enemy's returning compliments. How long this duel was maintained it is impossible to state, as the occasion was such that to take note of passing time was out of question. The troops holding the extreme right of our line at length gave way, and the enemy, seizing the opportunity, threw forward a strong flanking column that soon began a severe enfilading fire that compelled us to fall back obliquely to avoid a retreat through the slashing, and take a position in the woods beyond the open field in which we first formed. This closed the fighting for the day, and night soon settled over the scene, and while we had met with reverses, yet we were encouragingly satisfied, for the enemy had not succeeded in his purpose, by overwhelming numbers, to drive us into the Chickahominy before reinforcement could come to our aid from the north side. That night we slept on our arms, without tents or blankets, for these we had left in our camp to the rear. During the night Sumner's corps succeeded in crossing the river, swollen by recent rains, and by daybreak was on the field, and engaging the enemy, drove him back to the shelter of his works about Richmond. The regiment lost severely in this engagement. Colonel Campbell was dangerously wounded in the groin and while being carried to the rear was again shot in the arm. Major Culp, as before stated, was killed, and Captain Chase, of Company K, mortally wounded. The loss in the line was eleven killed and forty-nine wounded. The command of the regiment now devolved on Lieutenant Colonel Woods, and Captain Simonton of Company B, was promoted to the rank of major. The battle was immediately followed by heavy rain storms. Tents and camp equipage were back in the rear and were not forwarded for two or three days. In the meantime the men stood about, drenched to the skin, or sat upon logs drying their saturated clothing upon their backs in the hot sunshine that interspersed the showers. The earth was soaked with water, which for lack of springs or wells, was used for drinking and cooking purposes, it only being necessary to dig a shallow hole anywhere to gather the needed supply. The damp hot weather brought about rapid decomposition of the dead and unburied animals and the chance bodies of friend or foe who had fallen in "slashing" or thicket and thus remained undiscovered, produced a sickening stench. These causes soon produced much sickness and the swamp fevers carried many to the hospitals, some never to return. Rumors of the renewal of hostilities, possibly by night attack, kept the army constantly on the alert, and our accouterments were rarely taken off night or day; orders being issued to sleep in shoes ready to "fall out" and "into line" at a moment's notice. On one occasion a kicking mule was the innocent cause of a hasty mustering of our forces, to the great chagrin of the weary and sleepy soldiery.

General Hooker, ever anxious for fight and adventure, made an advance on his own motion, in which he was actively supported by General Kearny, pushing his lines close up to the enemy's defenses, so that from a lookout station established in the top of a large tree the church spires and steeples of the coveted Confederate capital could plainly be seen. But this movement was not in accord with General McClellan's plan of campaign. The position was hazardous in the extreme, inviting another onset by the enemy, and we were soon withdrawn to our original lines and the shelter of our breastworks. This was our nearest approach to Richmond until after Appomattox in the spring of 1865. Amid these scenes of constant picket duty, digging rifle-pits, and building fortifications the regiment passed the month of June. On the 26th the sound of heavy firing on the extreme right came to our ears all the afternoon. The enemy in our front was exceedingly vigilant and we drew the fire of their pickets on the slightest exposure. Late in the evening loud cheering was heard to our right, and the report was circulated, and credited, that that wing of our army had carried the Confederate defenses to the north of the city, and we lustily joined our comrades, as we supposed, in their shout of victory. But, alas! for the truthfulness of camp rumors! It was all a mistake; our lines had only successfully repulsed the enemy's repeated assaults at Mechanicsville! That was all. The next day, the 27th, the battle was renewed at Gaines Mill, a little nearer to our position. The day following, the 28th, our immediate line withdrew from its advanced position and stood ready to repel any attack that might be made on the battle-worn troops of Porter and Warren as they slowly filed across the Chickahominy to the south side. Late in the afternoon General Kearny directed the distribution to each man of one hundred and fifty rounds of ammunition (more than twice our usual allowance), and also that each officer in his command should place a red patch in conspicuous view upon his hat or cap. What to do with the superfluous ammunition was a question, and called forth many uncomplimentary remarks, some even suggesting that it was intended to relieve the mules of the ammunition trains by making pack-horses of the soldiery. But we had not long to wait to know the real cause and the wisdom of it, and glad were we to have the extra cartridges for convenient use! The red patch order also proved an important event in army history, in that it was the beginning of the corps badge so popular and useful in the after years of the war. The afternoon of the next day, the 29th, after a day of anxious waiting and expectancy, the regiment took up the line of march, with the crash of the battle of Savage station ringing in their ears, southward across the White Oak swamp. Late in the evening we filed off upon a by-road leading at right angles to the road on which we were moving. Soon we reached a wide swamp, across which had recently been constructed a causeway, or bridge of logs laid in the mud and water side by side, and which was perhaps twenty rods in length. Without hesitation the regiment marched out upon this bridge. When the head of the column had about reached the opposite end it was fired upon by the enemy's pickets. Here was a dilemma calculated to try the nerve of the bravest. What the enemy's force was none knew, but anyone could realize the terrible slaughter that might be wrought had a section of artillery been turned upon that narrow roadway with a swamp of unknown depth on either side. General Kearny, with his accustomed daring, was at the head of the column. Turning about, he rode back along the line, his face grave, but calm. "Keep quiet, boys, keep quiet. Don't be alarmed. About face and move to the rear!" he said as he passed. Every man in the regiment seemed to realize the gravity of the situation, and that upon his personal coolness depended the safety of the retreat, and without noise or confusion the regiment "about faced" and soon was back on the road from which we had strayed. That night we bivouacked without tents or fires, wrapping ourselves in our blankets, and, lying down, star gazed until our eyes closed in slumber.

The 30th dawned hot and sultry, and as the men trudged along under the fierce glare of the sun, and their burden of knapsack, haversack, and extra ammunition, many succumbed and fell out of the ranks. Arriving at the intersection of the Charles City road with that upon which we were marching about mid-day, the regiment filed to the right into an open field, stacked arms and broke ranks. Some of our number sought rest in convenient shade, others busied themselves building fires and cooking coffee. In all our surroundings there was not a sign of the enemy's presence, or that from the cover of the woods beyond the field his scouts were watching our every movement. Cannonading from the direction whence we had come gave evidence that he was yet beyond the dismal swamps through which we had passed the day before, and the rank and file at least was not aware that a strong force was at that moment marching upon our line from the west with a purpose to intercept us on our way toward the James. To the left of us a section of Randolph's battery stood unlimbered, a circumstance rare to be seen while on the march, and to the old soldiers suggestive of possible battle, but the gunners were lolling upon their pieces or sitting about the ground chatting, apparently indifferent, and if they were so, why need others feel concern? Thus time passed until 2 o'clock p. m., when suddenly one of those unlimbered pieces, with a crash that brought every man to his feet, sent a screaming shell far out over the woods beyond. This defiant shot seemed at once to be accepted by the enemy as a challenge to action, for immediately there followed a spattering discharge of musketry along our front, the bugle notes sounded and the command to "fall in" rang out along the lines.

"And there was mounting in hot haste, the steed,
The mustering squadrons, and the clattering car
Went pouring forth with impetuous speed,
And swiftly forming in the ranks of war;
And deep thunder, peal on peal, afar;
And near, the beat of the alarming drum
Roused up the soldiers."

In advancing to take our position in the line of battle each man seized a rail of a convenient fence that stood in the way, and when halted, out of these constructed an improvised shelter, behind which we crouched to meet and repel the enemy's desperate onslaughts. From that hour until darkness covered the scene, the battle raged furiously and almost incessantly. Charge after charge was made upon our lines, often coming so near that faces were clearly discernible through the smoke of battle, so determined was the enemy to break our lines and reach the road in our rear, over which our wagon trains and unengaged forces were pressing toward the James river.

Perhaps in no battle of the war was there so long and continuous fighting by the same troops as in this engagement. It was all important that the army should be safely guarded past this most vulnerable point, and posted on the river bluffs and under the protection of our gunboats. The enemy, as well, seemed to realize the need of breaking our lines or lose the fruits of their victory purchased at such fearful cost, and therefore pressed our line hard and continuously, so that if disposed to do so, there was little time given to relieve us by the substitution of other troops.

In this engagement Major Simonton was wounded in the shoulder about 6 o'clock in the evening. Lieutenant Colonel Woods was absent on sick leave, and the command of the regiment devolved upon Captain Ralph Maxwell, of Company F. Before midnight the troops were withdrawn from the line of battle and were on the march to Malvern Hill, the place of rendezvous of the army, near the James river. As we moved quietly along in the darkness General Kearny rode up and asked Captain Maxwell what regiment we were. When informed, he complimented us very highly for the part we had taken in the recent battle, then ordered him to return us to our old position and hold it until daylight, when he would have us relieved. We "about faced" and were soon back in our old place as nearly as could be determined in the darkness. The supposition was that the whole brigade was with us and we did not discover differently until an hour or more later. Of this occurrence Captain Maxwell says: "I thought along toward midnight I would go and have a talk with whoever commanded the 105th. I went to the right of the 57th, but could find no one; all was vacancy. I immediately retraced my steps and, passing to the left, found the 63d gone also. Nobody there but one poor, little, lone regiment! It then came to me that we were placed there to be sacrificed for the safety of the rest of the army. I knew the penalty for violating General Kearny's orders, but at the same time I could not think of sacrificing these men to certain capture and imprisonment. I did not like to break orders and I could not do the other. Soon after we heard the trundle of artillery, and the tread of the marching men to our front, and then lights gleaming to our front. Evidently this was the enemy. I made up my mind I would try and save the regiment, orders or no orders, and let them court-martial me and be d—d. I ordered the regiment to form silently in two ranks, then gave the order to march and file right. They did so and all filed past me and got on the road. I then ran along the line to the head of the regiment and gave the order to double quick, and we went down that road on the run, and none too soon. Five minutes more and we would have been prisoners! We caught up to the main body of the army and took our usual position in the brigade. I was afraid to ask any questions and never heard anything about our disobedience of orders. But one thing is certain, I am glad I did what I did that night!"

In this engagement our regiment lost seven killed and fifty-six wounded, a number of whom subsequently died.

The next morning found the regiment in line on Malvern Hill. This position was almost impregnable. On the south side flowed the James river on which floated the Union fleet of gunboats. On the north side was an impenetrable swamp. To attack, the Confederates had to charge from the west and in our front over long stretches of open ground in the face of our batteries posted along the hill side, their right flank enfiladed by the fire from our gunboats. General Porter, speaking of the strength of this position, says that when by inspections he realized its natural advantages, and had seen his division properly posted, he returned to the Malvern House, where he had established his headquarters, and, lying down on a cot, dropped at once into so sound a sleep, that although the battle following surged up to the front yard of the house, he was not awakened, although at any other time during the campaign the snap of a cap would rouse him instantly, so great was his sense of the security of his position. Notwithstanding these natural advantages, the elated, but weary forces of Jackson, Longstreet, and Hill, reinforced by the fresh troops of Magruder and Hugar, charged and recharged our lines with desperate persistence deserving of a better cause, but each time were repulsed with fearful slaughter. The losses of the 57th in this engagement were two killed and eight wounded, Lieutenant Charles O. Etz and the orderly sergeant of Company D being the two fatal casualties. The death of Lieutenant Etz and his companion occurred under peculiarly sad circumstances. Wearied with the battle of the preceding afternoon and the night vigil following, these two comrades had lain down together, the sergeant's head resting on the lieutenant's breast, and were snatching a moment's sleep. A shot from one of the enemy's batteries struck the two sleepers, killing them instantly. Thus, all unconscious of their danger, they were swept by one swift stroke into that sleep that knows no waking.

The battle over and the enemy severely chastised, the grand Army of the Potomac, with thinned and broken ranks, a mere shadow of its former greatness, continued the retreat, Harrison's Landing, a place of historic importance in that the line of its occupants has given to our country two chief executives, lying a few miles below Malvern Hill on the James, being the place selected for final rendezvous. During the night following the battle the 57th was again on outpost duty, but early the following morning was quietly withdrawn and in a drenching rain that continued throughout the day, again took up its wearisome march, arriving in the vicinity of the landing toward evening, weary, wet and worn!

The Harrison mansion, a substantial structure of brick, reared in colonial days, stood on an eminence overlooking the broad sweep of the James river. Between the mansion and the river was a stretch of grass-covered field gently sloping to the water's edge. Adjoining this to the west, or northwest, was a large wheat field. A greater part of the standing grain had been cut and was in shock. These golden sheaves were quickly appropriated by our troops and spread upon the water-sodden ground, whereon to rest their weary bodies. A few brief hours sufficed to obliterate every trace of this harvest scene, and where the husbandman had so recently been reaping in peace the fruits of his field, batteries were now thickly packed and soldiers' tents, not white, but wet and earth soiled, stood in long ranks.


Camp Life at Harrison's Landing—Major Birney Assigned to the Command of the Regiment—Transferred to General Birney's Brigade—Evacuation of Harrison's Landing and the Peninsula—The Army of the Potomac is Sent to Reenforce General Pope.

The regiment, upon its arrival at Harrison's Landing, presented a most pitiable spectacle. But three months before it numbered almost nine hundred; now but little over half a hundred responded for duty at first roll-call, and there was not a field officer present. Says Surgeon Lyman: "All were exhausted and disheartened, scarcely a well man in the regiment, with two hundred and thirty, for the first few days, on the sick list." For a time Captain Ralph Maxwell was in command of the regiment, but was succeeded later by Captain Strohecker. Funerals were of such frequent occurrence that the solemn notes of the dead march were almost continually to be heard, until, for the benefit of the living, burials with military honors were suppressed by general order. To the great annoyance of brigade commanders they could muster no more men for brigade drill than would compose an ordinary battalion; the regiments presenting no better appearance as to numbers than a company, and a company than a corporal's guard. As a consequence there were frequent charges of "shirking duty" preferred, and the officers of the line watched and counted with greatest care their rolls for available men. An amusing anecdote of this watchful regard of the superior officers is told by Colonel Strohecker. He says:

"For a few days our regiment was attached to the 63d, and under the command of Colonel Alexander Hayes. On one occasion he had the two regiments 'fall in,' and passing along the line counted the men in each company with great care, comparing their number with the adjutant's report which he held in his hand. When he counted my company I lacked three men to fill the report, and then the colonel commenced cursing me for reporting more men than I turned out. I replied that I did not report more men than I had in line. At this he exhibited to me the adjutant's report and said he would see me later. True enough, there were three more men reported for duty on the adjutant's report than I had turned out. The figures were against me. He dismissed me and I went to my quarters crestfallen. I took up my morning report book, and discovered there was a mistake somewhere. My morning report and the number of men I had in line tallied exactly. I immediately called upon the colonel and armed with my morning report proved that I was right. He called his adjutant and asked him to explain. That officer replied that in consolidating the company reports he could not make them agree, so he just put three more men to my account! 'What!' exclaimed the colonel. 'You falsify the morning report of a captain and his orderly? I'll let you know' and then the very air seemed blue! To me he only said, 'Captain won't you have a drink?'"

General Kearny was no admirer of a rifle-pit campaign. "An open field and a fair fight," was more to the pleasing of the military taste of this intrepid commander; he was, therefore, loth to have his troops exhausted with the labor of their construction, and as occasion offered was not slow to so express himself. One quiet Sabbath morning, while in camp at this place, a detail from the 57th was on its way, armed with pick and spade, to this duty. As they trudged along their way Kearny met them, and, returning the salute of the lieutenant commanding the squad, inquired:

"Lieutenant, where are these men going?"

"To work on the breastworks, general," replied the officer.

"About face your men, and return to your quarters," sharply replied the general. "Six days in the week are enough to work on fortifications. These men need their Sunday rest!"

It is needless to say the order was promptly obeyed and regard for their commander rose several degrees in the estimation of these weary veterans.

The camp of the regiment was near a fine stream of water on which was erected a dam that afforded the men most excellent bathing opportunities, which doubtless contributed much to their general health besides personal cleanliness. Ovens were also built and for a time they enjoyed the luxury of "soft bread." There was, however, a dearth of vegetables, and aside from an occasional ration of onions, and that conglomeration of pumpkin, squash, etc., compounded under the euphonious name of "dessicated vegetables," but which the boys derisively dubbed "desecrated vegetables," green truck was unknown in their daily bill of fare, in consequence of which diarrhoea and kindred complaints were prevalent, and many disqualified for active duty.

William Birney

William Birney

During the encampment at Harrison's Landing Major William Birney, of the 4th New Jersey regiment, a brother of General David B. Birney, was assigned to the command of the 57th regiment. Major Birney was an officer of rare ability, a strict disciplinarian, an indefatigable drill-master, and withal a gentleman, winning and courteous to the humblest when off duty, and abhorring the petty tyrannies in which some officers of brief authority seemed to delight. He also enjoyed to the highest degree the confidence of his superiors, and very soon won the respect and esteem, as well, of the rank and file. A story told about the camp fires, whether true or false, well illustrates the characteristics of the man and deserves recording. At the breaking out of the war Major Birney was commissioned an officer in one of the New Jersey regiments composing the New Jersey brigade, commanded by General Kearny, but possessed of little knowledge of his duties as such, or ability to drill his men. On one occasion while attempting to put his regiment through its evolutions General Kearny chanced to pass, and halting, watched the major in his attempts with evident disgust. The general was never noted for his patience, especially with inefficiency of an officer in his line of duty, and riding up to the major, reprimanded him sharply, bidding him to go to his quarters and never attempt to drill his men again until he had mastered the tactics. It is said, the major, stung with reproof, went to his quarters, not to sulk over this and possibly resign his commission, but to study, and when he next appeared on drill he was the best informed and most efficient drill master in the brigade, receiving the compliments of the general, who ever after held him in highest esteem. Of the major's persistency, if not his efficiency, as a drill master, every member of the 57th regiment would willingly certify.

Major Birney's discipline was not confined to camp life, and the drill ground. It extended as well to the march. Every morning on the march the regular detail for guard duty was made, and this detail, under command of the officer of the day, marched at the rear of the column, and proved an efficient preventive to "straggling," a habit exceedingly demoralizing to an army on the march. If any fell sick or gave out by the way they were taken charge of, and if possible, were placed in an ambulance, or in the absence of such, in one of the regimental or brigade wagons. If canteens needed replenishing a detail was made from each company to perform that duty. If foraging was to be engaged in it was done in the same methodical manner, and this was not infrequent, for the major was a strong believer in the doctrine of the rights of the army to live off the products of the enemy's country, but it had to be done "decently and in order."

When on the march, if an obstruction was encountered, the head of the column was always halted until all had passed the obstruction and the ranks closed up. By this means the men in the rear were saved the necessity of moving at a "double quick" to overtake those in advance, a duty very exhausting, and as a consequence the command was always kept in compact order and could, with less fatigue, march twenty miles a day than ten by the old "go as you please" methods so common while on the march.

During our army's encampment at Harrison's Landing the Confederates were quiet and only deigned to make their presence known on one occasion and that was in the way of a night surprise, sending by way of a reminder that they were yet alive and alert, a number of shells across from the heights on the south side of the river. This piece of pleasantry was replied to promptly by our batteries, and the next day arrangements were made to prevent a repetition by sending a division of infantry under General Butterfield over to that side and taking possession of those hills for ourselves.

On August 12th the 57th was transferred from Jameson's old brigade (the 1st) to General D. B. Birney's (2d) brigade. General Jameson was injured by the falling of his horse at Fair Oaks and died from his injuries the following November. He was one of the finest looking officers in the army. General J. C. Robinson succeeded him in command, and led the brigade in the seven days' battles. General Birney was one of the original brigade commanders of Kearny's division. His brigade now comprised the following regiments, viz: the 57th and 99th Pennsylvania; 3d and 4th Maine; 38th, 40th and 101st New York. There were seven regiments, but numerically, they scarcely exceeded the strength of two full regiments.

On August 15th, the army broke camp and commenced the retrograde movement back through Williamsburg and Yorktown, our campaign ground of the earlier spring, its ultimate destination being to join Pope in his disastrous campaign with headquarters "in the saddle."

The breaking camp of a great army is always a stirring scene. The mounted aids and orderlies riding in hot haste; the mustering legions and forming squadrons with flying colors; the bonfires of camp debris; the popping of discarded cartridges with occasional deeper intonation of exploding bomb, altogether make a scene not soon to be forgotten.

The time of year was the "roasting ear" season of the Virginia cornfields, and great fears were entertained by the army medical staff as to the probable disastrous results to the men of a too free indulgence by them in that luxury. As a consequence they were strictly admonished to abstain from the toothsome viand, but all to no purpose. We had roasting ears boiled, roasting ears roasted, and roasting ears broiled in the husk. We had green corn on the cob and off the cob. Green corn for breakfast, green corn for dinner, and green corn for supper, with an occasional lunch of green corn between times. Yet, wonderful to relate, instead of any injury resulting, on the contrary the effect was decidedly beneficial, in that by the time we arrived at Yorktown there was scarcely a man to respond to sick call.

The evening of the first day's march the regiment camped near a large brick plantation house. The owner and family were absent, but the negro servants were very much "at home" with the "Yanks" and until late in the night were busily employed baking "hoe cake" for all who applied.

The following day the 57th with the 4th Maine were detached and served as "flankers" on the left of the army, marching by a road that intersected the road by which the regiment had advanced from Williamsburg toward Richmond at a point near Barhamsville, thence by the last named road to Williamsburg and Yorktown. At Williamsburg there still remained many evidences of the struggle of the preceding May, particularly the marks of shot and shell upon the standing timber, many of these marks being high up on the tree trunks and exhibiting a very unsteady aim.

At Yorktown the regiment embarked for Alexandria and from thence were speedily transferred by rail on the Orange and Alexandria road to a point near Warrenton Junction.

At Alexandria many of the men took the opportunity to imbibe a liberal quantity of liquid refreshments, the first chance they had to do so since the issuing of whiskey rations in the swamps in front of Richmond. To the credit of the 57th, but very few indulged beyond their capacity to carry their load steadily, but such could not be said of some of the other regiments in the division, notably one of New York, in which there were not a sufficient number of "sobers" to care for the "drunks." The cars on which we were shipped to the front were the ordinary "flats." By the time their "drunks" were safely deposited on these cars by the "sobers" fully one-half had rolled off into the side ditches, and so the process of reloading had to be repeated time and again with many intervening, and sometimes amusing, sparring matches to add to the confusion and delay. While these bacchanalian exhibitions were going on General Kearny and staff rode along the side of the railway track, doing what they could in the way of encouragement to the overworked "sobers" in their apparently endless task. As the general passed the 57th some member called out to a comrade near to the scene of drunken strife in progress on the adjoining cars, inquiring if any of the 57th were engaged in the fracas then going on. The general promptly turned in his saddle and shouted back, "No, thank God, there's none of the 57th!"

It was not the regiment's privilege to ride all the way from Alexandria to its destination at the front. Disembarking near Catlett Station it advanced by easy marches.

Somewhere on the Virginia Peninsula Captain Maxwell, of Company F, had secured the services of an old negro as his cook. At Malvern Hill this old fellow had not put sufficient space between himself and the enemy for safety, and found himself in rather close proximity for comfort to the shells of their batteries. While at Harrison's Landing it was the delight of the boys to get this old man to describe the battle and give his experience under fire. His inimitable imitation of the screaming shot and shell accompanied with grotesque pantomime was amusing in the extreme. We little thought, however, the deep impression these scenes and experiences had made upon his mind until again we came in sound of the enemy's guns. As the regiment advanced toward Bealeton the cannonading in our front became at times quite heavy. The old cook was trudging along by the side of the marching column, carrying a camp kettle, when suddenly the batteries opened fire. He stopped, looked and listened, with fear depicted in every lineament of his dusky face. "Dis chil' done gone fur 'nuf dis way!" he exclaimed. Then turning about took toward the rear as fast as his legs could carry him. It was the last seen of the captain's cook.


Second Bull Run Campaign—Battle of Chantilly—Death of General Kearny—His Body Escorted to Washington by a Detachment of the Fifty-Seventh—Retreat to Alexandria—Conrad's Ferry—Colonel Campbell Rejoins the Regiment.

Our stay in the neighborhood of Bealeton and Warrenton Junction was brief. Lee was moving northward, the main body of his army being west of the Bull Run mountains, while Jackson with Stewart's cavalry was on the east. The 3d corps in which the 57th served fell back to Centerville by way of Greenwich and Manassas Junction. As we passed the latter the buildings and many cars were smouldering ruins, showing that Jackson's outflankers had recently been there, and that the main body of his troops could not be far distant. The night of the 28th we bivouacked at Centerville and the next morning marched out the Warrenton turnpike. On our way we met quite a number of paroled prisoners who had just been sent through the lines by Jackson. They were quite jubilant, reporting that desperate fighter completely hemmed in at the base of the mountains and likely to fall an easy prey to our army. With this hopeful intelligence we pressed on with stimulated zeal toward the front. Arriving on the battlefield Kearny's division was deployed on the extreme right of the line, which position it held during the two succeeding days of the battle, most of the division at one time or other being hotly engaged. The 57th, however, escaped, though frequently under fire. Along the left and center the battle raged fiercely. The issue hung upon the ability of Pope to crush his antagonist, the redoubtable "Stonewall," before assistance could come to him from his chief beyond the mountains. But alas for our fondest expectations! Longstreet pressed his way through the insecurely guarded mountain pass, Thoroughfare Gap, and late in the afternoon of the 30th, when victory seemed about to perch on our banners, threw himself with irresistible force against our left. The onset was so fierce and unexpected that it did not lie in human power to resist, and in a few brief moments, all hope vanished, rout followed, and an almost fac simile of the disaster of the preceding summer was the consequence, except that our legions were veterans now, the army retained its morale and (especially the right wing) fell back in good order upon Centerville, the enemy, either from being sorely crippled, or satisfied with his success, giving little annoyance. The army in this encounter could not be said to have been defeated. Fully one-third of its efficient force had not been engaged. A general impression prevailed in the ranks that we either had been outgeneraled or that some stupendous blunder had been made.

Rumors of disobedience of orders by officers high in rank filled the air, and mortification and chagrin the breasts of all. We were not whipped; that would have been satisfying. The story was that in the game of war our adversary, in playing his winning card, had been aided by the petty strifes and jealousies among our own leaders. Happily history has done much to remove this feeling and as well the clouds that overcast the fair name and fame of at least one of our corps commanders, whose bravery and ability none doubted. But then it was different, and provoked by defeat, slight evidence was sufficient to call down maledictions loud and bitter.

During August 31st and September 1st the regiment camped near Centerville, but in the afternoon of the 1st received marching orders and filed out on the road leading to Fairfax Court House. Marching leisurely along, all unconscious of the near presence of an enemy, we were suddenly startled by the sound of skirmish firing to our left. A moment later General Kearny and staff rode past at a gallop. The desultory firing of the skirmishers increased rapidly to volleys and soon we were advancing to the front at a double quick. Wheeling to the left of the road on which we were marching we were deployed in line of battle; part of the division immediately advanced and soon was hotly engaged. In the midst of the roar of battle a fierce electric storm burst upon the contending forces, and the flashes of lightning and peals of thunder mingled with the crash of musketry and booming of cannon, while rain descended in torrents. While the regiments of the division were being advanced General Kearny sat on his horse but a few paces from the 57th. Some of his staff suggested that the regiment be assigned to the advance column. "No," replied the general, "place the 57th in reserve. If these men have to retreat I want them to fall back upon men that won't run!" These were the last words he ever uttered in our presence. Within a brief hour he lay cold in death within the enemy's lines, the victim of that spirit within him so often manifested on the field of battle and at the post of danger, never to send another where he himself would not willingly go.

To the 57th was accorded the honor of receiving from the Confederates under a flag of truce the following morning the remains of their fallen leader, the five right companies, A, B, C, D and E, with the colors subsequently acting as special escort of the body to Washington, D. C.

The day following the short, but sanguinary engagement at Chantilly, the remaining companies of the regiment, not detached for the above mentioned sad duty, marched to Alexandria and encamped near the regiment's old quarters of the preceding winter. While in camp an incident occurred that came near breaking up the regimental organization. During the Peninsula and Bull Run campaigns the regiment had become reduced in numbers to scarcely one-fourth of its original strength, and as a consequence an order was issued directing the consolidation of the regiment with the 99th Pennsylvania Volunteers, which was a comparatively new organization, had seen but little field service and had but recently been assigned to the brigade. The news of this order caused the most intense feeling, the men declaring that "having received from Governor Curtin their colors when they were returned to the state capital they would return with them." Major Birney was still absent, having accompanied the remains of General Kearny to Newark, New Jersey. Chaplain McAdam immediately visited Washington, interviewed the Secretary of War, put himself in communication with Governor Curtin and soon brought to us the good news that the order had been countermanded. Chaplain McAdam's success in this important undertaking gave him great popularity in the regiment, if, indeed, his popularity could be increased, for from the first organization of the regiment the chaplain had a warm place in the esteem and confidence of the men, irrespective of rank or condition.

The regiment had not been visited by its paymaster since some time before the Seven Days' battle. As a consequence few if any were the possessors of a "greenback." This alone was aggravating, but when our proximity to Alexandria brought us daily visits by numerous hucksters of fruit and gingerbread, not to mention real and toothsome pie, the aggravation was intensified to a degree unbearable. This reached the climax when on a certain occasion a wagon load of watermelons was deliberately driven into camp and displayed on the parade ground. The vender of this luxury, however, demanded a price that no sixteen dollar soldier of "Uncle Sam" could think of paying. The temptation to enjoy the luscious fruit was too great. One of the boys, disregarding the admonitions of a home-cultured conscience which he still cherished, picked up a melon and walked off with it to his quarters. The huckster followed to collect pay or to recover his property, but alas! his efforts to reclaim the lost melon left the remainder unguarded, and he returned to his wagon only to find the last one gone and his wagon empty. Gone, doubtless, in the way of all good melons in an army camp.

During the Antietam campaign the 3d corps remained in the defences about Washington, south of the Potomac. From Arlington Heights the low mutter from the distant battlefield could be heard and although no tidings came to us of an engagement all felt that a desperate battle was in progress.

On September 12 we received marching orders for Poolsville, Md., and on the 15th pitched our tents (dog kennel style) near Conrad's Ferry on the Potomac, where we did picket duty until McClellan again crossed the river and resumed his march on Richmond. Our sojourn at Conrad's Ferry was very restful after the summer of hard campaigning; two incidents, however, occurred to add a touch of excitement to our otherwise monotonous camp life. The first was a raid across the river to the ancient town of Leesburg, the county seat of Loudon county, Va., where we had a glimpse, and only that, of the enemy's cavalry pickets and received a thorough wetting going and returning while fording the river. The second was a bootless attempt to head off that bold raider, J. E. B. Stewart, in his hazardous ride around our army. We marched and countermarched all day long up and down the river between Conrad's Ferry and Monocacy creek, but notwithstanding our vigilance the wily fox slipped us and gained the Virginia shore without so much as giving us a chance shot at him.

Early in October Colonel Campbell returned and resumed command of the regiment, although he still carried his arm in a sling. We were indeed glad to see his face again, but sorry to bid farewell to Major Birney, who had won a warm place in the regimental affections.

One of the sad incidents of camp life occurred just before the colonel's return. A member of the regiment had been found guilty of the theft of a pistol from one of the cavalry orderlies at brigade headquarters. His sentence was to stand so many hours daily on the head of a barrel on the parade ground and to march by the front of the line at dress parade under guard to the music of the "Rogue's march," with the word "thief" in large letters on a placard strapped across his back. The punishment, while not severe, was indeed humiliating. Punishments for such offenses were often severe and always of a character to expose to ridicule and invite contempt, while those of foraging among farmers, which often bore more of the character of theft and robbery than the legitimate right of confiscation for justifiable use, were winked at. On one occasion Colonel Campbell, while walking along the towing path of the canal that ran near our camp, espied the recently removed integument of a porker. In an apparently towering rage, he returned to camp and announced his discovery, asserting with not a few expletives, more forcible than polite, that "any man who would steal a pig and didn't know enough to hide its skin deserved to be drummed out of camp!"

A neighboring farmer made complaint to General Hobart Ward, commanding the brigade, that his hogs were missing and that some of the 57th were the culprits. The general promised to institute a thorough search for evidence of fresh pork in our camp and carried out his promise to the letter. Through courtesy (presumably) he sent word to Colonel Campbell of this proposed inspection. The colonel felt it his duty to acquaint the company commanders of the facts; these, in turn, informed the sergeants and they, following their superior's example, told the rank and file. The general came at the hour appointed, and that the farmer might know the sincerity of his promise, brought him with him. The search was thorough, but no evidence of the theft could be obtained. Some other command must have appropriated the hogs! Of course the farmer was convinced. Perhaps, if pressed, would have apologized for his porcine imputation upon our honor. Perhaps!


On to Richmond Once More—Foragers Captured—General McClellan Superseded by General Burnside—The March to the Rappahannock—Battle of Fredericksburg.

The closing days of October found us again on the march, swinging down the Virginia valley with the grand Army of the Potomac, fully recovered and equipped for another measuring of strength with our wily foe, the Army of Northern Virginia.

On November 12th, while we were encamped near Waterloo bridge, six men of Company K, Corporal Theodore Barber, Privates William Murray, A. L. Marsh, J. W. Hummer, Adam Wert and F. E. Hinman, were captured while returning from a foraging expedition. When captured they had several sheep they had gobbled. For some days it was rumored that they had been taken by Mosby's guerrillas and hung, but after a short sojourn in Libby prison, they were sent to Camp Parole at Annapolis, Md., were exchanged, and rejoined the regiment in the following February.

No other incident of moment occurred until we reached the vicinity of Warrenton, Va. There the morale of the army received a shock from which it required months for recovery. It was the unexpected relieving of Gen. George B. McClellan from command, and the assignment of Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside to that high position. That General McClellan was the idol of the Army of the Potomac cannot be gainsaid. In him the mass of the troops had unbounded confidence. He had organized, equipped and drilled them. On his shoulders that did not rest the blame of their discomfiture on the Peninsula. Instead they praised him for his masterly "change of base" from the swamps of the Chickahominy to the James. He had from the jaws of defeat at Bull Run wrested victory from their elated and confident enemy at South Mountain and Antietam, and now, when on the forward movement again, hopeful of final victory, he was unceremoniously discharged, and one substituted of whom they knew little, and who with protestations of unfitness accepted the command!

At Warrenton the army encountered the first snowfall of the winter, the morning reveille waking the sleeping host covered with an extra blanket of purest whiteness. Our march to the Rappahannock was without further incident of note. On November 25th we arrived upon the heights overlooking the ancient city of Fredericksburg sleeping in the river valley, beyond which rose Marye's heights and the range of wooded hills, on whose slopes was marshaled our old foe, interrupting our further advance upon the Confederate capital. Here the army pitched its winter camp. Many of the quarters were built quite substantial and comfortable. The messes of five and six, cut and split the soft pine indigenous to that region, constructing therewith log cabins roofed with their shelter tents. Many of these cabins were fitted up quite tastefully, having open fire places and bunks erected against the walls which were supplied with pillows and mattresses of the resinous pine needles covered with army blankets, making very comfortable beds, at least quite luxurious to men who had enjoyed nothing better than the ground, or the soft side of a plank, for a year past. But from this dream of peace and comfort we were soon to be rudely wakened. In the early twilight of the morning of December 11th, the guards that paced their lonely beats about the silent camps were startled by the sudden boom of a signal gun, its deep reverberations up and down the river valley giving warning to friend and foe that a strife for the possession of yonder steeps was soon to begin. For a moment silence followed this signal and then from the hundred brazen throats of the batteries that lined the crest of the hills on the north side flashed sheets of flame amid deafening roar and scream of shot and shell, that brought every sleeper to his feet. The deep notes of the heavier ordnance, mingled with the rifle crack of the lighter parrotts; the whizzing of shot and screaming shells, the path of the latter marked by burning fuse, presented a scene grand and awe-inspiring beyond description. It was war's magnificent prelude to the fiercer music of the clash of a hundred thousand muskets to follow. By daylight, camps were broken, knapsacks packed, and marching columns were pouring forward toward the river where the batteries continued to play and pile their smoke in thick banks along the crest of the hills. All day long we sat about our campfires in our dismantled quarters waiting the order to move, but none came and darkness found us replacing our shelters for another night's rest in our accustomed berths. During the afternoon of the 12th our corps, the 3d, marched to the extreme left of the line and bivouacked for the night in a piece of woodland overlooking the river. The next day, the 13th, we retraced our steps, halting just before noon at a point where we had a magnificent panoramic view of the river, town and field, and down into the valley, where could dimly be seen through the river mists the long lines of blue with flying colors waiting the command to storm the wooded heights beyond. Judged by the character of our movements it looked as though we were to be spectators of the struggle about to open. In the line of battle our place properly would be with Hooker's grand division, which occupied the center, but instead we were on the extreme left in support of Franklin. In this, however, we were mistaken. About 12 o'clock the bugles sounded and the order to fall in passed along the line, and without further delay the long line of the 3d corps wound down the hill, crossed the river on the lower pontoon bridge and from thence marched directly out upon the plain to the front line of battle. That the hour to strike for the possession of yonder wooded slopes, occupied by the veterans of Jackson, had come was evident to all. From our right came the crash and long roll of musketry, telling us that Hooker was crowding the enemy in his front and we should not long be idle. Soon Randolph's and other batteries in our front and on our flanks began to feel for the enemy in the woods to our front. As we stood intently watching the effect of the bursting shells a stream of smoke shot out from a clump of trees and brush to our left center, and an instant later a shell whizzed wickedly over our heads. The enemy's cover was now revealed and on this piece of woodland the fire of every gun in our batteries were concentrated. For a time he replied with vigor, sending shot for shot. The voice of Colonel Campbell rang out above the din: "Lie down." We waited not a second order, but quickly and closely embraced our mother earth. Soon explosion followed explosion in quick succession within the enemy's lines. A shot from one of our guns had penetrated one of their caissons and now their own exploding ammunition was doing its deadly work, and silencing their only battery in position to do us immediate harm. Now is the time to charge the heights! The Pennsylvania Reserves are chosen for the hazardous task. In three lines, with arms at a right shoulder shift, they advanced at a quick step. What a magnificent spectacle! Not a man falters, but shoulder to shoulder they move across the plain in perfect alignment. At the railroad in the edge of the woods they encounter the enemy, who pour into their ranks a withering fire. With a cheer they spring forward and press back the foe. Soon they are lost to view amid the scrub pine, their location only known by the curling smoke from their pieces and their cheers as they ascend the hill. Over half way to the summit the second line of the enemy is encountered. Again a galling fire is poured into their faces, but still they cheer and press on. Down in the valley we stand anxiously, but idly watching the now desperate and unequal contest our comrades of the Old Keystone are waging. They are brothers, friends and neighbors to many, if not all of us. A half mile intervenes between them and us. We know we are not in supporting distance. Our impatience overcomes our discipline to wait the word to advance. Shouts are being heard all along the line: "Why are not the Reserves being supported?" We know too keenly that they must yield to the overpowering odds against them unless reinforced at once!

"Battalion, right face, forward, file left, march!" rings out clear from the colonel's lips. The men are quick to obey, and we move more rapidly to the front. "By company, half wheel! Forward into line on first company!" The movement was executed with alacrity. "Forward, guide right." We pressed forward with quick step toward the woods from which was now emerging the broken lines of the Reserves, not in panic, but resolutely disputing, as best they could, every step. A drainage ditch from three to four feet deep, grown up in many places with a tangle of briers, extended along our front and parallel with the railroad at the foot of the hills. Into this we were ordered in the hope that by its protection we could stay the enemy's countercharge. The Reserves were still in our front and to deliver an effective fire was impossible. Orders to fall back were given, but in the din of battle were unheard or unheeded, and many who attempted the retreat were left dead or wounded on the field. The enemy swarmed out of the woods in our front without order or alignment, giving but little heed to the ditch, springing over the heads of its occupants in their mad rush for our batteries. There was not time for the gunners to debate the question of the safety of their comrades in their front if they would save their batteries, and possibly the day to our cause. They poured volley after volley of grape and cannister into the advancing enemy, each discharge mowing great swathes in their ranks. It was more than human flesh could bear and soon they were in full retreat for the cover of the woods, and thus ended, so far as the 57th was concerned, the battle of Fredericksburg. In this short encounter, possibly lasting ten minutes, the losses of the regiment were fearful, considering the number engaged. Out of 316 men in line, 21 were killed, 76 wounded and 78 missing, 54 of whom were prisoners, 55.38 per cent of the whole force engaged! Among the wounded was Colonel Campbell, who fell pierced with three balls; Captain Strohecker, and Surgeon Kennedy. During the 14th the remnant of the regiment acted as provost guard to gather up stragglers until evening, when we were again placed in the front line, where we remained until the night of the 15th. During the 15th a truce was declared for the burial of the dead, and removal of the wounded; the ghastly sequel of the battle that robs it of its glory and drowns the acclaims of the victors in the tears of the widowed and sobs of the orphans. During the night of the 15th our army withdrew to the north side of the river, leaving the Confederates the practical victors on the fiercely contested field. The 57th, with shattered ranks, reoccupied its old quarters, the empty tents and broken messes being sad reminders of the horrors of war, and the uncertainty of the soldier's term of life. Thus closed the second year of the war, and the first of service of the 57th regiment for the preservation of the Union, amid scenes of discomfiture, defeat and gloom.


Camp Pitcher—The "Mud March"—General Hooker in Command of the Army—Resolutions Adopted by the Fifty-Seventh—Re-assignment to the First Brigade—Anecdote of Colonel Campbell—Drill and Inspection—Adoption of Corps Badges—The Chancellorsville Campaign—Jackson Routs the Eleventh Corps—A "Flying Dutchman"—In a Tight Place—General Hooker Disabled—General Sedgwick's Movements—A New Line Established—Strength of the Fifty-Seventh and Its Losses.

The old camp to which we returned after the battle was now, by order of General Birney, called Camp Pitcher, in honor of Major William Pitcher, a brave and gallant officer of the 4th Maine, who was killed in the battle of Fredericksburg. The camp was located near Falmouth on the west side of the Richmond & Potomac railroad.

Drill and the regular routine of camp life was resumed. The paymaster soon made his appearance, and the humiliation of our defeat in the recent battle, and our sorrow for comrades lost there, had about vanished, when an order from army headquarters announced another advance against the enemy.

The weather for a week or more had been bright and clear, the roads frozen and in good order for the movement of the artillery and trains, therefore General Burnside thought the time propitious for an assault on the enemy. This time an attempt was to be made to turn the enemy's left, and get in the rear of their position at Fredericksburg.

Accordingly on the 20th of January, 1863, we broke camp at daylight and our army was once more on the move. This expedition is known to the old soldiers of the Army of the Potomac as "Burnside's Mud March."

After a march of ten or fifteen miles up the Rappahannock we reached the vicinity of Bank's Ford about dark, with the intention of crossing there and driving the enemy from their works on the south side of the river. About midnight a warm wind set in from the south, the rain began to fall, and continued to fall with more or less violence for the next three days. After two days of this kind of weather the project of attacking the enemy was abandoned and we got ready to go back to our old camps. The return march was a great trial for the men. With the rain beating pitilessly, the roads and fields soon became a vast sea of mud. Heavy details were made from all the regiments to build corduroy roads in order to bring along our trains and artillery. Finally we reached our old camp, where our huts were still standing, and these were soon roofed with our shelter tents and we were once more tolerably comfortable.

General Burnside was relieved from the command of the Army of the Potomac, and was succeeded by Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker on January 24th. The announcement of Hooker's appointment was hailed with delight by the officers and men of our (Birney's) division, where his valor and ability were well known. He was one of the original division commanders of our (3d) corps. We looked on him as a man of the same stamp as the former commander of our division, the lamented Kearny. The divisions of Hooker and Kearny had fought side by side on the Peninsula and second Bull Run campaigns, where they acquired renown and honor. The appointment of Hooker was soon marked by an improvement in the commissary department and in the drill and discipline of the army.

Soon after the battle of Fredericksburg certain evil-disposed newspapers and persons at the North were loud in their assertions that the Army of the Potomac was tired of the war, and demoralized, and circulated reports derogatory to the character of that army. To confute such reports, and to denounce those with whom they originated, a meeting of the officers and men of the 57th was held on February 26th, at which resolutions were adopted denouncing as false the calumnious reports circulated concerning the army. One of the resolutions declared that the 57th would sustain the government in the future as in the past, a resolution which was made good in the following December by three-fourths of the regiment re-enlisting for three years. Our regiment was the first to adopt resolutions of this nature which were ordered to be published in the newspapers in the counties in which the regiment was raised. Our example was followed by many of the regiments of the army.

Camp Pitcher, with its many pleasant and some unpleasant associations, was abandoned on March 4th, when we moved about four miles and laid out a new camp about a mile from the Potomac creek bridge.

On the same day our regiment was reassigned to the First Brigade, commanded by Colonel Collis, who was succeeded a few days afterward by Gen. Charles K. Graham. The brigade consisted of the following named Pennsylvania regiments: 57th, Colonel Sides; 63d, Colonel Kirkwood; 68th, Colonel Tippen; 105th, Colonel McKnight; 114th, Colonel Collis; and 141st, Colonel Madill. Lieut-Colonel Sides, formerly captain of Company A, of the 57th, returned to the regiment on the field at Fredericksburg, and took command after Colonel Campbell was wounded. The latter had been promoted brigadier general, and when able for duty was assigned to the Army of the Northwest, where the Indians of Minnesota and Dakota were on the warpath and committing great depredations. Campbell had wished to be assigned to a command in the Army of the Potomac, and did not like to be sent West. About this time a friend of writer, J. T. Chase, of Titusville, Pa., met Campbell in Harrisburg, and reported him as saying: "The rebels tried their damnedest to kill me at Fair Oaks and Fredericksburg, and now I'm to be sent out West to be scalped by the Indians." The 57th were much attached to Campbell and nothing would have pleased them more than to serve in a brigade commanded by him.

As spring advanced we were kept busy with camp duties. Among these were the frequent inspections, by companies, regiment, or brigade. Guard mounting was by brigade, with great ceremony, which was always witnessed by many officers and men who were not on duty.

It was General Hooker who introduced the system of corps badges into the army. The badge of each corps was of a different design and were of different color in the several divisions of a corps, being red for the first division, white for the second, and blue for the third. The designs of the different corps badges were: 1st corps, a sphere; 2d, a trefoil; 3d, a diamond; 5th, a Maltese cross; 6th, a Greek cross; 11th, a crescent; and 12th, a star. The badge was made of cloth and was sewed on the top of the cap. By this arrangement, one could tell at a glance to what corps and division a man belonged, and it was of much importance in preventing straggling on the march, or skulking in battle. The badge system was eventually adopted by all other armies in the field. The 57th belonged to the first division of the 3d corps, wore a red diamond, and are proud to wear it today at all old soldiers' gatherings.

Toward the close of the month of April it became evident that another movement against the enemy would soon be made. General Hooker's plan was to send a large force up the river, to cross over and turn the rebel left, at the same time sending a force to a point below Fredericksburg to make a feint of crossing there. About eight thousand cavalry under General Stoneman were to cross the upper Rappahannock, gain the enemy's rear and destroy his railroad communications and depots of supplies.

On April 27th the 11th and 12th corps crossed the Rappahannock at Kelly's ford and moved to the Rapidan where, with little resistance from the enemy, they crossed the river at Germania ford. The 5th corps moved in the same direction, but crossed the Rapidan lower down at Ely's ford. The three corps then marched towards Chancellorsville, where they arrived on the afternoon of the 30th.

About 4 p. m. of the 28th the 3d corps broke camp and moved to near Franklin's crossing, the place we had crossed on the 13th of December. In the same vicinity were the 1st and 6th corps. The 2d corps was in its camp opposite Fredericksburg. Our position here was menacing, in order to distract the enemy's attention from the flanking movement of the 5th, 11th and 12th corps, in which it was successful.

On the 29th it rained most all day, and nothing was done on our part of the line. On the morning of the 30th the rain had ceased when the 2d corps started up the river, followed by the 3d corps about noon. The march was skillfully masked to hide our movements from the enemy. We marched that afternoon to Hartwood church, where our brigade camped for the night, and next morning took a road to the left and crossed the Rappahannock about noon at the United States ford, which is located a few miles below the confluence of the Rappahannock and Rapidan.

After a short halt for dinner we resumed our march and a few hours later we reached the place now known by the historic name of "Chancellorsville." There is, however, no village there. Only a large brick house built for a hotel on account of the mineral springs in the vicinity which were supposed to contain valuable medicinal properties. The house was used by General Hooker as his headquarters and on May 3d it was set on fire by the enemy's shells and burned to the ground. We halted in a field near the brick house for an hour or so, and then, accompanied by a battery, our brigade moved west on the plank road until we reached Dowdell's tavern, about two miles distant. This was the headquarters of General Howard, who with the 11th corps was in position on the extreme right of our army. Part of his line faced toward the south, and a part to the west toward the Wilderness church. Chancellorsville is on the verge of the Wilderness, where the great battles of the following year were fought.

It appears that the reason our brigade was sent to Dowdell's tavern, far from the rest of the division, was because General Birney had received an order to send a brigade to General Howard to strengthen his line. Howard deemed himself strong enough to hold his line, so he returned our brigade with compliments to General Birney.

Howard's line, as far as we could see, was not in the position that we generally put ourselves, when in the face of the enemy. His men on the right of the plank road were on open ground with pickets but a short distance in front, and with arms stacked and accoutrements hanging on the guns. The men were lounging about, some cooking, and others playing cards. From all reports they were in similar shape the next evening when they were routed by Jackson's onset.

When we got back to the division we found it massed in a large field south of the plank road and a few rods west of Hooker's headquarters. A section of rebel artillery opened on us here, but their aim was bad and they did but little damage. A party of sharpshooters was sent against them and caused them to withdraw their guns.

We remained in this field until about 5 o'clock next morning, when the division moved out the plank road toward the west, when after we had gone about a mile we turned to the left and marched for several hundred rods through a dense wood of small pines, on the farther edge of which was a slight line of works which had been built by troops which we relieved. These works we strengthened and in a short time we had constructed a formidable line of breastworks. We faced southward, the country in our front was open, and we had a good view of the surrounding territory.

About noon we could see far in the distance, a rebel wagon train and troops moving, and as at the point where we discovered them they were going south, the general opinion was that they were retreating towards Gordonsville. Clark's battery of rifled guns, attached to our division, soon got into position and opened on the rebel column, which, it was plain to see, caused considerable commotion among them. They hurried past the point as rapidly as possible, and were soon lost to view.

A detachment of Berdan's sharpshooters and the 20th Indiana were sent out as skirmishers, and soon reached Welford's furnace, where they captured several hundred men of the 23d Georgia and sent them to the rear. The pioneers were sent out to build bridges across a small creek in our front and when these were completed our division moved forward toward the point where we had seen the enemy. Whipple's 3d division of our corps moved forward at the same time on our left and Barlow's brigade of the 11th corps moved with us on our right. Marching up into the woods, considerable time was taken up in forming into line of battle, and it was near sundown before it was accomplished. The position of the 57th was along a rail fence on the brow of a hill overlooking the little valley in which stood the old furnace.

Just as we were about to advance a furious cannonade was heard far in our rear in the direction of the plank road. This, as it proved, was caused by Jackson's assault on the 11th corps, where inadequate preparations were made for resisting such an onset, and the whole corps was soon streaming to the rear.

At dark we received orders to fall in as quietly as possible, when we were marched back by way we had come and halted in the little field in front of the breastworks we had left a few hours before. When the rout of the 11th corps began Berry's (Hooker's old) division of our corps, which was on the plank road, was ordered up to check the enemy.

In this division was the 37th New York, a two-year regiment, one of whose members, Jack Coleman, afterwards joined Company K, of the 57th. He relates that at Chancellorsville one of the 11th corps artillerymen was going to the rear on the run, and carrying on his shoulder the sponge staff, used to sponge the gun and which is generally called the "swab" by battery men. When asked by some of the boys of the 37th New York what he was running for, he halted long enough to reply, "Ach, mein Chesus, Schneider's battery ish all gone but der schwap." He was evidently bound to hang on to some of Uncle Sam's property at any rate.

While we were still in position near the old breast-works, Ward's brigade of our division made a bayonet charge by moonlight, with uncapped guns, into the woods in our front and drove the enemy back far enough to enable us to get out in the morning.

Just at the dawn of day on May 3d, the rebel general, J. E. B. Stewart, who was commanding Jackson's corps, was attempting to straighten his line in the woods on his right. The rebels at that point became aware that a large body of "yanks" were in the field in their front. This was our brigade, which was getting ready to move to the right to get on ground which was more advantageous to resist an attack. Where we were, the left flank of the different regiments were presented to the enemy, so we faced to the right and commenced to move briskly when the rebel skirmishers opened fire on us, but we continued on the double quick until we reached the large field south of the Chancellor house, where we deployed and formed line of battle awaiting the onset of the enemy, and we did not have long to wait, either.

We entered a wood in our front, with the 63d Pennsylvania on the right of our regiment and the 68th on our left. There our men did some very hard fighting. At one time we made a charge and drove the enemy from a log breastwork, but the woods seemed to swarm with the enemy; they were reenforced and drove us back in turn. We then went in further to the right and were engaged again.

The 3d corps had been fighting since 5 o'clock in the morning. It was now near 10, when victory was almost in our grasp, as the enemy had been punished severely, and a fresh brigade would have decided the battle in our favor. General Sickles had repeatedly called for reenforcements, which could have been spared from the large body of troops which were unemployed in the rear, but General Couch, who was in temporary command of the army, refused to take the responsibility of weakening any other part of the line to reenforce Sickles. General Hooker, while standing near a large pillar of the Chancellor house which was hit by a shell, was struck by some of the flying fragments. He was disabled for several hours, during which time the command devolved on General Couch, who was the senior general on the field.

About 2 o'clock our army took up a new line a short distance in the rear, which covered the roads leading to Ely's and United States fords. The open ground around the Chancellor house was abandoned to the enemy, who by this time were nearly exhausted, and much reduced by the severe losses they had met with.

While the fighting was going on at Chancellorsville, General Sedgwick had crossed at Fredericksburg and drove the enemy from the heights in the rear of the town and then advanced up the river to assist Hooker. But several miles out of Fredericksburg the rebels encountered him at Salem church, where after severe fighting Sedgwick's corps (the 6th) was repulsed and recrossed the river at Bank's ford.

Our new line at Chancellorsville was one of great strength, and could almost be defended by the artillery alone, which in large batteries had been posted at advantageous points commanding the approaches of the enemy. They made several attempts against our line during the 4th, but were always repulsed by the artillery, which was ably handled. In the evening that part of the line held by our brigade was heavily shelled by the enemy, but most of their shells passed over us and burst in the woods in our rear.

On the 5th it began to rain and rained all night, raising the Rappahannock so high that our pontoon bridges were in danger of being swept away. One of them had to be taken up to splice out the other two, and it was only by the unremitting labor of the engineer corps that the bridges were held in position.

On the morning of the 6th, after daylight, we commenced our retreat unmolested by the enemy, and recrossed the river at United States ford, and, after plodding all day through the mud and rain, we regained our old camps about 6 o'clock in the evening.

The losses of the two armies were nearly equal, though the rebel loss in killed was greater than ours. The Union loss was 1,612 killed, 9,591 wounded. The rebel loss was 1,665 killed and 9,081 wounded. A severe loss to the enemy was the mortal wounding of Stonewall Jackson. The losses in the 3d corps were very heavy, among them two general officers, Generals Berry and Whipple, killed.

According to the monthly return of the 57th, dated April 30, 1863, we find that the strength of the regiment present for duty was 24 officers and 232 enlisted men; total, 256. Our loss at the battle of Chancellorsville was 2 officers and 8 men killed; 2 officers and 41 men wounded; 2 officers and 17 men captured. The officers killed were Capt. Edson J. Rice and Lieut. Joseph Brady, Chaplain McAdam and Assistant Surgeon Leet were captured, but being noncombatants they were exchanged a few weeks afterward.

The battle of Chancellorsville ought to have ended in a victory for us, and no doubt would have done so, had General Howard taken proper precautions to prevent surprise on his part of the line. But it seems the fates were against us. The cavalry expedition under General Stoneman, of which much was expected, did but slight damage to the enemy's railroads, and returned to our lines having accomplished little or nothing.


Back Again in Our Old Camp—Cavalry Battle at Brandy Station—The March to Gettysburg—Hooker's Request for Troops at Harper's Ferry—Asks to be Relieved from the Command of the Army—We Arrive at Gettysburg—Battle of July 2d—Strength of the Fifty-Seventh—Its Losses—General Graham Wounded and Captured—Wounding of General Sickles—Battle of July 3d—July 4th—The Confederates Retreat—General Sickles Asks for a Court of Inquiry—President Lincoln to Sickles—A Visit to the Battlefield Twenty-five Years Later.

Although some of our men had destroyed their huts, when we started on the recent campaign, there were on account of our losses, enough still standing to shelter what was left of the regiment. It was sad to look around at the vacant huts, and to realize that their former occupants would never rejoin us. The 141st Pennsylvania, whose camp adjoined ours, had met with severe losses in the late battle and the large number of unoccupied huts in their camp had a depressing effect on the spectator.

After a few days' rest the same old routine of drill, inspection, guard and picket duty was resumed, relieved occasionally by a division or corps review. The paymaster arrived on May 11th and paid the regiment, each man receiving four months' pay, which to the private soldier meant $52.00.

About the last week in May we abandoned our old camp for a new location near Belle Plain landing, which was a depot of supplies on the Potomac. The camp was soon laid out, and the weather having become quite warm we needed only our little shelter tents to protect us from the sun or rain. The camp of the regiment was near a road leading to the landing, which was constantly occupied by teams going to, or coming from there, which raised great clouds of dust, to our great annoyance.

Our cavalry had quite a battle with the enemy at Brandy Station, which ended favorably for us, and also made it obvious that the rebels were moving northward, thus taking the initiative in what became known as the "Gettysburg Campaign."

On June 11th, about noon, we were ordered to strike tents, and were soon on the march, over the hills, and through the ravines of Stafford county, which were no longer to be used by us as camping grounds. The day was very warm and there was considerable straggling, but the men all got up by night, when we camped at Hartwood church. On the 12th we marched to near Bealeton station, on the old Orange & Alexandria railroad, where we halted for the night, and next day marched for a few miles toward Rappanhannock station. On the 14th we started in the evening and marched northward to Catlett station, where we arrived about midnight. On the 15th we moved to Manassas Junction. This was one of the hottest days of the season, and some forty men of our division were prostrated by sunstroke. On the 16th, which was another hot and dusty day, we marched to Bull Run and encamped at Mitchell's ford. On the 17th we continued our march to Centerville, where we remained until the evening of the 19th, when we started for Gum Springs. After we had gone about two miles a violent storm of rain set in. This was one of the worst night marches we ever made. The night was dark as pitch, only an occasional flash of lightning to show us the way. When we halted for the night we were drenched to the skin and as our matches were all damp we had hard work to start our campfires. When we had got our fires started we found that the regiment must move a mile further on to go on picket. This was very discomforting, but it had to be done, for such is the life of a soldier.

In the meantime the enemy had been moving northward on the west side of the Blue Ridge mountains. A Union force under General Milroy of about seven thousand men was attacked by the rebel General Ewell, who captured many of them and drove the rest across the Potomac. This occurred on the 13th and 14th of June.

On June 25th, the 57th with the rest of the 3d corps moved from Gum Springs and crossed the Potomac at Edwards ferry into Maryland and moved up the river to the mouth of the Monocacy river.

The corps of Hill and Longstreet of Lee's army crossed the Potomac at Williamsport and Sheppardstown and moved toward Pennsylvania. They were preceded for several days by Ewell, who was now in that state and threatening Harrisburg.

On June 26th we left our camp at the mouth of the Monocacy and moved to Point of Rocks, on the Baltimore & Ohio railroad. The next day we marched by way of Jefferson to Middletown, Md., and on the 28th to Woodsborough. There we learned that General Hooker had been relieved from command of the army and had been succeeded by Gen. George G. Meade. Hooker had asked Halleck, the general-in-chief of the army, for the forces at Harpers Ferry and Baltimore which were refused him, whereupon he asked to be relieved from command. A few days later Meade asked for the same troops, some thirteen thousand in number, and his request was complied with. The change of commanders on the eve of battle was a questionable thing, but as we were successful in the coming conflict, not much was said about it.

Hooker's army had been depleted after Chancellorsville, by the muster out of about thirty thousand two years or nine months men. He was perfectly right in asking for the troops at Harpers Ferry, which were doing no good there, but on account of an ill feeling existing between Halleck and Hooker they were refused him, although they were given to Meade. To a great many old soldiers it was always a puzzle what Halleck was kept at Washington for anyway.

It now became evident to the men of the 57th that we would soon be called to fight a battle on the soil of our native state, but where the battle ground would be was as yet a matter of conjecture.

On June 29th we marched from Woodborough to Taneytown and encamped in a fine grove near the town. Many of the citizens of the town, including a goodly lot of ladies visited our camp in the evening and watched with interest the men putting up their tents, and cooking their coffee. The next day we marched but a few miles, and encamped at Bridgeport, a small hamlet about half way between Taneytown and Emmitsburg, Md.

At 2 o'clock p. m. of July 1st we were hurriedly ordered to "fall in," when we took the Emmitsburg pike and rapidly marched toward Gettysburg, twelve miles distant. The day was very warm and sultry, but after a fatiguing march we arrived near the town about 8 p. m., and bivouacked for the night on the Trostle farm, which is located about two miles south of Gettysburg. There had been severe fighting going on north and west of the town from 10 a. m. until dark. The 1st and 11th corps had been engaged with overpowering numbers of the enemy, and although they fought valorously, and met with heavy losses, they were obliged to fall back through the town and take up a stronger position on Cemetery hill. General Reynolds, who commanded the Union forces engaged, was killed early in the fight. His loss was deeply regretted, as he was one of the best generals in our army. During the night all the other corps of our army came up with the exception of the 6th corps, which having the greatest distance to march did not arrive until 2 p. m. of the 2d. The men of the 57th were up by daylight on the 2d and preparing their breakfast and otherwise getting ready for the conflict which all knew would open sooner or later during the day.

Unlike the battlefields of Virginia where we usually fought in the woods or thickets, we were now on a field where we had an unobstructed view, and could see something of the movements of other troops, besides our own regiment or brigade.

At this time the 3d corps consisted of two divisions commanded by Generals Birney and Humphreys. The right of the latter division joined the left of Hancock's 2d corps on the southern slope of Cemetery hill. Birney to the left was to extend his line on the same prolongation to the base of Little Roundtop. But this line was commanded by the high ground ground along the Emmitsburg road and at the peach orchard. General Sickles, after having repeatedly informed General Meade that the line was a weak one, assumed the responsibility of changing it. He therefore posted Birney's division as follows: Graham's brigade on the right, its right resting a few rods north of the Sherfy house on the Emmitsburg road. At the peach orchard, which is a part of the Sherfy farm, an angle was formed in our brigade line, part of it facing west, and part to the south. On Graham's left was De Trobriand's brigade which in part occupied the wheatfield. Ward's brigade held the left of the division passing through the rocky ground called Devil's Den, with his left resting at the western base of Little Roundtop.

A great part of the day was spent by the maneuvering of both armies. General Meade's opinion was that Lee would attack his right, while that general was moving his troops behind Seminary ridge for the purpose of attacking Meade's left. The key point on this part of the line was Little Roundtop, but strange to tell, it was not occupied by our troops until after the battle began and then just in the nick of time. A few minutes later the enemy would have gained the crest and Gettysburg would have been lost. The occupation of the hill is due to the energy of General Warren, chief of engineers, who succeeded in getting troops there just as the enemy was beginning to ascend the western base of the hill.

In the meantime our regiment was lying in a field a few rods in the rear of the Sherfy house, which stood on the opposite side of the road. The 105th Pennsylvania was on our right, and the 114th on our left. For two hours we lay here under the hottest fire of artillery we had as yet been subjected to. The enemy had some thirty pieces of artillery planted on the ridge to the south and west of us, hurling their missiles toward us as fast as they could work their guns. Fortunately most of them were aimed too high to do us injury, but to stay there so long under that howling, shrieking storm of shot and shell, was more trying to the nerves than to be engaged in close action with the enemy.

Finally this long cannonade ceased and the enemy began to advance his infantry to attack our part of the line. The 57th and the 114th were ordered across the road, where we beheld the enemy, which proved to be Barksdale's Mississippi brigade, advancing through the fields toward us. Our regiment at once took advantage of the cover that the house, outbuildings and trees afforded and opened fire on the enemy, who were within easy range, and did not reply to our fire until they reached a rail fence about a hundred yards in our front. There were then no rebels to the right of those engaged with us, and for a while we had the best of the fight owing to our sheltered position. The men of the 57th who were in the house kept up a steady fire from the west windows of the house. The writer had posted himself by a large cherry tree against which some fenceposts were leaning, on the north side of the house. Before the fight closed this cherry tree was struck with a twelve pound solid shot from one of our guns. When the monument of the regiment was dedicated in July, twenty-five years later, the tree with the cannon ball embedded in it was still standing.

Although the angle of the peach orchard was long and bravely defended by our troops there, they were at last compelled to yield ground, and by so doing the regiments along the Emmittsburg road were enfiladed and obliged to fall back also. When we found the enemy coming up the road in our rear, Captain Nelson, who was in command of the regiment, tried to notify those in the house, and order them to fall back, but amid the noise and confusion it was impossible to make then understand the situation, and they kept on firing from the windows after the rest of the men fell back, and they were summoned to surrender by the rebels who came up the stairs in their rear.

Those of us who got out of this tight place were soon after formed with the rest of our division, on a ridge in the rear of the position we had occupied in the morning. Reenforcements from the 5th, 2d and 12th corps were sent in to reestablish the line which our division had held, but they were unable to do so when darkness put an end to the conflict.

The 57th entered the battle with 18 officers and 187 enlisted men. Our losses were 2 officers and 9 men killed, 9 officers and 37 men wounded, and 4 officers and 55 men captured, a total of 116, over half of the number carried into action. Lieutenant Henry Mitchell, of Company E, and Lieutenant John F. Cox, of Company I, were killed, and Colonel Sides was among the officers wounded. Of the 55 enlisted men captured only 11 returned to the regiment. The remaining 44 died in prison at Belle Isle, or at Andersonville. Major Neeper was captured, as were also Lieutenants Hines, Burns and Crossley.

General Graham was wounded and taken prisoner in the peach orchard. General Sickles lost a leg near the Trostle house about 6 p. m. General Birney then assumed command of the corps. Col. A. H. Tippon, of the 68th Pennsylvania, succeeded General Graham in command of the brigade.

Early in the morning of the 3d our division was ordered to the front, which was now considerably in rear of the position we occupied the day before. The enemy occupied the Emmitsburg road and the peach orchard, and fields to the south. On the left near the Roundtops their line was farther back than the position they gained the evening before. From the position of our regiment we could plainly see the Sherfy house, which was about three-fourths of a mile to our front and left.

When General Geary, with part of his division, on the 2d left his position on the right of the Union line at Culp's hill to reenforce the 3d corps, he left behind him to hold his works the brigade of General Greene. The enemy in the evening in strong force attacked this position and succeeded in capturing a part of the line of works, but they were recaptured by General Geary early next morning.

In front of the 57th everything was quiet and the men were enjoying a much needed rest under the trees in the little grove in which they were stationed. Rations were distributed and we also received a good ration of commissary whiskey, which at that time was duly appreciated. It was quiet during the forenoon and many of our men, pillowed on their knapsacks, were asleep when the tremendous artillery fire began which was the prelude to the charge of Pickett's division on Hancock's position on Cemetery hill. Their fire was soon responded to by our artillery and for about two hours the earth fairly shook with the thunder of these guns and the bursting of shells. All this noise was going on about a mile to the right of us and as we were "not in it" we were anxiously wondering what the result would be.

After this cannonading had been going on for some time we were ordered to fall in quickly. About eighty of the 57th were left to respond to the call. These were soon in line and with the rest of the brigade we moved rapidly to the right in the direction of the firing. Moving in double quick for about a mile we were halted and took a position a few rods in rear of several batteries which were heavily engaged. They had just repulsed a charge of Wilcox's rebel brigade, which was supporting Pickett on his right, and whose retreat was being covered by the rebel artillery. We did not become engaged while here, but were exposed to the enemy's fire, which, however, did us no harm. After the firing ceased and the smoke had lifted, we learned of the repulse of Pickett's men and that our army had for once gained an important victory.

That night the regiment was sent on picket duty about half a mile to our front on ground that had been fought over on the afternoon of the 2d, and as the bodies of dead men and horses strewed the ground, the hot sun had decomposed them, causing an odor that was extremely disagreeable.

At daylight we moved back and rejoined the brigade. It was the 4th of July, the eighty-seventh anniversary of American Independence, and here we were on a field strewn with the bodies of our comrades, who had died for the great principles which our fathers had maintained in 1776. With the exception of a little picket firing there was no fighting on the 4th, and that night the enemy began their retreat back to Virginia.

General Sickles has been blamed in some quarters for taking the advanced position he did at Gettysburg on July 2d, but he is also sustained by many prominent military men, among them Gen. U. S. Grant, who visited the battlefield after the war.

The enemy having retreated, the 6th corps and cavalry were sent in pursuit. Our corps did not leave until the 7th. On the afternoon of the 6th the writer took a stroll out to the Sherfy house to look at the ground there. At the house the brick walls on the south and west sides were scarred by the enemy's bullets and the roof had a number of holes made by fragments of shell. The bursting of shells had set fire to the large barn and destroyed it, burning at the same time a number of wounded soldiers who had sought refuge in it. The dead had all been buried, but where our batteries had stood were heaps of dead horses. It was then I discovered the cannon ball in the cherry tree, mentioned above, by which I had been standing during the fight on the 2d. The ball was from our own guns, and no doubt struck the tree during the fighting of July 3d, or on the afternoon of the 2d after our men had abandoned the house.

While visiting the battlefields in 1888 Mrs. Sherfy informed me that nothing worth mentioning had been taken from the house or destroyed. An eight-day clock, which had been wound up before the family left the house when a battle was imminent, was still ticking away when they returned after the fight was over. She also stated that a limber chest containing a lot of ammunition was found in the field opposite the house. The men of the family were afraid to handle the ammunition, so to dispose of it, they dug a hole beside the chest, and tumbled it in, contents and all, and covered it up, and it had not been disturbed since. The chest no doubt belonged to Randolph's battery, as a section of it was in action at the point indicated by Mrs. Sherfy.


We Leave Gettysburg—Rebel Spy Hung—French's Division Joins the 3d Corps—Enemy's Position at Falling Waters—He Escapes Across the Potomac—In Old Virginia Again—Manassas Gap—Camp at Sulphur Springs—Movement to Culpepper—Eleventh and Twelfth Corps Sent West—Lee's Efforts to Gain Our Rear—Skirmish at Auburn Creek—Warren's Fight at Bristow Station—Deserter Shot—Retreat of the Enemy—Kelly's Ford—Mine Run Campaign—The Regiment Re-enlists—The "Veteran Furlough"—Recruiting—Presented with a New Flag by Governor Curtin—Back to the Front—General Grant Commands the Army—Reorganization—The Wilderness Campaign—Three Days of Hard Fighting—Loss in Fifty-Seventh.

On the morning of July 7th we left Gettysburg and moved southward, through Emmitsburg and halted for the night at Mechanicstown, Md. On the 8th we passed Frederick City, and encamped two miles beyond the town. While passing the town we could see away off to our right near the town a gallows standing, and a large crowd gathered about it. A rebel spy had been caught and hung. Some of our men who saw this spy, recognized in him the same man who sold and sang songs throughout our camp the summer before when we lay in front of Richmond. He was a fine singer and sold lots of his songs, but he met the fate of a spy at last. On the 9th we moved again and at night we reached South Mountain.

About this time the division of Gen. W. H. French was assigned to our corps and became the 3d division. General French being the senior general, now took command of the corps. Colonel Tippon had been relieved from the command of the brigade, which was now commanded by Colonel Madill, of the 141st Pennsylvania.

On July 10th we marched from South Mountain to a point about five miles beyond Keedysville, Md. On the 12th we were drawn up in line of battle near Falling Waters, and expected to attack the enemy, who had thrown up a strong line of works to cover their crossing of the Potomac. The attack, however, was delayed too long, and when we advanced on the 14th we found their works deserted and the enemy safely across the river. Previous to this many of their wagons had been captured and many prisoners taken by our cavalry.

Survivors Monument

Monument and group of survivors of the Regiment

It was humiliating to think that the enemy escaped so easily. With the swollen Potomac in their front, their pontoon bridge destroyed, and our victorious army in their rear, they ought to have been compelled to surrender. But Appomattox was still a long way off and many brave boys would fall before the end came. The news that General Grant had taken Vicksburg, and caused the surrender of Pemberton's army, was some consolation in our disappointment over Lee's escape.

On the 15th we passed over the old Antietam battlefield, and halted for the night about two miles beyond Sharpsburg. On the 16th we passed through Brownsville and Rohrersville and encamped near Harper's Ferry. The next day about dark we crossed the Potomac at Harper's Ferry and were once more on the soil of Virginia.

We resumed our march on the 18th and 19th, and on the 20th we reached Upperville. On the 23d we were near Manassas Gap, where it was expected we would strike the enemy's column, which was moving up the Shenandoah valley. We moved to the top of a high hill, where we had a fine view of Front Royal and the surrounding country. We also witnessed a fight in a field in the valley to our right, of a force of the enemy and Sickles' old Excelsior brigade. This engagement, in which we were but slightly engaged, is known as the skirmish of "Wapping Heights." The enemy retreated during the night and next day we moved some miles beyond Piedmont on the Manassas Gap railroad. The greater part of our march was over the torn up railroad track, and as the day was excessively hot we were a tired lot of men when we encamped that night.

On the 25th we marched to within six miles of Warrenton, in Fauquier county, Va. The next day we moved four miles beyond the town and encamped at Fauqueir Sulphur Springs. Here we remained for about six weeks, during which time Colonel Sides and some of the officers and men who had been wounded at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg returned for duty. Here we had a fine camp, with good facilities for bathing in Hedgeman's river, a branch of the Rappahannock. The large brick hotel at the springs had been destroyed by fire the year before during Pope's campaign. Back of the hotel site was a fine park which was surrounded on three sides by cottages which had been used by summer sojourners at this place. Near the center of the park stood a pavilion, under which was the noted spring, the water of which was very cold and strongly impregnated with sulphur. We drank freely of this water and were advised to do so by the medical officers of the division. If we had been afflicted with the itch, the water would no doubt have been an effective remedy, but the only itch that troubled us was caused by a small insect known among scientists as the pediculus vestimenti and the sulphur water was not effective in driving the pests away.

Our camp at the spring was broken up on the afternoon of September 15th, when we moved southward to Freeman's ford, where we crossed the Rappahannock and took up a position between Culpepper and Stone House mountain. The whole army was now in position between the rivers Rappahannock and the Rapidan.

About the end of September the 11th and 12th corps were detached from the Army of the Potomac and under General Hooker were sent to the west to reenforce our army operating around Chattanooga, Tenn. Longstreet's corps of the rebel army had previously been sent to the same point to reenforce General Bragg.

We remained in the vicinity of Culpepper until October 12th, when it was found that Lee's army had crossed the Rapidan and was turning our right. This caused a retrograde movement of our whole army. Our division moved to the rear on October 11th, the 57th acting as flankers on the left of the column. At one point, when on a high hill, we had a fine view of a cavalry battle which was going on in our rear near Brandy Station. In the evening we crossed the Rappahannock at Freeman's ford and halted for the night in a pine woods. On the morning of the 12th we learned that the enemy had driven back our cavalry, and was crossing the river at our old camp at Sulphur Springs, about three miles above us. Our march to the rear continued on a by-road which brought us to the Warrenton branch of the O. & A. R. R. about three miles east of Warrenton. We rested here for a while and then after a march of about five miles further we halted for the night.

About 4 p. m. on the 13th we encountered the enemy's cavalry at Auburn creek. Our brigade held the advance of the column on this day, and the 57th was the leading regiment. Companies A and K acted as advance guard. These companies deployed on both sides of the road and opened fire on the rebels, who were dismounted and advancing through the woods and fields. Our firing soon brought up the rest of the brigade and a battery, whereupon, the rebels seeing we were well supported, mounted their horses and retreated at a lively gait. Several men of our regiment were slightly wounded in this affair. When the skirmish was over we resumed our march, and about dark we reached the English settlement called Greenwich, where we encamped, and our regiment was posted as pickets.

We started again next morning and moved to Centerville, via Bristow and Manassas Junction. Late in the afternoon, the 2d corps, under General Warren, acting as rear guard, had a severe battle with Hill's corps, in which Warren was victorious, capturing a battery, several battle flags, and about four hundred prisoners.

On the 15th we moved to Fairfax Station and here on the following day, our regiment for the first time witnessed the solemn spectacle of a military execution. A private of the 5th Michigan who had deserted to the enemy and had been recaptured, was shot for desertion.

In the late movements, General Lee's object was to gain our rear and cut us off from Washington, but when we reached the strong position on the heights of Centerville, he found he was foiled, and then it became his turn to retreat. He was followed by our cavalry and several brisk skirmishes took place between our troopers and the enemy.

On the 19th our division was again moving, this time with our faces toward the Rappahannock, and at night we encamped near Bristow station. On the 20th we marched through Greenwich and encamped two miles beyond the town. On the 21st we passed through Auburn, and over the ground where Gen. Alex. Hay's division of the 2d corps had engaged the enemy a few days before, and at night we encamped near Catlett's station. From this date until November 7th we moved to various points along the railroad, which having been destroyed by the enemy, made it necessary for us to rebuild it, consequently our advance was slow.

Near Warrenton Junction, at 5 a. m. on November 5th we broke camp and moved to Kelly's ford on the Rappahannock. Here our crossing was disputed by the enemy and a brisk skirmish ensued. They finally relinquished their attempts to hold the ford when we crossed over and encamped about dark. In this skirmish, while Capt. T. L. Maynard, our brigade inspector, was giving a drink of water to a wounded rebel, he was mortally wounded and died next morning.

While we were fighting at Kelly's ford, the 5th and 6th corps had a fight with the enemy, whom they drove out of their works at Rappahannock station, about eight miles above Kelly's ford.

On the 8th we reached Brandy Station and after a few days we moved into the woods near James Barbour's house, and occupied a lot of huts, which had lately been constructed by the rebels, to be used as winter quarters, but they had now fallen back beyond the Rapidan river. We remained in this camp for a few weeks and then were once more on the move to take part in what is known as the "Mine Run campaign."

On the morning of November 26th we moved out of camp, and in the evening crossed the Rapidan at Jacobs' ford, without interruption from the enemy. The advance was resumed next morning and about 4 p. m. our division was hurried to the front to relieve the 3d division, which had become engaged with Johnson's division of Ewell's corps. We got into a brisk little fight in which the 57th had seven wounded. This action occurred near Locust Grove. It appears that our corps commander, General French, had been instructed to move on a road which would have led him between the corps of Hill and Ewell, who were miles apart, but he got on the wrong road and ran against the corps of Ewell, which brought on the engagement. The enemy retreated during the night and the next morning their army was concentrated, which our movements the day before were intended to prevent.

On the 28th we started again and after marching all day in the rain we came up with the enemy, who were occupying a strong position near the western bank of Mine run. This stream, flowing north, is deep and sluggish, with steep banks, and empties into the Rapidan at Mitchell's ford.

On the 29th the regiment lay in rear of a battery as a support, and at night a part of the regiment was sent out to the run to support the picket line. It was bitter cold, and we were allowed no fires, so we had a very uncomfortable night of it.

General Warren, with the 2d corps, held the extreme left of the line, and he thought that he could carry the enemy's position in his front, if strongly reenforced. Early in the morning one division of the 6th corps, and the 2d and 3d divisions of the 3d corps were sent him. We of Birney's division were in the center, posted along the brow of a hill with the enemy behind breastworks about three-fourths of a mile in our front. We were to hold ourselves in readiness, upon hearing the sound of Warren's guns, to charge the enemy's works. Warren, upon further examination of the enemy's lines, informed General Meade that the enemy's lines were too strong to hazard an attack. We were not sorry when we heard this, for it would have been extremely perilous to have charged over the broad open field in our front up to the enemy's works.

On December 1st a snow storm set in, and after dark we marched to the rear, and recrossed the Rapidan at Culpepper ford about daylight on the 2d. About 9 o'clock our march was resumed, the 57th and the 63d Pennsylvania acting as wagon guard to our long train. Having run out of rations we were very hungry, but we contrived to get something to eat before night. On December 3d we reached our old camps, and finding our huts still standing, we soon had them roofed, and were again comfortably housed.

A few days after we got settled down, the question of reenlistment was much discussed among the men. The War Department had issued General Order No. 191, which allowed every man who reenlisted a bounty of $400.00 (to be paid in installments) and a furlough for thirty days. Before leaving on furlough each man was to be paid $100.00, under the bounty act of July 22, 1861, one month's pay in advance, $13.00, premium, $2.00, and first installment of bounty under General Order 191, $60.00, making a total of $175.00. Where three-fourths of the men present for duty in a regiment reenlisted, the regiment was allowed to go in a body with their arms to place of organization, and from thence the men could go to their homes on furlough. They were also entitled to be designated as "veteran regiments," and each man was allowed to wear the veteran stripes on the sleeves of his coat.

On the 24th of December the regiment was formed in a hollow square in front of headquarters, and was then briefly addressed by Chaplain McAdam on the propriety of reenlisting. At the conclusion of the chaplain's remarks, Colonel Sides requested those who were willing to reenlist, to step three paces to the front. Over three-fourths of the men stepped forward, and, after giving three hearty cheers for the Union, were dismissed. Then for several days the officers and first sergeants were busy making out muster rolls, furloughs, and reenlistment papers.

Among the men the furlough was the all-absorbing theme. When were they to be granted? It is safe to say that a bounty of $1,000.00, without the furlough, would have secured but a small number of the men. But the assurance of spending thirty days at home was the great inducement for reenlisting, as most of the men had been absent from home for two years or more.

January 8th, 1864, was the time appointed for the regiment to depart for the north, and long before daylight the boys were up and getting ready for their departure. The men who had not reenlisted were temporarily assigned to the 141st Pennsylvania. At 7 o'clock a. m., in the midst of a snow storm, we boarded a train at Brandy station and were soon on our way to Washington, where we remained for a day and a night, and then started for Harrisburg. Here we deposited our arms and accoutrements in the arsenal, and then the men departed by different routes for their homes.

Our stay at home was one continual round of pleasure. There were parties, festivals and sleigh-rides without number and the men will never forget those halcyon days of our "veteran furlough."

After the men had been at home for some days, many of their friends were anxious to enlist and return with them to the army. On account of our success in obtaining recruits our furlough was extended. When we left for home the regiment numbered barely two hundred men. After an absence of forty-five days we returned with nearly five hundred men in our ranks.

Our old flag which had been torn by the bullets of many battles was left at Harrisburg while we were on furlough, and when we returned to the front we received a new one, with an appropriate speech, from the hands of Governor Curtin.

On the 25th of February we rejoined our old brigade near Culpepper, Va., and on the 27th we went with the division on a reconnaissance to James City. We were gone two days, during which time nothing of importance occurred.

General Grant, having been appointed lieutenant-general, and placed in command of all our armies, made his headquarters with the Army of the Potomac some time in March, 1864. About the 16th of March the army was reorganized, the 1st and 3d corps were disbanded and the divisions assigned to other corps. The 1st and 2d division of the 3d corps (the old divisions of Kearny and Hooker) were assigned to the 2d corps, commanded by General Hancock. The 3d division was assigned to the 6th corps. Our division, now designated as the 3d division, of the 2d corps, was commanded by General Birney. It consisted of two brigades commanded by Generals Ward and Hays. Our brigade (now designated as the 2d brigade, 3d division, 2d corps) was commanded by Gen. Alexander Hays and was comprised of the following named regiments: 4th and 17th Maine; 3d and 5th Michigan; 93d New York; 57th, 63d and 105th Pennsylvania, and 1st United States Sharpshooters. The 68th and 114th Pennsylvania of our old brigade were detached, and acted as provost guard at army headquarters. The 141st Pennsylvania was attached to Ward's brigade.

The men were proud of the record of the army corps to which they had formerly belonged, and felt very glad to know that they would be allowed to wear the old badge of the corps in which they had previously served. Under the reorganization the Army of the Potomac consisted of three corps, as follows: 2d corps, General Hancock; 5th corps, General Warren; 6th corps, General Sedgewick. The 9th corps, under General Burnside, joined the Army of the Potomac about the 5th of May.

The great campaign of 1864 began soon after midnight on May 3d. Our corps, preceded by Gregg's cavalry, moved out, and about daylight crossed the Rapidan on a pontoon bridge at Ely's ford, and on the night of the 4th we bivouacked on the old Chancellorsville battlefield, on the ground over which we had fought one year before.

On the morning of the 5th we moved down the plank road to a point about two miles beyond the Chancellor house, when we turned to the right, which brought us to Todd's tavern about noon. Here we cooked our coffee and then resumed our march until we struck the Brock road, where we turned to the right and formed a line of battle facing west. Soon after we were ordered back into the road, and then at double quick we went up the road until we reached the Orange plank road. Here we saw General Hancock, who ordered General Hays to throw in his first regiment on the right of the plank road. This happened to be the 57th, and as soon as our left had cleared the road we were faced to the left and advanced in line of battle facing west, with the left of the regiment resting on the plank road. We were now in what is known as the Wilderness. This is a tract of land of about twenty thousand acres covered principally with small pines and scrub oaks. It formerly belonged to Governor Spottswood, and was once covered with heavy timber, which was cut down and made into charcoal, used for smelting iron in the old fashioned furnaces, of which there were many in this vicinity. We continued to grope our way through the thicket and swamps and finally met the enemy and opened fire. The whole division was soon engaged and the roar of the musketry was terrific. In our front the enemy was less than two hundred feet from us, but so dense was the underbrush that it was almost impossible to see them. We had the advantage of the enemy, who were on higher ground, and many of their balls passed over us. The left of the regiment had the hottest part of the line, as it rested on the plank road and was subjected to the fire of the rebels who were on the other side of the road. The left began to break, when the 17th Maine coming up on the left of the road soon gave the enemy enough to do on that side. The battle lasted until nearly dark, when we were relieved, and moved a short distance to the rear, where we remained for the night.

On the morning of May 6th our corps was ordered to begin the attack at 5 o'clock. We at once moved out the plank road and soon attacked the enemy, this time on the left of the road. The fighting for a while was all in our favor and we drove the enemy (Hill's corps) back for over a mile and were just about entering the open fields around the Widow Tapp's house, when Longstreet's fresh corps arrived and reenforced Hill, whose corps was in great confusion. Owing to the density of the woods through which we had been chasing the enemy, our lines had become much disordered, and before that could be rectified, Longstreet attacked with his usual vigor and we were in turn forced back. We retired fighting until we reached the Brock road, where we took a position on the left of the plank road in rear of the entrenchments that had been thrown up along the Brock road. Here about 4:15 p. m. the enemy charged the works and drove back the first line, when we advanced and retook them, capturing a number of prisoners.

On the morning of the 7th we made a reconnaissance, crossing over to the right of the plank road and advancing over three-fourths of a mile, when we found the enemy entrenched behind strong works. We had a sharp fight, and were then withdrawn, and again took position on the Brock road.

According to the monthly report of the regiment, dated April 30, 1864, we had present for duty 18 officers and 357 men. As this was but a few days before the battle, it will give a nearly correct estimate of the number of men the regiment took into the field on May 5th, on which day our greatest losses occurred. During the three days' fighting our losses were 22 enlisted men killed; 4 officers and 128 enlisted men wounded and 3 enlisted men missing. Of those killed none was more deeply mourned than First Sergeant Duke Miller, of Company E. He was one of the bravest and best men in the regiment, and his social and intellectual qualities were admired by all who knew him. Colonel Sides and Lieut. F. V. Shaw were among the wounded.

Senior Captain A. H. Nelson had command of the regiment as Colonel Side's successor until the last week in June, when Major Neeper, who had been captured at Gettysburg, returned and took command.

Gen. Alexander Hays, commander of our brigade, was killed in the battle fought on the afternoon of the 5th. He was one of the bravest men that ever lived, and an accomplished soldier. With the exception of a short time when he served in the 2d corps, in 1863, he had been identified with the old 1st division of the 3d corps since the Army of the Potomac was organized. He was a native of Venango county, Pa., and was a graduate of West Point and had served with honor in the Mexican war. He entered the war for the Union as colonel of the 63d Pennsylvania Volunteers. At Gettysburg he commanded a division in Hancock's corps. His reputation as a fighter was well known in both the Union and Confederate armies.

The writer was wounded on the morning of May 6th, and went to the rear in company with the color sergeant, Cyrus P. Slaven, also wounded. On our way to the rear we turned into the woods along the plank road where we had fought the afternoon before. The wounded and killed had all been removed, but the trees were witnesses of the terrible musketry fire that had raged here. Not a tree or a bush but bore marks of being hit by a bullet. How any of us got out of there without being hit is a mystery.


The Movement to Spottsylvania Court House—General Sedgwick Killed—Hancock's Grand Charge of May 12th—Great Capture of Prisoners, Guns and Colors—The Famous Oak Tree—Ewell's Effort to Capture Our Wagon Train—Losses in the Fifty-Seventh at Spottsylvania—Movement to North Anna River—Fight at Chesterfield Ford—We Cross the Pamunkey—Skirmish at Haw's Shop and Totopotomoy Creek—Battle of Cold Harbor—Our Colors Struck and Badly Torn by a Piece of Shell—Flank Movement to the James River—March to Petersburg—Severe Fighting at Hare's Hill—Battle of June 22d—Losses in the Fifty-Seventh—Fort Alex. Hays—Petersburg—We Move to the North Side of the James—Strawberry Plains—Return to Petersburg—The "Burnside Mine"—General Mott in Command of Our Division—Deep Bottom—Other Marching and Fighting Around Petersburg.

Many of the men in the Army of the Potomac, after the battle of the Wilderness had ended, were heard to say: "We have had the usual three days' fighting on this side of the river, and by about tomorrow night we will be back in our old camps." That had too often been the case before, but there was one at the head of the army now whose motto was "forward," and "Grant is making another movement by the left flank," soon became a common saying.

On the night of the 7th the movement to Spottsylvania Court House began. We moved along the Brock road in the direction of Todd's tavern. On the morning of the 8th we had a severe engagement, when we entrenched and had more fighting during the day. On the 9th we were not actively engaged, except in skirmishing. On this day Gen. John Sedgwick, commanding the 6th corps, was killed while directing the fire of a battery.

On the morning of the 10th, Hancock's corps crossed the Po river. The resistance to our (Birney's) division was stubborn and we had some severe fighting, after which the 57th was detailed to go out the Anderson's tavern road, to reconnoiter. We were driven back across Glady run near Waite's shop, Capt. A. H. Nelson, commanding the regiment, losing his horse. The whole corps was then drawn back across the river. In the afternoon there was some hard fighting and very heavy artillery firing.

On the 11th we built a line of breastworks, and at night, in the rain, we took up our line of march for Spottsylvania Court House, moving all night. The 2d corps had been selected to charge the enemy's works on that part of the field held by General Johnson's division of Ewell's corps. Long before daylight our troops were being massed for the important work in hand. Major Mitchell, of General Hancock's staff, says that the line was formed with Birney's division on the right in two lines, Barlow's division on Birney's left in column of regiments, and Mott's and Gibbons' divisions in rear of Birney and Barlow as supports. This force formed a rectangular mass of about twenty thousand men.

The troops stood in the cold rain shivering, and anxiously waiting for the dawn and lifting of the fog, that they might be ordered forward. At 4:30 a. m., the order to advance was given, when the huge mass moved forward, and soon after burst into cheers, and under a hot fire captured the enemy's works. This charge resulted in the capture of four thousand rebel prisoners, among them Maj. Gen. Edward Johnson, Brig. Gen. George H. Stuart, thirty battle flags, twenty pieces of artillery, with horses and caissons, and several thousand stand of small arms. Among the prisoners were nearly all that was left of Jackson's famous "Stonewall brigade." In the advance, the 57th was directly in front of a rebel battery, where in passing over the works, Color Corporal Spencer killed one of the batterymen by clubbing him with his musket. The advance was continued until we reached the second line of the enemy's works, when they were reenforced by fresh troops, when we fell back to the first line we captured, and took position behind the works.

Our position was just to the left of where the notable oak tree stood. The tree was eighteen inches in diameter and was actually cut down with musket balls fired from the opposing lines. A section of this tree, showing the work of the balls, has been on exhibition at the Centennial Exposition at Philadelphia, and at the World's Fair at Chicago, and is now in the Army Museum at Washington, D. C.

We remained in position during the day and did some fighting, in which Corporal Spencer was shot through the head and killed. On the 13th we helped to bury the dead, and in the evening we moved further to the right. On the next morning the regiment made a reconnoissance, during which we had some skirmishing. On the 18th we attacked the enemy in their new works, but were repulsed, and in the evening we moved to the vicinity of Anderson's Mills, on the west side of the Ny river.

On the evening of the 19th we fought Ewell's corps, which had made its appearance on the Fredericks pike and were trying to capture our wagon train. Tyler's division of new troops held them in check, until our division came up, when the enemy were repulsed, and our wagon train saved. About four hundred rebels were taken prisoners in this affair. About 9 o'clock in the evening the enemy retreated rapidly across the Ny. On the 20th we rejoined the corps at Anderson's Mill.

In our fighting at Spottsylvania and vicinity our losses were 2 officers and 5 enlisted men killed, 2 officers and 19 enlisted men wounded, and 4 enlisted men missing. First Lieut. Jeremiah Green, of Company A, and First Lieut. John Bowers, of Company I, were killed. Both were promising young officers and their death was much regretted. Lieutenant Bowers had command of Company K, when he received a mortal wound. Capt. Edgar Williams, of Company E, who had for a long time been our color bearer, was mortally wounded about this time and died on May 23d. He was a man of undaunted courage and a Christian soldier.

On the night of the 20th we started south by way of Guinea Station and Bowling Green, through to Milford Station, and took up a position on the right bank of the Mattapony river. This was twenty miles distant from our position of the morning.

We had a fight at Guinea Station on the 21st, and on the 22d we had a skirmish with the enemy's cavalry at Athens, still holding our position at Milford Station.

At 5 o'clock on the morning of the 23d we moved to Chesterfield Ford on the North Anna river, and took position on the north bank. At 6 p. m. we advanced and took the enemy's works by a charge of Pierce's and Egan's brigades of Birney's position.

On the morning of the 24th part of our corps crossed the river, but the 57th did not cross, it being on the skirmish line during the day at a point further down the river, but at night we crossed the river and joined the rest of the corps.

During the 25th and 26th we lay in the entrenched line on the south side of the North Anna. On the night of the 26th we recrossed the river and marched to the Pamunkey river, crossing it at Huntleys, four miles above Hanovertown, about noon on the 28th. We then moved to the vicinity of Haw's shop, where we had a skirmish with the enemy's cavalry and some South Carolina infantry.

On the morning of the 29th, we moved up the Haw's shop road, with considerable fighting at Totopotomoy creek, keeping in close proximity to the enemy's lines. On the 30th we had severe skirmishing in which artillery was brought into action, when at 7:40 p. m. General Meade ordered the attack to cease.

On the 31st the infantry line was pressed up close to the enemy, and heavy skirmishing was kept up all day, but without bringing on a general engagement, the enemy being strongly entrenched.

On the night of June 1st we left the Totopotomoy, and moved to Cold Harbor, arriving at 6 a. m. on the 2d, when Birney's division was detached and sent to support the 18th corps on our left. Our army was now on ground over which it had fought during the Seven Days' battles, two years previous.

The order for a general attack was countermanded for June 2d, but the next day at 4:30 a. m. we made an assault and drove the enemy back to their main line of entrenchments, but could proceed no further on account of the heavy cross fire we were subjected to. We were under a heavy fire until noon, when our division (Birney's) was ordered to the support of the 5th corps.

On coming into line for their support, the colors of the 57th were struck by a piece of the enemy's shell, cutting the flag staff in two, and tearing out one entire stripe right in the center of the flag.

We were under a heavy fire until darkness set in, when the fighting ceased. We remained in this position until June 12th, being under heavy skirmish and picket firing during the daytime and under heavy artillery fire at night, allowing scarcely any sleep, and during the day it was extremely warm and sultry.

On the evening of the 12th we were stationed in our entrenched line and remained there until the other troops had cleared the roads, when we moved by way of Dispatch Station to Long Bridge, crossing the Chickahominy river, and then moved towards Charles City Court House, by way of St. Mary's church and Walkers. We arrived at the James river on the evening of the 14th, crossing at Wilcox's Landing on transports to Windmill Point, arriving on the south side of the river early on the morning of the 15th. On the afternoon of that day we started for Petersburg, arriving at that place on the evening of the same day after a march of sixteen miles. At Harrison's creek on the way we had a brisk skirmish, and then halted for the night near an old dirt fort.

On the 16th General Hancock was placed in command of all the troops on the south side of the river. During the day we made several reconnoissances, and in the evening at 6 o'clock we made a charge down the hill and through an old rebel camp, but were obliged to fall back to our first position.

On the morning of the 17th Birney's division pushed forward across Harrison's creek, and at night we built a line of works on the west side of the creek.

Early on the 18th, with General Birney in command of the 2d corps, we moved up to, and in, the Prince George Court House road, in front of the Hare house, and from there we made a charge on the enemy's works, which ran across a field about two hundred yards in our front and almost parallel with the before mentioned road. Our line advanced about one hundred yards, when the enemy's fire became so severe that we were obliged to fall back to the road and seek cover. During the day we made three different charges on the enemy's works, but they were so formidable and well manned that we failed to reach them. In the third attempt the 57th reached a ditch, where we lay down and let them fire over us from both sides until about 6 o'clock in the evening, when we were recalled, and then returned to the main line in the Prince George road. We were then relieved by the 1st Maine heavy artillery (acting as infantry), when we moved back to the rear of the road. The Maine regiment made a gallant charge, but were also repulsed with great loss. While they were making this charge, a minie ball from the enemy's lines pierced the flag staff of our regimental colors about eight inches above the color sergeant's head.

During the night of the 18th we moved out in front of the Hare house, and built a line of breast-works, which position remained substantially the same during the entire siege. We remained in these works during the 19th and 20th. On the 21st we moved to the left of the Jerusalem plank road and took a position on the left of the 5th corps, and there built another line of works.

It was during these first days of the fighting around Petersburg that our adjutant, Clark M. Lyons, was killed, as was also Henry M. Adams, second lieutenant of Company I. Captain J. R. Lyons was severely wounded, and about twenty-five enlisted men were killed or wounded.

On the morning of the 22d we advanced about half a mile toward the rebel line, where we built a line of works, with nothing to work with but our bayonets and tin plates.

In the afternoon we had a hard fight with Mahone's division, which succeeded in making a flank movement, and getting on our left flank and rear, when we were compelled to fall back to our position of the 21st. In this action our brigade lost heavily in prisoners, our regiment losing about twenty, among them Lieut. James F. Ruger, of Company F. A brave and gallant sergeant of Company K, Pat. Dempsey, was also captured here, and died in Andersonville prison. In the evening we again advanced and retook our former position. It was between these two lines that Fort Alex. Hays was built afterward, and named in honor of our old brigade commander. We remained here for some time, doing picket duty and building entrenchments, for it was now decided that Petersburg must be besieged. This old Virginia town had, in 1860, a population of a little over eighteen thousand. It is situated on the south side of the Appomattox river about twenty-five miles from its mouth at City Point, and is twenty-three miles south of Richmond.

When we first reached the front of Petersburg, Lee's army depended for its supplies on two railroads, running south,—the Weldon railroad, and the Lynchburg (South Side) railroad. To encircle Petersburg as completely as a siege demanded, it was essential that these two roads should be covered by our army. The first was controlled by us, in the last week in August, but the South Side never, until the city fell.

Before the fall of the city our lines of investment extended from Appomattox, below Petersburg to Hatcher's Run, on the southwest, a distance of about twenty-five miles. To supply our army a railroad was constructed in rear of our lines, which connected with the Petersburg & City Point railroad near Broadway Landing. City Point at the confluence of the Appomattox with the James, was our depot of supplies, and was also the headquarters of General Grant. It was a very busy place in 1864, but in ordinary times it is but an unimportant hamlet. Our front line of works consisted of huge earthen forts, and redoubts in which were mounted heavy siege guns and mortars. The forts were connected by well constructed breastworks, in front of which was slashed timber or abattis. So strong were these works that with the aid of the artillery, they could be held by a small force of infantry, which enabled General Grant to detach largely from his forces for operations against the enemy's flanks, and elsewhere. Our cavalry was also kept busy raiding the enemy's communications and doing him as much damage as possible.

The enemy's works were on the same plan as ours and gave them the same opportunities.

On the afternoon of the 26th of July our corps made a forced march of thirty miles, and was sent to the north side of the James, crossing on a pontoon bridge at Jones Neck, on the morning of the 27th, and soon came up to the enemy, who were entrenched in strong force at Bailey's creek, from the mouth of the creek to Fussel's mill. Here we had some severe fighting on the 28th and 29th, in which the 57th lost quite a number of men. This fight is called in official records "Strawberry Plains."

On the evening of the 29th we recrossed the James and Appomattox, and marched back to a point in rear of where the "Burnside mine" was to be exploded, and here we relieved a division of the 9th corps, in order that they might take part in the assault that was to follow the explosion. This mine had been carefully and skillfully constructed by Lieut. Col. Henry Pleasants and his men of the 48th Pennsylvania. From a point on the 9th corps lines, where the Union and rebel lines were close together, a gallery was run five hundred and ten feet in length, terminating under a rebel fort garrisoned by Pegram's battery and the 18th and part of the 23d South Carolina infantry. The powder was put in the mine in eight magazines with one thousand pounds in each. The mine was to have been exploded at 4:30 a. m., but owing to the fuse going out, another half hour went by before it was considered safe to enter the shaft to mend and relight the fuse. Finally two brave men, Lieut. Jacob Douty and Sergt. Henry Rees, of the 48th Pennsylvania, entered the shaft, spliced the fuse, which was relit, and at a little past 5 o'clock the mighty explosion followed, sending into the air a great mass of earth, with which were mingled bodies of men and parts of muskets and artillery carriages. The explosion opened a crater one hundred and twenty feet long, sixty wide, and twenty-five feet deep. The enemy in their surrounding forts were so bewildered that it was fully a half hour before they opened fire or attempted to reoccupy the ground at the crater. Thus far everything went well for our side, but that charge of the troops which was to have followed the explosion, was miserably conducted, and ended with disaster and the loss of many brave men.

About the 1st of August, Gen. D. B. Birney, who had for a long time been in command of our division, was assigned to the command of the 10th army corps. He was succeeded in the command of our division by Gen. Gershom Mott, who entered the service in 1861 as colonel of the 6th New Jersey volunteers. For the greater part of the time that we were in front of Petersburg, our brigade was commanded by Brig. Gen. Byron R. Pierce, formerly colonel of the 3d Michigan volunteers.

After the Burnside mine explosion we moved back to our old camping ground at Fort Alex. Hays and remained there until the 13th of August, when another expedition to the north side of the James was put on foot. The 2d corps was marched to City Point and there got on board of transports, which, in order to deceive any scouts the enemy might have thereabouts, were at first started down the James, but after dark they were turned about and proceeded up the river until we reached Jones Neck, where we landed on the north side of the river. We moved out the Newmarket road and soon found the enemy in force on the west side of Bailey's creek. On the night of the 14th the division was massed at Fussel's mill, and on the 15th we were maneuvering all day to get into position.

On the 16th we engaged the enemy above Fussel's mill, where we lost quite a number of men, and took between two and three hundred prisoners. In this fight Col. Calvin A. Craig, of the 105th Pennsylvania and temporarily in command of our brigade, was killed. He was an excellent officer and his loss was deeply felt by the whole brigade. We remained on the north side of the river during the 17th and 18th, keeping up a continual threatening attitude by changing position and skirmishing. On the afternoon of the 18th another fight was brought on by the enemy leaving their works and coming out to attack us.

On the night of the 18th our (Mott's) division recrossed the James and marched to the extreme left of the line to reenforce the 5th corps under General Warren, who was about making an attempt to capture the Weldon railroad at the Globe tavern or "Yellow House."

On August 25th our division was ordered to Ream's station on the Weldon road, to reenforce the other two divisions of our corps who had a severe fight there. When we arrived we were under fire, but the other divisions were withdrawn, and we were ordered back to the vicinity of Fort Hays, where we went on picket and established a new picket line at night.

From this date until September 30th we remained in the front line of works between the Jerusalem plank road and the Yellow House doing picket and fatigue duty, and occasionally having a skirmish with the enemy on the picket line.

On September 30th in compliance with orders we packed up, and were ready to move at a moment's notice, and remained so for the day, but did not move out of camp. About noon, October 1st, we were ordered to fall in, when we marched to Hancock Station on the United States Military railroad, where we boarded cars which ran us down to the Yellow House, or Warren's Station, where we got off and marched about two miles and then bivouacked in rear of the 9th corps. At 7 a. m., October 2d, we moved out to the left of the 9th corps, advanced through a thick woods and charged with the rest of the brigade, on a line of the enemy's works, through a thick slashing. This line appeared only to have been occupied by a few pickets, who fled on our approach, which gave us a bloodless victory. We remained for half an hour in these works and again advanced, passed over a second line of works, and advanced about half a mile, where we found the enemy strongly entrenched, and obstinately resisting our further advance. About 3 p. m. we were deployed as flankers and were to act as provost. The rest of the brigade charged the enemy's works, but were repulsed and fell back to the line we occupied. We remained in this position until about 4 p. m., when we were relieved by the 9th corps, and then marched back about a mile and a half, to the 5th corps, where we bivouacked for the night. October 3d we were under arms at 4 a.m., and furnished a detail to work on the fortifications, the rest of the regiment remaining in camp. On the 4th we were at work again on the fortifications. About 8 p. m. on the 8th we marched back to our old camp at Fort Alex. Hays, where we arrived at midnight. In this affair we had three men severely wounded. The engagement is known as "Peeble's Farm" or "Poplar Springs Church."


Recruits—Dangerous Picket Duty—Muster-out of Old Regiments—Composition of the Brigade—Expedition Against the South Side Railroad—Battle of Boydton Plank Road or Hatcher's Run—Disguised Rebels Capture Our Picket Line—Election Day—Thanksgiving Dinner of Roast Turkey—Change of Camp—Raid on Weldon Railroad—A Hard March Returning—"Applejack"—General Humphreys in Command of the Second Corps.

During the month of September the regiment received about one hundred recruits, principally substitutes and drafted men. Their term of service was one year. After they were fairly broken in, they made good and reliable soldiers.

Picket duty during the month of October in front of Fort Alex. Hays was quite frequent for both officers and men. It was also dangerous at night, when picket firing was kept up all night by both sides. On our side the picket posts consisted of five or six men and a noncommissioned officer. These posts were protected by a small breastwork, in front of which was a pit in which was posted a vidette, who was relieved every hour or sometimes every half hour. These posts were about fifty yards apart and were not connected by any works, which made it dangerous for the officer in charge of the line, while making the rounds of the posts, which he was obliged to do twice every night. On the part of the line picketed by our brigade, the line was in the woods, but on our right in the open ground the posts were connected by a deep trench. The woods in which we were posted ran to a point where it met the open field. When we quit doing picket duty on this part of the line, about November 30th, the trees at this point of woods were so splintered with musket balls that they resembled a lot of old fashioned splint brooms. Our lines were relieved at dark, and from that time firing was kept up until daylight, when it usually ceased until evening.

During the latter part of summer and early part of autumn of 1864, the time of many of the old regiments (who had not reenlisted) expired, and they were mustered out. In this way we lost in our brigade the 3d Michigan and 63d Pennsylvania, both old and renowned regiments. The men of the 63d who had reenlisted, and the recruits, were transferred to the 105th Pennsylvania and were mustered out with it at the close of the war.

Our brigade now consisted of the 1st Massachusetts heavy artillery (acting as infantry), 5th Michigan, 93d New York, 57th, 84th, 105th and 141st Pennsylvania, and 17th Maine, and three companies of the 1st United States Sharpshooters. The brigade was commanded by Brig. Gen. Byron R. Pierce, who retained command of it until the war ended.

About the 24th of October orders were issued and preparations made for another movement by the left flank, this time the object being the seizure of the South Side railroad. To assist this movement the Army of the James was to make a demonstration against Richmond on the north bank of the James. The expedition on the left consisted of Hancock's 2d and Warren's 5th corps supported by the 9th corps under General Parke. On the afternoon of the 25th, at 10 o'clock, our division was withdrawn from the works at Fort Alex. Hays and vicinity and moved to the rear and bivouacked for the night near the Southall house. At 2 p. m. on the 26th we continued our march across the open country in rear of the fortifications to the Weldon railroad and halted for the night, at 5 p. m., near the Lewis house.

At 3:30 a. m. we resumed our march, going down the Halifax road to the Church road, and on the latter past the Wyatt house to the Vaughn road, and down this road to the Cummings house, where we were massed, while the 2d division under General Egan drove the enemy from the ford on Hatcher's run, which was soon accomplished and the way opened for the crossing of the rest of the corps. Our division then crossed the run, moved up the Vaughn road a short distance to the Dabney's mill road, kept on this road until we reached the Boydton plank road, at a point about a mile and a half south of Burgess' tavern. This old tavern is located at the point where the plank road crosses Hatcher's run. A road known as the White Oak road, coming from the west, intersects the plank road at this point.

We moved up the plank road to near the tavern, where we entered a large field surrounded on all sides by dense woods. Here our brigade formed a line of battle facing north, and then stacked arms and rested. It appears that we were waiting for the 5th corps under General Warren to connect with our right before commencing our attack. A drizzling rain had set in.

While we were waiting for Warren's approach, Generals Grant, Meade and Hancock were in consultation in the field near the point where the left of our regiment rested. For some twenty minutes we had a good view of those famous men. General Grant, considering his high rank, was quite plainly dressed, and no one would have taken him for the commander of all the armies of the United States. General Meade, who wore glasses and also was plainly attired, looked more like an old college professor than like a soldier. General Hancock always looked the grand soldier which he was, whether he appeared in dress or fatigue uniform.

Owing to the wooded nature of the country and the bad roads, General Warren did not get up to join us on the right before we were attacked by the enemy under General Mahone. Picket firing had begun in the woods on our right and growing heavier, General Pierce ordered the 5th Michigan and the 105th Pennsylvania into the woods to support the pickets. The two regiments had been in the woods but a short time when they were fiercely attacked by the enemy in overwhelming numbers in front and on both flanks. The men of Michigan and Pennsylvania were of the best there were in the army, but they could not withstand the great odds against them. They were obliged to fall back, leaving many of their dead and wounded, and both regiments lost their colors, although they were two of the best regiments in the division. When this attack began the rest of the brigade tried to change front, but the enemy were too close upon us and for a while considerable confusion existed. The greater part of our brigade fell back a short distance, to the woods on the west side of the plank road, where it reformed and drove the enemy back into the woods from which they had emerged. In this we were greatly assisted by our 2d division under General Egan. Egan had been engaged with the enemy near Burgess' tavern, and was about to storm the bridge which crosses Hatcher's run at that place when Mahone made his attack on our position. Egan promptly sent part of his command to our support and his men attacked Mahone's troops in the right flank and caused them to fall back into the woods with great loss, and also recapturing several of our guns which had fallen into the enemy's hands.

General Mahone, who made this attack which frustrated our designs on the South Side railroad, was an old resident of Petersburg, and was thoroughly acquainted with all the roads in that section, which enabled him to discover the gap in our lines between Hancock's and Warren's corps, so he "sailed in," with the result above stated. The rebel cavalry under Wade Hampton at the same time attacked our left and rear, but was kept in check by our cavalry under Gen. D. M. Gregg.

We remained on the field until 11 p. m., when we withdrew and marched back by the same road over which we had advanced in the morning. About daylight we halted for a while near the Wyatt house and later on resumed the march and occupied our old camp near Fort Alex. Hays.

Our regimental loss in the action of October 27th was 5 men wounded and 5 men missing or captured. The fight is generally called the "Battle of Boydton Plank Road" or "Hatcher's Run." By the men of our division it was generally spoken of as the "Bull Pen" fight.

About dark on the evening of October 30th a number of rebels, disguised, wearing our uniform, began to relieve our pickets in front of our 1st division on that part of the line held by the 69th and 111th New York volunteers. It was customary at the time to relieve our pickets at dark, and the enemy took advantage of that circumstance by dressing themselves in our clothes, which they had taken from some of our deserters, and began to relieve our pickets. In this way they captured a good portion of the line assisted by other men from their works which were close by. But fortunately the regular relief from our side was approaching and after a little skirmishing succeeded in reestablishing the line, but not before great commotion was caused in our camps by the report that the picket line had been captured. All the regiments were ordered out under arms and manned the breastworks for an hour or so, when quiet reigned again and the men were sent back to their tents.

The 57th, however, was ordered to the extreme front to support the picket line. At this point in front of Fort Hays our picket line was about a mile in front, the intervening space being mostly covered by a broad slashing and a strip of woods. Through this we marched and stumbled until we reached the picket line, where we were posted in a deep trench or covered way. There was a parapet at the top of the trench, behind which our pickets were stationed, and these, and the enemy's pickets kept firing at each other all night, as was usual at that time, on that part of the line. The night was quite chilly, and as but small fires could be built in the trenches we passed a very disagreeable night. We were relieved next morning and went back to camp, where we spent most of the day in sleeping.

Tuesday, November 8th, was election day. President Lincoln was the Republican, and Gen. George B. McClellan the Democratic candidate for the office of President. Most of the Northern states had enacted laws that soldiers in the field should be entitled to vote if they were of lawful age, the same as if they were in their respective states. The different states had appointed commissioners whose duty it was to furnish the regiments with the necessary election papers and tickets. The vote of the 57th stood 95 votes for Lincoln and 33 for McClellan. The regiment was recruited in those parts of Pennsylvania which were strongly Republican and it was but natural that the regiment was the same. The vote, however, in the entire army was for Lincoln by a large majority.

In the fore part of the war it was thought at headquarters of the army that political discussions among the soldiers should be discouraged, or prohibited. But what could keep an army of freeman from discussing political questions? Discussions of that kind were as frequent around our campfires in front of Petersburg in the fall of 1864, as they were in any ward meeting or country store in the North.

Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 1864, will long be remembered by the soldiers of the various Union armies, when instead of the usual dinner of pork and beans, hard tack, etc., they were, thanks to the loyal ladies of the North, treated to a genuine Thanksgiving dinner of roast turkey and other good things. Communication by steamer with the Army of the Potomac was handy to all the principal ports in the North, and for several days the wharves at City Point on the James river were piled with boxes and packages containing good things for the "boys" at the front. There was more than enough and all was in good condition. Some of the boxes contained the names of the fair donors, with the request that the parties receiving the same should acknowledge the receipt thereof. This in many instances led to a correspondence between the parties which ended in marriage, and the unions thus formed proved to be happy ones as far as the 57th boys were concerned.

During the month of November the terms of service of many of our officers expired, and they were accordingly mustered out of the service. Among these were Lieut. Col. W. B. Neeper, Capt. A. H. Nelson, Capt. Sprague Hill, Capt. H. H. Nelson and First Lieut. A. B. McCartney.

Dr. John W. Lyman, a resident of Lock Haven, Pa., who was appointed surgeon of the 57th when the regiment was organized in 1861, and had been with it constantly, resigned September 16, 1864, in order to accept the lieutenant-colonelcy of the 203d Pennsylvania volunteers. While serving with that regiment he was killed in the attack on Fort Fisher, North Carolina, January 15, 1865. Dr. Lyman was an excellent surgeon, kind and genial, and had endeared himself in the hearts of the men of the 57th, who were deeply grieved when they learned of his death.

Col. John W. Moore, of the 203d, had long been connected with our division, having entered the service as captain in the 99th Pennsylvania. As captain and major he had served on the staffs of Generals Kearny and Birney, and was an accomplished soldier. He met his death in the same action, with Dr. Lyman.

The 2d corps moved from its camp near Fort Hell and Fort Hays on November 30th, and took up a position farther to the left on the Peebles farm, between Forts Sybert and Emory. Our old camping grounds were now occupied by the 9th army corps.

On the morning of the 7th of December the regiment again broke camp to take part in the expedition to destroy the Weldon railroad. The road had been destroyed, during the summer and fall, as far south as Stony creek, some twenty miles south of Petersburg. As the enemy was still using the road and hauling provisions, etc., by wagon from Stony creek to Petersburg, General Grant determined to have the road destroyed as far south as possible.

For this purpose an expedition was sent out under General Warren, consisting of his own, the 5th corps, Mott's division of the 2d corps, and Gen. D. M. Gregg's cavalry, in all a force of about twenty thousand men. Our division (Mott's) broke camp at daylight on December 7th and marched via the Globe tavern and Gurly house to the Jerusalem plank, and following the 5th corps on this road, we arrived at the Nottoway river about dark, after a march of twenty miles. We crossed the river the same evening and bivouacked for the night. We resumed our march at daylight on the 8th, passing through Sussex Court House, and halted for the night about three miles from Jarrett's station on the Weldon railroad.

Early on the morning of the 9th, the work of destroying the railroad commenced. A brigade would stack arms near the road, then each man taking hold of the end of a tie, the road would be turned over as a plow turns over a furrow. Then axes were used to loosen the rails from the ties; the latter were placed in piles and the rails put on top. Then dry wood, from the fences nearby, was added and the piles set on fire. The rails becoming red hot in the middle would bend in a semicircular form from their own weight, which rendered them useless for relaying. Oft times the men would take a rail from the fire and twist it around a tree, which of course could not be removed without cutting down the tree. Travelers in that section often noticed these rails around the trees long after the close of the war.

We worked at tearing up the road until 4 o'clock p. m., when we were ordered to encamp. Two hours later our brigade, in light marching order, was sent to within one mile of Belfield on the Meherrin river. Here we again began to destroy the railroad, back in the direction in which we came. Belfield is about ten miles from the North Carolina line, and is the furthermost point south ever reached by the regiment. This march of about five miles was made in rain and sleet, with the weather rapidly growing colder. It began to snow during the night, and in the morning every tree, twig and shrub was covered with ice.

On Saturday, December 10th, we started on our return march. The roads were in a terrible condition, which made the march very fatiguing, especially to the new recruits, of which there were many in every regiment. Crawford's and Ayer's divisions had some skirmishing to do while we moved to the rear, but on our part we were not molested and reached the vicinity of our old camps about 2 o'clock p. m. on December 12th. We laid out a new camp in front of the rear line of entrenchments, west of the Halifax road, where we remained until the 5th of February.

It was reported that many of our soldiers who had straggled from their regiments during our advance in the Weldon raid, were found during our retreat, lying in the woods, killed by rebel guerrillas, some with their throats cut. Be this as it may, it is certain that many of these stragglers never returned to their regiments. Many of the houses that stood near the road were burned on our return march in retaliation for the murder of our men.

On account of the abundance of the liquor called applejack the Weldon raid was generally spoken of by the men as the "applejack raid." As our division had the rear of the column in the advance we did not get hold of much of the liquor. There is no doubt that many of the men who straggled had tasted too much of the fiery stuff and became too tired to march, and lay down to rest. In the 57th we had some who had taken "as much as was good for them," and they became rather hilarious, but none of them straggled from the ranks.

General Hancock bade farewell to the 2d corps on November 26th. He had been appointed to raise and organize a new corps, to consist of veterans, and of which he was to have command. He was succeeded in command of the 2d corps by Gen. A. A. Humphreys, an able general, who for a long time had been chief of staff to General Meade.


Disbanding of Companies A and E—Regiment Organized Into a Battalion of Six Companies—Consolidation of the Eighty-Fourth with the Fifty-Seventh Pennsylvania—Necessity for Changing the Letter of Some of the Companies—Confusion in Company Rolls Growing Out of It—Officers of the Consolidated Regiment—Another Move Across Hatcher's Run—The Regiment Again Engaged with the Enemy—Great Length of the Line in Front of Petersburg—A Lively Picket Skirmish—Battle Near Watkin's House—Enemy's Picket Line and Many Prisoners Captured.

The arduous campaign of 1864, with its numerous terrific battles, had greatly reduced the strength of all the old regiments that went out in 1861. These, together with the men who had not reenlisted—some seventy-five in number—had so thinned the ranks of the 57th that two of its companies were ordered to be disbanded and the men to be assigned to other companies. The following is a copy of the order which brought about this state of affairs:

Headquarters 57th P. V. V.

January 11, 1865.

Special Orders No. 3.

I. As directed by S. O. No. 8, War Dept. A. G. O., Jan. 6th, '65, this regiment will be consolidated into a battalion to consist of six companies of equal strength.

II. Companies A and E will be broken up, and distributed with the six companies thus formed, so as to equalize them in strength.

Supernumerary non-commissioned officers to be mustered out under the supervision of the division mustering officer.

By command of Lieut.-Col. L. D. Bumpus.

Attest: R. I. Campbell, Lieut. and Actg. Adjt.

Lorenzo D. Bumpus

Lorenzo D. Bumpus

Under the same order from the War Department the 84th Pennsylvania volunteers, which consisted of ten small companies, was consolidated into four, and these were then joined to our regiment, making a new organization to be designated the "57th Regiment, Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers." In order to avoid having two companies of the same letter, it became necessary to change the letter of three of the companies of the old 57th, viz: Company H was changed to Company A, I to D, and K to E. With but few exceptions, the companies whose letters were changed retained the same officers and non-commissioned officers, and their organizations remained the same. Companies B, C, and F retained their old letters. The four companies of the old 84th formed the left of the regiment and were lettered G, H, I and K.

The order for consolidation was received with considerable dissatisfaction by both officers and men. The 84th, like the 57th, was an old regiment, and had served faithfully and gallantly since the spring of 1862, and each had an honorable record. The 84th had seen its first fighting at Winchester, Va., on March 23, 1862, and then in Bank's campaign in the Shenandoah valley, Pope's campaign, and had joined the 3d corps of the Army of the Potomac in September, 1862. It was assigned to Birney's division of the 2d corps in May and remained in the division until the close of the war. It was a great injustice to break up a regiment with such an honorable record and deprive it of its number.

In the fall of 1864 the State of Pennsylvania sent to the front a dozen or more new regiments to serve for one year. These men should have been sent to the old regiments already in the field, who had upheld their country's honor in many a bloody battle, and who were proud of their official distinction.

One of the evil results of all this consolidation, changing of regimental numbers, and company letters, can be seen in a work published by the State of Pennsylvania, after the war, entitled "Bates' History of Pennsylvania Volunteers." The names of many worthy soldiers, some of whom died for their country, are omitted on the rolls as published in the work above mentioned. It was not the fault, however, of Dr. S. P. Bates and his assistants, for the rolls at Harrisburg, from which they procured their information, were very incomplete. This is particularly so as regards the 57th Pennsylvania. When the muster-out rolls of the regiment were prepared in June, 1865, the company commanders were required to make out two rolls, each to contain the name of every man, living or dead, who had ever belonged to the company, and the manner in which he left the service to be stated. These rolls never reached Harrisburg, but remained at Washington, D. C. The writer is informed that Dr. Bates tried to have access to these rolls for preparing his history, but was refused the privilege of using them by the authorities at Washington.

While fortune had thrown together the 57th and 84th Pennsylvania, they served side by side in perfect concord and amity, no quarrelling between them ever manifesting itself.

At the time of the consolidation and for some months previous, Lieut. Col. L. D. Bumpus was in command of the regiment. He was then honorably discharged and mustered out. He entered the service, a mere boy of 17, as a private in Company I of the 57th, and for meritorious conduct was successively promoted to sergeant, first sergeant, first lieutenant, captain and lieutenant colonel. He was a brave soldier and was always with his men whether in the camp or in front of the enemy.

The officers of the new organization were as follows:

Colonel—George Zinn.
Lieutenant-Colonel—George W. Perkins.
Major—Samuel Bryan.
Adjutant—Thomas E. Merchant.
Quartermaster—John W. Parks.
Surgeon—H. G. Chritzman.
Assistant Surgeon—J. K. Cassell.
Chaplain—William T. McAdam.
Company A, Capt. D. W. Gore.
Company B, First Lieut. Daniel Comstock.
Company C, Capt. M. W. Houser.
Company D, Capt. J. D. Moore.
Company E, Capt. E. C. Strouss.
Company F, Capt. E. C. Bierce.
Company G, First Lieut. David Larrish.
Company H, Second Lieut. William A. Wilson.
Company I, Capt. John R. Ross.
Company K, Capt. R. C. Lamberton.

The non-commissioned staff were:

Sergeant Major—William McCaslin.
Quartermaster Sergeant—John H. Rodgers.
Commissary Sergeant—Charles Coburn.
Hospital Steward—Cary A. Slayton.
Principal Musician—Daniel Fisher.
Drum Major—J. N. McDonald.

Our new colonel, George Zinn, of Harrisburg, was a man of undoubted courage and a strict disciplinarian. He was absent at the time of the consolidation on account of severe wounds received in action while in command of the 84th. He returned for duty and took command of the regiment on March 18.

Lieut.-Col. George W. Perkins, of Bradford county, Pa., entered the service as a sergeant of Company H, 57th, in 1861. He was for a time adjutant of the regiment, and was then promoted as captain of Company B. For some time previous to his promotion to lieutenant-colonel he had served on the staff of General Mott, our division commander.

Maj. Samuel Bryan, of Lycoming county, Pa., entered the service as first lieutenant of Company B, 84th Pennsylvania, in 1861. He was not much of a tactician, but as brave as a lion, and if there was a chance to get up a row with the enemy's pickets, while he had charge of a detail, he was sure to do it. His "staying qualities" in a fight endeared him to all the men, to whom he was always kind and fatherly.

On February 5th another move was made for the purpose of extending our lines to the left. At 7 a. m., with the division, we broke camp and marched to the Vaughn road crossing of Hatcher's run. Skirmishers from our 1st brigade and the cavalry having effected the crossing, our brigade—temporarily commanded by Colonel West, of the 17th Maine—crossed over and began to throw up a slight breastwork, forming the arc of a circle, the right of the 1st, and the left of the 2d brigade resting on the run. Our brigade (the 2d) remained in this position till about 5 p. m., when it was hurriedly moved to the right to support McAllister (3d brigade), who was being fiercely attacked by the enemy on the north side of the run. We started off on the double quick for a mile or more—the 57th leading—and reaching McAllister's position the 57th Pennsylvania and the 5th Michigan formed line on his left and charged the enemy, who would have driven back McAllister without our assistance. Company E, of the 57th, was not with the regiment in this fight, having been sent on picket duty before the brigade was ordered to the right. The regiment had two men wounded in this affair. The rest of the fighting during this expedition was confined to the 5th corps and the cavalry, who were on our left.

The 7th was a very disagreeable day, as it began to snow and continued to do so all day. On the 9th we were supplied with axes and began to slash the timber in front of our new line of works.

Our army now held a line extending from Armstrong's mill on Hatcher's run on the left to the Appomattox river below Petersburg on the right, a distance of about sixteen miles. This line with the natural and artificial obstructions in its front, was almost impregnable, and could be held by a small portion of our troops, leaving the main body of our army free for operations elsewhere.

On March 10th the regiment proceeded to lay out a new camp, which proved to be the last one among the many we occupied along the Petersburg lines, From this time until March 25th we lay quiet in our camp with the exceptions of drill, camp and picket duty.

A heavy detail for picket duty in our front was sent out on the morning of March 24th. It was a beautiful spring day and everything remained quiet along our part of the line, until an hour or so before daylight on the 25th, when a prolonged and heavy artillery fire was heard far away on our right. About 7 a. m. a staff officer of our division rode out to our picket line, with orders to advance our line and feel of the enemy. After crossing a narrow swamp in our front we advanced through the woods and were soon exchanging shots with the enemy's pickets. We were ordered to cease advancing, so we remained quiet until the relief came out and took our places at 9 o'clock. During our advance Lieut. R. I. Campbell, of Company C, and several of our men, were slightly wounded.

On our arrival in camp we learned that the heavy artillery fire on our right which we heard in the morning, was caused by an attack on our lines by the enemy, under Gen. J. B. Gordon, at Fort Steadman. The enemy was temporarily successful, but were finally driven back with heavy loss by the 9th corps under General Parke. Many of the enemy were killed and wounded in trying to get back to their own lines; 1,949 prisoners, including 71 officers and nine stands of colors, fell into General Parke's hands.

About 3 p. m. of the same day our whole division was sent to the front for the purpose of driving back the enemy's picket line near the Watkins house. Arriving near the ground to be contested, General Pierce placed Colonel Pulford, of the 5th Michigan, in charge of the right wing near the Watkins house, and Colonel Zinn of the left wing, consisting of the 57th, 105th and 141st Pennsylvania. As soon as Colonel Zinn's line was formed, he sent out details from each regiment to connect the enemy's rifle-pits which had been captured in the morning. While these details were at work, a brigade of rebels charged them and drove them back to the main line. Colonel Zinn at once ordered a countercharge of the regiments under his command, when they went forward with a cheer, and retook the pits and captured six commissioned officers and 167 enlisted men. In this charge Corporal Wolford Case, of Company E, 57th, ordered a rebel lieutenant to give up his sword. The rebel refused to do so at first, but, on seeing the state of affairs, yielded without further comment.

Our regiment lost in this engagement 1 officer and 5 men wounded. The brigade loss was 4 enlisted men killed and 1 officer and 29 men wounded.

Gen. A. A. Humphreys, in his book entitled "The Virginia Campaign of 1864-5," says of this engagement: "It was this capture of the entrenched picket line of the enemy that made it practicable for General Wright to carry the enemy's main line of entrenchments by assault on the morning of the 2d of April."

We remained on the ground wrested from the enemy until after dark, when other troops relieved us and we returned to our camps.

On the morning of the 27th the whole regiment was ordered once more to the front to support the picket line, some distance to the left of the point where we were engaged on the 25th. We threw up a strong breastwork of logs and earth, which we held until dark, when without difficulty we advanced our line to within one hundred yards of the enemy's pickets. On our return to camp next day we found that the whole division was under orders to move at 6 o'clock the next morning.


Beginning of Our Last Campaign—Battle of Five Forks—On Picket Duty on Old Hatcher's Run Battlefield—Jubilant Rebels—Enemy's Lines Broken—Petersburg and Richmond Evacuated—In Pursuit of the Enemy—Battle of Sailor's Creek—High Bridge—General Mott Wounded—Lee's Army Breaking Up—Appomattox—Joy Over the Surrender—On the Backward March—Camp at Burkesville Junction.

Before daylight on the morning of March 29th our men were astir getting their breakfasts, packing up, and preparing for the march, which was to terminate in the surrender of our old antagonists, the Army of Northern Virginia, ten days later.

We moved out by the Vaughn road, across Hatcher's run, our corps resting its right on the run, and its left in communication with the 5th corps. General Ord's troops of the Army of the James occupied the entrenchments vacated by our corps. We moved out toward the enemy: but in that country of woods and swamps it took nearly the whole day to rectify the line and get into position. It rained heavily all night of the 29th and all the next day, rendering the roads impassable for artillery and wagons until corduroyed. On the 30th our corps continued its advance, driving the enemy inside his entrenchments along Hatcher's run from the Crow house to the Boydton road, pressing close up against them, but not assaulting.

On the 31st the 5th corps under General Warren on our left was more or less engaged with the enemy with varying success. Our first division under General Miles, which joined Warren's right, engaged the enemy in a brisk fight, drove them back and relieved the pressure on Warren. Our division made an attempt to attack the enemy's entrenchments at the Boydton road crossing of Hatcher's run, but the works were found to be too strong, so the attack was countermanded.

Late in the afternoon of April 1st General Warren, assisted by Sheridan's cavalry, succeeded in carrying the enemy's strong position at Five Forks, about five miles to our left. The enemy under General Pickett had 4,500 prisoners, 13 colors and 6 guns captured.

During the afternoon of this day the regiment with the brigade was posted in the same field in which we had fought the enemy on the 27th of October previous.

Just before dark a heavy detail of the 57th in charge of Captains Strouss and Moore and First Lieut. R. I. Campbell was sent to the front instructed to guard carefully against a night attack from the enemy. Only a short distance in our front were the rebel pickets. They yelled at us: "Yanks, do you know that General Sheridan is killed?" They were answered: "You lie, you greybacks, you haven't lead enough to kill him." They had no doubt been told that we had lost the battle at Five Forks, and that Sheridan had been killed. At least they were very hilarious during the fore part of the night. They also yelled to us asking: "Yanks, have you got any whiskey over thar?" Being answered in the negative, they yelled: "We have lots of it over har; come over and get some." They evidently had plenty of whiskey or applejack, as some of those we "gobbled" next morning were very weak in the legs.

On our side we were busy strengthening our picket pits, hurrying to get the work finished before the rise of the moon. During the latter part of the night there was more or less picket-firing along the lines, which we kept up until daylight, when they also opened on us with several pieces of artillery in a redoubt close by. One of their shells struck a large pine tree near which Captain Moore was standing, and exploding, threw a large piece of wood against him, injuring him painfully.

Long before daylight on the 2d began the terrible cannonade which preceded the attack of the 6th and 9th corps on the rebel works near Petersburg. This was miles away on our right, but the sound of the cannon and the reverberation through the woods, together with our anxiety as to how the battle would end, put us on an awful strain. In a few hours, however, we learned that our troops had been victorious and had broken and held the rebel lines in several places, and also that Gen. A. P. Hill, one of Lee's corps commanders, had been killed. On our part of the line we captured about one hundred of the enemy, also the cannon in the redoubt in our front.

About 8 o'clock our corps took up the line of march via the Boydton plank road, to near Petersburg. Here we formed line, about noon, parallel with the Appomattox river, the right of our line joining the left of the 6th corps. Here we were considerably annoyed by a battery of the enemy on the opposite side of the river, until some of our sharpshooters drove the cannoneers away from their guns.

Later in the day we took up a new line near a large brick house which the day before had been the rebel General Mahone's headquarters.

A little before dark the enemy from one of their forts opened on us with artillery, but did little damage, as we were sheltered by the brow of a hill and most of their shots passed over us. An officer of our division, while standing by a pump near the brick house mentioned above, was killed by a cannon ball which passed through the pump. Several men of the 57th who had gone to a spring in rear of our line for water were also injured by fragments of shell.

The enemy evacuated Petersburg and Richmond during the night of the 2d and morning of the 3d. Lee's army moved westward with the expectation of reaching Lynchburg or Danville, Va.

Our corps took up the line of march in pursuit of the enemy about 8 o'clock a. m. on the 3d. We marched about twenty miles this day without any fighting, although some of our infantry and cavalry had some brisk skirmishes with the enemy's rear guard.

On the 4th we only marched about eight miles, but spent most of the day in repairing bridges the enemy had destroyed and mending the roads, which recent rains had put in very bad order. Our corps and the 6th were on what was known as the River road; the 5th corps and the main body of the cavalry were on a road further south, and Ord's army and the 9th corps were following the line of the South Side railroad.

By the evening of the 5th nearly all of Lee's army was at Amelia Court House. Lee had expected to find rations here for his army, which were ordered to be left there on the 2d. But the authorities at Richmond, anxious to get away, ordered the trains to go through to that place, where the rations were dumped out, the cars loaded with the heads of the various departments and their archives, and started south again, the occupants being in great dread of capture by the Yankees. The consequence was that Lee's army had to go hungry, as but little to eat was to be found in the country through which they were marching.

The 5th corps had reached Jetersville—a station on the South Side railroad—late in the afternoon of the 5th and began to entrench as they were in front and across the path of the rebel army, only five miles distant. Our corps joined the 5th corps about dark and the 6th corps a few hours later.

On the morning of the 6th the three corps advanced toward Amelia Court House, but it was soon found that Lee had during the night slipped around our left flank, or, in other words, passed to the north of us and continued his retreat. He was closely followed and there was some hot fighting during the day. Our brigade's first encounter was on the afternoon of the 6th at a place called Amelia Springs, about four miles from Jetersville. We drove the enemy and captured some prisoners. The road we followed on this day was strewn for miles with tents, camp equipage, baggage, documents, etc., which the enemy threw from their wagons to enable the half-starved mules to pull them through. Our brigade had frequent skirmishes with the enemy's rear guard until near dark, when we struck them at Sailor creek at Perkinson's mill, a few miles from where the creek empties into the Appomattox. Here, assisted by a portion of Miles' division, we succeeded in capturing several hundred prisoners, thirteen flags, and three guns, and a large part of the main trains of Lee's army, which were huddled together in a confused mass at the bridge crossing the creek. Our regiment and the 17th Maine dashed through the train and pursued the enemy across the creek, but both regiments were recalled after dark. In this engagement the regiment had none killed, and but seven men wounded. Among the wounded was Lieutenant-Colonel Perkins. Our division commander, General Mott, was wounded during the day's fighting.

On the same day, further to our left, or up the creek, the 6th corps and Sheridan's cavalry had a battle with the enemy in which the latter met with severe losses.

General Humphreys, in his book before quoted, says: "The total loss to Lee's army today (the 6th) in its actions with the 6th corps and the cavalry, and with the 2d corps, was not less than eight thousand men."

Among the prisoners were Generals Ewell, Kershaw, Custis Lee, and Dubose of Ewell's command, and Generals Hunton and Corse, of Pickett's division.

The 2d corps resumed the pursuit at half past five o'clock in the morning of the 7th, keeping near to the river and taking the routes which appeared to have been marched on by the largest bodies of infantry, and came upon High Bridge just as the enemy had blown up the redoubt that formed the bridge-head and had set fire to the railroad bridge, and were trying to burn the wagon road bridge. The railroad bridge was called High Bridge because built on piers about sixty feet high, across the narrow river and the wide marshy low ground on the north bank. This bridge was saved with the loss of four spans at the north end, chiefly by the exertions of Colonel Livermore, of General Humphreys' staff, whose party put out the fire, while the enemy's skirmishers were fighting under their feet. It was a wooden, open deck bridge. The wagon road bridge which the enemy tried to burn but failed, was still smoking as we crossed it. Sixteen pieces of artillery which were in the redoubts at either end of the railroad bridge fell into our hands.

The divisions of Miles and De Trobriand (the latter now commanding Mott's division) arrived at the Lynchburg stage road about 1 p. m., when we suddenly came in contact with the enemy, who opened on us with a heavy fire of artillery. Dispositions were at once made for an attack, and a heavy skirmish line was pressed close up against the enemy to develop their strength. From prisoners taken it was found that Lee's whole army was present in strong position covering the stage and plank roads to Lynchburg, which was entrenched sufficiently for cover, and had artillery in place.

General Humphreys pressed against the rebel positions with his two divisions, but found the enemy too strong to be dislodged with the forces then under him. General Meade was notified of the state of affairs, when it was found that no pontoon bridge was available at Farmville, that the river was too deep for fording, and that it would be night before a bridge could be built to enable the force on our left to come to our assistance. So all we could do was to lie still and watch the enemy.

By detention until night at this place, General Lee lost invaluable time, which he could not regain by night marching, lost the supplies awaiting him at Appomattox station, and gave time to Sheridan and his cavalry, and General Ord with the 5th and 24th corps to post themselves across his path at Appomattox Court House.

Lee continued his retreat some time during the night, and the 2d corps started after him at 5:30 on the morning of the 8th. There was some skirmishing during the day, but no hard fighting. The enemy was anxious to get away, and thousands of their stragglers and deserters lined the roads. Our regiment acted as flankers to the main column on the 8th, moving on the left of it, about a quarter of a mile distant.

Correspondence pertaining to the surrender of the rebel army was already passing between Grant and Lee; but of this we knew nothing at the time.

On the morning of the 9th we moved a few miles and then halted for several hours and then moved on a short distance and halted within a few rods of where General Meade had his headquarters, about noon. About 3 o'clock in the afternoon an ambulance bearing a flag of truce and in which were seated some rebel officers, coming from the front, drove up to General Meade's headquarters. The ambulance soon returned accompanied by General Meade and his chief of staff, General Webb. They had been at the front but a short time when we heard great cheering in that direction, and also heard the music of the bands playing patriotic airs. The cheering came nearer and nearer, and our men began to line both sides of the road, when soon we saw the forms of Generals Meade and Webb approaching, their horses at an easy gallop. General Webb was riding ahead and shouting to the men: "Boys, your fighting is over; General Lee has surrendered." General Meade, who had been sick for several days, was waving his cap, but was so exhausted that he was scarcely able to dismount.

Then for a while it seemed as if our army had suddenly become insane with joy. Men pushed each other over, mounted a stump or fence and crowed like roosters, laughed or wept for joy. It was hard to realize that the men whom we had been fighting for nearly four years were no longer our foes, and that the weary nights on picket duty in storm and rain were ended.

According to the records of the War Department the number of officers and enlisted men of Lee's army paroled on the 9th of April, 1865, was: Officers, 2,862; enlisted men, 25,494; total, 28,356. Of the troops surrendered only 8,000 were armed.

When the surrender took place our corps was near Clover Hill, about three miles from Appomattox Court House. It remained there on the 10th and on the 11th we moved to the rear and bivouacked for the night at a place called New Store. Moving on the next day over very muddy roads and in the rain, we halted for the night at Farmville. On the 13th, after a hard march, we arrived at Burkesville Junction, where we went into camp and remained there until May 2d. While at this place we heard the sad news that President Lincoln had been assassinated at Ford's Theater in Washington on the night of April 14th.

On the 28th we had the joyful news that the rebel army under General Johnson had surrendered to Gen. W. T. Sherman. The most doubtful now knew that the war was over.


Departure from Burkesville—Marching Through Richmond—The March to Washington—Passing Over Old Battlefields—Camp at Bailey's Cross Roads—Grand Review of the Army of the Potomac—The Order of March—The Fifty-Seventh Ordered Mustered Out—Names of Engagements in which the Regiment Participated—Its Casualties—We Start for Harrisburg—Finally Paid and Discharged—Farewell Address of Our Field Officers.

The regiment with the corps received orders on May 2d to go to Richmond. It left its camp at Burkesville accordingly and marching via Amelia Court House, it reached Manchester on the James river, opposite Richmond, about 11 a. m. on May 5th. On the 6th it marched through Richmond with bands playing and colors flying, passing the famous—or infamous—Libby prison on the way. But few of the men who then marched with the regiment had ever been prisoners within its walls. Crossing the Chickahominy river the regiment bivouacked four and a half miles north of Richmond on the Fredericksburg pike. On the 7th it marched through Hanover Court House, and across the Pamunkey river, halting for the night after a march of sixteen miles. On the 8th it marched sixteen miles and on the 9th, seventeen miles, and halted for the night on the Po river, near the old battlefield of Spottsylvania. On the 10th it passed through Fredericksburg and crossing the Rappahannock, camped for the night on familiar ground near Stoneman's Switch on the Aquia Creek railroad.

By the 15th the corps had reached the vicinity of Washington and went into camp near Bailey's Cross Roads. This proved to be the last camping ground of the regiment, it remaining here until the last of June.

The only things of importance that occurred while in this camp were the Grand Review of the Army of the Potomac, on May 23d, and the muster-out of the regiment at the end of June.

On the morning of May 23d we were up early, getting ready to march to Washington, distant seven miles, to take part in the Grand Review. We moved by way of Arlington Mills and Hunter's Chapel to Long Bridge, crossing which our corps (the 2d) was massed on the streets east and south of the Capitol. The Army of the Potomac (with the exception of the 6th corps, which was on duty at Danville, Va.), was to pass in review before the President of the United States in the following order, with the officers named commanding:

Cavalry Corps, Major General Merritt.
Ninth Corps, Maj. Gen. John G. Parke.
Fifth Corps, Maj. Gen. Charles Griffin.
Second Corps, Maj. Gen. A. A. Humphreys.

This force comprised 151 regiments of infantry, 36 regiments of cavalry and 22 batteries of artillery, which, with the staff department of the general officers, made about 80,000 men.

Precisely at 9 o'clock a. m. the signal gun boomed out the start. The cheery bugles of the cavalry and artillery were instantly going, the drums of the infantry rolled, the bands pealed forth inspiring music, and the Grand Army of the Potomac was on the march.

The infantry marched without knapsacks, by company front, closed en masse. As the cavalry passed up Pennsylvania avenue, cheers rent the air, and horses and riders were pelted with flowers. Similar demonstrations awaited the other parts of the column.

In front of the White House a large stand had been erected, on which stood the President, members of his cabinet, heads of the military and civil departments, and foreign ambassadors.

Thousands of people from the Northern states had visited Washington to see this the greatest military pageant of the nineteenth century, and which this country may never see surpassed. The streets were crowded to their utmost, and windows and roofs of houses and every available spot where the parade could be viewed was filled with spectators.

It was late in the afternoon when the last regiment passed the reviewing stand. Our brigade was the next to the last in the column. It was commanded by Brig. Gen. Byron R. Pierce and marched in the following order:

17th Maine, Col. C. P. Mattox.
105th Pennsylvania, Maj. James Miller.
5th Michigan, Lieut. Col. D. S. Root.
93d New York, Lieut. Col. H. Gifford.
141st Pennsylvania, Lieut. Col. J. H. Horton.
1st Massachusetts Heavy Artillery, Maj. Shatwell.
57th Pennsylvania, Maj. Samuel Bryan.

The weather throughout the day was delightful, and the men being in light marching order, were but little fatigued, although we had marched altogether about sixteen miles.

The next day General Sherman's army was reviewed under like circumstances, the crowd being swelled by the presence of many officers and men of the Army of the Potomac, who were anxious to see the review of their gallant comrades of the western armies.

The 6th corps of the Army of the Potomac, and all the artillery that had not previously been reviewed, passed in review on the 8th of June.

After the reviews were over the government began mustering out troops as fast as the necessary rolls could be made out, and transportation be secured to send the men home.

On June 23d orders were received that the 57th was on the list of regiments to be mustered out. Then for a week there were busy times at the headquarters of the various companies. Five large muster-out rolls of each company had to be made out, a discharge paper for each man to be filled out, company books balanced, and descriptive books verified up to date.

At last, all the necessary requirements having been fulfilled, the regiment was mustered out of the United States service on the evening of June 29, 1865.

According to the records of the War Department the regiment is credited with having participated in the following battles, viz: Yorktown, Williamsburg, Fair Oaks, Oak Grove, Glendale, Malvern Hill, Bristow Station, Groveton, Second Bull Run, Chantilly, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Auburn, Kelly's Ford, Mine Run, Wilderness, Spottsylvania, North Anna, Totopotomoy, Cool Harbor, Petersburg, Strawberry Plains, Deep Bottom, Poplar Grove Church, Boydton Road, Hatcher's Run, Petersburg (Watkins' House), Amelia Springs, Appomattox.

The casualties of the regiment were: Killed, 161; wounded, 432; died of disease or wounds, 217; total, 810. This total is almost as great as the original strength of the regiment, which was about 850 officers and men.

The above does not include those who died in prison, as correct lists of these were never obtained.

The total enlistment in the regiment was 1,711, but this includes the men who reenlisted, and over 100 who enlisted for the regiment, but never reported for duty. The regiment also received 150 recruits after Lee had surrendered and the fighting was over.

At the date of muster-out there were but 97 men of the original regiment left in the ranks. Chaplain W. T. McAdam was the only one of the original officers remaining.

On the morning of June 30th we struck tents for the last time, and then marched to Washington, where we took cars for Harrisburg.

We arrived at the latter place on Sunday morning, July 2d, and marched out to what was called "Camp Return," adjoining "Old Camp Curtin." Here the regiment received its final pay and discharges from Maj. W. T. Asson, Paymaster U. S. A., on July 6th, 1865. On the same day the men departed by various routes for their homes.

Before disbanding each member of the regiment received a copy of the following farewell address, which was prepared by Adjutant Thomas E. Merchant, of the 57th:

Harrisburg, Pa., July 6, 1865.

To the Officers and Soldiers of the old 57th Pennsylvania:

Four years ago our thoughts were turned on war to come.

To-day our thoughts are on war past and peace to come.

The bloody strife is over, and you with many of your fellow soldiers are now to return to your homes.

We part joyfully, for the life we have led as soldiers has been a severe one, and we are glad the task is over, and that henceforth we may enjoy the comforts of peaceful life. Yet the associations we have formed are very hard to sever, and during our whole course of life in the future we will revert with pleasure and pride to the associations and companionships formed during those three or four years in which the regiment fought twenty-seven engagements and marched hundreds of miles.

Let us not forget each other. Parting as a band of brothers, let us cling to the memory of those tattered banners, under which we fought together, and which without dishonor we just now restored to the authorities who placed them in our hands.

Till we grow grey-headed and pass away let us sustain the reputation of the noble old regiment,—for none can point to one more glorious!

Fortune threw together two organizations—the 84th P. V. and the 57th P. V.—to make up the present command. Both regiments have been in service since the beginning of the strife, and the records of both will demand respect through all coming time.

Very many of those who have been enrolled with us have fallen, and their graves are scattered here and there throughout the south.

We will not forget these; and the people of this nation will and must honor their memory—for how can they avoid it when they see little children pointing their fingers at the portrait on the wall and hear them saying: "He died for our country!"

Comrades, God bless you all! Farewell!

George Zinn,

George W. Perkins,

Samuel Bryan,

Field officers of the late 57th P. V. V.


Roster of the Field, Staff and Line Officers of the Fifty-Seventh Regiment, Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry, from date of organization, December 14, 1861, to date of muster out, June 29, 1865.

This roster is copied from the report of Gen. A. L. Russell, Adjutant General of the State of Pennsylvania for the year 1866.

Rank and Name. County or Residence. Rank From Remarks.
Col. William Maxwell Mercer Aug. 24, '61 Resigned March 10, 1862.
Col. Chas. T. Campbell Franklin Mar. 4, '62 Promoted to Brig. Gen. Nov. 9, 1862.
Col. Peter Sides. Philadelphia Mar. 12, '64 Hon. dis. Nov. 28, '64. Ap't'd Brevet Brig. Gen. April 6, 1865.
Col. Geo. Zinn Dauphin Feb. 1, '65 Mustered out with Reg. June 29, 1865.
Lt. Col. E. W. Woods Mercer Aug. 24, '61 Resigned September 14, 1862.
Lt. Col. Peter Sides Philadelphia Sept. 15, '62 To Colonel.
Lt. Col. T. S. Stroecker Venango Mar. 12, '63 Hon. dis. March 12, 1863, as Lt. Colonel.
Lt. Col. Wm. B. Neeper Allegheny Sept. 11, '63 Hon. dis. November 4, 1864.
Lt. Col. L. D. Bumpus Venango Nov. 5, '64 Mustered out Jan. 13, 1865.
Lt. Col. Geo. W. Perkins Bradford Dec. 15, '64 Mustered out June 29, 1865.
Major Jeremiah Culp Bradford Aug. 24, '61 Killed at Fair Oaks, Va., May 31, 1862.
Major S. C. Simonton Mercer June 1, '62 Hon. dis. January 17, 1863.
Major Wm. B. Neeper Allegheny Dec. 31, '62 To Lieut. Colonel.
Major Samuel Bryan Lycoming Jan. 6, '65 Mustered out June 29, 1865.
Adjt. Wm. B. Neeper Allegheny Aug. 24, '61 To Captain Company C.
Adjt. Geo. W. Perkins Bradford Sept. 27, '62 To Captain Company B.
Adjt. Clark M. Lyons Susquehanna Feb. 16, '64 Died June 20, 1864, of w'nds rec' in action.
Adjt. Jas. D. Moore Mercer June 21, '64 To Captain Company I.
Adjt. R. J. McQuillen Mercer Nov. 5, '64 Commission withheld.
Adjt. Thos. E. Merchant Philadelphia April 5, '65 Mustered out June 29, 1865.
Qr. Mast. Israel Garretson Mercer Aug. 15, '62 Mustered out at ex. of term, Dec. 12, 1864.
Qr. Mast. John H. Rodgers Mercer Dec. 12, '64 Not mustered as Quarter Master.
Qr. Mast. John W. Parke Mercer Nov. 1, '65 Must. out with reg. June 29, 1865.
Surgeon John W. Lyman Clinton Oct. 14, '61 Must. out Sept. 14, '64, to be Lt. Col. 203d P. V.
Surgeon H. G. Chritzman Franklin Oct. 24, '64 Must. out June 29, 1865.
Asst. Surg. A. W. Fisher Northumberland Oct. 15 '61 Resigned Aug. 9, 1862.
Asst. Surg. D. D. Kennedy Chester Aug. 1, '62 To Surgeon 133d Pa. Volunteers.
Asst. Surg. J. Elliott Miller Franklin Aug. 19, '62 Resigned December 20, 1862.
Asst. Surg. Fred R. H. Leet Mercer Jan. 13, '63 Resigned 1863.
Asst. Surg. T. A. Downs Philadelphia Mar. 21, '64 Dis. for disability, Mar. 21, '64, to date.
Asst. Surg. J. K. Cassell Bucks Sept. 17, '64 Mustered out June 29, 1865.
Asst. Surg. Wm. Jack Indiana Jan. 6, '65 Must. out June 29, '65. Tr. from 84th Pa. V.
Chaplain Wm. T. McAdam Mercer Aug. 24, '61 Mustered out June 29, 1865.
Company A.      
Capt. Peter Sides Philadelphia Sept. 4, '61 To Lieut. Colonel.
Capt. J. R. Lyons Susquehanna Sept. 15, '62 Hon. discharged Oct. 4, 1864.
Capt. H. H. Hinds Susquehanna Oct. 5, '64 Hon. dis. as 1st Lieut. May 15, 1865.
1st Lieut. J. R. Lyons Susquehanna Sept. 4, '64 To Captain.
1st Lieut. Edson J. Rice Wyoming Sept. 15, '62 To Captain Co. E.
1st Lieut. H. H. Hinds Susquehanna Jan. 7, '63 To Captain.
2d Lieut. Edson J. Rice Wyoming Sept. 4, '61 To 1st Lieutenant.
2d Lieut. H. H. Hinds Susquehanna Sept. 15, '62 To 1st Lieutenant.
2d Lieut. Jere. C. Green Wyoming Jan. 7, '63 Killed in action May 12, 1864.
2d Lieut. Geo. L. Amey Susquehanna Mar. 1, '65 Mustered out June 29, 1865.
Company B.      
Capt. S. C. Simonton Mercer Sept. 16, '61 To Major.
Capt. J. W. Gillespie Mercer Oct. 1, '62 Hon. discharged Oct. 23, 1863.
Capt. Geo. W. Perkins Bradford Feb. 15, '64 To Lieut. Colonel.
1st Lieut. Israel Garretson Mercer Sept. 16, '61 To Quartermaster.
1st Lieut. T. O. Collamore Mercer Oct. 1. '62 Resigned May 31, 1863.
1st Lieut. D. C. Comstock Mercer Nov. 4, '64 Mustered out June 29, 1865.
2d Lieut. J. W. Gillespie Mercer Sept. 16, '61 To Captain.
2d Lieut. James Burns Mercer Jan. 6, '63 Hon. discharged Mar. 17, 1865.
2d Lieut. Wm. H. Bell Mercer April 1, '65 Mustered out June 29, 1865.
Company C.      
Capt. Jere B. Hoagland Mercer Oct. 1, '61 Resigned June 5, 1862.
Capt. Wm. B. Neeper Allegheny June 1, '62 To Major.
Capt. Sprague S. Hill Mercer Jan. 17, '63 Mustered out at ex. of term, Nov. 11, 1864.
Capt. M. W. Houser Franklin Nov. 14, '64 Mustered out June 29, 1865.
1st Lieut. Enoch C. Cloud Mercer Oct. 1, '61 Discharged June 25, 1862.
1st Lieut. Sprague S. Hill Mercer June 25, '62 To Captain.
1st Lieut. A. B. McCartney Mercer Jan. 17, '63 Mustered out at ex. of term, Nov. 16, 1864.
1st Lieut. Robt. I. Campbell Mercer Nov. 23, '64 Mustered out June 29, 1865.
2d Lieut. Sprague S. Hill Mercer April 16, '62 To 1st Lieutenant.
2d Lieut. M. W. Houser Franklin Jan. 6, '63 To Captain.
2d Lieut. Geo. W. Miller Bradford March 1, '65 Mustered out June 29, 1865.
Company D.      
Capt. H. W. Caulking Tioga Sept. 4, '61 Resigned Aug. 2, 1862.
1st Lieut. Charles O. Etz Tioga Sept. 4, '61 Killed at Malvern Hill, Va., July 1, 1862.
1st Lieut. Cyrus P. Slaven Crawford May 19, '65 Mustered out June 29, 1865.
2d Lieut. W. O. Mattison Tioga Sept. 4, '61 Resigned June 25, 1862.
2d Lieut. Joseph S. Sharp Venango May 19, '65 Must. out as 1st Serg. June 29, 1865.
Company E.      
Capt. Jas. E. Moore Allegheny Sept. 1, '61 Resigned October 16, 1865.
Capt. W. S. Eberman Mercer Oct. 16, '62 Resigned January 17, 1863.
Capt. Edson J. Rice Wyoming Feb. 28, '63 Killed at Chancellorsville, Va., May 3, 1863.
Capt. Edgar Williams Susquehanna Nov. 1, '63 Died May 23, 1864, of wounds.
Capt. John W. Parke Mercer May 13, '65 Mustered out as Quartermaster.
1st Lieut. Henry Mitchell Allegheny Jan. 24, '63 Killed at Gettysburg, July 2, 1863.
1st Lieut. Edgar Williams Susquehanna Sept. 1, '63 To Captain.
1st Lieut. John W. Parke Mercer Nov. 1, '63 To Captain.
1st Lieut. John A. Sillaman Crawford April 18, '65 Mustered out June 29, 1865.
2d Lieut. W. S. Eberman Mercer Sept. 1, '61 To Captain.
2d Lieut. Henry Mitchell Allegheny Oct. 16, '62 To 1st Lieutenant.
2d Lieut. Edgar Williams Susquehanna Jan. 24, '63 To 1st Lieutenant.
2d Lieut. John A. Sillaman Crawford Mar. 1, '65 To 1st Lieutenant.
2d Lieut. Joseph Freeman Crawford April 18,'65 Mustered out June 29, 1865.
Company F.      
Captain Ralph Maxwell Mercer Sept 16, '61 Resigned Feb. 3, 1863.
Captain George Clark Mercer Feb. 8, '63 Resigned Dec. 17, 1863.
Captain H. H. Nelson Mercer Dec. 18, '63 Dis. at ex. of term of service, Nov. 1864.
Captain E. C. Bierce Mercer Dec. 2, '64 Mustered out June 29, 1865.
1st Lieut. Isaac Cummings Mercer Sept. 16, '61 Resigned March 14, 1862.
1st Lieut. Wm. B. Neeper Allegheny Aug. 24, '61 To Adjutant.
1st Lieut. George Clark Mercer April 22, '62 To Captain.
1st Lieut. H. H. Nelson Mercer Feb. 8, '63 To Captain.
1st Lieut. James F. Ruger Bradford Dec. 21, '63 Mustered out June 29, 1865.
2d Lieut. George Clark Mercer Sept. 16, '61 To 1st Lieutenant.
2d Lieut. H. H. Nelson Mercer April 22, '62 To 1st Lieutenant.
2d Lieut. Lafayette Cameron Mercer Feb. 8, '63 Discharged December 20, 1863.
2d Lieut. Wm. H. H. Hurry Mercer Dec. 21, '61 Mustered out June 29, 1865.
2d Lieut. E. C. Bierce Mercer Nov. 7, '64 To Captain.
Company G.      
Captain Geo. S. Peck Bradford Sept. 4, '61 Hon. dis. Sept. 23, '62.
Captain Chas. W. Forrester Columbia April 5, '65 Must. out June 29, '65.
1st Lieut. Daniel Mehan Bradford Sept. 4, '61 To Captain Co. H.
1st Lieut. James M. Darling Bradford May 20, '62 To Captain Co. H.
1st Lieut. Joseph H. Moore Blair June 9, '65 Tr. from 84th Pa. V., Must. out June 29, '65.
2d Lieut. Mort. B. Owen Northampton Sept. 4, '61 Resigned October 16, 1862.
2d Lieut. Pierce Russell Bradford June 9, '65 Tr. from 84th Pa. V., Must. out June 29, '65.
Company H.      
Capt. John Griffin Bradford Sept. 17, '61 Resigned May 7, 1862.
Capt. Daniel Mehan Bradford May 20, '62 Resigned December 31, 1862.
Capt. James M. Darling Bradford Jan. 24, '63 Dis. as of Company A, June 16, 1864.
Capt. Daniel W. Gore Bradford Nov. 8, '64 Mustered out with Co. A, June 29, 1865.
Capt. David Larish Sullivan June 9, '65 Tr. to and must. out Co. G, June 29, 1865.
1st Lieut. Daniel Minier Bradford Sept. 17, '61 Dis. May 9, '62. Dis. removed Apr. 18, '63.
1st Lieut. Joseph Brady Bradford Sept. 27, '62 Killed at Chancellorsville, May 3, 1863.
1st Lieut. Frank V. Shaw Bradford Sept. 1, '63 Must. out with Co. A. June 29, 1865.
1st Lieut. Wm. A. Wilson Mifflin April 7, '65 Hon. dis. June 1, 1865.
1st Lieut. W. H. H. Hurst Cumberland June 9, '65 Must. out Co. K, June 29, '65, as 2d Lieut.
2d Lieut. Rich. Sinsabaugh Bradford Sept. 17, '61 Resigned Aug. 8, 1862.
2d Lieut. Geo. W. Perkins Bradford Aug. 13, '62 To Adjutant.
2d Lieut. R. S. Edmiston Bradford Sept. 27, '62 Honorably discharged June 23, 1863.
2d Lieut. Daniel W. Gore Bradford Sept. 7, '63 To Captain.
2d Lieut. Jacob Weidensall Blair April 7, '65 Mustered out June 29, 1865.
Company I.      
Capt. T. S. Strohecker Venango Sept. 3, '61 To Lieut. Colonel.
Capt. Lorenzo D. Bumpus Vanango Mar. 12, '63 To Lieut. Colonel.
Capt. James D. Moore Mercer Nov. 5, '64 Must. out with Co. D, June 29, 1865.
Capt. John R. Ross Wayne.    
1st Lieut. George Suplee Wayne Sept. 3, '61 Resigned Aug. 8, 1862.
1st Lieut. L. D. Bumpus Venango Aug. 10, '62 To Captain.
1st Lieut. John Bowers Mercer April 7, '63 Died May 22, '64, of wounds received at Spottsylvania, Va.
1st Lieut. James M. Lewis Philadelphia April 5, '65 Must. out as 2d Lieut. June 29, 1865.
2d Lieut. J. R. Williams Mercer Mar. 10, '62 Resigned Aug. 4, 1862.
2d Lieut. E. S. Benedict Mercer May 3, '62 Resigned Aug. 23, 1862.
2d Lieut. John F. Cox Mercer Aug. 11, '62 Killed at Gettysburg, July 2, 1863.
2d Lieut. Henry M. Adams Bradford July 5, '64 Killed in front Petersburg, Va., June 15, '64.
2d Lieut. Cyrus P. Slaven Crawford June 18, '64 To 1st Lieutenant Co. D.
2d Lieut. Geo. W. Lower Blair April 5, '65 Must. out 1st Sergeant June 29, 1865.
Company K.      
Capt. Cornelius S. Chase Crawford   Died June 17, '62, wds. rec'd Fair Oaks, Va.
Capt. Alanson H. Nelson Crawford June 17, '62 Must. out ex. of term, Nov. 4, 1864.
Capt. Ellis C. Strouss Crawford Nov. 15, '64 Must. out with Co. E, June 29, 1865.
1st Lieut. A. H. Nelson Crawford Sept. 4, '61 To Captain.
1st Lieut. Thos. J. Crossley Crawford Dec. 1, '62 Hon. dis. December 30, 1864.
2d Lieut. Chester F. Morse Crawford Sept. 4, '61 Resigned Dec. 10, 1862.
2d Lieut. John M. Robinson Crawford Dec. 1, '62 Hon. dis. June 27, 1864.
2d Lieut. Ellis C. Strouss Crawford June 28, '64 To Captain.
2d Lieut. Isaac Manes Blair June 9, '65 Must. out 1st Sergeant June 29, 1865.


Surgeon of the Fifty-Seventh Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers.

Camp near Poolesville, Md., Headquarters 57th Regiment, Pa. Volunteers.

October 23, 1862.

The 57th Regiment, P. V., was organized at Harrisburg, Pa., and was mustered into the United States service in the latter part of October, 1861.

While in Camp Curtin the men suffered, like most other newly organized regiments, from rubeola, in common with the whole camp. Variola was also present, but by thorough and careful vaccination of the men as fast as recruited its spread was prevented, only two cases of varioloid occurring in the regiment. Typhoid fever, incident to the season in that region, diarrhoea and dysentery, the result of sudden change of diet, and other habits of life, as well as the crowded state of the camp, involving imperfect police arrangements, bad sinks, etc., together with the usual excesses of raw recruits, contributed to keep the sick list of the regiment, at that time numbering about 800 men, up to the average of fifty cases in hospital and quarters, or a little over 6 per cent.

During the prevalence of rubeola the regiment was ordered to Washington, D. C., about the middle of December, and though the intention of the medical officer was to have left all cases of measles behind, what with the anxiety of the convalescents to go along, and new cases occurring on the way, it was found when reaching Washington, that we had no less than fifteen cases of rubeola in various stages of progress, and in three days nearly double that number.

The men were very much exposed to the effects of cold during the trip, being two days and nights in open cars. The site selected for a camp—near Bladensburg toll-gate—was a bad one, low and wet. The result was many cases of pneumonia as a complication or sequella of rubeola, with innumerable catarrhs of all degrees of severity. Four cases of pneumonia resulted fatally the second week. Many more were sent to the general hospital as soon as admittance could be obtained for them. At first admittance was refused for fear of infecting the hospitals. Stimulants were freely used with benefit in simple rubeola as well as that complicated with pneumonia.

A change of camp to better ground about the 1st of January, 1862, together with a full supply of medical and hospital stores, effected a gradual improvement, but the appearance of mumps among the men before the measles had entirely disappeared kept the sick list large all winter, sometimes as great a proportion as 10 per cent. of the whole command. The men were quartered in Sibley tents, not more than 10 or 12 in a tent, inspected daily, and by great care in cleanliness and ventilation, typhus fever was avoided, and but few cases of typhoid appeared.

In February we were moved to near Fort Lyon, below Alexandria, and placed in General Jameson's brigade, from which time until nearly the last of August, the military history is nearly identical with that of the other regiments of the same brigade and its medical history similar. They were the 63d and 105th Pennsylvania and the 87th New York Volunteers.

On the 17th of March we were shipped on board transports at Alexandria for Fortress Monroe, where we were landed at dark during a cold rain storm, to which the men were exposed during the night, in and by the roadside, without any protection whatever. The next day and night they were quartered in open horse sheds. Then for two weeks they were camped in open fields near Hampton, in shelter-tents, in the use of which the men were entirely unskilled, a matter of more moment than would at first appear. The result of the unusual exposure was the appearance of dysentery to considerable extent among the men, even at that early season.

On the 4th and 5th of April we were marched from Hampton to within three miles of Yorktown and confined for one week within short range of the rebel guns. A heavy rain flooded the tents for four days, during two of which neither officers nor men had anything to eat. The brigade was then moved back half a mile into the woods, to a spot in the immediate vicinity of several large marshes; in fact, the camp itself was little better than a swamp. For three weeks the men walked in mud, slept in mud, and drank water from holes scooped out in the mud. The combined remonstrance of the medical officers of the brigade, that a "month's continuance in that place would deprive the Government of the services of one-half the men and officers," was met by the silencing reply: "It is a military necessity."

The subsequent amount of sickness shows that our fears were well founded. The malaria imbibed in the marshes and swamps at Yorktown, together with the excessive amount of labor performed there, on picket and in the trenches, debilitated our men for months, putting dozens of them in their graves and rendered hundreds of them unfit for service for months, many of them for life.

We had one man killed by a shell and five wounded while before Yorktown, in the skirmish of the "peach orchard," and two by accident, one shot through the penis and scrotum, above the testicle, and behind the cord and thigh, by a small sized rifle bullet, recovered rapidly by simple dressing. One shot through the leg died afterwards in general hospital. Remainder slight wounds.

On the 4th of May we again marched in pursuit of the enemy, leaving forty-three sick in hospital and sending four back next day, mostly cases of remittent fever, some diarrhoea and dysentery.

The 5th we marched nine miles through deep mud and rain to the battlefield in front of Williamsburg, the last four and a half on the double quick and a run. The men, exhausted, in profuse perspiration, and wet to the skin, were obliged to lie on their arms during the night without either blankets or fires. From that hour the sickness of the regiment increased frightfully, six or eight new cases occurring daily. We left twenty-seven men in hospital at Williamsburg, sent six to transports at West Point when opposite that place, sent sixty away at Cumberland Landing, left forty-eight at Baltimore Store, and had sixty-four on the sick list at Bottom's Bridge on the 31st of May.

At the battle of Fair Oaks, on the last day of May, we lost of men and officers eleven killed and forty-nine wounded. Of the last, twenty-three were wounds of the upper extremities, two requiring amputation of the arm, and one exsection of the elbow joints; twelve of the lower extremities, four of thigh, seven of leg, and one of knee joint, eight of trunk (three serious); six of head (one serious), and two of both upper and lower extremities.

While at Fair Oaks from the 1st to the 29th of June, the regiment suffered greatly from fever and dysentery, the first of miastamic origin, which, together with the effect of constant apprehension, rendered the nervous system highly impressible. Hence the marked effect of the malaria upon the nervous centers, especially the spine, as evidenced by the almost constantly present—to a greater or less degree—numbing of the extremities with partial paralysis of the lower, usually severe pain in the hips and lumbar region, with great depression of spirits, etc.

The diarrhoea, as well as all diseases resulting from bad digestion or affections of the digestive organs, were caused mainly, if not entirely, by improper habits of cooking and eating. Each soldier cooked for himself, having no other implements than a small tin pail made from fruit can, a tin cup and a borrowed frying pan. Every leisure moment was devoted to cooking and eating; meat of every description was fried instead of being boiled. All regularity in eating was lost, except that uncertain kind, produced by relief from the routine of duty. Nor can any remedy be suggested short of the entire removal of the cooking business from the hands of the soldier, and placing it in charge of a competent corps organized for that special purpose. Soldiers cannot march and fight each with a complete stock of cooking furniture on his back.

In an active campaign like that on the Peninsula, officers suffer from bad cooking equally with the men. Servants are an uncertain kind of dependencies and often obliged to cook for himself, the officer is of course as unskilled as the soldier. A regimental mess for the officers of this regiment under charge of a competent cook, established a few weeks ago, has already proved decidedly advantageous. A similar arrangement for the men, for instance by companies, would be found to be as great an improvement.

For five days before commencing the retreat from before Richmond to Harrison's Landing our men were almost constantly on duty. On the 29th of June they skirmished all day, then marched half of the night. The next day (30th) they fought at Charles City Cross Roads, losing seven killed and fifty-six wounded, most of whom fell into the hands of the enemy. They watched until two o'clock a. m., July 1st, then marched to Malvern Hill, fought there, losing two killed and eight wounded; remained on picket until 9 a. m. next morning, then marched twelve miles through deep mud and hard rain to Harrison's Landing, camped at night in the mud, then moved three miles and camped permanently for outpost duty.

All were exhausted and disheartened, scarcely a well man in the regiment, two hundred and thirty on the sick list for the first few days. Scurvy made its appearance to a small extent, yet sufficient to complicate and multiply other ailments. However, a few weeks' rest, abundance of fresh vegetables, lemons and ice, and we were ready to commence the retreat from the Peninsula with two hundred and fifty men for duty, having lost four by death at Harrison's Landing—two by typhoid fever, one from entraperitonitis and one from phthisis pulmonalis.

On reaching Alexandria we immediately moved to the Rappahannock, had no sickness of moment except two cases of sunstroke, being actively engaged, yet not overworked.

We had three wounded at Bull Run, one in the hand, one in the hip, and one in the breast and face. These last two have since died.

The present health of the regiment is good and its moral condition excellent.

The general conclusions we arrive at are:

First.—That constant seasonable activity is necessary to promote the health of the regiment.

Second.—Men accustomed to exposure in the open air when attacked by fever of any kind, recover with much more certainty and much sooner in tents than in general hospitals in houses, probably because less crowded and admitting more perfect ventilation, and free access to light.


Surgeon 57th Reg't., Pa. Vols.



Address of Col. L. D. Bumpus to His Comrades at Gettysburg, July 2, 1888, on the Occasion of the Dedication of the Battlefield Monument of the 57th Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers.

The 57th Regt., Pa. Vet. Vols., which was made up largely of Mercer county men, dedicated, on Monday, July 2d, one of the finest monuments on the Gettysburg field.

The exercises were opened with prayer by Rev. Dr. Sayres, Department Chaplain of the G. A. R., after which Col. L. D. Bumpus, President of the Monument Committee, introduced Capt. H. H. Hinds, who made a few remarks on the movements of the 3d corps and the work done by the 57th regiment. When Captain Hinds had concluded, the audience sang the hymn "America," after which Capt. D. W. Gore, Secretary of the Monument Association, introduced Col. L. D. Bumpus in the following speech:

It would not be necessary to introduce the orator for this occasion to an audience composed of the members of the old 57th regiment, but as there are many strangers present it would perhaps be proper for me to say that he is a man who was identified, with the 57th regiment during the entire history of its eventful existence. He was with us in our various marches, in our numerous encampments, and in our many hard-fought battles. He entered the army as a mere boy and rose from the ranks to the command of the regiment before reaching his majority. He was known throughout the army as the boy captain. It is largely due to his tireless efforts that we are enabled to dedicate this beautiful monument today. He was true to his country, true to himself, and true to the men of his command. No braver officer ever drew a sword in defence of the old flag and no man enjoyed to a greater degree the respect and regard of his old comrades in arms than does Col. L. D. Bumpus, whom I now introduce to you as the orator for this occasion.


Comrades of the 57th Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers:

In obedience to your command, I have appeared before you in many different characters. I have, with you, trudged along on the weary march and carried my gun, knapsack and forty rounds. And in obedience to your call, I rose rank by rank, until I had the honor to command the grand old regiment. Today, in obedience to your call, I stand before you in a new role; that of orator for this occasion. However well I may have been able to fill the positions to which you have called me heretofore, I do not hope to meet your expectations today. I am what President Lincoln was pleased to call one of the plain people; and you will not be treated today to any flights of oratory or grand play of words. But I shall try to speak words of truth with soberness; and whatever else of merit my remarks may lack, I trust you will do me the justice to believe that they emanate from an honest heart.

Our good historian, Captain Strouss, has relieved me of the necessity of going into history, and I shall confine my remarks to the trials and triumphs of the grand regiment to which we had the honor to belong. I need not speak of the causes that led to the war, for they were so well understood by every man who marched in the ranks that they are as familiar as household words. We are met here today as Pennsylvanians on Pennsylvania soil, on one of the greatest battlefields of the war; and I propose to speak of the part Pennsylvania and more particularly the part the 57th regiment, took in suppressing the rebellion.

When war came, it found us ill prepared. We had a little army scattered throughout the territories; a weak navy, lying at anchor in distant waters; a bankrupt treasury, and a government without credit. What added to the uncertainty of the result, the people of the North were divided on party issues, and many honest men believed that there was no power in the Constitution to coerce a State. All these difficulties confronted President Lincoln, and he was appalled at their magnitude. He called upon the Governors of several of the loyal States to counsel with him in his dread emergency. They met at the White House. The President informed them of the terrible cloud that hung like a pall over our fair land, and asked their advice about issuing a proclamation, calling upon the people for troops to put down the rebellion, and with his hands folded behind him awaited their answer. The six or seven Governors who formed his auditors had each expressed his opinion, but they were punctuated by too many "ifs" or "ands." While this was going on, Governor Andrew G. Curtin, fresh from his mountain home, stood looking through the window. He had not yet been approached by the President, personally. There was profound but awful silence in that small but thoughtful party of distinguished men.

President Lincoln finally broke the silent spell, and, turning to Governor Curtin, said: "Governor, what will Pennsylvania do, if I issue my proclamation?" Silence more profound prevailed. It was a momentous question. It seemed as if the fate of a nation depended upon the reply about to be made. Manifest destiny seemed trembling in the balance. Governor Curtin faced the President and said: "What will Pennsylvania do? Why, sir, if you issue your proclamation, Pennsylvania will give you a hundred thousand men in one week." Thank God for that noble answer! Truly Andrew G. Curtin was the right man in the right place. He was the Richelieu who thwarted the conspirators of the American rebellion.

But how did the boys of 1861 fulfill the promises of Governor Curtin? The call to arms came, and before that tornado of patriotism which followed, "men came as the winds come when forests are rended; came as the waves come when navies are stranded." You all know the story: how the flag went down amidst the smoke of battle; how the fight was long and bloody; how, finally, the great waves of Secession, Slavery and Rebellion rolled across our bordering line and rebaptised the soil of Pennsylvania with the blood of patriots. And then,

"Through every vale and glen,
Beating like resolute pulses,
She feels the tread of men;
But she stands like an ocean break-water
In fierce rebellion's path,
To shiver its angry surges
And baffle its frantic wrath.
And the tide of Slavery's treason
Dashed on her in vain,
Rolling back from the ramparts of freedom,
In the land: of 'Mad Anthony Wayne.'"

I will not attempt to recount the deeds of the soldiers of Pennsylvania; to do so would be to repeat the history of the war. For with but few exceptions there is not a battlefield from Gettysburg to Mobile where the ground has not been stained with the blood of the soldiers of Pennsylvania. There is not a State, loyal or insurrectionary, which was the seat of war, that does not hold within it the honored and sacred remains of the slain heroes of Pennsylvania. When Beauregard first trained his murderous guns upon Fort Sumter, Pennsylvania was there. Pennsylvania volunteers were the first to reach the National Capitol. We were at Appomattox when traitors fired their last volley; and in all those terrible intermediate struggles in every rebellious State, in every important battle on land or water, where treason was to be confronted or rebellion subdued, the soldiers and sailors of Pennsylvania were ever found, confronting the one and conquering the other. Therefore, it was in true historic order that the wicked struggle to terminate the Union should culminate upon our soil, that its topmost wave should be dashed against our Capital; that its decisive defeat should be secured here where literal bulwarks of upheaved slain preserved the North from the despoiling foot of a traitor, and, accordingly, the rebellion staggered back from Gettysburg to its grave. Remember that at Gettysburg the blood of the people of eighteen loyal States, rich, precious blood, mingling together, sank into the soil of Pennsylvania, and by that red covenant she is pledged for all time to Union, to Patriotism and to Nationality.

Comrade, with a record like this have we not much to be proud of? Such heroism as I have recounted is too sublime for the common language of humanity; a heroism which is patriotic, and a heroism which is heroic; a heroism which blends in beautiful symmetry the moral and the physical; a heroism which will shine with increasing luster as generations pass away. No longer need we look back through the centuries for deeds of noble daring. We can point with pride to our own record in the great War of the Rebellion for achievements that will rival Spartan valor or Roman fortitude.

The 57th regiment was organized early in the fall of 1861, at Camp Curtin, Pennsylvania, and in December of that year was ordered to Washington and went into camp on the Bladensburg pike, near the old toll gate, and subsequently became a part of the Army of the Potomac. From that time until you were mustered out, the history of the Army of the Potomac was your history. You received your first baptism of fire at Yorktown on April 11, 1862, and from that time until the close of the war you participated in every important engagement of that Army, excepting Antietam. That you did your duty faithfully and well your list of casualties will prove. The records of the War Department show that in every engagement you lost men and in some of them from forty to sixty per cent. of the whole number engaged. The original strength of the regiment was eight hundred and fifty men, and your casualties were over eight hundred during the war; and at the final muster out but one of the original officers of the regiment remained to be mustered out with you, Chaplain W. T. McAdam.

I will now quote from the speech of Hon. Chauncey Depew, before the Society of the Army of the Potomac. He says: "Each of the great armies had its distinguishing merit; but in the achievements and in the records of the Western forces, following the precedent of previous wars, are largely represented the genius and personality of great commanders." To the Army of the Potomac belongs the unique distinction of being its own hero. It fought more battles and lost more in killed and wounded than all others; it shed its blood like water to teach incompetent officers the art of war, and political tacticians the folly of their plans; but it was always the same invincible and undismayed Army of the Potomac. Loyal ever to its mission and to discipline, the only sound it gave in protest was the cracking of the bones as the cannon balls ploughed through its decimated ranks. A good soldier does full honor to his adversary. Although Americans on the wrong side, no more formidable force of equal number ever marched or fought than the Army of Northern Virginia, and it had the rare fortune of being always under the command of one of the most creative and accomplished military minds of his time, Gen. Robert E. Lee.

To conquer and capture such an army the captain of the Army of the Potomac must overcome what the greatest tactician has said was impossible, "an armed enemy in his own country," with the whole population venomously hostile; acting as spies; furnishing information, removing supplies; preparing ambuscades, and misleading the invaders. But it did accomplish this military miracle. It was hard and trying to be marched and countermarched for naught; to be separated and paralyzed at the moment when a supreme effort meant victory; to be hurled against impassable defenses, and then waste in repairing the mistake. The Army of the Potomac, was composed of thinking bayonets. Behind each musket was a man who knew for what he was fighting, and who understood the plan of campaign, and with unerring and terrible accuracy sized up his commander. The one soldier in whom he never lost confidence was himself.

This army operated so near the Capitol that Congressmen and newspapers directed its movements, changed its officers and criticised its failures to conquer on blue lines penciled on Washington maps. It suffered four years under unparalleled abuse, and was encouraged by little praise, but never murmured. It saw all its corps and division commanders sign a petition to the President to remove its general, and then despairingly but heroically marched to certain disaster at his order. It saw its general demand the resignation or court martial of its corps or division officers, and yet, undemoralized and undismayed, it charged under his successor in a chaos of conflicting commands. "On to Richmond!" came the unthinking cry from every city, village and cross roads in the North. "On to Richmond!" shouted grave Senators and impetuous Congressmen. "On to Richmond!!" ordered the Cabinet. No longer able to resist the popular demand, the raw and untrained recruits were hurled from their unformed organizations and driven back to Washington. Then, with discipline and drill, out of chaos came order; the self-deserting volunteer has become an obedient soldier; the mass has become moulded into a complex but magnificent machine; and it was the Army of the Potomac! Overcoming untold difficulties, fighting with superb courage, it comes in sight of the spires of Richmond, and then, unable to succeed, because McDowell and his corps of thirty thousand men are held back, it renews each morning and carries on every night in retreat the Seven Days' Battle for existence; and, brought to bay at Malvern Hill, asserts its undaunted spirit in hard won victory. It follows Pope and marches and falls back; pursues enemies who are not before it, and finds foes for which it is unprepared, and fights and is beaten under orders so contradictory and councils so divided, that an army of European veterans would have disbanded. Immediately, it recognizes a general in whom it has confidence. The stragglers come from the bush and the wounded from the hospitals; regiments, brigades, divisions and corps reform, and at Antietam it is invincible and irresistible.

Every man in the ranks knew that the fortified heights of Fredericksburg were impregnable, that the forlorn hope would charge, not into the imminent deadly breach, but into a death trap, and yet with unfaltering step this grand army salutes its blind commander and marches to the slaughter!

"Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs but to do and die!"

Every private was aware of the follies of the Rappahannock campaign. He knew that the opportunity to inflict an irreparable blow upon the army of Lee had been trifled away, and that after reckless delays to make a movement which at first would have been a surprise, conceived by the very genius of war, was then mere mid-summer madness; and yet this incomparable army, floundered through swamps, lost in almost impenetrable forests, outflanked, outmaneuvered, outgeneraled, decimated, no sooner felt the firm hand of Meade than it destroyed the offensive and aggressive power of the Confederacy in the three days' fighting at Gettysburg.

At last, this immortal army had at its head a great Captain, who had never lost a battle. Every morning for thirty days came the order to storm the works in front and every evening for thirty nights the survivors moved to the command of "By the left flank, forward!" and at the end of that fateful month, with sixty thousand comrades dead or wounded in the Wilderness, the Army of the Potomac once more, after four years, saw the spires of Richmond. Inflexible of purpose, insensible to suffering, inured to fatigue and reckless of danger, it rained blow on blow upon its heroic but staggering foe; and the world gained a new and better and freer and more enduring republic than it had ever known, in the surrender of Appomattox. All the trials and triumphs, all the hardships and privations, all the defeats and humiliations I have enumerated you shared in common with the Army of the Potomac.

In addition to this, in March, 1864, upon the reorganization of the army, the grand old 3d corps, to which you belonged, was broken up; a corps with a name and a record as brilliant as any organization in the army, a corps that had furnished a galaxy of names second to none in brilliancy; such names as Heintzelman, Hamilton and Sickles, Kearny and Hooker, and Birney and Berry. You must lose your identity, and were ordered to lay off the badge which you had honored, the old diamond which you loved; the badge that was put there in obedience to the orders of the dashing Kearny, and in its stead put on the badge of another corps. Against these humiliating orders there was no insubordination, no murmur, or protest; but with heroic courage you marched to victory under other officers and as a part of another organization. You asked the powers to allow you to wear the old badge, and, thanks to General Grant's love of fair play, you were allowed to retain the old diamond, and from that time until the surrender in every game of war diamonds were trump, and if you did not have a full hand, you could always be depended on to take a trick. Another humiliation which you had to endure as a regiment was in January, 1865, when the regiment, having been greatly reduced in strength by the severity of the summer's campaign, was, in obedience to special orders of the War Department, dated January 11, 1865, broken up and consolidated into a battalion of six companies, and you saw your officers who had risen from the ranks, officers of your own choosing, officers whom you loved, mustered out and sent home as supernumeraries. Like Moses of old, who was not permitted to gaze upon the Promised Land, so some of your officers, after nearly four years of war, after having passed through more than a score of battles, after having endured all the hardships and privations that I have enumerated, within sixty days of reaching the goal for which they had been fighting, were mustered out and were not permitted with you to stand at Appomattox and gaze upon the shattered relics of the Southern Confederacy.

Comrades, if I had the time I would like to name each loved comrade who fell in battle, died of wounds or sank down from exhaustion on the weary march; and those who died a lingering death of starvation in prison pens, or died of disease in some hospital, far from home and mother and friends, and who lie scattered through the South, in graves that only God shall know until the resurrection morning. I would like to follow you from the time of your enlistment until the time the regiment came home, few and worn, with many a powder breath upon its flag and many a bullet hole through its folds. I would also speak of Sides and Neeper and Perkins and Lyons and Hill and McCartney and Morse and Crossley and Comstock and Burns and scores of others who seemed to have borne charmed lives and who were discharged and sent home when the war was over, but who have at last been mustered out. They have passed to the other side of the silent river. They have been made noble by God's patent. They have responded to the roll-call among men for the last time, until that day when the names of all the living and the dead shall be sounded before the Great White Throne.

I would go back through the haze of years to hear the rattling drums, the bugle's call, the loud hooray, the tramp of soldier boys. I see the waving flags, the red cheeked lads, the bearded men; I see long lines marching out to do and die; I hear the mothers' cries, the sobs of wives, the sisters' wail, the sweethearts' moan; and then comes waiting, day by day and night by night, the women in darkened homes, the men amidst the dangers of the field. Today is hope; tomorrow comes the news, the dreadful news, the battle's crash, the roar of guns, the din of war, the sharp command, the fire and smoke, the whirl, the charge, the awful shock, the iron hoof, the swinging sword, the gush of blood, the piteous groan, the dying hero and the dead. Oh, bitterness of victory! Oh, homes made desolate! How many hearts the battle breaks that never laid a hand to sword! How many tears must flow for wrong from eyes that only saw the right! The lesson that we read in blood is one we never can forget, and God has taught us this, as long ago he taught the lesson of the cross. Not for his friends alone was that blood shed, but for his enemies as well; and by this latter blood not one but all of us shall live; and on foundations firm as heaven itself the new Republic rises strong and towering upward to the sky; its glistening summits lift their points until they touch the far off blue, and overtopping all the world, they stand up clear against the clouds, so that the very lowest down may see, and, seeing, know that what they see is Freedom's home.

After nearly four years of war, with the great Rebellion subdued, with not an armed enemy within our borders, the 57th Pennsylvania Volunteers was mustered out June 29, 1865, and we write "finis" on the last page of the military history of one of the grandest organizations that ever took up arms for the preservation of a "Government of the people, for the people and by the people."

Upon separating for your homes, your officers issued an address to the surviving members, from which I quote: "Parting as a band of brothers, let us cling to the memory of those tattered banners under which we have fought together and which, without dishonor, we have just now restored to the authorities, who placed them in our hands. Till we grow gray-headed and pass away, let us sustain the reputation of this noble old regiment." That you have observed the injunction of your officers in that address, the testimony of your neighbors in every place in which you have lived since the war will prove. When you were discharged you had but one ambition. In that one supreme moment of triumph, your only thought was of home and family and friends. You went back into the localities from which you came, into the ranks as citizens; taking up the daily burden of life where you had thrown it down when enlisting, ceasing to be soldiers and becoming again private citizens. There was no evidence of the contaminating influence of camp life in your characters. There was no disorder where you went. On the contrary, your presence became the sign of order. You showed the world that great as you had been as soldiers, you had never forgotten that you were citizens.

Most speakers who have made similar addresses upon this great battlefield of the war have made more extended remarks upon the movements of the army during the three days' fighting here, and some have censured certain commanders. The battle of Gettysburg has given rise to a great many controversies, and each commander has been censured and complimented in turn. Doubleday charges that Howard's troops gave way; Howard affirms that Doubleday's troops broke. General Meade is charged with ordering a retreat. One speaker charges that General Sickles made a great blunder in taking up a position too far in advance, which well nigh proved disastrous to our army. With all these charges I have nothing to do. I am not here to censure or find fault. I have only to do with the part you took as a regiment. Whether, as some speakers claim, Sickles saved the day and gained a victory by taking and holding an advanced line on July 2d, until the Roundtops could be occupied, or whether, as others assert, Hancock, the "Superb," gained the victory by brilliant generalship and magnificent fighting on the 3d, I will leave the historian to decide. Suffice it to say, the 57th did her duty by obeying orders, and that is all that is required of any soldier or set of soldiers. You went as far as the farthest and left seventy per cent. of your number behind, when you were obliged to abandon the line. In regard to the movements of the 3d corps, I will simply read what President Lincoln wrote to General Sickles in reply to a request that a court of inquiry should be convened to inquire into his conduct during the battle. The President writes:

"My Dear Sickles: You ask for a court of inquiry. They say you took up an advanced position on July 2d. They say you crowded the enemy and brought on an engagement. I guess what they say is true; but, thank God, you gained a great victory. There were honors enough won at Gettysburg to go all round. History will do you justice. Don't ask for a court of inquiry.

[Signed] A. Lincoln."

Comrades, in all countries and in all ages the people have reared monuments to the memory of their dead heroes; their deeds of valor have been told in song and story, and the people have delighted to do them honor. The great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, recognizing the services of her brave soldiers, during the sitting of the last Legislature passed an act appropriating fifteen hundred dollars to build a monument to each regiment that participated in the battle of Gettysburg. In accordance with the provisions of that act, Capt. D. W. Gore, Capt. H. H. Nelson, Lieut. George Miller, Comrade Theodore Catlin and myself, were elected as a committee by the surviving members of the regiment to select the location, submit designs, and erect a monument.

We organized at Gettysburg by electing your speaker chairman, and Captain Gore secretary. Not knowing the magnitude of the work before us, July 2d was agreed upon as the day upon which our monument should be dedicated. Scattered as the members of the committee were, over two States and the District of Columbia, thus rendering it difficult to convene them, it was thought best that the chairman and secretary be authorized to act for the committee. The labor and expense thus devolved upon us have been considerable. We have been met with many and unlooked for obstacles; but one by one they have been overcome, and the result of our work is before you.

As chairman of your committee, in the name of the taxpayers of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, I present you with this beautiful monument, which will stand while generations pass away, as a monument to the valor and patriotism of the 57th regiment, and to the generosity of the citizens of this grand old State. Pennsylvania honors herself in thus honoring the memory of those who fell in her defence. We dedicate this memorial shaft, not to those who fell at Gettysburg alone, but to the eight hundred who were swallowed up by the tide of death on other fields; in prison pens, in hospitals, and on the lonely picket line. We dedicate it to every member of that grand old regiment, either living or dead. We dedicate it to our children and our children's children forever.

And when the few of us who yet survive shall have passed on to "join the innumerable caravan," may coming generations, as they gather 'round this granite shaft and read the record chisled here, learn lessons of patriotism and heroic devotion and here may they gain inspiration and strength, which shall make them brave defenders of their country's institutions and her flag, which we so much love.

Comrades, I cannot refrain from saying a few parting words to you. As I look over this audience, I am reminded that the boys of 1861 are now men on the down-hill side of life. The hand of time has silvered the hair and plowed deep furrows in the cheeks of the comrades I see gathered about me, and this will probably be the last roll-call to which a considerable number of the old regiment will respond. Soon these pleasant meetings, these delightful and hallowed associations, with each and all of us must come to an end. Let us live all the more closely together, then, in the brief road that remains to us. Let us be truer to our common name and common fame, so that we shall leave nothing behind us which will tarnish the polished and war-worn escutcheons of the grand old 57th regiment. Let us continue to be good citizens. Let us lead such lives that when we hear the last tattoo and the lights are ordered out on earth, we shall be awakened by the reveille at the tent of the Great Commander and bidden to seats at Headquarters.

The following is a letter from General Longstreet to General Sickles:

Gen. D. E. Sickles, Gettysburg, Pa.:

My Dear General Sickles: My plan and desire was to meet you at Gettysburg on the interesting ceremony attending the unveiling of the Slocum monument; but today I find myself in no condition to keep the promise made to you when last we were together. I am quite disabled from a severe hurt in one of my feet, so that I am unable to stand more than a minute or two at a time. Please express my sincere regrets to the noble Army of the Potomac, and to accept them, especially, for yourself.

On that field you made your mark that will place you prominently before the world as one of the leading figures of the most important battle of the Civil War. As a Northern veteran once remarked to me: "General Sickles can well afford to leave a leg on that field."

I believe that it is now conceded that the advanced position at the Peach Orchard, taken by your corps and under your orders, saved that battlefield to the Union cause. It was the sorest and saddest reflection of my life for many years; but, today, I can say, with sincerest emotion, that it was and is the best that could have come to us all, North and South; and I hope that the nation reunited, may always enjoy the honor and glory brought to it by that grand work.

Please offer my kindest salutations to your Governor and your fellow-comrades of the Army of the Potomac.

Always yours sincerely,

[Signed] James Longstreet,

Lieut.-Gen. Confederate Army.


Reminiscences of the Fifty-Seventh Regiment, by Gen. William Birney.

Comrades:—It gives me pleasure to respond to your desire for my reminiscences of the 57th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers. They are all agreeable.

My first knowledge of it was from the gallant and chivalrous General Philip Kearny, under whom I had served in the New Jersey Brigade. August 12, 1862, I was exchanged as prisoner of war. August 13, the General sent for me and offered me the command of the 57th. speaking in very high terms of the intelligence, bravery and moral stamina of the men. All it needed, he said, to become one of the best regiments in the army was drill and discipline. I accepted his offer, was detailed by General McClellan from my own regiment and corps to General Kearny's, took command next day at the camp on James river, at Harrison's Landing, and kept it until October 12. These two months were filled with active service.

Your historian, in his kindly notice, has given a wrong version of the only unpleasantness that ever existed between General Kearny and me. Allow me to correct it. At a division drill, in the winter of 1861-2, conducted by General Torbert, I commanded a regiment. Receiving a wrong order from the brigade commander, I executed the movement, as was my duty. General Kearny, who was on the field, rode rapidly up behind me, hissed in my ears: "Major Birney, you'd better study your tactics, sir," rode off about fifty yards and halted. Being very angry at this unmerited reproof given me while at the head of my regiment, I followed him, expressed my resentment in bitter words and went back to my command. Ten minutes afterward, the General put me under arrest. The same evening he sent his adjutant to offer me a release if I would apologize. I refused on the ground that he should apologize first to me. He preferred charges, I was court-martialed, and, for lack of proof, acquitted. Not long after that, at an accidental meeting between us, the General offered me his hand after making a handsome apology for his haste. His magnanimity gave me occasion to express a conclusion I had reached on reflection, that my language to him had been insubordinate, and to express my regrets that I had not kept my temper; if I had waited for the General to learn the facts from General Torbert and other witnesses, he would have made amends. From the date of that reconciliation, we were better friends than ever before.

Before that bad break, he had recommended me for the vacant colonelcy of the 1st and, on my declining, had procured my appointment as major of the 4th. He had cordially approved choosing me as teacher of the Officers' School of Tactics and had shown in many ways his confidence in me. It was, therefore, with pleasure that I accepted the command of the 57th in his division and corps, though the regiment was not from my state.

My first special effort was to increase the number of the regiment by recalling absentees; and this I continued during the whole time of my command.

Our first honor was being appointed with a Maine regiment to guard the flank of the army when on its march from Harrison's Landing to Yorktown. I was in command of both. We were menaced by the rebel cavalry and had to form the hollow square twice. Nevertheless, we made longer marches than had been made in the army up to that time, marching in order, keeping proper rests, and having our water canteens well filled. We reached our destination in excellent condition, after serving as buffer for more than two days between our army and the enemy.

Our trip by water to Alexandria was uneventful. Our short stay in that city was made memorable by the drunken carouse of nearly all the troops. It was a day of debauchery; staggering and reeling men filled the street and drunken men the cars which were to take the troops to the Rapidan. The striking exception was the 57th; it maintained its sobriety and good order. While I was standing near the regiment and feeling great pride in it, General Kearny rode by. "Well, General, what do you think of that?" said I, pointing to the boozy crowd. He shrugged his shoulders but said nothing. This was the only time I ever knew him fail to make his expression adequate to circumstances. He could express himself vigorously, as you all remember. But the Alexandria spree was too much for him.

We went to the Rapidan on cars and for a few days and one night did a great deal of marching as part of Pope's army. The night march was to Bristow's station; and your merit is the greater because it was the very night when General Porter said his part of the army could not see to march. Your eyes were good enough. From Bristow's we marched to Centreville and thence to the battlefield of Groveton. On that day, we guarded artillery from attacks. Late at night, we marched to what was known as the "rail barricade," on the extreme right of the Union army, arriving about 1 a. m. The General had told me I would find two regiments of our troops there. What I did find there was nothing but a picket of sixteen Irishmen and a sergeant, posted in a clump of small trees at the right end of a steep and very high hill, quite level on top, which seemed to extend a great way to the left. In the valley below was a rebel camp which, the sergeant said, contained at least two brigades, two batteries of small artillery and a squadron of cavalry. The outlook was squally; at daybreak, the rebels would attack; what could the 57th do against such odds? I at once sent to General Kearny a report and a request for supports, threw out a company of skirmishers to the left along the edge of the hill, formed the regiment behind the rail barricade, ordered the Irish picket to stand fast where they were and everybody to fire at will and with good aim at any rebel who should try to reach the top of the hill. I knew that if the enemy should once gain the level ground with their artillery, the little 57th would be swept off as by a cyclone. Until about 8 a. m., the firing was continuous, the enemy making several attempts that failed. From the Irish picket on the right to the last skirmisher on the left, our line of fire was at least a half mile long; the enemy probably thought we had a large force. I was greatly relieved when about 8 a. m., General ——, U. S. A., appeared in our rear with two brigades of infantry in close order and two howitzers mounted on mules. "Who is in command here?" asked the General. I saluted. "You may withdraw your men." I briefly informed him of the conditions, asking him if he would not send his men to replace mine and adding that the rebels would follow up my men closely and occupy every position abandoned by them. His reply was: "You may withdraw them, sir; we'll attend to the enemy." I ordered my bugler to sound the quick recall; my skirmishers and the Irish picket came in on the run, and the regiment, being quite ready, retired on the double quick. It was not many minutes before the rebels had gained the high ground, placed their batteries in positron and forced the conceited general to retreat with heavy loss.

Rejoining our division, we took part in the movements until dark, when the order came to retreat. To reach the road to Centreville, we had to march back to a road that ran almost at right angles to ours and crossed the creek. On our side of the crossing, two hundred yards away, was a large residence with a front yard of ample proportions. We had occupied it two hours earlier. As I rode up at the head of our column, an officer in Confederate uniform passed in the dusk into the yard through the front gate. The yard was full of rebel soldiers! They had occupied it after we had left it. I sent the adjutant to keep the regiment moving to the crossing, to enjoin silence and quicken step. The next ten minutes were anxious ones with me. The rebels might, at any moment, open fire on us from the flank. But they were probably as afraid of us as I was of them. They couldn't see how many we were. When our last man had crossed the creek, I followed. Within about twenty feet of a yard full of rebels, I had watched for any movement; but they had not stirred. Not a word was spoken on either side. We were both glad to get rid of each other. It was a close rub for the 57th!

We marched in retreat and found the road blocked by General Poe's brigade. I asked him to let us pass. "No," he answered. "The 57th is just the buffer I need between my men and the rebels." I made no reply, but hastening to the regiment, marched it, single file and in silence, past Poe's brigade by a side path on the left of the road. My orders from General Kearny were to rejoin him as soon as practicable; and I did not care to have General Poe use the 57th as I had used the Irish picket. His brigade was a brave one and well able to defend its own rear. The good marching legs of the 57th stood us in good stead. Next morning, as I lay on a stretcher in bivouac at Centreville, below the road, I was conscious that somebody was looking intently at me. It was General Poe, on horseback, in the road above, at the head of his brigade. "How in — did you get here?" he asked.

At Chantilly, the 57th held the picket line, at midnight, in a heavy rain, across a large corn field, a few feet only from the picket line of the enemy. Orders were, that we should withdraw quietly at 2 o'clock a. m. and follow the other troops in retreat. If the 57th had not been in good discipline, the movement could not have been successfully made; there would have been some whispering or noise. As it was, the rebels did not find out before daybreak that we were gone.

Our march to Washington and thence to the Monocacy was without event worthy of notice now.

You cannot have forgotten how you forded the Potomac on a sudden march to Leesburg to surprise the rebels in that town. The water was up to the necks of all the short men. and all of you had to hold above your heads your muskets and cartridge boxes. But you got through and succeeded in capturing and paroling a great many skulkers and shirks who were hiding in that pleasant Virginia town; how many, I forget, but one of your officers who was there tells me we paroled more men than were in the 57th. Not much glory in that kind of work, though!

The "Jeb Stuart raid"' around our army was the most striking incident of our Monocacy campaign. We heard of Jeb before he came. Contrabands and Union men told us. Ward's brigade was to intercept him. Our brigade was placed, for that purpose, I suppose, on the brow of the steep hill that overlooked the road which ran between the hill and the Potomac. The 57th was next the brow of the hill. The hill was too steep for cavalry to climb; the road was narrow; the river deep. Jeb Stuart was never in greater danger than he was in that beautiful morning. When I heard the distant tramp of his horses, not having received any orders, I galloped over to General Ward, who was not further off than two hundred yards, and asked for leave to attack. He said he could not give it without orders from General Stoneman! I urged the emergency, but he refused to take the responsibility. And so, I had to stand quietly on that hill-top and look at the gallant Jeb and his gay horsemen as they went riding by!

The great opportunity of the 57th and of its temporary commander passed with them; if we had received the leave asked for, the 57th would have made itself the crack regiment of the army, and its commander would have sported a star on his shoulder strap eighteen months earlier than he did. But such are the fortunes of war!

When Colonel Campbell returned to his regiment, I asked General Stoneman to give me an order to report to my own regiment. He responded by putting me in command of the 38th New York. Here was a change! But the New York boys who had run with the machine gave me no reason to complain of them. In the battle of Fredericksburg, where some of the fighting was hand to hand, the Sergeant-Major saved me by a timely pistol shot, from being bayonetted by a rebel soldier.

The only time I ever saw the 57th after I left it was on the battlefield of Chancellorsville, on the morning General Howard's corps was surprised and routed by Stonewall Jackson. I had volunteered on General Hooker's staff, my own regiment being temporarily on detached service, and had been sent by him to rally the flying troops. The smoky field was covered by the disordered masses; batteries of artillery were driving on full gallop in retreat; shot and shell were whistling; fugitives were flying, and officers trying to make themselves heard in the awful din of cannon and musketry. Amid the confusion and uproar, I saw but one regiment moving in order, officers at their posts, companies in line and flag flying. It was the 57th Pennsylvania! When the men recognized me, they gave me three cheers, a compliment I have never recalled except with a full heart and, must I admit it, with grateful tears. The 57th has a right to be proud of its service, discipline and veteran courage on the battlefield of Chancellorsville.

And now, I bid you adieu as friends, tried and true. We shall never meet again; but as long as life lasts, I shall never think of the 57th and our "auld lang syne" without a heart-thrill of gratitude and pride.

Transcriber's Notes:

Missing or obscured punctuation was corrected.

Typographical errors were silently corrected.