The Project Gutenberg EBook of Eighty-fourth Regiment, Pennsylvania
Volunteers (Infantry.), by Thomas Edward Merchant

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Title: Eighty-fourth Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers (Infantry.)

Author: Thomas Edward Merchant

Release Date: July 20, 2014 [EBook #46344]

Language: English

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Pennsylvania Volunteers.




Captain Thomas E. Merchant,


Dedication of Monument,


Battlefield of Gettysburg,



Sherman & Co., Philadelphia.


On the 15th June, 1887, the State of Pennsylvania provided for the erection of a Memorial Tablet, or Monument, for each of the Pennsylvania Commands that participated in the Battle of Gettysburg, July 1st, 2d and 3d, 1863.

At a Re-Union of the 84th Regiment held at Huntingdon, Pa., 21st September, 1887, Captain Thos. E. Merchant, Gen. Geo. Zinn, Adjutant Edmund Mather, Sergeant A. J. Hertzler, and Henry L. Bunker, were appointed a Committee on Monument, with full power to act as to design, inscription and dedication.

The dates, September 11th and 12th, 1889, were named by the Governor of the Commonwealth to be "Pennsylvania Days"—Wednesday, the 11th, for the dedication of the Monuments by the Associations of the respective Commands; and Thursday, the 12th, for the transfer of the Monuments to the State.

On the 10th August, 1889, full information of the Day was sent to every Soldier of the 84th, whose address was known, and the response had in the attendance of one hundred and forty-six Comrades, coming from all parts of the State and some from beyond, spoke forcibly to the memory, and testified clearly to the reality[4] of the old Command. The presence of so large a number so many years after the War, tended to, and did, awaken the most earnest feeling, and every one knew how great was the loss to the Comrades not there.

The introductory words at the Monument by the Vice-President of the Regimental Association, Captain Robert Johnson, were highly appropriate to the occasion, and marked the earnestness of the ceremony in which the Soldiers of the 84th were now engaged.

The Chaplain of the Association, Rev. John P. Norman, Surgeon of the Regiment, offered Prayer.

Letters from absent Comrades were read by Adjutant Mather.

Gen. Joseph B. Carr, whose Brigade (the 1st, 2d Division, 3d Corps) in the Gettysburg Campaign included the 84th, had expressed his earnest wish to be present at the dedication, a feeling on his part highly gratifying to Soldiers who had served under so able a Commander.

While desiring it to be understood that he was there as a hearer, to witness the services, he felt that he could not properly refuse to respond to the request for a talk, which he did most cheerfully.

His words, written in granite, would stand as a Monument of Honor to the Regiment so long as the stone would endure.


A group picture, taken at the time of the dedication, will be of lasting interest. At no time since their muster-out had there been so many Soldiers of the Regiment touching elbow, and never, this side, will there be again so many.

The Address by Captain Merchant, Chairman of the Committee on Monument, is published in compliance with the expressed desire of the surviving members of the Regiment.


Soldiers of the Eighty-Fourth Regiment Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers:

If the feeling with which these words of salutation are heard and accepted, is like unto the feeling that prompts their utterance, then are we fully compensated in our coming together.

We name the old Regiment, and what recollections crowd in upon us; memories of the camp, the march, and the field. Some fond—many weighted with the touch of sorrow felt in its heavy burden even until now, through all of so much of time.

In the presence of these recollections I could not hope to control your thought. I would not ask you simply to follow words as I speak them, but rather that you be all of memory, all of feeling, thinking, listening the while if you can, but surely thinking. For in thought you can cover more ground in moments than I could travel for you in days.

Together you comprise the Whole Book, the turning of whose pages wakens memory to every detail, while from the one individual you can have no more than the head-lines to the volume whose contents you are so familiar with.


Together you know what our Regiment was; alone I can but outline to you, and that roughly, a meagre part of the full story of the 84th.

Its history could be found only in the everything that could be told by each of all the hundreds, living and dead, who numbered its total strength. But where your special individual interest lies it is not possible for me to tread. I wish I could tell the story of every Company, relate the incidents of every mess, and note the experiences of every individual.

Many the time we have recalled our comradeship, more especially with those with whom we were brought in the closer association. It would be a pleasant theme were I at liberty to name the latter and their never-forgotten deeds, that I might place on record my keen appreciation of their kindly acts at a time when kindness was most to be valued, and fidelity most to be prized. But in whatever I do upon this occasion, I stand reminded that I am not to tread over again my individual walk, nor speak again my personal conversation. What is said—what is done—shall be, so far as may be, of all for all.

Not many of us had the opportunity to know very much outside the limits of the Company; and fewer of us beyond the limits of the Regiment. And it was well for good service that the majority of soldiers were content[9] with the work assigned them, and gave but little heed to the details of location of armies or corps, and but little thought to the place of divisions or brigades.

Who was the best-posted man on the news? Who the readiest army talker? Who the general of the camp? The soldier who was not to be found in the place his enlistment called for at the time when his presence would have told the most. It was well for the service that he did not number many.

The good soldier ought not to think it strange, that while in everything he did his duty well, he does not know much of what was done by regiments other than his own, and would be at a loss to name the number of his brigade. Nor must he think that the comrade who stood side by side with him is the only one mistaken as to the occurrences of the day. It would not always be well to accept a soldier of F Co. as a conclusive witness of what took place in E, if there was dispute as to the bearing of the line, or question as to who were the first to advance; and yet, no one will bend the ear more gladly than myself to the recitals of a soldier in fact, because I know he gives us the truth as he believes it. And if from the data thus gathered, I count that his regiment was killed, or permanently disabled, twice over, I attribute the outcome to a lack somewhere in the arithmetic, and not to a vice in the teller. And, in this[10] connection, we must not overlook the fact of the years that have rolled by.

Twenty-four years and upward in the circle of time measures the distance of our close, very close, comradeship. Years more than many of us had numbered prior to the beginning, four years before, of the long campaign. The time that preceded and that which has followed, make up the life ordinary. The long four years was the life within the other life. In it was contained the greatest of all wars from the world's beginning—the war against the Rebellion of '61.

Hirelings were not upon either side. It was man against man in the fight. Soldier pitted against soldier. Each individual fighting the issue which so nearly concerned himself. It was the greatest of rebellions against the grandest of governments. If successful, to the world it would have been the greatest and grandest of revolutions.

It was not a conflict forced merely for the perpetuation of slavery. It was the institution of the crown, and not preservation of the chattel, that most moved the men who moved the South from '89 to '61.

One people in Government, and yet in sentiment and practices as far removed as two nationalities.

Forced together for mutual protection, yet from the[11] beginning thoroughly divided in appreciation of the powers of a free Government.

In human direction, it was but a run of time when, as a Government for the whole people, the central power would be called upon to assert itself by the power of might.

Neither of the existing conditions would have won to the United States a constitution for their government such as was fixed upon and has come along, in its working, through all of a hundred years, without a break in any of its provisions. Every line of it, as to matters upon which men could differ, was agreed upon for submission to the States, because necessity admitted of no other course for them, and live. Well was it for stability of government that, when the substance had passed the gauntlet of discussion, the words had been so well placed, that not a letter was found astray when the great test came. No document of State has, or ever will, surpass it in sublimity of thought, arrangement of detail, clearness of expression, or force of power.

In the assertion of the binding powers of this Constitution, the 84th had a part, and you were a part of the 84th.

Your Regiment was to you the command which centred your soldier life. And well content may you be in the fact that its character secured for it a reputation[12] which, to every one of us, has been a thing of just and affectionate pride. I studied that character at a time when I felt it was everything to me. My varied experiences in the several positions in company and regiment, which I occupied, enabled me to found a judgment which has been very clearly and most positively strengthened by every knowledge since acquired. The tenor of that judgment you will gather as I proceed, in an imperfect way, to tell you a part of what you did in three years and nine months of soldier life.

Recruiting and Organization.

In the month of July, 1861, authority was granted, directly by the Secretary of War, to recruit in the western part of Pennsylvania the Mountain Brigade, to be composed of Infantry, Cavalry and Artillery; and upon its organization to be mustered into the service of the United States.

Among the persons named in the order was one J. Y. James, who was to be assigned to the command of the troops when thus organized.

The recruiting camp for the Infantry was located three miles out of the town of Huntingdon, on the Warm Springs Road.

In accordance with the purpose that the recruiting and organization of the Brigade should be under the[13] direction of a Regular Army officer, Captain Crossman, of the Quartermaster's Department, United States Army, was detailed by the War Department for that duty, hence the name given to the camp to which the early recruits of the 84th ever looked back as their original soldier home, and the birth-place of the Regiment.

The projectors of the Brigade had reached out to three regiments of Infantry, to be numbered, respectively, 84, 110, and, somewhat uncertain but said to be, 39.

I have given the numbers in the order named, placing the 84th at the head, in view of the fact that its commander was to be the ranking regimental officer of the Brigade.

William G. Murray, Blair County, was selected as the Colonel of the 84th;

William D. Lewis, of Philadelphia, as Colonel of the 110th; and

——Curtis, of Philadelphia, as Colonel of the third regiment.

Whatever was done toward the building up of the last-named regiment came to naught by the promulgation of an order transferring its recruits to the 110th, and making transfers from the 110th to the 84th. While the reason for this double transfer has been intimated,[14] it is not so certainly correct as to justify its statement as altogether fact.

The brigade feature failed of accomplishment. Cavalry nor Artillery put in an appearance; and James, the proposed Brigade Commander, did not identify himself with either regiment.

But, while James did not become commander of the Mountain Brigade, the attempt to so locate him did place in the field two of the most efficient among all the regiments that entered their country's service in the War of the Rebellion, whether in the Army of the Shenandoah, the Army of Virginia, the Army of the Potomac, or any other of the armies of the Union.

Recruiting for the 84th commenced early in the month of August, the first enlistment date on the roll being the 16th of that month.

I do not venture the name of the first soldier of the Regiment, lest, like to the naming of the youngest boy in the army, I might afterwards be met with scores of avowals that the record does not show strictly correct. Then, again, the serenity of manner, and mildness of word, with which a soldier is wont to put a criticism, makes it desirable to avoid placing such a necessity before him, if a simple omission will save his feeling upon the particular point, and the service be in no way injured thereby.


On the 23d of October, the Regimental organization was effected.

In November, the Regiment was ordered to report at Camp Curtin, which most Pennsylvania soldiers remember so well as overlooking Harrisburg. Here the enlistments were continued, and on the 23d of December the officers and men were mustered as a regiment into the service of the United States for three years, there being at the time nine companies, "H" omitted.

Two days previous to the muster, the Regiment was presented by Governor Curtin, on behalf of the State, with the Colors.

The Field and Staff Officers were:
Colonel, William G. Murray.
Lieutenant Colonel, Thomas C. MacDowell.
Major, Walter Barrett.
Adjutant, Thomas H. Craig.
Quartermaster, John M. Kepheart.
Surgeon, Gideon F. Hoop.
Assistant Surgeon, C. A. W. Redlick.
Chaplain, Alexander McLeod.
Sergeant Major, William M. Gwinn.
Quartermaster Sergeant, G. A. Ramey.
Drum Major, Foster Wighaman.
Fife Major, Thaddeus Albert.
Line Officers:
"A" Co.
Captain, Robert L. Horrell.
First Lieutenant, Jonathan Derno.
Second Lieutenant, Charles Reem.
Captain, Harrison W. Miles.
First Lieutenant, Samuel Bryan.
Second Lieutenant, George Zinn.
Captain, Abraham J. Crissman.
First Lieutenant, B. M. Morrow.
Second Lieutenant, Charles O'Neill.
Captain, Alexander J. Frick.
First Lieutenant, Uzal H. Ent.
Second Lieutenant, Calvin MacDowell.
Captain, Patrick Gallagher.
First Lieutenant, Patrick F. Walsh.
Second Lieutenant, John Maloney.
Captain, Robert M. Flack.
First Lieutenant, Milton Opp.
Second Lieutenant, Jacob Peterman.
Captain, J. Merrick Housler.
First Lieutenant, James Ingram.
Second Lieutenant, D. N. Taggart.
Captain, Joseph L. Curby.
First Lieutenant, Clarence L. Barrett.
Second Lieutenant, John W. Paulley.
Captain, Matthew Ogden.
First Lieutenant, Charles H. Volk.
Second Lieutenant, John W. Taylor.

Strength of Companies:

  Officers. Serg'ts. Corp'ls. Privates. Music'ns. Wagon's. Total.
A 3 5 8 77 2 1 96  
B 3 5 5 44 3 1 61
C 3 5 8 67 2 1 86
D 3 5 3 67 2 1 81
E 3 5 6 73 2 1 90
F 3 4 4 70 2 1 84
G 3 5 2 70 2 1 83
I 3 5 8 75 2 1 94
K 3 5 8 72 2 1 91
  Total officers and men, 766


Murray's selection for the Colonelcy of the 84th may be attributed to the part which he took as an officer in the Mexican War, where he did honorable and praiseworthy service.

Several of the men had responded promptly to the first call for three months' troops, and were now on their way for the longer term.

Off to the "Front."

On the 31st of December, the last day of the year, 1861, acting upon orders received to report at Hancock, Maryland, the Regiment left Harrisburg at two o'clock in the afternoon, on a train made up of twenty-one cars, for Hagerstown, where it arrived at six o'clock in the evening of that day.

First March.

On the first of January, 1862, early in the morning, began the first in the long series of the weary, footsore, leg-tiring, patience-testing and body-exhausting marches which were to be taken in the coming three and a half years.

The morning was cold—cold enough to do full justice to the time of the season and the season of the year, what we characterize a bitter day, and a bitter experience[19] was it for the boys who were yet to learn the attendants of war. A driving wind, with a fall of snow, made what would have been a more than uncomfortable bivouac for the night, were it not that to the weary traveller there is not less of comfort in stopping than in going. It was the less for the greater hardship, and the freezing could go on through the night unaccompanied by the strain of the march.

Clear Spring had been left behind through the day, and the stop at night was without tents.

Arrival at the "Front."

Nine o'clock of the 2d marked the Regiment again on the way, and on the mountain top at Fairview was had the first sight of secession land, the Dixie of the song, and then on to Hancock, by the bank of the Potomac, the terminal of the order that initiated the war service that started active, and on that line developed, continuously, to a fulness sufficient to meet the hardiest speculations of the most radical expectant.

The National Pike furnished the roadway from Hagerstown to Hancock.

The arrival at Hancock was in the evening of the 2d. The Regiment was put in quarters just vacated by[20] the 13th Massachusetts, which had been passed on its way down the river in canal boats.

The day of arrival at Hancock was in the ninth month of a War that had not been lacking in vigor of movement on the part of the foe which the Government had encountered, and yet so little of system had been attained, and so little of war wisdom sought after, that a regiment of soldiers was travelled from Harrisburg without arms, and that to a point just across a river, narrow and shallow, from where lie the forces whose movements the regiment had been sent to check.

On the 3d, the guns were handed out. They were of the old Belgian make, containing all the tallow that the barrel would accommodate in addition to the several cartridges necessary to be supplied before the moistened powder could be induced to ignite. When they were carried over into Virginia, and the warmth of the fire reached the explosive grain, you can think now, as you realized then, that even the Belgian was not built to throw more than one ball at the same fire without repairs to one or the other—the gun or the man.

But why say, or even think fault of what was done, for what was not done, then. Everybody is wiser now.

Through all its after course the Regiment proved itself full worthy of the reputation, at that time, so[21] early in its history, at the very beginning of its first campaign, impliedly accorded it, that it would go wherever ordered to go, and pick up on the way whatever could be found most effective for the best work.

And there was the full Regulation uniform. The appearance presented in the dark blue, the tail coat, the plentiful hat, and the extra cap. Who can say that these things were not sufficient to keep Stonewall Jackson on the other side, notwithstanding the apparent absence of arms? for, competent soldier that he was, he could not have been induced to believe that, in the ninth month of the War, a regiment of United States Regulars would have been permitted at the front without all requisite paraphernalia close at hand.

Initial Encounter with the Enemy.

On the night of the 3d, the Regiment was crossed over the Potomac on scows, and marched six miles across the country to Bath, the summer resort known as Berkly Springs.

Here were met Captain Russell's company of First Maryland Cavalry, two companies of the 39th Illinois Infantry, and a section of Artillery, two guns, with which force the 84th was to co-operate, with Colonel Murray, the ranking officer, in command.

On the morning of the 4th, from out of Bath, up on[22] the mountain top, and there formed in line. From this point the rebel army could be plainly seen advancing along the three roads; Jackson's force of 10,000, consisting of Ewell's, Longstreet's and Early's brigades, supplemented by Ashby's Cavalry.

A detail from the Regiment was thrown out as pickets or skirmishers. It is hardly required to say that these were forced back as the enemy moved on, until our small force was almost surrounded. Sufficient show of strength was kept up to deter Jackson from moving faster.

About one o'clock in the afternoon, word was had that the Artillery had exhausted their ammunition, and Murray concluded to fall back. The Regiment could not return by the way it had come. A guide was sought, found and pressed into the service. His inclination was much toward the other side, and he soon showed himself more desirous of coming up with Ashby than of pointing out a safe approach to the river. At one point he came so near the accomplishment of his purpose, that Murray gave him a gentle caution in about these words: If one of my men loses his life by your movement, your own life will be the forfeit. Thus kindly admonished, the guide changed the course of the march and conducted the Regiment to Sir John's Run, six miles up the river, from which point the way was[23] along the railroad, under the high bluffs, to the old mill opposite Hancock.

The problem now presented was how to avoid attack while recrossing. Upon Captain Russell's suggestion the two companies of the 39th Illinois were placed in ambush, while he so disposed his men as to draw Ashby on. The manœuvre worked well, and Ashby was so much surprised by the unexpected fire as to desist from further attempt.

Some of the men, to avoid the delay attending the slow navigation of the ancient ferry, adopted the alternative of wading the stream, trusting to the artillery fire of the enemy to warm them up by the time they reached the other side.

In the crossing, one man was lost to the Regiment—whether to the world is to this hour a question.

As an addendum to the story of the muskets, it may be stated that the Regiment crossed the river without belts, cartridge boxes or cap pouches, carrying the cartridges in one pocket and the caps in the other. This omission was for want of time to adjust the belts.

It seems incredible that less than a thousand men were thus successful in holding so many thousand in check for an entire day, and without death, wound or capture of a man. However, the good service was in fact done, and history is no more remiss as to this event[24] than it is as to the deprivation, toil and fighting of all the campaign in the Valley to July of '62.

On the night of the 4th, General Lander arrived at Hancock and assumed command of all the troops.

Joined by the 110th.

The regiment that was to go side by side with the 84th for the coming eighteen months, now composed a part of the force at Hancock, the 110th Pa.

The enemy kept up the artillery fire from the bluffs opposite until midnight.

On the morning of the 5th, under cover of a flag of truce, Ashby came over the river and was met at the bank by Colonel Murray. Ashby was blindfolded and conducted to the quarters of "B" company, into a room occupied by the Captain, 1st Lieutenant, and 1st Sergeant. The bandage being removed, Ashby put the question: "Who did you say is in command here?" Murray replied: "I do not think I said who is in command." Ashby's expert question not bringing the expected reply, he then delivered to Murray the message he had from Jackson, a demand of the commanding officer of the troops for the surrender of the town within two hours, or he would shell it. Murray turned Ashby over to the care of Sergeant Mather, while he went to General Lander to repeat Jackson's demand.


Lander was desirous of knowing how long our men would stand under fire, and upon being assured by Murray that they had acted very well the day before, he refused the demand, in terms much emphasized, with the suggestion, that if Jackson wanted the town he would have to take it.

When Murray had delivered Lander's reply to Ashby, he reconducted the latter to the river bank, and Ashby recrossed.

The details of this incident are given as showing the aptness of the commander of the 84th for a sudden and trying occasion.

Notice was given to the citizens of the threatened shelling, and they were not long in getting beyond artillery limits.

Our men were placed in the streets at points best adapted for checking any attempt of the enemy to cross.

At the appointed time the fire commenced and continued through the day.

On the 6th, the artillery fire was mostly from our side.

On the 7th and 8th, reinforcements arrived.

This mid-winter movement of Jackson from Winchester was for the purpose of capturing the stores at Romney, Virginia, by surprise of the small force stationed there.


As soon as Lander became aware of Jackson's purpose he started off in a two-horse wagon, accompanied only by his Adjutant; drove as rapidly as he could along the National Pike to Cumberland, then across the river, and from there to Romney, in time to prevent the hoped-for surprise, and to get the troops away with all the stores that could be removed, destroying the remainder.

March to Cumberland.

On the 10th, started from Hancock in company with the 110th Pa. and Andrews' Independent Company of Sharp Shooters, marched 18 miles, stopping at half past two the next morning.

A detail from the Regiment boarded a canal boat loaded with ammunition, as a guard to Cumberland. Their saving of a march was somewhat offset by a keen appreciation of the situation, knowing that a well-directed, or even stray, shot would destroy the boat and all of the boat load. The hoofs of the motive power were muffled to deaden the tramp of the mule.

Continued, on the 11th, along the National Pike, the last contingent reaching Cumberland on the 12th, and closing a forced march of 40 miles.

Jackson, baffled in his purpose, returned to Winchester. His Georgia troops especially suffered severely from their winter march.


On the 16th, from Cumberland to North Branch Bridge on the Virginia side.

On the 17th, at 3 p.m., review of all the troops.

On the 25th, first muster for pay, and on

February 5th, first pay drawn.

On the 6th, at 6 a.m., taken on cars to South Branch Bridge, this being the beginning of the movement to re-open the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad from Cumberland down.

On the 9th, reached Paw-Paw Tunnel, and bivouacked in the snow.

On the 10th, put up tents along the river; known as Camp Chase; and

On the 11th, reviewed by Colonel Kimball.

On the 13th, all the troops, excepting the 84th Pa. and 7th Va., left for Winchester, along with the artillery.

On the 21st, first battalion drill.

22d, review by General Lander.

28th, ordered to be ready to move at a moment's notice.

On March 2d, at Paw-Paw, occurred the death of General Lander from wound received at Balls Bluff. Colonel Kimball succeeded to the command.

On the 3d, obsequies attending General Lander's death.


On the 6th, marched as far as Back Creek, 8 miles below Hancock, on the Virginia side. At this creek the Regiment crossed on a suspension bridge of two wire ropes with boards laid thereon, sixty feet above the water.

At two o'clock on the morning of the 7th, arrived at Martinsburg.

Assigned to Shields' Division.

On the 8th, by order of the President, the troops operating in Virginia were classed in Five Army Corps—the 5th comprised of Banks' and Shields' Divisions, the 84th being assigned to the 2d Brigade (Carroll), 2d Division (Shields), 5th Corps (Banks).

Shenandoah Valley Campaign.

On the 11th, from Martinsburg at 8 a.m., reaching Bunker's Hill at 4 p.m., from there at 11 p.m., halting at 3 a.m. of the 12th, 18 miles from Martinsburg and four from Winchester. At 8 a.m. advanced one-half mile and formed line. Winchester occupied by Union troops. Artillery fire kept up through the day of the 13th.

On the night of the 14th, tents arrived and were put up on the ground known as Camp Kimball, two miles north of Winchester.


On the 18th, moved at 11 a.m., through Winchester, marching 14 miles in the direction of Strasburg.

On the 19th, marched through Strasburg and three miles beyond, when it was learned that Jackson had burned the bridge at Cedar Creek. Returned to within one mile of Strasburg, and

On the 20th, our troops took up the march for Winchester, covering the distance, 21 miles, through mud and rain, without a halt, and reaching Camp Kimball at 8 p.m.

Banks now supposed that Jackson had departed with his army from the Valley, and, in that belief, moved all his force, with the exception of Shields' Division, east of the Blue Ridge, and, on the morning of the 22d, himself started for Washington. Only a few hours later, 4 p.m., and Ashby's artillery made known to Shields that Jackson had returned.

Shields immediately advanced a part of his Division, commanding in person, with orders to Kimball, whose Brigade included the 84th, to follow with the remainder to a point on the Pike two miles south of Winchester.

It was at 4.30 when the Regiment received orders to "Fall-in."

Shields was brought back wounded, having been struck by a piece of shell. This placed Kimball in immediate command on the field, though Shields, from[30] his quarters in the rear, continued through the remainder of this and the following day to receive information of the situation, and, as far as he possibly could, direct the course to be taken.

Between five and six o'clock the Regiment was ordered to the side of the road and there laid through the night.

At the close of the day Jackson's whole force was about half way between Winchester and Kernstown.

Again the error was committed in supposing that Jackson was out of the way.

Battle of Winchester.

On the morning of Sunday, the 23d, the Regiment was ordered into camp on the left of the Kernstown Road, and it was while Colonel Murray was engaged in laying out the ground, word came that a battle was at hand, and immediately the order was given to "Fall in."

The artillery fire opened about eleven o'clock.

The Regiment was ordered to take position on the extreme right of the Division line, and about 2 p.m. was ordered to the centre in support of Clark's Regular and Robinson's Ohio Batteries.

The attack on the left of the Division at this time was successfully met by Sullivan's Brigade.

After this repulse, Jackson's attention was directed[31] to our right. Passing his troops along our front, under cover of the woods, he took a position commanding the right of the Division and with a view to turning that flank and getting to our rear. To aid in this movement, with his men well protected, he started a furious fire from his guns at a distance of half a mile.

About four o'clock the order came from Kimball to Murray to charge straight up to the battery and take it if possible.

The place of the battery was the very key to the enemy's position.

That hour, near the close of that March day, the 23d, made for the 84th Pa. a reputation which was never for a moment blurred in any of its after course. The Regiment equalled itself on other fields, at other times, but it never could have had the opportunity to surpass the gallantry, the true bravery, the manly courage, the noble heroism, the devotion to country, displayed at Winchester, its first battle.

As it did then, so it did always. Wherever ordered to go it went. Through forest, across open field, was no matter in the execution of the order to go. Its Soldiers never stopped to estimate the probable result. Casualties were noted only after the battle, when they went upon the roll as unalterable fact.

On this day, over the intervening space, went the Regiment, and Murray with it.


No doubt, then, of the moral worth of their commander. No waver of thought then as to the true courage of their leader. But for one moment following upon the contest, in which for officers and men to have spoken to him the word which would have been their every assurance, that in the sure test of a soldier he had proved himself all that could have been asked for, and more. But time, this side, with him, had stopped, ere the Regiment crossed the line of its victory. Where the Regiment was to strike his line, the enemy was in strong position on the edge of a wood, behind natural breast-works of rocks and hillocks, and with two hundred yards of open space to his front.

The moment the order to charge was received, the Regiment started off by the flank, the Pioneer corps in the advance to take down fences. Down the hill, over the meadow ground and through the woods to the opening, all the time exposed to the rebel artillery fire.

Unsupported on either flank, the Regiment pressed forward in line, up the slope, two-thirds of the distance across the open space, and halted just before reaching the top.

Colonel Murray knew that the Regiment could not stay where it was. To his Adjutant he said: "We cannot hold this place; we must either advance or retreat, and we will not retreat."


Both his Field Officers were absent. His horse had been killed, as had also that of his Adjutant, and he was now dismounted.

Waiting only long enough for his Adjutant to make known his purpose to the Company Commanders, Murray gave the order to "Charge!" Promptly the order was obeyed, and he and his Regiment were well on the way, when he fell, without a word, instantly killed, his forehead pierced by a ball, seemingly guided in its course by the flash of the figures 8 and 4 upon his cap, through which the bullet crashed on its way to claim the life which thus far had led the Regiment that was to turn the tide.

Inspired as they were by so noble an example, even so great a loss, at so critical a moment, did not stop the Regiment in its course.

Without a Field Officer, on they went, until within twenty paces, or less, of that well-protected line, and there stood, firing and receiving the greater fire, never thinking to go back, not knowing but that they were there to stay, either as soldiers fighting in the ranks, or lying, helpless, cheering their comrades on—or dead.

The 14th Indiana coming up, aided in forcing the enemy's line, and Tyler's Brigade having forced the line behind the stone fence in their front, the battle was over. The enemy was pursued a mile or more, and[34] under cover of night Jackson started his whole army, which before morning was in full retreat up the Valley, leaving the victory of Winchester to Shields' Division.

The 84th numbered 255 in the battle. At its close it numbered 92 less. Three officers and eighteen men killed. Two officers and sixty-nine men wounded.

Captain Gallagher, "E" Co., and Lieutenant Reem, "A" Co., were among the killed.

The poetical side of the Regiment is shown in the following verses:

By Toodles.

Yes, yes, old flag, we love thee,
Although bedimm'd with gore,

We follow thee through battle,
We'll follow thee once more.

Although thy staff is shattered,
The Stripes are torn and gory,

Thy stars the brighter seem to us,
Since covered o'er with glory.

Though many fell beneath thy folds,
To keep thee still aflying,

They gazed upon thy bars of gold,
And blessed thee, too, when dying.

[35]We'll bear thee onward thro' the strife,
'Mid shot and shell and blow,

We'll never yield thee but with life,
To any traitor foe.

[Written for the Cartridge Box.]

The 84th, we are the crew,
To raise the Stripes, Red, White and Blue.
MacDowell, now, who takes command,
Will lead us on through Dixie's Land.
Pennsylvania's favorite Sons,
Always true and Loyal ones.
Old Jeff may ride jackass or mule,
We're bound to catch him his neck to pull.



When Col. Murray drew his sword,
It was in Freedom's cause,

To fight against the rebels,
That defied our Flag and laws.

The Pennsylvania Eighty-fourth,
Of which he had command,

[36]Against the rebels, ten to one,
At Hancock made a stand.

It was the twenty-third of March,
Near Winchester we lay,

At eight o'clock the shell and shot,
On us began to play.

When Gen'l Shields, that never yields,
He heard the distant noise,

Then faced about and with a shout,
Said, "Double-quick, my boys."

When Gen'l Shields came on the field,
They fought like heroes brave,

With sword in hand he gave command,
Our flag did proudly wave.

Although our Regiment suffered most,
They did not shrink or fail,

Their gallant Colonel led them on
Through storms of iron hail.

The Eighty-fourth was ordered up
To charge the enemy,

To drive the rebels from their guns,
And save their battery.

Like veterans they made their charge,
It was conducted well,

But in the mid'st of victory,
Our gallant Murray fell.

He boldly led the Eighty-fourth,
Until he was shot dead;

While bravely cheering on his men
A bullet pierced his head.

[37]Their fire seemed directed most
Against the Eighty-fourth,

But hand to hand they could not stand
Our tigers of the North.

The Stars and Stripes of Liberty,
That always lead to fame,

Linked with its brave defenders now
Is Col. Murray's name.

And soon they will avenge his death,
The gallant Eighty-fourth,

For none but those who knew him well
Could estimate his worth.

The gallant officers and men,
Receive our heart-felt thanks,

They would not fly but rather die,
Within the Union ranks.

The rose and evergreen will bloom,
Upon the honored grave

Of Col. William G. Murray,
The bravest of the brave.

The account of the battle in the New York World, as reported by its correspondent, contained the following:

"The 84th Pa. suffered more than any other. This[38] Regiment, of which there were only 300 engaged (proper number 255), lost 23 killed and 63 wounded from the bullets of the enemy, among them Col. Murray."

General Order by Governor Curtin.

In "General Order No. 20, Harrisburg, April 4th, 1862," Governor Curtin spoke as follows: "The example of the gallant Colonel Murray, of the 84th, who fell at the head of his Regiment in the conflict at Winchester, with that of the noble men of his command, who there gave their lives a willing sacrifice to their Country, must stimulate all who have enlisted in the service to increased devotion, while their memory will be cherished by every patriot and add honor to the arms of Pennsylvania and the Union."

On the day after Winchester, Banks with part of his Corps went past in pursuit of the enemy, now on their way up the Valley.

On the 25th, the Regiment marched to Cedar Creek and return, 24 miles.

On the 26th, Detail ordered to bury the dead.

On the 27th, marched 12 miles to Berryville, arriving at four o'clock, and the Regiment assigned to Provost Duty.


On April 3d, General Banks was assigned by the War Department to the command of the Department of the Shenandoah, and General McDowell to the Department of the Rappahannock.

Lieut. Col. MacDowell joined the Regiment, for the first time, at Berryville, but remained only a short time, owing to the condition of his health.

On April 22d, the Regiment went from Berryville to Winchester, arriving at 5 p.m.

Order of General Shields, congratulating the troops on their bravery at Winchester, was read.

General Blencker, passing through Winchester with his command, personally complimented the 84th for the part taken in the battle.

On May 4th, Regiment ordered to join the Division as soon as relieved, and on the

10th, relieved by five companies of the 10th Maine.

The Regiment was now a part of the 4th Brigade, 2d Division, old 5th Corps.

March to Fredericksburg.

On the 11th, started at 11 a.m. and marched to Cedar Creek, 15 miles.

On the 12th, started at 8 a.m. and moved 4 miles to West of Strasburg.


On the 13th, 2 p.m., moved from Strasburg to Middletown, 6 miles, arriving at 6 p.m.

On the 14th, 6 a.m., to Front Royal, fording the Shenandoah, 12 miles. Quartered in rebel hospital.

On the 15th, whole of Shields' Division at Middletown.

On the 16th, marched with the supply train over the Blue Ridge, 10 miles toward Warrenton, stopping at 6 p.m.

On the 17th, marched from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., 15 miles.

On the 18th, 6 a.m., passing through Warrenton; stopped at 6 p.m., 12 miles.

On the 19th, 6 a.m., arrived at Duryea's camp 11 a.m., 6 miles.

On the 20th, at Catlett Station.

On the 21st, 6 a.m., 18 miles.

22d, 6 a.m., 14 miles, stopping at 3 p.m. Went into camp opposite Fredericksburg.

23d, portion of army reviewed by President Lincoln. 84th not in review.

As soon as Lee learned of the withdrawal of Shields' Division from the Valley, he started Jackson after Banks. Ewell and Jackson, combined, numbered over twenty thousand. Banks had about four thousand men. The first attack was at Winchester, on the 25th,[41] and Banks was pressed, without regard to convenience of movement, until he was over the Potomac.

Shields' Division had been in front of Fredericksburg but three days, when on the

Back to the Valley.

25th, at 3 p.m., they were again on the march back to the Valley, to stop the new trouble there. 8 miles covered the first day.

On the 26th, 6 a.m., 22 miles, to within one mile of Catlett Station, arriving at 10 p.m.

On the 27th, changed position, 2 miles.

On the 28th, 12 miles to Haymarket.

On the 29th, 6 a.m., 15 miles to Rectortown, pitched tents, and at 7 p.m. started for Front Royal, marched all night, and reached there 6 p.m.

On the 30th, the Louisiana and Georgia troops had been driven out through the day by Colonel Nelson's Rhode Island Cavalry.

On the 31st, 2 p.m., went 4 miles out on the Winchester Pike, skirmishing with the enemy, accompanied by two pieces of artillery.

By this time Jackson was aware of the situation, which he had not apprehended when he was bent on routing Banks.


He now realized that Banks was beyond capture and safe; that he must leave the Potomac to his rear; that in so doing Banks would have the advantage of pursuing a retreating column; that on his retreat he would probably run against Fremont, and could not evade Shields.

He knew that he had but one way to go. He knew there was but one way of escape, and that over the bridge at Port Republic.

June 1st, Shields' Division took up its part of the program and went 10 miles toward Luray, and on the

2d, 15 miles further in the same direction.

On the 4th, arrived at Columbia Bridge, near Luray.

On the 5th and 6th, remained at Columbia Bridge, and on the

7th, marched during the night, reaching Port Republic on the morning of the 8th.

The advance of Fremont's forces had struck the rear guard of Jackson, in retreat, on the 1st, 5 miles from Strasburg, which brought on skirmishing, and on the 7th, 4 miles beyond Harrissonburg, a fight took place between the advance of Fremont's Corps and Jackson's rear guard, and on the 8th was fought the battle of Cross Keys, between Fremont's Corps and Jackson's troops, lasting from 11 a.m. till 4 p.m.[43]

Battle of Port Republic.

Thus far the Massanutten Mountains had separated Jackson and his immediate pursuers from Shields. This mountain range stops just before reaching Port Republic. The only troops in the town were the four regiments of Carroll's Brigade, 1st Va., 7th Ind., 84th and 110th Pa., about sixteen hundred strong.

"At this point," read the orders to General Shields, "you will intercept Jackson and cut off his retreat."

With the bridge standing, Carroll's force, or even the entire Division, would be a mere handful against the foe now almost at hand.

The effectual cut-off would have been the destruction of the bridge, and had there been but one man there, in place of a brigade, he would have destroyed it.

Did Shields order Carroll to burn the bridge?

And, if so, did Carroll think it would be more soldierly to fight the whole rebel army?

Whatever the answer, the fact remains that the bridge was not burned. When the attempt was made it was too late.

Over the bridge was Jackson's only way of escape from Fremont. When he found Carroll there he moved up his advance, under cover of the night, quietly posted twenty guns where they would command the way over the river, and opened them at daylight. The[44] fire was too much to stand against, and over the bridge came Jackson's cavalry, followed by his columns of infantry, and having forced our small command back the Luray Valley to Conrad's Store, and burned the bridge to avoid further trouble with Fremont, he had a good free road to Richmond, where he met with a cordial welcome from Lee.

The loss of 124 killed and 292 wounded showed the disposition of Carroll's Brigade to fight, as also the character of the rebel fire, and the 514 prisoners testified to the character of the pursuit in getting Carroll out of the way.

Ewell was liberal enough to concede three Confederates to one National, in number, and voluntarily said, "It was a most gallant fight on the part of the latter."

The Regiment lost one man killed and ten wounded.

On the 10th, Shields' Division reached Luray, and on the

15th, was again at Front Royal.

On the 18th, at Manassas Junction, and on the

25th, arrived at Camp Pope, near Alexandria.

"Army of Virginia."

On the 26th, by order of the President, the forces under Fremont, Banks, and McDowell were constituted[45] the "Army of Virginia," Pope in command, Fremont assigned to the 1st Corps, Banks the 2d, and McDowell the 3d. Fremont withdrew from the Service because thus made subordinate to an officer whose commission post-dated his own.

The career of Shields' Division, as such, was now ended, the 1st and 2d Brigades being sent to McClellan on the Peninsula.

Carroll's Brigade was now to be a part of Ricketts' Division, McDowell's Corps.

A glance at the map, with a view to locating the places to which reference has been made by name, will make clear the importance of the work in which the 84th was engaged thus early in its career.

It will also make plain that all of danger to Washington did not lie across the Long Bridge.

Length of consideration is not needed to incline to the opinion that Jackson in Maryland and Pennsylvania, in the early days of '62, would have produced a feeling throughout the North not calculated to lessen the weight of the conflict.

Operations by other troops in the eastern part of Virginia would have been impossible had Jackson overcome the forces in the Valley. Against him Shields' Division played an effective part.


It was Shields' Division, and not the "other fellows," that Jackson's men least desired to meet.

At the time of McClellan's Peninsula campaign, the people did not understand the situation about Winchester and other points in the Valley, and have not cared to learn it since.

It was well for Pennsylvania, it was well for the Union, that the fiat against Shields had not gone forth before June of '62. He was the first to strike Jackson with defeat, and no one did it afterward.

This noble Division of Shields' marched promptly and fought well, and therein they had, and have, their compensation, without being sung in lines of rhyme, or spoken in the pages of story.

On the 21st of June, Samuel M. Bowman, late Major 4th Illinois Cavalry, was commissioned, and on the 25th mustered, Colonel of the 84th.

Major Barrett was promoted to the Lieutenant-Colonelcy, McDowell having been discharged for disability, in July.

And Adjutant Craig was promoted to the Majority.

Details for Recruiting.

Immediately upon his arrival at the Regiment, Colonel Bowman determined to add to the effective strength[47] of the Command by sending recruiting parties to several localities in Pennsylvania, and also by securing the active interest of citizens of the State who were not then in the Service.

Pope's Campaign.

While at Camp Pope the requisite details were made, and while numbers at home were thus being added to the rolls, the Regiment continued its active service in the field, marching out from Camp Pope, in July, to join Pope's Army, which was always to "look before, and not behind," and which was to "subsist upon the country in which their operations were carried on."

While McClellan was moving against the Capital of the Confederacy, it was Pope's part to keep secure the Capital of the Union.

Battle of Cedar Mountain.

On August 9th, was fought the Battle of Cedar Mountain, in which the 84th was not directly engaged, excepting as a reserve force. The official record gives one officer and eight men wounded from the rebel fire of shot and shell after dark.

Following upon the battle the rebel force, numbering[48] about 25,000, retreated across the Rapidan, Pope pursuing and occupying the north side of the river.

Arrival of "H" Co.

While at this point, the Regiment, for the first time, placed ten companies in line. "H" Co. had been recruited during the Spring and early Summer, and left Camp Curtin, under orders to join the Regiment, on the 14th, arriving on the 16th.

Pope did not remain in this position long.

At this period of the War it was looked upon at the North as the worst of generalship to permit any rebel troops to get between our forces and the Seat of Government, and it was well known on the other side that any movement that threatened such a condition would cause the quick packing of tents and the immediate tramp of whatever Union force was charged with the protection of the Capital. Later on came a change in this regard.

Jackson threatened Washington by starting a movement to Pope's rear, passing around his right flank.

On the 19th, commenced Pope's backward march.

On the 21st, Pope was safely across the Rappahannock, and immediately Jackson was along the south[49] side of the river. Rappahannock Station was the central river point, the line stretching 15 miles.

In '62, an ordinary river stemmed the current of pursuit more effectually than it did in '64.

On the 22d, the rebel cavalry struck Catlett Station, and on the

23d, the bridge across the Rappahannock was burned, and the station abandoned by Pope.

Thoroughfare Gap.

On the 28th, Ricketts' Division was at Thoroughfare Gap, sent there to check the advance of Longstreet's Corps on its way to join Jackson at Manassas.

It will be noticed that McClellan's failure in front of Richmond had become fixed fact before this movement of Jackson's was determined upon, and now Lee's troops at Richmond were relieved from pressure.

The march to the Gap was too late for effective service, and, on the same night, Ricketts marched his Division from Thoroughfare Gap to join the main army.

Battle of Second Bull Run.

On the 29th, the Regiment, with the Division, was on the right flank of the Army, at Groveton.


On the morning of the 30th, the second day of the battle, the Regiment was exposed to a severe fire of grape and canister.

In the afternoon, Ricketts' Division was attacked by the enemy with masses of troops, but held its part well until ordered back by Pope about 7 p.m., after the final break along the Union line.

From that part of the line which had been so successfully held during the latter half of the day, and night being yet an hour off, there was afforded a clear view of flying Artillery and flying Infantry, all moving to a common center—Centerville.

While it was not strictly a walk, yet, in view of the situation, in good order the Regiment went back about a mile and took position, with other Regiments of the Brigade, in an open field, in fact facing the enemy, yet not knowing whom we faced. Here occurred the incident which almost (a minute of time made the difference) disposed of the 84th.

Just daylight enough left to discern a line, a full brigade front, advancing, yet not enough to distinguish the color of the uniform, or to make sure the flag.

On they came, a perfect line, marching as if on review. "Who are you?" thrice repeated, brought no response. Not a word was spoken in their ranks, but on they came.


A few minutes before, Lieutenant Nixon had been ordered to post a detail of pickets, but had not had time to go out. "I will learn who they are," said Nixon. Twenty-five steps to the front, and he was half way. Then came from him the words which seem to sound upon my ear every time the incident occurs to me, "They are the enemy, boys!" And then, for it was dark now, upon the instant was seen that flash of light along the whole line of that rebel brigade. I see it now as I saw it then. With the flash came the whirr of the thousands of bullets, but the darkness in the aim saved the objects for which they were intended.

The fire was the vengeance of the failure to capture.

Night being fully on, our small force had accomplished all that it had been left on the field for—the checking of pursuit—and was now not long in getting to the Centerville side of Bull Run.

On the night of September 1st, the Regiment was at Fairfax Station.

Arlington Heights.—Arrival of Recruits.

On September 2d, back to the defences of Washington, a part of the 2d Brigade, 3d Division, 3d Corps. At first in camp at Alexandria. Then a long march on the Virginia side, across the Potomac, on through[52] Georgetown, and back, locating on Arlington Heights, where the Regiment awaited the 350 recruits, the outcome of Colonel Bowman's efforts inaugurated at Camp Pope.

Some were received in small detachments, others as organized companies, places being provided by the consolidation of old companies, or as partial organizations, and placed with old companies. This was the more readily accomplished, owing to the retirement of many of the old line officers.

Of the 27 Line Officers mustered in with the Regiment, 2, Gallagher and Reem, had been killed, 20 had resigned before the end of 1862, leaving only 5—Bryan, Opp, Zinn, Peterman and Ingram.

Of the original Field Officers, Murray only had done active service, and he had been killed. MacDowell, Lieutenant-Colonel, had been discharged for disability, in July. Barrett had been promoted Lieutenant-Colonel, and resigned in September. Adjutant Craig had been promoted Major and Lieutenant-Colonel, and resigned.

None of the Field Officers left, the Adjutant gone, and not one of the original Captains of companies remaining.

Of the five Line Officers remaining, Opp, Bryan and[53] Ingram had entered the service as First Lieutenants, and Zinn and Peterman as Second Lieutenants.

Opp obtained the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel, in command of the Regiment, and was mortally wounded at the Wilderness. Bryan became Major, and Zinn rose to the rank of Colonel, with the Brevet of Brigadier-General. Peterman became Captain and was killed at Chancellorsville. Ingram resigned in the early part of 1863.

Of all the original Officers, Field, Staff and Line, only two, Zinn and Bryan, served with the Regiment until the close of the War, and they are still among us.

Of the after Line Officers, 32 were promotions from the ranks, and also two of the three Adjutants.

Fribley to Second Lieutenant, First Lieutenant and Captain of the 84th, and Colonel 8th U. S. Colored Troops.

Dougherty, Steinman, Farley, Nixon, Sampson and Rissel, to Second Lieutenant, First Lieutenant and Captain.

Delehunt and Lamberton, to Second Lieutenant and Captain.

Thornton to First Lieutenant and Captain.

Mather to Adjutant.

Merchant to Second Lieutenant, First Lieutenant and Adjutant, with the Brevet of Captain.


Mummey, Wells, and Larish to First Lieutenant.

Smith, Mitchell, Lewis, Taylor, Jury and Ferguson to Second Lieutenant and First Lieutenant.

Gwinn, Wingate, Piper, Moore, Hays, McMaster, Wolf, Hursh, Wilson, Weidensall and Davidson, to Second Lieutenant.

As newly organized, "C" Co. was consolidated with A, and the new Company from Westmoreland County, Captain Logan and Lieutenant Wirsing, took the place of the original C Co.

B Co. received recruits under Lieutenant Young.

D Co. received recruits under Lieutenant Hunter.

Lieutenant Zinn, B Co., was commissioned Captain of D.

A Company of about 70 men, under Captain Dobbins and Lieutenant Johnson, was added to E, Lieutenant Steinman, of the old organization, remaining.

F Co. was added to by recruits under Lieutenant Forrester.

G Co. received recruits under Captain Platt and Lieutenant Brindle.

H Co. received recruits under Lieutenant Jackson.

Many of the old men of I Co. were transferred to K, and I Co. reorganized by a large detachment under Captain Comfort and Lieutenant Ross.

K Co. was materially strengthened by the transfers from I.


Assigned to Whipple's Division.

In the latter part of October, the Regiment left its camp at Arlington Heights, and joined the Army under McClellan at Berlin, still constituting a part of Carroll's Brigade, which had been assigned to Whipple's Independent Division.

On November 7th, by order from the War Department, McClellan was relieved from the command of the Army of the Potomac, and succeeded by Major-General Burnside.

At Falmouth.

On November 17th, the advance of the Army arrived at Falmouth, opposite Fredericksburg, and again the whole Army was confronting Lee.

On December 11th, Fredericksburg was subjected to a heavy artillery fire, to cover the laying of a Pontoon bridge.

Battle of Fredericksburg.

The Battle of Fredericksburg was fought on the 13th, the rebel troops having been forced out of the town to their fortifications on the Heights in the rear.

The Regiment was severely engaged. General Griffin called on Whipple for Carroll's Brigade, and it was[56] promptly moved up through the town under fire of shot and shell. Stopping in a cut of the Richmond Railroad, then climbing the steep embankment, the Brigade rushed on and was soon at the very front. Two Companies went on in advance of the line of battle and had to be recalled. During the night the enemy attempted to force the part of the line occupied by the 84th and 110th Pa., but was repulsed.

7 men killed and 24 wounded.

Colonel Bowman, 84th, and Lieutenant Crowther, 110th, were specially mentioned in the Brigade Commander's report.

After the battle, the Regiment went into Camp at Stoneman's Switch, on the Falmouth and Acquia Creek Railroad, about 2 miles from Falmouth.

In the meantime, on the 1st of October, 1862, Captain Opp had been promoted Major, and, on December 23d, Lieutenant-Colonel, Barrett and Craig having both resigned.

Captain Zinn was promoted Major, October 2d.

On January 18th, 1863, Sergeant Mather, B Co., was promoted Adjutant.

On January 19th, Burnside started the Army for a second attempt on Fredericksburg, but the heavy rain converted the movement into a "Mud March," and it was abandoned.


The outcome of December 13th and January 19th, was the removal of Burnside, on January 26th, from the command of the Army, and the substitution of Major-General Hooker.

These were experimental days, and rotation in office of Corps and Army Commanders largely practised, but the experiments were harsh indeed to the boys who did the tramping and the fighting.

On February 5th, by order of General Hooker, the Army of the Potomac was reorganized, and Reynolds assigned to the command of the 1st Corps; Couch, the 2d; Sickles, the 3d; Meade, the 5th; Sedgwick, the 6th; Sigel, the 11th; and Slocum, the 12th; the Cavalry under Stoneman.

The 84th and 110th Pa. and 12th New Hampshire, constituted the 2d Brigade, 3d Division, 3d Corps, with Bowman Commanding. Lieutenant-Colonel Opp in command of the Regiment.

Picketing along the Rappahannock, by details of Regiments, was the principal duty from January to

Battle of Chancellorsville.

April 29th, when the Army broke camp and started on a campaign intended to be brief, but sharp and decisive, fruitful of great and important results.


It was Hooker's plan, most intelligently conceived and thorough in its details. Without Jackson on the other side, it would have gone down in history as the battle of the War, and Hooker would have been the Lieutenant-General. No rebel army would thereafter have crossed the Potomac to make a Gettysburg. The Gettysburg of the War would have been on Southern soil.

The Regiment participated in the feint to the left of Fredericksburg, and on the

1st of May, moved toward Chancellorsville, the place of the campaign, crossing the Rappahannock at United States Ford.

On the 2d, late in the afternoon, Sickles was ordered to send two Divisions, the 2d and 3d, in the direction of the Old Furnace, to cut off the march of rebel troops toward the right of our line. Jackson, however, as was his custom, had already passed by and out of the way, excepting a regiment, which was captured.

While two-thirds of Sickles' Corps was in this exposed position, Jackson literally fell on the 11th Corps, away to the right of the Union line, at a time when the whole of that Corps was lying in supposed security, doubled it up, and in this way substituted the Field plan of Lee for the Camp study of Hooker; and[59] Chancellorsville was become a ground to fight on but not a place of victory.

In the words of that memorable Order, the "Enemy was in a bag." But where was the string?

However, there was virtue in the situation, in that it furnished the grandest test that could have been presented to the Army of the Potomac. Most fully defeated, yet not alarmed. Line broken, yet not pursued.

Hooker's Army was a body of positive soldiery, who knew not on that 2d of May, nor until well back on sure ground, how nearly Lee had gained what Hooker started out to accomplish.

Back from the Old Furnace came the two Divisions of Sickles', while Keenan, with his Battalion of Cavalry, held the whole rebel force, to make time for the planting of the guns, and lessen the time for the falling of the night, which was to be the safeguard of our Army.

The next morning found our Brigade too far out, and where it would not have remained through the night had its position and number been known to the occupants of the woods along the line of which it was posted.

The Brigade was drawn back in the direction of the Chancellor House, and put behind a short line of[60] light breast-works, in an isolated position, without any support to the right or left. We had been closely followed in our withdrawal of the morning, and were now hard pressed by the enemy forcing in upon our front, while a large force could be seen moving some distance on our left, which, within a half-hour, coming through the woods and over the rise to our rear, were immediately at our back before their coming was known.

For some time, such of the Union troops as could be seen from the position occupied by the Regiment, had been giving way and falling back to the protection of the numerous guns posted in front of the Chancellor House, and which had not yet opened fire.

The Union line did not seem to be holding anywhere.

The killed and wounded of the Regiment had been added to at every fire.

Pressed to the front and rear by forces too large to contend with, with one flank closed and the other nearly so, it was now only the question of escape, or capture.

When the colors of the Regiment were planted behind the inner works, twice the fingers of the hands counted the total of the officers and men who stood with them.

Out of 391, 1 officer, Peterman, then Captain of K[61] Co., and 5 men had been killed; 5 officers and 54 men wounded, and 154 captured and missing.

General Whipple was killed just to the right of the Regiment, on the 4th.

On the night of the 4th, rain came down in a flood, so that the Rappahannock was much swollen. About midnight, Hooker's Army commenced crossing to the North side, and, by the night of the 5th, all were back on the old camp ground.

Many of the dead had been left on the field where they fell, and many of the wounded left to rebel care. Death had come to some of the wounded from the fire in the woods, caused by the shelling on the 3d. The great loss to the rebel side came a few days after, in the death of Jackson, who had been mortally wounded on the night of the 2d.

Following on Chancellorsville, owing to the death of Whipple and the numerous casualties, the Division was broken up and the regiments assigned to other commands.

Parted from the 110th.

The 84th and 110th had been together up to this time, but from now on were to be parted. The 84th went to the 1st Brigade (Carr's), 2d Division (Humphrey's),[62] and the 110th to the 3d Brigade, 1st Division.

Gettysburg Campaign.

In the early part of June, it became clear that the officials of the confederacy were so much encouraged by the result of Hooker's campaign, that they had determined upon sending Lee into Pennsylvania.

A reconnoissance by the Cavalry under Buford and Gregg, south of the Rappahannock, delayed Lee for a few days.

As soon as it was known that Lee was on the way, the people of Pennsylvania felt what the consequence could be, and feared what it might be. The State was divided into two Military Districts. The Department of the Monongahela, west of the Laurel Ridge Mountains, was commanded by General Brooks, Headquarters, Pittsburg; and the Department of the Susquehanna by General Couch, Headquarters, Chambersburg.

On June 14th, Milroy was forced out of Winchester, leaving behind siege guns, 8 field pieces, 6000 muskets, ammunition and stores.

June 15th, the President called on Maryland and West Virginia for 10,000 militia, each; Ohio for 30,000, and Pennsylvania for 50,000, for six months' service.


June 16th, Jenkins' rebel cavalry, 950 strong, occupied Chambersburg, and withdrew on the 18th.

19th, portion of Rhodes' rebel cavalry entered McConnelsburg and sacked the town.

21st, Pleasanton drove Stuart beyond Middletown, through Upperville and Ashby's Gap.

23d, rebel forces again occupied Chambersburg, the Union troops in the town falling back.

26th, rebel advance reached Carlisle, the militia under General Knipe retiring.

Lee's forces were well under way down the Valley, when Hooker took down his tents opposite Fredericksburg.

From the start to the finish it was a race, but not from the foe. There were no obstacles worth the mention for Lee to encounter, none for Hooker.

Lee went upon that side of the mountain, Hooker upon this. Across the Potomac went Lee, and across the Potomac came Hooker—at different points.

The Army of the Potomac had marched before, but never before, nor after, as it did through the night after crossing into Maryland. Along the tow-path, dark, wet and slippery; strength all gone, and the muscles expanding simply to get rid of the contraction.


Such was the character of the march, that at times the nearest comrade on the walk would not be within ten paces to the front or rear.

What had been lost at the start must now be made up, for Lee was well on toward every Pennsylvania soldier's home.

On June 27th, at Frederick, Maryland, the order was promulgated assigning Major-General Meade to the command of the Army of the Potomac, and Hooker thereby relieved.

On the night of June 30th, at Taneytown, came the order detailing the Regiment to guard the Supply Train.

The next morning, Colonel Opp, knowing that his men were averse to such duty, made special request of the Brigade Commander to revoke the order, but without success.

July 1st, started with the train, which was then moving with the Column from Taneytown on the road to Emmettsburg, and while on the way word came that the Cavalry and the 1st Corps had encountered Lee at Gettysburg, and that Reynolds had been killed.

Immediately following this announcement came the order for the Supply Trains to report at Westminster.


The Supply Trains were an important factor in army organization. They did good service in the camp, along the march, and on the field. Without them even Gettysburg would not have been a Field of Monuments. At least twenty regiments of the Army of the Potomac did guard duty with the trains on the 1st, 2d, and 3d of July, 1863. That duty was quite as necessary of performance, fully as important, carrying with it as much of possible danger, as was actually encountered by regiments engaged on the field, and as much of actual danger as did not fall to the lot of several of the regiments who were no more on the field than were the troops with the trains, and which regiments wrote Gettysburg on their battle flags without a question as to its being rightly there.

When the State of Pennsylvania placed upon her Statute Books the Act that gave to every Pennsylvania Command having a part in the Battle of Gettysburg a Memorial Stone, I had no doubt as to the 84th coming within the terms of the Act, and no doubt as to the duty of its Soldiers to see that its Monument was placed.

The Regiment had been, from the time of its entry into the service, a part of the Army of the Potomac, even before all the troops in Virginia were so designated, and continued to be till the end of the War. Failure[66] of recognition under this Law of the Commonwealth, as a part of the Army of the Potomac, would have left the Regiment unrecorded to the world as of any army up to and including the time of Gettysburg.

But comment of our own is unnecessary. The statement of General Carr, the Brigade Commander, covers all points, and coming from an individual thoroughly competent to pass judgment, and yet free from the slightest degree of interest that might possibly induce bias, ought to, and does, answer all question and resolve all doubt.

(The following letter was written by General Carr in response to a communication asking simply for a statement by him of the duty on which the Regiment was ordered in connection with the Battle of Gettysburg.

The tribute thus tendered to the Regiment not only evidences the high regard had by General Carr for the officers and men of the 84th, but is indicative of the feeling entertained and expressed by Shields, Carroll, Ricketts, Whipple, Pierce, Mott, and other General Officers, in whose immediate command the Regiment was placed between October, '61, and July, '65.)


Office of American Chain Cable Works,

Troy, N. Y., October 28, 1887.

General John P. Taylor, President,

Board of Commissioners Gettysburg Monuments,

Philadelphia, Pa.

Sir:—I have the honor to present the following statement, in reference to the part taken by the 84th Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers in the Gettysburg Campaign.

The 84th Regiment was in the 1st Brigade, 2d Division, 3d Corps, Army of the Potomac, during the movements of that Army from Fredericksburg, Va., to Emmettsburg, Md. On the morning of the 1st July, the Regiment was detailed by an order from my headquarters to guard the supply train that was then located between Emmettsburg and Gettysburg. The Regiment remained on duty with the train until relieved by another Regiment on the 6th July, when it reported to me for duty while at Williamsport.

The duty performed by the 84th Regiment during the three days' fighting was as essential and important as that of any other Regiment of my command; it was a duty they were ordered to perform over which they had no control, but as good soldiers obeyed the command. When Colonel Opp received the order he sent his Adjutant, Lieutenant Mather, to me with a request to have the order rescinded, which of course was not granted.

The 84th Regiment was one of my best and most reliable commands. The officers and men were always ready and willing to do their duty.

To deprive this Regiment of the recognition it is entitled to,[68] upon that memorable battle field, would in my opinion be a very great injustice.

I would respectfully suggest that the monument be erected at a point near where my headquarters were previous to the second day's engagement. It was near the Emmettsburg road, directly in front of the Roger's house, as you will see upon the map of the field.

The inscription should state the whereabouts of the Regiment on the 1st, 2d and 3d of July, 1863, and the actual duty it was performing.

I am, Very Respectfully,


This statement is a Monument in itself. No Regiment ever received, or could have had, more emphatic endorsement of its service.

The State Commission on Gettysburg Monuments had no doubt of the full right of the 84th to participate with all other Pennsylvania regiments that took part in the Battle of Gettysburg, and promptly said so.

On the night of the 4th, the Regiment was ordered from Westminster to rejoin the Brigade, and reported to General Carr on the 6th.

While at Westminster there was constant apprehension of attack by rebel cavalry, and the picket guards were under strict orders to be continually on the alert to avoid surprise.


During the night of the 13th and the morning of the 14th, Lee crossed his army over the Potomac at Williamsport, closely followed by the Union cavalry, the advance of the Army of the Potomac.

On July 24th, the Regiment took part in clearing the Gap at Wapping Heights, the rebels contesting every step until forced into the Valley, when they went on a run, and we returned through the Gap to rejoin the column.

The return was much like the going, excepting that there was not the necessity for haste, and with this difference of feeling. The rebel army had started North elated by Chancellorsville; it returned depressed by Gettysburg.

The Union Army had not been depressed by Chancellorsville (it never was by any defeat), but was more than pleased with Gettysburg.

The walk did not stop until the Army of the Potomac was again between the Rappahannock and the Rapidan.

July, August, and September having passed by, and October being well under way, Lee, having nothing to gain by remaining quiet, again put his army in motion, this time bound for the road that led to his Country's Capital, but not with patriotic intent.


By this time the Army of the Potomac had become well grounded in the ups and downs which lie between the Rapidan and the Potomac.

Foraging had become a thing of the past in this now agricultural and animal forsaken portion of our Land. In fact, at the time when anything was to be found here, it was not permitted to be taken. It was not until later on that the conclusion was arrived at that Union Armies were not organized and maintained to guard crops for rebel army use and the sustenance of a southern confederacy.

Thousands of Union Soldiers might lie in unknown graves, and tens of thousands might be sent home cripples for life, but not an ear on the stalk, or a grain in the crib, an animal on the hoof, or his parts in the smoke-house, must be taken by the Union Soldier, lest treason might not have abundance.

All that was left of what once had been, were the names of the places along the route—Rappahannock Station, Catlett, Bristoe, Manassas, Thoroughfare, Haymarket, Union Mills.

Lee's Last Move on Washington.

Meade became aware of Lee's purpose too late to make the following a walk, or even an easy run.


It was so closely parallel, at times, that it was not certain which army was in the pursuit, and when at Bristoe Station,

On October 14th, the 2d Corps and a portion of the 5th were attacked, while marching by the flank, by a portion of Hill's Corps under Heth, Warren did a service for the Army of the Potomac, and his Country, which should have avoided the decree of April, 1865, removing him from his Command.

It was the only Infantry engagement of moment in the movement, and had the effect of making this the last in the series of Lee's running campaigns on Washington.

On his way back, starting on the

19th, Lee destroyed the Railroad, which Meade rebuilt as the Army of the Potomac advanced leisurely to the Rappahannock.

On November 7th, Meade forded the river at Rappahannock Station and Kelly's Ford, the battling at both points being severe, and the Army of the Potomac no more came back until without a foe.

November 8th, Lee crossed the Rapidan, and he never came back.

Camp at Brandy Station.

Meade's Army went into camp, the 84th to the left of Brandy Station, on land of John Minor Botts, and[72] immediately commenced the erection of Winter quarters.

Picket duty and the ordinary engagements of the camp followed, until

November 25th, when the Army marched the few miles to the Rapidan, crossed over, and the rebels fell back, contesting all the way, until Locust Grove was reached on the

Battle of Locust Grove or Mine Run.

27th, where the Regiment was warmly engaged. Here occurred the incident which clearly proved the fastness of the colors of the 84th.

The whole line to the right and left gave way. This forced the Regiment to retire, and there was every indication of a precipitate retreat. The Regiment had gone but its flags were still there. The Adjutant came promptly to the direction of the Colors, and the two flags in the hands of the Bearers, supported by the Color Guard, marched off the field to the ordinary step, and in as orderly manner as when passing from the Parade Ground to Headquarters. The flags might have been captured, and the Adjutant and Guard with them, but it would have been a capture to which no discredit would have attached.


1 officer and 8 men wounded.

From the field of Locust Grove to Mine Run, and a sight of the defences of Lee.

Contemplated Charge at Mine Run.

On the night of the 28th, orders were given to charge the enemy's works the next morning at 8 o'clock, and by daylight the Army was in line, awaiting the order to advance. It was well the order of execution was not given. The slaughter that would have ensued would have been without its fellow in the tales of the War.

Pickett at Gettysburg was a thing of Parade compared with what this would have been.

The troops would have gone over a space which thereafter would have been noted as the Field of Death.

Meade thought one way; Warren the other.

Warren was right, and Meade saw, in time, that he, himself, was wrong.

This act of Warren did not call for what was done him at Five Forks.

Back at Brandy Station.

The day passed, and in the night, the pickets cautioned to keep the fires going and then left to take care of themselves, Meade had his Army quietly slip away[74] from out of sight of the defences they had only looked upon, and then, without hurry, back to the old camp at Brandy Station, where from the 2d of December, 1863, to May 3d, 1864, the camp life of Winter was unbroken, save for a day or two, taken up by the march to the Rapidan on February 6th, as a caution to Lee, who was somewhat restless to learn what the Army in front of him was doing.

Veteran Re-Enlistments.

Also the re-enlistments for the Veteran three years, accompanied by the furlough for thirty days.

But during this time there occurred what was to subject all elements of all the Armies of the Union to harmony of action, and thus, in good time, end the attempt at the destruction of the Union, and thereby cease the struggle for its maintenance.

Grant in Command of all the Armies.

By special Act of Congress the rank of Lieutenant-General was revived, and, by the President, conferred on Major-General Ulysses S. Grant, with assignment to the command of all the Armies of the United States, Halleck being relieved as General-in-Chief, and assigned to duty in Washington as Army Chief of Staff.


After the severe experiences of three years, the Executive and Legislative Departments had come to the common agreement, that the rebellion could be put down with one Army, but never with a score, with ten, nor even two. Starting anew, there would be one Captain of the Host.

The Army of the Potomac was now—2d Corps, Hancock; 5th Corps, Warren; 6th Corps, Sedgwick; Cavalry, Sheridan; and Hunt, Chief of Artillery; Meade in command of the whole, but Grant always present.

The 84th was assigned to the 2d Brigade, 4th Division (Mott), 2d Corps (Hancock), and from this on the references to the 2d Corps will be, mainly, our account of the 84th.

Grant's Campaign.

Soon after midnight,

May 3-4, '64, was inaugurated Grant's Campaign—the longest, but the last, of the War.

The Army of the Potomac moved off their five months' camping ground, thereafter to realize that armies could move without regard to seasons.

Pontoons were thrown across the Rapidan, principally at Germania and Ely's Fords.

Passed over the battle ground of just a year before,[76] at Chancellorsville, and came well into the Wilderness on the

5th. At 9 o'clock, Hancock was ordered to the support of Getty's Division, the 2d of the 6th Corps, who had run against the enemy on the Orange Plank and Turnpike Roads.

The woods and narrow roads prevented Hancock from getting into position until 4 o'clock, when he sent Birney's and Mott's Divisions to Getty's support, and saved him from a rout.

Fighting continued until dark.

Grant's disposition of the troops placed Hancock in command of about one-half the Line, and thus located, he was ordered to attack at 4 o'clock the morning of the 6th, subsequently changed, at Meade's suggestion, to 5 o'clock. The movement was prompt, and to the left of the Orange Plank Road.

Battle of the Wilderness.

By the end of the first hour of the desperate fighting of that morning, it was Grant's belief, that "if the country had been such that Hancock and his Command could have seen the confusion and panic in the lines of the enemy, it would have been taken advantage of so effectually, that Lee would not have made another stand outside the Richmond defences."


The enemy got close upon a portion of the 2d Corps before being seen, owing to the density of the woods, and they were so suddenly forced back as to compel the retirement of Mott's Division also to the intrenched position of the morning.

The Battle was kept up from 5 o'clock in the morning until night, and all the time within a width of space averaging not over three-quarters of a mile.

During the night all of Lee's army withdrew within their intrenchments.

Grant said "that more desperate fighting had not been witnessed on this Continent, than that of the 5th and 6th of May."

The 84th was in the very thick of the fight. 9 men killed, 2 officers and 39 men wounded.

The character of this fighting ground is a thing of history. Heavy timber, close, thick underbrush, impossibility of knowing where the enemy was until close at hand, the burning breast-works, all present factors in the fight, gave Grant to know that he had an Army on whom he could rely for the very best of service.

Grant had the faith before he had applied the test, for on the 5th all the bridges over the Rapidan had been taken up, except the one at Germania Ford, showing that he had no thought of necessity for recrossing the river.


Death of Col. Opp.

Among the wounded of the 84th was its Commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Opp, shot through the lung. He suffered, and how bravely, until the 9th, when he died. And it but honors every soldier of the Regiment, from the highest in rank to the lowest, when it is said, that with his going out there was made a vacancy in the Regimental household, which we have felt from then to the present, and will ever feel, until we greet him in our Reunion when we gather together in that other time which shall follow upon this.

In the closing weeks of '62 the Regiment had sought and found new life, and with the beginning of '63 had started off anew, cleared of all that might have held it back in the then coming time. Milton Opp was then the Second Officer of the Regiment. He was possessed of an ambition worthy of all the praise that grateful men could well bestow; ambitious, not for himself, but for his Regiment. In command from January, 1863, to the time of his death, the very example of his manner, his bearing, whether with belt on or off, was such, as to bring up the tone of every soldier of the 84th. The lowest in the Regiment was higher, the highest was higher, because of the presence of Milton Opp. No Regimental Headquarters surpassed his in integrity of purpose, firmness without severity of action[79] or sense of duty in everything that was calculated to incline a Regiment of soldiers to be a credit to themselves, and an honor to their State.

How much the situation did for the general tone of the Regiment has, perhaps, been more thought of since than during the time of its service.

Aided from the beginning by a most faithful and altogether most competent Adjutant, Colonel Opp brought the Regiment up to a standard of discipline from which his successors in command never saw it depart, from which, good and able officers that they were, they would not have permitted it to depart. Between their task and his, and it detracts not one whit from them to think it or to say it, there was this difference; he made it the easier for them to carry out well, as they faithfully did, what he had so well provided. He was the most loved by those whose acquaintance with him was the most intimate. A gentleman, a Christian, a man.

How we would all welcome him, could we greet him now. And by none would he have been welcomed among us with more of good, earnest feeling, than by him who so well succeeded to the Command which was left by Milton Opp on the 6th of May, 1864.

The Battle of the Wilderness had been fought. When[80] the soldiers of the Army of the Potomac learned that a drawn battle could be made in its results a great victory, when they learned that Grant not only commanded the masses of the troops, but had firm control of the official elements, and 48 hours was sufficient for the lesson, is it any wonder that "the greatest enthusiasm was manifested by Hancock's troops," when, on the 7th of May, Grant rode behind the 2d Corps, lying on the Brock Road, "inspired," says Grant, "no doubt by the fact that the movement was South."

No more exhibitions of jealousy among Commanders of Corps. Such conduct was now to send a Major-General to the rear as a useless incumbrance.

Early on the morning of the 7th, Grant's order had gone out for a night march to Spottsylvania.

An encounter with Early detained the 2d Corps at Todd's Tavern, and kept it from Spottsylvania on the 8th.

Having got rid of Early, at noon on the 9th Hancock was ordered up from Todd's Tavern, excepting Mott's Division, which followed later in the day.

Sedgwick, commanding the 6th Corps, was killed on the morning of the 9th, by a rebel sharpshooter.

On the 10th, Hancock was ordered to attack with the 2d, 5th and 6th Corps. The assault was made[81] about 4 o'clock in the afternoon, with not altogether satisfactory result. Mott's Division was on the left of the 6th Corps.

On the 11th, the only movement was by Mott's Division, acting under orders to develop a weak spot in the enemy's line. The outcome of this reconnoissance was Grant's order of the 11th, for an assault at precisely 4 a.m. of the 12th, "with all possible vigor, the preparations to be conducted with the utmost secrecy, and veiled entirely from the enemy."

Battle of Spottsylvania.

The heavy fog delayed the start one hour.

The objective point was the salient, where, after the conflict, lay Lee's soldiers piled one upon another, just as they fell.

The rebel captured numbered 4000, among them Major-General Edward Johnson, Division Commander, and Brigadier-General Stewart, commanding a Brigade; a score of guns, with horses, caissons and ammunition, and several thousand small arms.

Loss to the Regiment, 9 men killed, 1 officer and 27 men wounded.

It was on May 13th, that Grant in a letter to the Secretary of War made use of the memorable words,[82] "I propose to fight it out on this line if it takes all Summer."

On the 13th, Grant recommended our old Brigade Commander, Carroll, for promotion to the rank of Brigadier-General.

Mott's Division was reduced to a Brigade, and assigned to Birney's Division.

Whatever further might have been done in pressing Lee at Spottsylvania, was prevented by the heavy rain which commenced on the night of the 13th.

On the 18th, Grant gave orders for the movement by the left flank on to Richmond.

One road from Spottsylvania to Fredericksburg was now open to Lee, and on the

Change of Base of Supplies.

19th, the Base of Supplies was shifted from Fredericksburg to Port Royal.

On the 20th, orders were renewed for the left flank movement to commence after night.

Hancock, having the lead, marched Easterly to Guiney's Station, on the Fredericksburg Railroad, thence Southerly to Bowling Green and Milford, arriving at Milford on the night of the 21st.

On the 22d, the 2d Corps was permitted to rest through the day and night.


At North Anna River.

23d, Hancock moved to the Wooden Bridge, West of the Fredericksburg Railroad Bridge, over the North Anna River, the rebel guard being intrenched on the North side. The guard gave way quickly, but so rapid was the move upon the bridge that several of the rebels were forced through the water. Owing to the late hour the Corps did not cross until the next morning.

Regiment had 1 officer and 5 men wounded.

Base of Supplies again Changed.

On the 26th, Base of Supplies changed from Port Royal to White House.

All the troops South of the North Anna were crossed back to the North side, and moved under orders to proceed to Hanover, a point within 20 miles of Richmond.

On the 29th, at Hanover.

The 2d Corps moved toward Tolopotomy Creek to discover the whereabouts of the enemy. He was found strongly fortified.

Battle of Tolopotomy.

On May 31st and June 1st, the Regiment was engaged with the enemy at Pleasant Hill, known as the Battle of Tolopotomy.


4 men killed, 3 officers and 13 men wounded.

Cold Harbor.

From June 1st to 3d, at Cold Harbor.

1 officer and 6 men wounded.

On June 5th, Grant determined upon moving the Army South of the James.

On Evening of the 13th, 2d Corps was at Charles City Court House, on the James River.

Crossing of James River.

On the 14th, 2d Corps crossed in the advance, using bridge and boats.

Arrived in Front of Petersburg.

On the 15th, arrived after dark in front of Petersburg, and relieved Smith's troops in the trenches.

16th to 18th, continuous fighting.

2 men killed, 3 officers and 11 men wounded.

On the 22d, the 2d Corps was moved to the left to draw the enemy out, or to compel him to remain within his lines. He staid in, and now began the Siege of Petersburg, with the 9th Corps on the Right, then the 5th, 2d Corps next, and then the 6th broken off to the South.


The next movement was not until

Deep Bottom.

July 26th, when the 2d Corps and the Cavalry crossed the James River to Deep Bottom, for the purpose of drawing some of Lee's forces to the North side of the James, pending the Explosion of the Mine which had been worked in front of the 9th Corps, commencing on June 25th, and was now ready to be fired.

On the 29th, the 2d Corps was brought back to the James, and crossed over at night, with orders to proceed to that part of the line where the Mine was located.

Explosion of Mine.

The Explosion was in itself a success, but history records a complete failure in result.

On August 13th and 14th, to keep Lee from sending troops to the Valley against Sheridan, the 2d Corps, part of the 10th, and Gregg's Division of Cavalry, were crossed over the James, with orders not to bring on a battle.

Battle of Charles City Cross Roads.

It was quite a severe move for the Regiment, an engagement with the rebels at Charles City Cross[86] Roads on the 15th resulting in 2 men killed, 1 officer and 16 men wounded, and several captured, who suffered the horrors of Salisbury for many months, some of them dying for want of food, water and shelter.

On the night of the 20th, withdrew from the North side of the James River, and Hancock and Gregg sent Southward to destroy the Weldon Railroad. Ream's Station fought on the 25th.

Movement to Extreme Left.

October 1st, moved with the Corps to Yellow House, and thence to the extreme left of the line. First line of enemy's works charged and carried.

The Regiment was at this time a part of Pierce's Brigade, the 2d, Mott's (3d) Division, 2d Corps.

Poplar Spring Church.

On the afternoon of the 2d, the 84th, with other troops, in all not a full regiment in number, with Colonel Zinn in command of the Charging Party, moved upon the second line at a point known as Poplar Spring Church. As soon as the rebel troops became aware of the purpose to charge, there was the disposition to abandon their position, but when they saw the small number of the Charging Party they resumed their[87] places behind their works, and held their musketry fire, keeping up the fire of their guns, until the charging line was within a few feet, when they delivered such a fire, volley upon volley, as threatened to kill, or wound, every soldier of the 84th. As we think of that flood of balls, it seems incredible that none were killed, and only 8 wounded, 2 officers and 6 men.

Colonel Zinn was shot, and would now be going around upon one natural leg, had he not successfully fought the Surgeon's conclusion to take the other off.

October 4th, lay in rear of 9th Corps works, building forts and slashing timber.

5th, Brigade ordered to join the Corps, and marched to our old position near Fort Hayes.

6th, Regiment sent to garrison Fort Bross, on Norfolk and Petersburg Railroad, in company with a Section of 14th Massachusetts Battery, 2 guns, under Lieutenant George. No other troops in the vicinity.

13th, Paymaster on hand with six months' arrears.

October 23d, Three years had now elapsed since the organization of the Regiment, and the men who had served during that time, and were not included in the number of Veteran Enlistments, were honorably discharged by reason of expiration of term of service.


25th, Regiment ordered to report to Division as soon as possible. At 1 p.m., left Fort Bross, and joined the Division between the Fort and Jerusalem Plank Road. Lay massed during the day and night.

26th, Moved to the left, passing the Gurley House, in rear of our rear line of works. Struck the Weldon Railroad a mile from the Yellow House. Remained here until 4 o'clock the next morning, when the march was continued toward the South Side Railroad, moving along a narrow road and through woods until we arrived about 2 p.m. near Hatcher's Run and the Boydton Plank Road.

During the last 5 miles the rebel cavalry continually engaged our own, working around to our rear as we advanced, fighting at the Saw Mill shortly after we had passed.

Battle of Hatcher's Run.

Formed line of battle in open field. A break in the line to the right, owing to a separation of Divisions, was promptly noted by the enemy, who marched in by the flank between Pierce's and McAllister's Brigades, the latter having been advanced about half a mile to the front of Mott's Division, until his right rested on the Boydton Plank Road.

It was an ill advised move on the rebel side. As[89] soon as noticed by McAllister, he faced his Brigade to the rear, charged, and took several hundred prisoners. Pierce's Brigade re-took the two guns which had been picked up by the enemy at the Plank Road.

The Regiment had 4 men wounded and 1 missing. 6 men were taken prisoners, but escaped.

After dark, threw up light works at right angles with the Plank Road, being in such position that the shells from our rear reached where we lay, some going beyond and others exploding at our line. The enemy was both to the front and rear, accounted for by the fact that we were stretching out his extreme right.

At 10 p.m., marched back to the old position between Fort Bross and Jerusalem Plank Road, arriving at 5 p.m. on the 28th.

29th, Moved to left and rear of Fort Hayes.

30th, 9 p.m., Deployed along the works between Forts Hayes and Davis, the enemy having relieved, very quietly, about 300 men on our picket line, the pickets supposing they were being regularly relieved.

The mistake was discovered in time to avoid any disadvantage therefrom.

Regiment back in quarters before morning.

November 1st, Changed position to right of Fort Hayes, and put up tents along main line of works.


5th, 12 p.m., Rebel dash on picket line, with no success, but with loss of 40 of their men captured.

Quiet until the 18th, when orders were received to be ready to move, but prevented by heavy rain.

Thanksgiving Dinner.

25th, Memorable as the day when the whole Army was treated to a Thanksgiving Dinner, supplied by the people North.

29th, Orders received to move at dark. 6 p.m., moved to near Southall House.

30th, 7 a.m., Marched along rear line of works, about 5 miles, to between Forts Emory and Seibert, and commenced putting up quarters.

December 1st, Ordered to change camp, and

On the 2d, moved about a mile, and commenced the erection of Winter Quarters.

4th, A, C, E and K Companies mustered out as company organizations, having completed three years' service.

6th, Ordered to march at daylight of the 7th.

It was now quite evident that the Winter of '64-5 was not to be as other Winters had been.


Destruction of Weldon Railroad.

On the 7th, Mott's Division marched out with the 5th Corps and the Cavalry, the whole under command of Warren, under orders to destroy as much as possible of the Weldon Railroad. Went by way of the Jerusalem Plank Road, crossed the Nottoway River at dark, and bivouacked on the South side, 20 miles.

8th, Marched at daylight, passed through Sussex Court House and Coman's Well, 12 miles, and bivouacked for the night within 2 miles of the Weldon Railroad.

9th, Daylight, marched 2 miles, striking the Weldon Railroad near Jarrett's Station. From this point Southward to Bellefield, a distance of 11 miles, the Railroad was effectually destroyed.

10th, The object of the Expedition having been accomplished, Warren started backward toward Petersburg, marched 18 miles, and bivouacked for the night 4 miles South of Sussex Court House.

11th, Started at daylight, again passed through Sussex Court House, recrossed the Nottoway River, stopping for the night 4 miles beyond, 11 miles.

12th, Off again at daylight, the Regiment deployed as flankers, and back at our lines at 2 p.m., 16 miles.

There were no casualties, except as will be stated, no rebel force having been encountered.


On the way back it was discovered that several Union soldiers had been murdered by guerillas, their bodies having been found in the woods, off the line of march, horribly mutilated.

On the way down they had strayed from the road to lie down, being overcome by too free indulgence in the discovery made at one of the houses, not knowing its powerful after-effect. It was a terrible sequel to the over-taking of the seeming harmlessness of Apple Jack, to one not acquainted with its ardent qualities.

The result of the discovery of the bodies was the order given to burn every house and other building anywhere near the line of march.

13th, Moved into the woods and took position in line for the purpose of laying out camp and putting up quarters.

14th, Erection of Winter Quarters.

22d, Expiration of three years since muster of the Regiment into the Service of the United States.

23d, Division paraded to witness the execution of John E. Dixon, Private 1st Massachusetts Heavy Artillery, for desertion. Dixon had made a break for the rebel line, but not noticing the direction of the two[93] lines, ran into our own line without knowing it, when it was learned from his words and manner that he supposed he was on the other side, and that his purpose had been to desert.

31st, Regiment consolidated into Battalion of 4 Companies.

Consolidation of the 84th and 57th Pa.

This formation was preparatory to the consolidation of the Regiment with the 57th Pennsylvania, which had been made a Battalion of 6 Companies.

The consolidation took place on January 13th, 1865.

The consolidation was not a merger, save as to number. The 57th composed the Right 6 Companies and the 84th the Left 4 Companies.

I will venture what I think the explanation of the dropping of the number 84 and the retention of the number 57, notwithstanding it was known that the Colonel, Major and Adjutant of the Consolidated Regiment would be from the 84th. But it was also known that the retention of the number 84 would work great injustice to officers who had earned further promotion, and therefore the natural course of the command of the Regiment determining the number, must give way to the necessity which justice prompted.


Colonel Bowman was still borne on the rolls of the 84th, though his service in the field was less than a year, and only half that time directly with the Regiment, and then on permanent Detached Service at Washington since June, 1863. It was known that he would not return to Field Service.

With the number 57, Lieutenant-Colonel Zinn was promoted Colonel; Captain Bryan, Major; and Captain Perkins, of the old 57th, Lieutenant-Colonel.

Captain Bryan had been commissioned Major of the 84th in May, '64, nearly a year before, but could not be mustered as such for want of the minimum number admitting of 3 Field Officers, although there was not the 1 Field Officer doing duty with the Regiment.

Colonel Bowman continued to rank as of the 84th until the middle of May, when he was mustered out, a month after the close of the War.

That portion of the Inscription on the Monument which brings the 84th down to the date of the muster out of the 57th, was conceded only after months of earnest contention.

The 57th continued in Pierce's Brigade.

Second Hatcher's Run.

February 5th, 7 a.m., marched from camp and along[95] Vaughan Road, crossing the picket line about 3 miles to North side of Hatcher's Run, and put up works. 6 p.m., moved a mile to the right, took position under very heavy fire on left of the 3d Brigade, and put up works.

6th, Ordered to support of 5th Corps. While on the way order countermanded and returned to works.

7th and 10th, Slashing timber in front of line.

11th, Line to our left abandoned during the night. 5 a.m., moved within new line and encamped.

12th, Slashing timber in front of works.

13th, Again putting up Winter Quarters, the heavy timbers of some of the tents being moved from the old camp.

Beyond Picket Line.

25th, Daylight, heavy firing at Fort Steadman. 6 a.m., ordered to be packed up. 4 p.m., advanced outside of picket line. Put up slight breast-works. Rebel charge repulsed. Took about 200 prisoners. 26th, 1 a.m., returned to camp and again put up tents.

27th, 10 a.m., on picket. Advanced picket posts to within 150 yards of enemy's line. No firing.

28th, Received orders to be ready to move at 6 a.m., the 29th.


The Last Move.

On the day that Lee arranged the assault intended to compel Grant to abandon his Petersburg Line, and thus raise the Siege of Petersburg, Grant issued the order for the movement of the 29th. Had Lee met with success on the 25th, Grant's program to end the War at this time would have failed.

29th, 6 a.m., left camp near Humphrey's Station, marched along Vaughan Road 3 miles, and formed line on right of the road. Advanced 2 miles and bivouacked for the night.

30th, 7 a.m., advanced in line of battle 1 mile and put up works.

31st, 1 a.m., moved 1 mile to left, and bivouacked for the night on Battle Field of 27th of November last.

April 1st, 6 p.m., portion of Regiment detailed for picket duty.

Evacuation of Petersburg.

2d, 9 a.m., passed through main line of rebel works and marched 7 miles, to within a half mile of Petersburg, and formed in line.

70 prisoners captured by the Regiment. 4 men wounded.


Pursuit of Lee.

3d, 8 a.m., marched Westward on road to Burk's Station in pursuit of Lee, 20 miles.

4th, 7 a.m., in same direction, 8 miles. 6 p.m., bivouacked.

5th, 1.30 a.m., in same direction. Crossed Richmond and Danville Railroad, and bivouacked 1 mile North of the Road, 12 miles.

6th, 7 a.m., in close pursuit of Lee.

Portion of Regiment on Skirmish Line, continually running into Lee's rear guard skirmishers, capturing prisoners, and toward night took part in the capture of rebel train of 200 wagons hastening on to Lynchburg.

Prisoners captured, 90, and 1 color.

Lieutenant-Colonel Perkins and 15 men wounded.

7th, 7 a.m., continued the pursuit. Passed the Richmond and Danville Railroad at the High Bridge, which had been fired by the rebels and partly burned. Met the enemy in force after marching about 8 miles. 2 men wounded.

8th, passed through Coal Land, marching 17 miles. Took 40 prisoners.

For the last three days broken-down rebel wagons, gun carriages and soldiers were a common sight.


Surrender of Lee's Army.

April 9th, the Last Day.

Still in close pursuit. Went 5 miles, driving the enemy. 12 o'clock, ordered to halt until 2. 2 o'clock, ordered to halt until 4, before which hour Lee had surrendered to Grant the Army of Northern Virginia.

The Regiment was with the advance, and about 4 miles East of Appomattox Court House.

Who would attempt to word the feeling following upon the announcement of the surrender that Sunday afternoon, April 9th, 1865?

April 11th, 10 a.m., journeyed back 12 miles to New Store, away from what had been Lee's Army, and without seeing it.

No Pickets Out.—No Guards On.

From two things we knew the surrender had been made. The fact of the announcement and the other fact—there had been no pickets out, no guard on, since the 9th. But there had been no parading of a vanquished foe to meet the gaze of a triumphant Army. Grant had saved them that humiliation.


12th, 6 a.m., 15 miles, passed through Curville, and then on to Farmville.

13th, 6 a.m., 17 miles, to near Burks Station, and went into camp.

Assassination of the President.

15th, 10 p.m., received official dispatch of the assassination of President Lincoln on the night of the 14th, and his death at 7.22 o'clock on the morning of the 15th.

He had lived to the last day of a labor which none but himself could know how hard it had been to bear. But now how absolute his rest. The very Heaven his immediate reward for the saving, under God, of a Nation.

16th, Moved one-third of a mile to change camp.

19th, Ordered that all unnecessary work be suspended on the day of the President's funeral.

25th, Regiment paraded to hear orders relative to the assassination. Officers directed to wear crape for six months and Colors to be draped for the same period.

Surrender of Johnston's Army.

28th, dispatch received announcing the surrender of[100] Johnston, and then the most doubtful knew that the War was over.

May 2d, marched at 1 p.m., 11 miles, to Gettyville.

3d, 6 a.m., to and across the Appomattox, passing through Five Forks, Amelia Court House and Scott's Store, 17 miles.

4th, 6 a.m., marched 18 miles.

5th, 5 a.m., to Manchester, opposite Richmond, arriving at 11 a.m., 10 miles.

Through Richmond.

6th, 10.30 a.m., passed through Manchester, crossed the Pontoon Bridge over the James River, marched through Richmond with Colors flying and Bands playing, passing Libby Prison on the way. Crossed the Chickahominy River and bivouacked 4-1/2 miles North of Richmond, on the Fredericksburg Pike, 8 miles.

7th, 6 a.m., through Hanover Court House and across the Pamunky River, 16 miles.

8th, 6 a.m., 16 miles.

9th, 6 a.m., 17 miles, to within one-half mile of Po River.

Through Fredericksburg.

10th, 6 a.m., crossed the Rappahannock, through Fredericksburg, with Colors flying and Bands playing,[101] and bivouacked near our old picket line of '63, and within 2-1/2 miles of the old camp ground at Stoneman's Switch, 17 miles.

11th, 6 a.m., crossed head waters of Acquia Creek, 16 miles.

12th, 6 a.m., 14 miles, to near Wolf Run Shoals and Aquequon River.

13th, 5 a.m., crossed the Aquequon, and then the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, 16 miles.

Final Field Camp.

15th, 6 a.m., 6 miles, to Four Mile Run, being that distance from Washington, and went into final Field camp.

Review of the Army of the Potomac.

June 23d, review of the Army of the Potomac in Washington by President Johnson.

Review of Sherman's Army.

24th, Review of Sherman's Army.

The two days as one, and what a turn-out of Veterans; a sight the like of which never had been witnessed, and we think never will be again.

From the Review, back over the Potomac for the last time, and but for a few days, and then the


Order for Muster-Out.

29th, on which day was read on Dress Parade the Order that made, as other citizens, save in the service they had completed for their Country, the Soldiers who comprised the Field Survivors of the 84th and 57th Regiments Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers.

Back to Harrisburg.

From camp near Washington to Harrisburg, there a closing of accounts with the Government that had, with the loss of 400,000 Loyal Lives and the crippling of 300,000 Union Soldiers, and the agonies of the sorrows which never could be told off, been made altogether free.

Into the hands of each Comrade was placed a printed copy of the following paper: "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 Regiment.

"Fortune threw together two organizations, the 84th and 57th, to make the present command. Both Regiments[103] have been in the service since the beginning of the strife, and the records of both will command respect in all coming time. Very many of those who were enrolled with us have fallen, and their graves are scattered here and there throughout the South. We shall not forget them, and the people of this Nation must and will honor their memory. Comrades, Farewell."

Then with certificates of Honorable Muster-Out, all matters of detail faithfully completed, and the 8th day of July, 1865, at hand, the "Old Regimental Home" was gone, and forever.

The War is over! But not so with its splendid achievements, its grand and far reaching results.

Never was conflict waged to a better and surer end. Never a result attained bearing so completely upon true Governmental Economy.

To the Revolution of '75 we are indebted for the rebellion of '61. The Revolution stands out the more grandly because of the resulting text—the rebellion. The rejection of the latter was the upholding of the principles of the former; posterity's emphatic endorsement of a valued ancestry.

Victories may be great, but not always just. Conquerors have vanquished peoples and thereby encompassed[104] countries within their toils, and then regretted there was not more to do on the same line. But their doing was only the accomplishment of personal gain, the satisfaction of selfish purpose. With them war was a thing sought after, not a calamity to be avoided.

Justice was not their polar star, nor did they seek the moral sphere as the place of their habitation. With them war was a vocation ordinary, and life and morals considerations secondary. Public standing and landed interests were made to depend upon military record. Conquered territory was divided as would be now the spoils of the theft, among the participators in the act and in proportion to the extent of the service done. What a mistake, how grievous a wrong, to review on the printed page the tenacity of an Alexander, or the vigor of a Napoleon, for the purpose of comparing the wars of their armies with the deeds of patriotism and of valor that moved the six fighting years of the Revolution, or the four years of the rebellion.

No man this side the Atlantic forced the Revolution. It was the outcome of oppression that ill fitted a people who had crossed from the other shore, not to bear greater burden, but that they might be full free from the crush of wrong. In its beginning not aggressive, but defensive. A year passed by before it was determined[105] that the yoke should be fully thrown off and absolute independence moved for.

And so it was, when along in the after years came the overt acts of treason that were to force States into rebellion, against the will of their people, every effort, reasonable and unreasonable, was made to conciliate the men whose only desire was not Union, but disintegration. So far did some of the most prominently active, and, I may add, patriotic men of our Country, go in their determination to avoid a resort to arms, that the very amendment to the Constitution of these United States that forever forbids the institution of slavery, would have been, in number, the amendment that would have fastened slavery upon the Country forever, had it not been that just then treason grasped for too much and thereby lost all. Now, when all is safe, it moves us to a condition of agony to recall that in the Winter of '60 and '61, so weighty was the power of the then South, that among the men of our Country, those of best repute, were found so many, who, to avert war, were ready to surrender everything, save the theory of a Central Government for all the States, and the bare privilege to look at the Old Flag.

Our Country is great, our Government is powerful, but no thanks are owing to compromisers for the greatness of the one or the power of the other.


Treason's eagerness for the capture of all saved one generation from the commission of a wrong that the good deeds of all the coming generations could not have atoned for.

It is well to be on guard always.

And what of the present?

The once soldiers of the confederacy are entitled, as individuals, to every manly consideration at our hands; as individuals they are as we are, men walking the journey of life, reaching out to one common goal. But their organized bodies have no claim upon us for recognition. The Government should have taken the life from every "camp" at the birth, and its strong arm should have swept from its soil the first monument to rebellion, with the warning that the placing of the second would be known as treason.

They have been asking that the War be forgotten, and yet they would keep us daily reminded by the flaunting of the confederate bars.

No monument to treason should have been permitted a place on this or other Field, and being here should be returned to the donors, not to be erected elsewhere.

No Government is strong enough to glorify treason against itself, nor to encourage it anywhere.

The individual I would take most heartily by the hand, the organization I discard.


There can be no true call for a union of the blue and the gray. Let all don the blue. In place of waiting for the chasm to be closed, flank it and locate upon our side. The chasm itself can do no harm. It will be a thing well to look upon at times, and take warning from as the divider of great depth and impassable width.

As in Heaven, so in Earth, to dwell together as brothers, all must be of one mind, patriots upholding the one Flag, standing fast by the Red, White and Blue.

When true history of our day comes to be written, all things will be made plain. With the faithful historian, it is not the question of the doing, but of the thing done. Just as when we look upon the completed work of the sculptor, or the finished touch of the painter, it is not of the marble, or the canvas and the material laid upon it that we think, but of the figure before us, as we note perfection in every line, and see life in the seeming light of the eye, and apparent movement of muscle.

History gives little heed to men, save to designate the moral character of the age.

And now, Comrades, for the part taken by the 84th Regiment Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers in the setting of the page which will commemorate the work[108] of our time, a grateful Commonwealth has placed upon this spot this weight of granite.

To the living it is, and to the people yet to come it will be, the visible proof of the deeds of heroism which located a part of the life of the men who bore the names that make up the Roll of a Command, whose record among the Archives of the Nation is without the semblance of a blur or particle of a stain. Clear, positive, clean cut all the way through. Do we advance sentiment only, when we say that such a body did not, could not have died in '65? Is there nothing of substance, nothing real, to come out of the thought, that as our Country lives, so we as a Regiment go on, living in the freedom of a land and the stability of a Government, neither of which would now be, without sentiment, the spring of human life?

The Memorial which is here placed speaks from all along the line, from Bath to Appomattox.

For the moment it moves aside, and where it was, and within the lengthening of its shadow, we see them all, and as we glance from right to left, from front to rear, one is taken from here, another from there, one by one, from the highest in rank to the lowest, from the oldest in years to the youngest, the man and the boy; first the 230 in the time of the War, then the many who have left us in the days that have intervened; and[109] then comes the Shaft into the space which was made for it. We look upon it now, and know that it stands for them. The time is coming when it will stand for all whose names made up a Regimental Roll.

Then, and not till then, shall we know that our work here is fully done.

Two years ago, at the Reunion held at Huntingdon, a Committee was appointed to secure for our Regiment the benefit of the Act of Assembly appropriating money for the purchase of Monuments for Pennsylvania Commands and their erection on the Field of Gettysburg. I will not enter upon a recital of the details of that Committee's work, but simply report that it is completed.

In so far as it may be the part of the Committee so to do, I now on its behalf turn over to you, Captain Johnson, as the Vice-President of the Regimental Association and its acting President, and as such the Representative of the Survivors of the 84th, this Memorial of its Service in the War of the Rebellion.


—Obvious print and punctuation errors fixed.

—The transcriber of this project created the book cover image using the front cover of the original book. The image is placed in the public domain.

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Volunteers (Infantry.), by Thomas Edward Merchant


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