Pennsylvania Volunteers of the Civil War
Look for your ancestors in this PA genealogy database of American Civil War soldiers
| | | | | | | | | | | | |

PA Civil War > Regiments > 2nd > History

PA Civil War Volunteer Soldiers

History of the Second Regiment

2nd PA Regimental History

The Second regiment was formed from companies hastily recruited in obedience to the call for volunteers. Recruiting commenced on the 22nd of April, 1861, and as fast as companies and squads were accepted they reported at Camp Curtin, Harrisburg.

On the 21st of April, the officers of ten companies were ordered to hold an election for field officers of a regiment, at which the following were chosen and duly commissioned: Frederick S. Stumbaugh, of Chambersburg, Colonel; Thomas Welsh, of Columbia, Lieutenant Colonel; James Given, from Captain of company G, of West Chester, Major. Isaac S. Waterbury was appointed Adjutant.

On the evening of Saturday, April 21st, the same day on which the regiment was organized, it left Harrisburg by rail for Washington; but halted at Cockeysville, Maryland, at daylight on Sunday morning, the railroad bridge at this point having been destroyed. After remaining in bivouac, and under arms for about forty-eight hours, the regiment was ordered back to York, Pennsylvania, where it remained in camp of instruction till the first day of June, when the command was ordered to Chambersburg. In the army organization which here ensued, the 2nd Regiment was assigned to the 2nd Brigade of the 2nd Division.*General Robert Patterson had been assigned by Governor Curtin, on the 16th of April, to the command of Pennsylvania troops, and a few days there after, while busily engaged in organizing and sending them forward to points threatened, he was, by the order of Lieutenant General Scott, placed in command of the " Department of Washington," embracing the States of Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and the District of Columbia, with head-quarters at Philadelphia.

The quota of Pennsylvania troops, with an excess of some ten regiments, having been organized and placed in the field, and all the lines of communication leading to Washington having been opened, and securely guarded, General Patterson proceeded, on the 2nd of June, to Chambersburg, where a camp had been formed under Major General William H. Keim, and assumed command with the design of operating against the Rebel army in the Shenandoah valley, which was now threatening the contiguous parts of Maryland and Pennsylvania.

As early as the 20th of June, General Scott had requested General Patterson to propose to him a plan of operations. On the 21st, the latter submitted one, which, in substance, proposed to occupy Maryland Heights with a brigade, and to fortify and arm with heavy artillery; to make Frederick, Maryland, the base of supply, with a guard which should act as a sustaining force to the command on Maryland Heights; to send all other available force, horse, foot, and artillery, across the Potomac, to unite with Colonel Stone, at Leesburg, to operate, from, that point, as circumstances should demand.* This plan was not approved by General Scott, and on the 22nd of June, he gave peremptory orders to General Patterson to keep in front of the enemy while he remained in force between Winchester and the Potomac. The army having been ordered to move to Williamsport, the 2nd regiment broke camp at Chambersburg on the 16th of June, and moving by rail to Hagerstown, went into camp at the village of Funkstown. Remaining here until the 23d, it was ordered forward towards the Potomac, and encamped about four miles from the river. Crossing the Potomac, with General Patterson's combined army, on the 2nd of July, it advanced to Martinsburg. The enemy having been pushed back from point to point, had finally established himself in an entrenched camp at Winchester. On the 22nd of July, leaving two regiments at Martinsburg to guard his supplies, General Patterson marched with the remainder of his force to Bunker Hill, driving Johnston's advanced guard from the place, and on the 16th of July, the day on which, according to the telegrams of General Scott, Beauregard was to be attacked at Manassas, he made a demonstration in force, driving the enemy's pickets in upon his main line.

On the 17th of June, General Patterson transferred his whole command by a rapid movement to Charlestown. The term of service of the 2nd regiment, having already expired, it moved, on the 23d of July, from Charlestown, and marching to Harper's Ferry, was taken by rail to Harrisburg, where, on the 26th of July, it was mustered out of service.

COLONEL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the telegram of the General-in-Chief, calling for a plan of operations. The following is my reply: To carry out the views of the General-in-Chief, I propose:

First, to occupy the Maryland Heights, with a brigade, (2,100) men; fortify and arm with Doubleday's artillery; provision for twenty days, to secure against investment.

Second, to move all supplies to Frederick, and, immediately thereafter, abandon this line of operations, threatening with a force to open a route through Harper's Ferry, this force to be the sustaining one for the command on Maryland Heights.

Third, to send every thing else available, horse, foot, and artillery, to cross the Potomac near Point of Rocks, and unite with Colonel Stone at Leesburg.

From that point I can operate as circumstances shall demand and your orders require. If no blow is to be struck here, I think this change of position important to keep alive the ardor of the men, as well as to force an enemy. The reasons for this change of depot will be so apparent to the General-in-Chief, that I need not refer to them. By the employment of the local transportation of the country, I can soon make the necessary changes, and will hasten to carry out your orders. I have many reports in regard to movements of the force opposite us in Virginia, and have reason to believe that when the regulars were withdrawn, General Johnston, with thirteen thousand men and twenty-two pieces of artillery, was marching to the attack, that night posted his forces, expecting an attack the following morning. I regret we did not meet the enemy, so confident am I that with this well appointed force, the result would have been favorable to us, and that this portion of Virginia would now be peaceably occupied. Reports of the enemy having returned to Harper's Ferry, and driven the occupants to this shore, reached me yesterday. I immediately dispatched a strong force to take the position in the vicinity of Sharpsburg, and protect all parties on this side of the river, and drive back any force which may attempt to cross.

I am, Colonel, very respectfully,
Your obedient servant,
Major General Commanding.

Colonel E. D. TOWNSEND,
Assistant Adjutant General
U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.

Source: Bates, Samuel P. (Samuel Penniman), 1827-1902.: History of Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-5; prepared in compliance with acts of the legislature, by Samuel P. Bates. Civil War Databases

  • U.S. Civil War Soldiers
    6.3 million soldiers who served in the American Civil War.

  • Special Veterans' 1890 Census
    Lists the veteran's name or widow's name, rank, year of enlistment, and year of discharge.

  • Civil War POWs
    Confederate and Union Civil War Prisoners of War

  • PA Veteran Burials Records
    Index cards of burial records of Pennsylvania veterans 1777 - 1999 including the Civil War.

  • Civil War Collection
    Search all the Civil War databases View for free

  • Civil War Research

    Civil War Research
    Want to find out if your ancestor was a Civil War soldier? Follow these research ideas.

    Home | Search | Privacy Policy | Site Map | Want to Help?

    Copyright © Pennsylvania Civil War Volunteers 1997-2015 All rights reserved.