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PA Civil War Volunteer Soldiers
One Hundred Seventh Regiment
107th PA Regiment History
IN the fall of 1861, authority to recruit two regiments of infantry, to be known as the One Hundred and Seventh and One Hundred and Eighth, was given respectively to Thomas A. Zeigle, of York county, a soldier of the Mexican war, and who had commanded the Sixteenth Regiment in the three months' service, and to Robert W. McAllen, of Franklin county. As a sufficient number of men for two full regiments was not obtained, the two commands were brought together and organized as the One Hundred and Seventh Regiment, on the 5th of March, 1862, at Harrisburg, with the following field officers: Thomas A. Zeigle, Colonel; Robert W. McAllen, Lieutenant Colonel; Jacob Forney, Major. The men were principally from the counties of Franklin, York, Dauphin, Cumberland, Lebanon, Lancaster, Schuylkill, Luzerne Mifflin, Juniata, Bedford and Fulton.
On the 9th of March the regiment moved to Washington and went into camp at Kendall Green. On the 2nd of April it crossed the Potomac and proceeded to Upton's Hill, where it remained until the 16th, when it moved to Cloud's Mills, and was there assigned to Duryea's Brigade,1 of Ord's Division, subsequently attached to McDowell's Corps. From Cloud's Mills it proceeded by rail, on the 11th of May, to Manassas, and was assigned to duty in guarding the Orange and Alexandria Railroad as far as Catlett's Station.
McDowell's Corps was now facing towards the Peninsula, but before it was far on the way, the advent of Jackson to the Shenandoah Valley, and his defeat of the corps of Fremont and Banks, rendered it necessary to send forces to their relief, and McDowells was accordingly ordered forward. The One Hundred and Seventh moved on the 28th, and passing Thoroughfare Gap and Piedmont, reached Front Royal by forced march on the 1st of June, but too late to be of service in intercepting Jackson, who had now taken the alarm and already passed up the valley in retreat. Immediately after its arrival the regiment was detailed for picket duty for five miles along the West Branch of the Shenandoah River. On the 3d it retired to Front Royal remaining until the 10th, when it returned to Catlett's Station, and was encamped successively at Weaversville, Warrenton, and Waterloo.
On the morning of the 16th of July, Colonel Zeigle died in camp. He was an accomplished soldier and his loss was sorely feLieutenant Lieutenant Colonel McAllen being in a feeble state of health, the line officers united in a request that the Governor should commission Lieutenant Colonel Thomas F. McCoy, a soldier of the Mexican War, and at this time Deputy Quartermaster General of Pennsylvania, as Colonel. The request was complied with, and Colonel McCoy soon after joined the regiment and assumed command.
General Pope was now in command of the army, and on the 5th of August the regiment crossed the Rappahannock and marched to Culpepper, where, on the 8th, nearly his entire force had assembled.
"On the 9th of August," says Captain H. J. Sheafer, "the engagement at Cedar Mountain took place. The principal fighting was between Banks and Jackson. We were then under General McDowell. We lay within two miles of the battle ground, and could see the fight raging. Towards evening we were ordered forward, but did not get on the field until eight o'clock. It was a bright moonlight night and while our regiment was standing in close column by division with arms stacked and men resting, the enemy opened a battery on us, the shot and shell falling thick and fast in the ranks. It was the first time that the regiment had been under tire, and nobly the boys behaved. The General rode up, and marched us direct for the hostile battery. When within a short distance of it we were ordered to lie down. Two of our own batteries now opened upon it, firing over our heads. It was a grand but fearful sight for a young soldier, and gave us our first idea of war."
Jackson withdrew that night, and on the 16th Rickett's Division moved out to Robertson's River, six miles beyond, and near to its junction with the Rapidan. It soon became evident to Pope that the enemy was in his front in heavy force and moving upon his right flank. A dispatch from General Lee to General Stuart, captured by our cavalry at Louisa Court House, fully disclosed the former's purpose. The retrograde movement to the Rappahannock soon commenced. Rickett's Division held the most advanced ground, and consequently was in the rear in this movement. It was eight o'clock on the morning of the 19th, before the regiment moved, and at evening it crossed the Rappahannock upon the railroad bridge. For several days the artillery was kept in full play, disputing the passage of the stream, the regiment being under fire but suffering only small loss.
In the afternoon of the 27th the division again commenced to fall back, it having been ascertained that Jackson was in the rear of the army. The division marched rapidly to dispute the passage of Thoroughfare Gap with Longstreet, now moving to form a junction with Jackson. Leaving knapsacks in the little village of Haymarket, the regiment moved up and was posted in support of Thompson's Battery, and subsequently of Matthews' Battery, along a crest of hill on the Union right. Being in greatly superior force, and having gained a commanding position before the division arrived, Longstreet forced his way through, and Ricketts fell back to Gainesville.
On the following day, the 29th, the latter marched through Bristoe and Manassas Junction, and late at night arrived upon the Bull Run battle ground, where, during the day, the fight had been raging, bivouacking near the Stone House, noted in the first Bull Run battle, and near which General Ricketts, then in command of a battery, had lost his guns, and himself was wounded and taken prisoner. Worn out with constant marching the men sank upon the ground, and though conscious that the morrow would bring deadly conflict, slept soundly.
At early dawn of the 30th, the division moved forward to the right and front, where the firing of the skirmishers had already opened, and took position on the extreme right of the line of battle of the army, the regiment on the extreme right of the division. It was scarcely in position and had commenced firing, when the enemy, attracted by the volleys, opened with a battery which did some execution, General Duryea receiving a wound in the hand.
As the brigade had no guns with which to answer the enemy, its position was changed, and forming in a wood threw up a slight breast-work of logs and rails. As soon as the enemy had discovered this new position he commenced throwing his shot and shell and delivering volleys from his small arms. But to no purpose. Stubbornly the brigade held its ground, repelling every advance. By the middle of the afternoon the storm of battle which had been increasing in volume raged with great fury, and the forces on the extreme left of the army began to give way. Gradually the line yielded, the enemy sweeping on towards the right in resistless power. The brigades of Ricketts' Division, outflanked, one after the other, were compelled to retire. The One Hundred and Seventh was the last reached, and though left alone upon the front line without support, it was only when sorely pressed on all sides, and in extreme peril that it was ordered back. With great difficulty it was withdrawn, receiving a hot enfilading fire and sustaining severe loss. The loss in the entire battle was one hundred and twenty-five in killed, wounded, and prisoners. Captain John T. Dick was among the killed. Lieutenants A. W. Norris, and John F. Williams, and Sergeant E. H. Green were wounded and taken prisoners.
Retiring to Centreville, the shattered army was again restored to order, and, the enemy being foiled in his dash at Chantilly, and declining further offensive operations, retired to the vicinity of Washington, McDowells Corps encamping at Hall's and Upton's hills. On the 6th of September the command was in motion for Maryland, General McClellan again in command of the army, and General Hooker of the corps, now designated the First. Colonel McCoy and Major Forney, prostrated by sickness, were absent. The latter soon after died. Lieutenant Colonel McAllen accompanied the column but too feeble to keep the field, the command devolved on Captain James MacThompson.
At evening on the 14th the regiment reached the battle ground in front of Turner's Gap, in the South Mountain, where the Pennsylvania Reserves were hotly engaged. In compliance with orders from General Duryea, says Captain MacThompson, "I gave orders to move forward with fixed bayonets. Nothing could exceed the promptness of both officers and men in the execution of this order. With the most enthusiastic cheers they dashed forward and soon the enemy were scattered, and in much confusion were flying before us. Several times they rallied, and once in particular, having gained an admirable position behind a stone fence, they appeared determined to hold on to the last. Here it was that they sustained the greatest loss. Colonel Gale, of the Twelfth Alabama, fell dead, and the Lieutenant Colonel of the Fifth South Carolina was wounded and taken prisoner. Their stand at this point delayed but for a moment the onward movement of the One Hundred and Seventh.
" It was soon over the fence and among them, taking sixty-eight prisoners, killing and wounding a number, and causing the remainder to fly precipitately to the top of the mountain. Following them up we drove them across the narrow plain on the summit, and part way down on the other side. Night ended the pursuit; but fearing a surprise, I directed officers and men to rest in line during the night, prepared for any emergency, and threw, two hundred yards in advance, a volunteer picket of ten men. At one o'clock A. M., one of these pickets brought in a rebel Adjutant General, who had ventured close to our lines. In this engagement we lost three men killed and eighteen wounded. This small loss is accounted for by the fact that the rebels, being constanly on higher ground, shot over us. In proof of this our colors were completely riddled, while the color-bearer was in no wise injured."
On the following mlorning, Monday, September 15th, the brigade moved forward and at night crossed Antietam Creek, near Keedysville, bivouacking near the stream. In the afternoon of the 16th it again moved forward, and after proceeding a few miles, the advance of the corps engaged the enemy drawn up in a commanding position under shelter of a wood, who made a stubborn resistance, but was finally driven a short distance. Night coming on both parties sank down to rest on their arms, and the fighting ceased.
" At early dawn," says Captain MacThompson, " I moved the regiment by the flank to the field on the right. Here forming in column by division we moved forward through a narrow strip of timber gained the night previous, into a ploughed field, on the opposite side of which Thompson's Battery had just taken position. Advancing half way across the field to within easy supporting distance of the battery, we halted for about five minutes, the enemy's shell and round shot flying about us like hail, killing and wounding some of our poor fellows, but not injuring the morale of the regiment in the least. Shortly we were again advancing, and passing the batteries, and over a clover field, reached the cornfield, the most hotly contested part of the ground. Deploying in line, we entered the corn and pushed rapidly through to the farther side. We opened fire upon the enemy in our front and in fifteen minutes compelled him to fall back. Receiving reinforcements he soon after regained his position, and an unequal contest, lasting three quarters of an hour followed, which resulted in our being forced back through the corn field. Having held at bay for nearly an hour an enemy of five times our numbers, we were relieved and passed to the rear. During the remainder of the battle we were held in reserve and were not again called into action save to support batteries."
When the line was forced to yield, four companies of the One Hundred and Seventh, under Captain Sheafer, not understanding the retrograde movement, remained upon the field, and finding the colors in the hands of the dead color-bearer, unfurled them, and remained upon the field until every cartridge was exhausted. The regiment had one hundred and ninety men engaged, of whom nineteen were killed and forty-five wounded, an aggregate loss in the two engagements of eighty-five. Two standard-bearers were killed. A portion of the forces of Stonewall Jackson stood opposite the brigade, and in his official report Jackson says, " With heroic spirit our lines advanced to the conflict, and maintained their position, in face of superior numbers, with stubborn resolution, sometimes driving the enemy before them, and sometimes compelled to fall back, before their well sustained and destructive fire."
The movement of the two armies back to the Rappahannock, was made without collision except by light skirmishing parties at the passes of the Blue Ridge, which separated them, the regiment not being involved. When arrived at Warrenton numerous changes occurred. General McClellan was succeeded in the command of the army by General Burnside. General Ricketts having been ordered to duty at Harper's Ferry, General Gibbon was assigned to the command of the division. The Ninety-seventh Regiment was detached from the brigade and the Ninety-fourth New York and Sixteenth Maine were added to it, and General Duryea, who had resigned and been temporarily succeeded by Colonel McCoy, was succeeded by Colonel Root.
Resuming the march the regiment passed Bealton Station, Deep Creek, and Stafford Court House, and on the 25th of October arrived at Brooks' Station, where it went into camp. The two armies were now facing, on opposite sides of the Rappahannock, in the neighborhood of Fredericksburg, and preparing for a desperate grapple. While here, discipline was strictly enforced, and the regiment was especially complimented by General Gibbon for its excellent condition.
On the 11th of December the regiment broke camp and, with sixty rounds of ammunition and three days' rations to the man, marched with the brigade to a point near the Rappahannock, two miles or more below Fredericksburg. On the afternoon of the 12th it crossed the river on pontoons and took position in General Franklin's Grand Division, the left, resting at night on the field without shelter. Soon after daylight on the following morning the regiment advanced under a heavy fire of shot and shell to the front and left of the field. A swamp, overgrown with bushes and tangled vines, was encountered, and, in passing it, by a flank movement, the troops were much exposed and sustained some loss. With the One Hundred and Fifth New York, the regiment was detached from the brigade, and ordered to the support of Hall's Maine Battery, in position in a corn field within short range of the enemy posted in the wood and along the railroad skirting the wood, where it remained several hours during which a terrific artillery battle was waged.
At one o'clock P. M., the division in three lines, the Third in advance, and the First, to which the One Hundred and Seventh belonged, in rear, advanced with the entire attacking column. The ground over which the troops moved was a plain stretching from the Bowling Green Road to the railroad and wood, where the enemy lay. The Third Brigade went gallantly forward until within three hundred yards of the railroad, where it halted and became heavily engaged. In a few minutes it was so decimated that the Second was ordered to its relief. Without a falter it moved in face of the deadly fire, and reached a position considerably in advance of that occupied by the Third, when, with ranks fearfully thinned, it also came to a stand. At this juncture General Gibbon rode up and ordered the First Brigade to take the woods in front at the point of the bayonet. The men had seen two brigades go down in the attempt, but undaunted they sprang to their feet, fixed bayonets, and at the word of command dashed forward with defiant yells. The sight of the gleaming steel in the hands of this resolute band, sent terror to the hearts of the foe, and before the brigade had reached the riflepits of the rebels they began to run. Halting for a moment, a destructive fire was poured upon them, when it again dashed forward, crossed the railroad, and entered the wood, the enemy retreating in meantime to his strong line of works on the range of hills above.
The One Hundred and Seventh became separated from the rest of the brigade, the other regiments obliquing to the right soon after moving, and never reaching the advance ground. Being unprotected on right and left, and supports failing to come up, the regiment was soon ordered back, but retired cheering with a will, and took position upon the railroad. As soon as the ranks were re-formed, it was ordered to advance by tle right flank up the railroad to the aid of the other regiments of the brigade which were hard pressed. It promptly moved, and joined in the conflict, but was soon afterward ordered to fall back to the Bowling Green Road. While going back the enemy opened upon it a very destructive fire, from which it suffered severely. At three o'clock on the following morning it was called to arms, and was marched to the extreme left of the Union lines, where it remained in line of battle, exposed to the enemy's shells, during the two succeeding days, and until the army was withdrawn. The loss in the engagements was four killed, and forty-eight wounded and taken prisoners. Captain Thomas A. Deegan was mortally wounded and died on the 9th of January following.
On the night of the 15th, the regiment re-crossed the river, and during the following day rested in a wood near the bank of the river, and on the 17th returned to camp. With the exception of a week of fatigue and guard duty, near the close of the year, at Belle Plain Landing, and another week of most trying service in the Mud Campaign in January, 1863, the regiment remained inactive in winterquarters until the opening of the Chancellorsville Campaign, under General Hooker.
In the meantime General Gibbon had been succeeded in command of the Second Division by General Nelson Taylor, and shortly afterwards by General John C. Robinson. Upon the death of Major Forney, Captain Mac Thompson was commissioned to succed him. Subsequently, Lieutenant Colonel McAllen, on account of his feeble state of health, resigned, and was succeeded by Major MacThompson. Captain Henry J. Sheafer was commissioned Major.
On the 28th of April, with sixty rounds of ammunition and eight days' rations, per man, the regiment moved with the corps near to the banks of the Rappahannock, where it bivouacked for the night. Before daylight of the following morning firing commenced, Wadsworth, in command of the First Division, being in the act of driving away the rebel skirmishers and laying pontoons. This accomplished, his division crossed, and a skirmish line moved out near to the Bowling dreen Road. The other divisions were moved up close to the river, the guns were shotted, and preparations made as if to cross. In this position they waited all day and finally bivouacked for the night. During the 30th they remained in the same position with some fighting going on at the front. At four in the afternoon the brigade was drawn up in a square, and solemn religious services were conducted by the chaplains, in compliance with a proclamation of the President of the United States for fasting and prayer. These services were scarcely finished when the enemy opened upon the massed troops with shot and shell. Retirinu a short distance they were disposed in a single line. During the first of May they still remained in this position. On the morning of the 2nd the corps marched away to United States Ford, to join the main body of the army at Chancellorsville. As it approached the ford, near nightfall, the soundof a terrific cannonade at the front was borne to the ears of the men, Stonewall Jackson being in the act of falling upon the Eleventh Corps. After crossing the stream, and while preparing to bivouac for the night, the corps received orders to move at once to the front and take position on the right of the line, from which the Eleventh Corps had been driven. Moving with much difficulty through a thick wood over which the battle had been raging, it formed at midnight while the troops of Sickles were desperately engaged on the centre, went into position, and commenced throwing up breast-works. Though worn out with a march of twenty miles or more, the men fell to work, and during the remainder of the night and all the next day were busily engaged in fortifying, felling abattis, and planting batteries.
At two P. M., of the 4th, the regiment was ordered out upon the picket and Ekirmish line, a most arduous and dangerous duty, where it was compelled to remain for two nights and the greater part of two days. " I was sent," says Major Sheafer, " with four companies to picket a certain portion of the line, and for forty hours I had to keep the boys on duty in a dense wood filled with undergrowth. I had no relief and so the boys had to be kept constantly at their posts, Never was duty harder, the officers being obliged to be constantly oq the line to keep the men awake, for the hardship was more than nature could bear. I pitied them, and yet necessity compelled us to use harsh words, cuffs, and kicks to keep them awake. I was so much exhausted that I did not dare to sit down, lest I should succumb to the almost resistless desire to sleep. At dusk of the 5th, in the midst of a terrible storm of rain, the enemy attacked me, and for some time the bullets flew thick and fast, but the men stood resolutely at their posts and we drove them off."
At the dawn of day, on the morning of the 6th, Colonel McCoy was advised that the army had evacuated the works three hours before, and was now crossing the river, and ordered to draw in his men and fall quietly back. In conjunction with the Eleventh Pennsylvania, it retired covering the rear, and crossed the stream in safety.
Soon after getting settled in camp, the Ninety-fourth New York, Colonel Root, was detached from the brigade for duty at Acquia Creek, and the Thirteenth Massachusetts, Colonel Leonard, was added to it. Colonel Leonard held command of the brigade for a time, but was soon afterwards succeeded by General Paul, an experienced officer of the regular army. Colonel McCoy, on account of severe illness, was absent at the opening of the campaign, the command devolving on Lieutenant Colonel MacThompson. Early in June, the two armies, stretching along on opposite sides of the Rappahannock, began to manifest considerable activity, and by the middle of the month were in motion for Pennsylvania.
The regiment broke camp on the 12th, and by the 29th, after marching on that day twenty-six miles through a drenching rain, reached Emmettsburg. It moved on the following day direct for Gettysburg, whither the cavalry had preceded it, and on the morning of the 1st of July made a brief halt near Marsh Creek. On reaching the field at Gettysburg, where a portion of the corps had been engaged, and where Reynolds had fallen, Robinson's Division went into position on Seminary Ridge, to the right of the Chambersburg, and extending tothe Mummasburg Road. At two P. M., Pauls Brigade crossed the railroad cut, the troops loading as they moved, and when the One Hundred and Seventh had reached the foot of the ridge, at its open part, between the woods on the right and left, the order by the left flank was given, throwing the brigade into line of battle. At double quick it moved up the hill, and at the summit encountered the first line of the enemy, who at once threw down his arms and surrendered. His second line was not tar behind, and:a dash was made by both sides for the low stone wall between. Paul's Brigade gained it first, and pushing back the enemy, there followed a desperate struggle for the mastery,in which at short range, in an open field, the slaughter was terrible. At length the Union men charged but were driven back to the wall again with Severe loss, the enemy having two strong lines of battle and constantly receiving reinforcements. In this charge Cpoporal Breash, color.bearer, was struck and almost instantly killed. The colors were caught up by Corporal McConnelly, of company H, but he had hardly unfurled them, when he also was struck in the neck, and so terribly mangled that he died on the following morning. Lieutenant Colonel MacThompson had a horse shot under him and Major Sheafer was severely wounded.
Outflanked and overborne by vastly superior numbers, the corps retired rapidly through the town of Gettysburg and took position to the left of Cemetery Hill, where the regiment was immediately set to work throwing up breastworks at a point near Bryan's House, and remained under arms all night in momentary expectation of an attack. On the morning of the 2nd the division was relieved by a division of the Second Corps, and retiring a short distance took position in the second line, in support of batteries. During the day the regiment lay on its arms. At half past six in the evening the division was hurried to the left to the support of forces near Round Top. The enemy having been checked on that part of the field, it returned and took position under cover.of a stone wall which afforded some protection from the enemy's sharp-shooters, who were very active in front. At half past four on the morning of the 3d the regiment was posted in the rear of Cemetery Hill, in support of batteries. At half past one in the afternoon, upon the opening of the furious cannonade, the division moved to the right of Cemetery Hill, where the regiment was compelled to stand under a cross fire from the enemy's sharpshooters, and from the fire of a battery. When the storm of battle was at its height, with other regiments, it was moved to the left under a perfect shower of deadly missiles. The enemy's fierce attack on the left centre having been stayed, a line of skirmishers was sent out to the front, who threw up breastworks, and here the regiment remained during the night and all day of the 4th, the enemy keeping up, a desultory fire along the lines with occasional salvos of artillery on the extreme left. By morning of the 5th the last of the enemy had disappeared, and was making his way towards the Potomac with all possible dispatch. Prostrated by severe duty, Lieutenant Colonel Mac. Thompson was obliged to leave the field on the 2nd, when the command devolved upon Captain E. D. Roath. In addition to the Major, mentioned above, Captain Gish, and Lieutenants Wentz, Focht, Williams, Hemphill, and Huff, and forty-eight enlisted men were wounded. Captain Templeton and Lieutenants Carman, Norris, Mooney, Venaie, and Myers, and ninety-three enlisted men, were taken prisoners. These unfortunate victims of rebel barbarity, shared the hard fate of thousands of other Union soldiers in rebel prisons. Lieutenant Carman, who had been recommended for a captain's commission, died at Charleston, South Carolina, in October, 1864, more than a year after his capture.
In the operations in the pursuit of Lee to the Potomac, and thence to the Rappahannock, in the subsequent retrograde movement to Centreville, and in the second advance which extended to Mine Run, the regiment participated, Colonel McCoy being a considerable portion of the time in command of the brigade, and Major Sheafer of the regiment. Beyond picket and guard duty, and occasional brief skirmishing, it did not encounter the enemy. On the 28th of November, the brigade came upon the rebel forces near Hope Chapel, and was immediately drawn up in line of battle, the One Hundred and Seventh Peniisylvania and the Thirty-ninth Massachusetts upon the front. The skirmishers immediately opened fire and were actively engaged. At one P. M., the artillery opened, the shells falling in rapid succession among the enemy massed near a white house, across Mine Run, where he was busily engaged in fortifying.
On the following day skirmishing was brisk, these two regiments being held at their posts, while the rest of the division moved over to the right. On the morning of the 30th the artillery on both sides commenced firing early, the division losing several in killed and wounded. There was severe skirmishing this day along the entire line. the enemy being finally driven back across the run. During the following night two bridges were built over the stream, under a continuous fire, constructed principally of poles, and a road made along the hill. The weather was intensely cold. The water froze in the canteens, and no fire was allowed upon the front lines, where the One Hundred and Seventh, under Colonel McCoy, was posted, the men suffering severely. At three A. M., on the following morning, the bridges which had been constructed were destroyed, a circumstance which was hailed as an indication that the army was to be withdrawn. At sunset the division commenced falling back. At Germania Mills it bivouacked for the night, and at dawn was drawn up in line of battle to cover the crossing, and was withdrawn when all were over without loss.
Near Kelly's Ford the brigade encamped, and remained until the 24th, when it marched away, leaving comfortable quarters, to Mitchell's Station, on the Orange and Alexandria Railroad. It was here on the extreme outpost of the army, facing tJie rebel camps, where large details for picket and guard were required, and where it was regarded with special interest at headquarters on account of its exposed position. Permanent winter-quarters were established near by, and during the winter many deserters came in from the enemy, and the post was fiequently visited by parties of civilians eager to catch a glimpse of a rebel encampment. In the transformation of corps which occurred, the Second Division of the First Corps became the Second Division of the Fifth, General Robinson in command of the division, General Warren of the corps. In February, 1864, nearly the entire regiment re-enlisted; but for more than a month afterwards it was kept upon its arduous duty. Finally, on the 1st of April, the order for a veteran furlough was received, and it returned to Pennsylvania, where for a month the men enjoyed the pleasures of home, which many had not visited for two years. Re-assembling at Harrisburg, it started for the front on the 9th of May, and at Washington embarked on transports for Belle Plain, arriving on the evening of the 13th. Here thousands of wounded from the battle grounds of the Wilderness and long columns of prisoners were met. The regiment reached Fredericksburg on the 15th and was detained until the following day to escort a train to the army.
In the front line near Spottsylvania Court House, under the guns of the enemy, the brigade was met on the 16th of May, and the regiment was soon settled in position. General Robinson had a few days previous lost a leg in battle and had been succeeded in command by General Cutler. Shortly after withdrawing from this position the enemy attacked, and took some prisoners, among whom was Captain Green. At Jericho Ford, on the North Anna, the enemy was again encountered and heavy shirmishing ensued, which finally grew to a fierce battle, lasting till after dark, and resulting in the complete defeat of Hill's Corps. Until the army reached the James the regiment was almost constantly under fire, at times heavily engaged, and threw up, in the meantime, innumerable lines of earthworks, at which duty the men became very expert. The following extract from an officer's diary for June 1st and 2nd, illustrates the character of the duty: (' Advanced upon the ??enemy to-day two miles, in doing which we threw up four different lines of works. In the night moved to the left about a mile, and worked most of the night in throwipg up breast-works. The fighting continued nearly all night, and this morning the skirmishing in front is quite brisk. In the afternoon the enemy charged on our right."
As the left flank of the army swept past Richmond in its approach to the James, the utmost vigilance was required in guarding it from attack on the numerous roads leading out from the rebel capital. Early in the day, on the 13th, the regiment was ordered upon the front line and gallantly repulsed a spirited attack. At evening it was ordered upon the march, which continued through the whole night, arriving in the morning near Charles City Court House.
In acknowledgment of its gallantry in defending its position on the 13th, so vital to the safety of the moving trains, the following communication directed to Colonel MICoy, was issued by General Crawford, now in command of the corps: " The General commanding expresses his satisfaction at the efficient manner in which you, and the officers and men of your command, performed the part assigned you on the 13th instant, in effectually holding your position without support."
After crossing the James the regiment moved with the corps hastily in the direction of Petersburg, where considerable fighting and captures of works had already occurred, and at dark on the 17th of June again came tunder fire. The enemy's lines were charged, but with little success, and the fighting was kept up nearly the entire night. On the following morning it was discovered that he had fallen back, and the troops were immediately pushed forward. His main line of works was located on high ground, three hundred yards beyond Suffolk Railroad, and his guns completely commanded the space to be crossed in reaching them. The division skirmish line, under command of Major Sheafer, was put in motion and pushing rapidly forward over the dead bodies of both armies which covered the ground, soon had possession of the railroad-cut. Supports were sent forward, and the skirmishers were again pushed out close to the rebel works, where in rifle-pits they commenced picking off the enemy's gunners and completely driving out his skirmishers, who attempted to occupy the front. In this advance Captain Matthews and Lieutenant Williams were wounded, and several men were killed and wounded.
Soon afterwards the division was withdrawn to a point near the Wilkins House, where a permanent line was established and fortified. Until the 24th the regiment remained on this line, the enemy keeping up a constant fire night and day, and lost forty-five men in killed and wounded. At this date the division was relieved by troops of the Ninth Corps, and moved to the Jerusalem Plank Road. The men were immediately set to digging, and remained until past the middle of August, constructing in the meantime a large fort known at the time as Fort Warren, but subsequently as Fort Davis.
On the 18th of August the corps made a descent upon the Weldon Railroad. At Yellow House the enemy's pickets were driven in, but he soon made his appearance in force, and, the regiment was thrown forward as skirmishers to meet him, the fighting becoming general and lasting into the night. The road was held, and under cover of darkness breast-works were thrown up. At two P. M., on the following day, an attack was made by the enemy on the right of the corps with partial success. Again at four he made another attack, in which he succeeded in flanking Crawford's Division, right and left, compelling it to fall back, and in the confusion taking many prisoners, the One Hundred and Seventh losing six officers and one hundred and forty-five men. Colonel McCoy, Major Sheafer, Captain Hemphill, and Lieutenant Stair, succeeded in making their escape through the enemy's lines.
Private Solomon Hottenstein with three hundred others of the division, while prisoners under guard of part of a North Carolina regiment, suddenly rose, demanded the surrender of their guard, seized their colors, and forced them to yield, bringing them all into the Union lines. For this act of gallantry Private Hottenstein received a furlough of thirty days, and a medal of honor from the Secretary of War.
The officers captured, Captains Roath and Zeigler, and Lieutenants Shuler, Huff, and Beamenderfer, were confined in Libby Prison, subsequently at Salisbury, and finally, with the exception of Huff, at Danville, not being released until near the close of the campaign in 1865. Huff, while on his way from Salisbury to Danville, escaped from the cars in full motion, and after great suffering and exposure, reached the Union lines in West Virginia, whence he returned and re-joined his regiment. The privates were confined, first at Belle Isle, and afterwards at Salisbury, suffering all the horrors of captivity until released by death, or by the victorious legions of Grant and Sherman. The aggregate loss of the regiment was one hundred and fifty-eight.
The new line gained, three miles in extent, was thoroughly fortified under the direction of General Warren. On account of the losses sustained in this movement, the troops remaining of Robinson's old division, were consolidated in one brigade under General Henry Baxter, constituting the Second Brigade of the Third Division. Two days after this change, the brigade made an important reconnoissance to Poplar Grove Church, which resulted in considerable skirmishing, but little loss.
After its return, four regiments of the brigade, under Colonel McCoy, were posted in and about Fort Wadsworth, upon the front line, on the Weldon Railroad. The enemy immediately attacked, but finding it strongly garrisoned withdrew. While here three hundred recruits were received. They were placed in charge of Lieutenant John F. Williams, and after a few weeks drill, became excellent soldiers. During the movement of the corps to Poplar Grove Church, on the 30th of September, and that to Hatcher's Run, on the 26th of October, the important dluty of holding the line of forts and intrenchments which it left, extending nearly four miles, was entrusted to Baxter's Brigade, the One Hundred and Seventh occupying Fort Wadsworth in the first, and Fort Warmsdon in the second. Upon being withdrawn from the latter, the regiment was posted at Fort Dushane, near Ream's Station.
On the 7th of December, it joined in the expedition for the further destruction of the Weldon Railroad. When arrived upon the ground the regiment was formed in line and across the road running parallel with the railroad, in support of a small body of cavalry, to hold the approaches, while other troops were engaged in destroying the road. At dusk it was ordered out to aid in the work of destruction, which was continued until the evening of the following day.
Upon the return of the corps, Baxter's Brigade had the rear of the infantry. After marching two hours the column halted for rest, the brigade having just emerged from a piece of wood. Just as it was resuming the march a body of the enemy's horse charged on a small squadron of Union cavalry, driving them through the wood into the infantry lines. Throwing his men into line on either side of the road, Baxter poured in upon the rebels a raking fire, emptying saddles, and causing them to beat a hasty retreat. The One Hundred and Seventh was thrown to the left of the road, and did good execution. After reaching camp the regiment was ordered into winter-quarters and was soon settled in comfortable huts.
On the 5th of February, 1865, the Fifth Corps made another descent upon the enemy's right flank, which extended to Dabney's Mills. At the moment of moving the One Hundred and Seventh was transferred from the Second to the Third Brigade, General Morrow commanding. Arriving at daylight at a point on the Vaughan Road, from which the Second Corps had driven the enemy, the divisions were formed with Gregg's Cavalry, and at two in the afternoon the Third Division was ordered to move upon the enemy's lines. Passing to the west side of Hatcher's Run it marched towards Dabney's Mills, by which the rebel fortifications run, the First Brigade in front, the Third supporting, and drove in the rebel skirmishers, capturing his first line of rifle-pits.
Advancing across these, the First Brigade came to an open field, where it was charged upon and driven in, retreating through the ranks of the Third Brigade, and carrying back some of its men. With great difficulty the line was steadied, and as the enemy came upon the open field, an effective fire was poured upon him, causing him to haLieutenant The Third Brigade, which had now become the first line, with a cheer charged across the open field, and into the wood beyond, driving the foe back to his chief line of works at the mills. He now brought his artillery to bear, and as the division had none upon the front with which to answer, and its ammunition nearly exhausted, it was obliged to fall back before a fresh charge of the enemy, reinforced and rejoicing in his strength. At this juncture General Morrow, while gallantly leading, with brigade flag in hand, was struck from his horse by a rifle ball, and turned over the command to Colonel McCoy, Major Sheafer assuming command of the regiment. Retiring to the works from which the advance had been made, it rested for the night. On the following day it again advanced with the brigade, and drove the enemy; but a part of the line coming under a hot artillery fire, gave way, and was forced back a short distance. The One Hundred and Seventh held its ground and kept up a hot fire until dark, when the troops that had been temporarily forced back, returned and formed to right and left of the regiment. The loss in the engagement was six killed, fifty-one wounded, and thirty-three taken prisoners. The flag-staff was shot off in this engagement. The weather was intensely cold, causing great suffering. The ground gained by this movement had to be fortified and held, and the regiment in the transfer of troops for this purpose, was obliged for a third time to erect winter-quarters. On the 8th of March, Major Sheafer was mustered out of service, and Captain Edwin. E. Zeigler was promoted to succeed him.
On the 29th, the regiment broke camp for the final movement by the left, and re-joining its brigade, from which it had been separated since the beginning of February, marched with it for the Quaker Road. At the Boydton Road the enemy was met, and after a brisk engagement was driven, possession of this road being secured, and the enemy prevented from flanking the command. For two days the fighting was brisk, but finally resulted in driving the enemy, and gaining possession of the White Oak Road.On the 1st of April the movement was resumed, and at Five Forks, where Sheridan had preceded it, the corps came upon the enemy. By three o'clock in the afternoon the line was formed and ready to advance.
With resistless power it swept on through woods and thickets, and over swamps and swift streams for a distance of three miles, and until darkness put an end to the fighting. The enemy's spirit was broken; but still he kept a bold front, and whenever brought to bay fought with his old desperation, until finally hemmen d in on all sides, and seeing no way of escape, he surrendered on the 9th near Appomattox Court House.
Remaining until the rebel army had been paroled, and the captured property disposed of, the regiment marched to Burkesville, and after a brief stay was ordered to duty in guarding the South Side Railroad, near Nottoway Court House. On the first of May the corps commenced the homeward march, passing through Petersburg and Richmond, and finally encamping at Ball's Cross Roads, opposite Washington. In the great review of the armies on the 23d of May the regiment participated, and on the 13th of July was finally mustered out of service.
1 Organization of Duryea's Brigade, Ord's, subsequently Rickett's Division, of McDowell's'Corps: Ninety-seventh Regiment New York Volunteers, Colonel Charles Wheelock; One Hundred and Fourth Regiment New York Volunteers, Colonel John Roebeck; One Hundred and Fifth Regiment New York V6lunteers, Colonel James M. Fuller; One Hundred and Seventh Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel Thomas A. Zeigle.
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.
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