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PA Civil War > Regiments > 167th > History

PA Civil War Volunteer Soldiers

One Hundred and Sixty-seventh Regiment

167th Regiment
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167th PA Regimental History

THIS regiment was exclusively from Berks County, and was organized with the following field officers: Charles A. Knoderer, Colonel; Joseph De Puy Davis, Lieutenant Colonel; Gustavus A. Worth, Major. Colonel Knoderer was a graduate of the Polytechnic School of Carlesruhe, and had served as Captain in a regiment of the patriot Landwher, in the Baden struggle of 1849. He also served on the staff of General Sigel, in Fremont's campaign in Missouri, and was a learned and accomplished officer. Soon after its organization, the regiment was ordered to Suffolk, Virginia, in the Department of the James, under command of General Dix. The forces at Suffolk, and vicinity, were commanded by of General John J. Peck, who was charged with holding, the line south of the James, covering the approaches to Portsmouth and Norfolk. In this service the regiment was actively engaged, being employed in fatigue duty upon the fortifications, in the planning of which Colonel Knoderer was an adept, in reconnoitering and in out-post duty, and in drill, preparatory to active campaigning. Late on the evening of the 29th of January, 1863, General Corcoran, who commanded a division under General Peck, moved with his column towards the Blackwater, and at Deserted Farm, seven, miles out, encountered a strong force of the enemy, under General Roger A. Pryor. Corcoran immediately attacked, and a fierce night engagement ensued. The fighting was principally with artillery and the One Hundred and Sixty-seventh was fearfully exposed to the enemy's fire. At the opening of the battle, Colonel Knoderer ordered his men to lie down, and fortunately few were injured; but the horses of the officers, with the exception of that of the Adjutant, were all killed, and the Colonel himself received a mortal wound. The enemy was finally driven, and the command returned again to camp. Lieutenant Colonel Davis succeeded to the command of the regiment, and was subsequently commissioned Colonel. It participated in the desultory operations, which were kept up until the beginning of April, when the right wing of the rebel army, under General Longstreet, numbering some forty thousand men, advanced upon the place, and attacked, but failed to carry it. He then laid siege to it, and constructed elaborate works for its reduction. For nearly a month these operations were vigorously pushed, and for many days, the bombardment of the fortifications was almost incessant. But so skillfully had they been planned, and so well constructed, that General Peck, with a force of only about a third of the number of the investing army, successfully repelled every attack, and finally compelled Longstreet to raise the siege. The One Hundred and Sixty-seventh was actively employed in the defense throughout the entire siege, and rendered efficient service. General Peck says in his official report, "Longstreet had been promised sixty thousand men for his spring work, and was ready about the last of March to open the campaign for the recovery of Southern Virginia. He ordered Hill and Pettigrew to make a series of demonstrations at Newbern, Little Washington, and other points in North Carolina, with the design of causing troops to be sent from Norfolk, Fortress Monroe, and other localities. In consequence I was ordered, on the 10th of April, to dispatch a considerable portion of my force to General Foster. Longstreet, advised of the order and success of his feints, crossed the Blackwater, and on the same day advanced, with about twenty-eight thousand men upon Suffolk. On the 15th of April, Hill discontinued his feints upon Little Washington, and sent those troops to Suffolk. He followed soon after with, the remainder of his command. * * * In spite of the high hopes of the South, the siege was raised during the night of the 3d of May, (twenty-four days) after the construction of from eight to ten miles of covered ways rifle pits, field-works and the loss of the celebrated Fauquier Battery, six guns,) and some two thousand men. * * * The effective Federal force at the outset; was nearly fourteen thousand, with three small wooden gun-boats. This was distributed on lines of about twelve miles in extent. No defeat was experienced by our arms." *

Towards the close of June, and during the time of Lee's invasion of Pennsylvania, the regiment formed part of the command which was sent to demonstrate in the direction of Richmond, and upon its return, was ordered to join the army of the Potomac, then in pursuit of Lee's army in Maryland. It formed junction on the 15th of July, the day after the escape of the enemy across the Potomac, and was assigned to the First Brigade, First Division, of the First Corps. With that corps, it participated in the pursuit of Lee to beyond the Rappahannock, when, its term of service being about to expire, it was relieved at the front, and ordered to Reading, where, on the 12th of August, it was mustered out. The conduct of the regiment during its short service in the Potomac army, is shown by, the following note addressed to Colonel Davis, by General Cutler, division commander: "As you are about leaving the service with your command, I desire to express to you, and through you, to your command, my entire approval of the manner in which they have discharged their duty as soldiers since they joined this division. The regiment has been a pattern of order and promptness on the fatiguing marches of the last month. Wishing you and them a safe and pleasant return to your homes and friends, I am, very truly, yours."

* Moore's Rebellion Record, Vol. XI page 126. Docs. Civil War Databases

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