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PA Civil War > Regiments > 183rd > History

PA Civil War Volunteer Soldiers

One Hundred and Eighty-Third Regiment

183rd PA Regimental History

This regiment was organized at Philadelphia, under the auspices of the Union League Association, and was known as the Fourth Union League Regiment. Recruiting was commenced in the fall of 1863, the troops rendezvousing at a camp near Frankford Depot, subsequently on Broad Street, below Chestnut, but the organization was not completed until the March following, when the following field officers were appointed, George P. McLean, Colonel; William Powell, Lieutenant Colonel; John Reynolds, Major. Colonel McLean had served as Major of the Twenty-second, and Colonel of the Eighty-eighth regiments. The regiment contained a large proportion of very young men, who, in the earlier stages of the war, would not have been passed.

Immediately after its organization, it proceeded to the front, and joined the Army of the Potomac, in camp upon the Rapidan, where it was assigned to the First Brigade, First Division, of the Second Corps, and was associated with the Sixty-first New York, Eighty-first Pennsylvania, and Twenty-sixth Michigan, under command of Colonel Nelson A. Miles.

In the fierce fighting of the Wilderness, on the 5th and 6th of May, it was at the front, and again on the 8th, at Laurel Hill, where the rebel columns were encountered, and in the struggle which ensued, it lost four killed. At the Po River, the fighting was renewed, and here the brigade resisted the fierce charges of the enemy, and repeatedly repulsed his bold assaults. Its loss was two killed. At a little before dawn, on the morning of the 12th, Hancock assaulted the right of the rebel line, carrying his works, and taking many captives, guns, and small arms. Miles' Brigade had a prominent place in this assault, and shared the glories of the victory. The One Hundred and Eighty-third lost in this engagement, ten killed and five mortally wounded. Captain John H. Hutt, and Lieutenant John M. Ottinger, were among the killed.

Soon after this battle, Colonel McLean, Lieutenant Colonel Powell, Major Reynolds, and Adjutant Theodore F. Mann, resigned, on account of some differences existing between themselves and Colonel Miles, in command of the brigade, and the line officers having had little experience in military duty, Captain John F. McCullough, a veteran officer of the One Hundred and Fortieth Regiment, was appointed Colonel, and Captain George T. Egbert, Major.

In the action at Tolopotomy Creek, on the 31st, Colonel McCullough, who had shown himself a brave and gallant man in the fierce fighting which preceded it at the North Anna, was killed, and the regiment lost besides, in these battles, twelve killed. On the 3d of June, the fighting was renewed at Cold Harbor, and here the struggle became more desperate and destructive than on any previous field, the regiment losing eight killed, and five mortally wounded. Captain Joseph lR. Smith was among the killed. On the 15th of June, Captain James C. Lynch, of the One Hundred and Sixth Pennsylvania, at that time acting as Inspector General of the division, was assigned to the command of the regiment, and was commissioned Colonel.

After crossing the James, the regiment participated in the attack made by the corps in front of Petersburg, on the afternoon of June 16th, in which the enemy was driven from his outer line. On the morning of the 17th, a charge was made by a portion of the Ninth Corps, which resulted in the capture of some prisoners, and seven guns. At evening, a charge was again made by a part of the same corps, which was repulsed, and the troops fell back upon the First Division of the Second Corps, which held the enemy in check. For several days the division was engaged in advancing and changing its lines, which involved frequent and heavy skirmishing.

On the 29d, it was advanced some distance in front of its works, when the enemy came very suddenly in upon its left flank, compelling it to fall back rapidly to the line from which it had moved, with the loss to the regiment of a number wounded and taken prisoners. Early in August, the term of service of the Seventy-second Regiment expired, and upon its muster-out, the veterans and recruits were assigned to the One Hundred and Eighty-third. Its numbers were thereby raised to a standard which entitled it to a full complement of field officers, whereupon, Major Egbert was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, and Captain Augustine T. Lynch, to Major. The regiment was now thoroughly re-organized and drilled, but remained otherwise inactive until the 26th of July. On that day it was put upon the march, and with the corps crossed the James, approaching the enemy's lines near Deep Bottom. The skirmishers of the brigade were immediately advanced, and discovered the enemy in position behind breast-works, along the margin of a wood, with an open field in front. Across this the brigade was ordered to charge. Forming under cover, it moved with such celerity across the open space, that little time was given the enemy to make a defense, and before he was hardly aware of its presence on his front, the brigade was upon him, capturing his works, and four pieces of rifled cannon. Colonel Lynch led the regiment in this charge, gallantly riding at its head, and having his horse shot under him. It lost four killed.

On the 29th, the corps returned to the support of the Ninth Corps, but on the 12th of August, again crossed the James, and in the battle which ensued, the regiment suffered a loss of three killed, but was only partially engaged, the corps returning to the works before Petersburg, without gaining any signal advantage. With little delay, the corps moved upon the Weldon lRailroad, and on the afternoon of the 25th, the enemy attacked, and finally drove the division, after bening repeatedly repulsed. The regiment lost one killed, and a number in wounded and prisoners. A few days after this battle, the One Hundred and Eightv-third, now numbering about one hundred and fifty men, was detailed for duty at Cedar Road Station, guarding the railroad leading from City Point, where, for a time, it was out of the range of the enemy's guns.

Towards the close of September, it was relieved by the Twenty-sixth Michigan, and moving up to the line of works, was posted alonge the right bank of the Appoimattox River, on the extreme right of the line, facing the enemy on the opposite bank. Colonel Lynch here had command of the brigade, which held nearly three miles of the line, and Lieutenant Colonel Egbert of the regiment. There was little firing upon its front at this time, but on account of the marshy and malarial nature of the ground along the valley, the duty proved destructive to health, chills and fever prevailing, which sent large numbers to the hospitals. On the 6th of October, Colonel Lynch was mustered out, his term of service having expired, and Lieutenant Colonel George T. Egbert was subsequently commissioned Colonel,Major Augustine T. Lynch, Lieutenant Colonel, and Captain Horace P. Egbert, Major.

At the opening of November, the brigade was relieved by the 12th New Jersey, and re-joined the division. On the 9th of December, at Hatcher's Run, the brigade came upon a line of the enemy occupying temporary works. He had filled the stream with felled timber, to impede the passage to his position. The Second New York Heavy Artillery, supported by the brigade, crossed and drove him out. He afterwards returned to the attack, and opened a brisk fire, but was prevented from crossing the stream. At the conclusion of this skirmish, the regiment returned to camp, and remained undisturbed until the 5th of February, 1865, when the lines were extended to the left, and works were built in the new position, which works it occupied.

Early on the morning of the 25th of March, the enemy surprised and captured Fort Steadman, on the Ninth Corps front; but the troops soon rallying, re-took it, killing, wounding, and capturing most of the attacking party. An order was immediately issued for the advance of the pickets along the whole Union line. The pickets of the Second Corps at once opened a rapid fire, and the brigade moved early to the support of those upon its front. During the day the picket line was advanced, with but little opposition, until half-past four in the afternoon. The enemy then came out in force, drove back the pickets, and came upon the supports, when a brisk action, lasting for half an hour, occurred, in which the position of the brigade was held, and the enemy was forced to withdraw, after suffering severe loss.

The One Hundred and Eighty-third had one killed and thirteen wounded. The regiment was soon after transferred to the Fourth Brigade, with which, on the 29th, it commenced, moving and skirmishing, and on the evening of the 30th, was under fire of the enemy's shells, near the Boydton Plank Road. On the following morning, in company with the One Hundred and Forty-fifth, the regiment was ordered back nearly a mile, and was brought into position upon a road leading from Dabney's Mills to the Boydton Road. While engaged, the rest of the division charged and captured a part of the enemy's line, taking prisoners and two battle flags. During the night of April 1st, the command marched to the support of the Fifth Corps, returning in the morning, and on Sunday the 2nd, while moving forward, came upon the enemy's rear-guard, well entrenched, and disposed to dispute further progress. Charges of the Second and Third brigades failed to dislodge him, whereupon, the Fourth Brigade moved to the left, and coming in upon his right flank, drove him in utter rout. In front of the One Hundred and Eighty-third, little opposition was met, the line advancing in excellent order. Until the surrender of Lee, on the 9th, the regiment was kept upon the march, but had little more severe fighting. After the surrender, it marched back through Richmond, to Alexandria, participated in the grand review of the armies at the Capital, on the 23d of May, and on the13th of July, was mustered out of service.

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

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