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PA Civil War > Regiments > 53rd > History

PA Civil War Volunteer Soldiers


History of the Fifty-third Regiment



Recruited in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania

53rd PA Regiment History

Fifty-third Regiment

Fifty-third Infantry.-Cols., John R. Brooke, S. Octavius Bull William M. Mintzer , Lieutenant-Cols. Richards McMichael, S. Octavius Bull, William M. Mintzer, George C. Anderson; Majs., Thomas Yeager, S. Octavius Bull, Henry S. Dimm, William M. Mintzer, Philip H. Schreyer, George C. Anderson, George D. Pifer. This regiment was organized at Camp Curtin, Harrisburg, Nov. 7, I86I. It was recruited from the counties of Chester, Montgomery, Blair, Huntingdon, Northumberland, Juniata and Westmoreland. Col. Brooke had served as captain in the 4th Pa. infantry in the three months, troops. The regiment left for Washington immediately upon its organization and was employed in drill and routine duties until the opening of the spring campaign in March, 1862. It was then assigned to the 3d brigade comprising the 2nd Del., 53d Pa., 52nd 57th and 66th N. Y. infantry and Battery B, Ist N. Y. artillery, commanded by Brig.-Gen. William H. French, Ist division, Maj.-Gen. Israel B. Richardson, 2nd corps, Maj.-Gen. E. V. Sumner.

It participated in the Peninsular campaign with McClellan's army; was in the reserve division during the siege of Yorktown; active at Fair Oaks, losing 96 killed, wounded and missing, and winning commendation for its conduct, was under fire at Gaines, mill, suffered slight loss at the Peach Orchard, where it was complimented by Gen. Sumner; present, but not active at Savage Station and White Oak swamp; and was under fire at Malvern hill, though not active. Returning to Harrison's landing, it encamped until late in August, moving on the 30th toward Centerville, where it arrived after Pope had fought the second Bull Run battle and acted as rear-guard during the retreat of the Union army to Tennallytown. On Sept. II, Gen. French was assigned to command a division and was succeeded by Col. Brooke.

The regiment engaged in the Maryland campaign, being in reserve at South mountain and in the hottest of the fight at Antietam, where its loss was 28. After the battle it was engaged for two days in the work of interring the dead. It encamped at Bolivar heights until Oct. 30; skirmished at Snicker's gap; moved with the army to Warrenton; and finally arrived at Falmouth, where it served as provost guard until Dec. 11. It went into battle at Fredericksburg 283 strong and lost in killed and wounded 158, among whom were 9 commissioned officers. The 53d now returned to Falmouth, where it remained until Feb. I, 1863, Maj. Bull being here assigned to staff duty at headquarters and serving successively with Gens. Couch, Hancock, Hays, Warren and Hancock until May I8, 1864.

Late in April, 1863, it moved on the Chancellorsville campaign and afterwards returned to Falmouth. Attached to the 4th brigade, Ist division, 2nd corps, it was active on the second day of the battle of Gettysburg. Three companies were absent on detached service and the command entered the battle with only 124 men, of whom 6 were killed, 67 wounded and 6 missing. The remnant of the regiment engaged in the pursuit marching to Jones, cross- roads, and after the enemy retired into Virginia, returned to Morrisville. It engaged in the subsequent arduous campaigns the year, ending with that of Mine Run, being engaged at Rappahannock and Bristoe Stations. It went into winter quarters at Stevensburg, re-enlisted there in December for another three years, and on the 27th proceeded to Harrisburg on veteran furlough.

Returning to its old quarters at Stevensburg, on the expiration of the furlough, it started on the Wilderness campaign. It was engaged without serious loss at the Battle of the Wilderness, met with loss at the Po river engagement, and suffered severely in the charge of the veteran 2nd corps at Spottsylvania. Soon after this Col. Brooke was promoted to brigadier-general, Maj. Bull to Lieutenant-colonel and Captain Dimm to major. When Lieutenant-Col. Bull was mustered out on the expiration of his term, Nov. I, 1864, Captain Mintzer was made major. The 53d crossed the Pamunkey on May 25, proceeded thence to Totopotomoy creek, and arrived at Cold Harbor on June 2. It was active here the next day, making several gallant charges and suffering severely. Gen. Brooke, commanding the brigade, and Captain Dimm and Lieutenant Pifer were among the wounded. It arrived in front of Petersburg on June I6 and assaulted the enemy's works, losing about 70 men in a gallant charge. For several weeks the command was engaged in constructing defensive works and in promiscuous skirmishing in the neighborhood of Petersburg. It was active at Reams' station and afterwards participated in the work of the siege of Petersburg, being employed on the front lines.

On March 28, 1865, the regiment began its last campaign, being active at the Boydton plank road, and at Five Forks. For his services at this time Col. Mintzer was promoted brevet brigadier-general. The 53d assisted in the capture of the enemy's wagon trains at Deep creek, and was at the front on the day of Lee's surrender. It marched in the grand review at Washington and was mustered out near Alexandria on June 30, 1865.




Battles Fought
Battle at Savage's Station, Virginia
Battle at Fair Oaks, Virginia on 31 May 1862
Battle at Fair Oaks, Virginia on 01 June 1862
Battle at Antietam, Maryland on 17 September 1862
Battle on 10 December 1862
Battle at Fredericksburg, Virginia on 13 December 1862
Battle at Fredericksburg, Virginia on 14 December 1862
Battle at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on 02 July 1863
Battle at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on 03 July 1863
Battle on 14 October 1863
Battle on 21 October 1863
Battle on 26 October 1863
Battle on 28 November 1863
Battle on 25 March 1864
Battle on 03 May 1864
Battle at Wilderness, Virginia on 05 May 1864
Battle at Wilderness, Virginia on 08 May 1864
Battle at Spotsylvania Court House, Virginia on 10 May 1864
Battle at Spotsylvania Court House, Virginia on 12 May 1864
Battle at Spotsylvania Court House, Virginia on 18 May 1864
Battle at Cold Harbor, Virginia on 03 June 1864
Battle on 04 June 1864
Battle on 05 June 1864
Battle on 06 June 1864
Battle on 07 June 1864
Battle on 10 June 1864
Battle at Petersburg, Virginia on 16 June 1864
Battle at Petersburg, Virginia on 17 June 1864
Battle at Petersburg, Virginia on 18 June 1864
Battle at Petersburg, Virginia on 22 June 1864
Battle on 24 June 1864
Battle on 27 June 1864
Battle on 17 July 1864
Battle on 14 August 1864
Battle at Deep Bottom Run, Virginia on 15 August 1864
Battle on 16 August 1864
Battle at Reams' Station, Virginia on 25 August 1864
Battle on 28 August 1864
Battle on 13 September 1864
Battle on 16 October 1864
Battle on 27 October 1864
Battle at Petersburg, Virginia on 28 October 1864
Battle on 29 October 1864
Battle on 04 November 1864
Battle on 28 November 1864
Battle on 20 January 1865
Battle on 24 February 1865
Battle on 25 March 1865
Battle on 28 March 1865
Battle at Hatcher's Run, Virginia on 31 March 1865
Battle on 01 April 1865
Battle on 02 April 1865
Battle on 04 April 1865
Battle on 07 April 1865

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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