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Many years ago I waited, thinking and hoping that some abler pen than mine would write the history of Company F of the 140th Pennsylvania Volunteers.
But one by one they are dropping out of ranks, and one by one they are leaving the drill ground of time to bivouac on the fields of eternity, and soon all will be gone and the story left untold. A story of heroic deeds, of privations endured and sacrifices made, in order that generations yet unborn might reap the benefits of their work.
Deeming it just and proper, that where all did so well, it would be invidious to eulogize the few and leave the many with songs of praise unsung, I therefore take up the task to do justice to all, with my motto before me "With malice toward none, but charity for all. "
Company F entered the service at a critical period in the history of the great American conflict. The hurrah and the glamor of war, the patriotic rush to the fields of honor, the excitement given by stump orators that one Yankee would whip five rebels. The idea of crushing the rebellion with one grand "Coup de main" had all passed away, and the Northern people found themselves face to face with the fact, which should have been recognized from the first viz. that we were fighting Americans, blood of our blood and flesh of our flesh, and that we were up against a fact rather than a theory.
'The first Bull Run, the defeat on the Peninsula and the second Bull Run, had taught us the stubborn fact that we were in the throes of a Civil War, the magnitude of which few people North or South had as yet sufficiently understood a war that was to try the hearts and souls of the American people-that would startle with a feeling of unrest the crowned heads of Europe, and open the eyes of the civilized world.
Thus far the tide of battle had been against us. Our armies had not only suffered defeat, but in some instances had been practically driven from the field, and an invasion of our homes threatened.
Such was the state of affairs in the latter part of July, 1862, when one morning the peaceful valley of the Ohio was startled by the appearance in the Pittsburg daily papers, with great bold headlines, the call for 300,000 volunteers to serve for three years or during the war.
Young men left the plow standing in the field, the hammer on the anvil and the plane on the workbench. Business men left their counters and desks, lawyers deserted their clients, doctors their patients and preachers their congregations, and flocked to the towns to enroll their names. Richard P. Roberts, one of the foremost lawyers of the Beaver Bar, a fearless advocate and supporter of the Lincoln administration, very radical in his views on political affairs and particularly severe on the slave owners, obtained permission from Gov. Curtin to recruit a company.
John A Stokes, courageous, religious and determined, began also to solicit recruits. A man noted as an influential Sunday school worker, who believed what he taught and carried that belief into every day life.
Alexander Calvert, a resident of Hopewell Township, who at that time was preparing himself to enter the Theological Seminary, came over with a dozen or so. W. S. Shallenberger, of Rochester, had secured quite a squad.
With these several squads recruited from different sections of the county, Company F was made up. Men who had been watching the progress of the war for over a year, and who had formed their estimates and Opinions, and who thoroughly understood that it was to be no child's play, here freely offered their aid for God, Country and Home.
Assembling in Beaver, the company was organized on August 9th, 1862, by electing R. P. Roberts, Captain; John D. Stokes, First Lieutenant; Thomas Henry, Second Lieutenant. Capt. Roberts then made the following appointments as non-commissioned officers.
First Sergeant, W. S. Shallenberger. Second Sergeant, Alex. R. Calvert. Third Sergeant, Andrew M. Purdy. Fourth Sergeant, John E. Harsha. Fifth Sergeant, Joseph R. Harrah. First Corporal, Robert Riddle. Second Corporal, John Henderson. Third Corporal, Darius Singleton. Fourth Corporal, Alonzo P. McKenzie. Fifth Corporal, Carmon M. Nelson. Sixth Corporal, Joseph R. Appleton. Seventh Corporal, George R. Boden. Eighth Corporal, Joseph R. Dunlap.
Fifer, Thomas Anderson. Drummer, Taylor M. Stokes.
Anshutz, Thos. 0.
Bruce, Wm. H.
Clark, John B.
Cooper, William J.
Dinsmore, William H.
Ewing, John S.
Greenlee, Alvin L.
Hay, James T.
Hoyt, George N.
Irwin, Seth W. J
ohnston, Frank N.
Kerr, Hugh M.
Lockhart, James R.
Barnes, Lewis 0.
Carson, James A.
Davis, Jonathan I.
Dinsmore, Saml. M.
Gillen, Robert N.
Hunter, Abel. J
ohnston, Saml. A.
Kerr, Adam H.
Lockhart, James A.
Minesinger, George W.
McClain, Wm. P.
Small, Jno. P.
Straine, R. Enoch
Short, Jno. H.
Strock, Ruel W.
Moore, John E.
McCreery, James L.
McCabe, William J.
Nevin, George N.
Reed, John S.
Ryan, George W.
Schley, Jos. 0.
Sloan, Edwin K.
Strock, Seth W.
Taylor, Alvin M.
White, John S.
White, Andrew G.
Wilson, Michael B.
Weaver, David H.
Andrew Robinson, Teamster
Thus organized, on the 21st day of August, 1862, in front of the Court House on the public square they were sworn into the United States Service by a regular Mustering Officer of the United States Army by the name of Capt. Thomas H. Norton.
Now began the drill under an experienced drill master by the name of John McManamy. Every forenoon and afternoon the company was put through the maneuvres until the 31st of August, when the Captain received orders to report his company to Harrisburg, Pa. And on September 1st, we bid good-bye to all that we held dear upon earth, and in a downpour of rain, to the tune of "The Girl I Left Behind Me," we marched away-many of that little band of 101 never to return, but to lay down their lives that the nation might live. Our line of march lay up Third street through Beaver, on through West Bridgewater and Rochester to the Pennsylvania Depot. Here we board the train, and as we pull from the depot, we look back upon the sea of upturned faces wet with tears and return the farewell salutes of waving handkerchiefs, hats, etc., of the great multitude of friends and relatives who had followed us as far as they could, and now sorrowing friends' heart broken fathers and mothers return to their homes made void and vacant by the departure of the dear ones, many of whom they have this day bid a loving and lasting farewell, whilst the train sped on to Pittsburg. Leaving the train at Allegheny Depot we were marched over to Pittsburg to the Old Wilkins Hall on Fourth street, where we remained the balance of the day, and were fed by the city.
At 8 p. m. we left the hall, marched up Liberty avenue in another dashing rain to the Union Depot, where we took the night train for the East, arriving in Harrisburg a little before daybreak.
After receiving a kind of a breakfast in an old shackle of a barracks near the depot, we were marched out to Camp Curtin.
Here began our first experience on the tented field. Henry Edwards was detailed as Company Cook, and well did he perform that duty; the only trouble he had was Ito get something to cook. But ' oh! sleeping on the hard board floors gave many an ache and pain; to many it was a new and trying experience and to some almost fatal! Here our first man broke down. Harvey Brown caught cold from which he contracted asthma, which ended his military career.
In a few days we drew clothing and sent our citizens' clothing home by express. The company roll was made up in alphabetical order and the writer's name was the last on the roll, so commencing with the A's the roll was called ' and as each man answered to his name he received an outfit consisting of overcoat, dress coat, blouse, pants, socks, Shoes, etc.
This constituted the outfit, and generally it was also a misfit.
When the writer's name was called it was "Hobson's" choice, as there was just one suit left. When the coat was tried on the arms stood out horizontal, the pants came to a little below the knees, the cap covered the ears, whilst the shoes would not go on at all. But putting the clothes on the best I could, I presented myself to the Captain, asking if this was the way that Uncle Sam fitted a fellow out to fight for his country. The Captain with a hearty laugh gave me an order on the Quartermaster to have them exchanged. By this means, I was fortunate, for I secured the best fitting suit of any in the company.
Here in Camp Curtin we remained, drilling every day, until September 8th, when we were organized into the 140th Regiment. P. V. This regiment was made up from five companies from Washington county, three from Beaver, one from Green and one from Mercer counties. Our captain was elected Colonel and our Orderly Sergeant, W. S. Shallenberger, was appointed Adjutant.
On the following day we received arms, the Belgian Rifle, with big heavy saber bayonets, and on September 10th, at 4 p. m., we left Camp Curtin and proceeded by rail down the Northern Central Railroad to Parkton Station twenty-five miles from Baltimore, Md. Here the company went into camp with companies B, G and I, the balance of the Regiment being distributed along the road to do guard duty. By the promotion of Capt. Roberts to Colonel of the Regiment, and First Sergeant Shallenberger to that of Adjutant left two vacancies to be filled. An election was held to elect a Captain, the competitors being First Lieuteant Stokes and Second Lieutenant Henry. The latter, receiving a majority of the votes cast, was declared elected captain. Second Sergeant Alex. Calvert was commissioned Second Lieutenant and Third Sergeant Andrew M. Purdy became First or Orderly Sergeant. the rest of the non-commissioned officers going up two grades and Seth W. Strock was promoted to Corporal. This election was held September 15th, 1862.
Shortly afterward the Regiment received its colors and Robt. Riddle was appointed Color Sergeant. Here. in Camp Parkton, the company remained, the monotony of camp life relieved only by daily drills, guard duty, etc.
But it was fortunate in the end, for the time thus spent went to harden and toughen the men for the arduous duties that were in store for them.
Still, as the hart panteth after the water brook, so the boys longed for more active service, and when marching orders did come, they were hailed with delight. About the 10th day of December the company broke camp, and with the Regiment took the train (of cattle cars) for the front, going by the way of Baltimore on to Washington, then marching down the eastern shore of the Potomac to Liverpool Point, where we crossed the river by ferry and camped the first night in Old Virginia at Acquia Creek.
We will never forget our first camp out of Washington. After crossing the east branch of the Potomac, we were filed into a corn field on a side hill, snow, rain, slush and yellow clay filling the gutters between the rows of old corn stalks. A more unfit place to camp could hardly have been found, all of which went to show that the regimental officers were greener than the rank and file.
The next day the march was resumed and on the fourth day, about 4 p. m., we arrived at, and went into camp on the heights just back of Falmouth, Va.
On January 18th, 1863, the Regiment was supplied with new Springfield rifles, and the boys gladly bid good-bye to the cumbersome heavy artillery with which we had been burdened thus far.
As we had camped in a grove of big heavy pine trees, we were soon to work felling trees, splitting and carrying logs to camp, with which we built log huts, over which our tents were spread for a roof, then daubing the cracks with clay and building a chimney With sticks and mud, we soon had our winter quarters up. Camp guard, picket duty, company and regimental drill filled up the winter, the only diversion was the movement of the army to the right to United States ford, known as "Burnsides Stick in the Mud." In this movement the company did not participate, as the corps to which we had been assigned had been given the duty of crossing the Rappahannock in front of Fredericksburg and storming the heights in the rear of the city. But heavy rains set in and the roads soon became impassable and the movement was abandoned and the army returned to their former camps. The Regiment was now assigned to the Third Brigade, commanded by Brigadier General S. K. Zook, which formed part of the First Division, Second Corps, the division commanded by that superb soldier, Major Gen. W. S. Hancock, and the corps under the command of Major Gen. Couch.
During the winter the rations were scarce and of a very inferior quality, but on March 27, Gen. Joseph Hooker succeeded to the command of the army, and immediately there was a change, for Gen Hooker said that men could not fight or stand hardships on an empty stomach.
Coffee that had been issued to us, half beans, was condemned, and we received plenty and of the best quality. About the last of April marching orders were received and the company went with the Regiment to Chancellorsville, where they received their baptism of fire. During this battle, while supporting a Battery, the horses of the Battery having been killed, part of Company F was called to haul the Battery off the field, which they did, thus saving the guns from capture by the enemy. The credit of this feat was given to the Irish Brigade. The Chancellorsville Seminary was set on fire from the shells of the enemy, and Capt. Henry with a squad of Company F was ordered to rescue the wounded who had been taken there as a temporary hospital; this was accomplished amidst the greatest of danger and difficulties. In this battle the company lost James A. Carson and Joseph Baker, the first two to meet death on the battlefield, and the following wounded: Geo. R. Boden, Madison Moore, David Weaver and Richard Walton. Gen. Hooker having failed at Chancellorsville, the army fell back and took up their old camps. Second Leiut. Alex. Calvert having resigned, First Sergt. Andrew M Purdy was commissioned second lieutenant, his commission dating March 7th, 1863. Carmon M. Nelson was made fifth sergeant and A. G. White was promoted to corporal.
'The Army of the Potomac now lay quiet trying to recover from the stinging blow received at Chancellorsville; but not so with the enemy, who was busy planning and mapping out a campaign that would transfer the seat of war north of the Potomac. However, the month of May slipped by with the old familiar cry in the newspapers, "All quiet on the Potomac. "
But with the advent of June increased activity is discernible among our neighbors on the other side of the Rappahannock, and on June 14th we left our old camp and started north. Hot, dry and dusty, who of Company F can ever forget that march? Whither were we going? Not even the General in Chief could answer that question, the only answer was, Going to hunt the enemy. Just where we should find him would depend very largely upon that enemy. So on up through Virginia over the ill-fated field of Bull Run, out to Thoroughfare Gap, thence on to Edwards Ferry, where we crossed the Potomac, and learned that Gen. Hooker had relinquished the command of the Army and Major Gen. Geo. G. Meade had been assigned to command.
Then on up through Maryland, two days hard marching brought us to Monocacy Heights, where Col. Roberts joined us, he having been home on sick leave for several weeks. From this place to Uniontown is called 36 miles, so leaving camp at Monocacy on the last day of June at early morn, we went into camp on a hill one mile beyond Uniontown that night, breaking the record for the longest march ever made on this continent by a Corps of Infantry, and this under a blistering sun.
The next day, July 1, the company was mustered,
as was the custom on the first of each month, and there were 49
men answered to roll call.
Soon we hear the booming of cannon in the direction of Gettysburg, and at 10 a. m. we take the road. Our brigade in the rear of the corps, as rear guard, of all places on the march the most tiresome, march a few feet then halt. All day long we kept up this irksome step' and all the time the roar of musketry and the booming of the artillery gives us to understand that at last the enemy has been found, and that there is trouble in store for us.
But tramp, tramp, tramp, we keep it up, the sun goes down, darkness sets in, still on we, go, tired and hungry; at 2 a. m., we halt, make coffee, and lay down. In just one hour we are called, and taking up the same old swing, we at last, just at the peep of day, arrive on the field of Gettysburg, and are assigned to position in line of battle to the left of the Tawneytown road. Preparations for battle keep us busy until noon, then we drop to the ground and are soon lost to the world. At 2 p. m. we are rudely awakened by the bursting of a shell which killed a captain in the 148th P. V., which lies immediately in our rear. Now the ball opens with an attack by Lougstreet upon the 3rd (Sickles) Corps, which is soon overwhelmed and a call comes for help. Gen. Hancock, who now commands our corps, orders our division to go to their assistance. Here we witness a scene, the like of which perhaps was never witnessed upon a battlefield in this or any other country.
Just as we received the order to fall in, the Old Priest, Chaplain of the Irish Brigade, threw up his hand in front of that brigade and every Irishman went down on one knee and removed his cap, while that Priest, amidst the rattling of shot and shell, pronounced entire absolution upon them, thus according to the Roman Church, absolving them from sin and preparing them for death. We now move down the valley by the left until we reach the vicinity of the wheat field. Here a staff officer from the Third Corps (Major Tremain) rode up to Gen. Zook, and our brigade is halted and detached from the Division. After the other brigades had marched on, the third brigade made a left quarter wheel. This movement brought the brigade in line in the rear of the Irish Brigade. In this manner we crossed Plum Run, and entered the wooded ridge. Then the order came for the 140th to move by the right flank until the left of the regiment became parallel to the right of the Irish Brigade, when we got the orders to left flank to the front, and soon became hotly engaged.
Much has been said about the position the regiment held on that day. The description here made upon the manner of going into that fight can lead to only one conclusion (viz.), that the regiment occupied the right of the First Division, the assertion of one Major St. Clair Mulholland to the contrary, notwithstanding. There is not one man of the 140th Regiment who was there that day but is willing to take his solemn oath to that effect, and who knows better than they? So the attempt of Major Mulholland to steal the credit from another organization and give it to his own little battalion, would be too contemptible to begin with or to be given any notice whatever, were it Dot for the fact that he has in his eagerness to glorify himself, put it in print in the report of his battalion, in the book recently published by the State entitled "Pennsylvania at Gettysburg." He says in that report that the 140th never occupied the line indicated by their monument; that his little battalion held that position and was the right of the division. Let me in answer to this, refer the reader back to the description of the manner in which the regiment got into this place, the movement by the right flank while in rear of the Irish Brigade, until we uncovered that Brigade, then the movement forward to the right of and far in advance of that Brigade, so far indeed that none of us heard anything of them that day. Again, on the 4th day of July, Capt. Thos. Henry. with four men, went out to that same spot, searching for the body of Col. Roberts, whilst the pickets of the enemy stood in plain view between that place and the Peach Orchard.
We found the body of Col. Roberts not more than twenty feet from the big rock near which the monument of the 140th stands; and not only his body lay there, but dozens of the 140th boys. Again, he says that after the division had been in the fight some time he rode back and found the 140th (who, he says, had lost heavily) standing idle in the rear; that he took command of them and marched them out to the Peach Orchard. Finding no enemy, he marched them back again. Oh, Don Quixote, you are outdone!
This man marched the regiment up the hill and then he marched them down again, and didn't even find a windmill. Now, then, let us see if the logic of events will not put the denial to that story. He says he found the regiment standing idle in the rear, that they had lost heavily. Where, pray, did they or could they, lose heavily standing idle in the rear?
They surely must have been in the fight some place or they could not have lost so many. All this while the head of the regiment and many others lay dead, out at the very spot which this Major says we did not occupy.
But again, was it customary for a Major to ride up to a regiment then under command of its lieutenant colonel, take the command away from his superior officer, and march them away? And finally, is there another man in the Army of the Potomac that will say, that after the First Division was driven out that evening, that there was any Union troops (unless prisoners) out at or near the Peach Orchard until the battle was over?
So this man's attempt to belittle the record
of the 140th Pa. Vol. will not bear the light of reason or investigation,
and the monument he has located is in the wrong place, as his
little battalion was not there unless it was after the battle
ended. As a final ending to this whole matter, at a regular meeting
of the 140th P. V. Regimental Association, held in Beaver, a resolution
was passed by unanimous vote denouncing Major Mulholland's story
in the book, "Pennsylvanin at Gettysburg, " in so far
as it relates to the 140th regiment as false in every particular.
The loss of Company F in the battle of Gettysburg on July 2 was, killed on the field-Richard P.Roberts, Jno E. Harsha, Jno. S. Bell, Louis Swearengin. Total of four.
Died of wounds received: Wm. H. Dinsmore, Alvin L. Greenlee, Jno. P. Small and James Wilson. Total of four.
Wounded: Jno. D. Stokes, Geo. Ryan, Andrew. McCullough, Harrison Miller, James R. Lockhart, Robt. W. Gillen, Henry Edwards, Jas. T. Hays, J. 1. Davis, Wm. Doak, Wm. H. Bruce, Benj. Bonewell, Jno. B. Clark, Alonzo B. McKenzie, Seth W. Strock, Robt. Riddle and W. S. Shallenberger. Total wounded, seventeen. Captured: Alvin M. Taylor, Jos. 0. Schley, Jos. R. Dunlap, R. W. Strock, Geo. Bell, Jno. McCullough, Madison Risinger and Wm. Swearengen. Total captured, eight.
Died of wounds----- 4
On the third day Company F lay on the ridge between Little Round Top and Cemetery Hill in support of the Batteries, and through all of that bombardment preceding Pickets' great charge did not lose a man, as Pickets' men did not reach our lines, but gave away some hundred feet in front.
Company F left the field of Gettysburg with 11 men out of 49 taken into action.
On July 5th the Second Corps took up the chase after Lee's retreating army, back through Frederick City, without time to call on "Barbary Fritchie," over South Mountain at Granmans Pass, on down over the Antietam field to Falling Water Ford, where we skirmished for two days, when Lee succeeded in crossing the Potomac and his great northern campaign had ended in disaster. Here at Falling Waters twelve men under Sergt. Carmen Nelson came back to the Company. They had been on special detail guarding cattle.
This raised our number to twenty-two and helped to chase away the blues. Taking up the line of march we continued down the Potomac, marching on the towpath of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal until we reached Harper's Ferry, where the Corps goes into camp for two days. Then across the river and on up Louden Valley, whilst the enemy are retreating on parallel lines up the Shenandoah. When Manassas Gap is reached, the, army is rushed through the Gap, hoping to strike the enemy on the flank, but find that they have gone and we capture his rear guard on Wapping Heights.
Then the march is resumed back through the Gap and on over White Plains, through Warrentown to Bealton Station, where the Corps goes into SummerCamp, at Morrisville. On the Rappahannock once more.
Here the company lay resting and recruiting until Sept. 14th, when the Corps crossed the Rappahannock and started once more to hunt the foe, whom we struck at Brandy Station and drive back across the Rapidan river; then halting until about October 1st, when the Confederates got busy again and attempted getting to our flank and rear when the Army of the Potomac began a retreat which lasted for several days, during which the Second Corps acted rearguard and covered the retreat. During this retreat we fought at Mt. Auburn, where we were surrounded in the fog, again at Bristoe Station, and skirmished with them at Bull Run without loss to the company. Lee, having failed in his object, started back, with our army in hot pursuit. Then came Mine Run Campaign in December, which lasted seven days, in which the company was fortunate in not losing a man, finally settling down in winter quarters near Stephensburg. Here we built elegant quarters and spent a most enjoyable winter. During this winter camp the company received recruits to the number of nineteen as follows: Thos. J. Kerr, Ira Kirker, Andrew J. Diamond, Eli R. Brooks, Saml. C. Coulter, Jas. H. Cunningham, Geo. W. Cooper, David Crawford, Arthur Eckles, Francis M. Grimm, Amos Hartsough, Jas. K. Knox i Vincent Miller, Michael Mason, Smith McDaniel, Robt. McCaskey, Enoch Nevil ' Jno. G. Thompson, and Thos. D. Grim. Between doing picket and guard duty the winter passed quietly and pleasantly, the only thing to mar our quiet life was a reconnoissance to Mortons Ford by the Second Corps in January.
A march nine miles out and the same back to camp in inud knee deep.
On April-, Capt. Henry, whilst cleaning his revolver, accidentally discharged it, the ball cutting through his leg, and he was compelled to go to the hospital, and now we missed our Captain, for when he was present Company F got everything they were entitled to, as he was always on the alert in the interest of his company.
On the night of May 4th, 1864, the regiment broke camp, and now, under the leadership of that quiet and invincible leader, Gen. U. S. Grant, the column was headed once more toward the enemy. Crossing the Rapidan at Culpepper Mine Ford the Second Corps took the road to Chancellorsville, where we camp upon the old battlefield the first night. The next morning, May 5th, Companies F and C were deployed as skirmishers and started out the road towards Spottsylvania, but after a march of about one mile we received orders to wheel to the right, through the underbrush of the wilderness, until we reached an open space, where stands the ruins of a Blast Furnace. Here we halt, some of the men on the left of the line becoming separated from the line when we made the right wheel, and did not get back to the company until night.
While standing at rest Gen. Miles, our Brigade commander, rode out to see us, and seeing our exhausted condition, relieved us and put the 26th Michigan on the skirmish line, and our two companies were halted at a cross road to guard the same until the trains would pass. Here we lay until 4 p. m., when we received orders to go to the front, where heavy firing had been heard all day. We arrive at the front at 5 p. m. and are placed in line in Year of the 116th P. V. and start into the fight. The 116th made a charge a short distance forward, and no one ever knew how far back. So the 140th was ordered to complete the charge, and got into the fight in a few minutes. In this fight the company lost Jno. G. Thompson, Danl. Crawford wounded, and Alfred McCaskey and A. G. White, captured.
On May 8th occurred the battle of Todds Tavern, or better known to the company as the Cracker fight, from the fact that the Commissary had just issued crackers and the boxes were piled up in plain view of the enemy, when suddenly they made a charge and our boys were driven back.
Abel Hunter, who was guarding the crackers, remained at his post and as our Brigade soon rallied and opened fire, Hunter became the target of the fire of both, and soon after reinforcements coming up the ground was retaken and Hunter was found wounded, from the results of which he lost his leg.
The next day the movement to the left was resumed, on to Corbin's Bridge or Shady Grove, and May 10th to Po River, where the company lost three men, John White and Alex. White, wounded, and Jno. Henderson killed, the two former died in a few days after. Still on to the left, by all-night march brought the Second Corps to the front of the Bloody Angle at Spottsylvania, where the Sixth Corps had been engaged the day previous.
On May 12th occurred the greatest charge in the history of the Army of the Potomac. Just at the break of day the Second Corps began its - advance up the slope of the Angle, under the fire of forty pieces of artillery from the start. Within one hundred yards of the works they encountered an abbatis of felled trees with telegraph wires woven through them, but breaking through this obstruction whilst under the rifle fire they made the rush for the works, sweeping up and over the entrenchments using the bayonet, clubbed musket, swords, revolvers, they soon had possession of the entire angle, capturing a whole division of eight thousand men, together with their General, Ned Johnson, all their arms, equipments and colors, with forty pieces of artillery. But it was not done without great cost, for here the company lost in killed the following: Edwin K. Sloan, Jno. McManamy, Geo. Cooper, Frederick Cook, Jno. Anderson, Jno. Duds and Frank Johnson and the following wounded: Michael B. Wilson, Jno. H. Short, Geo. Ryan, Smith McDaniel, Ira Kirker, Darius Singleton, Carmen M. Nelson, Amos Hartsough and Robt. Gillen. Seven killed and nine wounded, a total of sixteen men.
In looking back over the many campaigns of the Army of the Potomac, one cannot help but recall the many mistakes and blunders that were made-mistakes that were serious and in some instances were criminal.
Gen. George B. McClellan, a man of genius, brave, patriotic, and loyal. As an engineer he had few, if any, equals in the army. His lines of defense around Washington were pronounced perfect. As an organizer he was "par excellence; his organization of the army was beyond criticism. Generous, courteous and dignified, whom to know was to love. His men worshipped him, and it was truly said, he was the idol of the army.
But with all his great and good qualities, Gen. McClellan as a commander and a fighter was a mistake and a failure. Over-cautious and hesitating, his great desire to save his men until the golden opportunity slipped by, not only brought him into disrepute, but he actually lost more men by inactivity than he did in battle.
And yet to do him justice, it is now known that the Government and the people expected and demanded Gen. McClellan to do in a few months that which took Burnside, Hooker, Meade and Grant four long years to accomplish with the loss of thousands of lives and vast expenditures of money.
Burnside's slaughter at Fredericksburg was criminal. But chargeable to whom? Certainly not to that brave, gallant and heroic old corps commander alone. No; we must go back to Washington to locate the blame, where we shall find the War Department acting as a Field Marshal.
The next great blunder was Hooker, at Chancellorville. After having executed one of the finest and most strategic movements seen or known, as yet on the military checkerboard; after having placed his army in the rear of his enemy, without that enemy's knowledge of his whereabouts of intentions; after having put Lee in a position whereby he could crush him, and after the loss of thousands of men to just suddenly stop, give up, and abandon the field, is a conundrum that has never been solved and must be set down as the greatest mistake made by any of the commanders of the Army of the Potomac.
Again, when on the march to Gettysburg, when two corps of Lee's army were in Maryland and Pennsylvania, and one still at Winchester, Va., with the whole Army of the i Potomac yet in Virginia, at Green Springs, and within striking distance of that isolated corps, when Gen. Hooker proposed attacking that corps, to use his own words, "and gobble them up," then follow in the wake of Lee and drive him North, who was it said, No; but cross the river and cover the Capitol? Again we must go to the War Department for an answer for this mistake.
Then at Gettysburg, after the defeat of Pickett, when his division was flying back, bleeding, defeated and disorganized; when the Sixth Corps, the largest of any in the army, and practically fresh and in proper position to do so, why was it that a counter charge was not made, and the war ended right then and there.
Finally, at Spottsylvania, after Hancock had fought the Second Corps around to the rear of that stronghold (at Shady Grove) and was in position to take the enemy in reverse, why was he ordered to make an all night's march through a drizzling rain, abandon all he had gained, and go to the extreme left and attack, directly in front, one of the strongest positions between the Rapidan and Richmond, with a loss of one-third of his corps.
The idea that Pickett's charge at Gettysburg was the greatest charge of the war, is another but more popular mistake than any here enumerated, due, perhaps, to two causes. First, because it tickles the fancy of our Southern friends and their sympathizers, to thus eulogize Southern bravery, and, second, because it marked the high tide of the rebellion from which the tide of war ebbed down, down, until the last little wavelet lost itself on the plains of Appomattox.
Lot the reader compare this assault of Pickett with another made a year after, then draw his own conclusion. Pickett charged with a column of eighteen thousand men. The ground was open and comparatively level. There was no fortifications. The objective point was held and defended by Hancock's Second Corps, not over ten thousand strong. The charge was a failure, and Pickett was driven off the field. Now, go to the place known as the bloody angle, at Spottsylvania, a point fortified to such an extent as to be pronounced impregnable by Southern engineers, defended by a division of eight thousand infantry and forty pieces of artillery, the whole point encircled by fallen trees and telegraph wire wove through them. Here on May 12, 1864, that same Second Corps went up that slope, rushed through that abbatis of fallen trees and wire, up and over the works and by a hand to hand fight, in a very few minutes had the entire force of eight thousand with their commander (Gen. Ned Johnson) prisoners, together with the forty pieces of artillery, all small arms, colors, and munitions of war.
Pickett's charge has been sung in song, painted on canvas, and told in story, but to say it was the greatest is, we think, a mistake.
I am sure the reader will pardon me for this digression; it does not belong directly to the history of the Company, but from these mistakes, these blunders of those high in authority, Co. F had to stand its full share of losses. Army regulations forbid an enlisted man from criticising the actions of his superior. But now, at a distance of forty-four years, and enjoying the high title of a free American citizen, we feel at liberty to join with others in our condemnation of that which was wrong, and now take up the story where we left off.
Failing, however, to break the lines of Lee at Spottsylvania the army proceeded by the left, and the next engagement was at the crossing of the North Ann River. The enemy was found posted on the south bank of the Totopotomy Creek, where a spirited engagement took place, in which Phillip Hoke was killed and Wm. Krepps captured.
Clearing away the enemy at Totopotomy the route led on to Cold Harbor, where was fought another great battle, in which the company suffered the loss of three more of its members (viz.), Jno. McCullough and Saml. A. Johnston, wounded, and Jas. H. Cunning.. ham, captured.
The movement to the left was kept up, and the army crossed the James River on June 14th and on the 15th appeared before Petersburg.
Now began the siege of Richmond and Petersburg, which was to last the balance of that year and several months of the next. During this time there was fought many bloody battles, such as Reams' Station, Deep Bottom, Weldon Road, Hatcher's Run and other smaller engagements, which may all be classed as belonging to the siege, in which, however the company, escaped with few losses. Lieut. Andrew M. Purdy was killed June 17th and F. M. Grimm was wounded, with loss of leg. Here the company wintered, doing their duty in the trenches, on the picket line and in the various movements from one point to another, almost constantly on the go, until April 2nd, 1865, when the lines of the enemy were broken, and the Second Corps went through at Sutherland's Station, thence on through rain and mud after the retreating confederates, through Jettersville, Sailors Creek, Burksville, and Farinville, at each place meeting their old antagonists and putting them to route, until rounded up at Appomattox.
After the surrender of Lee's army, the long-looked for and the long-hoped for order arrived, "Homeward bound," and Company F, in its place as second, in line, with the 140th leading the Corps, steps out with its old time swing, for Home and God's Country. Back to and through Richmond over the well beaten tracks, over former battlefields, where comrades dear had given up their young lives. What memories come crowding back! Infancy we live the scenes over again. Here in this ravine we seem to see in shadow outline the blanched face of one, so dear, as he fell dead at our feet, and, Oh! how we regret now, that in the rush and excitement of the charge, we did not have the chance even to stop and receive his last good-bye. Scattered around we see the little mounds that cover the remains of comrades good and true; so, uncovered and with bowed heads we stand looking at these hastily made graves, that hold the remains of those who in vigorous young manhood started out with us, only to find these lonely resting places. Then the thought comes, Oh! war, cruel, inhuman, blackfaced war! Thank God it is all over at last! and with eyes raised to Heaven we silently return thanks to the Giver of all Good, that at last our task is finished, that under the blessings of God this "Nation of People, for the People and by the People" shall not perish from the earth, nor these sacrifices have been made in vain.
Then bidding good-bye to these graves of our loved comrades who now so peacefully sleep in the soil of Old Virginia, we turn our faces once more to the rosy east. And now onward up through Fredericsburg and on to the Capitol, which we find still draped in mourning for our lamented Lincoln. We go into camp not far from that city of the dead, "Arlington" Cemetery. A few days more and what is left of Company F goes proudly swinging up Pennsylvania avenue in the great review, where the representatives of the nations of the earth uncover and wave welcome to the returning victors of the greatest war that old Mother Earth has record of.
Little remains now to be told. Once more on board the trains bound for dear, dirty old Pittsburg, where in a few days more the Company is mustered out of service. Then Home, Home, Sweet Home, to receive the hugs and kisses from loved ones who have watched, waited and prayed for this happy event.
Company F left Beaver with one hundred and one men, received recruits to the number of nineteen, making a total of one hundred and twenty.
Col. R. P. Roberts---------- Gettysburg
Jno. E. Harsha --------------Gettysburg
Louis Swearengin ----------Gettysburg
Joseph Baker---------------- Chancellorsville
Jas. A. Carson --------------Chancellorsville
Andrew M. Purdy---------- Petersburg
Jno. Henderson------------- Po River
Frank Johnson-------------- Spottsylvania
Jno. B. Douds-------------- Spottsylvania
Jno. Anderson ------------- Spottsylvania
Frederick Cook------------ Spottsylvania
George W. Cooper-------- Spottsylvania
John McManamy---------- Spottsylvania
Edwin K. Sloan------------ Spottsylvania
Phillip Hoak---------------- Totopotomy Creek
Total killed, sixteen.
Jno. D. Stokes at------------ Beaver, Pa.
Daniel Crawford at-------- Washington, D. C.
Wm. H. Dinsmore at------- York, Pa.
Alvin L. Greenlee at------- Gettysburg, Pa.
Amos Hartsough at--------- Washington, D. C.
George M. Nevin at-------- Washington, D. C
Richard Walton at---------- Washington, D. C
Jno. P. Small at------------- Gettysburg, Pa.
Alexander White at-------- Alexandria, Va.
Jno. S. White at------------ Alexandria, Va.
James Wilson at------------ Phialdelphia, Pa.
Making a total of eleven.
Geo. W. Hoyt, typhoid fever, Potomac Creek Station, Va., Apr. 25, 1863.
Wm. Krepps, drowned in Potomac River.
Total, two men.
Major Thomas Henry
Joseph R. Harrah,
Thomas 0. Anshutz,
Alfred M. McCaskey,
Joseph 0. Schley,
John S. Ewing,
James T. Hayes,
Hugh Al. Kerr,
Martin W. May,
Jno. E. Moore,
Lieut. Carmen M. Nelson,
Joseph W. Appleton,
James A. Lockhart,
Ruel W. Strock,
Thomas M. Anderson,
Saml. M. Dinsmore,
Seth W. Irwin,
G. W. Minsinger,
Alvin M. Taylor,
Michael B. Wilson.
Present at muster out thirty-two.
Jno. D. Stokes, Lieut. Surg. Cirt., Jan. 15th, 1864. Alex Calvert, Lieut. Surg. Cirt., Feb. 7th, 1863.
W. S. Shallenberger, Adj., -.
Jos. R. Dunlap, Gen. Order May 20th, 1865.
Robert Riddle, Trans. to Vet. Res. Corps., Mar. 5th, 1864.
Thos. J. Kerr, Trans. to 53 Regt.
A. G. White, Gen. Order, May 31st, 1865.
Seth W. Strock, Surg. Cirt., Jan. 4th, 1864.
Alonzo B. McKenzie, Trans. to Vet. Res. Corps, Feb. 15th, 1864.
Jno. B. Clark, Trans. to Vet. Res. Corps, Feb. 15th, 1864.
Geo. R. Boden, discharged June 29th, 1865.
Ira Kirker, Trans. to Vet. Res. Corps, Jan. 20th, 1865.
Andrew J. Diamond, discharged Aug. 1st, 1865.
Taylor M. Stokes, discharged Dec. 6th? 1863.
Jacob Baker, Gen. Order May 30th, 1865.
Geo. Bell, Gen. Order May 30th, 1865.
Lewis 0. Barnes, Surg. Cirt. Mar. 20th, 1863.
Harvey Brown, Surg. Cirt. Feb. 11th, 1863.
Benj. Bonewell, Surg. Cirt., Dec. 26th, 1863.
Wm. H. Bruce, Trans. to Battery.
Wm. Bruce, Trans. to Vet. Res. Corps, July 7th, 1865.
Elij. Brooks, Trans. to Vet. Rese. Corps, May 30th, 1865.
Saml. Coulter, Trans. to Vet. Res. Corps, May 30th,, 1865.
J. H. Cunningham, Trans. to 53rd Regt.
Robt. H. Cooper, Trans. to Battery, Dec. 17th, 1863.
Wm. J. Cooper, Trans. to Battery, Dec. 17th, 1863. Wm. Doak, absent. Sick at muster out.
J. L. Davis, Trans. to Vet. Res. Corps, May 1st, 1865.
Jno. Douglass, Trans. to Vet. Res. Corps, May 21st, 1865.
Henry Edwards, Surg. Cirt., Oct. 25th, 1864.
Arthur Eckles, Trans. to Vet. Res. Corps, May 30th, 1865.
F. M. Grim, Surg. Cirt., Mar. 16th, 1865.
Robt. Gillen, Trans. to Vet. Res. Corps, June 28th,1865.
Thos. D. Grim, Trans. to Vet. Res. Corps, May 30th, 1865.
Abel Hunter absent at muster out.
Saml. A. Johnson, promoted to 1st Lieut U. S. C. Troops.
Jas. W. Knox, Surg. Cirt., April 7th, 1865.
Jas. A. Lockhart, Surg. Cirt., Dec. 28th, 1863.
Harrison Miller, Gen. Order, June 5th, 1865.
Vincent Nevil, Trans. to 53rd Regt.
Jas. L. McCreery, Surg. Cirt., Mar. 2nd, 1863.
Wm. McClain, Surg. Cirt., Mar. 27th, 1863.
Wm. J. McCabe, Surg. Cirt., Feb. 3rd, 1863.
Jos. McFarland, Surg. Cirt., June 30th, 1863.
Smith McDaniel, Surg. Cirt., Dec. 6th, 1864.
Robt. McCaskey, Trans. to 53rd Regt.
Enoch Nevil, Trans. to 53rd Regt.
Jno. S. Reed, Trans. to Vet. Res. Corps, Sept. 1st, 1863.
Adam Stone, Surg. Cirt., April 11th, 1863.
Jno. H. Short, Surg. Cirt., Nov. 4th, 1864.
Christian Shively, Surg. Cirt., July 15th, 1864.
Thomas Small, Trans. to Vet. Res. Corps.
Wm. Swearengin, Trans. to 1st Lieut. U. S. C. Troops.
Enoch Strain, deserted.
Jno. G. Thompson, Trans. to Vet. Res. Corps.
David H. Weaver, Trans. to Vet. Res. Corps.
Michael Mason, Trans. to Vet. Res. Corps.
Major Thomas Henry-------------- Beaver,
Joseph R. Harrah --------------------Beaver, Pa.
Joseph R. Dunlap------------------- R. F. D., No. 3, Lansing, Mich.
Joseph W. Appleton---------------- Industry, Pa.
Thos. 0. Anshutz------------------- St. Petersburg, Fla.
Thos. J. Kerr----------------------- East
Andrew G. White------------------ Beaver, Pa.
Jas. A. Lockhart ------------------- Ellwood City, Pa.
Alfred M. McCaskey-------------- Freedom, Pa.
Madison Risinger------------------ Nogales, Arizona
F. C. Coulter----------------------- Freedom, Pa.
Ruel W. Strock--------------------- Upland, West Va.
A. B. McKenzie-------------------- Washington,
Jno. B. Clark----------------------- Beaver, Pa.
Geo. R. Boden---------------------- Oquawka, Henderson Co., Ill.
Ira Kirker--------------------------- Shell City, Mo.
James Anderson-------------------- Rochester, Pa.
L. 0. Barnes------------------------ New Brighton, Pa.
Harvey Brown--------------------- West Bridgewater, Pa.
Rev. Benj. A. Bonewell------------ Madisonburg,
Rev. W. R. Bruce------------------ Sheakleyville, Pa.
Eli R. Brooks----------------------- Bellaire, Ohio
Saml. C. Coulter------------------- Freedom, Pa.
Jas. H. Cunningham---------------- Beaver, Pa.
Robt. H. Cooper-------------------- Winterset, Ohio
Robt Doak-------------------------- Kendall, Pa.
Jno. S. Ewing---------------------- Soldiers' Home
Francis M. Grim--------------------Freedom, Pa.
Robt. W. Gillen--------------------- Allegeny, Pa., 69 Main St.
Seth W. Irwin---------------------- Beaver Falls, Pa.
Saml. A. Johnson------------------- Beaver Falls, Pa
Hugh N. Kerr----------------------- East Liverpool, 0.
Jas. W. Knox------------------------ Ellwood City, Pa.
Dr. Jas. R. Lockhart--------------- Freedom, Pa.
Madison Moore--------------------- Beaver Falls, Pa.
G.W. Minesinger -------------------New Cumberland,
W. Va., R. F. D.
Harrison Miller--------------------- Monaca, Pa., R. F.D.
Vincent Miller---------------------- Beaver Falls, Pa.
Jno. McCullough------------------- Monaca, Pa.
Win. P. McClain------------------- Chester, West Va.
W. J. McCabe---------------------- West Bridgewater, Pa.
R. M. McCaskey------------------- Freedom, Pa.
Enoch Neville---------------------- Lowelville, Ohio
George Ryan------------------------ Pittsburg, Pa., 1020 Garrett
Jno. S. Reed------------------------- Vanport, Pa.
Adam Stone------------------------- Beaver Falls, Pa.
Christian Shively------------------- Bellview, Pa.
Wm. Swearengin------------------- Hookstown, Pa., R.F.D.
Thos. Small------------------------- Beaver, Pa.
Enoch Strain-------------------------Cleveland, Ohio
A. M. Taylor----------------------- Beaver, Pa.
J. G. Thompson-------------------- Mt. Pleasant, Pa.
Louis J. Wagner---------------------Beaver Falls, Pa
Rev. W. J. Cooper,
James T. Hays,
Jno. H. Short,
Jos. 0. Schley,
Michael B. Wilson.
J. I. Davis,
Jno. E. Moore,
Carmen M. Nelson,
Thos. M. Anderson,
Martin W. May,
Promotions in the company occurred from time to time as follows:
On Dec. 10th, 1864, C. M. Nelson was promoted to Second Lieut. and was in command of the company until muster out.
Major Thos. Henry received his commission as Major on May 1st, 1865, and was in command of the Regiment when mustered out.
Capt. R. P. Roberts to Col., Aug. 2, 1862.
Thos. Henry from Second Lieut. to Capt.
Andrew M. Purdy to 1st. Lieut. 0
Alexander Calvert from Sergt. to Second Lieut.
Carmen M. Nelson from Sergt. to Second Lieut.
Joseph R. Harrah to 1st Sergt.
W. S. Shallenberger from 1st Lieut. to Adjt.
Jno. E. Harsha to 1st Sergt.
Darius Singleton to 1st Lieut. (Not mustered).
Jos. W. Appleton to Sergt.
Jos. R. Dunlap to Sergt.
Robt. Riddle to Sergt (Color Bearer).
Thos. 0. Anshutz to Sergt. Major.
Jno. Henderson to Sergt.
A. G. White to Sergt.
Thos. J. Kerr to Corporal.
Jas. A. Lockhart to Corporal.
A. M. McCaskey to Corporal.
Thos. Clark to Corporal.
Madison Reisinger to Corporal.
Ruel W. Strock to Corporal.
Jos. 0. Schley to Corporal.
Seth W. Strock to Corporal.
A. B. McKenzie to Corporal.
Jno. B. Clark to Corporal.
Geo. R. Boden to Corporal.
Ira Kirker to Corporal.
Frank M. Johnston to Corporal.
Jno. B. Douds to Corporal.
Wm. H. Bruce to Ist Lieut. in Artly.
Robt. H. Cooper to Sergt. in Artly.
Wm. J. Cooper to Sergt. in Artly.
Saml. A. Johnston to Ist Lieut. U. S. C. T.
Wm. Swearengin to Capt. in U. S. C. T.
And now, comrades, my task is finished, although, without the art of scribbling I have endeavored to write the truth. Perhaps I have been too brief or passed over great events too hastily, but the lapse of forty-four years, coupled with a somewhat faulty memory, must be my excuse.
The hardships endured, the sacrifices made, the cost in blood and money were so great as to be almost beyond comprehension. But perhaps the benefits secured to this nation with its now seventy millions of people will recompense for the loss.
A glance at the results of the past, the blessings of the present and the possibilities of the future may give us a better understanding as to what that recompense means. Suppose, for instance, the South had succeeded, that the Southern States had obtained the right to withdraw from the Union, then any other one State would have had the same right, and this country would have been by this time cut up into little principalities with perpetual war, insurrection and rebellion on hand, similar to South America. Instead of that we have One Country, One People, One Flag and a nation raised from insignificance to that of one of the great (if not the greatest) powers of earth. Then with the abolition of slave labor in the South comes the advent of free and skilled labor, the building of factories and development of her mines and mineral resources. Cotton may be king, but free labor will hold the sceptre that will make and unmake.
Then turn to the progress that has marked the course of these forty or more years; the Arts and Sciences, Literature and Inventions, the great uplift given to Mining, Manufacturing, Mercantile and Agricultural industries has been so stupendous and rapid that we fail to note or keep pace with it. So, as Sir Isaac Newton dropped a pebble into a pool of water and stood watching the circle of wavelets radiating from the center outward, until they struck the farther shore, then came bounding back and forward, he reasoned that the action of that pebble would never be lost, but would go on forever. So, my comrades, as you dropped in your three years' times, marked by blood and carnage, dyeing the fields and hilltops of the Southland with your blood, for the uplifting of humanity and the upbuilding of your country, so, that service and the results obtained will go on and on until the swords shall be beaten into plow-shares and the spears into pruning hooks, when nations shall not lift up sword against nations, neither shall they learn war any more. For He has made of one blood all men to dwell on the face of the earth.
Thus ends my self-imposed task, imperfect as it is. Indeed, it would be strange if there were no mistakes in names, dates, and places. It has required a considerable amount of work and research, but I may say in conclusion, that it has been a labor of love. I love the name of the old Company. For
Sincerely and fraternally yours,
ANDREW G. WHITE.