» » History of the Fifty-Seventh Regiment, Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry First Brigade, First Division, Third Corps and Second Brigade, Third Division, Second Corps, Army of the Potomac

History of the Fifty-Seventh Regiment, Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry First Brigade, First Division, Third Corps and Second Brigade, Third Division, Second Corps, Army of the Potomac

History of the Fifty-Seventh Regiment, Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry
First Brigade, First Division, Third Corps and Second
Brigade, Third Division, Second Corps, Army of the Potomac
Author: Various
Title: History of the Fifty-Seventh Regiment, Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry First Brigade, First Division, Third Corps and Second Brigade, Third Division, Second Corps, Army of the Potomac
Release Date: 2018-11-20
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 27 March 2019
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Monument of 57th Pa. Vet. Vols.

Monument of 57th Pa. Vet. Vols., at Sherfy's house on the battlefield of Gettysburg.

History of the Fifty-Seventh Regiment, Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry

History of the Fifty-Seventh Regiment,
Pennsylvania Veteran
Volunteer Infantry.
First Brigade, First Division, Third Corps, and
Second Brigade, Third Division, Second Corps,
Army of the Potomac.
Compiled By
James M. Martin,
E. C. Strouss,
R. G. Madge,
R. I. Campbell,
M. C. Zahniser


Chapter I. 9

Organization of the Regiment—Camp Curtin—Departure forWashington—In Old Virginia—Colonel Maxwell Resigns—Colonel Campbell

Chapter II. 18

We Embark for the Peninsula—Yorktown—Camping in the Mud—PeachOrchard—Artillery Practice—Battle of Williamsburg

Chapter III. 29

Battle of Fair Oaks—Death of Major Culp—Increasing Sick List—AdvancingOur Lines—The Seven Days' Battles—Glendale or Charles City CrossRoads—The Fifty-Seventh Under Captain Maxwell as Rear Guard—MalvernHill—Retreat to Harrison's Landing

Chapter IV. 43

Camp Life at Harrison's Landing—Major Birney Assigned to the Commandof the Regiment—Transferred to General Birney's Brigade—Evacuation ofHarrison's Landing and the Peninsula—The Army of the Potomac isSent to Reenforce General Pope

Chapter V. 53

Second Bull Run Campaign—Battle of Chantilly—Death ofGeneral Kearny—His Body Escorted to Washington bya Detachment of the Fifty-Seventh—Retreat to Alexandria—Conrad'sFerry—Colonel Campbell Rejoins theRegiment

Chapter VI. 61

On to Richmond Once More—Foragers Captured—GeneralMcClellan Superseded by General Burnside—The Marchto the Rappahannock—Battle of Fredericksburg

Chapter VII. 69

Camp Pitcher—The "Mud March"—General Hooker in Commandof the Army—Resolutions Adopted by the Fifty-Seventh—Re-assignmentto the First Brigade—Anecdoteof Colonel Campbell—Drill and Inspection—Adoption ofCorps Badges—The Chancellorsville Campaign—JacksonRouts the Eleventh Corps—A "Flying Dutchman"—Ina Tight Place—General Hooker Disabled—General Sedgwick'sMovements—A New Line Established—Strengthof the Fifty-Seventh and Its Losses

Chapter VIII. 82

Back Again in Our Old Camp—Cavalry Battle at BrandyStation—The March to Gettysburg—Hooker's Requestfor Troops at Harper's Ferry—Asks to be Relieved fromthe Command of the Army—We Arrive at Gettysburg—Battleof July 2d—Strength of the Fifty-Seventh—ItsLosses—General Graham Wounded and Captured—Woundingof General Sickles—Battle of July 3d—July4th—The Confederates Retreat—General Sickles Asksfor a Court of Inquiry—President Lincoln to Sickles—AVisit to the Battlefield Twenty-five Years Later

Chapter IX. 95

We Leave Gettysburg—Rebel Spy Hung—French's DivisionJoins the 3d Corps—Enemy's Position at FallingWaters—He Escapes Across the Potomac—In Old VirginiaAgain—Manassas Gap—Camp at Sulphur Springs—Movementto Culpepper—Eleventh and Twelfth CorpsSent West—Lee's Efforts to Gain Our Rear—Skirmishat Auburn Creek—Warren's Fight at Bristow Station—DeserterShot—Retreat of the Enemy—Kelly's Ford—MineRun Campaign—The Regiment Re-enlists—The"Veteran Furlough"—Recruiting—Presented with a NewFlag by Governor Curtin—Back to the Front—GeneralGrant Commands the Army—Reorganization—The WildernessCampaign—Three Days of Hard Fighting—Lossin Fifty-Seventh

Chapter X. 111

The Movement to Spottsylvania Court House—General SedgwickKilled—Hancock's Grand Charge of May 12th—GreatCapture of Prisoners, Guns and Colors—The FamousOak Tree—Ewell's Effort to Capture Our WagonTrain—Losses in the Fifty-Seventh at Spottsylvania—Movementto North Anna River—Fight at ChesterfieldFord—We Cross the Pamunkey—Skirmish at Haw's Shopand Totopotomoy Creek—Battle of Cold Harbor—OurColors Struck and Badly Torn by a Piece of Shell—FlankMovement to the James River—March to Petersburg—SevereFighting at Hare's Hill—Battle of June 22d—Lossesin the Fifty-Seventh—Fort Alex. Hays—Petersburg—WeMove to the North Side of the James—StrawberryPlains—Return to Petersburg—The "BurnsideMine"—General Mott in Command of Our Division—DeepBottom—Other Marching and Fighting Around Petersburg

Chapter XI. 126

Recruits—Dangerous Picket Duty—Muster-out of Old Regiments—Compositionof the Brigade—Expedition Againstthe South Side Railroad—Battle of Boydton Plank Roador Hatcher's Run—Disguised Rebels Capture Our PicketLine—Election Day—Thanksgiving Dinner of Roast Turkey—Changeof Camp—Raid on Weldon Railroad—AHard March Returning—"Applejack"—General Humphreysin Command of the Second Corps

Chapter XII. 138

Disbanding of Companies A and E—Regiment OrganizedInto a Battalion of Six Companies—Consolidation of theEighty-Fourth with the Fifty-Seventh Pennsylvania—Necessityfor Changing the Letter of Some of the Companies—Confusionin Company Rolls Growing Out of It—Officersof the Consolidated Regiment—Another MoveAcross Hatcher's Run—The Regiment Again Engagedwith the Enemy—Great Length of the Line in Front ofPetersburg—A Lively Picket Skirmish—Battle NearWatkin's House—Enemy's Picket Line and Many PrisonersCaptured

Chapter XIII. 147

Beginning of Our Last Campaign—Battle of Five Forks—OnPicket Duty on Old Hatcher's Run Battlefield—JubilantRebels—Enemy's Lines Broken—Petersburg andRichmond Evacuated—In Pursuit of the Enemy—Battleof Sailor's Creek—High Bridge—General Mott Wounded—Lee'sArmy Breaking Up—Appomattox—Joy Over theSurrender—On the Backward March—Camp at BurkesvilleJunction

Chapter XIV. 157

Departure from Burkesville—Marching Through Richmond—TheMarch to Washington—Passing Over Old Battlefields—Campat Bailey's Cross Roads—Grand Reviewof the Army of the Potomac—The Order of March—TheFifty-Seventh Ordered Mustered Out—Names of Engagementsin which the Regiment Participated—ItsCasualties—We Start for Harrisburg—Finally Paid andDischarged—Farewell Address of Our Field Officers

Appendix A.—Roster of Officers 164

Appendix B.—Medical Report of Surgeon Lyman for year1862 170

Appendix C.—Address of Lieut.-Col. L. D. Bumpus at theDedication of the Regimental Monument at Gettysburg,July 2d, 1888 176

Appendix D.—Reminiscences of the Fifty-Seventh Regimentby Gen. William Birney 190


When the idea of publishing the History of the Fifty-SeventhPennsylvania Veteran Volunteers was first conceivedand a committee appointed to prepare the manuscriptfor the same, the chief difficulty to be met with wasto confine the limits of the work to such a size that theprice of the book would be such that it might be placedwithin the means of all the survivors of the regiment.

The committee regrets that the muster-out rolls of theregiment were not accessible, nor could they be copiedfrom the rolls at Washington, D. C.

Even if the rolls could have been copied and publishedin the book, it would have greatly added to the price ofthe work and would have required a much greater fundthan the committee had on hand for that purpose.

A great deal of pains have been taken and the marches,campaigns and battles of the regiment have been carefullystudied, and it is to be hoped that they will be found to beaccurately described.

If the labor of the committee will meet the approvalof those who have marched and fought with the gallant oldregiment, it will be duly appreciated by those compilingthe work.

The Historical Committee

The Historical Committee

1. J. M. Martin.
2. E. C. Strouss.
3. R. G. Madge.
4. R. I. Campbell.
5. M. C. Zahnizer.
6. B. F. Smith.


Organization of the Regiment—Camp Curtin—Departure forWashington—In Old Virginia—Colonel Maxwell Resigns—ColonelCampbell.

The sanguinary battle, and almost disgraceful routof the Union army under General McDowell at thefirst Bull Run in July, 1861, convinced the authoritiesat Washington that the insurrection of the slave stateswas not a mere spasm of anger at their defeat in thepreceding presidential election to be crushed out bythe levy of 75,000 troops, undisciplined and indifferentlyequipped, in a three months' service of holidaysoldiering, and that Secretary Seward's prophecy thata sixty days' campaign would restore the Union andbring peace to the nation was a dream destined not tobe realized. Acting on this conviction a call was madefor 300,000 volunteers to serve for three years, orduring the war.

To meet the emergency, evident to many, whowere not disposed to accept the prophecy of the Secretaryof State, Andrew G. Curtin, whose name willgo down in history as "Pennsylvania's War Governor,"organized, equipped and had put in trainingthat superb body of men, "The Pennsylvania Reserves,"who through all the four years of bloodyconflict to follow, were to find the place their nameindicated, on the skirmish and picket line, and in thefront of the battle, were the first to respond, and nonetoo quickly, for the safety of the Nation's Capital. Inobedience to this call other regiments and battalionswere promptly organized and forwarded so that bySeptember 1, 1861, Arlington Heights and the environmentsof Washington were thickly studded withthe camps of these new levies, and out of the mass wasbeing moulded, under the hand of that skillful drillmaster, General George B. McClellan, that mightyhost known in history as the Army of the Potomac,whose valiant deeds in the cause of Union and Libertyare co-eternal with that of the Nation.

At the first, regiments were recruited and musteredfrom single cities, towns and counties, but astime passed and the first flood of recruits were musteredinto service, companies and squads, to the numberof a corporal's guard, were gathered from distantlyseparated districts, and rendezvousing at somecommon camp were consolidated into regiments andbattalions. Such was the case in the organization ofthe 57th Pennsylvania Volunteers, the place of rendezvousand final mustering being in Camp Curtin atthe State Capital.

The roster of the regiment, by company, showsthe different sections of the state whence recruited, viz:

Company A, Susquehanna and Wyoming counties.

Company B, Mercer county.

Company C, Mercer county.

Company D, Tioga county.

Company E, Allegheny, Mercer and Lawrencecounties.

Company F, Mercer county.

Company G, Bradford county.

Company H, Bradford county.

Company I, Mercer and Venango counties.

Company K, Crawford county.

Thus it will be seen at a glance on the state mapthat there were representatives in the regiment fromWyoming county in the east; thence along thenorthern border of Crawford, Mercer, Venango andLawrence counties in the extreme west. Before, however,the final rendezvous of these several companiesat Camp Curtin there were smaller camps establishedfor recruiting in several localities, notably that atMercer, Mercer county, where it may be said wasestablished the original regimental headquarters.

The Hon. William Maxwell, a graduate of WestPoint, but at that time pursuing the peaceful avocationof the practice of law in that county, was, aboutSeptember 1, 1861, authorized by Governor Curtinto recruit a regiment for the service. With this inview he established a rendezvous camp outside ofthe borough limits of the town of Mercer, on NorthPittsburg street, in a field given for that purpose bythe late Hon. Samuel B. Griffith, and which wasnamed in honor of the donor, "Camp Griffith." Heretemporary barracks were erected and a regular systemof camp duties inaugurated, and the usually quiethamlet of Mercer became the scene of quite activemilitary enthusiasm; the still breezes of the Neshannockbeing stirred by the beat of drums and shrillnotes of fife. In two or three weeks after the establishingof this camp a large number of volunteerswere recruited who

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