61st Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment

Descendants Association

Soldier's Notes

 

Sylvester Orris lived in Tarentum, Pennsylvania and enlisted in the regiment on February 17, 1864. He was promoted to Corporal on November 29, 1864 and was mustered out on June 28, 1865.

Private John Jeffries of Philadelphia was among those soldiers who were transferred from Birney's Zouaves (23rd Pennsylvania) to form Company I of the 61st Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment. He was injured at Seven Pines, and shot at Crampton's Gap. He survived and was honorably discharged in January of 1863.

Jesse J. Shiber enlisted in Company L, 23rd Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment, at Philadelphia on 18 August 1861. On 17 February 1862, this company (and 3 other companies -- O, P, and R) was transferred to the 61st Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment to balance out the regiment's manpower. Private Shiber was assigned to Company D. The 61st Pennsylvania was a component of IV Army Corps until October 1862 and was then transferred to the 3rd Division, 2nd Brigade, VI Army Corps. He was wounded at the Battle of Fair Oaks on 31 May 1862 and again at the Battle of Marye's Heights (Chancellorsville Campaign) on 3 May 1863 as a member of the "Light Division".

Samuel McMannus enlisted on February 25, 1864, was wounded at the Wilderness, and died in Alexandria, Virginia on June 1, 1864.

Frances B. McNamara served in the Mexican War and the Civil War. He mustered in Philadelphia on October 31,1861 and was Drum Major of the regiment. He was granted a Surgeon's Discharge on March 3, 1862.

Corporal George Schnaufer, Company B, was captured at Reams Station on June 29, 1864 and spent 8 months in Andersonville. He lived to return to his unit on February 28, 1865 to fight again and remained with the regiment until the end of the war.

Musician Martin Hager was 13 years old at the time of his enlistment and served as a drummer in Company K through September of 1864. Martin's step-father, Joseph Gerard, formed up Company K as a Zouave Company prior to its joining up with the 61st Pennsylvania where he remained the captain. Martin's brother, Louis Hager, was first lieutenant of Company K, then became captain when their step-father was killed at Fair Oaks on May 31, 1862. Martin's other brother, Augustus ("Gust") was 2nd lieutenant of the Company, then became first lieutenant when Louis became captain. Gust was badly wounded during the Battle of the Wilderness, and Martin saved his life by staying by his side and staunching the wound until the medics could tend to him. When his step-father and two brothers were going off to fight, Martin begged to go with them. His mother and step-father would not let him, so he stowed away on the train when the company crossed the state to join forces with the rest of the regiment. When discovered, they couldn't send him back, so they had him lie about his age, saying he was 16 so he could join. Martin was still alive when the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg took place, and he attended, along with a younger family member. It's reported that Martin insisted on climbing the military observation towers overlooking the battlefield. He died at age 93 the following year, 1939.

Captain Sylvester D. Rhodes, Company D, earned the Medal of Honor for his actions at Fisher's Hill, Virginia in 1864. He was the first to enter the breastworks and turn the guns and fire on the retreating Confederates. Earlier that year (June 1864) he was injured while building breastworks near Weldon Railroad during a skirmish, and was injured again less than four weeks later with an ax wound and sent to City Point Hospital where he spent 2 months. In September of 1864, he left the hospital on his own and rejoined his outfit in time for the Battle of Fisher’s Hill.

William L. Gold lived in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania (now part of Pittsburgh) and enlisted in Company C as a First Sergeant on August 1, 1861. He was promoted to First Lieutenant on April 30, 1862 and was wounded, shot through the thigh, at Fair Oaks, Virginia on May 31, 1862. He was promoted to Captain on December 1, 1862, mustered out on Sepember 7, 1864, and died on July 5, 1884.

Catherine Cessna Pease was the youngest child of Private Charles Washington Cessna, Company A, who died at the Battle of Fair Oaks on May 31, 1862 when she was 2 years old. Private Abram P. Neff, Company A, became her step father. Her mother's brother, Sergeant James H. Stewart, Company A, died in battle in front of Petersburg.

Private John Henry Buente (often spelled Binde or Bindy), Company G, died on July 1st, 1862 at the Battle of Malvern Hill. John Henry came from Germany in 1820 and was 40 years old when he died leaving a wife with five children.

Private George Washington Lewis enlisted in the 23rd Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and was transferred, with his company, to the 61st Pennsylvania in February of 1862, where it became Company G. He was captured at Spotsylvania on May 8, 1864 and imprisoned at Andersonville until December 13 of that year, following which he was mustered out, as his term of service had expired.

 

 

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