67th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment
On the 24th of July, 1861, John F. Staunton, of Philadelphia, received authority from the Secretary of War to recruit a regiment. A camp was established at Camac's woods, near the city, and recruiting was immediately commenced in various parts of the Commonwealth. The first company was raised in Carbon county, and was mustered into service on the 28th of August. Recruiting for the remaiinng companies was prosecuted with vigor during the fall, but in the winter, owing to the belief which widely prevailed, that no more troops would be wanted, the progress was slow, and the companies were not all in camp and the organization perfected until the spring of 1862. The men were principally recruited in the counties of Monroe, Carbon, Wayne, Jefferson, Schuylkill, Indiana, Westmoreland, Luzerne, Northampton and Philadelphia. The field and staff officers were John F. Staunton, Colonel, Horace B. Burnham, Lieutenant Colonel, Harry White, Major, John F. Young, Adjutant, Thomas P. Parker, Quartermaster, tobert Barr, Surgeon, James W. Pittinos, Assistant Surgeon, and Edward C. Ambler, Chaplain. Thomas F. Corson subsequently joined as Assistant Surgeon.
On the 3d of April, 1862, the regiment in compliance with orders moved by rail to Baltimore, and thence by water to Annapolis, Maryland, where it relieved the Eleventh Pennsylvania. It was here employed in guarding the Branch Railhoad, in performing provost guard duty in the city, and in various special duties at the post, and in different parts of Eastern Maryland. After the establishment of Camp Parole near the town, early in the summer of 1862, guards were also furnished for it. This latter duty was thoroughly performed, and although there were several thousand paroled prisoners constantly at the camp, the city under the charge of Captain Troch, Provost Marshal, was as quiet and orderly, and its citizens as safe as in times of peace. During the period that it was on duty here, drill and discipline were strictly attended to, and a high degree of proficiency attained.
In February, 1863, the Sixty-seventh, numbering about nine hundred men, was relieved by a regiment of Maryland militia, and proceeded by rail to Harper's Ferry. After performing garrison and guard duty at that point for a few weeks, it was transferred to Berryville, where it joined the Third Brigade of General Milroy's command. The headquarters of the department were at Winchester, and the force under him was charged with holding the rebels in the valley in check, and in securing the eastern portion of the Baltimore and Ohio Bailroad against depredations. "Late in March," says Milroy in his official report, "in pursuance of an order issued upon my own suggestion, I stationed the Third Brigade of my division, consisting of the Sixth Regiment Maryland Volunteer Infantry, Sixty-seventh Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, First Regiment New York Volunteer Cavalry, and the Baltimore Battery, at Berryville, Colonel M'Reynolds, of the First New York Cavalry, commanding. My instructions to Colonel M'Reynolds were to keep open our communications with Harper's Ferry, and to watch the passes of the Blue Ridge, (Snicker's and Ashby's Gaps,) and the fords of the Shenandoah River, known'as Snicker's and Berry's. To this end he was to cause to be diligently scouted, the country between him and those localities, and as far south as Mill. wood. I was expressly instructed to undertake no offensive operations in force." Berryville is situated about ten miles from Winchester, and four from Snicker's Ferry. The only forces of the enemy known to be in the immediate front of General Milroy's command, at this time, were the cavalry of Jones, Imboden, and Mosby. With the exception of expeditions across the Shenandoah in the direction of Upperville, for the purpose of breaking up the haunts of Mosby's men, little of note occurred while here.
On the evening of Friday, the 12th of June, Colonel Staunton, who had been at Winchester, returned with the intelligence, that the enemy in large force was moving down the valley, and was then but a few miles distant. Orders were soon received from General Milroy to hold the command in readiness to retire at a concerted signal, and reinforce him at Winchester. On Saturday morning, at a few minutes before eight o'clock, the cavalry patrols on the Front Royal Road reported the enemy advancing in force. Deeming it advisable to unite the command as speedily as possible, the signal was given, four discharges of a heavy gun, for Colonel M'Reynolds to move. His command was in order and marched at once, but as his rear guard left the town, the advance of the enemy appeared in sight on the Millwood Road. It was soon discovered that the enemy were already within striking distance of the Berryville and Winchester Pike, and it became necessary in order to avoid exposing the force to flank attack, to make a detour by Summit Point and'Bunker Hill. While en route and just after passing the former place, the rear of the column was attacked by a large force of cavalry under General Jenkins. He was quickly checked and repulsed with considerable loss. After a long and fatiguing march of over thirty miles, the command reached Winchester at ten P. M., in the midst of a drenching rain. The tired troops had scarcely thrown themselves upon the wet ground for rest, when they were again put in motion, and after having been shifted about for several hours, the Sixty-seventh was, at daylight of Sunday, ordered into the rifle pits encircling the Star Fort, a mile and a half northwest of Winchester. There are three ranges of hills on the north of Winchester. The first range was occupied by three forts. That to the left, was the main fort, mounted with twenty-pounder parrotts, and occupied by General Milroy in person with the greater part of his command. The Star Fort was intermediate, and was held by the Third Brigade, under Colonel McReynolds. Away to the right, on the hill commanding all the others, was an unfinished work. The second range was occupied by Battery D, First Virginia Artillery, Captain Carsen, on the left, and Battery L, Fifth United States Regulars, Lieutenant Randolph, on the right. On the third range the enemy appeared in force.
At noon of Sunday, the regiment was ordered to relieve the Eighty-seventh Pennsylvania, which had been briskly engaged in skirmishing with the enemy on the southern outskirts of the town. It advanced promptly and took position, though under a severe fire, and held the town until dusk, when, in compliance with orders, it retired to the Star Fort. During the day large masses of the enemy were seen moving northward, and it was apparent to all that the force investing the place was not, as at first supposed, the cavalry of the rebel army out upon a raid, but was a part of the main body, and that before evening the small command of General Milroy would be completely surrounded. General Lee, having quietly broken camp upon the Rappahannock, and moved through the passes of the Blue Ridge, was now on his way for a second grand invasion of the north.* The isolated command of General Milroy was the first obstacle that he encountered. About four o'clock in the afternoon the enemy opened upon the two principal forts. The troops within replied, and with several batteries kept up a furious cannonade until night closed in.
At a council of war held during the night, in which General Milroy was met by his three brigade commanders, General Elliott, and Colonels Ely and McReynolds, it was decided to evacuate, and attempt to cut a way through the enemy's lines. At midnight an order was issued accordingly. Owing to various delays the column was not put in motion until two A. M. of the 15th. Artillery, supply trains, baggage wagons, and everything that by movement would apprise the enemy of the retreat, were abandoned. With all possible secrecy the troops filed out on the Martinsburg Pike, and hastened away. At a little before dawn, when only about four miles from Winchester, a large body of the enemy was encountered strongly posted and supported by artillery which immediately opened a heavy fire. The troops in advance deployed in good order and made a gallant effort to turn the enemy's right. Again and again the lines, led by General Milroy in person, charged his well supported guns and succeeded in capturing some of his pieces, but was unable to hold them. With fresh troops and in overpowering numbers he drove back our weak force and overlapped its flanks, rendering every attempt to break through or turn his lines futile.
At the opening of the engagement, the Sixty-seventh and the Sixth Maryland, instead of forming on the left of the road and moving to the support of the troops fighting in front, were deployed to the right. They remained in position under partial cover for a short time, when, having received no orders and it appearing certain that the attempt made to turn the enemy's right had failed, they moved still further to the right with the design of cutting their way through upon the enemy's left. Scarcely had they advanced threequarters of a mile in this direction, when they found themselves in the very midst of the main body of his army. A severe engagement ensued in which the little force made a gallant but hopeless defence. The Sixty-seventh which was in the advance, finding itself completely overpowered, and surrounded on all sides by masses of the enemy, was obliged to give up the unequal contest, and surrender. The men had had no rest from the morning of the 13th, and were completely exhausted by marching and fighting, and the unceasing vigilance demanded. Many of the officers and men, resolving not to be captured so long as escape was possible, scattered, and taking advantage of the shelter afforded by a broken and wooded country, succeeded in eluding the vigilance of the enemy and made their way into the Union lines. The Sixth Maryland, retiring while the Sixty-seventh was engaged, and making a detour around the enemy's left, escaped nearly intact and re-joined the forces under General Milroy at Harper's Ferry. Major White, who fought with the regiment dismounted, fell into the enemy's hands. Captain Lynford Troch was among the killed. About seventy-five men made their escape. The officers who were taken prisoners were kept for more than a year in confinement. Major White, who was a member of the State Senate, and whose vote was necessary to a majority of either party in that body, was subjected to a separate and more strict confinement, involving great hardships and sufferings. By his detention the Senate was prevented from organizing or transacting any business for a protracted period and until his resignation could be secured. The enlisted men who were captured were sent to Libby Prison, in Richmond, and were soon after transferred to Belle Isle, in the James River, near the city, where they suffered the pains and privations of rebel imprisonment for two months, at the end of which they were paroled and returned to Annapolis.
The fragment of the Sixty-seventh which escaped capture, was re-organized at Harper's Ferry, and with the rest of Milroy's command was formed in two brigades, which subsequently became the Third Division of the Third Corps. The regiment, with the division, was engaged in fortifying Maryland Heights, which it continued to defend until the 30th of June, when, the works having been dismantled, the ordnance, ammunition, and stores were shipped to Washington, General Elliott's Brigade, to which the Sixty-seventh belonged, acting as guard. It arrived on the 4th, when intelligence of the victory at Gettysburg, and the fall of Vicksburg, was first received. From Washington the division marched a few days later, to join the army of the Potomac, meeting it at Frederick.
In the campaign which followed during the fall and winter of 1863, the regiment shared the fortunes of the Third Corps. On the 11th of October, the paroled prisoners at Annapolis were declared exchanged, and returned to the ranks. After the abandonment of active operations, it returned to the neighborhood of Brandy Station, where it went into winter quarters. During the winter, a large portion of the men re-enlisted; but so many had originally joined the regiment at a late date, while stationed at Annapolis, that there were not a sufficient number eligible to re-enlistment at this time to entitle it to a veteran furlough. General Meade, however, in consideration of the fact that nearly all who were eligible had done so, permitted the veterans to be furloughed in a body, and to take their arms with them. The remainder of the regiment consisting of about two hundred men, being left without officers, was temporarily attached to the One Hundred and Thirty-fifth Pennsylvania. The veterans, numbering three hundred and fifty, accompanied by their officers, departed from their camp late in March, 1864, and proceeded direct to Philadelphia. At the expiration of the thirty days' furlough, they again rendezvoused in the city, and proceeded to Washington. Here they received orders to proceed by transport to Belle Plain, at that time the base of supply of the army, and report to General Abercrombie. For a week after its arrival, it was retained here and was employed in various duties. At the expiration of that time, Colonel Staunton was ordered to go to Fredericksburg and report to Colonel Shriver. A few days after his arrival, the latter turned over the command of the post to him, with instructions to proceed as soon as the sick and wounded had been removed, to Port Royal, the new base of supply. Here Colonel Staunton was placed in command of a regiment of cavalry and a battery, in addition to his own, and directed to proceed with it without delay to White House, which had again become the base of the army. He arrived early in June, and the Sixty-seventh was retained by General Abercrombie for duty at this post.
The wagon train of General Sheridan, who was at this time on a raid upon Lynchburg, which culminated at Trevilian Station, was lying at White House. The only troops here previous to the arrival of Colonel Statmton's command, was a small force of dismounted cavalry, a regiment of the Invalid Corps, and a small regiment of colored troops. A little after daybreak on the morning of the 13th, the enemy approached under cover of a dense fog and drove in the pickets. It was at first supposed to be only a small raiding party, but as the fog lifted, it was discovered that his cavalry in large force was in front. At eight A. M., he opened with several pieces of artillery. The train, which had been held in readiness to move, was transferred under a severe fire to the north bank of the Pamunkey. The Sixty-seventh, that for twenty-four hours had been on picket duty, was at once deployed as skirmishers. The enemy kept up a fire of artillery during the entire day, but did not attempt an assault. On the following morning, Sherid-an arrived with his command, and the enemy was compelled to retire.
On the morning of the 15th the train was put in motion, the command of General Getty, including the Sixty-seventh, acting as escort, and was taken safely through to the James River. While on the march, the command had a slight skirmish with rebel cavalry near Charles City Court House. The casualties of the regiment in its entire operations from Belle Plain to the James were slight. UIpon its arrival Colonel Staunton was ordered with his command to join his brigade then lying near the Yellow House, in front of Petersburg. The enlisted men who, upon the departure of the veterans on furlough, had been transferred to the One Hundred and Thirty-fifth, were here returned to their places in the ranks of the Sixty-seventh.
On the 23d of June the Sixth Corps made a, descent upon Ream's Station, a point on the Weldon Railroad, and destroyed the buildings at the station and a considerable portion of the track. The road was at this time one of the main lines of supply for the rebel army, ant it was well known that the enemy would not allow it to be disturbed or pass out of his grasp without a struggle. Though moving with secrecy and celerity the advance of the corps was quickly discovered, and the enemy in heavy force attacked; but was repulsed and beaten back.
On the morning of the 6th of July, the Third Division was ordered to move quietly to City Point, where upon its arrival it embarked upon transports and proceeded to Baltimore, the rebel General Early, with a formidable force having suddenly made his appearance in Maryland. As fast as they arrived, the regi. ments were sent by rail towards Frederick, whither the rebel force was tending. At this time Colonel Staunton was commanding the Second Brigade of the division. A portion of the brigade, comprising the Sixty-seventh, was on slow boats, and did not arrive until some time after the balance had gone forward. Colonel Staunton remained at Baltimore to bring up the delayed part. On the morning of the 9th, the last of the brigade moved out, and when within a short distance of the Monocacy, left the cars and marched to New Market, Maryland. The main body of the division under General Ricketts, with the forces of General Lew Wallace, had made a heroic stand at Monocacy; but being greatly outnumbered, and outflanked, was compelled to retire. On arriving at New Market, Colonel Staunton drew up his force in line of battle across the road on which Ricketts was retiring, so as to protect the rear of the retreating column, and when it had passed, brought up the rear. When Early discovered that it was only a single division of the Sixth Corps that was opposing him, he turned his column towards Washington.
Ricketts marched rapidly back to Baltimore. The Sixty-seventh now under command of Captain Samuel Barry, of company D, was left at the Relay House, where it remained, until with the division it re-joined the corps, the enemy having been driven back. In the operations of the army under General Wright, which lasted during the remainder of the summer, and kept the troops almost constantly moving through northern Virginia and Maryland, for the most part fruitless, the regiment participated.
In the early part of September, Colonel Staunton and Captain Barry being now out of the service, and Lieutenant Colonel Burnham having been discharged at the expiration of his term, to accept the rank of Major in the regular army, the command of the regiment devolved on Adjutant John F. Young, he being the ranking officer present for duty.
At this time the Army of the Shenandoah was lying at Clifton, three miles from Berryville, and was under the command of General Sheridan. The rebel army under Early, was strongly posted on the Opequan, four miles north-east of Winchester. Sheridan, anxious to attack, having been visited in his camp by General Grant, who gave him the desired permission, took advantage of the absence of one of the enemy's divisions, that had been sent to dislodge Averell from Martinsburg, and at a little before daylight on the morning of the 19th of September, advanced to give battle. The Sixth Corps moved first, and took position on the enemy's front. The Third Division was on the right, and the Sixty-seventh at the extreme right of the division. The Nineteenth Corps was directed to form on the right of the Sixth. and to conform to its movements, but was two hours later than the Sixth in coming up. A slight ravine prevented the Nineteenth from connecting with the line on its left, and in the progress of the charge this interval increased in magnitude. The enemy discovering the gap, at once pressed through, and driving the left flank of the Nineteenth doubled it back upon the centre. Turning immediately upon the right of the Sixth, he attacked upon flank and rear- striking the Sixty-seventh at the moment when it was upon one of the enemy's batteries, which he was attempting to run from the field by hand. Encompassed in front and rear the division was thrown into some confusion. Fortunately a small force which had been held in reserve was thrown into the breach, and the division hastily reforming, soon regained all the ground lost.
The battle raged along the entire line with varying success, until towards evening, when General Sheridan rode along and informed the troops that Averell was in the enemy's rear, the Eighth Corps on his flank, and that if they would press on he would rout Early completely. Soon the order to advance was given, and the whole line charged with new zeal, sending the foe " whirling up the valley." The Third Division, composed chiefly of Milroy's old command, was the first to reach the heights of Winchester from which it had been driven a little more than a year before. The loss of the regiment was very severe. It went into the engagement with only two commissioned officers, and these Lieutenants, the companies being led by veteran Sergeants, many of whom were prevented from being mustered as officers on account of their superiors being prisoners.
Early retreated to his stronghold at Fisher's Hill, just back of Strasburg. At this point the valley becomes quite narrow. A ridge extends across it stretching from the brink of the Shenandoah to the mountains on the left, which had been strengthened from time to time by the construction of breastworks and forts, and was justly regarded as next to impregnable. The rebel chieftains had often fled to this stronghold for safety, when hard pressed, and had never been driven from it. But Sheridan, more daring and fruitful in resources than his predecessors, had no sooner arrived in front and measured the ground, than he decided to attack. The Third Division was sent two or three miles to the right, skirmishers were thrown out, the line advanced, and after a sharp engagement the enemy's pickets were driven in. The greater part of the night was spent in throwing up breastworks. When day dawned the enemy's main line of works was discovered not a mile distant. At ten in the morning the corps was moved to the right a short distance, and being formed in two lines advanced to the right and front driving in the enemy's skirmishers, until it reached a large mill, five or six hundred yards from the rebel works, under the protection of which it remained until evening. After this manceuvre, which was executed to cover the real design, the Eighth Corps was sent to the extreme right, and ascending the mountain on the enemy's left succeeded in thrusting itself forward upon his rear. Quietly forming, it suddenly burst from its concealment, and charging down the mountain side struck full upon his flank and rear, driving the astonished foe in utter confusion along the whole line of his works. Arrived at the point where the Third Division lay, it joined in the pursuit, and until the victorious column reached the Strasburg Pike at sundown, the enemy fled before it in wild disorder, losing many prisoners, and all his guns in position along that part of his works. He continued his retreat up the valley, and Sheridan pushed on after with untiring zeal. The troops were kept upon the march during the entire night succeeding the engagement. After the first day Sheridan marched in three lines of battle, stretching across the valley, the artillery moving in two columns on the turnpike in the centre. The lines of the two armies were frequently in sight of each other, the one retreating and the other as steadily advancing, and from every hill-top the enemy's trains could be seen winding along the road in the distance. On the evening before the army reached Harrisonburg, his rear guard, which was handled with remarkable skill, was so closely pressed that the coming on of night alone saved it from capture. Before dawn of the following day the Sixty-seventh was in position on the skirmish line, and at daybreak the whole army advanced, but the enemy had disappeared.
At Harrisonburg Sheridan rested. Early, having broken up his army, fled by country roads with the scattered fragments into the Luray Valley. Sheridan, after a few days' rest, retired to Cedar Creek, where he took up a strong position on the north side of the stream, the Eighth Corps on the left extending to the Shenandoah River, the Nineteenth in the centre, and the Sixth on the right, considerably retired, to protect the flank and rear, which was exposed by reason of the open ground. On the morning of the 19th of October, at a little before daybreak, a few picket shots were heard in the direction of the river. In a few minutes the firing had increased to volleys, and it soon became evident that the enemy was present in force upon the rear of the left of the line. The division was immediately formed, and moved out on the plain in rear of the Nineteenth Corps. In the meantime the Eighth Corps, which had been surprised, was driven back in confusion. The enemy next fell upon the flank of the Nineteenth Corps, and at the same instant upon its front, which, after offering a short resistance, was also driven. At this juncture the aspect of affairs was gloomy. For a long distance the plain was covered with a confused mass of flying troops. The Sixth Corps, which had been thrown across the plain, was unable to check the retreating mass. The Third Division was on the right of the corps. Fortunately there was a country road leading to Winchester, inside the line held by the Sixth, by which the trains were enabled to escape. For several hours the division was hotly engaged and lost severely. The ground was closely contested, and it only retired as it was forced from point to point when flanked. Two miles from the field, the greater part of the Eighth and Nineteenth Corps were re-formed, and upon joining them, the division was posted near the left of the line. Temporary breastworks were hastily constructed of logs; but the enemy did not follow up his advantage. In this position the army remained for several hours with occasional skirmishing in front. Sheridan, who had been absent while these disasters were occurring, arrived opportunely, and soon put his whole line in motion. The division had proceeded but a short distance, when it was met with a heavy force, but succeeded in driving the enemy in its front. For nearly two hours the fighting was severe, and but little progress was made. But at length a general advance was ordered, before which the enemy could no longer stand, and was soon in full retreat. By sunset the colors of the regiment were planted upon the works from which the Nineteenth Corps had been driven in the morning. Further pursuit was left to the cavalry. At this time the regiment numbered but two hundred and seventy-five, and one-half of this number was out on picket on the day of the battle and did not re-join it until afternoon. The loss in killed and wounded was forty-eight. The regiment remained in the valley until near the close of the year, when, with the corps it was ordered to re-join the army in front of Petersburg. In the subsequent operations of the corps, including the final campaign, which ended at Appamattox Court House on the 9th of April, it participated. Upon the resignation of Major Young on the 12th of March, 1865, the command devolved on Captain John C. Carpenter of company E, After the surrender of Lee, the regiment marched with a part of the army to Danville, near the North Carolina border, where Johnston was still in command of a large rebel force. After his capitulation, it returned to the neighborhood of Washington, and on the 14th of July, 1865, was mustered out of service.
Source: History of Pennsylvania volunteers, 1861-5; prepared in compliance with acts of the legislature, by Samuel P. Bates. Author: Bates, Samuel P. (Samuel Penniman), 1827-1902.
* EXTRACT FROM GENERAL MILROY'S REPORT. In this affair, which occurred about six o'clock in the evening, we captured a prisoner, from whom I learned that he belonged to Hay's Louisiana Brigade, which was a part of Ewell's Corps, the whole of which, and also that of Longstreet, was in our immediate vicinity. A deserter, who came in shortly afterwards, confirmed his statement. This was the first intimation that I received that Lee's Army had quietly retired before the lines of the army of the Potomac, and had performed a five or six days' march. Telegraphic communication with my headquarters continued until twelve o'clock M., on Saturday. The Blue Ridge screened the operations of Lee's army from me. I had always relied with implicit confidence upon receiving timely notice by telegraph of its advance in my direction. On Saturday, under cover of night, I withdrew my forces on the Strasburg and Front Royal roads, in front of Winchester, to the southern suburbs of the town, under orders to retire to the forts north of the town at two o'clock in the morning. Colonel M'Reynolds arrived with his command between nine and ten o'clock P. M., and was assigned to the Star Fort, immediately north of the main fortification. At this time it was evident that at least two corps of Lee's army, numbering not less than fifty thousand men, and abundantly supplied with artillery, were in my immediate vicinity, and that my retreat by the Martinsburg and Berryville roads was cut off.
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