Field & Staff
Organized at Harrisburg August, 1862. Moved to Washington, D.C., August 20. Attached to 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 5th Army Corps, Army of the Potomac. March into Maryland September 1-18. Duty at Sharpsburg, Md., until October 30. Reconnaissance to Smithfield, W. Va., October 16-17. Movement to Falmouth, Va., October 30-November 19. Battle of Fredericksburg, Va., December 12-15. Burnside's 2nd Campaign January 20-24, 1863. Duty at Falmouth, Va., until April 27. Chancellorsville Campaign April 27-May 6. Battle of Chancellorsville May 1-5. Mustered out May 26, 1863.
Regiment lost during service 4 Officers and 38 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 1 Officer and 66 Enlisted men by disease. Total 109.The companies rendezvoused at Camp Curtin, where they were mustered into service, and armed and equipped for duty.
The advance of the enemy towards Washington, in the second Bull Run campaign, created consternation at the seat of government, and loud calls for troops were made. This regiment was consequently ordered away before its organization was completed, and departed for Washington on the 20th of August, under command of Captain James M'Cune. On the day following its arrival at the Capital, it was sent to Arlington Heights, where it was attached to a provisional corps, commanded by General Casey.
While here the regimental organization was completed, with the following field officers, their commissions bearing date of August 20th:
With the exception of a, small number who had served in the Mexican War, and in the three months' service, officers and men were without military experience. While at Arlington Heights, the regiment was engaged in drill and fatigue duty, and was brigaded with the Ninety-first, One Hundred and Twenty-sixth, and One Hundred and Twenty-ninth Pennsylvania regiments, the brigade commanded by General E. B. Tyler.Matthew S. Quay, of Beaver county, Colonel Edward O'Brien, of Lawrence county, Lieutenlat Colonel John M. Thompson, of Butler county, Major.
On the 30th the regiment marched out towards the Bull Run battleground, but did not arrive in time to participate in the fight, and upon its return was put into the defenses. On the 13th of September it moved from camp, and proceeding to Washington, started on the following day towards South Mountain, in Maryland, where the enemy had made his appearance.
At the Monocacy the command halted, and remained until the evening of the 17th, when it was put upon the march, and on the, morning of the 18th, after a fatiguing night march, arrived on the battle-field of Antietam. But the fighting had now substantially ended, though a renewal of the contest was momentarily expected, the men standing to arms the whole day. During, the succeeding night, the enemy withdrew into Virginia. Until the 30th of October, the regiment lay in camp near the battle-field, where it was engaged in a drill.
While here, Colonel Quay was stricken down with typhoid fever, and the command devolved on Lieutenant Colonel O'Brien. Upon the return of the army into Virginia, the regiment moved by easy marches until it reached the neighborhood of Fredericksburg, where, on the 22d of November, it went into camp.
Early in December, Colonel Quay returned to duty, but so much reduced by disease that he soon after resigned, and Lieutenant Colonel O'Brien was commissioned Colonel, Major Thompson, Lieutenant Colonel, and Captain William H. Shaw, Major.
The movement of the brigade for the battle of Fredericksburg commenced on
the 12th, the battle opening on the 13th. Humphreys' Division of the Fifth
Corps, to which Tyler's Brigade belonged, was held in reserve on the north bank
of the Rappahannock, until near the middle of the afternoon, when it was ordered
across, and advanced to the onset. In the formation of the brigade for storming
the heights, in the last grand struggle of the day, the One Hundred and
Thirty-fourth had the post of honor in the brigade, the right of the first line.
"As soon as the formation was complete," says General Tyler in his official report, "' the order to sound the charge was given, the caution having been previously communicated to the command not to fire a gun until orders were received from me. The brigade moved forward in as good order as the muddy condition of the ground on the left of my line would admit, until we came upon a body of officers and men lying flat upon the ground, in front of the brick house, and along the slight elevation on its right and left. Upon our approach, these officers commanded 'Halt!' flourishing their swords as they lay, while a number of their men endeavored to intimidate our troops, crying out that they would be slaughtered, and the like. An effort was made to get them out of the way, but failed, and we marched over them, and when we were within a very short distance of the enemy's line, a fire was opened on our rear, which wounded a few of our most valuable officers, and, I regret to say, killed some of our men. Instantly the cry ran along the line that we were being fired into from the rear. The command halted, receiving at the same time a terrible fire from the enemy. Orders for the moment were forgotten, and a fire from our whole line was immediately returned. Another cry passed along the line, that we were being fired upon from the rear, when our men, after giving the enemy several volleys, fell back."In the brief space in which the regiment was in the conflict, it lost fourteen killed, one hundred and six wounded, and nineteen missing, many of the latter known to be wounded. Lieutenants Hugh Barnes, and Zarah C. Quillen, were among the killed, and Adjutant Alfred G. Beed, mortally wounded. Captains Lyon, Breckenridge, Hague, and M'Cready, and Lieutenants St. Clair, White, Brown, and Millinger, were among the wounded. Major Thompson had his horse shot under him, and was himself wounded. Colonel Quay, though in a feeble state of health, unwilling that the regiment should go into battle without him, volunteered as an aide on the staff of General Tyler, and served throughout the battle. General Tyler bears this testimony of his services in his official report:
In speaking of the conduct of Colonel 0'Brien in this charge, General Humphreys, who commanded the division, said: "Under my own eye he rode in front of his regiment, and literally led it in the last charge on the stone-wall, at Fredericksburg, just before dark on December 13th."
"Colonel M. S. Quay, late of the One Hundred and Thirty-fourth, was upon my staff as volunteer aid-de-camp, and to him I am greatly indebted. Notwithstanding his enfeebled health, he was in the saddle early and late, ever prompt and efficient, and especially so during the engagement."During the day of the 14th, the regiment lay in the streets of Fredericksburg, with considerable skirmishing and artillery firing, but no general movement. At midnight of the 15th, it re-crossed the river and returned to camp.
Unwilling to rest content with defeat, General Burnside inaugurated a new campaign on the 20th of January, which was ingloriously cut short by inclement weather, and the sudden deepening of the mud, rendering the movement of artillery and trains next to impossible.
The advent of General Hooker to the head of the army, soon afterwards, marked a new era in discipline, by which the morale and health of the troops were vastly improved.
On the 27th of April the army moved on the spring campaign, and took
position between Chancellorsville and Fredericksburg, Humphreys' Division on the
left of the line. Fighting commenced on the 1st of May, and continued for three
days, with varying success. On the morning of the 3d, the brigade was led to the
menaced part of the field, on the left, and was moved by the left flank to a
piece of woods on the Ely's Ford Road. As the column approached the enemy, it
was deployed in line of battle, the Ninety-first on the extreme right, with no
protection in flank, the One Hundred and Thirty-fourth standing next, on its
left. The order to advance was given. In well preserved lines it pressed forward
through the woods, driving in the enemy's skirmishers, and soon reaching his
line of battle. A heavy fire was at once opened, and for an hour and
three-quarters the battle raged with unabated fury. At length the ammunition
began to fail, and finding it impossible to obtain more, Colonel O'Brien ordered
his men to slacken fire, while the dead and wounded were searched, and a meager
supply obtained. The enemy now began to press in front, and to feel for, and
move in upon the unsupported flank. Bayonets were fixed and preparations were
made for a charge; but seeing the foe in overpowering numbers, bearing down upon
flank and rear, the order was given to retire to the support of the batteries,
in the open ground, where a few rounds of grape and canister brought the defiant
rebels, swarming at the edge of the, woods, to a halt, and sent them back to
their cover in rout and confusion.
"The One Hundred and Thirty-fourth, Colonel O'Brien" says General Tyler in his official report, " was second in line, and no set of men could have behaved better. The officers, one and all following the example of their Colonel, who was constantly on the alert, were very active, and not a man shirked his duty."The loss in the engagement was forty-eight in killed, wounded, and missing. Captain John Brant was among the killed.
After the battle, the regiment returned to its former camp, and a few days thereafter, its term of service having expired, was ordered to Harrisburg, where, on the 26th of May, it was mustered out of service.
Source: Bates, Samuel P.
History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-65, Harrisburg, 1868-1871.