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Stone Avenue, McPherson Ridge
150th, PENNA, INFANTRY.
(2d Regt. Bucktail Brigade.)
2d. BRIG, 3D DIV, 1ST, CORPS.
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Recruited in Philadelphia, Crawford, McKean and Union Counties. Mustered in Aug.--Sept. 1862. Mustered out June 23, 1865.
This monument marks the most advanced line facing west, occupied by the regiment. Repeated changes of front were made to meet assaults from the north and west. and the right wing charged to R. R. Cut in retiring it made several stands and engaged the enemy. Evening of the 2d moved to support the left and held position on Emmittsburg Road. Morning of the 3d, moved to left centre and remained until close of battle.
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July 1. The Regiment held this position from 11:30 A. M. to 3:30 P. M.
Present at Gettysburg 397.
Killed and mortally wounded 53, wounded 134, captured or missing 77.
"My thanks are specially due to a citizen of Gettysburg named John Burns who although over seventy years of age shouldered his musket and offered his services to Colonel Wister One Hundred and Fiftieth Pennsylvania Volunteers. Colonel Wister advised him to fight in the woods as there was more shelter there but he preferred to join our line of skirmishers in the open fields when the troops retired he fought with the Iron Brigade. He was wounded in three places"
Gettysburg report of Maj.-Gen. Doubleday.
Hancock Avenue, south of the Copse of Trees Gettysburg
Field & Staff---Unassigned
Organized at Philadelphia and Harrisburg September 4, 1862. Moved to Washington, D.C., September. Attached to Defenses of Washington to February, 1863. 2nd Brigade, 3rd Division, 1st Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, to December, 1863. 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 1st Army Corps, to March, 1864. 3rd Brigade, 4th Division, 5th Army Corps, to June, 1864. 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 5th Army Corps, to September, 1864. 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 5th Corps, to June, 1865.
SERVICE.--Guard duty in the Defenses of Washington, D. C,, until February, 1863. (Co. "K" body guard to President Lincoln until muster out.) Ordered to join Army of the Potomac in the field. Reported to 1st Army Corps at Belle Plains, Va., February, 1863, and duty there until April 27. Chancellorsville Campaign April 27-May 6. Operations at Pollock's Mill Creek April 29-May 2. Battle of Chancellorsville May 2-5. Gettysburg (Pa.) Campaign June 11-July 24. Battle of Gettysburg July 1-3. Pursuit of Lee July 5-24. At Bealeton Station until October. Bristoe Campaign October 9-22. Advance to line of the Rappahannock November 7-8. Mine Run Campaign November 26-December 2. Demonstration on the Rapidan February 6-7, 1864. Duty near Culpeper until May. Rapidan Campaign May 4-June 12. Battles of the Wilderness May 5-7; Laurel Hill May 8; Spottsylvania May 8-12; Spottsylvania Court House May 12-21. Assault on the Salient May 12. North Anna River May 23-26. Jericho Ford May 25. On line of the Pamunkey May 26-28. Totopotomoy May 28-31. Cold Harbor June 1-12. Bethesda Church June 1-3. Before Petersburg June 16-18. Siege of Petersburg June 16, 1864, to April 2, 1865. Mine Explosion, Petersburg, July 30, 1864 (Reserve). Weldon Railroad August 18-21. Poplar Springs Church September 29-October 2. Boydton Plank Road, Hatcher's Run, October 27-28. Warren's Raid on Weldon Railroad December 7-12. Dabney's Mills, Hatcher's Run, February 5-7, 1865. Ordered to Baltimore, Md., February 10; thence to Elmira, N.Y., and duty there until June. Mustered out June 23, 1865.
Regiment lost during service 4 Officers and 108 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 1 Officer and 94 Enlisted men by disease. Total 207.The companies of the 150th were recruited as follows:
They rendezvoused at Camp Curtin, where, on the 4th of September, a regimental organization was effected with the following field officers:
- Company A - Philadelphia
- Company B - Philadelphia
- Company C - Crawford County
- Company D - Union County
- Company E - Philadelphia
- Company F - Philadelphia
- Company G - M'Kean County
- Company H - Crawford County
- Company I - Crawford County
- Company K - Crawford County
Colonel Wister had served with distinction in the battle of Dranesville, and in the entire Peninsular campaign, in command of a company of the old Bucktails; Lieutenant Colonel Huidekoper had applied himself closely to the study of tactics, and to squad drill, during the year previous, at Harvard University, where he had graduated in June, and Major Chamberlin had served through the Peninsular campaign, as Captain in the Fifth Reserves, a regiment not inferior in soldierly qualities to the Bucktail.
- Launghorne Wister, of Philadelphia, Colonel
- Henry S. Huidekoper, of Crawford County, Lieutenant Colonel
- Thomas Chamberlin, of Union County, Major.
When the Major received his commission, he was lying in hospital at Baltimore, of a severe wound, received at Charles City Cross Roads, but learning that the enemy was invading Maryland, instead of looking for his new command, he sought out his old regiment, and fought with it through the fiery battles of South Mountain and Antietam. It will thus be seen that the field officers were well fitted for their duties.
Soon after its organization at Harrisburg, it proceeded to Washington, and was immediately assigned to duty as guard, in and about the city. Companies D and K being stationed at the Soldiers' Home, the summer residence of the President, where they were drilled by a field officer, and Company A at the Soldiers' Rest, near the Baltimore depot, where, later, it was joined by Company D. Company K continued to act as the President's body guard, until after the assassination of Mr. Lincoln, and until the end of its term of service. A brief sketch of this service will be found at the close of the regimental narration.
During the pleasant weather of the fall, the balance of the regiment was drilled at Meridian Hill. Before mid-winter, nearly all the companies were taken away for guard duty, at various points in and around the city, Lieutenant Colonel Huidekoper, in the meantime, served on a General Court Martial, and Major Chamberlin was detailed on the 23d of October, as commandant of Georgetown, where he remained until his regiment was ordered to the field.
About the middle of February, 1863, the Bucktail troops moved to Belle Plain, where a brigade was formed, consisting of the One Hundred and Forty-ninth, One Hundred and Fiftieth, and One Hundred and Forty-third Pennsylvania regiments, under command of Colonel Stone, which became the Second, of the Third Division, First Corps.
On the 21st of April, the regiment marched with the division to Port Conway, opposite Port Royal, where a feint of crossing was made, returning to camp on the 23d, after a fatiguing march. This expedition was the prelude to the grand campaign about to open, and on the 28th the whole army was in motion, the First Corps moving to Polock's Mills, and on the following day to the bank of the river, where portions of the command were, subjected to a vigorous shelling from the enemy's batteries on the opposite shore, but from which the regiment suffered no loss.
On the 2d of May, the corps made a forced march to Chancellorsville, taking position on the extreme right of the line, the brigade holding the left of the corps, joining with the Fifth Corps, the regiment standing, upon the right of the brigade. Pickets were immediately thrown out, advancing cautiously through the thickly wooded ground, uncertain as to the strength and whereabouts of the enemy. Many stragglers from the Eleventh Corps, which had occupied this part of the field on that evening, but from which it had been driven by the impetuous charge of Stonewall Jackson, were picked up, and some prisoners taken.
At daylight, strong breast-works were thrown up, and here the corps remained, without being actively engaged, until the close of the battle. On the 6th, with the rest of the farm, the regiment re-crossed the Rappahannock, and went into camp with the division at White Oak Church, where it remained, with slight changes, until it marched, about the middle of June, on the Pennsylvania campaign.
At Gettysburg, on the 1st of July, it met the enemy, and really fought its first battle, winning a reputation for valor that will be imperishlable.
"The One Hundred and Fiftieth Regiment," says the report, " came upon the field of battle near Gettysburg, about eleven P.M., July 1st, 1863. We halted in front of the Seminary, to the west of the town, and throwing off our knapsacks, moved forward about half a mile to a position behind the crest of a hill, our right near a large barn, our left joining the Iron Brigade, consisting of Wisconsin and Michigan troops. The ground was gently rolling and open, the only shelter being a slight fence. We had not been long in position before the enemy began to shell us heavily, when, finding that they produced little effect in front, they opened a new battery on our right flank, and began an enfilading fire upon us. Our right flank was exposed, as our brigade held the angle of the two fronts of our army, and the new Whitworth projectiles from this battery killed two and disabled three in company C. We then shifted our position so as to obtain a partial shelter from the barn, before mentioned, the One Hundred and Forty-third, and One Hundred and Forty-ninth, meanwhile, being established in a dug-out road, fronting towards the north, and forming a right angle with the One Hundred and Fiftieth, which fronted westward. The enemy continued to shell our position until about two P. M., without, however, disabling more than ten or twelve men. Company B, Captain Jones, which had been sent forward as skirmishers, was, meanwhile, actively engaged in our front, sustaining considerable loss. About this time, Colonel Stone1, commanding the regiment, having gone forward, to reconnoitre, was hit in the hip and arm by two balls from the enemy's skirmishers and was carried from the field into the barn.
"Colonel Wister then assumed command of the brigade, and Lieutenant Colonel Huidekoper of the regiment. Soon after, a strong force of rebel infantry advanced from the north on our right, and we then changed front forward, so as to come into line with the other regiments of the brigade. This movement was accomplished rapidly, though under a heavy fire. The enemy now approached within less than fifty yards, when they were staggered by our fire, and halted, exchanging shots with us for several minutes. A new line of rebels was seen approaching from the west, against the letf, at a distance of half a mile, and Colonel Wister here ordered a charge, to free us from our old assailants, before the new ones were upon us. This movement was entirely successful. The enemy, who had suffered terriblly from our fire, gave way at once and fled in confusion. The danger of injuring their own troops being now removed, the rebel batteries opened upon us with terrible effect, and the infantry fire from the line advancing upon our left became also very severe. In view of this, Colonel Wister gave orders to change front to the rear, so as to resume our original position. This movement was successfully and rapidly performed, though with a terrible loss."
The colors of the One Hundred and Forty-ninth had been placed at a little distance to draw the enemy's fire, and had been captured by them in the advance spoken of, but were re-captured by a squad of the One Hundred and Fiftieth in this charge. The One Hundred and Forty-ninth then reinforced us in our new line, and we were in position none too soon, as the advancing lines of the rebels were soon upon us. Our men were partially sheltered by a port-and-rail fence, from behind which we poured so severe a fire upon the enemy that their line also gave way. After retreating a short distance, however, they moved off by their right flank, and fixed themselves in a thick wood in front of the Iron Brigade on our left. Colonel Wister was wounded in the face during this encounter, but did not leave the field. No charge was made from this time, a quarter before three, for a considerable interval, but a very heavy artillery and infantry fire was kept up upon us.
During this time, Lieutenant Colonel Hiuidekoper was severely wounded in the right arm, which has since been amputated, and was compelled to leave the field. Adjutant R. L. Ashhurst was wounded in the shoulder, Lieutenant Gilbert B. Perkins in the thigh, and Lieutenant Chancellor, Jr., had his leg almost torn off by a solid shot.
Not long after three P. M., our whole line began to give way. Our brigade, however, had no orders to retreat, and continued to hold its ground for some time, when, finding ourselves almost surrounded by the enemy, we at last fell back, slowly, under a very severe fire. The Iron Brigade had fallen back some time before ours, and had formed a new line on the crest of the next ridge, midway between the Seminary and the front. Here we again halted, and withstood the enemy's attacks for some time; but the line giving way on all sides, and finding ourselves again becoming surrounded, we were compelled again to fall back.
On our retreat, we found one of our batteries on which the enemy was directing a heavy fire, and which they were preparing to assault. Here the remainder of our men again rallied in an orchard, and succeeded in repelling a desperate rebel charge on the battery. We held this position, though the rest of the line had given way, until the guns of the battery were limbered up, horses hitched, and the commanding officers said they were ready to move to a place of safety. An aid rode up soon after, with orders for us to retreat through the town to the new line formed on the south side. This we proceeded to do; but our retreat had been so long delayed, that many of our men were captured in the streets of Gettysburg, the enemy having closed in both on our right and left.
Upon arriving at the Cemetery, it was re-formed, and rested in line during the night. On the following day it was held in reserve, in rear of Cemetery Hill, and at night, was sent with the One Hundred and Forty-ninth to rescue some pieces of artillery of a regular battery, which had been lost. Two guns and four caissons were secured, and brought off, the regiment remaining on the field during the night, and retiring in the morning with only small loss. It was under a severe fire of artillery in the afternoon, and was held in readiness to charge, when the enemy made his last attack a little to the left of the position which it held; but before the order to advance was given, he had been most disastrously repulsed, and the battle was at an end.
" Up to this time," says Major Chamberlin, " our colors were safe. The Color Sergeant had been killed in the orchard, and all the color guard had been killed or wounded, except one, some of them receiving three or four balls. The colors were held by Corporal Gutelius, of company D, who carried them to the town, and insisted on keeping them, although he was slightly wounded. Stopping a moment to rest, the rebels were on him, and he was shot dead with the colors clasped in his arms. This is the same flag which was presented to Jefferson Davis, with a flourish of trumpets, at the request of a North Carolina Lieutenant, who, it was alleged, with a handful of sharp-shooters, scattered a Pennsylvania regiment, and captured their colors; but in doing so, was himself mortally wounded. The flag was found with Jefferson Davis' effects, when he was overhauled in Georgia, in the spring of 1865. "This flag was held by the Secretary of War, until October 25th, 1869, when it was transmitted to the Adjutant General of this State, with a letter, in which he says:
" I am directed by the President to send herewith, the flag of the One Hundred and Fiftieth Pennsylvania Volunteers, said to have been captured at Gettysburg, and re-captured in the baggage of Jeff. Davis."It is now deposited with the other tattered ensigns of the State, in the Capitol at Harrisburg."
The regiment went into the battle with seventeen officers, and about four hundred men. Of these, forty-three were killed, one hundred and thirty-eight wounded, and sixty-nine taken prisoners. Lieutenants E. B. Weidensau, Charles P. Keyser: and Henry Chancellor, Jr., were of the killed; Colonel Wister, Lieutenant Colonel Huidekoper, Major Chamberlin, Adjutant Richard L. Ashhurst, Captains William P. Dougal, John W. Sigler, and Lieutenants Gilbert B. Perkins, C. W. Sears, and Miles F. Rose, of the wounded, and Captain Cornelius C. Widdis, Henry W. Gimber, and Lieutenants John Q. Carpenter, and Joseph Chatburn, were of those taken prisoners. But two officers remained, and one of these was wounded. The companies uniformly lost heavily.
Two incidents connected with this regiment, at the opening, of the battle,
which are related by Major Chamberlin, are worthy of commemoration.
" Soon after taking up our line in the orchard," says he,'" an old gentleman approached us from the direction of the town, dressed in a blue, swallow-tailed coat, and high silk hat, rather worse for the wear, carrying a musket, and asked me if he could be allowed to fight with our regiment. I answered that there could hardly be any objection, but referred him to Colonel Wister, who stood near. On repeating his question to the Colonel, Wister asked him if he could shoot.'Oh, yes,' said the old gentleman.'But where are your cartridges,' asked the Colonel' Slapping his hand on his pantaloons pocket, he replied,' I have them here.''Certainly you can fight with us,' said the Colonel,' and I wish there were many more like you.' The Colonel, however, told him that he had better go into the wood to our left, as he could do more damage there, and be less liable to be hit. The old man went into the wood, and joined one of the regiments of the Iron Brigade, and history will preserve the memory of old John Burns, as long as it tells the story of the great battle of Gettysburg." It may be added, that he fought heroically, and was wounded in the side and leg, and left insensible upon the field. He was finally rescued, and taken to his home. He survived his injuries, and is now a hale old man, on the verge of eighty."'
Dennis Buckley, company H, Sixth Michigan Cavalry,:" continues Major Chamberlin, "whose horse had been shot under him in the cavalry encounter that morning, joined our regiment with his carbine, and asked permission to fight with us. Soon after, a shell from a rebel battery exploded in the midst of Company C, killing two men instantly, and dangerously wounding three others, when Buckley joined that company, saying,' that is the company for me.' He remained with the regiment during the whole of the engagement of the first day, doing good service with his carbine, and escaping unharmed."After the battle, the regiment joined with the army in following up the re-treating enemy, to the neighborhood of Williamsport, where, failing to intercept him, or to bring on another general engagement before his escape across the river, the two armies returned to the Rappahannock. At this time, the regiment was reduced to less than two hundred men, and was deficient in arms, accoutrements, and clothing. Captain Jones, and Lieutenant Kilgore, were sent to Philadelphia, on recruiting service, and during the fall it received considerable accessions of strength.
On the 16th of September it crossed the Rappahannock, and advanced with the army to the Rapidan, but soon after retired to Centreville, the rebel force boldly taking the iuitiative, and moving upon the right flank of the Union army. Frustrated in his purposes, Lee began again to retire, and Meade to follow.
On the 1st of November, the brigade was posted at Warrenton Junction, and until the return of the army from Mine Run, it was, employed in guarding the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, after which it went into quarters near Paoli Mills, and subsequently at the town of Culpepper.
Upon the resignation of Colonel Wister, in February, 1864, Lieutenant Colonel Huidekoper was promoted to succeed him, but, being disabled by the loss of his arm, and the wound being still open, he was obliged to resign. Soon after, for similar reasons, Major Chamberlin also resigned, whereupon, Captain Cornelius A. Widdis was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, and Captain George W. Jones to Major.
The Spring campaign opened on the 4th of May, and the fighting on the 5th and 6th, in the Wilderness, on the part of Wadsworth's Division, of the Fifth Corps, to which the brigade was transferred, was very severe, the charge of the brigade towards the close of the latter day, in which the One Hundred and Fiftieth bore a conspicuous part, resulting in the complete discomfiture of the enemy, and the recovery of the works. Captain Horatio Bell was among the killed in this battle, and Captain Roland Stoughton was mortally wounded.
On the morning of the 8th, the brigade again charged the enemy at Laurel Hill, driving him into his works, and establishing a, line of defenses under severe fire. At two P. M., of the 9th, a charge was delivered by the entire division upon the enemy's entrenched line. The woods, through which the charge was made, had been fired, and the men were subjected to the double torment of the blazing fliggots and the enemy's missiles. The assault was fruitless, and many of the dying were left to perish in the flames. Charges were again made on the 10th and 11th, but with no better success.
On the 12th, the brigade moved to the support of the Sixth Corps, in front ot that part of the enemy's line known as the bloody angle, and lay at the front, exposed to a severe fire, until the morning of the 13th, when the enemy having retired, it returned to its former position. On the following day, the Fifth Corps, which had occupied the extreme right, swung around to the extreme left, coming into line near Spottsylvania Court House. Severe fighting resulted. and the corps entrenched in front of the enemy's well formed lines.
On the 21st, the corps moved on to North Anna River, crossing that stream on the 23d. Soon alter crossing, and near night-fill, the enemy suddenly popped out of a wood in front, in heavy force, showing a desperate determination to flank and capture the division. The troops which were on the left of the line, fell back, and there seemed for the moment a prospect of another Bahl's Bluff disaster; but the firm front and dauntless courage displayed by the Bucktail Brigade, stayed the rebel onslaught, and re-assured the timid. The ground was held and fortified. For its gallantry here, it was highly complimented, and Colonel Bragg, its commander, was made a Brigadier General.
At Tolopotomy Creek, on the 30th, it again met the enemy, battling with the Pennsylvania Reserves, who there fought their last battle. On the 1st of June, the division moved to near Bethesda Church, where it again fought, and lost heavily, but was unable to drive the enemy from his entrenched line. Soon afterwards, the brigade was transferred to the First Division, General Griffin, the One Hundred and Eighty-seventh was added to it, and Colonel Chamberlain, of the Twentieth Maine, was assigned to its command.
By the middle of June, the army was across the James River, and was arriving on the Petersburg front. On the afternoon of the 17th, a fierce battle took place, in which the enemy was driven from his first lines, and on the 18th the Fifth Corps became heavily engaged. At noon the brigade crossed the Suffolk Railroad, and took position to the right of the Fourth Division, in a ravine, within three hundred yards of the enemy's strong works, which were subsequently blown up by the Mine.
When the brigade had been formed, the order was given to advance and carry the works by assault. Presenting an unbroken front, the brigade rushed forward in the most gallant manner, in the face of rapid discharges of grape and canister, and gained a position close up to the enemy's lines, but was unable to carry them. In this engagement, Colonel Chamberlain was severely wounded, and was afterwards made Brigadier General, the troops receiving the warmest commendation for their valor, from General Griffn.
Heavy skirmishing occurred on the 21st, on the Jerusalem Plank Road, and here, in a clump of bushes, close up to the enemy's lines, was built Fort Hell. On the 18th of August, the corps made its first move upon the Weldon Railroad. When within a mile of the road, the brigade was thrown into line of battle, the One Hundred and Fiftieth in advance as skirmishers. Soon the enemy's pickets were met and driven, and the work of destruction commenced. In the afternoon, heavy fighting occurred, but the enemy was repulsed, and the work of destruction was not interrupted.
On Saturday, the 20th, the troops were kept busy in building fortifications to hold the position. The works were en echelon, the Bucktail Brigade holding the part upon the extreme left, which was partly in rear of that occupied by the Fourth Division, which stood next, shielded from view by the rest. On Sunday morning, the enemy moved to flank the position, and supposing the left of the Fourth was the end of the Union line, marched boldly in. When arrived close upon the brigade, it poured in a most withering fire, almost annihilating the rebel column. Several stands of colors, and five hundred prisoners were taken.
On the same evening the brigade was hurried further to the left, where it remained several weeks, and was engaged in building Fort Dalshane. On the 27th; the Fifth, with the Second Corps, moved to Hatcher's Run, striking it at Armstrong's Mill. The enemy withdrew upon the approach of the Union forces, leaving strong works, which were immediately occupied by the division. While the division was maneuvering on the afternoon of the 27th, the One Hundred and Fiftieth was acting as skirmishers, and after the engagement, became separated from the division, and was supposed to have been captured; but in the morning it was discovered in line, on the opposite side of the run, still skirmishing with the enemy, and was then withdrawn, having maintained its ground in a position of great peril.
After the return of the corps from Hatcher's Run, the regiment occupied works to the right of the railroad, and performed picket duty. On the 6th of December, the entire corps proceeded on its grand raid upon the Weldon Railroad. The weather was severe, and the troops were forced to endure great suffering. The road was completely destroyed for a distance of nearly twenty miles, the rails being heated and bent, so as to be forever unserviceable.
Upon the return from this expedition, the regiment went into permanent winter-quarters. The quiet of the camp was undisturbed until the 5th of February, when the corps moved out in light marching order, and proceeded to Hatcher's Run. The brigade was in advance, and the One Hundred and Fiftieth was thrown out as skirmishers. The enemy was met in well ordered lines, and gallantly driven to his strong entrenchments. For nearly a week the contest was continued, with varying success, at the end of which the One Hundred and Fiftieth, and One Hundred and Forty-ninth were relieved at the front, and sent to Elmira, New York, where they were placed in charge of rebel prisoners there collected, and where they remained until near the close of June, when they were mustered out of service.
The plans for taking the life of Mr. Lincoln, which were boldly pushed from the moment he left his home at Springfield, Illinois, to assume the duties of President, and which were only frustrated, on his journey, by the ingenious devices of the agents employed by General Scott, were not abandoned upon his arrival in Washington. The enemies of the government who were lurking in every part of the Federal Capital, were ever busy in their machinations for forcible abduction or assassination. It was accordingly deemed prudent by the military authorities, though Mr. Lincoln, in his honest simplicity, could never be brought to see the necessity of it, that a body of soldiers should be kept within easy call of the President's person. Two companies of regulars had been employed for that purpose, until about the time that the One Hundred and Fiftieth Regiment arrived in Washington. As the plots against the President thickened, it had been determined to change the guard, and the regulars were ordered to re-join their regiment.
In the campaigns of the preceding year, the original regiment of Bucktails had won a reputation for efficiency, gallantry, and devotion, which had attracted the attention of the whole country. In selecting troops for this guard to take the place of the regulars, men of like efficiency and devotion were sought, and General Martindale, Military Governor of Washington, ordered Colonel Stone to detail two companies from his new Bucktail Brigade for this purpose. Companies C and H, of the One Hundred and Fiftieth, were accordingly designated, and were ordered to proceed to the Soldiers' Home, the President's summer residence, and relieve the regulars. Being without a guide, and the officers of these companies as well as their men being strangers in Washington, they proceeded to the Soldiers' Rest near the depot of the Baltimore and Washington Railway, instead of the Soldiers' Home, which was three miles out of the city. On arriving at the Rest, it was found that no orders had been issued for a change, and the troops on duty there refused to be relieved. Companies C and H accordingly returned and re-joined the regiment. In the meantime the regulars had received marching orders, and had departed, leaving the Home unguarded.
The authorities becoming alarmed on account of the non-appearance of the companies which had been sent, ordered a new detail, and General Martindale dispatched Captain Lockwood of his staff to conduct the new command to its destination. Companies D and K, Captains H. W. Crotzer and D. V. Derickson, were sent and were duly installed,on duty as guard to the President. Company D not long afterwards was ordered to duty at the Soldiers' Rest with Company A, leaving Company K alone at the Home.
The Home is situated about three miles north of the White House, the grounds for which had been purchased by the government a few years previous, and the buildings erected for a home for the disabled soldiers and sailors of the United States. The buildings are of stone, consisting of a main edifice and separate structures for the Military Governor, Surgeon, and Steward, and a mansion which has since been used as a summer residence for the President of the United States. This was now occupied by President Lincoln and his family. To keep constant guard, night and day, of this residence its commander accompanying; the President morning and night to and from the White House, whither the President went daily for the transaction of business, was the duty which the company was required to perform.
On the morning after his arrival, Captain Derickson was invited to breakfast with the President, after which he rode with him to the White House, the carriage being escorted by a detachment of cavalry from Scott's Nine Hundred, and returned with him in the evening. Supposing that the invitation to breakfast was a merely complimentary introduction to his duty, Captain D. did not report on the following morning until the President was ready to start. In the course of the day the Captain was summoned to the mansion, and was requested to breakfast daily with the President, which he continued to do until the family returned, in the fall, to the White House.
It was the custom of Mr. Lincoln at this time, on account of the great pressure of public business, to breakfast before the rest of the family was up, and to proceed immediately to his duties. Accordingly the Captain made it his practice to enter the President's room at a little after six in the morning, and usually found him engaged in reading, either the Scriptures, or some work on the art of war, as Jomini or Hamley. Upon the entrance of the Captain he would commence reading aloud and would offer comments and explanations, as he read. His whole demeanor and conversation in this intercourse showed him to be most magnanimous and kindly hearted. He never, spoke in terms of bitterness or severity of any one, but seemed desirous of believing every one else as earnest and honest as himself. The President usually returned to the Home at about five o'clock in the evening, after which he was accustomed to work diligently in the composition of his State papers. He always carried his little portfolio, in which were the manuscripts upon which he was engaged, back and forth to the White House, and he sometimes discussed and conversed about points that troubled him on the way.
In the beginning of November, the presidential family removed to the White House, and thither the company went, encamping for the winter in the grounds near the mansion. On Christmas Day the President and his wife walked in the part where the company was quartered and it was drawn up to salute him. He spoke a few words complimenting the men upon their fine soldierly bearing, referred to the rapidity with which time was passing and great events transpiring, said that he had come to regard them as a part of his family, and more than this, that there had never been any family jars.
On the 1st of May, 1863, Captain Derickson resigned to accept the position of Provost Marshal of the Twentieth District of Pennsylvania, and was succeeded by Lieutenant Thomas Getchell. A strong desire was felt by the field officers that this company should be ordered to the front to re-join the regiment, as the strength and efficiency of the command was, in a measure, impaired by its absence. This feeling was shared by a number of the men belonging to the company, who had their desires gratified by being transferred to other companies.
Applications were made to the President for this purpose, and he seemed desirous of complying with these requests, feeling that he had no necessity for a guard, and that so fine a body of men should not be kept from the ranks of the army, where they were so much needed; but the military authorities were inflexible, and he at once decided that so long as it should be deemed necessary to have any guard, he would have this company of the Bucktails, and wrote an order to that effect, a lithograph of which is here presented. When the rebel General Early invaded Maryland, in July, 1864, and approached Washington from the north, the company was in the fortifications and was under fire, but suffered no loss. The President was in the trenches during the progress of the battle. The company remained on duty alternately, winter and summer, at the White House and at the Home until the expiration of its term of service, in June, 1865, when it was mustered out.