177th Regiment Infantry



Field & Staff

Organized at Harrisburg November 20, 1862. At Camp Curtin until December 3. Moved to Washington, D.C., thence to Newport News, Va., and duty there until December 17. Moved to Suffolk, Va., December 17. Attached to Gibb's' Brigade, Division at Suffolk, Va., 7th Corps, Dept. of Virginia, to March, 1863. Viele's Brigade, Norfolk, Va., 7th Corps, to July, 1863. 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, 12th Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, to August, 1863.

SERVICE.--Duty at Suffolk, Va., until March, 1863, and in District of Norfolk, Va. At Deep Creek until July, 1863. Ordered to Washington July 10, thence to Funkstown, Md. Pursuit of Lee until July 24. At Maryland Heights until August 1. Mustered out August 4 and 7, 1863.

Regiment lost during service 24 by disease.

The companies composing this regiment were principally from these counties:
and were organized at Camp Curtin, during the months of October and November, 1862. A regimental organization was effected on the 20th of November, when the following field officers were commissioned:
On the 3d of December, the regiment was ordered to Washington, and thence proceeded to Newport News, reporting to General Corcoran. Schools for officers were at once established, and drill commenced. On the 17th of December, it was transferred to Suffolk, to the command of General Viele, and was assigned to the brigade of Colonel Alfred Gibbs, encamping on the east bank of the Nansemond. On the opposite side of the river was a pine forest. General Viele ordered this to be cleared. Details from the One Hundred and Seventy-seventh were assigned to this duty. The growth of timber was heavy, and the labor very severe. Many of the men were little accustomed to the use of the axe, but by persistent and unceasing labor, a tract of several hundred acres was swept.

At intervals of about ten days, reconnaissance's were made by the brigade, accompanied by cavalry and artillery, under command of General Corcoran, towards the Blackwater. The entire division sometimes joined in these. The enemy was usually met near the Deserted House, seven miles south-west of Suffolk, where skirmishing commenced. The object of these expeditions was to develop the position and strength of the enemy on the Blackwater.

On the 30th of January, 1863, a reconnaissance was made, in which the entire force in and about Suffolk joined, with the exception of the One Hundred and Seventy-seventh, which, by order of General Peck, was left in charge of the defenses. During the absence of the forces, Colonel Wiestling was attacked by a body of rebel cavalry, which was handsomely repulsed. Upon the return of the expedition, General Corcoran, with his staff, arrived in front of the picket line after night-fall, and in attempting to get through without the countersign, came near losing his life. The General afterwards complimented Colonel Wiestling on the soldierly conduct of the guards, and the evidence which the event exhibited of the excellent drill and efficiency of the entire regiment.

On the 8th of March it was sent to Norfolk, to report to General Viele, and was ordered by him to duty at Deep Creek, Colonel Wiestling being placed in command of the post. Considerable sickness had prevailed while at Safolk, which continued after its removal, the Colonel being for a time prostrated with disease. Deep Creek, and Great Bridge, on the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal, were principal points on a great highway between the north and south. Contraband trade had been carried on along this to a large extent, and it had become notorious as a rebel mail route. A fort was built by the regiment on the east bank of Deep Creek, and a stockade at Great Bridge, and the most stringent measures taken to break up these irregular practices. The most cunning devices were-resorted to, to elude the vigilance of the military.

" Pockets in ladies' skirts," says Colonel Wiestling in his report, -"had been an old trick, but letters were also taken from the hems of dresses, from the hollow handles of parasols, and umbrellas, and from the hollow spokes and rails of carts and other vehicles. Besides these, larger operations were carried on by males and females, using bags and meal sacks in which to carry greater numbers of letters. Captures were made of girls and men, on foot, at night, traveling through the swamps and by-ways, lugging these bags of letters. When captured, the letters were first read by the officer in command, and were then endorsed and forwarded to Norfolk and Fortress Monroe. It was in a mail captured by the Adjutant of the One Hundred and Seventy-seventh, that information was gained of the intended attack of Longstreet's Corps on Suffolk, and timely notice given for the concentration of troops to meet it. Many letters were thus obtained from rebel soldiers to their friends, which betrayed the most extravagant expectations of what they intended to do when their (Lee's) army should reach New York."

Through the vigilance and activity of officers and men of this regiment, this business, most dangerous and damaging to the Union cause, was almost completely broken up.

During the month of May, two companies of the One Hundred and Seventy-seventh, and a detachment, with one gun of the Seventh New York Battery, were sent out under Major Power, to ascertain the whereabouts of the mail boats Emily and Arrow, which had been captured, and to re-take them if possible. Embarking upon a steam barge,: they sallied forth, and soon found that the boats were plying between Franklin and Murfreesboro, and were too well protected to be attacked by so small a force. They were out nearly a week, and captured in their course a rebel schooner with a considerable amount of dry goods and tobacco, which were being transported south. Two expeditions were sent out in June; one under command of Lieutenant Colonel Brady, and the other under Major Power, for the re-capture of a party of rebel officers who had overpowered the guard on the steamer which was taking them to Fort Delaware, and had made their escape. They were unsuccessful in the main object, but succeeded in picking up some prisoners, and in destroying a score of rebel boats.

On the 10th of July, the regiment was ordered to Washington, and upon its arrival there was sent to join the Army of the Potomac, in Maryland.: It reported to General Meade, at Jones' Corners, and was assigned to a brigade of Geary's Division, of the Twelfth Corps. A battle upon the left bank of the Potomac now seemed imminent, and preparations were rapidly made for it; but before they were completed, the enemy escaped across the river and the campaign was at an end. The term of service of the regiment was now near its close, and when the n ion army moved into Virginia, it was assigned to duty on Maryland Heights. On the 1st of August it was relieved and sent to Harrisburg, where, the 7th, it was mustered out.

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