Field & Staff
Organized at Harrisburg October 22-November 27, 1862. Moved to Washington, D.C., December 5; thence to Newport News, Va. Attached to Busteed's Brigade, 4th Corps, Dept. of Virginia, December, 1862, to April, 1863. West's Independent Brigade, 4th Corps, Dept. of Virginia, to May, 1863. West's Advance Brigade, 4th Corps, to July, 1863. 2nd Brigade, King's Division, 22nd Corps, to August, 1863.
SERVICE.--Duty at Newport News, Va., until December 29, 1862, and at Yorktown, Va., and on the Peninsula until July 8, 1863. Reconnaissance to Bottom's Bridge July 1-7. Skirmish at Chickahominy July 2. Moved to Washington, D.C., July 8, and duty there until July 27. Mustered out July 27, 1863.
Regiment lost during service 10 by disease.The companies of this regiment were from:
The men assembled in Camp Curtin, from the 20th to 25th of October, 1862, where company organizations were effected, and on the 2d of December, the following field officers were elected:
- Company A: Columbia County
- Company B: Lancaster County
- Company C: Luzerne County
- Company D: Lancaster County
- Company E: Lancaster County
- Company F: Montour County
- Company G: Montour County
- Company H: Columbia County
- Company I: Columbia County
- Company K: Columbia County
The field of officers had all seen service: Colonel Johnson in the Seventy-first, having been severely wounded in the battle of Ball's Bluff, Lieutenant Colonel Wimer in the Seventy-seventh, and Major Chamberlain in the Sixth Reserve. On the 5th of December, the regiment moved to Washington, and on the 10th proceeded thence by transport, via Fortress Monroe, to Newport News.
- James Johnson, of Philadelphia, Colonel
- John Wimer, of Lancaster county, Lieutenant Colonel
- James W. Chamberlain, of Columbia county, Major
After about a week's delay, it marched to Yorktown, where it went into camp, and on the 29th went inside the fortifications and commenced drill and garrison duty. Company and regimental drills were daily held, and at evening, schools for the instruction of officers, that for captains being presided over by Colonel Johnson, that for first lieutenants, by Lieutenant Colonel Wimer, and that for second lientenants by Major Chamberlain. Detachments from the regiment were frequently sent out in various directions during the winter, but without meeting any determined resistance.
Early in April, 1863, the enemy, under General Wise, advanced from the direction of Richmond, and attacked, in force, the little garrison at Fort Magruder, near Williamsburg. The One Hundred and Seventy-eighth was immediately summoned to its relief, and starting on. the afternoon of the 11th, arrived at the fort a little after dark.
The Fifth Pennsylvania Cavalry, occupying a camp a short distance from the fort, had been overpowered and its camp destroyed; but had succeeded in checking the enemy's onset with the guns of the fort. A part of the One Hundred and Seventy-eighth was at once thrown out upon the picket line, in front of the fort, and skirmishing was kept up for several days, but no determined attack was made. On the 12th of June, in company with detachments of the Fortieth Massachusetts, and one Hundred and Thirty-ninth New York, all under command of Colonel Johnson, a reconnaissance was made up the Peninsula, to Charles City and Providence Ferry, in which a large amount of supplies for the rebel government were destroyed, and herds of cattle were captured and driven away.
The regiment continued on the advanced picket line stretching across the Peninsula, until the 23d of June, when it was re-called, and ordered to join the forces under General Dix in a demonstration towards Richmond, designed as a diversion in favor of the Union army at Gettysburg, a dispatch having been intercepted, showing that Beauregard, with thirty thousand men, was about to march from Richmond to reinforce the rebel lender in Pennsylvania. General Dix moved with his entire force to White House, where he divided his command, sending one, column, under General Getty, towards Hanover Court House, and the other under General Keyes, in which was the One Hundred and Seventy-eighth, towards Bottom's Bridge, on the Chickahominy. At the river the enemy was met on the 2d of July, and a brisk skirmish ensued, with some loss. The regiment held the right of the line, and fortunately had few casualties. Until the 6th, the regiment held a picket line in face of the enemy near Baltimore Store. It was then withdrawn, and returned to Williamsburg. With other militia regiments it was hurried. away to Washington, for the purpose of reinforcing the army of the Potomac; but the enemy having been driven out of Pennsylvania, and across the Potomac, it was sent to Harrisburg, where, on the 27th, it was mustered out of service.