Field & Staff
Milton Armstrong--Co. E
Organized at Philadelphia and Harrisburg October 23 to December 6, 1862. Ordered to Fortress Monroe, Va., December, 1862. Attached to Busteed's Independent Brigade, 4th Corps, Dept. of Virginia, to April, 1863. West's Independent Brigade, 4th Corps, to June, 1863. King's Independent Brigade, 4th Corps, to July, 1863. 2nd Brigade, King's Division, 22nd Corps, to July, 1863.
SERVICE.--Duty at Yorktown, Va., and on the Peninsula, Va., until July, 1863. Dix's Peninsula Campaign June 24-July 7. Expedition from White House to Bottom's Bridge July 1-7. Skirmish at Baltimore Cross Roads July 2. Ordered to Washington, D.C., July 8; thence to Harrisburg, and mustered out July 27, 1863.
Regiment lost during service 6 by disease.The troops composing this regiment were from:
They were organized in companies at periods ranging from the 23d of October to the 6th of December, 1862, and on the 8th of December a regimental organization was effected, with the following field officers:
- Berks County
- Lancaster County
- Montgomery County
- Pike County
- Wayne County
- City of Philadelphia
Colonel Blair was at the time serving as Captain in the Fifty-first Regiment, and did not join his new command until January, 1863. Before leaving Philadelphia, company E was detached, and sent for duty to the Chestnut Hill Hospital, where, with the exception of a short period soon after the battle of Gettysburg, in which it had charge of paroled prisoners in camp near West Chester, it remained until the close of its service.
- William H. Blair, Colonel
- Daniel M. Yost, Lieutenant Colonel
- William H. Yerkes, Major
Soon after its organization, the regiment proceeded to Fortress Monroe, and thence to Yorktown, where it formed part of the garrison at the fort, and was encamped within its walls. Upon assuming command, Colonel Blair commenced a thorough discipline of his men, with the most flattering results. Colonel Robert M. West, Chief of Artillery and Ordnance at the fort, says of it:
It did little else than garrison duty until the last of July, when it was called out to join in the movement made by General Dix, up the Peninsula.
"It improved rapidly, and eventually became a first-class regiment, remarkable for its proficiency in drill, the cleanliness and good order of its camp, and the quiet, orderly demeanor of the men. I never saw improvement more marked and rapid than in this case."
" When the movement upon Richmond was made," says Colonel West in the document above quoted, " by General Dix, in the summer of this year, I was in command of the 'Advanced Brigade,' of the forces that moved up the Peninsula. It became necessary to strengthen my brigade with an additional regiment, and the commanding general authorized me to designate any one I chose. I immediately named the One Hundred and Seventy-ninth, and, accordingly, Colonel Blair reported to me with his regiment, and became a part of my command. During the march to White House, and thence to Baltimore Cross Roads, where my brigade was engaged upon two occasions, Colonel Blair's regiment was prompt and ready, and always well in hand. A peculiarity about his command was that it never had a straggler. During the return march,-the most severe on account of a drenching storm, of any I ever performed,-the One Hundred and Seventy-ninth crowned its reputation as a first-class organization, by being always closed and promptly in its place, whilst other regiments. were scattered for miles along the road."Upon its return to camp, it was ascertained that Lee had invaded Pennsylvania, and though its term of service was about to expire, by the unanimous vote of the men, by companies, their further services were tendered to Governor Curtin as long as he should need them for the defense of the State. This offer was accepted; but by the time the regiment had reached Washington, en route to the front, the rebel army had retreated to Virginia. It was, accordingly, ordered to Harrisburg, where, on the 27th of July, it was mustered out of service.