Field & Staff
Organized at Philadelphia and mustered April 27, 1861. Moved to Baltimore, Md., May 10, and provost duty near Fort McHenry until August. Mustered out August 29, 1861.
The Nineteenth regiment originated in the National Guards, of Philadelphia, a uniformed regiment of the State militia. It was originally a single company, organized on the 11th of December, 1840, under Captain Thomas Tustin, succeeded in 1844 by Captain Stephen B. Kingston, and the latter in 1847 by Captain Peter Lyle. It was recruited for the Mexican war; but more troops volunteering than were needed, its services were not accepted. The company held a volunteer encampment of eight days' duration in July, 1856, near the city of Lancaster, and again the year following at Bethlehem. NON SIBI, SED PATRIW, (Not for self, but for country) was adopted as its motto.
In 1858, it had so increased in numbers-having one hundred and twenty members-as to be unwieldy on parade with other companies of only the minimum strength. It was accordingly divided and a battalion of four companies formed from it. Still maintaining a steady growth, on the 11th of December, 1860, a full regimental organization, with eight companies, was effected. Experiencing much inconvenience for the want of suitable Headquarters, the National Guards' Hall was erected on Race street, Philadelphia, at an expense of one hundred and ten thousand dollars.
The Guards were in line at Harrisburg on the 22d of February, 1861, on the occasion of the reception of Abraham Lincoln, President elect, on his way to the National Capital. Upon the outbreak of the rebellion, the regiment was held in readiness, and on the 16th of April, 1861, its services were tendered to the Governor. On being accepted, recruiting immediately commenced, and on the 27th of April, with full ranks, it was mustered into the service of the United States, as the Nineteenth Pennsylvania volunteers, and the same field officers, who had commanded the Guards, were commissioned:
Upon opening the books for recruits, men flocked to its standard, largely in excess of the number which the government would accept, and consequently many were rejected. So great was the desire to belong to this organization, that it was regarded as a personal favor to be accepted.
- Peter Lyle, Colonel
- D. W. C. Baxter, Lieutenant Colonel
- J. W. Fritz, Major
- H. A. B.
- Brown became Adjutant
On the 10th of May, the regiment was ordered to Baltimore. Landing at Locust Point, it marched to the neighborhood of Fort McHenry, and encamped just outside the Fort, in Camp Pennsylvania. The thorough drill to which the National Guards from their first organization had been subjected, and the large experience of its officers, rendered the discipline of the recruited regiment easy, and it was soon brought to a high state of proficiency. There were few better drilled organizations, at this time, in the service.
The command of the Department of Annapolis, with Headquarters at Baltimore, had been given to General Cadwalader; but upon being assigned to the command of a division in General Patterson's army, he was succeeded by General Banks. The latter soon discovered that unlawful combinations of men existed for the purpose of thwarting the operations of the government in its attempts to subdue armed rebellion, and that Marshal Kane, chief of police, was not only aware of their existence, but in contravention of his duty, and in violation of law, was both witness and protector to the transactions and parties engaged therein. It was rumored that these hostile organizations were soon to assume the offensive, and seize the Custom House, Post-office, Telegraph, and a large amount of coin in transition. Acting under instructions from his government, he determined to arrest the Marshal.
This delicate and possibly difficult duty was assigned to the Nineteenth regiment. Leaving two companies in camp, Colonel Lyle made the following disposition of the remainder of his force: selecting from each company five of the most judicious men and skillful marksmen, he placed them upon the sidew.alks, with orders to keep abreast of their respective companies which were formed in platoons of ten in the street. A little after midnight, the command moved quietly into the city, and in order to prevent any disturbance, and to cut off the possibility of an alarm being given, the troops were ordered to seize all persons found on the line of march, whether policeman or civilians, place them in the centre of the column and compel them to march noiselessly along. Arriving at the residence of the Marshal, he was found and taken in custody, having had no suspicion of a purpose to capture him. He was taken to the Fort and placed in safe keeping, and the captives found upon the streets were dismissed. For several days succeeding this event, a portion of the regiment was on duty in the city, and upon its return, the regular routine of drill and camp life was resumed.
While stationed at Camp Pennsylvania the command received many favors from friends in Philadelphia, among others, a printing press and materials. In the ranks were not only printers and literary men, but skilled designers and engravers, and the publication of a camp newspaper, the National Guard, was commenced. It had an elaborately designed and neatly engraved head, with the words "National Guard" in scroll, with groups of flags displayed at either end, the regimental coat of arms with the motto NON SIBI, SED PATRIL entwined, the whole having been executed in camp. The first number was marked Volume II, Number 1, the first volume having been issued in the encampment at Lancaster in 1858. One number was profusely illustrated, delineating many ludicrous scenes in camp life, in which a pair of dilapidated army shoes and breeches came in for a share of ridicule.
General Banks was succeeded in the command of the Department by General Dix. As the expiration of the term of service of the three months' troops drew near, he was in danger of being left without a command. He accordingly made an earnest appeal to the several regiments to stay with him until their places could be filled by other troops. When he came to the camp of the Guards they were massed in his front, and he urged his suit in a few well timed and eloquent remarks. It was a time to try the feelings of the officers. Anxious as they were, that their men should remain, they were still uncertain of the temper which would prevail. At the signal for a decision, there was not a dissenting voice, a result which excited the pride and satisfaction of every member of the regiment and elicited the compliments of the General. They were, however, detained only four days beyond their term of enlistment, and were mustered out at Philadelphia, on the 29th of August, 1861.
Source: Bates, Samuel P. History of the Pennsylvania
Volunteers, 1861-65, Harrisburg, 1868-1871.