209th Regiment Infantry



Field & Staff---Unassigned

Organized at Harrisburg September 16, 1864. Left State for Bermuda Hundred, Va., September 17. Attached to Provisional Brigade, Defenses of Bermuda Hundred, Army of the James, to November, 1864. Hartranft's Provisional Brigade, 9th Army Corps, Army Potomac, to December, 1864. 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 9th Army Corps, to May, 1865.

SERVICE.--Siege operations against Petersburg and Richmond, Va., September, 1864, to April, 1865. Duty in the Defenses of Bermuda Hundred, Va., until November 27, 1864. Joined Army Potomac before Petersburg. Movement in support of Weldon Railroad Expedition December 7-11. Dabney's Mills, Hatcher's Run, February 5-7, 1865. Fort Stedman March 25. Assault on and fall of Petersburg April 2. Pursuit of Lee April 3-9. At Nottaway C. H. April 9-20. Moved to City Point, thence to Alexandria April 20-28, and duty there until May 31. Grand Review May 23. Mustered out May 31, 1865.

Regiment lost during service 2 Officers and 17 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 20 Enlisted men by disease. Total 39.

Companies A, and F of this regiment, were from Cumberland county, B and I from York, C from Cambria, D from Franklin, E from Columbia, G from Adams, H from Lehigh, and K from Lebanon. The regiment was organized at Camp Curtin, on the 16th of September, 1864, by the choice of the following field officers:

Tobias B. Kauffman, formerly Major of the First Reserve Regiment, Colonel
George W. Frederick, Lieutenant Colonel
John L. Ritchey, Major

A considerable number of officers and men had served in other organizations, the experience thereby gained proving of great advantage in disciplining the raw recruits. Immediately after its organization, it moved for the front, and passing up the James River, landed at Bermuda Hundred. It was placed in camp at Camp Potter, where it remained two weeks, and was then posted upon the advanced line to the left of Fort Harrison, midway between the James and Appomattox rivers.

Soon after taking position, Captain John B. Landis, with three Lieutenants and one hundred and thirteen men, was detached from the regiment, and assigned to duty in garrisoning redoubt Carpenter, on the left bank of the James.

Company and battalion drill was here prosecuted with what success it was possible, with a large proportion of the command almost constantly on exhausting duty on picket and in garrison, and by great diligence and efficiency on the part of its officers, it attained a good degree of discipline. During the engagement at Chapin's Farm, or Fort Harrison. the regiment was ordered upon the parapet, creating the impression upon the enemy, that a charge upon his flank was about to be delivered. The real charge upon the front was heroically made, and the fort was captured.

On the night of the 17th of November, the enemy made an attack upon the picket line in considerable force. Colonel Kauffman, who was division officer of the day, Captain Henry Lee, and Lieutenant Thomas J. Hendricks, with nineteen men, fell into the enemy's hands, and were held as prisoners, until near the close of the war. The troops upon the main line were ordered out, and the attack was handsomely repulsed. In addition to the loss by capture, one man was killed and two were wounded.

On the 24th, the regiment was transferred, with other Pennsylvania regiments with which it had been brigaded, from the Army of the James, to the army of the Potomac. It was assigned to duty with the Ninth Corps, and was soon after brigaded with the Two Hundredth, and Two Hundred and Eighth Pennsylvania regiments, forming the First Brigade, Colonel Charles W. Diven commanding, of the Third Division. The regiment was encamped on the commanding ground near Meade Station, the division, which was in command of General Hartrauft, being posted as a reserve to the other two divisions.

During the winter, the regiment was engaged in drill, in fatigue duty upon fortifications, and in the construction of roads, and was out upon occasional demonstrations upon the left. At a little before daylight, on the morning of the 25th of March, 1865, the regiment was aroused by rapid and heavy firing in its front, and it was soon apparent that the lines, which were held by General Wilcox's Division, had been broken, and Fort Steadman, which was in its immediate front, and which, by daylight, was in full view, had been captured. General Wilcox, whose directions, in case of an emergency, the regiment was instructed to obey, had ordered it under arms, and in motion for the protection of his threatened rear.

At this juncture, General Hartranft appeared on the ground, and assumed personal supervision of his command. While the Two Hundred and Eighth was moving up on the extreme left of the break, and Hlartranft personally was moving with the Two Hundredth upon the right front, the Two Hundred and Ninth was sent down a ravine, where it was under partial shelter, to come in upon the right, where it was joined by two skeleton regiments from Michigan,. the Second and Seventeenth. " I had scarcely got my regiment in position," says Lieutenant Colonel Frederick, in his official report, " when the same aid informed me that it was General Hartranft's order, that I should immediately, with the Two Hundredth Pennsylvania, charge the hill in my front, which was then held by the enemy. I at once gave the order to charge, and the regiment moved forward under a very heavy fire of musketry and artillery, gaining a line of works running across the open field, over which we were advancing. Halting for a moment, we again advanced, gaining a ditch near the hill occupied by the enemy. Here we were shelled from both front and rear. It was here also, that the gallant Lieutenant Hugh Jones, commanding company C, fell, pierced through the head by a musket ball. We remained in the ditch some time, when, noticing the enemy retreating, we poured into them a murderous fire, which was continued until I saw the Two Hundredth, which was on my left, preparing, as I supposed, to charge. I immediately ordered my regiment to charge likewise, and forward we went, not an officer nor a man halting, or faltering, until our advanced line was gained, and our colors were planted on the works. I am satisfied that they were the first colors planted on the works. My officers and men all did their duty so well, that it would seem invidious to make any distinctions. Yet, I feel it my duty to make honorable mention of Sergeants Stiles and Humphreys, color-bearers, who were always to be seen in the advance. A considerable number of prisoners were sent to the rear, estimated at three hundred and fifty." The loss in the engagement, was five killed and fifty wounded. In a general order issued after the battle, General Parke, who commanded the Ninth Corps, says: "' The Major General commanding, congratulates the corps on this auspicious result.

It will be a source of pride to him and them, that so heavy and desperate an attack upon their lines, was repelled by them before the arrival of the supports promptly and cordially furnished from the other corps. The gallantry and steadiness of the troops engaged, which so brilliantly retrieved a momentary disaster, and converted it into a victory, merit and receive his warmest commendation and gratitude." Preparations were made for a determined assault on the enemy's works, by the division, at daylight on the morning of the 2d of April. Lieutenant Colonel M'Call, who commanded the brigade, massed his force, by order of General Hartranft, near the Avery House, at one A. M. Two hours later, he led it to the front of Fort Sedgwick, and formed it in column of regiments, just inside the picket line, as a reserve to the Second Brigade, which was formed ill a similar manner outside. At four o'clock, the signal to advance was given, and the regiment moved at double quick, following closely the column. At the picket line there was a momentary check, occasioned by meeting numbers who came running back, and reporting a repulse. These were quickly rallied, and the command again went forward. As it came upon the open space in front of the rebel works, it was exposed to a fearful fire of infantry and artillery; but without faltering, it pressed forward aid gained the hostile front, capturing many prisoners, and turning the guns of the fort and batteries upon the enemy. In common with the division, it succeeded in holding the captured line, though hard pressed by the rebels, nettled at their loss.

At night, the firing gradually died away, and a heavy picket line was thrown out, the enemy's chevaux de-frise being moved to the opposite side of his works. The command was early astir, and at daylight, the pickets cautiously advanced. They soon found that the enemy had gone, and when the columns, which were immediately put in motion, reached the city of Petersburg, they found that also abandoned. The Two Hundred and Ninth was sent to the left, to communicate with troops of the Sixth Corps. After remaining in and about the city until noon, the regiment returned to camp.

The loss in the engagement was seven killed and fifty-two wounded. Captain James P. M'Cullough, was among the killed, Major Ritchey, and Lieutenants Henry A. Bigler, and Baltzer Shugar, among the wounded.

The division was now ordered to take charge of the army trains, and moved with them along the South Side Railroad, repairing the track as it went, until it reached Nottoway Court House, where it was halted, and where the regiment remained until the 20th, the rebel army having surrendered on the 9th. From here it returned to City Point, and thence to Alexandria, where it went into camp, and was held until the 31st of May, when the recruits were transferred to the Fifty-first Pennsylvania, and the rest of the regiment was mustered out of service.

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Source for history & rosters: History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers 1861-1865; prepared in Compliance With Acts of the Legislature, by Samuel P. Bates, A Member of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Volume V, Harrisburg: B. Singerly, State Printer. 1871.