24th Pennsylvania Infantry
(3 Months 1861)



Field & Staff

Organized at Philadelphia and mustered in May 1, 1861. Moved to Chambersburg, Pa., June 3. Attached to Negley's 5th Brigade, Keim's 2nd Division, Patterson's Army. Moved to Hagerstown, Md., June 16; thence to Williamsport June 18. Occupation of Martinsburg July 3. Advance on Bunker Hill July 15. At Charlestown July 17. Moved to Harper's Ferry; thence to Philadelphia and mustered out August 10, 1861.

The Twenty-fourth regiment was principally recruited in Philadelphia, the nucleus of its organization being the Second Regiment, 2d Brigade, 1st Division of Pennsylvania militia, existing under the act of 1858. One company was recruited in Wilmington, Delaware, by Captain Thomas A. Smyth, afterwards Colonel of the Second Delaware regiment, promoted to Brevet-Major General of volunteers, and killed in the engagement at Appomattox Court House, the last battle of the war.

Recruiting commenced on the 23d of April, and was prosecuted with vigor by the company officers, in which they were greatly aided by the indefatigable exertions of Major Dennis O'Kane. It was completed, and the men were mustered into the. service of the United States on the 7th of May, by Captain Thomas Neill, of the regular army. They were principally of Irish birth or descent. The regiment was organized by the choice of the following officers:

  • Joshua T. Owen, Colonel
  • Dennis Heenan, Lieutenant Colonel
  • Dennis O'Kane, Major.
With the exception of the latter, who had held the position of Major under the old militia organization, they were new officers, John Devereux, Jr., was appointed Adjutant. The first camp of rendezvous was at Hestonville, near the city of Philadelphia, where the men were engaged in the various duties of the camp, and in squad and company drill. Subsequently, the command was removed to Suffolk Park, where instruction was continued. The regiment received frequent and substantial tokens of kindness from the citizens of Philadelphia, comprising liberal supplies of woolen stockings and underclothing, which contributed not a little to the health and comfort of the men in their subsequent exposures in a changeable climate, making their first campaign.

Early in June, the regiment broke camp at Suffolk Park, and moved to Chambersburg, where it was stationed a short distance from the town. On the 21st of June, it marched to Hagerstown, and from thence, on the following day, to Camp Porter, where it was assigned to the 5th Brigade1 of the 2d Division. The counter-march of Cadwalader's Division, on the 17th of June, had the effect to draw the enemy in considerable force towards the Potomac. Colonel (Stonewall) Jackson, with a Brigade, occupied the valley, with reserves distributed along all the approaches. Reinforcements from the army under Beauregard had been sent to Winchester with a well appointed train of artillery, for the purpose of holding the place,2 and making it secure against any approaches from the direction of the Potomac, north of the Shenandoah river. Consequently, when the army advanced, it almost immediately encountered the enemy's forces. The command under General Negley, of which the Twenty-fourth regiment was a part, formed the right wing of the advancing column, and moved by a road leading to Hedgeville, encountering the enemy's cavalry under Ashby. Rejoining the main column at Hainesville, it moved to Martinsburg, and subsequently to Bunker Hill. While stationed at Bunker Hill, reconnaissance were made by all the ways leading to Winchester, which were found to be impeded by felled timber, and other obstructions. On the 17th of July, the column turned to the left, and marched to Charlestown. The Twenty fourth, after remaining a few days at the latter place, moved to Harper's Ferry. The original term of service had now nearly expired, and preparations were made for a return home. But the commanding General, finding that the rapid disbandment of his three month regiments were likely to leave him without an adequate force to hold his position, made an earnest appeal to this regiment to remain in service until its place could be supplied by other troops. To this request it acceded, and volunteered to remain two weeks beyond the original period of enlistment. At the expiration of this time, it was ordered to move by rail, via Baltimore, to Philadelphia, where it arrived on the 9th of August, and was soon after mustered out of service.

Source:   Bates, Samuel P. History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-65, Harrisburg, 1868-1871.

Previous Page