(Click on picture for a larger one)
Coster Avenue, the Brickyard. Gettysburg
27th Reg't. Pa. Vol.
(Click on picture for a larger one)
East Cemetery Hill. Gettysburg
July 1, 1863. The Regiment moved
Field & Staff---Band
Charles Wagner--Co. H
John Anthony--Co. H
Organized at Philadelphia January, 1861. Moved to Baltimore, Md., April 18. Attacked in streets of Baltimore April 19. Returned to Philadelphia and reorganized for three years. Mustered in May 31 to date from May 5. 1861. Moved to Washington, D.C., June 17-18. Attached to 1st Brigade, Miles' Division, McDowell's Army of Northeast Virginia, to August, 1861. Blenker's Brigade, Division of the Potomac, to October, 1861. Stahl's Brigade, Blenker's Division, Army of the Potomac, to March, 1862. 1st Brigade, Blenker's 2nd Division, 2nd Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, March, 1862. 1st Brigade, Blenker's Division, Dept. of the Mountains, to June, 1862. 1st Brigade, 1st Division. 1st Corps, Army of Virginia, to September, 1862. 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 11th Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, to October, 1862. 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 11th Corps, Army of the Potomac, to October, 1863, and Army of the Cumberland to April, 1864. 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, 20th Army Corps, Army of the Cumberland, to May, 1864.
SERVICE.--Advance on Manassas, Va., July 16-21, 1861. Battle of Bull Run July 21. Duty in the Defenses of Washington, D.C., until April, 1862. Operations in the Shenandoah Valley May to August. Battle of Cross Keys June 8. At Sperryville and Centreville until August. Pope's Campaign in Northern Virginia August 16-September 2. Battles of Groveton August 29: Bull Run August 30. Duty in the Defenses of Washington, D.C., until December. Reconnaissance to Snicker's Ferry and Berryville November 28-30. March to Fredericksburg, Va., December 10-15. Duty at Falmouth and Brooks' Station until April, 1863. Operations at Welford's, Kelly's and Beverly Fords April 14-15. Chancellorsville Campaign April 27-May 6. Battle of Chancellorsville May 1-5. Gettysburg (Pa.) Campaign June 11-July 24. Battle of Gettysburg July 1-3. Pursuit of Lee July 5-24. Duty on line of the Rapidan, near Bristoe Station, until September. Movement to Bridgeport, Ala., September 24-October 3. March along Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad to Lookout Valley, Tenn., October 25-28. Reopening Tennessee River October 26-29. Battle of Wauhatchie October 28-29. Battles of Chattanooga November 23-27; Orchard Knob November 23; Tunnel Hill November 23-24; Mission Ridge November 25. March to relief of Knoxville November 27-December 17. Duty in Lookout Valley until May, 1864. Atlanta Campaign May 1-25. Demonstration on Rocky Faced Ridge May 8-11. Dug Gap, or Mill Creek, May 8. Battle of Resaca May 14-15. Near Cassville May 19. Advance on Dallas May 22-25. Left front May 25. Mustered out June 11, 1864. Veterans and Recruits transferred to 109th Pennsylvania.
Regiment lost during service 5 Officers and 67 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 62 Enlisted men by disease. Total 134.
The Twenty-seventh Regiment, a part of the "Washington Brigade," commanded by Colonel William F. Small, was organized as a volunteer militia regiment, early in January, 1861. Charles Angeroth was among the most active in promoting its formation. On the night of the 18th of April Colonel Small, acting in compliance with orders from the Secretary of War, started with five companies, consisting of about five hundred men, for Washington, and proceeded in company with the Sixth Massachusetts, Colonel Jones, by the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore railroad, occupying seventeen passenger cars.
On their arrival at the President Street station, horses were attached to the five foremost cars, containing seven companies of the Massachusetts regiment, and were drawn rapidly through the city to the Washington depot. After the passage of these, the track was barricaded by the mob. The remaining companies of the Massachusetts regiment, being well armed, forced their way through, joined their comrades and were hurried away by rail to Washington. The mob returning commenced an attack upon Colonel Small's command, which, being unarmed, was forced to retire, losing several killed and wounded.
After the return of the companies to Philadelphia, the regiment was re-organized as light artillery, andIts services were then offered to the Governor, with a view to its being mustered into the three months' service, as a part of the Pennsylvania quota, but without success.
- Max Einstein was chosen Colonel
- Charles Angeroth, Lieutenant Colonel
- William Schoenleber, Major
Colonel Einstein then proceeded to Washington and offered its services to the United States Government, which were accepted under the call for eighty thousand additional volunteers for a period of three years, its service to date from the 5th of May, 1861, and to be instructed as light infantry. It was not, however, mustered in until the 30th and 31st of May. A few days thereafter it received arms and accoutrements, and went into camp near Camden, N. J.
The entire regiment was recruited in Philadelphia, in the districts of Northern Liberties and Kensington, and at least one-half of its members were German. A number of both officers and men had seen service in this country and in Europe.
On the 17th of June the regiment again received orders to proceed to Washington. Arriving at the Capital on the 18th, it was placed in camp on Kalarama heights, was subjected to strict military discipline, and was instructed in company and battalion drill, and in picket duty. Early in July the forces assembled in and about Washington were organized under General P. M'Dowell, and the Twenty-seventh Regiment was assigned to Blenker's Brigade1 of the Fifth Division, encamped at Hunter's creek, near Alexandria, which it was ordered to join.
On the 15th the general forward movement of the army towards Centreville commenced. In the battle which ensued at Bull Run, the Fifth Division was held in reserve on the Centreville heights, and did not become actively engaged. It remained in position until past midnight of the 21st, and until all the army had retired, when it marched to Alexandria, arriving on the afternoon of the 22d, bringing in abandoned horses and baggage wagons in considerable numbers, and one caisson.
A few days later, the Twenty-seventh moved to Arlington Heights, where it encamped, and received pay from the date of its acceptance by the government, on the 5th of May. From Arlington it was transferred to Roach's mill, Virginia, where, early in the month of August, company F, commanded by Captain Spering, was detached and posted at the Washington arsenal, where it remained during its entire term of service.
Early in September Lieutenant Colonel Angeroth and Major Shoenleber resigned, and Adolph Bushbeck and Lorenz Cantador, both of Philadelphia, were appointed by General M'Clellan to fill the vacancies. Subsequently, upon the muster out of Colonel Einstein, these gentlemen were appointed respectively Colonel and Lieutenant Colonel, and Captain John N. Lang, of company I, Major. In the latter part of September, by order of the War Department, company G, Captain Bierwirth, was transferred to the Sixty-ninth Pennsylvania Regiment.
During the summer months and the early fall the regiment was engaged under the direction of the engineers, in building forts, clearing woods, and making roads; Forts Scott, Cameroln Blenker, and Barnard-elaborate and substantial structures-attesting the devotion and patriotism of the men of the Twenty-seventh, not less than the stern bravery which they afterwards exhibited on the battle-field. On the 8th of October it was ordered to Hunter's chapel, Virginia, where it went into winter quarters. While off fatigue duty it was instructed in brigade and battalion drill, and for two months was engaged in out-post duty at Annandale. An attack was here made upon the pickets by rebel cavalry and artillery, but, finding the men on the alert, they withdrew to a distance and contented themselves with shelling the Union line. In the month of December, 1861, the officers received their commissions from the Governor of Pennsylvania, bearing date of the 5th May, preceding, and in February, 1862, 2the regiment was provided with the State colors. In the organization of the army under M'Clellan, the Twenty-seventh was assigned to Stahel's Brigade, Blenker's Division, Sumner's Corps.
On the 10th of March, 1862, orders were received to march with three days' rations, leaving knapsacks, tents, and all surplus baggage in camp, and taking only overcoats and blankets. Advancing through Fairfax to Centreville, the regiment was ordered to halt, while the remainder of the corps proceeded in the direction of Manassas.
After a delay of some two weeks, it re-joined the command at Salem, Virginia. Here the men suffered much from the effects of the severe weather, a snow storm prevailing, which lasted three days, the men being without shelter, and obliged to encamp in the open field.
Blenker's Division, having been transferred from the army of the Potomac to Fremont's command, in the Mountain department, marched to Paris' ferry on the Shenandoah river, with the design of joining it. The rebels had destroyed the ferry, and a considerable delay ensued, during which the troops suffered greatly for want of food. The supply train had been ordered forward, but was unable to find the division, and had returned to Washington, leaving the command to eke out a scanty subsistence by foraging.
Rafts were constructed for the purpose of crossing; but the sinking of the first that was freighted, and the drowning of eighty men of the Seventy-fourth Pennsylvania, caused the design of crossing upon rafts to be abandoned. The command then moved down to Snicker's ferry, where it passed over in safety, and proceeding via Berryville, went into camp at Wood's mills, in the neighborhood of Winchester, where it rested for a few days, and the regiment received two months' pay.
Advancing through Winchester, it crossed the mountains, and halted for two days at Romney, where the men received new clothing. Resuming the march, the division passed through Petersburg and joined Fremont's army at Franklin. With the exception of fresh beef, provisions were scarce, and salt was not to be had. But one and a half days' rations of bread were issued in ten days. While in camp at Franklin intelligence was received of the defeat of Banks, and of his retreat down the valley pursued by Stonewall Jackson. Fremont was ordered to hasten forward and endeavor to cut of the latter's retreat. For a week the army moved without cessation, passing through Petersburg, Moorefield, and Wardensville, several times fording deep and rapid streams, endeavoring by forced marches to gain the valley in advance of the enemy. Failing in this, his rear guard was encountered at Strasburg, and the race up the valley, through Edenburg, New Market, Woodstock, Mount Jackson and Harrisonburg, was an exciting one. At Mount Jackson the enemy had destroyed the bridge over the Shenandoah as he retreated, and the pursuit was delayed till the pontoon train could come up.
On the night of the 4th of June, the Twenty-seventh Regiment was ordered to cross the river. Passing fifteen men at a time, they were, on landing, deployed as skirmishers and moved forward, the enemy's cavalry retiring nearly a mile and taking position on a hill. At noon on the following day-the bridge was completed, and a part of the New York mounted rifles crossed; but they were scarcely over when the bridge suddenly parted, severing the detachment from the rest of the army, companies A and B of the Twenty-seventh, sent out as skirmishers, having already met and engaged the enemy. The continual rain which prevailed caused a freshet, and, to increase the volume of water, the enemy had cut a dam above. Soon the entire country around was flooded, cutting off the skirmishers, who had to be brought in by the cavalry.
Fortunately the ground occupied by the regiment was high; still the men were obliged to stand during the night in water several inches in depth. At noon next day the bridge was repaired and the army moved forward. At Harrisonburg, Bayard's cavalry and the Bucktails, from M'Dowell's command, had a severe skirmish with the enemy, in which the rebel General Ashby was killed.
On Sunday, June 8th, Jackson took up a position at Cross Keys, five miles beyond Harrisonburg and prepared to give battle to Fremont. Forming his line with the division of Schenek on the right, Milroy in the centre, and Blenker on the left, Fremont advanced to the attack. The Twenty-seventh Regiment held the right of General Stahel's Brigade. Companies B and K, Captains Jatho and M'Aloon, were ordered forward as skirmishers, and were soon exchanging shots with the enemy. Advancing some distance through a wood to a hill where a battery was being posted, the regiment was ordered to take position for its support. For four hours the men lay under the heavy fire of the enemy's guns, the shot and shell flying thick and fast, killing and wounding at almost every discharge, and though this was their first real engagement, they held the position with the steadiness of veterans.
Towards evening it was discovered that Fremont had re-called his forces and that the army had fallen back; but as the regiment had received no orders to retire, it remained until the enemy had out-flanked it, and had gained a position in its rear, which, during the day, had been occupied by the Forty-fifth New York as reserves, thus completely cutting it off from the main body. Soon the rebels were seen advancing. At this juncture, Colonel Bushbeck, discovering the state of affairs, faced the regiment about, and sending forward skirmishers, under Captain Jatho, commanded the men to charge bayonets.
Attached to the regiment was the remnant of the Bucktails, about one hundred men. The Colonel gallantly leading, they advanced to the charge with cheers, driving the enemy from the woods and holding one of his entire brigades in check, until the battery was safe, when they retired unmolested taking with them nearly all their wounded.
While marching to re-join their command they were mistaken for the enemy, and fired upon by one of our own batteries, the belief prevailing that they had all been captured. As the column approached the point where the army was stationed it was met by Colonel Pilson, aid to General Fremont, who had been sent to thank the regiment, in the name of the General, for its gallant behavior in saving its battery, and in cutting its way out when surrounded. The total strength in this engagemdent was six hundred. The loss was one officer and fourteen men killed, three officers and eighty-seven men wounded.
On the following day the army followed the retreating enemy towards Port Republic; but, finding the bridge destroyed and Jackson escaped, General Fremont commenced a retrograde movement down the valley. At Mount Jackson a halt was made for a few days; but, hearing that the enemy were again advancing, the movement was continued to Middletown, near Winchester.
General Fremont was here superseded in the command of the Mountain Department by Major General Franz Sigel. In the re-organization of the army which ensued, the Twenty-seventh was attached to the First Brigade, General Stahel, First Division, General Schenck, First Corps of the army of Virginia, commanded by General Pope.
On the 7th of July, General Pope having ordered his scattered commands to concentrate for the purpose of meeting Lee's army, now released from the vicinity of Richmond by the withdrawal of M'Clellan, Sigel's column marched through Front Royal, up the Luray Valley to Milford, and thence across the Blue Ridge to Sperryville. The men suffered severely on the march from the effects of the intense heat and several were prostrated by sun-stroke, from the effects of which one, a private in company I, died. In the absence of Colonel Bushbeck, occasioned by sickness, the commancd devolved on Lieutenant Colonel Cantador.
Remaining at Sperryville till the 28th, the regiment moved to Madison Court House, where it was joined by the Forty-fifth New York and the Mountain Battery, the whole under command of Colonel Cluseret, forming the extreme out-post of the army. On account of the exposed position here occupied, it was deemed prudent to fall back, and taking up a strong position the command encamped, from whence foraging parties were frequently sent out into the country occupied by the enemy but without meeting any resistance.
On the 9th of August the regiment was ordered back to the division, then marching to Culpepper Court House, and rejoined it on the 11th, the day on which the battle of Cedar Mountain was fought. Colonel Bushbeck having returned, resumed command, and the regiment marched on the 13th to Crooked River chapel, where it remained until the 18th. Shelter tents were here received, the command, since the 10th of March, having been almost constantly on the move, fording streams, crossing mountains, and camping out in the most variable climate without shelter.
On the 18th Pope commenced his retreat, the Twenty-seventh forming part of the rear guard, being almost continually under fire during the day, and at night obliged to make forced marches to re-join the retiring column. At Rappahannock station and at Freeman's ford, the regiment lay for two days exposed to a heavy artillery fire from across the Rappahannock, and was again under a hot fire at White Sulphur Springs. The columns of Lee, after spending several days in fruitless attempts to force a crossing on the lower Rappahannock, commenced to move further north. At Waterloo bridge the Twenty-seventh stubbornly and successfully resisted the vigorous demonstrations of the enemy, and, late at night, after the whole army was at Warrenton, fell back, reaching the main body at early dawn. The enemy followed close upon the retreat and were soon throwing their shells into the Union ranks.
From Warrenton the command moved to Gainesville. On the night of the 27th of August, companies A, B, C and D were ordered out on picket duty, and on the following day captured a number of rebel stragglers. Jackson, followed by Longstreet, having passed around via Thoroughfare Gap, was now between Pope's army and Centreville. At eight o'clock on the morning of the 28th the regiment moved in the direction of Manassas Junction; but, before proceeding far, turned in the direction of Centreville.
Arriving at Groveton, near Bull Run, the regiment was met by General Sigel, who led it off the road and personally posted it on a high hill, ordering the men to lie down and keep quiet. Scarcely had they gained their position when the enemy were heard marching up through the woods in front. They were allowed to approach unsuspecting until quite near, when the order was given, and infantry and artillery opened a murderous fire at short range. The attack was so sudden and unexpected that the survivors seemed completely bewildered, and were only able to fire a straggling volley.
Moving to the right and advancing a short distance, the line was re-formed on the old battle ground of Bull Run. The First Division of Sigel's Corps was posted on the left, and the Twenty-seventh Regiment was on the left of the division. The batteries were early engaged, and the infantry was ordered forward, companies I and K, Captains Ackley and M'Aloon, being thrown out as skirmishers.
Though encountering severe opposition, the line continued to advance and steadily drove the enemy, the batteries following up and shelling the hostile ranks whenever an opportunity presented. Having driven the enemy back some three miles from the first position, and pushed forward too far in advance of the rest of the corps, the regiment was re-called; but by some mistake Captain Ackley, of company I, not being notified of the withdrawal, continued to advance with his company, steadily driving the enemy's skirmishers.
In the meantime, General Milroy being hard pressed, Stahel's Brigade was ordered to his support. By mistake of some staff officer, the column was led between the fires of our own and the enemy's batteries. The sight of the brigade in this perilous position, quickened the energies of the rebel gunners who plied the ranks furiously with shot and shell our own guns, before which it was passing, being vigorously worked to silence them. The passage of this gauntlet of batteries was performed on the double quick, and fortunately with but small loss.
For half a mile the brigade was exposed to the enemy's fire, and it seems almost incredible that it should have escaped without utter annihilation. But the rebel gunners were too much excited to fire with precision, using principally solid shot, apparently short of shells, and entirely destitute of canister.
Finding Milroy, with his brigade of loyal Virginians, able to hold his own, the column was ordered to return to its former position on the left, and was there met by Captain Ackley,, with his company. The Captain had advanced until the enemy discovered how insignificant a force was driving them, when they in turn assumed the offensive, and soon forced the company to retire, which was done in good order, but narrowly escaped capture. The brigade now took position in line of battle in a wood, with companies A and B of the Twenty-seventh thrown forward as skirmishers. In front was an open field, and the rebels occupied a wood several hundred yards beyond. The skirmishers soon became engaged, but were unable to drive the enemy from their cover. While the skirmish was in progress, two pieces of a light battery were procured, charged with grape and canister, run out on the skirmish line and rapidly fired. These pieces, though twelve-pounders, could be easily worked by two men, and were very effective at short range. A few discharges were sufficient to clear the woods, and the line was again advancing. Soon after, the victorious column was relieved by General M'Dowell's Corps. Retiring a short distance to the right rear, the command encamped for the night, well satified with tle events of the day.
On the 30th of August, the First Corps took position in the centre, with Porter's Corps on the right, which soon became engaged. The conflict in the centre did not commence till afternoon, when, Porter having been driven back, the enemy attempted to pass in front to re-inforce their right, now pressing heavily upon our left. For three hours the centre stood firm, holding its position on a high hill and successfully hurling back every onset of the enemy.
But towards evening, by the withdrawal of Porter's Corps, he was enabled to flank it on the right and to plant batteries to irke the position, at the same time attacking it in front. At this juncture companies I and K, Captains Ackley and M'Aloon, were at the extreme front, supporting battery B, Second United States Artillery. A great number of the artillery men having been wounded and killed, infantry men from these companies took their places at the guns.
The battle had now reached its height. The entire artillery of the First Corps, admirably planted and served, had concentrated its fire on the advancing rebel masses. Our left and right had been driven back; the centre alone stood tirm, the enemy straining every nerve to force it from the strong position it occupied. His batteries on our right having obtained the exact range, planted shot and shell in quick succession in the very midst of the line, one shell bursting among the color guard, killing one and wounding several.
At the most critical moment of the battle General Schenck was wounded, when General Stahel assumed command of the division, and Colonel Bushbeck, of the brigade. Notwithstanding the desperate efforts made by the enemy to gain the centre, the ground was held until dark, and then, yielding to overwhelming odds, it retired in good order, crossing Bull Run bridge at midnight, and with the exception of a few of the Bucktails, the Twenty-seventh Regiment, was the last to cross. The bridge was then destroyed.
On the following day the command fell back to Centreville, in the midst of a drizzling rain, and from thence through Vienna to Langley, the enemy following closely, and shelling the retiring column whenever an opportunity presented. At Langley, the regiment was for several days engaged in picket duty, when it fell back still further to the vicinity of Fort De Kalb. Captain Ackley, and twenty-five men of company C, were ordered to Washington on special duty, where they were kept several months. The regiment remained in the vicinity of Chain Bridge, several times shifting camp, and engaged in picket duty at Falls Church, until the 21st of September, when it was ordered to Centreville.
On the 24th, the Twenty-seventh Pennsylvania and Seventy-third Ohio, a section of artillery and a squadron of cavalry, all under Colonel Bushbeck, were ordered on a reconnaissance. At Bristoe Station, the rebel guard was captured. Finding a notice posted ordering rebel conscripts to assemble in a neighboring village on that evening, companies A and B were detailed to receive them; but only succeeded in capturing eight, the rest failing to appear. The next morning the rebel train approached within a quarter mile of the station, but the engineer perceiving that the place had fallen into other hands, hastily returned.
On the 26th of October the Twenty-seventh was attached to the First Brigade3 of the Second Division, Colonel Bushbeck being placed in command. For two years it had shared the fate of this brigade, to which it was originally attached. Upon its departure General Stahel expressed his regret for its loss, and paid a flattering tribute to its conduct in field and camp while under his command, and on leaving Centreville the whole brigade was drawn up in line, cheering heartily as the regiment passed by. Joining the Second Division, at Fairfax Court House, after a few days delay, it marched through Centreville, New Baltimore, Haymarket, Gainesville, to Thoroughfare Gap, where it encamped. Here an election was held for Major, to supply the vacancy occasioned by the resignation of John N. Lang, resulting in the choice of Captain Peter A. M'Aloon, of company K.
In the meantime General Burnside had assumed command of the army of the Potomac, and in the re-organization which ensued, the Twenty-seventh was attached to the Eleventh Corps. General Sigel was appointed to the command of the reserve division, consisting of the Eleventh and Twelfth Corps, and General Stahel to the command of the Eleventh Corps.
Remaining at Thoroughfare Gap until November 17th, the regiment fell back to the neighborhood of Germantown, where it went into winter quarters, but on the 5th of December it was ordered to move to Hibernia Hill, beyond Fairfax Court House. Here details were made from the regiment to build corduroy roads, which were continued till the 8th, when it marched in the direction of Fredericksburg. Passing through Dumfries and Stafford Court House, it arrived on the evening of the 15th at Falmouth.
Remaining in this vicinity, drilling and doing picket duty until the 13th of January, it was ordered to United States ford, where it was detailed to build a road above the ford, and to clear away the neighboring hills for planting batteries. Engaged in this duty until the 17th, it was, on that day, ordered to accompany the pontoon train to Bank's ford; but rain and night both setting in, and the road being obstructed by the artillery, advancing from an opposite direction, the column was unable to reach its destination, and morning found pontoon train, artillery and troops ingloriously stuck in the mud. For two days, in the midst of driving snow and rain, without shelter and with scarcely any fire, the men toiled in extricating the pontoons.
During the first night no fire was allowed, and the clothing of the men, which had become thoroughly drenched, was frozen stiff. Returning again to Falmouth on the 23d, the regiment went into winter quarters, but only remained till the 5th of February, when it was ordered to Stafford Court House, where the corps was encamped.
In the meantime General Burnside had been superseded in the command of the army of the Potomac by General Hooker, and by the middle of April, was opening the campaign of Chancellorsville.
On the 15th the brigade was ordered to Kelly's ford, where it arrived on the following day and encamped in the woods near by. Here it remained guarding the ford till the 28th, when the Fifth, Eleventh and Twelfth Corps arrived.
On the night of the 29th, the Twenty-seventh and the Seventy-third Pennsylvania Regiments crossed the river on pontoons, routed the enemy stationed on the opposite bank, advanced some distance and remained out all night on the skirmish line. During the night and following day the rest of the army crossed, the two regiments first over remaining at the ford till all had passed, and following up and joining the army at Germania mills.
Here the Twenty-seventh crossed the Rapidan, and, after a brief respite, continued the march, reaching Dodd's tavern, near the Wilderness, late at night. Taking position early in the morning the men were ordered to throw up breast-works. On the 1st of May the enemy felt the line heavily, but did not succeed in breaking it. The regiment remained out during the following night on the skirmish line, and was relieved in the morning by the One Hundred and Fifty-fourth New York.
The Second Brigade was, on the 2d of May, detached and ordered to the support of the Third Corps, under Sickles. In the afternoon the enemy succeeded in turning the right flank of the First and Third Divisions of the corps, and attacked in overwhelming numbers under Stonewall Jackson, driving them in the direction of Colonel Bushbeck's brigade, now numbering but fifteen hundred muskets. Immediately on discovering the condition of affairs, he ordered the Twenty-ninth New York and the Twenty-seventh Pennsylvania to advance. Both went forward in gallant style and heroically endeavored to check the enemy's fierce onset, but in vain.
The enemy literally swarmed on every side. After losing half their number, the two regiments were forced to retire, but contested every step of ground till they reached the Chancellor House,5 where the corps re-formed and remained for the night. At ten o'clock on the same night the rebels made another furious assault upon the position held by Sickles and Pleasanton, and for nearly two hours made desperate attempts to break their lines, but were repeatedly repulsed with great slaughter and shortly before midnight sullenly retired.
On the following morning, Sunday, May 3d, the Twenty-seventh took position along a line of breast-works, leading to United States ford; but beyond an occasional skirmish it was not engaged, though the battle raged heavily on the right throughout the entire day. On the 6th the retreat of Hooker's army commenced, and on the 7th the regiment arrived at its old camp ground, near Stafford Court House.
The rebel leader, now rejoicing in his strength, determined to assume the offensive, and commenced, early in June, his movement on Pennsylvania. On the 12th of June the Eleventh Corps marched through Virginia to Edwards' Ferry, where it crossed the Potomac and moved through Maryland to Emmittsburg, halting for a day. During the march the Eleventh Corps had been in the advance, but at this point the First Corps pushed ahead. The entire movement had been rapid, the men suffering greatly from heat, many of them foot-sore.
On the 1st of July the corps was ordered to march in quick time to Gettysburg. On the way the sad intelligence of the fall of General Reynolds, then in chief command at the front, was received. Pushing forward more rapidly, it arrived in the village shortly after noon, and the Twenty-seventh Regiment was ordered to take possession of the jail, church, and school building at one end of the town and make preparations to defend the entrance from that direction.
The First and Third Divisions, in position to the north of the town, being engaged and already hard pressed, the First Brigade, now under command of Colonel Costar, of the One Hundred and Thirty-fourth New York, was ordered forward to their support. Hastening through the town at a double quick, the Twenty-seventh went into position near a brick kiln, with the One Hundred and Thirty-fourth New York on the left. In deploying the latter regiment moved too far to the right, leaving a gap between it and the next regiment to the left, the One Hundred and Fifty-fourth New York.
On perceiving this, Lieutenant Colonel Cantador ordered the second battalion of the Twenty-seventh to be thrown into the gap, but, owing to the din and confusion of the battle, the order was only partially executed, and but about fifty men under Lieutenant Vogelbach reached the position. In moving they were obliged to cross an open field that was swept by the fire of Early's advancing troops, from which they suffered severely. These three small regiments fought desperately to hold their line, and until both flanks were turned, when they slowly retired, fighting their way to Cemetery Hill. Lieutenant Vogelbach, with a part of the Twenty-seventh and the One Hundred and Fifty-fourth New York entire, failing to perceive, until too late, that the brigade had fallen back, attempted to re-join it, but found themselves entirely cut off, the rebels being in advance of them pursuing our retreating column into town. This fragment of the Twenty-seventh, however, attempted to cut its way through, when Lieutenant Vogelbach was shot down, and the men, being without a leader, and entirely surrounded, were forced to submit to be taken prisoners.
The remainder of the regiment had forced its way back to Cemetery Hill, and was posted behind the stone walls to the left of the Baltimore pike. On the evening of the 2d, the enemy made a desperate assault on that part of the line, and attempted to take the battery which it was supporting. As the rebels were advancing to the attack, a mounted man in the national uniform, representing himself as a staff officer, rode up and ordered the regiment to fall back some distance to a wall in the rear. The order was given, but the greater part of the men refused to retire. The pretended officer discovering that his order was not obeyed, leaped the wall and galloped away towards Gettysburg, evidently a rebel in disguise. On seeing this, the men who had obeyed the order and fallen back, advanced again to their old position, where their comrades were engaged.
The enemy, in heavy force, rushed forward with the confidence of assured victory, and succeeded in crossing the wall, but could not drive our men from it. The conflict here was a desperate hand to hand encounter, the men clubbing their muskets, and the artillerymen their rammers. The rebels were at length forced back, leaving two regimental colors, and a number of prisoners. Here the brave Lieutenant Briggs, the Adjutant of the regiment, while in the very act of cheering on the men, was killed.
On the 3d of July the regiment continued in position on Cemetery Hill, with the exception of a short time, when ordered to the assistance of a corps momentarily overpowered, and was for three hours exposed to a terrific artillery fire. During the night, Lieutenant Hannappel, of company K, pushed into the outskirts of the town, and on the morning of the 4th, the Twenty-seventh was among the first to enter Gettysburg, to the great joy of the inhabitants.
What a morning was that for the people of this beleaguered town! For three wearisome days of battle had they with bated breath awaited the issue of the conflict. In the grey dawn, they beheld with uncontrollable gladness the soldiers of the national army advancing on all their streets!
Following up the enemy in his retreat, skirmishing ensued with his rear at Hagerstown and Funkstown. The loss of the regiment in this battle was two officers and twenty-two men killed, three officers and sixty-five men wounded, and one officer and forty-four men missing.
The rebels having made good their retreat across the Potomac, hastened up the Shenandoah valley, while Meade retraced his steps through Lovettsville, Union, Upperville, and Salem, to Warrenton, holding the old line of the Rappahannock. Two months succeeding the battle of Gettysburg was a period of great activity with the cavalry, the infantry being little engaged.
On the 14th of 1863 September, while encamped at Greenwich, Virginia, one hundred and seventy conscripts were sent to the regiment. In the absence of Lieutenant Colonel Cantador, it was at this time commanded by Major M'Aloon. Moving from Greenwich to Catlett's Station, it remained till near the close of September, when it was ordered to Washington, and the Eleventh and Twelfth Corps, under command of General Hooker, were dispatched by rail to Nashville, to the support of Rosecrans, occupying a precarious position at Chattanooga. An army of twenty thousand men with all its trains and material, was taken up at Washington, and in eight days set down at Nashville, in condition for effective service.
On the 24th of October, 1863, the regiment was stationed at Bridgeport, Alabama. On the 28th, in pursuance of orders, it marched along the Cumberland river towards Chattanooga. On the 29th, the enemy was encountered in the vicinity of Wauhatchie creek, and soon driven back across the stream. As the column passed Lookout Mountain, it was continually fired upon by the rebels posted on its summit, but without effect. The command encamped for the night near the river, having opened communication with Chattanooga.
Shortly after midnight, it was aroused by the sound of heavy firing in the rear, and was ordered to the support of General Geary, who had been attacked. Moving at double quick time, the enemy was soon encountered, posted on a high, steep hill. The Seventy-third Ohio, and Thirty-third Massachusetts were ordered to storm the heights, and after three unsuccessful attempts, they at last succeeded in driving the enemy from his position. As the final charge was made, the Twenty-seventh advanced on their left and captured some prisoners. In the morning, breast-works were thrown, up, which were shelled by the rebels on Lookout Mountain. The line was gradually pushed forward towards the mountain, till it reached to the creek, and was daily shelled by the rebels, but with little effect. Notice of the resignation of Lieutenant Colonel Cantador was received while here, and Major M'Aloon was appointed to succeed him, Captain Reidt, of company C, being promoted to the Majority.
Taking up the line of march on the 22d of November, and crossing the river twice on the way, the brigade arrived at Chattanooga the same evening, and encamped for the night. On the following day, leaving knapsacks and tents in camp, and taking only overcoats and haversacks, it marched a short distance beyond the town and took position in line of battle, already formed. The skirmishers soon became engaged, and drove the enemy, capturing a number of prisoners. The Thirty-third New York having been driven back, a part of the Twenty-seventh Regiment was ordered to its support, relieving it, and remaining out all night on the skirmish line.
In the morning, as the skirmishers were being relieved, the rebels opened fire on them. Immediately re-forming, they again advanced, and out-flanking the assailants, took some prisoners. On the same evening, the regiment moved to the left, along the river, and joined Sherman's forces, then advancing towards Mission Ridge. The Seventy-third Pennsylvania held the right of the brigade facing the ridge, the Twenty-seventh the left. The entire ridge was covered with breast-works, well supplied with guns. Sherman, away to the left, was attempting to storm the mountain in his front. Shortly after noon, the Seventy-third advanced from the wood where it had been stationed, to the foot of the ridge and took possession of two blockhouses. It was soon actively engaged, the rebels attempting to dislodge it.
Companies A and B, of the Twenty-seventh, were ordered to its support, and advanced gallantly. The rest of the regiment led by Lieutenant Colonel M'Aloon, followed, charging up the ridge to the left of the Seventy-third, and were joined on the way by the two detached companies. In the face of a hot fire of infantry and artillery, the column marched forward and without firing a shot drove the enemy behind his last line of breast-works and to within a few paces of his battery. Too much exhausted by the charge up the rugged face of the ridge to seize their advantage in time, the enemy rallied and was reinforced.
For two hours this position was held, and until every cartridge had been used, the right flank of the regiment turned, and two-thirds of its number either killed or wounded; then, and not till then, was it forced to fall back. 6 The brave Lieutenant Colonel M'Aloon was carried off the field with five wounds, from the effects of which he died on the 7th of December, 1863. He was succeeded in command by Major Beidt The regiment advanced to the charge two hundred and forty strong. Of this number, one officer and forty-five men were killed, and six officers and eighty men wounded.
On the 26th of November the regiment started in pursuit and subsequently made a long and wearisome march under Sherman, to the relief of Burnside at Knoxville, beleaguered by Longstreet. On the 13th of December it returned to the neighborhood of Chattanooga. The sufferings of the men in this mid-winter march, without shelter or blankets, were intense. Having been ordered to leave their tents and knapsacks in camp before going into battle, they had been put upon the march without being allowed the opportunity of obtaining them. During the remainder of the winter the regiment continued in camp near Lookout Mountain.
In the re-organization of the army which ensued, the Eleventh and Twelfth Corps were consolidated, forming the Twentieth, under command of General Hooker. The Twenty-seventh regiment was attached to the First Brigade of Geary's Division.
On the 4th of May, 1864, an order was received to march. This had not been anticipated, and was the occasion of much ill feelings The men had expected to be mustered out of service on the 5th of May, the day on which their services had been accepted, and from which they had received pay, and they were indisposed to assert by violence what they had thought to be their rights; but a fair statement of their case by the commanding general of the division, caused better counsels to prevail. Falling into column as the army marched out, they shared in the honor as well as the hardships of that grand campaign on Atlanta, the blow which burst the bubble known as the Southern Confederacy.
At Rocky Face, Dug Gap, Resaca and Dallas they fought with their accustomed bravery. At Dallas, on the 25ath of May, their term having now fully expired, they received orders to proceed to Philadelphia to be mustered out of service. Arriving on the 31st of May, they were paid and received their final discharge on the 11th of June, 1864, having been absent three years, and in the service three years and two months.
At their muster out they numbered three hundred and thirty-six officers and men. Of the officers who went out with the regiment, but one, a First Lieutenant, returned with it, now a Lieutenant Colonel in command of the regiment; all of the other officers had been promoted from the ranks. Its original strength was one thousand and forty-six, and it received, at various times, recruits and conscripts to the number of three hundred. Company F, numbering one hundred men, was detached for special duty at Washington, early in the war and never again returned. Company G, having about eighty men, was transferred to the Sixty-ninth Pennsylvania. One hundred and fifty officers and men were killed in battle. Two hundred and fifty died from disease and wounds. Four hundred were wounded in action. One hundred and fifty (mostly conscripts) deserted; and two hundred and eighty were discharged for disability.
In June, 1866, the regiment was temporarily re-organized under the command of Captain Vogelbach of Company B, and participated in the ceremonies incident to the return of the flags to the Governor of the State, on the 4th of July. The old flag, with the names of the battles inscribed, was borne in the column by the remnants of a once strong regiment, and delivered to the Chief Executive, from whose hands they had received it.
Source: Bates, Samuel P. History of the Pennsylvania
Volunteers, 1861-65, Harrisburg, 1868-1871.