Field & Staff---Unassigned---Band
Howe Avenue, south east of Big Round Top
49th Penna. Infantry
Organized at Lewistown and Harrisburg September, 1861. Left State for Washington, D.C., September 22, 1861. Attached to Hancock's Brigade, W. F. Smith's Division, Army Potomac, to March, 1862. 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 4th Army Corps, Army Potomac, to May, 1862. 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 6th Army Corps, Army Potomac, to February, 1863. 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, 6th Army Corps, to July, 1864. 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, 6th Army Corps, Army Shenandoah, to August, 1864. Reserve Division, Dept. West Virginia, to September, 1864. 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, 6th Army Corps, Army Shenandoah, to December, 1864, and Army Potomac, to July, 1865.
SERVICE.--Duty near Lewinsville, Va., Defenses of Washington, D.C., until March, 1862. Advance on Manassas, Va., March 10-15. Return to Alexandria and embark for the Virginia Peninsula. Siege of Yorktown April 5-May 4. Lee's Mills, Burnt Chimneys, April 16. Battle of Williamsburg May 5. Pursuit to the Chickahominy River and picket duty until June 25. Seven days before Richmond June 25-July 1. Garnett's Farm June 27. Golding's Farm June 28. Savage Station June 29. White Oak Swamp Bridge June 30. Malvern Hill July 1. At Harrison's Landing until August 16. Movement to Centreville August 16-27. In works at Centreville August 27-31. Assist in checking Pope's rout at Bull Run August 30, and cover retreat to Fairfax C. H. August 31-September 1. Maryland Campaign September 6-24. Sugar Loaf Mountain September 10-11. Crampton's Pass, South Mountain, September 14. Battle of Antietam September 16-17. Duty in Maryland until October 29. Movement to Falmouth, Va., October 29-November 19. Battle of Fredericksburg, Va., December 12-15. Consolidated to four Companies January 9, 1863. "Mud March" January 20-24. At White Oak Church until April 27. Chancellorsville Campaign April 27-May 6. Operations at Franklin's Crossing April 29-May 2. Bernard House April 29. Maryes Heights, Fredericksburg, May 3. Salem Heights May 3-4. Banks' Ford May 4. At White Oak Church until June 6. Deep Run Ravine June 6-13. Battle of Gettysburg, Pa., July 2-4. At and near Funkstown, Md., July 10-13. Duty on line of the Rappahannock until October. Bristoe Campaign October 9-22. Advance to line of the Rappahannock November 7-8. Rappahannock Station November 7. Mine Run Campaign November 26-December 2. Duty at Hazel River until May, 1864. Rapidan Campaign May 4-June 13. Battles of the Wilderness May 5-7; Spottsylvania May 8-12; Spottsylvania C. H. May 12-21. Assault on the Salient May 12. North Anna River May 23-26. On line of the Pamunkey May 26-28. Totopotomoy May 28-31. Cold Harbor May 31-June 12. Before Petersburg June 17-19. Siege of Petersburg June 17-July 9. Jerusalem Plank Road, Weldon Railroad, June 22-23. Moved to Washington, D.C., July 9-11. Repulse of Early's attack on Washington July 12-13. Pursuit of Early July 14-18. Sheridan's Shenandoah Valley Campaign August to December. Battle of Opequan, Winchester, September 19. Guard duty at Winchester until October 29, and in the valley until December 1. Ordered to Petersburg, Va. Siege operations against Petersburg December, 1864, to April, 1865. Dabney's Mills, Hatcher's Run, February 5-7, 1865. Appomattox Campaign March 28-April 9. Assault on and fall of Petersburg April 2. Sailor's Creek April 6. Detached to escort prisoners April 6. March to Danville April 23-29, and duty there until May 23. Moved to Richmond, Va., thence to Washington, D.C. Corps Review June 8. Duty at Hall's Hill until July 15. Mustered out July 15, 1865.
Regiment lost during service 9 Officers and 184 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 168 Enlisted men by disease. Total 361.
At Camp Curtin on 14th of September, 1861, the Forty-ninth Regiment was organized by the choice of the following officers:Recruitment for the companies took place in:
- William H. Irwin, of Mifflin county, Colonel
- William Brisbane, of Luzerne county, Lieutenant Colonel
- Thomas M. Hulings, of Mifflin county, Major.
- Company A - Centre county
- Company B - Chester county
- Company C - Huntingdon county
- Company D - Huntingdon county
- Company E - Mifflin county
- Company F - Chester county
- Company G - Centre county
- Company H - Mifflin county
- Company I - Juniata county
- Company K - Mifflin county
Colonel Irwin had commanded the Seventh Regiment in the three months' service, and a considerable number of both officers and men had likewise served in the three months' campaign.
The State colors were presented by Governor Curtin on the 14th of September, with appropriate ceremonies, and on the 22d it moved to Washington, where it was assigned to Hancock's Brigade of Smith's Division.*
The division encamped in line with the Army of the Potomac, the Forty-ninth resting near Lewinsville, where it remained until the middle of March, 1862, and was drilled in all the elements of light infantry tactics, from the first position of a soldier to evolutions of the line. Guard and picket were the principal active duties performed during all this period, with the exception of a reconnaissance to Hunter's Mills, which was accomplished without loss.
On the 10th of March, the regiment broke camp and marched with the army towards Manassas, whence, after some delay, wherein it was ascertained that the enemy had retreated from his strong holds and was unwilling to risk a battle, it marched to Alexandria. On the 24th it embarked upon transports, and on the 26th landed at Newport News. Here it immediately formed and marched towards Yorktown, before which it encamped on the 1st of April, and was engaged on the left bank of Warwick River, in doing picket duty, digging riflepits, and building corduroy road until May 4th. On this day a general forward movement commenced, Stoneman with the cavalry leading the way.
The enemy was encountered near Williamsburg, posted in a line of forts stretching across the Peninsula. Fort Magruder, the principal defence being located on the right of the Williamsburg Road. Smith's Division arrived in front of this fort at sundown, and formed in line of battle, the Forty-ninth on the right. Hooker, on the left, attacked on the following morning. At ten A. M., Hancock's Brigade was ordered to move upon the enemy's left flank. Reaching the position designated, the line was formed in an open field, the Fifth Wisconsin on the right, the Sixth Maine in the centre, the Forty-ninth Pennsylvania on the left, with the Forty-third New York deployed as skirmishers in the woods on the left.
The enemy's skirmishers were soon driven in, and the line advanced to within twelve hundred yards of Fort Magruder, when he opened with his artillery, and the men dropped upon the ground to avoid his shells. Failing to drive Hancock with his guns, he sent forward Early's Brigade, which advanced under cover of a strip of timber on the right, until it had reached, undiscovered, a point within three hundred yards of Hancock's line where it was deployed. At this juncture Hancock gave the order "Retreat by alternate battalions!" Retiring about one hundred yards, the enemy following close, yelling and firing as he came, the brigade suddenly halted, faced to the front and opened fire. A few deliberate and well directed volleys soon checked his impetuous advance, when Hancock gave the order to charge, and Early's noisy columns were quickly scattered, leaving his dead and wounded in the hands of the victors. The loss of the regiment was slight, the enemy's balls generally passing harmless over head."As the smoke raised," says Adjutant Hilands, "we saw our first fruits of killing rebels". For three or four hundred yards in our front, the ground appeared to be covered with dead; but soon many of them jumped up and ran towards us. Nearly three hundred gave themselves up as prisoners. To get out of the fight, safely, they had lain down among the dead and wounded, or as the boys said, 'played off.'
The brigade remained on the field during the night, and at day-light the next morning it was found that the enemy had fled. Colonel Irwin received the thanks of Generals Hancock and M'Clellan on the field, the latter saying, "Colonel, I thank you for the magnificent conduct of your regiment; no men could have done better."After a few days' delay the regiment marched with the brigade in pursuit of the enemy, and reached the Chickahominy on the 25th, encamping near New Bridge. Here it was employed in building bridges, digging rifle-pits, and on picket duty until the 5th of June, when it crossed the Chickahominy on Sumner's grape-vine bridge, and was again similarly employed. The enemy had now massed his troops on the left bank of the river, and was fighting his heavy battles there, while a thin line under Magruder was keeping up a, noisy demonstration in front of our lines on the right bank.
Here the Forty-ninth was posted early in the day of the 27th on Garnett's Hill, and was under a continuous fire of artillery until sundown, when his infantry advanced to the attack, and after a half hour's action retired. At ten P. M., the brigade was relieved and moved to Golding's Farm, where, on the 28th, it was again in action. The loss in the two days' fighting was ten killed and twenty-three wounded.On the 29th the brigade marched to Savage Station, and formed in line on the right of the York River Railroad, the Forty-ninth on the left of the brigade. The enemy attacked at sundown with much spirit, but was signally repulsed. At night the brigade marched across White Oak Swamp, and during the following day was under fire, but not actively engaged. During the night of the 30th it moved to Malvern Hill, and formed on the right of the army, but was not called into action. The army moved to Harrison's Landing on the following day, and while encamped here the regiment suffered much from sickness, at least sixty per cent. being on the sick list.
On the 16th of August, the regiment marched via Charles City Court House, Williamsburg, Big Bethel and Hampton, to Fortress Monroe, where, on the 23d, it embarked upon transports and moved to Alexandria, encamping near Fairfax Seminary, with orders to be ready to march at a moment's notice. At daylight, on the 27th, it started with three days' cooked rations, and after a march of six miles encamped at Annandale. It was now attached to Franklin's Corps, which proceeded from Annandale to Centreville, where the defeated forces of Pope were met in full retreat. The corps remained in the works at Centreville until the night of August 31st, when it moved out to Fairfax Court House, and thence, on the following day, to Fairfax Seminary, where the regiment remained several days in camp.On the 5th of September it started on the campaign in Maryland. By easy marches it moved forward, and came up with the enemy on the 14th at Crampton's Gap, where, after a severe engagement, he was routed, and the column passed through. Until daylight on the morning of the 17th, it lay in Pleasant Valley, when it marched to Antietam Creek, which it crossed in rear of the right of the army, and was immediately ordered to the front on the double quick, the division relieving General Sumner. Hancock's Brigade was on the right of the line, the regiment on the right of the brigade, and was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Brisbane, Colonel Irwin having been placed in command of the Second Brigade of Smith's Division.
After getting into position, the regiment was much annoyed by the enemy's fire, and lost several men killed and wounded without being brought to close quarters, having received positive orders to hold the line which it then occupied. General Hancock had said before reaching the field, that this would be the last fight, as it was to be the battle of the war; yet the brigade, was kept from advancing, and did not fire a shot in all the Battle of Antietam. During the 18th the regiment still remained in position under orders to hold the ground at all hazards. On the following morning it was found that the enemy had escaped. The army immediately moved forward to the banks of the Potomac, when the campaign was ended, and the weary troops rested.On the 10th of October the regiment marched to Cunningham's Cross Roads to intercept the rebel cavalry under Stuart, in their ride to Chambersburg, by the rear of the army; but the chase was fruitless. From Maryland the regiment marched via White Plains, Warrenton, Catlett's Station, and Stafford Court House to Belle Plain, where it remained until the battle of Fredericksburg.
On the 13th of December it crossed the Rappahannock on pontoons near Deep Run, and was in position in support of batteries on the right of Franklin's Grand Division, and under fire during the day, but not engaged. On the 16th it re-crossed the river, and encamped near White Oak Church, thus ending the campaign of 1862.On the 9th of January, 1863, the regiment was consolidated in four companies by special order of the War Department and Colonel Irwin, Major Miles, and such company and non-commissioned officers as were not needed to fill the four companies, were ordered on recruiting service. Lieutenant Colonel Thomas M. Hulings was left in command, under whom it participated in the hardships and glories of the "Mud March."
Upon the accession of Major General Hooker to the chief command, a complete re-organization of the army was made, in which the brigade to which the Forty-ninth belonged, and which had been commanded till the battle of Antietam by General Hancock, was placed in the Third Brigade of the First Division of the Sixth Corps, General David A. Russell in command of the brigade, General Brooks of the division, and General Sedgwick of the Corps. In this position the regiment remained until its muster out of service.Colonel Irwin returned on the 10th of April and resumed command of the regiment, now restored to its pristine strength, and on the 28th it broke camp and marched to the Rappahannock, opposite Fredericksburg. On the previous day Hooker had marched with three corps by way of the upper fords to Chancellorsville, three corps under Sedgwick being left to make a demonstration below.
On the morning of the 29th the pontoon boats were carried noiselessly upon the backs of the men to the bank of the stream, and Russell's Brigade was embarked for its passage. When half way over, the enemy opened fire. Colonel Irwin was wounded, Captain Freeburn mortally; two privates were killed and eight wounded. But the men pushed resolutely across, and held the enemy at bay until the bridge was laid and the troops began to follow.The enemy was driven back to the hills in rear of Fredericksburg, and believing this to be the real point of attack fell to fortifying. On the 30th the regiment was relieved from the front, and moved to the bank of the river, where it lay under cover until the 3d of May, when it was again ordered forward, and took position on the plain east of Fredericksburg. It was here for three hours under a heavy artillery fire. At noon it marched through Fredericksburg, and by the plank road to Fairview Farm. At dusk it was deployed as skirmishers, and re-took the line from which part of the division had been repulsed.
On the following day it remained on the skirmish line near Salem Church, and repulsed two attacks of the enemy's skirmishers. At dusk he made a furious onslaught, with vastly superior numbers, and the line was ordered to fall back to Bank's Ford, where a new line was taken up and his further advance checked.The regiment retired with but small loss in wounded and missing, and recrossed the river on the morning of the 5th, returning on the 8th to its old camp at White Oak Church, where it remained until the 6th of June.The rebel army was now moving for the invasion of Pennsylvania, though his plans were, as yet, unknown to the Union commander. On the 7th the regiment crossed to the south bank of the Rappahannock upon pontoons, and occupied rifle-pits below Deep Run. Here the division was held in support of the cavalry, which was heavily engaged for the purpose of unmasking the enemy's designs.
Re-crossing the river on the 11th, the Sixth Corps started on the Gettysburg campaign. For two weeks the Army of the Potomac moved leisurely, watching closely the movements of the rebel chieftain, prepared to checkmate him in any enterprise he should undertake, our cavalry under Pleasanton, in the meantime, handling roughly the rebel cavalry at the Rappahannock and at Aldie. The weather was excessively hot, and many suffered from sunstroke while on the march.Passing through Dumfries and Fairfax Station, and crossing the Potomac at Edwards' Ferry, the corps arrived in the neighborhood of Westminster on the 30th. Measures had been adopted for concentrating the army on the line of Pipe Creek, and thus throwing it across the path of Lee, already at Chambersburg. But on the evening of the 1st of July an order was received to move with all possible dispatch to Gettysburg. At daylight of the 2d the regiment moved out at quick-step for the battle-field. At two P. M. it arrived on the field, and immediately marched to the front, where it supported the Fifth Corps.
Early on the morning of the 3d, Brooks' Division was ordered to form in line of battle on the left of the army, and perpendicular to the main line extending across Round Top, for the purpose of insuring the safety of the left flank. Russell's Brigade was posted on the left of the line, the Forty-ninth on the right and in front, with its right resting on the Taneytown road. At three P. M. the division was ordered to the support of the Fifth Corps, and formed to the right of Round Top; but the enemy had now been repulsed and driven back at all points, and the battle was at an end.The regiment suffered no loss, though under a heavy artillery fire during the afternoon of the3d. At dawn of the 4th, company A was sent out as skirmishers, and lay all day near the Devil's Den, in front of Round Top.
On the 5th the pursuit of the enemy commenced, and a slight skirmish at evening occurred with his rear guard near Fairfield. Passing Emmettsburg and Mechanicstown, the regiment reached the foot of the Cotocton Mountain at dusk of the 7th. The main road was given up to the artillery, and the infantry crossed by a by-road. The night was dark and the rain descended in torrents. The men were worn out and faint with fasting, and many were shoeless, the sharp stones inflicting severe wounds as they wended their way up the rugged mountain in the impenetrable darkness. Many straggled by the way, and upon the summit the column halted for them to come up. At Middletown the regiment drew rations and shoes, and was allowed one full night's rest.Near Antietam Creek, on the 12th of July, the Forty-ninth was deployed as skirmishers, and drove the enemy back to his main line, having one officer wounded. Remaining in line, in hourly expectation of being ordered to the attack, until the 14th, the discovery was made that the enemy had escaped and the campaign was at an end.
In the following campaign, in which Meade advanced to the Rapidan, and thence retreated to Centreville, the Forty-ninth participated, performing long and wearisome marches, and picket duty, repairing roads, loosing three men near Culpepper by guerrillas, but without engaging the enemy. Meade having won the race to Centreville, faced about his columns and commenced pushing the enemy again towards the Rapidan. He was first encountered at Rappahannock Station, where he had strongly fortified the north bank of the river covering his pontoon bridge, which was held by Hayes' Louisiana and Hoke's North Carolina brigades, Lee with Early's Division being just across the river.On the morning of the 7th of November, the Sixth Corps marched from Warrenton, and at noon reached a point within two miles of Rappahannock Station. Skirmishers were sent forward who drove the enemy in upon his main line, which occupied two redoubts flanked by rifle-pits. Russell's Brigade, now commanded by Colonel Ellmaker, was selected to storm and take the works. At sundown the line was formed, the Fifth Wisconsin on the right, the Forty-ninth and One Hundred and Nineteenth Pennsylvania on the centre and left, and the Sixth Maine deployed as skirmishers, and advanced to within a half mile of the enemy's works. From this point forward the ground was nearly level, and was swept by his guns.
At the word "forward," General Russell leading, the line swept on at a run, passed the ditch and the moat, scaled the ridge and carried his works at the point of the bayonet. After being driven from his works the enemy attempted to escape across his pontoon bridge; but so hot a musketry fire was poured upon it, that it was soon cleared, and he threw down his arms and surrendered. The brigade numbered but thirteen hundred effective men.
"The enemy," says General Sedgwick in his conglatutory order, "was attacked in an intrenched position of great strength, in enclosed works defended by artillery and infantry, and compelled to surrender after a sharp conflict, to an assaulting column actually inferior in numbers to the force defending the works. Four pieces of artillery, four caissons filled with ammunition, the enemy's pontoon bridge, eight battle flags, two thousand stand of arms, and sixteen hundred prisoners, including two brigade commanders and one hundred and thirty commissioned officers, are the fruits of the victory. * * * The Sixth Maine and Fifth Wisconsin, for carrying the redoubts, the One Hundred and Twenty-first New York, Fifth Maine, Forty-ninth and One Hundred and Nineteenth Pennsylvania Volunteers, for taking the line of rifle-pits with the bayonet, and seizing the enemy's bridge, deserve especial honor."In this engagement the regiment lost three killed and twenty-seven wounded. Among the latter were Captain Hutchinson and Lieutenant Stuart.
Moving forward to Hazel River, at a point near Brandy Station, the regiment encamped, remaining until the 26th. when, with the brigade, it crossed the Rapidan and was ordered to the front in support of the Third Corps at Locust Grove. While forming, a rebel shell burst in the ranks, wounding Captain Quigly and four men. The regiment marched and skirmished with the enemy until it reached Mine Run, where it was placed on the skirmish line and remained under fire during the two succeeding days. Having decided to abandon the offensive, Meade withdrew his army from the enemy's front, and on the 2d of December the regiment re-crossed the Rapidan at Germania Ford and marched to its old camp at Hazel Run.By order of the War Department, supernumary officers were mustered out of service on the 19th of November, and non-commissioned officers were ordered to re-join the regiment. Comfortable winter quarters were constructed, and preparations were commenced for the spring campaign. Two hundred and sixty of the men re-enlisted for a second term of three years, and were given a furlough of thirty-five days. In the meantime recruits and drafted men were secured for the regiment, which, with the veterans, brought its effective strength up to the minimum number.
Upon the resignation of Colonel Irwin, in October, Lieutenant Colonel Hulings was commissioned Colonel, Major John B. Miles Lieutenant Colonel, and Captain B. J. Hickman Major.During the fall and winter, the drafted men and recruits were daily drilled, when the weather would permit, inspections were regular and rigid, clothing and equipments were promptly issued as soon as needed, and rations were good and abundant. The regiment had a full compliment of field and line officers, and was as effective in discipline and numbers as any in the corps. During the month of April all surplus clothing, and camp and garrison equipage were sent away to Washington, and it stood in light marching order, ready for the campaign to open.
On the afternoon of May 3, 1864, the order came to march at four A. M., on the following morning. Crossing the Rapidan at Germania Ford, and proceeding a short distance on the plank road, it formed in line of battle parallel with. the road, and had advanced a quarter of a mile through shrub-oaks, stunted- pines, and towering green briars, alias the Wilderness, where it suddenly came upon the enemy, receiving his fire at less than thirty yards distance. The line wavered for an instant, but soon closed up, and poured in a well directed fire with good effect, breaking his line and occupying his ground. At night the men laid upon their arms. The loss was eleven killed, and twenty-three wounded. Of the latter was Lieutenant Lytle.Several alarms were raised during the night, and there was considerable firing on both sides, At daylight the brigade advanced a few yards and was soon again under fire. The enemy was driven back some distance, when breastworks were thrown up and the line was occasionally engaged during the entire day. The Sixth Corps now held the right of the Union line, the Forty-ninth on the left of the brigade joining the troops of the Fifth Corps.
At sundown the enemy made a furious attack on the extreme right of the corps, in force, and succeeded in turning its flank. But he was easily repulsed and soon after dark the firing ceased, the position being firmly held. So close were the lines that the conversation of the rebels could be distinctly heard.At midnight the corps moved off quietly by the left, and in rear of the Fifth Corps, and on the morning of the 7th was in position, awaiting attack, where it remained during the entire day; but it was only disturbed by occasional skirmish firing. At dark it again marched by the left flank towards Spottsylvania Court House, and at ten A. M., of the 8th, arrived near Laurel Hill, in rear of the Fifth Corps, and was immediately ordered to the front to the support of a portion of this corps, which was being hard pressed. Upon the sight of fresh troops the enemy retired, and the men lay on their arms in line during the night.
On the 9th the corps moved farther to the, left, and here, at the front, selecting the position to be occupied, General Sedgwick was killed. General Wright succeeded him; General Russell, the commander of the brigade, was placed in command of the division, and General Aistis of the brigade.Upon gaining position in line, three of the companies were ordered to the skirmish line, where they remained during the day, suffering severely, the remainder of the regiment being, in the meantime, under a heavy artillery fire. At six oclock, P. M., the division packed knapsacks, preparatory to making a charge on the enemy's works. The column was silently formed in a wood within one hundred yards of the rebel line, under cover of a rise of ground, with a front of three regiments, four lines deep, with intervals of ten paces, the Forty-ninth on the right of the second line. At the sound of the bugle the whole column advanced upon the run. As it emerged from the woods, a sheet of fire burst from the enemy's rifle pits that swept it with terrible effect. Never faltering for an instant, it rushed on and carried the works, capturing nine hundred prisoners and several guns. But the enemy rallying in great force on front and flanks, it was forced to retire and to abandon its captures.
The return was even more terrible than the advance; for that open plain was swept by both infantry and artillery, and the enemy swarmed out on all sides, pouring in a concentrated and most destructive fire. Never were works more gallantly charged, nor more successfully carried; but, alas! at a fearful cost. Colonel Hulings, Lieutenant Colonel Miles, Captain Barr, Lieutenant Lytle, and sixty-one enlisted men were killed, and Captain Stuart, Lieutenants Thompson, Irvin, Russell, Downing, Adjutant A. T. Hilands, and one hundred and ninety-five enlisted men were wounded and missing. Knowing that the struggle would be desperate, Lieutenant Colonel Miles, at the moment of starting, requested of Adjutant Hilands, that if he was killed, his body should be sent to his friends, or decently buried, promising, if he survived, and the Adjutant fell, to perform the same sacred duty for him. But in that fatal hour it was doubtful if any escaped alive. The dead and wounded were left in the enemy's hands, and the spot where Colonels Rulings and Miles are buried, is unmarked and unknown. The Adjutant with a detail of men attempted, two days later, to secure the bodies under flag of truce; but the enemy would not permit their approach.Major Hickman now assumed command, and on the 12th moved off to the left, the division occupying a position on the right of the Second Corps, and at daylight engaged the enemy, near an angle in his works, to the right of Spottsylvania Court House. An incessant fire of musketry was kept up during the entire day. Many muskets were heated to such a degree as to be rendered useless, and those found upon the bodies of the dead and wounded were taken to supply their places. At night the enemy retired, and on the following morning his works were occupied by the Union forces.
The sight presented within was sickening to behold. So terrible had been the destruction of life, and so horribly were the dead torn and mangled, that it was ever after known as the slaughter-pen. The loss from the opening of the campaign on the 4th to the 14th, was three hundred and ninety-two killed, wounded and missing, leaving the effective strength but one hundred and thirty.In the operations of the army, until it reached Cold Harbor, the regiment participated. Here, on the 1st of June, it was in position, and stormed and carried the first line of the enemy's works, which was held for twelve days in face of his second line, but thirty yards distant. The loss was eight killed and twenty wounded. Among the latter were Captains A. W. Wakefield and A.B. Hutchison.
On the night of the 12th, while the rebels were vigorously shelling the Union lines from their mortars, just introduced in their service, the troops quietly withdrew, and marched to the James River. Here the regiment was engaged in laying pontoons, and after crossing, proceeded to the front, resting in rear of General Butler's works. After a few days' service on picket along the Appomattox, the brigade moved to the left of the army, and took position along the Jerusalem plank-road. On the 29th, it proceeded to Ream's Station, on the Weldon Railroad, and was employed in destroying the track and in breaking up the enemy's main line of supply.The rebel General Early, with twenty thousand men, having obtained the mastery of the Union forces in the Shenandoah Valley, and met and defeated Wallace in Maryland, was marching unchecked on Washington. The Sixth Corps, under General Wright, was ordered to its relief. Leaving the works in front of Petersburg on the 11th of July, the Forty-ninth embarked upon transports and on the following day landed at Washington.
Upon the arrival of the corps, Early hastily retreated, and Wright pursued. Passing through Poolesville, crossing the Potomac at Edwards' Ferry, and moving through Loudon Valley, and over the Blue Ridge, he came up with the enemy at the Shenandoah River. Crossing the stream, the regiment moved on to Berryville.The enemy continuing to retreat, Wright was ordered to return to Washington; but scarcely had he arrived in front of the Capital, when it was ascertained that Early had turned upon Crook, who had been left in command in the Shenandoah Valley, and had driven and dispersed his forces. Wright immediately faced about, and put his columns in motion towards Harper's Ferry, where he crossed the Potomac on the 29th.
On the 7th of August General Hunter resigned the command of the Middle Department, and was succeeded by Major General Philip H. Sheridan. Giving a few days to re-organizing his command, he moved forward, and on the 19th of September found the enemy strongly posted near Winchester. The line of battle was formed on the left of the Winchester pike, upon which the right of the brigade rested, the Forty-ninth holding the left of the brigade. The line advanced driving the enemy until it arrived within sight of the town, when he made a desperate stand, and succeeded in repulsing our troops on, the right and centre; but the First Division, which was in reserve, coming up quickly, held him at bay until the line could be re-formed.As soon as the new dispositions were completed, General Sheridan rode along the line from right to left, under a heavy fire, and as he passed each color he cried out, "Pitch in boys! we have them right now." When he reached the Forty-ninth, which was on the extreme left, the "advance" was sounded, and the troops, full of the spirit of their leader, did "pitch in," and did not halt until the enemy was in full retreat through Winchester.
"As the line came on the plain, east of Winchester," says Adjutant Hilands, "we on the left had a full view of the whole field, and a magnificent sight it was. The enemy's line was broken; his artillery, cavalry and infantry were in inextricable confusion, and having turned their backs were making fast time from the field, while off to the right was our own line, in perfect order, stretching away in the distance, steadily advancing in the bright sunlight, with colors, which looked more beautiful than ever, waving in triumph. It was worth three years' hard service to be a participant in the battle of Winchester, under the command of Phil. Sheridan."The loss in this engagement was eleven killed and thirty-eight wounded. Of the killed was Lieutenant Wallace, and of the wounded Captain Thompson, who lost his right arm, and Lieutenant Downing. In the heat of the engagement a shell burst near the top of the color staff, scattering to the winds the few remaining shreds of the flag.
Immediately after the battle, the brigade was detailed by General Sheridan to remain at Winchester as guard to the town, and to the prisoners who were taken. Subsequently a part of the regiment was sent to Martinsburg in charge of several hundred prisoners.On the 26th of October a new State flag was presented to the regiment with appropriate ceremonies. Three days later it marched to Cedar Creek, where it re-joined the corps, and on the 10th of November marched to Kernstown. Sheridan having routed and driven the rebel army from the Shenandoah Valley, the Sixth Corps was ordered to return to the trenches in front of Petersburg.
Upon its arrival on the 5th of December, the Forty-ninth went into winter quarters at Fort Wadsworth, at the point where the line of works crossed the Weldon Railroad. On the 13th of December it moved with the expedition to Hatcher's Run, but was not engaged, and again on the 25th of March, 1865, it marched with other troops to the relief of Fort Steadman, which by a sudden night assault had fallen into the hands of the enemy; but before it arrived upon the field, the fort had been re-taken by General Hartranft.On the 1st of April the regiment broke camp for its last campaign. During the day preparations were quietly made, and after nightfall it moved to the left, to the points where the column was forming to storm the enemy's works. At dawn the charge was made, and his lines were broken. That night Petersburg was evacuated, and the pursuit of the fleeing rebel army was commenced.
At a rapid rate the Sixth Corps moved to the Danville Railroad, to Jettersville, to Amelia Court House, and finally came up with the enemy at Little Sailor's Creek, where, with the cavalry, it attacked and routed Ewell's Corps, taking seven thousand prisoners, including Generals Ewell, Kershaw and Custis Lee. The loss in this engagement was seven, including Lieutenant Hackenberg killed, and Captain Wombacker wounded.
The Forty-ninth was here detailed to escort rebel prisoners to Appomattox Court House. Proceeding by Farmville, and New Store, it arrived on the 9th, when the rebel army, under Lee, surrendered. A rebel army, under Johnston, still held out in North Carolina, and that's where Grant faced his columns. In four days and four hours, the Forty-ninth marched one hundred miles, arriving on the 27th at Danville, near the northern border of North Carolina. Here it encamped and remained until the 23d of May.
In the meantime Johnston had surrendered, and the army, its mission accomplished, commenced its homeward march. Moving by easy stages, the regiment reached Richmond on the 19th, where it encamped, and on the 23d was reviewed by Major General Halleck. On June 2d it arrived at Hal's Hill, opposite Washington, where it remained until the 15th of July, when it was mustered out of service.
Source: Bates, Samuel P. History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-65, Harrisburg, 1868-1871.