(Click on picture for a larger one)
East Cemetery Hill. Gettysburg
July 2nd in the morning took position at
the Cemetery. At dusk moved hastily to
this position and in a severe contest
assisted in repulsing a desperate
assault on these Batteries.
Field & Staff---Unassigned
Organized at Philadelphia September 19, 1861. Left State for Washington, D.C., September 24. Attached to Steinwehr's Brigade, Blenker's Division, Army Potomac, to March,
SERVICE.--Duty in the Defenses of Washington, D.C., until March, 1862. Advance on Manassas, Va., March 10-15. Near Catlett's Station, Va., until April 6. Moved to Petersburg, W. Va., April 6-May 11. Operations in the Shenandoah Valley until June. Battle of Cross Keys June 8. Duty in the Shenandoah Valley and at Sperryville until August. Occupation of Luray July 22. Battle of Cedar Mountain August 9 (Reserve). Pope's Campaign in Northern Virginia August 16-September 2. Fords of the Rappahannock August 21-23. Sulphur Springs August 24. Gainesville August 28. Groveton August 30. Bull Run August 30. Duty in the Defenses of Washington, D.C., until November. Movement to Centreville November 1-19, thence to Fredericksburg December 9-16. "Mud March" January 20-24, 1863. At Stafford C. H. until April 27. 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. Guard duty along Orange & Alexandria Railroad until September. Movement to Bridgeport, Ala., September 24-October 3. Operations in Lookout Valley October 19-26. Reopening Tennessee River October 26-29. Battle of Wauhatchie, Tenn., October 28-29. Chattanooga-Ringgold Campaign November 23-27. Battles of Orchard Knob November 23; Tunnel Hill November 24-25. Mostly captured November 25 at Tunnel Hill. Duty in Lookout Valley until May, 1864. Atlanta (Ga.) Campaign May 1-September 8. 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. New Hope Church May 25. Operations on line of Pumpkin Vine Creek and battles about Dallas, New Hope Church and Allatoona Hills May 26-June 5. Operations about Marietta and against Kenesaw Mountain June 10-July 2. Pine Hill June 11-14. Lost Mountain June 15-17. Gilgal or Golgotha Church June 15. Muddy Creek June 17. Noyes Creek June 19. Kolb's Farm June 22. Assault on Kenesaw June 27. Ruff's Station or Smyrna Camp Ground July 4. Chattahoochie River July 5-17. Peach Tree Creek July 19-20. Siege of Atlanta July 22-August 25. Operations at Chattahoochie River Bridge August 26-September 2. Occupation of Atlanta September 2-November 15. Expedition to Tuckum's Cross Roads October 26-29. Near Atlanta November 9. March to the sea November 15-December 10. Siege of Savannah December 10-21. Campaign of the Carolinas January to April, 1865. Averysboro, N. C., March 16. Battle of Bentonville March 19-21. Occupation of Goldsboro March 24. Advance on Raleigh April 9-13. Occupation of Raleigh April 14. Bennett's House April 26. Surrender of Johnston and his army. March to Washington, D.C., via Richmond, Va., April 29-May 20. Grand Review May 24. Duty in the Defenses of Washington until July. Mustered out July 14, 1865.
Regiment lost during service 5 Officers and 98 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 113 Enlisted men by disease. Total 216.The Seventy-third Regiment, originally known as the Pennsylvania Legion, Forty-fifth of the line, was recruited in the city of Philadelphia, during the months of June and July, 1861. It was organized on the 3d of August by the choice of the following officers:
A considerable number of both officers and men had belonged to militia rifle companies existing in Philadelphia. A camp of rendezvous was established on Engle's and Wolf's farms at Lemon Hill.
- John A. Koltes, Colonel
- G. A. Muehleck, Lieutenant Colonel
- Leopold Schott, Major
- William Moore, Adjutant
On the 24th of September the regiment, fully armed and equipped, left Philadelphia, and proceeded via Washington to Roaches Mills, Virginia, where it was assigned to General Blenkern's Division. It was here largely employed in building forts, in which service General Blenker was eminent. Drill and discipline, when relief from fatigue duty permitted, was rigidly enforced.
About the middle of October it moved to the neighborhood of Hunter's Chapel, where a new camp was established. A few lays later it was pushed forward to Rose Hill, and placed upon the picket line.
On the 25th Ex-Governor Pollock presented the command with a set of colors in behalf of ladies of Philadelphia. The line of pickets was advanced soon afterwards to Annandale, with headquarters at Fitzhugh's Farm, and remained in this position until the 16th of November.
On the 15th of January, 1862, the altered Springfield muskets with which it was originally armed were exchanged for Austrian rifled muskets. It numbered at this time eight hundred and fifty-five rank and file.
On the 18th the State flags were presented to the Pennsylvania regiments of the brigade. The officers and color-guard of the Seventy-third alone were present upon the occasion, the rest of the regiment being out upon the picket line.
On the 3d of March three hundred and fifty men were added to its ranks, a part of what had been the Sixty-sixth Regiment, just then disbanded.
The regiment moved with the army, on the 10th of March, upon the campaign to Manassas. The most of the army soon turned back, and proceeded to the Peninsula. Blenker's Division remained, and the regiment was engaged in picket and outpost duty, occasionally meeting bands of the enemy.
After remaining in the neighborhood of Catlett's Station until the 6th of April, it returned through Warrenton and proceeded with the division to West Virginia, arriving at Petersburg on the 11th of May. The division was here reviewed by General Fremont, and was incorporated with the. army of the Mountain Department. The advance of this army under Milroy and Schenck having been defeated at M'Dowell by Stonewall Jackson, the balance of the command was moved hastily to Franklin to their support, arriving the day after the battle. For several days it was engaged in reconnoitring and fortifying the position, the men suffering greatly from hard marching and insufficiency of food.
On the 25th Fremont moved back to Petersburg, and proceeding via Moorefield, crossed the mountains into the Shenandoah Valley, but too late to intercept Jackson, who having defeated and driven Banks, was now hurriedly returning.
On the 8th of June, Fremont came up with the enemy at Cross Keyes, and a severe engagement ensued. The Seventy-third was held in reserve, and in the progress of the fight was moved from point to point of the line where most needed. Jackson retired across the Shenandoah River, burning the bridge after him, and Fremont returned to Strasburg. The latter was superseded in command of the army soon afterwards by General Sigel.
Until the 20th of July the regiment was engaged in picket and guard duty at Luray, Thornton's Gap, and Sperryville, when Sigel moved to the support of Banks who had been attacked and driven at Cedar Mountain. When Pope's army, composed of the commands of Sigel, Banks, and M'Dowell, began to fall back from the Rapidan, the Seventy-third was engaged with the rear guard in destroying bridges, kindling decoy fires, and in obstructing the roads to impede the progress of the enemy. In this retreat it was frequently under fire, and at Freeman's Ford where General Bohlen was killed, it was for two days engaged on the skirmish line.
The division arrived upon the plain of Manassas on the evening of the 28th of August. In the movements of that day Adjutant Henry Baners, while engaged in calling in the skirmishers, was captured. Early on the following morning the battle was opened, near the little village of Groveton, the corps of Heeintzelman, Sigel, and Reynolds being confronted by Jackson and Longstreet. The Seventy-third, with a battery, was early in the day sent forward to meet the enemy, taking position on the left of the Centreville Boad, near the stone house, and until four in the afternoon was warmly engaged. It was then relieved and ordered to a position near the bed of a railroad which had been graded but never completed.
The battle on the Union right was early renewed on the following day, and by three o'clock in the afternoon raged with great violence, the enemy following up every advantage, and sweeping the field with grape and canister. The brigade, commanded by Colonel Koltes, had till this hour been held in reserve. It was now ordered forward to check the enemy's impetuous advance. Before a shot was fired it was discovered that the rebels were already in its rear, and it was obliged to change front. Moving up the wooded side of a hill upon its flank, it soon opened upon their infantry. But their artillery, which had played upon it with frightful effect while making this movement, had thinned its ranks, and a portion of it had already retired.
Scarcely had the line of battle been formed when Captain Augustus Brueckner, acting Major, and in command of the regiment, was killed. The clouds of smoke were so dense that friend could with difficulty be distinguished from foe. Colonel Koltes, seeing the critical position of his command, rode to the centre of his own regiment, and while in the act of rallying his men, and apparently about to lead them in a charge, was struck by a shell and instantly killed. Rider and horse sank upon the ground together, and neither moved afterwards. Taking up the body of their leader the men fell back and formed in line with a regiment of regulars, but were soon compelled to leave the field altogether.
At night they bivouacked on Bull Run Creek, lying around the dead body of their Colonel, and on the following day reached the breast works in front of Centreville. The loss in this disastrous battle was nearly half of its effective strength, being two hundred and sixteen in killed and wounded. The body of Colonel Koltes was taken back to Washington, where it was embalmed and sent to Philadelphia for interment.
The regiment retired to the fortifications of Washington, where it remained until the beginning of winter. It was ordered to the front soon after the opening of the Fredericksburg campaign, and arrived at Falmouth just as the army, after its repulse, was retiring across the river. It went into winter quarters near Falmouth, where, with the exception of the few days engaged in Burnside's second campaign, it remained with the army inactive until spring.
On the 27th of January, 1863, Colonel Muehleck resigned, and Lieutenant Colonel William Moore was promoted to Colonel, Major Michael A. Strong to Lieutenant Colonel, and Captain David A. Shultz to Major. The regiment now formed part of the First Brigade1, Second Division of the Eleventh Corps.
The army having been completely re-organized by General Hooker, now in command, was reviewed on the 10th of April by President Lincoln, preparatory to entering upon the spring campaign.
On the 13th, preliminary to a general movement to Chancellorsville, the brigade was sent to Kelly's Ford with orders to hold the approaches, and prepare the roads leading to it. A detachment of two hundred and thirty men of the Seventy-third, under command of Captain D. F. Kelly, was sent on the 20th to Rappahannock Station and Beverly Ford.
On the 28th Colonel Moore received instructions to cross the river with his command in company with that of the One Hundred and Fifty-fourth New York, rout the enemy from his fortifications on the opposite shore, and hold the ground until the engineers could lay a bridge. Launching his pontoons unobserved in a little creek which empties into the river a short distance from the ford, he moved quietly over under cover of darkness. As the companies leaped to the shore they were deployed, the Seventy-third on the right, and advanced rapidly, driving the enemy's pickets who were taken completely by surprise, and in their haste to escape dropped their carbines without firing a shot. Colonel Moore sent a detachment to Kellysville, but found it deserted.
At midnight the Seventy-third was ordered to re-cross the river, and on the 30th re-joining the brigade, moved over with the corps, crossed the Rapidan at Germania Ford, and arrived at the Chancellor House at midnight. The regiment acted on this march as a guard to the train of the corps, marching the whole distance as flankers, a very laborious but thankless duty. During the following day the brigade was marched and counter-marched as rumors of attacks were brought from opposite parts of the field, desultory firing being kept up during the entire day.
The Eleventh Corps finally took up a position on the right of the army, in front of the turnpike leading from the Old Wilderness Tavern to Fredericksburg, and commenced fortifying it. Steinwehr's Division held the left of the Corps, Buschbeck's Brigade being posted south of the Orange Plank Road, and Barlow's north of it.
On the morning of the 2d four pieces of the Seventh New York Battery, Dilgers, were posted on a slight eminence in the rear of the rifle-pits occupied by five companies of the Seventy-third, A, F, D, I and C, the remaining comnpanies being posted in rear, connecting with the Twenty-seventh, placed in division columns. The sound of working parties in the woods in front had been heard during the previous night, and during the day frequent rumors were brought that the enemy was moving around to the right; but little heed was given to them. Towards evening Schurz's Division on the extreme right was struck in flank anad rear by a powerful force of the enemy, led by Stonewall Jackson. It fell like an avalanche upon Devens' Brigade which gave way in utter rout, and with such impetuosity was the advantage followed that brigade after brigade yielded.
At half-past five the enemy, carrying all before him, had reached Buschbeck's Brigade. As he came within range, the artillery opened with good effect and the infantry, taking shelter behind their slight breast-works, poured in round upon round in rapid succession. Attacked in rear, they were obliged to take to the opposite side of their works from which they were faced. For a moment his advance was checked. But lapping around upon both flanks of this little command of less than two thousand men, with his overpowering numbers, it was in danger of being swallowed up in the mad onset. Already the artillery horses had been killed, and the enemy was upon the guns. Colonel Moore, turning to Lieutenant Wilde, who was conducting his men out of the rifle-pits to the rear, ordered him and other officers near to form their men in rear of a small log hut and then re-join the regiment.2 As he was giving the command he was struck by a rifle ball passing through the left lung, inflicting a severe wound, supposed at the time to be mortal, and was left upon the field. Seizing two of the pieces the men dragged them away as they went back. The brigade rested with the batteries near the Chancellor House during the night. 3
On the following day the corps held its position in the new line covering United States Ford, where, behind well constructed breast-works, it repulsed every attack of the enemy.
On the morning of the 6th of May the regiment retired with the army and returned to its old camp near Falmouth. The loss was thirteen killed, fifty-four wounded and thirty-nine missing. Captain Giltinan was among the killed, and Colonel Moore, Lieutenant Colonel Strong, Major Shultz and Captain Leibfried among the wounded, the latter mortally.
Remaining in camp until the 12th of June, it started on the Gettysburg campaign, and moved leisurely to the vicinity of Edwards' Ferry. On the 24th it crossed the Potomac, and at three o'clock on the afternoon of the 1st of July arrived at the battle-field. A considerable part of the corps was already engaged on the right of the town and hotly pressed. The First Corps, which had been engaged on Seminary Ridge, was soon driven back, and with the Eleventh retreated through the town in some confusion,. retiring to Cemetery Hill, where the artillery, under General Steinwehr, had been posted earlier in the day.
As the rear of the Union forces was retiring from the town, closely followed by the enemy, the Seventy-third was ordered forward, and charged through the orchard just below the Cemetery, checking the pursuit and occupying the houses on either side of the Baltimore Pike. Companies A, F and D, under Captain D. F. Kelly, seized the house on the right of the pike; companies E and H under Captain Kennedy, a house on the left, opposite Captain Kelly; companies B, C and K, Captains Miller and M'Govern, under Captain John Kelly, a stone wall on the left; and companies G and I, Captains Wild and Schaeffer, the tavern at the foot of the hill, and at the junction of the Baltimore and Emmittsburg pikes. A brisk fire was at once opened which completely swept all the approaches, and checked the enemy's advance, the fire from the companies behind the stone wall proving very effective. The fire from the houses occupied, commanded the streets and tops of the buildings in the town, and protected the cannoniers of Steinwehr's artillery on the heights above.
On the morning of July 2d the regiment was relieved by remnants of the One Hundred and Fifty-fourth, and One Hundred and Thirty-fourth New York, a large, proportion of whose men and officers were lost in retreating through the town on the previous evening, and was posted on Cemetery Hill near the point where the line crossed the Taneytown road, and in rear of the batteries of the Fourth United States Artillery. The position which the corps here occupied was in the form of a letter V, the apex pointing towards town, the two receding lines being exposed to the same fire from opposite directions, the enemy's shells frequently passing over both lines towards his forces on the opposite side.
At the close of the day, and when it was already quite dark, the enemy attacked the brigade battery posted on the right of the pike, with great impetuosity and daring. As the rebels approached under cover of the Cemetery Hill, Captain Kelly in command of the regiment, was not aware that a charge was being made, until they were already upon the guns and struggling with the troops in their support. Moving rapidly to their assistance, in connection with the Twenty-seventh Pennsylvania, it assisted in repulsing the attack upon the left and in bringing the guns into play.
On the 3d the regiment remained in the position held during the previous evening, and in the afternoon, while the fearful cannonade was in progress which preceded the final struggle, it was exposed to the fire of the enemy's guns from a circuit of two or three miles. On the morning of the 4th sharp skirmishing was kept up until nine A. M., when, it having been discovered that the enemy was falling back, the Seventy-third was ordered into the town. His skirmishers kept up a steady fire as they were pushed back. The streets were soon barricaded, and were occupied by the brigade.
Captain Kennedy who was field officer of the brigade, discovered soon after dark that his skirmishers had withdrawn altogether. The regiment had no field officer in this battle, but was led by the senior Captain, D. F. Kelly. The loss was eight killed and twenty-six wounded.
The regiment returned with the army into Virginia after the escape of Lee, and moved with it to Bristoe Station, whence with the two New York regiments of the brigade, it returned to Catlett's Station, and after some delay at Manassas Junction, to Alexandria. Here it was engaged in guarding and conducting to the front the drafted men, who were being received, armed, equipped, and assigned to regiments. Colonel Moore who had so far recovered from his wounds as to take the field, re-joined the regiment, and was placed in command of the entire force at Alexandria.
Soon after the disasters at Chickamauga, the Eleventh and Twelfth Corps, under command of General Hooker, were ordered to Tennessee to the succor of General Rosecrans. The three regiments, under command of Colonel Moore, left Alexandria on the 26th of September, and on the 2d of October arrived at Bridgeport, Alabama, where they re-joined the corps. Here they remained doing picket and guard duty and repairing roads. They also made several very successful foraging expeditions into the enemy's country, receiving the thanks of General Howard in very flattering terms; for at this time man and beast were suffering greatly for want of food.
On the 27th of October they moved on through Lookout Valley towards Chattanooga. As they passed the neighborhood of Wauhatchie'the brigade encountered a body of the enemy, and after a sharp skirmish drove him across the creek, and burned the bridge. The loss in the Seventy-third was two killed and seven wounded.
As the column moved along the valley the enemy fired upon it from the heights of Lookout with his artillery, but did little damage. Shortly after midnight of the 29th Geary's Division was attacked at Wauhatchie, and the regiment, with other forces, was ordered back to its support. On the way his forces were encountered and after determined resistance was driven from the heights on which he had intrenched himself.
"The attack," says General Grant in his official report, "on Geary failed, and Howard's Corps which was moving to the assistance of Geary, finding that it was not required by him, carried the remaining heights held by the enemy west of Lookout Creek."4On the 22d of November the brigade marched to Chattanooga. Colonel Moore, who was still suffering from his wounds, was obliged again to retire, and as the regiment had no field officers, Lieutenant Colonel Joseph B. Taft, of the One Hundred and Forty-third New York, was assigned to its command. The Thirty-third New Jersey had recently been added to the brigade. On the 24th three regiments, the Seventy-third and Twenty-seventh Pennsylvania, and the Thirty-third New Jersey, under the personal direction of General Howard, moved some four or five miles up the Tennessee River, where a junction was formed with the army of General Sherman.
On the following morning the battle opened at an early hour, and at midday the regiment was ordered into line for the advance. The enemy, three-fourths of a mile away, occupied the summits of Missionary Ridge with artillery and infantry in breastworks, with a line of infantry in rifle-pits at its base. In front was an open plane with no obstruction, except a slight fence and a dry ditch. The regiment advanced at double-quick, and soon upon the run, the shells from the enemy's artillery, and the steady fire from his rifle-pits sweeping the ranks with terrible effect. When within fifty yards of the rifle-pits his infantry behind them broke and fled up the hill.
The abandoned works were soon occupied and a rapid fire opened. A house and out-buildings just in rear of this line was still occupied by the enemy; but from these he was driven, firing the buildings as he left them. This position the regiment held against every attempt to dislodge it. The ammunition was finally exhausted, and Colonel Taft, who had thrice sent for a fresh supply, started himself to secure it and to ask for supports. He had scarcely moved from the works when he received a mortal wound. His last words were, "'Hold this position at all hazards.' "He pressed my hand," says Captain Kennedy, "and kept repeating the words, "Hold the position at all hazards."' A small quantity of ammunition was obtained from the bodies of the dead and wounded.
At half-past four P. M. a brigade from the Western army came to its support. In the most gallant manner it advanced, the brigade general at its head, each Colonel in front of his regiment, and as it passed at double-quick, on a left half wheel, the men in the pits cheered loudly. But unfortunately it was almost immediately repulsed, and came back in utter confusion, about three hundred of its number taking shelter behind the rifle-pits with the Seventy-third.
Emboldened by this disaster, the enemy came out of his works, charged down the hill, flanked the position, and captured nearly the entire party at is base. Only about twenty-five of the regiment escaped. Eight officers and eighty-nine men were taken prisoners. It entered the battle about three hundred strong. Captain Schaeffer lost a leg. Captain Goeble, and Lieutenants Wild and Hess were wounded. Captains D. F. Kelly, John Kelly and John Kennedy, and Lieutenants M'Niece M'Govern, Moore, Fontaine, and Dieffenbach were captured. The captured party was hurried away to Atlanta and thence to Richmond, the officers being consigned to Libby, and the men to Belle Isle.
The flag, in the confusion of the surrender, was torn from the staff, taken by Captain Kennedy, concealed about his person, and through the. long months of his imprisonment was studiously preserved from rebel eyes, and brought safely home upon his release. It now has a place among the tattered ensigns in the archives of the State, an object of special interest to visitors at the Capitol.
The few men who escaped capture, and the wounded and detached men who afterwards returned to the ranks, marched with Sherman, after the battle, to East Tennessee to the relief of Burnside, and endured great suffering on this march, which was made without overcoats or blankets. On their return they went into winter quarters near Chattanooga, and early in January the most of them re-enlisted, receiving a veteran furlough. They returned to Philadelphia under the charge of Major Charles C. Cresson, who had shortly before been promoted from Captain. At the expiration of the furlough, with a number of recruits, they returned to the front in time to join in the campaign to Atlanta. Buschbeck's Brigade formed the Second of the Second Division, under General Geary, of the Twentieth Corps, formed by the union of the Eleventh and Twelfth Corps, and commanded by General Hooker.
In the fierce fighting of Sherman's advance in Georgia, where for a hundred days the rattle of musketry and roar of artillery was hardly hushed for a single hour, the regiment shared the fortunes of the White Star Division, and when danger was to be met was with the foremost of that veteran legion. In the battle of Pine Knob Captain Henry Hess, a gallant officer, while in command of the skirmish line, was mortally wounded.
Under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Cresson the regiment marched with the division to the sea, and north through the Carolinas to Raleigh, where Sherman received the surrender of Johnston, and the war was substantially closed. From Raleigh it marched to Alexandria, Virginia, where on the 14th of July, 1865, it was mustered out of service.
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 II, Harrisburg: B. Singerly, State Printer. 1871.