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Ayres Avenue, the Wheatfield
11th. Pennsylvania Reserves
Killed and died of wounds 11
officers and 185 men
Total casualties 1346
Field & Staff---Unassigned---Band
Organized at Camp Wright, near Pittsburgh, June, 1861, Moved to Harrisburg, Pa., June 24; thence to Baltimore, Md., June 25, and to Washington, D.C., June 26. Mustered into United States service June 29, 1861. Attached to 2nd Brigade, McCall's Pennsylvania Reserves Division, Army of the Potomac, to March, 1862. 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, 1st Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, to April, 1862. 2nd Brigade, McCall's Division, Dept. of the Rappahannock, to June, 1862. 2nd Brigade, 3rd Division, 5th Army Corps, to August, 1862. 3rd Brigade, 3rd Division, 3rd Corps, Army of Virginia, to September, 1862. 3rd Brigade, 3rd Division, 1st Corps, Army of the Potomac, to February, 1863. 3rd Brigade, Pennsylvania Reserves Division, 22nd Corps; Dept. of Washington, to June, 1863. 3rd Brigade, 3rd Division, 5th Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, to November, 1863. 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 5th Corps, to June, 1864.
SERVICE.--Duty at Tennallytown, Md., and picket at Great Falls August 2 to October 10, 1861. At Camp Pierpont, near Langley, Va., until March, 1862. Expedition to Grinnell's Farm December 6, 1861. Advance on Manassas, Va., March 10-15, 1862. McDowell's advance on Falmouth April 9-19. Duty at Manassas Junction, Catlett's Station, and Falmouth, until June. Moved to White House June 9-12. Seven days before Richmond June 25-July 1. Battles of Mechanicsville June 26; Gaines' Mill June 27 (most of Regiment captured, exchanged August 5, 1862); Charles City Cross Roads, Glendale, June 30; Malvern Hill July 1. At Harrison's Landing until August 16. Movement to join Pope August 16-26. Battles of Groveton August 29; Bull Run August 30. Maryland Campaign September 6-24. Battles of South Mountain, Md., September 14; Antietam September 16-17. Duty in Maryland until October 30. Movement to Falmouth, Va., October 30-November 19. Battle of Fredericksburg, Va., December 12-15. "Mud March" January 20-24, 1863. Moved to Washington, D. C., February 6. Duty there and at Alexandria until June 25. Ordered to rejoin Army of the Potomac in the field. Battle of Gettysburg, Pa., July 1-3. Pursuit of Lee July 5-24. Duty on the Rapidan 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 Alexandria until April, 1864. Rapidan Campaign May 4-30. Battles of the Wilderness May 5-7; Laurel Hill May 8; Spottsylvania May 8-12; Spottsylvania Court House May 12-21. Assault on the Salient May 12. Harris Farm May 19. North Anna River May 23-26. Jericho Ford May 25. On line of the Pamunkey May 26-28. Totopotomoy May 28-30. Left front May 30. Mustered out June 13, 1864.
Regiment lost during service 11 Officers and 185 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 1 Officer and 112 Enlisted men by disease. Total 309.
The companies comprising the Eleventh Reserve Regiment were
recruited, A in the county of Cambria, B and E in Indiana, C and D in Butler, F
in Fayette, G in Armstrong, H and I in Westmoreland, and K in Jefferson. Most of
these companies were raised for the three months' service, but failing of
acceptance still preserved their organizations, and when the call for the
Reserve Corps was issued, marched to the rendezvous at Camp Wright, near
The men had little or no military experience save that gathered from militia trainings; but they were generally familiar with the use of the rifle, were native born, of a hardy race, above the medium size, and inured to labor on farms and in the lumber districts. Upon their entrance to camp they were mustered into the State service, and rigidly drilled by companies.
On the 1st of July, the regiment was organized by the choice of the following officers:
Thomas F. Gallagher, of Westmoreland county, Colonel
James R. Porter, of Indiana county, Lieutenant Colonel
Samuel M. Jackson, of Armstrong county, Major
Colonel Gallagher was possessed of considerable military experience, and at once commenced battalion drill. The men were here furnished, by the State, with clothing and blankets of superior quality.
On the 24th of June, in obedience to the order of Governor Curtin, the regiment marched to Harrisburg, where it was supplied with arms and accoutrements, and on the following day moved to Baltimore and bivouacked on Federal Hill. On the 26th, it proceeded to Washington and encamped near the Park, where, on the 29th and 30th, it was mustered, nine hundred strong, into the service of the United States.
Soon afterwards the Eleventh was placed in the Reserve camp at Tenallytown, where the arms received from the State were exchanged for United States muskets, and the men were industriously instructed in the manual of arms, target exercise, police, camp and picket duty. Much attention was given to skirmish drill and bayonet exercise, and the skill acquired proved of inestimable value on many a contested field. Sanitary regulations were strictly enforced, and as a consequence there was little sickness. The Reverend Adam Torrence was appointed Chaplain, and held regular religious exercises on the Sabbath, which were well attended. Details were made from this regiment to work on the forts forming a part of the cordon of defenses of the Capital, and Fort Pennsylvania and others were in part the work of their hands. A school for the instruction of officers was established, which met for recitation twice a week, and was continued until active campaigning commenced. A report of the proficiency of each officer, and accounting for absentees, was regularly made to division headquarters. The regiment was assigned to the Second Brigade1 of the Reserve Corps.
During the month of September the Eleventh was ordered to Great Falls, Maryland, sixteen miles above Washington, to picket the Potomac from a short distance below to a point six miles above. Here, in a part where the river is quite narrow and the banks precipitous and rocky, the men for the first time came face to face with the rebels. Much curiosity existed to get a view of the enemy, and it was not long before a friendly conversation was opened by the pickets from the rocks that lined either shore. A truce was agreed upon which was kept until a South Carolina regiment was placed on duty, when one of our pickets, going to the river to bathe, unsuspecting danger, was shot and severely wounded. This was the signal for hostilities, and Company G was quickly placed in position and a lively skirmish ensued. In the meantime the rebels opened with a six gun battery, throwing over a hundred solid shots. The fire was rapid and well directed, the shots entering the buildings in which the men were quartered; but none were hurt.
From Tenallytown the regiment moved with the division and took position in line with the army, to the left of the Georgetown and Leesburg pike, beyond Langley and not far from Lewinsville. General M'Call, in making report of the condition of the regiment about this time, says:
"This is a well drilled regiment, and with the improved arms, with which it is now supplied, would be very effective."
Here the officers put forth untiring energy to perfect themselves in a knowledge of their duties, and to drill and discipline their men.
Before the cold weather came, the quarters were made comfortable; the foundations were of logs, surmounted by tents; the bunks were constructed of small poles covered with cedar boughs; and each cabin was supplied with a small sheet iron stove.
Lieutenant Colonel Porter having resigned on account of physical disability, Major Jackson was elected to fill the vacancy, and Captain Robert Atzinger, of Company A, was elected Major.
On the 6th of December, the Second Brigade, supported by the Third, the Eleventh Regiment in advance, was ordered on a foraging expedition to Grinnel's farm, near Dranesville, and captured two spies, with three of their associates, and brought in fifty-seven wagon loads of grain, seven horses, two oxen and one wagon. This trespass upon the enemy's territory brought on the battle of Dranesville. For when the Third Brigade, a few days later, went out for a similar purpose, it was met by the enemy prepared to contest the ground. In the engagement which ensued the Second Brigade was held in reserve, and marched to the support of the Third, but before it arrived upon the field the victory had been won.
Preparatory to the opening of the spring campaign, extra clothing and blankets were boxed and sent to Washington, and on the 10th of March, the regiment broke up winter-quarters and marched on the Georgetown and Leesburg pike, to a point where the Springdale road branches to the left, when the rain, which had been falling from the time it left camp, had rendered the marching exceedingly hard, and by the time it reached Hunter's Mills, the men were completely exhausted. Here the regiment encamped, using for the first time the small shelter tent.
The enemy having evacuated his entrenched camp, and thus wholly changed the object of the campaign, the regiment proceeded by forced march to Alexandria. This march, in consequence of the heavy and almost impassable nature of the roads, and the constant falling of a cold rain, was ever remembered by the men during their three years of service, as the severest test of their endurance to which they were called upon to submit. The regiment encamped near Fairfax Seminary, and owing to the condition of the ground and inadequate shelter, many of the men were soon prostrated by sickness.
Major Litzinger, who had for some time been absent on account of sickness, resigned on the 1st of April, 1862, and Adjutant Peter A. Johns was elected to fill the vacancy, and Lieutenant Robert A. MCGoy, of Company A appointed Adjutant.
On the 9th of April, the division having been assigned to the First Corps, under General M'Dowell it moved to Catlett's Station, where it encamped for a short time, and thence moved to Falmouth. A month later it was detached from M'Dowells Corps and ordered to the Peninsula where it was attached to the corps commanded by General Fitz John Porter, and was at once sent to the front, taking position near Mechanicsville, in the immediate presence of the enemy. Having the greatest confidence in their officers, and with a year of discipline and drill, the men were in excellent condition for field service, and longed for an opportunity to show their prowess.
On the 25th of June, the entire regiment, with field and line officers, was ordered on picket duty, the line skirting the Chickahominy, with the right resting on a swamp, which on the following day was the left of the line of battle; the strictest vigilance was enjoined, and neither officers nor men were allowed sleep during the night. Shortly after noon of the 26th, a battery of the enemy opened fire upon our pickets, but without effect. At three o'clock P. M. the battle of Mechanicsville, which was principally fought by the First and Third brigades of the Reserve Corps, had fairly opened, and was raging with great fury. Though not actively engaged in the battle, the regiment was under fire, and Company A, towards evening, at the request of General Seymour, was placed in line connecting with the left of the Seventh, and was deployed as skirmishers. It remained on picket duty until morning, when it was formed and covered the rear of the brigade in falling back to Gaines' Mill.
Here the rebels, in overwhelming force, fell upon the single corps of Fitz John Porter, drawn up with the Chickahominy in rear, and separated from the rest of the army by that stream. On reaching the field the Eleventh was first ordered to the support of Weed's Battery of the Fifth United States artillery, but was afterward moved forward and formed in the second line of battle.
Thoroughly exhausted by want of sleep, many of the men laid down amid the roar of cannon and were soon oblivious to the terrible carnage at the front. This to many was their last sleep. The position was an admirable one for defense, and had breast-works been erected, for which there had been ample time, a terrible slaughter of brave men might have been saved, and a grievous defeat turned into joyous victory.
Whilst in position on the second line, an order was received from General Meade directing one Company of the Eleventh to be detached for fatigue duty. Company B, Captain Daniel S. Porter, was immediately detailed, and late in the afternoon the rest of the regiment was ordered into action near the centre of the general line of battle, and under cover of a dense wood, relieving the Fourth New Jersey, which had been fighting gallantly, and had nearly exhausted its ammunition.
Just before going into battle, General M'Call, who was at the front, and General Martindale, who had charge of that part of the line, both spoke encouragingly to the men and said, that, as they were going upon a part of the line which was weakest, they would be expected to hold it at all hazards. That expectation was not disappointed; for when line after line of the enemy's fresh troops bore down upon them in deadly conflict, they met such volleys from the men of the Eleventh as sent them staggering back; volleys that seemed like a continuous stream of fire. But unfortunately for the regiment the troops on both flanks were driven back by superior numbers, and it was left to contend alone in the terrible conflict.
The wood in which it fought, with its dense foliage, was soon dark with the smoke of musketry and artillery, and the officers were unaware of the critical position in which they were placed, until it was discovered that the regiment was suffering from a fire on its flanks. While in this perilous situation, Major Johns proceeded to the left to ascertain if our own troops were not firing into its ranks, and was captured in the attempt. The enemy was now pressing on in front and upon both flanks, and the ammunition was nearly spent.
At this crisis Colonel Gallagher ordered Adjutant M'Coy to proceed to the rear and report the condition of affairs to General Meade, but on reaching the open field he at once comprehended the situation; for nine rebel battle flags were visible on flanks and rear. He at once communicated the facts to the Colonel, assuring him that the entire Union line, with the exception of the Fourth New Jersey, seemed to have retreated.
Colonel Gallagher, hoping still with the aid of the New Jersey regiment, to cut his way out by a movement to the left, at once ordered the command to fall back. No sooner was this movement commenced than the enemy, who had been fighting in front, raised a yell and charged upon the retreating column. But suddenly facing about the regiment poured so destructive a volley into the faces of the rebel horde as to cool their ardor, and completely check their fiery onset. Fighting and retreating until it reached the open field, it there found itself completely surrounded, with ranks sadly thinned and broken, ammunition nearly gone, and all chance of escape cut off. To contend longer was madness and the entailing of a useless slaughter. The only alternative was to surrender, and that gallant body of men became prisoners of of war. Forty-six of their number were killed, and one hundred and nine wounded.
Libby Prison and Belle Island
It was in the dusk of the evening when the surrender was made, and though worn out with two days' of marching and fighting, the men were hurried to the rear, and many of them, including Colonel Jackson, Adjutant M'Coy and Lieutenant Coder, were compelled to march to Richmond without rest or food, where they arrived at four o'clock on the following morning, and after being marched about the city for a spectacle to the inhabitants, who at this early hour were all out to behold the fruits of victory, they were incarcerated in Libby prison.
On the following day Colonel Gallagher, and the rest of the regiment who were able to travel, were brought in. A few days later the men were separated from the officers and transferred to Belle Isle, a sandy island in the James River, entirely devoid of shade trees or shelter to shield them from the burning sun. In Richmond "The Government" bore arbitrary sway and none dared question its authority or give aid or comfort to the captives.
With insufficient clothing and unwholesome food this captivity was endured until August 5th, when a cartel was agreed upon and the men were sent to Aiken's Landing, and were there furnished transportation to Harrison's Landing. A week later the officers followed them.
Charles City Cross Roads
While the main body of the regiment was in the Richmond prisons, Captain Porter's Company, which was on detached duty and escaped captivity, represented it in the corps. It numbered over one hundred men, and in the engagement at Charles City Cross Roads fought with determined bravery, losing nine killed and fifteen wounded. Upon assembling at Harrison's Landing, the Eleventh was greatly reduced in numbers. In consequence of the hardships of the campaign, the recent imprisonment, and the diseases contracted in the swamps of the Chickahominy and the James, a large number were disqualified for active duty, while one hundred and thirty non-commissioned officers and privates had been detailed from its ranks to guard the general hospital at Craney Island, near Fortress Monroe. Strenuous efforts were made by Colonel Gallagher to have this detail returned, but without success.
With ranks thus depleted, the regiment proceeded to Falmouth, where Lieutenant Colonel Jackson assumed command, Colonel Gallagher, on account of sickness, having been left at Fortress Monroe. The division, now under command of General Reynolds, marched by Kelly's Ford and Warrenton, to Gainesvlle, a distance of seventy miles, where it joined the main body of Pope's army now engaged in the second Bull Run campaign. Had Generals Franklin and Porter, who had a much shorter distance to march, shown the same enterprise and earnestness in moving their commands as was exhibited by the gallant Reynolds, a grievous defeat might have been averted.
Second Bull Run
Here for a second time the Reserves were attached to M'Dowell's Corps. Late on the afternoon of the 29th of August, the Eleventh, now forming a part of the Third Brigade, was moved forward under a galling fire of grape, and engaged the enemy's infantry. Unable to carry the position, the troops were withdrawn, and as night had now come on laid down on their arms to rest. Their position, however, soon became very uncomfortable, for stragglers, better known in the army as the "Coffee Brigade," had kindled small fires to boil their much coveted beverage, by which the enemy discovered the regiment's bivouac and opened upon it with a long range battery, throwing solid shot with some effect.
On the following morning the regiment was placed upon the skirmish line, though only armed with smooth-bore muskets. Fortunately it sustained little injury until withdrawn. At three o'clock P. M. the enemy made a heavy assault upon the position held by the Reserves. The Eleventh was quickly advanced to the top of a small ridge, in an open field, and was soon at close range with the enemy. Here the smooth-bore guns were most servicable, dealing deadly volleys upon the foe, the Fifth Texas, the two lines pressing close until the prostrate dead were indiscriminately mingled. At length the enemy having turned our flank, enfiladed the line with such effect that the regiment was forced to retire.
The loss was fourteen killed and forty-four wounded. Among the wounded were Captain Stewart, Adjutant M'Coy and Lieutenants Jones, Kennedy. Coder and Johnson.
South Mountain (Turner's Gap)
The campaign in Maryland followed hard upon the defeat of Pope. The Reserves were now commanded by General Meade, and the regiment by Lieutenant Colonel Jackson, Colonel Gallagher having succeeded to the command of the Third Brigade. The enemy was first encountered strongly posted in the passes of South Mountain. The Reserves were drawn up to the right of the road leading to Turner's Gap, held by the corps of Hill and Longstreet.
The Eleventh held the left centre as the line advanced to the attack, and moved on up the steep acclivity of the mountains receiving a deadly fire from the enemy securely posted behind trees and rocks. In the midst of the engagement Colonel Gallagher fell severely wounded. Colonel Jackson, with great personal bravery, held his regiment well in hand, cheered on his men and successfully reached that deadly height. In the progress of the ascent, when the battle was raging hottest and the victory was still doubtful, Corporal Koons, (afterwards killed at Fredericksburg,) who was possessed of great powers of mimickry, crowed lustily, like a cock uttering the note of triumph. The familiar sound, heard amid the pauses of the battle, so inspirited the men that they went forward with renewed zeal to assured victory. The loss was fifteen killed and twenty-eight wounded. Among the former were Captain Brady and Lieutenant Walter F. Jackson, and of the latter Colonel Gallagher, Captain Nesbit, who died from the effects of his wounds, Captain Bierer, Quartermaster Torrence and Lieutenant Kennedy.
Although the regiment was reduced to a mere fragment of its original strength, having less than two hundred effective men, yet it moved promptly with the division to the field of Antietam and bore an important part in that sanguinary battle. The loss here was seven killed and seventeen wounded.
After the battle the regiment went into camp, near Sharpsburg, in a condition of general destitution--blanketless, shoeless, moneyless, and in tattered uniforms. While here, Governor Curtin made a strong effort to have the corps removed to the State, promising to send it back to the field in a short time recruited and re-organized, but without success.
Crossing the Potomac with the main body of the army it reached Warrenton on the 9th of November, amidst a heavy snow storm that severely tried the endurance of the men. Soon afterwards the detail of men left at Craney Island rejoined the regiment, which, with recruits and the men returned from hospitals, made the effective force about four hundred.
The army, commanded by General Burnside, was now faced towards Fredericksburg. The Reserves, under General Meade, were attached to Reynolds' Corps of Franklin's Grand Division. Having previously moved out to a point three miles below Fredericksburg, and in rear of the Stafford Hills, the division was ordered to be in readiness to march at midnight of the 10th of December. At the appointed hour the command moved, passing camp after camp of the army wrapt in quiet slumber, and soon met. the pontoon train, which revealed the object of the midnight march. The task had been assigned the division to force a crossing of the Rappahannock, and to cover the laying of the pontoons.
Before daylight the river was reached, and the Bucktails and the Tenth Reserves were deployed as skirmishers along the bank of the stream. The enemy was soon driven from the opposite shore by the unerring aim of our riflemen, and the bridge successfully laid. The division crossed on the following morning and took position near the Bernard House, where it remained until the 13th, when early in the day it was marched across an extended plain to a position near the railroad, and in front of the enemy's line of earth works.
The Eleventh was posted in rear of the batteries, when a severe artillery duel ensued, in which many of the regiment were killed and terribly wounded. As soon as the cannonading ceased the order was given for the infantry to advance, and the line moved rapidly forward towards the enemy's works under a steady musketry fire from his entrenchments. The ground over which the Eleventh passed was nearly level and offered no protection, yet it rushed forward unchecked, until it reached a ditch running parallel to the line of battle then to the railroad, where a momentary halt was made, then forward again to within a hundred paces of a stone fence, behind which the enemy awaited its approach, when he opened a murderous fire which brought the regiment to a halt.
Colonel Jackson immediately saw that to attempt to scale the hill in his immediate front, and to carry the works by direct assault, would cause the utter annihilation of his command. With coolness-and good judgment at this juncture of imminent peril, he at once ordered a movement by the right flank, and at double quick passed through a piece of woods to the right. By this movement the enemy was flanked and his breastwork soon reached, where many of his men were captured. The regiment then moved forward, driving the retreating foe several hundred yards; but perceiving that the line was not supported, it was not deemed prudent to advance further. Soon the second line of the enemy was seen moving forward on a double quick, when the command fell back to the line of earth works. Still no supports coming, it was again compelled to fall back, men falling at every step.
"Never," says Captain Coder, in his account of the battle, "did I look back for support with more anxiety than on that fatal day; for on seeing but a single line advance I had anticipated the result. We lost color bearer after color bearer, I know not how many. I picked up the colors at three different times myself. The flag staff was shot off and the flag perforated in nineteen different places by rebel bullets. I took thirty-one men into the engagement, only one of whom came out safe. Four were killed, three mortally wounded, twenty-two wounded and one captured. Such was the fatality of Company E in the battle of Fredericksburg."
Out of the three hundred and ninety-four who entered the engagement, one hundred and twelve were either killed, wounded or missing. Captain William Stewart, of Company D, a brave man and devoted soldier, was hit by a solid shot at the opening of the engagement, and though not instantly killed was mortally wounded, and died in a few hours. Knowing his fate he yet thought only of his men, and said to them that they were without a commissioned officer, but as a last request he asked them to go into the impending struggle as bravely as if he were with them, under Corporal John O'Harra Woods, a beardless youth, who was afterwards commissioned a Lieutenant for his gallantry, and gave up his life at Gettysburg. Captain Stewart was taken to the rear and died before the result of the battle was known.
Re-crossing the river, the division moved to Belle Plain Landing, where it went into camp. General Meade having been assigned to the command of the Fifth Army Corps, Colonel H. G. Sickel, of the Third Regiment, the ranking officer, assumed command. After participating in the hardships of Burnside's second campaign, the "Mud March,' the division was on the 8th of February, 1863, relieved from duty with the Army of the Potomac, and assigned to the Twenty-second Army Corps, charged with the defenses of Washington.
Colonel Gallagher having resigned on account of the disabling wound received at South Mountain, Lieutenant Colonel Jackson was commissioned Colonel, Daniel S. Porter, Captain of Company B, Lieutenant Colonel, and James P. Speer, Captain of Company G, Major, in place of Major Johns, who had previously resigned.
On arriving at Washington the Eleventh encamped for a short time at Minor's Hill, and was subsequently stationed at Vienna. On the 3d of June Brigadier General S. W. Crawford was assigned to the command of the division, and at once proceeded to put it in a condition for active service.
On the 25th of June, the First and Third Brigades having been assigned to duty with the Fifth Army Corps, the regiment broke camp and marched to Frederick, where it met the main body of the army, and thence proceeded to Gettysburg, arriving on the 2d of July. The division was halted in the rear of Cemetery Hill, where the guns were examined, cleaned and loaded, and ammunition issued. The Second Division of the Fifth Corps, composed of Regulars, was already engaged, and being hard pressed, the Reserves were hastily moved to the right and front of Little Round Top, where they were massed in column of regiment, the Third Brigade in front, the Eleventh Regiment in its rear. The Third Brigade was then ordered to move to the left; but before the movement was completed, the enemy immediately in front began to press hard upon the position with a view of flanking it. General Crawford immediately arrested the movement to the left, leaving the Eleventh with, and in front of, the First Brigade, which was quickly moved forward. This brought the Eleventh within range of the enemy's musketry, but it firmly maintained its position without returning the fire. The men, who were still armed with the smooth bore muskets, added a number of buckshot to their charges, and the enemy now within easy range, the command was given to fire, when a terrible volley was delivered, which caused the foe to waver and turn. Instantly the order to charge was given, when, with a furious yell, the Brigade, the Eleventh leading, swept down the declivity and over the plain to the stone wall, driving the enemy and deploying as it went. Many of the men had gone beyond the wall and captured a number of prisoners; but as General Crawford did not deem it prudent to take his little force further, they were withdrawn and a heavy line of skirmishers thrown out.
On the following day M'Candless' command was again ordered forward to meet the forces of M'Laws. By skillful manoeuvring the enemy was routed on every hand, and a large number of prisoners, small arms, and one battery, were captured. The loss in this engagement was three killed and thirty-eight wounded. Among the latter were Lieutenant Colonel Daniel S. Porter, and Lieutenants Fulton and Jones.
On Saturday morning, July 4th, the regiment was withdrawn from the front. From Gettysburg the pursuit of Lee involved rapid and fatiguing marches. At Williamsport his forces were again confronted. Upon his retreat across the river the pursuit was continued to Falling Waters, where Major Speer, riding forward in advance of the column, came upon several stragglers whom he captured and brought in.
Upon its return into Virginia, the regiment encamped in the neighborhood of Rappahannock Station. Major Speer, who was still suffering from wounds which unfitted him for duty in the field, resigned and was succeeded by Adjutant R. A. M'Coy, who was soon after detailed for duty as Assistant Adjutant General on the staff of General Crawford.
The command subsequently moved to Culpepper Court House, and remained in camp between that place and the Rapidan until the enemy attempted to turn the right flank of Meade's army, when it fell back to prevent Lee from seizing the heights at Centreville. At Bristoe Station, on the 14th of October, the regiment was slightly engaged, and shortly afterwards in a skirmish at Rappahannock Station. Meade having prevented the occupation of Centreville, the enemy again fell back to the Rappahannock, where he was met and routed, when he retreated to his strong-holds beyond the Rapidan. In the campaign of Mine Run, which soon followed the Eleventh participated, and was engaged at New Hope Church; but the casualties were slight, and the results, for the great suffering endured, unimportant.
Upon the abandonment of offensive operations the army was withdrawn across the Rappahannock, and the Reserves assigned to duty on the line of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, the Eleventh being encamped at Warrenton Junction and Bristoe Station. Here it was subject to frequent attacks from guerrilla bands of the enemy, and the men were consequently required to be on guard or outpost duty every third night. Upon the resignation of Lieutenant Colonel Porter, Major M'Coy was commissioned to succeed him, though still retained on staff duty, and James C. Buck, Captain of Company A, Major.
The Wilderness Campaign
Before entering upon the Wilderness campaign, General Sykes was superseded in the command of the Fifth Corps, by General G. K. Warren. The Reserves left Bristoe Station on the 29th of April, and marched to a point near Culpepper Court House, where they joined the corps, and at midnight on the 3d of May, 1864, marched to Germania Ford, and in advance of the army, crossed and encamped near the Lacy House.
On the following morning, the division moved out by a country road through the Wilderness, with the view of striking the Fredericksburg and Orange Court House plank road, near the old Verdiersville road; but before reaching the plank road a part of the division became engaged. The Eleventh was held in reserve with other regiments until three o'clock P. M., when, with the Second and Seventh, it was sent under Colonel M'Candless to the support of Wadsworth's Division, now hard pressed.
The Reserve regiments being fresh troops were immediately sent to the front, and soon had passed Wadsworth's line as it fell back. Not being supported they were soon outflanked, and the Seventh Regiment captured; but by the coolness and daring of Colonel Jackson, the Eleventh succeeded, after several fruitless attempts, in cutting its way out and reaching the union lines; but not without serious loss. During the remaining two days in the Wilderness battle, and during the twenty-three succeeding days, it was under fire, and maintained its well earned reputation for gallantry on the hard fought fields of Spottsylvania Court House, North Anna and Bethesda Church. Upon the fall of Colonel M'Candless and the capture of Colonel Talley, the command of the brigade devolved upon Colonel Jackson, and that of the regiment upon Captain Coder.
On the morning after the battle of Bethesda Church, May 30th, the term of service for which the regiment enlisted having expired, it was ordered from the front. Transferring the veterans and recruits to the One Hundred and Ninetieth Regiment, and bidding adieu to companions in arms, it proceeded via White House to Washington and thence to Harrisburg, where in common with other Reserve regiments, it was handsomely received by Governor Curtin and the city authorities. From Harrisburg the regiment proceeded to Pittsburg, where, on the 13th of June, 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 I, Harrisburg: B. Singerly, State Printer. 1871.