|148th PVI Company C||
Regimental History 148th Pennsylvania Volunteers
On the 22nd of April 1864, the reinforced corps was for the first time brought together, on the occasion of a review by General Grant. More than twenty-five thousand men actually marched in review. The appearance and bearing of all the troops was brilliant in the extreme, but among all the gallant regiments which passed the reviewing officer, two excited especial admiration – one of which was the 148th Pennsylvania under Colonel Beaver. This is their story.
In August of 1862, the call came from Governor Andrew G. Curtin for men to serve the Union Army for the defense of Pennsylvania from invasion. The 148th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment mustered in immediately. The regiment consisted of ten companies from central Pennsylvania, of which seven came from Centre County. The regiment came to be known as the "Centre County Regiment".
When the 148th was formed, James Addams Beaver was given command of the regiment. Before the war, Beaver had served with a militia, "The Bellefonte Fencibles". Prior to his command of the 148th, Beaver had served as adjutant with the 45th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment.
During the autumn of 1862, the 148th performed duty in Maryland along the Northern Central railway, an important line of communication between the North and Washington D.C.. Under the orders, and often under the personal supervision of James Beaver, the regiment accomplished a discipline and proficiency in drill that would remain with it during the entire term of service.
In December of 1862, after the Battle of Fredericksburg, the 148th Pennsylvania was assigned to the First Brigade of the First Division of the Second Corps. The Corps, Division and Brigade at that time were commanded respectively by General Couch, General Hancock, and Colonel Von Schaack. This brigade also included the 5th New Hampshire, the 7th, 61st and 64th New York, and the 81st and 145th Pennsylvania Regiments.
Baptism of Fire
The 148th encamped for the winter near Falmouth, Virginia, and with the spring campaign of 1863, marched with the brigade to the Battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia, where it had its "baptism of fire". The regiment received honorable mention and commendation from the Corps, Division, and Brigade commanders for "bearing itself most gallantly under extremely adverse circumstances".
The Battle of Gettysburg
The Regiment returned to its old camps near Fredericksburg, having suffered heavy losses in killed and wounded at Chancellorsville. It remained there performing camp and picket duty until June of 1863, when a series of marches would finally bring the contending armies to face each other on the Pennsylvanian soil of the 148th.
On the third of June, the Gettysburg campaign was initiated by Confederate commander Robert E. Lee, who began the withdrawal of Longstreet's corps from the line at Fredericksburg.
The 148th began its march north having undergone several changes. From front to rear, the 1st Brigade formation now included only the 5th New Hampshire, 61st New York, 81st Pennsylvania and 148th Pennsylvania. General Hancock was placed in command of the Second Corps, General Caldwell of the First Division, and Colonel Cross of the First Brigade.
On the morning of July 1, 1863 the 148th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry was 23 miles from Gettysburg, and along with the rest of the II Corps, marched slowly north from Uniontown to Taneytown, Maryland.
As they neared Taneytown the men could hear cannon fire ahead. The corps halted at Taneytown at about 11:00 A.M., then resumed its march into Pennsylvania at 1:30 P.M. There was a general shout of joy in the 148th as they crossed into their home state. It was dark by the time the II Corps approached Gettysburg. It was placed in position, facing north across the Taneytown Road, and awaited further orders. After stacking arms, the men sat or lay down without leaving the ranks. Officers gathered in little groups. They talked and slept and listened to the intermittent picket firing.
As the regiment lay inactive for a short time, each man knew that as a Pennsylvanian, he would be fighting and defending home soil. Major R.H. Forster remembered this short lull in the battle for the 148th: "Except for the dull rumble of artillery wheels, an occasional cannon shot, and at intervals a sharp rattle of musketry away to the right were to be heard, the early part of that memorable day was passing in comparative quietude and with little that was eventful."
Suddenly, a shell, fired from the opposite ridge, exploded over the regiment, and Private George Osman of Company "C" became the first member of the 148th to die at Gettysburg.
General Dan Sickles, without orders, moved his Third Corps forward to what is today known as the Peach Orchard. His troops put-up a strong fight, but faltered, and soon needed assistance from Second Corps. The First Division was detached, and sent in to assist General Birney's Division. The four brigades approached the Wheatfield. In the ensuing fight, the 148th would take a gallant part. The First Brigade was the first into battle.
As the 148th entered the Wheatfield, the battle formation was confused. The hours and hours of drill, in which the battle formation of a regiment became so ingrained that soldiers could maintain it even in the fury and chaos of combat, were set aside. For Caldwell’s division in the Wheatfield, combat effectiveness would depend on the ability of veteran officers and soldiers to adjust under fire to their unfamiliar formation.
After a short halt, the enemy was engaged. A volley was sent into their lines and under severe fire from the enemy, Brigade commander Cross was killed. At this point a number of soldiers were captured at a stone wall near large boulders at the edge of the woods. The 148th reached the far edge of the Wheatfield, where the fighting was ferocious. The entire brigade held, despite growing casualties and low ammunition.
Finally, the Fifth Corps arrived. Part of the 148th was retired across the Wheatfield, and reformed behind a stone fence, just as the sun was beginning to go down. Part of the 148th and the 5th New Hampshire remained in position well after the brigade had been relieved. The next day, the 148th was stationed to the left of the angle for Pickett's Charge, where they took over 400 enemy prisoners coming over their breastworks.
The Road to Appomattox
The 148th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment paid dearly for its service to the Union cause. The Regiment was present in every battle of the Army of the Potomac from Chancellorsville to the surrender at Appomattox and was in the hottest of the fighting in all of them except the Wilderness. At Spotsyvania it lost 301 killed, wounded and missing, the greatest loss of any infantry regiment on that field. Four of its men were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, 2 from Company B, 1 from Company E, and 1 from Company K.
According to Fox’s “Regimental Losses,” of the 2,047 regiments in the Union Army, the 148th Pennsylvania ranks 14th in highest percentage (15.6%) killed in battle or 30th for actual number of men killed in battle (210).
The total casualties in action for the regiment were 915 out of 1,370, a 66% casualty rate. Of these, 421 were killed in battle or died of their wounds. Wounded were 34 officers, including Col. Beaver who's leg was amputated at the age of 26, and 581 men. Reported captured or missing were 4 officers and 168 men.
And all of this for a unit that entered the war a year later than many of the other regiments.
“Brave boys are they
Gone at their country’s call;
And yet, and yet,
We cannot forget,
That many ‘brave boys’ must fall.”
Henry Clay Work
Congressional Medal of Honor Winners
1. Private Robert W. Ammerman, Company B - At Spotsylvania, VA, May 12, 1864; captured battle flag of 8th North Carolina, being one of the foremost in the assault.
2. Captain Jeremiah Z. Brown, Company K - At Petersburg, VA, October 27, 1864; with 100 selected volunteers, assaulted and captured the works of the enemy, together with a number of officers and men.
3. Private George W. Harris, Company B - At Spotsylvania, VA, May 12, 1864; capture of flag, wresting it from the color bearer and shooting an officer who attempted to regain it.
4. Private Josiah Phillips, Company E - At Sutherland Station, VA, April 2, 1865; capture of flag.
Battles, Skirmishes & Other Dates of Note
Participated in by the 148th Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers,
First, Third and Fourth Brigades , First Division, Second Corps, Army of the Potomac
Field and Staff Officers
Asst. Surg. Calvin Fisher
Asst. Surg. Alfred Hamilton
Asst. Surg. John Allen
Chaplian William Stevens
Sgt. Maj. Isaac Sloan
Sgt. Maj. Joseph Hall
QM Sgt. William Devinney
Com. Sgt. James Odenkirk
Com. Sgt. Lewis Ingram
Hospital Steward William Mayes
Hospital Steward Jacob Kreider
Principal Musician William Harpster
pl. Musician Robert Cassady Col. James Beaver
Lt. Col. Robert McFarlane
Lt. Col. George Fairlamb
Lt. Col. James Weaver
Major Robert Forester
Major George Bayard
Adjt. Robert Lipton
Adjt. Joseph Muffly
Adjt. Charles Ramsey
QM John Kurtz
QM Samuel Ramsey
Surgeon Uriah Davis
Pl. Musician Samuel Otto
Congressional Medal of Honor Details
1. Private Robert W. Ammerman, Company B - At Spotsylvania, VA, May 12, 1864; captured battle flag of the 8th North Carolina, being one of the foremost in the assult.
2. Captain Jeremiah Z. Brown, Company K - At Petersburg, VA, October 24, 1864; with 100 selected volunteers, assulted and captured the works of the enemy, together with a number of officers and men.
3. Private George W. Harris, Company B - At Spotsylvania, VA, May 12, 1864; capture of flag, wrestling it from the color bearer and shooting an officer who attempted to regain it.
4. Private Josiah Phillips, Company E - At Sutherland Station, VA, April 2, 1865; capture of flag.
Battles and Skirmishes
1. Chancellorsville, VA, May 1-5
2. Hay Market, June 25
3. Gettysburg, PA, July 1-3
4. Wapping Heights, VA, July 23
5. Richardson's Ford, VA, September 1
6. South Side Rappahannock, October 12
7. Auburn Mills, VA, October 14
8. Bristoe Station, October 14
9. Kelley's Ford, VA, November 7
10. Mine Run, November 27-30; December 1
11. Morton's Ford, VA, February 6-7
12. Wilderness, VA, May 5-7
13. Po River, VA, May 9-10
14. Spotsylvania, VA, May 12-20
15. Assault at Salient, May 12
16. Milford Station, VA, May 20
17. Reconnaissance by regiment, May 22
18. North Anna River, May 23-27
19. Totopotomoy Creek, VA, May 28-31
20. Cold Harbor, June 2-12
21. Cold Harbor Assult, June 3
22. Siege of Petersburg, VA, June 16-April 2, 1865
23. Assault on Petersburg, VA, June 16-18
24. Jerusalem Plank Road, June21-23
25. Strawberry Plains (Deep Bottom), VA, north of James River, July 27-29
26. Deep Bottom, VA, north of the James River, August 14-16
27. Ream's Station, VA, Weldon Railroad, August 25
28. Fort Crater, October 27
29. Fort Monroe, October 29 1865
30. Attack and capture of picket line, March 25
31. Gravelly Run, March 29
32. Hatcher's Run, VA, March 30
33. White Oak Road, VA, March 31
34. Sutherland Station, April 2
35. Deatonsville (Amelia Springs), VA, April 6
36. Farmville, VA, north of Appomattox River, April 7
37. Surrender of Lee's Army, April 9
Regimental Losses(from Fox's, Regimental Losses)
Field and Staff - 1 officer died of disease, accident, in prison, etc.
Company A - 1 officer and 15 men were killed or died of wounds; 1 officer and 19 men died of disease, accident, in prison, etc.
Company B - 14 men were killed or died of wounds; 30 men died of disease, accident, in prison, etc.
Company C - 7 officers and 28 men were killed or died of wounds; 11 men died of disease, accident, in prison, etc.
Company D - 29 men were killed or died of wounds; 2 officers and 18 men died of disease, accident, in prison, etc.
Company E - 14 men were killed or died of wounds; 25 men died of disease, accident, in prison, etc.
Company F - 17 men were killed or died of wounds; 13 died of disease, accident, in prison, etc.
Company G - 19 men were killed or died of wounds; 10 men died of disease, accident, in prison, etc.
Company H - 2 officers and 24 men were killed or died of wounds; 18 men died of disease, accident, in prison, etc.
Company I - 1 officer and 19 men were killed or died of wounds; 19 men died of disease, accident, in prison, etc.
Company K - 1 officer and 19 men were killed or died of wounds; 20 men died of disease, accident, in prison, etc. The total enrollment of the regiment was 1,339 men. 210 men (15.6%) were killed or died of wounds. 187 men (13.9%) died of disease, accident, in prison, etc. 62 men (4.6%) died in Confederate prisons.