A Brief History of the 69th Regiment Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers

Its Formation until Final Muster Out of the
United States Service,
Adjutant Anthony W. McDermott.
Also an Account of the Reunion of the Survivors of the
Philadelphia Brigade
Pickett’s Division of Confederate Soldiers,
And the Dedication of the Monument
of the
69th Regiment Pennsylvania Infantry,
at Gettysburg, July 2d and 3d, 1887,
and of the Rededication, September 11th, 1889,
Captain John E. Reilly.

To the
Ancient Order of Hibernians,
The Hibernian Society,
and the
Generous Citizens of Philadelphia,
who contributed so liberally for the erection of our
Gettysburg Monument,
this book is dedicated.


After a lapse of twenty-five years it would be very difficult, without research, to write a full and complete history of a Regiment that for more than four years of active field service made it one of the best-known fighting regiments of the Army of the Potomac. Therefore, in writing this little book, we make no pretensions to writing the history of the Sixty-ninth Pennsylvania Regiment, which would require a volume of no mean proportions, for its history is, in part, a history of that Grand Old Army. In this we can only give but a condensed statement of the services of that veteran organization, and leave it to future historians to do this regiment full justice; but we feel, at this time, that we owe something to our generous fellowcitizens who came to our aid, and who so nobly assisted us to erect a shaft which marks the spot where this regiment did valuable service at Gettysburg, and which honors the memory of brave comrades who, with tenacious courage, laid down their lives in defence of their State and country.

We trust that our efforts will be appreciated, and that the facts set forth in this small volume ma}’ prove interesting to the reader, and that this book may be the nucleus from which some more competent historian, in the near future, may be enabled to compile a more perfect history of the services of the gallant old Sixty-ninth Pennsylvania Regiment.



When the States of the South broke out in rebellion against the authority of the national government, the President of the United States issued a proclamation calling for 75,000 men to serve for three months, to aid in suppressing it, and to restore the national authority. At that time the militia organizations of the various counties in the State of Pennsylvania had held themselves in readiness, anticipating the President’s proclamation for troops, and were the nucleus around which the citizens of our State rallied and formed what, at other times, might be designated a mighty army.

The Second Regiment, Philadelphia County Militia, of the Second Brigade, First Division, Pennsylvania State Militia, was the nucleus from which emanated the Sixty-ninth Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers. The companies of this regiment were composed of men of Irish birth or parentage, but lacking in numbers the complement necessary to meet the standard requirements of the War Department—recruiting stations were opened, and the regiment was raised to the regulation standard. Of those who were enlisted outside of the militia, a number of them represented other nationalities, including what are called straight-out Americans. Every religious denomination of Christianity was represented, even including the “Society of Friends,” of whom there were, at least, two. There were, also, several of the Jewish persuasion.

The Philadelphia militia regiments who tendered their services to the national government, greatly exceeded the quota assigned to the city, and a spirit of rivalry was developed to obtain recognition. There was considerable delay in accepting the services of this regiment, owing to Gen. Cadwalader, the division commander, refusing to accept Col. P. W. Conroy as the regimental commander, this officer having incurred the general’s displeasure, hence the acceptance of the regiment was held in abeyance; but through the intercession of Gen. John D. Miles, the brigade commander, the regiment was accepted with Joshua T. Owen, a young lawyer of Philadelphia, as the colonel, and the regiment was mustered into the service of the United States for three months, to date from April 15, 1861, and designated the Twenty-fourth Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers, and assigned to the department commanded by Maj.-Genl. Robert Patterson on the Upper Potomac and in the Shenandoah Valley. While but little fighting was done—the enemy always retreating after slight skirmishing—yet there was considerable marching, and the men, towards the close of their three months’ service, suffered severely from lack of food and insufficiency of clothing.

The terms of service of all three months’ troops expired on the eve of important operations, which left the government exposed almost to the mercy of the rebels, and Gen. Patterson was forced to suspend the task assigned to him of engaging, or holding, the rebel Gen. Johnston at Winchester. The Twenty-fourth Regiment, however, almost to a man, tendered their services beyond the period of their enlistment to enable the government, through their commander, to carry out its plans until new troops would replace them. Gen. Patterson, knowing such a small force could not be utilized with any degree of success, declined to accept their service beyond the period of their enlistment, and, with grateful thanks for their patriotic offer, mustered the regiment out of the service with all the other three months’ troops. This regiment presented a very sorry sight upon their return home in the latter part of July, marching through the streets wearing their overcoats in a hot, sweltering sun, their modesty preferring to suffer from the oppressive heat rather than submit to the exposure from insufficient clothing.

Immediately upon arrival home, authority was sought and granted to reorganize the regiment for a period of three years, and the regiment was again mustered into the service of the United States, to date from August 19, 1861, under the following field, staff, and line officers: Colonel, Joshua T. Owen; Lieutenant- Colonel, Dennis O’Kane; Major, John Devereux; Adjutant, Martin Tschudy; Quarter-Master, J. Robinson Miles; Surgeon, Charles C. Bombaugh-; Assistant Surgeon, Bernard A. McNeill.; Chaplain, Rev. Michael F. Martin. Company A—Captain, James Duffy; Lieutenants, John McHugh and James Dunn. Company B—Captain, Thomas Furey; Lieutenants, Eneas Dougherty and Michael Cassiday. Company C—Captain, James O’Reilly; Lieutenants, Hugh Flood and John O’Connor. Company D—Captain, James Harvey; Lieutenants, Joseph McHugh and T. O’Connor. Company E—Captain, Andrew McManus; Lieutenants, Alexander Lovett and Thomas Woods. Company F—Captain, George C. Thompson; Lieutenants, Hugh Mc- Illheney and John Barnes. Company G—Captain, J. F. Von Bierworth; Lieutenants, Patrick Moran and Samuel McKeown. Company H—Captain, Thomas Kelly; Lieutenants, Edward Thompson and Thomas Carroll. Company I—Captain, Daniel F, Gillen; Lieutenants, Patrick S. Tinen and John McNamara. Company K—Captain, William Davis; Lieutenants, Joseph Kelly and Thos. M. Taylor.


Upon receipt of orders from the Secretary of War, the regiment left the city on the 17th of September, 1861, for Washington, and was sent from there to Chain Bridge, and went into camp about one mile from the bridge, on the south side of the Potomac river. While here the regiment was employed in building Fort Ethan Allen, and in making roads to connect the chain of forts erected for the defense of the Capitol.

At this place the regiment was assigned to what was then designated as Baker’s California Brigade, under the command of Col. E, D. Baker, and comprised the following regiments: Sixty-ninth, Seventy-first, Seventy-second, and shortly afterwards the One Hundred and Sixth—all Philadelphia regiments. On the 24th of September, the regiment received its first experience, as a three years’ organization, of the realities of the war, by participating in the reconnoissance in force, under Gen. W. F. Smith, at Lewinsville, a short distance from Drainsville; in the fighting that ensued, the Sixty-ninth had one man wounded.

Under the impression that the enemy was in large force in the vicinity of Munson’s Hill, the regiment was ordered out late in the night of September 29th. While on the march the strictest silence was requested, and when near the point of rendezvous, while the column was at a halt, the troops in rear of this regiment commenced firing on those of another regiment crossing a field on the left of the road; these troops being dressed in grey uniforms, were mistaken for the enemy, the bright light from the moon showing their color, and, at the same time, a few cavalry men came dashing along the road to the rear, which added to the alarm, and an indiscriminate firing was maintained for some minutes all along the columns on the read. On discovering there was no enemy, the Lieutenant-Colonel (the Colonel being absent) ordered all firing to cease, and quiet was restored; this regiment lost one man killed. Alter remaining out all night, the regiment returned to camp the following morning.

In the early part of October, camp was broken, and the brigade marched to a field a few miles west of Poolesville, Md., where a camp of observation was formed, and Winter quarters established.
A rigid course of instruction and discipline was here maintained, the men thoroughly drilled in company, battalion, and brigade movements. Guard, patrol, and picket duties were performed to the letter, according to “army regulations;” in fact, no duty was neglected that would contribute to a perfect knowledge of military life and manoeuvres. The picket duty was performed along the Potomac river, between Edwards Ferry and the Point of Rocks, about five miles from camp—two companies performing a two weeks “tour” at a time.

On the 20th of October, Gen. Stone, then in command of the department of Virginia, sent orders for the brigade to move to Conrad’s Ferry, on the following morning. The California regiment to move at daylight, the rest of the brigade to follow at 7 o’clock. The former regiment did not move from camp, however, until 7 o’clock A. M., and the rest of the brigade about 2 o’clock P. M. When the Sixty-ninth, Seventy-second, and the One Hundred and Sixth regiments arrived at Conrad’s Ferry, the California regiment, or the Seventy-first Pennsylvania, had already crossed the river on two flat boats or scows carrying about twenty men each, one boat being used between the northern bank and an island, the other from the island to the Virginia side or southern bank of the river. That regiment became hotly engaged with the enemy on a high bluff known as “Ball’s Bluff,” and within a few miles of Leesburg. Col. Baker, who was leading and commanding the Seventy-first in the battle, sent orders for the Sixty-ninth to cross immediately. While the regiment was preparing to move to the water’s edge, Father Gillen, a Jesuit Priest of Maryland, and well known to most all of Gen. Bank’s command for his zeal in behalf of the soldier, and his ministrations to the sick, the wounded and dying, obtained permission to implore a blessing upon the men, and to administer absolution. Through these few moments of delay, the Forty-second New York, in its eagerness to cross, moved down, filled the scow, and pushed oft for the island. Before half of that regiment could get across the river, the troops fighting were driven from the bluff into the river, or were killed or captured, and this movement passed into history as a disaster. Our well-beloved Gen. Baker being among the slain.

Camp duties were again resumed, and the vacancy in the command of the brigade was filled by the appointment of Gen. W. W. Burns, of the Regular Army, who proved himself to be an able brigadier, a strict disciplinarian, and thorough tactician. It was while in this camp that the regiments of this brigade were recognized as Pennsylvanians, and accredited to Pennsylvania’s quota. Previous to this, the brigade was thought to be accredited to California, and was generally called the “California Brigade,” although the men composing it were almost all Pennsylvanians, and were principally citizens of the city of Philadelphia; henceforth it was known as the “Philadelphia Brigade.”


On the 25th ot February, 1862, camp was again broken, and the brigade was marched to Adamstown, a station on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, placed aboard cars and taken to Point of Rocks, and on the 27th we crossed the Potomac river on pontoons to Harper’s Ferry, Va. Gen. Sedgewick was placed in command of the division to which this brigade belonged in place of Gen. Stone, who was removed on account of the Ball’s Bluff disaster. At Harper’s Ferry all the troops in the vicinity were placed under the command of Gen. Banks, who immediately pushed forward down the Shenandoah Valley, advancing upon Winchester. The Philadelphia Brigade marched to Berryville, Va., and went into bivouac. At this place the Sixty-ninth received a handsome green flag, the gift of citizens of Philadelphia, which was turned over to the regiment by Col. J. T. Owen in a neat speech. Gen. Banks having occupied Winchester without much serious opposition, the division of Gen. Sedgewick, to which this regiment belonged, returned to Harper’s Ferry, where it remained until the 24lh of March, on which date the march was made to Point of Rocks, where the division was placed on cars, taken to Washington, and assigned to the Army of the Potomac. On the 27th, the march was made to Alexandria, Va., crossing the Potomac on the long bridge, and, on the following morning, the regiment was placed aboard the ferry boat Champion and sailed for Fortress Monroe. The captain of this boat objected to the entire regiment being placed aboard, its registered capacity being for but 500 persons, while the regiment numbered between 800 and 900 men. No attention, however, was paid to his protests, and the men, with their arms and camp equipage, were huddled aboard, and for nearly three days were floundering upon the waters of the Potomac river and Chesapeake bay. The men were obliged to work the pumps night and day to prevent the boat from sinking. On the 30th the regiment disembarked at Fortress Monroe and marched to Hampton, Va., encamping until the 4th of April awaiting the arrival of the balance of the army. While here, the men had opportunities of indulging in oysters and other shell fish caught by themselves, and enjoyed the sport as well as the food.

On the last named date, the march was commenced up the peninsula to Yorktown, where the enemy was found entrenched behind formidable works; this point was reached on the afternoon of the 5th. Now had begun real soldier work. Beiore leaving Washington, pieces of light canvas, about six feet square, with buttons and button holes at regular intervals around the edge, were distributed to the men to take the place of tents, two men, at least, were obliged to join together to form a covering by buttoning their pieces together and laying the centre across a ridge pole, placed in the forks of two upright saplings cut for the purpose, about four feet high, and the two edges parallel with the ridge were fastened to the ground, forming an A-shaped tent without being enclosed at the ends; to have a complete enclosure, four men were necessary to join together—too many in such a small space for comfort—but later, the men generally became supplied with an extra piece through the reduction of force by death, sickness and wounds. At Yorktown a camp was formed at what seemed a safe distance from the enemy’s lines, and no time could now be spared for drills or camp work, but instead, working details were sent to make roads, build works, and other details to perform picket duty. While not actively engaged with the enemy, yet the troops were frequently subject to the fire of his musketry and artillery when sallies would be made to develop our strength or discover our work, and often the regiment would be sent to protect working parties from attack by small columns of the enemy. Not only during the day would these attacks be made, but frequently through the night we were harassed in the same way. This kind of work was not only fatiguing as well as dangerous, but it was very exhausting from lack of rest. This work was kept up night and day until the 3d of May, when the rebels abandoned their works and positions around Yorktown and retreated back to Williamsburg. The regiment moved from its camp to the west of Yorktown, close to the York river, on the morning of the 4th of May. During the operations at Yorktown the losses to the regiment in killed and wounded were very slight, being one man killed and two wounded. Before evacuating Yorktown, the enemy had placed torpedoes in the ground close to every object of interest or attraction about the town, so that danger was in our way at every step. Company D had one man killed by the explosion of one of these infernal machines, upon which he had trodden while walking about their works. While at Yorktown the Army of the Potomac was divided into corps de armee. This regiment was designated as the Second Regiment, of the Second Brigade of the Second Division, Second Army Corps, the commander of which was Major-General E. V. Sumner.

On the 7th ot May the regiment was placed aboard the steamboat Daniel Webster and taken up the York river to near West Point, disembarked and encamped until the 15th, on which day a march was made to New Kent Court House, and on the 23d marched to Tyler’s Farm, close to the Chickahominy river.


On the afternoon of the 31st of May, the day of the opening ot the battle of Fair Oaks, by General Sumner’s order the corps left its encampment and made a double quick march to the Chickahominy and crossed on the bridge built by the corps, now historically known as “Sumner’s Grape Vine Bridge,” and immediately rushed to the assistance of the corps of Heintzelman and Keys, who were heavily engaged, and in danger of being driven into the river. The crossing was effected with great difficulty, as the river became a mad torrent, swaying the bridge to such an extent that its destruction was momentarily expected, and shortly after all had crossed, the bridge was swept away.

The troops of Sumner’s corps were formed in line of battle immediately after crossing. This regiment was formed on the right of the First Minnesota, while on the right of the Sixty-ninth was formed the Seventy-second Pennsylvania. No enemy appearing on our front, the regiment was moved to a position at right angles with its former one and supported Rickett’s Battery, which was hotly assailed by a massed column of the enemy, who were quickly repulsed, the battery pouring in a murderous fire of canister and shrapnel. The Philadelphia Brigade now moved to a more advanced position, being “en eschelon” to that of the First Brigade, and advanced through a wheat field to near the edge of a wood, where this regiment captured Gen. Pettigrew, who was wounded, and a number of other prisoners, who had become detached from their lines. The timely arrival of this corps (Second) thwarted the plans of the rebels, who, it seems, were about to throw a heavy body of their troops on the right flank of Key’s corps, crush it and destroy Sumner’s bridge. In this engagement our loss was very slight, having but one officer and two men wounded. On the following day, June 1st, the fighting was renewed, but confined almost entirely to the corps on Sumner’s left. The position of this regiment was again changed, as were the other regiments of this brigade, and a new hne was formed within the ground held by the enemy but a few days before, he retiring to lines closer to Richmond. On this line the regiment remained for nearly one month, during which it erected a line of works and performed almost constant picket duty, being continually annoyed by the sharpshooters, and almost daily subject to artillery firing, and twice the enemy made spirited attacks that we repulsed, inflicting heavy losses; this regiment losing three men killed and two officers and eight men wounded. The wounded officers were Major John Devereux and Lieutenant Moran, gallant and intrepid soldiers.


On the A. M. of the 29th June, it became apparent that a retrograde movement was inevitable. Our lines were accordingly withdrawn some two miles to the rear, to Peach Orchard, where we awaited the approach of the enemy. About 10 A. M. his skirmishers came upon our lines and a sharp fire was opened and kept up for a short while, the artillery on both sides taking part. Finding that we could not be driven from our position, he retired from further attack. About noon we were withdrawn to a new position south of Savage Station, It was discovered that the enemy was purposely amusing us, as it were, while his main body was moving rapidly to our left, his intention being to fall upon our lines as they were stretched out on the march and cut us in two. He was, however, completely foiled. The staid old Sumner, ever reliable, who always turned up at the opportune moment, now the rearguard, was on hand in the exact place where the enemy did not want him.

At about 3 o’clock in the afternoon the Confederates came upon our lines and immediately began the attack. The Philadelphia Brigade received the shock of the onset, which, while it fell principally upon the Seventy-second Pennsylvania (Philadelphia’s gallant Fire Zouaves) yet the other regiments of the brigade had a share in defeating the foe. Gen. Burns, our brave brigade commander, was wounded in the face, which served only to exasperate him, and made him more determined to administer a punishment that would send the enemy reeling back with all his hopes destroyed, and crushed in spirit for the remainder of the day. As on came the foe with exultant shouts, delivering a terrible fire, Burns rushes to meet him with the Seventy-second, who poured such a destructive fire, aided by the artillery, that melted his ranks into utter feebleness and forced him to flee. The Sixty-ninth was on the right of the Vermont Brigade, and with it advanced to meet the enemy, who quickly gave way and fled, after which this regiment was moved at a double quick to the right, to the support of Pettit’s Battery, near the railroad, against which the Confederates were quickly advancing, their batteries open with a raking fire of canister and shrapnel, to which our batteries reply with a fire more destructive and effective, which, together with the infantry fire, forced them to abandon the attack, leaving Sumner in complete possession of the field. Although we were the victors, yet as the darkness veiled our movements we quickly move on in retreat to catch up with the rest of our army, which we reached by daylight on the morning of the 30th, at White Oak Swamp. In these engagements the regiment suffered a loss of two killed, four wounded and three captured.


At White Oak Swamp, the regiment rested until about 10 o’clock in the morning, when the march was made to Nelson’s Farm close to the Charles City” Road, and parallel to the Swamp at that point. A furious onset was made on the lines of the Pennsylvania Reserves on our right front. Gen. Hooker was to McCall’s left, but fearing the latter officer would not be able to hold out, moved his division to the right in support of McCall, and called on Gen. Sumner for a brigade to strengthen his right, who accordingly called upon the Sixty-ninth and led it to a position in the rear of and in support of McCall’s Division, who w^ere then being driven from their position. After forming line of battle in a ravine at the foot of a hill on which were posted two batteries, the men were ordered to lay down and wait until the enemy emerged from the woods through which McCall’s men were then being driven. Gen. Sumner turned to Hooker and said, “General, I cannot spare you a brigade, but I have brought you the Sixty-ninth Pennsylvania, one of the best regiments in my corps; place them where you wish, for this is your fight. Hooker.”

Though under heavy fire from the enemy’s guns at the time, the men of the Sixty-ninth gave three rousing cheers for their gallant old Corps Commander as Sumner was leaving them with the final instructions to wait until they could see the whites of the enemy’s eyes and to aim low. We did not have long to wait however, for soon the “Reserves,” being overpowered by numbers, were obliged to give way, some of their regiments retreating through our ranks in the wildest disorder, the enemy pressing so closely after that the German battery on the hill in front ceased firing and retreated , also abandoning some of their guns, which were surrounded by the advancing foe, who made desperate attempts to capture them, but the Sixty-ninth kept up a deadly fire on them from the foot of the hill and kept the enemy from turning the abandoned guns on our lines. Seeing they were still pressing forward, taking advantage of the position that the rise of ground gave to us, the regiment instinctively jumped to their feet and advancing in wedge shape, charged up the hill with a cheer, met the enemy at close quarters, drove them from the captured guns and hurled them back on their supporting lines, changing what had but a short time before seemed to be a disastrous defeat to a glorious victory. So sudden and impetuous was that charge of the Sixty-ninth, so destructive its fire delivered into the very faces of the enemy, that he not only halted, but in dismay and terror they turned and fled through the swamp, out of sight, utterly routed. The day was saved and our army victorious, and Gen. Hooker personally complimented the regiment on the field for having made this, “the first successful bayonet charge of the war, and saved the Army of the Potomac from probable disaster.”

The efforts of the enemy to force the lines of our army at this place were for the purpose of dividing it—which movement, if successful, would undoubtedly have proved its destruction. So proud was our brigade commander, Gen. Burns, of the action of the Sixty-ninth in this battle, that he hailed the regiment in his official report as “Gallant Sixty-ninth.”

The losses to the regiment in this battle were 13 men killed, 3 officers and 33 men wounded, 5 enlisted men missing; total, 54. Extract from Gen. Hooker’s report: “About 3 o’clock P. M. the enemy commenced a vigorous attack on McCall, and in such force that Gen. Sumner voluntarily tendered me the services of a regiment which was posted in an open field on my extreme right and under shelter from the enemy’s artillery—this was the Sixty-ninth Penna. Vols, under Col. Owen. * * * After great loss, the enemy gave way, and were instantly followed with great gallantry by Grover at the head of the First Mass. Reg’t, while the Sixty-ninth Penna., heroically led by Owen, advanced in the open field on their flank with almost reckless daring. * * * * As Col. Owen has rendered me no report of the operations of his regiment, I can only express my high appreciation of his services, and my acknowledgment to his chief for having tendered me so gallant a regiment.” The regiment withdrew at midnight, and, with the rest of the army, retired to Malvern Hill and bivouacked behind the crest.


On the morning of July 1st the brigade was advanced from its bivouac and sent to the support of the batteries engaged in shelling the enemy. The Sixty- ninth was moved in column of companies to a position on the slope of the hill, in rear of one of the batteries, and in view of the enemy, who were concealed in woods at the base of the slope and whose batteries opened fire, sending shot and shell in close discharges, that forced us to lay flat on the ground, which position enabled the troops to escape injury. After remaining in this position until near noon, we were withdrawn, and, with the corps, marched to the extreme right and massed in a thick woods, where we remained for the balance of the day, except that about 3 o’clock in the afternoon the brigade was marched in double quick to the centre of the army, and, being met by Gens. McClellan and Sumner, the latter general ordered us back to our position in the woods. This move was made through the error of one of Sumner’s staff” officers, who had mistaken the Philadelphia Brigade, on account of the green flag of the Sixty-ninth, for Meagher’s New York Irish Brigade, who were sent for to aid the troops of Gen. Fitz John Porter or Couch, then desperately engaged on the left. About ii P.M., after all fighting had ceased, the corps was started, with the rest of the army, on its march to Harrison’s Landing, on the James River. The Sixty-ninth was given the advance of the corps, with instructions to march rapidly and push through any obstructions we would encounter. We arrived at the landing shortly after daylight, in the midst of a drenching rain. Any encampment was formed in a ploughed field of the stickiest mud’ that could possibly be found; here we were allowed to rest. Our readers can imagine the sweet repose enjoyed by troops marching almost constantly by night, and fighting by day, for four days. and nights (some troops for seven days and nights.) Thus ended! the memorable “seven days’ fighting” of the Army of the Potomac. When the rain had ceased, on the 3d of July, the troops were moved to a new and more pleasant camp-ground. Efforts were made to establish strict camp routine, but were not kept up; drills and inspections were, however, maintained, and fair discipline ruled throughout the army. The spirits of the men were not dulled on account of the change of base, and they were as ready to meet the foe as at any time since the commencement of operations in the Spring.

On the 2d of August the division left camp and marched to Malvern Hill taking a circuitous route, the object being to cut off and capture a force of the enemy who were occupying that place as a post of observation, they having discovered our movement, fled before its completion, and we returned to camp on the 4th inst. During our encampment here new clothing was issued, which was greatly needed, as the men of the Sixty-ninth, just previous to going into the battle of Savage Station were ordered to place their knapsacks in a pile in the woods until after the battle, which they did, but they never recovered them, hence all their clothing was lost by order. The government in this case treated the men very meanly by charging them for the clothing they had drawn to replace that so lost. We cannot but remember gratefully the work of the sanitary and other commissions and individuals who supplied us abundantly with fruits, vegetable and other food, also their ministrations to the sick and wounded, while in this encampment.


On the 16th of August tents were struck, and the army marched to Newport News where the men were allowed a few days to rest, and to enjoy the bathing in the Chesapeake Bay, after which, the entire brigade was placed on board the large Pacific steamer Baltic and brought back to Alexandria, where we were held until all the regiments of the corps had arrived, after which we made a rapid march to Centreville to the assistance of Pope. The corps, although it held a position on the right of Pope’s Army did not become actively engaged beyond some skirmishing while reconnoitering the positions of the enemy. After this battle the corps marched to Chantilly where the Sixty-ninth was formed in line of battle in support of a battery of artillery, and were subject to the fire from the enemy’s guns for a period of about two hours, until the last of the army had passed in retreat to the defenses of Washington, after which we resumed our march as the rear guard, being occasionally harassed by the enemy’s cavalry until a little before sunset, when we reached a place where there was a close thicket at the edge of a woods, into this thicket a battery of artillery was placed, supported by our brigade and the Second, entirely concealed from view. The enemy came dashing across the open fields unconscious of the close presence of their opponents, until within point blank range, when the six guns of the battery, double shotted with canister, belched forth their contents, almost sweeping the charges out of existence, after this check we were allowed to pursue our march in peace back towards the Chain Bridge which crossed the Potomac, this place we reached early in the morning. In these movements the losses to the regiment were slight, there was one enlisted man killed, and several wounded and two men captured. As we had really no rest worth speaking of from the 30th of August until now, the 3d of September, the men were greatly exhausted, so much so, that on the night of the 2d on the road back to Chain Bridge, the roads were so blocked with wagon trains that frequent halts had to be made, during which the men almost immediately fell asleep. During one of these shortest of halts while the troops were dozing, some cavalry men passed along, the clinking of whose sabres led some one under the impression that it was the enemy, and shouted out to that effect, a stampede took place, men running every direction through the woods, many of them were easily detected the next morning as they were minus their caps.

Our brigade commander, Gen. Burns, who was wounded at Savage Station and remained with the brigade until the end of the seven days’ fighting, was obliged to leave us at Harrison’s Landing. He was succeeded by Col. Owen until the 30th of August, when Gen. Howard was assigned to its command.


On the 5th of September we crossed the Potomac into Maryland and marched to Tenallytown, to go into camp until new plans could be put into operation. The commander of the Confederates, however, by his crossing into Maryland, forced a resumption of activity, and the army was again in motion.

The march was made in the direction of Frederick, Md., which was reached on the 13th of September; from thence we marched to South Mountain, reaching the scene of battle at that place in time to give support to the Ninth Corps if needed. The enemy falling back from that place, we followed him to Keedysville, and there began the preparations for one of the mightiest battles of the War.

On the morning of the 17th of September we crossed the Antietam Creek by fording, the water being waist-deep and the current so swift that the men were obliged to lock arms by fours to prevent being swept down the stream. After crossing, line of battle was formed, the first and third brigades of the division, each constituting a line, being in advance of the Philadelphia Brigade, who were the third line of battle. An advance was made, immediately after forming, in a southerly direction. On coming within range of the artillery fire we came upon a line of battle composed of troops of Fitz John Porter’s corps, which we relieved, thiis bringing our advance line in contact with the enemy, whom we forced from his position. They fell back in good order, making several stands, until a sunken road was reached; this road, we believe^ led into the town of Sharpsburg. On the south side the ground was higher than that over which we had advanced, and was covered by a thick woods; into this the enemy fell back a short distance, which enabled our lines to get across the road and into the woods also. On this road, and close to our position, was the “Dunkards’ Church,” now historically known as a land-mark in this battle. Here the enemy made his last stand, and here the fighting was most desperate. The range of the Confederate artillery upon our lines was most accurate and destructive; every conceivable article of destruction that could be used was here hurled against us—solid shot, shell, spherical case, shrapnel, grape, and canister—and, judging by the tearing sounds through the air, the general opinion was that railroad iron, nails, etc , were belched from the cannon’s mouth, so that our men jocularly claim that whole blacksmith-shops were discharged from their guns against us. In addition to the artillery fire, the lines of infantry poured in their destructive fires of musketry, and the carnage became dreadful. A curious feature in this battle was that, while we were driving the rebels across a corn-field toward the “Dunkards’ Church,” a part of French’s Division (the Third Division, Second Corps), composed almost wholly of new troops, was being driven back by a body of Texans; so close were the flanks that the left flank of our brigade almost rubbed against the left flank of the rebels. Our brigade-line instinctively halted, expecting an order to change front and pour into the Texans, v;hich would have resulted in the complete capture of that rebel force. Why Gen. Howard permitted this opportunity to pass is beyond conception. With two lines of battle in front of us, we might easily have been spared for the short time it would have taken us to defeat, if not annihilate, this force on our flank passing to our rear. Gen. Howard possibly thought it his duty to obey the orders he received; but here was a period where discretion could be used to such advantage that he could have shortened the battle, given to our arms a more complete victory, inflicted greater losses upon the enemy, and at the same time won an imperishable name for himself and the Philadelphia Brigade; but Howard ordered us to forward, and we had to obey, though with great reluctance. Rickett’s battery, which belonged to our division, almost ran over the enemy in swinging their guns in position to bear on them.

This force of the enemy after pursuing the retreating lines of French some distance to the rear, turned and performed the very movement against us that we might or should have performed again them, they swept back upon our rear, placing us between two fires, when our brave old corps commander, Gen. Sumner, accompanied by only one aide, rode up along the front of this regiment and ordered us to move out by the right flank. Amid the din of the battle we could not hear his command, supposing he wanted us to make a charge, the men gave him a rousing cheer and commenced to fix their bayonets, but our gallant old commander took off his cap and waved it for us to get out. At the same time the enemy gave us to understand what Gen. Sumner meant, by pouring destructive volleys of musketry into our rear, and the entire division was obliged to get out of their position by the one outlet—the right flank. We were now obliged to reform and occupy another position, until at last the enemy retired leaving us in possession of the field. Our losses were 3 officers and 18 men killed, 3 officers and 54 men wounded, and 1 officer and 9 men taken prisoners. Total 88.


The day following the battle of Antietam was spent in burying the dead and assisting the wounded from the temporary hospitals to better and more permanent hospitals, and on the 19th, the army moved to Maryland Heights on the Potomac, opposite Harper’s Ferry and overlooking the country for miles; at this place we crossed the river by fording to Harper’s Ferry, Va., marching through that town about two miles to a place called Bolivar Heights, where an encampment was formed. Gen. Sedgewick being wounded at Antietam the command of the division fell temporarily to Gen. Gorman, commander of the First Brigade and senior Gen. of the division. Towards the latter part of the month Gen. Burns returned to the command of his own (the Philadelphia Brigade), and was joyfully received by both officers and men, while Gen. Howard was placed in command of the division. On the 30th of October camp was again broken, the army assuming the offensive, and a march made to Snicker’s Gap, a pass through the blue ridge mountains, here we had a light skirmish with the enemy, the regiment losing, one man wounded and one taken prisoner.

On the 31st, the march was continued to the southward, “On to Richmond” again being the cry, the regiment bivouacking at a place called Bloomfield; while halting here, Gen. Burns, our brigade commander being promoted, took leave of the brigade, amid many regrets at parting so brave and sterling a soldier, the officers and men had learned to love him, and he was regarded with the affections due to a parent, for he had, we might say, brought us all to a perfect state of discipline, and to him we owe most of our military education; there were none of his old command who did not feel that he had won his promotion, and that he would rise to a still higher grade, as all felt sure that his abilities greatly exceeded his new position. Col. Owens, of this regiment, was placed in command of the brigade. Lieut. Col. Dennis O’Kane assumed command of the regiment. November 3d the march to Ashby’s Gap, some miles below Snicker’s was made, and preparations began for a battle—it was thought we had come upon the rebels in force. Lines of battle were formed and slight breastworks were hastily constructed; no large force of the enemy appearing, the army moved, on the following morning, for Warrenton, arriving at that place on the 9th; the next day, the 10th, Gen. McClellan took leave of the army, he having been relieved of its command, the news passed from mouth to mouth, and the army became at once, as it were, a spiritless mob, a gloom of sadness seemed to be in the air, no commander had ever held the affections of his men to a greater extent, his departure seemed to be followed by that spirit of enthusiasm that had always animated his army on entering a battle when his presence was known. Though the honor of ending the war did not fall to him, his troops well knew the fault was not his, as they recall to mind the withdrawal of McDowell’s force back to Washington, leaving Jackson free to strengthen Lee’s army who were held behind their defenses at Richmond, the fall of which seemed almost certain before the end of July, and the end of the war assured before the close of 1862. The memory of our beloved commander will ever be cherished in the hearts of the men of the old Army of the Potomac.

The command of the army was given to Gen. Burnside. The march was resumed and on the 15th the army reached Falmouth on the north bank of the Rappahannock River, a short distance above Fredericksburg which is on the south bank. Camps were formed here and quarters fixed for the Winter. At this place our Col. J. T. Owen received his promotion to the rank of Brigadier General, and was placed in command of the (Phila.) brigade, while Lieut. Col. D. O. Kane was made Colonel, Major Jno. Devereux was made Lieut. Colonel, and Adjutant M. Tschudy was made Major; many {promotions were made among the commissioned and non-commissioned officers of the line to fill vacancies occasioned by losses in battle.


Early on the morning of the nth of December, 1862, the regiment marched to Stafford Heights just opposite the city of Fredericksburg and was massed behind the bluff awaiting orders to cross the Rappahannock River. Owing to the obstinate resistance of the enemy the pontoon bridges were not completed until late in the afternoon, when the regiment crossed under a heavy artillery fire and formed line of battle under shelter of the river bank from which little protection was afforded from the annoying fire of the enemy’s sharpshooters, who were posted in the houses close to the river. To break up this annoyance two companies of the regiment were detailed, and, with details from other regiments of the brigade, advanced into and through the streets of the city, firing by volleys into the houses containing the rebel sharpshooters, and in this manner the city was almost entirely rid of the enemy. On the 12th we were moved about through the city from one position to another, and at intervals throughout the day the enemy saluted us with salvos of artillery, discharging shot and shell, doing more damage to the buildings than to their foes. The attack upon the heights in the rear of the city was given to the Second corps now commanded by Gen. Couch, Gen. Sumner having command of the Right Grand Division of the army consisting of the Second and Ninth Corps. Accordingly the Third Division formed column of brigades, supported by the First Division, formed in the same manner and advanced to the task of carrying the heights bristling with batteries placed in tiers one above the other and upon the crest, while at the base behind stone walls and rifle pits were placed the infantry. As our troops advance the enemy open a fire, so destructive that the first column was forced to give way. The next column advances and after getting within a few paces of the wall were obliged to retire, their ranks so thinned by losses that had they continued in their charge to the enemy’s works, they would not have had a sufficient force to hold them, so quickly were their lines melted away. It now came the turn of the Second Division, of which this regiment formed a part; our lines were formed in the bed of an old canal that ran across the back or southern part of the city, the right of the Sixty-ninth resting upon the telegraph road leading toward Richmond, and the left connecting with the One Hundred and Sixth Pennsylvania. Gen. Owen placing himself in front of the brigade line, gave the command, “forward double quick,” and led the line forward under a raking fire of artillery and infantry; seeing the useless task of trying to reach the enemy’s works he wisely gave the command “halt” and “lay down,” being protected by a slight wooden fence, within about one hundred yards of the first line of the rebel works, being unable to advance further we would not retreat, our men were obliged to lay down flat as the enemy made every effort to destroy us, or force us to leave, his batteries still kept up their fire, while his infantry watched their chance to pick oflf any of the men hazardous enough to raise their heads. Two companies were taken from the right and sent to a small house on the road about twenty-five yards to the front and on a line with the dead and wounded of the First Division, where their last stand was made. These two companies were to act as sharpshooters and so well did they preform their work of picking of the gunners, that the enemy was obliged to bring some of his batteries to bear on the house which they soon demolished. Late in the afternoon three more lines of battle under Gen. Hooker advanced to our relief and endeavored to drive the enemy from his position, but each successive line broke before they could reach or pass our line, so dreadful was the work of slaughter.

This ended the useless effort of our troops, and at 11 P. M. we were withdrawn, (after recovering the colors of two regiments which would have undoubtedly fallen into the enemy’s hands), and replaced by Sykes Division of “Regulars.” On the night of the 14th, the army was withdrawn and we returned to our camp on the north side of the river, marching nearly the whole night amid a drenching rain. Our losses were, 19 enlisted men killed, 5 officers, and 27 men wounded and 2 taken prisoners.

While encamped at Falmouth the regiment performed its share of picket duty. On the 25th of February, 1863, the regiment was called out in the night to march to United States Ford, some miles up the Rappahannock, to resist a reported crossing by the rebels at that point, this march was made in the face of a heavy storm of sleet and was about as disagreeable a march as could be made. On reaching the point of rendezvous it was discovered that the report was a false one, and much disgusted we returned to camp.

The citizen at home could not, we believe, realize the demoralized condition of the army at this time; it was little better than an armed disagreeable mob; all confidence in the leaders was destroyed, and murmurings were loud and frequent against everyone in authority, and our highest commanders were treated with contempt. Our grand old corps commander. Gen. Sumner, resigned his position, returned to his home and died almost immediately after, broken hearted over the demoralized condition of the army.


Gen. Hooker was now placed in command of the army. He proceeded at once to restore it to its former state of efficiency and discipline, punishing the men by withholding furloughs and other privileges until the inspectors’ reports showed good discipline; on some occasions these inspectors were hooted from the regiment and brigade camps, and on one occasion one of them appearing in a camp on a day while some snow lay on the ground he was snow-balled away. The troops, however, gradually fell into a fair state of discipline and operations began once more.

This regiment, or rather the brigade, did not participate in the battle proper. Being detached from the division, it was placed under the command of Gen. Benham, Chief of the Engineer Corps, and assigned to service at Bank’s Ford, between Chancellorsville and Fredericksburg, guarding the pontoon bridge laid at that Ford. This bridge was laid for the purpose of enabling Gen. Sedgewick to cross to the north bank of the Rappahannock if he were unable to hold his own, or to admit of the passage of troops to his assistance if events made such a course necessary. The brigade was moved to the south bank of the river and found the enemy in close proximity; line of battle was formed and a skirmish line sent out which advanced upon and drove him fully a mile back, this ground was held until Sedgewick coming up with his corps from Fredericksburg was overwhelmed and obliged to retreat across the bridge we were holding, after which we were withdrawn. During these movements the picket details from this and the other regiments of the brigade were taken across the river at Fredericksburg and bore part in the engagement at Mary’s Heights, back of the city, assisting in the capture of the rebel battery, known as the Washington Artillery. The failure of the army at Chancellorsville obliged Hooker to abandon aggressive operations, and the army was returned to its camp at Falmouth. Gen. Couch being placed in command of the department of Pennsylvania, the command of the corps was given to Gen. Hancock, and Gen. Gibbons was placed in command of the division in place of Gen. Howard, who had been promoted to the command of the Eleventh Corps. Under Hooker the troops were again becoming thorough in their discipline, and the strict routine of camp duty according to army regulations was carried out to the letter.


On the morning of the 14th of June, this regiment took up the line of march again back towards Washington, the army having to perform another retrograde movement. The weather was extremely hot and oppressive, the march long and the roads very dusty; many of the men were obliged to fall out, being overcome by the heat, on the 15th of June, while en route to Fairfax Court House, which place was reached at about 4 P. M. On the 18th marched to Centreville; on the 20th marched to Thoroughfare Gap, where the division was drawn up in line to defend the pass against the enemy, who it was believed were marching thereto.
While here, our brigade commander was removed and replaced temporarily by Col. D. W. C. Baxter, of the Seventy-second Pennsylvania. On the 25th, it being ascertained that a force of rebels were pushing their way around our left flank for the purpose of getting on our rear and cutting us off from the rest of the army, the division hastily moved back, the Sixty-ninth being left behind some distance as a rear guard. On approaching the village of Haymarket we were discovered by the enemy, who were very close upon our flank, and who opened a very sharp tire from his batteries on us. To save ourselves from being cut off and captured we were obliged to run a considerable distance at top speed, and caught up with the remainder of the division at a small place called Gainesville; a battery was here sent to the rear, which we supported, and whose firing held the enemy in check until the division was gotten well under way again. About noon an uncomfortable and heavy drizzling rain set in, making our march very difficult. About 11 P. M. we bivouacked at Gum Springs. The latter part of this march was made over part of the old Bull Run battlefield, where the bones of the dead in many places were exposed above ground. On the 26th we marched to Edward’s Ferry and crossed the Potomac back into Maryland, where we rejoined the other two divisions of the corps and rested for the night, continuing the march to Frederick, arriving there on the afternoon of the 28th; we here received our new brigade commander Gen. A. S. Webb, and marched to Uniontown, where the order was promulgated, placing Gen. Meade in command of the Army of the Potomac.


On the evening of the 1st of July we arrived on the field of Gettysburg, and while on the march to this point we knew that we were close to the enemy for we could hear the heavy artillery fire of the First Corps who were on the advance, and later in the day we received the sad intelligence of the death of Gen. Reynolds, which was regarded as a calamity, for his ability as a commander was second to none. To replace him. Gen. Hancock was sent forward to take command of the field. Gen. Gibbons assumed command of the corps, and Gen. Harrow command of the division. Hancock at once took in the situation, and quickly placed the troops in position as they arrived on the field.

The Sixty-ninth was placed in position shortly after sunrise on the morning of July 2d, on Cemetery Ridge, a little below the crest on the decline facing the enemy and behind a low stone wall, the right resting within about thirty paces of what is now designated as the “Bloody Angle,” the left extending about the same distance below, or south of a clump of trees of umbrella shape, historically known as the objective point or guide for the rebel Gen. Pickett in his advance and charge of the 3d of July.

After establishing the line of battle, a detail of two men was taken from each company and added to details from the other three regiments of the brigade, and were placed on picket a little beyond the Emmettsburg pike. This line was briskly engaged with the enemy’s pickets until late in the afternoon.

About 6.30 P. M., the enemy, after driving back the lines of the Third Corps, and flushed with success at the time, assailed the position held by the Sixty-ninth. Wright’s Georgia Brigade made a furious assault, advancing obliquely from our left front, forcing Brown’s Rhode Island Battery—except two guns, which were abandoned by reason of the horses being shot down—from its position in front of this regiment; notwithstanding the fact that this battery were pouring charge after charge of canister shot and shrapnel into the advancing lines, still on come the mad Georgians until they reach point-blank range of our rifles. We met their charge with such a destroying fire that they were forced back in confusion. They rally again and make a second effort, and again are their lines broken and thinned as we pour volley upon volley into their disordered lines, until they finally retire a dispirited mob, not even able to take Brown’s abandoned guns, which they twice succeeded in reaching.

Says one writer: “Wright, Wilcox and Perry pass by Humphries’ right, but the gallant Sixty-ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers, under the command of Dennis O’Kane (Second Corps), receive the advancing foe—Wright’s Brigade—with a defiant shout, as they shake out the folds of their green flag and pour a withering fire at short range into the faces of their adversaries, then backward propelled by another volley, the men in gray and butternut uniforms in confusion are driven down the slope and across the ground over which they had charged.” Our position was strengthened by the Seventy-first Pennsylvania being placed a few paces in our rear. The men of the Sixty-ninth were eager to give pursuit, but were prevented by Gens. Harrow, commanding the division, and Webb, commanding the brigade. This closed the work of the regiment on the 2d of July. The field in our front was thickly strewn with the dead and wounded of the enemy, whose losses seemed very heavy, while the loss of this regiment was but trifling in comparison. Capt. M. Duffy, of Company I, and Lieut. Charles Kelly, two brave officers, who were exceedingly anxious to counter-charge upon the repulsed lines of the foe, were among the killed.

The men on this part of the field, not knowing that the lines of the army on the right curved to our rear, and hearing the artillery and musketry firing on Cemetery and Culp’s Hills, almost directly behind us, grew very uneasy as to the fate of the battle at those points This uneasiness was, we believe, shared in by some of our immediate commanders, as Gen. Webb asked that we should hold this position at all hazards until 4 o’clock of the next afternoon, when Gen. McClellan would be in Lee’s rear with 40,000 men. This information raised the spirits of the men, which was increased, for, as the firing grew more faint, and we heard the cheers of our men—for we could always distinguish between a “Union cheer” and a “Rebel yell”—we knew that we were the victors, and we sank to rest eager for the morrow, full of hope and confident that the end would leave us triumphant.


The morning of the 3d was passed inactively, except the firing of the pickets in our front, which was sometimes very sharp. About noon a stillness reigned that was deathlike and unusual at such a time; an anxious look could plainly be seen on the faces of the men, and feelings of mingled dread and determination pervaded the minds of all—a harbinger of the coming storm that was to cover the fields with so much blood, drawn from the patriot as well as from the traitor. It was the presage of that storm of artillery missiles unprecedented in field battles for the number of guns and the fury of its metallic hail. At 1 o’clock the stillness was broken by the discharge of one gun from the enemy’s lines—the right of Longstreet’s position—the men start, all gaze towards the Confederate positions, at the same time moving quickly to their posts. Again the air is disturbed by a sound, or rather many sounds almost in one, as a volley of artillery pours out its deafening roar. The air is filling with the whirring, shrieking, hissing sounds of the solid shot and the bursting shell; all throw themselves flat upon the ground, behind the low stone wall; nearly one hundred and fifty guns belch forth messengers of destruction, sometimes in volleys, again in irregular but continuous sounds, traveling through the air, high above us, or striking the ground in front and ricochetting over us, to be imbedded in some object to the rear; others strike the wall, scattering the stones around. The fire of all those batteries seems to be concentrated on Cemetery Ridge, part of which was held by this regiment. Our batteries reply. Battery A; Fourth United States, Lieut. Cushing, and Brown’s Rhode Island Battery, occupy the crest of the Ridge in our rear, together with the artillery from the Round Tops, the Old Cemetery, Cemetery and Culp’s hills, but ere long Cushing’s and Brown’s are almost completely silenced, their “guns being dismounted, caissons exploding, battery wagons, forges, etc., swept away, shattered into splinters, horses disemboweled, their flesh and entrails scattered, men beheaded, limbs torn, and bodies most horribly mangled into shapeless and unrecognizable masses of human flesh.” At last, after between one and two hours, the fire slackens, almost ceases. The Confederate infantry appear upon the scene, emerging from the woods opposite, nearly a mile distant, in two lines, followed by a battery of artillery, which took up its position close to the woods and immediately opened fire, the infantry advancing over the intermediate plain. The appearance of these troops was a feeling of relief from the dread of being plowed into shreds or torn to fragments by the solid shot or bursting shell that had so thickly filled the air a few moments before.


On came those two charging lines of battle with the precision of troops on parade and the cool, steady marching of veterans, which they were. While the enemy was advancing across the plain towards us, Col. O’Kane, commanding the regiment, ordered the men to reserve their fire until they could plainly distinguish the whites of their eyes; he also reminded the command of their being upon the soil of their own State, concluding his remarks with the words, “And let your work this day be for victory or to the death.” After Pickett’s lines had crossed the Emmittsburg pike their direction was changed, marching obliquely “to the left” until they overlapped our right and the “Angle.” At this juncture two of Cushing’s guns were brought from the crest of the ridge in the rear to the wall, and placed in position between the men of Company I—the first company—and commenced firing upon the advancing lines, until their ammunition became exhausted. The gunners then retired, leaving their guns at the wall with this regiment. When within about 20 or 30 paces of the wall the direct march was resumed by the enemy, and shortly after this regiment received the command to fire, and a destructive fire was poured into the ranks of the foe, which staggered him and threw his ranks into disorder. The fight now became desperate and destructive. For some reason or another the troops on the right of this regiment, and between it and the Angle, abandoned their position. The rebel commander, Gen. Armistead, perceiving this passed through the ranks of his men, and ran the gauntlet of the fire of the first two companies of this regiment, I and A, and, passing a short distance beyond the right of the Sixty-ninth, he stepped over the wall and pushed towards the crest of the ridge and our rear, followed by his men, who were in front of the abandoned part of the wall, thus imperilling our right and rear, to protect which the first three companies, I, A and F, were ordered to change front and face these flankers.
The first and second companies executed the order. The commander of Company F, George Thompson, being killed before he could give the command to his men, they remained at the wall with the regiment. This left a space between the left of A and the right of F, through which the enemy poured, enveloping the latter company and forcing almost all of their men over the wall into the lines of the Confederates in front, making them prisoners. The adjoining company, D, having more time, were enabled to turn upon and hold the enemy at bay, using their muskets as clubs, the enemy doing likewise. Corporal Bradley, of this company, a powerful man, was using his piece as a club very effectively, but was overpowered by numbers and had his skull crushed by a blow from a musket in the hands of a rebel. During the melee at this point, the other two companies of the right, together with the Seventy-first at the rear angle of the wall opposite, kept a destructive fire crossways until the rebel Gen. Armistead at this point fell mortally wounded, close to one of Gushing’ s guns, the muzzle of which he tried to grasp in his fall, but failed. With the fall of this leader the fighting here ended and the enemy surrendered. During this fighting on the right and right centre, the centre and left of the regiment were also desperately engaged.
The troops composing the two lines of the enemy in front of the Sixty-ninth were the brigades of Garnett—the front line—and Armistead, the rear and supporting line. Garnett was killed about opposite the centre of this regiment, near the pike. Pickett’s other brigade participating in the charge was commanded by Kemper, and was in line on the left of Garnett and beyond the left of this regiment. Stannard’s command, flanking Kemper, doubled his lines on those of Garnett and Armistead. Thus were these three brigades almost all converged on the position of this regiment, which they made desperate efforts to drive from the wall. Some of their men in their desperation actually passed over the wall, through the lines of the Sixty-ninth, on its left, but never to return, as they sank to the ground in death, pierced with bullets, Kemper falling wounded in front of our left, and the brigade of Col. Hall coming on the scene, from the left and rear, to our aid, followed by the Seventy -second Pennsylvania, forced the enemy to give up the struggle, nearly all surrendering. On the front of this regiment from six to eight flags were picked up.


The regiment lost all its field officers in repulsing this charge—the colonel, D. O’Kane, being mortally wounded, dying a few hours after; the lieutenant colonel, M. Tschudy, being killed while rallying the right to oppose Armistead. He was also wounded on the 2d, but refused to leave the field. The major, J. Duffy, was desperately wounded on the left of the line. The adjutant, W. Whildey, was slightly wounded near the close of the fight. There were also 4 line officers killed and 6 wounded, and the 2 lieutenants of Company F taken prisoners. Of the non-commissioned officers and privates there were 39 killed, 80 wounded, and 16 taken prisoners, making an aggregate loss of 151, while the aggregate strength of the regiment on entering the field the morning of July 2d was 258. The losses of Pickett’s Division were: of their 3 brigade commanders, 2 killed, 1 wounded; and of the field officers of its 14 regiments but i escaped unhurt; of the rank and file more than three-fourths were killed, wounded or captured. It is doubtful if history can show as complete an annihilation of a similar charging force as that of Pickett’s Division in that desperate closing scene of the battle of Gettysburg.

It may be proper to here state that other organizations have claimed to have fought at the stone wall, mingling with the men of the Sixty-ninth. This claim is based on the fact of individuals from other regiments picking up rebel flags thrown down or abandoned by the enemy at the close of the fight, and for which service medals have been awarded by Congress. We here state emphatically that no regiment, company, or part thereof, approached that part of the stone wall held by the Sixty-ninth Pennsylvania during the period of the fighting. The Seventy-second Pennsylvania advanced to the crest of the ridge, and perhaps a little below it; also Hall’s Brigade, and, we have been informed, other regiments approached our rear and fired upon the enemy. Their presence and destructive firing had the effect, no doubt, of forcing the enemy to give up the fight. When the fighting ceased, these troops came to the wall, gathered up flags and other trophies and returned back to their positions. The men of the Sixty-ninth were busily engaged in sending the rebel soldiers to the rear to be gathered in by the troops posted there, and also in looking up their dead and wounded; had they known, however, that a reward would be given to those who turned in the flags picked up off the field of battle, it is more than likely they also would have gathered up flags. The command of the corps was given to Gen. Warren, and that of the division to Gen. Harrow, owing to the absence of Gens. Hancock and Gibbons by reason of their wounds. The regiment was now commanded by Capt. Wm. Davis, of Company K, who was the senior officer of the regiment after the battle.

On the afternoon of the 5th, the Sixty-ninth abandoned its position at the stone wall and joined in the pursuit of the rebel army, marching to a point on the Hagerstown and Sharpsburg pike where line of battle was formed and preparations made to receive an attack. After manoeuvering about for two days the enemy fled towards the Potomac river, crossing at the different fords above Sheppardstown, and the regiment marched to Sandy Hook, Md., and went into camp, remaining in this position until the i8th. While here Capt. Davis was detailed for duty at Philadelphia and Capt. Thomas Kelly was placed in command of the regiment. Camp was now broken and the regiment again crossed the Potomac into Virginia at Harper’s Ferry, marching into the Loudon Valley thence to Manasses Gap and to the Blue Ridge Mountains, along which the march was kept up to near Piedmont, where it was expected Lee would give battle; preparations were made accordingly. Owing to the numerous and rapid marches through the mountains, over routes inaccessible to wagons, our wagon trains were left behind, thus making us short of food. Gen. Meade notified the troops of the scarcity of supplies and of the probability of having to subsist on such food as could be procured from the surrounding country. No attack being made here and the enemy still fleeing southward, the army was marched to a place called Morrisville near the Rappahannock river and on the line of the Orange & Alexandria Railroad, where the wagon trains were brought forward and food once more meted out. On the 31st of August we were marched to Bank’s Ford to resist a reported crossing of the river by the enemy’s cavalry, who not appearing we marched to Kelly’s Ford a few miles further westward, and after a slight skirmish the river was crossed and the march continued to Culpepper near which the brigade supported our cavalry in a brisk fight resulting in the defeat of the enemy.
At this place the regiment performed provost duty for four days until the remainder of the army came forward, after which the march was continued to the Rapidan river, relieving our cavalry at Summerville Ford, where we went into camp near to the river, and in view of the enemy who, not relishing the sight, brought his artillery to bear upon us with such vigor as to force us to change our camp to a position out of the range of his guns and out of his sight. In the early part of October we were marched to the west of Culpepper near to Madison Court House, where it was ascertained that Lee’s army was making a movement northward along the west side of the Blue Ridge. We remained in the vicinity of Culpepper and Rappahannock Station until the army had started on the march to the northward again. While waiting at this place the troops were employed in reducing the fortifications and in supporting the cavalry in its efforts to resist that of the enemy.
The division was now the rear guard and performed very fatiguing duty, marching by night and by day through fields and forest, across streams and ravines, up and down precipitous heights, with occasional fights and skirmishes, sometimes being obliged to run at top speed the gauntlet of the rebel artillery, infantry and cavalry, we continued this way for several days and nights until Bristow Station was reached, here the enemy met us in force and a brisk battle was the result. This regiment formed on the left of the One Hundred and Sixth and being protected by the railroad bank suffered but slight loss, while heavy losses were inflicted on the enemy who were obliged to retire. The Sixty-ninth with the rest of the brigade was detailed to accompany the wagon trains to Centreville and on the 15th of October we rejoined the division and marched to Bull Run where the army was, formed in battle array and waited an attack by Lee, who seemed to have wisely concluded not to attack. After fighting an artillery duel and failing to dislodge us from our position the enemy withdrew. On the 17th as daylight dawned upon us, the discovery was made that Lee’s army had gone; we then marched to Warrenton Junction and encamped until the 5th of November, when the army advanced again to the Rappahannock, crossed the river at Kelly’s Ford, formed line of battle and advanced on a small body of the enemy and drove them from their encampment, capturing a quantity of stores. The advance was continued to the Rapidan which the regiment crossed at Germania Ford on the 27th of November and marched to Robertson’s Farm where the enemy was found drawn up in line of battle.


The regiment formed line of battle on the left of the Seventy-first Pennsylvania, our left connecting with the First Brigade, while the Seventy-second Pennsylvania was deployed in our front as skirmishers. In this manner we advanced across the field, the enemy falling back as we approached to the edge of a wood. Forces of the rebels appearing on our right flank, we changed front so that a new line was formed running at right angles with the former. The enemy made a determined attack, so impetuous that our lines were forced to give way, and we fell back a short distance, but rallying, we charged forward, driving the enemy some distance beyond our former position, which we held, despite his renewed efforts to dislodge us. Darkness coming on, we rested on our arms until the morning, when the Third Corps advanced in line over us to attack the works of the enemy on the heights along Mine Run, the Second Corps being massed as a support. No attack being made at this point, we were withdrawn and marched to the rear, and by a circuitous route to and beyond the left of our army. On this march the utmost quietness was requested, and the men were obliged to muffle the utensils dangling from their haversacks. Arriving at the desired point, we were concealed in a woods, remaining until 3 o’clock A. M. of the 30th, and, amid the darkness of the hour, we were moved to a ravine within a few hundred yards of formidable looking works of the enemy, and here rested. Shortly after daylight Gen. Webb addressed the brigade, informing us that we were selected to charge the works in our front. The men being anxious, peeked over the brow of the hill and saw that the ground across which we were to charge was a very level, open field, of at least 500 yards in width, swept by the guns of several forts connected by breastworks, and which could be brought to bear on any portion of the field. The men were intelligent enough to take in the situation; they knew that when the next roll would be called there would be few to answer. Each one, however, with a grim cheerfulness, determined to make this charge a success or surrender his life. Few there were in the brigade line that morning who felt they had even a chance of returning in safety from the attack. Watches and trinkets, to be sent to the loved ones at home, were given to the chaplains, surgeons and the other non-combatants always attached to regiments. Most of the officers and men wrote their names on paper and pinned them to their coat collars or vests, that they could be identified in the event of their death. It is also wonderful the dread that men have in going into battle with a pack of playing cards about them. On this occasion enough such cards were thrown away that one would think would fill a small wagon. Before beginning this attack, Gen. Warren, commanding the corps—Hancock being absent on account of his wounds—went over to the left of our position to some trees, one of which he ascended, and with his glasses viewed the interior of the rebel works. While perched in this position he became a target for the rifles of some of the foe, but remained in this perilous position until he got a thorough knowledge of the opposition we would have to encounter. Becoming satisfied that the sacrifice would be too great, he countermanded the order to charge at the risk of censure and condemnation to himself His explanation, however, relieved him from blame. After nightfall we were secretly withdrawn, leaving a detail of men behind to keep fires burning to deceive the enemy as to our presence. These details succeeded in escaping capture and were each granted a furlough as a reward for their bravery and success. Our losses in these movements were ten officers and men killed and wounded. On the morning of the ist of December we recrossed the Rapidan river and returned to our camp near Stevensburg, where the corps remained until the opening of the wilderness campaign.


On the 14th of March, 1864, the regiment having re-enlisted, was sent home to Philadelphia tor one month on furlough before commencing their new term. While here the friends of the regiment presented it with a new and handsome green flag, the old one being presented to the city of Philadelphia, and placed in Independence Hall back of the statue of Washington, where it remained for a number of years, then mysteriously disappeared. All efforts to trace its whereabouts seem futile. On the 14th of April the regiment returned to the seat of war and rejoined the corps at its old camp. While here Major Duffy resigned owing to his wounds. Capt. Davis was promoted to succeed him. While he was in every way worthy of promotion, yet his appointment gave a great deal of dissatisfaction. Not because of any ill will, but they felt that this promotion should have gone to Capt. Thomas Kelly, the senior captain of the regiment, who was a most thorough disciplinarian and tactician, twice wounded and unfortunately absent by reason of his wounds received at Robertson’s Farm. Accordingly a protest was signed by nearly every commissioned and non-commissioned officer of the regiment, and sent to Governor Curtin, who, to his credit be it said and in spite of all opposing influences, promised to rectify the matter by promoting Capt. Kelly to the position of Lieut-Colonel when the regiment’s numbers were sufficient to entitle it to an officer of that rank. That position being still vacant.


On the 3d of May, camp was broken and the Rapidan was crossed at Ely Ford. Gen. Hancock was again in command of the corps, having returned from his absence on account of the wounds he received at Gettysburg. We were marched through part of the wilderness to Chancellorsville, and on the 5th, while on the march to Shady Grove Church, the corps was brought back by the Brock road to the assistance of the Sixth Corps on the Orange Plank road; and about 4 o’clock P. M. this brigade became hotly engaged and a most stubbornly contested fight ensued until dark; neither side gaining any advantage, the fighting ceased. About 5 o’clock on the A. M. of the 5th, the fighting was resumed, the contest being more stubborn and desperate than that of the evening before, but the enemy was forced to give way, and was driven through the dense thicket for a distance of nearly two miles when we were halted, our lines reformed, and the fighting was renewed until noon, after which it was again resumed on our extreme left which was finally turned, thus compelling our whole line to fall back to the place of its formation on the day before—the line of the Brock road. The fighting again ceased until about 4 P. M. when the enemy made another desperate assault upon our lines coming to within about 50 or 75 yards of us, then halted but kept up a vigorous fire. During the last lull the troops made good use of the time by constructing rude breastworks of logs and partly decayed timber, of which there was an abundance laying around. Finding they could not force us from our position he gave up for the night. The following day we remained quiet, neither side having a disposition to renew the contest. The difficulties under which both sides fought can scarcely be properly described; the ground was covered with a dense growth of pines and cedars whose branches interlaced each other, and so low as to make the march most difficult and trying; in addition to this there was a dense undergrowth of bushes and vines running along the ground over which many were tripped. It was impossible in many places to see more than 20 or 30 yards ahead, and the use of artillery was out of the question, except perhaps two pieces on the plank road.

The battle of both days may fairly be said to be battles of musketry pure and simple. On the night of the seventh we marched to Todd’s tavern, where we had a slight brush with the enemy. In the afternoon we marched to the vicinity of the Po river, and on the 8th crossed that stream and advanced to the Ta another small stream, where we were engaged m defending a bridge, but were finally forced to retire. Gen. Webb being wounded here. Gen. Owen, our former colonel, was placed in command of the brigade. We were shifting about here from one place to another, always under fire and often in perilous positions until the 10th of May, we were moved to Spottsylvania Courthouse and were here employed throwing up breastworks close to the enemy, who annoyed us by the fire of his sharpshooters and skirmishing lines. About 11 P. M. the regiment moved with the corps to the left of the army and halted within a short distance of the enemy’s works where it rested.


At about between 3 and 4 o’clock A. M. of the 12th of May the lines were got in readiness, and shortly after moved out and up through a woods for a short distance, in a stealthy way, until we came to a clearing made by the enemy felling the trees to form an obstruction. When within about forty or fifty yards, the men make a sudden dash forward with cheers and yells; passing over the pickets, they quickly mount the works. The division to which the regiment belonged was a supporting column, but moved up immediately, following the lines ahead, and were soon engaged with the troops of the enemy advancing to retake the captured works. There was, perhaps, no more desperate struggle for a position during the War than was the efforts of the enemy to retake his lost works. He made five or six attempts to drive us out, and, in his desperation, some of their men actually succeeded in planting the colors of their regiments on their lost ramparts, but they were in the end forced to give up. In one of these charges Capt. Charles McAnally, of Company E, of this regiment, fought a hand-to-hand struggle with a rebel color bearer; while so struggling, the rebel color-guard rushed to the assistance of their standard bearer, and would have undoubtedly killed McAnally and saved their colors but for the heroic action of Sergeant Hugh McKeever, who quickly dispatched one of the guard about to fire on his captain, thus saving his life and enabling the captain to strike down the standard bearer and capture the flag, which he threw to the rear and continued his efforts to repel the enemy until the struggle was over. The flag was picked up by some one in the rear (who no doubt wears a medal), while no report of Capt. McAnally’ s struggle for its possession was ever noted—another instance of the heedlessness of the men of the Sixty-ninth to seek reward for special acts.

After this fight the men were kept busy moving and shifting about from place to place night and day, frequently under heavy fires of artillery, until the morning of the 18th of May, the regiment was detached from the brigade temporarily and assigned to the Corcoran Legion.

Shortly after daylight we were moved to our position in the woods and massed in rear of the “Legion” as a support. When the order to advance was given the “Legion,” in our front, advanced on a double quick through the woods to a clearing, in view of and close to the enemy’s works, where they received the artillery and infantry fire unflinchingly, and advanced on over the old works captured on the 12th. The Sixty-ninth moved up on their right and advanced with them, driving the enemy from interior lines of rifle pits erected a short distance from the old line. Upon reaching these works an overwhelming force of the enemy charged upon the “Legion” on our left, and they were forced to retire to the old line. This regiment was then withdrawn, and after dark we were marched with the corps to the extreme left of the army, preparatory to more flank marching.

This terminated the fighting about Spottsylvania Court House. Li all this fighting, from the Rapidan to this point, nothing was achieved that might not have been accomplished without loss of life by other movements, yet up to this time (from May 3d to 19th), according to official reports, the losses to our army footed up in round numbers 40,000 men—a frightful loss to contemplate, with no results to compensate. During all these operations the losses to this regiment were, in killed, wounded and missing, two officers and 61 men. The losses are believed to have been greater, as men have been dropped from the rolls as deserters that others have stated were killed or died of wounds. During this period there does not seem to have been any official reports made as to the services of the regiment in these battles. It is supposed that its strength before crossing the Rapidan did not exceed 400 in the aggregate.

Among the killed was Captain Thomas Kelly, the senior officer of the regiment, one of the bravest of officers, and always an ardent advocate of strict, though not severe, discipline, and who, during the short period of time that he was in command of the regiment, brought it to such a high standard of perfection in drill, obedience and cleanliness that the regiment was complimented in a special order from division headquarters while in camp at Morrisville. Governor Curtin had forwarded to him his commission as Lieutenant-Colonel over the then Major, in justice to him as well as to the officers and men of the regiment. His commission, however, arrived upon the day of his death.


Near midnight of the 20th of May we began the march along the line of the Fredericksburg and Richmond Railroad, passing through Bowling Green and Milford. After crossing the Mattapony river, breastworks were erected in anticipation of an attack by the rebel army; before completing them, a body of the enemy’s cavalry made a dash on our position, driving in our pickets, but was quickly repulsed. About 10 A. M. of the 22d we arrived at North Anna, where Lee’s army was drawn up to resist our passage across that stream. After a heavy artillery fire we made the crossing on the afternoon of the 25th and forced the enemy back about a mile or more behind a line of earthworks. On the afternoon of the 26th, the regiment took part in the assault on the rebel works, and forced the enemy from a portion of his entrenchments; the assault not being an entire success, the army was withdrawn, and another flank march to the left was made. The Second Corps remained in line on the north bank of the river until the rest of the army got under way, after which the march was made to the Pamunkey river, and on the 28th came up with the enemy at Hawes’ Shop, where a brisk skirmish took place, after which we marched, during the night, around the right flank of Lee’s army to Tolopotomy creek. A great deal of manoeuvering and a little fighting was done on the 30th. On the morning ot the 31st, the brigade formed line of battle in a ravine through which the creek flowed, the One Hundred and Sixth being on our right, and the Seventy-first and Seventy-second on our left; we ascended the steep bank and advanced through a narrow belt of woods, driving the enemy’s pickets before us and across a narrow clearing on the opposite side of which, along the edge of a woods, we saw the enemy in line of battle covering the road leading to Cold Harbor, and along which his columns were moving quickly; we advanced on a double quick almost to the road and delivered a destructive fire, breaking their marching columns and throwing them into disorder. While their lines of battle opposite pour in a heavy fire of musketry, and their artillery deliver a drenching fire of canister; being alone in this position, and no supports coming to our aid, we were obliged to withdraw to the rear a short distance, where we erected breastworks and rested till the morning of the 1st of June, when the enemy’s skirmishers and sharpshooters began an annoying fire which they kept up until about 4 P. M., at which time he advanced in force in line ot battle, but was quickly repulsed.

After darkness had set in, the march to the left was renewed! arriving at Cold Habor on the morning of the 2d, formed line of battle and spent the day in erecting earthworks, being annoyed occasionally by the rebel artillery. Early on the morning of the 3d, we were marched a short distance to the left, where the brigade was massed in rear of the third division as a support, who advanced through a swampy woods and across an open field, sloping gently upward towards the lines of the enemy, who crowned its summit with formidable works. On the approach of the advance line to the attack, the enemy pour into it a death dealing fire, so destructive that it was forced to retire. The Philadelphia Brigade was immediately deployed from column into line of battle, and advanced to within a very short distance of the rebel works, when the enemy set all his forces of resistance to work, hurling ft-om the rifles of the men and the cannon of the artillery all the death-dealing missiles of destruction at his command.
The discretion and good judgment of our commander, Gen. Owen, saved what might have been almost total destruction by ordering the men to lay down when within a very short distance of the works. The soil here being very sandy, the men took their tin cups and scooped up the soil until some shelter was formed to protect them from the enemy’s fire. Our line remained in this position until darkness set in, when all hands sank to their much-needed rest, which however was of short duration to us; entrenching tools being brought up we set to work with a will, and before daylight we had constructed works strong enough to resist the heaviest artillery fire the foe could bring to bear. We held this position until the 12th of June, during all which time we dare not stand up straight during the day, it being sure death, as the fire of the rebel sharpshooters was so deadly. For two days of this time the troops of both sides had formed a truce, and the opposing- lines of men became friends, chatting and trading with each other, as though they had met on some friendly business. Gen. Hancock, however, quickly broke up the truce and ordered the men to resume their hostilities, which became as deadly as ever. We were now constantly shelled by day, and frequently by night. Mortar batteries were used here for the first time by the army of the Potomac and their adversaries. It was from here that the Seventy-first Pennsylvania left for home, the term of service of those who first formed this splendid organization, and who did not re-enlist, having some time previously expired. The re-enlisted men and those whose terms did not yet expire were transferred into the Sixty-ninth to the number ol 150. The absentees being about 170, making an addition of more than 300 men to the strength of the Sixty-ninth. The Seventy-first was the first to break up this family of Philadelphia regiments. While we regretted parting with so gallant a regiment, yet we felt rejoiced that there were a few at least who could return to the embraces of parents, wives, children, and no doubt to receive the welcoming smiles of sweethearts.

The losses sustained by the Sixty-ninth from the i8th of May to June 1 2th, the end of the fighting at Cold Harbor were in the aggregate forty, among the killed being Adjutant Wm. Whildey killed on the 3d of June, his loss was deeply regretted by both ofiicers and men. On the night of the 12th of June the march by the left flank was continued. We reached the James River on the 14th crossing that stream from Wilcox landing to City Point, and about midnight of the 15th arrived in front of the defences of Petersburg, relieving the colored troops of Butler’s command.


On the afternoon of the 16th the regiment advanced on the works of the enemy, the One Hundred and Sixth on our right, the Seventy-second Pennsylvania on our left. His resistance was not very strong and we easily drove him out of the first line, consisting of rifle pits, to an interior and more formidable line of fortification. After this success the troops were allowed to rest for the night. On the 17th two attempts were made to capture the rebel position but without success, although we were reinforced by Third Division of the corps. And on the i8th another effort was made resulting only in defeat. In these engagements the losses to the regiment were: seven men killed, two officers and ten men wounded; aggregate nineteen. On the 21st the corps was moved to the left and the lines extended. This new line was formed some distance to the left of the Jerusalem Plank road, and on the 22d our lines were pushed out so close to the rebel forts that it was with great difficulty that we were enabled to hold our position long enough to construct earthworks which afforded us sufficient protection to make a vigorous stand and return a spirited fire. The position of the Sixty-ninth was on the extreme left of the division and connecting with a Maine regiment of the Third Division of the corps. About noon the enemy emerged from a woods on our left front into the open field directly in our front, these troops wearing dark uniforms formed line of battle facing us while we had mistaken them for United States troops and permitted them to thus form, yet we looked with wonder at the manner and direction of their formation.
Their true character was not discovered until a battery of artillery dashed to their front, unlimbered and opened fire, they being so close that the range of their guns was point blank, and their shot and shell struck into our works ploughing deep furrows and almost smothering us from the dense dust created by the destructive missiles hurled against us. We opened a fire of musketry and poured bullets so thick and fast into the rebel ranks, that they would have been obliged to retire, were it not for the fact of a force of the enemy getting around upon our rear demanding our surrender; while we would not surrender, the regiment fell back a short distance from the works, by the right flank, a very difficult undertaking as we were subject to an artillery and infantry fire from our front, and the guns from a fort on our right front (this fort was afterwards designated “Fort Hell” from the continuous firing kept up on our lines here), while the rebels who were pouring down upon our rear also maintained a vigorous fire. There was no remedy against capture but to retire; the regiment lost nearly the whole of the four companies of the left wing, and some of the men of other companies. Other regiments were captured almost entirely, also a portion of Knight’s New York battery in position a little to our right. These were the first guns the Second Corps had lost since its formation, in fact the only guns the corps lost during its existence, they had on two or three other occasions lost guns temporarily, but were always able to retake them. The corps was at this time commanded by Gen. Birney, Hancock being absent on account of his wounds. The regiment’s losses here were eight men killed, twenty-six wounded and one officer and seventy-two men captured; aggregate one hundred and seven. On the following day the division reoccupied its lost ground and repaired and strengthened the earthworks constructed on the previous day. So deadly was the fire from the guns of “Fort Hell,” that it was necessary to construct traverses to protect the men passing to and from the rear; a formidable fort was built during the night, and each day after dark until completed, this had a good effect as it often silenced the guns of the enemy and gave some peace to the troops holding this position afterwards. This fort was generally called “Damnation.”
We kept moving about, constantly changing position, erecting earthworks, and skirmishing.

On the 27th of July the brigade was broken up. The term of service of the Seventy-second Pennsylvania, or better known as the Philadelphia Fire Zouaves, had expired, and this gallant and spirited organization passed out of existence and became a part of the history of the War. The men who had re-enlisted, and those whose terms of service had not yet expired, were transferred into the One Hundred and Eighty-Third Pennsylvania, commanded by Col. James Lynch, a former captain in the brigade whose bravery won for him the colonelcy of that regiment. Many of the men of the One Hundred and Sixth who had not re-enlisted were also mustered out, reducing that regiment in strength to such an extent that the remaining members were reorganized into a battalion, and consolidated with the Sixty-ninth Pennsylvania for field purposes only. The One Hundred and Sixth was composed of as sturdy soldiers as could be found in the army, and were noted for their staying qualities. It was with sadness that we bade adieu to our sister regiments. We were cheered and comforted, however, by the fact that our loss was their gain, as they were returning to pursue the path of peace, that “blessed peace” that we were all devoutly wishing and praying for. Our family of regiments broken up, we were now assigned to the Third Brigade, commanded by Gen. Thomas A. Smyth, a former officer of the Sixty-ninth. In the evening, the regiment marched with the corps to the north side of the James River, crossing at a place called “Deep Bottom,” and made a demonstration against Richmond, the Confederate capital. After a day or so of marching and skirmishing we returned to Petersburg, arriving shortly after daylight of the 30th in the rear of the Ninth Corps. We were here held in reserve to await the result of the explosion of the mines that was to destroy the rebel works almost directly in front of the city. The explosion occurred a few minutes after our arrival; not being a success, we were moved to the extreme left of the army, extending the lines. On the 12th of August we were marched to City Point, placed aboard transports, and steamed up the river toward Richmond. When within a few miles of the city, near Drury’s Bluff, we were met by some of the rebel gunboats, from which a dangerous fire was opened, aided by the guns from forts on the bluff; this forced us to disembark at Deep Bottom. Making another feint at Richmond, we participated in some sharp fighting, and doing a great deal of marching and digging, losing in these operations i killed, 2 wounded, and 12 taken prisoners. On the night of the 20th we marched back to the lines about Petersburg. Going to the extreme left, we took up a position in rear of the Fifth Corps as a support to that corps, who were fighting the enemy and destroying the Weldon Railroad in their vicinity.


On the 23d of August Gen. Hancock took the First and Second Divisions of the corps and marched to Ream’s Station, on the Weldon Railroad. While tearing up and destroying the rails the enemy appeared in force, infantry and cavalry, and a hot fight ensued. Previous to the attack we hastily constructed light breastworks, from behind which we fought until their cavalry attacked us from the left and rear, while their artillery poured an enfilading fire from the left with terrible effect, and a destructive fire from our front. Being so overwhelmed and nearly surrounded, we were withdrawn, closing the fight by making a charge and recapturing a battery taken from our First Division.
Previous to this battle the strength of the regiment was but little more than 200 men. The losses were: 7 enlisted men killed, 3 officers and 19 men wounded, and 10 men taken prisoners; aggregate, 39. Among the wounded were Colonel William Davis and Lieutenant-Colonel James O’Reilly. Major P. S. Tinen now assumed command of the regiment, and during the night we returned to the lines before Petersburg, where we were continually changing our position, sometimes on the skirmish or picket line, at others in the front works, and again in the rear for rest, but always under fire from the rebel artillery and mortar batteries. To protect us from the deadly effects of the mortars we were obliged to build underground quarters or bomb proofs, which the men generally called “gopher holes,” into which all would run when their batteries would open fire.


About 3 A. M. of the 27th of October the regiment, with the corps, marched to the banks of a small stream called Hatcher’s Run. The bed of this stream runs through a deep ravine, on the opposite or north bank of which the enemy had constructed a line of breastworks. This regiment formed line of battle in rear of the Tenth New York and advanced until coming in close contact with the enemy, when the regiment was pushed to the front and ordered to charge upon the rebels, who fell back across stream behind their defences, the regiment continuing the charge, led by General Smyth. The water was more than waist-deep, and the general came to the rescue of our color-bearer, who was struggling to get across, and taking hold of him, helped him to reach the opposite bank, followed by the regiment, in the face of a well-directed fire; but so determined were the men, and so impetuous the charge, that the enemy was obliged to flee, and the colors of the Sixty-ninth were the first to be planted on the ramparts of the enemy’s works. After a halt of half an hour the pursuit was begun again, and the enemy met at Dabney’s Mills, from which place he was easily driven back to the Boydton plank road, where a halt was made and our lines re-formed on the north side of the road. The regiment was here divided—the right wing, under Major Tinen, was taken to cover the left flank of the corps, while the left wing, under the command of Adjutant McDermott, and the One Hundred and Sixth Battalion, under Capt. McAnally of the Sixty-ninth, were pushed on the left of the division, forming at right angles with the corps line of battle. The left wing and the One Hundred and Sixth advanced at once across an open field and drove the enemy from his encampment, capturing a lot of clothing, camp equipage, and small arms.
After driving him about half a mile, the troops deployed in skirmishing order and kept up a lively fire on the enemy until the ammunition was nearly all exhausted. A canvass among the men showing but ten rounds altogether could be obtained from among all the men, application was made at division headquarters for a supply, but without success, and ten rounds were collected from other troops, which were distributed to the men. With this twenty rounds of ammunition several assaults of the enemy were repelled by cheers and an occasional discharge from the rifles. Instructions were received from the division commander to hold our line at all hazards until relieved, which would be about 11 o’clock P. M. No relief however came, and, after waiting until beyond midnight, it was discovered that all our troops were withdrawn, and that the One Hundred and Sixth Battalion and the left wing of the Sixty-ninth were left to deceive the enemy and escape as best they could. In trying to find our way back to our lines we marched to a camp of the rebel cavalry, and only with the utmost quietness we were enabled to steal back to the road leading to our lines, which we reached about lo o’clock A. M. of the 28th, to the surprise of our brigade commander, who had supposed us captured. The right wing, under Major Tinen, succeeded in capturing a number of the enemy who had got in the rear of our lines anti captured a number of our troops; they were on the way back to their own lines when captured; our men were, of course, released. The regiment lost 3 killed, 1 officer and 8 men wounded, and 2 captured; aggregate, 14. From this time until February, 1865, the regiment was shifted about from point to point, sometimes on the extreme front and again resting in the rear. On the morning of the 5th we were marched again to Hatcher’s Run, where a brisk fight was made, the regiment losing 1 officer and 2 men killed, and 4 men wounded. Gen. Humphries was now placed in command of the corps, Hancock being relieved, and sent north to raise a corps of veteran troops. On the 25th of March the corps made a reconnoissanceto Hatcher’s Run, where some sharp fighting was done in developing the position and strength of the rebels. In this fight the regiment lost 3 men killed, 1 officer and 10 men wounded; and on the 29th of March the regiment was slightly engaged near Dabney’s Mills, losing 3 men wounded. During the winter the strength of the regiment was much increased by the return of a number of convalescents and the receiving a number of recruits. The strength of the regiment was now raised to an aggregate of 173. There was also an increase by the placing of the names of 300 recruits, etc., on the records of the Sixty-ninth. These men, however, never appeared nor performed any duty.

On the 2d of April a general movement was begun around the right and rear of Lee’s army, which forced him to abandon Richmond, and on the 3d of April Petersburg was evacuated, the enemy falling back towards Lynchburg. Following in pursuit he was forced to give fight at Five Forks, where this regiment was slightly engaged, and again at Jettersville; after all preparations for a fight, he fled before giving time for our lines to form for battle. On the morning of the 6th, line of battle being formed, we advanced and marched in this order all the day; occasionally coming close upon his rear, a feeble effort would be made to resist us. On the 7th, the enemy made a spirited fight at High Bridge, and endeavored to check our onward, victorious march; from this point on, the roads were strewn with wagons, caissons, battery wagons, and disabled cannon; so thickly were these vehicles of war along the roads at some points, that our march was frequently delayed; at Farmville the rebels made a determined stand, and the most severe fighting here occurred since the fall of Petersburg; in this fight. Gen. T. A. Smyth, commanding our brigade, received his mortal wound, and was, so far as we know, the last general officer of our army to lose his life. On the morning of the 8th, this regiment, with the One Hundred and Sixth Battalion, was thrown to the front as skirmishers; marching across country in this line the whole day, many prisoners were picked up, men who had become disgusted, and who considered further fighting mere foolishness; frequently the enemy would halt and offer us battle until he would see our main columns advancing, when he would scamper off On the morning of the 9th, after passing Burkesville Station some distance, we halted at a place called Clover Hills, and there remained until the surrender of Lee became a fact. The news of the surrender was announced by Gen. Meade, who rode through the lines of the troops, who became hilariously wild. It would be impossible to attempt to give a description of the scenes following the announcement of the surrender, but that scene will live forever in the hearts of the men who participated in that event. Our work was done; the Union was saved; and the troops returned to their homes, to receive the joyous welcome of fond hearts, and the congratulations of their fellow-citizens.

The regiment participated in the grand review of the army by the President of the United States; a pageant of two days’ duration and the grandest military display of numbers ever made in America, and, perhaps, in the world, as a review. The regiment was mustered out of the military service of the United States on the 1st of July, 1865, and returned to Philadelphia, where it disbanded. The whole number of men of this regiment was 1,736; number killed, 164; wounded, 402; taken prisoners and missing, 136; the number of battles and skirmishes in which it took part was 41.


The battle of Gettysburg is conceded by all historians and military authorities to have been the turning point in favor of the Union cause during the war. It was one of the most complete victories achieved by the Union army, and the large number of combatants on both sides give it a magnitude that will compare with the greatest of ancient and modern battles.

The desire to preserve that field for all times has become general, and to-day Gettysburg is the Mecca of American patriotism. The “Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association” having charge of the entire field, have invited the placing of monuments and tablets to mark the position where each regiment stood and fought. Having a pride in the service performed by the Sixty-ninth Pennsylvania, its members had a strong desire to place a monument to mark their position, and inscribe thereon its deeds. Its members being in the humbler walks of life, therefore unable of themselves to erect a suitable memorial, organized an association pledged to work to secure means, and accordingly held the first meeting in the month of March, 1886, and decided to appeal to our wealthy fellow-citizens and our friends in general for assistance; how well that appeal was responded to, will find the answer by a visit to the battlefield, the scene of “Pickett’s charge,” and view the beautiful monument of the regiment placed thereon. The inscriptions are a history themselves, placed there by the survivors as they knew the story of Pickett’s charge and repulse.

Remembering that the war was waged for the preservation of the Union; to prevent certain of the States of the Union from leaving or severing their connection therewith, and setting up for themselves an independent government, and believing that the States could not peaceably exist with two or even more general heads, and that two such unions or confederacies would tend to overthrow the peace and tranquility of all the States and destroy that freedom, that equality and peace bequeathed to us by the great founders of our system of government, we therefore believed that our victory would be fruitless if all the citizens of all sections of our country could not enjoy equal rights and privileges as guaranteed by the constitution of our country, and noticing that bitter hatreds were kept alive by unscrupulous and designing men, that sectional feelings were fostered which would tend to make disunion sought for, and again destroy that peace that the end of the war brought about, we deemed it a holy and patriotic duty to invite our late foes to meet us in fraternal re-union on that field that turned the tide of war and led to final success, and there set the example of burying, forever, all animosities. In these efforts we were joined by the other regiments composing our brigade of Philadelphians, (the Seventy-first, Seventy-second and One Hundred and Sixth Pennsylvania Regiments.) The time selected for both the re-union and the dedication of that monument was the 24th anniversary of the battles July 2d and 3d, 1887.

The survivors of the regiments composing the Philadelphia Brigade, numbering nearly 500 men (Sixty-ninth, Seventy-first, Seventy-second, and One Hundred and Sixth Pennsylvania) proceeded to Gettysburg via the Pennsylvania Railroad on July 2d, 1887, and arrived in that town shortly after 6 o’clock P. M. on the same date, and shortly before 9 o’clock the last of Pickett’s survivors arrived, their whole force being under the command of Capt. C. P. Reeves. As the “Men in Gray” came from the cars they were greeted with loud cheering by the delegation of the Boys in Blue, who were to escort them to their place in line on Washington street, and immediately marched up that thoroughfare to the circle in the centre of the town. Here the scene was of the wildest description; never was there greater heartiness shown by hosts to guests, than that first greeting as friends, extended by the 500 Philadelphia Brigade boys to Pickett’s survivors.

Red and green lights illuminated the inspiring scene, the first of the reunion of the Blue and Gray. Roman candles were fired by the score, the band played “Dixie,” and innumerable rockets shot into the air. A great cheer renewed again and again as the color-guard reached the platform and unfurled the Stars and Stripes. There was no such thing as keeping the Philadelphians in line. They would break and rush over to renew the slight acquaintance of twenty-four years ago.

“How are you old man?”
“Glad to see you.”
“We are all together this time,” and similar expressions greeted the men of Virginia as hands were clasped in friendship and brotherly love.

Twenty-four years have silvered the hair of most of the brigade, and a score or more of crutches and empty sleeves gave proof of the gallantry of the command. There was an honest pride in the eyes of the men of “the bloody angle” as they grasped hands and promised a glorious time of it to Pickett’s heroes if good fellowship and Philadelphia hospitality would be of any avail. One old fellow toted his three-year-old baby around the station all covered with miniature canteens and badges of blue and gray. He was proud of the Philadelphia Brigade, but he was prouder of that baby than if he had captured the whole of Pickett’s division alone and single-handed. His wife was proud, but the old man was the proudest of all.Pickett’s men marched past in review with the band playing “Dixie” with vigor, and amid the exciting enthusiasm the Philadelphians cheered and cheered again, while Pickett’s dare-devils gave the old-fashioned rebel yell time and time again. The sky was brightened with red fire, rockets, and Roman candles, and the Quakers waved their white helmets until it seemed as if they would never tire. The “Reb” color-bearer waved the national flag, and yell answered cheer for five minutes until the order was given to “break ranks,” and the gray was lost in the grand personal welcome of the blue.

From that time on until the camp-fire was held all question of command or organization was lost sight of. The boys fraternized as only old soldiers can. Quarters were hunted up for the Virginians. Valises were seized and carried by stout Philadelphia arms, and everything that could be conceived of was done to make the boys of the South feel that they were honored friends and comrades. It was one grand hurrah crowded with enthusiasm and hospitality. The little town was packed with the veterans, and Pickett’s Division, for the first time, was in undisputed possession. They had at last conquered the Philadelphia Brigade.

The County Court House was the place selected for the reunion of Pickett’s Division and the Philadelphia Brigade. Great interest was taken in this first camp-fire of the Blue and Gray upon the historic battle-field at Gettysburg, and every seat in the hall was occupied. Many ladies were present. The “boys” were tired after their long journey and were a little late in getting from their suppers to the hall, but the great audience waited patiently for the exercises to begin. John W. Frazier called the meeting to order, and said:

Knowing well the feelings that prompted the meeting I can truly say this fraternal reunion of the Philadelphia Brigade and Pickett’s Division will indeed prove

“A union of hearts and a union of hands,
A union none can sever;
A union of homes and a union of lands.
And the flag of our Union forever.”

I now present to you as the presiding officer of this meeting Comrade William S. Stockton, late a Captain of the Seventy-first Pennsylvania, who rendered great assistance in bringing the “Blue” and the “Grey” in re-union in this historic place.

Mr. Stockton, upon assuming the chairmanship, said that he thanked his comrades for the honor conferred upon him, and he would take occasion simply to remark that he believed what was done and said here upon this fraternal gathering of the Blue and Gray would mark a new and gratifying era in our country’s history. As presiding ofiicer it was his pleasant duty to present Colonel Charles H. Banes, president of the Philadelphia Brigade Association, who would extend a soldier’s welcome to foes in war, but warm, devoted and lasting friends in peace. Colonel Banes stepped forward and said:


Fellow-citizens and Members of Pickett’s Division of the Army of Northern Virginia: An honorable and pleasing duty has been assigned to me by the Philadelphia Brigade of the Second Division, Second Corps, Army of the Potomac.

This veteran Brigade of the Union Army, composed of the Sixty-ninth, Seventy first, Seventy-second and One Hundred and Sixth Regiments, Pennsylvania Volunteers, upon more than one occasion during the dark hours of the Republic, encountered your people in active warfare, and it fell to our lot to meet in hostile array and deadly conflict in what may be truly called the crisis of the battle of Gettysburg, within the sight of the masses of both armies on that memorable afternoon of July 3, 1863.

No thoughtful man can at this date read the history of the war or recall its memories, and fail to see the hand of the Divine Providence developing through trial and discipline that courage and tenacity for principle and patriotism which exalts and ennobles a people. We have dwelt for a few moments on the incidents of battle for the reason that the place and the associations compel the reference; but to-day, soldiers of the contending armies, we meet as citizens of a united country. The old issues are dead and new ones confront us. We who have fought as the Blue and the Gray can discuss the past, if need, in the light of the present, as travelers who, after perilous journeys and conflicts by the way, sit down on the mountain top and review the scenes through which they have passed and the dangers of the road over which they have journeyed.

We welcome you to this historic field and its memories with true soldierly greeting. In the performance of this duty we would fail to honorably acquit ourselves did we not announce to you that the spontaneous movement of the Philadelphia Brigade in the tender of this reception has the cordial and practical support of our citizens of all classes and pursuits of life.

And now it remains for me to say to you, the men of Pickett’s Division, by authority of this Brigade Association and its friends, that we desire that you will honor us during your stay at Gettysburg by becoming our guests. We welcome you because you were brave soldiers in war; we welcome you because you are true citizens in peace, and may our stay here be one of pleasure to each of us and of fraternal greeting that shall guide us to higher resolves for the perpetuity of the Constitution and the Union, to manly determination as citizens to meet conscientiously and in the fear of God the questions and issues of the hour, and to such an abiding faith in the magnificent destiny of the republic as will lead each of us to trust that Almighty being who spoke from the cloud and the pillar of fire to the leader of Israel, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel that they go forward,” and who to-day is calling us by His providence to higher and nobler achievements in the cause of humanity and the government of the people.

Upon behalf of Pickett’ s veterans Captain C. P. Reeves, of Richmond, the commander of Pickett’s Division Association, responded as follows:

Friends and Comrades: I desire for myself and comrades to tender you our heartfelt thanks for the kind, cordial and hearty welcome extended us on this, an occasion never to be forgotten by us, but cherished and remembered as a bright spot in the checkered pathway of life.

Colonel Banes then introduced Colonel Alexander K. McClure, of Philadelphia, who had been chosen to extend a welcome from the citizens of Philadelphia particularly, and from the State of Pennsylvania generally, to the Virginians. Colonel McClure said:

Soldiers of the Blue and the Gray: After the more than fraternal greeting so eloquently expressed by the representatives of the survivors of the Philadelphia Brigade and of Pickett’s Division, it is an easy task to speak for the City of Brotherly Love and for the Keystone State of the Federal arch, in hearty sympathy with the peace and brotherhood which mark this notable reunion. Twenty-four years ago your mutual heroism consecrated this ground to unfading immortality. The shock in which your respective commands met was the bloodiest of all the many sanguinary conflicts of our civil strife, and in its issue trembled the issue of the decisive battle of the war. It ranks with Thermopylae in desperate courage, but the heroism of the warriors of Leonidas, whose inexorable Spartan laws made defeat dishonor, regardless of position or numbers, pales before the volunteer soldiers of Hancock and Pickett who willingly dared and died for their convictions.

It was a strange, sad conflict. Men of the same race, inheritors of the same heroic traditions, sovereigns in framing the same laws, met in deadly struggle to solve great civil problems which had vexed our most enlightened and patriotic statesmanship for three-quarters of a century. The ignorant, the inconsiderate and the dishonest say that it was causeless; that it was precipitated by the babbling demagogues who ride in the tempest; but no such agents could have called millions of the most intelligent, peace-loving and generous people of the world to four years of fraternal war. There were agitators and demagogues who hastened war, as there are agitators and demagogues who have hindered peace since the war ended; but there were irreconcilable theories left unsettled in the foundation of the government which ripened in intensity and enlarged in interest until peaceful solution was no longer possible. A less heroic people could have avoided our civil war; but with each citizen a sovereign, the bravest and noblest of all peoples of the earth had only the choice between dismemberment of the Union or its jarring pillars cemented by the arbitrament of the sword.

Never did opposing armies accept battle with sterner purpose.
Every shotted gun hoarsely thundered the faith of the warriors who employed it in the harvest of death. Every church of every belief, in North and South, sent up fervent prayers to the same God for the triumph of their respective flags, and in like manner cal ed for thanksgiving and praise when victory came to either.
Every pulpit appealed to the patriotism of the people in the name of the Ruler of nations, to sustain the cause of his section as a holy duty; and from every battle-field came heart-felt thanks from victor and abiding faith in supplication from vanquished—all from the same altar to the same Jehovah. Both could not triumph, and at Appomattox came the judgment of the final arbitrator: That the National Union shall be indissoluble and that national sovereignty shall be omnipotent within the limitations of its own fundamental law.

And from Appomattox came the promise not only of peace but of brotherhood. It came to North and South from the great Captain of the conflict. Hero and victor in war, he was no less hero and victor in peace. Of the shattered legions of Lee, not one left that historic field the enemy of Grant. He did more than conquer an army; he conquered and gathered as the greenest laurels of his victory, the love of the Confederate warrior and the respect of the South for the Union against which its sons had so valiantly battled. When presented to the nation as a candidate for the highest civil trust of the world, his battle-cry that answered those who reveled in the turbulence of hate, was—”Let us have peace.” Among his earliest appointments when called to the Presidency, was the Lieutenant of Lee under whose eye the memorable charge of Pickett’s Division was made, and, later in his administration, the Confederate soldier and statesman sat in his cabinet.

Thus came peace and brotherhood under the inspiration of the victor of victors in our bloody civil strife, and his dying testament comes from Saratoga’s shaded mount, bequeathing fraternal love and national unity to the Blue and the Gray. Well may the civilian welcome in hearty reunion the now silvered and furrowed survivors of the deadly conflict on Cemetery Ridge, when such lustrous teaching and example command it; and I greet you in the name of the great North, now inseparably interwoven with the great South in sympathy, in interest, and in fellowship. Free government is stronger at home and mightier abroad today because of the wounds of civil war, and our children and our children’s children will turn to its sacrifices, its sorrows, and its irrevocable judgments as the surest guarantee that “government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the earth.”


Col. Wm. R. Aylett, (a grandson of the immortal Patrick Henry, whose burning eloquence fired the hearts of his fellow patriots to throw off the yoke of oppression), who succeeded Gen. Armistead as commander of one of Pickett’s brigades when Armistead died, having been chosen to respond on behalf of the State of Virginia to Pennsylvania’s welcome, said:

Brothers and sisters of the Keystone State, comrades of the great battle-field, my countrymen, all: We are here to-day as friends and kindred of a common country, sent to you by the Old Dominion as an expression of her love and confidence. When your invitation reached us it touched our hearts in a tender place, and the speech of welcome which has just been delivered so eloquently is worthy of the orator and great State and city which he represents. Not only do we receive and shall ever treasure the noble sentiments of Col. McClure as the voice of Pennsylvania and her chief city, but also of those brave men who met us here twenty-four years ago with a valor that we could not overcome and who meet us here to-night with a loving welcome so dear to us and to our people. Not only do we cherish the sentiments so nobly expressed, so warm and true, from the hearts of our brethren of the North, but remembering the avocation and profession of the gifted speaker, we hear in loud tones the voice of the great American press—that power mightier than armies or navies, mightier than the swords and sceptres of kings, on whose supporting arm the Goddess of Liberty leans, and whose daily utterances proclaim that peace, friendship and love once more bind the American people with the golden bands of indissoluble and perpetual union: the press whose thousand tongues none can silence, whose champions,

“All unbribed at Freedom’s altar stand.
Faithful and firm, bright warders of the land.”

Yes, my countrymen, the press and the brave and generous soldiers of our land, have brought this night and these scenes to pass. All honor and love to both.

We come as the survivors of a great battle, which illustrated the greatness and glory of the American people, and dropping the curtain over the past, we hail you as our brothers and sisters with all that love and pride which must ever thrill the hearts of all good and true citizens of a continent of free Commonwealths.

No more does that spirit animate us which once hurled our bodies against those impregnable heights—thank God, no more forever. We have come forth from the baptism of blood and tire in which we were consumed, as the representatives of a New South, and we have long years ago ceased to bear in our hearts any residuum of the feelings born of the conflict. Did an unmanly feeling linger in our bosoms we would not be here to-day to grasp the hands of those who have met us with a brother’s greeting and a brother’s love.

Above the ashes left by the War and over the tomb of secession and African slavery we have created a new empire, and have built a temple to American liberty in which you and I can worship together, and over it we have run up the Star Spangled banner, and we cling to it with all that ancient love which should ever dwell in the hearts of the men and women from the lands of George Washington and William Penn. I utter it as a sentiment that comes welling up from every bosom of Virginia and the South, that the man who would rekindle again that feeling which filled our land with death and tears and grief and mourning, with graves and suffering, is not only unworthy of the high* title of American citizen, but even of that of human being, and should find no home or friends on earth or in heaven. Let no politician, for selfish and unworthy purposes, fan the dead embers of fratricidal strife, but let the great, warm and generous heart of our nation, with the throb of the ocean, as if moved by all the tempests of God’s whole universe, speak its thundered condemnation of any eff”ort so vile, wicked and unworthy. No such lessons are taught to me by the lives or deeds of Lincoln or Grant, or come to us as echoes from their sacred tombs. And, oh! my countrymen, what a calamity was it for the South when the assassin’s bullet struck down Abraham Lincoln! In the midst of all the bloody tempest he still had a soft place in his great heart for us.
And now that the storm has passed and passion has subsided, who of the South does not love and revere his memory, and the memory of the great captain who was kind and magnanimous in the hour of victory at Appomattox; who said to Lee: “Let your men take their horses home to make bread;” who, when he had triumphed, said: “Let us have peace,” and who, in his dying hours, declared that the greatest happiness he felt was to see the good feelings springing up between North and South.

There is not a true man at the South to-day but who feels as if he would like to stand at the tombs of Lincoln and Grant, to plant a flower there and to water it with a manly tear! In the presence of a feeling like this, too sacred and deep for utterance, what matters it who shall keep the battle-flags? They passed into your hands in brave and manly combat, untouched by dishonor, after a baptism in blood that made the gray jacket a mantle of glory, and we are as willing your people should keep them as ours. They are in the hands oi our government and brethren, to whom our honor should be as dear as their own. Never again will our old battle-flags wave in strife. They have gone down forever, but they went down in glory and in honor. They are dead, and we love and follow alone now the living flag which floats from Key West to Behring Straits—from Bunker Hill to San Francisco!


As we look at the banner of our country floating yonder, we only remember that since the birth of our nation it has been the emblem of liberty and the refuge of the oppressed; that Southern and Northern men bore it in triumph from Saratoga to Yorktown, from Lundy’s Lane to New Orleans, and that as united brethren we floated it over the walls of Tripoli and the halls of the Montezumas. We forget that it was ever borne against us, and as we see around us the men of the North who have come down South and made our homes their homes and our people their people, we hail to-day and henceforth all Americans everywhere as brothers and claim that our home and kindred extend from sturdy Maine and the grand old Bay State, to where the gentle breeze sighs through the orange groves of Florida; from where the Mississippi, the Father of Waters, heaves his mighty bosom, to the great lakes; from the great lakes to the Pacific, where the republican Colossus holds in his benumbed grasp the icebergs of the Arctic, and there, in sight of the continent of Asia, proclaims a people united for all time and great in all the triumphs of the Anglo-Saxon race. Buried and sunk out of sight forever be the bitter memories of the woes and griefs and sorrows of the North and South. If we recall them at all, let it be in drama, poetry and song, as England remembers to-day the wars of the Roses, and the rival houses of York and Lancaster, a glorious and imperishable record of valor and renown; written upon the highest rolls of fame, by both North and South, and claimed as a common privilege and joint offering for all time to come by the whole American people and their latest posterity.

But while speaking of the deeds and glories of our men, let not the deeds of our women be forgotten. Oh, who can tell of their agony suffering and self-sacrifice! I see them now hovering both in your hospitals and ours, like bright and beautiful angels of grace and mercy, ready to conduct the departing spirit to paradise. Mother, daughter, sister, wife, sweetheart, they fanned the fevered cheek, bathed the fevered brow, bedewed with their tears the couch of the dying heroes, wafted their souls to heaven with their sighs and prayers and put flowers over their graves. And they could be as brave as the men, too, when it was necessary. Why, the bravest woman I ever saw was a Pennsylvania girl, who defied Pickett’s whole division while we marched through a little town called Greencastle. She had on a United States flag as an apron, which she defiantly waved up and down as our columns passed by her and dared us to take it from her. And there was not one man of us who dared do so. Struck by her courage and loyalty, Pickett, with hat off, gave her a military salute, my regiment presented arms, and we cheered her with a good old-fashioned rebel yell, which some of you boys here have doubtless heard. God bless the true and brave little woman, and she was as lovely as she was brave. Would that she were here to-day that I might, in admiration of her pluck and truth, grasp the hand of that splendid and glorious type of American womanhood. She deserves a place by the side of those Carthagenian maidens who cut off their tresses as bow strings to send their lovers’ arrows hissing to the Roman heart.


In coming here to-night of course there are some sad thoughts mingled with our joys. Oh! what a slaughter of American manhood and valor there was on that day on your side and on ours!
What would we not give if we could recall back to life your men and ours who so nobly fell on that fatal field? It is not for me to speak of their mighty valor. History has recorded it in undying words, and forms and colors. Would that that grand and heroic son of Pennsylvania, Hancock the Superb, were here to-day.
Would that Meade and McClellan and Reynolds and Sedgewick were here to-night, and that Virginian, George H. Thomas, the Hannibal of your Army of the Tennessee. And above all, would that Lincoln and Grant were here to see this noble sight of brotherly love and heavenly hospitality. Lincoln and Grant, the men who guided and directed the storm, and who, when its fury was spent, were ready to say “Peace, be still” to the boisterous winds and raging waters. Were they here we would join with you in doing them honor, for as Americans we now claim an interest in their glory and their graves. And who among you, warm, generous, kind, hospitable and full of brotherly love, as you have shown yourselves, will grudge to us or to Virginia the proud honor or to the Union that rich contribution of Virginian glory, when, at the roll-call of our illustrious and mighty dead, to the names of Washington, Henry Mason, Jefferson, Madison, Marshall and Monroe, we shall ask to add the names of Robert E. Lee, of Stonewall Jackson, of J. E. B. Stuart and George E. Pickett—glorious representatives of that Virginia truth and valor and loyalty which propped the reeling fortunes of the Revolution of ’76 and bore the flag of victory flowing like a heavenly meteor from Boston to Yorktown.

No, my dear countrymen, let none but great and noble and kind words, thoughts and feelings henceforth animate us or survive the great and bitter trials of the American people. Let us with a love, sympathy and reverence too deep for expression, respect the sufferings and repair the injuries we have inflicted upon each other. Let us tread lightly by each soldier’s grave, whether from North or South, for he was an American brother dying for his convictions. Let us imitate the example and follow the teachings of Nature’s great heart, who in winter spreads the impartial mantle of her snow on every soldier’s grave; in Spring puts green sod and flowers upon each humble mound; in Autumn decks all alike with the russet and golden splendors of her falling leaves, and in dews by night and showers by days waters them with her tears and by the smiling sunshine of heaven warms their cold bosoms with the rays of eternal light, direct from the centre of the universe. Let us thank God that “grim-visaged war has smoothed his wrinkled front,” and that peace spreads her blessed wings over our land; that as one nation we follow but one flag, and that but one destiny awaits the American people; and as long as Bunker Hill and Yorktown shall lift their heights towards heaven, above the watery main, so long will Virginia and the South gratefully remember and cherish this night’s work and welcome. Standing here near the great battle-field, enriched by the best blood of the North and South, with the stars of heaven as our witnesses, on the soil of the dear old Keystone State, the historic arch of the Union, the great State whose bells first rang out, in the city of Brotherly Love, the birth of American Liberty, on the morning of the Revolution, I pledge you with my hand, and my heart goes lovingly and gratefully with my hand, that Virginia and Pennsylvania, as in the days of yore, forever locked in a loving embrace, in peace and in war, in sunshine and in storm, will forever bear aloft the Stars and Stripes and stand by the Union of our forefathers until the morning of the resurrection.


Capt. Jno. E. Reilly of the Sixty-ninth Pennsylvania stepped forward and read the following letters of regret from President Cleveland and Senator Jno. Sherman, after which the meeting adjourned.



I have received your invitation to attend, as a guest of the Philadelphia Brigade, a reunion of ex-Confederate soldiers of Pickett’s Division, who survived their terrible charge at Gettysburg, and those of the Union army still living, by whom it was heroically resisted.

The fraternal meeting of these soldiers upon the battle-field where twenty-four years ago in deadly fray they fiercely sought each others’ lives, where they saw their comrades fall and where all thoughts were of vengeance and destruction, will illustrate the general impulse of brave men and their honest desire for peace and reconciliation.

The friendly assault there to be made will be resistless, because inspired by American chivalry; and its result will be glorious, because conquered hearts will be its trophies of success. Thereafter this battle-field will be consecrated by a victory which shall presage the end of the bitterness of strife, the exposure of the sincerity which conceals hatred by professions of kindness, the condemnation of frenzied appeals to passion for unworthy purposes and the beating down of all that stands in the way of the destiny of our united country.

While those who fought and who have so much to forgive, lead in the pleasant ways of peace, how wicked appear the traffic in sectional hate and the betrayal of patriotic sentiment. It surely cannot be wrong to desire the settled quiet which lights for our entire country the path to prosperity and greatness; nor need the lessons of the war be forgotten and its results jeopardized in the wish for that genuine fraternity which insures national pride and glory.

I should be very glad to accept your invitation and be with you at the interesting reunion, but other arrangements already made and my official duties here, will prevent my doing so. Hoping that the occasion will be as successful and useful as its promoters can desire, I am.

Yours very truly,


MANSFIELD, Ohio, June 18th, 1887.

Your note of the 16th, inviting me to be present as the guest of the Philadelphia Brigade at Gettysburg on the 2d, 3d and 4th days of July next, to attend a reunion of the surviving members of that brigade and of Pickett’s Division of the Confederate Army, is received.

It would give me pleasure to witness so interesting an event, but an engagement made here for the 4th of July will not permit. Such a reunion on the battle-field of Gettysburg of opposing forces so distinguished for courage, heroism and great losses, will be a striking and hopeful evidence of the respect that brave soldiers always cherish for gallant enemies, and of the lessening animosities of the war. Union soldiers readily and heartily acknowledge the courage and honesty of purpose of Confederate soldiers, and this feeling is, I believe, as readily reciprocated by them. There should be no enmity or prejudice between them, and now that all alike feel that an indestructible union binds us together, there should be a cordial and hearty fellowship between the “Blue and the Gray.”

But this feeling should be accompanied by a sincere and hearty desire to preserve for future ages the beneficent results of the war.
In this the South as well as the North is deeply interested. It was to preserve the Union and to secure to all, the blessings of liberty that the war was waged and won. Upon this basis there would be no longer a danger line between Union and Confederate soldiers, or Northern and Southern citizens, but the courage and patriotism of both would be the common pride and heritage of the American people. I sincerely trust the reunion proposed will be an important step towards so desirable a result.

Very truly yours,

Before closing the account of the re-union ceremonies, we desire to refer especially to a figure that was—from the commencement of the ceremonies until the end of all the proceedings that brought the Philadelphia Brigade to Gettysburg—the centre of all interest in the enthusiastic reception to Pickett’s survivors, the very inspiration of the heartiness that made that re-union memorable for the intensity of its fraternal greetings, that gave it a national importance. We refer to the presence of Mrs. Gen. George E. Pickett, the widow of the brave commander of that heroic band of Confederates who heeded not the destroying torrent of artillery missiles, or the piercing storm of leaden bullets from the Union lines in their intrepid advance over the wide intervening space, that separated the lines of the contending armies. This lady’s graceful presence gave a magnetic charm to the ceremonies. Many persons who visited Gettysburg on this interesting occasion with the rancor of hatred, were converted into the most intense advocates of fraternity toward our late opponents. It was prophesied in the Old Testament that “a woman shall crush the serpent’s head.” We are witnesses of the fulfillment of this prophecy in the birth, suffering, and death of a blessed Saviour; so may we witness that a woman also shall crush the head of the serpent of hatred, sectionalism, and strife, and a new life of love and fraternity be born of the inspiration of this sweet messenger from the South—Mrs. George E. Pickett.


At noon of July 3d, 1887, the twenty-fourth anniversary of the closing scene of the battle, the survivors of the Sixty-ninth left their headquarters in the town, and marched to the spot where, twenty-four years ago, they gave the final blow that crowned the Union arms with success, accompanied by the Seventy-first, whose dedication ceremonies followed those of the Sixty-ninth; the Seventy-second and One Hundred and Sixth, the other regiments of the brigade and participants in Pickett’s repulse, whose monuments already mark the spot of their heroism; by Post 10 of the Grand Army of the Republic, and a company of the Hibernian Rifles, both of which organizations accompanied the brigade from Philadelphia as an escort and firing party. Arriving at the spot where the monument stands (at the stone wall, nearly midway between the “clump of trees” and the “bloody angle”) the speakers and invited guests took their places on the stand erected for the occasion. Among the guests were: Gen. Burns, one of the old commanders of the Philadelphia Brigade; Col. Charles H. Banes and wife, who accompanied Mrs. Pickett; Gen. Wm. F. (Baldy) Smith; Gen. I. J. Wistar, of the Seventy-first; Col. J. B. Bachelder, the Government Historian of the battle of Gettysburg; Col. William B. Mann and Col. John H. Taggart of the Pennsylvania Reserves; Col. A. K. McClure, of the Philadelphia Times; Col. Cowan, of Cowan’s Battery; Col. Aylett, Major Edmondson, Capt. Reeves, Charles T. Loehr, and others of Pickett’s survivors. After a dirge by the band, the ceremonies were opened by Adjutant A. W. McDermott, who said: “Comrades, you of the Blue and of the Grey, we have assembled here on this twenty-fourth anniversary of the closing of the battles of Gettysburg, to dedicate this monument in commemoration of the battle and as a memorial to our fallen comrades, who gave up their lives that the Union might be saved. It was here that you, my comrades of the Sixty-ninth, delivered the final blow that gave victory to our arms; that you met the then foe in hand-to-hand combat and forced him (with the assistance of the Seventy-first, Seventy-second, One Hundred and Sixth Pennsylvania, and other regiments) to give up the contest. We entered this fight with an aggregate strength of 258, and suffered a loss of 151.
I wish to say that it has often been asserted that the two companies who changed front after Gen. Armistead had crossed the wall just above our right had given way. This is incorrect. As a member of one of these companies at that time, I wish to state here my own personal knowledge, that the wall was not abandoned until orders were passed from the centre of the regiment to break to the rear, and at that time Gen. Armistead had covered about half the distance from the wall to the place near the crest, where he received his fatal wound. I will say further that if such orders had not been issued it would have been imperatively necessary to have performed the same movement, or the result would undoubtedly have been the annihilation of the Sixty-ninth by death or capture, as the Confederates were pouring over the wall after their leader. This movement was not performed any too soon, for ere these two companies had recovered from the excitement incident to the change of front the Confederates had borne so closely upon the angle of the new line that they, by their overpowering numbers, had succeeded in capturing the third company of the regiment, Company F, now on the right at the wall. They now called for the surrender of the rest of the line, but the Fourth Company, D, beat them off in hand-to-hand contact, and thus held their position at the wall until, with the fall of Armistead and Kemper, these brave men, foes though they were, being without a leader, gave up the contest.”

Gen. Joshua T. Owen the original commander of the regiment was introduced as the orator, and said:


“Survivors of the Sixty-ninth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers: I salute you as the veterans not of the battle of Gettysburg only, but of all the battles of the war of the rebellion in which the army of the Potomac was engaged. In all probability the battle fought right here on either side of this now historic stone wall was the hottest contested and the most important in its effects of any conflict of the war.

“On this day twenty-four years ago there was seen to emerge from yonder woods a body of troops, whose fame has since rivaled that of any body of equal numerical strength in ancient or modern warfare. In a fit of desperate courage the foremost soldier of the rebellion dared to challenge fate itself and hazard, upon one venture, the success or failure of the cause for which he had risked everything. The resolution was sublime in its audacity, but terribly disastrous in its results. The Grecian or Roman Legions, in solid phalanx, would never have dared to deliver such a charge, across so wide an intervening space, even though no artillery plowed their ranks with death-dealing shot and shell. Neither Alexander nor Caesar, Charlemagne nor Frederick, Wellington nor Napoleon ever ordered so hazardous a charge as that which Gen. Robert E. Lee ordered Gen. Pickett to make with his partially-depleted division on the 3d of July, 1863, on this historic battle-field.

“It was your good fortune, my old comrades, to withstand the brunt of that charge, because your ranks were further advanced than those of the other portions of the line. At the point where the stone wall receded to the rear at a right-angle, your right flank stood unmoved by shot or shell or rebel yell. Your line remained intact amid all the mad fury of that charge, until friends and foes were commingled in a hand-to-hand conflict, where Southern valor and Northern fortitude were put to their severest test. During that hot conflict the men of Virginia pierced the Union lines and the gallant Armistead fell within the ranks of the ‘Philadelphia Brigade.’ Nay, more, some of the men of his brigade placed their hands on the guns of Cushing’s Battery.

“But it was not in the power of mortals to withstand the combined attack of the Second Corps. Shattered into fragmentary parts, the mad invaders of Pennsylvania’s soil were driven back or captured, and the battle ended in the triumph of the Union arms. Suffice it to say that you did your duty nobly and well, and, in common with the other regiments of the Philadelphia Brigade, won for yourselves immortal renown.

“Now that the war is over, let us rejoice that our cause—the cause of Union and liberty—was triumphant and that our country has prospered so greatly since its close. Let the issues of the war, which were settled by the dread arbitrament of war, remain undisturbed forever.

“And now what shall I say in the presence of these, our late antagonists, but now our fellow-citizens and friends. Simply this, that it was fortunate for the future fame of our reunited country that when the issue was clearly made out that the two systems of labor, slave and free, could not co-exist under the same government, the settlement of the question was committed to men North and South, who, in the prosecution of the irrepressible conflict, did not lower one whit the standard of American valor, but always maintained the prestige which belongs to arms wielded by free men.”

Following the oration. Adjutant McDermott read the roll ol honor, calling out the names of those who fell in the battle, after which Capt. Edward Thompson read the following poem for the occasion, prefacing the reading of the poem with the following few remarks:

FRIENDS AND COMRADES: Once more we stand upon this historic spot, not in contention with foes, but to help heal the wounds made by the bitter struggle of twenty-four years ago, and to erect hereon a monument commemorating our services, and as a memorial to our fallen comrades. Thoughts of our brave fallen companions have suggested the following few lines:


On this historic spot we miss full many
Of the light of heart who in our perils and our sports took part;
They died here, for man was born to die;
For them we shed no tear, we heave no sigh,
But mark with admiration and with pride
How gallantly they fought, how bravely they died.
Is there he who worries heaven with a coward’s prayer,
His life to ages, healthiness to spare?
Who begs this boon, on a sick bed to lie?
Of disease, inch by inch to die?
More glorious was our lost companions lot,
To fall here where the battle raged loud and hot.
Bound to their posts on this crimson sod
Where freedom triumphed, to the breast of God,
Their last gaze fixed on our starry emblem and flag of green
That waved in glory o’er this battle scene.
The last sound that fell upon their ears,
Were their comrades’ volleys and their comrades’ cheers.
Like them we swear to fill a hero’s grave.
Like them to perish or the Union save.
For no hatred, no desire for gold accursed
Caused us to mingle in this war at first.
For human wisdom, human love,
Never planned laws like those above
A government so grand!
We shared its glories and its perils share,
And before our God who hears, we swear
The stars may fall from yon blue vault of heaven,
But not one star from our flag shall be riven,
Which o’er his troops when human rights were won,
Was waved by mankind’s hero—Washington,
The earth may melt, the sun the ocean drain,
These laws shall stand, this government remain.

Col. O’Reilly turned the monument over to the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association in a neat speech, in which he said:

Gentlemen of the Gettysburg Memorial Association: I have been delegated by my companions-of the Survivors’ Association of the Sixty-ninth Pennsylvania Regiment, to hand over to your keeping this granite shaft, placed here by them commemorative of the noble sacrifice of our many brave comrades who fell upon this very spot twenty-four years ago to-day.

And, sirs, while this monument may recall the sorrowful parting of comrades who enjoyed the closest ties of friendship, it also reminds us of the glorious deeds of valor performed by that gallant old regiment which so nobly held this line against the most determined charge in the annals of modern warfare, and in which we suffered a loss of more than fifty per cent, of our numbers.

It was after considerable solicitation of others, and considerable doubt on our part, that the task of erecting this monument was undertaken by us; we were solicited and urged by many, not of our regiment, but who knew of the noble service rendered by the Sixty-ninth, to get our men together for this purpose. We doubted our ability to successfully accomplish that purpose, for our numbers were few and our means were very limited, but we had a few determined fellows who had courageously faced Pickett’s charge, and they concluded that, as they had sufficient courage for that, they were not afraid to undertake anything. So our good friends in Philadelphia helped us along, and the Irish societies of Philadelphia said that the regiment which so nobly carried through all the battles of the war, the green flag of old Ireland, and never permitted it to be disgraced by defeat, should not be forgotten by them; and they nobly kept their word. Their aid, together with that of others of our fellow-citizens, encouraged us until we saw our State coming to our assistance, and this, gentlemen, is the result of our labors. We relinquish it to you, and ask that in future you will care for it as one of your most valued trusts. In after years when our children come here to view the spot where their fathers’ did so much to make this place glorious in the history of their country, they may still find this column pointing heavenward, indicating, as we trust, the direction in which our brave departed comrades have taken in their flight when they laid down their lives in this most desperate struggle.

And now, gentlemen, as we hand this monument over to you in all its artistic beauty, so we trust that you will hand it to your successors, and coming from those who were willing to sacrifice all for their country, we ask that in this, their memory shall be preserved for all future time.

Col. J. B. Bachelder responded on behalf of the Association as follows:

I accept your beautiful monument on behalf of the Association who, I am sure, feel proud of the trust delegated to them; no position on this field is more envied than that of the scene of Pickett’s Charge, because it was here that Lee made his last effort for success. How desperate that effort was, you “boys” know best yourselves.

He spoke in the highest praise of the services rendered by the regiment, and in accepting the monument promised, in behalf of his colleagues of the Battlefield Association, to see that the beautiful memorial to the services of brave men, should forever receive their best care and attention.

Capt. John E. Reilly being introduced, he presented, on behalf of the regiment, to Col. J. B. Bachelder, a magnificent gold watch and chain for the services he rendered at the War Department in having errors corrected on the list of the regiment’s casualties at Gettysburg.


“Col. Batchelder, we cannot allow this opportunity to pass without calling you to time, and as we think you deserve watching to place a watch on you for the future.

“More than a year ago, sir, we had occasion to call on you for information which you cheerfully gave us, and since that time we have frequently been obliged to ask your aid in assisting us in many little details which helped us very materially in the formation of a correct legend which is to remain on our monument for all future time.

In our list of casualties for the battle of Gettysburg we found through you that our records and those at the Department in Washington differed very considerably. According to our records they should have been 143, and the Washington Department records had them but 126; we were satisfied that we were right, but we were not permitted to take any other than those on the Official Records which we knew to be wrong, but how to have them corrected we did not know. And again we had to call for your services, knowing that you were authority on everything in connection with this great battle. You kindly volunteered to go to Washington and lay our case before the Department, and try to have them correct. We finally, after considerable perseverance, had them go over some of the reports when they found a clerical error of eleven which brought our number up to 137, or within six of what we claimed and still claim to be right, but they refused to go further into the matter notwithstanding we had the names of those lost and particulars in each case.

You have had considerable traveling and correspondence on our account which has taken a great deal of your time, and cost you considerable expense. In fact we have been a great trouble to you, but you did all of this cheerfully. And you would not even permit us to reimburse you for your outlay. And as we do not wish to appear ungrateful for those many acts of kindness, though we may sometimes have seemed unreasonable for our stubborn persistence in differing with the people in Washington, whose data only you are obliged to be governed by, but when I say to you that that stubbornness is a trait of the Irish character which predominates in the most of us, you will make allowance for it. It was that stubbornness, sir, which kept the Sixty-ninth in their position on this very spot twenty-four years ago to-day; it was that stubbornness which made them refuse to vacate this spot notwithstanding the pressing invitation of our friends from Virginia, and it was that stubborn tenacity which made this spot impregnable, until the last shot at Gettysburg was fired. And now, sir, for the many acts of kindness so courteously bestowed, permit me, on behalf of the survivors of the Sixty-ninth Pennsylvania Regiment, to present you with this small token of their esteem, and though coming from those of humble station in life we trust that you will value it as a gift from men who once served their country faithfully, and can, at least, boast of the proud honor of being members of the gallant old Sixty-ninth Pennsylvania Regiment, and soldiers of the Army of the Potomac. Take it, sir, and with it our best wishes for your future welfare; we wish you health to wear it for many years to come, and as you shall have frequent occasion to refer to it, we trust that you will remember that the donors were of a regiment that did much to make the Battle of Gettysburg glorious in the history of their country.


At the conclusion of Capt. Reilly’s speech a handsome Corps badge (a trefoil) made of beautiful white flowers, three feet high, which had been presented to the regiment by Mrs. Reed of Philadelphia and received by Quarter Master Hugh McKeever, was presented to Mrs. Pickett by Adjutant McDermott in behalf of the regiment. He said: “Most respected Lady, in behalf of my comrades of the Sixty-ninth Regiment as well as myself, I present to you this design of beautiful flowers. The design represents the badge of the Second Corps, the white flowers—the color of the badge worn by the Second Division of that Corps, and in which we had the honor to serve. Remembering that that brave band of foes who desperately fought us on this spot, was commanded by your late husband, the gallant General Pickett, we cannot let this occasion pass without the honor of tendering you, his cherished widow, some token of our love, for the warm interest you have taken in our efforts to reunite in bonds of fraternity those sections of our country so unhappily estranged by the war of twenty-four years ago.
Dear Lady, this token has but a trifling intrinsic value and will soon lose its beauty because of its perishable nature, but the occasion upon which we have the honor to present to you this symbolic design shall never perish from our memory, nor shall the beauty of the sentiments that brought together so many late foes in honorable, manly conflict on the field of battle, now cherished friends, brothers, ever fade from our hearts, nor shall we ever cease to love and revere you, who have so kindly graced by your presence the never-to-be-forgotten ceremonies of last evening and those of to-day. Pray accept then this token, and with it the fervent prayers of the donors, that a beneficent Providence will bless and prosper you and bless our earnest endeavor for lasting reconciliation and brotherhood.”
This ended the ceremonies of the dedication.


In the evening the Sixty-ninth invited the Pickett’s Division Association to their head quarters at the Washington House, where a “Camp fire” was held in the gardens attached to the hotel, where liquid refreshments and cigars were indulged in, and until near midnight the “Fire” was kept burning; anecdotes, speeches and songs made the time but a “fleeting moment.”
Eloquent and pathetic speeches were made by Col. Aylett, Major Edmondson and others of the Pickett survivors. Cols. Bachelder and Vanderslice of the Gettysburg Memorial Association, and Col. O’Reilly, Capts. John E. Reilly, McNamara, Fay, and others of the Sixty-ninth survivors, after which a resolution of thanks was voted the Sixty-ninth for their pleasant reception, and especially Quartermaster McKeever for the liberal quantity and thoughtfulness in the refreshing provisions made at the entertainment. After an exchange of badges, hats and other mementos, even to the giving of a lock of Col. O’Reilly’s white hair to Col. Aylett, the Camp Fire adjourned.

On the morning of the 4th of July the regiment joined with the brigade and Pickett’s men and went over the battlefield; at the scene of Pickett’s advance from Seminary Ridge all halted, and many touching incidents occurred as the men of both sides related their work on that eventful 3d of July 1863. After going over the battlefield, and returning to the position of the Sixty-ninth, the survivors of that regiment and of Pickett’s Division formed in line on each side of the wall and grasping hands were photographed. See page opposite. On the 5th, after taking leave of the men from the South, the regiment boarded the cars for home. Thus ended the most memorable reunion between) the North and the South since the close of the war.


Several months after the Survivors Association of the Sixty-ninth Regiment had contracted for the erection of their monument, the State of Pennsylvania, by an act of Assembly approved June 15th 1887, made an appropriation of $121,500 for the erection of memorial tablets or monuments, to mark the positions of Pennsylvania Commands on the battle-field of Gettysburg, July 1st, 2d and 3d, 1863, and to the Gettysburg Battle-field Association for the purchase of land, maintaining and keeping in repair the battle-field. And the Governor was authorized to appoint five Commissioners, who were to select and decide upon the design and material for monuments, and to co-operate with five persons representing the survivors of the several regimental, organizations or commands, which participated in said battle, in the location of the said monuments and selection thereof, and when completed and properly erected, the Commissioners to present vouchers to the Auditor General for payment.

The Sixty-ninth Regiment having been engaged in a very important part of that battle, and being one of the regiments entitled to a portion of the appropriation of June 1887, selected Col. James O’Reilly, Capt. Joseph W. Garretts, Sergt. Hugh McKeever, Adjt. A. W. McDermott and Capt. John E. Reilly, to represent the regiment and to co-operate with the five Commissioners appointed by the Governor; but as the Commissioners did not meet to formulate rules and regulations until after the monument of the Sixty-ninth was erected, there was no opportunity given to submit plans and specifications to them, and preparation having been made for the completion and the dedication of the monument, on the twenty-fourth anniversary of the battle (July 3d, 1877), and our former opponents of Pickett’s Division having accepted our invitation and made arrangements to attend, we could not therefore postpone the ceremonies of dedication; and when our committee met the Commissioners in Gettysburg, at their first meeting, the question was raised as to whether they could make vouchers for payment in our case, not having passed upon the design and material before erection, and subsequently on an opinion of the Attorney General, they decided that as we did not comply with the full requirements of the Act of Assembly, under which they were appointed, we were not entitled to our portion of the appropriation, for the monument erected, unless there was an enabling Act passed by the Legislature. This necessitated the trouble and expense of having a supplementary Act passed by the following State Legislature. A Bill was therefore prepared and submitted to the House of Representatives in January, 1889, and was finally passed by the Senate, and approved by the Governor, in June 1889, and we were then enabled to improve our monument considerably by placing a new base of Quincey granite, weighing over eight tons, adding very much to the architectural beauty of the monument, and making it one of the finest Pennsylvania monuments on the battle-field.

The State Commissioners, having named September 11th and 12th, 1889, as Pennsylvania days at Gettysburg, the ceremonies of dedication of all the monuments were to take place on those days. On the morning of the l0th, the Survivors Association of the Sixty-ninth, with their friends, left Philadelphia, via Baltimore and Ohio Rail Road, for Gettysburg, stopping en route at Harper’s Ferry and Antietam, and viewing many familiar places of war times, and the beautiful scenery surrounding Harper’s Ferry, and the field which was so hotly contested by the Regiment at Antietam. Arriving at Gettysburg late that night, on the morning of the 11th as prearranged, they assembled around the monument on Cemetery Ridge, in front of the famous clump of trees at the Bloody Angle, to complete the ceremonies of dedication. In the absence of the Rev. Joseph A. Boll, who was to open the ceremonies with prayer, Lieutenant Colonel James O’Reilly called the assemblage to order, and in a very able and eloquent address reviewed the services of the Regiment from its formation until final muster out of the United States service.


Comrades: Standing here on ground at once historic and sacred, and to memory ever dear, once again, I greet you, and to you I would say that this time, perhaps the last time as an organized body that we shall visit this hallowed spot, we have come to pay final tribute, final honor to our dead. Not only those who have here fallen fighting that the Union might live, but to all our comrades who on any of the battle-fields of the War for the Union (and that was nearly all in which the grand old army of the Potomac took part), offered up their lives a willing sacrifice that this, the most beneficent form of government which has ever blessed the earth, should be preserved and perpetuated in all its beauty, grandeur and greatness forever.

It is written that,

Whether on the scaffold high.
Or in the battle van,
The noblest place for man to die
Is where he dies for man.

Is it so? Then I claim for these, our fallen comrades, that they died in the fore-front of the battle for the rights of man, and in the interest of humanity. Again it is written that. Greater love than this hath no man, that he lays down his life for his friends; and who so proves his love for his friends as the soldier who willingly yields up life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in their interest. Again I claim for these, our comrades, that from the gloomy beginning of the struggle in 1861 until its final and glorious termination in 1865, that they daily offered themselves to death and to God, with that sublime end in view. Does any man question this? Then to him I would say, behold a country which under God’s providence has been and is now the refuge of God’s poor, the oppressed of all nations, preserved from destruction, let us hope, for ever; behold the arch enemy of the liberty of this and of all rations and people. Utterly discomfited and thwarted in her vile purpose of disrupting and destroying this government of the people, for the people, and by the people, who, not as of yore, by brazen-armed intervention in our affairs, but this time by most wily and insidious means, did all in her power to ruin and make it a dependency of hers and plunder and impoverish the people. Of course I allude to the Government of England, and again behold a hideous crime atoned for, a foul blot wiped out for ever (in blood it is true), but wiped out for ever by the enfranchisement of over four millions ot bondsmen, slaves set free, a dissevered people reunited, the blessings of peace restored, etc. Oh, surely, my dear comrades, living and dead, it was a holy cause you battled for. Yea, and God’s holy ones the Priests of God were with us, they blessed our arms and the hands that bore them, they accompanied us to the field and daily ministered to our spiritual wants, and byword and example did what they could to encourage us, and bless our efforts. God bless them. Fathers Martin, Gillin, Corbin, Willits, McKee, Dillin, and a host of others. God be with them. Comrades, it is also written that it is a holy and a wholesome thought to pray for the dead; forget not this duty this day nor any day of the time that is left you. Pray then, to the Lord of Hosts, the God of battle, for your dead, for all the dead, whose souls, re-baptized in their blood, went up to Him amidst scenes of strife and carnage during those dire years of war and its attendant calamities; they may need our prayers, who can tell; pray then most ardently, I beseech you, for the soul of that heroic soldier, Colonel Dennis O’Kane, who fell near the spot now marked by our monument, where but a short time before he stood grimly smiling at the stubborn resistance offered by the sturdy men under his command to the fierce onslaught of Pickett’s men; and forget not the other brave officers and enlisted men who, to the number of one hundred and forty-seven fell here beside him, and whose unparalleled bravery and stubborn courage here tossed back the highest and mightiest wave of the Rebellion. Nor would I have you forget those of our comrades, who fell on other fields than this, for,

Some fell on far-off fields of fame,
Some here sank down to rest.
And the dear land they loved so well,
Now folds them to her breast.
All nearly gone, yet still lives on.
The memory of those who died,
And true men like you men,
Remember them with pride.

Comrades in thus honoring the dead you do honor to the living-, you honor yourselves, and that beautiful monument will tell the story to generations yet unborn of your heroic deeds and the deeds, the heroism of the commander’s who have gone on to “Fame’s eternal camping ground.” Before you they lived with honor, they died with honor, be it yours to follow their example. And now dear comrades as a part of the duty assigned me on this occasion I will proceed to give our hearers a brief glimpse of the early history of the regiment. Long before grim visaged civil war reared his horrid front in this our land, affrighting the inhabitants thereof, there existed in the City of Philadelphia, State of Pennsylvania, a body of Irish American citizen soldiery, known as the Second Regiment Philadelphia County Volunteers. It was numbered the Second Regiment, Second Brigade, and belonged to the First Division Pennsylvania Militia. The material of which it was composed (the officers and men) were recruited or came from the humbler walks of life in that great city. They were mostly hardy sons of toil, men who earned their bread by the sweat of their brows, but very ambitious in a military point of view, and very patriotic, always ready to obey the orders of their officers, always ready to defend the authorities and assist them whether National, State or City, ever ready to shed their blood if necessary in defence of the honor and integrity of their adopted country, while cherishing an ardent love for the land of their birth. And because of the nationality of the officers and men, and the names of the companies of which it was composed it was frequently, and truth compels me to add derisively, styled the “Irish Brigade,” and there are here to day some who can look back with shame and sorrow to the time when hisses derisive cries and shouts of contempt were freely bestowed on us, and on more than one occasion something harder in shape of bricks and stones fell thick and fast in the ranks of the organization as it marched through the streets of that city, the City of Brotherly Love. But thanks to God and the services rendered by this and kindred organizations of which there were many in the late war, such senseless bigotry, such mean and contemptible prejudice obtains no more forever in this broad land. And oh! my countrymen, Irishmen, what a debt of gratitude you owe to these our comrades, to the brave men of our race, who to the number of one hundred and forty-four thousand (see Prof. Gould’s statements) who went into the field in defence of our adopted country, and made such a glorious record there. Nor does the above number include the tens of thousands of Irishmen’s sons, and their immediate descendants who took part in the strife on the side of the Government. At the outbreak of the war the above organization was altered as follows: for certain cogent reasons Col. Conroy resigned, and by the advice, and on the recommendation of the Brigade Commander, Gen. John D. Miles, Joshua T. Owen was elected to fill the vacancy; Dennis Heenan remained Lieut. Colonel; James Harvey, beaten in the race for the majority, resigned and organized a company for Max Einstein’s regiment; Dennis O’Kane then Capt. of Company C, was elected Major, and James O’Reilly fourth Sergt. of Company C was elected captain of said company. In this order the regiment entered the field as the Twenty-fourth Infantry Pennsylvania Volunteers for three months’ service under the call of the President for 75,000 men. The regiment faithfully performed all duties assigned it, and was one of the two regiments who listened to the appeal of Gen. Patterson to remain in the field after its term of service had expired until reinforcements could arrive to defend the upper Potomac, although over two hundred of the men were shoe-less and with underwear for breeches. Mustered out August 9th, 1861, it was immediately reorganized for three years service as the Second Regiment of Baker’s California Brigade, afterwards known as the Sixty-ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers; it would have been known as the Sixty-eighth but for a few of the old officers who were proud of the record made by their kindred of the Sixty-ninth New York, and appealed to Col. Andrew Tippen and his officers to exchange numbers, this they agreed to do, and the consent of the great War Governor, Andrew G. Curtin, himself Irish by decent, being obtained, the regiment became the Sixtyninth. Four of the Company Commanders, for reasons best known to themselves, refused to remain under the former commandant and left the organization, these were Capts. Thomas A. Smyth, Hugh Rodgers, James McGough and P. Murphy. Capts. Rodgers and McGough were replaced by Capts. Thompson and Furey, and some time after its arrival in the field it was joined by companies under Capts. Wm. Davis and Daniel Gillen. The complexion of the field and staff was altered by the retirement of Lieut. Col. Dennis Heenan, who afterwards organized the One Hundred and Sixteenth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, and the appointment to his place of Major Dennis O’Kane. John Devereux of Chestnut Hill, and a member of the famous Philadelphia City Troop was made Major; Martin Tschudy, a prominent young lawyer of West Washington Square was appointed Adjutant, C. C. Bombaugh, M. D., as Surgeon, and B. A. McNeill Assistant Surgeon, with J. Robinson Miles as Quarter Master. During its reorganization some generous friends of the regiment headed by Thomas Dolan, Esq., Eighth and Zane streets, Philadelphia, procured and presented to the regiment a beautiful green flag. On one side was painted the coat of arms of Pennsylvania, and on the other the wolf-dog, round tower and sun-burst of Ireland, and here let me call your attention to the fact that the Sixty-ninth was the only regiment that went out from the State of Pennsylvania carrying the flag of Ireland side by side with those of the United States. Under these flags, these glorious emblems, under officers tried and true, a sturdier, nobler hearted, braver body of men, than those who in this regiment left Philadelphia for Washington in the early fall of 1861, it were hard to find. I say this as a comrade, as one who by long association with the majority of them before and during the war had learned their worth. I say it because I am speaking of the dead, the greater number having passed from scenes of strife here below to, I fervently hope, the peaceful abode of the blessed. And without disparagement to our comrade regiments or any body of troops then in the field, I claim for this regiment. First, that it faithfully performed all duties assigned to it in camp, in garrison, on the march or in battle, never turning its rear to the enemy, except compelled by orders from superior authority. Second, that the regiment never lost a flag to the enemy, and on two occasions saved the colors of other regiments from falling into the enemy’s, hands. Third, that by its desperate charge at Glendale (Nelson’s farm) it saved the day and possibly the army. Fourth, that this regiment furnished to the service three able general officers, to wit: Gen. Joshua T. Owen, a former commander; Gen. M. Kerwin, formerly Sergt. of Company H, and now editor and proprietor of the New York Tablet, and Gen. Thomas A. Smyth, who was formerly Captain of Company H, Twenty-fourth, and whom I believe to be the last general officer killed on the Union side during the war. Fifth, that but for the mistaken zeal in the performance of his duty and the persistant and positive refusal on the part of Capt. Wm. McBride of the Seventy-second regiment to permit it, the flag of this regiment would have been the first to float over the enemy’s works at Yorktown, and in all probability the regiment would have furnished a fourth general officer to the service, as Deven of Massachusetts, who entered the works, four hours later was made general therefor. Sixth, that this regiment was among the first to enter the field in defence of the Union, and served continuously until honorably mustered out at the close of the war by reason of its services being no longer required.

All this to your lasting credit, my comrades living; all this to the honor of the dead of this regiment who here and elsewhere s’eep the sleep that knows no waking.

How sleep the brave who sink to rest,
By all their country’s wishes blest,
When Spring with dewy fingers cold.
Returns to deck their hallowed mould;
Ever Freedom shall a while repair,
To dwell a weeping hermit there.

Col. O’Reilly’s speech was well received and he was frequently interrupted with applause by his comrades, and the many friends of the regiment who were present; he then introduced as the orator of the day Capt. John E. Reilly, a former corporal of the regiment, and one of its first Color-Bearers.*

* Capt. John E. Reilly was formerly Corporal of Company H. and one of the first Color-Bearers of the Regiment He was badly wounded while leading the charge with the Colors at the battle of Glendale; was afterwards promoted to First Lieutenant and A D. C., First Division, Fifth Corps, and again wounded while charging the enemy’s works in front of Petersburg, and finally promoted to Captain at the capture of the Weldon Railroad in August, 1864.


Comrades of the Sixty-ninth, we have again met, on this historic field, to rededicate this memorial shaft, which marks the spot made famous by your heroic deeds. Within the twenty-five square miles of this battle-field there are many interesting places, where many deeds of bravery were performed, but there was but one Pickett’s charge at Gettysburg, and on this spot, and by you, my comrades of the Sixty-ninth, ably supported by your comrades of the Philadelphia Brigade, was that charge met, and the flood-tide of rebellion checked. It was here you met the flower of the Confederate Army in hand to hand encounter, and here, many of our brave companions laid down their lives in that terrible struggle.

When Hancock arrived on this field during the first day’s fight, everything was in doubt, the right wing of the army having been driven from beyond the town, the gallant Reynolds killed, and many of the regiments panic stricken in consequence of their loss, and it was not until he brought his own Second Corps on the field, and deployed them along this ridge, on the second, and the brave Warren, had secured Round Top for the artillery, was our army secure in its position. The Sixty-ninth was placed along the slope of this ridge, and ordered to hold the line secure in this position, and you faithfully did what you were told, as in every other position throughout the war, in which you were placed, you proved faithful to the trust.

On the afternoon of the second day, the enemy in force attacked the left, the brave Sickels was badly wounded, and his corps being driven from its advanced position, when gallant Hancock came to the rescue, but so impetuous was the assault made by the enemy, that on they came like the fury of a whirlwind, until within a few paces of this line. The battery on your front was driven from its position, and two of its guns were left to the advancing enemy, who made several desperate attempts to capture them, and was driven from them each time by your well directed fire, until at last they were forced to retire, the guns recovered for the battery, the contest for the day ceased, and the Sixty-ninth nobly held their position.

On the third day, notwithstanding there had been ample time for entrenching, there were no entrenching tools furnished, and consequendy no attempt made to strengthen this position, expecting every moment a renewal of the contest, when suddenly, about one o’clock, yonder ridge commenced to belch forth its volcanic fire on your unprotected position. Shot, shell, Whitworth bolts, every missile known to modern warfare, were thrown against this position for two long hours; this was but the prelude to the most desperate Infantry charge of modern times, for soon Pickett’s Division was seen marching out from the shelter of yonder woods, with colors flying defiantly to the breeze, and seeming to say, “We come to pierce your centre; match us if you can.” Kemper, Garnett and Armistead, 4,900 strong, with Heath’s Division under Petigrew on their left, and Wilcox’s Division on their right, the whole of the attacking column, about 13,000 men. Pickett’s men had been given this clump of trees as an objective point for their attack, and the Sixty-ninth was the barrier between them, on they came in grand display, and notwithstanding their ranks were being momentarily thinned by the artillery fire from all along the ridge, they marched forward with the steadiness of men on parade, seeming determined to sweep all before them; those, my comrades, were the moments which tried men’s souls, none but the bravest hearts could await the assault which was then approaching, but as confidently as the attacking column came, just as confidently did you await their coming. The eyes of the whole country were at that moment centered on Gettysburg, and fervent prayers were ascending to the God of hosts that the sweeping flood of Rebellion should be checked. All attention of both armies was directed to this position, for soon the giants met to determine the fate of the day, and then was the tug of War; on your front and in your midst, my comrades, the pride of the rebel army was broken, demoralized and almost annihilated. Aye, the proud and defiant champions of Lee’s army had met their match; the gauntlet so defiantly thrown down by them had been picked up, and they paid the penalty for their rashness; these fields were almost covered with their dead, who came never to return again. Pickett’s Charge was repulsed, the country saved, Harrisburg, Philadelphia and Pennsylvania relieved; for had Genl. Lee’s plans succeeded in cutting through this centre position, nothing could have stayed their onward march, and here, on this very spot, my comrades, the flood-tide of the Rebellion reached its high-water mark, and from whence it was ever after made to recede. But what frightful cost in precious blood in these three eventful days, 40,000 mowed down in that mighty harvest of death around this little town of Gettysburg, and you, my comrades, contributed largely to that number; your gallant leaders, Col. O’Kane, and Lieut. Col. Tschudy, were killed, and of the 258 comrades of the Sixtyninth Regiment, entering the fight on the second of July, 1863, you lost in this batde in killed, wounded, and missing, fifty-five per cent, of that number. Tennyson has immortalized in poem the famous six- hundred, who lost at Balaklava, thirty-six and seven-tenths per cent., and we read in history of great achievements being performed on other battle-fields, but my comrades, the deeds and glories of Grecian Phalanx and Roman Legion, would pale before the deeds of valor performed on the field of Gettysburg. Centuries may pass, and new generations populate our land, yet the name of Gettysburg will not fail to call before memory the heroic deeds enacted there. Its deeds of valor are not chanted in undying epic, or immortal poem, yet, beside Thermopylae and Marathon, Waterloo and Balaklava, stands the name of Gettysburg, and coupled with that of Gettysburg, as one of the glittering stars in the brilHant firmament of fame, will be that of the gallant old Sixty-ninth Pennsylvania.

Many years have passed my comrades since your brave deeds helped to make this field famous, in all these years you had no one to sing your praise, you modestly awaited the time when the truth of history must be known, and your deeds would then compare favorably with the most valiant; you were always placed where carnage was thickest, and you unflinchingly performed your duty, none could do more, few did as well.

But look once more on these fields which were once the theatre of bloody strife. The scenes have changed; these ridges no longer belch forth their volcanic fires; the beaten intervale furrowed by shot and shell is smoothed by the rolling years, the trees have drawn their coats of bark over their wounds, the sharp volleys of musketry have ceased, no parks of artillery awake their thunder, no hoofs of rushing squadrons sink into the bosoms of the dying, the shrieks of the wounded are hushed, no comrade searches for friend, no father for son, no sister for brother, the actors have disappeared, the dead are mingled with the dust, the survivors scattered, and the great chieftains have fallen asleep. Horse and rider, plume and epaulet, flashing sword and gleaming bayonet, cannon and cannonier, trumpet and banners have all vanished, and the sun as it rises from its purple bed, crowns the battle-field, with jewels of the morning, and mantles the warrior’s grave with tender grass and nodding flowers, so may there come through this great war perennial peace, may time assuage all sorrows and heal all wounds, may the blood of the sacrifice cement and sanctify the Union, and the principles settled by it, stand forever, may the North and South, the East and West, our whole country, redeemed, reformed, regenerated, unite to perpetuate the nation over which the Star of Empire having no further west to go, will pause, shine, and stay forever.”

Capt. Reilly’s delivery was eloquent throughout, notwithstanding he was suffering at the time from a severe cold and sore throat.

Col. O’Reilly then introduced Adjt. A. W. McDermott, who gave a very full and detailed account of the regiment’s movements, and services from the time it entered on the field at Gettysburg, until the close of the battle, after which he read the names of those of the regiment who were killed wounded and captured in the engagement, thus ending the ceremonies of dedication, all the monuments of Pennsylvania Regiments being handed over the next day through the Monument Commissioners to the Gettysburg Battlefield Association.


The contract for the erection of the monument was given to Joseph E. Burk of Philadelphia. It is built of Ouincey Granite, and very highly polished. The base is five feet six inches square, and three feet high, with sub-base four feet square, and two feet high. The die in which the inscriptions are cut is two feet ten inches square and four feet high. And the shaft or obelisk two feet square at the base, and fourteen feet high—twenty-three feet in all. On the corners of the die are Second Corps marks representing the army corps to which the regiment belonged. On the shaft are traced and highly polished a harp, the name of brigade, number of division and corps, name of regiment, and Irish and American flags crossed. On the right and left flanks of the monument there are ten granite posts, connected with galvanized chains, each post marking the position and bearing the inscription of one of the companies, during the time of the engagement. The front face of the die has the following inscription :

This position was held by the Sixty-ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers July 2d and 3d, 1863.

Late on the afternoon of the 2d, this regiment assisted in repulsing a desperate attack made by Wright’s Georgia Brigade.

About one o’clock P. M. of the 3d, these lines were subjected to an artillery fire from nearly 150 guns, lasting over one hour, after which Pickett’s Division charged this position, was repulsed and nearly annihilated. The contest on the left and centre of this regiment for a time being hand to hand, of the regimental commanders attacking, but one remained unhurt. Gen. Garnett was killed, Gen. Kemper desperately wounded, and Gen. Armistead after crossing the stone wall above the right of this command, (two companies of which changed front to oppose him) fell mortally wounded.

A number of Confederate flags were picked up on this front after the battle.

A bronze plate with the State coat-of-arms is placed on the base.

On the rear face of the die is the following:
In memoriam of our deceased comrades, who gave up their lives in defence of a perpetual union.

On this spot fell our commander, Col. Dennis O’Kane, his true glory was victory or death, at the moment of achieving the former he fell a victim to the latter.

While rallying the right to repulse Armistead, Lieut. Col., Martin Tschudy, was killed, he was also wounded on the previous day, but nobly refused to leave the field; the Major and Adjutant were also wounded.

Out of an agregate of 258 the regiment suffered a loss of 137. Erected by the surviving members, their friends and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

On the right face.
Engaged in the following battles:
Falling Water’s, Ball’s Cross-roads, Lewinsville, Yorktown, Fair Oak’s, Peach Orchard, Savage Station, White Oak Swamp, Glendale, First and Second, Malvern Hill, Second, Bull Run, Chantilly, South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Thoroughfare Gap, Haymarket, Gettysburg, Rappahannock Station, Kelleysford, Robertson’s Farm, Mine Run, Wilderness, Po River, First and Second, Spottsylvania, Milford, North Anna, Tolopotomy, Cold Harber, Petersburg, Jerusalam, Plank Road, Deep Bottom, Strawberry Plains, Ream’s Station, Boydton Plank Road, First and Second, Hatcher’s Run, Dabney’s Mills, Five Forks, Jettersville, Farmville, Sailor’s Creek, Surrender of Lee.

On the left face.
This regiment was organized April 15th, 1861, from the Second Regiment, State Militia, for three months, was designated the Twenty- fourth Regiment, re-organized August 19th, 1861, as the Sixty-ninth Regiment, re-enlisted January 31st, 1864, and mustered out at the end of the War, July ist, 1865.

Aggregate strength of the regiment from organization until mustered out, 1.736. Aggregate number of casualties, 702.

Following are the names of the generous friends of the regiment who so liberally contributed towards the erection of the monument:
Source: Internet Archive

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