This Company was principally made up of young men from the strenuous walks of life, out of good Christian homes, largely intelligent sons of husbandry, and not a few having been or being hard-working students in academy, college, or theological seminary, thus possessing the fundamental qualifications for good military service. Possibly it had as small a ratio of men unfit for such service as any called out to do duty in the '60s. A few there were, of course, who were carried in by the tide of excitement or selfish interest, without much consideration, but most, nearly all of the members, entered through due reflection, true courage and definite conviction.
Much of K's history will appear in the History of the Regiment, for in general this company shared with other companies the movements and service of the Regiment. It is only the purpose of this writing to treat of what pertains specially to the record of individuals composing the company and of what was peculiar to the company, or in which it was affected personally or as a unit of service.
This Company was recruited during the month of August, 1862, in Washington county, Pa., under the call for 300,000 volunteers. It was of a composite nature, formed of squads and individuals from different parts of the county, though the largest constituency was from the northwestern part, with Cross Creek as the center; and in consequence of this it was frequently called the Cross Creek Company. Wm. A. F. Stockton, son of the Rev. Dr. John Stockton, pastor of Cross Creek Presbyterian Church, was engaged sometime in recruiting in this region, intent on raising a company. He was assisted by B. F. Powelson, his classmate for years, and by others. Meetings were held in Cross Creek, Burgettstown, Eldersville, Paris, Candor and other places. One meeting in Cross Creek Village was attended and addressed by Dr. Wishart and Messrs. A. and David Acheson, of Washington, the county seat. Twenty-three enlisted from Cross Creek, the first eleven being sworn in by Squire Duncan on Aug. 16. Those recruited in Paris, in the extreme northwest section of the county, footed up 20. A squad of seven enlisted in Candor, under the supervision of Wm. B. Cook. Seven hailed from the neighborhood of Millsboro, while four others came in from other places in the eastern part of the county. Claysville furnished a squad of nine. And quite a number came in from the Finley, Morris and Donegal Townships. Alex. Sweeney, Jr., had been out in Claysville and West Alexander in that region on a recruiting tour. He and Enoch Mounts represented the county seat.
Those recruited in Cross Creek, Eldersville, Paris and Candor, or the Northwest, fifty-five in number, came together on August 20th at Cross Creek village, where a large concourse of people assembled and gave them a hearty repast and reception. Thence, after taking leave of relatives and friends, they were conveyed by neighbors, in wagons and other vehicles, sixteen miles to the county seat; and there they for a while went into camp, using for quarters the halls of the old Fair Grounds, now the Athletic Grounds of Washington and Jefferson College. Here all the recruits were rendezvoused, and they were kindly and patriotically treated by the citizens of Washington, who opened their homes and in many ways gave, comfort and cheer.
On the 22nd of August the formal organization of the Company was effected, ninety-six entered their names on the Company roll. An election of officers was held, resulting as follows: Captain, Wm. A. F. Stockton; First Lieutenant, Alexander Sweeney, Jr.; and Second Lieutenant, Wm. B. Cook. The non-commissioned officers were in the main determined upon, Geo. W. McConnell was entered as musician, and the members of the Company began to assume military airs and were ready for orders to go forward to active service, and these orders quickly came. Four other Companies, recruited in Washington county, were known to be ready for assignment to some Regiment. Orders came for the Company to proceed at once to Camp Distribution, in old Oakland Fair Grounds near Pittsburg. The journey to Pittsburg was rather an ovation. The enlisted were taken in conveyances by way of the old turnpike, many of their friends accompanying them the whole or part of the way. A halt for dinner was made at Canonsburg, where the citizens entertained the Company in royal style. Their loyalty and enthusiasm had a true ring, for they had a Company ready to go into service. (This Company became Co. G, of the 140th P. V., and furnished the Lieut. Colonel). Camp Distribution was reached without mishap, and there the Company was partially equipped. And the ninety-six men were mustered into the service of the United States as Volunteer Infantry, for three years or during the war, by Capt. Ludington, on the 4th day of September, 1862.
The names and places of residence are as follows:
William A. F. Stockton, Captain
Alexander Sweeney, Jr., 1st Lt.
William B. Cook, 1st Sergeant
Benjamin F. Powelson, 1st Sergeant
Milton R. Boyd, 2nd Sergeant
Edward S. Alexander, 3rd Sergeant
Thomas C. Hayes, 4th Sergeant
Samuel K. Shindle, 5th Sergeant
Silas Cooke, 1st Corporal
John D. McCabe, 2nd Corporal
Isaac Donaldson, 3rd Corporal
William R. H. Powelson, 4th Corporal
George Ralston, 5th Corporal
William L. Pry, 6th Corporal
John F. Gardner, 7th Corporal
William Hanlin, 8th Corporal
George W. McConnell, Musician
James B. Allison, Private
Abram Andrews, Private
Peter Andrews, Private
James Arthur, Private
James S. Berryhill, Private
Lazarus Briggs, Private
Benjamin B. Buchanan, Private
Daniel J. Butterfoss, Private
George W. Carter, Private
Jesse M. Carter, Private
Thomas J. Carter, Private
Andrew Chester, Private
Isaac W. Chisholm, Private
James E. Cochran, Private
Ezra Conaway, Private
David W. Corbin, Private
Joseph A. Corbin, Private
Benjamin H. Cummins, Private
Michael Daugherty, Private
Andrew B. Davis, Private
John M. Day, Private
Henry Dickson, Private
Robert B. Dungan, Private
Benjamin F. Earnest, Private
James H. Fordyce, Private
Joseph C. Frazier, Private
John Fulton, Private
George Gardner, Private
William M. Geary, Private
Isaac Golden, Private
Joseph Smith Graham, Private
Joseph Guess, Private
George A. Hanlin, Private
Hawthorne, Benjamin F., Private
John Henderson, Private
Robert W. Hull, Private
George W. Johnson, Private
Robert Lyle, Private
James C. Lyle, Private
John A. McCalmont, Private
Robert McClurg, Private
Harrison McConnell, Private
Benjamin McCullough, Private
James K. McCurdy, Private
Owen McElfish, Private
James K. P. McGill, Private
John Makeown, Private
John Maloy, Private
John Marshall, Private
Robert Meldoon, Private
Norris Metcalf, Private
William H. Miller, Private
Isaac Miller, Private
Jesse J. Morris, Private
George Morrow, Private
Enoch Mounts, Private
Colin R. Nicheson, Private
John W. Nicheson, Private
James L. Noah, Private
Thomas L. Noble, Private
William Porter, Private
David McClurg Pry, Private
Rebert A. Pry, Private
William Rea, Private
William A. Ruffner, Private
Henderson Scott, Private
William Scott, Private
Nathaniel Seese, Private
George Sprowels, Private
Jesse M. Sprowls, Private
Oliver Staley, Private
George Star, Private
William Stollar, Private
Johnson Toppin, Private
Robert Virtue, Private
Ulysses Wheeler, Private
Thomas Wilkins, Private
James Worstell, Private
Marshall Wright, Private
On the Regiment's being assigned to the guarding of the N. C. R. R., south of York, Pa., Co. K was stationed at Monkton, Md., about six miles south and distant from Parkton Md., "Camp Seward," the headquarters of the Regiment. It had several miles of railroad to guard, the chief point being a bridge about three miles below Monkton. Its quarters were dubbed "Ambolin Barracks," consisting of a bunk building of two stories, with a shed room attached as officers' quarters, and a cook house. A flag pole stood in front of the barracks from which "Old Glory" floated gracefully. The sergeants, a train of freight cars having been wrecked a short time after our being located there, resurrected a box car which had been thrown down an embankment, and thus improvised independent quarters for themselves, near the main building.
On October 13th the non-commissioned officers, as appointed by the Captain on the organization of the Company, received their certificates.
The period of duty here covered three months, the Company participating in all the Regimental drills, inspections, etc., marching to and from Parkton on the railroad tracks. The time was well put in, in drilling, and in the usual routine of barrack duties. Nothing occurred to mar the good name of the Company. The people of the vicinity were kind and considerate, and they respected the members of Co. K as gentlemen. The homes and assemblies of the people were open to them. Many things occurred to render the service here a pleasant one. The corn husking and big dinner at Bacon's plantation, the barn-floor husking and repast at Quaker Matthews', with his many favors to the guard at the lower bridge, and like recognitions, were greatly enjoyed by all who were privileged to participate. The soldier's plain fare was abundantly supplemented by the Diffendaffer's meals at from 10 cents and upwards, with the luscious apple dumplings and peach cobblers with unstinted measure of rich cream. Even now our mouths water as we think of those baked apple dumplings and richest of cream! And as Corporal Cook has written, "Where is the one who, when on guard at the upper bridge, does not even yet have a sneaking feeling creep over him when he remembers the old Frenchman's peach orchard, and the stuffed haversacks that got over the back fence in some way and were found at the guard station?" And no one in Co. K was the worse off if a few sacks of oysters were taken from the car with broken truck, side-tracked for a day or two; for that savory article of diet was just "too-tempting," when the early November snow banks afforded so good and safe cold storage. Even the Captain enjoyed the extra diet, and suggested that "no trace be left behind." And there was none. For a tracer, sent out when a shortage was reported in Harrisburg, found none.
Several of us, too, remember very gratefully the little church up in the woods, and that one east of Monkton, whereto occasionally we turned our footsteps. Those days of soldiering had much of sunshine in them, which lightened materially the burden of a rigorous but useful military discipline. While here the Company was directed by special order to serve as guard of honor in the burial of Gen. Dixon S. Miles, mortally wounded at the surrender of Harper's Ferry, Sept. 15, 1862, whose body was laid to rest in the church cemetery a few miles east of Monkton. About the same time, too, our hearts were fired a little for more stirring service by the distant booming of cannon on the battlefield of Antietam.
Several of K were subjected to the ravages of fever prevailing here in the Regiment and incident to exposure and some lack in sanitary provisions. Silas Cooke, James C. Lyle, Thomas Wilkin, Wm. Porter, John Henderson, A. B. Davis and John Marshall tasted of the experiences of the hospital in the old stone church at Parkton. John Marshall was the first of the Company's losses. While in Parkton for drill and inspection he was badly hurt in going between two cars, and died Nov. 17th in the Regimental hospital from the injury and fever. Two others of the Company died in this hospital: John Henderson, on Dec. 7th, and Andrew B. Davis, on Dec. 9th. The name of Thomas L. Noble was dropped from our roll, he being on Nov. 28th transferred to the quartermaster's department by special order from Regimental headquarters. So, when the order came to leave for the army in the field, near Fredericksburg, Va., K's strength numbered but 92, and Silas Cooke, J. C. Lyle and Wm. Porter, sick, must be left behind in hospital at Little York, Pa. Our dead had been sent back for burial in their home burial places. Good soldiers they were, though they never saw much of the "grim visage" of war. On the morning of the 10th of December Co. K bid adieu to Monkton and marched with everything to Parkton, Col. Roberts having received orders to go to the front, the transportation to be ready that evening. It was with some feeling of regret that the members of K left Monkton, for they had become attached to the place and people, but the prospect of entering into more active and stirring soldier life captivated and filled everyone with enthusiasm, and the march to Parkton was made amid continuous peals of glee and cheerfulness. And so, as late in the evening the train passed down through Monkton, the generous cheering of people and soldiers showed how strong had become the ties of friendship.
Co. K shared with G a room in the Union Relief Association building in Baltimore the night of the 10th. At night on the 11th, the Regiment was crowded in old freight cars, open and destitute of arrangements for fire. The weather was cold, and the whole night was consumed on the way to the Capitol, causing no little suffering from cold, some keeping "courage up" by little fires kept burning on floor or seats from whittlings from pine benches.
Co. K was in her place as the 140th marched through Pennsylvania avenue, Washington City, with flying colors, about 4 p. m., on the 13th, setting out for Burnside's army. The first night's camping out was such a one as to be long remembered, in a wet bottom, with scarcely a redeeming feature. In K's memorandum it is styled as "Camp Misery." But the second night's lodging showed a commendable readiness for improvement in the school of experience, and Co. K was not behind in learning to accommodate itself to any conditions. So we dubbed that night's lodging amid the pines "Camp Hope." And so those days of marching, with sunshine and rain, with favorable and unfavorable news from the battle being waged at Fredericksburg, with the varied experiences on the way, were to the Company, a good schooling, for the strenuous and vigorous service upon which we were entering. From Aquia creek on to the front our illustrative lessons were those of war's desolations. The soldiers of our defeated army, returning to their former camping grounds, blackened with the smoke of battle, make an impression on the mind and heart of each of us as we march by them into a place designated for our camping ground. This was hailed as well selected, a woods where pines and oaks abounded, timely for the construction of winter quarters. This was at nightfall on the 20th of December, the closing of a week of real soldiering, testing well the men's powers of endurance. The reflections of the writer, as found in his memoranda book, express well the sentiments prevailing that Saturday night: "It seems refreshing to look out over our Company as the boys, with tents pitched, rest and commune in a spirit ot contentment and good will. They sit beside blazing fires, pressed closer and closer to them by the cold wintry air. Some are crawling into their nests early - and gladly do they lay themselves down to rest, to dream of the dear ones left at home and of future happy days. Poor soldiers, rest in peace, with the consciousness that you are endeavoring to do your duty as God gives you opportunity. Remember, too, that while you are pilgrim soldiers here in this strange land, amid danger, sin and death, the prayers and good wishes of thousands follow you. Think of those loved ones in the pleasant home circle, encircled by all that makes life happy - think of your cherished institutions and sanctuary privileges; of your rich farms; of your prosperous towns and cities - your enterprising factories; your commerce; your country's religious freedom and civil liberty. Think of the cost in the purchase of this boon - the sacrifice of our forefathers - the shed blood of patriots. And think now of recreant hands uplifted to destroy our government, striking from our history its brightness, trampling under foot our glorious flag - symbol of our might. Think of these things, and feel proud of the position you occupy - soldiers for the Union."
Co. K's men showed a good degree of skill and efficiency in constructing the winter quarters, following with commendable accuracy general instructions. So that in the remaining days of December work was about fully done and the boys were at home in their village of booths, having in the same time become fairly well initiated in the requirements of the service, embracing all kinds of drill, in squad, Company, Regiment and Brigade, with inspections and reviews, an extensive review of the Right Grand Division (Sumner's) having taken place on the 23rd, Gen. Burnside being present. And K responded readily to her share of details for special duty, and for police, guard and picket duties. On the 18th day of January K shared in the delight of the Regiment in receiving Springfield rifles to supplant our old Austrian muskets. A glad good-bye to the old kickers!
In the months in camp near Falmouth, Co. K endured hardships, severities, exposures and privations that tested physical endurance to the utmost, and in them had a schooling that was to tell in the future good record of the Regiment. But there were always a sufficiency of spice and source of merriment and good cheer among the boys. Receipt of news from friends, substantial tokens of love and care in boxes of good things sent by them, camp fire chats and musings, little banquets together, sometimes at the expense of the scanty income and to the profit of the army suttler - all these were as "Lights among the Shadows" in soldier life.
Co. K was favored in February with another visit from Col. Sam'l Magill, of Cross Creek, the father of James K. P., one of our best members, and a model in many excellent qualities of the true soldier. Col. Magill had visited us while in Monkton. The Captain and Orderly Sergeant were specially favored by visits from three of their schoolmates, Rev. Messrs. McC. Blayney, Ewing and Wotring.
Another quotation from the writer's journal will show the tem- perament and spirit of the boys of K, who did their part in giving the Regiment its high standing in the army. "A soldier's Saturday night - Dec. 27. The boys of K are now pretty comfortably housed in their booths. Take a look in upon that of the sergeants, and we have a fair sample of the sixteen in our Company, eight on either side of the Company street. The sergeants with Drummer McConnell are snugly seated around a bright fire. Boyd is leisurely smoking his pipe, sending out with each ascending puff a loving sigh or thought of 'the girl he left behind' in old Washington. Alexander is 'cogitating,' giving his mustache a twist now and then, possibly thinking of some evening spent among the 'peach blossoms.' It may be, however, only an endeavor of his to discover some plan by which he can further contribute to our present happiness. He has been faithful in this respect. Hayes is seated on his knapsack cooly writing to ---. His look betokens a clear conscience, having as usual performed his duty to the letter. His sage remarks settle many points in dispute. In true affection his heart turns to loved sisters and a beautiful home he left for his country's defense. He's with us from purest love of country. Were it not for Shindle the spirits of our mess would sometimes run low. His sly remarks would make round the most elongated face on most occasions. The drummer boy, too, he fondly turns to a dear wife at home and hates the recreants that drove him from her, but he'll be with us with his rattling Yankee Doodle till the last one of them be subdued. The 'Orderly' can only glance hastily into the other fifteen, with a cheering 'how d' de?' The occupations are various. The booth of the Candor squad for neatness and convenience takes the lead. In it Will Powelson is quartered, who at his country's call bid adieu to wife and little daughter. And there's Corporal Wm. Pry, who left quite a family. The country may feel secure with such soldiery between it and its foes."
The Company was noted for its cleanliness and good order, and for its attentiveness to military discipline, under frequent and oftimes most exacting inspections. In the Adjutant's competitive inspections of guard details Co. K frequently won, and on one occasion carried off all the honors; on another, four out of the six. For excellence in work and neatness in appearance it was often complimented.
On Feb. 28th, Silas Cooke, J. C. Lyle and Wm. Porter, left in hospital at York, Pa., Dec. 10th, returned and were warmly welcomed back into camp. Corp'l Wm. L. Pry and Serg't Hayes were granted furloughs home for ten days. While in camp near Falmouth the hearts of the Powelson brothers were saddened by the news of the deaths of their two brothers, Samuel and George, who were members of Co. D, 32nd Regiment of Mo. Vols., in the army near Vickburg.
On the 31st of December, '62, K records her fifth loss. This time a desertion. We have only the official record: John Fulton, "deserted Dec. 31, 1862, Georgetown, D. C." Our next loss was Harrison McConnell, discharged Feb. 13,'63. In this case it appears that Harrison was a minor, enlisting without the consent of his parents. They applying to the U. S. courts, in Pittsburg, Pa., got a decision of release. On the 14th day of Feb., '63, Corp'l Isaac Donaldson died in camp of typhoid fever. His death was one of triumph in Christian faith. But it cast a gloom over the Company. We mourned the loss of a good soldier and a kind companion.
The other losses up to the time of our breaking camp, April 28th, were as follows: Corp'l John D. McCabe, discharged Feb. 13th, '63, on surgeon's certificate of disability; Henderson Scott, discharged March 12, '63, special order War Department; Robert Lyle, discharged March 14, '63, surgeon's certificate of disability; Benjamin B. Buchanan, discharged March 20, '63, surgeons certificate of disability; Isaac Golden, died April 15, '63, at Mt. Pleasant, D. C., and was buried in the Military Asylum Cemetery, D. C., and David W. Corbin, died April 21, '63, in Stanton hospital, D. C., and buried in the same Military Asylum Cemetery. These losses cut the roll of members down to 82.
John A. McCalmont was promoted to Corporal to date April 15th, '63, the time of Donaldson's death. Jos. Smith Graham was made Corporal, to date the time of McCabe's discharge, Feb. 13, '63.
When the Company marched out from camp on April 28th, Lieut. Sweeney was in Washington, Pa., on leave of absence, and Musician McConnell was at home on furlough. Robert McClurg was with the Pioneer Corps. J. H. Fordyce, Ezra Conaway, Michael Daugherty and Ben. McCullough were on detached duty as teamsters. Colin R. Nickeson, Owen McEffish and John Makeown were sick and left at Falmouth. The sick in hospitals in Washington and other places were: D. J. Butterfoss, Ben. Cunimins, John Day, Geo. Hanlin, Geo. Morrow, Enoch Mounts and Wm. A. Ruffner. In all absent from the ranks 17, leaving 65 to cross the Rappahannock and enter the battle of Chancellorsville, as follows: Capt. Stockton, Lieut. Cook, Seargeants Powelson, Boyd, Alexander, Hayes and Shindle; Corporals Cooke, Powelson, Ralston, Pry, Gardner, Hanlin, McCalmont and Graham: Musician Morris, privates Allison, Abram Andrews, Peter Andrews, Arthurs, Berryhill, Briggs, George Carter, Jesse Carter, Thomas Carter, Chester, Chisholm, Jos. Corbin, Cochran, Dickson, Dungan, Earnest, Frazier, Geary, Guess, Hawthorn, Hull, Johnson, J. C. Lyle, McCurdy, Magill, Maloy, Meldoon, Metcalf, Wm. Miller, Isaac Miller, J. W. Nickeson, Noah, Porter, Robt. Pry, David Pry, Rea, Wm. Scott, Seese, Geo. Sprowls, Jesse Sprowls, Staley, Star, Stollar, Toppin, Virtue, Wheeler, Wilkin, Worstell and Wright.
Co. K participated with the Regiment in all the five days of action, being more or less under fire the entire time. Our first experience in line of battle was on a by-road leading out from Plank Road, about a mile east of Chancellorsville. Thick woods in our rear. Dense pine thickets in front. Fences were leveled. Shells crushing in tops of trees behind us. Balls occasionally zipping nearby, and enemv coming nearer, but could not be seen. In those moments of trial, what a study in human nature! The rebels came on in heavy columns. Our skirmishers are driven in. Orders given to fall back, and our going back through that brush was a terror. No order could be maintained. But once out of timber and on road, we were soon right again, and ever after were ready for the johnnies. We had been initiated, practically blindfolded. In that first day of May and several days following Co. K was tested in nearly all phases of engagement, its chief work being constructing entrenchments and abatis; and in the hottest conflict on the third day, in support of Knapp's battery. In this particular service K had some protection in an embankment of a cross road, while shot and shell passed over in dreadful profusion. Capt. Stockton hard shelter only by a little sapling, which was cut off a few feet above him, Lieut. Col. Frazier remarking, "rather a close call, Captain."
To a soldier in his first battle there are strange feelings and peculiar experiences. That the members of K shared in these may be indicated by a quotation from Corp'l Cooke's writings to me: "On the 1st day of May, '63, I saw the first wounded man as we marched out to support the skirmish line to the right of plank road east of Chancellorsville. The sight of the blood running down the man's face made me blind; but it soon passed away, and I never experienced the sensation again during the war, though I saw many worse sights. It was then the Company had several new experiences - lying in front of a battery to support it (in the open ground, just east of C.) lying in the woods at night while an occasional long-tailed, comet-like shell would shriek over us, while we buried our noses in the dirt and leaves; the wild experience of supporting the battery behind it, while it seemed all the artillery of the enemy was playing upon it. That Sunday artillery duel was the most terrific experience to me of the whole war. Yet, strange to say, there were but few casualties in K worthy of mention. That being our first battle many things were vividly impressed on my mind: the digging of trenches; the attack on Howard (by Jackson) that thundering Saturday night; the filing by of the 11th Corps the next morning, the disabled cannon swung under axles; the women pale and frightened, fleeing from the burning Chancellorsville houses, creeping along our trenches to find a place of safety; the band shelled white playing the "Star Spangled Banner"; the dragging off by hand (by detail from the 140th) the remnant of our battery in front; the falling back to a new line, and finally the retreat."
Much of our maneuvering was done in woods and tangling brush, very annoying. K withstood its baptism in battle well, and met the discomfiture, defeat and retreat of our army in very good spirits, sharing in the "ups and downs" in the march in rain and mud. Many expressed regret as we recrossed the river, for better things had been expected.
On the north side Lieut. Sweeney and Geo. McConnell were met, returning from their visits home. This was on the morning of May 6th. The march thence back to our old camps was made much "as you please," characteristically like American soldiering; but we got there 0.K. - for supper, and that after considerable rustling. One thing was manifest, K had parted with many of its possessions in extra clothing, comforts, etc., and some essentials were lost. The fact is, when we were up in support battery on the 3rd, our knapsacks left by order, at trenches, were ransacked by camp followers - fact is, when we were up in support of battery on the 3rd, our knap-Wheeler, in arm; McCalmont, in foot; Briggs, in back; Chester, in leg; and J. W. Nickeson, thumb shot off. Corp'l W. L. Pry, in falling back to hospital, overcome with fatigue, accidentally shot himself in hand.
Comrade McClurg (who was with the Pioneer Corps, which, while laying pontoons, was shelled by the rebs and had to seek shelter till our cavalry drove the rebs away (reports that he cut slips from apple trees behind which he took refuge and sent them by letter to the man on his home place, and that today he cats apples from a large tree grown from the slips grafted on the two branches of a young tree then recently planted. (On a visit, in June, '04, the writer saw with much satisfaction this tree).
On the 11th day of May, for sanitary effect, our camp was moved about a mile, and K soon had herself in summer array. On the 13th K was assigned to a new place in line and camp, other Companies, too, being changed. (C, B, K, I, A, H, G, D, F, E). This changed K from left to right centre. On the 14th, the Orderly with a volunteer squad beautified the Company street, planting out little pines, etc.
On the 20th day of May, '63, Wm. A. Ruffner was discharged on surgeon's certificate of disability. And on the 21st K suffered the loss of Corporal W. L. Pry. The accidental wound had been followed by the amputation of the hand, and from some cause or other, it was deemed necessary to make another amputation. This time the whole arm. But the shock and loss of blood were too much. At 2:30 p. m. he died. Arrangements were made to embalm the body and ship it to Cross Creek, Pa., for interment. Sergt. B. F. Powelson was given a three days' pass to accompany the remains as far as Washington, D. C. D. McC. Pry was promoted Corporal to fill the vacancy caused by the death of his uncle.
George Morrow, in the hospital at Washington, D. C., was reported as discharged on May 23rd, '63, on surgeon's certificate of disability. But a few days afterward there came the sad news of his death in the hospital. Thus seven of our number had already succumbed to death through sickness, and one from a wound.
To relieve the severities of soldier life friends at home had sent many extras in food and delicacies to the members of the Company and Regiment in camp. The recollections of the closing days of May and the early days of June, too, to us are very vivid: the rigid drilling, the rumors of movements, and of Lee's army heading northward, the breaking up of camp streets with accumulated beans, rice, etc., that the same might not fall in the enemy's hands. And now we number ourselves for campaign and conflict.
On our roll are now but 79 names. Exclusive of those on detached or special duty and the sick, only about 55 or 56 were ready for the line.
When on June 14th the army started north, Co. K bore up bravely in marching through dust and heat, and now and then wading streams. How vivid our recollections of that awful dust - when in evening coming down to the valley of the Occoquan and before wading it, it rested on our knapsacks (according to Serg't Shindle's measurement) a quarter of an inch deep! Blistered feet! The waters of the Occoquan soothed them. Nor do we forget that big spring near Fairfax Station, like the water from the rock smitten by Moses, a source of delight to thousands for several days. The boys, too, of K shared in the sights and soldier enjoyments at Centerville. Here on the 19th or 20th of June our Company positions were again changed in the Regiment. Now from C on the right stand C, F, G, D, K, I, B, H, E, A. K now is the color Company, the third position of honor, and this it held ever afterward.
While on duty a few days at Gainsville the boys of K improved their opportunities in securing some change in diet, and the First Sergeant tried his hand in trading coffee and sugar for some extras for the larder; and were Lieut. Cook and Smith Graham living they could testify to his success. The Sergeant's repeated efforts as well as successes in this, they say, were due to that fine looking "gal," Evelyn Harrison Marsteller, at the Marsteller Mansion.
From this on in all our movements we were kept in constant readiness for action, as the army was held between Washington City and the enemy, ever alert, picketing and skirmishing, marching regardless of rain or swollen streams, through sections devastated by the armies, over battlefields with their terrible sights. And boys of K, can you forget the night at Gum Tree Springs, when after that hard day's marching and watching, you bivouaced, and how it rained all night? Nevertheless it was a good sound steep from ten or eleven till four in the morning, on a bed of two flat rails, (the "Orderly" was lucky to get such) one end on a stone or broken piece of rail and the other on a bank, the water streaming beneath, each one for himself, wrapped with his scant remnant of hard-tack and coffee, gun and ammunition, in a gum blanket or piece of tent, and the cap drawn down over the face. Never were sleep and rest sweeter! And the early hours found us pressing on towards the Potomac, over swollen streams. How timely those good rail fences on the heights, overlooking the river at Edward's Ferry. And how readily every one in K obeyed the order to take only the top rail, until the Company had its share of blazing fires to dry and warm us! Then that never-to-be-forgotten night when we crossed on the pontoon bridges. K's turn came after hours of waiting, and at 2 o'clock in the morning we found ourselves in "My Maryland." All were practically asleep on march or halt. Oh, those plagued stops or halts through all that weary night! Yes, you remember your Orderly Sergeant's mishap - how, in one of those miserable stops, he fell asleep, having dropped down by a bush on the roadside, a half mile or so from the river - no sooner down than asleep, and did not wake up by the usual call of comrades; and so two hours passed in that innocent sleep, and he got completely lost from the Regiment, and remained so (as everything was moving onward) till evening ot second day, June 28th. Fortunately he found James Arthurs, of K, who drove the Regimental wagon. Not knowing anything better, he stayed by the stuff till Arthurs received orders to take much needed rations to the Regiment, which was found in bivouac, just south of Frederick City across the Monocacy. And the lost was found, and the "Orderly" was welcomed with profound rejoicings, no one knowing what had become of him, the last any one could remember aught of him was while crossing on the pontoons. And does any one with K on June 29th forget that march of 35 miles by the 2nd Corps to hill just northeast of Uniontown, Md.? We trow not. How we enjoyed the rest and the foraging (from fresh pastures) on the 30th, and Gen. Hancock's order of congratulation and thanks. Here Cummins and others from the hospitals joined us. And vivid, too, is each one's remembrance of the march of 30 miles we made on afternoon and night of July 1st, our Brigade being rear guard.
Of the 79 now on K's roll as we take our position on the battle line on the morning of July 2nd, 22 are absent - in hospital or absent sick - Silas Cooke, George Ralston, Peter Andrews, D. J. Butterfoss, J. W. Day, Jos. C. Frazier, George Hanlin, J. W. Nickeson, Wm. Stollar and Marshall Wright. On detached or detailed duty - John F. Gardner, James Arthurs, M. Daugherty, J. H. Fordyce, Ben McCullough, J. L. Noah, Ezra Conaway, Enoch Mounts, J. K. McCurdy, Robert McClurg, Nat. Seese and Jas. Worstell.
Each one participating in the fighting at Gettysburg is able to tell his story of that wonderful conflict. It was fought for the most part on open ground and much could be seen. But the average soldier's vision was confined largely to his immediate surrounding. Yet individual testimony goes far oftimes to settle matters over which there arise differences in opinion. Co. K staved well together until the hasty retreat, and its path seems clearly defined. So distinct were the impressions thereof on the memory of the writer that, on a visit to the battlefield in 1898, the only time I ever visited it, 35 years after the conflict, I could start in where we marched in and follow our route from start to finish. Could stand where we stood in line as we emerged from the strip of timber, and where Col. Roberts fell and our right wing suffered so heavily, and could see afresh our changed position to meet existing conditions. Since called to this work, I have resurrected from the old trunk the almost daily writings I kept during my term of service - the most of which I was able to save amid the vicissitudes of marches and battles. Thev strengthen and verify my recollections. And I will here submit an extract from my "Journal Notes," taken at the time, which gives my impressions of, and a glance at my experiences in that terrible vortex of battle in which we were on the evening of July 2, 1863.
"Gen. Hancock now sends his 1st Division to the relief of Sickles. It moves in with rapidity in fine order. The battle rages terribly. We pass the Trostle house where the Massachusetts battery has nearly been swept away - up on the Emitsburg road west. But soon we are marched back by and south of Trostle's, form line of battle and pass on south, through corner of wheat field, on edge of which Gen. Zook is mortally wounded - on through strip of timber, over or around huge boulders. It is almost six o'clock when we are in line of battle, facing south and west - Col. Roberts killed in front of Regiment - right wing in open field under severe enfilading fire, suffer terrible losses - Lt. Col. Frazier, as soon as he realizes situation changes front of right wing to face Peach Orchard - our Company on left. We fire continuously. Serg't Boyd and I pass to left of Company as all are doing well their duty. We fire from big rock into bit of timber dark with smoke. I fire some 17 rounds. Boyd calls out, 'Orderly, they are falling back.' I fire a load I had just put in. Boyd has disappeared. I start back seemingly alone, going out about the way I came in - soon come up with others, but I do not know them - all running for dear life and Johnnie bullets rattling all about us. Crossing an open space, I could see the rebels close upon us to my left - they order me to surrender - but I can't see it - I'll run the risk, as I could see our lines to the right and some timber in front into which I soon pass, and get out of range. Could bear the rattling of the muskets of our lines. It was a bloody battle, but Co. K and the whole of the 140th acted nobly."
Back a little distance I found a few of our boys, and we found our way back to our field hospital. Through much of that night I assisted at the hospital. I held the arm of Lieut. Vance of Co. C while his hand was amputated. That to me was a most dreadful night. I slept soundly a few hours in the morning. Then joined the remnant of our noble Regiment on the line they held that eventful 3rd of July.
When the smoke of battle in that fearful conflict in evening of 2nd of July, and that world renowned battle of the 3rd, most of which we saw distinctly, had passed away, K numbered her dead five: Serg't T. C. Hayes, Thomas J. Carter, Robert W. Hull, Wm. H. Miller and Jesse Sprowls. All good and true soldiers. I deeply felt the loss of "Clif." Hayes, my blanket mate, warm-hearted, noble-spirited, ever faithful. These were buried on the 4th, as best we could. I superintended the burial of Hayes and Carter. Hayes' remains were soon removed to the home graveyard in Cross Creek Village, Pa. Comrade Magill tells me that the remains of Carter were interred in the National Cemetery, Gettysburg, but that it is erroneously marked Carpenter.
Lieut. Cook and Serg't Shindle were taken prisoners. And our list of wounded were: Serg't Alexander, in arm and hand; Wm. Hanlin, in hand and leg; Robert Virtue, severely in breast; Robert Meldoon, in face and leg; Johnson Toppiri, in shoulder; Ben Earnest, severely in face; Isaac Chisholm, in thigh; Jos. Corbin, in leg; Colin Nickeson, in breast.
Corp'l Wm. R. H. Powelson was promoted to be sergeant in place of Hayes, and James K. P. Magill to be corporal in his place.
One instance should here be related in K's favor. J. B. Allison, a private of this Company, was the instrument of saving the colors of our Regiment. I give it as he told it to me in a recent letter: "As we were falling back from our position near and in sight of the Peach Orchard, at Gettysburg, our color-bearer was severely wounded in the back. He fell forward, and raising himself partly up called to me to save the flag. I lifted him partly up and drew the flag staff from under him. I kept the flag in my possession for say a half hour, until I came up with the scattered group of the Regiment. I gave the flag into the hands of a corporal of Co. E (I don't remember his name) I believe he was finally made a captain." This, I am told, was Corporal Power.
The "fiery ordeal" of Gettysburg as a test found some wanting in true courage. And one faint heart in K was sifted out. George Star was missing when with our Corps we took up our march southward after Lee. And we had to report him a deserter, under date of July 15, '63. Comrade Mounts reports that Star was seen three years after and reported himself as having traded suits with a farm lad a short distance out from Gettysburg, and gone west.
K's readiness in coping with obstacles and meeting present emergencies was manifest when on July 17th the race to head off Lee's army being ended, we quietly turned in east of "Maryland Heights," below Harper's Ferry, to rid ourselves of a month's accumulated dirt together with the usual accompaniment, and the wholesale and retail slaughter of the pediculos vestimenti was immense. Then, when on next day we came upon nature's own sanitary provision in fields of dewberries and what some foraging on the farms of Loudon valley brought us, we toned up our impoverished and abused bodily systems, and further fitted ourselves for the active work in the months to come, in which we pushed the rebels back through Culpepper to the Rapidan, and then, when they were reinforced, ran with them a race for Washington, with the brisk encounter at Auburn, or "Coffee Hill" and battle of Bristow Station, heading them off effectually at Centerville, and in turn pushing them back across the Rappahannock, with encounter here and there, and last the early winter dash and conflict at Mine Run, where the johnnies were strongly entrenched, and finally settling down in good winter quarters at Stevensburg and near Brandy Station.
K shared in enough of the spices of soldier life to keep the boys in good humor and give them a zest for the hardships endured. Will Powelson and others of the Candor mess got off easily, when mustered up to headquarters by the provo-guard, having in their possession a good-sized pig, by a caution from Gen. Miles not to ever be caught again. They got even with the General by sending him a neat roast from a hind quarter. And Silas Cooke tells of the wading of the Rapidan in the latter part of November when it cut like a knife, and charging up the heights into the rebel breast-works, and drying ourselves in the sun; then of the race after the long-tailed lamb, and the row of fat porkers all dressed that morning by the rebels, left in their haste, and divided among us. Some of our boys will remember the "hot coffee made from the contents of a whiskey canteen, which blistered our mouths while we swallowed it to the music of the long roll, and did not know what was the matter until the owner of the canteen (who had come in late and hung canteen on top of others, and, in Will Powelson's haste to make the coffee, was first to be taken) let it out." But let is pass now -42 or more years have passed - what matters it now whose canteen it was? He may be living and be serving the God of his fathers faithfully as an elder in some staid Presbyterian church. The circumstances were then trying, and possibly some one needed a warming up. Comrade McCalmont assures us that the coffee was warming and made the marching enlivening to some of them, as we forced our way along on, as Cooke adds, "the march along the railroad, the camp in the cut, the fearfully cold night, and the troops the next morning stripped for the charge (at Mine Run) on the frosty hillside, but called off on account of the cold, the long, gloomy night of retreat amidst fires on either side to keep us warm (and light our way). Retreat No. 2 for the 140th, and the last I believe." So in all this campaign K sustained a worthy record.
Some changes had taken place. Enoch Mounts was discharged Aug. 22, '63, on surgeon's certificate of disability; Robert Virtue, one of Cross Creek's best young men, died from effects of wounds received at Gettysburg, in the hospital at Baltimore, Sept. 9, '63. Joseph C. Frazier was discharged on surgeon's certificate of disability, Sept. 30, '63, having been in hospital a long time. John W. Nickeson was on account of impaired health transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corps, Nov. 15, '63. John M. Day was discharged Dec. 12, '63, at Convalescent Camp, Philadelphia, on surgeon's certificate of disability. Ben F. Earnest, who had been severely wounded in face at Gettysburg, but had been back on duty for some time, died rather suddenly in camp near Brandy Station, on Dec. 14, '63. Here K lost one of its most devoted members. Corporal J. F. Gardner and James L. Noah were on Dec. 17, '63, transferred by special order No. 328, Headquarters Army of Potomac, to the Corps Artillery Brigade. These losses brought K's list down to 65. Wm. Porter was promoted corporal in the vacancy caused by the transfer of Gardner. Capt. Stockton had been detailed to service in the General Recruiting Station at Pittsburg, Pa., leaving the Company on July 29th. And Lieut. Sweeney was appointed, on Dec. 29, '63, to duty at 2nd Corps headquarters; later he was assigned to duty at Gen. Barlow's headquarters, and in latter part of '64 he was appointed on the staff of Gen. Miles. Thus the Company was without a commissioned officer, and it remained so until about the latter part of June,'64.
In the latter part of December, '63, Serg't B. F. Powelson was given a furlough of ten days as a recognition of his services in looking after the Company's interests. An in the latter part of January he was assigned to recruiting service at Washington, Pa. And at close of this special duty he was granted leave to attend a military school at Philadelphia and to go before Gen. Casey's examing board at Washington, D. C.
During the winter K shared in picket and other duties and in the early spring reconnaissance to the Rapidan, "when we lay," says Silas Cooke, "and slept with the rain pouring down upon us from above and the water running under us - bones all aching - then back to camp."
During this time and up to the opening (May 1st) of campaign, K lost four more, as follows: James K. McCurdy was discharged Feb. 17, '64 by special order 78, War Department; Serg't Sam'l K. SMndle died March 17, '64, in Andersonville (Ga.) prison, buried in grave No. 1114. He taken prisoner at Gettysburg, was kept for awhile on Belle Island, then in Charlotte, N. C., and finally was herded in that awful prison pen. Thus went out the life of one possessing many commendable traits as a soldier. Michael Daugherty died March 18,'64, Brandy Station, Va., from injury inflicted by the kick of a mule. He was buried in the National Cemetery, Culpepper, Va., Block I, Sec. A, Row 4, Grave 17. He served well as a teamster in the Q. M. department. Isaac Chisholm was, on March 20, '64, transferred to Co. G, 9th Regiment, Veteran Reserve Corps.
The names of the following recruits had been added to the roll: William A. Jackson, Florence, Pa., mustered in as a private, Feb. 29, '64; John W. Tucker, Florence, Pa., mustered in as a private, March 1, '64; James A. Cummins, Cross Creek, Pa., mustered in as a private, March 29, '64. These additions made the number on our roll, May 1, 1864, sixty-four. Excluding those on detached duty and the absent sick and Lieut. Cook, a prisoner, and we had but 47 for all duty on the battlefield.
J. Smith Graham was promoted sergeant in vacancy caused by the death of Shindle, and James C. Lyle took Graham's place as corporal. John A. McCalmont served as corporal in the Color Guard. Lieut. Ray was by detail in conunand of K from May 1st through May 8th. Captains Linton and Kerr and a Lieutenant of Co. E also had command of K at different times during the absence of her own commissioned officers. Corporal Cooke says that Capt. Kerr had the command at Spottsylvania C. H.
As the writer was not with the Company when the Army of the Potomac began its famous on to Richmond under Grant in May, and until the latter part of June, when the 140th was before Petersburg, he depends mostly upon what the comrades who were present can furnish for K. And he congratulates his comrades in having Corporal Cooke to aid in the matter. He speaks for K up to May 12th, when a wound laid him aside and he was no more with us. He tells us that in passing over the Chancellorsville battleground he gathered some flowers, which he sent home, and they are preserved unto this day. He tells us of the charge the 140th made in the Wilderness, when the rebels were massing to break the Union lines in a weak place. Col. Frazier, thinking we had better be doing something as the balls were falling thick about us as we lay in line of battle, received permission of Gen. Miles to go in on a charge. The Colonel gave his orders, and, it goes for the saying, they were executed. We went in on the double-quick (the double-quick of the 140th was always a run), yelling like mad, halted as we reached position beyond and over a small remnant of the Irish Brigade, then fired front, then right, then left, then front until no enemy returned our fire. Prisoners taken reported that we broke by these volleys three lines of, battle, and, night coming on, they gave up their charge, thinking a large force was in their front. Gen. Hancock gave us great praise for it. So quickly was it done that but few casualties occurred. Cooke was hit on right thigh by a spent bullet, cutting clothing and breaking a pocket knife, badly bruising but not disabling him.
K took part in another charge on May 8th at Todd's Tavern, but suffered terribly there. Comrade Isaac Miller says that it was known as the "Cracker Fight," because Commissary Noble was in the act of issuing rations of crackers when the onset came. Cooke says that the 140th (except K and another Company) were on picket, under Capt. McCullough. K and the other Company were lying in the edge of a woods, along which a road ran, turning into the woods just where they lay; and the rebels came up on the opposite side of the valley and opened fire. Gen. Miles, riding along, was compelled to seek shelter. Abram Andrews of K was struck and bruised some As Gen. Miles passed on, Col. Brady thought he would do something, and ordered part of his Regiment, lying to the right, to charge out over an open field in our front and down into the valley in open view of the rebels. Then he ordered our two companies to charge out on the left of his men, and to cheer as we went in. And there in one volley many of K fell. Cooke was first in file. The one in his rear and six to his left were killed or wounded. The killed were John Maloy and John W. Tucker. Many of the wounded were left on the field, as the Union lines were pushed back. I canot refrain from relating what Isaac Miller told me in a letter written Aug. 19, '04. A sad story, indeed! He was severely wounded in leg and thigh. Was at the foot of the Company. John Maloy was at the head; and both fell and lay the Company's length apart. Maloy was wounded about in same place as Miller. They could not move, but could talk to each other. Miller lay there for five days, then the rebels carried him back to a barn and later to their field hospital. He plead for Maloy. But they said he was too far gone. On the eighth day he died, so they told Miller; and then, at Miller's appeal, they promised to bury him. Who could keep the tears back when told of how one of our brave comrades thus gave up his life in the service of his country? It is some relief to hear it whispered that in those long days of suffering some ladies of the farm did what they could to care for him and others like him. Let us hope it was so, and that the angels of God's love comforted him.
Cooke says that Tucker fell before him at the rail fence where we stopped to fire, pierced in the temple by a ball, and there George Sprowls had his hair combed by a ball that took the cap from his, head. Cooke adds, "Then came the order to fall back to main line. It was a beautiful but sorrowful Sabbath day. Then came the Po river excursion, where the whole line in the darkness fired at a dog - the artillery duel, where a number of our boys perished as we lay behind our battery. Then the all night march through the rain and mud to Spotsylvania - the massing of troops, and, at early dawn, the famous charge of the 2nd Corps, through the open fields upon the, rebel breast-works, over them and along them to the right, capturing two batteries, three Generals, with Johnson's whole Division as prisoners; on down works to right, then out towards enemy's second line. Murky, foggy, no rebels to be seen, but balls flying thick as evidence of their presence; when thud! a ball took me in the right side and arm, whirling me round and down. I was just crawling toward the protection of a small carthwork in the rear of the main works when I looked up and saw George Ralston coming along. He helped me back as far as the provo guard, passing on our way Jim Cummins, wounded through both thighs. It was the last seen of the brave recruit of 16 years. Ralston left me sitting with my back against a tree. Then a drummer boy helped me back to an empty army wagon used as an ambulance. As chance would have it, Will Powelson, also wounded, got into same wagon and rode to the Corps hospital. We kept together until we got to hospital at Pittsburg, Pa., and remained together till he went back to the Regiment. A splendid friend. That ride in an army wagon with an ounce ball grinding around near my back bone was the most excrusiating experience I ever had. I have the ball yet. Can say I caught one ball and stopped another in those two innings. How many I struck out I do not know."
On receiving an intimation of a little coup de maitre on the part of Corp'l Cooke that eventful morning, I wrote him, insisting on knowing about it. I will here relate only the bare facts. Cooke was alone when he mounted a portion of the breast-works, where there were transverse sections about every 24 feet and running back about 20 feet. One of our officers had been shot down who attempted going over just before he did. As Cooke reached the top he saw about 20 johnnies back against the muddy excavations, waving their hats and cheering vociferously. He looked as fierce as he could and yelled, "Get back here!" pointing to our rear, and those jonnies as one man obeyed, going over the works as directed like as many monkeys; and, as he turned to look, they were going pell mell for our rear, never looking back. He says he could never devise a satisfactory explanation of their actions. But he knows of the fact, and feels confident that he helped to swell the number of prisoners that morning.
K's loss in killed and wounded that day amounted to more than one-third of those engaged. There were four killed: The Cummins brothers, Benjamin and James; Joseph Guess and John Makeown - all most excellent soldiers, as were the two killed on the 8th of May. This reduced the number on our roll to 58. Among the severely wounded was George Sprowls, who fell into the hands of the enemy. Thus our losses from the ranks on May 8th to 12th were: 6 killed, 16 wounded, and of the wounded two were prisoners - Isaac Miller and George Sprowls.
During that fearful day of struggle in the "Bloody Angle," a detail was called for from Brigade headquarters, out of the 140th - two from K - to bring off the cannon the rebels had left in their flight when Hancock charged the Salient, but which were now between the lines. Abram Andrews and Norris Metcalf volunteered from K, and they did their share of shouting when the feat was accomplished.
During the next 31 days, which brought the 2nd Corps through a number of hard marches, hotly contested skirmishes and battles to the south side of the James river, K bore an honorable part. At the time the army was withdrawn to the north side of the North Anna river, in view of a change of base, K came near having a part of its number gobbled up by the rebels. As the army was retiring, K then in conunand of Lieut. Kerr, was among the troops that covered the movement, and were deployed on northern bank as pickets or skirmishers. The south side bank was 25 or 30 feet higher than the north one, and was lined with old rifle pits. The rebels followed and occupied these, from which they kept up a lively fire for some time. George Hanlin says that the river was narrow, 60 or 70 feet wide, and Ks line had no protection but a few trees, which they hugged tighter than they did their sweethearts as they bid them adieu when first off for war, and could only take a shot now and then. Those good old trees! We see them yet, and we'll never forget them while memory holds her throne. Late in the day the enemy ceased firing. On a reconnoitering, the true condition was found out. Earlier in the day (as ascertained later) the order had been given calling off the pickets. This was to be done stealthily. From individual to individual the word was to be quietly passed - "fall back to rear." All went well till it came to George Johnson, who was hard of hearing and did not catch the command, nor was he in a position to notice the withdrawing. So he and all those in the Company that were to his right were left. Having no orders to retire, they staid at their posts. So, near sunset, being assured by two negroes, who had crossed the river, that the johnnies "had sure done gone," they got together, Ralston taking command. All were at sea, not knowing where the Regiment had gone. But they went directly back from the river. A few miles on; they saw in camp some cavalry. Ralston approached them to ascertain whether friends or foes. Happily he found friends, and gave the 'all right" signal to the boys. It was Gen. Gregg's Cavalry, and he directed the boys to remain with his command till their Regiment could be located. This was done the third day after, when the Brigade was in vicinity of Rural Plains, and they were in time for a hand in the fight at Tolopotomy Creek. Then they were, in a few days, in the battles fought at Cold Harbor. In one of these Andrew Chester was severely wounded in left leg, and was disabled from further active service.
The 15th of June found K with the Regiment, after a forced march, fighting for the possession of Petersburg. But that was too important a place for the rebels, a key to Richmond, and, having the inside way, they were there in force to resist.
In the campaign from the Wilderness to the James, K had 6 killed and 17 wounded, or more than half the number actually in line of battle. But the Company was good for service yet, and formed an integral part of the hosts that fastened themselves about Petersburg. About this time Capt. Stockton returned, and the orderly sergeant came back on the 30th day of June, having passed an examination as First Class Lieutenant.
At 3 o'clock, morning of July 25th, we are on the march, crossing the Appomattox on pontoons, two miles above City Point, and, guided by fires, we push on and cross the James at Curt's Neck on muffled pontoons. Find ourselves in support of the 26th Michigan and 2nd Heavy Artillery in a charge on the enemy's works, which are captured with a battery of four heavy guns. James H. Fordyce was wounded, having a thumb shot off. Well we remember our sylvan camp retreat that night - the sound sleep, for oh, how tired we were. In line by 3 o'clock in the morning - later move to right and entrenching for security, a general line being formed. In the afternoon of the 27th it was noticed that the rebels were striking tents and moving to their right Gen. Miles called upon Capt. Stockton to send some men out to scout for an hour to ascertain the purport or extent of this movement. Serg't B. F. Powelson with three other men responded, who went some distance to the right, making the discovery that the rebels were aiming to turn our flank. From a tree the sergeant could see a distance into the enemy's country, but no very large amount of troops. The attack made by the rebels in about an hour was successfully checked, and, at 2 o'clock next morning our part of the Brigade, serving as rear guard, quietly stole away and followed our troops, who had recrossed the river during the night, returning by night to our old quarters back of Petersburg. The object of this movement by our Corps was a ruse to draw and hold the enemy's forces north of river, while, in the blowing up of a fort, entrance to Petersburg might be made.
The heat becoming intense in camp, we indulged ourselves in building arbors for protection, each Company by turns using the Regimental baggage wagon. On this occasion Co. K was officially complimented as having the best shade and cleanest quarters.
Then came heavy fatigue work in trenches and parallels. Six hours on and six hours off, day and night. K's sober boys will remember the deep study as to what use to make of some hot whiskey issued for stimulants. Some tried stewing their hard tack in it. It did not prove of much value.
In some of the fighting about Petersburg George Johnson was wounded, but not seriously. Oftimes the cannonading was terrific, and we were maneuvring much and there was constant activity.
When the Second Corps, on Aug. 12,'64, dropped out of their places about Petersburg, K withstood well that fearful jaunt to City Point, though the writer must confess that, owing to the extreme heat and dust it was "nip and tuck" with many of us. While awaiting transports here, on the morning of the 13th, the writer and Sergeant Graham visited the 1st Division hospital to see Miss Mary Vance, a lady from Cross Creek, Pa., whom Co. K claimed, and who all through the war gave her means, time and strength in unceasing, disinterested ministrations to the sick and wounded soldiers. We were also favored with meeting Miss Hancock, of New York, well known as a lady of unceasing patriotic zeal.
Co. K shared in the surprise, when, on the morning of the 14th, we disembarked and found ourselves in the locality we occupied on the 26th of July, in Deep Bottom. Amd now for the first time for many of us we have opportunity of seeing that plain, quiet leader, Gen. Grant, Hancock's headquarters being near where K was left with the colors, while the Regiment was on the skirmish line. For a good part of the time in this second Deep Bottom expedition, Capt. Stockton had command of the Regiment. Co. K and part of Co. D were out on picket the second night, out on the Division's advanced position to the right, and to those who still survive there come vivid recollections of how we made the most and best of our situation, there being a home in the vicinity, with its fruit trees, a corn field and a sweet potato patch. Only things were appropriated as seemed necessary. Magill can tell you what a good supper he and the "Orderly" had together. Lieut. Burns, in charge, and myself are known to have had a dry place on which to sleep a while - a stable door, only borrowed. It was on the next day we shared in that two miles charge, the Confederate Gen. Chambliss' corpse being passed over by K in its advance, and we reached a point about six miles from Richmond. The rebels became alarmed and are heavily reinforced. This was the object of this movement - to divert attention and hold the rebel troops, while the 5th Corps secures a foothold on the Welden railroad south of Petersburg. Protecting ourselves from being flanked, and the purpose of our maneuvers having been accomplished, on the night of the 20th the James was recrossed. During 18th, Capt. Stockton being in hospital sick, Capt. Pipes assumed command of the Regiment, and on the 20th Capt. Henry took command. We, of K, well remember that never-to-be-forgotten tramp, tramp all the night of the 20th, through darkness, rain and mud; awful and yet laughable, when men get lost, when hats, shoes, caps, etc., disappeared, as the boys stumbled on in brush and darkness. But we reach our old camping ground at Petersburg, only to find things torn up. But what matters! for Uncle Sam has other work for the valiant 2nd Corps, and off we set for the flank movement on the Welden railroad, the seizing of this road being the main purpose in the movements. Co. K well remembers, too, the part it took in the tearing up of the railroad and its corn roasts over the fires of burning ties; and in the Ream Station engagement on Aug. 25th, in the opening of which the 140th had special work assigned it in the rear and on right, and our experience that night in falling back to a point south of Petersburg near the Weldon railroad, where substantial works were constructed.
At this point, Sept. 27, '64, K lost the First Sergeant, B. F. Powelson, who was discharged to accept a First Lieutenancy in Co. G, 41st U. S. C. T. It was a struggle to break away from comrades who had become so dear through so many days of true soldier life. And I well remember that I almost gave up to my feelings. Corporal George Ralston was promoted First Sergeant, and George A. Hanlin, corporal in Ralston's place.
In the subsequent operations of the Regiment, during the remainder of 1864, Co. K bore well its part in the general movement of the left of the Union army the 27th of October, flanking the rebel works at Armstrong's Mill, on Hatcher's Run, and in the fighting, amid the rigors of winter, on Hatcher's Run Dec. 8th to 19th, Companies D and K, under Capt. Linton, doing special guard duty before and about Ft. Fisher. Again in the early days of February, '65, in repelling the enemy in an attack on our position about Dabney's Mill, Hatcher's Run. And K shared in the marked vigilance of camp life in close proximity to a strong and alert enemy through the winter, and also in the expectancy of an early spring campaign. The Company had lost others from her roll as follows: William A. Jackson, discharged Nov. 2, '64; Jesse J. Morris, transferred to principal musician in the Regiment, Dec. 22, '64; Henry Dickson, transferred to Veteran Rerserve Corps; David McC. Pry, transferred Feb. 6, '65, to Veteran Reserve Corps; Johnson Toppin, Feb. 6, '65, transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corps; Norris Metcalf, died March 17, '65, chronic diarrhoea, at home near Eldersville, Pa., and buried in Bethel church cemetery. Two names of persons coming in as recruits had been added to the roll: Frank Stiver, from West Virginia, enrolled as private Sept. 22, '64, and George A. Reed, Cross Creek, Pa., enrolled as private Feb. 27, '65. The number on the roll March 20, 1865, was 53. Of this number Lieut. Cook, Isaac Miller and George Sprowls were in rebel prisons; Wm. Rea, Wm. Hanlin, Jos. Corbin, Serg't Boyd, Robert Dungan, D. J. Butterfoss, Silas Cooke, Andrew Chester, B. F. Hawthorn, George Reed, James Worstell and Robert Meldoon were in hospitals or serving in the Veteran Reserve Corps. This would leave 38 on the front. Lieut. Sweeney was on Division headquarters staff duty, and several were on detached or special duty. So that only about 30 were present in line of battle.
On D. McC. Pry's transfer, Feb. 6, '65, Marshall Wright was promoted to corporal.
On the advance of the 2nd Corps, on March 25, '65, the final campaign opened. That day brought sadness to Co. K. Great activity was manifest in both contending armies. The Federal army was moving in arranging its forces for a forward movement to more closely invest the Confederates. They were desperate in defence and were trying sorties to break away. The rifle shooting from the trenches was close. Serg't Smith Graham was instantly killed, his forehead pierced with the ball of some sharp shooter. He was carried back into camp and laid in his bunk. It was a sad blow to the Company for "Smith" was held in very high esteem. As the army was all astir, he was buried near Fort Welch, and so far as known his body found there its permanent resting place.
John A. McCalmont was made sergeant in Graham's stead, and Abram Andrews was promoted to be corporal, taking the place of McCalmont.
Then followed the stern activates which soon brought the fall of Richmond, Co. K participating in the five days' constant struggle, crowned with the brilliant dash of Gen. Miles' Division (our Division) at Sunderland Station, April 2nd. And, Richmond having fallen, Co. K had its liberal share in the experiences in the rapid and close pursuit of Gen. Lee's army, in the battles of Tailor's Creek and Farmville - in the foraging in line of battle as in hot pursuit they passed through a well stocked plantation at Tailor's Creek, and in the distribution of Confederate money and other spoils of war in the trains captured in the Farmville battle. In this latter conflict Sergeants Ralston and McCalmont and Corporal Abe Andrews were taken prisoners and held till Lee's surrender. They were asked or rather ordered to give up their shoes and other effects. This they did in part, when talking and parlaying would not avail. Ralston, through an officer, secured a pledge for the return of his watch at the close of the war, and when released he hunted up the party and secured the return of his effects.
When the surrender of Lee's army took place Co. K was on the advanced line, on the road leading into Appomattox C. H. from the cast, and when Gen. Lee rode back through the lines toward Richmond they stood in silence, with heads uncovered, as he passed.
The war practically over, K marched leisurely back with the Regiment to Washington, D. C., and took part in the grand review, being formally mustered out near Alexandria, Va., May 31, 1865.
The following, according to office records, is the final disintegration of the Company:
Lieut. William B. Cook, discharged May 17, 1865, by order of the Secretary of War.
William M. Rea, discharged May 19, 1865, on Surgeon's certificate of disability.
Corporal William Hanlin, discharged May 20, 1865, G. 0. 77 of office of Adjutant General.
Joseph Corbin, discharged May 20, 1865, G. 0. 77 of office of Adjutant General.
Robert Meldoon, discharged May 20, 1865, G. 0. 77 of office of Adjutant General.
Second Serg't Milton R. Boyd, honorably discharged May 27, 1865.
Robert B. Dungan, honorably discharged May 29, 1865.
George Reed, transferred to 53rd Reg't P. V., S. 0. 136 A. of P., May 30, '65.
Daniel J. Butterfoss, discharged from hospital about time Company mustured out.