62d Pennsylvania Volunteers
Campaigns and Battles
This acrylic painting entitled “The Wheatfield-Whirlpool of
Death” depicts the 62d during the second day’s fighting at Gettysburg.
Prints made from the painting are available for sale, and the
proceeds will benefit, in part, the Co. D, 62nd PVI Living History
Unit; Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, Camp #43; and the "Rest
on Arms" Indiana County Civil War Memorial Project. More information
available from from Slim
Bowser, of the Co. D, 62nd PVI Living History Unit, and the artist Larry
This website is not affiliated with any of those organizations
or projects. Image of the painting used by permission.
- In Frederick H. Dyer's A Compendium of the War of the
Rebellion (1908), the 62d Pennsylvania's service is listed:
- Camp near Fort Corcoran, Defenses of Washington, D.C., till
October, 1861, and near Fall's Church, Va., till March, 1862.
- Moved to the Peninsula March 22-24.
- Reconnaissance to Big Bethel March 30 [sic; the date was actually
- Howard's Mills, near Cockletown, April 4.
- Warwick Road April 5.
- Siege of Yorktown April 5-May 4.
- Hanover Court House May 27.
- Operations about Hanover Court House May 27-29.
- Seven days before Richmond June 25-July 1:
- Battles of Mechanicsville June 26;
- Gaines Mill June 27;
- Savage Station June 29;
- Turkey Bridge or Malvern Cliff June 30;
- Malvern Hill July 1.
- At Harrison's Landing till August 16.
- Movement to Fortress Monroe, thence to Centreville August 16-28.
- Battle of Bull Run August 30.
- Battle of Antietam September 16-17.
- Shepherdstown Ford September 19.
- Blackford's Ford September 19.
- Reconnaissance to Smithfield October 16-17.
- Battle of Fredericksburg, Va., December 12-15.
- Expedition to Richard's and Ellis' Fords, Rappahannock River,
- Burnside's second Campaign, "Mud March," January 20-24, 1863.
- At Falmouth till April.
- Chancellorsville Campaign April 27-May 6.
- Battle of Chancellorsville May 1-5.
- Middleburg June 19.
- Upperville June 21.
- Battle of Gettysburg July 1-3.
- Pursuit of Lee July 5-24.
- Duty on line of the Rappahannock till October.
- Bristoe Campaign October 9-22.
- Advance to line of the Rappahannock November 7-8.
- Rappahannock Station November 7.
- Mine Run Campaign November 26-December 2.
- Duty at Bealeton Station till May, 1864.
- Rapidan Campaign May 4-June 12.
- Battle of the Wilderness May 5-7.
- Battle of Laurel Hill May 8.
- Battle of Spottsylvania May 8-12
- Battle of Spottsylvania Court House May 12-21.
- Assault on the Salient May 12.
- North Anna River May 23-26.
- Jericho Ford May 25.
- Line of the Pamunkey May 26-28.
- Totopotomoy May 28-31.
- Cold Harbor June 1-12.
- Bethesda Church June 1-3.
- Before Petersburg June 16-18.
- Siege of Petersburg till July 3.
- Left front July 3.
Veteran volunteers and late recruits transferred to 155th Pennsylvania,
July 2 & 3.
- Mustered out July 13, 1864.
- Companies "L" and "M" transferred to 91st Pennsylvania, July 20.
Mustered out August 15.
Here is a more annotated list of the campaigns and battles in which
the 62d Pennsylvania saw action, as well as some notable marches and
This Brigade flag of the 2d Brigade 1st
Division of the 5th Corps saw action in one of the most brutal
battles of Gettysburg; the Wheat Field (note the musket ball holes).
red Maltese cross designated 5th Corps, the field of white; 1st
and the vertical blue stripe; 2nd Brigade. Colonel Jacob Bowman
Sweitzer commanded the 2d Brigade at Gettysburg. It is believed that a
member of the 62nd donated
this flag to the Soldiers
and Sailors Memorial Hall and Military Museum, Pittsburgh
Pennsylvania, from whom this image was obtained.
My thanks to Grant Gerlich, Curator of
Collections, for permitting its use on this site, and to Mimi Reed,
descendant of Colonel Sweitzer, for sending it to me.
Defense of Washington, September 1861 to March 1862.
- Defenses of Washington, D.C. till October 1861 and near Fall's
Church, Va., till March 1862.
- From Camp Cameron, near Harrisburg, the regiment proceeded to
Camp Rapp, north of Washington, D. C. It was about the same time that
the 62d arrived in Washington, D.C., area, that George McClellan formed
the Army of the Potomac. As the commander of the army, McClellan
frequently reviewed the rapidly growing army, oversaw their drilling,
and gave them encouragement. Even as McClellan proved to be a hesitant
commander and unsuccessful field general, his leadership in these early
days fostered in his troops a long-lasting and dedicated loyalty. At
Camp Rapp, the regiment was equipped with uniforms and arms. Six
companies received Springfield rifles and six the older smoothbore
On 11 September 1861 the 62d crossed the Potomac to set up camp near
Fort Corcoran. It was here that the regiment was assigned to the Second
Brigade of Porter's Division. On 26 September the regiment with its new
brigade to Munson's Hill, near Falls Church. After only a few weeks, it
moved to Minor's Hill to set up winter quarters. Now in slightly more
permanent quarters, the regiment gave its new camp the name Camp Bettie
Black, after the Colonel's youngest daughter. In December, the State
colors were presented to the regiment, and also in December the
regiment won and received the new Chasseur uniforms and equipment.
at Manassas, 10 - 12 March 1862.
- The first military action of the Pennsylvania 62d was a
reconnaissance mission. The preparations for battle would be repeated
many times over. The 62d broke camp early in the morning, received
three days cooked rations, and moved out. Porter's Division was sent to
explore Manassas to confirm the reports that the Confederates had
abandoned it. The Second Brigade proceeded to Fairfax Court House in a
difficult march over muddy roads that had been cut up by the artillery
and cavalry that preceeded them. They trudged through mud that was knee
deep in several places. They were still two or three miles from Fairfax
Court House after the first days march and bivouacked with their
brigade in pine thicket. Fortunately for the tired soldiers, Fairfax
Court House had been abandoned, so there was no engagement. Porter's
division was sent the next day to Centreville and discovered that the
Rebel works there, too, had been abandoned. What they did discover were
painted logs propped up to look like cannons. Reporters discovering the
"Quaker guns" wrote in their dispatches that General McClellan had been
fooled, and not only was the Confederate army no longer threatening the
nation's capital, but the Federal army had been kept in check by an
- The division remained in the advanced position for six days near
where the First Battle of Bull Run had been fought. Orders were then
received to move back to Minor's Hill, and the Sixty Second returned to
Camp Bettie Black. On the march home the troops endured torrential rain
and floods. This would not be the last time such difficult and
unpleasant marches would be undertaken. The importance of the
reconnaissance was that it changed McClellan's future plans. With no
need to try to defend Washington, D.C. against imminent threat, the
plans for the Peninsular Campaign were born. McClellan, having lost
Lincoln's confidence, was removed as general-in-chief of all the Union
forces, as he remained commander of the Army of the Potomac. There is
evidence through letters, diaries, and newpaper accounts that the
troops under McClellan still had confidence in him, since they had been
able to take the Confederate positions without loss of life.
- The Peninsular Campaign was the first major offensive by the
Union army into Virginia. The goal was the capture of the Confederate
capital, Richmond, and, perhaps a decisive battle that would destroy
the Army of Northern Virginia. The plan was to make a rapid march up
the Virginia Peninsula and take Richmond before the Confederate forces
could become well defended. By marching up the Peninsula, McClellan
hoped the Army of the Potomac would meet less resistance than it would
if it marched through Northern Virginia. The famed battle between the
Merrimack (aka the Virginia) and the Monitor, although it did not
destroy the Confederate ironclad, did neutralize it enough to make the
huge transport operation possible.
to Big Bethel, 27 March 1862.
- Before all of the Army of the Potomac had arrived and amassed on
the Virginia Peninsula, Porter's Division marched nine miles from
Fortress Monroe to a settlement on the Big Bethel Creek where the
Confederates were reported to have set up fortifications. Expecting
stubborn resistance, the Union force discovered the Confederate troops
had already abandoned their position. Five earthen breastworks and the
village of Big Bethel were captured without a blow. A small party of
rebels, observed on the other side of the creek, took flight. The right
flank of the Second Brigade [not sure if this included the 62d] pursued
the retreating Confederates briefly but were unable to catch them. To
have turned the Rebel forces so easily, however, created a spirit of
optimism among the Union force, even as it proved that McClelland's
knowledge of the Confederate position and defensive strategy were
slight. This was the beginning of the march to Yorktown, but instead of
the first action in a rapid movement, further advance was halted until
the full Army of the Potomac had arrived back at Fortress Monroe.
Mills, near Cockletown, 4 April 1862.
- Orders were received at Porter's Headquarters on 2 April to
advance. At 3 a.m. the next day, the soldiers were awakened and given
the order to break camp. Shortly after 5 a.m. the regiments took their
place in lines in their brigades and moved out and Big Bethel Creek was
crossed. At Howard's Mill, near Cockletown, there was a skirmish in
which fewer than a hundred on either side was killed or wounded.
Morell's brigade took the road to the right, and the first soldier from
the 62d was killed in action, Adam W. Musser.
to Warwick Road 5 April 1862.
- Union forces discovered what were believed to be strong
fortifications behind the Warwick River as it stretched across the
peninsula. Warwick Road proved McClellan could be easily fooled and
would exercise poor command. The map he was using failed to depict
Warwick River flowing across the peninsula to form a natural barrier to
his army's advance. McClellan was fooled into thinking that the
opposing force matched his own and that a siege of Yorktown would be a
better strategy than a continued advance.
- The Siege at Yorktown,
from 5 April to 4 May, 1862.
- The siege lasted a full month. The effect was to lose the
initiative, kill the keen spirit of fight, and allow Richmond to be
fortified. Picks and shovels were in more constant use than rifles and
muskets. At the site of Cornwallis' surrender to Washington to end the
Revolutionary War, the Union army eventually did take the day. At the
end of the siege, four companies of 62d were part of the small force
that took possession of Yorktown. Colonel Black took great pride in his
role in the conquest of Yorktown, but there was almost no fight. The
Confederates had successfully outmaneuvered the Union commanders and
the night before the Union army moved in abandoned the fortifications
and left the city unobserved. map
- Battle at Hanover
Court House, on 27 May 1862.
- The regiment's first major battle. Porter's Fifth Corps was sent
to Hanover Court House to defeat a threat from the north as the rest of
the army readied to move against Richmond. Initially Porter's forces
easily commanded the day, driving outnumbered Rebel troops into
retreat. However, by pursuing the retreating Confederate force, Porter
exposed the rear of the Union army to another segment of the
Confederate army. Martindale's Brigade suffered severe casualties
before Porter learned of the engagement and dispatched the 9th
Massachusetts and 62d Pennsylvania regiments back to the fight in the
rear and broke the Confederate line sending the Secess into retreat. In
their first combat situation, the 62d fought well and came as close as
they ever would again in being the pivotal force in deciding a battle. MORE
- Battle at Mechanicsville,
also known as Beaver Dam Creek, on 26 June 1862.
Present, but held in reserve. MORE
- Battle at Gaines
Mill, also known as Chickahominy and First Cold Harbor, on 27 June
- A black day for the 62d in several ways. The regiment suffered
more casualties here than anywhere other than Gettysburg and lost two
commanders: Colonel Black was killed leading a charge early in the
battle; Lieutenant-Colonel Sweitzer was wounded and captured. Never
again would the regiment have so many (75) captured as in this battle.
Because of the high number of missing or captured, Gaines Mill has the
distinction of being the battle in which the 62d suffered its most
casualties (total of killed, wounded, missing & captured). map
- Battle at Turkey
Bridge, on 30 June 1862.
- Largely an artillery battle. Porter's troops, having marched all
night, were already in place on Malvern Hill north of and overlooking
Turkey Bridge that morning. Around 4 pm, Morell's division, including
the 62d, holding the extreme left near the James River, were fired upon
by confederate artillery, before Union guns from both Malvern Hill and
gunboats on the James River drove the Confederates into retreat.
- Battle at Malvern
Hill, on 1 and 2 July 1862; last of the Seven Days' Battles.
- One of the 62d's finest hours. Placed in the center of the
action, they were steadfast and successful in repelling the best of
General Lee's regiments. map
in Northern Virginia
- Second Battle at Bull
Run, also known as Second Manassas, on 29 and 30 August
- The 62d was present, but, quite controversially, for most of the
battle, its division was not actively present. map
at Antietam, also known as Sharpsburg, on 17 September
- Held in reserve in the center of the line. According to the
Pennsylvania Antietam Battlefield Memorial Commission, the 62d were
sent into action as part of Griffin's brigade to support some
batteries, but while en route were halted by General McClellan
personally, and except for some artillery fire, were not engaged. map
- Engagement at
Shepherdstown Ford, 19 September 1862.
- The 62d saw more action in the maneuvers following Antietam than
it did during the battle.
- Boteler's Ford,
19-20 September 1862.
- Early on the morning of the 20th, the 4th Michigan and 62nd
Pennsylvania crossed the river and secured three guns, including one
12-pounder of English manufacture, 400 rifles marked "London, '62," and
several caissons, returning to the Maryland side by 8 AM.
- Reconnaissance to
Smithfield, 16-17 October 1862.
Action taken in support of a cavalry maneuver to determine whereabouts
of the Confederate army.
- Campaign on
- Battle at Fredericksburg,
from 13 to 16 December 1862.
- One of the 62d's most horrific battle experiences. Pinned down on
an open field for thirty-two consecutive hours before an impenetrable
- The Mud March,
20-24 January 1863. MORE
- Battle at Chancellorsville
from 30 April 1863 to 3 May 1863.
- The 62d was in the clash that actually started the battle, and it
was the last regiment of the Fifth Corps to cross the river in the
aftermath of the battle, but, held in reserve in a defensive position
above the town of Chancellorsville, it saw little action after the
first day. map
- Following Chancellorsville, the army withdrew to the north bank
of the Rappahannock. After the decision was made to march the Army of
the Potomac northward, the 4th Michigan, 14th New York, 9th
Massachusetts, 62d Pennsylvania, composing Second Brigade, served as
rear guard at the United States Ford as the army moved in the night. As
they marched north, they revisited some of the old river crossings,
battlefields, and encampments from previous years. The 2nd battalion
camped at Stoneman's Switch for more than a week, when it was ordered
to Kelley's Ford, for guard duty, where it remained until the 13th of
- Engagement at Kelly's
Ford, on 11 June 1863.
- While encamped at Kelly's Ford, the 62d was attacked by
guerrillas, and two
- Continued March through Virginia.
- The Fifth Corps stayed east of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and the
15th through 17th bivouacked near the old Bull Run battlefields. There
was a severe water shortage and intense heat causing sun stroke, other
maladies, and, as reported in another regiment, a good deal of
grumbling, especially about General Hooker. A heavy rainstorm on the
night of 19th ended a six-week drought, but brought different
- Engagements at Middleburg
and Upperville, Virginia, on 19, 21, and 22 June 1863.
- An engagement on the way to Gettysburg in which the 62d fought in
support of a cavalry brigade. MORE
- Battle at Gettysburg
on 2 July 1863.
- The 62d fought on the second day in the area around the
Wheatfield. The regiment lost more soldiers in this battle than in any
other. After several days of almost continuous marching, the Fifth
Corps arrived on the battlefield in the morning, but didn't enter the
fight until after 4 p. m. The volunteers of the 62d advanced across the
Wheatfield; held their position successfully; were ordered to fall
back; withdrew in good order across the Wheatfield; were ordered to
advance across the Wheatfield with another division; they advanced
across the Wheatfield; they were surrounded; in brutal hand-to-hand
fighting and with many casualties, they fought their way to safety
across the Wheatfield for the last time to a position near the base of
Little Round Top. map1
of the 62d from the Pennsylvania
- Pursuit of Lee,
5-24 July 1863.
Mine Run Campaigns
- Following the frustratingly futile pursuit of the the Army of
Northern Virginia, the 62d, with the rest of the Fifth Corps, settled
in for duty along the Rappahannock until October.
- Battle at Bristoe Station,
- While the Fifth Corps was fording the Broad Run near Manassas
Junction, Confederates attacked, but were diverted by a counter attack
by the Second Corps. After crossing the river the Fifth Corps quickly
moved further north, its commanding general apparently unaware a battle
to his rear was raging. By the time the Fifth Corps turned around, the
Second Corps had already driven off the Confederate forces. The 62d
Pennsylvania did little more than march and wait during this battle. map
- Engagement at Rappahannock
Station on 7 November 1863
- The engagement at Rappahannock Station was basically the
successful crossing of the Rappahannock by the Fifth and Sixth Corps in
the face of the enemy. The 62d Pennsylvania was held in reserve and
suffered no casualties.
- Battle at Mine Run,
Virginia on 27 November 1863
- The Battle at Mine Run was an aborted attempt by Meade to attack
the right flank before winter ended the campaign. There was no major
attack, but before the troops were withdrawn, seven soldiers of the 62d
- Duty at Bealeton Station until May 1864.
Campaign (From the Rapidan to the James)
- Battle in The
Wilderness, on 5 through 8 May 1864.
- The Wilderness was the first battle fought after U. S. Grant was
elevated to command all the armies of the United States.
- In what was certainly the worst landscape for a battle, thick
woods and underbrush, cut only by narrow roads, the 62d was involved in
the conflict on the opening day of the battle and in advances made on
two other days. Little was gained. The 62d was more fortunate than many
other regiments in the Fifth Corps, although more than 50 of its
volunteers were wounded, many of those fatally wounded. map
- Battle at Spottsylvania
Court House, on 8 to 15 May 1864
- For the Fifth Corps the battle centered on Laurel Hill, several
miles from Spottsylvania Court House. It began with an exhausting all
night march. For the next several days orders were repeated to move
against the enemy regardless of the consequences, even after it was
proven that charges against the large, well entrenched Confederate
force would be suicidal. The 62d Pennsylvania were most savagely
engaged on the 8th and the 12th. The 62d suffered its third highest
number of casualties in this eight days' battle and lost its commander
Lieutenant-Colonel James C. Hull on 12 May. MORE
- Battle at North
Anna River, on 23 and 25 May 1864
- Having crossed the North Anna at Jericho Ford in the afternoon,
Griffin's Division of the Fifth Corps were settling in the night, when
their evening meal preparations were interrupted by a surprise attack.
Although surprised and trapped between the river and the enemy, the
division were able to repulse the attack. For a "minor skirmish" the
battle at North Anna was costly for the 62d. map
- Engagements at Pamunkey
Creek and Totopotomoy Creek, on 28, 29, 30 May 1864
- The Fifth Corp crossed the Pamunkey Creek at Dabney's Ferry,
crossing on a pontoon bridge, on the 28th, marched three miles on the
29th, encountering rebel pickets. A line of battle was formed, but no
encounter with the enemy ensued. On the 30th, the brigade started out
on the road to Shady Grove Church. The 22d Massachusetts and 4th
Michigan were sent out as skirmishers. They encountered the rebels and
drove them into a clearing, only to discover they had fallen into a
trap. They now faced two lines of breastworks at right angles, so they
were caught in a cross-fire. These regiments were able to hold on and
then drive the rebels back. The 62d Pennsylvania and 32d Massachusetts
then joined the line of battle to relieve them. The 62d suffered no
casualties in this engagement until the morning of the 30th. Griffith's
Division was ordered to drive some skirmishers from the Union front.
Determined resistance intensified the combat, and Sweitzer's Brigade
was ordered to advance against the Confederate line of defense. After
brisk fighting, the Confederates were repulsed, but the 62d suffered
heavy casualties. MORE
- Battle at Cold
Harbor, on 3 June 1864
- Fortunately the 62d was not part of hopeless and deadly 8-minute
charge that saw the most deaths in the shortest period of time in the
entire war. Unfortunately, it was involved in some heavy fighting near
Bethesda Church, where the First Division of the Fifth Army Corp held
the extreme right of a thin Union Army line. It was so far removed from
the main conflict at Cold Harbor, that the action there is sometimes
listed as a separate battle. Cold Harbor was the only battle that U. S.
Grant's said he regretted. He said "Cold Harbor is, I think, the only
battle I ever fought that I would not fight over again under the
- Battle at Jerusalem
Plank Road, on 18-21 June 1864
- The regiment last saw action before Petersburg, Virginia, as the
siege was just beginning. The regiment crossed the James River on the
16th of June, and on the 18th it was hotly engaged in a battle for the
control of the Norfolk and Petersburg Railroad. Descriptions of the
battle are reminiscent of the trench warfare of World War I. After
several unsuccessful assaults, its brigade was ordered to move forward
again and hold a ravine. After initial success, along with the 22d
Massachusetts, one hundred men of the 62d served as as skirmishers to
move forward out of the ravine toward the Norfolk Railroad cut. The
charge drove the rebels into their breastworks. The next charge was not
ordered until that evening, and on that occasion, the 62d, 22d
Massachusetts and the 4th Michigan were to remain in the rear in
support. Initially repulsed at the breastworks, the right side of the
Union army was able to drive enemy, and the 62d with the rest of its
brigade advanced. Finally, on the 21st, the 62d participated in its
last engagement on the Jerusalem Plank Road.
- Siege of Petersburg,
22 June until 3 July [to 25 March 1865 for the rest of the Union army]
- Continued as part of siege of Petersburg, mostly in picket duty,
in the withering heat. On the First of July a temperature of 105
degrees in the shade was recorded. On 2 July the term of service came
to an end, and Colonel Sweitzer stepped down from his brigade command.
On 3 July, the regiment left the front and headed to Pittsburgh. The
soldiers arrived there on 13 July 1864, and were immediately mustered
Back to the main Pennsylvania
62d Infantry Regiment page?
This page authored and maintained by John R. Henderson
(email@example.com), Lodi, NY.
Last modified: 27 May 2012, 150 years after the Battle of Gaines Mill,
one of the 62d's costliest battles.
The Sixty Second Pennsylvania Monument, pictured at the top of the
page, was dedicated at Gettysburg on 11 September 1889. The image was
printed in the book, Pennsylvania at Gettysburg, Ceremonies at the
Dedication of the Monuments, published in 1904.