Pennsylvania 62nd Infantry Regiment

Regimental History: Bristoe and Mine Run Campaigns

Monument at Gettysburg
dedicated to the
Pennsylvania 62d Infantry Regiment
on September 11, 1889

photo from Pennsylvania at Gettysburg, 1893

'Among the many valiant organizations that
participated in this battle, none can show a prouder record than the
Sixty-second Pennsylvania Volunteers.' -- Captain W. J. Patterson

Bristoe Campaign


The 62d Pennsylvania's place in the organization of Army of the Potomac on 31 August 1863 and during the Bristoe Campaign,:

Regimental History

Bristoe Campaign, 13-20 October, 1863.
The Fifth Corps remained on duty on line of the Rappahannock from August until mid-October.
BATTLEBattle at Bristoe Station, 14 October.
THE GIST: After a month of inactivity, the Confederate army, in a surprise maneuver, headed north toward Washington, D. C. Meade ordered a rapid march north as well. Not far from the familiar battlefields of Bull Run, the battle began as Confederate forces under A. P. Hill, attempting to cut off the Federal army, spotted the Fifth Corps attempting the slow process of fording the Broad Run near Manassas Junction. A division was immediately dispatched to attack the Fifth Corps from behind. By attacking so quickly, the confederate force overlooked the presence of the Second Corps hidden in a well defended position behind a railroad enbankment. When the confederates were fired upon, instead to proceeding across the river, they wheeled south and charged against the strong position of the Second Corps. General Sykes, apparently not aware of the Confederates' present, kept the Fifth Corps marching further north so as to clear our of the way for the Second Corps to ford the river. Once the battle began, General Warren, then commanding the Second Corps, sent word to Sykes to turn the Fifth Corps around, but before the Fifth Corps returned with any force, the Second Corps was successful in turning the Confederate force .
DETAILS ABOUT THE 62D: For the 62d Pennsylvania, the Bristoe campaign was one mostly of confusion, alarm, and oscillation. Starting in the early morning of the 13th, the next 24 hours was one of quick marches separated by long periods of waiting. They marched north from Bristoe Station; halted, swung around to take a position facing south; waited; returned south, just missing the route of the Confederates by the Second Corps; waited; and marched north again crossing Bull Run. In all, they marched more than thirty miles. Over the next five days, they did further marching in yo-yo fashion. They marched to Centreville the first day, to Fairfax the next, back to Centreville the third, back to Fairfax the fourth, and finally back to Centreville.
Possibly because of his failure to act or even recognize that a battle was raging at Bristoe Station, General Sykes was replaced by General Warren after General Grant took command.
BATTLEEngagement 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. Skirmishers encountered the Confederates, and several brigades then moved in to make a push to the river and occupy a redoubt, forcing the enemy into retreat. A bayonet charge by a division from the Sixth Corps surpised the well entrenched Confederates and sent them into retreat. The Union army was successful and captured more than 1,600. The 62d Pennsylvania, as was almost all of the Fifth Corps, was held in reserve and faced only the fire from enemy artillery. It suffered no casualties.

Mine Run Campaign


The 62d Pennsylvania's place in the organization of Army of the Potomac on 20 November 1863 (just before Mine Run) and 31 January 1864 (just before Grant took control). :

BATTLEBattle at Mine Run, Virginia on 27-29 November 1863
The Gist: The Battle at Mine Run was an aborted attempt by Meade to attack Lee's right flank before winter ended the campaign. After the Union victory at Rappahannock Station, Lee pulled back his line from the Rappahannock to form a defensive position along the Rapidan, except the right flank, which was entrenched along Mine Run, a small tributary of the Rappahannock, in the part of Virginia known as The Wilderness. The battle included a series of attacks and counter-attacks, movements, and skirmishing for three days, but no major attack, encounter, or engagement occured. Meade wisely withdrew, concluding that the Confederate position was too strong and the terrain (including jungle-like thickets and a treacherous stream) and weather (which began with torrential downpours and ended with icy temperatures), were not condusive for a successful attack.
I have no details on the activities of the 62d Pennsylvania beyond what can be gleaned from information about the whole Fifth Corps. On the 26 November the Fifth Corps left camp in Paoli Mills with instructions to proceed to Parker's Store on the Orange and Fredricksburg Plank Road. The regiments crossed the Rapidan from mid-morning to noon in boats at Culpepper Ford. By 3 pm the corps reached the intersection of two main plank roads in the Wilderness, bivouaked, and then continued in the morning reaching Parker's Store by 9 am. The Fifth Corps met up with Gregg's cavalry, which had orders to proceed down the same road. There was a cavalry engagement on the road, but the terrain forced both cavalries to fight on foot. A more heated engagement occurred near New Hope Church between both cavalry and infantry, but even then only the heads of a few columns be deployed. After this skirmish, the Confederates retreated, but General Sykes, commanding the Fifth Corps, was commanded to hold back until further corps arrived.
During the 28th the Fifth Corps held a position near Robertson's Tavern on the old turnpike, but saw no fighting.
In the pre-dawn of the 29th the Fifth relieved the Second Corps and took a position across the turnpike in front of Mine Run. Orders were given for the Fifth and Sixth Corps to prepare to storm the enemy's entrenchments across the creek. The troops were praised for their behavior and cheerful willingness, but must have been filled with dread and misgivings. The banks on the opposing shore were not only high but covered in briar and thick brush. Beyond that was a half-mile climb to reach the well-entrenched Confederate earthworks. There was no freezing rain, but temperature was cold enough to ice up parts of the stream. Batteries opened up at 8 am, but by 9 am orders came to suspend the attack. General Warren, who commanded the Second Corps and was to coordinate the attack, was credited with calling it off, and he was wided praised from the ranks of the volunteers.
Troops held their position until December 1, when they were finally ordered to recross the Rapidan at Germanna Ford.
In this part of campaign of maneuvers, the 62d crossed the Rapidan and suffered the movement through the part of Virginia that in a few months would famously be known as The Wilderness. On November 29, they reached Mine Run and took a position there. They would likely have been part of an assault scheduled for 30 November, before General Warren, commanding the Fifth Army Corps called it off on his own initiative. Along frozen roads the night of 1 December, the Fifth Corps began its withdrawal northward, crossing Germanna Ford. and seven soldiers were wounded.
Picket duty and Winter Camp, 1 December 1863 to 30 April 1864
Following the aborted battle at Mine Run, the Fifth corps went into winter camp. Assigned picket duty along the Orange and Alexandria railroad, the regiment arrived at Bealton on 1 December and remained there for the next four months. While in camp, there was a reoranization of the Army of the Potomac, but the Second Brigade of the First Division of the Fifth Corps stayed in tact. General Warren took over as corps commander. On 30 April 1864 the Fifth Corps broke camp and marched to Rappahannock Station in preparation for the Overland Campaign planned by the new general in charge, U. S. Grant.

Back to the main Pennsylvania 62d Infantry Regiment page?

This page maintained by: John R. Henderson (jhenderson @ icyousee . org)
Last modified: Sunday, 13 January 2013