62d Pennsylvania Volunteers

Regimental History:

Campaigns in Northern Virginia

62d Pennsylvania Monument at Gettysburg


The 62d Pennsylvania's place in the organization of Army of the Potomac during the operations in Northern Virginia, 16 August to 2 September 1862:

Regimental History

Transport from the Peninsula to Frederickburg, 18 to 20 August, 1862.
The Fifth Corps left the Peninsula beginning August 14th. The 62d Pennsylvania embarked on August 18th and arrived at Newport News the same day. The regiment then moved up Aquia (or Acquia) Creek by transport to a railhead. From there the soldiers proceeded on cars to Falmouth and thence marched to Eliots Ford on the Rappahannock.
Picket Duty at Eliot's Ford, near Fredericksburg, Virginia, 20 to 23 August 1862
The 62d was separated from its division for picket duty guarding Eliot's Ford on the Rapphannock near Fredericksburg.
March to Warrenton, 23 to 27 August 1862
When word arrived that a Confederate force was threatening the capitol, the Fifth Corps was ordered north to join forces the newly formed Army of Virginia under the command of General Pope. Morell's division arrived late in the day, the last of the Fifth Corps to arrive.
BATTLE Second Battle at Bull Run, also known as Second Manassas, 28 to 30 August 1862
THE GIST: With the Union forces still re-forming under the command of Gen. John Pope, who had just arrived from the western theater, and much of the Army of the Potomac still withdrawing from the peninsula, Lee ordered Jackson to lead an attack on Washington. After several clashes, skirmishes, or threatened attacks, both opposing forces came together near Manassass Junction. Although there had been some fighting around Bull Run as early as the 26th, the battle is usually listed as beginning on the afternoon of 28 August when Jackson's troops attacked a Union column near Warrenton. On the 29th, Pope, thinking Jackson was isolated, attacked his line hard, but failed to breach it. Longstreet was present but held his position. On the 30th Pope, apparently still unaware of the Confederate strength or position, and perhaps even thinking they were in retreat, ordered a further attack on Jackson's line. The Fifth Corps, having arrived from Fredricksburg, led the final Union attack but was repulsed. With the Union army in disarray, Longstreet finally made his move, and quite defeated the Union army. Heroic defences in the afternoon and evening prevented a total Confederate victory, and under the cover of darkness, the Northerners were able to withdraw across Bull Run to take up defensive positions closer to Washington.
DETAILS ABOUT THE 62D: Quite controversially, for most of the battle, the Second Brigade of the First Division of the Fifth Corps was present but not actively engaged. The 62d, however, saw more action in the Second Battle at Bull Run than any other regiment in the Second Brigade. On the 29th of August, the Fifth Corps began a pre-daylight march along the turnpike from Warrenton through Gainesville toward Centreville, halting after crossing the railroad at Manassas. Orders were then to counter-march back toward Gainesville. Four companies of the 62d, G, K, B, and M, were assigned the role of front skirmishers. After moving out about three miles, the enemy was discovered, and the entire command formed a line of battle. Feeling for the enemy, they met with a force of Stuart's cavalry that was unmounted. The enemy charged but were well met and fell back. As the line started to move again, there was an exchange of battery fire, and the Fifth Corps halted to establish a defensive position. The Fifth Corps remained in that defensive position for the rest of the day. Porter was ordered to advance his corps so as to attack Jackson's army on its flank. Unfortunately, Longstreet's army was now in front of the Fifth Corps, not Jackson's, it was both clear to Porter that the situation had changed and the order impossible to follow as written. Since Porter's decision was not to advance against a much stronger force from a weak position, the 62d saw no further action that day.

On 30 August, the Second Brigade, including the 62d, was separated from the rest of the division during a march that began in the pre-dawn. When the rest of the First Division was diverted into an advance well to the west, the Second Brigade continued to march to Centreville, far behind the field of battle and out of the action. Testimony during the court-martial of Fitz John Porter indicated that the brigade had followed an out-of-date written order, but before the trial, the charge had been made that the brigade had deliberately been ordered away from action. What was never cleared up satisfactorily was why, after the brigade commander discovered no battle and no other brigades at Centreville, he made no immediate move to re-join the rest of the First Division. The effect for the 62d was that it saw no action that day either.

AFTERMATH: As a result of their decisions which led to the inaction of the whole Fifth Corps one day and specifically the Second Brigade the next, Major-General Fitz John Porter, commander of the Fifth Corps, was court-martialed, and Brigadier-General Charles Griffin, commander of the Second Brigade, was temporarily removed from command. Neither action occurred immediately, however. The Fifth Corps Commander General Fitz John Porter went to trial only after Antietam, and was found guilty and dismissed from the army in January 1863. Some charged that the court martial was political, since Porter was a Democrat and loyal to ousted fellow Democrat General McClellan. Earlier Lincoln had critized McClellan for seeking the advice of only Porter among his corps commanders. Only many years after the end of the war, in 1879, was Porter's appeal to reopen the case successful. It ruled in Porter's favor, but it then took until 1886 before the United States Congress restored Porter's rank. General Charles Griffin was temporarily removed from command of the brigade, but he was never court martialed, was later returned to his command, and was even later promoted to Division Commander.

Encampment in Centreville, and march to Minor's Hill, 31 August to 4 September
Following the battle, the Fifth Corps retired back to Centreville before it was ordered to March back to a defensive position around Washington, D. C. On 4 September it arrived at Minor’s Hill, and it encamped on its old ground of Camp Bettie Black. Since the previous winter much had changed. Colonel Black was dead, and the number of soldiers the regiment could muster was miniscule compared to its full ranks when it arrived in Washington almost exactly a year before.


Bull Run
Unofficial: 2 Enlisted wounded

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This page authored and maintained by John R. Henderson (jhenderson@ithaca.edu), Lodi, NY.
Photo of the Monument at Gettysburg dedicated to the Pennsylvania 62d Infantry Regiment is from Pennsylvania at Gettysburg, 1893
Last modified: 17 September 2012, the 150th anniversary of the Battle at Antietam
URL: http://www.icyousee.org/pa62d/bullrun.html