62d Pennsylvania Volunteers
an American Civil War Infantry Regiment
Regimental History and
Pittsburgh (including Allegheny City and
Birmingham) and Allegheny County:
Allegheny & Washington Counties: K
Other counties: D (Armstrong); C and E (Clarion); I (Jefferson); M (Blair)
Field and Staff Officers, Company Musicians & Unassigned Soldiers
Alphabetical Listing of All Volunteers, with links to their Companies
REGIMENTAL HISTORY AVAILABLE: Ernest D. Spisak
has published a 516 page regimental history of the 62d Pennsylvania
Forgotteen Civil War Regiment: A History Of The 62nd Pennsylvania
Volunteer Infantry and the Men Who Served With Distinction.
With many years of research effort put into it, the book is the first
comprehensive history of the 62d ever published. I can highly
recommend it. Sadly Ernie died a few years after completing his life's work.
ALERT: STOLEN ITEMS: Items related to the 62d Pennsylvania Volunteers were stolen from Marshall County Courthouse Museum, in Marysville, KS, including diaries and the John Watson photo album, the source for many of the portraits used on this site. If you have any information that might help the investigation, please contact: Marysville Police Department, Marysville, KS 66508. Phone: (785) 562-2343. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Each of the companies had names before they were assigned letter designations. Listed here are the original names of the companies of the 62d and the counties or communities in which they were recruited. For each company there is a separate page with its roster of officers, musicians, and privates. The principal source of information for company rosters is Samuel Penniman Bates' History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, but the rosters have been corrected, collaborated, or supplemented from other sources, especially to the contributions of many descendants of volunteers and the Civil War Veterans' Card File, 1861-1866, available from the Digital Archives of the State of Pennsylvania.
|A:||Federal Guards||Allegheny County, principally Allegheny City and Beaver County|
|B:||McKee Rifle Cadets||Allegheny County, principally Birmingham [modern Pittsburgh's South Side]|
|C:||Lyon Guards||Clarion County|
|D:||Finlay Cadets||Armstrong County, plus Indiana County|
|E:||Rimersburg Raiders||Clarion County|
|F:||Eighth Ward Guards A||Pittsburgh|
|G:||Kramer Guards||Allegheny County|
|H:||St. Clair Guards||Allegheny County, principally around the area of Bethel Park and Lower and Upper St. Clair|
|I:||Jefferson Guards||Jefferson County|
|K:||Eighth Ward Guards B & Tower Zouaves||Pittsburgh and Washington County|
|L:||Chambers Zouaves||Pittsburgh and Birmingham [modern Pittsburgh's South Side]|
|M:||Blair Guards||Blair County|
Within a few years after Bates' history was published, the
regimental rosters were already recognized as incomplete and
inaccurate. At least one attempt was made (in Jefferson County) to
correct the rosters on a company level less than ten years after Bates
was published. For all its flaws however, it is as good a record as we
have for most companies. The challenge Bates faced was huge. Records
were not always kept in good order; names were often confused;
spellings were not consistent; some soldiers mustered in under assumed
name; and mistakes and omissions were made. If you have an ancestor
that is not included in Bates, that does not mean definitively that he
was not in the regiment.
If you have an information about a volunteer who served in the 62d, even and especially one who is not included here, that you would like to share, please let me know. I will gladly update the rosters to include missing soldiers or correct or add to the information I have listed. Portraits of volunteers, sent in digital form, are especially welcome.
Ten companies were mustered into service between 24 and 29 July 1861, for three years. On 31 August 1861, Companies L and M were added to the regiment, and it was officially organized and designated as the Pennsylvania 33d Independent Regiment.
To conform to Army regulations for volunteer infantry regiments, each of the companies, now identified by letter instead of name, would have consisted of a Captain, a First Lieutenant and a Second Lieutenant, a First Sergeant and four Sergeants, eight Corporals, a minimum of 64 and a maximum of 82 privates, a wagoner, and 2 musicians. The whole regiment was commanded by a Colonel, aided by a Lieutenant-Colonel, a Major, and a small regimental staff including an Adjutant, a Quartermaster, a Surgeon (who was given the rank of Major), a Chaplain, a Sergeant-Major, a Quartermaster's Sergeant, a Commissary-Sergeant, and a Hospital Steward. In addition regulations required a regimental band. Reports indicate that the regiment started out full, so that would have numbered 1000 to 1200 soldiers. Substantial numbers were lost to disease over the first winter, before the first battle was fought. For most of the war there was no regular nor permanent system for recruiting soldiers, so the regiment never achieved full strength again. Before the Battle at Gettysburg, the 62d Pennsylvania regiment was close to 400 soldiers, and in the immediate aftermath of the battle it could barely muster a hundred. On only two occasions were significant numbers of soldiers added, after Gettysburg and before Grant's Overland Campaign. It is possible that regimental officers took leaves of absence to go on recruiting missions, but I have seen no record of it. In the two months following the Battle of Gettysburg over a hundred soldiers were added, and in the period of February through March 1864, preceding Grant's final Overland Campaign, perhaps fifty soldiers refilled the ranks of the regiment. In no other month were there as many as twenty new soldiers. When Companies L and M were transferred to the 91st Pennsylvania Volunteers when the rest of the 62d were mustered out, there was an aggregate of 46 between the two companies, only a quarter of their original size. Approximately 1600 soldiers served with the 62d Pennsylvania Volunteers at some time during the three years.
The Pennsylvania 62d Infantry Regiment served in the Army of the Potomac throughout its three years of existence. It was originally assigned to the Second ([Brigadier-General George W.] Morell's) Brigade of [Major-General Fitz John] Porter's Division of the Third Army Corps, commanded by General Samuel P. Heintzelman. In the reorganization of the Army after the Siege of Yorktown (the 62d's first encounter with the Confederate army), when two additional army corps were created, the 62d was assigned to the Second Brigade of the First Division of the Fifth Provisional Army Corps. After the War Department confirmed the re-organization on 22 July 1862, the "Fifth Provisional Army Corps" became the Fifth Army Corps of the Army of the Potomac. As regiments were mustered in and out and the army reorganized several more times, the make-up of the Second Brigade changed, but the 62d Pennsylvania remained in Second Brigade of the First Division of the Fifth Corps until it was mustered out. The 62d Pennsylvania's companion regiments in the brigade included the 14th New York (1st Oneida County Regiment), 9th Massachusetts (Boston's Irish Ninth), 32d Massachusetts, and 4th Michigan. Other regiments and batteries served along side the 62d Pennsylvania more briefly.
In the spring of 1863, after General Daniel Butterfield became chief-of-staff of the Army of the Potomac under General Joseph Hooker, he instituted a system of Corps Badges to distinguish units. The badges were distinctive shapes of flannel cloth about an inch and one-half wide that were sewn or fastened onto soldiers' caps. The Fifth Corps (Butterfield's old corps) was assigned the Maltese Cross. The divisions of the corps were assigned different colors. The First Division of every corps was red, so the insignia of each regiment in the First Division of the Fifth Corps (including the 62d Pennsylvania) was a red Maltese Cross.
According to Sergeant William Smith of Company D, the regiment was camped initially in a cow pasture in the city of Allegheny, now Pittsburgh's North Side. He indicated, in "Transactions of the Kansas State Historical Society," 1902, that the location is "now a magnificent park, adorned by the Carnegie Free Institute." I believe he is referring to West Park, Western Pennsylvania's first urban park which was originally common grazing land. Next to the park is the Allegheny Branch of the Carnegie Library, which was the original Carnegie Free Library. It is also very near where the Pittsburgh Pirates and Steelers play. Smith also noted in an address before the national encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic, held at Pittsburgh in 1892, that after the battle of Bull Run, the secretary of war inquired when Black's regiment would be ready for the field, and the colonel responded as soon as transportation could be furnished. In three hours a young telegraph messenger brought into camp an order for the regiment to move to Washington immediately. The young messenger, according to Smith, was Andrew Carnegie.
On 24 July 1861, the regiment moved from Pittsburgh to Camp Cameron, near Harrisburg. According to a soldier correspondent, J.T.C. [possibly James T. Couch of Company H] in a report published on 14 August in the Pittsburgh Gazette, Colonel Black scoured the countryside for possible locations and found "the most beautiful camp ground in the country." It may also have helped that Black had political connections, since the camp was on farmland just east of Harrisburg belonging to Secretary of War Simon Cameron, hence its name. The secretary even visited the camp once. J.T.C. was no griper, reporting that they had adequate shelter from good quality tents and a nearby stream for bathing and washing clothes, and rubbish was cleared away every morning. He praised Samuel Black for his strict discipline, writing, among other things that "No obscene language or swearing whatever is tolerated."
After Companies L and M were added on the last day of August, the regiment proceeded to Baltimore, camping at Patterson's Port, across the harbor from Fort McHenry. From Patterson's Port, the regiment proceeded to Washington, encamping at Camp Rapp, on Kendall Green, in the northern suburbs of the city, where Gallaudet University is located presently. Only after it arrived at Fort Rapp was the regiment fully outfitted with clothing, equipment, and arms. Six of the companies received Springfield rifles; the other six received Enfields, the older smooth bore muskets. On 11 September 1861, the regiment crossed the Potomac and went into camp near Fort Corcoran, close to the southern bank near the Aqueduct Bridge. There it was assigned to the Second Brigade of General Fitz John Porter's Division. Technically the regiment was at Fort Corcoran to defend Washington, but it was here that volunteer soldiers were drilled into a fighting unit and put on fatigue duty at work constructing roads and throwing up entrenchments.
On the 26 September the regiment was moved with the new line at Fall's Church after the enemy had fallen back from Munson's Hill. It remained there only a few weeks before it moved to Minor's Hill to set up winter quarters. The new camp was called Bettie Black after the captain's youngest daughter. A reporter of the New York World described Camp Bettie Black as "the model camp of the Army of the Potomac," with streets lined with rows of cedars, and at the end of every street an arch, with the letter of each company in a wreath suspended in its center.
While still in their early days of drilling, several members of Company D had an encounter with a stranger. Could a regimental history be complete without a good Abraham Lincoln anecdote?
In February, 1862, while still drilling at Camp Bettie Black and before they had seen any combat, several officers, non-commissioned officers, and soldiers from Company I signed an "Oath of Sobriety." [Thanks to George Wilkinson, collector and researcher of the Fourth Michigan Regiment, for sending me the image of the oath.] They pledged to abstain from intoxicating liquors for the duration of the war. There is no record what prompted the soldiers to take the oath, but Jeffrey Lundy, who as been researching Edwin Little, the caption of Company I, has pointed out the oath was signed within a day or two after the tragic death of Robert Lowrey of Clarion "who horrifically accidentally shot himself swinging a loaded pistol." I would agree that the dates are not likely to be coincidental.
In the diary of Jacob Shenkel of Company L, he describes an order issued against smuggling whiskey into camp and punishments for getting drunk. Privates would be tied up and officers would be reduced in rank without trial. Shenkel, however, also notes in one entry that his friend Bash Cowen "was a little in the Wind from the effects of some milk mixed with a little something stronger than water." The same friend faced court-martial in March 1863 for breaking into the medical supplies and stealing a couple bottles of whiskey. Whiskey and brandy were the medicines most widely used by regimental surgeons, and the 62d was used in a test of the prophylactic use of quinine and whisky.
At the start of the Peninsular Campaign, D.R.S., a correspondent of the Pittsburgh Daily Gazette who attached himself to the 62d Pennsylvania, reported in a letter dated 27 May 1862 (published in the paper on 4 June 1862) that "the social and moral deportment of the men is worthy of special notice. I have seen but one man under the influence of liquor, and with probably two or three exceptions have heared [sic] no profane language. Many of the them are sincere christians, and their fervent prayers ascend every evening to the God that controls our destinies. Col. Black may justly feel proud of his command."
The Sixty-Second fought in over twenty battles, assaults, or sieges from the Siege of Yorktown that started on 5 April 1862 to the Siege of Petersburg, which ended for them on 3 July 1864. Major battles for them were Gaines Mill, Malvern Hill, Fredricksburg, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, Spottsylvania, and Cold Harbor. Other battles in which they were present but were held in reserve or saw limited action included the Siege of Yorktown, Hanover Courthouse, Second Bull Run, Antietam, Chancellorsville, and the Siege of Petersburg. For details, see Campaigns and Battles on a separate page.
More than half of the volunteers of the Sixty-Second were killed, severely wounded, captured, or went missing in action. About a third of the volunteers died of disease. At the end of the fighting at Gettysburg, the command could only muster 90 men. For details, see Casualties and Disease on a separate page.
After its last engagement on the Jerusalem Plank Road near Petersburg on 21 June 1864, the regiment was employed in picket and fatigue duty, until July 3, the date of the original companies term of service expiration. Not every soldier mustered out at this time. Many who had volunteered -- those who served as substitutes, or were drafted, and had not completed three years of service, or which to extend their service beyond three years remained in the army -- transferred to other Pennsylvania regiments in the Second Brigade. Companies L and M were transferred to the 91st Pennsylvania and would not be mustered out until August 15, 1864. Others served in the 155th and remained until their individual expiration date of service. The rest of the regiment, however, were ordered to the rear. The regiment headed to Pittsburgh and, arriving there on 13 July 1864, was mustered out.
The 91st Pennsylvania regiment remained south of the James River for its duration, so the veterans from the 62d were engaged around Petersburg for their remaining month of service. I have seen no record whether the West Pennsylvanians then marched home to Pittsburgh as a unit, but that is likely.
Soldiers who had not completed their three years of service who were members from companies other than L and M (and those soldiers who wished to re-enlist as Veteran Volunteers) were transferred to the 155th Pennsylvania Volunteers. Most members of the same company of the 62d joined the same company of the 155th, but several company's ranks were filled. The 155th also spent the duration of its service south of the James River. It fought together with the 91st in the same brigade nearly all of the engagements around Petersburg, including Weldon Railroad, Five Forks, and Hatcher's Run. At Appomattox Court House the 155th claimed the distinction of having the last enlisted man killed in the fighting in Virginia, on the morning of 9 April 1865, the same day General Robert E. Lee surrendered his Army. Although the Army of the Potomac would fight no more battles, the 155th Pennsylvania regiment would not be mustered out until June 2, 1865.
Even though the war was over in all military senses, some soldiers had still not completed their service when the 155th Pennsylvania mustered out. They were then transferred to the 191st Pennsylvania. This regiment was the last Pennsylvania regiment to be formed and was organized in the field primarily from veterans. It was mustered out 28 June 1865. At last even soldiers who had not put in their full service were allowed to muster out and return home.
The federal government implemented a pension system for veterans and their widows soon after the war broke out. An 1862 statute spelled out the details of the benefits, linking them to injury or disability directly related to military service. In 1890, due to the lobbying power of veterans' organizations, significant changes were made to reward any disabled veteran who had served honorably. In 1906 old age was added as justification for a pension. The government was still providing pensions for veterans or at least their widows even by the time of the Second World War. As can be seen on this widow's pension (courtesy of Karen and Tessa Raybuck), issued to Annie Temple, wife of Lt. Samuel Temple of Company I, the "generous" monthly allowance might amount to twelve dollars a month.
A name was given to the regiment by Special Order No. 1, on 1 January 1862. "This Regiment shall be named and known as the Moorhead Rifles, in honor of J. K. Moorhead, Representative from Pennsylvania." The name was given with the unanimous consent of the twelve company captains and the field and staff officers. There is a reference to the new name in a letter by Gan Lowry of Company C, indicating that the regiment was named after "Senator Morehead [sic]" from Pittsburgh. James Kennedy Moorhead, however, was not a Senator, but a member of the House of Representatives, representing a congressional district around Pittsburgh. Before he entered political life, Moorhead had made his fortune through the development of the Pennsylvania Canal and a line of packet boats, the building of locks, dams, and bridges, and speculation in railroads and telegraph. J.K. Moorhead and Samuel Black were both of political importance in Pennsylvania, but Moorhead was a Republican and Black a Democrat. They had a non-political connection, however. Black's daughter Emily married Moorhead's son, William J. Moorhead, in January of 1864. I do not know what their connection was two years earlier, however. As these are the only two references to the "Moorhead Rifles" that I have seen, I think the name did not catch on.
In print, I have seen the regiment designated, officially and unofficially, in many different ways and variations of abbreviations: Sixty-Second Pennsylvania Volunteers, 62d Pennsylvania Volunteers, 62nd Pennsylvania Volunteers; 62 Pennsylvania; Sixty-second Regiment, Infantry, Pennsylvania Volunteers; 62d Regiment; 62nd Regiment; Sixty-second Pennsylvania Infantry; 62d Pennsylvania Infantry; 62nd Pennsylvania Infantry; Sixty-second Regiment Infantry (Pa.); 62d Regiment Infantry (Pa.); 62d Pa.; 62d Penna; 62d Penn; 62nd Pa.; 62nd Penna; 62nd Penn; 62d P. V.; 62nd P. V.; 62 P. V.
Pennsylvania was often shortened in soldiers' lingo to Pennsylvane, thus the regiment may have been referred to as the 62nd Pennsylvane.
A news account appearing in the Boston Journal, reprinted in Stories of the War Told by Soldiers edited by Edward Everett Hale (1892) provides this insight on how the soldiers might have referred to their regiment: "How will we take Richmond?" says one of the Sixty-second the other day. "Why, don't you know? The Sixty-two-th will fire, and the Ninth will charge!"
Last modified: 18 August 2019.
John R. Henderson's grandfather John G. Henderson's uncle John Henderson was a private in Company D.
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.