The Petersburg Campaign
The 62d Pennsylvania's place in the organization of Army of the
Potomac during the Petersburg Campaign, 30 June 1864:
- United States Army (Lieutenant-General U. S. Grant, commander)
- Army of the Potomac (Major-General George Meade)
- Fifth Army Corps (Major-General Gouverneur K. Warren)
- First Division (Brigadier General Charles Griffin)
- Second Brigade (Colonel Jacob Bowman Sweitzer)
- 22d Massachusetts (Major Mason W. Burt)
- 32d Massachusetts (Major J. Cushing Edmands)
- 4th Michigan (Captain Cornelius B. Van Valer)
- 62d Pennsylvania (Captain Matthew M. Felker)
- 91st Pennsylvania (Colonel Edgar M. Gregory)
- 155th Pennsylvania (Lieutenant Colonel Alfred
- 21st Pennsylvania Cavalry, dismounted (Major
Oliver B. Knowles)
- The Petersburg Campaign
- The movement of the Army of the Potomac shifted to south of
Richmond just as the 62d Pennsylvania was approaching the last days of
its three year service. Grant changed strategy of "fighting on this
line if it takes all Summer" to approach Richmond from the south
through Petersburg. The city was small, but strategically important
because communication lines and railroad supplies to Richmond from both
the south and west came through Petersburg. The Army of the Potomac was
able to slip away after Cold Harbor and hoped to act decisively
enough to enter Petersburg before Confederate troops were able to move
in and defend it. They failed. Union commanders were hesitant to
continue to attack,
poorly coordinated, and after an initial failure of a couple assaults,
fell victim one
last time to overestimating the size of the Confederate force. By the
time the Union generals discovered the truth, Lee had at last sent the
necessary reinforcements. The siege set in, and trench warfare, so
widely associated with World War I fifty years later, was defined here.
- The 62d Pennsylvania, as part of Fifth Corps, crossed the James
River on the 16th of June, and quickly marched just outside of
Petersburg. The regiment last saw action as the siege of Petersburg was
beginning. A major focus of the siege where they were positioned was to
extend the siege line further to the west and cut the railroads from
supplying the city.
- Assault of Petersburg,
on 18 June 1864 (part of what has been called the Second Battle of
Petersburg, 15-18 June 1864).
- For four days, starting on 15 July, the newly arrived Union
forces repeated a pattern of assaulting and falling back and assaulting
again a ten mile stretch of earthenworks called the Dimmock Line held
the Confederate forces commanded by Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard.
It was only around noon on the 18th that the Fifth Corps arrived (almot
the same time thta Robert E. Lee arrived). The Fifth Corps had been
marching up from the south. When they approached the Rives Salient, the
fortified battery works established where the Dimmock Line crossed the
Jerusalem Plank Road, the corps was sent into battle immediately.
Confederate troops also occupied a railroad cut where the Norfolk and
Petersburg Railroad remained uncompleted. After several unsuccessful
assaults, part of the Second Brigade, including one hundred men of the
as skirmishers, then took possession of the railroad cut, driving the
rebels back into their breastworks. Any gains, however, were only
temporary, and by the time of the next charge that
evening, the 62d Pennsylvania had been relieved and sent to the rear.
last charge had no better success in breaking a hole in the Confederate
defenses, and Grant and Meade gave up hope that Petersburg could be
taken quickly. The strategy was changed to laying siege, and the Union
troops started digging in east and southeast of the city.
- Battle at the
Jerusalem Plank Road, on 21-23 June 1864.
the 21st, the 62d
participated in its last engagement. It was likely a skirmish along the
Jerusalem Plank Road, where the Fifth Corps held its position as the
Second and Sixth Corps advanced westward from the Jerusalem Plank Road
to cut off the Weldon Railroad, one of three lines still open to
A three day battle ensued, including a surprise attack by Confederate
troops who sallied unseen through a ravine behind the Union
position. In the end with the Confederates still in possession of
the railroad, but the Union position had been advanced further west.
- Siege of Petersburg until July 3.
- The 62d continued
its service, mostly in picket duty, as part of
siege of Petersburg, waiting for the three years service to run its
course. Their last days on the battle field were spent in withering
heat. On the First of July a temperature of 105 degrees in the shade
was recorded. On the Second of July, a year after the regiment fought
at Gettysburg, its term of service came to an end. Colonel Sweitzer
officially stepped down from his brigade command. Companies L and M,
who still had a month to go before their
three years were up, were attached to the 91st Pennsylvania. Those
who chose to continue serving beyond their three years, as well as
those whose three years service did not expire, were transferred to the
155th Pennsylvania. Both these regiments were now part of the Second
Brigade of the First Division of the Fifth Corps.
- The March Home
- On the Third of July, the
62d Pennsylvania left the front. They headed south to the James River
where they boarded a steamer, probably to Washington, D.C. From there
they headed by train to
Pittsburgh. The soldiers arrived there on 13 July 1864, and were
officially mustered out.
Back to the main Pennsylvania 62d
Infantry Regiment page?
This page authored and maintained by John R. Henderson ( jhenderson
@ icyousee . org), Lodi, NY.
Last modified: 20 December 2013, 149 and a half years after the 62d
Pennsylvania fought at Petersburg.