(42nd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment)
“First Rifles” “Bucktails”
A total of 1,165 officers and men served with the 13th Pennsylvania Reserves during the Civil War. The regiment lost 11 officers and 151 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded and 2 officers and 88 enlisted men to disease during the Civil War. Four hundred forty-two men were wounded but recovered.
|April – June||Organized at Camp Curtin, Harrisburg from the following companies:
Company A – The Anderson Guards (Tioga County) – Captain Phillip Holland
Three hundred woodsmen in McKean County had built three large rafts and rafted down the Sinnamahoning River to the Susquehanna and to Harrisburg under the direction of Thomas Kane.
The regiment was under the command of Colonel Charles Biddle, Lieutenant Colonel Thomas L. Kane, and Major Roy Stone. Kane was originally elected colonel and Biddle lieutenant colonel, but Kane wanted Biddle, a Mexican War veteran, to have command. A second election reversed the two offices.
The men were initially given smoothbore muskets but many refused to accept them, as they were recruited as a rifle regiment. The nickname of “Bucktails” came from the buck tail that each man wore on his hat, proclaiming their ability as marksmen.
|June 21||Mustered in at Harrisburg. Moved by rail to Hopewell, then marched 23 miles to Bedford Springs. a point opposite Cumberland, Md.|
|June 27||Marched 40 miles to the Maryland – Pennsylvania state line and established Camp Mason and Dixon to support General Lew Wallace.|
|July 7||Marched to Cumberland to protect the property of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad.|
|July 12||Lieutenant Colonel Kane led a scouting party of 60 men into Virginia, fighting a skirmish at New Creek Village which killed eight and wounded sixteen of the attacking Confederate cavalry. Kane then advanced on to Ridgeville.|
|July 27||Returned to Harrisburg and reviewed by Governor Curtin.|
|August 1||Ordered to Harper’s Ferry and assigned to George H. Thomas’ Brigade, Banks’ Division|
|October 1||Moved to Tennallytown, Md. and attached to 2nd Brigade, McCall’s Pennsylvania Reserves Division, Army of the Potomac|
|October 10||Moved from Tennallytown, Md., to Camp Pierpont, near Langley, Va.|
|October 20||Expedition to Hunter’s Mills under Lieutenant Colonel Kane (Companies A, G, H, I and K)|
|December 6||Expedition to Grinnell’s Farm|
|December 12||Colonel Biddle resigned to take his seat in Congress. Lieutenant Colonel Kane took command of the regiment.|
Battle of Dranesville
Two men were killed and Lieutenant Colonel Kane and 25 other men wounded
|January 22||Captain Hugh McNeil of Company D was elected colonel over Lieutenant Colonel Kane with 64% of the vote.|
|February||Colonel McNeil went on sick leave with typhoid fever.|
|March 7||By order of General McClellan, Companies C, G, H & I were placed under Lieutenant Colonel Kane “to be trained in special tactics that Kane had devised.”|
|March 10-15||Advance on Manassas, Virginia attached to 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 1st Army Corps, Army of the Potomac. Major Stone commanded the six companies of the regiment that were not detached under Lieutenant Colonel Kane, as Colonel McNeil was still absent sick|
|April 9-19||McDowell’s advance on Falmouth. Attached to 3rd Brigade, McCall’s Division, Dept. of the Rappahannock|
|April-June||Duty at Fredericksburg|
|May 12||Companies C, G, H and I under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Kane were attached to Bayard’s Cavalry Brigade, Department of the Rappahannock. They are often referred to as the 1st Pennsylvania Rifle Battalion. For four months Kane’s Battalion would operate independently from the main body of the regiment, which would be in a different department.|
Companies C, G, H and I while attached to Bayard’s Cavalry Brigade (May-August 1862)
|May 15||Reported to Colonel Bayard|
|May 25-June 6||Pursuit of Jackson up the Shenandoah Valley. The battalion would march 60 miles in five days.|
|June 2||Strasburg and Staunton Road|
|June 3||Mount Jackson. Attached to 1st Corps, Army of Virginia|
The battalion, with just 104 men after the attrition of the last week’s marching, lost 52 casualties in a fight with the Confederate brigade of George Steuart. Colonel Kane was wounded in the leg and captured, and Captain Taylor was captured while attempting to bring Kane off the field. Less than 50 Bucktails left the battlefield, but they mortally wounded “Stonewall” Jackson’s cavalry commander, General Turner Ashby.
Battle of Cross Keys
Only 40 men remained in the ranks by the end of the battle.
|August 16-September 2||
Pope’s Campaign in Northern Virginia
The remnants of the battalion were assigned to General Pope’s headquarters guard.
The battalion lost 19 men captured to Stuart’s Confederate cavalry.
The battalion acted as rear guard at the Stone Bridge.
|September 7||Rejoined Regiment|
Companies A, B, D, E, F & K (June-August 1862)
|June 9-12||Moved to White House and attached to 3rd Brigade, 3rd Division, 5th Army Corps, Army of the Potomac. Colonel Hugh McNeil was sick with Typhoid fever, and Major Roy Stone commanded the six companies.|
|June 25-July 1||Seven days before Richmond|
Battle of Mechanicsville
Also known as Beaver Dam Creek. The regiment lost over 100 men.
Company K under Captain Edward Irvin was cut off during the retreat. They would try to make their way back to Union lines for five days before finally being captured.
Battle of Gaines Mill
Company E was cut off and captured during the retreat. The regiment had just 131 men left by the end of the day when they went into a defensive line at Boatswain’s Creek.
|June 29||Battle of Savage Station|
Battle of Charles City Cross Roads or Glendale
The regiment was able to put 155 men into battle near Long Bridge Road. Forced into a fighting retreat, the regiment was the nucleus for resistance on the flank.
Battle of Malvern Hill
At Harrison’s Landing
The regiment had lost 247 officers and men during the Seven Days Battles, over 80%. Colonel McNeil returned from sick leave.
|August 16-26||Movement to Join Pope. attached to 3rd Brigade, 3rd Division, 3rd Corps, Army of Virginia|
|August 28||Battle of Gainesville|
|August 29||Major Stone was promoted to colonel of the 149th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment|
|August 29||Battle of Groveton|
|September 6-24||Maryland Campaign. Attached to 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 1st Army Corps, Army of the Potomac. The regiment was rearmed with the Model 1859 Sharps breechloader rifle.|
|September 6||Lieutenant Colonel Kane was promoted to brigadier general.|
The reunited regiment brought less than 300 men to the battle. Captain Edward Irvin of Company K was wounded in the head when he led the regiment in a successful charge up the steep ridge. The position was taken at the cost of some 60 men. Captain Edward A. Irvin of Company K would be promoted to lieutenant colonel for his bravery.
Colonel McNeil was mortally wounded on the evening of September 16 leading the regiment in heavy skirmishing after crossing Antietam Creek. Captain Dennis McGee took command of the regiment when Colonel McNeil fell. Less than 200 men could be mustered by the end of the evening on the 16th. Three dozen more would be killed or wounded on the 17th.
There are two War Department markers for Seymour’s Brigade on the Antietam battlefield. The first marker is on Mansfield Avenue at Smoketown Road. From the marker:
Seymour’s Briade of Meade’s Division, after its engagement with the enemy of September 16, 1862, bivouacked on either side of the road at this point , with pickets thrown forward in the east woods.
The second marker is on Smoketown Road. From the marker:
Seymour’s Brigade became engaged at daybreak, and advanced on either side of this road into the East Woods, where it became heavily engaged with the enemy.
At the western edge of the East Woods its advance was checked by the enemy, and its ammunition having been exhausted, it was relieved about 7 A. M. by Ricketts’ Division, and withdrawn to the ridge in the rear of Joseph Poffenberger’s.
|September-October||Duty in Maryland|
|October 30-November 19||Movement to Falmouth, Va.|
|January 20-24||“Mud March”|
|February 6||Ordered to Washington, D.C. to rest and refit. Duty there and at Alexandria attached to 1st Brigade, Pennsylvania Reserve Division, 22nd Corps, Dept. of Washington|
|March 1||Captain Charles Taylor of Company H was promoted to colonel and Captain Alanson Niles of Company E to major.|
|May 15||Major Niles was promoted to lieutenant colonel to replace Lieutenant Colonel Edward Irvin, who had resigned due to his wound from South Mountain.|
|June 25||Ordered to join Army of the Potomac in the field attached to 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 5th Army Corps|
The regiment was commanded by Colonel Charles F. Taylor until he was killed on July 2nd. Lieutenant Colonel Niles was wounded, and Major William R. Hartshorn took command.
July 2nd in the evening charged from the hill in rear to this position and held it until the afternoon of July 3rd when the Brigade advanced through the woods to the front and left driving the enemy and capturing many prisoners.
Present at Gettysburg 30 officers and 319 men. Killed and died of wounds 2 officers and 9 men. Wounded 8 officers and 27 men. Captured or missing 2 men.
|July 5-24||Pursuit of Lee|
|August-October||Duty on the Rapidan|
|October 9-22||Bristoe Campaign|
|November 7-8||Advance to line of the Rappahannock|
|November 7||Rappahannock Station|
|November 26-December 2||Mine Run Campaign|
|December||Guard Orange & Alexandria Railroad|
|March 28||Lieutenant Colonel Niles resigned.|
|May 4-31||Rapidan Campaign|
|May 8||Laurel Hill|
|May 12||Assault on the Salient|
|May 23-26||North Anna River|
|May 25||Jericho Ford|
|May 26-28||On line of the Pamunkey|
|June 1||Veteran volunteers and Recruits transferred to 190th Pennsylvania Infantry|
|June 11||Mustered out, end of term, under the command of Major Hartshorn.|