United States Regiments & Batteries > Pennsylvania > Infantry


The 48th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment lost 11 officers and 145 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded and 3 officers and 142 enlisted men to disease during the Civil War.

It is honored by a monument at Antietam. There are three monuments to the 48th Pennsylvania at Petersburg, Virginia, including the main 48th Pennsylvania monumentEntrance to Mines, and Crater of Mines.

1861
September Organized at Harrisburg under Colonel James Nagle, Lieutenant Colonel David Smith and Major Joshua Sigfried
September 24-25 Ordered to Washington via the Northern Central Railroad, but redirected at Baltimore to proceed to Fortress Monroe, Va. on the steamer Georgia
September 26 Landed at Fortress Monroe
November 11 Sailed for Fort Clarke, Hatteras Inlet, on steamer S. R. Spaulding
November 30 Lt. Colonel Smith resigned. Major Sigfried was promoted to lieutenant colonel and Captain David Nagle of Company D to major
1862
March 14 Companies A, B, C, D, H and I at New Berne, N. C., attached to 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, Dept. North Carolina

May 23 The regiment was reunited at New Berne and attached to Williams Brigade, Burnside’s North Carolina Expedition. The Harpers Ferry rifle-muskets originally issued were replaced by Enfield rifles
July 6-8 Moved to Fortress Monroe
July 26 Major David Nagle resigned. Captain Kaufman of Company A appointed acting major
August 2-4 Left Newport News for Aquia Creek and moved by rail to Fredericksburg
August 12 Lieutenant George Gressang drowned in the sinking of the West Point
August 13 Joined Pope at Culpeper, Va.
August 16-September 2 Pope’s Campaign in Northern Virginia
August 29
Battle of Groveton

Captain H. A. M. Filbert and six other men were killed, 61 were wounded, and 74 missing

August 30 Bull Run
September 1
Chantilly

The regiment had two men slightly wounded

September 6-24 Maryland Campaign. Attached to 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 9th Army Corps, Army Potomac
September 10 Colonel Nagle was promoted to brigadier general
September 13 Reached Middletown, having marched from Washington via Leesboro and Frederick
September 14
Battle of South Mountain

The regiment fought at Fox’s Gap, firing off all its ammunition while positioned behind a rail fence which limited its casualties to 11 men wounded and 1 missing.

September 16-17
Battle of Antietam

The regiment was engaged at Burnside’s Bridge and on the slopes below the town. It lost Lieutenant William Cullen and 7 other men killed, 51 men wounded and 1 missing.

From the War Department marker at Burnside’s Bridge on the Antietam battlefield:

At daylight of the 17th Nagle’s Brigade was about a half mile northeast of this point. It moved to the south and, at 10 A.M., was formed for assault on the bridge. The 2nd Maryland took position in the old lane 110 yards southeast of this point, and the remainder of the Brigade under cover of the hill and in rear of the 2nd Maryland. At 11 A.M. the 2nd Maryland, closely followed by the 6th New Hampshire, both moving by the flank, charged down the hill under a heavy fire of artillery and musketry. They passed through the opening in the fence at this point and reached within 250 feet of the bridge, when their advance was checked. Many of the men took shelter behind the fences and trees bordering the stream, and supported Ferrero’s Brigade in its successful assault. The Brigade then crossed the bridge, filed to the left, and occupied the high ground beyond. Late in the day it moved forward and co-operated in checking the advance of the right of A.P. Hill’s Division.

From the War Department marker along Branch Avenue on the Antietam battlefield:

The Brigade assisted in carrying the Burnside Bridge, and crossed it soon after 1 P.M. After the repulse of the three Divisions of Willcox, Scammon and Rodman later in the day Ferrero’s and Nagle’s Brigades advanced to the crest of the ridge about 420 yards east of this to check Confederate pursuit. The 48th Pennsylvania supported and relieved the 51st Pennsylvania, engaging the Confederates posted on this line and behind the stone walls right and left of this point. The engagement continued into the night, and the Regiment and Brigade bivouacked on the ground on which they had fought.

September 20 Lieutenant Colonel Sigfried was promoted to colonel, Captain Henry Pleasants to lieutenant colonel and Captain James Wren of Company H to major
October 7 To Pleasant Valley, Md.
October 27-
November 17
Crossed the Potomac at Berlin and moved to Falmouth, Va.
November 10 Corbin’s Cross Roads, near Amissville
December 12-15 Battle of Fredericksburg
December-March On Veteran furlough
1863
January 20-24 Burnside’s second Campaign
February Duty at Falmouth
February 11 To Newport News
March 26-April 1 Moved to Baltimore on the steamer John A. Warner, then by rail to Covington, Ky. and assigned to Army of the Ohio
April-September Provost and guard duty at Lexington, Ky.
May 20 Major Wren resigns
June Attached to 1st Division, 23rd Army Corps. Army Ohio
July 28 Captain Joseph Gilmour of Company H promoted to major
October 4 At Knoxville, Tenn. Attached to 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 9th Army Corps, Army Ohio, with Colonel Sigfried in command of the brigade, Lt. Colonel Pleasants on General Hartsuff’s staff, and Major Gilmour in command of the regiment.
October 10 Blue Springs, Tenn.
November 4-December 23 Knoxville Campaign
November 16 Campbell’s Station
November 17-December 5 Siege of Knoxville
December 5-29 Pursuit of Longstreet
December 7 Regiment reenlisted at Blain’s Cross Roads
1864
March 14 Left Pottsville, Pa.
March-April At Annapolis, Md., assigned to Army of the Potomac. The regiment received Springfield rifles to replace its Enfields
April 23 Left Annapolis
April 25 Review before the President in Washington
May 4-June 12 Rapidan Campaign
May 5-7
Battle of the Wilderness
May 8-21
Battle of Spotsylvania Court House
May 12 Assault on the Salient

Lieutenant Henry Jackson was killed. The regiment had lost 187 casualties since the 5th

May 21 Stannard’s Mills
May 23-26 North Anna River
May 26-28 Line of the Pamunkey
May 28-31
Totopotomoy

Lieutenant S. B. Laubenstine was killed, and Major Gilmour and Lieutenant William Hume were mortally wounded, all hit by sharpshooters

June 1-12
Battle of Cold Harbor

The regiment lost 75 casualties

June 1-3 Bethesda Church
June 16-18
Assault on Petersburg

A surprise assault at dawn on the 17th by the brigade captured 600 prisoners and four guns. The regiment lost 75 casualties , including Lieutenant Curtis Pollock, who was mortally wounded.

Corporal Patrick Monaghan of Company F earned the Medal of Honor for recapturing the colors of the 7th New York Heavy Artillery, and Private Robert Reid of Company G earned the Medal of Honor for capturing the colors of the 44th Tennessee Infantry Regiment (C.S.A.)

June 18 Siege of Petersburg begins
June 22-23 Jerusalem Plank Road
June 25 Captain Benjamin Schuck was mortally wounded

Lt. Colonel Pleasants proposed laying a mine underneath the Confederate lines, which was accepted by high command. According to Pleasants’ official report,

“It was commenced at twelve M., the 25th of June, 1864, without tools, lumber, or any of the materials requisite for such a work. The mining picks were made out of those used by our pioneers; plank I obtained, at first by tearing down a rebel bridge and afterwards by sending to a, saw-mill five or six miles distant, and the material excavated was carried out in hand-barrows, constructed of cracker boxes. The work progressed rapidly until the 2d of July, when it reached extremely wet ground. The timbers gave way, and the roof and the floor of the mine nearly met. I retimbered it and started again. From this point I had to excavate a stratum of marl, the consistency of which was like putty, and which caused our progress to be necessarily slow. To avoid this, I started an inclined plane, and in about one hundred feet rose thirteen and one-half feet, perpendicular. On the17th of July the main gallery was completed, being five hundred and ten and eight-tenths feet in length. The enemy having obtained information of the mine, and ‘having commenced searching for it, I was ordered to stop operations, which were, however, re-commenced on the 18th of July, by starting the left lateral gallery.

…The mine was excavated by the enlisted men of the Forty-eighth Pennsylvania Regiment. As the excavation progressed the number required to carry out the earth increased, until, at last, it took nearly every enlisted man in the regiment, which consisted of nearly four hundred effective men. The whole amount of material excavated was eighteen thousand (18,000) cubic feet. The great difficulty to surmount was to obtain the exact distance from the entrance of the mine to the enemy’s works, and the course of these works. This was accomplished by making five separate triangulations with a the odolite and taking their mean. The triangulations were made in our most advanced line of works, and within one hundred and thirty three yards of the enemy’s line of sharp-shooters.

Having received the order to charge our mine on the 27th of July, I commenced putting in the powder at four P. M., and finished at ten P. M. The charge consisted of three hundred and twenty kegs of powder, each containing about twenty-five pounds, [four tons.] It was placed in eight magazines, connected together by wooden tubes half filled with powder. These tubes met from the lateral galleries at the inner end of the main gallery, and from this point I placed three lines of fuses for a distance of ninety-eight feet. Not having fuses as long as required, two pieces had to be spliced together to make the requisite length of each of the lines. The tamping was begun at ten P. M., July 27th, and completed at six P. M., July 28th; thirty-four feet of main gallery was tamped, and ten feet of the entrance of each of the lateral galleries, but the space between the magazines was left clear of tamping. I received orders from corps headquarters, on the 29th of July, to fire the mine at half past three A.M., July 30th. I lighted the fuse at a quarter past three A.M., and having waited until a quarter past four without any explosion having taken place, an officer and a sergeant (Lieutenant Jacob Douty, company K, and Sergeant Henry Rees, company F) of the Forty-eighth Pennsylvania Regiment, volunteered to go in and examine into the cause of the delay. It was found that the fire had stopped where the fuses were spliced. They were re-lighted, and at sixteen minutes of five A. M., the powder exploded.

The size of the crater formed by the explosion was at least two hundred (200) feet long, fifty (50) feet wide, and twenty-five (25) feet deep. I stood on top of our breastworks and witnessed the effect of the explosion on the enemy. It so completely paralyzed him, that the breadth of the breach, instead of being only two hundred feet, was practically four or five hundred yards. The rebels in the forts, both on the right and left of the explosion ran away, and for over an hour, as well as I could judge, not a shot was fired by their artillery. There was no fire from infantry from the front for at least half an hour; none from the left for twenty minutes, and but few shots from the right.”

The regiment did not participate in the following battle. The battle was a disaster but the miine was a great success, and the regiment and Lt. Colonel Pleasants were praised by General Meade.

See more about digging the mine.

July 23 Captain O. C. Bosbyshell of Company G promoted to major
July 30 Mine Explosion, Petersburg
August 18-21 Weldon Railroad
September 29-

October 2

Poplar Springs Church

The regiment lost 2 killed, 7 wounded and 47 prisoners

October 1 Major Bosbyshell mustered out at the expiration of his term of service
October 11 Colonel Sigfried mustered out at the expiration of his term of service
October 27-28 Boydton Plank Road, Hatcher’s Run
December 18 Lt. Colonel Pleasants mustered out at the expiration of his term of service
December 20 Captain George Gowen of Company C promoted to lieutenant colonel and Captain Isaac Brannon to major
1865
March 1 Lt. Colonel Gowen promoted to colonel and Major Brannon to lieutenant colonel
April 2
Assault on and fall of Petersburg

Colonel Gowen and 9 other men were killed, Lieutenant Thomas Sillyman and 56 other men were wounded and 24 missing in the assault on Fort Mahone.

Surgeon William R. D. Blackwood earned the Medal of Honor when he “removed severely wounded officers and soldiers from the field while under a heavy fire from the enemy, exposing himself beyond the call of duty, thus furnishing an example of most distinguished gallantry.”

April 3 Occupation of Petersburg
April 3-9 March to Farmville
April 20-24 Moved to Petersburg and City Point
April 26-28 To Alexandria
May 11 Lt. Colonel Brannon promoted to colonel and Captain Richard Jones of Company G to major
May 23 Grand Review
June Duty at Washington and Alexandria
June 3 Major Jones promoted to lieutenant colonel
June 21 Quarter Master Jacob Wagner promoted to major
July 17 Mustered out under Colonel Brannon, Lt. Colonel Jones, and Major Wagner