United States Regiments & Batteries > Pennsylvania > Infantry


The 54th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment lost 5 officers and 108 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded and 2 officers and 137 enlisted men to disease during the Civil War. It is honored by a monument on the New Market, Virginia battlefield.

1861
August – September Organized at Harrisburg
October Duty at Camp Curtin
1862
February 27 Left State for Washington, D.C.,
March Attached to Defenses of Washington
March 29 Ordered to Harper’s Ferry, W. Va. and attached to Railroad Brigade, Middle Dept. Assigned to guard duty along line of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad by Detachments:

Company A at South Branch Bridge
Company B at Paw Paw
Company C at Great Cacapon Bridge
Company D at Alpine Station
Company E at No. 12 Water Station
Company F at Sleepy Creek Bridge
Company G at Back Creek Bridge
Company H at Rockwell’s Run
Company I at Sir John’s Run and
Company K at Little Cacapon Bridge

July Assigned to Railroad Brigade, 8th Corps, Middle Dept.
September Assigned to Defenses Upper Potomac, 8th Corps
September 11 Skirmish at Back Creek Bridge – Co. G
September 12 Skirmish at North Mountain – Cos. D and G
September 21 Skirmish at Back Creek Bridge – Co. G
October 2 Skirmish at Hanging Rock, Blue’s Gap
October 4 Skirmish at Little Cacapon – Co. K and Paw Paw Co. B
1863
January 6 Moved to Romney
March Attached to 4th Brigade, 1st Division, 8th Corps
April 6-7 Purgetsville and Going’s Ford
April-June Duty at Romney
June 30 Moved to New Creek, attached to Campbell’s Brigade, Dept. West Virginia
July 6-19 Pursuit of Lee
July 10 and 19 Skirmishes with enemy. Return to Romney.
August 1-5 March to relief of Mulligan at Petersburg, W. Va.
November 7 Duty at Petersburg, W. Va.
December Attached to 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, Dept. West Virginia
1864
January Moved to Springfield, then to Cumberland, Md.
January 26-February 7 Operations in Hampshire and Hardy Counties
February Patterson Creek – Co. F
April 1 Fremont’s Ford
April 10 Little Cacapon – Co. K
April 30-May 16 Sigel’s Expedition from Martinsburg to New Market. Attached to 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, West Virginia
May 15
Battle of New Market

From the wayside marker next to the regimental monument:

The Bloody Cedars

— 1864 Valley Campaign —

As the Battle of New Market unfolded on May 15, 1864, Confederate troops under Gen. John C. Breckinridge heavily assaulted the left flank of Union Gen. Franz Sigel’s army. Sigel counterattacked with Gen. Julius Stahel’s cavalry, which charged down the Valley Turnpike (present-day U.S. Route 11). The Confederates repulsed the attack, and Stahel’s men fell back in disorder, leaving the 54th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment to anchor the Union left flank on the field in front of you.

Sigel then ordered his infantry to launch another attack. The 1st West Virginia Infantry (posted to the right of the 54th Pennsylvania) was the first to advance. “I ordered the 54th also to charge,” wrote its commander, Col. Jacob Campbell, “which was done with alacrity and spirit.” Under heavy fire, the West Virginians retreated unexpectedly. The men of the 54th Pennsylvania, now alone, came over the crest of this cedar-covered hill and were shocked by the number of Confederates waiting in a ravine to the south.

The heavy Confederate infantry fire cut deeply into the ranks of the unsupported Union troops. Campbell had no choice but to retreat to save his command, and his men made two defensive stands among the grove of cedar trees here as they retreated. Of the regiment’s 566 soldiers, 32 were killed, 100 wounded, and 42 captured, totaling a loss of more than 30 percent of the unit. The 54th suffered the second-highest regimental loss at the Battle of New Market. They christened this part of the battlefield “The Bloody Cedars.”

May 26-July 1 Hunter’s Expedition to Lynchburg
June 5 Piedmont, Mount Crawford
June 6 Occupation of Staunton. Attached to 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, West Virginia
June 10 Middlebrook and Brownsburg
June 11 Lexington
June 16 Otter Creek, near Liberty
June 17 Diamond Hill
June 17-18 Lynchburg
June 20 Buford’s Gap
June 21 At and near Salem
July 1-14 Movement to the Valley. Attached to 2nd Brigade, 3rd Division, West Virginia
July 14 Reached Martinsburg. Attached to 3rd Brigade. 1st Division, West Virginia
July 17-18 Snicker’s Gap
July 24 Winchester and Kernstown
July 25 Martinsburg
August to December Sheridan’s Shenandoah Valley Campaign
August At Halltown
September 3 Berryville
September 19 Third Battle of Winchester (Opequan)
September 22
Battle of Fisher’s Hill
October 13 Cedar Creek
October 19
Battle of Cedar Creek

Commanded by Captain John Suter.

December 19-20 Moved to Washington, D.C.
December 20-23 To City Point, Va., and Bermuda Hundred, Va. and attached to 2nd Brigade, Independent Division, 24th Army Corps, Army of the James
December Siege operations against Petersburg and Richmond
1865
March 28-April 9 Appomattox Campaign
March 29-April 1 Battle of Hatcher’s Run
April 2 Fall of Petersburg
April 3-9 Pursuit of Lee
April 9 Rice’s Station. Regiment captured. Sent to Parole Camp, Annapolis, Md.
July 15 Mustered out at Harrisburg, Pa.