“Baxter’s Fire Zouaves”
“Philadelphia Fire Zouaves”
The 72nd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment lost 11 officers and 182 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded and 2 officers and 69 enlisted men to disease during the Civil War. It is honored with the Philadelphia Brigade on a monument at Antietam, and by two monuments at Gettysburg.
|August 3-10||Organized at Philadelphia as the Third California Volunteer Infantry Regiment by Colonel Edward D. Baker, powerful congressman and close friend and associate of President Lincoln. Although raised in Philadelphia, the regiment was one of four which Baker wanted to credit to the state of California so the state would be represented in the Federal army. The field officers were Colonel DeWitt C. Baxter, Lieutenant Colonel Theodore Hesser and Major James M DeWitt. Unlike most Union infantry regiments, the regiment was formed with 15 companies, a total of 1,487 men.|
|August||Moved to Washington, D.C. at Munson’s Hill|
|September 30||Moved to Poolesville, Md. and duty on the Upper Potomac. Attached to Baker’s Brigade, Stone’s (Sedgwick’s) Division, Army Potomac|
|October||With the death of Colonel Baker at Ball’s Bluff, the State of Pennsylvania reclaimed the four regiments of the California Brigade. They were renamed the “Philadelphia Brigade,” the only brigade in the Federal army to carry the name of a city, and were given Pennsylvania numbers.|
|February||At Harper’s Ferry||
|March 24-April 1||Moved to the Virginia Peninsula, attached to 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, 2nd Army Corps, Army Potomac|
|April 5-May 4||Siege of Yorktown. Picket and fatigue duty in the trenches. Many men were disabled and some died from the wet weather and unhealthy camp.|
|May 7||Moved via transports up the York River to West Point|
|May 8-30||At Tyler’s Farm|
|May 31-June 1||
Battle of Fair Oaks (Seven Pines)
The regiment lost 5 men killed and 4 badly wounded.
|June 2-28||At Fair Oaks|
|June 8||Near Fair Oaks|
|June 15||Seven Pines|
|June 19||Fair Oaks|
|June 25-July 1||Seven days before Richmond|
Battles of Peach Orchard and Savage Station
Captain Charles McGonigle and 14 other men were killed turning back a Confederate attack in support of a battery.
|June 30||Charles City Cross Roads and Glendale|
In line and under fire but nor engaged.
|July-August||At Harrison’s Landing|
|July 19||Major James DeWitt dismissed|
|July 28||Captain Samuel Roberts of Company A promoted to major|
|August 16-28||Movement to Newport News, then to Alexandria|
|August 28-30||To Centreville and Chantilly|
|August 31-September 1||Cover Pope’s retreat|
|September 6-24||Maryland Campaign|
Commanded by Colonel DeWitt C. Baxter, the regiment lost 38 killed, 163 wounded and 36 missing in a few moments time when it was attacked in the flank in the desperate fighting in the West Woods. It was the third highest losses of any Union regiment at Antietam. Captain Peter Willitts, Lieutenant Adolphus W. Peabody were killed, Captain Edward Roussel and Lieutenant Robert Parks were mortally wounded and Captain Isaac McBride wa wounded.
From the War Department marker for the brigade on the Antietam battlefield at the west edge of Philadelphia Brigade Park:
Howard’s Brigade, following Gorman and Dana in their attack, passed through the East Woods, crossed the Cornfield and the Hagerstown Pike and reached the edge of the West Woods, where its advance was checked about 90 yards east of this point.
Its left flank having been attacked and turned by McLaws’ and Walker’s Divisions, it was forced to retire to the fields north of D.R. Miller’s, where it was reformed and placed in position in support of a part of the Artillery of the First and Twelfth Coprs and of Sedgewick’s Division of the Second Corps.
|September 22||Moved to Harper’s Ferry|
|October 16-17||Reconnaissance to Charlestown|
|October 30-November 20||Movement to Falmouth, Va.|
|December 12-15||Battle of Fredericksburg
The regiment lost five killed and a large number wounded
|January 20-24||Burnside’s second Campaign, “Mud March”|
|February 25||Hartwood Church|
|March 27||Captain Francis McBride discharged due to wounds|
|April 27-May 6||Chancellorsville Campaign|
|May 1 and 4||Banks Ford|
|June 13-July 24||Gettysburg Campaign|
The regiment was commanded by Colonel Dewit Clinton Baxter until he was wounded on July 3. Lieutenant Colonel Theodore Hesser then took over.
From the main monument:
July 2nd 1863. The Regiment reached this angle at 1 a.m. Took position in rear of this monument. Supported Cushing’s Battery A, 4th U.S. Artillery. At 6 p.m. assisted in repulsing an attack of the enemy and in making a counter-charge, driving them beyond the Emmitsburg Road and capturing 250 prisoners.
July 3, 1863. The Regiment assisted in repulsing the charge of the enemy on the Angle at 3 p.m. and in capturing many standards and prisoners.
During the cannonading which preceded the charge the regiment was in line 60 yards to the left and rear of this monument when the rebels forced the troops from the first line the 72nd fought its way to the front and occupied the wall.
Present at Gettysburg 498, killed and mortally wounded 62, wounded 133, missing 2. Total of killed wounded and missing 197.
From the secondary monument:
The ground of the last assault. The Philadelphia Brigade, Gen. Alexander Webb held this angle July 2 and 3 1863. Casualties in the battle 495.
The 72d Penn. Vol’s. Philadelphia Fire Zouaves, Colonel D. W. C. Baxter, lost 10 officers and 182 men out of 473 present for duty. The regiment erects this tribute to the memory of their fallen comrades.
Captains James J. Griffith and Andrew McBride and Lieutenant Sutton Jones were killed, and Lieutenant B. M. Heulings was wounded
|July 5-24||Pursuit of Lee. Colonel Baxter took command of the brigade, leaving Lieutenant Colonel Hesser in command of the regiment.|
|August-October||At Banks Ford and Culpeper|
|September 13-17||Advance from the Rappahannock to the Rapidan|
|October 9-22||Bristoe Campaign|
Lieutenant Michael Coste killed
|October 22||Major Roberts discharged|
|November 7-8||Advance to line of the Rappahannock|
|November 26-December 2||Mine Run Campaign|
Robertson’s Tavern or Locust Grove
Lieutenant Colonel Thedore Hesser was killed leading the regiment, which was deployed as skirmishers.
|December-May||Duty on the Rapidan|
|December 20||Captain Henry A. Cook of Company I promoted to lieutenant colonel|
|February 6-7||Demonstration on the Rapidan|
|May 4-June 12||Rapidan Campaign|
Captain Richard Shreve and three other men were killed
Lieutenant Philip Grey captured and five men were killed
|May 8||Laurel Hill|
|May 12-21||Po River|
|May 12||Assault on the Salient|
|May 23-26||North Anna River|
|May 26-28||On line of the Pamunkey|
The regiment lost six killed and a large number wounded or captured
|June 16-18||Before Petersburg; Siege of Petersburg begins. Attached to 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, 2nd Army Corps|
Jerusalem Plank Road
Lieutenant Jacob Glenn and five other men were killed, Captain Frederick A. Myers was wounded and Captain Edward B. Whitaker captured
|July 27-29||Demonstration north of the James at Deep Bottom|
|July 27-28||Deep Bottom|
|July 27||Captain Andrew C. Supplee died of disease at Philadelphia|
|July 30||Mine Explosion, Petersburg (Reserve)|
|August||Left the front for Philadelphia to muster out. Veterans and recruits transferred to 183rd Pennsylvania Infantry|
|August 24||Mustered out at Philadelphia under Colonel Baxter and Lieutenant Colonel Cook.|