United States Regiments & Batteries > Pennsylvania > Infantry

The 56th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment served from October of 1861 until July of 1865 in the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War. It lost 7 officers and 111 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded and 1 officer and 96 enlisted men to disease during the Civil War. It is honored by a monument at Gettysburg.

Fall Recruited in the counties of Centre, Indiana, Luzerne, Philadelphia, Susquehanna and Wayne and organized at Camp Curtin, Harrisburg
September 1 Sullivan A. Meredith, formerly colonel of the 10th Pennsylvania Infantry, was appointed colonel
September J. William Hofmann was appointed lieutenant colonel and Thomas S. Martin major
October 16 Mustered in
March 8 Left State for Washington, D.C. with only eight and one half companies complete. Duty at Fort Albany attached to Defenses of Washington.
April 4 At Budd’s Ferry on the lower Potomac
April 24 At Aquia Creek Landing
May 10 Five Companies moved to Belle Plains
May 21-27 Guard railroad bridge at Potomac Creek. Attached to Doubleday’s Brigade, Dept. of the Rappahannock
June Guard duty near Fredericksburg. Attached to 2nd Brigade, 3rd Division, 3rd Corps, Army of Virginia
August 16-September 2 Pope’s Campaign in Northern Virginia
August 28
Battle of Gainesville
August 29
Groveton (Brawner’s Farm)
August 30
Second Battle of Bull Run (Manassas)

Colonel Meredith was badly wounded. Lieutenant Colonel John W. Hofmann took command of the regiment.

September 6-24 Maryland Campaign. Attached to 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 1st Army Corps, Army of the Potomac
September 14
Battle of South Mountain

The Regiment fought at Turner’s Gap. It was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel John W. Hofmann until he took over command of the brigade from the wounded Colonel William Pratt. Captain Frederick Williams then took command.

September 16-17
Battle of Antietam

The regiment was held in reserve north of Poffenberger’s Farm to support the First Corps Artillery.

From the brigade marker on the Antietam battlefield:

Hofmann’s Brigade was held in support of the Corps Artillery.
About noon it was moved to the left in support of the Artillery of the First and Second Corps.
In the afternoon it was returned to the right where it remained until the close of the battle.

September-October Duty on the battlefield of Antietam
October 20-30 At Bakersville, except Co. “A” at Fairfax
October 30-November 19 Movement to Falmouth, Va.
November 2-3 Union, Va.
November 29 Colonel Meredith was promoted to brigadier general. He had not recovered from his wound at Second Bull Run and would not return to field command.
December 12-15
Battle of Fredericksburg
January 20-24

Burnside’s 2nd Campaign, “Mud March”

February – April At Falmouth and Belle Plains
April 27-May 6

Chancellorsville Campaign

April 29-May 2 Operations at Pollock’s Mill Creek
April 29-30 Fitzhugh’s Crossing
May 2-5
Battle of Chancellorsville
June 9
Battle of Brandy Station

Commanded by Colonel John William Hofmann, the regiment was temporarily attached to a composite infantry brigade supporting the Cavalry Corps.

June 11-July 24

Gettysburg Campaign

July 1-3
Battle of Gettysburg

The 56th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment was commanded by Colonel John W. Hoffmann. The official casualty figures differ slightly from those on the monument, with 14 killed, 61 wounded, and 55 missing.

From the monument at Gettysburg:

The Regiment here delivered the opening fire of the infantry in the Battle of Gettysburg in the forenoon of July 1st, 1863. July 2nd and 3rd, occupied position on Culp’s Hill as indicated by stone marker.

Went into action with 252 officers and men. Killed and died of wounds 17 Wounded 58 Captured or missing 55 Total 130

July 5-24 Pursuit of Lee
August-October Duty on line of the Rappahannock
October 9-22

Bristoe Campaign

November 7-8 Advance to line of the Rappahannock
November 26-December 2

Mine Run Campaign

February 6-7 Demonstration on the Rapidan
March 10-April 17 On Veteran furlough
May 4-June 12 Rapidan Campaign. Attached to 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, 5th Array Corps, Army Potomac
May 5-7
Battle of the Wilderness
May 8-21
Battle of Spottsylvania Court House
May 8
Laurel Hill
May 12
Assault on the Salient
May 23-26
North Anna River
May 25 Jericho Ford
May 28-31
June 1-12
Battle of Cold Harbor
June 1-3 Bethesda Church
June 16-18 Before Petersburg; Siege of Petersburg begins
July 30 Mine Explosion, Petersburg (Reserve)
August 18-21 Weldon Railroad
September 29-October 2 Poplar Springs Church. Attached to 3rd Brigade, 3rd Division, 5th Army Corps
October 27-28 Boydton Plank Road, Hatcher’s Run
December 7-12 Warren’s Raid on Weldon Railroad
February 5-7 Battle of Dabney’s Mills, or Hatcher’s Run
March 28-April 9

Appomattox Campaign

March 29 Lewis Farm near Gravelly Run
March 31 Boydton and White Oak Road
April 1
Battle of Five Forks
April 2
Fall of Petersburg
April 9
Appomattox Court House

Surrender of Lee and his army.

May 2-12 March to Washington, D.C.
May 23 Grand Review
July 1 The 56th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment was mustered out at Philadelphia, Pa.