United States Regiments & Batteries > Pennsylvania > Infantry

The 82nd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment lost 5 officers and 106 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded and 67 enlisted men to disease during the Civil War. It is honored by a monument at Gettysburg.

August Recruited directly under the orders of the War Department and organized at Philadelphia as the 31st Regiment Volunteers. It was under the command of Colonel David H. Williams, Lieutenant Colonel Frank Vallee and Major John M. Whetherill. The regiment was armed with smoothbore muskets for the line companies and poor quality Belgian rifles for the flank companies, which were replaced as soon as possible with Enfield rifle muskets.
October Because of the danger to Washington the first four companies that were formed were ordered to Washington, D.C. The remaining companies followed as soon as they were organized. Attached to Graham’s Brigade, Buell’s (Couch’s) Division, Army of the Potomac for duty in the Defenses of Washington, D.C. The regiment made camp on Queen’s Farm near Blandensburg.
March Attached to 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 4th Army Corps, Army Potomac
March 10-15 Advance on Manassas, Virginia. Finding the enemy’s camps abandoned, the regiment returned to its original camp outside Washington.
March 26 Marched to Alexandria and boarded the Steamship Daniel Webster along with the 67th New York Infantry to be transported to Fortress Monroe on the Virginia Peninsula.
April 5-May 4
Siege of Yorktown

The regiment was assigned a potion of the siege line on the left of the Williamsburg Road, two miles in front of the ruined town of Hampton, then to the area around Lee’s Mills on the Warwick River.

May 5
Battle of Williamsburg

The regiment did not arrive in time to take part in the battle.

May 20-23 Operations about Bottom’s Bridge. Crossed the Chickahominy River on May 22 and camped behind Casey’s Division. The regiment was ordered to construct earthworks from Savage Station to White Oak Swamp
May 29 Advanced to reinforce Casey’s Division near Seven Pines.
May 31-June 1
Battle of Fair Oaks (Seven Pines)

Around mid-day the sound of intense firing from the skirmish line gave warning of an attack and the regiment formed line of battle along Nine Mile Road. Its left met the 67th New York at Fair Oaks Station; the 61st Pennsylvania was on the right. Casey’s Division on the left was overrun, and Couch’s Division fell back a half mile to form a new line along the road to Grape Vine Bridge. Colonel Williams had ordered Company A out as skirmishers but had not notified them of the regiment’s withdrawal, with the result they were almost surrounded. Major Wetherall finally reminded the colonel of the missing company.

When General Sumner’s Corps arrived the regiment was repositioned to a line with its left on the Grape Vine Bridge Road and the 65th New York and Kirby’s Battery. Confederate attacks developed from two directions and the regiment became involved in a heavy fire but held their position until nightfall. Colonel Williams was chastised by General Couch for leaving the prescribed position of a regimental commander to lie behind a tree stump at the extreme right of the regimental line. This was one of several incidents leading to the colonel’s court martial in August.

The next morning the division advanced to its previous position without opposition, although fighting could be heard to the left. It remained behind the breastwork of logs for more than a week. The regiment lost 8 men killed and 24 wounded.

July 10 The division was sent to the left of Savage Station, to the rear of the front line. The left flank was protected by an impenetrable swamp.
June 22 Colonel Williams failed to properly post his pickets, leaving a large gap with the neighboring unit which was entered by Confederate skirmishers. Colonel Williams “became so frightened as to give several orders countermanding each other, and was so confused as to be unfit for duty.”*

*From Tarnished Eagles, The Courts-Martial of Fifty Union Colonels and Lieutenant Colonels, Thomas P. Lowry, M.D., pp. 186-188

June 25-July 1
Seven days before Richmond
June 26 In the evening the brigade was moved to the right opposite Gaines’ Mill.
June 27 Just before daybreak the brigade was ordered to return. It marched past Savage Station and across White Oak Swamp, halting at noon near Charles City Cross Roads. There were skirmishes with Confederate cavalry for the remainder of the day.
June 29
Savage Station

At nightfall the brigade resumed the march, which would go on through the night.

June 30
White Oak Swamp

The regiment reached the James in the late morning. In the early afternoon cannon fire warned of the approaching Confederates, and the regiment was moved forward about a mile and positioned on Malvern Hill, with Couch’s Division massed on the left of Porter’s Corps.

July 1
Malvern Hill

The regiment moved a quarter of a mile to the right and took position behind a rail fence. Heavy shelling caused some loss. In the early afternoon it advanced across a plowed field under heavy artillery fire and took position on the front line in front of the Union batteries. The 55th New York was on its right at a right angle, and the 61st Pennsylvania on the left. A company was sent forward down the hill as skirmishers.

the regiment defended this position until darkness began to fall, when the Confederate fire died out. The regiment withdrew up the hill and at midnight jinxed the retreat to Harrison’s Landing, having suffered heavy loss.  Lieutenants James B. Grier and Mark H. Roberts were among the killed.

July At Harrison’s Landing. Attached to 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, 4th Army Corps
August 5-7
Reconnaissance to Malvern Hill

When the force retired from Malvern Hill four companies of the regiment under the command of Major Wetherill failed to receive the order and were left behind. When Major Wehtherill realized they had been abandoned he contacted General Pleasonton, commanding the cavalry rearguard, and was ordered to fall back. He did so in good order and without loss despite being threatened by Confederate cavalry .

August 10 Colonel Williams was court-martialed for cowardice. Amazingly, he was acquitted. The colonels actions were found to be true, but not criminal, and blame was instead placed on the poor discipline of the regiment, who had openly called the colonel a “damned coward” and “stumpy” without being checked by their officers. Reviewing Officer and Corps commander Major General Erasmus Keyes endorsed the findings, and the colonel returned to duty.
August 16-30 Marched to Yorktown, then moved by ship to Alexandria, then marched to Chantilly.
September 1
Battle of Chantilly

The regiment was not engaged.

September 6-24 Maryland Campaign.
September 14 Marched to Burkettsville
September 15 Moved through Crampton’s Gap to Pleasant Valley and faced McLaws’ Confederate Division, which was covering Harpers Ferry.
September 17
Battle of Antietam

Commanded by Colonel David H. Williams, the regiment was in Pleasant Valley. It marched to the Potomac near Harpers Ferry then countermarched and joined the army on the Antietam battlefield after the fighting had ended..

September 18 The brigade went forward to in front of the Dunker Church, still held by the Confederates, to relieve regiments on the front line. It lost six men wounded throughout the day by sharpshooters hidden in the tree tops. That night the enemy retreated.
September 19 The regiment advanced in the morning to Sharpsburg, taking several prisoners and capturing one piece of artillery.
September 20 Returned from Sharpsburg, crossed the battlefield and marched to Williamsport, where it skirmished with Confederate cavalry that was attempting to cross there.
September 22 Went into camp near Downsville. Couch’s Division was attached to the Sixth Corps.  Duty in Maryland and along the Potomac. Attached to 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 6th Army Corps
November 1-19 Movement to Falmouth, Virginia by easy marches.
November 9 Captain George H. Book of Company E resigned.
November 17 Captain Charles Williams of Company A resigned.
November 29 Colonel Williams was promoted to brigadier general.
December 11 Marched to two miles downstream from Fredericksburg, where two pontoon bridges had bee placed across the Rappahannock.
December 12-15
Battle of Fredericksburg
December 12 Crossed the Rappahannock and advanced a short distance beyond the bridges.
December 13 Ordered to the left at midmorning to support Meade’s Division, whose attack had been thrown back. Although under heavy fire, the shelter of a deep ditch protected the regiment from much loss.
December 14 Pulled back to the original position in front of the pontoon bridges.
December 15 Returned to the front lines for the day, falling back at night and recrossing the river after midnight.
December Returned to camp in Falmouth.
January 8 Lieutenant Colonel Vallee was discharged on a surgeon’s certificate.
January 16 Ordered to guard duty at Belle Plain Landing
January 20-24 Burnside’s second Campaign. “Mud March”
February-April At camp in Falmouth
February 7 Captain Isaac C. Basset of Company K was promoted to major.
February 14 Colonel Williams was discharged. His commission as brigadier general had never been forwarded and his colonel’s commission was due to expire on March 4. The charges of cowardice from Fair Oaks had been confirmed at his court-martial, although papered over as non-criminal, and transfer of the division to the Sixth Corps may have cost him a guardian angel in the form of General Keyes, who remained with the Fourth Corps.
April 27-May 6
Chancellorsville Campaign
April 28 Ordered to move pontoons to the river at Franklin’s Crossing with as little noise as possible to assist the engineers in laying a bridge.
April 29 The regiment crossed the Rappahannock.
May 2 Advanced through the outer Confederate lines in Fredericksburg.
May 3 Maryes Heights, Fredericksburg

The 82nd Pennsylvania was in the right of two attacking columns that stormed Marye’s Heights, following the 61st Pennsylvania. The four man wide column moved down a narrow causeway with an impenetrable marsh on each side. The intense fire broke up the head of the column and killed its leader, Colonel Spear of the 61st Pennsylvania, but the column closed up and carried the heights. The 82nd captured the horses of one of the Confederate artillery batteries. Captain John H. Delap was mortally wounded in storming the heights.

Major Isaac Basset led the regiment in the charge, and would be promoted to colonel with rank from this date.

May 3-4
Salem Heights

After the storming of Marye’s Heights the division continued west to Salem Heights, where it encountered reinforcements that Lee had sent from Chancellorsville. After a sharp fight it was evident that it was not possible to break through to join McClellan at Chancellorsville, and there was grave danger that the whole force would be outnumbered and surrounded. It was decided to withdraw back across the Rappahonnock at Bank’s Ford.

May 4 Banks’ Ford
May 9 Captain John H. Delap of Company G died.
June 6-13 Operations about Deep Run Ravine
June 13-July 24 Gettysburg Campaign
June 20 Major Wetherill was promoted to lieutenant colonel.
June 30 Reached Manchester Maryland.
July 1 News of the fighting at Gettysburg resulted in the regiment being ordered on a forced march to the battle.
July 2-4
Battle of Gettysburg

The regiment was commanded by Colonel Issac C. Bassett. It brought 320 men to the field, losing six wounded.

From the monument:

July 3rd marched from near Little Round Top and occupied the works in front at 11:30 a.m. relieving other troops.

On the morning of the 3rd the regiment, with Shaler’s Brigade, was ordered to the support of General Geary’s Division of the 12th corps on the extreme right, where it was exposed to a heavy artillery fire. After the fighting ended on this part of the field the brigade moved to the left to meet a threatened attack, then was brought back to the center and held in reserve until the end of the battle.

July 5-24 Pursuit of Lee
July 10-13
Skirmish at Funkstown, Md.

The regiment lost eight wounded.

At Warrenton and Culpeper
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 2 Went into winter quarters at Brandy Station. About half the regiment reenlisted and was given a Veteran furlough.
January 6 Moved to Johnson’s Island, Lake Erie and duty there guarding prisoners, where it was thought there was danger of Confederate officers escaping over the winter ice on Lake Erie.
May 6 Moved to Washington, D.C., then detained by General Abercrombie at Belle Plaine Landing to escort and guard Confederate prisoners.
May 19-June 12 Rapidan Campaign
May 19 Ordered to Fredericksburg, then escorted a supply train to the front.
May 23-26 Rejoined the brigade on the North Anna River. Attached to 4th Brigade, 1st Division, 6th Army Corps
May 26-28 On line of the Pamunkey
May 28-31 Totopotomoy
June 1-12
Battle of Cold Harbor

The regiment lost over half its strength, 173 men killed, wounded and missing, without firing a shot in return, having been ordered not to cap its pieces in the charge. Colonel Bassett was wounded and Lieutenant Robert G. Creighton of Company F was mortally wounded. Lieutenant Colonel Wetherill took command of the regiment.

June 17-18
First Assault on Petersburg
June 22-23 Jerusalem Plank Road
June 29 Reames’ Station
July 9-11 Moved to Washington, D.C.
July Attrached to 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, 6th Army Corps, Army Potomac
July 11-12 Repulse of Early’s attack on Washington
July 14-18 Snicker’s Gap Expedition
August – December Sheridan’s Shenandoah Valley Campaign
September 10 Captain Lyon L. Emanuel of Company F was commissioned major but was not mustered.
September 16 Old members mustered out at Philadelphia, including Lieutenant Colonel Whetherill. Veterans and recruits were organized into a battalion of five companies. To these were added the veterans of the mustered out 23rd Pennsylvania and a regimental organization was retained under Colonel Bassett.
September 19
Third Battle of Winchester (Opequon)
September 22
Fisher’s Hill
October 19
Battle of Cedar Creek
October-December Duty in the Shenandoah Valley
November 8 Captain Emmanuel resigned.
December 1 Ordered to Petersburg, Va. and Siege of Petersburg
December 12 Captain James R. Neiler of Company D was promoted to lieutenant colonel.
February 28 Captain William Clark of Company E was promoted to major.
February 5-7 Dabney’s Mills, Hatcher’s Run
March 25 Fort Fisher, Petersburg
March 28-April 9 Appomattox Campaign
April 2
Assault on and fall of Petersburg

The regiment lost 5 enlisted men killed and 22 wounded. It was among the first to enter the Confederate defenses and captured 400 prisoners. Private Charles Desota of  Company K captured a Confederate battle flag.

April 3-9 Pursuit of Lee
April 6
Sailor’s Creek

Lieutenant William H. Myers of Company K was killed. Major Clark was breveted lieutenant colonel.

From Colonel Isaac’s official report:

The left wing of the regiment formed the left of the first line of battle, the right wing forming the left of the second line. The attack commenced by our troops moving upon the enemy. The advance of the Eighty-second Pennsylvania Volunteers was though a deep, difficult swamp and almost impenetrable under-growth and forest. Here the flank fire of the fire of the enemy becoming severe, changed front forward on the left and confronted the enemy within fifty yards of their position. Here the regiment did great execution, as the serious loss or vast number of the enemy’s dead in our immediate front afterward indicated. Our loss during this engagement was-killed, 1 officers, 18 enlisted men; wounded, 7 officers, 73 enlisted men; total, 8 officers, 91 enlisted men.

April 9
Appomattox Court House

Surrender of Lee and his army.

April 10-23 At Farmville and Burkesville
April 23-27 March to Danville and duty there
May 24-June 3 Moved to Richmond, Va., then to Washington, D.C.
June 8 Corps Review
July 13 Mustered out