United States Regiments & Batteries > U.S. Regulars

The 2nd United States Infantry Regiment lost 8 officers and 88 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded and 1 officer and 58 enlisted men to disease during the Civil War. It is referenced on a War Department marker at Antietam and honored by a monument at Gettysburg.

January In Kansas and Nebraska under the command of Colonel Dixon S. Miles.

Headquarters and Companies E and F at Fort Kearny
Companies A, D and I, at Fort Abercrombie
Company B at Fort Scott
Companies C and K at Fort Ripley
Company G and H at Fort Riley
Company H at Fort Larned

February Company B moved from Kansas to St. Louis, Mo.

Company D under Captain Nathaniel Lyon transferred to St. Louis Arsenal

June 13-17 Expedition to Booneville, Mo.(Company B)
June 13 Capture of Jefferson City, Mo. (Company B)
June 17 Action at Booneville, Mo. (Company B)
July Headquarters and Companies C and K reach Washington, D.C. Attached to Porter’s 1st Brigade, Hunter’s Division, McDowell’s Army of Northeast Virginia

Companies B in the field in Missouri

Company E moved to St., Louis, Mo.

July Lyon’s Springfield, Mo. Campaign (Company B)
July 16-21 Advance on Manassas, Va. (Companies C and K)
July 21
Battle of Bull Run (Companies C and K)

Colonel Myles commanded a division, while companies C&K were under the overall command of Major Geroge Sykes

August Attached to Porter’s City Guard, Washington, D.C. Companies A, D and I joined regimental headquarters at Georgetown
August 2 Companies B and E engaged with the enemy at Dug Springs, Mo. Captain Steele was in command, with Company B commanded by 1st Sergeant Griffin and Company E commanded by 1st Sergeant G. H. McLoughlin. One man of E Company was wounded.
August 10 Battle of Wilson’s Creek, Mo. (Company E)
December Regiment (except Company H at Fort Larned, Kan., under Captain A. Sully) was concentrated at Washington Attached to Syke’s Regular Infantry Brigade, Army Potomac for Provost Duty in and around Washington
March Moved to the Virginia Peninsula.
April 5-May 4 Siege of Yorktown. Assigned to the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, 5th Corps
June 25-July 1 Seven days before Richmond
June 26
Battle of Mechanicsville

Broke camp early and moved to Mechanicsville to support McCall’s Pennsylvanians

June 27
Gaines’ Mill

The strength of the battalion going into action was 446. Kept the enemy in check five hours against overwhelming odds, losing 138 men in killed, wounded and missing, including Sergeant F. E. Lacey, who was severely wounded.Lacey would become a major about a month later.

Formed line early on the morning in a sunken road near the old mill. The entrenching tools were sent to the rear although it would be several hours before the enemy was sighted, missing an opportunity to construct defenses. Confederate skirmishers appeared about 11 a.m., followed by artillery. One of the first shots fired by the Confederates killed four men. an artillery duel lasted about a half hour, with a Confederate caisson exploding across from the regiment.

After the artillery duel Confederate infantry advanced, but the regiment opened fire and forced them back into the woods. A second Confederate regiment tried to advance but was also driven back. Two musicians from I Company, Robert Nelson and Bartly Scanlan, went into the no-mans-land under heavy fire and brought wounded men to safety.

A third Confederate attack came out of the woods, but the regiment counterattacked with the bayonet and drove them back. The color bearer, Sergeant Thomas Madigan of A Company, a veteran of Mexican War, was mortally wounded. The next color bearer, Corporal Konsmiller, was killed by a shot to the head. Lieutenant Brinley was killed and Lieutenant Jordan badly wounded in the knee.

The 2nd United States was now fighting in open ground against its opponents in the woods. It stood its ground until forced to retire as the rest of the corps had been drivers back. The regiment fell back to a peach orchard until almost sunset, when they again fell back in line of battle.

The remnants of the regiment was asked to save a nearby battery and, led by Lieutenant Parker, turned back with a cheer to within 30 yards of the advancing Confederates and opened fire. The guns were saved, with Lieutenant Drum “greatly distinguishing” himself, but Lieutenant Parker was shot from his horse and killed. The regiment lost the greatest casualties of the day in this charge. With the battery saved and sunset falling, the regiment disengaged and fell back.

June 30 Turkey Bridge
July 1
Malvern Hill

Suffered no loss. Was part of the rear guard in the retreat to Harrison’s Landing.

July At Harrison’s Landing
August 16-28 Moved to Fortress Monroe, then to Centerville
August 28 – September 2 Pope’s Campaign in Northern Virginia
August 29 Battle of Groveton
August 30
Second Battle of Bull Run

The regiment left its camp on the Gainesville road early on the morning and moved in the direction of Bull Run Creek. It formed in line of battle on the left bank of the creek between 8 and 9 a.m. It remained there until about 3.30 P. M., when orders were received to fall back and take position on the right bank of the creek in the timber, near the crest of the ridge. The regiment remained there fifteen to twenty minutes before the enemy opened fire, which was intensely severe and continued for about 45 minutes. The regiment was then ordered to fall back to the timber across the road. “Both officers and men conducted themselves, without a single exception, in the coolest and most determined manner, although casualties were very numerous.”

Lieutenant William Kidd was killed, Lieutenants Ellinwood and Markley were wounded, and 71 enlisted men were killed, wounded or missing.

September 2 Left camp at Centerville and marched to Antietam Creek
September 6-22
Maryland Campaign

Attached to 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 5th Army Corps.

Regimental commander Colonel Dixon Miles, commanding Union forces at Harpers Ferry, was mortally wounded while surrendering the post. Colonel Sidney Burbank succeeded him as commander of the regiment.

September 15 Went into position near the village of Sharpsburg, Md., remaining there two days exposed to the enemy’s artillery and sharpshooters.
September 17
Battle of Antietam

Under the command of Lieutenant John Scroggs Poland, crossed Antietam Creek and went into action in support of Tidball’s battery.

From the marker on the Antietam battlefield:

About noon of the 17th, the Battalion of the Second and Tenth U.S. Infantry crossed the Antietam and moved to the support of the Horse Batteries on the left (south) side of the Boonsboro Pike. After the withdrawal of these Batteries, Poland deployed the entire Battalion as skirmishers and, under heavy fire of canister and musketry, advanced to this point (Sherrick’s Lane), his right resting on the Boonsboro Pike, his line extending to the left, along the lane fence, in the direction of Sherrick’s House, on the road to Burnside Bridge. In this position he engaged the skirmishers of Garnett’s Brigade, his right advancing some distance beyond the farm lane and driving the enemy’s cannoneers from their guns on Cemetery Hill.

While thus engaged the 17th Michigan and the skirmishers of Willcox’s Division came up and relieved the left of his line, and the First Battalion, 14th U.S. Infantry formed about 210 yards in rear of his right.

Poland assembled his skirmishers on the center, and the Battallion of the 14th U.S. Infantry threw forward skirmishers on the right of the line.

His ammunition being exhausted, Poland withdrew to the cover of the hill east of this tablet and at dusk recrossed the Antietam.

From Lieutenant Poland’s report:

Lieutenant McKee, commanding Companies I and A, 2d Infantry, while deploying to the front was severely wounded and compelled to leave the field. The command of these companies devolved upon 1st Sergeant F. E. Lacey, commanding Company I, 2d Infantry, who handled them well. In advancing to the fence at which our line was to rest, the skirmishers were obliged to pass over a ridge completely commanded by the enemy’s sharpshooters and battery posted to the left of the cornfield in front of the right of my line. When we appeared above the crest the enemy opened with a heavy fire of case shot and canister. The line did not waver but rapidly moved to the fence. The right advanced beyond, however, before I could convey the order to them to halt at the fence, and by a well directed fire compelled the enemy’s cannoneers to leave their guns. *** Lieutenant McLoughlin and Sergeant Lacey commanded the companies on the right. Sergeant Lacey was soon after wounded and unwillingly compelled to leave the field. Our position was held until all the ammunition had been expended on the left and nearly all on the right.

In a very short time the regiment was relieved by the 17th Michigan and the 1st Battalion of the 14th U. S. Infantry. The regiment camped on the battle-field, and on the 29th crossed the Potomac at the ford below Shepherdstown, W. Va., in pursuit of the enemy, and moved about a mile beyond the river where they were discovered in force. The regiment skirmished all day, but had no casualties and recrossed the river that night. In this fight 1st Sergeant Daniel W. Burke, of B Company, distinguished himself by returning and spiking a piece of artillery in the face of the enemy’s sharpshooters.

September 19-20
Shepherdstown Ford
October Rest and reequipment at Sharpsburg
October 29-
November 19
Movement to Falmouth, Va.
December 12-15
Battle of Fredericksburg

At 2.15 P.M., on the 13th of December, 1862, the regiment left its bivouac near Falmouth and formed under cover of the Phillips house and close to the pontoon bridge. It crossed the river shortly after and went into position on the left of the road on the south side of the village.

“At 5 P. M., the battalion was ordered to move to the crest of the hill, 100 yards in advance of its former position, to protect the withdrawal of a battery. During this forward movement the battery was withdrawn and the battalion halted in rear of a ditch, the banks of which afforded good cover.”

At 10 P. M., they advanced to within about 80 yards of the stone wall occupied by the enemy.
“On the morning of the 14th the enemy opened a murderous fire, driving in our pickets. The battalion was ordered to lie down behind a slight elevation of ground (about one foot), giving some protection, where it was obliged to remain until dark, under a terrific fire, the plane of which passed not more than a foot over the ground on which they lay.”

“To move even was sure to draw the fire of the enemy’s sharpshooters, who were posted in the adjacent houses and in tree tops, and whose fire we were unable to return. Thus the troops remained twelve long hours unable to eat, drink or attend to the calls of nature, for so relentless was the enemy that not even a wounded man or our stretcher-carriers were exempted from their fire.”

“Never did discipline shine more resplendently, never was the reputation of a regiment more nobly, more incontrovertably confirmed than that of the Second: never could a battalion more signally gain the title of brave and excellent soldiers than on that ever-to-be-remembered Sabbath of December 14, 1862.”

The regiment remained in Fredericksburg until the morning of the 16th, when it returned to its old camp near Potomac Creek. Sixteen men were wounded in this battle and three missing.

January 20-24 “Mud March”
April 27-May 6 Chancellorsville Campaign
May 1-5
Battle of Chancellorsville

From an account written by Patrick Breen, corporal in the color guard of the regiment during this battle, and afterwards 1st sergeant of C Company and Ordnance sergeant, U. S. A.

On May 1st, advancing in open country in line of battle, Captain Salem S. Marsh commanding, the regiment halted on the right of the Sixth Infantry in the centre of a field. It was on the right of the entire 5th Corps. Not more than five minutes had elapsed after halting in line before a volley of musketry was poured into our ranks by the unseen enemy, who had been hidden from view by the heavy timber not more than 200 yards in our front. After the first fire was delivered by the enemy we commenced to peg away at the rebels in the timber. In a few minutes the regiment, with the brigade, fell back about 25 yards and opened again on the enemy. The fire of the regiment had a telling effect on the rebels as they could be seen limping off the field every minute. The regiment remained in its new position but a short time when it was discovered that the rebels were moving around our flank. Captain Marsh, ever on the alert, was quick to discover the intentions of the enemy and immediately thwarted the move by changing front to the half-right, at the same time maintaining his position in line with the brigade. Shortly after this a rebel bullet struck him in the forehead, killing him instantly. The command now devolved on Captain S. A. McKee. During the short time that Captain Marsh was in command of the regiment, he endeared himself to the very hearts of his men by his bearing as a soldier and an officer, and his gentlemanly manner at all times, no matter what the occasion.

After we attained the timber to the right of the turnpike and were supported by Hancock’s Division, the rebels gradually advanced, very cautiously, and we did not open fire on them until within short range, and then with such effect that they very soon retired from the contest, leaving their dead and badly wounded in our hands. Thus ended the day for the Second Infantry at the battle of Chancellorsville. We laid all the next day behind improvised breast works, rudely thrown up with whatever implements were at hand at the time; even the bayonet was brought into use in this entrenching business. The regiment remained in the entrenchments until the evening of the 3d, and the retreat of the army having commenced that evening in a drenching rain, the morning of the 4th found the 2d Division, 5th Corps, the last troops crossing the river, covering the retreat of the Army of the Potomac, and the 2d Infantry was with it.

June 11-July 24 Gettysburg Campaign
June 13 Company H joined Regiment at Benson’s Mills, Va., from Fort Larned, Kansas
June 29 The regiment left Frederick on the march north to Pennsylvania
June 30 13 officers and 224 men present for duty
July 1-3
Battle of Gettysburg

From the official report:

Arrived about 8 A. M. July 2, and went into position on the right of the 5th Corps. Twenty men of the regiment were thrown forward as skirmishers into a body of woods, beyond which and to the right could be seen the enemy’s pickets. After a skirmish of nearly two hours, during which there was considerable firing and some casualties, the line was marched by a flank movement to the left and rear about two miles, where it rested until about 5 o’clock in the afternoon, at which time it moved in the direction of the heavy cannonading on the extreme left of the Union line of battle. As it advanced the rapidity of the firing increased and staff officers rode up rapidly to hurry the command to the front, which was done at a double-time.

As soon as the brigade reached the vicinity of Round Top, it formed line to the right, with the 2d Infantry on the right of the line, and advanced at a double-quick down a steep hill and across a marsh fifty yards wide and ankle deep with mire. During this movement the regiment suffered from a severe fire of sharpshooters from the right, left, and front. The marsh being passed, the Second moved rapidly forward and drove a body of the enemy’s sharpshooters from a rocky and exposed elevation, pursuing them into the woods beyond. Here it halted and took shelter behind a low stone wall and remained inactive while column after column of Union infantry moved across and perpendicular to its front. After these troops had passed, the regiment was ordered forward beyond the wall with instructions to wheel to the left in a rye field. The wheel was about half completed when the enemy was observed to be moving rapidly to outflank the right, so the Second halted and opened a rapid and continuous fire, which was sharply returned.

Major A. T. Lee, 2d Infantry, commanding the regiment, was wounded at this time, but gallantly retained command until the loss of blood compelled him to retire just at the close of the battle, Captain McKee succeeding him. The enemy continued to grow stronger on the right flank and the regiment was ordered to retire. The word was scarcely given when three lines of the enemy, elevated one above another on a slope to the right, poured in a most destructive fire, almost decimating the regiment and cutting off the color staff, causing the colors to fall into the hands of the color bearer. Under a most withering fire from the sharpshooters on the left and a column of the enemy’s infantry on the right and rear, overwhelmed with a perfect storm of shot and shell, the regiment fell back slowly, recrossed the stone wall, the rocky elevation and the marsh in as good order as the formation of the ground would admit, and returned to its original position on the crest of the hill.

The regiment was only engaged from about 5.30 P. M. until about dark, and in this short time lost Lieutenant Goodrich and seven men killed, and Major Lee and Lieutenants McLoughlin, Burke and Lacey, with 53 men, wounded. On the third and last day of Gettysburg the regiment was in reserve, and although held in readiness was not engaged again during the battle.

July 5-24 Pursuit of Lee
July 23 Reconnoissance near Manassas
July 29 Reached Warrenton, having marched 320 miles since June 1
August-September To New York for Draft Riots
October 9-22
Bristoe Campaign
November 7-8 Advance to line of the Rappahannock
November 26-December 2
Mine Run Campaign
Winter Captain McKee killed by guerrillas while riding between camps
March Assigned to 4th Brigade, 1st Division, 5th Army Corps
April 11 Near Greenwich (Companies C, H, K)
April Assigned to 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 5th Army Corps
May 1-June 12
Rapidan Campaign

On May 1 there were 10 officers and 181 men present for duty, and during the campaign the loss of was five officers wounded and 45 men killed, wounded and missing.

May 1 The regiment set out from Rappahannock Station at sunrise and encamped that night at Brandy Station.
May 2 Crossed the Rapidan at Germannia Ford at noon and was ordered forward to attack up the road leading to Mine Run, driving the enemy some distance back on the pike. It was severely engaged all the afternoon and returned that night to its original position.
May 3 Placed on picket duty until two o’clock on the morning of the 8th.
May 5-7
Battle of the Wilderness
May 8-21
Spotsylvania Court House
May 8 The regiment rejoined the brigade at Laurel Hill and was engaged there all day.
May 22-26 North Anna River
May 26-28 On line of the Pamunkey
May 28-31 Totopotomoy
June 1 The regiment’s strength was less than 100 men, and was consolidated to a single company (C company) with a full compliment of officers and non-commissioned officers.
June 1-12
Cold Harbor

The company-strength regiment lost 8 men killed and wounded and two officers and 19 men captured.

June Assigned to Provost Guard, 2nd Division, 5th Army Corps
June 1-3 Bethesda Church
June 16-18 First Assault on Petersburg
June 16
Siege of Petersburg
July 30 Mine Explosion, Petersburg (Reserve)
August 18-21 Weldon Railroad
September 29-October 2 Poplar Springs Church, Peeble’s Farm
October Moved to Newport Barracks, Ky. until October 1865
December The regiment’s total enlisted strength was 405.

Headquarters and Companies A, B, E, G, I and K at Newport Barracks Ky.;

Company C at Elmira, N. Y.

Company F at Sandusky, Ohio

Company H at Trenton, N. J.

Fall Regiment concentrated at Crittenden Barracks except for Company H at Jeffersonville, Ind.