96th Pennsylvania InfantryOrganized: Pottstown, PA; mustered in 8/23/1861
|Commanding Officer: |
Col. Henry L. Cake
|Battlefield Tablets for this Unit:|
Tablet #120: Army of the Potomac - 17 Sep, 5 AM to 17 Sep, 12 PM
Tablet #102: Sixth Army Corps - 17 Sep, 5 AM to 17 Sep, 4 PM
Tablet #71: Slocum's Division, Sixth Army Corps - 17 Sep, 5 AM to 19 Sep, 9 AM
This Regiment's Chain of Command:
Army - Army of the Potomac
Corps - Sixth (VI) Army Corps
Division - 1st Division, VI Corps
Brigade - 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, VI Corps
History of the Unit:
Henry L. Cake, who had commanded the Twenty-fifth begiment, had received authority from the War Department, on the 13th of August, 1861, to raise a regiment for three years, and establishing a camp at Lawton's Hill, overlooking the town of Pottsville, at once commenced the work of recruiting, many of the officers and men of his old command [the 3 months' 25th PA Volunteers], entering the new. With the exception of companies C, E, G and H, in which were some men from Luzerne, Berks, Dauphin, and Montgomery counties, the regiment was recruited in Schuylkill county.
On the 23d of September the command was mustered into the United States service with the following field officers:
Henry L. Cake, Colonel
Jacob G. Frick, Lieutenant Colonel (later Commanding 129th PA Infantry at Antietam)
Lewis J. Martin, Major.
The regiment was with the Army of the Potomac for the Penninsula and Second Bull Run Campaigns.
In the Antietam Campaign:
"Returning to Alexandria, the regiment joined in the Maryland campaign, which was immediately after inaugurated. The army moved for the crossing of the South Mountain, by Crampton's and Turner's passes, each held by strong bodies of the enemy. Franklin's Corps arrived in front of Crampton's Gap, which debouches into Pleasant Valley in the rear of, and but five miles from Maryland Heights, opposite Harper's Ferry, at noon of the 14th of September. The Ninety-sixth in advance of the column, entered Burkettsville early in the morning, driving out the rebel skirmishers, and drew the fire of his artillery upon the mountain developing his line of defence. Immediately forming with Slocum on the right, his line being composed of Bartlett's and Torbert's brigades, supported by Newton's, with Smith disposed for the protection of Siocum's flank, Franklin attacked. The pass was held by M'Laws' Division of the rebel army, under General Cobb, the position an excellent one for defence. The brigade was formed on the right of the line, and advanced to within a thousand yards of a stone wall, where the enemy was making a final stand."
"The Ninety-sixth, which had been engaged upon the left of the line, now came up, and the other regiments of the brigade, with ammunition exhausted, falling back, advanced upon the concealed foe, in line with Torbert's Brigade, which had the left. The path of the Ninety-sixth was across open fields, intersected by fences and hedges, where every man presented a fair mark for the keen eyed rebel sharp-shooter. But the line dashed forward, pausing at each fence to fire a volley, until it reached a thin strip of corn. As it approached this field the enemy's fire ceased, and while it was passing through it an ominous silence prevailed; but the moment it emerged from this slight cover a perfect sheet of flame was poured upon it, and many of the bravest fell. But unflinching the survivors dashed forward with the bayonet, completely routed the enemy's line, and took many prisoners. The loss in the Ninety-sixth was twenty killed, seventy-one severely, and fourteen slightly wounded, out of less than four hundred effective men who entered the engagement. Major Martin, and Lieutenant John Dougherty, were among the killed."
References, Sources, and other Notes:
Source: Bates, Samuel P., History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-65, Harrisburg, 1868-1871. (online at Pennsylvania in the Civil War)
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