69th Pennsylvania InfantryOrganized: Philadelphia, PA; mustered in 8/18/1861
Disbanded/Mustered out: Ball's Cross Roads (now Ballston), VA 7/1/1865
|Commanding Officer: |
Joshua Thomas Owen
|Statistics for Maryland Campaign|
Initial Strength: not known
Killed in Action (KIA): 21
Wounded (WIA): 57
Captured (POW): 10
Map Showing this Unit:
Detail Map #5: Sedgwick is Flanked in the West Woods
Battlefield Tablets for this Unit:
Tablet #35: Second Army Corps - 15 Sep, 7 AM to 15 Sep, 8 PM
Tablet #115: Second Army Corps - 15 Sep, 9 AM to 17 Sep, 7 AM
Tablet #120: Army of the Potomac - 17 Sep, 5 AM to 17 Sep, 12 PM
Tablet #116: Second Army Corps - 17 Sep, 6 AM to 17 Sep, 10 AM
Tablet #36: Sedgwick's Division, Second Army Corps - 17 Sep, 7 AM to 17 Sep, 10 AM
Tablet #39: Howard's Brigade, Sedgwick's Division - 17 Sep, 7 AM to 17 Sep, 12 PM
This Regiment's Chain of Command:
Army - Army of the Potomac
Corps - Second (II) Army Corps
Division - 2nd Division, II Corps
Brigade - 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, II Corps
History of the Unit:
"The Twenty-fourth Regiment for three months' service, recruited and commanded by Colonel Joshua T. Owen, was mustered out at the expiration of its term on the 10th of August, 1861, having served under General Patterson on the Upper Potomac, and in the Shenandoah Valley. On the day of its muster-out, the President having issued his call for troops for three years, Colonel Owen established a camp of rendezvous near his own residence at Chestnut Hill, Twenty-second ward, Philadelphia, and commenced recruiting another regiment. The men came for the most part from the city, though a few were from Schuylkill county, were mostly of Irish origin, robust and of hardy habits, and emulous of courage as is the characteristic of their race."
"An effort was made by members of both the 68th Pennsylvania and the 69th NYNG to form an Irish Brigade out of New York. Governor Curtin of Pa. adamantly opposed the idea and threatened to withhold the pensions of anyone who defected to the Irish Brigade. The 68th reluctantly stayed in Pennsylvania. but requested to have their regimental designation changed to the 69th Pennsylvania in honor of the 69th NY, to which the Governor acceded. They were then assigned to the Philadelphia Brigade, the only brigade to be named after the city it came from. The other regiments of the brigade were the 71st, 72nd, and 106th Pennsylvania. The 69th Pennsylvania., though not the only Irish regiment from the state, would be the only Pennsylvania regiment to carry Green Regimental Colors. Their first set of colors would carry the State Seal on one side and the Maid of Erin Harp wreathed in Shamrocks on the other. The second regimental colors would have the same state seal on one side, but on the other side were the Round Tower, Wolfhound, Harp, and Fenian Sunburst."
Two companies of Zouaves were attached to the regiment in October 1861, making 12 companies total. The zouves had been acting as independent commands, and were known as the "Baker Guards".
In the Antietam Campaign:
As part of the 2nd Brigade, II Corps, the Regiment advanced to the Dunker Church, before being hit from the left flank by Confederate troops from the West Woods ...
" We still kept on," says Adjutant McDermott, "until within a few paces of the advanced line. The fire from his batteries was here so destructive that we were ordered to lie down. This fire was kept up on us for nearly half an hour, when General Sumner, accompanied by a single aid, came up in our front, waving his hand for us to fall back. It being impossible to hear what he was trying to say, the men rose to their feet, and fixed bayonets, thinking that he wanted them to charge the batteries on our left front, and it was not until this brave old man got in front of our colors, when he took off his hat and waived it for us to get baCk, that his order was understood. But it was now too late, as the enemy was pouring down upon us from the rear, delivering a terrible fire of musketry. The fire was coming from our rear, left, and front, and we were obliged to retire to the right."Their losses were severe. Captain Francis V. Bierwirth, and Lieutenants Joseph McHugh and James Dunn were among the killed.
The remainder of the War:
The regiment fought on the Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, Wilderness, Petersburg, and Appomattox Campaigns. In March 1864, at the end of their 3-year terms of sevice, a sufficient number of the troops had re-enlisted to continue the Regiment in service for the duration of the War.
References, Sources, and other Notes:
Sources: Bates, Samuel P., History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-65, Harrisburg: 1868-1871, extracted online at Pennsylvania in the Civil War ; and
California State Military Museum - online 'informal' unit history
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