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greater number, than any one life of any mortal than many thousands of lives could ever be--the life of our country. That life was to be preserved, regardless of all consequences, that yet unborn generations might enjoy the blessings of the best government on earth.
When in 1861 we were gathered around our flag, with heads bare and uplifted right hand we swore to protect our government against all its enemies, we did so full knowing the danger ahead. And in the full knowledge of all that was to be endured by way of hunger, thirst, heat, cold, exposure to inclemencies of the weather and privations of all kinds, we took that solemn oath, and with it came a full determination that we would succeed or die in the attempt!
Did we succeed, my comrades?
We are standing to-day where we stood thirty-four years ago, with this difference however. Then it was as much as a man's life was worth to show his head above the breastworks; to-day we go forth throughout the length and breadth of our land with none to hinder, with none to molest. Then the armies of the north and the armies of the south were standing opposed to each other ready for the deadly conflict; to-day our friends from the south and we of the north stand united in one powerful army if needs be, knowing but one cause, and ready to march under one flagthe flag of our country.
Coming here to-day to assist in the dedication of these beautiful monuments, erected by a grateful Commonwealth to forever commemorate the deeds done by her faithful sons, the scenes enacted here years ago again pass as if in panoramic review before our minds. Again we hear the cannon's roar and the rattle of musketry; again we hear the shouts of encouragement of our commanding officers; again we hear the triumphant cheers of our men as they advance to the charge.
The noise and confusion of battle ceases-we find ourselves in possession of the field; but oh! at what a cost. All around us we see our fallen comrades and the moans of the wounded crying for help reaches our ears. The scene is heartrending. But we have become accustomed to these scenes, and as for tears or sentiment, we have not the time, for the next moment we may be called to other parts to repeat the same performance over again. Night overtakes us where we fought, and we sink exhausted to the ground with our muskets clasped tightly in our arms, to snatch what rest we can, and to dream of our beloved ones at home.
The scene changes. One quiet Sabbath morning the country is electrified by the news that Lee has surrendered at Appomattox and the war is about over. We see ourselves marching home to be welcomed by the multitude with loud hurrahs. We hear the bells ringing and their tones are sweetest music, for they are proclaiming peace throughout the land, and we my comrades are here to-day to sing glory to God who hath permitted us in our humble capacity to contribute our mite towards this priceless consummation. And to no one is this consummation of greater significance than to the members of the Twenty-seventh Pennsylvania
Volunteers, a great many of whom came from foreign shores to become citizens of this great country.
We came-not because we loved our Fatherland the less, but because we loved Liberty the more, and right here it will be well for us to remember that only part of our obligation has been fulfilled. We swore to serve our government faithfully and we did so for three years. We also swore true allegiance to this government and from this obligation we can never be absolved except with our last breath, and not even then if we have failed to instil the spirit of loyalty, love of country and patriotism into the hearts of our children.
At last we come to the saddest part of these entire proceedings. We have enjoyed immensely the opportunity of beholding some of the grandest scenery not to be surpassed anywhere. Over yonder looms up majestic Lookout Mountain, a fair competitor for the glories of the Alpine Mountains in old Switzerland. We have received a new inspiration from visiting these battlefields and the beautiful cemeteries where our beloved dead rest in peace. We have been touched to the quick by the cordial reception and hearty welcome extended to us by the citizens of Chattanooga, and by the men who confronted us on those battlefields, which will form one of the sweetest recollections to be taken with us to our own homes. Pleasant as has been the opportunity to again touch elbows with our old comrades, and again feel the friendly grasp of each other's hand-sweet as it may have been again to look into each other's eyes and renew the memories of the day when you and I were young boys-a feeling of sadness steals over us when we reflect that for many of us this will have been the last meeting. Having already been favored beyond the general laws of nature, we may well be prepared to answer the last roll call, firmly relying upon the great goodness of our “Supreme Commander."
HISTORICAL SKETCH OF REGIMENT.*
THE Twenty-seventh Regiment, a part of the "Washington Brigade," 1 commanded by Colonel William F. Small, was organized as a
volunteer militia regiment, early in January, 1861. Charles Angeroth was among the most active in promoting its formation. On the night of the 18th of April, Colonel Small, acting in compliance with orders from the Secretary of War, started with five companies, consisting of about five hundred men, for Washington, and proceeded in company with the Sixth Massachusetts, Colonel Jones, by the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad, occupying seventeen passenger cars. On their arrival at the President Street Station, horses were attached to the five foremost cars, containing seven companies of the Massa
*Extract from Bates' History of Pennsylvania Volunteers.
chusetts Regiment, and were drawn rapidly through the city to the Washington Depot. After the passage of these, the track was barricaded by the mob. The remaining companies of the Massachusetts Regiment, being well armed, forced their way through, joined their comrades and were hurried away by rail to Washington. The mob returning commenced an attack upon Colonel Small's command which, being unarmed, was forced to retire, losing several killed and wounded.
After the return of the companies to Philadelphia, the regiment was re-organized as light artillery, and Max Einstein was chosen Colonel, Charles Angeroth, Lieutenant Colonel and William Schoenleber, Major. Its services were then offered to the Governor, with a view to its being mustered into the three months' service, as a part of the Pennsylvania quota, but without success. Colonel Einstein then proceeded to Washington and offered its services to the United States Government, which were accepted under the call for eighty thousand additional volunteers for a period of three years, its service to date from the 5th of May, 1861, and to be armed and instructed as light infantry. It was not, however, mustered in until the 30th and 31st of May. A few days thereafter it received arms and accoutrements, and went into camp near Camden, N. J. The entire regiment was recruited in Philadelphia, in the districts of Northern Liberties and Kensington, and at least one-half of its members were German. A number of both officers and men had seen service in this country and in Europe.
On the 17th of June, the regiment again received orders to proceed to Washington. Arriving at the Capitol on the 18th, it was placed in camp on Kalarama Heights, was subjected to strict military discipline, and was instructed in company and battalion drill, and in picket duty.
Early in July the forces assembled in and about Washington were organized under General M'Dowell and the Twenty-seventh Regiment was assigned to Blenker's Brigadet of the Fifth Division, encamped at Hunter's creek, near Alexandria, which it was ordered to join. On the 15th the general forward movement of the army towards Centreville commenced. In the battle which ensued at Bull Run, the Fifth Division was held in reserve on the Centreville heights, and did not become actively engaged. It remained in position until past midnight of the 21st, and until all the army had retired, when it marched to Alexandria, arriving on the afternoon of the 22d, bringing in abandoned horses and baggage wagons in considerable numbers, and one caisson.
A few days later, the Twenty-seventh moved to Arlington Heights, where it encamped, and received pay from the date of its acceptance by the Government, on the 5th of May. From Arlington it was transferred to Roach's Mill, Virginia, where, early in the month of August, Company F, commanded by Captain Spering, was detached and posted at the Wash
Organization of the First Brigade, Colonel Louis Blenker, Fifth Division; Colonel Dixon S. Miles, Eighth Regiment New York Volunteers, Lieutenant Colonel Stahel: Twenty-ninth Regiment New York Volunteers, Colonel Von Steinwehr: Gara baldi Guard, New York Volunteers, Colonel D'Utassy; Twenty-seventh Regiment Pennsylvanía Volunteers, Colonel Max Enstein,
ington Arsenal, where it remained during its entire term of service. Early in September, Lieutenant Colonel Angeroth and Major Schoenleber resigned, and Adolph Buschbeck and Lorenz Cantador, both of Philadelphia, were appointed by General McClellan to fill the vacancies. Subsequently, upon the muster out of Colonel Einstein, these gentlemen were appointed respectively Colonel and Lieutenant Colonel, and Captain John N. Lang, of Company I, Major. In the latter part of September, by order of the War Department, Company G, Captain Bierwirth, was transferred to the Sixty-ninth Pennsylvania Regiment
During the summer months and the early fall the regiment was engaged under the direction of the engineers, in building forts, clearing woods, and making roads; Forts Scott, Cameron, Blenker, and Barnardelaborate and substantial structures-attesting the devotion and patriotism of the men of the Twenty-seventh, not less than the stern bravery which they afterwards exhibited on the battlefield.
On the 8th of October it was ordered to Hunter's Chapel, Virginia, where it went into winter quarters. While off fatigue duty it was instructed in brigade and battalion drill, and for two months was engaged in out-post duty at Annandale. An attack was here made upon the pickets by rebel cavalry and artillery, but, finding the men on the alert, they withdrew to a distance and contented themselves with shelling the Union line. In the month of December, 1861, the officers received their commissions from the Governor of Pennsylvania, bearing date of the 5th of May, preceding, and in February, 1862, the regiment was provided with the State colors. In the organization of the army under McClellan, the Twenty-seventh was assigned to Stahel's Brigade, # Blenker's Division, Sumner's Corps.
On the 10th of March, 1862, orders were received to march with three days' rations, leaving knapsacks, tents, and all surplus baggage in camp, and taking only overcoats and blankets. Advancing through Fairfax to Centreville, the regiment was ordered to halt, while the remainder of the corps proceeded in the direction of Manassas. After a delay of some two weeks, it rejoined the command at Salem, Virginia. Here the men suffered much from the effects of the severe weather, a snow storm prevailing, which lasted three days, the men being without shelter, and obliged to encamp in the open field.
Blenker's Division, having been transferred from the Army of the Potomac to Fremont's command, in the mountain department, marched to Paris' Ferry on the Shenandoah river, with the design of joining it. The rebels had destroyed the ferry, and a considerable delay ensued, during which the troops suffered greatly for want of food. The supply train had been ordered forward, but was unable to find the division, and had returned to Washington, leaving the command to eke out a
Organization of Stahel's Brigade, Blenker's Division, Sumner's Corps. Twenty-seventh Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel Buschbeck: Eighth Regiment New York Volunteers. Colonel Wutschel: Thirty-ninth Regiment New York Volunteers. Colonel D'Utassey: Fortieth Regiment New York Volunteers De Kalb, Colonel Von Gilsa,
scanty subsistence by foraging. Rafts were constructed for the purpose of crossing; but the sinking of the first that was freighted, and the drowning of eighty men of the Seventy-fourth Pennsylvania, caused the design of crossing upon rafts to be abandoned. The command then moved down to Snicker's Ferry, where it passed over in safety, and proceeding via Berryville, went into camp at Wood's Mills, in the neighborhood of Winchester, where it rested for a few days, and the regiment received two months' pay. Advancing through Winchester, it crossed the mountains, and halted for two days at Romney, where the men received new clothing. Resuming the march, the division passed through Petersburg and joined Fremont's army at Franklin. With the exception of fresh beef, provisions were scarce, and salt was not to be had. But one and a half days' rations of bread were issued in ten days.
While in camp at Franklin intelligence was received of the defeat of Banks, and of his retreat down the valley pursued by Stonewall Jackson. Fremont was ordered to hasten forward and endeavor to cut off the latter's retreat. For a week the army moved without cessation, passing through Petersburg, Moorefield and Wardensville, several times fording deep and rapid streams, endeavoring by forced marches to gain the valley in advance of the enemy. Failing in this, his rear guard was encountered at Strasburg, and the race up the valley, through Edenburg, New Market, Woodstock, Mount Jackson and Harrisonburg, was an exciting one. At Mount Jackson the enemy had destroyed the bridge over the Shenandoah as he retreated, and the pursuit was delayed till
Twenty-seventh Regiment was ordered to cross the river. Passing fifteen men at a time, they were, on landing, deployed as skirmishers and moved forward, the enemy's cavalry retiring nearly a mile and taking position on a hill. At noon on the following day the bridge was completed, and a part of the New York mounted rifles crossed; but they were scarcely over when the bridge suddenly parted, severing the detachment from the rest of the army, Companies A and B, of the Twenty-seventh, sent out as skirmishers, having already met and engaged the enemy. The continual rain which prevailed caused a freshet, and, to increase the volume of water, the enemy had cut a dam above. Soon the entire country around was flooded, cutting off the skirmishers, who had to be brought in by the cavalry. Fortunately the ground occupied by the regiment was high; still the men were obliged to stand during the night in water several inches in depth. At noon next day the bridge was repaired and the army moved forward. At Harrisonburg, Bayard's Cavalry and the Bucktails from McDowell's command, had a severe skirmish with the enemy, in which the rebel General Ashby was killed.
On Sunday, June 8th, Jackson took up a position at Cross Keys, five miles beyond Harrisonburg, and prepared to give battle to Fremont. Forming his line with the division of Schenck on the right, Milroy in the centre, and Blenker on the left, Fremont advanced to the attack. The Twenty-seventh Regiment held the right of General Stahel's Brigade.