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On the 30th of August, the First Corps took position in the centre, with Porter's Corps on the right, which soon became engaged. The conflict in the centre did not commence till afternoon, when, Porter having been driven back, the enemy attempted to pass in front to re-enforce their right, now pressing heavily upon our left. For three hours the centre stood firm, holding its position on a high hill and successfully hurling back every onset of the enemy. But towards evening, by the withdrawal of Porter's Corps, he was enabled to flank it on the right and to plant batteries to take the position, at the same time attacking it in front. At this juncture Companies I and K, Captains Ackley and McAloon, were at the extreme front, supporting Battery B, Second United States Artillery. A great number of the artillery men having been wounded and killed, infantry men from these companies took their places at the guns. The battle had now reached its height. The entire artillery of the First Corps, admirably planted and served, had concentrated its fire on the advancing rebel masses. Our left and right had been driven back; the centre alone stood firm, the enemy straining every nerve to force it from the strong position it occupied. His batteries on our right having obtained the exact range, planted shot and shell in quick succession in the very midst of the line, one shell bursting among the color guard, killing one and wounding several. At the most critical moment of the battle General Schenck was wounded, when General Stahel assumed command of the division, and Colonel Buschbeck, of the brigade. Notwithstanding the desperate efforts made by the enemy to gain the centre, the ground was held until dark, and then, yielding to overwhelming odds, it retired in good order, crossing Bull Run bridge at midnight and with the exception of a few of the Bucktails, the Twenty-seventh Regiment, was the last to cross. The bridge was then destroyed.
On the following day the command fell back to Centreville, in the midst of a drizzling rain, and from thence through Vienna to Langley, the enemy following closely, and shelling the retiring column whenever an opportunity presented. At Langley, the regiment was for several days engaged in picket duty, when it fell back still further to the vicinity of Fort De Kalb. Captain Ackley, and twenty-five men of Company C, were ordered to Washington on special duty, where they were kept several months. The regiment remained in the vicinity of Chain Bridge, several times shifting camp, and engaged in picket duty at Falls Church, until the 21st of September, when it was ordered to Centreville. On the 24th, the Twenty-seventh Pennsylvania and Seventy-third Ohio, a section of artillery and a squadron of cavalry, all under Colonel Buschbeck, were ordered on a reconnoissance. At Bristoe Station, the rebel guard was captured. Finding a notice posted ordering rebel conscripts to assemble in a neighboring village on that evening, Companies A and B were detailed to receive them; but only succeeding in capturing eight, the rest failing to appear. The next morning the rebel train approached within a quarter mile of the station, but the engineer perceiving that the place had fallen into other hands, hastily returned.
On the 26th of October, the Twenty-seventh was attached to the First Brigade* of the Second Division, Colonel Buschbeck being placed in command. For two years it had shared the fate of this brigade, to which it was originally attached. Upon its departure General Stahel expressed his regret for its loss, and paid a flattering tribute to its conduct in field and camp while under his command, and on leaving Centreville the whole brigade was drawn up in line, cheering heartily as the regiment passed by. Joining the Second Division, at Fairfax Court House, after a few days delay, it marched through Centreville, New Baltimore, Haymarket, Gainesville, to Thoroughfare Gap, where it encamped. Here an election was held for Major, to supply the vacancy occasioned by the resignation of John N. Lang, resulting in the choice of Captain Peter A. McAloon, of Company K.
In the meantime General Burnside had assumed command of the Army of the Potomac, and in the re-organization which ensued, the Twentyseventh was attached to the Eleventh Corps. General Sigel was appointed to the command of the reserve division, consisting of the Eleventh and Twelfth Carps, and General Stahel to the command of the Eleventh Corps. Remaining at Thoroughfare Gap until November 17th, the regiment fell back to the neighborhood of Germantown, where it went into winter quarters, but on the 5th of December it was ordered to move to Hibernia Hill, beyond Fairfax Court House. Here details were made from the regiment to build corduroy roads, which were continued until the 8th, when it marched in the direction of Fredericksburg. Passing through Dumfries and Stafford Court House, it arrived on the evening of the 15th at Falmouth. Remaining in this vicinity, drilling and doing picket duty until the 13th of January, it was ordered to United States Ford, where it was detailed to build a road above the ford, and to clear away the neighboring hills for planting batteries. Engaged in this duty until the 17th, it was, on that day, ordered to accompany the pontoon train to Bank's Ford; but rain and night both setting in, and the road being obstructed by the artillery, advancing from an opposite direction, the column was unable to reach its destination, and morning found pontoon train, artillery and troops ingloriously stuck in the mud. For two days, in the midst of driving snow and rain, without shelter and with scarcely any fire, the men toiled in extricating the pontoons. During the first night no fire was allowed and the clothing of the men, which had become throughly drenched, was frozen stiff. Returning again to Falmouth on the 23d, the regiment went into winter quarters, but only remained till the 5th of February, when it was ordered to Stafford Court House, where the corps was encamped.
In the meantime General Burnside had been superseded in the command of the Army of the Potomac by General Hooker, and by the middle
Organization of the First Brigade. Twenty-seventh Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel Cantador; Seventy-third Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel
New York Volunteers, Colonel Soest; One Hundred and Fifty-fourth Regiment New York Volunteers, Colonel Jones.
of April, was opening the campaign of Chancellorsville. On the 15th the brigade was ordered to Kelly's Ford, where it arrived on the following day and encamped in the woods near by. Here it remained guarding the ford till the 28th, when the Fifth, Eleventh and Twelfth Corps arrived. On the night of the 29th the Twenty-seventh and the Seventy-third Pennsylvania Regiments crossed the river on pontoons, routed the enemy stationed on the opposite bank, advanced some distance and remained out all night on the skirmish line. During the night and following day the rest of the army crossed, the two regiments first over remaining at the ford till all had passed, and following up and joining the army at Germania Mills. Here the Twenty-seventh crossed the Rapidan, and, after a brief respite, continued the march, reaching Dodd's Tavern, near the Wilderness, late at night. Taking position early in the morning the men were ordered to throw up breast-works. On the 1st of May the enemy felt the line heavily, but did not succeed in breaking it. The regiment remained out during the following night on the skirmish line, and was relieved in the morning by the One Hundred and Fifty-fourth New York. The Second Brigade was, on the 2d of May, detached and ordered to the support of the Third Corps, under Sickles. In the afternoon the enemy succeeded in turning the right flank of the First and Third Divisions of the Corps, and attacked in overwhelming numbers under Stonewall Jackson, driving them in the direction of Colonel Buschbeck's Brigade, now numbering but fifteen hundred muskets. Immediately on discovering the condition of affairs, he ordered the Twenty-ninth New York and the Twenty-seventh Pennsylvania to advance. Both went forward in gallant style and herocially endeavored to check the enemy's fierce onset, but in vain.* The enemy literally swarmed on every side. After losing half their number, the two regiments were forced to retire, but contested every step of ground till they reached the Chancellor House,† where the corps re-formed and remained for the night. At ten o'clock on the same night the rebels made another furious assault upon the position held by
*During the time occupied in the dispersion of Devon's and Schurz's Divisions, Steinwehr had rapidly changed front and thrown Buschbeck's Brigade into these works. The other brigade of his division had been sent to support Sickles. Some of Schurz's men rally on Buschbeck, and for a short time the Confederate advance is arrested.--The Battlefields of Virginia (rebel), p. 50.
Extract from General Von Steinwehr's report, dated Headquarters Second Division, Eleventh Corps, May 8, 1863. •
• Soon I heard heavy firing in that direction which showed that a strong attack was made upon our corps. When I arrived upon the
enth and Seventy-third Pennsylvania and One Hundred and Fifty-fourth New York, still occupying the same ground near the tavern, and defending this position with great firmness and gallantry. The attack of the enemy was very powerful, they emerged from the woods in close column and had thrown the First and Third Divisions, which retired towards Chancellorsville, in great confusion. Colonel Buschbeck succeeded to check the progress of the enemy, and I directed him to sible. His men fought with great determination and courage; soon, however, the
upon the small force, and which killed and wounded nearly one-third of its whole strength, soon forced them to retire. Colonel Buschbeck then withdrew his small brigade in perfect order towards the woods, the enemy closely pressing on. Twice he halted, faced around, and at last reached the rear of General Sickles' Corps, which had been drawn up in position near Chancellorsville.
Sickles and Pleasanton, and for nearly two hours made desperate attempts to break their lines, but were repeatedly repulsed with great
On the following morning, Sunday, May 3, the Twenty-seventh took position along a line of breast-works, leading to United States Ford; but beyond an occasional skirmish it was not engaged, though the battle raged heavily on the right throughout the entire day. On the 6th the retreat of Hooker's army commenced, and on the 7th the regiment arrived at its old camp ground, near Stafford Court House,
The rebel leader, now rejoicing in his strength, determined to assume the offensive, and commenced, early in June, his movement on Pennsylvania. On the 12th of June the Eleventh Corps marched through Virginia to Edwards' Ferry, where it crossed the Potomac and moved through Maryland to Emmittsburg, halting for a day. During the march the Eleventh Corps had been in the advance, but at this point the First Corps pushed ahead. The entire movement had been rapid, the men suffering greatly from heat, many of them foot-sore. On the 1st of July the corps was ordered to march in quick time to Gettysburg. On the way the sad intelligence of the fall of General Reynolds, then in chief command
in the village shortly after noon and the Twenty-seventh Regiment was ordered to take possession of the jail, church, and the school building at one end of the town and make preparations to defend the entrance from that direction. The First and Third Divisions, in position to the north of the town, being engaged and already hard pressed the First Brigade, now under command of Colonel Costar, of the One Hundred and Thirtyfourth New York, was ordered forward to their support. Hastening through the town at a double quick, the Twenty-seventh went into position near a brick kiln, with the One Hundred and Thirty-fourth New York on the left. In deploying the latter regiment moved too far to the right, leaving a gap between it and the next regiment to the left, the One Hundred and Fifty-fourth New York. On perceiving this, Lieutenant Colonel Cantador ordered the second battalion of the Twenty-seventh to be thrown into the gap, but, owing to the din and confusion of the battle, the order was only partially executed, and but about fifty men under Lieutenant Vogelbach reached the position. In moving they were obliged to cross an open field that was swept by the fire of Early's advancing troops, from which they suffered severely. These three small regiments fought desperately to hold their line, and until both flanks were turned,
ant Vogelbach, with a part of the Twenty-seventh and the One Hundred and Fifty-fourth New York entire, failing to perceive, until too late, that the brigade had fallen back, attempted to re-join it, but found themselves entirely cut off, the rebels being in advance of them pursuing our retreating column into town. This fragment of the Twenty-seventh, however, attempted to cut its way through, when Lieutenant Vogelbach was
shot down, and the men, being without a leader, and entirely surrounded, were forced to submit to be taken prisoners.
The remainder of the regiment had forced its way back to Cemetery Hill, and was posted behind the stone walls to the left of the Baltimore pike. On the evening of the 2d, the enemy made a desperate assault on that part of the line, and attempted to take the battery which it was supporting. As the rebels were advancing to the attack, a mounted man in the national uniform, representing himself as a staff officer, rode up and ordered the regiment to fall back some distance to a wall in the rear. The order was given, but the greater part of the men refused to retire. The pretended officer discovering that his order was not obeyed, leaped the wall and gallored away towards Gettysburg, evidently a rebel in disguise. On seeing this, the men who had obeyed the order and fallen back, advanced again to their old position, where their comrades were engaged. The enemy, in heavy force, rushed forward with the confidence of assured victory, and succeeded in crossing the wall, but could not drive our men from it. The conflict here was a desperate hand to hand encounter, the men clubbing their muskets, and the artillerymen their rammers. The rebels were at length forced back, leaving two regimental colors, and a number of prisoners. Here the brave Lieutenant Briggs, the Adjutant of the regiment, while in the very act of cheering on the men, was killed.
On the 3d of July the regiment continued in position on Cemetery Hill, with the exception of a short time, when ordered to the assistance of a corps momentarily overpowered, and was for three hours exposed to a terrific artillery fire. During the night, Lieutenant Hannappel, of Company K, pushed into the outskirts of the town, and on the morning of the 4th, the Twenty-seventh was among the first to enter Gettysburg, to the great joy of the inhabitants. What a morning was that for the people of this beleaguered town! For three wearisome days of battle had they with bated breath awaited the issue of the conflict. In the grey dawn, they beheld with uncontrollable gladness the soldiers of the national army advancing on all their streets!
Following up the enemy in his retreat, skirmishing ensued with his rear at Hagerstown and Funkstown. The loss of the regiment in this battle was two officers and twenty-two men killed, three officers and sixty-five men wounded, and one officer and forty-four men missing.
The rebels having made good their retreat across the Potomac, hastened up the Shenandoah Valley, while Meade retraced his steps through Lovettsville, Union, Upperville, and Salem, to Warrenton, holding the old line of the Rappahannock. Two months succeeding the battle of Gettysburg was a period of great activity with the cavalry, the infantry being little engaged. On the 14th of September, while encamped at Greenwich, Virginia, one hundred and seventy conscripts were sent to the regiment. In the absence of Lieutenant Colonel Cantador, it was at this time commanded by Major McAloon. Moving from Greenwich to Catlett's Station, it remained till near the close of September, when it was ordered to