Wednesday, November 22, 2006
147th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment
This regiment was formed from companies of the Twenty-Eighth Regiment, and three new companies enlisted at Harrisburg during the months of October and November, 1862. The company was officially organized at Loudon Heights, Virginia on October 10, 1862. The regiment quartered at Harper's Ferry until the 9th of December when the regiment proceeded to Fairfax Court House. In January it moved from camp and went to Stafford Court House. Soon afterwards it was in Acquia Landing, where it remained until the opening of the Chancellorsville campaign. On the morning of May 1st, the corps having arrived near the Chancellor House, was placed behind a breast-work of logs and small timber, and a company was sent out as skirmishers. At sun-down, this company was driven in by a heavy force of the enemy, but was immediately replaced by another, which regained the ground. At evening, the rebel force again attacked, but was easily repelled. At sunrise on the 3rd, Lt. William E. Goodman engaged the enemy's skirmishers, and for nearly an hour contested the ground hotly. About this time, the whole line of the Brigade became engaged, the enemy appearing in force on the right flank. It was ordered back, and took position in rear of the artillery.
A little later, the regiment was ordered to advance and re-take the breast-works that had been vacated, which was successfully executed. But it was here exposed to a galling fire of musketry and heavy artillery fire, suffering severely from both. Being overwhelmed by superior numbers, the regiment was obliged to fall back to avoid capture. The loss to the regiment was thirteen killed, fifty-nine wounded, and twenty-five missing. Lieutenants James R. Smith, William H. Hughes, and Thomas J. Leaming, were among the killed. Lieutenants Samuel F. McKee, Alexander A. Black, William E. Goodman, and David Brown, among the wounded.
After the battle of Chancellorsville, the regiment returned with the division to Acquia Landing, where it remained until the movement which culminated at Gettysburg. It arrived upon the field on July 1, 1863. The regiment was positioned to the right of Round Top, where its skirmishers were thrown out across the low ground, to the stone wall that skirts the woods in its front. The next day it was moved with the division into position on Culp's Hill, on the right of the line.
The One-Hundred and Forty-seventh was formed with the Seventh Ohio on its right, the Fifth Ohio on its left, and an open field, of triangular shape skirted by a low stone-wall running diagonally between the two lines, in its front. The battle opened on that part of the field at daylight, and until ten o'clock A.M., the firing was incessant. The enemy made repeated charges upon the line, but was swept back with fearful slaughter. Finally, broken and dispirited, he was driven from the field. On the 4th, details from the regiment were sent out to bury the dead, who lay in every conceivable position, on all parts of that hotly contested field. Owing to the nature of the ground where the regiment stood, the enemy's fire passed, for the most part, harmlessly over head, and, consequently, the loss was inconsiderable in comparison with that which it inflicted, and with the vital nature of the struggle. The unit suffered twenty-five killed, and twenty wounded. Lieutenant William H. Tourison was among the killed. Following the battle of Gettysburg, the regiment returned into Virginia where one hundred and sixty drafted men and substitutes were added to its number.
Both the 11th and 12th Corps were ordered west to join the Army of the Cumberland. The division went into camp on a spur of Raccoon Mountain, facing Lookout Creek. Early on the morning of November 14, the division crossed the creek some distance above Wauhatchie Junction, swept on over the rugged ground, carrying all before it, capturing many prisoner, and winding up around the extremity of the ridge looking towards Chattanooga. Although the summit was occupied by enemy forces, night was coming on and an attack could not be carried out. At sunrise, it was discovered that the rebels had made good their escape under cover of darkness. The summit of Lookout Mountain was in Union hands and the stars and stripes was unfurled upon its summit.
On the 29th of December, a majority of the men re-enlisted, and returned home on veteran furlough. A considerable number of recruits were added to its strength during this period, and on March 8th of 1864, it re-joined the division at its camp at Bridgeport. At the opening of May, Sherman moved with his entire army on the Atlanta campaign.
On May 25, the brigade, to which the regiment was attached, took the advance at New Hope Church, and in the battle which ensued, became heavily engaged.For nearly a week the fighting was kept up, the lines closing in upon each other, each party striving for an advantage, the firing unceasing and very destructive. Finally, the enemy was turned out of his position, and the movement of troops, and almost constant skirmishing continued. The regiment, along with the division, was engaged at Pine Knob, Noses Creek, and Peach Tree Creek. The battle at Peach Tree Creek was a particularly desperate fight at times, the rebels coming forward with irresistible determination. The enemy charged and recharged from front and right flank, but the Union forces held firmly, refusing to give way. The enemy sullenly left his front during the evening, firing spitefully as he retired.
Sherman soon after occupied and burned Atlanta and then continued on his destructive march to the sea. Of the fortunes of the regiment in this march, and its subsequent advance northward through the Carolinas', it is unnecessary to speak in detail, as its course was not marked by any special incident out of the ordinary. After the surrender of General Johnston, on the 26th of April, 1865, Sheman's Army moved by rapid marches to the neighborhood of Washington, where on the 15th of July, the One Hundred and Forty-seventh was finally mustered out of service.
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