Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Special Request

Although I'm trying to put up the monuments and sites of Gettysburg following the order of battle, as I said before, when something strikes my fancy, or if I get a request, I'll deviate from the plan...this is one of those deviations.

My little brother's father-in-law's (the esteemed Jim McCollum) Grandmother's Grandfather (his Great Great Grandfather) fought for the Army of the Potomac, 5th Corps, 1st Division, 3rd Brigade, Regiment 83rd Pennsylvania, Company E where he served as a 1st Sergeant.  Jim asked if I could put up some useful information on his Great Great Grandfather's company.  So here we go...

The monument for the 83rd Pennsylvania at Gettysburg is on the South slope of Little Round Top, it was dedicated on Sept 12, 1889.  It features Colonel Strong Vincent (who was killed shortly after placing his brigade on Little Round Top).  The monument also features the Maltese Cross that was the symbol of the 5th Corps.

83rd Pennsylvania Monument on Little Round Top
E.L. Whitelsey served from August 26,1861 until the company was disbanded at Harrisburg, Pa., July 4, 1865.   He was wounded at the battle of Malvern Hill (during the 7 Day's Battles).  He was wounded a second time and taken prisoner at the battle of 2nd Bull Run (or 2nd Manassas).  He was promoted from Corporal to 1st Sergeant (I can't find the date), and promoted to Sergeant Major on February 1, 1863 (which was the rank he held at Gettysburg).  He was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant on June 26, 1864.  And promoted a final time to 1st Lieutenant of Company A (83rd Pa) on October 30, 1864.

Company E of the Pa. 83rd was organized in Waterford, Erie County, Pennsylvania, and mustered into United States service September 8, 1861. Mustered out of the Army of the Potomac June 28, 1865, and disbanded at Harrisburg, Pa., July 4, 1865.

Uniform style worn by 83rd Pa 1861-19\862

 The Regiment served from 1st Manassas through the Grand Review.  Significant battles besides Gettysburg included:  The Peninsula Campaign, The Seven Day's Battles (Including Mechanicsville, Gaines' Mill, Savage Station, Malvern Hill) , 2nd Manassas, The Maryland Campaign (including Antietam) Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, The Overland Campaign (including The Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor), Petersburg, Five Forks, Appomattox.

83rd Pa Recruiting Poster
The 83rd lost 282 officers and men who died while fighting for the Union; only the 5th New Hampshire lost more--295. 

The 83rd Pa and Gettysburg

The Brigade was hurried to Little Round Top about 5 p.m. of July 2d. They were one of the companies of Colonel Strong Vincent's Brigade.  The 83rd was positioned to the right of the 20th Maine on Little Round Top.  They repulsed the attacks of General John Bell Hood's Division of Longstreet's Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia.  Specifically the frought Robertson's Brigade and what appears to have been the 5th Texas and 4th Alabama, they also were engaged by the 47th Alabama of Law's Brigade.  After driving Confederate forces from Little Round Top, they assisted in the taking of Big Round Top. 
The Regiment had 308 men engaged in battle, and suffered 10 killed and 45 wounded.  

Triangular Flag of the 83rd Pa (used @ Gettysburg)

No. 201. — Report of Capt. Orpheus S. Woodward, Eighty-third Pennsylvania Infantry.

July 6, 1863.
LIEUTENANT: In compliance with orders from headquarters Third Brigade, First Division, Fifth Corps, I have the honor to report the following as the operations of my command during the battle of the 2d, 3d, 4th, and 5th instant:
On the morning of the 2d instant, moved to the front. At about 2.30 p.m. was ordered into position on our extreme left, the Forty-fourth New York on my right, the Twentieth Maine on my left. At 3.15 p.m. the enemy advanced and engaged my skirmishers, pressing on in force, with bayonets fixed. They soon drove in my skirmishers and engaged my regiment, posted behind rocks and stones hastily thrown up for defense. The contest continued lively until nearly 6 p.m., when the enemy fell back. I instantly threw forward a strong line of skirmishers, who captured between 50 and 60 prisoners and 250 stand of arms.
My men and officers acted splendidly. Where all did so well, I cannot discriminate.
My loss amounted to 10 killed and 45 wounded.
At 1.30 a.m. on the 3d, moved to the support of the Twentieth Maine, which had succeeded in taking a high hill a little to the left of my former position. Remained here until 10 a.m., when, being relieved by a regiment of the Pennsylvania Reserves, rejoined my brigade, massed in the woods, just at the right of General Sykes’ headquarters. Here I remained until 12 m., the 4th, when the brigade was thrown forward on a reconnaissance. We moved out, and occupied the position occupied by the enemy the previous day; threw forward skirmishers, but found no opposing force within 2 miles. I deem it but proper to state that but for the prompt and skillful disposition made by Colonel Vincent of the troops under his command (the Third Brigade), the enemy would have succeeded in turning our left.
I regret to state that Colonel Vincent was severely wounded. My command (his regiment) esteemed him highly as a gentleman, scholar, and soldier, and bitterly avenged his injury.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Captain, Commanding Regiment.
Lieutenant HERENDEEN,
Asst. Adjt. Gen., Third Brig., First Div., Fifth Corps.

Some references that may help those looking for additional information on the 83rd Pa include:

Judson, Amos M., Captain, Company E.    History of the Eighty-Third Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers.   Dayton, OH: Morningside Books, 1986. 

Schellhammer, Michael W. The 83rd Pennsylvania Volunteers in the Civil War, McFarland Publishing .

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