Organization of the "Lebanon Infantry"
The 93rd Pennsylvania was recruited mainly in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania in the fall of 1861. It was the idea of Rev. James M. McCarter, who was the former chaplain of the 14th P.V., a three month regiment that was recently disbanded. G. Dawson Coleman is considered the "Father of the Regiment", he owned many iron furnaces in the area and was one of the wealthiest men on the east coast. He purchased the uniforms and camp equipage for the regiment. By October, there were ten companies assembled at "Camp Coleman", which was located at the fairgrounds of Lebanon. Rev. McCarter was commissioned Colonel. The "Perseverance Band" of Lebanon, was the regimental brass band. The "Persy" band is still in existance today. The companies were as follows:
Co. A- Perseverance Co. No. 1- Lebanon
Co. F- Perseverance Co. No. 2- Lebanon
Co. D- Union Guards- Lebanon
Co. I- McCarter Guards- Lebanon/ Dauphin Counties
Co. C- Quittapahilla Guards- Lebanon
Co. H- Baldy Guards- Danville
Co. E- Washington Guards- Centre/Clinton Counties
Co. K- Anville Guards- Anville, Lebanon County
Co. G- Coleman Rifles- Lebanon/Berks/ Montgomery Counties
Co. B- Union Zouaves- Reading
The Original 93rd
Unidentified members of the 93rd Pennsylvania.
The regiment arrived in Washington on November 21st, 1861, they had yet to recieve weapons. As the men settled into winter camp, they drilled and learned the ways of army life. On December 9th they recieved their weapons, Belgian muskets, or "Dutch Blunderbusses" as the men called them. These were soon found inadequate, and the regiment was armed with .69 caliber Harpers Ferry Muskets by March of 1862.
The 93rd moved into the theatre of war and participated in the peninsular campaign. They were attached to Peck's Brigade, Couch's Divison, of Keye's fourth corps. The brigade consisted of the 93rd, 98th, and 102nd P.V. as well as the 55th and 62nd N.Y. infantry regiments. Those regiments, with the exception of the 55th N.Y., would fight side by side throughout the rest of the war. The 93rd's baptism of fire was at Williamsburg, VA. In late May they were bloodied at the battle of Fair Oaks. They suffered 155 casualties with only eight of the ten companies engaged (Co.'s A&F were on picket duty). The 93rd also participated in covering the reatreat from the penninsula. The 4th corps was soon broken up and Couch's Division began acting independently and soon became known as Couch's Flying Division. Although not engaged in the battle they covered the retreat of Pope's army after 2nd Manassas.
The regiment did not participate in the boody battle of Antietam, but they were held in reserve while they watched their comrades get slaughtered. They were also given the grusome task of burying the dead. It was also around this time that the 93rd was added to the 6th corps. The brigade was kept relatively untouched with the exception of the 55th N.Y. being transferred elswhere and the 139th P.V. being added to it. The brigade was now the 3rd brigade, 3rd division, of the 6th corps. The 93rd was held in reserve at the battle of Fredericksburg.
General "Fighting Joe" Hooker was now in command of the army. To help boost morale, or esprite de' corps, and to help identify the troops, came up with the idea of corps badges. Each corps was assigned a different shaped badge. the 6th corps badge was a greek cross. The color of the badge would be first division, red; second divison, white; and third division, blue. Thus, the 93rd's badge was a blue greek cross. These badges would be worn with pride throughout the rest of the war. During the Chancellorsville Campaign, the 93rd, along with the 6th corps, was encamped along the Rappahannock facing Fredericksburg. When the confederate forces attacked the Union 11th corps during "Stonewall" Jackson's famous flank march, Sedgwick was ordered to link up with Hookers army and strike Lee from the rear. This meant that the 6th corps would have to attack and carry Marye's Heights above Fredericksburg, the same place where just five months earlier, the Union army was shattered. The 93rd's division opened the attack, and, along with the second division, carried the heights. Just as the men cleared the heights they had to press on to Salem Church. The confederates there fought a stubborn battle, and the 93rd, along with the 98th was ordered in to support their comrades of the first division. They battle was fierce and in the confusion, the 93rd was the only regiment left on line. As they fell back a large number of the regiment was "gobbled up" by the charging foes.
As the defeated Army of the Potomac recuperated from their embarassing loss at Chancellorsville, Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia began their invasion up in to Pennsylvania. The Federal army met up with the Confederates at the small town of Gettysburg, PA on July 1st, 1863. The 93rd and their comrades of the 6th corps were at Manchester, MD, and were just settling down to a cup of coffee and their beds for the night. Around 8:00 pm, word reached General Sedgwick about the battle at Gettysburg, and he was to move his corps as quickly as possible to the battlefield. The corps was put into motion, the 93rd leading the column. The corps marched blindly into the night, taking a couple wrong roads, thus making the 37 mile trek even longer than necessary. After reaching the vicinity of the battlefield around 2 pm on the 2nd of July. The fatigued men nearly collapsed from the scorching July heat and choking dust of the dirt roads. The 6th corps had completed their 37 mile march in just under 19 hours. As the men filled their canteens in Rock Creek and relaxed, the bugle was soon heard and the 93rd and their brigade were ordered to the front. At the south end of the battlefield, things were falling apart for the Union army, they had just lost posession of the wheatfield, and their last line of defense was just forced back by elements of confederate General Longstreet's corps. Union reinforcements for rushed to the area to plug the gap; the 93rd and their brigade among them. As the 93rd crested the hill just to the north of Little Round Top, the scene before them was one of chaos, as the men from the broken 3rd and parts of the 2nd and 5th corps were hastily retreating through the ranks of the brigade. As Col. David Nevin (temporarily in command of the brigade) tried to form the brigade amidst the confusion, General Sedwick interupted, saying: "never mind forming your brigade there, pitch in by regiments!" That was all the men of the 93rd needed to hear, as they swung into action and fired three volleys into the advancing foe, and charged down upon them. At the end of the battle, the 93rd had captured 25 confederates and had 7 wounded of their own, one mortally. They lay along a stone wall along Weikert's farm lane in the Valley of Death for the remainder of the battle. It is unclear which regiment of the brigade entered the fray first, although it is likely that it was either the 93rd or 98th, making them the first regiment(s) to enter the battle from the 6th corps.
In the fall of 1863, the 6th corps was involved in the Mine Run campaign. The corps was in line to attack the confederate line on December 2, but, fortunately, Meade called the attack off agianst a strong fortified confederate line.
In mid-december, the U.S. government had a problem. Most of the veteran units in the war had enlisted for three years, and now it was becoming apparent that the war would last loger than that. It was decided that the men would would have the opportunity to re-enlist, with incntives being a 30 day furlough home plus addtional bounties. If three quarters of the regiment re-enlisted, they could keep their regimental designation, if three quarters was not acheived, then when the regiment mustered out, those who did re-enlist would be transferred to other regiments. The 93rd was one of those regiments that stayed together. 284 of the 380 men in the regiment had opted to re-enlist and now officially became known as the 93rd Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry. On February 7, 1864, the regiment started for Lebanon, PA. The regiment arrived in Harrisburg on the 8th, and marched to Lebanon. There the regiment was welcomed with a grand parade, and by March 10, was heading back down to Brandy Station, VA.
Corporal George Uhler of Co. A proudly displays his new "veteran chevrons", the half chevron was given to those who had "veteranized", or re-enlisted.
The army was now being re-organized. General Grant was now in command of all union forces. He consolidated the different corps to make the army more compact. The 93rd and their brigade were transferred from the 3rd brigade of the 3rd division to the first brigade of the 2nd division, 6th corps. Their corps badges would now have been white, and the entire corps' badged changed to a St. Andrews cross (an X) as opposed to the greek cross (a +), to avoid confusion with the 18th corps' similarly shaped badge.
During the early morning hours of May 4, the regiment along with its brigade was awakend from their winter camp at Brandy Station, and they marched off in the direction of the Rapidan River. The 5th corps, followed by the 6th corps crossed the Rapidan at Germanna ford. After a hard march of almost 25 miles the 93rd bedded down for the night near the Wilderness Tavern amidst the dense woods. The next morning the 5th corps discovered the presence of the confederate army and soon federal cavalry spotted confederate General A.P. Hill's corps advancing quickly on the union left flank. The second division, under the command of General George Getty, was ordered to cut Hill of at the intersection of the Brock and Plank Roads. As the cavalry videttes were retreating from the advancing rebel corps, Getty knew the situaion was tense. He and his staff advanced to the intersection to give the impression that the federals were there in force. The first two federal units on the scene were the 93rd and 139th P.V., who quickly wheeled into line and poured a volley into the confederate, who hastily retreated, being surprised by the sudden presence of federal troops. Getty formed his division at this cross-roads and awaited the confederate advance. The fighting in this area was savage, with attacks and counter-attacks amid the thick forest. Getty's divsion was finally reinforced by the 2nd corps and was moved to the rear to re-supply and rest. Soon, they were back on the front lines to support the second corps, who were begrugingly giving ground. Darkness ended the battle on this part of the battlefield, with the day ending in a stalemate, although the federals still held the intersection. The next morning Gettys division and the 2nd corps launched an attack at dawn. The attack intially surprised and stunned the worn-out confederates of Hill's division, but due to hard marching, and lucky timing by General Longstreet and his corps, the federals were counterattacked by fresh confederate troops. The federals fell back to strong defences along the Brock Road and awaited Longstreets renewed attack. When Longsteet attcked, the federal line almost broke, but due to the strong breastworks, were able to hole on. The 93rd suffered 181 casualties in the two days of bitter fighting, including one company comander killed and four wounded, also killed was Sgt. Major E.W.H. Stambach. Getty's division suffered the more casualties than any other division in the federal army.
Rather than retreat, as most federal commanders would have done in the past, Grant chose to press onto Richmond. The two armies met again at the battle of Spotsylvania on the 9th of May. The 93rd participated in 3 assaults on the confederate earthworks. The losses in the 93rd at Spotsylvania was 52 killed and wounded on May 10 and 18, and lost 4 officers and 73 men killed and wounded including Captain Richard Rogers of company C on May 12, when the 93rd supported the 2nd corps' attack on the Mule Shoe. Probably the biggest loss to the regiment and the corps was the death of 6th corps commander General "Uncle" John Sedgwick, who's famous last words to a crouching soldier under fire from confederate sharpshooters, were, "What are you dodging for, they can't hit an elephant at this distance." No sooner had the words left his mouth, than a confederate bullet slammed into his cheek.
After Spotsylvania, the two armies met once again at the battle of Cold Harbor. This was a disastrous federal attack on a heavily entrenched confederate position. The losses for Grant's army was almost 13,000, while Lee's army suffered less than 2,500. Grant had been quoted as saying after he recieved the casualty report of his army he, "went into his tent, and wept". Fortunately for the 93rd, they were assigned to guard the wagon trains for a majority of the 5 day battle, and suffered a slight loss. This marked the close of the Overland campaign. The armies would soon be entrenched around Petersburg, VA.
The 93rd began the Overland Campaign on May 4, with a strength of just over 750 men. By June 12, its ranks had been reduced to 325 men. 15 officers and 310 men were killed or wounded and another 95 sick and unfit for duty. Only 9 men were captured, and they, out of necessity, were left on the field wounded. Penrose Mark, author of the regimental history describes the Overland Campaign:
"From the 4th of May until the 12th of June, the Ninety-third marched three hundred and fifty miles, made twenty-six night marches, was fifteen days without regular rations, dug thirty rifle pits, oftener at night than by day, and fought in eight distinct battles. During all this time there were but five days on which the regiment or some part of it was not under fire, and neither officers nor men ever took off their clothes, seldom their accoutrements, day or night. Clothes and shoes worn out were only re-placed by those of dead men, and not until it arrived at the James River, far from the presence of an enemy, did the men enjoy the luxury of a bath."
The armies soon became entrenched around the city of Petersburg, VA. As soon as the regiment arrived it was put to work and skirmishing was constant. On the 18th of June the 6th corps made an advance, the loss in the regiment was slight, but one of the killed was beloved young Captain Jacob Embich of company A. On the 22nd the regiment supported an attack made by the third division and suffered 13 killed and wounded.
Captain Jacob Embich, Co. A. Killed in action at Petersburg, VA, June 18, 1864
As the army of the Potomac was just settling into the trenches, the boys of the 93rd soon realized they would soon find out they had other business to attend to. Confederate General Jubal Early's army was on his way up the Shenandoah Valley; Lee had instructed him to clear the valley and make his way into Maryland, and if possible, threaten Washington D.C. to force Grant send troops away from Petersburg to protect the capital.
Lee's plan worked. The 6th corps was soon headed to Washington D.C. The 6th corps arrived just in the nick of time. When Early's troops reached the outskirts of the capital at Fort Stevens, he was surprised to find that it not only was the garrsioned Heavy Artillery troops he expected, but the battle-hardened troops of the 6th corps. With this information, Early now knew the odds were against him. He never tried a full assault and only minor skirmishing occured. The battle of Fort Stevens was remembered for the fact that Abraham Lincoln himself observed the battle from the fort. As Jubal Early stated after the engagement, "We didn't take Washington D.C., but we scared Abe Lincoln like hell."
The 93rd was now part of the "Army of the Shenandoah", which was now under the command of Phillip Sheridan. The regiment participated in the battles of Opequon (Winchester) on September 19th and the battle of Fisher's Hill on September 22. The losses at Opequon were 11 killed, 32 wounded, and 5 mortally wounded. The losses at Fisher's Hill was 12 wounded. At Fisher's Hill, the regiment captured 6 pieces of artillery. One of the wounded was color bearer William Smith, who, while planting the colors of the 93rd on one of the captured cannon, had his legs blown off by an exploding cassion.
Sheridan's army had soundly defeated Early's army in two battles, and didn't expect him to be in any shape to fight another large scale battle. The federals camped around the small town of Middletown around Cedar Creek. On the morning of October 19, Early would surprise the federals. Under cover of early morning fog, the rebels launched a surpise attack and, with realative ease, drove back the 8th and 19th corps. Unfortunately for the two corps, they were positioned on the front lines and were the first to be hit and after putting up a short stiff fight, were driven back. The 6th corps meanwhile, was just waking up and boiling coffee when the sounds of gunfire began. Most of the men assumed it was picket firing, which was common over the last couple of weeks. As the gunfire intensified, however, General Wright, commanding the 6th corps moved towards the sound of fighting.
With the 93rd's (Getty's) Division in the lead, the corps double quicked by the left flank following the sounds of firing through the dense fog. As the division neared the action, the signs of disaster were clear. "I am utterly unable to describe the universal confusion and dismay that we encountered" remarked a Vermont soldier of the 93rds sister brigade. Getty placed the Vermont brigade as skirmishers and hustled his remaining brigades to a high hill overlooking Middletown. The two remaining divisions of the 6th corps fell in on Getty's right, but did not connect with his flank.
Getty's division was soon the only federal infantry left to meet the confederate onslaught, as soon, the 1st and 3rd divisions were forced to retire after a violent, confusing fight on the fog covered battlefield. Soon elements of the 19th, 8th, and 1st and 3rd divisions of the 6th corps were retreating northward towards the heights north of Middletown. The 93rd and its division was also moving north, but it wasn't retreating, it was moving to a better defensive position. When the rest of the 6th corps abandoned the posistion to Getty's right, it left his right and rear exposed to the confederat attack. The division moved to a high hill, where the Middletown cemetary was, and turned it into a strong position. Getty placed Bidwell's brigade on the left, Grant's Vermont brigade in the center, and the 93rd's (Warner's) brigade on the right, with skirmishers all around the base of the hill, to give warning in the dense fog now mixed with gun smoke.
The confederate attacks paused and regrouped, and were hesitant to attack Getty because confederate leaders were unsure of the federal strength. When the attack finally came, the division rose to a kneeling position, and waited. Getty ordered the men to hold their fire until the confederate line came within 30 yards. When the rebel line reached that point the division unleashed a thunderous volley the the confederate line was staggered to a stop. As confederates dropped left and right out in the open, and the federals had the relative saftey of trees and hastily built breastworks, the rebel line began to withdraw. Warner was quick to respond by counter-attacking with the 93rd and 102nd P.V. and the counter-attack effectively drove the confederates off for the time being.
The confederates answered by pounding the federal position with artillery. The union soldiers hugged the ground for cover. With the artillery fire and repeated confederate assaults that were now working around the division's flanks the federals, stubbornly withdrew. But the lone division had done its job, it effectively slowed down the confederate attack and gave the rest of the army time to reorganize north of town.
Confederate General John Gordon whos troops made the attack against the 6th corps, reported that the 6th corps retreated "sullen, slow, and orderly" and when confederate General Early made a remark that the 6th corps didn't have to be attacked again, Gordon replied, "That is the 6th corps General, they will not go unless we drive it from the field."
The confederates plundered the federal camps and while they were getting their fill, the union army was reorganizing. To aide in the reorganizing, was General Phil Sheridan. Sheridan had been in Winchester all day, and, upon hearing the gunfire, rode down the Valley Pike to the battle field. By late afternoon, the federals were ready to counter-attack. The federals drove the confederate army back across Cedar Creek, and as Phil Sheridan claimed before the attack they were, "...back in their camps tonight."
Captain Penrose Mark. Wounded at Cedar Creek, and author of the Regimental History.
In late October, the regiment was ordered to Philadelphia to keep order during the 1864 election, in case of riots. This was the first time the citizens of Philadelphia had seen true veteran troops straight from the battlefield. The citizens remarked the the boys of the 93rd, "were no 'Sunday Soldiers'." The elections passed quietly and the 93rd was now on its way back to the Shenandoah Valley. By December, the regiment was back in the trenches around Petersburg, now that the threat in the Shenandoah Valley had decreased.
On March 25, 1865, the regiment and its division was ordered to assault the confederate works and determine its strength. The federals easily gobbled up the rebel pickets and rifle pits and prepared to assault the main line on the crest of a high hill. After advancing a short distance through an open field the brigade received a severe flanking fire from artiller and rifle fire and it was soon ordered to withdraw. In just a short fight, the 93rd suffered 15 killed and 136 wounded. The division lost a total of 1,176 men. Although the loss was heavy, the attack had accomplished its intended purpose.
On April 2nd, the 93rd would participate in what would be the final charge at the siege of Petersburg. At midnight, the regiment was ordered to pack up and put knapsacks under guard. Canteens and cartridge boxes were filled. 6th corps commander General Wright's orders stated that the officers shall make the attack on foot, and the men shall charge with weapons unloaded. Wright would assemble his entire corps into a "wedge". The second division under Getty would spearhead the assault, with the 1st and third divisions to the rear. Getty placed his third brigade at the very "tip" of the wedge and the Vermont brigade to the left-rear and the 1st brigade (the 93rds) to the right-rear. The entire 2nd division formed in Columns by battalion, meaning each regiment formed in two lines, one battalion behind the other. The regiment formed without noise in front of Fort Fisher, and awaited the signal, which was a single cannon fire from the fort. The men knew what was ahead, as they had assaulted the very same works just eight days earlier.
At 4 o'clock in the morning, the silence was broken by the signal gun. The charge was remembered as unbearable, as the men could not return fire while their comrades dropped around them. Finally the regiment reached the rebel lines, as they encountered the obstacles placed there by the confedertes to slow down any attacks against them. As soon as the first battalion reached the abatis (sharpened trees and branches facing the attackers), they began to force their way through. Soon the second battalion was intermixed with the first, and together forced their way into the confederate earthworks.
Amidst all the confusion, 19 year old color bearer, Sgt. Charles Marquette impaled himself through the upper thigh on a piece of sharpened timber, but still, managed to be one of the first color bearers to plant the National colors on the enemys breastworks. For this act of valor, he received the Medal of Honor.
Sgt. Charles Marquette (pictured as a private), awarded the Medal of Honor for gallentry in action on April 2, 1865, at Petersburg. The official citation read: "Sergeant Marquette, although wounded, was one of the first to plant colors on the enemy's breastworks."
The regiment pressed on through the rebel trenches, "gobbling" up a number of "Johnnies", which a large majority of them, were still just waking up in their tents. The confederate rout was on, and the 93rd and the 6th corps was hot on their heels. The 6th corps pressed the enemy all the way to Hatcher's Run, where they were relieved by the 2nd and 5th corps. The "Bloody Sixth" was ordered to press on to Petersburg. The 93rd soon encountered the famed confederate "Mississippi Brigade", which was acting as Lee's Headquarters guard. The tough Mississippians were supporting a battery of artillery consisting of four guns. The regiment halted and braced itself against a swarm of grape shot and cannister spewing from the cannons. Sgt. Hiram Layland of company H led a squad around the left of the battery and shot down most of it's horses and a number of gunners. With the battery's method of escape taken away, the rest of the regiment advanced on the battery. This compelled the rest of the battery to withdraw as well as the Mississpians. The four gun battery around Lee's HQ was captured by the 93rd.
The corps pressed on until it reached the outskirts of Petersburg, where it threw up some light breastworks and sent out a skirmish line, which was under command of Captain Penrose Mark of Co. D. The following morning, Mark was order forward to the the city, where, they met no resistance and the entire corps moved into Petersburg.
On April 6th, the corps participated in the battle of Sailor's Creek, and the 93rd's second division was for the most part held in reserve. The federal army eventually cornered Lee around Appomattox Court House.
While the rest of the army returned to Washington D.C. and participated in the grand review, the 6th corps moved to Danville, VA. Their mission was to operate with General Sherman in North Carolina and assist in defeating confederate General Johnston. Before they could be of assistance, Johnston had surrendered and the 6th corps remained in camp around Danville for almost a month.
By the end of May, the corps was ordered to Richmond and then to Washington D.C. on June 3rd. The 6th corps had their own grand review on June 8th. Now the men of the 93rd just had to wait for they day they would be mustered out and go home. That day came on June 27th, 1865, when the 93rd Pennsylvania was officially mustered out of the federal army.
The 93rd is considered one of the "300 Fighting Regiments of the Civil War", a list compiled by Colonel William Fox. In order to be considered for the list a regiment had to have had at least 130 men killed or mortally wounded.
62nd New York: 98 Killed and Mortally Wounded, 84 from Disease, Total: 182
98th Pennsylvania: 121 Killed and Mortally Wounded, 73 from Disease, Total 194
102nd Pennsylvania: 181 Killed and Mortally Wounded, 82 from Disease, Total 263
139th Pennsylvania: 145 Killed and Mortally Wounded, 91 from Disease, Total 236
93rd Pennsylvania: 172 Killed and Mortally Wounded, 112 from Disease*, Total 274
*It is interesting to note that many historians point out the fact that most soldiers from rural areas generally suffered more from disease than soldiers from more heavily populated areas. The 93rd has the highest number of death from disease than any other regiment in the brigade. They were also the only regiment in the brigade not from a city (62nd N.Y. from N.Y. City, 98th P.V. from Philadelphia, and the 102nd and 139th from Pittsburgh).
Casualties by Company
Company A: Killed, 11; Mortally Wounded, 5; Disease, 5; Wounded, 55; Missing, 2
Company F: Killed, 11; Mortally Wounded, 3; Disease, 15; Wounded, 41; Missing, 4
Company D: Killed, 3; Mortally Wounded, 10; Disease, 9; Wounded, 39; Missing, 1
Company I: Killed, 7; Mortally Wounded, 7; Disease, 13; Wounded, 50; Missing, 2
Company C: Killed, 10; Mortally Wounded, 7; Disease, 7; Wounded, 51; Missing, 4
Company H: Killed, 13; Mortally Wounded, 9; Disease, 8; Wounded, 53; Missing, 3
Company E: Killed, 9; Mortally Wounded, 5; Disease, 12; Wounded, 49; Missing, 0
Company K: Killed, 13; Mortally Wounded, 9; Disease, 4; Wounded, 78; Missing, 2
Company G: Killed, 8; Mortally Wounded, 6; Disease, 7; Wounded, 32; Missing, 6
Company B: Killed, 10; Mortally Wounded, 9; Disease, 7; Wounded, 60; Missing, 3
Field and Staff: Killed, 1; Mortally Wounded, 0; Disease, 1; Wounded, 4; Missing, 0