Welcome to "Remembering the 142nd PVI". The purpose of this site is post pictures, information, and the final resting places of this regiment of the American Civil War. It seeks to tell a "bottom up" history, straight from the common soldiers themselves. If you have any information concerning the 142nd, please email me at bmonticue@gmail.com. Thank you and enjoy.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Fort Stevens, Washington, D.C.

Photo Credit: Library of Congress
Once the 142nd left Camp Curtin in Pennsylvania, the regiment was immediately sent to Ft. Massachusetts, later named Ft. Stevens, just outside of Washington, D.C. This fort was one of many structures surrounding D.C., making it one of the most fortified cities on earth. By the end of the war, there were 68 forts, 93 gun batteries, 20 miles of rifle pits, and 32 miles of military roads around the Capital.

  The regiment was sent to this location, along what was then 7th Street Pike, to help secure the main artery into the city from the North. Their time here did not consist of much drilling. Mostly, they dug rifle pits and cleared trees.

Lt. Col. Alfred B. McCalmont
Photo Credit: Dickinson College

In a letter to his brother John, dated Sept. 9, 1862, Lt. Col. Alfred McCalmont wrote, "Our men are all detailed to cut down the woods in front of the fort, and to work on the fortifications."

Capt. Albert Heffley
Photo Credit: Berlin, PA Historical Society

Capt. Albert Heffley of Co. F records the same in his diary: "After breakfast I detailed 50 men from the company to chop trees down about a mile from the Fort, so as to prevent the enemy from planting batteries. I had a great time with the boys. About one half worked exceedingly well, while the other half scarcely earned their salt."

It's difficult to imagine the need for cutting down trees around Fort Stevens if you see its 21st Century location. Due to years of urban sprawl, Ft. Stevens is now located in the middle of Washington, DC, completely encroached by development on all sides. In fact, the Civil War Trust, the nation's leader in battlefield preservation, named Fort Stevens as among the most endangered Civil War battlefields in 2010.

Photo Credit: Civil War Trust

After a few weeks in the Nation's Capital, the 142nd left Ft. Stevens and moved to Maryland to help with the sick and wounded from the battles of Antietam and South Mountain.

Two years later, Fort Stevens would gain fame as being the only location where a sitting President of the United States ever came under direct enemy fire. In July 1864, Confederate General Jubal Early moved northward through Virginia and Maryland, and on July 11 arrived near Silver Spring, MD, just outside of Washington. He sent out skirmishers to test the city's surrounding fortifications. On July 12, President and Mrs. Lincoln came to Fort Stevens to see the action for themselves. After Confederate snipers took a few shots in his direction, the President quickly left for a safer venue.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Works Cited:

United States Departmentt of the Interior brochure. http://www.civilwartraveler.com/maps/nps/CWDW-Interpretive-Brochure-2010.pdf

National Park Service Battle Summaries. http://www.nps.gov/hps/abpp/battles/dc001.htm

Civil War Trust. http://www.civilwar.org/battlefields/fort-stevens.html

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

150th Anniversary of the 142nd PA Volunteer Infantry

This week marks the sesquicentennial of the formation of 142nd PA Volunteers.

During the summer of 1862, Union victory in the War Between the States was anything but assured. In fact, until this point it was the Confederate forces who were racking up victory after victory on the battlefield. Federal losses during the Peninsular Campaign in Eastern Virginia, the Shenandoah Valley in West-Central Virginia, and New Orleans and Shiloh in the Western Theater shed a dark shadow across the White House and the Governor's mansions of the Northern states during that spring and summer.

In response to the military losses suffered by the Federal Army, the Commander in Chief, Abraham Lincoln, made a call for 150,000 additional troops.

To the Governors of the several States:
The capture of New Orleans, Norfolk, and Corinth by the national forces has enabled the insurgents to concentrate a large force at and about Richmond, which place we must take with the least possible delay; in fact, there will soon be no formidable insurgent force except at Richmond. With so large an army there, the enemy can threaten us on the Potomac and elsewhere. Until we have reestablished the national authority, all these places must be held, and we must keep a respectable force in front of Washington. But this, from the diminished strength of our Army, by sickness and casualties, renders an addition to it necessary in order to close the struggle which has been prosecuted for the last three months with energy and success. Rather than hazard the misapprehension of our military condition and of groundless alarm by a call for troops by proclamation, I have deemed it best to address you in this form. To accomplish the object stated we require without delay 150,000 men, including those recently called for by the Secretary of War. Thus reenforced our gallant Army will be enabled to realize the hopes and expectations of the Government and the people.

The 142nd PA was among the hundreds of new regiments that formed across the Union in the summer of 1862 at the urging of the President.

Pennsylvania's Governor, Andrew Curtin, was among the Union Governors who replied back to President Lincoln:

Andrew Gregg Curtin
(Photo: Camp Curtin Historical Society)

The undersigned, governors of States of the Union, impressed with the belief that the citizens of the States which they respectively represent are of one accord in the hearty desire that the recent successes of the Federal arms may be followed up by measures which must insure the speedy restoration of the Union, and believing that, in view of the present state of the important military movements now in progress and the reduced condition of our effective forces in the field, resulting from the usual and unavoidable casualties in the service, the time has arrived for prompt and vigorous measures to be adopted by the people in support of the great interests committed to your charge, respectfully request, if it meets with your entire approval, that you at once call upon the several States for such number of men as may be required to fill up all military organizations now in the field, and add to the armies heretofore organized such additional number of men as may, in your judgment, be necessary to garrison and hold all the numerous cities and military positions that have been captured by our armies, and to speedily crush the rebellion that still exists in several of the Southern States, thus practically restoring to the civilized world our great and good Government. All believe that the decisive moment is near at hand, and to that end the people of the United States are desirous to aid promptly in furnishing all reenforcements that you may deem needful to sustain our Government.

Andrew Gregg Curtin was the wartime Governor of Pennsylvania, serving as Republican from 1861-1867. The Bellefonte, PA native became an ally of President Linoln's in the war effort and was excellent at being able to secure funding and troops to protect his state from the Confederate troops sneaking back and forth across his southern border.
Statue of Gov. Curtin on one of the corners of the Pennsylvania State Monument at Gettysburg National Military Park
Photo Credit: http://www.gettysburg.stonesentinels.com/PA/PaMon.php

Curtin came from a political family and was a lawyer before entering the political arena himself. After the war, he became Minister to Russia, a Democratic US Congressman, and was a member of the Committee on Foriegn Affairs and the Committee on Banking and Currency.

After his time in Congress, Curtin resumed his law practiced until his death in 1894. He is buried in Union Cemetery in his hometown of Bellefonte.


The men of the 142nd were mustered into service at Camp Curtin, an army camp near Harrisburg, PA. Camp Curtin was established soon after Ft. Sumter was fired upon, when men throughout Pennsylvania converged on the state capital to volunteer their services. At that time, Governor Curtin ordered his state militia commander to seize the grounds of the Dauphin County Agricultural Society. Although it was supposed to be named "Camp Union", when the Camp was opened on April 18, 1861, Maj. Joseph Knipe changed the name to honor the State's Governor. Over the course of the War, over 300,000 troops passed through Camp Curtin, making it the largest Federal camp.  

Even though the camp trained such large numbers of soldiers, at least two Somerset County men from Co. F were less than impressed with their short stay. 

In his Saturday, August 23, 1862 diary entry, 1st Sgt Jacob Zorn wrote that "Camp Curtin (on as windy as day as this) is one of the dirtiest and dustiest places Ive ever Been theres no end to dust" (sic)

The next day's entry is no better: "Gov. CURTIN passed through Camp today and plenty of women visiting. but most of them are in my opinion doubtful characters" (sic)

Capt. Albert Heffley only briefly mentions Camp Curtin in passing, after the regiment has already been moved to Washington, DC. "Camp Curtin is a very dirty place. The boys did not like it there a bit."

Though they might not have enjoyed their time at Camp Curtin, it was the launching pad for the 142nd PVI. It is where they came together, elected officers, and received their gear to get them through the next four years of bloody and dirty conflict. This would be the most peaceful time of their military service. In only a few shorts months, bullets and cannonballs would do what they do in all wars: steal young men from their friends and family far too early.

Works Cited:

Abraham Lincoln: "Executive Order - Call for Troops," June 30, 1862. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=69810.
Berlin Area (PA) Historical Society. Civil War Diaries of Capt. Albert Heffley and Lt. Cyrus P. Heffley. Apollo, PA: Closson Press, 2000.

Camp Curtin Historical Society and Civil War Roundtable. History of Camp Curtin.

Croner, Barbara M. A Sergeant's Story - Civil War Diary of Jacob J. Zorn 1862-1865. Apollo, PA: Closson Press, 1999.

"Curtin, Andrew Gregg." Online by Tara L. Belcher and Lindley Homol, Pennsylvania Center for the Book. http://www.pabook.libraries.psu.edu/palitmap/bios/Curtin__Andrew_Gregg.html

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Pvt. Andrew Jackson Rose

Andrew "Jackson" Rose was born in 1838 to Silvester and Sophia (Smith) Rose. In 1858, at the age of twenty, Jackson married Susanna Minerd at the Bethel Methodist Church above Paddytown in Upper Turkeyfoot Twp, Somerset County, PA, by Rev. Benjamin Price. The couple would go on to have seven children.

In August of 1862, Jackson joined his brother-in-law Martin Miner and cousin-in-law Ephraim Miner in the 142nd, and enlisted in Co. C.

The 142nd saw significant action on the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg on July 1, 1863. Pvt. Rose was among the Union soldiers wounded and taken prisoner from the battlefield. Jackson's right arm was amputated below the elbow due to the seriousness of his gunshot wound there. Pvt. Rose would later be exchanged and spend time in an Army hospital in Philadelphia before he went home.

A year after he returned to his home in Kingwood, Somerset County, Jackson, Susanna, and family moved to Fayette County, PA, where he worked as a farmer and a lay preacher, among other jobs.

Andrew Jackson Rose passed away on Apr 4, 1897 after suffering from lung and heart problems. Visiting at his deathbed was his brother-in-law and Co. C comrade Martin Miner. Pvt. Rose is buried in Normalville Cemetery, Fayette County, PA.

All pictures and info courtesy of Mark Miner. A much more robust biography of Pvt. Rose and his wife, Susanna can be found at Mark's extensive family website, minerd.com