This regiment was mainly from the counties of Bradford, Juniata,
Lycoming, Somerset, and Tioga, and was organized at Camp Curtin, about
the middle of November, 1862, with the following field officers:
Everard Bierer, of Fayette county, Colonel
Theophilus Humphrey, of Bradford county, Lieutenant Colonel
Robert C. Cox, of Tioga county, Major
Colonel Bierer had served as Captain in the Eleventh Reserve
Regiment, and had been appointed commandant of Camp Curtin, with rank
of Colonel, on the 28th of October.
On the 27th of November, the regiment left camp and proceeded by
rail to Washington, thence by water to Norfolk, and thence by rail to
Suffolk, Virginia. It was here assigned to Spinola's Brigade, of
Ferry's Division, General Dix being in command of the Department. A
school for instruction of officers was at once established, and the
command subjected to thorough drill.
On the 28th of December, it broke camp at Suffolk, and marched to
Ballard's Landing, on the Chowan River, and thence proceeded by
transport to Newbern, North Carolina, arriving on the 1st of January,
1863. Spinola's Brigade, at this time, consisted of the One Hundred
and Fifty-eighth, One Hundred and Sixty-eighth, One Hundred and
Seventy-first, and One Hundred and Seventy-fifth Pennsylvania
regiments, and was known as the Keystone Brigade. It formed part of
the Third Division, General Prince, Eighteenth Corps, General Foster.
It here went into winter-quarters, and was engaged in fatigue and
Early in March, General Prince's Division, with the Third New York
Cavalry, made a reconnoissance into Jones and Onslow counties,
encountering a few roving parties of the enemy, and taking some
prisoners, and returned to camp on the 10th. About the middle of
March, the enemy, under General D. H. Hill, appeared in front of
Newbern, but was easily repulsed. He then moved off to Washington, on
the Tar River, which he closely invested. Its defense was directed by
General Foster in person, who had proceeded thither for that purpose;
but being vastly out-numbered, the little garrison could with
difficulty hold its works.
General Prince at once headed a force for the relief of the place,
which proceeded by transports, accompanied by gunboats. At Rodman's
and Hill's points, some distance below Washington, the enemy had
erected strong works, and mounted guns which commanded the navigation
of the Pamlico River. On approaching these works, preparations were
made to run through, but it was considered unsafe to do so, and the
purpose was abandoned.
Two regiments were then ordered to land, and carry the Hill's Point
Battery by storm, the One Hundred and Seventy-first being one. But
before the blow was delivered, they were withdrawn. Prince then
returned with his force to Newbern, and Spinola was sent out with a
force to make his way across the country, and break the enemy's lines
On the 9th of April he arrived at Blount's Creek, where he found
the bridge destroyed, the water dammed so as to flood an impassable
swamp, and the enemy in position with artillery to dispute the
passage. The troops were moved up on the right of the road, and the
artillery at once opened on both sides. For some time the infantry was
exposed to a heavy fire, but fortunately the enemy's shots were aimed
too high, and passed harmless overhead. Deeming it imprudent to
attempt to carry the position by direct attack, Spinola withdrew.
In the meantime, a gun-boat had succeeded in passing the batteries
on the Pamlico River, and on this, Foster, on the 14th, ran down and
returned to Newbern. He now concentrated his forces, and heading them
in person, marched towards Washington; but on approaching, found that
the enemy had raised the siege, and was in full retreat.
On the 23d, Spinola's Brigade was sent up the Pamlico River, to
Washington, where it was posted for the defense of the place.
On the 29th of May, General Spinola was relieved of the command of
the brigade, and was succeeded by Colonel Bierer. Towards the close of
June, the brigade was ordered to Fortress Monroe, and upon its arrival
there, was sent, with the exception of the One Hundred and
Seventy-fifth, to White House, on the Pamunky River, to join in a
demonstration towards Richmond, ordered by General Dix, for a
diversion in favor of the army at Gettysburg.
Remaining in that vicinity until the 7th of July, it returned and
proceeded to Harper's Ferry, arriving on the 9th. The rebel army was
now in full retreat, and Meade following closely in pursuit. On the
11th, the regiment marched to Boonesboro, and thence to a position in
a pass of the South Mountain, where it remained until after the enemy
had escaped into Virginia, and the hope, fondly cherished, of crushing
him in another decisive battle, had perished. It then proceeded to
Frederick, and on the 3d of August, was ordered to Harrisburg, where,
from the 6th to the 8th, it was mustered out of service.
1The troops recruited for the One Hundred and Seventieth,
failed to effect a regimental organization, and were, consequently,
assigned to other commands.
Bates, Samuel P. History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-65,
Organized at Harrisburg October and November, 1862.
Moved to Washington, D.C., November 27; thence to Suffolk, Va.
Attached to Spinola's Brigade, Division at Suffolk, Va.,
7th Corps, Dept. of Virginia, to January, 1863.
1st Brigade, 5th Division, 18th Corps, Dept. of North Carolina, to
District of the Pamlico, Dept. of North Carolina, to June, 1863.
Spinola's Brigade, 7th Corps, Dept. of Virginia, to July, 1863.
Harper's Ferry, W. Va., July, 1863.
Duty at Suffolk, Va, till December 28.
Moved to New Berne, N. C, December 28-January 1, 1863,
and duty there till April, 1863.
Expedition from New Berne to Trenton, Pollocksville,
Young's Cross Roads and Swansborough March 6-10.
Expedition to relief of Little Washington April 7-10.
Blount's Creek April 9.
Expedition to Swift Creek Village April 13-21.
Duty at Little Washington till June.
Ordered to Fortress Monroe, Va.
Dix's Peninsula Campaign July 1-7.
Moved to Washington, D. C, thence to Harper's Ferry, W. Va., July 7-9;
thence to Boonsboro, Md., and reported to General Meade July 11.
Pursuit of Lee July 11-24.
Ordered to Harrisburg, Pa., August 3.
Mustered out August 8, 1863.
Regiment lost 38 by disease during service.
Dyer, Frederick H. A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion
Compiled and Arranged from Official Records of the Federal and
Confederate Armies, Reports of he Adjutant Generals of the Several
States, the Army Registers, and Other Reliable Documents and Sources.Des
Moines, Iowa: The Dyer Publishing Company, 1908