History of the 26th Pennsylvania VolunteerInfantry

 

The Twenty-sixth was one of the first regiments that marched to thedefense of the national capital. Organized in Philadelphia April 20, 1861,the regiment was in company with the Sixth Massachusetts and Twenty-seventhPennsylvania when it was attacked by a mob while passing through Baltimore,on April 19, 1861, in which affair the regiment lost one man killed andseveral wounded. The regiment was not mustered-in until May 5th, when itwas sworn in for three years; the enrollment, however, included very fewof the original command who were at Baltimore, as they had tendered theirservices for a short term only. The 26th had the distinction of being Pennsylvania'sfirst three year regiment.

The Twenty-sixth encamped at Washington in May, 1861, and in October,having been assigned to Grover's Brigade, Hooker's Division, moved to Budd's Ferry, Md., where it was stationed until the spring campaign of 1862.

With the rest of McClellan's army, the 26th moved to the Virginia Peninsula, participating in the following actions:
Siege of Yorktown, April 5-May 4           Battle of Williamsburg May 5
Battles of Fair Oaks, May 31-June 1         Oak Grove, June 25
Savage Station, June 29                             Glendale, June 30.
Malvern Hill, July 1                                  Action at Malvern Hill, August 5.

The 26th then moved with the Third Corps to Centreville and participated in Pope's Campaign in Northern Virginia, August 26-September 2. The regiment was in action at:
Bristoe Station, August 27                         Battles of Groveton, August 29
Bull Run, August 30                                  Chantilly, September 1.
At Second Bull Run, the 26th was part of the assault by Grover's Brigade (1st Brigade, 2nd Div., III Corps) which broke through the first two lines of the rebel defenses, before being driven back due to lack of support on the flanks, ending the most promising chance for the defeat of Jackson before Longstreet's arrival.

The fall of 1862 was spent on duty in the defences of Washington, D.C., till November. The Third Corps rejoined the rest of the Army of the Potomac in the field in time for the Battle of Fredericksburg,December 12-15 and the "Mud March", January 20-24, 1863. The winter of '63 also saw the 26th involved in operations at Rappahannock Bridge and Grove Church, February 5-7. At Chancellorsville-- in Berry's Division--it made a good fight, Colonel Tilghman being severely wounded, while the regiment lost 11 killed, 71 wounded, and 9 missing.

Its hardest fighting occurred at Gettysburg.Holding the far right of the III corps line on the afternoon of July 2, the 26th, with its line mate the 11th Massachusetts, stubbornly held off two rebel brigades while conducting a fighting retreat from the Emmitsburg Road.  Hancock's amended report of the battle commends the right of Humphrey's line for retiring in good order while the rest of the III corps was driven back in confusion.  The 26th paid heavily for contesting the withdrawal, for out of 382 engaged, it lost 30 killed, 176 wounded,and 7 missing; total, 213;  the majority during the fighting retreat from its forward position.  Minutes later the 26th participated in the counterattack by the II and XII Corps and regained their former postion.

The rest of 1863 saw the unit seeing mischief at Wapping Heights, Va. (July 23), the Bristoe Campaign, (October 9-22) Kelly's Ford (November 7), the Mine Run Campaign (November 26-December 2)and Payne's Farm (November27).

In 1864, after the dissolution of the Third Corps, the regiment served in McAllister's Brigade, Mott's Division, Second Corps. As part of the Second Corps, the 26th fought at the Battles of the Wilderness (May 5-7) and took part in Hancock's grand charge at Spotsylvania (May12).

The 26th also participated in engagements at HarrisFarm (May 19), North Anna River (May 23-26), Ox Ford (May 24) and in the subsequent movements to the Pamunkey; at the latter place it embarked for Washington, June 3, 1864, en route for home. It was mustered-out at Philadelphia, June 18, 1864, the recruits and reenlisted men remaining in the field having been transferred to the Ninety-ninth Pennsylvania.

The regiment lost during service 6 Officers and 143 Enlisted men killedand mortally wounded and 2 Officers and 71 Enlisted men by disease. Total 222.