Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Inspecting the Third Brigade of the Pennsylvania Reserves in the Field of the Maryland Campaign

     In an army of units that saw heavy fighting since the beginning of the Seven Days, fewer Federal divisions suffered worse than the Pennsylvania Reserve Division under the command of John Reynolds. Total casualties during the Seven Days' Campaign total approximately 2,600 men. Another 610 names joined the list at Second Bull Run in late August. On the eve of the Maryland Campaign, the division was a shell of itself.(1)
     While researching in the National Archives today, I stumbled on this incredible inspection report of the division's 3rd Brigade, commanded by Lt. Col. Robert Anderson at the Battle of Antietam. It gives a good glimpse into the state of the brigade, and the division as a whole, on the eve of the battles of South Mountain and Antietam.
Brig. Gen. John F. Reynolds

Head Quarters 3rd Brigade, Reynolds’ Div., P.R.V.C.
Camp at Leesboro, Maryland, Sept. 8, 1862.
Capt. C. Kingsbury,
            A.A General Reynolds’ Division
            In compliance with orders from Division Head Quarters I have made an inspection of the brigade under my command, with regard to its strength and fitness for immediate service, and I have the honor to respectfully report the facts established.
            The 9th Regiment has one Field officer only on duty, Lieut. Col. Anderson. The Colonelcy is vacant, and the Major is on the sick report. There are only 2 Captains, 3 First Lieutenants and 3 Second Lieutenants present on duty. Total, 8 line officers. Six of the companies have not a single commissioned officer on duty; and 2 companies are commanded by non-commissioned officers, there not being commissioned officers sufficient to allow one to each company.
            Several of the commissioned ^Line^ officers on duty are not commissioned, having been appointed by orders of Major General McClellan at Harrison’s Landing, and have been acting since, under that appointment. The Reg’t this evening paraded 351 non commissioned off. & privates.
            The 10th Regiment has only one Field officer on duty, Col. James T. Kirk. Lieut. Col. Warner is at Arlington Heights, in command of a camp of straggling soldiers. He was detailed for this duty by Gen. Whipple. Major Knox is on the sick report. There are 4 Captains on duty, 3 First Lieutenants and 3 Second Lieutenants. One of the Lieutenants is detailed as Adjutant.
            Company D, of this regiment, with its officers, is detailed for provost guard duty, and is absent from the regiment. Several of the line officers on duty are acting by virtue of appointment by order of Major Gen. McClellan, and have not been commissioned. The 10th paraded this evening 288 non-commissioned officers and privates.
            The 11th Regiment has one Field officer on duty, Lieut. Col. S.M. Jackson. The Colonel is one the sick report, and the Major is sick at Hospital in Washington. 5 Captains, 2 First Lieutenants and 2 Second Lieutenants are present on duty with the regiment; and 2 companies are commanded by non-commissioned officers. 100 ^116^ men of this regiment are at Craney Island, acting as a Hospital Guard, under command of 2d Lieut. A.W. Stewart, and 32 are detailed as Provost Guard for Gen. Fitz John Porter’s Corps. At the parade this evening, 201 non-commissioned officers & privates were present for duty, armed, and 11 were unarmed. The arms of this regiment are of the most varied description—not less than 5 different styles being in possession of the men, some of whom had lost or thrown away their arms on the battle-field, and picked up others. The Regiment needs re-arming, before going into action.
            The 12th Regiment has no Field officer on duty, and is commanded by the 2d ranking Captain. The Colonel is detailed in command of the Brigade, the Lieut. Colonel, Martin D. Hardin, was wounded August 30, 1862, and is absent at home. The Major is absent, sick in Alexandria. Two (2) Captains, 2 First Lieutenants, and one Second Lieut. are on duty with the Regiment. Four (4) companies out of the nine in the regiment are commanded by non-commissioned officers. At the parade this evening, 307 ^enlisted^ men were present.
            The Brigade is well supplied with clothing and accoutrements, and the arms, with the exception of those of the 11th Regiment, are in good condition. In the 11th there are 5 different kinds—smooth bore muskets, Springfield and Harper’s Ferry rifled muskets, old English Tower muskets, and some muskets made at Richmond, Va., with the mark “C.S.” upon them.
            The total strength of the Brigade, of enlisted men on parade this evening, in pursuance of orders from Division Head Quarters, sums up as follows.
9th Regiment…351
10th    do       …288
11th    do       …201
12th    do       …307
                        1147 enlisted men
            The following tabular statement shows the number of officers absent from the several regiments of the Brigade, and the causes of their absence; also those present sick, not on duty. Besides the absentees, there are several vacancies in the regiments, caused by death and resignations.

Killed in Action
Wounded and now absent
Absent Sick.
Present Sick
Detailed on Recruiting, signal service, staff, ambulance corps, &c.
9th Regiment
10th do


11th do

12th do




            The loss in killed and wounded has all taken place since the 25th of June last
I have the honor to be Captain,
with great respect
Your Obt Servant
John H. Taggart
Col. Com. 3rd Brigade, P.R.V.C.
Col. J.H. Taggart Comdg. reporting condition 3d Brigade, Reynolds Divis.
HdQrs Reynolds Divis
Near Leesboro Sep 8/62
Reply: forwarded for the information of the Genl Comdg Corps. with the recommendation that there be a uniformity of arms in the 11th Reg. before its going into action.
Neither other of the ^other^ Brigades of this Division are in so broken a state as the 3d.

John F. Reynolds
Brig. Genl. Vols.
Comdg. Div.

1. Hoptak, "Blood Brothers," America's Civil War, September 2016, 22-31.

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