Franklin Ellis.

History of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men online

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division was order
signed to the right
ahoniiny, near IMe.
On the liiUh of
grand guard
the village ol' Mr,
noon of that day
Leo's armv. i; i:

Dam, wh
with the
along till
in turn ^\
came tu 1
deep feel
ctte Gua

tu the Peninsula, and again as-

lie, ]>;i;2, Col. Oliphant was on
■k, t duty with his regiment at
iiir-villc, and dnrins the aftcr-
- .Iriv.n in by the advance of
.- ^luwly ho fell bark to llraver
.ml «a~ foniird i„ line ol' l,:;t:le
i;r-..i^r-. ■■Col. Oliphaat lode
■ line, addressing each company
in-piring eloquence. When he
■ompany, under the influence of
ig emotion, he exclaimed, ' Fay-
king down

ig and str

1, remember Pine Knob is

upon you, and Lafayette is watching you from the
dome of the courl-liou-e ! Y(ju will not go back on me
to-day?" The fii^t of the Seven Day^' battles was
fought, and the "Old (iuard' did not go back upon

Next morning the Reserves fell back to Gaines* Mill,
wdiere thesecond of the Seven Days' battles was fought.
Cul. Hayes having lost hi< v;,ie"e, not strong at best,
and although he participate'! in the liattle. he turned
the command over to Licit. -Col, ( Miiihant. The regi-
ment was sent forward some distance in alvame of
the line to develop the position ami fner of the
enemy; it suffered severely. Every commissioned
officer in the left wing'excepting Cajit. Danson was
killed or wounded; among the wounded were Capt.
Baily and Lieut. McQuilkin, of Fayette County. Hav-
ing spent all its ammunition, the regiment retired by
the rear rank in good order, mangled and bloody, but

taml.arJ, July, 1S02,

not broken. On the crest of the hill, where the line
of battle was formed, Col. Simmons, of the Fifth
Reserve, opened his ranks to let the Eighth pass

The whole line cheered the Eighth, and Col. Sim-
mons, grasping Col. Oliphant's hand, said, "I never
expected to .see you alive again, or to bring a corpo-
ral's guard up out of that rebel hell."

At the White Oak Swamp Col. Oliphant received
a severe contusion from a spent round-shot, which in-
volved the right knee-joint. Stunned by theblow he fell
unconscious to the ground, when Surgeon AUeman
bandaged his knee whilst under fire, and having
administered some restoratives, in a few minutes he
remounted, and by leave of Gen. Seymour continued
on duty on horseback. [Officers below the rank of
brigadier-general are required to go into battle on
foot,] He continued on duty throughout the day and
night, and the next d;iy at the battle of Malvern

On the 6th of July, at Harrison's Landing, he was
stricken down with partial paralysis of the right side,
and with entire lossof hearing, and was sent to Wash-
ington and thence home for treatment. He suffered
great pain in his leg and ears, and on the 29th of
December, 1862, on surgeon's recommendation, he
was honorably discharged on account of physical
disability incurred in service.

Col. Oliphant's hearing improving, along with im-
provement of his general health, when, in February
of 1863, a shock from the discharge of an overloaded
musket kicked him over, causing a severe contusion
of the shoulder-blade and joint, which hastened the
restoration of his hearing to a normal condition ; but
it is yet dull, and at times inconveniently so, and the
injury to the knee-joint is without much relief.

Having thus in a measure recovered from his disa-
bility, in June of 1863, Col. Oliphant was appointed
and commissioned in the United States Veteran Re-
serve Corps with the rank of major, ordered on duty
at Pittsburgh, then at Harrisburg, and in July was as-
signed to the command of a detachment at Pottsville,
in Schuylkill County. Promoted in August to the
rank of lieutenant-colonel, and in October to tlio
rank of colonel, and assigned to the command of the
second sub-district of the Lehigh, with headquarters
at Pottsville, his duty there was to enforce the
draft, and give protection to the coal operators who
had large contracts with the government.

This was to him the most delicate and anxious
period of his military service, to obey and follow out
his orders and instructions fully and firmly without
coming in conflict with the civil authorities.

Says nc Miners Journal' of April 2, 1864, " Col.
Oliphant, of the 14th Veteran Reserve Corps, recently
detached from this post with his command, carries
with him the good wishes and kind regards of all wlio
had the pleasure of enjoying his acquaintance; as an
officer he was firm and faithful in the discharge of



his duty, and the good order that prevailed here may
ill a great measure be attributed to his excellent judg-
ment. We part with him with sincere regret."

Arriving at Washington City, he was detached
from the active command of his regiment and ordered
on duty as the presiding officer of a board for the ex-
amination of officers recommended for promotion,
and when this board was discontinued he was de-
tailed as the senior officer of a general court-martial
in Washington.

In July of 1864, Gen. Jubal Early invaded Mary-
land and threatened Washington. Col. Oliphant was
sent to Philadelphia to bring down all the convales-
cents from the hospitals fit for service in the defenses
of the city. While mustering and equipping the men
land communication between Philadelphia and Wash-
ington was cut off by the rebels, but he took 1200 men
by sea and the Potomac River into the defenses
around Washington.

After Gen. Early's repulse he resumed court-martial
duty, and so continued until early fall, when he was
sent as senior officer of a board of inspection of men
in hospitals. This duty brought him to Nashville in
December, and he volunteered on the staff of Gen.
Thomas for the battles of the 15th and 16th instant,
in which the rebel army under Gen. Hood was de-

Returning to Washington after these battles, he was
again appointed presiding officer of a board of exami-
nation, and continued on this, court-martial and special
inspection duty until June 23, 1865, when he was pro-
moted to the rank of brigadier-general by brevet, and
assigned to the command of the Second Brigade of
the garrison of Washington, with headquarters at
East Capital Barracks.

While exercising this command the State trials for
the murder of President Lincoln were conducted at
the arsenal in Washington ; the guards were furnished
from his brigade, and by special order from Gen.
Augur to that effect, he largely increased the force
and took command of the guard himself on the day ]
of execution.

From this time he was actively though uneongeni-
ally employed on provost duty, while Grant's and
Sherman's armies were being passed through Wasli-
ington and disbanded, until late in November, 1865,
when he was relieved and ordered home to await the
further order of the War Department.

Gen. Oliphant spent the winter of 1865-66 in Har-
risburg, in the service of the Pittsburgh and Con-
nellsville Railroad Company, and on the 1st of July,
1866, was honorably discharged and mustered out of
the military service of the United States.

In the spring of 1867 he moved to Princeton, N. J.,
for its educational advantages, having a large family
of small boys; was admitted to the bar of that State,
and resumed the practice of law.

His imperfect hearing and some impediment of
speech, resulting from the paralysis, embarrassing

him in trials at the bar, and his old friend, Hon. Wil-
liam McKennan, having been appointed judge of the
United States Circuit Court for the Third Circuit,
including the district of New Jersey, he saw in this
the probability of an appointment to office in the line
of his profession more congenial to his tastes and
physical condition ; applied for and was appointed
clerk of the court for the district of New Jersey in
September, 1870. He is so employed at this writing.
In the spring of 1S74 he moved from Princeton to
Trenton, where he now resides.

In March, 1847, Gen. Oliphant married Mary C,
only child of John Campbell, of Uniontown, and has
by her ten sons, all living. His wife Mary dying in
October, 1875, some time thereafter he married a New
Jersey lady. Miss Beulah A. Oliphant. Although of
the same name, there is no consanguinity of blood
between them.

Gen. Oliphant is a genial man, polite and even
courtly in manners, and fond of society. His inti-
mates are few, but they are stanch and true friends.
He is a Republican in politics, and though not at all
bitter in his advocacy of political doctrines, he is an
effective public speaker.



S. B, Bennington, c:lpt!lin,nlu^it. in Jnno2T, 18G1 ; pro. from scrpe
s<»cond lieiiti'uant \\ig. 1, 1802; to Ciiptniii May 1, ISCIi; wuun
rredeiiclisbuig, Va.; must, out Willi conipiiny Miiy 20, ISOO.

Adaui Jacobs, Jr., first lieutunant, must, in June 21, 1801; res. J

George W. Mni.T, firet in June 21,1801; pro, fro
geant t,- Ir-l - _ , [,, ip-i li n mi i • h 1, I'liJ, ' i'l'l"

J. M.

vYalt,Rccontl lieutenant.

May 1, 1803
J. L. Sliaw, first sergeant, ]

1, 1802; to firet sergeant July 1, 1S02;

2(i, 1SC4.
William n. WUli

1 , 1801 ; pro. from s

,1801; pro. to second

at Kobinson's Farm, May 10, 18C4

21, 1801 ; pro. to sergeant May

in June 21, 1801; pro.



■ -. , -:..^:.. -'

on theAlleghenyRiver,twolvriiiil,-<ab..v.' Pittsburgh,
and there mustered into the State service. Early in
July, 1861, the Eleventh Reserve Regiment was or-
ganized under tlie following-named officers: Colonel,
Thomas F. Gallagher ; Lieutenant-Colonel, James
R. Porter ; Major, Samuel >L Jarkson ; Adjutant,
Peter A. Johns, of Uniontown, a soldier of the Mex-
ican war. On the 24th of the same month the regi-
ment moved by way of Harrisburg and Baltimore to
Washington, D. C, where it arrived on the 26th,
and where, on the 29th and 30th, it was mustered
into the United States service, about nine hundred
strong. Soon afterwards the regiment marched to
Tenallytown, Md., where it encaiii|icil with the other
regiments of the Reserve divir-ioii, iindrr .Maj.-Gen.

MoCall. The Eleventh was assij; 1 to duty in the

Second Brigade, under command of Brig. -Gen. George
G. Meade. The other regiments composing that
brigade were the Third Reserve (Col. H. G. Sickel),
the Fourth (Col. Robert G. March), the Seventh
(Col. E. B. Harvey), and the -Thirteenth (" Buck-
tails"), under Col. Charles J. Biddle.

After a stay of about two months at Tenallytown
and vicinity the regiment moved with the division
(October 9th) across the Potomac, and took position
in the line of the Army of the Potomac between



Langley and Lewinsville, Va., a location on which
was made its winter-quarters. On the 10th of March,
1S02, it moved from its winter camp, and with the
division made the marches (heforc Tiienti(piic<l in con-
nection witli the Eifrhth Reserve Itc-innnl • to Hun-
ter's Mills, on the advance towards Manassas, and
thence back towards the Totomac on the Alexandria
road, through almost bottomless mud and drencliing
rain. Arriving at Fairfax Seminary, south of Alex-
andria, it went into camp, and remained on duty in
that vicinity for more than three weeks. During
that time the division was assigned to the First Army
id <.n the 0th of


under Gen. Irwin McPijwell, am
it moved from Fairfax to Catletl's Station,
where it encamped for a short time, and then marclied
to Falm<aith, on the Kap]iahannock. While there
(May 17tli) Adjt. Peter A. .Johns, ,,r Fayette County,
was promoted to major, rii-r Litzinircr, resigned.

On the 9th of .June the rt-ini.iit with its brigade
was embarked for transjiortalion tu the reniusula to
join the Army of tlie Fotomac. It arrived at White
House, on the Pamunkey River, Va., on the 1 1th, and
was immediately moved to the front on the Chicka-
honnny, taking position on the right of the army line
at IMeJlianicsvlUe. In the severe battle at tliat place
on the 2<;th of Juno the Eleventh did vu,l t:ike active
part, though it lay for a long time under a heavy tire. ,

On the following day ( Juiie 27thj in the terrific bat- '
tie of Gaines' Mill the Eleventh f.iUght with the most !
determined bravery and sulfercd a great disaster. [
From its position in the second line it was ordered
forward late in the afternoon to relieve the Fourth
Xew .Iei>ey, which iiad been cln>e!y cugage.l in the
front line until it> aniniunition was alinest exliau,>ted.
The Eleventh teek its place Unfalteringly, and deliv-
ere<l a lire that sent the enemy staggia'ing hack Innn
its front. Uut while in tlii- advam-ed p,.Mtieii the
troop- on its lioht and left were driven ba,-k by over-
]iowi'i'ing nnnibers, anil the enemy, advancing, poured
in a de-trueiive file on liotli flanks ol' the exposed
regiment. :\Iaj. .lohns rod.' .piickly to the left to stop
the tiring (supposing it to come IVo.n some of llie
Union tr()o|.s under a mistake., and in a few nnmicnts
was a ]irisoner in the hands of the enemy. Nearly
the entire regiment soon afterwards met the same
fate, as is recounted iu the following extract Irom
Gen. McCall's official repm-t of the operatimis of the
day, viz.: "The only occurrence of this day's battle
that I have cau=e to recrct (excei.t the loss of nianv

Meade'- l.n
. ivlicVMl tir



th i;



nt of the lie-,



id, in

ted St


mr-,- of the all



ng t,





mt be



ig enveloped in

lie smoke of battle.

continued the fight after the rest of the line had re-
tired, having been closely engaged with a rebel regi-
ment in front, and before the colonel was aware that
he had been left alone on the field, he found himself
under the fire of two regiments, one on either flank,
besides the one in front. Notwithstanding the peril
of his position, he gallantly kept up a galling fire on
the advancing foe as he himself retired in good order
on the Fourth New Jersey. Here, to crown liis ill
fortune, he found that he, as well as Colonel Simpson,
was completely surrounded, a strong force having al-
ready taken position in his immediate rear. The sit-
uation of these two brave regiments, which liad so
nobly maintained their ground after all had retired,
was now hojieless; their retreat was entirely cut off
by the increasing force of the enemy, who were still
advancing, and they were compelled to surrender.
No censure can possibly attach to either Colonel Gal-
lagher or Colonel Simpson or the brave men of their
respective regiments on account of this ill turn of for-
tune; but, on the Contrary, they are entitled to the
credit of having held their ground until it was tenable
no longer." The loss of the Eleventh in the bloody
encounter of the afternoon was forty-six killed and

The regiment surrendered just as the shadows of
night had begun to close over the crimsoned slopes
that stretched away northward from the swampy
banks of the Chickahominy. The officers and men
were worn out and cxhausled by the picketing and
marching and fighting of the previous forty-eight
hours, but their captors hurried them to the rear, \
and \\itlioiit allowing any delay for rest or refresh- j
ine:it, marclied tliein b}' a circuitous route (around i
the right of Mct'lellan's army) to Richmond, where I
they arrived at about sunrise in the morning of the
■2S'.l\, and after having been paraded through the city
as a spectacle to the exulting inhabitants, were placed
in Libby Prison and the adjacent
A i'cK days later the enlisted men of the regiment
were transferred to the bare and cheerless prison-camp^
on r.elle Isle, in the James River. There they re-
mained until the ."ith of August, when they were ex-
changed, marched to Aiken's Landing on the James,
and there i)laced on board United States transports,
■f lie officers of the regiment, who had remained at
Lililiy. were exchanged about a week later and sent

Alter the return of the officers and men from cap-
ti\ ity. the regiment, in a very reduced condition, was
iraii-lcrred to the Rappahannock, to rejoin McDow-
I'U's eor|is and take part in the operations of Gen.
Pope's Army of Virginia. It was engaged in the
actions of the 29th and 30th of August (second Btill
Piiin), losing fourteen killed and forty-four wounded.

In the Maryland campaign, which followed imme-
diately after the defeats in Virginia, the Eleventh
fought well at South Mountain, losing fifteen killed
and twenty -eight wounded, and at Autietam (Sep-


tember 16th and 17th), where it lost seven killed and
seventeen wounded.

At Fredericksburg, where Burnside hurled the Army
of the Potomac against the impregnable works of the
enemy, the Eleventh was, with other regiments of the
Reserves, assigned to the duty of clearing and holding
the banks of the Kappahaunock during the laying of
the pontoons on which the army was to cross. It was
a perilous duty, but bravely performed. In the con-
flict which followed this regiment moved forward over
level and unsheltered ground to assault the enemy's
works, a partof which it carried, but was finally forced
back with heavy loss, the killed, wounded, and cap-
tured amounting to one hundred and twelve out of
the total of three hundred and ninety-four officers
and men who went into the fight.

After the battle of Fredericksburg the regiment was
moved to the defenses of Washington, and remained
there in quiet uutil the opening of the campaign of
Gettysburg, when it marched to the field of the great
battle, arriving there on the 2d of July (1863). In
that engagement the Eleventh charged, leading the
brigade, and sustaining a loss of three killed and
thirty-eight wounded. During the remainder of the
year the regiment saw but little fighting, being en-
gaged only at Bristow Station, Va., October 14th, and
in a light action at New Hope Church, on the move-
ment to Mine Run, in December. Its losses in these

;re but slight.

The Wilderness campaign of 1864 was the last in
the experience of the Eleventh Reserve. Leaving its
winter encampment at Bristow Station on the 29th of
April, it marched with the other regiments of the
command to the vicinity of Culpeper Court-House,
and thence with Warren's (Fifth) corps, of which it
formed a part, to the Germania Ford of the Rapidan,
and crossing at about one o'clock in the morning of
the 4th of May, and in the afternoon of the same
day became engaged with the enemy. Through the
next two days in the Wilderness, and during twenty-
three succeeding days, it was almost constantly under
fire, in the eng.agements at Spottsylvania Court-House,
at the North Anna River, and at Bethesda Church.
On the morning after the last-named battle (May
30th) orders were received from the War Depart-
ment transferring the veterans and recruits of the
Eleventh to the One Hundred and Ninetieth Regi-
ment, and withdrawing the Eleventh from the front as
its term of service had expired. Under these orders
ivhat remained of the regiment was moved by way ol
White House to Washington; hence it was trans-
lorted to Harrisburg, and from there to Pittslnirgli,
where it was mustered out of service June 13, 1864.

Company F.
Ivci-nrrt Bicrer, captain, must, in Jiiuo 20, ISOl ; res. Nov. 17, 1802,

pro. to colonel 171st Kegt. P. V.
cihii W. Du Ford, captain, mvist. in June 20, 1801 ; pro. from second I

tenant; res. Nov. 10, 1802, to enter Signal Corps.

.Tames .\. IT:i\ ! n < i!.!.u!i imisl. in.Iuno20, 1801; pro. to serReant Oct.

1, ISO] I 1" 1803; to brevet major Miircli 13, 18C3 ;

prison.) M . I I , 1], March 12, 1865.
Peter A. J"liii . In I h. u-. i, -ut, must, in May 23,1861; pro. to adjutant

July 2, IMU ; tn maj.r Jlay 17, 1802 : res. March .30, 1803.
Thomas A. Hopwood, fiist lieutenant, must, in June 20, 1801 ; pro. from

first sergearit Sept. 22, 1801 ; res. Dec. 25, 1862.
William R. K. Hooli, first lieutenant, must, in Juno 20, 1861; pro. to

corporal ; to sergeant Dec. 10, 1802; to firat lieutenant April 10, 1863 ;

William F. Springer, seeonil lieutenant, must, in June 20, 1861; pro. to
corporal ; to Dec. 10, 1862 ; to second lieutenant Sept. 22,
1803; must, out witli company Juno 1.3, 1804.

George W. Kremer, first sergeant, nmst. in June 20, 1801 ; pro. to first

I-. int, must, in June 20, 18bl ; died at Camp

I : -I in June 20, 1801; discli. to accept pro-
ni. ii.iMt Co. !■;, 17Slh Regt. P. V., Dec. 0, 1802.
uil, must, in Juno 20, 1801 ; pro. from corporal ;
jmotion as first lieutenant Co. V, 177th Regt.

Ephraini W r: M,,n

Piei-|i"ii: \ : , I
George D.^ :,

Daniel T. Sna.ii,>i,', sei
distil, to accept
P. v., Dec 0, 1802.

Samuel I>. Sturgis, si-rgeant, must, in June 20, 1801 ; pro. fi-oni corporal ;
disch. to accept promotion as 17l8t Regt. P. V.Dec. 5, 1802.

Philip Sutton, sergeant, must, in June 20, 1801 ; pro. to corporal ; to ser-
geant ; disch. to accept promotion as second lieutenant Co. II, 179th
Regt. P. v., date unknown.

John McCloy, sergeant, niii-t. in July 22, 1801 ; pro. to sergeant; trans,
to T,)Oth Regt. P. V. .lune 1, l.sill ; uterau.

i-t. Ill .Inly 22, 18G1 ; pro. to sergeant;
II May 2 i, 1861 ; absent in Insane Asy-
st. in June 20,1861; must, out with
in Juno 211, 1861 ; disch. on surgeon's
1 June 20, 1S61 ; trans, to Signal Corps,
in June 20, 1861 ; died July 1, 1802 ;
in June 20,1801; died JnneU, 1S02;
in .tiiiie 20, l.SOI ; died at Richmond,
in June 20, ISOl ; trans, to Vet. Res.
in June 20, 1801 ; tr.ln.s. to lOOlh Regt.
n June 20, 1861; must, out with com-
Jnne 20, 1,801 ; died at Camp Pierpont,
t. in June 20, ISOl ; disi h. on surgeon's

• 211,1801.
I.v 16, 1861.
Iiiil5. 1802.


Asa Firestone, must, in June '20, ISGl.
John Gruliam. must, in July lij, isi;i.
Kobeit M. Harvey, must, in June 20, 1801.
Williiini nile-, must, in Jhim io, i-c.l.
Eul..-rl II 1!M.,>, I., ,-i r. .Ii,: . J', l<in.

enjan.iii ¥. Wiiuei, must, in June 2I1,1SC1.
illiam Yates, must, in Sept. 30, ISOl.
. Franklin Youler, must, in June 21>,1SC1.



Eighly-firtli lie;

t anJ Second Artillery'.

The Eiglity-fiftli, a three years' infantry regiment,
Avas raised iu tlie summer and fall of 1861, under an
order from the War Department, dated August 1st,
and directed to Joshua B. Howell, of Uniontown,
Fayette Co. The regimental rendezvous was estab-
lished at " Camp La Fayette," at Uniontown. Re-

cruiting was commenced immediately, and completed
in less than three months. The companies composing
the regiment were recruited as follows : Three com-
panies ("C," "I," and "K") in Fayette County;
three companies in "Washington County; one com-
pany in Greene County ; one company in Somerset ;
one company (" E") in Fayette and Washington, and
one company (" G") in Fayette and Greene.

The regiment was organized at Camp La Fayette
OB the 12tli of November, under the following-named
field-officers, viz.: Joshua B. Howell, colonel; Nor-
ton McGiffin, lieutenant-colonel ; Absalom Guilor
(of Uniontown, and a Mexican war veteran), major.
The adjutant was Andrew Stewart, of Fayette County,
son of the distinguished " Tariff Andy" Stewart, long
a member of Congress from this district.

AVhile in camp at the rendezvous, the Eighty-fifth
received the gift of a national color, presented with
the usual ceremonies by the ladies of Uniontown.
About the 25tli of November the regiment broke
camp, and proceeded under orders to Washington by
way of Harrisburg, where it received the State colors,
presented by Governor Curtiu. Soon after its arrival
at the national capital it was moved across the Ana-
costia Bridge, and encamped at " Camp Good Hope,"
where it remained during the succeeding winter, en-
gaged in the construction of earthworks for the de-
fense of Wix-shiugton.

In March, 1862, the Eighty-fifth was brigaded with
the One Hundred and First and One Hundred and
Third Pennsylvania and the Ninety-si.xth New York
Regiments, forming the Second Brigade (Gen. Keim's)
of Casey's (Third ) division of the Fourth Array Corps,
under coiunianJ of Maj.-Gen. Erasmus D. Keyes.
With tliat corps the regiment embarked at Alexan-
dria on the 29th of March, and proceeded down the
Potomac and Chesapeake Bay to Fortress Monroe,

Online LibraryFranklin EllisHistory of Fayette County, Pennsylvania : with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent men → online text (page 44 of 193)