The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Civil War 150th Anniversary

June 25, 2011

PART 4: War nears end with Overland Campaign

— January 1864 marked the expiration of the term of enlistment for William Ferguson Leslie of the Ligonier Valley and the rest of the original three-year enlistees of the 11th Regiment of Pennsylvania.

Out of patriotism and devotion – as well as a generous bonus – more than three-fourths of the men re-enlisted as veteran volunteers.

This earned 204 soldiers a 35-day furlough. They were permitted to travel as a group, taking their arms and equipment with them. By Feb. 10, the men were back at Camp Curtain, separating into companies and coordinating their journey home. Sallie Ann Jarrett, their dog mascot, traveled to Greensburg with Col. Richard Coulter.

By April 3, the men returned to camp near Culpeper, Va., and new recruits brought the regimental strength up to 590.

With Gen. Ulysses S. Grant now in command, the Army was reassembled and readied to his satisfaction.

The 11th Pennsylvania was attached to the Fifth Corps, Second Division, Second Brigade.

On May 5, Grant attacked the army of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee at the Wilderness. A corporal described this three-day battle as a “whirlpool of death,” and the 11th lost hundreds of men.

Next came Spotsylvania Courthouse during mid-May.

Again, casualties were high, and Sallie was hit in the neck by a Minie ball. One flag-bearer was killed and the next wounded. Coulter received a chest wound and was carried from the field.

Sallie’s wound was later examined and deemed nonlethal. However, the bullet could not be removed. She soldiered on, and months later the ball dropped out on its own.

Marching by night and fighting by day, the war-weary troops of the Overland Campaign grew ever so fatalistic.

Most wrote their names on shards of paper pinned to the inside flap of their uniforms so their bodies could be identified.

Chaplain and regiment historian William Henry Locke of Pittsburgh observed, “Time was the first thing to be done after a halt was to make coffee. ... Now the first thing the men do is entrench.”

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Civil War 150th Anniversary
  • Civil War 150th Anniversary PDFs

    June 9, 2011

  • Gettysburg_PVI.JPG PART 4: War nears end with Overland Campaign

    Part IV of a four-part series printing Sundays in June.

    June 25, 2011 3 Photos

  • PART 3: Gettysburg campaign: Not a man faltered

    The second day of 1863 was marked by an arms upgrade to the new .69-caliber rifled musket. Then soldiers – including Westmoreland County native William Ferguson Leslie – encrusted it on Gen. Ambrose Burnside’s infamous Mud March three weeks later.

    June 18, 2011

  • LESLIE.jpg PART 2: Invasion of Maryland: ‘A blizzard of fire’

    As William Ferguson Leslie and the 11th Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry were making their way through Virginia in autumn of 1862, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee was writing his final orders to implement his invasion of Maryland.

    June 12, 2011 3 Photos

  • PART 1: ‘Old Eleventh’: Into the heart of battle

    William Ferguson Leslie was born and raised in the Ligonier Valley, Westmoreland County, and answered President Abraham Lincoln’s appeal for three-year volunteer soldiers to confront the Confederate rebellion.

    June 4, 2011

  • Society sews up period fashion show, dinner

    Period clothing from uniforms to ball gowns will be modeled to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. A Civil War fashion show and dinner, “From the Homefront to the Battlefield,” will be held at 6 p.m. June 11 at the Friedens Lutheran Church, 131 S. Main St.

     

    June 2, 2011

  • book_big.jpg Pupils learn about Civil War through reading program

    In conjunction with the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, Cambria County middle school pupils had an opportunity to travel back in time and learn about what life was like during those tumultuous years in American history.

    May 18, 2011 2 Photos

  • hamer_samuel.jpg Local siblings received mercy

    Soldiers from Somerset County came within a whisper of being executed after being captured and imprisoned during the Civil War. They were saved through the efforts of Somerset County Judge Jeremiah S. Black and the mercy of President Abraham Lincoln.

    May 1, 2011 2 Photos

  • civil_war_plaque Somerset County soldier fought on despite wounds

    Tobias Yoder, a Somerset County soldier in the Civil War, was as close to being a super man as anyone might imagine.

    April 23, 2011 1 Photo

  • 54th_statue.jpg Local troops faced VMI’s teen brigade

    “Look! They’re only children!”
    That cry must have rung from the lips of many Union soldiers at the Battle of New Market on May 15, 1864.
    Among them were members of the 54th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment, a large part of whom was recruited in Cambria, Somerset and Indiana counties in late summer of 1861.

    April 16, 2011 2 Photos

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