5th Regiment, Pennsylvania Cavalry (65th Volunteers)

Historical Sketch:
Cols., Max Friedman, David Campbell, William E. Doster, R. M. West; Lieut.-Cols., Stephen E. Smith, William Lewis, Christopher Kleinz; Majs., E. M. Boteler, William E. Henser, Jacob P. Wilson, Joseph C. Hess, Christopher Kleinz, W. G. McCandless, Timothy Hennessey, D. Hagermeister, Justinian Alman, H. W. Paul. The 65th regiment, or the 5th cavalry, known originally as the Cameron Dragoons, was among the first of the three years' regiments. Ten of its companies were recruited in Philadelphia, and two in Pittsburg. As fast as recruited the companies went into camp near Girard avenue, Philadelphia, and on Aug. 22 the Philadelphia companies left for Washington, being joined there a few days later by L and M from Pittsburg. During the month of September the regiment served by detachments on scouting duty, and in October was posted at Camp Griffin, near Lewinsville. Heretofore regarded as an independent organization, it was now assigned to the quota of the state and numbered the 65th, its officers being commissioned by the governor. In the Peninsular campaign in the spring of 1862, the regiment, with the exceptions of Cos. I and K at the front, were employed in scouting in the rear of the army. While at Fort Magruder, near Williamsburg, it was attacked on Sept. 9, 1862, by a superior force and suffered a loss of 6 killed, 15 wounded and 33 captured, Col. Campbell being among the latter. Much reduced in numbers by sickness and casualties, it received 300 recruits in October and November and now numbered 1,200 men. Detachments of the regiment were employed at intervals during the winter 1862-63 on scout duty, and on Jan. 19, 1863, part of the command had a sharp engagement at Burnt Ordinary. A battalion under Maj. Kleinz was again in action there on Feb. 6. In a sharp engagement on the Williamsburg state road the following day, Cos. L and M suffered a loss of 35 killed, wounded and prisoners and barely escaped capture. Samuel M. Williamson, a volunteer with the squadron from Co. H, died a hero's death in this action, boldly refusing to surrender after he was surrounded and wounded. On March 29, the enemy under Gen. Wise attempted to capture the post at Williamsburg, but was repulsed with great loss. In April the command was attacked by the enemy under Col. Tatum, but the attack was repulsed. Little of interest occurred during the summer months, Co. D, under Maj. Hall, being on detached service part of the time with a force under Gens. Keyes and Gordon. Sickness and casualties again greatly reduced the command in strength, four-fifths of the men being afflicted with fever and ague. On Sept. 8 the 65th reported at Norfolk, when one battalion composed of Cos. C, D, F, H and I proceeded to South Mills, N. C, the terminus of the Dismal Swamp canal, the other companies under Lieut.-Col. Lewis, being assigned to scout and picket duty by detachments on the Albemarle & Chesapeake canal. On Oct. 20 the regiment was reunited at Great Bridge and went into winter quarters, 250 members reenlisting for three years and being given a veteran furlough. On Nov. 11, ten companies reported to Gen. Getty, at Getty's station near Portsmouth, and were assigned to Col. S. P. Spear's cavalry brigade, Cos. D and K remaining at Great Bridge. A little later these two companies rejoined the regiment, which joined Gen. Wistar's expedition to release the Union prisoners confined in Richmond, but Wistar was checked at Bottom's bridge and forced to return. In February and March, 1864, recruits to the number of 231 were received by the 65th, and in May it shared in an expedition under Gen. Kautz for the destruction of the Weldon railroad, after which it proceeded with its division to Bermuda Hundred. It then engaged in a raid on the Richmond & Danville railroad ; skirmished at various points ; drove the enemy at Fort Powhatan ; returned to City Point and joined Gen. Butler's forces across the Appomattox, where it was dismounted and went into the trenches with the rest of the cavalry. On May 22 Col. West of the 1st Pa. artillery was assigned to command the 65th, relieving Lieut.-Col. Kleinz. It retired from the trenches June 9, when with the cavalry division under Gen. Kautz and a portion of the 10th corps, Army of the James, it participated in a gallant assault on the works of Petersburg. It shared in another assault on the 15th with considerable loss and on June 22 started on the cavalry movement known as Wilson's raid on the South Side and Danville railroads, engaging the enemy at Roanoke, Stony Creek and Reams' stations, losing heavily in men and horses in the last named battle. Its total loss during the expedition was about 300 men and as many horses. From the middle of July to the end of September, the regiment was very active, skirmishing and scouting on both sides of the James and along the lines. In September it joined Gen. Butler's army, engaged the enemy with a loss of about 20, and later participated in a reconnoissance on Charles City cross-roads. In the engagement at New Market in October the regiment lost nearly half its effective strength, having 14 killed, 27 wounded and 72 captured. It was later engaged with slight loss on the Charles City road, and in the engagement near the same place in December it met with a loss of 7 killed and 14 wounded and was highly commended for its gallantry on this occasion by Gen. Ord, commanding the department. In the latter part of March, 1865, it joined Gen. Sheridan's command and on April 1 started on its last campaign. The enemy was met and routed at Five Forks, where the 5th cavalry made a gallant dash, capturing 300 prisoners. During the succeeding week the command was active in the pursuit, skirmishing at Gravelly run, Amelia Court House and Burkesville. On the 7th its picket line was established near Prince Edward Court House and on the evening of the same day it reached Appomattox Court House, where it shared in the fighting up to the time of the surrender. It moved to Lynchburg on the 12th and thence returned through Appomattox, Farmville, Burkesville, Five Forks and Richmond to the Mechanicsville pike, where it encamped. On May 19, 331 officers and men were mustered out of service, and on June 9 the remnant of the regiment was consolidated with the 3d Pa. It was finally mustered out at Richmond on Aug. 7. Roster:
The Roster of this unit contains the names of 5587 men.
The Union Army by Federal Publishing Company, 1908 - Volume 1
  • Barcousky, Len. Civil War Pittsburgh: Forge of the Union. Charleston, South Carolina: The History Press, 2013. ISBN 9781626190818.
  • Blair, William and William Pencak, editors. Making and Remaking Pennsylvania's Civil War. University Park, Pennsylvania: Penn State University Press, 2004.
  • Fox, Arthur B. Our Honored Dead: Alleghany County, Pennsylvania, in the American Civil War. Chicora, Pennsylvania: Mechling Bookbindery, 2008.
  • Fox, Arthur B. Pittsburgh During the American Civil War 1860–1865. Chicora, Pennsylvania: Mechling Bookbindery, 2002.
  • Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce. Southern Revenge: Civil War History of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. Chambersburg, Pennsylvania: Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce, 1989.
  • Miller, William J. The Training of an Army: Camp Curtin and the North's Civil War. Shippensburg, Pennsylvania: White Mane, 1990.
  • Sandou, Robert M. Deserter County: Civil War Opposition in the Pennsylvania Appalachians. Fordham University Press, 2009.
  • Skinner, George W., ed. Pennsylvania at Chickamauga and Chattanooga: Ceremonies at the Dedication of the Monuments Erected by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Wm. Stanley Ray, State Printer, 1897.
  • Taylor, Frank H. Philadelphia in the Civil War. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: The City, 1913.
  • Wingert, Cooper H. Harrisburg and the Civil War: Defending the Keystone of the Union. Charleston, South Carolina: The History Press, 2013. ISBN 9781626190412.
  • Young, Ronald C. Lancaster County, Pennsylvania in the Civil War. Lancaster, Pennsylvania: published by the author, 2003.

  • For Additional Research