2nd Regiment, Pennsylvania Cavalry (59th Volunteers)

Historical Sketch:
Cols., Richard B. Price, William W. Sanders ; Lieut. -Cols., Joseph P. Brinton, Joseph Steele; Majs., Joseph P. Brinton, Charles F. Taggart, P. Benner Wilson, Joseph Steele, Robert M. Brinton. This regiment, the 59th of the line, was raised from the state at large in the fall of 1861, many of the members coming from the city of Philadelphia, and from the counties of Crawford and Tioga. It rendezvoused at Camp Patterson, near Philadelphia, where it was mustered in during the fall and winter for three years, many of its officers having seen service in the three months' campaign in the Philadelphia City troop, and Col. Price had served in Mexico. Seven companies left for Baltimore on April 5, 1862, followed by the remaining companies on the 14th. On the 25th it moved to Washington and encamped on Capitol hill. Here it was mounted and drilled, and on June 27 moved to Cloud's mills, where it was assigned to Cooke's brigade, 1st reserve corps, under Gen. Sturgis. On Aug. 5 it marched to the Rapidan near Wolftown where it joined Gen. Pope's army and was assigned to Buford's brigade. It had a brisk skirmish with the enemy on the 7th, and soon after retired across the mountains to Woodville, rejoining the army at Centerville, one squadron being engaged at the second battle of Bull Run, attached to Gen. Kearny's command. On the night of the 30th it held the stone bridge on the Centerville road. At the close of the Bull Run campaign it was greatly weakened by losses and sickness. It moved to Fort Blenker on Sept. 10th, and on the 17th a large detachment made a daring reconnoissance to Aldie in search of Gen. Ewell and his body-guard. A few days later it shared in an expedition to Ashby's gap, and on Oct. 6, as part of Gen. Bayard's command, 1st brigade, it participated in a reconnoissance to Rappahannock Station. From Centerville it moved in pursuit of Stuart's cavalry as far as Warrenton, losing 2 killed and 10 wounded on the expedition. It next advanced with the entire corps, encountering the enemy at New Baltimore and Warrenton and was constantly engaged in scouting until Dec. 28, when it suffered a severe loss at the Occoquan, being surprised by a superior force under Wade Hampton. Its camp was captured and the regiment lost more than 100 killed, wounded and missing. It then went into winter quarters at Accotink, holding the line of the Occoquan. April 4, 1863, it marched to Fairfax Court House, where it was assigned to the 2nd brigade of Gen. Stahel's division and moved on the Gettysburg campaign. At Frederick, Gen. Pleasonton assumed command of the division and on June 29 it reported at headquarters of Gen. Meade, companies A, K, and H being detached to gather in stragglers. It was actively engaged at Gettysburg in checking the great tide of stragglers to the rear, and after the battle conducted 2,500 prisoners to Westminster. It moved in pursuit of Lee, reaching Warrenton July 25, and in August and September was employed in frequent reconnoissances and as guard at Meade's headquarters. It was engaged at White Sulphur springs in October and on the 19th moved to Fairfax Station, where it was assigned to the 2nd brigade, 2nd division, Cavalry corps. On Oct. 21 it moved towards the Rappahannock and Mine Run ; was active at Beverly ford and Rappahannock crossing and again at Bealeton. From this time on during the campaign it was constantly engaged in skirmishing and scouting, and on Nov. 29, at Parker's store, fought with great gallantry, losing 35 men. In December it shared in the raid on Luray, and then went into winter quarters at Warrenton. During the winter its ranks were swelled by many recruits and many of the men reenlisted and received a veteran furlough. On the opening of the spring campaign it moved with the army of the Potomac; was active at the Wilderness and at Todd's tavern ; shared in Gen. Sheridan's raid to sever Lee's communications with Richmond. It participated in Sheridan's second raid and was active at Haw's shop and on June 7 shared in the destruction of the Virginia Central railroad. It then crossed the Pamunkey, destroyed the Fredericksburg road at Chesterfield, and was heavily engaged at Trevilian. It assisted in the effort to cut the enemy's lines at Gordonsville, was active at St. Mary's Church, where it was commended for its gallantry, and after the raid it rejoined the army in front of Petersburg. It was active at the engagements of Deep Bottom, Charles City cross-roads, and Malvern hill, suffering considerable loss ; and was heavily engaged at Reams' station. Since the beginning of the campaign in May, the 59th participated in 16 general engagements, and its strength was reduced to about 200. It shared in the subsequent fortunes of the cavalry of the Army of the Potomac, being engaged at Wyatt's farm, Boydton plank road, McDowell's hill and Five Forks, and was present at Lee's surrender. It took part in the grand review at Washington in May, 1865, and on June 17, was consolidated with the 20th Pa. cavalry to form the 1st Pa. provisional cavalry, commanded by Col. William W. Sanders of the regular army. Members whose term of service had expired were sent to Philadelphia to be mustered out, and the provisional regiment was finally mustered out of service at Cloud's mills, Va., July 13, 1865. During its long period of service the regiment enjoyed an excellent reputation for discipline and courage in battle. Footnotes: Roster:
The Roster of this unit contains the names of 3780 men.
The Union Army by Federal Publishing Company, 1908 - Volume 1
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