Civil War Philadelphia

Civil War Philadelphia This page is dedicated to telling the history of the Greater Philadelphia Area during the American C


Charles Henry Lott of Hainesport, Burlington County, New Jersey enlisted in the Union Army as a recruit Private at age 18 on April 13, 1865. Born September 24, 1846, he was still only 14-years-old when the Confederates fired on Fort Sumter, South Carolina on April 12, 1861. He as he grew into adulthood he likely watched as dozens of men from his community and county enlisted at various times in the Union Army after the war started and as it progressed, some never to return. Nine months after he turned eighteen he enlisted himself, four days after Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox Court House, and a day before John Wilkes Booth shot President Abraham Lincoln at Fords Theater in Washington, DC. The unit the young, green recruit was assigned to was the 2nd New Jersey Infantry Battalion's Company B. The 2nd New Jersey had been one of the original four three-year-enlistment regiments that would go on to be famed as part of the "First New Jersey Brigade". By the time Private Lott joined it, it had seen service in every major campaign of the Army of the Potomac in the last four years, and had lost a total 165 men killed, mortally wounded, or died of disease. In September 1864 the veterans whose enlistments expired and opted not to re-enlist were honorably mustered out, and the re-enlistees were organized into a three-company battalion and operationally attached to the 15th New Jersey Volunteer Infantry. Their last full combat had been at the beginning of April 1865 as it was part of the final assaults that broke the Confederate positions at Petersburg, Virginia, and facilitated the Confederate's withdrawal and eventually surrender. Transferred to Company C at an unrecorded date, Private Lott would serve in the very last days of the war, and in the unit's occupation duty until he was mustered out with the battalion on July 11,1865 - a veteran of four months service. Those four months almost certainly made an impression on him and his family his whole life, as after he died at age 86 on June 30, 1933 his regimental information was prominently included on his grave maker in Hainesport's Brotherhood Cemetery.


Born in Pennsylvania in 1845, Robert Milow enlisted in the Union Army was mustered into the Union Army on September 8, 1864 as a Private in Company A, 127th United States Colored Infantry (Adjutant General records lists his name as "Robert Milan"). The 127th USCI was the eleventh and last regiment of African-American soldiers to be trained at Camp Penn in Cheltenham Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, with Private Milow being counted among nearly 11,000 soldiers the Camp sent out to help end slavery and preserve the Union. The 127th USCI was immediately sent to fight in Virginia, where it was make part of the Army of the James' X Corps. There they manned the Union trenches during the siege of Confederate forces at Petersburg and in April 1865 were part of the pursuit of the Army of Northern Virginia that ended with the Confederates surrendering to General Ulysses S. Grant. Private Milow was there at Appomattox when the effective end of the war began, however, his service didnt end then. Along with his comrades in his and other USCT regiments, he was sent to Texas to perform occupation duty, serving in and around the Brazos Santiago, Texas area. It was there on October 20, 1865 he was mustered out of service. He took up residency in New Jersey and died at age 69 in Bordentown, Burlington County. He rests today in the Bordentown Cemetery. At the African American Civil War Memorial in Washington, DC the brick which commemorates Private Milow's service is # D-132.


This video outlines the lead up to the founding and first months of military service of the history-making 47th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry during the Am...


Andrew Gregg Curtin (1817-1894) was Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania from 1861 to 1867. A strong supporter of President Abraham Lincoln, Governor Curtin also played a significant role in the history of the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. We'll tell you more about that role later this week, but first, please take a few minutes to read his bio from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission:

What a headstone!

What a headstone!


Brigadier General Strong Vincent, a native of Waterford, PA; practiced law in Erie, PA; and a Hero at the Civil War Battle at Gettysburg, PA. This statue is located at the Erie Library. Photograph 📸 courtesy of Jeffrey A Stunja, for On The Road in Pennsylvania, July 21st, 2022.I hope you Enjoy! :) ;) :)

Check out this awesome new page my friend has made! We will be sharing a great amount of his research!

Check out this awesome new page my friend has made! We will be sharing a great amount of his research!


On This Day In Civil War History:

Union General Thomas H. Neill, commander of the Third Brigade of General Albion Howe’s Second Division of General John Sedgwick’s VI Corps at Gettysburg, was born in 1826 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

This is very sad, but I am excited to visit the Grand Army of the Republic Museum and Library in Philadelphia's new loca...

This is very sad, but I am excited to visit the Grand Army of the Republic Museum and Library in Philadelphia's new location in Holmesburg!

Down to their last dollars, the Grand Army of the Republic Museum and Library said it was forced to auction a rare battle flag carried by a regiment of Philadelphia's United States Colored Troops.

Amazing photo!

Amazing photo!

1855 Abolitionist Passmore Williamson photographed in his prison cell in Moyamensing Prison in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,He was imprisoned for 90 days for giving evasive testimony about the role he played in helping to free three African American slaves owned by United States Minister to Nicaragua John H. Wheeler. By John Steck.
Passmore Williamson (February 23, 1822 - February 1, 1895) was an abolitionist and businessman in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a free state in the antebellum years. Secretary of the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society and a member of its Vigilance Committee, Williamson is best known for helping Jane Johnson and her two sons gain freedom from slavery on July 18, 1855.
In a case that established legal precedent, he was served with a writ of habeas corpus by federal US District Court John K. Kane under the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 to produce Johnson and her two sons in court. He did not know where they were held, so could not respond; Judge Kane charged him with contempt of court and sentenced him to 90 days.
The jailing of Williamson dramatically expanded news coverage of the case and generated debate about the extension of "Slave Power" over state law, as Pennsylvania did not recognize slavery. It held that slaveowners gave up their property rights in slaves if they brought them into the state; if the slave chose freedom, the state would support that decision and not compensate the owner. Thus, Johnson was not literally a fugitive, as she had gained freedom in the state according to state law, after John Hill Wheeler voluntarily took her there in the course of his travel.


The American Civil War created a crisis of medical care for soldiers. It required civilians on the home front to organize charitable efforts to support their care with donations of medical supplies and cash. In the 1860s, women’s organizations such as the Ladies’ Union Association sought donations of luxury goods and signature artworks for fundraising fairs; they then awarded these prizes to leading citizens based on a voting system. Fairgoers had the opportunity to purchase a vote for their preferred candidate.

In the case of the Ladies’ Union Association’s fair on May 15, 1865, they were voting for the military general that best served the interests of the US Colored Troops. Ultimately, General Benjamin F. Butler received the most votes and therefore a handsome black velvet dressing gown and slippers; the life-sized oil painting of General Grant went to the organization that furnished the most votes in the scheme; and the Ladies’ Union Association garnered the receipts of all that voting to support their charity work.

Caroline Le Count served as corresponding secretary on the executive committee of the Ladies’ Union Association and helped execute this fundraising strategy for the fair. She, like many other Black women in her network, aligned her charity work of aiding wounded soldiers recuperating at locations outside the city with her civil rights activism.

In reporting on a fair held in 1864, the Ladies’ Union Association wrote, “We thank our friends for their kind patronage. We also hope that our friends will make some efforts to gain us admission to the city cars as we find great difficulty in reaching the Hospitals.”

Philadelphia held the first official Republican Convention from June 17 to the 19. Pennsylvania has always a strategic s...

Philadelphia held the first official Republican Convention from June 17 to the 19. Pennsylvania has always a strategic state in American political history!

On February 22, 1856, the City of Pittsburgh hosted the first unofficial Republican Party National Convention - a two day gathering held in Lafayette Hall on the corner of Wood and Fourth Streets. As hundreds of delegates from 24 states convened, national issues were observed on the political stage, with emphasis being placed on the opposition to the expansion of slavery.

As stated by an Ohio delegate before the convention:

“What we claim for ourselves we claim for all. The rights, privileges, and liberties which we demand as our inheritance, we concede as their inheritance to all the citizens of this Republic...we declare our conviction that the Government of the United States is not administered in accordance with the Constitution, or for the preservation and prosperity of the American Union; but that its powers are systematically wielded for the promotion and extension of the interest of slavery, in direct hostility to the letter and spirit of the Constitution, in flagrant disregard of other great interests of the country, and in open contempt of the public sentiment of the American people...”

Well after the convention concluded on February 23, Lafayette Hall became synonymous with the Union cause. The venue served as a recruiting station during the Civil War, in many cases for African American troops, as well as a platform for orators such as Frederick Douglass, who aligned with Lincoln’s Republican Party and it’s mission of emancipation.

Happy Birthday William Still!

Happy Birthday William Still!


Charles B. Purvis (pictured) was born in Philadelphia on April 14, 1842, to prominent abolitionists Robert Purvis and Harriet Forten. In 1860, he began studying at Oberlin College and after two years, entered the Medical College at Western Reserve University in Cleveland in 1864. That year, Purvis volunteered as a nurse at Freedmen’s Hospital in Washington, D.C. After graduating in 1865, Purvis became an assistant surgeon for the Union Army and later, a founder of Howard University’s Medical School.

On July 2, 1881, Purvis became one of the first African-American physicians to aid a sitting president. That morning, Purvis rushed to the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad Station to assist President James A. Garfield after he was shot by Charles Guiteau. At the time of his arrival, President Garfield was already in the care of Dr. Smith Townsend. Dr. Townsend began attempts to extract the bullet without first sanitizing his hands or using proper surgical tools, a common practice during the nineteenth century. Author Candice Millard suggests that because the gunshot wound was not fatal, Dr. Townsend’s negligence resulted in an infection that likely caused President Garfield’s death. President Garfield was later seen by Purvis, who, although skeptical about Garfield’s odds of survival, did his best to aid the president. While being treated by Purvis, Robert Todd Lincoln—son of Abraham Lincoln and Garfield’s secretary of war—recommended the expertise of Dr. D. Willard Bliss, who had previously aided his father. Once the president had been moved to the White House, Bliss took charge as the primary physician. Ultimately, a series of mishaps proved Bliss inept for the precarious task. Bliss’s unsanitary methods and continual probing of the president’s wounds caused further infection, eventually resulting in Garfield’s death two months later on September 19, 1881.

Although his treatment was limited, Purvis’ efforts to aid the president did not go unnoticed. When Chester A. Arthur took up residence in the White House in 1881, he recognized Purvis’ service to his predecessor by appointing Purvis surgeon-in-chief of Freedmen’s Hospital in 1881. Purvis became one of the first African-American civilians to oversee a hospital and he served in this position until 1894.

Image: Public Domain


The ranks of the 48th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry were composed primarily of Schuylkill County men. So, too, were the ranks of the 96th...


Did you know that a Pennsylvania politician played a crucial role in one of the largest brawls in Congress before the Civil War?

Galusha Grow was a Republican representing the Scranton area in the House of Representatives in the 1850s and 1860s. During a late night session about slavery and Kansas statehood in February 1858, Grow got into a heated argument with Laurence Keitt of South Carolina.

The argument turned violent when Grow exclaimed that, "no negro-driver shall crack his whip over me." Keitt attacked Grow and the House of Representatives turned into a scene of utter chaos and confusion. Dozens of politicians joined the fray.

In the melee, two Northern politicians attacked William Barksdale of Mississippi (a future Confederate general) and ripped off his hair piece. When Barksdale hurriedly placed the wig back atop his head, he accidentally put it on backwards.

This humorous scene stopped the brawl in its tracks, as representatives from both North and South turned to laugh and jeer.

The scene presaged the violent turn in American politics in the years leading up to the outbreak of the Civil War. If you want to read more about violence in Congress before the Civil War, we highly recommend Joanne Freeman's fantastic book, "The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to Civil War."

Galusha Grow went on to become Speaker of the House of Representatives in 1861.

(Image: Illustration of the brawl in the late night hours of February 5-6, 1858 from Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper from the collections of the House of Representatives; Photograph of Representative Galusha Grow in 1859, McClure Publishing, 1907)


More than 36,000 African American soldiers died during the Civil War, yet they had no national monument memorializing their sacrifice until 1998.

Published in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Published in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

“A printed broadside recruiting men of color to enlist in the U.S. military after the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863.

The broadside was written by Frederick Douglass, signed by Douglass along with 54 leaders in the Philadelphia African American community, and published in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.”

(Wikimedia Commons - Cowan’s Auctions)


"The Rag of Disunion"

This song was written and performed by Sergeant Bechtel and Sergeant Spangler of Company H, 104th Pennsylvania at Carver Barracks in Washington in 1862.

Air: - Happy Land of Canaan.

"Come all ye freemen bold, together young and old,
Arise and let us be a going;
There’s confusion in our land, brought on by a traitorous band.
Who are striving to destroy our glorious Union.

Chorus – Then come, come away, let us not delay,
But onward let us be a going;
We’ll brave the storm together, and we’ll yield to traitors never.

There is our glorious Flag, bought by our fathers’ blood,
The traitors have taken it down;
The Stripes they torn asunder, and the Stars they’ve trampled under,
And stuck up the Rag of Disunion.


But we will these wrongs revenge, with our gallant Union men,
Who together like brothers are joining;
We will forward without fear, and leave all that’s near and dear,
For we are bound to defend our glorious Union.


Gallant sons of Pennsylvania, are as brave and bold as any,
For thousands and thousands have gone on
With others to unite, and raise the Stars and Stripes
Where now floats the Rag of Disunion.
They say the men are better drilled, and fight with a better will.

Than any of our forces now at Washington’
But they hadn’t time to tarry down at Harper’s Ferry,
To face the Defenders of the Union.


Then in a warlike manner, we’ll fling out our Starry Banner,
And to the field we will march on;
We’ll desert our Flag, O! never, but our Stars and Stripes shall float forever.
The emblem of our great glorious Union.

Illustration: The parade ground and flagpole at Carver Barracks, 1862 (Library of Congress)

Company A and B had Chester and Montgomery Counties men in them

Company A and B had Chester and Montgomery Counties men in them

William Sergent joined the Pennsylvania 53rd regiment on November 7, 1861. At the battle of Seven Pines Sergent suffered gunshot wounds in both arms and endured a double amputation. He survived the war and later died on January 17, 1871, and is buried in Philadelphia’s Mount Moriah Cemetery.


, January 13, 1862, former Pittsburgh resident Edwin M. Stanton was positioned by President Abraham Lincoln to the post of Secretary of War, which was formerly occupied by Simon Cameron. Stanton’s promotion would prove to be vitally important to the US war effort in years to come.

In an almost prophetic letter to his brother-in-law, James Hutchinson Jr. of Pittsburgh, Stanton aired his thoughts about the conflict well before taking office:

“April 15, 1861

It is now certain that we are about to be engaged in a general civil war between the Northern and Southern States. Every one will regret this as a great calamity to the human race... The manufacturing interests of Pittsburg will I think receive a strong impulse. Its shipping interests will especially be in great advance.”

Pittsburgh’s Stanton Avenue and Stanton Heights neighborhood are named in this former attorney’s memory.


A look at a Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery regiment in 1864

“Fort Monroe, Virginia. 3d Regiment Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery. (152nd Volunteers)”

(Library of Congress)

Hancock was born in MONCO

Hancock was born in MONCO

---Hancock The Superb---

"in the darkest hour of the nation's life-struggle this superb soldier stood at the focal-centre of conflict on the pivotal-field of Gettysburg, and by his inspiring courage, his blood-stained fidelity, and his exalted professional skill, stayed the surging waves of armed rebellion at their highest point of destructive onset, so that the tide of war was turned, the midnight hour was safely passed, and that the nation had a new dawn of life and hope, because then and there, as everywhere and always, he was so capable, so firm, and so true."

- from a resolution by MOLLUS Commandery of the State of Pennsylvania March 2, 1866.

Source: "In Memoriam. Major General Winfield Scott Hancock, United States Army." Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, 1866

Check out this awesome page!

Check out this awesome page!


"A poisonous and terrible conspiracy exists, and has existed, as its authors boldly proclaim, for many years, to overthrow the government of the United States, and to form a hostile and despotic State out of its ruins..."

- Representative James H. Campbell, Pennsylvania's 11th Congressional District

On December 20, 1860, a convention in South Carolina voted to secede from the United States, launching a series of events that propelled the country toward civil war.

South Carolina's actions were predicated on preserving the state's institutions (slavery) from a Republican-led government that the South feared would attempt to destroy them. The virus of secession soon infected other slave states across the South.

Just a few months after the secession vote in South Carolina, the Civil War broke out in the state's largest city, as rebel forces bombarded a US Army garrison at Fort Sumter at the mouth of Charleston Harbor.

(Illustration: a pro-secession rally in South Carolina in 1860, Library of Congress)


Pennsylvania has revised or removed historical markers and plaques about the Confederacy amid a nationwide reckoning over how the army is remembered.


Philadelphia, PA





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GAR Post #19, the Fred Taylor Post, was operating in Philadelphia during the late 19th Century. Has anyone seen or is anyone aware of a membership roster for this post? Thank you so much for your attention to this request!
Part 3 of the Emma Carman story was published today by the US National Archives. It features a fascinating cross section of the Philadelphians in her life. And the history surrounding her husband William’s tintype – why it was made and how it was lost to the Pension Bureau in a bundle of letters – reminds us that great sacrifices were made on the home front as well as the battle front, and often were borne by widows for a lifetime.

William’s face may have become just a faded memory for Emma in the twenty years she struggled to regain her pension. Now through the National Archives’ efforts to digitize and catalog Civil War personal tintypes, his face will never be forgotten again.
Digging into the story of why a Civil War tintype is part of a government pension file can help us understand what it was like to live through those times – making 19th century history more accessible, transparent and personal.

Here is a link to Part 2 of my blog post series - Private William Carman of Philadelphia tells the story in his own words.
The King of Prussia Historical Society is sponsoring a program on the 51st Pennsylvania Regiment. Sunday, November 14 at 2pm at Pork Kennedy Presbyterian Church. Free and open to the public.
What was Central High School for Boys doing at that time ?