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Union Volunteers at Fort Delaware

by R. Hugh Simmons©

Pennsylvania volunteers supplemented the handful of regulars from the U. S. Second Artillery garrisoning Fort Delaware after the firing on Fort Sumter in April of 1861. Pennsylvania volunteers in Independent Batteries A and G were the mainstay of the garrison throughout the war serving the Fort's heavy artillery and guarding prisoners. Fort Delaware and Pea Patch Island served as a training and organization ground for various Pennsylvania volunteer units of heavy artillery and infantry before being sent south.

Fort Delaware was also a place to which Union army prisoners convicted by an army court-martial elsewhere were sent to undergo their sentence to hard labor. They were derisively called Company "Q", a bit of old army slang for slackers and shirkers.

The Dix-Hill Cartel (a general exchange agreement signed July 22, 1862) resulted in an immediate return of all prisoners of war to their respective sides, and required the return "within ten days, or as soon as practicable" of all future military captives. The POWs held by each side were released on parole [their sworn personal promise not to engage in any military activities on behalf of their own side until properly exchanged] and delivered at Aiken's Landing on the James River in Virginia, and at Vicksburg on the Mississippi River. In November 1862, by mutual agreement, City Point (modern day Hopewell) on the south bank of the James became the eastern delivery point.

The returning "paroled prisoners" were held in parole camps by their own side until declared exchanged in a complex post-delivery accounting process. Once declared exchanged, they could return to duty with their units in the field. Fort Delaware played "host" to nearly 1,000 returning paroled Union prisoners from September 17, 1862 until December 20, 1862 because of the limited capacity of the Federal parole camp at Annapolis, Maryland.

The impact of the Dix-Hill Cartel was to make captivity a relatively short term event for most military prisoners of war during the second year of the war. "Within ten days, or as soon as practicable" ended up being 3 or 4 weeks for most captives. From November 1862 through the end of March 1863, Fort Delaware held fewer than 100 Confederate prisoners and civilian detainees on any given day. Confederate POWs captured in April and May 1863 were delivered to Confederate authorities at City Point, Virginia. The last large shipment of able bodied POWs home from Fort Delaware occurred at the beginning of July 1863. After that release and delivery, only the sick and disabled were released on parole.

The collapse of the Dix-Hill Cartel in July 1863 and the nearby Battle of Gettysburg resulted in the accumulation of more prisoners than the 10,000 men the prison was designed for. By the end of July 1863, the number being held at Fort Delaware exceeded 12,500. This over crowding was a serious issue until the new POW Camp at Point Lookout, Maryland was opened in September 1863 and the excess POWs could be sent there. Thereafter, the prison population at Fort Delaware ebbed and flowed between 2,500 and 9,200 military prisoners of war. Control of this massive prison complex required the manning of 85 guard posts. An estimated 1,200 guards were needed to provide rotating shift coverage. The three artillery batteries provided about 450 men while infantry units rotated in and out of the Fort supplied the balance. Towards the end of the war, a number of infantry units came to Pea Patch Island to finish their time guarding prisoners before being mustered out.

The vast majority of the Confederate prisoners of war departed Fort Delaware in June 1865, although there were still over 100 being held in July. The regular U. S. Army returned to Fort Delaware when Companies K and L, 4th U. S. Artillery arrived from Fort Monroe. The last of the volunteers departed on 25 JUL 1865 when Ahl's Battery, Delaware Heavy Artillery was mustered out. The 196th Ohio Infantry put in a brief appearance at the end of July and were going by early September 1865. Thereafter, Fort Delaware was again in the hands of the regulars.

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4th Delaware Infantry (no documentation of their presence at Fort Delaware)

This regiment was organized at Wilmington, Delaware over a six month period beginning in June 1862 and was completed in November 1862. Dyer's "Compendium" does not suggest that this unit, or any portion of it, was ever stationed at Fort Delaware.

Scharf's "History of Delaware" states that Company C of this regiment was composed largely of ex-Confederates who refused parole and exchange under the Dix-Hill Cartel. An estimated 475 men (314 in August and another 175 in September 1862) refused to be returned and were allowed to take the Oath of Allegiance with the expectation that they would remain in the Loyal states until the war was over. They were released into the general population. One can speculate that unable to find jobs, $13/month Union army pay may have looked good to these men. This claim for Company C, 4th Delaware Infantry has yet to be verified.

5th Delaware Infantry (20 JUN 1863 - 6 AUG 1863)

The regiment was organized between October 25th and November 26th, 1862 from companies recruited from all over the state of Delaware. They guarded various sites in Delaware and along the Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Baltimore Railroad from Perryville to Baltimore, Maryland.

Private A. J. Hamilton noted in his diary on June 20, 1863 with considerable relief that "500 of the Fifth Delaware came here for duty". Some 3,750 Confederate POWs had just been delivered to Fort Delaware from Camp Morton, Indiana and only Independent Battery A, Hamilton's Independent Battery G, and Company C, 157th Pennsylvania Infantry were present on Pea Patch Island for guard duty. Hamilton noted on August 6, 1863: "The Fifth Delaware left today for Wilmington accompanied by our band. We are left with only 300 men to guard fully 10,000 Rebs.”  Replaced early the next day at Fort Delaware by the 6th Delaware Infantry, the 5th Delaware Infantry was mustered out of service on August 12, 1863.

Ahl's Battery, 1st Delaware Heavy Artillery (27 JUL 1863 - 25 JUL 1865)

This unit was formed at Fort Delaware and credited to the State of Delaware. Officers and non-commissioned officers for this unit came from Independent Battery G, Pennsylvania Volunteers while the bulk of the enlisted men were "galvanized Yankees" recruited from the Fort Delaware prison pen. The battery was officially mustered in on 27 JUL 1863 at Fort Delaware and mustered out at Fort Delaware on 25 JUL 1865.

6th Delaware Infantry (7-22 AUG 1863)

The regiment completed its organization from companies recruited from all over the state of Delaware on December 18, 1862. It provided railroad guards for the Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Baltimore Railroad from Perrymansville to Havre de Grace.

Private A. J. Hamilton noted in his diary on August 7th, 1863 that "the 6th Delaware Regiment came down at 3:30 AM" to replace the just departed 5th Delaware Infantry. According the Hamilton, they remained for two weeks until replaced by the Purnell Legion (Maryland) on August 22, 1863. The 6th Delaware regiment was mustered out on September 5, 1863.

9th Delaware Infantry (19 OCT 1864 - 20 JAN 1865)

The regiment was organized at Wilmington, Delaware for 100 days on August 30, 1864 and mustered out on January 23, 1865. The first six weeks of its existence were spent training and on guard duty at places other than Fort Delaware.

Private A. J. Hamilton noted in his diary on October 19, 1864 the arrival of the 9th Delaware Infantry to take the place of the departing 6th Massachusetts Infantry. On November 5th, he noted that "the 9th Delaware started home for the elections" and were replaced by the 196th Pennsylvania Infantry. But this seems to have been a short lived absence. On December 17th, Hamilton sneered "Am much amused at the Delaware militia who are being kept here over time and fear they will miss Christmas dinner at home." Finally, on 20 JAN 1865, Hamilton noted that "part of the 9th Delaware were relieved by some Maryland troops".

The 9th Delaware Infantry was mustered out at Wilmington on 23 JAN 1865.



6th Massachusetts Infantry (100 Day Regiment) (24 AUG 1864 - 19 OCT 1864)

The regiment was formed at Readville, New York as a 100 day state militia and mustered into Federal service 14-19 JUL 1864. Sent to the Washington area, they were transferred to Fort Delaware to replace the 157th Ohio Infantry arriving on 24 AUG 1864. They departed Fort Delaware 19 OCT 1864 and were returned to Boston where they mustered out on 27 OCT 1864.

Reverend Isaac W. K. Handy noted their arrival in his diary and observed that "They seem to be a better class of men than their predecessors. Many of them are mere boys, who have lately been recruited. Others of them are veterans of Baltimore notoriety."

Private A. J. Hamilton noted their departure in his diary on 19 OCT 1864: "Was not on duty until the afternoon, when the 9th Delaware came in to take the place of the 6th Massachusetts."

Society Chairman W. Emerson Wilson, editor of Hamilton's Diary, commented in the footnotes: "For accounts of their stay at Fort Delaware, see Historical Sketch of the Old Sixth Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteers, by John W. Hanson, Chaplain, Boston, 1866 and A Soldier for 100 Days, by W. H. Fletcher, Boston, 1955."



Purnell Legion Infantry (22 AUG 1863 - 30 OCT 1863)

The Purnell Legion, Maryland Volunteers consisted of nine companies of infantry, two companies of cavalry, and two batteries of light artillery recruited under the authority of William H. Purnell, Postmaster at Baltimore, Maryland. Purnell was the brother of Fort Delaware prison diarist Reverend Isaac W. K. Handy's first wife. Raised to serve for three years, the combined arms Legion organization was dissolved when Colonel Purnell resigned in February 1862. The Purnell Legion Infantry regiment was involved in driving armed bands from the Eastern Shore of Virginia in early 1862, and distinguished itself in combat at Catlett's Station (22 AUG 1862) and Antietam (17 SEP 1862). From December 1862 until May 1864, the regiment returned to Maryland and performed various duties in the Middle Department including guarding prisoners at Fort Delaware. It was then under the command of Colonel Samuel A. Graham.

Union diarist Private A. J. Hamilton noted their arrival at Fort Delaware late on 22 AUG 1863 to relieve the 6th Delaware Infantry guarding prisoners. Hamilton wrote "They are a rough lot of men but good soldiers, I think."

Reverend Handy wrote in his diary the next day: "The Purnell Legion came to the Island at about 12 o'clock last night, and stacked their arms immediately in front of our window. They are a rough looking set, and have the appearance of men who have seen some service. The Legion was raised by my brother-in-law, the Honorable W. H. Purnell, of Baltimore, as some sort of Home Guard." Handy was then being held on the second floor of a barracks building inside the fort facing towards Delaware City.

The Purnell Legion Infantry was the first unit to occupy the newly constructed L-shaped infantry barracks on the southwest side of the island. Reverend Handy wrote on 4 SEP 1863: "The Purnell Legion are quartered in the new barracks immediately opposite our window. They are a jolly set, and are occupied every evening, until bed time, in fiddling, dancing, singing, and other amusements. Sometimes, it seems as though they would tear down the very buildings above them."

And finally both Handy and Hamilton made diary entries concerning their departure on 30 OCT 1863. Handy wrote "The Purnell Legion left the Island this morning en route for Baltimore to cast their votes at the approaching election." Hamilton noted that "The Purnell Legion left today with a good head of camphine on [i.e. the smell of moth balls] and baggage sufficient for an Army Corps."

The Purnell Legion was one of the few units of combat veterans to serve as guards over the Confederate prisoners of war at Fort Delaware. In May 1864, they were sent to reinforce General Grant's operations against the Confederates defending Richmond and participated in much of the fighting until October 26, 1864 when their three years term expired.

5th Maryland Infantry (1 NOV 1863 - 6 JUN 1864)

The 5th Maryland Infantry was the second unit of combat veterans to spend time at Fort Delaware as guards. The regiment was organized at Baltimore in September 1861 for three years service. In March 1862, they were sent to Fort Monroe and participated in the Peninsula Campaign under General McClellan. The regiment suffered many casualties at the Bloody Lane on September 17, 1862 in the Battle of Antietam. Camped in northern Virginia at Charlestown for the winter of 1862/1863, they were heavily engaged in defending Winchester during the Confederate siege of 13/15 JUN 1863. The regiment, commanded by Colonel William Louis Schley was then transferred back to the Middle Department for rest and refitting. Elements of the regiment were sent to Fort Delaware throughout its Middle Department stay.

A. J. Hamilton noted in his diary on 1 NOV 1863: "A part of the 5th Regiment, Maryland Volunteers arrived from Wilmington today." On November 4th he observed that "Two companies of the 5th Maryland went home to vote." On November 28th he wrote: "We were moved inside quartered with the company to give room for some of the 5th Maryland who are coming."

Men continued to flow in as the regiment rebuilt its strength. Hamilton wrote on 9 MAR 1864 that "During the night a detachment of the 5th Maryland Veterans came in." On 16 MAR 1864, he noted that "Old Schley of the Fifth Maryland arrived with some 60 more of his men." Finally, on 6 JUN 1864, Hamilton noted that "The Fifth Maryland Regiment leaves for the front and all our boys are put on guard duty."

The 5th Maryland Infantry rejoined the Army of the Potomac and participated in the siege of Petersburg beginning in June 1864. They were among the first troops to occupy Richmond after it fell on 2 APR 1865.

First Eastern Shore Regiment (30 JAN 1864 - 10 MAR 1864

Hamilton's diary entry for 30 JAN 1864: "A detachment of the First Eastern Shore, Maryland Volunteers came here." W. Emerson Wilson's footnote states that Company F and Company I, came to Fort Delaware while the remainder of the regiment went to Baltimore. On 10 MAR 1864, Hamilton observed that "The First Eastern Shore are ordered away."

The First Eastern Shore Infantry had a brief taste of combat before coming to Fort Delaware. The regiment was sent to the Army of the Potomac in the midst of the Gettysburg crisis and engaged on Culp's Hill on 3 JUL 1863. They remained with the Army of the Potomac for a short period guarding the upper Potomac River fords and crossings after Lee's army had withdrawn into Virginia. Then they were returned to duty with the Middle Department. Eventually, the regiment was merged with the three companies of one year men in the 11th Maryland Infantry to form a new 11th Maryland Infantry

11th Maryland Infantry (20 JAN 1865 - 30 MAY 1865)

The first 11th Maryland Infantry was a 100 day militia unit formed at Baltimore on 16 JUN 1864 under a special agreement between the President and the Governors of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin and Maryland for the purpose of relieving certain garrison troops for field duty. Two weeks later, they were sent to Monocacy Junction and engaged Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early's troops on 9 JUL 1864. Near the expiration of the 100 days term, enough men re-enlisted to serve for one year to fill three companies. Companies A, B, And C were consolidated with seven companies of the First Eastern Shore Infantry to form a new 11th Maryland Infantry.

Company C was sent to the Relay House on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad and Company I was stationed in Baltimore. The balance of the regiment was sent to Fort Delaware.

Union diarist A. J. Hamilton noted in his diary on 20 JAN 1865: "Part of the 9th Delaware were relieved by some Maryland troops." On 25 MAY 1865, he observed that "A big row occurred with the Maryland troops outside. Battery A was ordered out to settle it. The infantry soon caved." And finally, on 31 MAY 1865, Hamilton returned from a 3 day pass to Philadelphia and reported that he had "Found the 11th Maryland had gone and the 215th Pennsylvania Volunteers were here."



19th New York Volunteers (17 JUL 1862 ~ 1 SEP 1862)

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported in its 21 JUL 1862 issue that three companies of 90 day volunteers from the "New York Nineteenth Regiment" arrived at Fort Delaware to reinforce the 250 man garrison on "Thursday last" (17 JUL 1862). These were Company A [Captain Isaac Smith], Company E [Captain John S. Watts], and Company I [Captain J. C. Rennison]. The Inquirer reported that "All three troops are under charge of Captain [August A.] Gibson, the [post] commander. The number of men now in garrison is nearly five hundred; before the arrival of the above three companies it was scarcely two hundred and fifty."

A unit history for the 19th Regiment, New York State Militia shows that the regiment departed New York state on 4 JUN 1862 and was mustered into U. S. service for three months at Baltimore. Seven companies under Colonel William R. Brown were sent to the defenses of Washington, DC. No mention was made of the three companies sent to Fort Delaware. The regiment was returned to New York and mustered out at Newburgh on 6 SEP 1862.

The departure date from Fort Delaware of these three companies has not yet been documented. The vast majority of the Confederate POWs being held at Fort Delaware (3,059) were paroled on 30 JUL 1862 and delivered to Confederate authorities at Aiken's Landing on the James River on 5 AUG 1862. It is likely that the three 19th New York companies departed on or about 1 SEP 1862 and were mustered out with the regiment at the end of their 90 days on 6 SEP 1862.

165th New York Infantry (16 APR 1865 - 1 JUN 1865)

This regiment was organized at New York City in November 1862 and sent to New Orleans, Louisiana in early December. The regiment was extensively involved in the several campaigns in Louisiana ranging from the Siege of Port Hudson through General Bank's failed Red River campaign in 1864. The regiment was returned to Fort Monroe in July 1864 and then sent to support Sheridan’s campaign in the Shenandoah Valley. On duty at Stevenson’s Depot and Winchester from January 1865 until early April, the 165th New York was transferred back to Washington, DC. In the aftermath of President Lincoln’s assassination, the regiment was rushed to Fort Delaware.

Private A. J. Hamilton noted the arrival on 16 APR 1865 of 850 members of the 165th New York Infantry. They remained at Fort Delaware until June 1, 1865 when they departed for Wilmington, Delaware according to Hamilton. The 165th New York Infantry was transferred to Savannah, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina. The regiment was mustered out on 1 SEPT 1865 at Charleston, South Carolina.



157th Ohio Infantry (6 JUN 1864 - 24 AUG 1864)

This regiment was organized at Camp Chase, Ohio on 15 MAY 1864 for 100 days service by combining companies of the 39th Battalion, Ohio National Guard (Jefferson County) and the 88th Battalion, Ohio National Guard (Carroll County). Commanded by Colonel George W. McCook, the regiment was sent to Baltimore and spent several weeks at Camp Relay doing guard duty at various places around the area. The regiment was then ordered to Fort Delaware to replace the 5th Maryland Infantry.

Union diarist Private A. J. Hamilton observed on June 7th that "The Ohio militia are just one 'Dutch Guard'. They are very green. One of their officers was on guard, got so drunk he was put in confinement." Two days later he noted that "Some of the officers of the 157th Ohio are very green but industrious". Hamilton noted a number of escape attempts by Confederate officers during this period and tensions seemed to have been especially high during their stay. A member of the 157th Ohio shot and killed Virginia Colonel Edward Pope Jones returning from the sinks. He was justified by the prison authorities and promoted to corporal. Confederate prisoners who were eye witnesses to the shooting maintained it was murder. Members of the 157th Ohio were detailed to guard the Immortal 600 en route to Hilton Head, South Carolina on 20 AUG 1864.

Prison diarist Reverend Isaac W. K. Handy noted their arrival on 6 JUN 1864 and their departure on 24 AUG 1864. He wrote "The Sixth Massachusetts Regiment (one hundred days men) arrived today, taking the place of the Ohio troops, which have left."

The 157th Ohio Infantry returned to Camp Chase where they were mustered out 2 SEP 1864.

196th Ohio Infantry (28 JUL 1865 - 7 SEP 1865)

This regiment was organized at Camp Chase and mustered in on March 25, 1865. It departed for Winchester, Virginia the next day and was assigned to the Army of the Shenandoah. The regiment was stationed at Stephenson’s Depot near Winchester from April 7th until the end of July when it was transferred to Baltimore and Fort Delaware.

The Record of Events for Companies D, F, and I of the 196th Ohio Infantry indicate that they left Stephenson’s Depot on July 27, 1865 and traveled by rail through Harper’s Ferry to Baltimore. They then moved immediately by boat to Fort Delaware arriving on July 28th & 29th.

Company G left Stephenson’s Depot by train on July 27th and stopped at Fort Federal Hill in Baltimore. Two weeks later, Company G departed Fort Federal Hill and was delivered by boat to Fort Delaware arriving August 13th. Company G was soon moved to Wilmington, Delaware (August 24th) before being returned to Baltimore. Departure of the first three companies from Fort Delaware is not documented, but presumed to have been on or after September 7th. The 196th Ohio Infantry was mustered out at Baltimore, Maryland on September 11, 1865.



Commonwealth Independent Company, Heavy Artillery (24 APR 1861 - 5 AUG 1861)

This company of volunteers was recruited in Philadelphia from among the city's "brightest and best" to serve for 90 days by Captain James Elginton Montgomery. Mustered into Federal service on 24 APR 1861, they were rushed to Fort Delaware to reinforce the small garrison of U. S. Artillery regulars stationed there under Captain Augustus A. Gibson. The battery was returned to Philadelphia and mustered out on 5 AUG 1861.

Collis' Infantry Company, Zouaves D'Afrique (17 AUG 1861 - 24 SEP 1861)

An elite unit recruited from among the residents of Philadelphia who had prior militia or European military service under the command of Captain Charles H. T. Collis. They were sent to Fort Delaware to train for service in the field. The uniform selected was copied from the French Zouaves D'Afrique, hence the name associated with the company. Ordered to join General Banks in Maryland, the company departed Fort Delaware and dazzled onlookers with a drill exhibition at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia on 24 SEP 1861 while en route to join the army. This company became Company A, 114th Pennsylvania Infantry and served as bodyguards to Generals Banks, McClellan, Meade, and Grant.

Von Hartung's Independent Infantry Company (5 AUG 1861 to 1 OCT 1861)

This independent company largely composed of German residents of Philadelphia was enrolled on 5 AUG 1861 under the command of Captain A. Von Hartung and sent to Fort Delaware. Meantime, a regiment of German residents of Pittsburg was recruited and mustered into service on 14 SEP 1861. It was sent to Philadelphia and then Washington and was camped at Roach's Mills in Virginia by 1 OCT 1861. The regiment's numerical designation was changed from the 35th to the 74th Pennsylvania Infantry and Von Hartung's company was added to the regiment at Roach's Mills. A year later, Hartung was promoted from command of Company A to Major of the 74th Pennsylvania Infantry on 17 OCT 1862.

Independent Battery A, Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery (19 SEP 1861 - 15 JUN 1865)

This independent company was recruited from among the Irish and German immigrants in Philadelphia in August 1861 by Captain Frank Schaffer. Eighty (80) men were mustered in on 19 SEP 1861 at the Filbert Street Armory and sent to Fort Delaware. Captain Schaffer resigned on 28 FEB 1862 and 1st Lieutenant Stanislaus Mlotkowski was promoted to Captain on 1 MAR 1862. Reinforced with new recruits from time to time, the Battery served it's entire four year term of service at Fort Delaware manning the heavy artillery pieces and guarding prisoners of war. Battery A departed Fort Delaware on or about 15 JUN 1865 and was mustered out of service at Camp Cadwalader near Philadelphia on 30 JUN 1865.

Batteries D, G, and H, 2nd Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery (9 JAN 1862 - 19 MAR 1862)

Recruiting for the 2nd Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery regiment began in the fall of 1861. Companies (batteries) D, G, and H were sent to Fort Delaware on 9 JAN 1862 under the command of Captain James S. Anderson. The remaining seven companies were sent to Washington. On 19 MAR 1862, the three companies at Fort Delaware departed to join the rest of the regiment north of the Potomac River near Bladensburg, Maryland.

Captain Augustus A. Gibson, 2nd U. S. Artillery had been commander of Fort Delaware since it was made operational in February 1861. Gibson transferred to the U. S. Volunteer service and was promoted to Colonel of the 2nd Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery on 25 JUN 1862. He was replaced in command of Fort Delaware by Major Henry S. Burton, U. S. Artillery.

Batteries L and M, 2nd Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery (01 FEB 1862 - 21 NOV 1862)

Two independent batteries of men were recruited in Luzerne County and sent to Fort Delaware.

The first battery was organized under the command of Captain Paul T. Jones (2 JAN 1862) and arrived at Fort Delaware in February 1862. This unit was identified as being present with the garrison in the 21 JUL 1862 Philadelphia Inquirer report on Fort Delaware.

A second battery under the command of Captain David Schooley (26 AUG 1862?) was recruited in Luzerne County and arrived at Fort Delaware on 21 AUG 1862. Captain Schooley's muster in date obtained from Samuel Bates' "History of Pennsylvania Volunteers" is a bit of a mystery since the battery was identified as Schooley's Battery when mustered in on 12 AUG 1862 at Harrisburg after a grand send off at Pittston, Pennsylvania the previous day.

These two companies were assigned to the 2nd Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery and departed Fort Delaware on 21 NOV 1862 for the defenses of Washington. Private A. J. Hamilton, Independent Battery G from Pittsburg noted in his diary that "At about 10 a. m. we were drawn up in line while Schooley's and Jones' men marched off with the cheers and good wishes of the garrison." These units formally became Battery L (Jones') and Battery M (Schooley's) on 24 NOV 1862.

Batteries A and B, 3rd Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery (28 FEB 1862 - 1 MAY 1863)

Two companies were recruited in Philadelphia by Hermann Segebarth in late 1861 and early 1862 to serve as "marine artillery" (a current euphemism for heavy artillery) and sent to Fort Delaware. The companies were commanded by Captain John S. Stevenson and Captain Franz Von Schilling and mustered into Federal service 28 FEB 1862.

Segebarth was soon authorized to raise a full regiment of artillery for three years service and recruited four more companies during the winter of 1862/1863. Three were sent to Fort Monroe with the fourth going to Baltimore. Another artillery battalion was being raised at the same time by Major Joseph Roberts, 4th U. S. Artillery. Roberts' and Segebarth's companies were merged to form the 3rd Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery regiment in March 1863. Captain Stevenson's company became Battery A and Captain Von Schilling's company became Battery B. Both batteries were transferred to southeastern Virginia and departed Fort Delaware 1 MAY 1863.

Battery H, 3rd Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery (27 NOV 1862 - 5 FEB 1863)

Company H, raised by Hermann Segebarth in September 1862, mutinied at Camp Ruff (Camden, New Jersey) over the issue of their bounty money and was sent to Fort Delaware under arrest. They were put to work mounting the large Columbiads on the parapet. Lieutenant Colonel D. D. Perkins, commanding Fort Delaware, was credited with over hearing their grumbling, ordering an investigation, and reporting the findings to his superior, General Robert C. Schenck who commanded the Middle Department headquartered at Baltimore. The battery was soon released from the charge of mutiny and transferred to Baltimore where, except for being sent to the front during the Gettysburg crisis, it remained on duty for the balance of the war.

The actual dates of the arrival and departure of Battery H are yet to be determined. Private A. J. Hamilton, Independent Battery G, did not recognize this unit per se in his diary, although he seems to have taken note of everything else going on. Since they were brought to Fort Delaware under arrest, Hamilton seems to have mixed his observations of them in with other prisoners sentenced to hard labor at Fort Delaware by Union army courts-martial elsewhere.

According to Hamilton, Colonel Perkins took command on 29 NOV 1862. Hamilton commented on having just come off of guard duty over "the deserters" two days before who he described as a "hard lot." This was Hamilton's first mention of prisoners who weren't "Rebs" or Union paroled prisoners of war being held at Fort Delaware. Throughout December 1862 and January 1863, Hamilton commented on the deserters being guarded. On 5 FEB 1863, he was sent to guard "some deserters" who were put on a train at New Castle and sent to Washington. This may have been Battery H, 3rd Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery.

Independent Battery G, Pittsburg Heavy Artillery (23 AUG 1862 - 13 JUN 1865)

This independent company of volunteers was recruited in Pittsburg and surrounding Allegheny County communities, and commanded by Captain John Jay Young. They traveled to Harrisburg where they were mustered into Federal service on 22 AUG 1862. The next day they arrived at Fort Delaware. Private A. J. Hamilton of this battery kept a detailed diary of events which has given us an irreplaceable glimpse into daily events as they unfolded at Fort Delaware. Battery G supplied many of the officers and non-commissioned officers responsible for operating the expanded prison camp under the command of Brigadier General Albin F. Schoepf in April 1863. 1st Lieutenant George W. Ahl was promoted to Captain in July 1863 and placed in charge of Ahl's Battery composed largely of disgruntled Confederates recruited from the prison pen. Most of the Fort Delaware band members came from Battery G. The battery was sent from Fort Delaware back to Harrisburg on 13 JUN 1865 and mustered out on 18 JUN 1865.

157th Battalion, Pennsylvania Infantry (December 1862 - June 1863)

Recruiting for a regiment was begun in the fall of 1862. With ranks only partially filled, the "regiment" was ordered to Fort Delaware in December 1862. Similar recruiting for a "156th Pennsylvania Regiment" was suspended and one whole company of new recruits sent to Fort Delaware on 27 FEB 1863. The recruits on hand for these two planned units were consolidated into four companies and designated the 157th Battalion, Pennsylvania Infantry. Bates suggests that the battalion was then sent to perform duties in the defenses of Washington, DC.

Private A. J. Hamilton made unflattering observations of various members of this Pennsylvania group in his diary. The impression is clearly left that Company C, 157th Pennsylvania Infantry did not depart until after 9 JUN 1863 when they had their photos taken by a visiting photographer.

Battery M, 3rd Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery  (01 JUL 1863 - 12 AUG 1863)

Battery M was initially recruited in Philadelphia and was not complete when Batteries A and B were sent away from Fort Delaware on 1 MAY 1863. Battery M was allowed to recruit disgruntled Confederates from the Fort Delaware prison pen in July and August 1863 to bring its ranks to minimum acceptable numbers.

Prison diarist Isaac Handy noted in his diary on 12 SEP 1863: "A Dutch company, numbering eighty men, left the Island this afternoon for some Southern destination, to us unknown. The company is known as 'M' and commanded by Captain Reigert."

Captain Francis H. Reichard commanded Battery M. They were sent to Fort Monroe for training. The heavy artillery seems to have been purposely over recruited and a large number of surplus men assigned to the 3rd Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery were accumulated at Fort Monroe. On 1 APR 1864, a call went out to the regiment for volunteers for a new infantry regiment and 600 men stepped forward including some of the "galvanized men" in Battery M. Within two weeks, the total number of volunteers reached 900 men. The 188th Pennsylvania Infantry was activated on 25 APR 1864 and sent to the Army of James. They were prominent in the capture of Fort Harrison on the north bank of the James at the end of September 1864.

196th Pennsylvania Infantry (5 NOV 1864 - 15 NOV 1864)

This regiment was sponsored by the Union League Association of Philadelphia and recruited for 100 days service. It was also known as the 5th Union League Regiment. Organized at Camp Cadwalader on 20 JUL 1864, the regiment was sent to Camp Douglas (Chicago) to serve as prison guards. Returning to Philadelphia in early November 1864, they were sent down to Fort Delaware for ten days before returning to Philadelphia and mustering out on 17 NOV 1864.

201st Pennsylvania Infantry (26 MAY 1865 - 15 JUN 1865)

This regiment was recruited from Harrisburg for 12 months service and mustered in on 29 JUL 1864. The bulk of the regiment was from Dauphin County although a few members came from Franklin and Perry counties. The regiment was ordered to Fort Delaware and three weeks later sent to Harrisburg where it was mustered out on 21 JUN 1865.

215th Pennsylvania Infantry (31 MAY 1865 to 31 JUL 1865)

This regiment was recruited from Philadelphia and the counties of Bucks, Lancaster, and Northampton. A 100 day militia, they were mustered into Federal service on 21 APR 1865 at Camp Cadwalader and dispersed in detachments around Delaware and the eastern shore of Maryland. On May 31, 1865, the regiment was concentrated at Fort Delaware and remained there until the end of July 1865. They were mustered out at Philadelphia on 31 JUL 1865.


Primary Reference Sources

Bates, Samuel P., compiler, History of Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-1865 (

Compiled Military Service Records (National Archives)

Dyer, Frederick H., A Compendium of the War of Rebellion, (Dyer Publishing Co, De Moines, Iowa, 1908)

Handy, Reverend Isaac W. K., DD., "United States Bonds; or Duress by Federal Authority: A Journal of Current Events During an Imprisonment of Fifteen Months at Fort Delaware" (Turnbull Brothers, Baltimore, 1874)

Fort Delaware Society Archives & Library

Maryland State Archives, Archives of Maryland Online (

National Park Service, Civil War Soldiers & Sailors System (

New York State Museum Military Museum, Unit History (

Scharf, J. Thomas, History of Delaware 1609-1888 (L. J. Richards & Company, Philadelphia, 1888)

Wilson, W. Emerson, editor, A Fort Delaware Journal: The Diary of a Yankee Private, A. J. Hamilton, 1862-1865 (Fort Delaware Society, 1981)

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