Guilford
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  Co. B, 27th North Carolina Troops

Major Battles of the 14th U.S. Regulars 

History of the 14th U. S. Regiment & the Union 5th Corps

With the War looming on the horizon, the 14th Infantry Regiment was organized in 1861 as part of the build-up of the United States' Regular Army. During the next four years of War, the 14th went on to compile a truly distinguished record. Its ranking Captain, John "Paddy" O'Connell, often led the 14th into battle. He once said, "I would take the 14th to the very gates of Hell, but I want a chance to whip the Devil when I get there."


The regular troops of the Army of the Potomac were all in the Fifth Corps, and were initially part of the Second (Ayres') Division. The Fifth Corps was organized May 18, 1862, while the Army of the Potomac was engaged in the Peninsula campaign. It was formed by taking Porter's Division away from the Third Corps, and uniting with it Sykes' Division of Regular troops, making a provisional corps of two divisions. This action was confirmed by the War Department, July 22, 1862, whereupon, the term "Fifth Provisional" was dropped, and it became the Fifth Corps, Army of the Potomac. The Fifth Corps badge was the Maltese Cross.


In March, 1864, the First Corps was merged into the Fifth, and General G. K. Warren was assigned to the command. The original 1st and 2nd Divisions of the Fifth Corps were consolidated, forming the 1st Division, under General Griffin. It was not long before another reorganization had the Regulars back to their designation as 2nd Division, this time under General Ayres. 


Following the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia in April of 1865 the army prepared for their triumphant parade through Richmond celebrating the Union victory. When asked by Major Edward Hudson of the regiment where the 14th should be placed in line, General George Meade, commander of the Army of the Potomac, responded without hesitation. "To the right of the line. The 14th has always been to the front in battle and deserves the place of honor."  

"The 14th has always been to the front in battle and deserves the place of honor."

General George Meade, Commander, Army of the Potomac, April 1865

Major Battles and Order of Battle for the 14th U.S. Regulars & Links

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Source for Orders of Battle:

Sykes' Regular Infantry Division, 1861-1864
A History of Regular United States Infantry Operations in the Civil War's Eastern Theatre,
by Timothy J. Reese
McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers
Jefferson, North Carolina 

(k) Killed  /  (mw) Mortally Wounded  /  (w) Wounded  /  (c) Captured

THE PENINSULA CAMPAIGN, GAINES MILL, JUNE 27, 1862

Fifth Corps - Brigadier General Fitz John Porter

Second Division (Regular Division) - Brigadier General George Sykes

First Brigade - Lt. Colonel Robert C. Buchanan

14th U.S. Infantry (9 Companies) - Capt. John D. O'Connell

The Civil War Home Page - Peninsula Campaign
Richmond National Battlefield Park,
Richmond, VA
"Battlefield Tragedy, 1862," EyeWitness to History - History through the eyes of those who lived it
The Civil War Home Page - Seven Days
U. S. CIVIL WAR PHOTOGRAPHS -
Gaines Mill

"I . . . took my position on the right of the 12th Infantry near the woods, just below the house near Edwards’ battery. 


"From this point the battalion received a severe fire from the woods, which was turned by the battalion, slowly retiring in good order to the lane near the house referred to, where it took up and held a position until the troops were drawn from the field. During this engagement five officers, - Captain McIntosh, Lieutenants Sinclair, McElhone, Lyon and Hoover - were wounded, the last three badly. Eighteen enlisted men were killed, 113 wounded, and 12 missing. The list of killed is probably greater than here stated. The officers and men behaved well. At night crossed the Chickahominy and encamped on the ground that had been occupied by the general headquarters near Savage Station."


Captain J. D. O’Connell

14th Infantry, Commanding Battalion

Official Report 146, War of the Rebellion


Medal of Honor 


George C. Williams, Quartermaster Sergeant, 1st Battalion, while on duty with the wagon train as quartermaster sergeant, voluntarily left his place of safety in the rear, joined a company, and fought with distinguished gallantry through the action at Gaines' Mill, Virginia, June 27, 1862.


On August 28, 1897, he became the third member of the 14th U.S. Regulars to receive the Medal of Honor.


SECOND BULL RUN, AUGUST 29-30, 1862

Fifth Corps - Brigadier General Fitz John Porter

Second (Regular) Division - Brigadier General George Sykes

First Regular Brigade - Lt. Colonel Robert C. Buchanan

1st Battalion/14th U.S. Infantry - Capt. John D. O'Connell (w); Capt. W. Harvey Brown

2nd Battalion/14th U.S. Infantry - Capt. David B. McKibbin (w)

Manassas National Battlefield National Park

The Civil War Home Page - Second Bull Run
Son of the South - The Civil War -
Second Manassas

August 30, 6:00 PM - "On the very ground which Jackson had held in his first battle the best troops of the Federal army were rapidly assembling. Here were Sykes’ regulars and Reynolds’ Pennsylvanians; where the woods permitted batteries had been established; and Porter’s Fifth Army Corps, who at Gaines’ Mill and Malvern Hill had proved such stubborn fighters, opposed a strong front once more to their persistent foes . . . As the attack was pressed the resistance of the Federals grew more stubborn, and before long the Confederate formation lost its strength . . . The conviction that the battle was lost was no longer a signal for 'the thinking bayonets' to make certain of their individual safety; and the regulars, for the second time on the same field, provided a strong nucleus of resistance."

- from SonOfTheSouth.net

ANTIETAM, SEPTEMBER 16-17, 1862

Fifth Corps - Brigadier General Fitz John Porter

Second (Regular) Division - Brigadier General George Sykes

First Regular Brigade - Lt. Colonel Robert C. Buchanan

1st Battalion/14th U.S. Infantry - Capt. W. Harvey Brown

2nd Battalion/14th U.S. Infantry - Capt. David B. McKibbin

Brian Downey's Antietam on the Web
Military History Online

Antietam National Battlefield,
Sharpsburg, Maryland

"Carnage At Antietam, 1862," EyeWitness to History - History through the eyes of those who lived it
The Civil War Home Page -
Antietam (Sharpsburg)

On the Brink:
The Confederate Center, Boonsboro Turnpike 

"Few military organizations find themselves on the precise spot, at the precise moment, to be a trigger to war's conclusion. For Brigadier General George Sykes' 2nd (Regular) Division, Fifth Army Corps, one such golden opportunity came at Antietam."

[Click here to read the entire feature]

by Timothy J. Reese on

Brian Downey's Antietam on the Web  

FREDERICKSBURG, DECEMBER 14, 1862

Fifth Corps - Brigadier General Dan Butterfield

Second (Regular) Division - Brigadier General George Sykes

First Regular Brigade - Lt. Colonel Robert C. Buchanan

1st Battalion/14th U.S. Infantry - Capt. John D. O'Connell

2nd Battalion/14th U.S. Infantry - Capt. Horace K. Thatcher; Capt. Giles B. Overton

Fredericksburg National Military Park -  The Battle of Fredericksburg, 1862

A special series of articles on the Battle of Fredericksburg written by Donald Pfanz

BrothersWar.com - Fredericksburg

The Civil War Home Page -
The Battle of Fredericksburg
U. S. CIVIL WAR PHOTOGRAPHS  - Fredericksburg

"[Brigadier General A. A. Humphreys' Division] left behind 1,000 dead and wounded piled in front of the stone wall, proving the folly of any further attempt at frontal assault. 


"The Regular Division watched impassively as the battered remnants filtered past them into town. It was getting dark now and everyone in their silent ranks knew what would happen next.  . . . The Regular Division was ordered to attack in front and take the enemy's position with the bayonet not halting to discharge their weapons aside the wall. [Buchanan] reminded them that they were Regulars, the army's backbone, and were expected to carry all before them. He assured them that commanding officers held every confidence . . . , but they had heard all that before at Bull Run and Gaines Mill, and knew all too well what it meant - they were dead men."


Timothy J. Reese

Sykes' Regular Infantry Division, 1861-1864

CHANCELLORSVILLE, MAY 1-3, 1863

Fifth Corps - Major General George G. Meade

Second (Regular) Division - Major General George Sykes

First Regular Brigade - Brigadier General Romeyn Ayres

14th U.S. Infantry (8 Companies) - Capt. Jonathan B. Hager; Major Grotius R. Giddings (May 3)

Fredericksburg National Military Park  -
The Battle of Chancellorsville, 1863

A special series of articles on the Battle of Chancellorsville written by Robert Krick

BrothersWar.com - Chancellorsville
Military History Online - Chancellorsville
The Civil War Home Page -
The Battle of Chancellorsville
CWSAC Battle Summaries  - Chancellorsville
CWSAC Battle Summaries  - Chancellorsville
U. S. CIVIL WAR PHOTOGRAPHS  - Chancellorsville

May 1, 1863

"The second brigade, then much reduced in numbers, was in advance as skirmishers. The 12th and 14th marched after them in line of battle to the right and left of the road. We soon met the enemy and drove them before us for more than a mile with a perfect rush. The men were full of fight and moved with alacrity. In the first rush a whole company was captured. We were halted in line near the cross-roads, leading to Banks' Ford. But, alas, we were ordered back. Then there was heard cursing and grumbling from the Regulars, not at being ordered into danger, but at being ordered out. All knew too well that again somebody had blundered. In the dusk of the evening we were placed in a new position facing the woods beyond the plank road. "

Brigadier General Romeyn Ayres

First Brigade, Second Division, U.S. Regulars


"Our Division, being in front, met the enemy near Chancellorsville and kept him busily occupied by skirmishing merely. Twas here we lost several officers.... Sykes was highly pleased, had a nice thing on hand, was rapidly driving the enemy and all looked very promising when an unaccountable order came from Hooker to fall back slowly, which was done without confusion, the Rebels keeping a respectful distance. Hooker at last reached a line he deemed safe, drew up his army and entrenched his positions, issued a buncombe order to the effect that we had now got the enemy into such a strait he must needs come from out his work around Fredericksburg and fight us on our chosen ground where certain destruction awaited him."

Lt. Hamilton S. Hawkins

6th U.S. Regulars

 

The next day, May 2, 1863, "Stonewall" Jackson conducted his famous march around the Union army, routing the XI Corps and the Federal right flank. 


Above quotes from Timothy J. Reese's

Sykes' Regular Infantry Division, 1861-1864

GETTYSBURG, JULY 2-4, 1863

Fifth Corps - Major General George Sykes

Second (Regular) Division - Brigadier General Romeyn Ayres

First Regular Brigade - Colonel Hannibal Day

14th U.S. Infantry (8 Companies) - Major Grotius R. Giddings (May 3)

Gettysburg National Military Park

Military History Online - Gettysburg

BrothersWar.com - Gettysburg

The Civil War Home Page - The Battle of Gettysburg

The Battle of Gettysburg, 1863 - EyeWitness to History - History through the eyes of those who lived it
Lee's Retreat From Gettysburg, 1863 - EyeWitness to History - History through the eyes of those who lived it
U.S. Regulars in the Gettysburg National Cemetery

U. S. CIVIL WAR PHOTOGRAPHS  - Gettysburg

At left, the Regimental Monument for the 14th U.S. Regulars along Ayres Avenue, Houck's Ridge, at Gettysburg.

(Read the Text)

 

"The Regulars had spent less than an hour in the Wheatfield area and had little opportunity to display their fighting skills there. But, in the words of Lt. Col. William F. Fox, New York's official historian of the battle: 

they moved off the field in admirable style, with well-aligned ranks, facing about at times to deliver their fire and check pursuit. Recrossing Plum Run Valley, under a storm of bullets that told fearfully on their ranks, they returned to their original position. In this action the regulars sustained severe losses, but gave ample evidence of the fighting qualities, discipline, and steadiness under fire which made them the pattern and admiration of the entire army.

 

"Burbank's brigade sustained 447 casualties in the battle, a comparatively small number until it is recalled that is was a small brigade. Half of its officers were killed or wounded, and nearly half of its enlisted men were casualties. Day's brigade, which had spent its time essentially in reserve and in retreat, had 382 casualties."

Harry W. Pfanz

Gettysburg: The Second Day

THE WILDERNESS, SPOTSYLVANIA COURTHOUSE, BETHESDA CHURCH, MAY 5 - JUNE 12, 1864

Fifth Corps - Major General Gouvenor K. Warren

First (Regular) Division - Brigadier General Charles Griffin

First Regular Brigade - Brigadier General Romeyn Ayres

1st Battalion/14th U.S. Infantry (8 Companies)

The Wilderness - Captain Edward M. Hudson (w)

Spotsylvania Courthouse - Captain Hamlin W. Keyes (mw)

Bethesda Church - Captain David B. McKibbin (c)

Captain Horace K. Thatcher

Fredericksburg National Military Park -
The Battles of Wilderness and Spotsylvania Courthouse
The Civil War Home Page - The Wilderness
U. S. CIVIL WAR PHOTOGRAPHS  -
The Wilderness
The Civil War Home Page -
Spotsylvania Courthouse

U. S. CIVIL WAR PHOTOGRAPHS  - Spotsylvania

The Wilderness - May 3-5

 

"The Regular Brigade crossed at Germanna the night of the 3rd and 4th in territory all too familiar to them. . . . Strewn before them to either side lay the infamous Wilderness where thousands had perished by bullet and flame while Hooker dawdled at Chancellorsville to the east. . . . Skeletal remains of their half-buried of fire-ravaged predecessors lay all about, mute evidence of what awaited them should Lee take it into his head to attack here. . . . Some of Ayres' sardonic Regulars tossed a bleached skull back and forth, as though scoffing at what even professionals had come to dread."

 

"Ayres' Regular Brigade was up early on Thursday, May 5, gulping down a quick breakfast before running to their places in line. . . .  and began the toruous advance through the undergrowth by regiments in column of fours to the right of the pike. They constituted the extreme right of the army until such time as Wright's division of the VI Corps made connection from the north. . . .

 

"Sweating and swearing, they emerged at the edge of a broad open field perhaps 800 yards wide and half as deep across which the Rebels could be plainly heard erecting breastworks within their sector of the forest. . . . [H]ere in Sanders' Field - for whatever it might have been worth - the Regulars were about to go in for the last time in ordered ranks. " 


Timothy J. Reese

Sykes' Regular Infantry Division, 1861-1864

SECOND BATTLE OF THE WELDON RAILROAD (GLOBE TAVERN) - AUGUST 18-21, 1864

Fifth Corps - Major General Gouvenor K. Warren

Second (Regular) Division - Brigadier General Romeyn Ayres

First Regular Brigade - Brigadier General Joseph Hayes (c-Aug. 19); Col. Frederick Winthrop;

Col. Charles P. Stone (Aug. 21)

1st Battalion/14th U.S. Infantry (8 Companies) - Captain Charles H. Ingrahm (sick); 1st Lieutenant Alfred Foote (w);

1st Lieutenant John C. White (c)

Civil War Trust - The Fight for the Weldon Railroad
CWSAC Battle Summaries  - Globe Tavern
Petersburg National Battlefield - Weldon Railroad
The Civil War Siege of Petersburg - CraterRoad.com

Medal of Honor


It was here on August 19, 1864 that Ovila Cayer, Sergeant, Co. A, 1st Battalion saved the regimental colors and took command of the regiment, all the officers having been disabled.  On February 15, 1867, he became the first member of the 14th U.S. Regulars to be issued the Medal of Honor.

CHAPPELL HOUSE (PEEBLE'S FARM) (POPLAR SPRINGS CHURCH), SEPTEMBER 29-OCTOBER 2, 1864

Fifth Corps - Major General Gouvenor K. Warren

Second (Regular) Division - Brigadier General Romeyn Ayres

First Regular Brigade - Lt. Col. Elwell S. Otis (w); Major James Grindlay

1st Battalion/14th U.S. Infantry (8 Companies) - Captain John McClintock

Military History Online - Peeble's Farm
This Day In History -
Battle of Poplar Springs Church (Peeble's Farm)
Petersburg National Battlefield - Peebles Farm
CWSAC Battle Summary - Peebles' Farm

Medal of Honor 


On November 25, 1869, Robert Wright, Private, Co. G, 1st Battalion was issued the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry in action at Chappell House, Virginia, October 1, 1864. He became the second member of the regiment to receive this honor.

BOYDTON PLANK ROAD (HATCHER'S RUN), OCTOBER 27-28, 1864

Fifth Corps - Major General Gouvenor K. Warren

Second (Regular) Division - Brigadier General Romeyn Ayres

First Regular Brigade - Col. Frederick Winthrop

1st Battalion/14th U.S. Infantry (8 Companies) - Captain John McClintock

Civil War Trust - Battle of Hatcher's Run


This Day In History -The Battle of Hatcher's Run (Burgess Mill)
CWSAC Battle Summaries - White Oak Road

The final campaign for the Regulars, this was another sliding maneuver to cutoff Robert E. Lee from the Southside Railroad and the supplies it delivered. Their numbers decimated and the regiments ineffective by now, the Regulars spent this last action in reserve. Reassigned to head-off anticipated election violence in New York City, the Regulars were dismissed to their depots to reorganize following the elections. 


The Regulars would return to the Army in time for its triumphant parade through Richmond celebrating the Union victory.