Philip S. Crooke in Washington Township, 1863


Brigadier General Philip S. Crooke

OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 27, Part 2 (Gettysburg Campaign) page 242-247
HARRISBURG, July 4, 1863.

An order was given to take rations last night. Do troops wasn’t me to tell them to breathe? Always have rations in your haversacks. You want no buggy; you are going in the mountains for a few days. Beef-cattle go forward. Now is the time to aid your country. Let trifles go; march.

Major-General. On the receipt of this paper -as the only information seemed that we were bound ” for the mountains “- I started on the turnpike leading to the mountains south of Carlisle, all the officers, as well as men, on foot, without anything except they carried it ; not a wagon or pack-horse, or any knowledge of route or supplies,, present or future . The result proved the dispatch in one respect; we wanted “no buggy “- the roads in places were impassable for one. The dispatch was in fault as to the beef-cattle; they did not “go forward” fast enough to overtake us. We were left to our own resources in a country which had been overrun and exhausted by the rebel forces. About 2 miles south of Carlisle, we were overtaken by a heavy rainstorm, and we rested for three hours in a large barn and farm-house. Here we met a few stragglers from the battle of Gettysburg -paroled Union soldiers and rebel deserters – and from them heard of the great battle which was going on when they left. We then knew our route, and started anxiously. We met 3 of the “Brooklyn Fourteenth” who had been taken prisoners and paroled in the battle. Their unexpected recounted with their Brooklyn friends in the middle of Pennsylvania was startling and strange. We left them cheered and cheering. A little before sundown we arrived at Paperville, a village at the gorge of the mountains, with a steam of water which had over- flowed our road. Here we had to ford about half a mile, in places waist -deep; the drummer boys and drums where carried. We halted at Holly Springs after dark; the brigade bivouacked.

Next day a muddy, hard, hungry march to laurel Furnace. July 5. – Came up with General John Ewen’s brigade (Fourth New York State National Guard), who took command. Here the horses of myself and staff reached us. We were marched up a mountain road to a pass looking down upon Gettysburg, about 12 miles off. Bivouacked there; obtained some bread from the inhabitants, who were very kind and considerate. July 6. – Some wagons met us with supplies; obtained one day’s rations; marched on toward the south; bivouacked in the woods next morning.

July 7. – Arrived at Newman’s Gap., on the turnpike from Gettysburg to Chambersburg; met General W. F. Smith, U. S. Army, Commanding Army of the Susquehanna; saw traces of the battle of Gettysburg in broken caissons, &c.; marched forward on the track of Lee’s army; turned of the turnpike to the south; bivouacked at Funkstown; terrible rain-storm all night and until 10 a. m.

July 8. – But little to eat ; marched on to Waynesborough, near to Maryland line, a considerable village, where we found the Sixth Army of Corps of the Potomac bivouacked on the hills south of the village .

July 9, 10, 11. – Pleasant weather, and rations just before sundown orders to march; marched; forded Antietam Creek, the timber of the brigade, burned by the rebels, yet smoking; 11 p. m. bivouacked at Leitersburg, in a clover-field.

July 12. – Marched to Cavetown; tremendous storm of rain, thunder and daylight; bivouacked there .

July 13. – Marched through Smoketown and Mount Pleasant to Boonsborough, Md. There we met several members of the Fifth Brigade, now in the United States service; Colonel Brewster, of the Excelsior Brigade, Captain E. D. Taft, commanding battery, both of whom distinguished themselves at Gettysburg. Here we were informed that Lee’s army had escaped over the Potomac, and we were ordered home; marched to Frederick, Md. The march was very fatiguing, and Christian Hemming, a private of the Twenty-eight, did form exhaustion.

July 15. – Arrived at Frederick, and bivouacked south of the city remained there until July 17; passed by railroad to Baltimore.

July 18. – Arrived at Philadelphia.

July 19. – Arrived at New York. We were met on the wharf with orders from the Commander-in-Chief to report for duty in Brooklyn, and remained on duty until September 6, in the protection of the peace and property of Kings County, in all of which the whole of my command acquitted themselves as good soldiers and citizens, and did good service. The Seventieth Regiment, remaining at home, were on duty guarding the State arsenal, at Brooklyn, and assisting in preserving the peace during July, until September 6, faithfully and zealously, and also are entitled to the same credit . Their colonel, William J. Cropsey, is an energetic and reliable officer, and the officers and men are of almost respectable class of citizens. It is a valuable corps for home service. The Thirteenth and Twenty-eight Regiments had been in the United States service, in 1861; the Thirteenth also, in 1862. Many hundreds of their members had joined the United States volunteer service, and their uniforms were worn out in the service. Those regiments have done hard and faithful service, and are now reforming, with the prospect of much efficiency. All of which is respectfully submitted.


Brigadier-General, Fifth Brigade .


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