Wednesday, February 22, 2012

84th Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers

Apologies for the lack of posts lately... I hope normal service will ramp up shortly but "life" has a nasty habit of intruding every now and again, and in this case, over the last two weeks has conspired to rob me of what I conservatively estimate is about 6 hours a day! 

The ACW Campaign rolls on - for which hearty thanks, as it's nice to escape every now and again.. family sicknesses (now't bad - but time consuming), having to replace my car (last one just got old all of a sudden), and this week a massive exam as part of the sailing course  I'm doing [click here..... if interested ]  for which I had to do a fair amount of revision, have all conspired to leave me with less time than I could really do with!

So...  with new car bought (Qashqai - love it...), family getting better, and exam completed (last night - cautiously optimistic on outcome...) time at last to finish off the latest painting which I started a couple of weeks ago!

These guys represent the 84th Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers...

The following has come from the "History of Pennsylvania volunteers, 1861-5; prepared in compliance with acts of the legislature", by Samuel P. Bates (which you can read in its entirety here [click here] - astonishing resource...)  ...  I've edited it slightly to bring it down to a more manageable length....
"The Eighty-fourth Regiment was recruited under the direction of William G. Murray [in the the book above, his is the portrait on the cover], in the counties of Blair, Lycoming, Clearfield, Dauphin, Columbia, Cameron, and Westmoreland in the state of Pennsylvania. The men rendezvoused at Camp Crossman, near Huntingdon, and subsequently at Camp Curtin. Recruiting commenced early in August [1861], and towards the close of October an organization was effected by the choice of the following field officers:

William G. Murray, Colonel
Thomas C. MacDowell, Lieutenant Colonel
Walter Barrett, Major

On the 31st of December, the regiment was ordered to Hancock, Maryland, arriving January 2d, 1862. Here it received arms, Belgian muskets [muzzle loading, rifled percussion musket], and crossing the Potomac

The book goes on to indicate that the regiment had it's baptism of fire shortly after this, when Murry took command of a small detachment that was facing a far larger force under Stonewall Jackson and by skilful manoeuvring managed to get the regiment out largely unscathed...

Two months later the story continues on with their involvement in the Battle of Kernstown (or Winchester as the book calls it); as your probably aware Kernstown is the battle I'm using as my reference for my American Civil War project - so I'm building forces that were present at the battle...

On the 2d of March General Lander died [he was their Brigade commander], the command devolving on Colonel Kimball [we've met him before here], and soon after the regiment moved on to Winchester. Here General Shields took command of the division, and about the middle of the month drove the enemy up the valley, four miles beyond Strasburg, skirmishing with his rear guard, who destroyed bridges and obstructed the way as he went. As Shields returned towards Winchester, Jackson reinforced, followed closely on his track, the Eighty-fourth marching on the 20th from its camp near Strasburg, without a halt, to Winchester.

William Gray Murray in
his Captains uniform
At five P. M. on the 22d, it returned at double quick through the town, and moved to the support of the Union Cavalry, posted at the west end, which the enemy was engaged in shelling. Soon after the regiment arrived upon the ground General Shields was struck by a fragment of shell and disabled, the command again devolving on Colonel Kimball. The Eighty-fourth was ordered to fix bayonets in anticipation of a charge, but the enemy soon after retreated and was driven about two miles in the direction of Kernstown, where the regiment bivouacked for the night.

On the following morning it was engaged in laying out the ground for a camp, when the enemy at eleven A. M. attacked, and it was immediately ordered into line in support of artillery. Under cover of a wooded eminence on the right, the enemy advanced, and with infantry and artillery gained a foothold upon the flank behind rocks and a stone wall, where he seriously threatened the integrity of the Union line. This position the Eighty-fourth was ordered to charge. Forming upon the high ground near the Kernstown Road, it moved gallantly forward through an open valley and up towards the wooded eminence, where were the guns; as it gained the crest, the rebel infantry rose up from behind rocks and the fence where they had been concealed, and poured upon it withering volleys. The fire was returned with good effect; but standing without shelter, and at close range, it was fearfully decimated.

Colonel Murray's horse was struck, when he dismounted and advanced on foot. A moment later, while at the head of his men, and leading them on for the capture of the guns, he was himself struck in the forehead by a minnie ball and instantly killed. At this juncture, being without a field officer, with two of its captains fallen, the regiment fell into some confusion, and a part of it fell back under the shelter of the crest. The remainder, led by Lieutenant George Zinn, taking shelter behind trees, kept up a steady fire. At this juncture the Fifth Ohio came up on the right, and with other troops, forced the enemy from his position. A general advance was ordered along the entire line, and the foe was driven in utter rout.

The account goes on to report that out of the two hundred and sixty men of the 84th who went into battle, twenty-three were killed, and sixty-seven wounded...  in addition to Murray, Captain Patrick Gallagher and Lieutenant Charles Reem were also killed... the regiment went on to serve throughout the war and in total lost during service 6 Officers and 119 Enlisted men, and 1 Officer and 98 Enlisted men by disease... (interesting numbers by the way - as my reading would indicate disease was almost as deadly as battle for the soldiers of the day)

Figures are 20mm, from Newline Designs..  welcome to the ranks, chaps...


  1. Missed your posts Steve - glad you're back.

    What rules do you use for your ACW battles / campaigns?

  2. Some fine painting Sir!!!
    Certainly is a bit of a bugger, this life thingy you speak of. I booked this week off, so I thought I'd get loads of painting done.....yeh right! Monday=kid No4 off school sick bug, Tues=kind No3 off school sick bug, Wed=Kids back to school, Mrs off sick with bug, wonder what gonna happen with the rest of the week????

  3. Ray - still got tomorrow available for you to go down with the bug... :o)

    Phil - we use Regimental Fire and Fury for the battles, Berthier to manage the campaign... lots more detail available on the ACW project page (link top left above), and the Campaign Diary blog (likewise)

  4. ..and PS. thanks for the comments!

  5. Excellent looking unit. I have my exam in 3 weeks and boy am I seriously worried - nowhere near to feeling vaguely confident at the moment, so your "cautious optimism" sounds good to me!

  6. That real life business can be irksome.

    Nice work on the Newlines.

  7. Great looking unit Steve!

  8. I like your potted unit histories - nice figures those Newline and expertly painted as always.


  9. Figures, painting and comments...all of them are great!

  10. Lovely figures Steve with a fine paint job.

  11. Steve , I have a CW Document of a Sgt Hugh Smith 84th Pa Inf Co E in charge of the colors. He was from Holidaysburg, Pa and is buried there at St Marys in the old cementary. He and his wife had 14 children and 1 daughter married the cogressman James T Van Zandt of Altoona, Pa...the Va HOSPITAL IN ALTOONA IS NAMED AFTER THE CONGRESSMAN...Im Looking to find anyone who might be interested in this is in excellent email is 317-238-9536
    James Beltz