96th Pennsylvania at Spotsylvania: May 12, 1864

From Corporal Henry Keiser’s Diary:

Thursday, May 12, 1864.  At day dawn we marched a short distance to the rear and were told that we were to be on reserve, but we were soon convinced to the contrary, for in a short time we were marched a short distance to the left to help the 2nd Corps, which had charged the Rebels Works, at three this morning, taking part of the breast works and a large number of prisoners.  We went in our right in a thick wood, and run into a line of Rebels and received a heavy valley at close range.  We had orders to lie down close. 


The Regiment was some what in disorder, but soon rallied again and moved a short distance to the left where we forced the Rebel rifle pits, only about twenty years away, which position we held all day, until we were relieved at four this afternoon.  We rained a continual shower of lead over the pits – so that the Rebels did not have much chance to rise and fire at us. Although J.J. Miller of Hamburg was wounded in the head and Darnel Strasser in the hand.  John Perkey of Hamburg is either killed or taken, prisoner.  The rain fairly poured down this forenoon but we kept up the fire, and we were covered with mud from head to post.  This is called the slaughter pen, or bloody angle.  

Today a captain and twelve of his men jumped up in all the fire and ran into our lines (our boys not firing on them) us they passed by me the Captain said “They were covered with blood and mud.” After being relieved we went a short distance to the rear and stopped until after dark when we marched to the right of the line.  At ten this evening we halted in a thick pine woods, not far from where we had made the charge on the 10th.  Here we rested for the night.  I fired one hundred and sixty rounds at the “Angle” today.  My right arm being almost useless tonight from the re-bound of my rifle.  I am completely fagged out.
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One thought on “96th Pennsylvania at Spotsylvania: May 12, 1864

  1. Visited Spotsylvania Court House Battlefield on May 25, 2014. Explored the actions of the 50th PA as they attacked the right shoulder of the Salient and were attacked in the left flank. This action on the afternoon of the 12th resulted in the highest casualties in a single day for the 50th. 114 Captured, 46 wounded and 20 Killed.

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