The 17th Pennsylvania Cavalry

Another of my favorite regiments is the 17th Pennsylvania Cavalry.  Here’s my brief history of the unit, with emphasis on their actions during the Gettysburg Campaign.

Colonels:  Josiah H. Kellogg, James Q. Anderson
Also known as:  162nd Pennsylvania Volunteers
Recruitments: (counties)
   Company A – Beaver
   Company B – Susquehanna
   Company C – Lancaster
   Company D – Bradford
   Company E – Lebanon
   Company F – Cumberland
   Company G – Franklin
   Company H – Schuylkill
   Company I –  Perry and city of Philadelphia
   Company K – Luzerne
   Company L – Montgomery and Chester
   Company M – Wayne
   (During the Battle of Gettysburg, Companies D and H were detached to 5th Corps Headquarters, and Company K to the 11th Corps.)
Dates of Service:
   Organized at Camp Simmons in Harrisburg PA from September to November 1862
   Mustered in October 18, 1862
   Left the state for Washington DC on November 25, 1862
   Mustered out on June 16, 1865 at Washington DC
   (Detachment mustered out on August 17, 1865 at Louisville KY)
Major Engagements:  Kelly’s Ford, Chancellorsville, Beverly Ford, Aldie, Upperville, Ashby’s Gap, Middleburg, Gettysburg, Williamsport, Funkstown, Boonsboro, Falling Waters, Brandy Station, Rappahannock Station, Mine Run, Kilpatrick’s Raid, The Wilderness, Todd’s Tavern, Spottsylvania, Front Royal, Yellow Tavern, Hawes Shop, Cold Harbor, Trevilian Station, Kearneysville, Opequon, Winchester, Cedar Creek, Five Forks, Appomattox Station, Appomattox Court House
Regimental Casualties:
   Killed:  6 Officers, 98 Enlisted men
   Died from Disease:  128 Enlisted men

At Camp Simmons, near Harrisburg, the regiment elected the following field officers on October 18, 1862:
   Josiah H. Kellogg, Colonel
   John B. McAllister, Lt. Colonel
   David B. Hartranft, Major
   Coe Durland, Major
   Reuben R. Reinhold, Major
Kellogg was a captain in the 1st United States Cavalry, and some men of the unit had served previously in the Mexican War, but most recruits had no prior military experience.  Most were good horsemen, however, having worked as farmers, lumbermen, and mechanics.  Shortly after its formation, the regiment marched to Camp McClellan, slightly north of Harrisburg, where the men’s sabers, side arms, horses, and accoutrements were issued.  Under the effective leadership of Colonel Kellogg, strenuous drill to perfect their discipline was begun.

The regiment marched to Washington DC on November 25, and encamped for several days on East Capitol Hill, after which it was ordered to the front.  On December 22 the troopers reached Occoquan, where Confederate General Wade Hampton’s Legion of cavalry was encountered during a severe skirmish.  The new horsemen drove and pursued the Confederates across the Occoquan Creek.  Several skirmishes ensued over the next month with enemy cavalry, artillery, and infantry.

In February of 1863, the regiment was assigned to the 2nd Brigade of General John Buford’s 1st Cavalry Division, where it joined with the 6th New York, 6th United States, and the 8th Pennsylvania regiments.  The brigade was commanded by Colonel Thomas C. Devin, a skilled former New York militia cavalryman who had commanded the 6th New York.  The 17th served in this brigade throughout the war.  On February 18, Companies C and I under Captain Spera were ordered into escort duty with General George G. Meade, commander of the Fifth Army Corps, where they would remain until after the Battle of Chancellorsville.  During the battle the men of the companies were kept busy with the transmission of orders. 

During the Chancellorsville Campaign, only three regiments of cavalry moved with Hooker’s columns, one of them the 17th.  The main part of the Cavalry Corps was sent under Averell and Stoneman to harass the enemy’s rear and cut his lines of communication.  Two green squadrons of the regiment were ordered to mass behind the Federal artillery and display a front that would protect their being overrun.  In the “History of Pennsylvania Volunteers 1861-65,” it is stated that “And thus was the mad onset of Stonewall Jackson’s army checked by artillery, supported by a single line of raw cavalry.  It was a trying position for the regiment, but the firm front presented, saved the day, and enabled Hooker to re-form his shattered columns, and once more present an unbroken line.”  In a general order, issued immediately after the battle, Cavalry Corps commander General Alfred Pleasonton stated, “The coolness displayed by the Seventeenth Pennsylvania Regiment, in rallying fugitives, and supporting the batteries (including Martin’s), which repulsed the enemy’s attack under Jackson, on the evening of the 2d instant, has excited the highest admiration.”  Pleasonton’s comments were part of his overall (and spurious) claim to have blunted Jackson’s flank attack and thus “saved” the Union army.

On the 9th of June, the cavalry divisions of Buford and Brigadier General David McM. Gregg crossed the Rappahannock at Beverly and Kelly’s fords respectively, and boldly clashed with the cavalry of Confederate Major General JEB Stuart in the epic cavalry battle of Brandy Station.  After the battle, which lasted nearly the entire day, the 17th participated in covering the withdrawal of the Federal horsemen and was subjected to heavy artillery fire.  On the 11th, the 17th was posted to picket the line of the river, from Beverly Ford to Sulphur Springs, while the main column of the Union Army marched northward.  The 17th then rejoined the Division upon its withdrawal on the 15th.   Early during the morning of the 21st, the regiment was formed in line just west of Middleburg and met the Confederates, repulsed their attack, and drove them toward Upperville.  Near the town, the 17th was ordered to charge the Confederate left flank and in doing so brought heavy artillery fire until they were forced to withdraw.

The next two weeks saw the opposing armies marching parallel northward on their date with destiny in and around the small Pennsylvania town of Gettysburg.  For the boys of the 17th, this would mean returning to and defending their own home soil.  On the morning of the 29th, Buford’s First and Second Brigades marched at about 9 am, moving through Boonsboro, Cavetown, and Monterey Springs, MD.  Following the base of South Mountain, they headed toward Pennsylvania.  When the column reached the Mason-Dixon line, the guidon carrier of Company G of the 17th sat upon his horse, astride the boundary line, announcing to each company of his passing regiment that they were entering upon the Pennsylvania soil.  The men of the 17th “raised their caps and lustily cheered, again and again, for the old Keystone State and Old Glory.”

The division marched on to Fountaindale, located at the mouth of the strategically important South Mountain pass called Monterey Gap.  Proceeding down the rocky cliffs of the mountain, the division encamped about two miles from Fairfield PA.  The regimental historian of the 17th, in describing the rigors of the march north, stated:  “The division had been marching and picketing for almost a week with no rest for man or beast.  They had marched all night to reach this point… The column halted before the light of day with orders to dismount and stand to horse… an hour passed and the gray dawn… lighted up a picture I can never forget.  The men, who were completely exhausted, had slipped the bridle reins over their arms and lay down in a bed of dust (8 inches deep) that almost obscured them from sight.  Their jaded steeds seemed to know they should not move, and propping themselves with extended necks and lowering heads, stood like mute sentinels over their riders dead in sleep.”

Company G of the 17th was raised in the area around nearby Waynesboro and its troopers requested permission to visit their homes and families on the night of the 29th.  Permission was granted, with the promise that all men would return and be present for morning roll call.  It was a proud boast thereafter that not a single man of the company missed roll call early the next morning.

About 2 am on the morning of the 30th of June, the men of both brigades were roused and resumed the march at dawn.  After withdrawing from an unexpected skirmish with some Confederates, the column detoured through Emmitsburg and headed for Gettysburg.  Upon arriving in the town around noon, the men of the 17th and the brigades were met by the excited citizens with anxious shouts and patriotic songs.  Moving west, Buford’s column examined the ridges in the area for defensive positions after spying an approaching column of Confederates under Confederate Brigadier General James Johnston Pettigrew, which withdrew upon spotting the Federals. 

Brigade commander Colonel Devin began setting up his troopers’ dispositions northwest, north, and east of the town for the expected clash in the morning.  The headquarters of the 17th was set up in the John Forney barn, adjacent to the Mummasburg Road.  Advance vidette posts were placed to give early warning and to delay any enemy advancing from the west.  Anxiousness set in that night as a portion of the men slept once again with the bridle reins wrapped around their wrists.

About 7:30 the next morning, the men of the 17th would hear the first shots of the opening of the coming epic battle.  While the troopers of the First Brigade were engaged with the advancing Confederates of Major General Ambrose P. Hill’s Corps, the 17th and the rest of the brigade began setting up their skirmish lines to meet an advance from the north.  About 9 am, Buford spurred his horse up to Colonel Devin and announced that his area was “the key to the army position.  We must hold this if it costs every man in your command.”  The 17th was in that command and they and the Merrill & Smith carbines they carried would be put to the test. 

While the battle raged just to the south of the 17th’s position, Confederate skirmishers under Major General Robert Rodes began advancing upon them from the north.  The advance picket posts of their Second Brigade began the delay tactic, withdrawing upon being pressed, with the entire cavalry line fighting through to exhaustion to hold off the enemy until the Union infantry could arrive.  Lt. Colonel of the 17th, Theodore H. Bean, recalled that “from 8 to 10 o’clock, the unequal conflict was maintained, yielding ground to the enemy step by step, suffering severe loss in officers and men, with many of our led horses, which from time to time came within range of the enemy’s guns.  Our ammunition was almost exhausted, and it was becoming painfully evident that the Seminary Ridge, on which this fierce struggle was raging, would have to be abandoned unless additional support speedily reached us.”  As the men were getting sorely pressed, Devin withdrew the brigade to a defensive position east of their location on Oak Ridge.  Upon the arrival of some Union First Corps infantry, the 17th, engaged with the enemy at this point, was able to join with the rest of the brigade in a thin skirmish line stretched over a two-mile front.  The subsequent arrival of Union Major General Oliver O. Howard’s 11th Corps allowed the tired troopers to move to their right flank, then covered the withdrawal of the corps through the town as they became overwhelmed by the pressing Confederate infantry.  Around 3 pm, the brigade, while attempting to anchor the flank of the Federal Army, came under a heavy friendly artillery fire when a Union battery atop Cemetery hill began shelling the area.  Keeping their demeanor the men of the 17th and the brigade followed Colonel Devin through the shelling and made their way to the rear.  Since the flank of the 11th Corps was now exposed, the Confederates soon routed the Federals.  Troopers of the 17th massed near the York Road and delayed the Confederate pursuit by rapidly firing their single-shot carbines and answering the Rebel Yell with “a ringing loyal cheer.”  The enemy advance was sufficiently delayed so that the routed 11th Corps was able to reach safety on the hill.  The troopers of the 17th then deployed onto Cemetery Hill via the Henry Culp farm.

After the fighting on this momentous day, the 17th joined the division for an anxious respite on the Federal left flank near the Sherfy Peach Orchard, again receiving orders to “stand to horse” throughout the night and be ready for action at any time.  As Bean again recalled, “The Seventeenth Pennsylvania Cavalry fully performed its share of service on the night of July 1, and cheerfully labored without rest or sleep in preventing the advance of the enemy on every road it occupied, and in preparing the field in its rear for the operations of those then marching out to relief.” Through the all-night drenching drizzle of rain, the division’s wagon trains came up and the 17th was able to finally secure some rations and refit.

The next morning, regiments of the 17th’s Second Brigade would engage Confederates once again before being ordered off the battlefield.  The men of the 17th made several charges against them, but was repulsed each time.  Worried that the Federal Army’s wagon trains, still advancing from the south, Cavalry commander Pleasonton ordered Buford’s division toward Westminster MD to guard them and refit.  The hungry, exhausted troopers marched off and had to listen to the sounds of the ensuing battle over the next two days.  Despite their condition, the men of the 17th and the entire division wished they could rejoin their infantry comrades and clamored for any bit of information about the action on the front.

Soon, the regiment would see renewed fighting of its own.  The retreat of Lee’s repulsed army meant a pursuit by the troopers.  On July 6th, the 17th encountered the Confederates near the town of Boonsboro and drove them back after a sharp fight.  The next morning the attack was renewed and the 17th again drove them back.  Skirmishing continued nearly daily throughout the month until the Army of Northern Virginia was able to escape to relative safety.

The fall campaign of 1863 was one of heavy activity for the troopers.  As Bean reflected, “At Racoon Ford, you left your horses under shelter, and rushed to the support of your brother comrades in arms (the 4th New York), who were gallantly struggling against fearful odds, and under a murderous fire of grape and canister from the enemy, saved them from capture, re-established the line, and held it until relieved by the Twelfth Army Corps, for which you received the special commendation of your division commander (Buford).  In the subsequent movements… when the wily rebel chief proposed to flank the army of the Potomac, and thus gain possession of the Capitol, history will accord to the regiment an honorable association with the commands that beat back his advance at Morton’s Ford, Stevensburg, Brandy Station, and Oak Hill, where, holding the extreme left of the line, you skillfully repulsed… with heavy loss, a reckless charge of cavalry, for which that enemy at that time were notorious.  In the counter movements of the campaign, closing with the battle of Bealton Station, and Rickseyville, the occupation of the line on the Rapidan, and the indecisive management at Mine Run, the regiment was present bearing its share of the toils, and sustained its proportion of losses, and… went into winter quarters on the battle beaten plains of Culpepper.”

During the long winter, the regiment was on picket duty.  On February 27, 1864, a detachment of 200 men of the 17th (under Captain Weidner H. Spera) was ordered to report to Brigadier General Hugh Judson Kilpatrick, who was about to start a raid on the Confederate capitol at Richmond with 5000 cavalrymen.  The raid and its path of destruction began on the following day.  The column reached with a few miles of the city but found a force too large to dislodge.

Throughout the spring campaign the regiment would fight with distinction, notably at Todd’s Tavern.  Fighting by the troopers on the 8th of May to hold the Spottsylvania Road against repeated assaults resulted in severe losses.  The 17th would lead charges of its own; near Richmond on Union Major General Philip M. Sheridan’s own grand raid toward the city, the 17th took the lead in crossing Meadow Bridge under heavy infantry and artillery fire, and delivered a fierce charge, driving Confederates out of their earthworks in confusion.  Lieutenant Joseph E. Shultz was killed in the charge, shot through the heart.

Regimental Quartermaster Lieutenant John Anglun would be killed while the regiment was engaged near Old Church Tavern.  Cold Harbor would see the regiment maneuvering dismounted.  Holding the left of the line, it suffered severe loss during a first advance and was repulsed, but routed and drove the Confederates on the second attempt.  At Trevilian Station, on June 11th, the 17th was sent to the front where Sheridan’s horsemen were hotly engaged.  The regiment would suffer severe losses this day, which caused the outnumbered Sheridan to disengage.  More regimental casualties would mount throughout the summer at White House Landing, Jones’ Bridge, Charles City Court House, and Ruffin’s House.

The 17th was ordered to the Shenandoah Valley in August when Sheridan took command of that Department.   At Major Reuben H. Reinhold’s resignation, Captain Spera was promoted to succeed him.  On the 11th, the 17th was ordered to the front near Newtown and ordered to charge a determined enemy that had just been driven.  After obstinate resistance, the regiment finally dislodged them up the valley.  On the 16th, the Confederates advanced upon their brigade line, with the 17th holding the center.  Immediately put into motion, the brigade attacked and repulsed the Confederates at Front Royal, where brigade commander Devin took a severe wound to the foot that would take him out of action for a month. 

In a diversionary charge made near Shepherdstown the following week, designed to aid Brigadier General George Armstrong Custer’s Division, Lieutenant James Potter was killed.  For three weeks the regiment would be engaged in nearly constant skirmishing, with participation in the actions at Smithfield on June 29th, at White Post of September 1st, at Opequon on the 7th (where Captain Martin R. Reinhold was killed), and at Bunker Hill on the 13th.

With Sheridan now assuming the offensive, the cavalry was brought together and refitted.  Advancing toward the Opequon on the 19th in the early morning hours, the horsemen moved to engage the Confederates near Stevenson Station.  Engaged along both their lines, Sheridan moved the troopers forward, as “step by step the ground was disputed.”  As Confederate cavalry was being massed to dispute the advance, Devin (now Brigadier General) was order to charge with the brigade.  The 17th led the assault and drove the enemy, under Confederate Major General Jubal A. Early, in great confusion towards Winchester.  Sheridan would be able to capture many prisoners and nine battle flags.

Until winter would set in, the regiment would be engaged in numerous skirmishes and battles in Virginia, one which would see the death of Lieutenant Alfred F. Lee.  Returning to Winchester for winter quarters, the troopers were employed in picket and scouting duties, with occasional detachments being sent out against roving bands of the enemy.  On December 27, Colonel Josiah H. Kellogg, in command of the regiment since its inception, was honorably discharged, and Lt. Colonel James Q. Anderson succeeded him.  Major Durland was promoted to Lt. Colonel, and Captains Luther B. Kurtz and William Thompson were both elevated to Major. 

Beginning in February of 1865, the 17th would participate in the raids of destruction led by Sheridan, destroying railroads, warehouses, supplies, and disrupting communications.  Subsequent losses in the regiment would be severe as the horsemen pressed the Confederates onward to Appomattox Court House.  Captain James Ham was killed on April 1 as the regiment charged entrenched Confederates.  Captains English, Henry M. Donehoo, Reinhold, and Lieutenant Anglun were among the wounded.  The cavalry would keep up a “running fight” with the Confederates as they retreated further toward Appomattox.  After Lee’s surrender of his army there, the 17th marched to Petersburg and had a week’s rest, then continued onward to Washington where it remained in camp until being mustered out of service on June 16.  A detachment of the regiment, consolidated with parts of the 1st and 6th Pennsylvania cavalry regiments (formed into the 2nd Provisional Cavalry) remained in service until August when it was mustered out at Louisville KY.  In his farewell order to the gallant troopers of the 17th, Division commander General Devin wrote:  “Of the many gallant regiments from your State none has a brighter record, none has more freely shed their blood on every battle-field from Gettysburg to Appomattox.”

The 17th had one Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, Lieutenant Henry G. Bonebrake of Company G.  Bonebrake was born in Waynesboro PA and received his honor for bravery at the Battle of Five Forks VA on April 1, 1865.  As one of the first troopers of General Devin’s division to enter Confederate earthworks, he fought in a fierce hand-to-hand struggle with a Confederate to capture his battle flag by superior physical strength.  The citation was issued on May 3, 1865.

Regimental standard of the 17th Pennsylvania Cavalry, made by Horstmann & Co., Philadelphia.

Published in: on June 15, 2007 at 12:08 pm  Comments (118)  

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  1. It may interest you to know of an early but not very distinguished action of the 17th Penn Cavalry.
    On December 28, 1862, they were camped outside of Occaquon VA when JEB Stuart brought some 1,800 Confederate cavalry through on his famous Christmas (or Dumfries) Raid.
    According to the Official Records, the 17th and the 2nd Penn Cav attempted to stop the rebels at Selecman’s Ford on the Occaquon River, about 1.5 miles west of the town of Occaquon. The 17th was apparently new and without any significant experience; they broke and ran at the ford, leaving the 2nd Penn without support, who had to retreat as well.
    Both troops foolishly (in my opinion) retreated past the camp of the 2nd Penn on the north side of the river, which was promptly overrun and looted, with anything the rebels couldn’t carry off being burned. An ancestor of mine was quartermaster for the 2nd Penn and lost his life that day, hence my research.
    In John Moseby’s book and several other historic references, there is mention of the 17th Penn Cav. being seen by Union observers “charging furiously to the rear” on December 28 which is a pretty humorous reference to retreat from this skirmish. In the 17th’s defense, I believe that they were only newly formed a few months before, while Stuart’s cavalry was already legendary and vastly outnumbered them.
    Just another fascinating story in history.

    • Hi Dan, My GG-grandfather served in Co.D 2nd Pennsylvania Volunteer Cavalry. He and 23 others from Co.D were captured @ Occoquan (Dec.28,1861). Lt. David Leche was killed. Please contact me.

      • Sorry folks! Made a typo in last comment the skirmish at Occoquan occurred on Dec. 28, 1862.

    • That kind of thniknig shows you’re an expert

  2. Dan Lewis is right. The 17th Pennsylvania was a pitiful regiment , at least through Chancellorsville. On the march to that battle, Kellogg and his troopers were supposed to be guarding Howard’s right flank but they disappeared into the wilderness and were not heard from for most of the day. In the meantime, Stuart struck relentlessly. Finally near dark, Buford’s Cavalry came up and drove off the Rebels. General O. O. Howard wanted to place Kellogg under arrest but decided against it. On the night of the 29th of April 1863, Kellogg and his troopers blindly charged Buford’s men (their own cavalry) after they went into camp near Germanna Ford. That was the only action reported for the regiment that day. I think they got better later in the war but they were useless through Chancellorsville.

    • Rick is basically right, but they didn’t disappear. My research show this (sorry the references didn’t paste).

      On the 29th, the 17th starts moving again. The 17th has been assigned to advance the XI Corps, General Howard. They came south right after crossing Kelly’s Ford and headed down in the direction of Culpepper until daylight. During that time, they met a force of about 300 Rebel cavalry, without incident. Steven Sears describes this: “All this [assembling on the other side of Kelly’s Ford] to the accompaniment of a crackle of small-arms fire as the Yankee cavalry pickets pushed aside the thin screen of Rebel troopers keeping watch on the scene.” They then headed toward today’s Rt. 3 or Germanna Highway. At Germanna Ford, the 17th encountered constant skirmishes and, according to the records, killed several Rebels and captured one. This apparently was the 4th VA Cavalry sharpshooters who were ordered to harass the main army as it went by Germanna Ford. According to “The Life and Campaigns of Major General J.E.B. Stuart”, the 4th VA kept the 17th PA occupied defending the area all afternoon and that night, preventing the 17th from supporting the main army moving east. This is at 380 22’ 45.83”N; 770 47’ 06.16”W. This is the engagement the “History of the 17th….” calls the Rapidan River on the 29th of April.

      Although the 17th was part of the advance cavalry for the XI Corps, the 6th NY Cavalry was actually in front of the corps by the time they reached Germanna Ford. This suggests, in fact, that the 17th was protecting the west side of the middle of the column. According to Sears in Chancellorsville, these confederates were “pioneers and guards” attempting to re-build the Germanna Ford bridge and “took up their rifles and managed to drive off the pursuing troopers.” The pursuing troopers may have been the 17th. The 3rd Wisconsin and the 2nd Massachusetts then came down and finished the job capturing 125 prisoners loosing only one man.

      Part of this afternoon and evening episode was an attempt by the 17th to go back to the rear of General Howard’s unit and escort a wagon train back to the front. On the way back, they ran into 300 Rebels with artillery. The Rebels had carbines, which the 17th had not yet been issued, and so they returned to Germanna Ford. Col. Kellogg was told to return and he ran into the Rebels again driving them back over one quarter of a mile. The 17th then, because it was raining, stayed the night in that area. During the attack, they lost 8 horses and no men. The different official union reports of these events made it sound like there were two cavalry units in the area. It appears that there were the 150 or so confederate troops at the Germanna Ford and a confederate cavalry unit further back in the direction of Kelly’s Ford. The 17th protecting the XI Corps in the middle of the column were the first to receive the fire at Germanna Ford and then when they went back for the wagon train, they encountered the confederate cavalry.

      This, to me, is an important event in the engagement. It appears that Col. Kellogg’s not being able to eliminate the Germanna Ford skirmishers or support the supply wagon train in the rear irked everyone. Below is Maj. Gen. Oliver O. Howard’s report on the incident. The effect of his interpretation did not help the reputation of the 17th or Col. Kellogg.

      General Howard’s report stated: “The Seventeenth Pennsylvania Cavalry was ordered to cover the rear and protect the train against this annoyance, which it failed to do; but a portion of Stoneman’s cavalry came up and relieved our right flank.”

      The 17th may have received previous orders to cover the rear, but were tied up with the VA Cavalry at Germanna. Howard had to get Pleasonton to cover his front while the 17th was tied up and was upset because the 17th failed to pick up the wagons in the rear. The 17th had to sit out the night protecting the main corps, at Germanna (As the Confederate reports stated).

      Kellogg’s problems here along with Occoquan, in my opinion, were some of the reasons one finds the 17th in support positions in most of the engagements during the war with the 6th and 9th NY taking the lead. Gettysburg was an exception in that they found themselves on the front line the first day. But they were removed to cover Meade’s supply depot the second day. The 17th participated more directly in Sheridan’s Overland Campaign (Meadow Bridge) and thereafter, but, again, they developed a reputation early and had trouble shaking it.

  3. God Bless the 17th PA Cavalry, and William Cope, Pvt, Co I, my great-great-grandfather!! (Mustered out as Corporal in 1865…)

  4. Ditto what Elissa O said…My gggrandfather Chauncey L. Buffington, a blacksmith (or farrier), with the 17th, Company D.

  5. And a second ditto for Elissa O’s comment, and God Bless all who fought so bravely. My great grandfather was the, 17th Company G, Lt. Henry G. Bonebrake who won the Congressional Medal of Honor. My other great grandfather, Sgt. Joseph S. Keen, also won a CMH after his imprisonment at Andersonville when he escaped from a troop train and reported troop movements.

  6. Great info !!! I have a Smith’s Carbine that was given to me by my grandfather over 50 years ago. He said it was given to him during the early 1920’s when a neighbor in South Phila died. The neighbor was a Civil War vet and his widow told my grandfather he served in the 17th Pennsylvania Cavalry. Is there any way to confirm the history of the gun? I know the 17th was issued Smith’s Carbines but would like to confirm by S/N. Does this data exist?

  7. I appreciate the encouraging comments about the 17th PA Cavalry. My husband’s Great-Great-Grandfather Sergeant John H. Peifer of Company E, Lebanon, PA, Mustered In in 62 as a Corporal was promoted 3/1/1863 to Sgt. and MO in 65. I have a photo of him sitting tall in his saddle. I love and respect him. If anyone knows info. about him, his parents and their place of birth, I’d appreciate it!

    • Doreen,

      My great great Michael Betz and his brother Henry were in Company E too! 🙂

      • My great -great uncle Jeremiah Bennett was also a private in Co. E. I believe he was a POW at some point and his widow applied for pension in 1865

      • My great-great-great uncle, Henry P. Moyer, was the bugler for Co. E. Also, he was designated to write the history of the 17th during the Civil War by Governor Curtin. In 1909 in was published by the Sower Publishing Co., Lebanon, PA. Titled “History of the Seventeenth Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Cavalry”. 472 pages. You can down-load a copy from the USC website.
        B. Robinson

      • Comany E! My g-g-g-grand uncle was a Private, Adam Wertz, mustered out in 1865. My understanding is that during the First Day at Gettysburg, Co. E was dispatched to support Calef’s Battery.

        Can anyone confirm this?

      • Mr. Loveless, according to the 17th’s regimental history, the 3 sections of Calef’s Battery were each separated by approx. 100 yards and supported by different units. One of the 3 sections was supported by the 5th Squadron of the 17th which consisted of Companies E and L. As Hill’s Corps closed in, the Battery sections were united and under terrific close-range artillery fire. At this point, (when united) they were supported only by the 5th Squadron. Calef’s Battery fought until it’s ammunition was exhausted. On the night of June 30th and the early morning hours of July 1st, Companies E, F, and M made up the picket line and vedettes (mounted patrols) prior to the first day’s fighting. My great grandfather was in Company M.

      • Wow, Jonathan. This is so very helpful and I very much appreciate the detail. As I study more of the 17th, a very dynamic and conflicting picture emerges and every little bit helps.

        What is surprising is how little the 17th gets mentioned despite its activity in the heart of so many significant actions, even in classic reputable pieces such as those from Pfanz.

      • It helps to remember that the type of delaying action performed by the cavalry, slowing down the enemy and keeping them in check, was one of the typical functions of the cavalry. We think of Gettysburg in terms of the great battle it became and in this light the role of the cavalry is looked at as unique. Actually, the more you study the cavalry in the Civil War you will find this type of stand, perhaps not always on as great a scale, was not completely uncommon.

      • If you read up on the pursuit of Mosby’s Rangers you will find the 17th mentioned quite a bit. They chased Mosby over a fair piece of Virginia.I believe the book “Mosby’s Rangers” (Time/Life Collectors Library of the Civil War) is a good one with references to the 17th PA Cavalry.

      • Great book written by H. P. Moyer “History of the Seventeenth Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Cavalry: or One Hundred and Sixty-Second in the Line of Pennsylvania Volunteer Regiments (1911). Trty Amazon.

  8. Thanks for establishing this blog … good information. Three family members were with the 17th, Company ‘L’ during the war. Albert, Jacob & Jefferson Schanely in true family tradition, entered the ranks as private and came out the same way.

    • Just found out my g g grandfather was Amos Ecoff in Company L of the 17th

      • My great-grandfather, Edward Keegan, was also with Co. L of the 17th. He lived in Ercildoun, PA (Chester County) at the time of his enlistment. This blog has been interesting. Thanks.

  9. My Great-Great-Uncle Corpl Solomon Obenhauser Company H was killed April 6, 1865 and is buried at Winchester Va. Any other info would be appreciated.

    • Don, drop me an email as I am also of the Obenhauser line and have info on Solomon, Dennis

      • That makes 3 Obenhauser relatives. Would be great to get together and compare notes and brainstorm. Does anyone have any pictures or any thoughts on how he died?

    • My wife was related to on mothers family. Her mother was Edna Dyer and she was related to Hinkle.
      Dennis Baure who is also related at the same level as mife wife has done a great deal of work tracing the family history. I sent you e-mail to him. My wife has copies of some records including the fact that he was killed the day before the end of the was and copies of an application for a pension

    • Solomon was also my great great uncle, would love to compare notes..

  10. I’m trying to find information on my great-great grandfather, Corporal David Fornwalt, Co. E. I know he enlisted when the regiment was formed in 1862, was wounded in 1863-64 and was transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corps, 33rd Co. 2nd Battalion, where he served until he was mustered out in 1865. Any other information would be appreciated.

    • Hi Mark
      As this is an old blog and we haven’t spoken in a wile I was wondering if you have discovered any new information? I still have not been able to find out why his name is not on the monument at Gettysburg

  11. Great site! Capt. James Ham who was killed near Appomattox Court House on 1 April 1865 was an officer in Company M, from Wayne County, Pennsylvania. Does anyone know where I might find a portrait of Capt. Ham? Thank you.

    Albert G Rutherford

  12. I am trying to locate my G, G Grandfather, Samuel A. McMahon. I believe that he enlisted from the Philadelphia area and served in the 17th PA Cav. I own a Smith Carbine that was passed down through the family with the story that it was his during the war.
    Any help proving or disproving this would be of great help. thanks

  13. Thanks for the useful information

  14. I just traced my great great great grandfather John Shaffer back to the 17th cavalry Co G who then transferred to the 2nd provisional cavalry regiment

  15. My interest is in my ancestor Theodore Weber Bean who was mustered into the service of the
    United States as a private of Company L, 17th Pennsylvania
    Cavalry, September 17, 1862 and served through Appomatox He became
    Captain of his company May 30, 1863 and, according to my sources
    “participated in all its subsequent campaigns, including Chan-
    cellorsville, Beverly Ford, Aldie, Griettysburg (sic), Winchester,
    Five Forks, Taylor’s Creek, and Appomattox”

    “During the
    first day’s battle at Gettysburg the services of Captain Bean
    attracted the attention of his division commander. General
    Buford, and after the battle he was called to division head-
    quarters and placed on staff duty as provost marshal. He
    continued to serve as a member of General Buford’s staff until
    the death of that officer, and subsequently on the staffs of
    Generals Merritt and Torbert, remaining with the latter until
    the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomat-
    tox, April 9, 1865.
    “During the
    first day’s battle at Gettysburg the services of Captain Bean
    attracted the attention of his division commander. General
    Buford, and after the battle he was called to division head-
    quarters and placed on staff duty as provost marshal. He
    continued to serve as a member of General Buford’s staff until
    the death of that officer, and subsequently on the staffs of
    Generals Merritt and Torbert, remaining with the latter until
    the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomat-
    tox, April 9, 1865.
    “During the
    first day’s battle at Gettysburg the services of Captain Bean
    attracted the attention of his division commander. General
    Buford, and after the battle he was called to division head-
    quarters and placed on staff duty as provost marshal. He
    continued to serve as a member of General Buford’s staff until
    the death of that officer, and subsequently on the staffs of
    Generals Merritt and Torbert, remaining with the latter until
    the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomat-
    tox, April 9, 1865.
    “During the
    first day’s battle at Gettysburg the services of Captain Bean
    attracted the attention of his division commander. General
    Buford, and after the battle he was called to division head-
    quarters and placed on staff duty as provost marshal. He
    continued to serve as a member of General Buford’s staff until
    the death of that officer, and subsequently on the staffs of
    Generals Merritt and Torbert, remaining with the latter until
    the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomat-
    tox, April 9, 1865.

    • Hi Mike , My name is Charlie Petrillo. I am a Civil War collector and recently purchased a significant grouping of papers of Captain Bean including his original speech dedicating the Gettysburg Monument to the 17th . Very historic items. How are you related ?

      • To Charles Petrillo:
        From Mike van Beuren

        In Reply:
        My maternal grandmother was the granddaughter of Theodore Weber Bean (PA 17th Cav.) of whom you speak.
        T.W. Bean is also known for his (co edit) of the History of Montgomery Co (PA) which is pretty easy to find.
        I believe there is even a section on the action of the 17th cav.

        Theo.W.Bean was a co-founder of Valley Forge Park…

        I have (also) in my possession a copy of his:

        The Roll of Honor
        of the Seventeenth Cavalry;
        One Hundred and sixty-second of the line,
        Pennsylvania Volunteers.

        James Claxton, 1865

        This a concise and brief review of the action of the 17th.
        88 pages in all of a 4 1/2 x 7″ gilt edge bound format

        There are only 14 pages of historical text followed by the rosters of each Company.
        It makes a good quick reference.

        Final words:
        “Though your bodies lay upon the battle pains of Virginia, and the turf grows green over your unmarked graves, your deathless deeds will live as the wonder and admiration of this, as they will the soul of poetry and picture for ages to come.”

        An interesting use of the the verb “will”. He was right. 🙂

      • Very cool, FYI – I will be attending The Baltimore Antique Show March 16-17 ( I have a sell table ) and I will be putting the grouping up for sale . Along with his original papers are his Eagle spurs and his shoulder boards. If you attend the show, I’ll show the grouping to you before I sell it.

    • It’s posts like this that make surfing so much plareuse

  16. I see that Co F of the 17th PA CAV was from Cumberland Co PA went to Camp Simmons then Camp McClellan Harrisburg PA, west of Cumb Co. My relative Danial Quiggley was in 13th Cav Co c 117 PA Reg which must have alot in common. Is there any info awailable on his unitthat any one could share? My grandmother was a direct relative of Mary Thompson, Gen Lee used her house in Gettysburg for his headquarters and her daughter Sally Folk lived across the street. An old family tale tells about the kids being put in wash tubs in the basement because of so much blood from injuried soldiers. thank for any info. TLQ


  18. My relative was Henry Dengler who was the Quartemaster sargent for H co. 17th Cav Pa Vol. He was wounded in the right knee at Rappahannock Station. He was my Great Grandmother’s Brother in Law. I a proud to be able to trace my lineage back through Henry Dengler and to George Jacob Kimmelfrom Orwigsburg who was in the Revoulutionary War

  19. My 3rd great-grandfather was (Josiah) William Thompson. I believe he may have been the William Thompson who was the Captain of Co. H, 17th Cavalry. I have no other info on him except that he was from Pottsville, Schuylkill County, PA. His wife was named Elizabeth and she was from Washington D.C. If anyone has any information about him (or her), I would appreciate hearing from you. I would also like to know if there are photos available. Thanks.

    • Microsoft tiene un poder de presión muy grande sobre la actual administración norteamericana, y por eso han mandado a un segundon a quejarse por una multa.Por otro lado, hay muchas sanciones puestas en tribunales americanos, y seguro que a ningún chupatintas del gobierno se le ocurre decir nada sobre ellas, porque a ver quien es el guapo que critica a sus tr8ebnalus&#i230;Mucho love.

  20. My great great Uncle was Major Harry P.Moyer, born at Sinking Spring., Berks Co., Pa., Aug. 28, 1844,. He was a student at Myerstown Academy at the outbreak of the Civil War and In August 1862, he first enlisted in Company E, 127th Penn. Vol., but preferring the Cavalry service, he severed his connection with 127th Regiment, and on Sept. 1, 1862, re-enlisted, entering Company E, 17th Pa.
    Vol. Cavalry, for which he served his country until the close of the war.

    If anyone has any information or photographs of Maj Moyer I would like very much hearing about it. Thanks

    • Ernest.

      Please contact me @ my e-mail address. I think we might be related. Henry P. Moyer, is my ggg-uncle. His sister, Sally (Sarah) married my gg grandfather, Cyrus Blough.
      Bruce Robinson

      • Bruce, if I got my information correct, David Moyer married Mary Peffley and had eight children; Harry P, Mary, John, Martin, Kate (Caty), David, Emma, and my grandfather, Earnest P Moyer. I don’t see a Sally or Sarah as a sister. My email address is

  21. My great great grandfather was Joseph R. Horton, of Rome, Pa. He was the Quartermaster Sergeant for Company “D” of the 17th. He was wounded at Cold Harbor, and returned to service only to be wounded in late March, 1865. His second wound cost him his leg, above the knee.

    • Could this be the same Joseph R Horton buried in Tioga Cemetery here?

      If so, I am thinking he is my 3rd great grandfather. If you have anymore recollection of his life, I would appreciate any information you may have. I am thinking his first wife was a Mary Elizabeth and that he had a son name Andrew.

      • My great, great grandfather, Joseph Rose Horton is buried in the Munn-Horton plot of Tioga Point Cemetery. In addition to his headstone, there is a large cornerstone for the plot, which bears his name and the fact that he served in the 17th Pa. Cavalry. I am not aware of his first wife, but believe that his second wife bore him two daughters, one of whom married my great grandfather, George Munn.

      • Hmm, I have got some more investigating to do. There are some contradictions…I will keep you informed of my findings. Thanks for the info.

      • How do you know his middle name was Rose?

      • I have done some more research, and found that Joseph R. Horton, my great great grandfather was married on May 3, 1846 to Lorinda Shores at Wysox, Pa., and that neither party had been married previously. When he died, Sept.22, 1889, Lorinda was still his wife. Therefore, if your ancestor was married to someone named Mary Elizabeth, and had a son, Andrew, it must be another Joseph Horton.

      • That is very helpful as I have been struggling with my research. My Joseph was definitely living with a Mary in 1850 and 1860. I have yet to find a record of marriage for them. Did you find out Joseph and Lorinda marriage through a website? Have you noticed there is also a Lucinda Horton married to a Joseph Horton as well? I have been using and There are 2 Joseph Hortons from Sheshequin, PA. I have seen names from just Joseph to J.R. to Joseph R. Horton from there. The 2 Josephs are only a year or 2 apart in age so it definitely makes this challenging.

      • Most of my information came from either military archives that I applied for and received by mail, history of the 17th Pa. Cavalry, and family information. Good luck with your quest.

      • Thank you

      • I think there may actually be 3 Joseph Hortons in the military. The one I am a descendant of was Joseph Rockwell Horton, he was married to Mary Elizabeth Forbes Mother of my Great Great Grandfather Sidney Curtis Horton, of which there is another Sydney C Horton born shortly after that can also be confusing. Still trying to research more on this Civil War stuff.

      • I found a page of a civil war census for 1863 that showed two Joseph Hortons from Sheshequin, one was listed as Joseph R, but I actually think they are both Joseph R, because the ages were listed as 42 & 44 which would have been right, as both of them appear in the 1860 census also for Sheshequin. I have found 5 Joseph Hortons from Pennsylvania in the Civil War, but I haven’t found for sure which one is Joseph Rockwell Horton, if not the 17th Calvary Company D Joseph R. Joseph Rockwells second wife was Lucinda, but the other Joseph R’s wife was Lorinda. Very confusing, and they were probably all related, and named after their Greats Grandfather Joseph.

    • My ggggrandfather was 1st Sgt. James S. Hines of Company “D.” He was a farmer and lumberman from Litchfield, PA. He was shot in the hand at Grove Church January 26, 1863. The wound caused him to be mustered out two months later. As top Sergeants, Horton and Hines probably worked closely together.

      • Mr.Higgins, It is a pleasure to make contact with another descendant of the 17th Pa. Cavalry regiment. I agree with your assessment that your ancestor and my great, great grandfather would definitely have known each other, and quite likely worked closely with one another. As you have indicated, both your ancestor and mine paid a heavy price for fighting for our country. >

  22. Looking for info on Aaron Kinard. 17 th regiment Company F
    august 64 to June 65. He lived in York co pa. I have a photo of him and 2 buddies-no names inscribed. If you have any info please pass along. he was on detachment in pleasent valley, md for last few months of service

    • My wife’s GGrand Uncle, William A Marsh also served with Co F 17th regiment from Jan 1864 to Jun 1865 and lived in York Co, but not sure when exactly. He married a Rebecca Rockey from Mount Holly Springs. His father was originally from Cumberland Co and could have been where they both mustered. Would like to see the photo if possible? Appreciate it.

  23. If any of you ever have any photos of members of the 17th PA Cav and would like to share via internet attachments, please do. I have a family photo of my GGGrandfather, Wm. Cope, Co. I (mustered out as a Cpl in 1865) that was taken at a Gettysburg reunion down by Devil’s Den when he was quite old. (It may have been in 1913…so the 50th reunion?). I have no reason to believe that it is any more than a random bunch of veterans, which happened to include him. I have no reason to believe it is a “17th Cavalry” reunion, in other words… It is a sweet photo, as he is holding another veteran’s hand, in friendship, as are two other veterans. Family “legend” has it that it was a confederate veteran whose hand William held. Whether that was true or not is only for him to have known at this point…

    I do not have a scan of the photo, but, I am sure I could do that if anyone is interested in seeing it.

    I enjoy all your posts. I have purchased the Regimental history by Moyer (a reproduction) and it is quite interesting. You can find it on line via, at least you could several years ago.

    Elissa O.
    lisaomacca at yahoo dot com

    • My great grandfather (John E. Cook) was in Co. M of the 17th and I have a few reunion photos of him including one taken at the 50th Gettysburg Reunion in 1913 at Devils Den. In that photo he is holding hands with 8 other veterans, every other one a former Confederate (you can see the UCV emblem on their hats). I would be very curious to see the Devils Den photo that you have. I would be happy to attach a copy of my photo to an email if you’d like. Let me know. Sincerely, Jon Cook

      • Hi Jon, My girlfriends GGG grandfather, Verdine O’dell and his brother Benjamin were with Company M 17th, I would love to see a picture that you have of the reunion. Thanks, Steve Lewis

      • Hello Steve,
        Are you on FB? If so, I have a Civil War photo album that contains all of the reunion photos you could see if we friend each other. If not my email address is Drop me a line and I will reply and attach the photos. Looking forward to hearing from you.
        Also, I have a small newspaper clipping from the Wayne Independent that lists the “Members of the Wayne County Cavalry” which eventually was mustered in as Company “M”, 17th Penna. Cavalry. I will attach a copy of it as well. Your GGG grandfather’s name may be listed.

  24. My great-great-great grandfather was Leonard Miller, and according to the records I have been able to see, he fought with the 17th Pennsylvania Cavalry and died while on scout duty on February 8, 1863. His son, my great-great-grandfather, was only a few months old at the time.

    • I ha#&;ev39nt tried it, but it looks great. I love it when they're a nice rich black instead of that flat grayish black some mascaras seem to turn into after they dry.

  25. Great to read that so many are still passionate about their history and keeping it alive! Thanks you all! I’ll do my own here with a shout out to my g,g,g uncle Israel Kolb Co. L, 17th Pa Cav. from Red Hill, Montgomery County PA. One of 5 brothers that fought in the war. The others including my gg grandfather fought together in Co F. 51st Pa Vol Inf.

  26. I recently (today) learned that my great, great grandfather Joesph Reck was with the 17th Calvary and am happy to have come across this site!

    I have come across his name on another site
    and would appreciate any other information anyone else may have about him. I grew up in Lewistown (Mifflin Co) if that vicnity has any bearing on any avaliable information. Thanks much.

  27. Thanks for a great site! Just wanted to note that I recently discovered my g-g-grandfather was Jerome Curtis, a Private in Company M, 17th Pa Cavalry. Like many of your ancestors, Pvt Curtis’ name is on the Pennsylvania Monument at Gettysburg. He was from “Herrick, Susquehanna, Pennsylvania.” Not sure where that is, but plan to visit some time. He is buried at M.O. Rounds Cemetery, Uniondale, Pa.

    • Hi, Mike:

      Herrick Center is a small village in Susquehanna County, PA not far from Interstate 81. Uniondale (also known as Union Dale) is also in Susquehanna County and not far from Interstate 81. It is close to Elk Mountain Ski Area. I live in Wayne County, PA which bounds Susquehanna County on the east.

      A. G. Rutherford

  28. My great great grandfather, Jeremiah Royer, was a Private in Company “L” (Chester & Montgomery Counties). He served the entire time from the formation in 62 till the end in 65. His picture is hanging in the visitor center at Gettysburg.

    • My boyfriend’s great great grandfather Ezekiel Fogle was a private in Company L. He was promoted to Col.a few months before the war was over.

  29. You all might be interested in what Bruce Catton says about this unit in his excellent civil war history A Stillness at Appomattox. He presents the unit as a sort of “special ops” group under Phil Sheridan’s command in the Shenendoah Valley and later at Five Forks. His references are what brought me to this site. JJH.

  30. My 3rd great grand uncle was Joseph Bitler (Bitter). He served as a Private in Company H 17th PA Cavalry.I believe his was recuited in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. I have no other information on his service. What other information is available on Company H?


    • Henry P. Moyer is my ggg-uncle. You can find the book on line at the USC library.
      Bruce Robinson

      • Bruce, my great great uncle was Harry P. Moyer (I have a copy of the book on the 17th) so we are definely related. My grandfather moved to Florida in 1910 and married my very southern grandmother, so I have a host of relatives on both sides of the conflict.

    • I am a senior in high school and is assigned with a mini project and I have to create any toottrypo/ype that has anything to do with physics laws.I don’t want to do anything that has planets in it because i feel lit’s a little cliched.Any kind of answers would help!Thanks!

  31. Melissa,
    Do you have the regimental history (by Moyer) published on the 17th? You can find a reprint of it online. There may be information about him in there.
    J.D. Petruzzi

    • I don’t but I’ll check it out online. I appreciate your information. Thank you!

  32. My Great Great Grand Father James Spealman Was in Co F. He was to young to enlist & lied to get in. He must have really wanted to fight.

  33. Wow my ggggrandfather was in the 17th. His name was adam crumling. Was captured but escaped and fought on till appotomax. Gotta love history and bless the 17th!

  34. William Weinhold, Company C,was in the 17th,and lost his arm in late March of `65.The newspaper article says he was ‘wounded at White House Landing.”Is this in error? I have never heard of a battle there.

  35. My Great Great Grandfather, Capt. Richard Fitzgerald commanded Co. K. Would appreciate any information, pictures, articles anyone might share What a great read!

    A. Burke

  36. Great information. My great great grandfather, Samuel High, mustered into the 17th PA Cavalry in 1862 and was wounded at Trevillian Station in 1864. He returned to action three months later.I have been blessed to be left with his spur, sabre belt plate, canteen, tin type photo of him in full uniform, bound history of the Regiment and hand-colored discharge certificate presented to his family in 1901. We’re all very proud of the role the 17th PA Cavalry played in the War.

  37. Hello again (I’ve also replied in 2012)
    My study of Colonel THEODORE WEBER BEAN continues. I am just back from the Norristown PA Montgomery County Historical Society, which he founded. As TWB is my direct ancestor, I continue to do research on him. Fascinating, to me, is that TWB’s brother, Jesse, fought for the South.
    Amazingly enough, Jesse’s son, David, fought for the North ! Quite a fascinating story here… Jesse wrote many letters home years later. A possess a few originals.
    If anyone out there is on , you can follow my genealogical compilation on that site.
    Here’s my profile for the 17th’s Theodore W. Bean:

  38. Does anyone know if the diary of H. G. Bonebrake is available anywhere to read? I am a relative of Cpl. S.S. Obenhauser ,Co. H Schuylkill County and would like to read the Bonebrake Diary. I do have the History of the 17th Rgmt. /Moyer.

  39. My 3 great uncle James White was a private in
    Company M 17th Pa Calvary from 9/5/1864 until mustered out 6/16/1865. I wondered if he was drafted? He was married with 3 children. From Waymart Pa.

    • His muster roll is on I tried to paste the address, but it is too long. Look up Pennsylvania Civil War Muster Rolls, 1860-1869. It looks like he received a bounty, so it looks like his one year service was an enlistment. He enlisted in Scranton.

      • THX that’s a great anserw!

  40. My gg grandfather Capt Joel S Sponsler was in command of Co F thru most of the war .My grandfather told me stories of his grandfather’s service .My gg grandfather was very proud of his service with the 17th regiment and was one of the officers on the monument committee at Gettysburg . Does anyone have a picture of Co F or the officers in the regiment. Any help would be greatly appreciated

    • Jim,
      Capt Joel Smith Sponsler was also my great great grandfather. I’d be interested in hearing some of those stories and being able to put them with the family tree I am working on. I’ve been researching my family history ever since my grandmother died last year 2014. Contact me if you’d be interested in sharing information! Thanks!!

      David Crick (

  41. My relative Capt. Henry M Donehoo fought for Co B of the 17th Pa Cav. As my direct line was from GA, I have not followed the 17th very closely. If anyone has available information on HM Donehoo or a good detailed history on the regiment it would be very much appreciated.

    • Brian, as mentioned earlier, the best book is the regimental history written by my great great uncle, Harry P Moyer. You can find a copy online fairly easily. I think I ordered a copy for a family member last year through Amazon. Like you, I have veterans in my family from both sides, and I paid more attention to the 7th Florida Regiment than the 17th. Good luck with your search.

      • I agree with Ernest. I bought the book about 2 years
        ago and it sure is a detailed account of this very busy group.

  42. Great tribute to the men of the 17th. I would like add the names of Lt David G. Bruce wounded at White Post, VA and Pvt. George Bruce. Both served through out the war in CO A 17th PA Cav.

  43. I would like to add Corporal Daniel Strauser who served with Co. H of the PA 17th from Oct. 18, 1862 through May 22, 1865. He was shot in the back near Gordonsville, VA on 12/23/1864. He spent 4 months in hospital.

  44. I am looking for information on Jacob Kutz Co F 17th, Pa. Cav. I have his identification disc purchased at a yard sale about 15 years ago. I have pictures if anyone is interested.
    My home email is I live in Carlisle if anyone is interested in possibly buying it. I would really like to see a family relative end up with it.
    He was discharged in Nov 1863 but I am not sure if he was wounded at the battle of Gettysburg or not. Several veterans wounded in the battle were getting discharged about that time.
    Thank you for any information
    Kerry Vincent

    • I have been trying to research info of my GG Grandfather Jacob Lyter who was in Co F at Gettysburg. I have been able to find his grave at LeTort Springs Cemetary. I would very much like to see the pictures that you mentioned. I know he mustered in at the beginning and was mustered out in late 1863 like you mentioned. All I know is that he was discharged on a physicians certificate but do not know what caused this.

  45. My G-G-G-Grand fought in the 17th Pa Cal. Reg. M Verdin Odell and his Brother Benjamin Odell. I have letters that Benjamin had written very interesting letters.

  46. My Gggg-uncle Sergeant Matthew McPherson served in Company B. He enlisted in Sept 1862 and was killed at the Battle of Five Forks on April 1, 1865. I’m looking for info on him, anyone else in Company B, or any other documents, books, or photos related to the 17th.

    I already have a copy of the regimental history by Moyer, and the Roll of Honor by Bean. Matthew’s death is mentioned in the April 1 entry in the “Extracts from Diary of H.G. Bonebrake” section of Moyer’s history, but that’s about all I’ve been able to find out other than the memorial marker his parents placed in Manzer Cemetery, and that his name is on the Gettysburg monument and the civil war memorial monument in Montrose, PA


    This is a great website and I really appreciate all the posts from so many who remember and honor those who served in the 17th!

    • Hi. No idea if this is still active. I’m related to him as well, just got a picture of him from my sister,. My grandmother was Alice McPherson who married Ben Montgomery, they lived in Carbondale

      • Hi David, Just noticed your reply to my posting. It’s great to hear from another relative of Matthew. I’m a descendant of Matthew’s oldest brother William, who is my ggg-grandfather (my orig posting had an extra g in it by mistake).

        You probably already know this, but Alice was the 14th child of Matthew’s younger brother James. I’d love to see the photo your sister gave you. Am very curious if it’s the same as images I have or something new. I’m happy to share what I have so send me an email if you like.

        jgd9140 at gmail dot com

  47. […] you want more in-depth information about the unit, visit this post on Mr. Petruzzi’s blog. He’s an outstanding historian of Civil War […]

  48. Спасибо за предоставленную инфу

    • Can anyone translate this??

  49. It has been sometime ago since I commented on the 17th Pennsylvania Cavalry. Of particular interest was Company K. from Luzerne County. My great grandfather, Captain Richard Fitzgerald was commander. Also two others of interest to me and who served with CO.K were John Anglum, who was KIA at Old Chursch Tavern, VA. and his brother James Anglum. If anyone has any information, a photo of that company or comment I would appreciate hearing from you.

    • I am also interested in Company K from Luzerne County. My husband’s great grandfather Martin Hudson and Martin’s brother Myron Hudson both served in this unit. I would love to find out more information on their role in Gettysburg. I have read that company K was assigned to 11th Headquarters during this battle but have not been able to verify this. I even traveled to Gettysburg recently and was not able to confirm or discredit the information that I have found. If anyone has more information or photographs of this company, I would live to see them.

      • From the Gazette 665 History: Information & Inspiration, posted June23, 2015 you can read a brief account of Companies D,H, and K and the action they saw as couriers with XI Corp Headquarters during the Battle of Gettysburg. My GGGrandfather commanded Co. K.

        Absolutely amazing!

  50. Thank you for this article! I’ve been researching our family tree, particularly the men who served in the Civil War (having been a reenactor myself, the interest is there); I’m lucky to have had men from the 17th and 9th PA Cavalries as great-great-great grandfathers. Pertaining to my ancestor from the 17th, Pvt. Benneville Eck of Co. L, there is differing opinion on where he was captured and imprisoned – some family members say Andersonville, some say Libby. But I was under the impression that Libby was an officers’ prison. The muster roll says that Eck was “captured, died at Salisbury, NC February 22, 1865.” Does anyone have an idea as to where prisoners captured in that area might have generally been transported to?

    • P.S.: I do think Benneville Eck was sent to Salisbury Prison, but one never knows.

  51. Fascinating read, thank you. I just discovered that my 3rd great grandfather served in the 17th, Company I. He started off a private and ended up a sergeant. I loved learning what he and others like him had to deal with day to day throughout the war.

  52. My gg grandfather, george bartle was in co 17, any info would be appreciated.

  53. This thread has been fascinating to read… My g g g grand uncle Cpl. John W. Morley was an original member of D Troop, 17th Penn. Cav from October 3rd, 1862 to June 16th, 1865.

  54. Thank you. My 3x great grandfather was in the 17th pa cavalry. I enjoyed the read and will tell my relatives about your work. Pvt. Daniel Rumbel, a farmer and my ancestor fought with the 17th Co H. He was haunted by dreams of screaming horses.

  55. My 2nd Great Grandfather, Pvt. Peter Matthews was in Company K from 9/21/1862 to 6//6/1865. I would be interested in any information on the particular engagements he would have been involved in.

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