The Original 54th PA Infantry
Recruited from Cambria, Somerset, Indiana, Dauphin, Northampton, and Lehigh counties, the 54th Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry consolidated at Camp Curtin in Harrisburg, PA during August and September of 1861. Colonel Jacob M. Campbell of Johnstown, PA was commissioned to lead the regiment. On February 26, 1862 the regiment received its colors from Governor Andrew Curtin and then headed off to war.
The regiment's first assignment was to guard a portion of the B&O Railroad between Martinsburg, VA (WV) and Cumberland, MD. The regiment maintained this assignment until January of 1863 when it was assigned to the 1st Division, 8th Corps, Department of Western Virginia. The regiment, however, saw limited action until 1864 when Major General Franz Sigel took command and went on the offensive up the Shenandoah Valley culminating in the Battle of New Market. This was followed by Major General David Hunter's offensive that attempted to bring the valley to its knees. Finally, the regiment took part in Major General Phil Sheridan’s offensive that drove the Confederates out of the Shenondoah for good following the Battle of Cedar Creek. With the valley firmly in Union hands, the regiment was transferred to the Independent Division, 24th Corps, Army of the James. There the men participated in the fighting around Petersburg, VA and finally towards Appomattox, VA until captured en masse at the Battle of High Bridge. The regiment was mustered out of service on July 15, 1865.
The Current 54th PA Infantry
In 1992 a group of civil war enthusiasts started the 54th Pennsylvania Infantry, Co. A, to portray the soldiers and civilians from their hometown of Johnstown, PA. Since then the organization has expanded well beyond the borders of Cambria county. We now consist of members from all over the Mid-Atlantic region. We participate in numerous reenactments, living histories, and school programs in Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia. Such events have included the 150th anniversary events of New Market, Cedar Creek, Gettysburg, Antietam, Bull Run, Chancellorsville, and Appomattox.
The regiment was also instrumental in helping fund a Civil War memorial statue in Johnstown, PA. The monument was dedicated on November 11, 2000 in Johnstown's Central Park. See the link below for images and more information.
Company A was recruited out of Cambria and Indiana counties in August 1861. The company was placed under the command of Captain John Suter. While guarding the railroad, the company was stationed on the South Branch Bridge near Green Spring, VA (WV). The troops were also involved in skirmishes with the infamous rebel, John Imboden, before joining the rest of the regiment for the valley campaigns of 1864. On December 15, 1864 Captain Suter was discharged and 1st Lieutenant John Decker was placed in command until the end of the war. The company was discharged with the rest of the regiment in July of 1865 in Harrisburg, PA.
News & Informational Links
The veterans of the 54th returned to New Market in 1905 and placed a statue at the site of their heroic stand, "the Bloody Cedars".
Click here to read Col. Campbell's after action report.
The regiment's losses over their service were: 5 officers and 108 men killed in action and 2 officers and 137 men lost to disease and wounds
Battle honors include:
Please click on a battle to learn more
The regiment had 3 Medal of Honor awardees:
Private Thomas Evans, Co. D
Citation: Capture of flag of 45th Virginia at Battle of Piedmont, June 5, 1864.
Date of issue: November 26, 1864
Private John Mostoller, Co. B
Citation: Led a charge on a battery when the officers of the company were disabled and compelled its hasty removal at Battle of Lynchburg, June 18, 1864.
Date of issue: December 27, 1864
Musician John Snedden, Co. E
Citation: Left his place in the rear, took a rifle, and fought through the action at Battle of Piedmont, June 5 1864.
Date of issue: September 11, 1897
1st Division, 8th Corps