Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The 48th/150th: Rendezvous At Annapolis. . .and Preparing for the Campaign Ahead

Civil War Annapolis. . .
Where the 48th Rendezvoused With The 9th Corps March-April 1864
With their veteran's furloughs expired and having returned to war, the soldiers of the 48th Pennsylvania departed Harrisburg, heading for Annapolis, Maryland, where the 9th Army Corps was rendezvousing after its successful campaigns under both Burnside and Grant in Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee. With Burnside once more at its helm, the well-traveled, well-seasoned and veteran 9th Corps would, that spring of 1864, be once more joining up with the Army of the Potomac, under George Meade, the victor of the Battle of Gettysburg. The soldiers of the Army of the Potomac viewed the 9th Corps as something of "outsiders," while Meade simply did not like Burnside. All of this would lead to some problems down the road, but, for the moment, the soldiers of Burnside's 9th Corps--including the 48th--gathered at Annapolis, to await their orders and to prepare for what promised to be another bloody campaign ahead. Just how bloody, however, no one could have ever predicted. Indeed, during the approaching storm, from early May to mid-June and at such places as the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, North Anna, Cold Harbor, and during the initial attacks on Petersburg, the 48th Pennsylvania would lose many hundreds of its men, killed or wounded. . .
The soldiers of the 48th--an even mix between veterans and rookies--arrived at Annapolis on March 19, 1864, and there they would remain for the next six weeks. During this time, the men drilled, paraded, and settled in once more to the life of the soldier. Their Enfiled Rifles were exchanged for Springfield Rifles, "a much better gun," concluded Joseph Gould of Company F. Their commander, at least for the time being, was still Colonel Joshua Sigfried, and they were still a part of the 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 9th Corps, although there were some changes to the other regiments in that brigade, which now consisted of the 4th Rhode Island, 7th Rhode Island, 35th Massachusetts, 36th Massachusetts, 58th Massachusetts, 45th Pennsylvania, and 48th Pennsylvania. It was also in Annapolis where the soldiers of the 48th got their first look at black troops. At Burnside's request, an entire division of black soldiers--eight regiments of the United States Colored Troops (U.S.C.T.)--had been assigned to the 9th Corps; it would become its Fourth Division, and it also was organizing and assembling at Annapolis when the 48th arrived. "The drilling of these troops, beside those of the white regiments, was a new experience for the old Ninth Corps," admitted Oliver Bosbyshell, "and many doubted whether the colored boys would prove faithful under fire, a doubt set at rest by their excellent work in the subsequent campaign."

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