Monday, May 5, 2014

The 48th/150th: Into the Wilderness. . .

May 5, 1864. . .Thursday



Much of the Army of the Potomac was already south of the Rapidan River by the time Burnside's Ninth Corps crossed. As the 48th Pennsylvania made its way across, the advance elements of the two armies had already made contact to the west, in the thick Virginia wilderness. . .


(Map by Hal Jespersen, www.posix.com/CW)


While the 48th was not heavily engaged on that Thursday, May 5, a detail of 200 men broke away from the regiment, under orders to act as skirmishers on the army's far right flank. Captain Joseph Hoskings, of Minersville, was designated to lead this skirmish force. He afterward penned an account of their experiences that day in the tangled underbrush and thick trees that was the Wilderness:


Captain Joseph Hosking, Company F
(Courtesy Patriotic Order Sons of America)
 
"After crossing the Rapidan, a detail of 200 men was made and put under my command: Lt. Pollock, of G, and Lt. Eveland of A; Sergeant Al Huckey, of Company A, with a full complement of non-commissioned officers. The names of all but a few [of these 200] have escaped my memory. I recall Bob Reid and Clay Evans, Sandy Govan, David Thiel and Adam Hendley. We left the regiment and moved to our right, and in a very short time came into contact with a line of the enemy's skirmishers; they gave us a volley and their peculiar yell, expecting to start us on the back track; but, instead, we advanced and drove them out of the woods; and, on reaching the open field, we came to a halt. The enemy fell back to a rail fence, some fifty yards to our front, and there we held them until relieved by a Michigan regiment. We then moved to the rear and buried David Thiel, who had been killed in the advance. We then joined the main body of the regiment."



Private David Thiel was the first soldier of the 48th Pennsylvania to lose his life during the Overland Campaign, from the Wilderness to Petersburg. Sadly, he was also one of the youngest--and newest--soldiers in the regiment. Thiel was born in Northumberland County and was a shoemaker by trade--or at least he was training to become one, for, in February 1864, when he decided to leave his home and family to enlist in the ranks of the 48th, he was only seventeen years old. Thiel was mustered into service on February 24, 1864, as a private in Company F, 48th PA. He stood 5'6 1/4" in height, had a Light Complexion, Gray Eyes, and Brown Hair. Thiel had been a soldier for just 72 days when he was struck down and killed in the Virginia Wilderness 150 years ago today, on May 5, 1864. . . .

2 comments:

nalexmanz said...

Thank you, David Hoptak, for your continued investigation into, and your blogginh about, the 48th. In this post there is mention of my great-granduncle, Alexander Govan. As with your earlier profile of him, it was thrilling to see his name and learn a little about his actions in the war. Gratefully, Noreen Manzella

nalexmanz said...

Thank you for your continued investigation into, and publication about, the 48th. Once again, as with your earlier profile, I have learned a bit more about my great-granduncle, Alexander Govan.