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)
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. . . .