Saturday, July 18, 2015

Furlough almost over

Howdy pards, sorry about the lack of posts. I have been away on furlough from reenacting as I had no health insurance (started a new full time job in April). Now it's been 90 days and those benefits kick in Monday. So being fully insured I plan to do more events from late July through September. The annual Bucktails reunion in Philipsburg PA is next weekend and I'm trying to get Friday off so I can make travel arrangements to go.  This is too far for me to drive normally.

The Bucktail reenactors meet every year at a mansion in this town where the actual veterans held their reunions. We get to camp on the grounds and meet with a lot of retired reenactors too. Sounds like fun!

A Google Books link to the roster of the original 42nd PA "Old Bucktails" reunion can be found here.  For information about the annual reunion event look here!

The 42nd Pennsylvania Infantry,  known as the 'Old Bucktails' were originally recruited from the wild Northern regions of the state, including Erie, Tioga and Elk counties.  Many hailed from the town of 'Mauch Chunk', now known as Jim Thorpe.  Esteemed for their ability as marksmen, they were issued Sharps rifles and eventually Spencer rifles.  The unit were involved in the most brutal fighting of the war, taking among the heaviest casualties of any Union regiment, and a few members were highly decorated.  Thomas Belton was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on the 2nd day of Gettysburg. By June 1864 the Old Bucktails were disbanded being so few left. Their final glory was at Spotsylvania.

This regiment went by several names and it can be confusing.  They were originally planned as a cavalry unit to be called the 17th PA, but the War Department ordered they join as infantry since a regiment already existed by that name.  They were at first called the 1st PA Rifles or "Kane's Rifles" after their Colonel Thomas L. Kane. Later in the war they were rolled into the Penna Reserves as the 13th.  But as regular US infantry they were the 42nd of the line. Any of these names is correct and they were all the same regiment.