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Civil War Blog

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Monuments at Gettysburg – 142nd Pennsylvania Infantry

Posted By on April 9, 2015

The 142nd Pennsylvania Infantry Monument at Gettysburg is located west of the town of Gettysburg on Reynolds Avenue.  It was dedicated in 1889 by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

The picture of the monument (above) is from Stephen Recker’s Virtual Gettysburg Web Site which has more information about the monument and the 142nd Pennsylvania Infantry.

A full description of the monument, its GPS Coordinates, additional photographs, and some of the history of the 142nd Pennsylvania Infantry, can be found on the Stone Sentinels Web Site.

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A brief regimental history and summary of the dedication day program were the two areas covered by the Philadelphia Inquirer article of 11 September 1889:

It Was in the Artillery Duel.

The troops composing the 142nd Regiment rendezvoused at Camp Curtin August 1862, where they were mustered into service, and on 2 September effected a regimental organization.  Early in October it reported to General Meade and was assigned to the Second Brigade, commanded by Colonel Albert L. Magilton.  It marched to Brooks Station on the Acquia Creek Railroad.  On 9 December they joined in the several movements of the army to cross the Rappahannock and offer battle.  Colonel Cummins, who had been at the Washington Hospital, arrived on the field in the nick of time to take command of the battle which followed.  There in an exposed position the regiment held its stand until 250 of its 550 men were shot down.  Its next important work began with the march which ended at Gettysburg, where it was formed to the left of the wood, where Reynolds fell.  The regiment held the right of the First Brigade’s position on the first day when driven back.  Colonel Cummins was there mortally wounded.  Near him fell Acting Adjutant Lieutenant Tucker.

On the third day the regiment was exposed in the terrible artillery duel.   The loss of the the regiment at Gettysburg was 15 killed, 126 wounded and 84 missing.  Among the killed were Colonel Cummins, Captain Flagg, Lieutenants Andrew Gregg Tucker and Edward Hurst.  About Christmas, the 142nd was consolidated with Stone’s Brigade and the following May moved into the Wilderness Campaign.

In the morning the regiment will form in the square near the McClellan House, under command of Colonel H. N. Warren, and march to the site of the monument on Reynolds Avenue.  The dedicatory services will consist of prayer, by Judge O. P. Shaver; historical address, by Colonel H. N. Warren, and brief remarks by the veterans.  The regiment will then march to the grove, near the seminary, and hold a reunion.

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Robert P. Cummins

The commander of the 142nd Pennsylvania Infantry at Gettysburg was Colonel Robert Parson Cummins.  After he was mortally wounded on the first day of the battle, Lieutenant Colonel Alfred B. McCalmont took over command of the regiment.

Cummins joined the 39th Pennsylvania Infantry (10th Pennsylvania Reserve) in July 1861 at Harrisburg as Captain of Company A, but resigned on 8 January 1862.  At the time of his muster in that regiment, he was 34 years old and was a printer living in Somerset County, Pennsylvania.  On 1 September 1862 he was given the rank of Colonel in the 142nd Pennsylvania Infantry and on 1 July 1863, he was mortally wounded at the Battle of Gettysburg.  Colonel Cummins died the next day in a field hospital.  He is buried at Union Cemetery, Somerset, Somerset County, Pennsylvania.

Colonel Cummins was survived by a widow, Sarah J. [Meek] Cummins, who applied for pension benefits on 15 August 1863 for herself and the couple’s minor children.  Fold3 has all 24 pages of the pension application file available on their site.  These pages include proof of marriage and proof of birth of each of the minor children as well as certification of the death of Colonel Cummins at Gettysburg.

More information about him can be found at his Findagrave Memorial.

Alfred B. McCalmont

Alfred Brunson McCalmont joined the 142nd Pennsylvania Infantry at headquarters as Lieutenant Colonel on 1 September 1862.  He took over the regiment at Gettysburg on 2 July 1863 upon the wounding of Colonel Cummins.  On 4 July 1863 he was promoted to Colonel and on 12 September 1864, he was transferred to the 208th Pennsylvania Infantry as its Colonel.  On 13 March 1865 he was breveted Brigadier General and on 1 June 1865 he was discharged with his regiment.

When the widow of W. W. Shelmadine, of Company I of the 142nd Pennsylvania Infantry, who was killed at the Battle of Gettysburg, applied for a pension based on her husband’s service, Colonel McCalmont provided a statement in support of her claim.  That statement (1 page) is available on Fold3.

No record has been seen to indicate that Colonel McCalmont ever applied for a pension for himself or that any eligible survivor applied based on his Civil War service.

Colonel McCalmont died on 7 May 1874 and is buried at Franklin Cemetery, Franklin, Venango County, Pennsylvania.  More information about him can be found at his Findagrave Memorial.

Extracts from Letters Written by Col. Alfred B. McCalmont, 1862-1865, published in 1908 by family members, contains 90 letters written by Colonel McCalmont from the front during the war.  The Diary of Alfred B. McCalmont, kept while he was attending Dickinson College, 1842-1826, is available in the special collections of its library.

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Around the base of the Pennsylvania Memorial at Gettysburg are a series of plaques which, by regiment and company, note the names of every soldier who was present at the Battle of Gettysburg.  The plaque for the 142nd Pennsylvania Infantry is pictured below.  By clicking on the plaque it should enlarge so the names can be more clearly read.  If a name does not appear, it could be that the soldier did serve in the 142nd Pennsylvania Infantry, but was not part of the regiment during its days at Gettysburg.  There could also be errors on the plaque.

142PA-Gettysburg-001a


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