4th US Infantry History 1861 - 1865

In November of 1861 companies of the 4th returned east, with the headquarters and Companies A, D,
F, G, H, and K, leaving from San Pedro, California on November 3rd aboard the steamer Golden Gate.
Company B embarked for San Francisco, from Fort Arcada, on November 27 and Company C left
for San Francisco from Fort Terwaw, on November 24. Companies E and I embarked for New York,
from San Diego, on November 23rd. By December 31, 1861, the Regiment, except for Companies B
and C (still in transit aboard the steamer Northern Light), were in Washington D. C. In January, the
Regiment, joined by Companies B and C on January 5, were used for provost duty. In February the
Regiment took charge of the Old Capitol Prison, guarding the bridge over the Anacosta river, and of
patrolling the city.

The regiment embarked on steamers at Alexandria on March 27th and proceeded to near Hampton
Virginia where they encamped until April 4th. At that time they proceeded up the peninsula towards
Yorktown (under siege by Union forces) where they worked on the trenches for the remainder of April.
On May 11th, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel R. C. Buchanan, the Regiment, as part of
Sykes’ Brigade of Regulars, moved up the Peninsula towards Richmond, following the retreating
Confederate Army which had evacuated Yorktown the night of the 10th. After a march of several days
the Regiment camped near Gaines’ Mill. The camp was named Camp Lovell in honor of Colonel Chas.
S. Lovell, United States Army. the 4th became part of the 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 5th Army Corps
(General Porter), Army of the Potomac in May 1862, where it remained until August of 1863. The
Regiment stayed at Camp Lovell until late June.

The "veteran" 3rd, 4th, and 6th Infantry regiments were formed with the new 12th and 14th regiments to
form the 1st brigade. The veterans of the 2nd, 7th, and 10th, along with the new 11th and 17th formed
the 2nd brigade.

The "Regulars" first action took place in the Peninsular campaign and included the battles of Mechanicsville,
Gaines Mills, and Malvern Hill.

During the Seven Days’ battle, losses to the Fourth US were four enlisted killed, 2 officers and sixteen
enlisted wounded, one officer and nine enlisted men captured. Total losses for the First Brigade were three
officers and 86 enlisted killed, twelve officers and two hundred eighty-five enlisted wounded, one officer and
one hundred eighty enlisted captured (93 from the Fourteenth Regiment; 56 from the Twelfth; 22 from the
Third; and 9 from the Fourth). Losses to the Army of the Potomac were 15,000 men (killed, wounded, or
captured). Just over half – 7,560 were sustained by the Fifth Army Corps.

At the end of July, with few men remaining, Companies D and E were, by order of the Secretary of War,
broken up and the men transferred to other remaining companies of the Regiment.

The Regiment remained in camp at Harrison’s Landing until August 14th, at which time they proceeded to
Newport News, Virginia, where they immediately embarked on the steamer Elm City. On August 21st the
Regiment disembarked at Acquia Creek, Virginia, and proceeded by rail to Falmouth, opposite Fredericksburg,
Virginia. On the 23rd of August, 1862, the Regiment moved out, along the north bank of the Rappahannock
River, marching towards Warrenton Junction. The movement continued until the 27th of August when they
joined the army of General Pope (Army of Virginia) at Warrenton Junction. For the last 2 days of this march,
the Regiment was on half rations. On August 28th, at 3 a.m., the Regiment left Warrenton Junction. Darkness,
weather, and congested roads delayed the Regiment and they did not move into position on the north side of
Broad Run (about 2 miles from Manassas) until seven hours later. At 6 p.m. General Porter received orders
to begin a movement towards Centerville the following morning. After moving through Manassas, on the 29th,
General Porter received new orders to move instead towards Gainesville, taking King’s Division of McDowell’s
Corps with him. Near Bethlehem Church the Fifth Corps halted and went into line of battle. Noting enemy
infantry and artillery to his front, General Porter at first started to deploy the First Division (General Morell)
but later having learned that General McDowell, along with King’s Division (7,000 men) planned to move to
the right recalled the First Division placing it on line. Placed immediately behind the First Division, placed to
support it if needed, was the Second Division. During the deployment of the First Division it came under fire
from enemy artillery. This was suppressed by return fire from Union batteries. After the withdrawal of McDowell’s
Corps, the Fifth Corps; 9,000 strong faced a force, commanded by General Longstreet, of 14,000. The Fifth
Corps held this position, essentially unchanged throughout the remainder of the day, coming under periodic
artillery fire. Finally, around 6:30 p.m., General Porter received orders (over two hours old) to attack Jackson’s
right flank. Despite Longstreet’s presence on his flank General Porter sent orders to General Morell to attack
with his whole division but before the orders could be carried out night fell. Attack now out of the question,
General Porter issued orders for the commands to bivouac on the ground they currently occupied. During the
day the Corps was without food or water and except for a small supply of hardtack received over night, was
without food the following day. On the 30th of August the Regiment was part of the Union forces engaged at
Second Bull Run.

The Regiment left Centerville on September 1st and moved to Fairfax Court House, Virginia.  On September
2nd the Regiment located to a camp near Arlington Heights, Virginia, where they stayed until the 6th.  From
September 6th the Regiment proceeded by daily marches until reaching confederate forces near Sharpsburg,
Maryland. On the 16th and 17th of September, 1862, the Regiment was engaged in the battle of Antietam.

The Regiment remained in the vicinity of Sharpsburg for over a month, being camped near the Potomac River,
about 1 mile from Sharpsburg on October 1st, 1862. On November 1st, 1862, the regimental headquarters
and all remaining 8 companies (A, B, C, F, G, H, I, and K) were on the march from Sharpsburg to Warrenton,
Virginia, crossing the Shenandoah River at Harper’s Ferry. This brought them along the base of the Blue Ridge
Mountains and through Snickers Gap, which they occupied until November 6th. Proceeding to White Plains
and then to Warrenton by way of New Baltimore, the Fifth Army Corps arrived at Warrenton on November 9th.
On reaching Warrenton, General McClellan was removed from command of the Army of the Potomac and
General Burnside was placed in command. By the same order (General Orders 182) General Fitz John Porter
was relieved of command of the Fifth Army Corps and Major-General Joseph Hooker placed in command.

On November 14th Burnside reorganized the Army of the Potomac into three ‘Grand Divisions’ The Fifth Army
Corps, along with the Third Army Corps, was to be part of the Central Grand Division, commanded by Major
General Hooker. By this reorganization Brigadier General Daniel Butterfield was placed in command of the
Fifth Army Corps.

The Center Grand Division, including the Fourth Infantry, broke camp at Warrenton on November 16th and
proceeded towards Falmouth, Virginia. Arriving at Hartwood (about 7 miles from Falmouth) on November 19th
the regiment went into camp and remained until the 21st, when the Fifth Army Corps moved to the vicinity of
Potomac Creek. Since this was not to be their winter quarters the troops lived in shelter tents. The weather,
already bad, turned colder and on December 6th and 7th four inches of snow fell. Several soldiers, in the
Twentieth Maine froze to death.

The regiment remained in camp until December 11th at which time, having received orders to cross the
Rappahannock and enter Fredericksburg, the Fifth Army Corps marched to the river via the Stafford Road.
Waiting for pontoon bridges to be constructed and for the Right Grand Division to cross, the 4th Infantry did
not cross into Fredericksburg until December 13th.

Christmas day of 1862 found the Regiment in the old camps near Falmouth. The Fifth Corps, at this time
also got a new commander – with Major-General George Meade replacing Daniel Butterfield (Special Order
No. 182, dated 5 November, 1862). Well liked by the troops, a review was held for General Meade. As
General Meade passed down the line, stretched along the Alexandria and Warrington pike, cheer after
cheer was given him by the men, until he came to the remaining regulars, standing silently at present arms.

The Regiment remained in camp, near Falmouth, until January 20th, 1863. Over the next several days, the
Regiment particpated in what was later referred to as the Mud March.

On January, 23rd, 1863, General Burnside issued General Orders Number 8, dismissing Major-General
Joseph Hooker; Brigadier-General W. T. H. Brooks (1st Division, 6th Army Corps); Brigadier-General John
Newton (3rd Division, 6th Army Corps) from the army and further relieving 6 other officers of their commands.
Subject to the approval of the President, the General Order was rejected and the following changes were
directed by President Lincoln – That Major-General Burnside, at his own request be relieved of command of
the Army of the Potomac, that Major-Generals E. V. Sumner and W. B. Franklin be relieved from duties in
the Army of the Potomac, and that Major-General Joseph Hooker be placed in command of the Army of the
Potomac. Temporarily keeping Burnsides’ “Grand Division” idea in place, General Hooker placed General
Meade in charge of the Center Grand Division and General Sykes in command of the Fifth Army Corps
(General Butterfield having been made Chief of Staff). Shortly, however, General Hooker deemed that the
grand division concept impeded rather than helped the army and returned the army to an earlier organization
with the Army Corps being the primary unit. Major-General Meade was placed in command of the Fifth Army

The Regiment remained in the Falmouth camp from late January, through late April, of 1863.

On March 1st, Companies B, G, and I, of the 4th U. S. were broken up and their men placed in other
companies of the Regiment. While still officially organized, Company A also appears to have been broken
up (starting with Chancellorsville no company commanders are listed for Company A).

The Regiment also, at this time, lost Lieutenant Colonel Buchanan, who was assigned, by orders dated 25
April, to duties as acting Assistant Provost Marshall for the state of New Jersey (Fort Delaware). Colonel
Buchanan had been with the Fourth U. S. since 1830. From the onset of the war he had been commander of
the 1st Brigade.

On April 27th, 1863, at 10 a.m., the Regiment (reduced to the Headquarters and companies A, C, F, H, and
K – 14 commissioned officers and 206 enlisted men) broke camp near Falmouth and proceeded, with the
Regular Division towards Chancellorsville. After marching 9 miles, they bivouacked near Hartwood Church.
On the 28th the regiment marched 16 miles and bivouacked about three miles from Kelly’s Ford (on the
Rappahannock). They crossed the Rappahannock on the 29th, marched 15 miles, fording both Mountain
Creek and the Rapidan (3 feet deep), and at about 9 p.m., bivouacked near Ely’s Ford.

From April 30th, 1863 through May 2nd, 1863, the Regiment participated in the battle of Chancellorsville.

The Regiment remained in camp, near Falmouth, until the 10th of June.

On June 10th the Regiment, with the Regular Division, moved from camp to Banks’ Ford on the Rappahannock
River and took up new positions, remaining there until the 13th. On the 13th, the Regiment moved from Banks’
Ford to the Orange and Alexandria railroad, and thereafter continued to march day by day, passing through
Manassas Junction, Centerville, and Leesburg, Virginia. On the 26th it moved into Maryland, crossing over the
Potomac River on pontoon bridges at Edward’s Ferry. Continuing on the 26th, it forded the Monocacy River below
Monocacy Junction. Continuing to march, the Regiment passed by the Maryland towns and cities of Frederick,
Liberty, Johnsville, Union Bridge, Bark Hill, and Union Mills. After a march of 23 miles, it arrived in Hanover,
Pennsylvania late afternoon on July 1st. Just after pitching tents, having received information that Union and
Confederate forces had met at Gettysburg, the Division, including the Regiment, was ordered to that point. At
1:00 am, on July 2nd, after marching 18 miles, they bivouacked, in the road, some five miles east of Gettysburg.

At the end of June, 1863, shortly before Gettysburg, by General Orders Number 194 (dated 27 June) Major
General Hooker was relieved of command of the Army of the Potomac and was replaced by Major General
George G. Meade.

In June of 1863, just prior to Gettysburg, the 2nd division of the 5th Army Corps had 2,613 effectives. On the 2nd
day of Gettysburg, under the commands of Colonels Hannibal Day (1st brigade) and Sidney Burbank (2nd Brigade)
the "Regulars' were engaged in the Wheatfield. During the battle, the two brigades had losses of 829 men killed,
wounded, or missing.

On July 5th, ascertaining that the Confederates were in full retreat, the Regiment, along with the Brigade, moved
from Gettysburg. Moving by way of Emmittsburg, Maryland, the Regiment passed by Emmittsburg, Creagerstown,
and Middletown, crossing the Catoctin and South Mountain ranges at High Knob and Fox’s Gap. On the day it
crossed the Catoctin range it did so in a driving ran storm without food. The Regiment reached Delaware Mills, on
the upper Antietam, on July 10th.

The Regiment continued, with the Army of the Potomac to Williamsport, Maryland. Approaching Williamsport,
across open fields, the Army of the Potomac moved in battle-array, each corps in line, each brigade in columns
of regimental front. All colors were displayed, floating proudly in the breeze and bayonets, by the tens of thousands,
were gleaming in the sunlight. Each division was preceeded by a hundred pioneers removing all obstructions – fences,
stone walls, outhouses – everything but dwellings and large barns.

A reconnaissance, in force, on July 14th, determined that the Confederate army had re-crossed the Potomac River.
The Regiment, with the Division, moved from Williamsport towards Harper’s Ferry and on July 17th, crossed the
Potomac into Virginia. By a series of marches the Regiment proceeded to Fayetteville, Virginia, where it encamped
until August 3rd.

Shortly after Gettysburg, several additional companies were broken up and their members transfered to the remaining
companies (A, C, F, H, & K). The Fourth U.S. Infantry was also transfered the Department of the East.