Christian Petenbrink Civil War Military & Pension Records

The links below will take you to copies of Christian Petenbrink's Civil War Pension Records, and other materials related to his regiment. He was a member of Company K, Second Regiment, Potomac Home Brigade. He was severely injured by a Rebel cannon ball while manning an artillery piece in an armored "iron-clad" railroad car on the Baltimore and Ohio railroad at the August 2, 1864 battle of Green Springs Depot, Virginia (now West Virginia). Green Springs is located between Cumberland and Hancock Maryland.

Several of the documents below are pension-related Affidavits regarding the battle, and the resulting injuries to Christian Petenbrink. Some of the file sizes are large, so be patient while they load. If the images appear too large or too small on your screen, use the resize button, or right click and do a "save target as" to download the image to your computer, where you can use alternate software to view the image.

There were two different instances where such armored railroad cars were put out of action by rebel cannon fire, one by a remarkable shot from a distance of about half a mile on July 4, 1864 at the South Branch Bridge Battle, and one from a shot of about 200 yards on August 2, 1864 at the Battle of Green Springs Depot. It seems that Christian Petenbrink was injured in the August 2, 1864 incident.

According to the book "History and Roster of Maryland Volunteers, War of 1861-5" , the Second Potomac Home Brigade was involved in both battles, so it may be that he was also involved in some capacity at the July 4th engagement, but we may never know that for sure. The 1865 "Cincinnati Lancet & Observer" (see below) does indicate that a detachment of Company K was in the iron-clad that was destroyed at the South Branch Battle.

Page 417 of Lowdermilk's "History of Cumberland states "At Green Spring an iron-clad locomotive and cars, with a small piece of artillery, fell into the hands of the enemy, as also some eighty men in the block-house. The attacking force of probably 2,000 mounted men and a battery of artillery, under Generals Ransom and McCausland."

Information on the July 4 and August 2, 1864 Armored Car Incidents

  • General Kelly's report on the August 2, 1864 battle
  • The Aug. 2, 1864 military correspondence between the generals regarding the Green Spring Battle is included in the 1892 book "The Miscellaneous Documents of the House of Representatives for the First Session of the Fifty-Second Congress, 1891-'92". Page 578 mentions the destruction of the armored train. Here are links to the pages: Cover Page, Page 577, page 588. This book also has a similar correspondence account of the July 4, 1864 South Branch Battle, which specifically mentions Company K. Here are the pages: Page 48, Page 49, Page 50. From the way it describes one end of the iron-clad being knocked out, one is tempted to imagine that there were two iron-clads, one at each end of the train (as they sometimes did). For a copy of all of the above 6 pages in a single 1041 KB PDF file, click here.
  • For a general description of armored cars relating to the Second P.H.B., and a description of both the July fourth and August second battles, click here.
  • The 1866 book "Four Years in the Saddle" gives a detailed account of the August 2, 1864 Green Springs Battle from the Confederate point of view. The armored train is described as having an iron-clad car at each end. Here are the pages: Title Page, Page 216, Page 217, Page 218, Page 219, Page 220, Page 221. For the same pages in a single 983 KB PDF file, click here.
  • Pages 187 and 188 of the still-copyrighted 2007 book "Shenandoah Summer" give a good description of the August 2, 1864 battle, and the destruction of an armored train that was commanded by Captain Peter P. Petrie, Second Maryland Potomac Home Brigade. Click here for a link to a third party website that has authorized excerpts from the book, including pages 187 and 188.
  • Page 210 of the 1900 book "The Maryland Line in the Confederate Army, 1861-65" gives a brief description of the Green Spring Battle; Here are the pages: Cover , page 210.
  • Click here for a description of both iron car incidents on a third party website.
  • Information about one of the battles from a 1906 history of Bedford and Somerset County.
  • The 1865 "Cincinnati Lancet & Observer" describes treatment of a member of a detachment of Company K, Second Potomac Home Brigade. He was suffering from burns suffered in the July 4, 1864 attack on the iron-clad railroad car. This confirms that at least some of Company K was at the South Bridge Battle. Here are the pages: Cover , page 227, page 228.
  • Chapter LVL, pages 645-650 of the 1897 book "History of Hampshire County West Virginia is titled "Imboden's Raid". An account of the July 4, 1864 battle at the South Branch Bridge begins on page 648, and provides a vivid description of the destruction of an armored railroad car manned by Marylanders. It lists the men manning this particular armored car as James L. Croston, Albert Bigford, Alexander B. King, Benjamin Closs, Lieutenant Moses M. Bigford, Dennis Dehaven and John W. Croston. All these men are on the roster of Company K, 2nd Potomac Home Brigade. Here are the pages from Chapter LVL of the Hampshire County book: Page 644 , Page 645 , Page 646 , Page 647 , Page 648 , Page 649 , Page 650 . To see pages 644-650 in a single 2070 KB PDF file, click here.
  • Page 140 of the 1901 book "The History and Government of West Virginia" has a brief description of the July 4, 1864 battle at the South Branch Bridge that involved the destruction of an armored car; click here to see it.
  • An iron-clad railroad car model built by Christian Petenbrink descendant Carl Dietle.

    An Illustration of a Different Armored Car
    To see an image of a US ironclad railroad car that was published in the June 22, 1861 “Illustrated London Times”, click here (large image; 2557 KB PDF). The accompanying article reads” RAILROAD BATTERY. A SINGULAR engine of war has just been completed in the United States. The determination of the Federal Government to reconstruct the bridges on the Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Baltimore Railroad, destroyed by a mob from Baltimore, has led to the construction of a railroad-battery by the Federal Governemnt at the locomotive works of Baldwin and Co., Philadelphia. One of the long platform baggage-cars has been fixed with sides and top of thick sheet iron, the sides having portholes and loopholes for musketry. A turn-table has been arranged, on which a rifled cannon is to be placed. The carriage for the gun is so constructed that it can be fired at any angle, and from any one of the portholes in the sides and end of the car. In place of shot or shell from the cannon, pieces of iron punched from locomotive boilers will be used as loads. This car is to be placed in front of a locomotive, with fifty men inside, armed with Minie’ rifles, and with seamen to work the cannon” This ironclad concept is obviously different than that which has been described for Company K of the Second Potomac Home Brigade, but it is included here as the only contemporaneous image of an ironclad railroad car that I have found.

    This may be the same image is included on page 28 of the book “The World’s Great Artillery from the Middle Ages to the Present Day” by Hans Halberstadt (Barnes & Noble, New York, 2002). The illustration is credited to the Mary Evans Picture Library (http://online.mepl.co.uk picture no. 10075451) which says that it is an unattributed 1861 engraving of an “iron-car battery on the Philadelphia Railway”. That website is down today, and I cannot confirm it.

    Christian Petenbrink Civil War Pension Records
    National Archives file label (115 KB)
    Battle of Green Springs Depot, Affidavit of William Taylor (106 KB)
    Battle of Green Springs Depot, Affidavit of Jacob Shoemaker (102 KB)
    War Office Letter (99 KB)
    Pension Office death documentation (55 KB)
    Battle of Green Springs Depot, Affidavit of Benjamin Boyer (94 KB)
    General affidavit of "Cristchen Pipenbrink" (61 KB)
    Declaration for original invalid pension, March 18, 1891 (86 KB)
    Declaration for original invalid pension, May 4, 1880 (89 KB)
    General Affidavit of C. Bittner (51 KB)
    General affidavit of Christian Petenbrink, age 64 (71 KB)
    General affidavit of F. S. Weller (73 KB)

    For all of the above 12 pages in a single 1216 KB PDF file, click here.

    Christian Petenbrink military muster records
    The links below are to the military records of Christian Petenbrink of Southampton Township, Somerset County PA. They show him to be engaged in the artillery in the Second Potomac Home Brigade.
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    For all of the above muster records in a single 1871 KB PDF file, click here.

    Additional information on the Second Regiment, Potomac Home Brigade
    Text about the Regiment from the "History of Allegany County Maryland"
    Cumberland, June 12, 1861 (Lowdermilk's History of Cumberland)

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