Second Potomac Home Brigade

Second Potomac Home Brigade

The following text is copied from the book the "History of Allegany County Maryland" by James W. Thomas, LL.D. and Judge T.J.C. Williams, volume 1, pages 400-401. This book is available at the Clayton Library, Houston, Texas.


The Second Regiment of Infantry, Potomac Home Brigade, was organized at Cumberland in 1861, to serve for three years. Companies A, B, C, E, G, H, I and K, were recruited in Allegany county, Company F at Hancock, Maryland, and Company D at Piedmont, W. Va.

Immediately after the completion of the organization, the regiment was assigned to duty in West Virginia, where it took an active part and had several skirmishes with the enemy. It formed part of the army of General David Hunter in its advance down the Shenandoah Valley, and when General Early's army was driven back from Maryland into Virginia, it formed a part of the pursuing army. It participated in engagements at Springfield, Virginia, Great Cacapon, Charlestown, Summit Point, and many others that had an important bearing on the general result of the war.

The following letter, hitherto unpublished, from the Colonel in command to the Brigadier General, describing a skirmish which it had at the South Branch wire bridge, will prove of local interest:

Camp Thomas, Oct. 27, 1861.

Brig. Gen. C. M. Thruston:

Sir: In compliance with verbal orders received after your consultation between Gen. Kelly and yourself, the night of the 25th inst., I concentrated 700 of my regiment at Camp at North Branch Bridge, and on the following morning at 5.30 o'clock, marched in the direction of Romney, passing through Frankfort, upon arriving at a point one and one-half miles from Springfield. The rear of my column was fired into by the enemy from the heights of the road, wounding two men, detaining the column. About one hour was occupied in clearing the woods of the enemy and dressing the wounded. We marched thence through Springfield, seeing frequent signs of the enemy's horsemen in retreat towards the bridge over [the] South Branch of the Potomac. Upon arriving within a half mile of the bridge, my flankers and skirmishers on the left and front discovered the enemy on the opposite side of the river, when a brisk fire at once commenced. About this time the guns of General Kelly's column in [the] vicinity of Romney were heard. After skirmishing with the enemy across the river about half an hour, I determined to force our way over the bridge. The enemy numbering (by the best information we could get) from four to six hundred, including cavalry, having beforehand prepared to defend its passage, had arranged covers for his riflemen on an eminence immediately fronting the bridge.

Captain Alexander Shaw, of Company A, who led the advance of the column to this point, was with his company, directed to lead the way across the bridge, at a double quick step. Supported by the remainder of the regiment, Captain Shaw promptly moved his company as directed, and when about half way across the bridge, discovered that a portion of the plank flooring on the further side had been removed. The enemy on discovering the movement, open fire by volley, killing one and wounding six of my men, causing the company to seek shelter behind the parapets of the bridge.

After skirmishing some time from the parapets of the bridge and an eminence on our left, and not hearing the fire of Gen. Kelly for the previous hour, I concluded he had carried Romney, and the object of my march, to create a diversion in his favor being accomplished, I determined to retire, which I did, in good order, to Old Town in Maryland, arriving there about 9 o'clock P.M., after a march of 25 miles.

It is with pleasure that I speak of the good behavior of all my officers and men, and would call your attention particularly to the gallant charge led by Captain Alexander Shaw. Captain Fiery, of Dragoons, with his company, rendered very effective service by drawing the fire of the enemy from my regiment at the bridge. I was much gratified and indebteded (sic) to Mr. Grehan, who volunteered to go with me, for his prompt and cheerful assistance. Mr Grehan was frequently exposed to severe fire of the enemy.

I am with great respect,
Your obedient servant,

Thomas Johns,
Colonel Second Regiment Potomac Home Brigade.

Links to JPG copies of pages from book

  • Cover page, History of Allegany County Maryland

  • Page 400, History of Allegany County Maryland

  • Page 401, History of Allegany County Maryland

    Links to PDF copies of pages from book

  • Pages 400-401, History of Allegany County Maryland

    Return to Korns family genealogy home page